The Folk River – Fraser Bruce
Previewed by Jack Beck
I’m married to an author, so it’s hardly surprising that I’ve seen many books as they have gestated.
This one is different, though, because it’s by an old friend who isn’t my wife – –
It is a book that is still in the making, although I (along with many others) have had some input. Fraser wanted to write about a particular period of history in which I played a part – the early days of the emergence of folk song clubs in Scotland in the 1960s.
He started researching and found that many of the accepted stories about those days weren’t really true. Time had played tricks with folks’ memories and an alternative history was beginning to emerge. So he took on the important, but enormous task of writing the real one, by talking directly to the people who had been there and were still around. I was honored to be one.
As I write this the manuscript is being proofed and tidied by another old friend and the finished book should be published later this year.
My contribution has been mostly providing information about the early days of the local folk club in my home town of Dunfermline which started in 1961 and has continued right up to the present.
Many people have supplied Fraser with firsthand accounts of other clubs that sprang up all over Scotland in the early 1960s. It’s clear that the work he has done on this over the last year has been very time consuming but he tells us that he is pleased with the outcome.
The emergence of these Scottish clubs mirrored what was happening in the US and England around the same time, but there was a particular ‘flavor’ to the scene in Scotland.
While my contribution and communication with Fraser has been entirely electronic, I know that earlier last year he traveled all over the country gathering insights from dozens of people.
In addition to the proofing of the text, Pete Heywood of Living Tradition magazine is assembling and scanning a large number of photos which will augment the book.
The book will be welcomed not only by the folk who were part of the story, but also those who have emerged since and kept the folk river flowing. In the words of Hamish Henderson “the carrying stream”.