Whilst reseraching the material for “The Search For Five Finger Frank” Album and Show we have drawn extensively on contributions from one of Frank Kidson’s key collaborators: Mr Charles Lolley. He first established contact in response to a series of articles by Kidson in the Leeds Mercury 1886-87 entitled “Notes on Old Tunes”. They began to correspond regularly on the subject of folk song and folk song collecting.
Charles Lolley 1857-1935 was born in Hemingbrough, East Yorkshire. He was a fine fiddle player and a bricklayer by trade, later becaming a Builder’s Foreman for a building company in Leeds. Like Kidson, Charles Lolley also took inspiration from his own mother’s singing and collected a number of songs from her. Indeed, the sheer quantity of material submitted by Charles Lolley strongly indicates that he too, was a folk song collector in his own right. It appears that they struck up a firm friendship and there are many fine songs and tunes from Charles Lolley contained within the Kidson collection.
We feature many songs collected from Charles Lolley in our CD and Show: “The Search For Five Finger Frank”. Many of these songs still hold a prominent place in the folk repertoire of today: “Young Banker”, “Outward Bound” and “The Sprig of Thyme” are all examples of this. However, a number of the songs contributed by Charles Lolley also offer most unusual versions of popular classics, sometimes differing substantially from what later became the more commonly established melodies. “The Bonny Bunch of Roses”, “Captain Glen” and “My True Love Once He Courted Me” are all distinctive for their haunting melodic twists and turns.
At our CD Launch event on Sunday 13th April 2014, we were very honoured to have descendants of Charles Lolley in the audience;
Jessie Hall (Lolley’s grand-daughter), Ruth Trousdale (Jessie’s daughter and Lolley’s great grand-daughter) and Edna Lolley (Lolley’s grand-daughter)
It was an absolute privilage to sing the songs that Frank Kidson collected from Charles Lolley to members of his own family. We would like to say a huge thank-you to them for coming and also to genealogist Gill Baldwin for all her time and energy spent on tracing Charles Lolley’s relations and for researching Frank Kidson and the other contributors to his collection.