I’m delighted that Laurence Platt (Morning Star Letters 23 Jan) enjoyed my recent Ramblings on Haxey and the Isle of Axeholm. It’s certainly a fascinating part of England with many interesting stories.

I’m sorry that my one line reference to Percy Grainger and Joseph Taylor’s meeting seems to have upset Laurence.

Grainger’s choral arrangement of Taylor’s folksong Brigg Fair is still a concert favourite and is not to be confused with the later Delius piece that Laurence obviously prefers. That’s just a matter of taste.

Given more space I could have described Taylor as many things apart from a shepherd. Over a long and hard working life Joseph did many jobs to scrape a living including labourer, carpenter, farm steward, and even a competition singer.

Laurence also chooses to attack Percy Grainger for not paying Taylor anything for his tunes.

I don’t know if that is true but Grainger certainly paid more than once for Taylor to visit him in London and entertained him there.

He publically acknowledged Taylor as the source of the songs at concerts and other performances.

Indeed in 1908, at the first London performance of Delius’s Brigg Fair. Grainger brought Joseph Taylor down to London specially for the performance.

Grainger, Delius and Taylor sat together in the best seats.

On hearing his tune, Joseph Taylor immediately stood up and began to sing along with the orchestra.

Neither Grainger nor Delius made any attempt to stop him. Why should they?  This was Joseph Taylor’s proudest day.

I do agree with Laurence on one thing. Bill Leader did us all a favour when he made the original Taylor wax cylinder recording available again.

In fact I was listening to my 1972 vinyl version while writing the original article.


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