By Dave Arthur
Author note: Foreword through Richard Thompson OBE and Preface by means of the Rt. Hon. Sir Stephen Sedley
Folk singer and folks song collector, author, painter, journalist, paintings critic, whalerman, sheep station roustabout, Marxist, and masses extra - this is often the tale of A. L. (Bert) Lloyd's striking existence. A. L. Lloyd performed a key half within the people song revival of the Fifties and 60s, yet that's basically a part of his tale.
Dave Arthur records how Lloyd turned a member of the Communist social gathering, forceful antifascist, exchange unionist and a tremendous a part of left-wing tradition from the early Thirties to his demise in 1982. Following his go back from Australia as a 21-year-old, self-educated agricultural labourer, he used to be on the center of an important left-wing activities and hugely revered for his wisdom in a number of fields. Dave Arthur recounts the lifetime of an artistic, passionate and life-loving Marxist, and in so doing presents a social historical past of a turbulent 20th century.
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Extra info for Bert: The Life and Times of A. L. Lloyd
A lot had happened to him, and to the world, since the last time he’d walked across that yard nearly forty years before. The programme proved a bit disappointing. It was an interesting travelogue interspersed with Bert’s reminiscences, but it didn’t provide any folkloric nuggets, and it did little to throw new light on his Australian repertoire, or indeed on his day-to-day work as a pastoral-worker. By 1929 he was fed up and frustrated with Australia. He tried to get out of the country by applying for a job in West Africa (which didn’t materialise), and asking his aunts for the whereabouts of a family acquaintance who was a missionary in the Belgium Congo, on the off chance that she might be able to suggest some work for him.
This doesn’t prove that Bert learnt it from Mackenzie, but it’s considered a bit of circumstantial musical evidence by Sullivan and others in the attempt to prove that most of Bert’s Oz repertoire came later from published sources. In his 1969 interview with Mark Gregory Bert said that, when he bought a copy of Patterson’s Old Bush Songs around 1930, he found therein versions of several songs that he’d known, which he’d acquired and put into his exercise books. Some of these texts were, apparently, very close to the Patterson versions and Bert thought they might well have been learnt from print.
This little magazine was a literary lifeline to Bert, keeping him up to date with what was happening in the outside world and giving him ideas on what to order from the Sydney library including art books. Unfortunately, many of the book illustrations were in monochrome. Undeterred, he familiarised himself not just with classical art but also with modern movements such as Fauvism, Expressionism, Dada, Cubism and Surrealism – the Surrealist Manifesto was published in 1924, the year he arrived in Australia.