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Family Business

Jill's husband, Jon Dudley, is a good asset to the family singing now, too.

B.C. Oh yes, that's lovely, he's a good singer and his heart's right in it.

J.C. Jill and I both struck lucky, we both found people who had a natural love for singing. Not the Copper family repertoire, they'd never heard of us. Jon had been a bit of a folkie but he'd never heard of us lot!

You must hear lots of new songs to you, especially when you've been collecting, but I gather you don't bring them into that repertoire at all.

B.C. Well there are so many other people singing them now, they're not in danger of going.

J.C. But any traditional repertoire, if it's alive, has got to be added to as it goes along. The same must apply to the Copper family; there have got to be other songs brought into the fold. But only maybe one or two in a generation! We're not pumping more material in, but you can't help picking some up.

B.C. To me, the thrill of a song is that it came from some old chap who could neither read nor write, and it was something he treasured and kept in his mind. I treasure all our songs because our family has done that. Jim and Brasser and people before him. And I've said so many times that we can't sing, but we know some bloody good songs in the family. We've got every excuse to sing a song if it's a Copper song, but if it's something outside, you've got to make a damn good job of it, and I don't think we're capable of that.

This feature first appeared in issue 20 of The Southern Rag (the original title of fRoots) in April 1984.


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