The wonderful and internationally acclaimed folk artist Eliza Carthy has written a glowing review of Dave Arthur’s Bert: The Life and Times of A. L. Lloyd. The review, which appeared in the autumn edition of the English Folk Dance and Song Society‘s EDS Magazine, describes Arthur’s book as ‘an astonishing work… to be commended for [its] sheer weight and scope’.
While it’s always gratifying to get a thumbs-up in response to our books, Carthy’s words are made all the more special given the position she holds in the contemporary folk scene – as one of its most talented and justly celebrated writers and performers.
You can go to the EFDSS website in order to buy a copy of the most recent edition of EDS, (which we encourage you all to!) and we reproduce a small extract of the piece below, just to whet your appetites…
As you would expect, this book is packed to the gunwales with detail. Dave Arthur is to be commended for the sheer weight and scope. He uses Bert’s own personal correspondence, family and commercial writing to tell the story, but also he has delved into declassified government records, programmes of music, magazine and newspaper articles, snatches of songs, interviews, memoirs, gossip and history to create, at the beginning of the book, such a dense portrayal of life in the 1930s in London that, at times, I needed to take a breather! It is an astonishing work. The level of detail here extends to knowing exactly who was on which concert in which theatre on which day, and exactly what songs they sang. Absolutely everything is in geopolitical context, and everyone Bert came into contact with is here – from his early circle of artistic, anarchistic, activist friends who included Dylan Thomas, to the brief time he spent with Eva Peron, an encounter he tried to sell to the BBC as an interesting story. The man never stopped coming up with ideas and Dave Arthur has done the most incredible job of documenting all of that impetus and drive in one book.
The Life and Times of A. L. Lloyd
Dave Arthur. Foreword by Richard Thompson OBE. Preface by Rt. Hon. Sir Stephen Sedley
The definitive biography of the folk legend and left-wing activist.
“When everyone else was listening to Cream, I was listening to A. L. Lloyd.” – Frank Zappa
“I’m old enough and have been close enough to many of the events recounted in this thoroughly but sympathetically researched book to recognise the ring of truth when I hear it.” – Bill Leader, record producer (Bert Jansch)