Ken Stubbs Field Collection
Ken Stubbs Collection
- 1317 digital mp3 audio files
- Date created
Field recordings of traditional singers and musicians recorded by Ken Stubbs and others and copied onto reel-to-reel tapes. The collection of reel-to-reel tapes is still held in private hands, therefore the VWML collection is a digital audio collection only. The original tapes are numbered 1 - 22, including an 18 and 18c (signifying a 'continuation'), but tape 15 is missing.
The contents of Ken Stubbs' surviving tapes is of a miscellaneous character, containing field recordings made by him and others in Sussex, Kent, and Surrey, radio programmes recorded off-air, dubs from commercial records, and other related material. He copied, and re-copied tracks for various purposes, and individual performances can appear in several places in the collection, often in fragmentary form. Only the field recordings, made by Ken and others, have been selected for the VWML collection. (Hence why tape 10 is not included, as well as numerous tape tracks. Ommission of recordings has been indicated where relevant).
The field recordings are mainly of two types - domestic recordings made in people's homes, under relatively controlled conditions, and those made in pubs. The latter, in particular, are often difficult to listen to, as conditions were rarely conducive to good recording practice. The microphone was rarely in the best place, the background noise is often overpowering, performances are often fragmentary, and the starts of the songs routinely missed. Technically, Ken was not particularly skilled in making recordings, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that in the 'collecting' situation he was more concerned with making the event successful than with making 'good recordings'. He was usually involved as organiser, singer and musician, rather than as a professional recordist. Nor was his equipment of good quality, and the tapes as they have survived are all 'four-track', which is far from ideal, but was highly economical at the time. In this system, four separate tracks are squeezed onto a quarter-inch tape, and a small difference in alignment of the tape-recorder heads at recording, playing back, copying, or digitisation, results in two tracks being heard at the same time (often with one of them playing backwards). Where possible, this has been eliminated at digitisation stage, but in some cases nothing can be done, and listening is severely compromised.
With all its technical limitations, Ken Stubbs' collection is extremely valuable as a record of singing and playing in the period, and much pleasure and information can be gained from it. It includes recordings of well-known performers such as Pop Maynard and Scan Tester, useful as comparative performances. The domestic recordings of ordinary people are undeniably valuable in documenting repertoires and styles which would otherwise have been lost to us.
During his lifetime, several people made copies of Ken's tapes - most notably Jim Ward in the late 1970s. Before he died, Ken gave his original tapes, with the power to use them as they saw fit, to Chris and Jean Addison, by whose kind permission the collection is presented here. Paul Marsh has undertaken the digitisation of the tracks, from the originals, and Steve Roud has indexed them. Other people whose assistance is gratefully acknowledged include Molly, Dave Nuttall, Jim Ward.
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- KS Ken Stubbs Field Collection (This record)
- KS/1 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 1
- KS/2 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 2
- KS/3 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 3
- KS/4 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 4
- KS/5 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 5
- KS/6 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 6
- KS/7 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 7
- KS/8 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 8
- KS/9 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 9
- KS/11 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 11
- KS/12 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 12
- KS/13 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 13
- KS/14 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 14
- KS/16 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 16
- KS/17 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 17
- KS/18 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 18
- KS/18c Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 18c (18 continued)
- KS/19 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 19
- KS/20 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 20
- KS/21 Ken Stubbs Field Collection, Tape 21