Stafford, John


Collection date: Aug 1906

Area: Somerset - Mendips (Harptree & Priddy)

John Stafford at Bishop Sutton: age 58, 2 songs on 27 Aug 1906: Stafford's version of 'John Barleycorn' (FT1068) was published in Folk Songs from Somerset vol4. Sharp had already collected 6 versions of this song and published Robert Pope's version (FT764) in vol3 but he thought Stafford's aeolian melody was excellent. He wrote: 'Mr Stafford told me that he heard the song solemnly chanted by some street singers, who passed through his village when he was a child. The song fascinated him and he followed the singers and tried to learn it from them. For several days afterwards he was unable to recall the air, when one day, to his great delight, the tune suddenly came back to him, and since then he has constantly sung it'. No biographical details are yet available for John Stafford but Sharp mentions him in an article in the Musical Times Jan 1907.

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