Frank Hinchliffe

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Frank Hinchliffe: was born in 1923 at Fulwood, to the west of Sheffield, and was a farmer for much of his life.  Ian Russell estimated that Frank had a substantial repertoire approaching a hundred songs, plus at least forty local carols.  The songs came originally from his family and his community.  His parents, Mary and Bill Hinchliffe, his father-in-law, Arthur Marsden, Uncle Tom White and other older singers, such as Sam Lovell and Andrew Gregory, all provided songs and inspiration.  Nor was he alone as a singer in later life.  His brother-in-law, Stanley Marsden, his son’s father-in-law, Billy Mills, his cousins, George White and Grace Walton, all sang, as did his friends Albert and Bernard White.

A quiet, introspective singer, his gentle voice almost hid his mastery of vocal story-telling.  According to Ian Russell, his singing had an appealing, almost plaintive quality that reached out to his audience, and anyone interested in finding out more about Frank should, if possible, consult Ian’s Traditional Singing in West Sheffield, 1970 - 2 (3 vols.  Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Leeds, 1977), or else his exemplary article Stability and Change in a Sheffield Singing Tradition published in the 1987 Folk Music Journal (vol.5 no.3 pp.  317 - 58).

These recordings were made late at night, after Frank had spent the day gathering hay, when he must have been quite tired.  Nevertheless, they do show a true craftsman at work.  He was, I think, one of the finest singers that I have met, and, again, I am grateful that so many of his recordings are once again available.

Part of the booklet notes, written by Mike Yates, to the Musical Traditions Records CDs Up in the North, Down in the South (MTCD311-2)