Folk supergroup re-interprets song collected by Alfred on 2012 album

Alfred Williams's song-collecting project has been honoured by folk supergroup Bellowhead on their latest album, Broadside, released in October 2012.

One of the tracks on the album, called Betsy Baker, is based on lyrics collected by Alfred in 1914-15. It's one of more than a thousand songs resulting from his self-appointed mission to preserve lyrics that existed only in the memories of the older generation and would otherwise have been lost.

Bellowhead drummer and percussionist Pete Flood has revived the song and given it a fresh tune, and in the sleeve notes for the CD (pictured below) he pays tribute to Alfred, despite noting that the project was only concerned with the lyrics, not the music.

Pete says the song came from "not far from sunny Swindon", but Alfred was more precise when he recorded: "This song of 'Betsy Baker' was formerly well known at Shilton and Brize Norton. I have not heard of it elsewhere. It is probably scarcely complete, but it is the only version I could find. Obtained of Job Gardner, Shilton, near Burford."

Bellowhead, who have been nominated and/or won awards at the BBC Folk Music Awards every year since 2005, including Best Live Act in 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2011, also appeared in a joint concert with an Alfred Williams theme at Swindon's STEAM Museum in 2011.

See the entry about Betsy Baker in Witshire County Council's folksong pages.

See the Swindon Advertiser's preview of the Superstrings/Bellowhead event, including an interview with Pete Flood.