Part 2. The Last 150,000 years
(The evolution of some of the reasons behind the songs)
Stormcock came into being during a time of great social and cultural upheaval, in a society that was rapidly changing. 1960 was only 15 years after the end of the greatest conflict in human history. Culturally, things had changed dramatically in those few years after the end of The Second World War. Elvis, Donegan and the Beat Poets had arrived in the mid 50s. The sparks of a new counter culture. Less than a decade after that people like me were singing songs with social agendas questioning the latest world order.
Actually, this was already traditional behaviour. In the previous few centuries commentary had been growing. The gradual spread of a quest for rights and enfranchisement for all ranks had slowly become an integral feature of Western human society. In the English speaking world, the on-going fusions of musical traditions such as 16th to 19th Century British and Irish folk music, 19th Century British Music Hall, American folk music, and early 20th Century Black folk, jazz and blues from the southern states of the USA were all prominent contributors to social awareness, and, in no small consequence, to political progress. What separated these earlier traditions from the 60s revolution was that the 60s revolution was international, or seemed so at the time. In many ways it was easy to imagine that it was the first real international cultural revolution. There have been a lot of revolutions; Neolithic, Industrial, French, Russian etc., and yes, people had been exchanging ideas internationally for millennia, but a cultural movement in arts, if not in science, involving masses of the populations of 50 countries and more was unprecedented. Anyone on earth who wore jeans or grew their hair was involved.
In 1965 I was labeled as ‘contemporary folk’ and summarily dismissed by the dismissive among both the ‘trad’ and the contemporary sets of folk fans. I did nothing to discourage the myth that I was a confrontational, abrasive, and stoned clown. Why would I? If I’d said, “It’s not true!” I’d have been lying. My friends knew a different person than that though.. and I wasn’t bothered about anything else. Funny times. Hackles and bristling invective from the old folkies. Actually, there’s nothing much you can do about it once the press have ‘invented’ you. You can feed it, which comes out as column inches, but you have problems when you think you’ve given one kind of an interview, but they’re sure you gave another.