> A.L. Lloyd > Biography
A.L. Lloyd (29.2.1908 - 29.9.1982)
Albert Lancaster (Bert) Lloyd (1908-1982) was a folklorist, left-wing poltical activist, writer, broadcaster and performer. Like many intellectuals of his time he was a member of the Communist Party and remained one many years. Though born in London, he was orphaned at an early age and spent his early years working on sheep stations in Australia and subsequently on Antarctic whaling ships. Both these occupations were probably encouraged his interest in folk-song.
Lloyd had no formal training as an ethnomusicologist, but his interest in folk-song combined with his working life in freelance journalism and broadcasting soon provided opportunities for writing and radio broadcasts about folk music. He acquired a considerable personal knowledge of folk music not only in the British Isles but also in eastern Europe because of his left-wing political leanings. This was combined with life as a performer and he often worked with Ewan MacColl, another well-known folk-song collector and singer whose collection of books and scores is also held in Special Collections at Goldsmiths.
Lloyd published The Singing Englishman (Workers’ Music Association) in 1944 and this small work became the best-known introduction to folk-song before the later Folk Song in England of 1967, which work established him as a leading authority on ther subject. Another of his major interests, labour songs,is reflected in his collection of miners’ songs, Come All Ye Bold Miners, published in 1952 and expanded in 1978. This was very influential and, not unnaturally, made him well-known and popular in the Communist bloc where he traveled widely and had many contacts.
He was a founder member of Topic Records and besides writing many sleeve notes also performed on many of their recordings. He did not start teaching until 1971, working for London University and elsewhere. He died in 1982.
[biographical entry from Goldsmiths, University of London]
See also A.L. Lloyd’s published biography:
The Singing Englishman: A Portrait of A.L. Lloyd by Barry Gavin (1983):