The Halliard - British Folk BandHistory of The Halliard

Julia Jones asked me to write a brief history of the Halliard for the new website. My problem is I ramble on a lot and so brief is a bit tough. I could tell you about Nic’s love of Hank Marvin (which caused an old folkie twitches!) or the story of Nigel’s cape, but then he’d never speak to me again. Or my first attempt at satire, again, about Nigel, a re-write of ‘Universal Soldier’ that began ‘He’s only five foot two, he’ll never make six foot four’, but then he really wouldn’t speak to me again or as he used to do, he’ll top my story and get a standing ovation!!! Can't allow that! So how about the liner notes for the farewell 1968 record we did at Jon Raven’s written by the said gent!

Dave Moran, 2011
“The Halliard became something of a legend in their own time. When Dave Moran started the group it was typical of many local groups (or national groups for that matter), performing a wide variety of folk material. In 1965 they started work on a new repertoire based on the much maligned English broadside. Broadsides had waxed and waned in popularity from the 17th to the late 19th century, after which time they virtually disappeared. The broadsides were stories or songs about newsworthy events – murder, love, wars, a royal birth or a famous villain, with a direction ‘sung to some popular tune of the day’ now lost. So Nic and Dave fitted the words to new tunes and the songs came alive, captivating a new audience.

The Halliard, whilst travelling the country playing in clubs and colleges, spent many hours exploring the broadside collections of town and college libraries. Indeed, they waded through “a veritable dunghill” of material in order to find a few gems. Add to these “discoveries” one of their curiously attractive tunes and the animation of their live performance and you have a “Halliard” song. It was the vigour, rhythm and excitement of the Halliard’s live performance that attracted so many admirers and not a few imitators. Songs like Lancashire Lads, Miles Weatherhill, Going For a Soldier Jenny, The Workhouse Boy and Calico Printer’s Clerk are now part of the folk repertoire...”

Jon Raven, 1968