Week 10 – Underneath your apron

Percy Ling - image from Musical Traditions

Percy Ling - image from Musical Traditions

The most famous singing pub in England was undoubtedly the Ship at Blaxhall  in Suffolk – you can see 1950s footage of a 1950s singing session at the pub on the recently released Here’s a Health to the Barley Mow DVD and read about it in Keith Summers’ article Sing, Say or Pay! A Survey of East Suffolk Country Music now available on the Musical Traditions website. Various members of the Ling Family were at the centre of the musical community which gathered at the Ship. Three members of that family, Percy, Geoff and George, were featured on the Topic LP The Ling Family: Singing Traditions of a Suffolk Family and I learned ‘Underneath your apron’ from the recording of Percy Ling on that LP.

There’s a brilliant rendition of this song by John Kirkpatrick, on the Umps and Dumps album The Moon’s in a Fit. My version differs not only in the absence of virtuoso vibraslap – I sing the first verse to a different tune from all the others. I have been back to check with Percy Ling’s version (for the first time in years, I must admit) and, although I don’t guarantee I sing exactly the same notes as Percy, I definitely got this feature from him.

Underneath your apron

8 Responses to “Week 10 – Underneath your apron”

  1. Hi,
    I’m not sure if this blog is still checked but my name is Rachael Ling and Percy was my Great Grandfather.

    I just stumbled across this and am so happy. I was wondering how I’d go about getting some recordings from you of my families music.

    I’d love to chat more with you about their music! Hoping to hear a reply.

    Best wishes,

    • Rachael I’m typing this reply on my phone. When I’m at my computer I’ll check out what recordings of your family are available. The old Topic LP never made it to CD but there are certainly Lingard family tracks dotted around various CD compilations. I’ll be in touch. Best wishes Andy

  2. Sorry – that should have been Ling (blasted autocorrect)

  3. Rachael

    You’ll find several tracks of Percy and Geoff on these CDs:
    A Story to Tell:Keith Summers in Suffolk 1972-79

    You can buy the double CD set for £16 from http://www.mustrad.org.uk/records.htm
    or download them for just £4 from https://gumroad.com/rodstrad

    The CD booklet notes are online so you can read about the singers. And there’s plenty about the Lings here: http://mustrad.org.uk/ssp/singsay1.htm

    The Blaxhall Ship is legendary among traditional song enthusiasts, and the Lings were an important part of that.

    There are more recordings of Geoff than Percy, it seems, He has tracks spread across various Veteran releases – have a look at http://www.mustrad.org.uk/discos/lea_txt8.htm and search for Ling.
    Or have a look here – these are all downloadable

    And I heartily recommend Fred Ling’s ‘Nancy of Yarmouth’ (an earlier generation, I think?)

    I’m an outsider as far as that Suffolk singing tradition goes. But get in touch with John and Katie Howson, who live at Haughley.

    They will have met Percy and Geoff, and would be delighted to talk to you, I’m sure.

    Here’s their short profile of your great grandad: http://www.eatmt.org.uk/percy_ling.htm

    Hope you enjoy discovering the old songs.

    all the best


    • Andy,

      Thank you so, so much for these. Apologies for the delay in reply – I am not very good at using WordPress yet!

      I can’t wait to show my grandfather how popular Percy is online! It’s really wonderful.

      Thank you again.


  4. Hi Rachael,

    I found mp3s of the old Ling Family Topic LP on some blog years ago. As the album isn’t available to buy anywhere I’ve put the mp3s on my website at https://mainlynorfolk.info/upload.ling/singing_tradition.zip for you. I’ll delete it in a few days.


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