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Paul Graney
Paul Graney
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An internationally important collection of original folk recordings, oral histories and off-air radio collected by Paul Graney in folk clubs and private homes around Greater Manchester.Related Material:Paul Graney's biographical memory tapes covering his life in the 1920s and 1930s (ref GB124.GRANEY/1/1011-1041) were edited by Barry Seddon. The result was 'One Bloke', published by the Bluecoat Press in 2011 (our ref 942.731GRA).
Paul Graney
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Paul Graney (1908-1982) was born in Lancashire in 1908. He lived for most of his life in a one-room bedsit in Whalley Range. Graney knew Manchester from walking the city and talking to whoever he could. He built up a unique archive of oral history, radio and folk music from the 1950s to the 1980s. Part of his archive is what he called his 'memory tapes'. These are recordings of Paul telling his life story during the 1920s and 1930s, which have been edited into a book 'One Bloke' by Barry Seddon. In them Paul tells the stories of his time growing up, his early working experiences, his time on the road as a dosser during the depression, his European travels and his involvement in the radical theatre and anti-fascist movements in 1930s Manchester. Paul Graney interviewed dozens of ordinary people from the late 1950s onwards about their life experiences. The interviews are not 'proper' oral history but they are fascinating glimpses into life in Manchester and Lancashire. Paul purposely sought out those at the edges of society - he interviewed the homeless men and the prostitutes of the city. He was also interested in working peoples' lives. He interviewed the Rochdale mill girls, the Baguley poachers and the Salford canal men. Paul Graney spent a good part of the 1960s and 1970s travelling around the folk clubs of the north west using his portable reel-to-reel recorder to document live folk performances. His archive includes live material by artists and friends such as Ewan MacColl, Mike Harding, Dorothy and Ivan Fryman and Peggy Seeger. Folk singers would go to Paul for information, lyrics and songs. Paul would copy songs for them from his extensive library of tapes and share his vast knowledge of the genealogy of folk songs around the world. Paul's archive also contains hundreds of good quality off-air BBC radio recordings he made for this own reference down the years, mostly about folk and world music but also including lots of history, politics and comedy. Paul was a member of the Worldwide Tapetalk. He corresponded with friends around the world via te medium of cassette. Often Paul's tapes would feature his news (the audio tape letter) on one side and a compilation of music on the other. The tape letters are intimate documents which record mundane life and capture the cameraderie created by the unhurried, international medium. Paul was a talented amateur photographer. His images of workers, children and city scenes are particularly striking. In fact he even worked for a time as a professional photographer taking pictures of properties for estate agents. Paul's papers are a mixture of folk club cards, historical notes, track lists and transcripts of his oral history interviews. Funding body for digitisation: Heritage Lottery Fund
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