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Brazil, Harry

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Harry Brazil was one of the 15 children of William and Priscilla Brazil. He was born in Ireland on 1 March 1901. Harry had a fine tenor voice and his songs were often carried by some luxurious modal tunes, although over the years he had sometimes telescoped the words to produce more compact versions than those sung by his brothers and sisters. He suffered from angina and this prompted him to give up singing several years before his death. His singing was obviously popular with his grandchildren, as on one of the recording The Blacksmith, they can be heard at the end reminding and urging him to sing one of the verses which he had omitted. Paul Burgess thought of him as ‘the cricketing singer’, due to his habit of firing the question “‘Owzat?” at the end of a performance! Like Danny Brazil, Harry was pleased that people should take an interest in his songs and his singing.

He was recorded by Peter Shepheard in 1966, Mike Yates in 1978, and Gwilym Davies and Rod Smith in 1977-78, and many of his songs can be heard on the Musical Traditions 3-CD set The Brazil Family: Down by the Old Riverside (MTCD345-7).

 

Notes by Rod Stradling June 2007 and augmented by Gwilym Davies 7 May 2015