Leon Rosselson: Six decades of stirring things up with his music

KBOO is in the Give! Guide. Donate now to keep independent media strong!

$7,835 of $43,000 as of Dec. 3, 2018

Hosted by: 
Produced by: 
KBOO
Air date: 
Thu, 06/21/2018 - 5:30am to 7:00am
More Images: 
Host Paul Roland interviews and plays the music of the English singer-songwriter, who turns 84 tomorrow

 

Solstice greetings! And happy birthday to one of host Paul Roland's favorite singer-songwriters, Leon Rosselson. 

From a full immersion in the early British "folk revival" (four albums with The Galliards from 1960-62 and two with The Three City Four, which included Martin Carthy, 1965/67), as well as in the beginnings of British television satire (That Was the Week That Was, hosted by David Frost, ran from 1962 to 1963 and featured some of his early satirical songs), Rosselson emerged out of the 60's as one of the English-speaking world's preeminient "topical" songwriters. His wit, passion, intellect and radical politics combined with a well-honed musicality and songcraft to produce a  large body of work that has provided an inspiring soundtrack to several generations of the politically and socially engaged.

Coming from a musical Jewish family (his parents were refugees from Tsarist Russia, his father a musician), Rosselson says his acute social conscience came from being brought up to believe that Jews should always be on the side of the oppressed. That radical social conscience is evident on many of the 317 songs that he has crafted in nearly 60 years of songwriting, including his most famous and widely-covered, "The World Turned Upside Down," about the English Diggers of the 17th Century (Billy Bragg actually charted with his version in 1985).

With such a body of work, it's difficult to decide which to play, so you'll only get a small but tantalizing taste on this morning's show, along with a rare chance to hear from Rosselson himself, on the phone from his home in England.

His most recent (and he says his last) recording is "Where Are the Barricades?", released in 2016 by PM Press, which also put out a four-CD retrospective box set in 2011, "The World Turned Upside Down." He has also published 17 children's books and five songbooks. For more information and how to obtain his recorded and published work, please visit the following sites:

 

http://www.leonrosselson.co.uk/

http://www.pmpress.org/content/article.php/LeonRosselson

http://www.salutlive.com/2016/12/the-big-interview-leon-rosselson-no-longer-turning-the-world-upside-down.html

 

 

Topic tags: 

Episode Playlist

  • Time
    Artist
    Maddy Prior
    Song
    Swimming Song
    Album
    Year
    Label
    Park Records
  • Time
    Artist
    Tim Hart & Maddy Prior
    Song
    Dancing at Whitsun
    Album
    Heydays
    Label
    Castle Communications
  • Time
    Artist
    Ninebarrow
    Song
    Summer Fires
    Album
    Youtube
    Label
  • Time
    Artist
    The Watersons
    Song
    John Barleycorn
    Album
    Frost and Fire: A Calendar of Ritual and Magical Songs
    Label
    Topic Records
  • Time
    Artist
    3 City 4
    Song
    History Lesson
    Album
    Smoke & Dust
    Label
    cbs
  • Time
    Artist
    Elizabeth Mansfield
    Song
    Don't Get Married Girls
    Album
    And They All Sang Rosselsongs
    Label
    Fuse Records
  • Time
    Artist
    Martin Carthy
    Song
    Work Life out to Keep Life In
    Album
    Hard Cash
    Label
    Fledgling
  • Time
    Artist
    Leon Rosselson
    Song
    Perspectives
    Album
    The World Turned Upside Down: Rosselsongs 1960-2010, disc 2
    Label
    PM Press
  • Time
    Artist
    Leon Rosselson
    Song
    The World Turned Upside Down
    Album
    RosselSonGs
    Label
    Fusion Records
  • Time
    Artist
    Leon Rosselson
    Song
    I'm Going Where the Suits Will Shine My Shoes
    Album
    Where Are the Barricades?
    Label
    PM Press
  • Time
    Artist
    Leon Rosselson
    Song
    The Ballad of Rivka & Mohammed
    Album
    Where Are the Barricades?
    Label
    PM Press
  • Time
    Artist
    Leon Rosselson
    Song
    The Ghost of Georges Brassens
    Album
    The World Turned Upside Down, disc 4
    Label
    PM Press
  • Time
    Artist
    Leon Rosselson
    Song
    The Power of Song
    Album
    The World Turned Upside Down, disc 4
    Label
    PM Press