George Belton

George was born in Oxted, Surrey in 1898, the youngest of five. He followed his father into farming and worked on farms in Surrey and Sussex, mainly with horses, throughout his life. The second half of his life was spent on farms around Chichester and he lived in retirement at Birdham.

He had a sizeable repertoire of songs which were mainly learned from his parents and other members of his family, but others that he had ‘picked up along the way’. Traditional songs were the central part of his repertoire but he also sang Victorian sentimental parlour ballads and Music Hall songs. He delivered his songs in a straightforward way with a voice that had a pleasant rasping edge to it. His comic songs often came with an endearing chuckle.

It was whilst working (and singing) on a farm at Madehurst that he was taken by the farmer’s daughter to the first folk club in Sussex, the Horsham Songswappers. In spite of his initial trepidation, he quickly took to folk clubs and became a popular figure at clubs throughout Sussex and beyond. He was a regular guest at the National Folk Festival in his latter years.

George had a prodigious memory for songs and sometimes hearing a different version of a song at club or festival would help him to recall versions of songs that had lain dormant in his memory for decades. He also learned songs in folk clubs and his way with Sidney Carter’s Mixed Up Old Man was always well received.

George Recollects Pt.7, by George Belton

George Recollects Pt.8, by George Belton

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George Recollects Pt.5, by George Belton

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George Recollects Pt.6, by George Belton

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George Recollects Pt.3, by George Belton

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George Recollects Pt.4, by George Belton

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George Recollects Pt.1, by George Belton

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George Recollects Pt.2, by George Belton

Profile of George Belton, by Vic Smith

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George Belton (1898-1980), by Clive Bennett

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