Mudcat Café message #3514723 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #150417   Message #3514723
Posted By: Steve Gardham
13-May-13 - 04:58 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
I'm sorry, Jon, by the 1820s all of the collector/poets knew clearly the value of giving the texts as received from oral tradition and stated clearly that this was what they were doing when clearly they weren't. They were playing a game, trying to outdo each other, if you read Mary Ellen Brown's books, and she has done the most research on this. They were being deliberately and knowingly deceitful. Even the most acclaimed, Motherwell, was hard at it to start with. There was no 'na´ve belief'. 'Percy and Scott got away with it so why shouldn't we?'

The broadside printers had more of a tendency to shorten rather than lengthen, particularly around 1780-1840.

Yes, some traditional informants alter their songs, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, but in my book this is a very different state of affairs to the sophisticated collectors altering them.