Mudcat Café message #3713917 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157373   Message #3713917
Posted By: Lighter
02-Jun-15 - 07:45 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Chanteys in the R.W. Gordon papers
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in the R.W. Gordon papers
> As if it was all just abstract/raw material that, when combined/collated, would offer info about the songs themselves

That, of course, was the exclusive interest of most early collectors here and in Britain. Remember we're mainly talking about pedants. And in their defense, the trad repertoire was so huge and unknown that they focused their attention on the material rather than on what the singers might have thought of it. (I do recall that one of Mackenzie's elderly Canadian singers really got emotionally caught up in what many of us would consider a second-rate melodramatic broadside - and he had sung it many times.)

Gordon fretted continually about which songs were truly "folk" and how they differed from those that were (as he called them) "author." His often-stated goal was, by sifting mountains of evidence, to discover the essence of folk song creation and "just what folk songs *are*."

He seemed to have an encyclopedic memory. But the chief result of his actual analyses was a privately printed essay on "Hinky Dinky Parlez-Vous" which, I'm sorry to say, includes some rather dubious though exuberant assertions. It's valuable for its texts and tunes, however. (I've been able to push the story back much farther, but I may be too busy to say much that is readable about it.)

Thanks, Dave. I may drop Brian a line.