Mudcat Café message #3879611 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3879611
Posted By: Jim Carroll
01-Oct-17 - 11:28 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"I do think this copy is most likely the origin"
Can I just make clear that I am not denying the probable broadside origins of some of our folksongs - some of them still bear the heavy handprint of the broadside hack - it's Steve G's percentages I dispute.
One of the problems I have is the question of literacy as evidence
Many of our singers, although able to read, still had difficulty with English - it was a second language when they were growing up and it showed when they wrote something out for you.
Some learned songs from "the Ballads" - song sheets sold at the fairs, but a number said they couldn't be trusted
Travellers were in an odd position, they were largely non-literate, but greatly responsible for putting songs into print
Mien McCarthy, from Kerry, described going to the printers in Tralee and reciting his father's songs over the counter to be printed out and sold
He also described putting songs into print by request "do you have any of your daddy's songs for sale?"
Length of "Wild Rover"
One of the most popular songs we recorded from Travellers was 'The Blind Beggar'
When I researched this I traced it as far as one of the longest broadsides I have ever come across (Percy, I think)
It was over sixty verses long and in two parts
The Travellers has it in the streamlined 8 or 9 verse version
Apropos of nothing, when Mikeen first sang it for us he was camped at the back of the Mile End Road in London, within five minutes walk of The Blind Beggar Pub
He was fascinated when he found out is was the hang-out of the notorious Kray Twins and permanently displayed a "No Travellers served here" sign
Jim Carroll