Mudcat Café message #3880014 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3880014
Posted By: Jim Carroll
03-Oct-17 - 08:51 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
There is no "massive evidence" - only academic argument - we don't now how the songs were made or who made them, but personal experience has proved to me that 'the folk' - even those from the lowest regarded section of society, were well capable of making songs
These songs were made and sung as entertainment, just as Barbara Cartland and Charles Dickens wrote their books to entertain - two ends of a literary spectrum - at one end masses of social history and insight into the human condition, at the other, pink froth
One of the things that has been largely ignored about our folksongs is the social history they carry
If I want to know about the nuts and bolts of the Battle of the Nile, I go to the military records and scholarly studies of the subject
If I want to know how it felt for a ploughboy or weaver or land labourer to be conned into the army, stuck in a uniform, given a gun and thrust into the midst of a bloody battle, I go to the songs
Why on earth should a hack concern himself on such matters - it's not as if he was writing for a revolutionary anti-war rural or urban population who were lapping up such tragedies?
Same with all those social misalliance songs - what profit was there writing about some girl whining because her old man wouldn't let her marry the hired help?
These songs carry a feel of knowledge and emotion that reflects personal experience, expressed in a vernacular that rings of reality
I find it very easy to separate a genuine Irish song from an 'Oirish' one created by a hack
Harry Cox once sang 'Betsy the Serving Maid for MacColl and Lomax - when he finished he spat out "and that's how they thought of us" - that's what I call involvement in your art
When he sang Van Diemans Land he launched into a diatribe about the land seizures and Enclosures - again, identification that goes way beyond entertainment.
These songs became "ours" wherever they were sung - very few writers or poets have ever achieved that level of communication
If there is "masses amounts of evidence" - where is it - so far we have only the opinions of researchers and academics - outsiders all
Apart from everything else, these songs were circulated and being referred to centuries before we had universal literacy
People tend to forget that first performances of Hamlet and King Lear were being performed to the sweepings of the London streets - as late as the early twentieth century the 'Fit Ups and Travelling theatres were taking the same plays around to Irish villages in the areshole of nowhere for the delectation of small farmers and land labourers - the dumbing down of our society has a lot to answer for
Jim Carroll