Mudcat Café message #3880041 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3880041
Posted By: Jim Carroll
03-Oct-17 - 11:10 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Don't know how much longer I'm going to be able to continue this - off to hospital on Thursday for a new hip and I'll be out of your hair for a week - so I'll put my important bits up now.
There is an over-riding feature of all this
Since I first came into folk-song, the full accepted idea was that 'The Folk' made their songs (some argument about the ballads, but little else)
My friend, Bob Thomson introduced me to the idea that many of them had appeared on broadsides, but he never made claims of authorship to my recollection.
My view of folk song was summed up perfectly by MacColl's extremely moving final statement in the Song Carriers series:

"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island.
We are indebted to the Harry Coxes and Phil Tanners, to Colm Keane and Maggie MaccDonagh, to Belle Stewart and Jessie Murray and to all the sweet and raucous unknown singers who have helped to carry our people's songs across the centuries"

When I put this up in a discussion, Steve G's response was "do you believe that romantic rubbish?" - well, yes I did, and still do and will continue to until contrary evidence is produced - the songs are to me, 'The Voice of the People'
Working people have always been regarded as having no creative culture of their own part from their songs, music and tales - Steve's "broadside creations" theory is very much a new kid on the block
The consequences for his claim are socially and culturally enormous - for people like me, catastrophic.
If we are going to take away the claim of ownership of working people and leave them totally devoid of cultural creation we're are going to have to be damn sure we have got it right
Jim Carroll