Mudcat Café message #3882542 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3882542
Posted By: GUEST
16-Oct-17 - 09:15 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Hi all
Good to be back
It's amazing what goes through your mind while you're lying on your back with nothing to think about, as I was once told by a female friend
We seem to have moved on somewhat since Steve and I went head-to-head all those centuries ago.
This beautiful statement by the MacColl at the end of the Song Carriers series is what started it all

"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."

The Song Carriers covered the whole gamut from the song referenced in Wedderburn's Complaynt of Scotland to the WW2 song, 'My Darling Sleeps in England so your sweeping condemnation covers the lot and not just Sharp and his gang
I posted it and Steve asked "do you believe that romantic rubbish?"
I confess - I confess - yes I did, and I still still do, and nothing that has been said since has made me doubt it - for me, it dot's all the folk i's and crosses the t's, for me at least.
Had Steve confined his percentages to what "appeared in print", rather than originated, and addressed those figures to what was collected by Sharp my response would have been "I know that, my mate, Bob Thomson told me that there were a lot back in 1970"
"Origination" is a different ball game altogether.
I believe quite firmly that rural working people not only were capable of having made our folk songs, but our own researches indicate that there is no reason whatever to doubt that they did - but I have always emphasised that we can't possibly know because our working knowledge of the oral tradition goes back no further back than the beginning of the 20th century
I have given an indication of the number of anonymous local songs made in the lifetimes of our singers - they can be heard on the Clare County Library website under 'The Carroll/Mackenzie Collection'
Clare people made songs by the hundreds and, as Peter Laban pointed out, it was almost certainly the same throughout Ireland
Our friend, Maurice Leyden up in Ulster is at present compiling a collection of songs made by textile workers
If they made songs in that number, why shouldn't our known folk songs be numbered among them
We found the same was the case with the non-literate Travellers - songmakers using their skills to express aspects of their lives
Steve offered the excuse that (to paraphrase) English workers were too busy earning a living to make songs
My old friend Harry Boardman compiled an impressive number of similarly made songs when I lived in Manchester in the sixties
AS a singer looking for songs, I walked into Manchester Central Library in 1968 and asked if they had any local songs and was handed a few books of broadsides - I found one singable song
AS I handed them back the nice lady asked me, "have you seen the newspapers we have on microfilm
I spent the next few months peering at editions of 'Black Dwarf' and other political publications, all containing song columns of material (mostly anonymous) composed by cotton workers, spinners, land labourers, teachers, political activists - not all deathless verse by any means, but often a damn signt better than the conveyor belt stuff spewed out by the hacks
Some of the Lancashire weaver poets published, most did not -
I seem to remember Roy Palmer did some similar research in the Midlands; I know people around The Grey Cock Folk Club in Birmingham did.
We know that Bothy workers made songs independent of print Maire Ruadh, or Red-headed Mary was making songs and leading protesters in defiance of those clearing out the crofters, - the BBC even has recordings of waulking songs being composed on the spot
The mining communities produced their own songs and their own stars - Joe Corrie and Tommy Armstrong spring to mind.
Many of these songs were ignored by the collectors because they did not fir the mould - but they certainly fitted the definition of "folk" I choose to work by.
Working people were once natural songmakers - it seems ludicrous to ignore that fact and put the making of our folksongs down to largely ham-fisted hacks churning out largely dross to make money - Child's "dunghill" sums that side of song making perfectly - that man was a star (did you know he actually made a song himself, but I can't imagine him ever singing it?)
It occurred to me while I was incapacitated that what is desperately needed is a forum where thase arguments can take place without acrimony or agenda-driving - a place where we can simply exchange ideas on subjects such as this.
Hugh Shields one established a paper-based 'Irish Folk Music Federation' - we have many of their cheaply produced booklets - invaluable stuff
I see no reason why an on-line site cannot bring people from all over together to thrash out these subjects
Of course, we might be forced to get our act together and come to some understanding as to what we mean by folk song (I'll go and get me tin hat!!)
By the way - the song being discussed above
"Matt, try rereading p13. Jim, avoid this page at all costs."
Insulting as ever Steve
I have now read a large section of Roud's book and so far have found little to seriously disagree with
I don't "avoid" reading anything because I might disagree with it
Try answering some of my points instead of hiding behind referees who agree with you
Hopefully, if we ever get to exchanging ideas we can lose this unpleasantnessd
Jim Carroll