Mudcat Café message #3893010 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3893010
Posted By: Jim Carroll
09-Dec-17 - 11:59 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Maybe I should have said Hank Williams !
I know Mary Delaney sang some of his, though she refused to sing any of her C and W songs for us as she said they weren't old and they were different from her "daddy's" songs
One Traveller we met grew up knowing Seven Gypsies and Lord Randal - he sang us 'Roses of Heidelberg' and 'You Will Remember Vienna'
Whence "everything a traditional singer sings is a folk song' in these cases?
This 'definition' becomes ludicrous when you examine it closely
" I've never heard it sung from the floor in all the years I've been going to clubs and song sessions,"
In those recent arguments Brian; it was argued that because Dave Burland sang it at a club it merited the title 'folk'
The problem with all this is, of course, tat once an individual or group of individuals unilaterally take it upon themselves to re-define a term that has been around for as long as 'folk' has, they open the door to anybody wishing to do the same
Then the term becomes meaningless and any chance of consensus and communication disappears.
I don't think you knew Walter, but we had long sessions of talk with him where he explains why some of his songs are 'folk' and others are not.
He, like Mary, refused to sing his Victorian songs and early pop songs; "I don't know why people keep asking me for them old things"; yet his version of 'Put a Bit of Powder on it Father' now proudly bears a Roud number.
Walter would have been Mortified, but as far as I'm concerned, he holds a place of honour next to Child, Sharp et-al as having ""pre-conceived notions" that are "flapping quietly out of the window."
I've never spoken to Steve Roud for any length of time, but I have met with disdain, condescension and insults elsewhere when I have challenged some of these ideas - from a major proponent o them - doesn't auger well for a good, flexible discussion on the subject.
One of Steve's co-authors once old Pat and I that all our ideas on the singing of Irish Travellers was "wrong, because she had studied the subject at college"
When we wrote the article on Walter for Tom Munnelly Festschrift, we entitled it "A Simple Countryman!!) in remembrance of the time when we had been told by a well know researcher that that Walter" must have been got at" because of his expressed views on folk songs.
Dangerously elitist stuff, as far as I'm concerned.
Arbitrarily re-defining folk song smacks of the same attitude, in my opinion
If the theories propounded in Roud's book are taken seriously, it marks the end rather than the beginning of intelligent discussion.
Jim Carroll