Mudcat Café message #3893029 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3893029
Posted By: Brian Peters
09-Dec-17 - 01:08 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"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."


I didn't know Walter, though I was lucky enough to hear him sing more than once. I don't doubt he, like other singers, could tell the difference between an older and a newer song and express a preference. But I can't see how Steve Roud could not have given 'A Bit of Powder' a number without setting himself up as arbiter of which of Walter's songs were 'folk' and which were not.

Even Cecil Sharp noted down songs that he knew were originally commercial products, even if he didn't usually publish them.