Mudcat Café message #3893531 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3893531
Posted By: Richard Mellish
12-Dec-17 - 09:29 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Certainly some songs were written specifically for broadsides, by a range of writers some of whom can only be called "hacks", some of whom had greater skills. And certainly some were written for the stage or the pleasure gardens and then copied for broadsides. And certainly some were made by individuals whom we might identify as "folk". I think the disagreements are only about the relative numbers.

Given that situation, a few examples that fall clearly into one or other category won't prove anything about the proportions. Nevertheless I would be interested to see Jim cite some examples of songs that he believes embody in their words evidence of having been made by the "folk", not ones such as he has already cited about events in Ireland but from the classic late 19th and early 20th century collections.

Taking as an example songs about shepherds, ploughboys or milkmaids, it does seem to me that they mostly paint an idealised version of country life, calculated to appeal to a middle-class urban audience, rather than reflecting the hard reality for most of the people engaged in rural labour.