Mudcat Café message #3894278 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3894278
Posted By: Jim Carroll
17-Dec-17 - 04:30 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"Once again the paraphrasing and misquoting and taking things out of context are coming out. At no point have I suggested that Child or Sharp or MacColl were totally wrong."
As far as the main thrust of this argument is concerned - the origin of folk song, that is exactly what you have proposed - you present Child and all those who shared his view as "wrong" [15 Dec 17 - 10:59 AM] and Sharp as an agenda-driven distorter of facts [same posting]
In fairness to you, it is the only way you can get away with what you are claiming - that up to the present day they all got it wrong, either through ignorance or intent.
If that does not need discussion (without the patronising talking down to, if possible) nothing does
These people were drawing their conclusions at a time when the tradition was alive and the broadside trade was thriving.

"To what extent is my singer/writer of songs about his own life as a farm labourer 'one of the folk'? "
Burns was not just writing about his own life, he was making poems on whaat was happening all around him, as were all these poets -
That is what all folk song is anyway, not introspective musings but reportage of social history - and not done for money or fame but from the desire to share what was happening - all songs started with one or a small number of composers.
Go read what Maidment has to say about it (probably another starry-eyed romantic, in your book!)
Burns was fairly typical in his early poetry; first inspired by Betty Davison, a frequent visitor to his home who "had the largest collection in the county of tales and songs concerning devils, ghosts, fairies, brownie, witches, warlocks, spunkies, kelpies, elf-candles, dead-lights, wraiths, apparitions, ....... and other trumpery" - in other words, a master singer/storyteller of the time.
We were told of these by descendents - like the local man (father of one of our singers/storytellers), who would start his story on Monday night and carry it throughin episodes till the week-end
When you ran out of arguments in our earlier clashes, you resorted to telling me how many people agreed with you - I'm quite happy with the ones that share my view

Something from Vic I meant to take up earlier.
"I don't think that Walter Pardon was ever much of a pub singer."
Walter's family tradition was never centred on the pub, the only time he knew of his uncles singing away from the Harvest Suppers and family gatherings was when he was taken to North Walsham when his Uncle Billy attended Union meetings
The singing was done in the meeting room when it official proceedings were finished.
Sam Larner went to sing in the local, The Fisherman's Return, once a week and sang the same few songs each time - Butter and Cheese and Maid of Australia being two of them, yet Sam had a repertoire of something like sixty songs - probably more
Sam was recorded telling Parker and MacColl that "The real singing happened at home or at sea".
The bulk of our folk songs are narrative, often quite long and detailed - miss a couple of lines and you miss the sense of the song - pubs are not a sympathetic environment to these songs - they never have been.

The situation in Ireland bears this out - the venue for finding was where people got together in small groups to share songs, stories and local gossip - referred to as 'cuirds' (pro. "coors") over here
Elsewhere, it was done at gatherings in farmhouses, where they gathered to dance or, before the church destroyed them, 'the crossroads dances', but even these events limited the type of song that could be sung.
One musician/singer told us that even the music was ruined when it was taken into the pubs.
Travellers sang at the pubs in the fair, but again, the big songs were sung around the open fires on the sites.
I believe our folk songs, by their very nature, were made for small gatherings and not the pibs

The urban situation was of course different - there, the audiences were passive recipients rather than participants of their culture
A decline in our folk song tradition has now made that a permanent state of affairs.

"you should come over to England to one of these meetings some time."
Alternatively, you could make us all aware of what is taking place so we can make a full judgement - this needs to be an open debate, not one between a few obsessed officianados.
I know there are a few clubs in the UK who hold discussions on ballads - I would love to know what happens there (Can't afford the plane fare and I couldn't face O'Leary' cattle-like attitude to passengers).
This needs to be handled on the basis of sharing ideas, not the 'them and us' conflict that has been presentd
As Stephen fry is fond of saying "NOBODY KNOWS"
Jim Carroll