Mudcat Café message #3896914 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3896914
Posted By: GUEST,Rigby
02-Jan-18 - 10:19 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
I think it is universally regretted that the early collectors did not gather more information about their singers, and I'm sure all Steves concerned would agree with that.

The little recorded info I know of suggest that the singers often had strong views as to how the material should be sung, but not that they saw themselves as creators or originators of that material, or even as consciously altering it.

As regards later singers, I'd love to see any evidence you have that bears on the origins of their material. Bob Copper's autobiography for instance does not suggest that he saw himself primarily as a "creative artist using art to comment on his life".

As I understand it there is a fairly large number of songs that have been collected from oral sources that can be definitely traced to origins in the music halls or pleasure gardens. Are you saying that those are therefore not folk songs? Does that not make the 'folk' status of any song precarious and contingent? That a folk song is only a folk song until we discover that it started life as a composed piece?

Many of the early collectors comment that they themselves had to filter out what they saw as genuine folk songs from material that they knew to have originated as composed songs -- they were all of a piece to the singers themselves.