Mudcat Café message #3896974 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3896974
Posted By: GUEST,Rigby
02-Jan-18 - 03:59 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"For the same reason they were missed in Ireland - collectors had a preconception of what a folk song was and went out to find songs that fitted what had gone before
THey sked for "old songs" yet the local songs didn't fit that description because many were recently made"

But we aren't talking about the songs that weren't collected, because we don't know about them! We're talking about the songs that *were* collected. For better or worse, that is all that we have left of the English oral tradition. That does include a number of songs that have indications of local manufacture -- 'Horkstow Grange' would be a good example perhaps. But those seem to be in a minority.

I am not convinced by the argument that the early collectors systematically overlooked 'recently made' songs, or that they only collected rural songs that expressed an Arcadian perspective and ignored anything that dealt with the harsh realities of life. They were certainly selective but in the main their aim was to rule out songs they already knew to be composed by people like Dibdin. And as for the singers, I don't recall Bob Copper talking about generating new songs in response to local events, but I don't know what, if anything, Pardon or Cox or Larner had to say on the matter.

I'm a bit baffled by this argument that the output of the 'broadside hacks' is intrinsically and completely different from what any other semi-educated person of the time might have written. Likewise the idea that they were all birds of a feather and not a disparate collection of individuals who probably came from a variety of different backgrounds.

Also, one minute you are suggesting that broadsides were written by cloth-eared hacks whose work is instantly distinguishable from genuine 'folk poetry', but the next minute you're arguing that those same hacks simply wrote down the 'realistic pictures' that were actually created by the rural folks who came to Covent Garden market. Both things can't be true, surely?