Mudcat Café message #3897088 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3897088
Posted By: Richard Mellish
03-Jan-18 - 06:46 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
> Prof. Bob Thomson researched the song and linked it to Oxborough Hall, on the banks of the Rover Ox, where there was once a settlement of returned Australian transportees.

It is very plausible that one of them would either have brought the song to Norfolk, or even composed it there after coming back to England. But surely the event described, the encounter with the (native) "Maid of Australia" swimming in a river, was in Australia, not in Norfolk.

> I believe that Banks of Sweet Primroses, obviously an attampt tp present a failed love afair from both points of view, is a superb example of folk composition - largely the exuberance of a young man 'feeling his oats'   as we used to say in Liverpool, drawing a blank and resolving to look elsewhere - full of symbolic references rather than description
> Way beyond the abilities of a desk-bound hack

If "hack" means someone who only ever made poor verses, then fair enough. But your young man describing his (real or imaginary) encounter could equally well have been a countryman or a townie, he might have made part of his living by selling songs to broadside printers, and he might or might not have ever sung that particular one to his mates in a pub as well as getting it printed.

A song being made by someone who knew what (s)he was writing about (whether from personal experience or by hearing from others) and a song first seeing the light of day on a printed broadside are not mutually exclusive.