Mudcat Café message #3897095 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3897095
Posted By: Jim Carroll
03-Jan-18 - 07:25 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"But surely the event described, "
Of course it was Richard - I don't think Bob was arguing that from what I remember
He suggested that the name was taken from Oxborough Hall
Knowing his scholarship, I'm pretty sure he would have been aware of the Hawkesborough suggestion
"he might have made part of his living by selling songs to broadside printers,"
No problem with that either - that would make the songs as having originated elsewhere other than the broadside presses, which is what this argument is about
The folk songs for me have the feel of rural experience and knowledge - Im quite happy with the idea that many made their into print
I have suggested that the hacks plundered the living tradition for ideas and song plots and verse forms, but their own composition style makes them a very unlikely source for the number of folk songs being claimed to have ORIGINATED' on the broadside presses
This is where the Irish experience comes in
Up to the 1950s Ireland had a large trade in selling 'ballads' - song sheets sold around the fairs and markets in rural areas - the trade was exclusively carried out by non-literate Travellers who would take songs they knew, recite them over the counter to the printer who would then run them off for sale.
Many rural people learned songs which were technically from the oral tradition just as many of us started our repertoires on The Penguin Book of Folk Songs
We recorded information from a Traveller singer/storyteller who ha been involved in the trad along with hiss mother
He insisted that, to his knowledge none of the songs he sold had been written for the ballads but had come from songs he already knew.
He recounted how he would be asked for his father's songs - his father was a noted singer and storyteller - and would oblige by having the soings printed before he next visited the area.
He described how he would swap songs with Travellers involved in the trade from other areas.
Roud and Dave Atkinson have made similar claims of high percentages of folk songs originating as broadsides in the Street Literature book.
Personally I find the Irish oral tradition so complicated, not least the multilingual nature of the country at the time, that it would take years of careful study before anybody could possibly make this claim
As the buk of the Irish oral collections remained locked away in archives, with very few published examples (apart from Terry Moylan's magnificent book of political songs), such research would need to be Irish-based anyway
I doubt if Steve Roud and Dave Atkinson have made such a study in Ireland and have once again superficially based their opinions on the urban broadside trades
Jim Carroll