Mudcat Café message #3897907 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3897907
Posted By: Jim Carroll
07-Jan-18 - 11:22 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"Jim one thing that saddens me is that the uk folk revival is becoming more like the pop world as every year passes on"
Me too Dick -I'm hoping that the research side of it doesn't go the same way
"Why doesn't it make sense? I understand why Jim may find the idea distasteful, "
I do wish people wouldn't keep attributing opinions to me that I don't hold
I have never offered an opinion on payment for singing - it is my opinion that as far as folk song makin is concerned it didn't happen to any significant extent
We recorded a singer who sang on the streets for money and sold songs on ballad sheets - the most valuable source of information we ever interviewed on this subject
We asked him if he ever knew of making songs for sale - he said, "why should they, there were plenty to choose from already"
The making of songs for payment was an urban occupation and I have no doubt whatever that the people who did it took their songs from wherever they could
If they could get songs from visiting farmers of sailors or soldiers, the very nature of their trade would make it necessary to do so - that, I believe is how so many folk songs ended up on broadsides - the suggestion that it was the other way around is totally unproven.
From what we know, at the beginning of the 19th century Margaret Laidlaw regarded the printed word as a threat to the oral tradition - we have that on record.
By the end of the century, the rural communities were changing, cottage industries were being killed off by the factories and people were moving into the towns for work - these changes were turning rural dwellers into passive recipients of their culture rather than active participants - Walter Pardon explained how, in his native North Norfolk, the Harvest Suppers disappeared and the singing was confined to family gatherings.
He also described how he parted company with his contemporaries - he stuck with "the old folk songs" while his cousins went for the 'modern' popular songs.
It is my opinion that mankind is a natural songmaker - children did it for their games, we know thousands of songs were made by people trying to get the vote, both in town and countryside - Chartist newspapers ran weekly song columns - Manchester Central Library is full of them.      
I grew up in a city with a very rich vernacular speech and a noted sense of humour
I worked on the docks, where the turning of verses of pop songs of the day into little squibs was a regular occurrence
My father was a prisoner of war in Spain - he returned home in 1939 with a repertoire of songs in Spanish and English about the Civil War - the first folk songs I ever sang (not in public) were in Spanish
When he went on the road as a navvy, he and his mates made up songs about the job.
None of this was for payment - it was a need to put into verse how you felt bout things
Making songs for children is a fascinating study in itself - the same goes for storytelling
It's interesting to note how the Opies described children who sang 'dirty' songs as "ogre children" - of course children made songs about "knickers" or "poo" or farting.... and far beyond
Another subject I am inclined to take issue with in Roud is his accusation that Ewan and Bert but bawdy songs that hadn't been there before into the folk repertoire
Go look up 'The Maid of Lowestoft or The Hole in the Wall' which is accompanied by the note "we have only included the tune as the words are not fit for decent ears"   
Gershon Legman must be laughing in his shroud!
Jim Caarroll