Mudcat Café message #3897980 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3897980
Posted By: Richard Mellish
07-Jan-18 - 05:32 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
I totally agree with Howard's postings.

Apropos "distasteful": I don't think Jim has suggested that the writing of songs for money is distasteful, but what he does seem to find distasteful is the claim that that's where most of our folk songs came from.

I do wish we could all:
- agree that some songs that started life on broadsides and in other commercial situations such as the stage and the pleasure gardens were taken up by ordinary people and eventually collected,
- agree that some songs were originally made by working people such as farm labourers, sailors, coal miners, weavers, etc
- agree to disagree about the proportions,
- agree that the fact of songs being sung for the sake of it, and eventually being collected, is at least as important as where those songs started.

Jim sees evidence in some songs that they could only have been made by the people whose experiences they recount. I don't see how we can take that any further without looking at particular songs.

As for Maid of Australia, I will be interested to see Steve's "very reliable source (1961)" and what the Australian folklorists have said about it. For the time being I will continue to believe that the song could equally well be an account of a real encounter (perhaps embroidered) or a pure fantasy.

BTW I noted that the version quoted by Steve 03 Jan 18 - 05:06 PM refers to the maid's "lily-white limbs". That goes against a suggestion that I recall reading somewhere that she was black.