Mudcat Café message #3898275 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3898275
Posted By: Richard Mellish
09-Jan-18 - 05:42 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
> "But Jim is especially concerned with origins. "
> No I am not - stop misrepresenting me Richard

Now I'm confused. A great deal that you have said on this thread has been about songs being made by ordinary people (or whatever better term we can find for them) rather than by professional song writers. Is that not because you believe that it matters who made them?

> I've asked that people say whether or not they believe country people were capable of having made the folk songs - so far no takers

Surely we all agree that country people could and did make songs. The disagreement is only about the relative proportions, in the classic collected corpus, of songs made by country people and songs made by professional urban song writers.

I'm dubious as to what fraction of people sang in the past, but even if it was most people, I don't believe that most people wrote songs. Most of us today lack the skill to put words together in that particular way, while a few are good at it and a few do it even though they aren't very good at it. I see no reason to believe that that was much different in any past age.

> I see no attempt by either of the Steves to examine why the songs were sung or why they might have been made - they have treated them as printed products made for sale.

On the contrary, Steve R's book is very much about people singing. While he avoids a rigid definition of "folk song", his concept of it is all about who sang songs, where, when and why.

> We have discussed 'Maid of Australia' as a printed text - what is is in reality?
It is a sexual boast of the type that could and still can be heard in virtually every working class pub throughout Britain - a man boasting about he once got is leg over - as simple as that.
There is no reason whatever to believe that a 'simple' countryman couldn't have made that song

Indeed, but see my post of a bit earlier today.

> Banks of Sweet Primroses the same - a young man going out, buzzing with testosterone, tries to hook up with a previous girlfriend and gets the brush off because he has given her the elbow in the past - how humanly commonplace is that?

Very commonplace, which means that pretty well anyone (or at least any man) who had the skill to make songs at all could have written it. And, just like Maid of Australia, it could be a true account from personal experience, a broadly true account based on another man's personal experience, pure fantasy or a mixture.