Mudcat Café message #3898294 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3898294
Posted By: Jim Carroll
09-Jan-18 - 07:02 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"A great deal that you have said on this thread has been about songs being made by ordinary people "
Which is only to repeat a common belief held by all researchers
It doesn't "concern me" in any way - I belive it too be true but neither Steve nor I can prove the origin of a single song, so basically it is a waste of time to t attempt to
That's not why I am arguing here - I am asking that the songs be placed in their social context in order to understand them, maybe that way we arrive at an intelligent 'probable' answer but I believe attempting to deal in percentages verges on the megalomanic
"Surely we all agree that country people could and did make songs."
Not really - not when we need to discuss in the percentages that have been puut forward
Steve has reduced home made writing to be by farmers writing of their own personal experiences - that is not what our folk songs are about
They are general observations on what was taking place at the time - enforced recruitment, poverty brought about by land seizures, social misaliance arisin from families wishing to use daughters as a step on the social ladder.... but no one here is (I hope) claiming that these things happened to the song makers themselves - they were all common occurrences down the centuries, which, I believe, gave rise to the folk songs
Academia has an obsession with finding origins - a Holy Grail task if ever there was one
You have the "Lord Craigston, John Urquhart" academic conceit of trying to apply something that was happening throughout the world and for many centuries to an actual marriage via 'The Trees they Grow So High'
The same with the Villiers speculation around Barbara Allen, when writers poets and probably singers had been writing and singing about rejected lovers since time immemorial
American academic, Phillips Barry, took one of our most beautiful domestic tragedy ballads and attempted to turn it into a piece of mystical nonsense about Islands that could rise out of a lake and sink back again, magic seemeed, lake spirits.... crazy stuff!
"I don't believe that most people wrote songs"
Of couse they didn't - I'm certainly not suggesting they did
On the other hand, there's not mucgh doubyt that most MOST SINGERS WITH ANY DEGREE OF SKILL WERE CAPABLE OF MAKING THE SONGS - UNDERSTANDING, INTERPRETING AND PERFORMING SONGS WAS VERY MUCH A PART OF THEIR JOB DESCRIPTION
We would be kidding ourselves if we tried to claim that most people sang - at any time
You may accept that Primroses and Australia could have been made by the folk byut Steve still argues that they didn't - without being able to prove otherwise.
My argument isn't with you Richard, it's with what the two Steves are claiming
If we want to deal with probabilities, it's more probable that songs about country life or soldiering, or sea-going.... were more likely to have been made by the people who came from backgrounds dealt with in the songs that they were by bad Urban, desk bound poets who, according to Steve Gardham, tended to live near to where they worked and were subject to high pressure in order to make a living
It really isn't rocket science to work out what these songs menat to the people who sang them and once you put that alongside your admitted acceptance that the singers were capable of making songs, then there's at least a fair to middling chance that they did make them.
I refuse to deal in percentages or origins in anything like definitive terms but I have no intention of sitting by while working people are written out of the equation as composers, as I believe they are being by this little band of academics
Jim Carroll