Mudcat Café message #3935375 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3935375
Posted By: Jim Carroll
05-Jul-18 - 03:34 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
" but that would not diminish their usefulness."
That depends how you use it Steve
I would have been totally lost without Steve's list when I was annotating our website - I am now putting together a possible book of Traveller songs and Stories and again, it is proving invaluable (I find myself wishing he'd done the same job on traditional stories)
He has given many of the songs we recorded Roud Numbers, some of them are the only ones under his number.

To say they are not selectively chosen is inaccurate - at one time the list didn't include parlour songs and Victorian tear-jerkers - it does now.
I seem to remember that he (rightly) didn't include a couple of our songs earlier on because they were not traditional - he hadn't reached the (everything that the singers sang' stage then.

For this side of his contribution I am not belittling Steve's list in any way
I was a fly on the wall at a Sheffield Conference when my friend, Prof., Bob Thomson met Steve and discussed his list - Bob was as staggered at Steve's work as we ll were - I still feel the same

Having said that, one of the other uses I made of Steve's list wa, when I was asked for examples of folk songs I would automatically say - "go and work your way through the Roud Index; that's an excellent overview of what a folk song is".
I can't do that any more with all honesty - I don't want people thinking 'Put a Bit of Powder on it Father' is a folk song - that would not be accurate

Can we drop this 'origins' bit - we don't know for certain where any of these songs originated, we can only guess - that is my point
It would be insane for Roud to choose his songs by origins - it would contain very few songs if he did

Can I make clear why this subject is so important to me
I have always considered that our folk songs represent the emotions, aspirations and experiences of 'ordinary people' (horrible phrase, but 'working people tends to raise hackles among some) - 'the voice of the people' as it has been known for a long, long time.
To attribute 90+%those songs to a commercial industry returns those people to the place they have occupied throughout history 'voiceless' repeaters of something that has been sold to them
I am not prepared to accept that without being given sound evidence that that is the case.

I know beyond reasonable doubt that Irish rural dwellers were producing songs as a reaction to what was happening around them in their many hundreds right into the middle of the twentieth century
They did so under the most unimaginable conditions - starvation, mass evictions, forced emigration, land wars, fights for independence, bloody civil war... all produced masses of songs
On top of this, they made songs about local railways, drownings, drunken sprees, enforced marriages, the weather, everyday work.... all recorded locally in song throughout Ireland
I was told by a 'print origins' advocate that 'The English were too busy feeding their families to make songs"
I don't believe that for one minute - do you?
Jim Carroll