Mudcat Café message #3937419 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3937419
Posted By: Jim Carroll
15-Jul-18 - 03:23 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Walter Pardon spoke at length about the differences between his "old folk songs" (his term) and "that other stuff" (also his term.
His identification covered the whole gamut - from tunes to descriptions of characters and the people and places described in the songs - right through to how he saw them and identified them as a singer - he was articulate and he was very positive

Anyone who sat with him and talked coud recognise from the way Walter talked about his songs and how he saw them as he sang them could spot that he regarded them as both different and importnt
He told us about how visitors concentrated on songs he didn't believe to be "the old folk songs" saying "I don't know why they want them old things"
When we asked us to sing them (for comparison) he was extremely reluctant to do so and became uncomfortable, so we gave up after a couple
We constantly use in talks we give, a recording we made of elderly Clare singer Tom Lenihan describing passionately the difference between "the modern stuff" and those "passed down from the old people for generations"

Mary Delaney, the blind Travelling woman, had an endlessly large repertoire of both lyrical and narrative traditional songs - she called them 'my daddy's songs" (when we recorded him he could remember about half-a-dozen)
She used this description to identify her traditional songs - it was her version of '54'
She also had an equally large number of modern popular songs, particularly Country and Western - she point-blank refused to sing a single one of them for the tape recorder saying, "they're not the old songs - I only sing them because that's what the lads ask for in the pub.
Because of her blindness, Mary's activity was limited largely to singing - that is what she was known for.
She had a phenomenal ability to pick up songs quickly, this gave her a role in her community, that didn't mean she couldn't tell the difference - obviously
According to the 'New Age Academic' re-definition of folk song, 'My Cheatin' Heart', 'Stand By Your Man' and 'Jolene' all should have Roud numbers - Mary knew and sang them all.
Nobody can deny her role as a traditional singer - why haven't they been numbered?

Other singers, using different language and values differented between their types of song even though the might have sung all sorts

For me, this underlines the nonsensical nature in which academics have re-defined our folk songs.

It is typal academic arrogance to ride rough-shod over something that, for me, is painfully obvious - these songs are obviously so different as a genre that non-academics can tell them apart

A far as making sure our traditional songs are kept alive and recognised for their importance and uniqueness as a separate body of history and art, it really is time we woke up and smelled the coffee - there has been far too much damage done already by lumping them in with "that modern stuff"
JIm Carroll