Mudcat Café message #3937681 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3937681
Posted By: Jim Carroll
16-Jul-18 - 07:49 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Geroulds field of knowledge was the ballads
Sharp talked about banjos as "nigger machines" and ignored them, yet we owe him big time for introducing us to our own traditional songs
THese people were very much of their time - I'll live with their ignorance and limitations
'Primitive' was a term favoured by the experts, even the most sympathetic ones - including Margaret Mead
I don't think Gerould dismissed them, rather, he maybe suggested that they didn't/couldn't write them down
Must re-read it myself
The oft dismissed and debunked Bert Lloyd probably did more than most in Britain to make us aware of International music - his 13 programme 'Songs of the People' is still one of my favourite listens

This has become more and more disturbing as it progresses
First we had the 'folk' being disenfranchised as makers of their songs and that creditrole being put in the hands of a commercial industry of poor poets
Now we appear to have the systematic book-burning of our best scholars

First we had Child who couldn't tell is literal poetry arse from his folk elbow.
Now we have the systematic dismantling of a century plus worth of scholarship in order to replace it with the work of - well, basically, paper shufflers.
I didn't notice Steve's comments on 'foreign ballads' otherwise I would have lain awake for a long time last night

Child bases a large part of his groundbreaking collection discussing the 'foreign' input into our native ballads - he discusses their implications extensively in his private correspondence
Now we have to add this to the folk song tradition he apparently knew SFA about
You can add Lowery C Wimberly's work of 'The Folklore of the English and Scottish Ballads' based to a great degree on international motifs

Another of my interests is folk tales - we have several hundred of collections of them on our shelves and we've collected around 100 of them
They are full of international folklore motifs
One tale we recorded from a Traveller 'Go For The Water', is a stort vrsion of the Scots/English song, 'Get Up and Bar the Door' and is to be found throughout the world - its earliest varients go back to Ancient Egypt and India

Our folk culture is riddled with 'foreign influences' - they never came from literary sources - not in a million years
Britan has always imported foreign influences - via its colonies, via its trade, its conquests - even the African slaves once owned here left their fingerprints all over our history
Go look at the Stith Thomson Reidar Cristiansen, Archer Taylor, Ordnuf Hodne, Sean O'Sullivan indexes for that fact (didn't have to get up out of my seat for that list - they are within arms reach and in constant use)

You want to see a possible source for our Scandinavian influences, visit Jarlshof in Shetland or any of the hundreds of sites on Orkney, where the language still bears its imprint
In England you can go to York - in Ireland we have Waterford or Dublin
The Scots culture was strongly influenced by Italy - for a material peep at history - look at that beautiful Italianate once seen never to be forgotten faccade insoide the courtyard of Caerlaverock Castle.
Literary influences my arse

Making sense of our song traditions has to be down to taking what has been done already have and adding to it - not replacing it as you would a holey pair of socks

I'm afraid the new trend is very much reminiscent of Jimmy Cagneyish "Top of the world ma" stuff

Pseu - you need to read everything you can lay your hands on - none of it has all the answers, but very little of it has nothing to offer

If you would like an excellent overview, I highly recommend D K Wilgus's 'Anglo-American Folksong Scholarship Since 1898' - a wonderful and highly readable stroll through the subject without the academic competitiveness

I don't know where your anti-racist protest was on Friday - I hope it went well
If I'd been there I'd have been on it - nice to know we're on the same wavelength of that one at least
Jim