Mudcat Café message #3938072 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3938072
Posted By: Jim Carroll
18-Jul-18 - 06:07 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
I agree in principle Jack, though even there it can have problems, as I am beginning to find out (these singers were around my age and over)
But it doesn't always matter
THIS IS ONE OF THE LONGEST SONG we ever recorded - it is plotless and shapeless, yet the singer remembered it for us the first time he sang it and sang it each time virtually without hestitation.
He knew it so well, he could cut out whole sections at will if he was the audience wasn't paying attention
He learned it as a boy from a near neighbour in a totally isolated group of dwellings half way up Mount Callan - the neighbor was also noted for his remarkable memory, as a singer and long storyteller
For me as an atheist, the outstanding feature of the song is it's length

Martin was noted for his long songs - most exceeding four minutes and nearly all lyrical rather than narrative
He once told us "A song's not worth singing unless it has a few verses in it"
He was the master of understatement.
A group of friend once too him to the Cork Folk Festival
THey described how, when they stopped the car in the main street in the middle of Cork, Martin (who had never travelled more than 20 miles in his life. stepped out of the car, looked around and commented, "a grand bit of a village".

I wonder if you would apply your reservations to the epic Eastern European Bards who I believe you are familiar with