Mudcat Café message #3938242 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3938242
Posted By: Jim Carroll
19-Jul-18 - 08:49 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
" 'discussing and disagreeing with' as less emotive terms? "
Child's ability to distinguish betwen his work on formal poetry and traditional ballads is a new one on me
Sharp and co have always been a figure of disdain - often unfairly
Gummere, Gerould, Motherwell... and many others have not only accepted the 'folkness of folk' but have written on length on the subject... 'all starry eyed romantics' it would appear
Even poor old Margaret Laidlaw was talking romantic nonsense, it would seem
Now we have reached the stage where the whole lot has come under suspicion
And all to make room for paperwork
Dave Harker (an exceptional scolar, I'm told) based his work on compiling a hitlist of past collectors and taking them out one by one
Here we have a mass assassination without the list.

Thanks to this argument, I re-read Wilgus's history of folksong scholarship and was reminded that we are were we are by collectors, even when they did not agree, developed their ideas on the basis of what had gone before - sometimes they replaced past ideas, but mostly they incorporated them into their own (occasionally losing some valuable ones in the process)
The New Age Scolars have done a real Augean Stables job on our understanding of our songs.

If this outlandish percentage calculation were not enough. now we have a re-definition which does not distinguish between popular commercial song that up to now were recognised as not being folk by virtually all folk enthusiasts and traditional material.

I was part of a long lasting and thriving olk Song Revival who knew what we were dealing with, sang it, and made new songs based on it
That died when the clubs began to be used as cultural dustbins to dump anything from big ballads to poor Elvis renditions
First we had to sit through poorly performed songs that didn't interest us; finally thousands of us walked away because we were no longer guaranteed hearing a folk song at a folk club
This re-definition has formalised that position.

Regarding Freud's comments on MacColl (especially his 'lacuna/Radio ballads bit) - I find this a total misunderstanding of what MacColl was about
He created songs for the same reason he (and many of us) believe the folk did - to express his own feeling and experiences
All the Radio Ballads songs were based on interviews with the subjects (Railwaymen, fishermen, boxers, gypsies, miners...)
They borrowed the exact words on occasion, but they also used the vernacular imagery - which was what made them so respected
I've always gained the impression that Steve Roud had little time for the revival
His present involvement with certain revival singers and their approach to the songs they sing doesn't impress me too much
Perhaps that has no place here - but Mudcat is a place where one of our finest contributors to folk song is regularly dug up from his nearly three decades old grave (metaphorically speaking - he was cremated) and given a kicking, so I feel it fair to express my own opinions on this matter.

"looks like another very hot day!"
Thanks btg that it's cooled down a little here
We've an acre of jungle to tame
Jim