Mudcat Café message #3943972 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3943972
Posted By: Jim Carroll
14-Aug-18 - 07:18 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"Mike Yates had no problem getting Walter to sing this material that he dismissed."
Mike was an occasional visitor to Walter - he had the ggood r=grace to ask if we minded him recording Walter, though he had no need to - Walter was his own man
If you are suggesting I am inventing Walter's attitude to Music Hall songs then we're finished here Steve
You no damn well what Walter thought if you've followed these arguments - I've put the interviews up verbatim several times
When Tom Munnelly fell ill, several of us got together to put together a feststshrift for him - Pat's and my contribution was entitled 'Walter Pardon - a Simple Countryman?'
It was based on the crass suggestion of a well known folkie who said just that when we suggested Walter could sort out the wheat from the chaff when it came to folk songs "How could he - he's a simple countryman"?" (more or less what Hoot has just put up)
Our article was based on what Walter actually said about his songs and their importance
Anybody who wishes to read a coppy of that article is welcome to a copy, thouugh I don't seem to have had a lot of luck persuading people to actually listen to what our singers and scholars ahd to say - it seems people would rather make up their own minds without any of that stuff.
You fellers have never broken free from the "You sing them", we'll understand them" world.

You know damn well what I mean by "insider knowledge" Steve - we've argued it out often enough
Your argument was that these hard pressed broadside hacks assiduously researched newspapers to familiarise themselves with sea terms or the use of farming equipment, or the superstitions which appeared in our folk songs - excuses rather than researched facts, of course
We had a long, stupid argument about chimney sweeps I seem to remember

Walter said what he said and believed what he believed - as I have described it.

In my opinion, some of the views expressed here represent the cause of the greatest gap in our knowledge, collectors treated the songs as artefacts instead of what they really are - pieces of the lives of past generations.

We went to collect songs, thefirst singer we ever recorded, an Irish Traveller, convinced us immediately that what singers had to say was just as important as their songs - if not more.
The singer, 'Pop's' Johnny Connors sang us 'The Ballad of Cain and Abel' and told us how it told that the story it told was an explanation why Travellers first took to the road - it was the centuries-old ballad, 'Edward'
Not a bad motivation for a non-literate Traveller, don't you think?
Singers had their own agendas and carried a great deal of information that could have cut across much of this argument - what a shame nobody sought to gather it in.

Incidentally Vic - Barry Taylor's interview, which I, as the editor of the Singers Club Magazine, instigated.
Barry was right to an extent - Bert had become a peripheral figure - by choice, when that interview took place.
He no longer sang at The Singers Club, nor anywhere else in London at that time, he had largely ceased broadcasting - a couple of television programmes - one on Doc Watson, another on Hebridean music - little else
I would have loved to hear Bert sing, but was never given the opportunity

A rather strange thing happened after that interview - Barry spent the day doing it and the following day received a phone call from Bert with a list of subjects he had covered he wished not to be used.
Bert had a fairly definite opinion of which face he chose to show to the world - he was a very private man.