Mudcat Café message #3944130 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3944130
Posted By: Jim Carroll
15-Aug-18 - 11:45 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"So where do you get this idea that broadsides were all written by "desk-bound city hacks who were notorious for their bad poetry"
Sorry - I don't follow you - that is what I am arguing against
Our singer to his father's songs from the oral tradition and gave them to a printer
The argument here has been exactly the opposite, that most of the songs in the oral tradition WERE COMPOSED for the broadsides and make up 90% plus of our folk songs
My argument has always been that most folk songs appearing on broadsides were taken

This is where all this began - a statement by Ewan MacColl at the end of a series of Radio prgrammes

"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island.
We are indebted to the Harry Coxes and Phil Tanners, to Colm Keane and Maggie MaccDonagh, to Belle Stewart and Jessie Murray and to all the sweet and raucous unknown singers who have helped to carry our people's songs across the centuries"

This statement was received derisively bt Steve Gardham who described it as "starry eyed nonsense"
The 10 programmes in question covered the entire folk spectrum from the 16th century 'Frog and the Mouse' to an anonymous Irish song made during World War Two - the entire folk reperoire
It has since been adapted to only cover the songs that were collected when the folk tradition was at its lowest ebb, but has wobbled back and forth to our traditional ballads on occasion.
That is the argument here
I really shouldn't have to explain this - it's all old argument
Jim Carroll