Mudcat Café message #3944323 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3944323
Posted By: Jim Carroll
16-Aug-18 - 08:32 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"that ordinary people in England over the centuries sang songs from print traditions and were"
Maybe some dod - Walter didn't
He vever sandg American songs and the songs he sang he gathered from his family and wrote them down
The rest le REMEMBERED from hearing them sung or played on records
You seem to have become an expert on Walter overnight - from 'Cupid the Ploughboy' to what he sung - or in this case, what he didn't sing
I have explained over and over again how Walter got his songs

He was an only child who spent his childhood and youth in the company of two elderly singer uncles
The family singing took place at home, at falmiy gathering for birthdays and at Christmas - there Walter, as a boy, only ever sang one song, 'The Dark-Eyed Sailor' "'Cause nobody else wanted that one"
Originally the singing had taken place at Harvest Suppers, but Walter was too young to remember them

During WW2 Walter was called up and served his time in various places in England (mainly Yorkshire) due to a foot problem
When he returned both his uncles were dead, so he systematically setout to gather his families songs, largely from memory, but also from other family members.
He memorised the tunes on his melodeon and they lay dormant until a nephew, Roger, persuaded him to put some of them on tape - do he went out, bought a tape recorder and did so (we have a lovely and somewhat hilarous description of his doing so)

Roger was tutoring Peter Bellamy at University nad passed on the tape to him who in turn passed it on to Bill Leader
Then and only then did Walter begin to sing in public
WE have Walter's original selections - they reflect his own definition of folk song perfectly

Roud and Bishop really needed to get out among traditional singers more before they made their definitive statements
In an argument once Julia once told Pat that she was wrong about Travellers because she (Julia) had "studied the subject at University"

I really am becoming a little pissed-off with this huge gap of understanding from people who really should know better before they make their definitive and (unfortunately) influential statements based on wild generalisations about a dead tradition
Jim Carroll