Mudcat Café message #3944400 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3944400
Posted By: Jim Carroll
16-Aug-18 - 01:04 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"Which other English singers did you interview in such depth?"
We met friend and a relative of Sam Larner and recorded a nephew and his wife, that was it really
As far as I know, very little work was done with any of our big traditional singers or if it was, it was never made public
I know my friend Bob Thomson spent time with Harry Cox shortly before hi dies - we have the recordings, which were basically Bob going over Harry's repertoire to find if he could add to to.
EWan, Peggy and Charles Parker recorded hours of talk from Sam Larner, largely for the Radio Ballad - we have those recordings in our archive.
We have actuality from the miners, mainly from The Elliots for 'The Big Hewer'
Ewan and Lomax interviewed Harry Cox at length - we have that   
None of the interviewers asked the questions we would have asked - it was frustrating to listen to them

We did some work with Duncan Williamson, but he was so intent on singing during the couple of times we visited him that is was virtually impossible to get him to talk

For me the greatest missed opportunity was the Jeannie Robertson book
Herschel Gower did a magnificent job of presenting her background but the analysis of the songs wa done by James Porter - as far as I can remember, there was very little input from Jeannie.

I've often wondered if the collectors on the BBC project ever recorded more than the songs - that would have been the last big opportunity to fill in the gap in our knowledge

I see little if any difference between the background of the English and Irish rural people to make a huge difference, except that they and the Travellers were far closer to a living tradition, which, to my mind, gives us a clearer picture how how one worked.
THere we got accounts of singing songs, how they were learned, how they were regarded, in the communities and by the individual communitiies

We also recorded details of the 'ballad selling trade, from a singer from a singing'storytelling family/including the mechanics of a non-literate Traveller putting his family's songs into print and the skill of selling them on the streets and in the pubs.

One of the most relevant to this argument was the making of songs to suit the events, as they happened.

I have no problem with the idea that we were dealing with an almost dead tradition here as newbies
I have always been grateful for my time at The Spinners Club, but I really was on may way out of the scene when I happened to hear Ewan and Peg and 'was smitten'
THye have been a major influence to my thinking ever since
By the way, Walter told us that he remembered hearing about the time the BBC visited hi local town, North Walsham - unfortunately they didn't make it out to Knapton