Mudcat Café message #3945290 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3945290
Posted By: Jim Carroll
21-Aug-18 - 03:15 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
It doesn't matter how accurate this ballad is in detail - none of in any way contradicts the reason I used it
It is a piece of social history which reflected both the changing society and the effects that those changes were having on individuals and families from the poit of view of those affected - not from the point of view of a sensationalist hack writer
If the events will never be proved - why make an issue of it?

Our songs and ballads are full of details such as this which makes them far more likely to be the products of the people they are about rather than historical versions of our tabloid press.
We have never been trying to "prove" anything; the evidence for doing so is long gone
We are taking all the evidence we have and trying to arrive at a logical conclusion because a few people have chosen to turn past scholarship on its head - as far as I can see, with no grounds whatever for doing so
In order to do that, they have suddenly abandoned any detailed definition of the songs and included all songs - if the folk sang operatic arias, they become folk songs
That is unworkable nonsense

You - nor anybody else, have not attempted to challenge the points of my argument in any way
There is enough insider information in our folk songs to suggest that they came from the people they described - they are three dimensional rather than the flat caricatures and pastiches of the broadsides
They deal with their subject matter with reality and sympathy and their characters smell of tar and cordite and cowshit and have dirt under their fingernails
That is the stuff of our finest researching writers even better - not of provably poor poets wiking to a tight deadline.

It is precisely because of this diversive nit-picking that I see no point in taking this argument song-by-song
For someone who has examined these songs, as a singer or as an interested researcher, the unique reality (not factual detail) is self evident - you really do recognise the genuine article when you see it, even if you have never heard it before
That point has been made to us by every single singer we have interviewed

If you are not going to challenge, or even discuss the main points I have made, they remain as part of the argument to be put against any other that may arise
I don't see too many of them so far

"How do we know"
We don't "know" anything, but it is logical to assume that a body of songs on a theme that has persisted throughout our warlike history and including differing carrying a single piece of information that simply wouldn't make sense otherwise are related to a custom that has persisted for centuries
THe 'broken token' has always been treated as a 'folk motif' in both song and folk tale - there is no reason to challenge that view now, unless someone comes up with new evidence
I see no signs of that - do you?

"demonstrate just how valuable Roud's approach,"
The 'New age' "approach" does away with the need for evidence and reduces it to number-crunched statistics
The people in the songs become one-dimensional creations produced in a hurry - for profit rather than reflections of peoples' lives
That is contrary to every conclusion I have reached over the time I have been involved in folk song
Doesn't work for me, I'm afraid
Jim Carroll