Mudcat Café message #3981879 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165063   Message #3981879
Posted By: Steve Gardham
13-Mar-19 - 06:02 PM
Thread Name: Origins: James Madison Carpenter- Child Ballads 5
Subject: RE: Origins: James Madison Carpenter- Child Ballads 5
Welcome back, Richie, once again.

I too cannot see where the 'semi-comic' element lies, but we must take into account that it comes from a time long ago. We don't need to go back that far to be aware of changing tastes. Many nineteenth century songs that are labeled 'comic' we would be hard put to find any humour in. Also ballads move in and out of burlesque like nobody's business. Just look at Lord Lovell. From about 1750 up to about 1850 the ballad was considered a piece of fun, a burlesque. Some versions were even further exaggerated to promote the comic element. When it was widely printed on broadsides the country people saw it as a serious song and that's how it was collected. Same with William Taylor. The original c1750 broadside had about 20 double stanzas, which came into the 19th century on broadsides in a variety of shorter forms, at least one a burlesque called Billy Taylor. Billy Taylor was taken as a serious ballad eventually and even became the dominant form in oral tradition. What we need to know was at what point was it referred to as 'semi comic'. Could this have been a misprint of 'serio comic' which was a description of nineteenth century actors?