Mudcat Café message #3991191 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166098   Message #3991191
Posted By: Jim Carroll
07-May-19 - 02:48 AM
Thread Name: If you don't like ballads......
Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
"Recently the proposition was put to me that if you didn't like ballads, you didn't like folksong."
A bit of an over-simplification of what was said Al -
Ballads are regarded by those who like them as the high point of English-language folk song - Hamish Henderson described them as 'The Muckle (big) Songs, and MacColl and others as "The high-watermark of the tradition" - works for me
Saying you don't like them is like saying "I like theatre, but I don't like Shakespeare" or "I like reading but I don't like Dickens"
Ballads are not for reading or studying - they're concisely and movingly constructed sung stories about every aspect of human emotion and experience - from love to murder - and they do all of these in a myriad of ways, from high tragedy to humour.
The tunes tend to be plain and repetitive - they're there to carry the story, and once you get into them, they do so as brilliantly as any great work of literature - what's not to like ?
The fact they have been around as long as they have means that they satisfied a lot of people for a very long time
The most important carriers of the Ballads in these islands are the lrgely non-literate Travellers - "because we like a good story" we were told on numerous occasions
Jim Carroll