Mudcat Café message #4004211 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166503   Message #4004211
Posted By: Jim Carroll
12-Aug-19 - 04:00 AM
Thread Name: Correct location for historical song?
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
"Does anybody actually expect a piece of entertainment to be factually correct?"
I believe that regarding these songs simply as "entertainment" is to superficialise them
Many of them were made to reflect struggle, outrage and aspiration - as howls of protest or cries for help, and as such, they represent an important part of our social history
Do I find the tale of a man framed and hanged for the rape of an eleven year old girl "entertaining" ?
Can't say I do particularly – (less so when My friend, John Moulden researched the background of this ourageous manipulation of justice)
The same goes for many of our songs which, if they don't describe actual events, they paint vivid pictures of life in the past

Living in Ireland for two decades has made me sharply aware of to what extent the Irish used songs to capture the worst parts of their history - The Famine, the National Liberation Wars, the forced Emigrations, The Land Wars... all vividly painted in song, often in minute and personal detail
The Civil Rights Movement in the American South was largely recorded in verse, as was the Poaching Wars, The Enclosures, the fight for the vote, for better conditions in the mines and mills ….

Harry Cox’s comment on the song, ‘Betsy the Serving Maid’ summed it up for me – after he’d sung it to MacColl and Lomax he spat out, “And that’s what they think of us”
Singer after singers has told us of ‘the truth’ they found in their songs, but that truth lay in the feeling and humanity of the songs rather than the accuracy
A world apart from 'Carry on up the Khyber' I would suggest
Jim Carroll