Mudcat Café message #4078578 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168730   Message #4078578
Posted By: Richard Mellish
07-Nov-20 - 06:42 AM
Thread Name: BBC Radio4 - Morpurgo's Folk Journeys
Subject: RE: BBC Radio4 - Morpurgo's Folk Journeys
1. On this thread, let's steer well clear of the subject of which songs are folk songs.

2. The pop world is largely a closed book to me, but we get exposed to some of it willy nilly as muzak. Many of the songs there and some that turn up in singarounds (live or currently on Zoom) are the sort characterised by Brian as 'my girlfriend dumped me, and I'm so miserable'.

My problem with those is not the scenario, which is a common enough part of the human condition and a perfectly good subject for songs, but the preponderance of the word "you", as if the singer is singing to the ex-lover, despite that person being absent by definition. We can perhaps imagine the song as a letter to the ex-lover, but that seems the wrong format for the singer to be telling us their woes (or vicariously the woes of someone else). Traditional songs on this theme are either couched in the third person ("I heard a maid lament ...") or if first person are addressed to the world at large "'Tis how my love slights me ...").

In "The first time ever" no-one has been dumped and the sentiment is very positive, but otherwise the same applies. As a personal statement from Ewan to Peggy it was excellent, but I have trouble seeing its point when it is sung by someone else to an audience. (However I acknowledge that people enjoy reading Shakespeare's sonnets where the situation is similar.)