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New Book: Folk Song in England

GUEST 15 Dec 17 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 15 Dec 17 - 06:36 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Dec 17 - 04:19 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 17 - 02:34 AM
The Sandman 17 Dec 17 - 02:37 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 17 - 04:30 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 17 - 04:32 AM
Vic Smith 17 Dec 17 - 05:56 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 17 - 06:24 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 17 - 09:34 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 17 - 09:40 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 17 - 09:58 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 17 - 10:24 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 17 - 11:48 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 17 - 11:55 AM
Tootler 17 Dec 17 - 01:28 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 17 - 01:39 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 17 - 02:04 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 17 - 02:12 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 17 - 02:19 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 17 - 02:21 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 17 - 02:22 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 17 - 02:33 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 17 - 02:42 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 17 - 02:52 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 17 - 03:18 PM
Vic Smith 17 Dec 17 - 04:21 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 17 - 07:14 PM
The Sandman 18 Dec 17 - 02:21 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 17 - 03:27 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 17 - 03:31 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 17 - 08:05 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 17 - 08:19 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 17 - 08:43 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 17 - 09:47 AM
Vic Smith 18 Dec 17 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 18 Dec 17 - 11:14 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 17 - 11:25 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 17 - 11:47 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 17 - 11:57 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 17 - 01:08 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 17 - 01:53 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 17 - 02:01 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 17 - 02:59 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 17 - 03:24 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 17 - 03:27 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 17 - 04:19 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 17 - 04:34 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 17 - 05:17 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 17 - 04:45 AM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Dec 17 - 06:12 PM

Jim Carrol described Samuel Laycock as an "English worker dialect poet"

His father was a handloom weaver. Samuuel came into the world when "Trade wur slack". He learned to read and write in part at Sunday school (though he did have a short time at day school). At nine years old he began work in a woollen mill at two shillings a week, working six in the morning until eight in the evening with brief breaks for meals. At eleven he got work as a power-loom weaver, and (says a biographer) his first effort at rhyming was written on a "cop ticket" and was addressed to a fellow operative.

Wind the clock on the the Cotton Famine when he began to write his Famine Songs. His biograper says "week by week they were published in the local papers and large numbers were issued as broad-sheet balads. Many of these were learnt by heart and sung by lads and lasses in the streets of the town"

Later he moved away from factory work, with mixed success.

So was he a "worker poet" and if so was he also a "broadside hack". Was he, like Ammon Wrigley before him, an exception and if so what is the evidence for that? Simply that there are not many similar accounts? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Was he an exception only in that he was succesful enough to be published and if so, is he no longer one of 'the folk'?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 15 Dec 17 - 06:36 PM

Jim wrote:
"Well done Derek for going back and reading what Lloyd wrote"
Did you miss the statement which was probably the truest thing anybody ever said about the definition of folk song?
"If 'Little Boxes' and 'The Red Flag' are folk songs. we need a new term to describe 'The Outlandish Knight'. Searching for Lambs' and 'The Coal-owner and the Pitman's Wife'.
Jim Caarroll

Indeed, that is one of my favourite quotes from his book, though not relevant here really. I quoted this passage only this year at one of the Traditional Song Forum meetings. Jim - you should come over to England to one of these meetings some time. Could be an interesting debate!

Derek


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Dec 17 - 04:19 PM

"is he no longer one of 'the folk'?" Ah now, that would be the 64,000 dollar question. To what extent and for how long were Burns, Clare, Hardy, perhaps even Shakespeare etc., 'one of the folk'?

To what extent is my singer/writer of songs about his own life as a farm labourer 'one of the folk'?

My own inclination would be to treat all of the broadside writers from about 1750 onwards as part of 'the folk'. BUT, in my own opinion it is impossible to say with any direct dividing line this person was part of 'the folk' and that person wasn't. There are though those miraculously talented people on Mudcat who can.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 02:34 AM

''22Did you miss the statement which was probably the truest thing anybody ever said about the definition of folk song?
"If 'Little Boxes' and 'The Red Flag' are folk songs. we need a new term to describe 'The Outlandish Knight'. Searching for Lambs' and 'The Coal-owner and the Pitman's Wife'.
Jim Caarroll
the above statement is nonsense, little boxes and the red flag are folk songs under certain circumstances, eg.. if they are sung by football crowds, the red flag also uses a traditional tune.
jim, is trying to define folk songs according to his agenda, a certain sound[ eg the use of the major key the dorian mode and the mixolydian mode.
'The Outlandish Knight'. Searching for Lambs' and 'The Coal-owner and the Pitman's Wife'., are songs that i like, but whether i like them and whether jim carroll likes them does not make them folk songs acording to the 1954 definition,


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 02:37 AM

i am beginning to think that they are no longer folk songs but have become art songs, the seem to be preserved in aspic, rather like museum exhibits they are certainly not sung by many folk now and neither are they continuing to evolve, the outlandish knight is not sung by football crowds, either.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 04:30 AM

"Once again the paraphrasing and misquoting and taking things out of context are coming out. At no point have I suggested that Child or Sharp or MacColl were totally wrong."
As far as the main thrust of this argument is concerned - the origin of folk song, that is exactly what you have proposed - you present Child and all those who shared his view as "wrong" [15 Dec 17 - 10:59 AM] and Sharp as an agenda-driven distorter of facts [same posting]
In fairness to you, it is the only way you can get away with what you are claiming - that up to the present day they all got it wrong, either through ignorance or intent.
If that does not need discussion (without the patronising talking down to, if possible) nothing does
These people were drawing their conclusions at a time when the tradition was alive and the broadside trade was thriving.

"To what extent is my singer/writer of songs about his own life as a farm labourer 'one of the folk'? "
Burns was not just writing about his own life, he was making poems on whaat was happening all around him, as were all these poets -
That is what all folk song is anyway, not introspective musings but reportage of social history - and not done for money or fame but from the desire to share what was happening - all songs started with one or a small number of composers.
Go read what Maidment has to say about it (probably another starry-eyed romantic, in your book!)
Burns was fairly typical in his early poetry; first inspired by Betty Davison, a frequent visitor to his home who "had the largest collection in the county of tales and songs concerning devils, ghosts, fairies, brownie, witches, warlocks, spunkies, kelpies, elf-candles, dead-lights, wraiths, apparitions, ....... and other trumpery" - in other words, a master singer/storyteller of the time.
We were told of these by descendents - like the local man (father of one of our singers/storytellers), who would start his story on Monday night and carry it throughin episodes till the week-end
When you ran out of arguments in our earlier clashes, you resorted to telling me how many people agreed with you - I'm quite happy with the ones that share my view

Something from Vic I meant to take up earlier.
"I don't think that Walter Pardon was ever much of a pub singer."
Walter's family tradition was never centred on the pub, the only time he knew of his uncles singing away from the Harvest Suppers and family gatherings was when he was taken to North Walsham when his Uncle Billy attended Union meetings
The singing was done in the meeting room when it official proceedings were finished.
Sam Larner went to sing in the local, The Fisherman's Return, once a week and sang the same few songs each time - Butter and Cheese and Maid of Australia being two of them, yet Sam had a repertoire of something like sixty songs - probably more
Sam was recorded telling Parker and MacColl that "The real singing happened at home or at sea".
The bulk of our folk songs are narrative, often quite long and detailed - miss a couple of lines and you miss the sense of the song - pubs are not a sympathetic environment to these songs - they never have been.

The situation in Ireland bears this out - the venue for finding was where people got together in small groups to share songs, stories and local gossip - referred to as 'cuirds' (pro. "coors") over here
Elsewhere, it was done at gatherings in farmhouses, where they gathered to dance or, before the church destroyed them, 'the crossroads dances', but even these events limited the type of song that could be sung.
One musician/singer told us that even the music was ruined when it was taken into the pubs.
Travellers sang at the pubs in the fair, but again, the big songs were sung around the open fires on the sites.
I believe our folk songs, by their very nature, were made for small gatherings and not the pibs

The urban situation was of course different - there, the audiences were passive recipients rather than participants of their culture
A decline in our folk song tradition has now made that a permanent state of affairs.

"you should come over to England to one of these meetings some time."
Alternatively, you could make us all aware of what is taking place so we can make a full judgement - this needs to be an open debate, not one between a few obsessed officianados.
I know there are a few clubs in the UK who hold discussions on ballads - I would love to know what happens there (Can't afford the plane fare and I couldn't face O'Leary' cattle-like attitude to passengers).
This needs to be handled on the basis of sharing ideas, not the 'them and us' conflict that has been presentd
As Stephen fry is fond of saying "NOBODY KNOWS"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 04:32 AM

"i am beginning to think that they are no longer folk songs but have become art songs, "
That seems to be that thrust of the "composed for money" school of thought Dick
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 05:56 AM

I couldn't post this yesterday as Mudcat seemed to be down for most of the day, but yesterday the Jan/Feb 2018 issue (Nos. 415/416) of fRoots dropped through my letterbox. On pages 52 - 56 there is a long article called "Reality Rearranged" on Steve Roud. Actually, compared with most articles in that magazine it is more of a transcribed interview than most but that does mean that we hear more of Steve's voice than we otherwise would. There are lots of information and thoughts by Steve on his background, how this book came about and about the thinking behind and the construction of the Roud Index.
It was written by Jon Wilks who describe himself as a "novice" and is not a name that I know. Perhaps that is a good thing - a fresh mind coming to Steve's work and legacy. I be interested to read any comments on it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 06:24 AM

Suppose a scanned down version put up here would be out of the question Vic?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 09:34 AM

"Child had limited resources, his preferences were weighted by his own elite background, and he also admitted that he was very unsure of the selections he was making. He also, despite his reservations regarding street lit., included a great deal of it." (SG)

"you present Child and all those who shared his view as "wrong" [15 Dec 17 - 10:59}" (JC)

Why don't you address the comments actually made instead of putting your own spin on it as usual?

Sharp was partly driven by the idea of foreigners claiming the English had no music of their own (The country was swamped with German and Italian music at the time). He was trying to create this idea of Merry England where all the rural population were busily making this wonderful music, which to a certain extent was true, but in order to pursue his vision he needed to play down the influence of print. Broadwood, Baring-Gould, Kidson etc., were all very much aware of the influence of print, but Sharp very much dominated proceedings.

"I'm quite happy with the ones that share my view".(JC) Perhaps you could let us know who this includes.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 09:40 AM

I think it's time we got down to the nitty gritty. JC seems to have been calling for this. The songs themselves can tell us a lot. His main connection with English folksong seems to have been Walter. Here's the proposition, JC or a neutral body chooses 20 of Walter's folk songs (as opposed to the ones he rejected as folk songs) and we analyse them.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 09:58 AM

Before we embark on this, I ask JC politely and earnestly to apologise for referring to us as 'deskbound academics'. Not one person on this thread, and I know many of the contributors personally, could be described in this way. We are all heavily involved in the folk scene, organising, performing, etc., and are no more deskbound or academic than JC himself.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 10:24 AM

"Alternatively, you could make us all aware of what is taking place".(JC)

No problem. There are no closed doors. All meetings are open to allcomers and much of what we discuss is available on the TSF website which is where I presume you found my article based on one of the presentations some years ago. Martin Graebe the secretary frequently offers to send recordings of what has transpired out to members. Last time I looked JC was a member.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 11:48 AM

" I ask JC politely and earnestly to apologise for referring to us as 'deskbound academics'"
I apologise without hesitation to those who aren't deskbound academics who thought I was referring to them - I wasn't - just to those who are
Now maybe we could have an apology for the starry-eyed naivete bit

Child elitist as well as ignorant - gets better and better.
Child regarded the material he was assembling as having been originated from the people - hardly elitist
Now if he'd claimed it was produced by a music industry for money....!
""'m quite happy with the ones that share my view".(JC) Perhaps you could let us know who this includes."
I was thinking of Sharp, Chld and Maidment and just about every researcher before you drove your bulldozer through their beliefs

"His main connection with English folksong seems to have been Walter. Here's the proposition"
Oh dear - not this again
We certainly spent more time with Walter than most other singers, some time with the few left in Winterton, but we have met and talked to others down the years
Walter was far more intelligent than most people inside and outside the revival, I ever met - he had no problem in sorting out what was a folk song and what was not, and gave usw tapes full of his way of thinking
But apart from this I spent a total of nearly forty years as an active singer and listener, during which time I helped put together a large archive of traditional singers, largely Englis, both singing and, when availale, talking about their songs - these include quite a lot from Harry Cox and particularly Sam Larner, who the hated and ignorant MacColl bothered to record when others didn't give two ***** what traditional singers had to say.

Our work with singers in Ireland and among travellers, one with a recently departed tradition, the other with one that was still warm and pulsating, was one of opinion gathering.
We gathered enough from them to realise that there is no discernable difference between the two national singing practices - if you wanted to know how a living and healthy tradition worked, that's where you went to find out.

It is beyond me why Roud chose to leave out the thoughtful side of the revival - MacColl, Lloyd, Parker, George Deacon, Vic Gammon, Bob Thomson, Roy Palmer Rory Greig.... and many others were all part of the revival club scene and it shows in their input
The nearly ten years work put in by the Critics Group of analysing and discussing the songs and how they worked, for singers and for communities, is unrivalled - much still available in recorded form for those who learn to get over their necrophobia
They treated the songs like living entities to be relived and understood, not butterflies in a box

I have no intention in entering into another cul-de-sac where you try to prove something you have admitted you are unable to
I have a workable definition of folk song which doesn't include 'Put a Bit of Powder on it Father', I have been given no reason to move away from the basic points of the existing definition to include pop songs of the past, badly written broadsides that came off the presses stillborn, Music hall froth, Parlour Ballads, Pleasure Gardens.
I don't have the respect you seem to have for Charles Rice's songs and glees (which owe more to Handel than they do Folk), sung by middle class gentlemen as described clearly in Laurence SeSenelick's 'Tavern Singing in Early Victorian London' - interesting to those who follow that sort of thing but nothing to do with folk song 'The Songs of the People'.

My point remains - we don't know for certain who made our folk songs 'even though the 'Songs of the People' that has always been accepted, gives us a strong clue.
Tracing them back to printed sources and comparing them to the remains of a moribund tradition tells us nothing - equivalent to taking the pule of a corpse to assess its life achievements
Here's one for you - tell us how appallingly bad poets could have made such timeless gems (without the excuses this time)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 11:55 AM

By the way, when I was referring to the NSF letting us know what was happeing, I meant in order that we could all discuss it rather than to have it sent as confirmed opinions
A public forum such as this seems ideal
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 01:28 PM

It is beyond me why Roud left,out of the thoughtful side of the revival...

This quote from the book says what he was concerned with:

"So, this is a book of social history, covering folk song in England from the sixteenth century to about 1950. It is not really concerned with the folk music which developed through the post-war Folk Revival, when everything changed dramatically nor is it about now, but about what used to be..."

So, his book is about folk music before the 1950s revival. Though he does include some quotes from revivalists, he was not concerned with them but who and what came before.

He also says early on that the definition of folk music he is using is basically the 1954 definition though he does suggest replacing the reference to Music Hall songs with one to commercial popular song generally which seems reasonable to me.

I do get the impression, Jim Carroll that you've not properly read his book but have skimmed through and selected the bits that suited your agenda. Now, that may not be correct but surely in a book like this you need to be sure exactly what the author is concerned with, what he has said he is discussing. Without that, you cannot fairly criticise him.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 01:39 PM

I'm talking about the people I mentioned who were involved in researching singing and songs not their singing
Bert Lloyd was probably the foremost figure with a foot in both camps
My arguments here are largely addressed to Steve Gardham, who appears to have instigated this theory
Ihave read Roud's book fairly quickly, and belive it deserves to be re-rad as often as it takes to absorb all he has to say,
In the main, I am extremely impressed with most of it, but it is these major points get up my nose
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 02:04 PM

"Here's one for you - tell us how appallingly bad poets could have made such timeless gems (without the excuses this time)"(JC)

That's one of the points I was going to address before you dismissed my suggestion out of hand.

You seem only able to deal with extremes. I repeat, your beliefs are remarkably similar to the worshipping of gods. Nobody in their right minds could dismiss Child's monumental work which has not been surpassed in 130 years. That doesn't mean he got everything right. I can give you lots of examples. Have you actually read all of his headnotes, every version of every ballad, everything that he wrote and was written about him? I have nigh on. Perhaps you'd like to comment on the headnotes to Child 20, or why he chose to give 2 completely different ballads the same number, or why he included so many broadside ballads, some as his A versions, why very few of the Robin Hood ballads have any evidence of oral tradition, I could go on. His work still stands as an enormous monument to his endeavour, but he isn't a god!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 02:12 PM

"Now maybe we could have an apology for the starry-eyed naivete bit"

You have a very short memory, JC. I apologised humbly for this directly to you at the time both in an email and on Mudcat and you acknowledged that.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 02:19 PM

Vic Gammon, Roy Palmer, Ruairidh Greig.

You mention the work of these people quite rightly. Have you read any of Vic's work on broadsides? BTW his review of FSE is a few postings above this one if you'd care to read it. Roy both used and wrote about the influence of broadsides in his many books. In fact he was something of an expert on the Birmingham printed ballads. I wonder if these people thought that all broadside ballads were a load of rubbish.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 02:21 PM

we do not know if the composers of broadsheets had as their sole motive composing for the sake of money, unless steve gardham has been holding seances and communicating with those who are no longer wth us


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 02:22 PM

You see what I had in mind was, we could take each of Walter's songs and place it alongside the broadside it came from and sort out the bits that Walter left out that were rubbish. That would be an interesting exercise.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 02:33 PM

Hi Dick,
Can you show me where anyone has said the sole motive was for the sake of money? I'm certain there were other motives, but they DID get paid, usually a shilling by about 1800, which was quite a lot of money. Seances, hmmm, for fun maybe!

If you want to know about 19th century ballad writers try the works of Henry Mayhew such as 'London Labour and London Poor', or his 'Characters'. He didn't just write about the ballad writers, he actually wrote some of the ballads. You might also try Hindley's books on Catnach and the ballad writers mentioned in there, and more recently the books of James Hepburn who dedicated one of his books to John Morgan, one of the most prolific ballad writers. That okay for you, Dick?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 02:42 PM

"You see what I had in mind was, we could take each of Walter's songs and place it alongside the broadside it came from and sort out the bits that Walter left out that were rubbish. "
Walter left nothing out
He was not really a singer as such - he was present when the family sang at Harvest Suppres and home gatherings - tto young to remember the former, during th latter he was allocated 'Dark Eyed Sailor' because "Nobody else wanted that"
When he returned from the army, his uncles had died so he decided to put the family repertoire down in a notebook, so he visited all the elders and wrote them down as they remembered them - he memorised the tuns on his melodeon
He didn't sing publicly until he was recoded by Bill Leader.
Over the thirty years he had remembered virtually all of them and where he hadn't got full ones he asked around for missing verses.
He divided all his songs into genres, as did most singers we recorded
It's these genres I wish to discuss, not individual songs
Walter can be regarded as a collector with no connection to other singers or researchers as much as he was a singer.
"broadsheets had as their sole motive composing for the sake of money,"
Sorry Dick - broadside writing was an urban-based commercial occupation constructed on conveyor-belt lines - the songs were churned out simply to make money
They didn't even have the merits of the Irish "ballads" which were sold around the fairs (I seem to remember you sent me one about a footballer)
The Travellers who sold them were illiterate and recited them to printers straight from memory - a sort of printed oral tradition
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 02:52 PM

"I wonder if these people thought that all broadside ballads were a load of rubbish."
I have enough of them here without having to consult anybody before finding their quality-
My particular favourite is Ashton's 'Real Sailor Songs' - which got as near to a folks'l as ever Charles Dibden did
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 03:18 PM

Ah, Ashton's Real Sailor Songs
On a quick count 30 folk songs, 6 of them Child Ballads. Would you like a list?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 04:21 PM

The concluding three paragraphs of Bert Lloyd's very full and thorough introduction to John Foreman's superbly produced publication of Ashton's Real Sailor Songs would be well worth quoting here:-
Ashton's collection is a splendid example of those "curiosities' that fascinated amateurs of popular literature and street epic in the nineteenth century and whose attraction has by no means faded yet. Sea-doggish Captain Whall was rather scornful of sailor song collections that "smell of the British Museum, much labour has been spent in hunting amongst old records, ballad sheets, and suchlike, and much musty stuff unearthed, which may be some value to the historian, but most of which is clean forgotten". In this respect, Ashton's choice cannot be found innocent. Most of the songs here have passed into oblivion, and it is usually easy to see why; many were little sung, and some probably not sung at all (for the appearance of a song on a broadside is no guarantee that it was ever performed). Still, a proportion of the songs in his volume found durable favour in the mouths of men before the mast.

In a way it is ironic that, more than the battle songs or the (usually more authentic) ballads of disaster at sea, the love lyrics and narratives of amorous encounter ashore are the central part of the seamen's repertory, and the part that lasted best among singers. The songs of separation and absence, the ballad in which the girl learns that her lover is lost at sea, or the sailor finds that his sweetheart is fickle, seem to hold immortal attractions. It has been remarked (by G. Malcolm Laws) that "these romantic and sentimental ballads fail to reflect the proverbial stoicism of seafaring men's loved ones. And yet by expressing the emotions caused by such tragedies, the balladists have struck chords of response among the folk, especially those who know the sea."

Perhaps in the long run these are the most real sailor songs of all, for in a way that is often tender and always elliptical they have within them a recognition of sadness and a longing for a better life, and even more than the outright songs of complaint the best of them accord with the view of "Jack Nastyface" who wrote at the end of his vivid account of lower-deck life as he had experienced it: "In contemplating the varied scene of so motley a profession as that of a sailor, there is much to be thought on with pleasure and much with a bitter anguish and disgust . . . Great Britain can truly boast her hearts of oak, the floating sinews of her existence; and if she could but once rub out those stains of wanton and torturing punishment, so often unnecessarily resorted to, and abandon the unnatural and uncivilised custom of impressment, then, and not till then can her navy be said to have got to the truck of perfection."
A.L Lloyd
Greenwich
Spring 1973


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 17 - 07:14 PM

On a quick revisit, most of the songs in the collection are as unsingable as is the vast majority of the broadside repertoire
As with all song collections, the proof of the pudding....
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 02:21 AM

If you want to know about 19th century ballad writers try the works of Henry Mayhew such as 'London Labour and London Poor'
i have read it , pleae stop assuming that i have not read certain books.
Jim, you do not know that every broadsheet was composed purely for making money, my experience tell me that song writers do not ALWAYS compose purely for money.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 03:27 AM

"London Labour and London Poor"
Read it Dick, and his 'Characters' and 'Underworld', and E.P.THompson's 'Unknown Mayhew' - all remarkable classics and all on our shelves, constantly referred to.
I suggest if you want to know about the broadside trade you read Leslie Shepherd's 'The Broadside Ballad', or his 'History of Street Literature' or his biography of James Pitts, or Hindley's of Catnach... all well worth reading on the subject
Broadside writing was an Urban occupation; I have no doubt that some of the writers were proud of what they wrote, but they did it for pay.
What you are suggesting is equivalent to claiming that the workers at Cowley or Halewood did what they did because they loved cars.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 03:31 AM

"John Pitts'. of course
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 08:05 AM

"On a quick revisit, most of the songs in the collection are as unsingable as is the vast majority of the broadside repertoire
As with all song collections, the proof of the pudding..."(JC)

Why bother revisiting however quickly? No-one is contesting the FACT that the vast majority of stuff that appeared on broadsides is as you say it is. But there was obviously enough in there to please some members of the population, enough for it to have gone into oral tradition. Hundreds of thousands of songs of all descriptions and origins were printed on broadsides, so a couple of thousand that made it into oral tradition is just a drop in the ocean. As with most sectors of life, just by the law of averages some of the material will be better than others.

Why are you posting info that everybody is aware of?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 08:19 AM

for feckj sake i have read those books, and i disagree , not every broadside writer was writing SOLELY for the purpose of money. of course they were trying to sell Broadsheets BUT SOME OF THEM LIKE ALL COMPOSERS TOOK PLEASURE IN TRYING TO DO PRODUCE GOOD ARTISTIC COMPOSITIONS.
that is my opinion, your opinion is different but that does not make either of us right, nor does the opinion of any of the authors that we have both read, any more correct, they had their own opinion and were also trying to sell books., that does not make their opinions gospel, any more that the opinions of historians who try to sell their books and who frequently have conflicting opiniona about different aspects of history.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 08:43 AM

" enough for it to have gone into oral tradition."
And, as you said yourself, to come from the oral tradition, I would guess far more than you claim
Popularity didn't make a thing "good" - we are served by a pop industry that relies on the fact that what it produces today will almost certainly have disappeared in six months time, to be replaced by something similar - and so ad infinitum
You said in your talk that the process was two-way yet you still talk about "a couple of thousand that made it into oral tradition" when you haven't a clue how many did, as uoi have also said.
The published broadside collections are bad because they are bad - doggrell and unsingable in the main
Even the versions of traditional songs as included in Holloway and Blacking have an awkwardness about them that is generally not present in the traditional repertoire
The excuse is that the oral tradition has knocked the corners off them yet you have compared the oral tradition with the work of "the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market"
I really don't understand where you are coming from and am left with the impression that you don't either and haven't either - you seem to be riding one horse travelling in one direction.
The outstanding thing about our folk songs is that they have dirt under their fingernails and rope burns on their back - they smell of horse-shit, cordite and tar.
You accuse me of being a romantic and you attempt to reduce my arguments to teh 'Merrie England' and 'shepherdesses and swains' level, yet your 'Jolly Jack Tars, and Colin and Phoebe' are urban based caricatures of the lives of labouring country people, soldiers and sailors.
Sharp's collectors were carrying out a rescue mission to save was was left of a moribund culture, yet even so, the material they collected stands head and shoulders above Ashton and Hindley's doggerel pap.
I find your denigration of Child Sharp and the rest of his generation, at best, ungenerous, and academically unacceptable
It smacks of Dave Harker at his most vitriolic
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 09:47 AM

Steve
Something you have yet to address is the wide reaching implications of your claim - and not just about song

Date: 23 Apr 12 - 02:46 PM
My statement
"The same goes for 'folk' tales, customs, beliefs, dances, music, lore, painting.... it is their common origin which identifies them all as "folk art""
Your response
Sorry, Jim, this is just not true, except one would presume with folk painting, much of the rest originated in high art! Or certainly higher than the common folk, sophisticated sources in other words. Dances in particular."
You would have us that working people in the past left no evidence of creative ability with the exception of stone-age cave painting
A serious charge to make
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 10:29 AM

Come on Steve, you have had this on your mind for five and a half years now.... surely you must have had time to think of an answer by now!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 11:14 AM

Surely this is the thread that keeps on giving....;-)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 11:25 AM

"surely you must have had time to think of an answer by now!"

I would, Vic, if I knew what the question was!

JC, those researchers reasonably up-to-date with current research will no doubt recognise that my approach to Sharp, Child and any others is a balanced one (unlike yours). You totally ignore my references to my admiration for their work which far outbalances any criticism.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 11:47 AM

"I would, Vic, if I knew what the question was!"
I know what the questtion was - Vic appears to know what the question was
I tend to think that it's a case of your not knowing what the answer is - don't you?
"You totally ignore my references to my admiration for their work which far outbalances any criticism."
You have described Child as elitist and Sharp as an agenda driven charlatan
Fundamentalist stuff
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 11:57 AM

Meant to add that I have become used to MacColl continuing to receive a posthumous kicking but these are new kids on the block - and so many of them!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 01:08 PM

MacColl, who mentioned him, who has been posthumpously kicking him.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 01:53 PM

'his preferences were weighted by his own elite background'. (SG referring to some of Child's attitudes to the ballads, many of which I happen to agree with) He was from a middle-class background. His friends were mostly poets and dignitaries of the Boston elite. He was Professor of English at Harvard. His previous work included a 30-vol critical edition of 'The English Poets'.Don't you think that colours some of his choices?
BTW I certainly wouldn't use the word 'elitist' to describe him in general. You can if you want. As I keep saying and will continue to say his work in our field has never been surpassed but that doesn't mean we have to worship him like a god and it doesn't mean he was beyond making errors.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 02:01 PM

'elitist' 'charlatan'. Your words, JC. Either quote me directly or not at all.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 02:59 PM

"Either quote"
You just have, but here goes
"Child had limited resources, his preferences were weighted by his own elite background,"
You didn't use the word elitist, but describing his work as such was as good as
This, as far as I am concerned makes Sharp agenda driven charlatan
17 Dec 17 - 09:34 AM
And this makes him a dishonest charlatan
Put 'e together and what have you got
Bippety, boppety boo (to quote Walt Disney)
If I have overstated my analysis, how would you describe your attitude
At best ignorant of the work they were involved in and shifty with their motives
I have little time for people who base their work on the denigration of others
You've lready confirmed that this is your attitude to these people
"JC, those researchers reasonably up-to-date with current research will no doubt recognise that my approach to Sharp, Child and any others is a balanced one (unlike yours). You totally ignore my references to my admiration for their work which far outbalances any criticism."
This denial is just another tack
"His previous work included a 30-vol critical edition of 'The English Poets'
Don't you think that colours some of his choices?"
So, to add to his failings, he was incapable of distinguishing one discipline from the other - wonder why he attributed one to art poets and the other to the people?
Did you never learn the lesson, "when in a hole, stop digging" Steve?
Now - about all those folk disciplines that were dependent on a higher art (apart from folk art)?
If it doesn't leave working people devoid of a voice other than to repeat a script someone else has written, where does it leave them
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 03:24 PM

"The same goes for 'folk' tales, customs, beliefs, dances, music, lore, painting.... it is their common origin which identifies them all as "folk art""(JC)

The words I objected to were 'common origin' and 'all'

"much of the rest originated in high art! Or certainly higher than the common folk, sophisticated sources in other words. Dances in particular." (SG) Note the words 'much of'.

So leaving 'working people devoid of a voice' are your words, not mine.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 03:27 PM

Your twisting of other people's words is legendary. You put your own spin on everything. You missed your vocation. You should have been a politician. I repeat, quote me accurately or not at all!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 04:19 PM

!The words I objected to were 'common origin' and 'all'"
And teh woirds I objected to were:
"much of the rest originated in high art! Or certainly higher than the common folk, sophisticated sources in other words. Dances in particular."
which you have refused to respond to and are now creating an excuse in order to avoid
Are you saying this is no longer your position, if you are not, answer my question and explain yourself
"So leaving 'working people devoid of a voice' are your words, not mine."
I don't care what words I chose - that is the unavoidable conclusion of your claim
I think you've painted yourself into a corner, don't you?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 04:34 PM

Subject: RE: 'Historical' Ballads
From: Steve Gardham - PM
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 05:14 PM
"You're now changing my 95% into 100%, Jim."
Jim Carroll
Just wondered if you've changed your mind about this
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 05:17 PM

'I think you've painted yourself into a corner, don't you?'(JC)

Not at all. I stick by my opinion, not your spin on it. I have in the past studied all aspects of folklore.



'Just wondered if you've changed your mind about this'(JC)

Again, not at all. Remember the 89%?

95% is still very much my opinion based on years of grubbing through Professor Child's dunghills and comparing the equivalents with those found in oral tradition.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 17 - 04:45 AM

"Not at all. I stick by my opinion, not your spin on it."
You do so by refusing to address any of the flaws in your argument and by denigrating the work of over a century
The only thing I have got for certain from you is that you don't handle opposition to your ideas well, you, no doubt witll interpret that as "not suffering fools"
That seems to be the way you work
Jim Carroll


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