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New Book: Folk Song in England

Steve Gardham 21 Dec 17 - 02:11 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Dec 17 - 02:22 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 17 - 02:37 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 17 - 03:01 PM
The Sandman 21 Dec 17 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,CJ 21 Dec 17 - 07:00 PM
Richard Mellish 31 Dec 17 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Rigby 31 Dec 17 - 10:08 AM
Steve Gardham 31 Dec 17 - 10:36 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Dec 17 - 11:38 AM
Richard Mellish 01 Jan 18 - 05:39 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Jan 18 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,Rigby 02 Jan 18 - 07:18 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Jan 18 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,Rigby 02 Jan 18 - 09:30 AM
Vic Smith 02 Jan 18 - 09:50 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Jan 18 - 09:58 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Jan 18 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,Rigby 02 Jan 18 - 10:19 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Jan 18 - 11:23 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Jan 18 - 11:27 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Jan 18 - 11:35 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Jan 18 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Rigby 02 Jan 18 - 12:10 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Jan 18 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Rigby 02 Jan 18 - 02:08 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Jan 18 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Rigby 02 Jan 18 - 03:59 PM
Vic Smith 02 Jan 18 - 05:23 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Jan 18 - 07:29 PM
nickp 03 Jan 18 - 04:08 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 18 - 04:21 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 18 - 04:23 AM
r.padgett 03 Jan 18 - 04:36 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 18 - 05:09 AM
Richard Mellish 03 Jan 18 - 05:27 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 18 - 05:40 AM
Richard Mellish 03 Jan 18 - 06:46 AM
The Sandman 03 Jan 18 - 07:10 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 18 - 07:25 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 18 - 07:27 AM
GUEST,Rigby 03 Jan 18 - 07:36 AM
Richard Mellish 03 Jan 18 - 08:19 AM
Howard Jones 03 Jan 18 - 08:44 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 18 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,Rigby 03 Jan 18 - 08:54 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 18 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Rigby 03 Jan 18 - 09:32 AM
Howard Jones 03 Jan 18 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 03 Jan 18 - 10:02 AM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Dec 17 - 02:11 PM

If you're slipping back into sarcasm mode I'll ignore you.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Dec 17 - 02:22 PM

Jim,
All of these points have been answered by other people on this very thread. Thanks for the publicity and have a happy Christmas!

BTW, just for the record, my inane sarcasm over the last 100 or so postings was solely to give you a bit of your own medicine, but water off a duck's back.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 17 - 02:37 PM

"All of these points have been answered by other people on this very thread."
No they have nooot - you gave a few feeble excuses but nobody else lowered themselves to join them - please do not suggest that they did
"inane sarcasm "
That is probably the most blatantly dishonest piece of back-pedalling anybody has ever attempted to explain their bad behaviour
Your anger and resentment at being challenged was palpable and it even spilled over into your PM
"If you're slipping back into sarcasm mode I'll ignore you."
So you have reserved "inane sarcasm" for your own use
Elitism rules OK
I think you've remained in the corner you painted yourself into for long enough - time to scramble out the window
"inane sarcasm" " - Oh, you've already decided to do that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 17 - 03:01 PM

You do realise, of course, that if I took your "inane humour' excuse seriously (which I don't for one minute), it would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are totally incapable of taking this subject seriously - it displays contempt for the subject in had and for those involved in it
You might to try a defence of 'temporary insanity' - that's been known to work in situations like this
Think we're finished here, don't you
Don't lose too much sleep over Christmas
By the way
"other people"
You are the only one ever to offer excuses for you theory - sadly, everybody else has remained (somewhat bemused, no doubt) bystanders.
Jim Carroll


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

I think Jim has made his argument very convincingly Steve has not


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 21 Dec 17 - 07:00 PM

As ever, Dick.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 31 Dec 17 - 08:08 AM

Just when you all thought (hoped?) that discussion of what the "folk" did or didn't create had fizzled out, back I come with some quotations of what one of the early collectors thought. These are in the Folk Song Journal for 2016, my copy of which got buried in a heap when I was tidying up, and emerged only yesterday.

On page 29, in Alice Little's paper, are two quotations from Anne Gilchrist about the singer William Bolton (from Journal of the Folk-Song Society 2.4 and 5.2).

In 1906 she said that his singing "includes some interesting and suggestive examples of the way in which, at times, composed tunes of a century or two centuries ago have become simplified and translated, as it were, into the native musical dialect of the untutored singer".

But then 'in 1915, Gilchrist wrote of the same singer that, because on this occasion he had added some verses that were "less artless than the remainder of this genuine if doggerel production of some sailor bard, I have omitted them, in order to maintain its character." '


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 31 Dec 17 - 10:08 AM

Back on topic, I've just finished reading the book and thought it excellent. Very much recommended.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Dec 17 - 10:36 AM

I've just started reading another of Steve's (along with David Atkinson) books of this year 'Street Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century'. Again he is very thorough in his research, using many contemporary accounts, but also very careful in allowing others to draw the conclusions. He is also quite critical of some earlier scholars who have sometimes made statements based on very little evidence. The book is a collection of papers and is published by Cambridge Scholars.

Haven't seen a review yet.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Dec 17 - 11:38 AM

"Back on topic"
Was it ever off it?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Jan 18 - 05:39 PM

The topic has certainly strayed from the book Folk Song in England to the nature of folk (and to some extent other kinds of) song in England (and to some extent Scotland and Ireland). But I think straying to that extent is reasonable and we have had some interesting discussion.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 05:09 AM

The book is based on an entirely new concept of folk music and requires that we reject the whole basis of our former understanding of the genre, summed up beautifully in the 'afyetrword'
"Onve we have jettisoned the idea that it is the origin which makes it folk"
If we can't discuss that change we have to accept it without challenge - I am not prepared to do that
For me, the main impressive aspect of the book is its size; it says little about the folk songs that have been studied over the last century or so, which end up being demoted to pop songs.
In attacking what he describes misleadingly as "Maxists", he makes his own stance a political one - from the right - the approach is a political one.
There are some stunning ommissions
The fact that he has chosen to include no full songs (the lack of a discography has already been mentioned), means that it is aimed at those who are already involved in the subject - it is a polemic rather than an analysis.
The singers that were are lucky to have come into contact with over that last half century or so are so badly represented as to be written out of the subject
Sam Larner - mentioned in passing, Walter Pardon, mentioned in passing.
Harry Cox is probably given the most attention, though he is not particulary well dealt with - one of the few songs with full texts is Harry's somewhat pastische, 'Colin and Phoebe' - representative of a poorly composed piece rather than a streamilned folk song
Phil Tanner is totally ignored - I know he was Welsh, but his repertoire of English folk songs makes him an important figure in the genre (unless you happen to nbe an extreme Little Englander)
Roud lists his intentions thus
While individual song histories are noted in passing , the book is more concerned with who sang what , where, when and how, rather than the songs themselves (Introduction p. 4)
Why not WHY the songs were sung?
There is a great deal of available recorded material of Harry, Sam and Walter talking about themselves and their songs, other than how they sand them - yet once again, the singers voice is omitted from the discussion, as it always has been.
Despite claims to the contrary, it has been our experience that singers compartmentalised their songs and music in the way everybody does.
The songs in the book are discussed out of the context they raise in their subject matter
What Roud describes as an agenda by other researchers, particularly Sharp, Lloyd, and MacColl, was an attempt to put the songs into a social context - here they are dealt with as a commercial product manufactured for the entertainment of the people
Roud (along with Steve Gardham here) has politicised the subject by privatising folk songs.
I hope we can discuss this without the former rancour and condescension - let's see
Jim Carroll


   
k


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 07:18 AM

Jim, I think you are being a bit dogmatic there.

Steve Roud doesn't assert for no reason that we can't categorise folk song in terms of its origin: he makes a lengthy and well argued case for this position. There is, he says, not enough evidence to support the idea that there is a large corpus of songs which originated within the singing tradition rather than in the music halls or pleasure gardens. That's not a political judgement, it's an empirical one.

He clearly feels motivated to defend the early folk song collectors from what he sees as the unfair and anachronistic criticisms levelled by people like David Harker. Not having read Harker I can't say whether Roud's presentation of his ideas is fair, but I would agree that we owe people like Baring-Gould and Sharp an immense debt, and that their work should not be written off just because it doesn't meet the ideals we would have if we were doing the same thing today. I don't think Roud comes across as right-wing in any way. Indeed at one point he makes a slightly waspish comment about right-wing thought historically not being intellectual.

As you say, the book is huge already. I can totally see why he didn't feel the need to extend it further by adding detailed discussion of individual songs, though I agree a discography would be nice.

I don't really understand your accusation that he deals with folk songs as "a commercial product manufactured for the entertainment of the people". Where there is evidence that folk songs originated in other musical contexts, he says so; and his discussion of the other musical milieus that were current from the 16th century onwards is fascinating and often eye-opening.

If I have a criticism it's that Roud is clearly not a musicologist, and so the chapters on the music by Julia Bishop feel a bit 'bolted on' rather than fully integrated into the book. There's no discussion for instance of the forms of music notation that have been available through the years, or how widespread musical literacy was.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 08:34 AM

" There is, he says, not enough evidence to support the idea that there is a large corpus of songs which originated within the singing tradition rather than in the music halls or pleasure gardens. "
He and Gardaham have also said that there is not enough evidence to indicate where the songs came from but have opted for the 'commercial' explanation based on the fact that most of them appeared in print
Without being able to examine the songs next to these conclusions it it impossible to move on - there are no texts enabling us to do so and no discography in order for those coming to the genre anew to test the validity of Roud's claims (conveniently maybe?).
If we haven't got the actual background information, we need to do so by examining the texts or the sung versions.
That's not dogmatism, it's common sense
A book on folksong that excludes forlsongs is nonsense - like Bronson's "when is a ballad not a ballad" conundrum - when it has no tune
Far from defending the collectors he undermines and eventually rejects the conclusions they arrived at
His is Harker's iron fist in a velvet glove.
"a commercial product manufactured for the entertainment of the people".
The evidence has been here from day one - Steve Gardahm said this in the early days of our arguments in more or less those words
He went on to equate folk song with the output of today's music industry.
The two Steve's biggest crime, as far as I'm concerned is that they are attempting to rob folk song of its uniqueness - Gardam has ecxtended that to tales, dance, music lore... leaving the people with only having ever actually artistically created cave-paintings and scrimshaw, and little else
How political is that?
As far as the music is concerned, that requires a discussion as to how the singers regarded it before you approach it in its own righT
Every single traditional singer we have asked has said that they regard their songs as narratives with tunes attached - the words were always more important than the tunes
Where the singers were unable to retain the tunes they selected one that fitted - the extent of choice they had depended on the health of the various local traditions.
The same with the texts - if they failed to remember a bit, they filled in the gap from their own imagination
David Buchan in 'The Ballad and the Folk' probably overstated it, bu he had it certainly partly right
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 09:30 AM

Well, this is why your stance seems to me dogmatic. The Steves are content to draw what limited conclusions they can from the available external evidence, and beyond that, they conclude that we don't have enough information to go on. In most cases there simply isn't any external evidence to decide whether a song pre-dates the oldest known printed version, and by how much, so they are content to leave the question there.

By contrast, you seem to be suggesting that in the absence of evidence, it's legitimate to simply assume an ancient and/or unique origin for folk songs that is distinct from printed sources. That is the step that strikes me as dogmatic.

I'm not quite sure why you think that Steve Roud's approach devalues folk song, or denies "the people" any creativity. It is certainly a travesty of his argument to say he thinks that folk song is "a commercial product manufactured for the entertainment of the people", as though there was a separate class of creators who simply imposed their output on the wider populace. Surely, all sorts of different people have been involved in the creation and transmission of different songs. Why do you feel the need to lump them together in crude classes like that? Why assume that there is a single mechanism behind the creation of folk song?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 09:50 AM

By contrast, you seem to be suggesting that in the absence of evidence, it's legitimate to simply assume an ancient and/or unique origin for folk songs that is distinct from printed sources. That is the step that strikes me as dogmatic.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 09:58 AM

"it's legitimate to simply assume an ancient and/or unique origin for folk songs that is distinct from printed sources. "
I assume nothing R
I believe that the only way to arrive at a conclusion lies in assessing what information we do have and bringing it together
The most important source has always been neglected - the singers themselves, but having said that, we do have a little from them and there is possibly more yet uncovered.
Roud and Gardham have discounted that information by turning the singers into customers rather than creative artists using their art to comment on their lives.
This is how Steve Gardham summed up folk songs in an earlier argument

Subject: RE: 'Historical' Ballads
From: Steve Gardham - PM
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 05:14 PM
"Yes, it certainly does place them on the same level as any pop songs churned out by today's music industry. They were the equivalent of POP songs when they hit the streets, and those that came out of the theatres and pleasure gardens and glee clubs and cellars in the towns were also pop songs. They only became folk songs when the folk started singing them. "

It really doesn't get more unequivocal that that - money rules OK
The two Steves views on this are inoperable, though Roud is far less arrogant and patronising in his declarations
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 10:03 AM

Incidentally, that quoted posting of Steve G's began
"You're now changing my 95% into 100%, Jim."
That wipes out the possibility that 'the folk' ever created a single folk song
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 10:19 AM

I think it is universally regretted that the early collectors did not gather more information about their singers, and I'm sure all Steves concerned would agree with that.

The little recorded info I know of suggest that the singers often had strong views as to how the material should be sung, but not that they saw themselves as creators or originators of that material, or even as consciously altering it.

As regards later singers, I'd love to see any evidence you have that bears on the origins of their material. Bob Copper's autobiography for instance does not suggest that he saw himself primarily as a "creative artist using art to comment on his life".

As I understand it there is a fairly large number of songs that have been collected from oral sources that can be definitely traced to origins in the music halls or pleasure gardens. Are you saying that those are therefore not folk songs? Does that not make the 'folk' status of any song precarious and contingent? That a folk song is only a folk song until we discover that it started life as a composed piece?

Many of the early collectors comment that they themselves had to filter out what they saw as genuine folk songs from material that they knew to have originated as composed songs -- they were all of a piece to the singers themselves.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 11:23 AM

10.03
Please make sure your postings make some sort of sense. How can we respond otherwise?

95% considered opinion based on a lifetime's research.
100%?????????????


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 11:27 AM

"but not that they saw themselves as creators or originators of that material, or even as consciously altering it.
Something we don't knw, but what we do know is that singers embraced the songs as theirs - Norfolk, The West Country, Yorkshire, Irish, Scots.... no matter where they originated
The sigers identified with the songs in the way no pop fan can ever do (even if they had time to, given the mayfly-length existence of most of their songs
Examine the songs (which Roud doesn't and doesn't allow us to) and you'll find that they embrace various aspects of the communities in which they were sung
The poaching songs, for instance, appear to be a direct product of the Poaching Wars that began in 1760 and didn't finish till the outbreak of World War One
These were the direct result of the ongoing seizures of land, the most avaricious of which took place from the late eighteenth and throughout the 19th centuries
The songs dealt with the effects of no longer being able to take game to feed poor families - an insider view of the times
The same with the transportation ballads - a reflection of the opposition to mechanisation of agriculture, the attempts to set up trades unions and the rise in poverty brought about by the Industrial Revolution.
Songs of socal misalliance and parental opposition are pictures of the centuries old practice of using daughters to improve the fortunes of ambitious families by marrying them off to wealthy landowners - one of the finest examples of this is to be foung in the ballad 'Tiftie's Annie'
Harry Cox had much to say about this aspect of the songs which is why I believe he and others were disgracefully ignored in Roud's book.
I never get tired of saying that I I wanted to know the details of historical events I would go to the history books - if I wanted to know how the people at the time felt about it, I would go to the folk songs
For me, MacColl's statement, which was dismissed as dewy-eyed romanticism by Steve Gardham, says everything that needs to be said about the origins of our folk songs
"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island.
We are indebted to the Harry Coxes and Phil Tanners, to Colm Keane and Maggie MacDonagh, to Belle Stewart and Jessie Murray and to all the sweet and raucous unknown singers who have helped to carry our people's songs across the centuries"

There is nothing arrogant or dogmatic in that statement - on the contrary, it embraces all possibilities and it represents the views held by most researchers down the ages.
In order to have had the insight to have written our folk songs, outsiders like the broadside hacks would have needed to possess the skills of a Dickens, or a Steinbeck, or a Melville
As it was, they were no more than bad poets working to meet a deadline.
Someone mentioned 'instinct' earlier, not a reliable definitive way to define folk song, but it has to play a major part in what we do.
I've been around the scene long enough to think I can recognise a folk song when I hear one, even though I might not have heard it before.
I think I can recognise a broadside, or a music-hall song, or a Victorian Parlour ballad.... in the same way
What is being ignored in all of this is so could the older singers, though they may not have used the same terminology
The two constants of thirty years of collecting is that the singers believed their traditional songs to be realistic - they viewed them visually as something that might have happened
The other is that they regarded them as their own, not something they had purchased at a 19th century W. H. Smith
Walter Pardon filled several tapes of these opinions - he hardly got a mention in 'Folk Songs in England' (as seen by Steve Roud)
Pity
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 11:35 AM

"Subject: RE: 'Historical' Ballads
From: Steve Gardham - PM
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 05:14 PM "
"You're now changing my 95% into 100%, Jim."
By your own words, so shall ye be judged Steve
"lifetime's research"
You can repeat this as often as you like, just as you can and have told us who supports you, but unless you can make sense of your arguments, it doesn't matter how long you've been at it and who agrees with you - is still does not hold water.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 11:41 AM

"10.03"
???
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 12:10 PM

You are making a lot of sweeping generalisations there. No-one is denying that there are some songs that are ancient, or which appear to have originated outside any of the main commercial spheres; but the number of cases where there is actual evidence of this is very small, and that is the point that is at issue.

On what basis do you characterise the writers of broadsides as outsiders? They belonged to their times just as much as everyone else. I don't understand at all why you think they couldn't have written these songs, or at least the original texts from which the songs developed. Nor do I understand why you think a song must originate within the singing community in order to belong to that community. Nor why you think that 'realism' can only be achieved in this way. Surely it is just as plausible to suppose that of the thousands of new songs composed each year, a small number happened to possess the right attributes -- be that realism, singability, luck or whatever -- to ensure their survival within the singing community.

Also I think we need to be careful about drawing parallels with the singing tradition outside England. The existence or otherwise of a ballad tradition in Scotland (where Tiftie's Annie originates) doesn't allow us to make assumptions about what took place in Devon or Sussex.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 12:51 PM

I am making no generalisations whatever and I ma not talking about ancient songs
Our actual knowledge of what we know of the oral tradition is confined to what was collected by Sharp and heis colleges, and a little earlier from Baring Gould and even then, little was collected by way of information and    opinions of the singers (Roud points that out)
We have little else other than an examination of the contents of the songs - my points on the social contents are confined to the 19th century, when the songs that were collected then were possibly made.
Some features of the songs date back many centuries and remain unchanged, particularly the social misalliance and arranged marriage songs.
"On what basis do you characterise the writers of broadsides as outsiders?"
The folk songs we are dealing with are largely rural (a constant description of them ahs been "Country Songs", and those of small communities based around mining and textiles, alongside sea and military songs.   
Unless you are suggesting (as Steve Gardham has), that the hacks worked on the land or served at sea, etc., they were desk-bound, Urban based outsiders.
It is infinitely more sensible to think that the folk songs that reached the broadside presses were brought back in skeletal form by packmen, or gathered from visiting countrymen, or soldiers embarking for foreign service, or sailors in port.
Seven Dials was within pissing distance of Covent Garden, where farmers wiould come to sell their produce and Smithfield where country livestock would be brought for sale - the docks were well within walking distance
Yet we are told that it was the desk-jockeys who created the realistic pictures that the songs presented
Sure they did!!!
It really boils down to this
If you accept that 'ordinary' people were capable of making songs there is no reason on earth to suggest that they didn't create our folk songs
You need to remember that we are viewing the dying embers of a tradition, and a miniscule part of it at that, limited to where the collectors worked,
This is why I suggest we need to look elsewhere in these islands for other explanations
We worked in with Irish singers - the rural population lost their tradition in the 1950s, so our singers were a part of a living one - the Travellers had a creative oral tradition up to the point where they acquired portable televisions in the mid 1970s
We spent a great deal of time recording our singers talking about how songs worked within their communities
One of our most important findings was of the large repertoire of songs that had been made locally during the lifetimes of the singers - on every subject under the sun - on local railways, maritime disasters, emigration, evictions, land protests, national ist warfare, murders, drunken nights out... all operating side by side with centuries old ballads and songs and obviously having been used to make new songs
The Scots had a similar situation going for them, particularly in the bothies
Either the English people did the same ot they were far less creative and imaginative than their neighbors
You decide
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 02:08 PM

Hmmm.

Well, for one thing, I actually don't think that such internal evidence as there is supports your conclusion. At the very least the picture is much more complex than you make out.

If the songs sung in rural communites were made within those communities, why do they only rarely contain information that would be limited to those communities, such as detail about farming practices of the time? Why do so many of them present rural life as a pastoral idyll, rather than a never-ending cycle of backbreaking hard labour? Inasmuch as it's possible to extrapolate from the lyrical content of rural songs, an origin in the pleasure gardens actually seems more plausible for most of them than the idea that they were written to reflect the realities of life in rural communities. Because, as far as I know, many of them don't.

As far as I'm aware relatively little is known about the lives of most broadside writers. It's a massive presumption to assume that they were 'desk-bound urban outsiders'. I'm not even convinced that that is a category that can meaningfully be applied to anyone in the 19th Century. Was Dickens a 'desk-bound urban outsider'? Or Conrad?

No doubt there are some similarities between the English tradition and the Scots and Irish traditions, but there are also obvious differences. And again, I don't know that all the evidence supports your ideas. The ballad tradition in Scotland and Ireland is both oral and literary. Some well-known Scots ballads are of obscure origin, others were composed by well-known literary figures, some are disputed.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 03:02 PM

"I actually don't think that such internal evidence as there is supports your conclusion."
Why?
I've given you some examples - would you like some more?
"why do they only rarely contain information that would be limited to those communities, "
For the same reason they were missed in Ireland - collectors had a preconception of what a folk song was and went out to find songs that fitted what had gone before
THey sked for "old songs" yet the local songs didn't fit that description because many were recently made
Sharp actually wrote about not taking down local songs in some cases
Many of these songs, served as the folk voice for a short period and died when the memory of the events died
If you want some examples of Irish songs that were made locally try The Bobbed Hair or The Quilty Burning or The Leon or The Broadford Lads or Dudley Lee the Blackleg... or around a couple of dozen others HERE
This is one we missed putting up

That Cold Man by Night.   Martin Long, Tooreen, Inagh, Recorded July 1975 at Willie Clancy Summer School
The practice of young women being pressurised or even forced into arranged marriages of convenience to older men has inspired many songs throughout these islands; sometimes depicting the tragedy or resigned bitterness of the situation the woman finds herself in, but occasionally, as with this one, open defiance, with a touch of humour.
This appears to be a locally-made song; we have been unable to find another example of it outside Clare.
Particularly interesting is the description of the visit to the matchmaker (the “learned man”) and the celebratory ceremony to seal the ‘made match’.

I am a handsome comely maid; my age is scarce eighteen,
I am the only daughter of a farmer near Crusheen,
‘Tis married I intend to be before its winning daylight,
Oh, my father wants me to get wed to a cold man by night.

This man being old, as I am told, his years are sixty-four,
I really mean to slight him, for he being wed before,
His common shoes are always loose, and his clothes don’t fit him right,
Oh I don’t intend the wife to be of that cold man by night.

The very next day without delay they all rode into town,
To a learned man they quickly ran the contract to pin down;
Into an inn they did call in to whet their whistles nigh,
In hope that I would live and die with that cold man by night.

My father came, I did him blame and thus to him did say,
“Oh father dear, you acted queer in what you done today,
In the Shannon deep I’ll go and sleep, before the mornings light,
Before I’ll agree the wife to be of that cold man by night”.

“Oh daughter dear, don’t say no more, or be a foolish lass,
For he has a house and four good cows, and a sporting fine black ass,
He has a handsome feather bed where ye may rest by night,
So change your life and be the wife of that cold man by night”.

“Oh father dear, don’t say no more, for I’ll tell you the reason why,
Before I’ll agree the wife to be, I’d first lay down and die,
In the Shannon deep I’ll go and sleep before the mornings light,
Before I’ll consent to be content with that cold man by night.

My match is broke, without a joke, I’ll marry if I can,
Before (???) is over I’ll have a nice young man,
That will take me in his arms in a cold and frosty night,
And some other dame might do the same with that cold man by night.

It's a massive presumption to assume that they were 'desk-bound urban outsiders'"
It most certainly is not - it's a well documented fact, including in Hindleys Hindley in teh Catnach biography and Leslie Shepherd's books on the subject
Vic has described the pressure they worked under quite adequately
Beside the point anyway - they were hackneyed poets (Hacks) and their output is dry, brittle chalk to the rich-tasting cheese of folk poetry
If you want to spell out what differences have made Ireland capable of folk poetry and England incapable, please do
Alluding to them doesn't work in debates such as this
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 03:59 PM

"For the same reason they were missed in Ireland - collectors had a preconception of what a folk song was and went out to find songs that fitted what had gone before
THey sked for "old songs" yet the local songs didn't fit that description because many were recently made"

But we aren't talking about the songs that weren't collected, because we don't know about them! We're talking about the songs that *were* collected. For better or worse, that is all that we have left of the English oral tradition. That does include a number of songs that have indications of local manufacture -- 'Horkstow Grange' would be a good example perhaps. But those seem to be in a minority.

I am not convinced by the argument that the early collectors systematically overlooked 'recently made' songs, or that they only collected rural songs that expressed an Arcadian perspective and ignored anything that dealt with the harsh realities of life. They were certainly selective but in the main their aim was to rule out songs they already knew to be composed by people like Dibdin. And as for the singers, I don't recall Bob Copper talking about generating new songs in response to local events, but I don't know what, if anything, Pardon or Cox or Larner had to say on the matter.

I'm a bit baffled by this argument that the output of the 'broadside hacks' is intrinsically and completely different from what any other semi-educated person of the time might have written. Likewise the idea that they were all birds of a feather and not a disparate collection of individuals who probably came from a variety of different backgrounds.

Also, one minute you are suggesting that broadsides were written by cloth-eared hacks whose work is instantly distinguishable from genuine 'folk poetry', but the next minute you're arguing that those same hacks simply wrote down the 'realistic pictures' that were actually created by the rural folks who came to Covent Garden market. Both things can't be true, surely?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 05:23 PM

I wonder if Steve Gardham could help me out with this one -

I am currently working on a review of Vaughan Williams in Norfolk: Volume 2. This is a fascinating and very informative CD-Rom recently released on the 'Musical Traditions' label (MTCD255) and covers just about all aspects of this part of this important collection. Volume 2 covers The 1908-11 collection from the Broads & South.
It seems that Vaughan Williams collected 93 folk songs in this part of the county in these years. We know that VW was a stickler for going for what he saw as the genuine article. A quick glance through the very detailed Index suggests that 91 of them can be sourced to Broadside or Chapbook.

Does Steve think that he could work the percentage of the songs that were printed in this way for me?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jan 18 - 07:29 PM

That percentage would be somewhat higher than my 89% which is the percentage of the general corpus (English) that form the earliest extant version.

'sourced to Broadside or Chapbook'. By this do you mean a specific locally produced broadside or Chapbook or just broadside versions in general?

'desk-bound urban outsiders'.(JC) These are Jim's descriptions and no-one else's. Of course the broadside poets came from a wide variety of backgrounds. There was enormous migration from rural to urban, plus at the ends of the wars, soldiers and sailors cast onto the streets. It would have been logical for some of these with a little literacy to have turned their hands to writing ballads, again that's apart from all the material coming in from other commercial sources.
The idea that they were desk-bound is ludicrous.

JC keeps quoting Irish songs at us as if these are relevant to the corpus we are talking about. Let him give us an English example of a song in the corpus that couldn't have been written by an urban writer. (I've already offered to look in detail at Walter's repertoire)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: nickp
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 04:08 AM

Finished at last. 3 months of late night reading.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 04:21 AM

" These are Jim's descriptions and no-one else's."
Will yopu please stop doing this Steve; all writing on the broadside trade indicates that we know little about the broadside writers, which is largely what makes your claims so ludicrous
You have said this, Roud sys this, Shepherd says this, there is next to no information on the writers in Hindleys Catnach biography, or Shepherd's wor on Pitts
To state that "the broadside poets came from a wide variety of backgrounds" is invented nonsense and you know it - I've challenged you to provide proof before and you have failed to do so.
"Let him give us an English example of a song in the corpus that couldn't have been written by an urban writer."
I believe that rather quibble about individual songs and get bogged down as we did once before, it is far more profitable to place your shoddy broadside compositions next to say Banks of Sweet Primroses, or Maid of Australia, or even the few verses of Brigg Fair Grainger collected - or any of our classic folk songs and see how they compare in style and language.
You have alrweady made this difficult by claiming that up to 100% of them originated on the broadside presses (we have yet to receive an acknowledgement that you did claim that figure)
The idea that they were desk-bound is not ludicrous - you have already accepted this by suggesting they researched working practices and equipment and scanned newspapers for information for their compositions
The picture you have painted is of a full-time professional working for money
Vic rightly offered their working under intense pressure as an excuse for their bad poetry.
The picture Roud paints is that of a professional writer working under conveyor-belt like conditions.
If we wish to work out who wrote our folk songs, these are the last people you would go to as possibles.
I repeat and will continue to do so) - once you accept the idea that working people were able to write songs you have to accept that they probably wrote our folk songs
If you don't believe them capable, you need to say so so we know where they stand - time to put your cards on the table
You introduced politics into this discussion Steve - your attempt to dismiss working people as creators of anything, including folk tales, lore, dance, and music and present them as repeating parrots smacks of a political agends to me
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 04:23 AM

Meant to say - I'll respond to Rigby's interesting points later
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: r.padgett
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 04:36 AM

It perhaps would be a good idea for readers of this thread to buy the book and see what has been said rightly or wrongly and opinions expressed ~ therein to try to make sense of this argument ~ i won't express my thoughts here ~ but continue to follow ~ at a distance!

Ray


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 05:09 AM

Steve
Your own description of what we know about broadside hacks - from your talk

"Coming into the early nineteenth century, the Pitts/Catnach era, we have a massive burgeoning of cheap street literature and this is where most of what we now call folk song originated, in towns, written by broadside hacks. Some of these hacks may well have been born in rural settings or have been employed in some of the settings they describe, but most of them lived close to their buyers, the printers, in the towns and cities. Though we are talking here about commercial enterprise, the poets were paid a shilling and the sheets sold in the streets for a pittance, we are talking about the very bottom of the market as described in great detail by Henry Mayhew in London Labour and London Poor. Some of you may well feel this is low enough down the pecking order to be included in the folk process. Most of the hacks of course are anonymous."

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 05:27 AM

Maid of Australia and Brigg Fair do both have the air of being made by individuals who were there (in the former case, the location almost certainly being the Hawkesbury River in Australia, not anywhere in England, though the name got changed to "Oxborough" when the song came to England). The encounters recounted could very well have happened exactly as described or they could be fantasies.

Banks of Sweet Primroses is an oddity. It is very stable in both text and tune across many collected versions, clearly showing how much the folk liked it; and yet, as Steve Roud points out in the notes in The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs "something of a mystery, as it always seems as if we do not have the full story. What has the man done to receive such an extreme and seemingly final rejection... ?"

And just who is saying what? It is presumably the girl who says "I'll go down ... where no man on earth shall e'er me find", but why make that declaration just then, after the encounter described in the song, rather than going down soon after whatever dirty deed the man did to her? And is it the male narrator who cheers himself up with the thought of a "sunshiny day"? (BTW, in my personal experience of weather in the London area it's more common for a sunshiny morning to be followed by overcast for the rest of the day.)

As I think I said somewhere up thread, it's easy to cite specific songs that were almost certainly written by "folk" in the countryside and others that were almost certainly written for the stage, the pleasure gardens, or directly for printing. The bone of contention is only the relative proportions among the collected corpus.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 05:40 AM

"the location almost certainly being the Hawkesbury River in Australia"
A moot point Richard
Prof. Bob Thomson researched the song and linked it to Oxborough Hall, on the banks of the Rover Ox, where there was once a settlement of returned Australian transportees.
The song is definitely very popular in East Anglia
I agree totally about it being composed from experience
I believe that Banks of Sweet Primroses, obviously an attampt tp present a failed love afair from both points of view, is a superb example of folk composition - largely the exuberance of a young man 'feeling his oats'   as we used to say in Liverpool, drawing a blank and resolving to look elsewhere - full of symbolic references rather than description
Way beyond the abilities of a desk-bound hack
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 06:46 AM

> Prof. Bob Thomson researched the song and linked it to Oxborough Hall, on the banks of the Rover Ox, where there was once a settlement of returned Australian transportees.

It is very plausible that one of them would either have brought the song to Norfolk, or even composed it there after coming back to England. But surely the event described, the encounter with the (native) "Maid of Australia" swimming in a river, was in Australia, not in Norfolk.

> I believe that Banks of Sweet Primroses, obviously an attampt tp present a failed love afair from both points of view, is a superb example of folk composition - largely the exuberance of a young man 'feeling his oats'   as we used to say in Liverpool, drawing a blank and resolving to look elsewhere - full of symbolic references rather than description
> Way beyond the abilities of a desk-bound hack

If "hack" means someone who only ever made poor verses, then fair enough. But your young man describing his (real or imaginary) encounter could equally well have been a countryman or a townie, he might have made part of his living by selling songs to broadside printers, and he might or might not have ever sung that particular one to his mates in a pub as well as getting it printed.

A song being made by someone who knew what (s)he was writing about (whether from personal experience or by hearing from others) and a song first seeing the light of day on a printed broadside are not mutually exclusive.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 07:10 AM

why describe people as hacks rather than writers, immediately there is a derogatory connotation, the standard of writing will invariable be of differing standard.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 07:25 AM

"But surely the event described, "
Of course it was Richard - I don't think Bob was arguing that from what I remember
He suggested that the name was taken from Oxborough Hall
Knowing his scholarship, I'm pretty sure he would have been aware of the Hawkesborough suggestion
"he might have made part of his living by selling songs to broadside printers,"
No problem with that either - that would make the songs as having originated elsewhere other than the broadside presses, which is what this argument is about
The folk songs for me have the feel of rural experience and knowledge - Im quite happy with the idea that many made their into print
I have suggested that the hacks plundered the living tradition for ideas and song plots and verse forms, but their own composition style makes them a very unlikely source for the number of folk songs being claimed to have ORIGINATED' on the broadside presses
This is where the Irish experience comes in
Up to the 1950s Ireland had a large trade in selling 'ballads' - song sheets sold around the fairs and markets in rural areas - the trade was exclusively carried out by non-literate Travellers who would take songs they knew, recite them over the counter to the printer who would then run them off for sale.
Many rural people learned songs which were technically from the oral tradition just as many of us started our repertoires on The Penguin Book of Folk Songs
We recorded information from a Traveller singer/storyteller who ha been involved in the trad along with hiss mother
He insisted that, to his knowledge none of the songs he sold had been written for the ballads but had come from songs he already knew.
He recounted how he would be asked for his father's songs - his father was a noted singer and storyteller - and would oblige by having the soings printed before he next visited the area.
He described how he would swap songs with Travellers involved in the trade from other areas.
Roud and Dave Atkinson have made similar claims of high percentages of folk songs originating as broadsides in the Street Literature book.
Personally I find the Irish oral tradition so complicated, not least the multilingual nature of the country at the time, that it would take years of careful study before anybody could possibly make this claim
As the buk of the Irish oral collections remained locked away in archives, with very few published examples (apart from Terry Moylan's magnificent book of political songs), such research would need to be Irish-based anyway
I doubt if Steve Roud and Dave Atkinson have made such a study in Ireland and have once again superficially based their opinions on the urban broadside trades
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 07:27 AM

"why describe people as hacks rather than writers, immediately there is a derogatory connotation"
Because they wer bad writers Dick - they even gave their name to tabloid journalists
THey have always been documented as "hacks"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 07:36 AM

Perhaps it's just me, but I don't think Maid of Australia is a good example of poetry of any sort. Taken alone, the words are doggerel, and full of exactly the sort of contrived rhymes that people sneer at in broadside poetry. There's also nothing in the song to indicate that the writer had ever been nearer Australia than Norwich. It reads much more like some sort of male wish-fulfilment fantasy than as a record of an actual event.

But in a sense that's the point, because the genius of folk song doesn't lie in its raw materials, whether they be broadsides or glees or whatever. It lies in the process by which crude poetry, moralising parlour songs or florid pleasure-garden compositions get *turned into* great and singable songs; and it lies in the unique style of performance with which singers delivered those songs. It's a red herring to complain that suggesting a broadside origin undermines the role of 'the people', because the origin isn't what does or does not make it good.

To give a slightly off-the-wall analogy, a few years back the Turner Prize was won by an installation called 'shedboatshed'. The artist started with a garden shed, dismantled it, built a boat from the pieces, sailed it down the Rhine to a museum and rebuilt the original shed. You may or may not think that art, but the question of who built the shed in the first place surely doesn't matter.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 08:19 AM

I hesitate to devote too much of this thread to one particular song, but I would like to pursue the origin of Maid of Australia a bit further.

> There's also nothing in the song to indicate that the writer had ever been nearer Australia than Norwich. It reads much more like some sort of male wish-fulfilment fantasy than as a record of an actual event.

For my money it could equally well be either.

What I can't buy is the idea of the action (real or imagined) taking place anywhere other than Australia. It is clearly the first (and probably the last) encounter between the narrator and the maid, so she isn't a "Maid of Australia" that a returned convict has brought back to England with him. And in at least one version she is swimming in "a stream in my native Australia".

Jim, can you please point me to where I can read Bob Thomson's work?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 08:44 AM

'Banks of the Sweet Primroses' is an example of a song which circulated on broadsides and stayed in the tradition largely unaltered. Jim suggests that its quality shows that it must have originated from the 'folk' and that the broadsides were simply publishing an existing song taken from a 'real' folk singer, rather than an original composition. It is an attractive idea, and he may well be right, but it is probably unprovable. However since obviously composed songs were taken up in large numbers by 'the folk' it suggests that this distinction was of little or no consequence to the singers themselves.

The weakness in Jim's argument is that it is circular - if a song is badly written this shows it must be by a hack, if it's good it must have come from 'the folk'.

To take another example which was discussed earlier, 'The Shepherd Adonis' in its original form bears all the hallmarks of a composed work - classical allusions, arcadian rural stereotypes, and over-flowery language all suggest its composer was no shepherd. Its transformation into 'Shepherd of the Downs' to me demonstrates the working-class creativity which Jim is so keen to defend. However, unless I am misunderstanding him, according to his interpretation its origin would appear to disqualify it as a proper folk song.

What this does seem to demonstrate is that 'the folk' favoured a particular style of song. Songs like 'Banks of the Sweet Primroses' which fitted this style could be adopted more or less unaltered. Others would be adapted and altered until they fitted into it - whether this show the 'folk process' or 'working class creativity' is a matter of terminology only.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 08:45 AM

"What I can't buy is the idea of the action (real or imagined) taking place anywhere other than Australia."
I agree with your analysis of the song Richard - it feels that way to me - it may be the work of a returned convict - it certainly doesn't feel like the work of a hack
I totally disagree with Rigby's point - many songs recited or read give the impression of 'doggerel' - it's not until you put them in your mouth as a singer that they spring to life
The opposite is the case of broadsides - as a singer, I went through dozens of collections of them and found nothing
The Critics group used a few for their albums, particularly the two London ones and, while they worked in context of the subject, few of them stood the test of time out of context
Maid of Australia is a glorious celebration of a sexual encounter, the type of which abounds in the British tradition, particularly in Scotland
"Jim, can you please point me to where I can read Bob Thomson's work?"
Bob published very little - his PhD on broadsides remains unpublished
I got a great deal of information from Bob via our friendship in conversations
He did similar work on other songs, such as 'Drink old England Dry', one verse of which he linked to the draining of The Fens
It was Bob who was responsible for acquiring The Carpenter Collection for the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library - Ken Goldstein told him about it, he told me and I told the Librarian at Cecil Sharp House
He was a great loss to English folksong scholarship when he moved to Gainesville
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 08:54 AM

"many songs recited or read give the impression of 'doggerel' - it's not until you put them in your mouth as a singer that they spring to life"

Actually that was exactly the point I was trying to make! Considered purely in terms of the written word, there is no real gap in standard or skill between a song like Maid of Australia and a typical broadside verse, and therefore I can't see any reasonable objection to the idea that a broadside poet couldn't have written those words, or the original from which they have evolved.

The point is, as Howard says, that the real, worthwhile creativity isn't in the original composition of the words. It's in the process by which they get turned into a great song.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 08:58 AM

"if a song is badly written this shows it must be by a hack,"
No - no - no
Good and bad are subjective terms in relation to individual songs
There are many folk songs that don't move me enough to want to sing them, while there are a few broadsides I relish - my favourite song, the one I usually drag out when asked to sing is The Ranter Parson
I was given it by a friend who got it from The Madden Collection and worked on it to knock the corners off
It is the overall style of broadside writing and their one dimensional approach to their subject matter that makes them unsingable
Broadside style is as identifiable as folk song style - you know one when you see/hear one
I've only ever heard The Coppers sing Shepherd of the Downs and I find their singing so singular and at odds with folk song style in general that I find it difficult to judge many of their songs
I'm not happy discussing traditional singers like The Coppers publicly, I don't think it fair and try to avoid it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 09:32 AM

The Ranter Parson appears in Roy Palmer's book of Folk Songs Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams, with the following note:

"The song appeared several times on street ballads, but to the best of my knowledge has turned up only once in oral tradition: in 1904, when Vaughan Williams took it down from a 61-year-old labourer, who had learned 'most of his songs off "ballets" or from his father'."

As usual RVW only noted the words of the first verse of the sung version, so Palmer gives verses 2 to 10 from a broadside.

Make of that what you will!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 09:56 AM

Jim, first my apologies if I have oversimplified or misinterpreted your argument but it appeared to me that your justification for claiming that 'Banks of Sweet Primroses' originated from the folk rather than a professional composer was based on the style and quality of the text.

"It is the overall style of broadside writing and their one dimensional approach to their subject matter that makes them unsingable
Broadside style is as identifiable as folk song style - you know one when you see/hear one"

That's certainly true to modern ears, but the fact remains that these songs were widely taken up and sung. The need to lick them into a more acceptable shape doesn't seem to have deterred singers at the time. However, while the words may have been taken from a broadside the singer would probably have heard the song first from the ballad-seller. In your own words, it's not until you put a song in your mouth as a singer that they spring to life. Those street singers whose livelihoods depended on people buying their ballad-sheets were probably skilled at making these unpromising texts appear attractive. The folk process then took over.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 03 Jan 18 - 10:02 AM

I have just today read an article regarding copyright.

In a letter from a well respected researcher and author in the States,He states "For example, upper class English songwriters in the 17th and 18th century often didn't sign their works because writing songs or poems was considered beneath their social station".

Does this have any relevance in your arguments? It seems to, to me as an amused bystander.


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