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New Book: Folk Song in England

Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 04:26 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 04:57 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 10:02 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 10:27 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 10:37 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 10:45 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 10:49 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 10:52 AM
Richard Mellish 08 Jan 18 - 11:11 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 11:26 AM
Vic Smith 08 Jan 18 - 11:31 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 11:37 AM
Vic Smith 08 Jan 18 - 12:12 PM
Lighter 08 Jan 18 - 12:13 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 12:41 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 12:47 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 12:49 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 12:57 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 01:02 PM
TheSnail 08 Jan 18 - 01:15 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 01:35 PM
Richard Mellish 08 Jan 18 - 01:39 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 01:44 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 01:59 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,Ed 08 Jan 18 - 02:28 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 02:51 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 18 - 02:52 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 03:06 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 03:16 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 03:26 PM
Vic Smith 08 Jan 18 - 03:41 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 03:58 PM
Richard Mellish 08 Jan 18 - 05:41 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 06:09 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jan 18 - 06:14 PM
Lighter 08 Jan 18 - 06:29 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 18 - 03:35 AM
The Sandman 09 Jan 18 - 03:41 AM
Richard Mellish 09 Jan 18 - 04:46 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 04:58 AM
Richard Mellish 09 Jan 18 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 09 Jan 18 - 06:55 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 07:02 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 18 - 07:10 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 07:12 AM
GUEST 09 Jan 18 - 07:31 AM
TheSnail 09 Jan 18 - 07:52 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 08:16 AM
Lighter 09 Jan 18 - 08:41 AM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 04:26 AM

Sorry - have just remembered that N.I R.S. should be B.I.R.S. (the British Institute of Recorded Sound)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 04:57 AM

Whoops - half asleep still
Forget that last post
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 10:02 AM

'historical and social events that produced our songs' Not imagination and creativity then?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 10:27 AM

"'historical and social events that produced our songs' Not imagination and creativity then?"
You know I mean both Steve - we've discussed this often enough before
Given your percentages, your own claims dismissed them both and attribute any imagination and creativity to crap writes composing for money
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 10:37 AM

Without disputing your account in any way, Jim, as I understand the EFDSS had nothing to do initially with the Carpenter Collection coming onto their website. The project was a joint one between Aberdeen University and the LoC and I think funded by the LoC. If I remember aright the decision to place it on the EFDSS website was a relatively recent one. It probably had more to do with the fact that David Atkinson was seconded to Aberdeen Uni to work on the Collection and he is also the editor of EFDSS's Folk Music Journal.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 10:45 AM

'crap writes'.

Everyone here, including myself, has gone out of their way to agree that much that was produced on the vast mountains of broadsides to the modern-day mind could be described as 'crap'. However several contributors have quite rightly stated that in ANY genre of literature or music there will be 'crap' and some of it will be good, simply by the law of averages. Even the great Professor Child included a substantial amount of 'moderate jewels' in the ESPB.

Now, if the rest of us are right, and the vast majority of folk songs first hit the streets in this way, you are then condemning the vast majority of folk songs as 'crap'. That will be your legacy, not ours!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 10:49 AM

Translated into what we have been discussing here, The Banks of the Sweet Primroses, one of your favourite folksongs, more than likely originated in some pastoral theatre production and first hit the streets as a broadside. Phil tanner's wonderfully performed 4 verses are almost verbatim the version printed uniformly by hundreds of printers around the country.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 10:52 AM

BTW, 'Banks of the Sweet Primroses'. I love this wonderful folk song and couldn't give a toss where or when it was created.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 11:11 AM

I am bemused by Jim's account:
"Bob Thomson, through his friendship with Ken Goldstein, learned of the existence of The Carpenter Collection and how it was discovered locked away in Carpenter's garage.
Bob and I were friends and on a visit to his home he told me about it and suggested that a copy should be obtained by the V.W.M.L - Bob also introduced us to Goldstein while he was visiting London, who told us more.
I passed on the information to the then Librarian (I think it was Barbara Newlyn, but it might have been Theresa Thom) and she acquired a copy of the recordings and a microfiche set of the transcriptions
The rest is history"

As Steve says, the exercise to add the Carpenter stuff to the other material on the VWML site is recent. My understanding was that the whole lot passed at some time (years ago) to the Library of Congress, where it could be accessed by visitors but not otherwise. If "a copy of the recordings and a microfiche set of the transcriptions" were available in the VWML (or anywhere else besides the Library of Congress) that is news to a lot of people.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 11:26 AM

The VWML has had a set of the recordings and microfiche documents since the early seventies
Perhaps its another case of one lot of folk people not knowing what the others were doing.
The copy I am talking about was obtained then - as was the bits of it we have here
"more than likely originated in some pastoral theatre production and first hit the streets as a broadside"
You can prove this, of course - oh - I forgot - you can't prove any of your claims, can you?
"Now, if the rest of us are right"
I assume you are talking about you and Steve Roud - there has been no indication that anybody else here actually accepts your claims and researchers have been saying the opposite for over a century
Or we now arriving at the 'imaginary friends' stage of the discussion.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 11:31 AM

02 Jan 18 - 05:09 AM - "I hope we can discuss this without the former rancour and condescension"

07 Jan 18 - 12:35 PM - "Grow up, for crying out loud."

08 Jan 18 - 11:26 AM - "Or we now arriving at the 'imaginary friends' stage of the discussion."


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 11:37 AM

Please stop this Vic - there is a history of nastiness from Steve dating back at least to 2012 when the topic firse hit the fan
You want to mention rancour and condescension - mention all of it
As I said nothing like being neutral - or is it ok with you that people are called agenda driven and attention seeking?
Sheesh
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 12:12 PM

Sticking strictly to this thread -

Appearances of 'agenda driven'

18 Dec 17 - 11:47 AM - "You have described Child as elitist and Sharp as an agenda driven charlatan"
18 Dec 17 - 02:59 PM - "This, as far as I am concerned makes Sharp agenda driven charlatan."
05 Jan 18 - 01:00 PM - " his description rages from denim clad, guitar strumming activists to agenda driven Marxists "
06 Jan 18 - 09:47 AM - "Child becomes an "elitist" incapable of sorting Art poetry from traditional ballads, Sharp is agenda driven."
06 Jan 18 - 03:28 PM - "Wonder what they missed - or maybe they were all agenda driven elitists like Child and Sharp!!"
08 Jan 18 - 11:37 AM - "As I said nothing like being neutral - or is it ok with you that people are called agenda driven and attention seeking?"

All these were posted by the same person.

Appearances of 'attention seeking'

06 Jan 18 - 09:47 AM - "Here I have become an attention seeking politico liar"
08 Jan 18 - 11:37 AM = "As I said nothing like being neutral - or is it ok with you that people are called agenda driven and attention seeking?"

Both of these were posted by the same person as the ones above.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 12:13 PM

Evidently "The Coal-Owner" appeared - as a poem only - in an old paper and Lloyd added a tune of his own.

Folksong? Or what?

Unless content is to be thought of as a defining element, my judgment is that the song is no more than forgotten ephemeral verses, in a popular style, set to music by a researcher generations later.

Its inherent relationship to "traditional song" would thus seem to be stylistic only.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 12:41 PM

"All these were posted by the same person."
And they were all lifted directly from what Steve as written - would you like to select any I have made up - including the remark I made about you Vic?
How on earh do you suggest I respond and how do I respond to your taking sides and ignoring all the former and ongoing abuse - or are you claiming I have made it up
Sorry Vic - I don't feel the need to respond to any of this from you
Pehraps you might like to comment on someone who takes it upon himself to speak for others on this forum in order to make tis discussion a "we win, you lose" argument
"Now, if the rest of us are right"
No?
Thought not
This is far from the first time Steve has adopted this tactic raher than respond to the points being put forward
Last time it it was a constant repetition of how many people agreed with him
This is not what constructive and healthy debate should be about
It is the type of thing resorted to by some 'usual suspects' on the BS threads in order to win glittering prizes
If you have nothing to say on the actual debate, I suggest you leave it to those who have
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 12:47 PM

Hi Jon,
Sorry not to have responded to your seemingly correct assumptions, but you can see we are otherwise bogged down with stuff at the moment.

I have an author's name, William Hornsby, and a dozen entries in my large index so the song was much anthologised latterly. But note it does not feature in my traditional folk song index for the same reasons you are suggesting.

I'll check out all the entries and get back to you. One thing that jumps out is that it features in 'The Common Muse' which is mostly broadside stuff.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 12:49 PM

To throw Jim's arrow back using his Dad's Army quote, 'They don't like it up 'em!'


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 12:57 PM

"To throw Jim's arrow back using his Dad's Army quote, 'They don't like it up 'em!'"
For Christ's sake Steve - do you realy want to reduce this discussion to this win-lose level?
If your (lack of) arguments hadn't already convinced me of my case, your behaviour has
I don't suppose Vic has anything to say about this one either!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 01:02 PM

A reminder of what my Dad's Army was a response to
""because of its political spin, (much like yours) "
Let's stop this now eh?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: TheSnail
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 01:15 PM

Having, in the past, been insulted by Jim Carroll and patronised by Steve Gardham, it's hard to take sides. They seem equally agenda driven and attention seeking. From my experience, Steve Roud is a much more agreeable person.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 01:35 PM

Are you people now hell bent on closing this thread by turning it into a kicking match?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 01:39 PM

Some relevant stuff here.

We've been going round in circles for much of the time lately, to the extent of risking emulating the oozalum bird.

Anyone got something new and constructive to offer?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 01:44 PM

You are right of course Richard
I would help if somebody actually addressed some of the points - there are enough of them being ignored to keep this going till next New Year
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 01:59 PM

Second go.
Of course Richard is right. I hereby promise to stop throwing back Jim's arrows.

IMO the only way I can see forward is to take examples of folk songs, as suggested several times, and look at what we know about their evolution. I will start with the interesting further info I have on 'Maids of Australia' and then move on to Uncle Walter's folksong repertoire which his grandfather got from broadsides.

Snail, I humbly and sincerely apologise for being patronising to you.
And yes, Steve is a much more agreeable person. I shall try to emulate him in the future.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 02:28 PM

Maids of Australia.
Keeping in mind this is a very scarce song: The few broadsides I've already mentioned and the only oral versions from England I have access to are the 3 from Norfolk all from within 15 miles of each other, Winterton, Knapton and Catfield, not a great distance from Yarmouth and Norwich. Plenty of broadside printers plied their trade in Norwich, Walker and Lane as one example. Unfortunately I haven't yet been through the collection in Norwich City library.

As I already stated Sam's and Walter's versions pretty much follow the broadside. However Harry Cox's several recordings throw up some interesting thoughts.

The version in Topic's Folk Songs of Britain's series of albums, Volume 2 'Songs of Seduction', Harry sings 4 verses recorded by Peter Kennedy, all 4 verses found on the broadside. I'm going to call these verses 1, 3, 4 and 5 as will become clear later in the final version which I will post.

In the Journal of the EFDSS, Diamond Jubilee edition 1958 Peter Kennedy published a version recorded by him from Harry which came out on a BBC RPL 22915 (LP). This now has an extra verse on the end which is not on any of the broadsides. The verse is almost verbatim one from another broadside 'Oh no My love not I'. More on this anon.

Then in 1965 Leslie Shepard recorded Harry again singing this song with yet another extra verse (no 2) inserted which is a paraphrase of the second verse on the broadside and that sung by Walter and Sam.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 02:28 PM

I, [sic] would help if somebody actually addressed some of the points - there are enough of them being ignored

Perhaps you could start, Jim?

A few bullet points, set out in short paragraphs, whilst avoiding typos, would I'm sure be very well received by everyone here...
    Be a little kinder, Ed. I had to delete a couple of your anonymous messages. -Joe Offer-


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Subject: ADD Version: Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 02:51 PM

Here's harry's version as recorded by Leslie Shepard.

MAIDS OF AUSTRALIA

As I walked out by the Oxborough banks
Where the maids of Australia do play their wild pranks
Underneath a green shady bower I sat myself down
Where the birds sang so gaily enchanted all round
In the native, the plains of Australia
In the forest, the native Australia
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

[I sat on the bank there for hours two or three,
A fair damsel came out from behind a green tree
To cover her body it was her intent
She slipped past the bushes made straight for the bank
In the native, the plains of Australia
In the native, the plains of Australia
Where etc.]

Now she dived in the water without fear or dread
Her beautiful limbs she exceedingly spread
Her hair hung in wrinkles, her colour was black
Sir, she said, you will see how I float on my back
In the stream of the native Australia
On the stream in my native etc.

Now being exhausted she swam to the brink
Assistance, kind sir, or I surely will sink
As quick as the lightning I took hold of her hand
My foot slipped and we fell on the sand
In the native, the plains of Australia etc.

We frolicked together in the highest of glee
In the finest Australia you ever did see
The sun it went down and the clouds did resign
And I left this fair maid of Australia
I left this fair maid of Australia
Then I left the fair maid of Australia
Just when the sun went down.

[Now six months being over and nine coming on
This pretty fair damsel brought forth a fine son
Oh where was his father? He could not be found
And she cursed the hour that she lay on the ground
In the native the plains of Australia
In her native the palins of Australia
Where....]

This last verse in a similar form is found in American versions but not on any other British versions.

I'll leave it there for now for comments, preferably to how this might have come about.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 02:52 PM

" I hereby promise to stop throwing back Jim's arrows."
Tsk, tstk, tsk!!!
As I said, your behaviour is pretty conclusive proof that you haVE no case
"As I already stated Sam's and Walter's versions pretty much follow the broadside"
Which doesn't say that the broadside wasn't taken from an earlier version and most certainly sounds as is it might have been
As I said - go listen to them singing it.
"Uncle Walter's folk song repertoire which his grandfather got from broadsides"
Walter's uncle's grandfather got some of his songs from broadsides - Walter carefully pointed out which and said quite cearly why he (Walter) didn't consider them "the real old folk songs"
What's all this trying to prove Steve?
Nobody is disputing the fact that as many as you claim appeared,/FONT>
Unless you can show otherwise, you cannot prove a single one of them originated there
"Perhaps you could start, Jim?"
Where to begin
Try does anybody here actually believe that working people were unable or unwilling to make the songs we know as folk songs"
If the answer is yes - why?
If the answer is no, is there any reason to believe that they didn't, as everybody has issued up to now, including those who were alive when the tradition was in full swing as was the broadside trade?
Plenty more - but that will do to begin with (though it will have to wait till tomorrow - a new series of 'Silent Witness' and I've spent far too long debating the more unpleasant side of this already - a stomach can only take so much in one day!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 03:06 PM

Another point that might be relevant is Harry did have a collection of broadsides. I'm pretty certain he stated he hadn't learnt his songs from the broadsides, but I have also heard he did use them to add to his own versions and to brush up on what he was singing.

The addition of the last verse is curious. I'll try to find a version of 'O no, my love, not I' that has it just for comparison.

Harry was very keen to add other songs to his large repertoire. He knew he couldn't sing the songs of his fellow singers in the local pubs (ownership rules) so he went further afield around more outlying villages looking for new songs to learn. I wonder if he came across Sam or Walter and adapted their second verse. Of course by 1965 all 3 of them were quite famous, especially in the folk world so it would seem logical that they could have met up.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 03:16 PM

Here are some relevant lines from the very common broadside 'No my Love, not I' which was also later rewritten as 'The Newfoundland Sailor'

v4 When eight months were over and nine months were past
This pretty fair maid brought forth a son at last.

v5 And curse the very hour you said 'O no, my love, not I.

I'm sure an oral version I collected in Yorkshire was even closer to Harry's last verse.

As I've stated before this transferring of verses from one ballad to another was common with broadside writers and in oral tradition, particularly with travellers.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 03:26 PM

'A few bullet points, set out in short paragraphs, whilst avoiding typos, would I'm sure be very well received by everyone here...' (Ed)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 03:41 PM

Anyone with Maud Karpeles An Introduction to English Folk Song (OUP 1987) on their bookshelves might like to re-read the beginning of her chapter on Broadsides (pp 68 -71) especially of the interaction between the oral traditions and broadside texts. To my mind she seems to expressing ideas that been developed and researched more and presented in greater deatail in the present book.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 03:58 PM

Jon,
All of the many versions I have of 'Coal Owner' derive from Lloyd.
Several of them give a bit more information.

It is said to have been written by William Hornsby, a collier of Shotton Moor, County Durham, during the great Durham Miners' Strike in 1844. Rediscovered by another miner J. S. Bell of Whiston, Lancashire in 1951 who presumably was Lloyd's source. Whether the original had attached the 'Derry Down' refrain or whether Lloyd added it I cannot say. What I do know is that in the early 19th century thousands of songs on broadsides and many by known authors were set to Derry Down, and quite rightly in my opinion. It's a great tune, and at least as old as the earliest print.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 05:41 PM

Wherever Maid of Australia started, it evidently got "folk processed" into several versions on its way from one person to another, orally and/or through print. Such variation is an important part of our interest in folk songs (and indeed part of the classic definition).

But Jim is especially concerned with origins. This song could have been made by one of the returned convicts that he mentioned earlier. I wish we could see the evidence that Bob Thomson found. Or it could have been made by someone who made his living, or part of it, by writing songs and selling them to broadside printers. And those possibilities are not mutually exclusive: it's perhaps unlikely but not inconceivable that the writer was both a returned convict and a professional song writer. And all of that applies whether the story is true, a total fantasy, or a mixture.

What actual evidence do we have (as distinct from personal beliefs) as to who made this song, either within the song itself or elsewhere?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 06:09 PM

None whatsoever, Richard. It's only when we put together hundreds of studies like this that patterns begin to emerge. We can also compare style and various other components of a song with other songs that we know were written by known authors. It's mainly about possibilities and probabilities. These people in the towns who were passing them on to the printers quite likely came from a great variety of backgrounds. All of this of course is taken alongside detailed studies of how the oral tradition works, not just the print tradition.

Do remember that my 95% is only my opinion, but it is based upon many many studies of every oral version and every printed version of hundreds of songs. For every song in Marrow Bones, Wanton Seed and Southern Harvest and others this is what I have done. Others like Jim are well entitled to their opinion, but I doubt they have done this depth of study.

Things haven't changed that much over the centuries. Songs have always LARGELY been written by song writers, people with some skill and imagination (okay of varying degrees) rather than people who have experienced the events within the songs. And I'm talking about across all genres here, in the western world at least.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 06:14 PM

I'm quite happy to put up the earliest broadside versions alongside the later oral versions and let people decide for themselves.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 06:29 PM

Steve, please do.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 03:35 AM

Okay the first thing to note is that this song is not typical of the sources for most of our folk songs, but 'Banks of the Sweet Primroses' is, in that we only have a small number of printings extant whereas 'Banks' was printed just about everywhere.

We have the standard version printed by Pearson in Manchester and by Such in London and one other without imprint and I'd say none of them are any earlier than 1860. IMO the Scottish versions, much shorter are probably derived from these. The Scottish version printed by the GPB is unfortunately undated but could easily be c1870 and I don't have a copy of the Sanderson (Edin) printing, only a catalogue listing. (The Sanderson family were printing for more than a century and well into the 20th.) I've already posted the GPB version so I'll post the Such/Pearson copy later today.

I don't like putting too much into one posting as it has the potential to disappear.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 03:41 AM

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: TheSnail - PM
Date: 08 Jan 18 - 01:15 PM

Having, in the past, been insulted by Jim Carroll and patronised by Steve Gardham, it's hard to take sides. They seem equally agenda driven and attention seeking. From my experience, Steve Roud is a much more agreeable person
.I felt the same about Steve, patronising in the extreme assuming i have not read certain books


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 04:46 AM

A couple of days ago I said
> BTW I noted that the version quoted by Steve 03 Jan 18 - 05:06 PM refers to the maid's "lily-white limbs". That goes against a suggestion that I recall reading somewhere that she was black.

Although the version quoted by Steve refers to black ringlets, at least one other version says only that the maid's hair was curly. A maid who was a "native" of Australia in the mid 1800s could have been a daughter of European (e.g. Irish) parents and had both curly black hair and lily white limbs, but it doesn't seem very likely. It seems much more likely that the story (whether true, a pure fantasy or a mixture) concerns an Aboriginal girl and that the "lily white" was a bit of boiler-plate text from a broadside writer -- which in turn indicates that the whole song was probably made by someone whose business was writing songs, wherever the story came from.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 04:58 AM

"But Jim is especially concerned with origins. "
No I am not - stop misrepresenting me Richard
I am not "concerned" with origins - I go along with all the researchers up to now who had litle doubt that the bulk of the folk songs originated with the people who sang them - they never questioned that idea, neither do I
Some of these people, Child, Sharp, Motherwell, Burns (who was a very underrated collector) went out to the people to get the songs from the 'horses mouth' - none of them ever suggested that they had ever originated from printed texts, though some acknowledged that they ended up in print.
I've asked that people say whether or not they believe country people were capable of having made the folk songs - so far no takers
Until there are I will assume that people here believe they were
The problem with this discussion so far is that it has centered around songs as printed texts just that.
I see no attempt by either of the Steves to examine why the songs were sung or why they might have been made - they have treated them as printed products made for sale.
We have discussed 'Maid of Australia' as a printed text - what is is in reality?
It is a sexual boast of the type that could and still can be heard in virtually every working class pub throughout Britain - a man boasting about he once got is leg over - as simple as that.
There is no reason whatever to believe that a 'simple' countryman couldn't have made that song   
Banks of Sweet Primroses the same - a young man going out, buzzing with testosterone, tries to hook up with a previous girlfriend and gets the brush off because he has given her the elbow in the past - how humanly commonplace is that?
Steve describes the sunshiny day' as a broadside commonplace.
It is a common vernacular way of dealing with rejection - "plenty more fish in the sea" - plenty more where she came from"...
Again, how humanly commonplace than that?
From Mary Delaney's 'I've buried Three Husband Already, which, as 'Primroses', is about sexual relationships

"Wherever there's a goose, here's a gander
Wherever there's a will there's a way
But the sun will be shining tomorrow
And we'll call it another fine day"

This is not a printing commonplace, it's a common human attitude to life
Once you divorce these songs from the what the singers felt about them and treat them as cold print, you could prove they were all written by anyone you care to name if you had a mind to
Both the Steves have done that - they have treated them as cold, printed texts
Steve Roud chose not to include texts - I have little doubt that Steve Gardham will continue to attempt to prove his theory that they all originated as literary pieces by putting them up as texts without attempting to discuss how they might have been made by the people who sang them.
Over the time I was singing I accumulated a repertoire of over three hundred songs
I stopped singing them a couple of decades ago in order to come to terms with the information we had recorded from traditional singers
Over the last year or so I have started to sing again and I find that, after a couple of scans through old texts, the songs spring to life again - not as memorised printed words but as what they actually are - stories that happen to have tunes attached to them
Each song I have revised in this way is now firmly set in my memory because of my emotional attachment to them - not because they were good poetry or even good stories, but because I can relate them to myself as a human being
We noticed with Walter Pardon, Mary Delaney and others, how emotionally involved they got with their songs
Mary regularly broke down when she sang her "heavy" songs - not because she couldn't handle them technically but because she became overcome with their emotional content
This was especially apparent with her 'Buried in Kilkenny' (Lord Randal) but it also happened with her humorous songs - it took us numerous goes before we got full versions of 'Kilkenny Louse House' and 'Well Done Donnelly' (The Tinker) that weren't interrupted by her bursting out laughing.
Her songs had become a part of her life - I don't believe desk-bound broadside hacks were capable of creating such high art - their working conditions would never allowed them to have done so anyway.
You can only begin to understand these songs when you take them from being cold text and add the human element to them
The Steves have done exactly the opposite - they have ignored the reason for their existence and continuance and have centered their attention to the printed word
There was no effort made in Roud's 'Folksong in England' to include what little we have of singers talking about what the songs meant to them socially or even personally - there is enough from Sam Larner, Harry Cox and Walter Pardon alone to fill a whole chapter - all freely available for the asking.
Treat these songs simply as texts, divorcing them from the singers intentions, and you debase them.
For me, it is what makes Bert Lloyd's 'Folk Song in England' a vastly superior book, for all its faults.
Roud has dealt largely with the nuts and bolts of the tradition while Lloyd treated it as an expression of humanity rather than a literary phenomenon.
Roud had bundled the unique folk songs in with commercially produced pop songs, stage songs, middle-class Tavern Songs, classically based glees..... and in doing so, for me, he has failed to capture their uniqueness.
Lloyd, on the other hand, made a point of just that with his magnificent statement in the last chapter - one more time   
"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'.
In my opinion, anybody who fails to spot or ignores that uniqueness has no claim to knowing what folk song is about
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 05:42 AM

> "But Jim is especially concerned with origins. "
> No I am not - stop misrepresenting me Richard

Now I'm confused. A great deal that you have said on this thread has been about songs being made by ordinary people (or whatever better term we can find for them) rather than by professional song writers. Is that not because you believe that it matters who made them?

> I've asked that people say whether or not they believe country people were capable of having made the folk songs - so far no takers

Surely we all agree that country people could and did make songs. The disagreement is only about the relative proportions, in the classic collected corpus, of songs made by country people and songs made by professional urban song writers.

I'm dubious as to what fraction of people sang in the past, but even if it was most people, I don't believe that most people wrote songs. Most of us today lack the skill to put words together in that particular way, while a few are good at it and a few do it even though they aren't very good at it. I see no reason to believe that that was much different in any past age.

> I see no attempt by either of the Steves to examine why the songs were sung or why they might have been made - they have treated them as printed products made for sale.

On the contrary, Steve R's book is very much about people singing. While he avoids a rigid definition of "folk song", his concept of it is all about who sang songs, where, when and why.

> We have discussed 'Maid of Australia' as a printed text - what is is in reality?
It is a sexual boast of the type that could and still can be heard in virtually every working class pub throughout Britain - a man boasting about he once got is leg over - as simple as that.
There is no reason whatever to believe that a 'simple' countryman couldn't have made that song

Indeed, but see my post of a bit earlier today.

> Banks of Sweet Primroses the same - a young man going out, buzzing with testosterone, tries to hook up with a previous girlfriend and gets the brush off because he has given her the elbow in the past - how humanly commonplace is that?

Very commonplace, which means that pretty well anyone (or at least any man) who had the skill to make songs at all could have written it. And, just like Maid of Australia, it could be a true account from personal experience, a broadly true account based on another man's personal experience, pure fantasy or a mixture.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 06:55 AM

Jim wrote:
From Mary Delaney's 'I've buried Three Husband Already, which, as 'Primroses', is about sexual relationships

"Wherever there's a goose, here's a gander
Wherever there's a will there's a way
But the sun will be shining tomorrow
And we'll call it another fine day"

This sounds very similar to the chorus of the song Where There's a Will There's A Way:
Then what is the use of repining,
   For where there's a will there's a way......
   And tomorrow the sun may be shining,
   Although it is cloudy to-day..........

The song was sung by traditional singers Gordon Hall, Frank Hinchliffe and Arthur Howard, and perhaps many others, although the earlier collectors might not have been interested in this song. It was printed on many broadsides etc ... oh, and it was written by Harry Clifton. (And it has a Roud number).

Derek (back to lurking now, but thinking that the thread is becoming repetitive, and that people have entrenched views that are not going to change)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 07:02 AM

"A great deal that you have said on this thread has been about songs being made by ordinary people "
Which is only to repeat a common belief held by all researchers
It doesn't "concern me" in any way - I belive it too be true but neither Steve nor I can prove the origin of a single song, so basically it is a waste of time to t attempt to
That's not why I am arguing here - I am asking that the songs be placed in their social context in order to understand them, maybe that way we arrive at an intelligent 'probable' answer but I believe attempting to deal in percentages verges on the megalomanic
"Surely we all agree that country people could and did make songs."
Not really - not when we need to discuss in the percentages that have been puut forward
Steve has reduced home made writing to be by farmers writing of their own personal experiences - that is not what our folk songs are about
They are general observations on what was taking place at the time - enforced recruitment, poverty brought about by land seizures, social misaliance arisin from families wishing to use daughters as a step on the social ladder.... but no one here is (I hope) claiming that these things happened to the song makers themselves - they were all common occurrences down the centuries, which, I believe, gave rise to the folk songs
Academia has an obsession with finding origins - a Holy Grail task if ever there was one
You have the "Lord Craigston, John Urquhart" academic conceit of trying to apply something that was happening throughout the world and for many centuries to an actual marriage via 'The Trees they Grow So High'
The same with the Villiers speculation around Barbara Allen, when writers poets and probably singers had been writing and singing about rejected lovers since time immemorial
American academic, Phillips Barry, took one of our most beautiful domestic tragedy ballads and attempted to turn it into a piece of mystical nonsense about Islands that could rise out of a lake and sink back again, magic seemeed, lake spirits.... crazy stuff!
"I don't believe that most people wrote songs"
Of couse they didn't - I'm certainly not suggesting they did
On the other hand, there's not mucgh doubyt that most MOST SINGERS WITH ANY DEGREE OF SKILL WERE CAPABLE OF MAKING THE SONGS - UNDERSTANDING, INTERPRETING AND PERFORMING SONGS WAS VERY MUCH A PART OF THEIR JOB DESCRIPTION
We would be kidding ourselves if we tried to claim that most people sang - at any time
You may accept that Primroses and Australia could have been made by the folk byut Steve still argues that they didn't - without being able to prove otherwise.
My argument isn't with you Richard, it's with what the two Steves are claiming
If we want to deal with probabilities, it's more probable that songs about country life or soldiering, or sea-going.... were more likely to have been made by the people who came from backgrounds dealt with in the songs that they were by bad Urban, desk bound poets who, according to Steve Gardham, tended to live near to where they worked and were subject to high pressure in order to make a living
It really isn't rocket science to work out what these songs menat to the people who sang them and once you put that alongside your admitted acceptance that the singers were capable of making songs, then there's at least a fair to middling chance that they did make them.
I refuse to deal in percentages or origins in anything like definitive terms but I have no intention of sitting by while working people are written out of the equation as composers, as I believe they are being by this little band of academics
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 07:10 AM

09 Jan 18 - 04:18 AM you're a doddery old fool, and very few here respect your views.

This is a very unhelpful comment and lowers yourself to the main perpetrator of insults on this thread. At least that person has the courage to post under his own name. For all you and I know, there may be a variety of reasons why the person you are insulting has a problem in expressing himself in "correct grammar and short paragraphs" but that does not exclude his right to express opinions.

(This angry response expressed by a man who spent 35 years in special education.)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 07:12 AM

"oh, and it was written by Harry Clifton."
Mary's song "I've Buried Two Husbands" was not written by anybody known
THe 'Goose' verse may well have been written by Harry Clifton - on the other hand, it may well have been borrowed from the tradition by him
I put it up not as a proof of origin but to point out that Steve's 'Cloudy day' "broadside commonplace" was common to vernacuar speech throughout these islands
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 07:31 AM

This is a very unhelpful comment and lowers yourself to the main perpetrator of insults on this thread

You are entirely right, Vic. I apologise to all, especially, of course, to Dick/The Sandman. My frustration at some of the entrenched views expressed and being 'tired and emotional' are no excuse.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: TheSnail
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 07:52 AM

"Bryan and I have our marital problems"
?!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 08:16 AM

A joke Brian
"My frustration at some of the entrenched views expressed"
Mine too
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 08:41 AM

Since the writers of broadsides seem by and large not to have been aristocrats or university graduates, I don't see any reason to consider them other than "ordinary people," except in the ad-hoc sense that they wrote for the broadside press.


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