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New Book: Folk Song in England

Jim Carroll 11 Jan 18 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,just another guest 11 Jan 18 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,julia L 11 Jan 18 - 05:49 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 18 - 05:53 AM
Vic Smith 11 Jan 18 - 06:37 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 18 - 08:02 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 18 - 08:05 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 18 - 11:22 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 18 - 12:22 PM
Lighter 11 Jan 18 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,just another guest 11 Jan 18 - 12:53 PM
Richard Mellish 11 Jan 18 - 01:55 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 18 - 02:02 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 18 - 02:10 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 18 - 02:51 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 18 - 03:03 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 18 - 03:10 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 18 - 03:11 PM
Howard Jones 11 Jan 18 - 03:36 PM
Richard Mellish 11 Jan 18 - 03:54 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 18 - 04:00 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 18 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,Rigby 11 Jan 18 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,just another guest 11 Jan 18 - 05:46 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 05:00 AM
Richard Mellish 12 Jan 18 - 10:10 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 10:31 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 11:23 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 11:29 AM
RTim 12 Jan 18 - 11:34 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 12:46 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 12:55 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 01:11 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 01:24 PM
Richard Mellish 12 Jan 18 - 01:24 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,just another guest 12 Jan 18 - 01:45 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 01:55 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 01:58 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 02:01 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 18 - 03:00 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 03:08 PM
Richard Mellish 12 Jan 18 - 03:32 PM
GUEST 12 Jan 18 - 04:11 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 04:22 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 04:28 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 04:31 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 04:36 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 04:37 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 18 - 04:38 PM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 04:46 AM

"Direct link here for convenience. Let's continue the discussion of that particular song there."
That might be a good idea Richard but, without getting bogged down with nit-picking our way through the texts again, I have a couple of general points to make on the group of songs that this is part of which I believe is very relevant to this particular argument
I'll make them when I've got over last night's ordeal
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 05:20 AM

I have finished the book but am otherwise not very well read on the subject.

Can someone direct me to examples of songs for which there is good evidence of them starting out as 'popular music' (theatre, pleasure garden, music hall, etc) and then having then been collected from an oral source in an 'improved' form?

I am not doubting they exist, but they are harder to recognise than those that seem to have become garbled so that they no longer make sense to a listener.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,julia L
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 05:49 AM

Is this allowed in the new politically correct Britain? Someone, no doubt will take offence.

Liberalism is a form of mental illness.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 05:53 AM

"good evidence of them starting out as 'popular music' "
There is no real "good evidence" - just possibilities based on publising dates, but Walter Pardon sang a beautiful version of 'The Rambling Blade' which he once described as "the best old folk song ever written" - I can't find a recording on-line but he can be heard singing it on his early albums
The somg may have originated as a printed 'goodnight ballad', but nobody can say fro certain and it is possible that it came from a 'common source'
There are no certainties in any of this - just possibilities
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 06:37 AM

Vic actually put it forward as an excuse for why broadside compositions were as unsingably bad as they were (though he didn't mention 'in contrast to the folk songs which are highly singable'
He didn't and he strongly resents being misquoted.

"Others have already addressed the Bothy Ballads issue. "
Nowheern near sufficiently
You fully accepted that they were exceptions because they were examples of workers having made their songs


The statement in quotations was lifted from a post by Steve Gardham and it refers to a long post of mine made at 09 Jan 18 - 01:15 PM . The salient point made in that post was that, without direct evidence. we do not know who wrote the earlier bothy ballads. We assume that they were any of a} the farmworkers b) the agents of the broadside printers in Dundee - mainly "The Poet's Box" or c) a combination of the two. We are informed that this does not cover the possibility of their origin Nowheern near sufficiently. Perhaps we need to be informed by the person who wrote this of other possible genesis of the Bothy Ballads.

The conduct of this thread increasingly reminds me of conversations with Christian religious fundementalists. They know that the world was created in seven days because because the bible tells us so. For these people facts and interaction of ideas leading to supportable theories have no place; what we need is the faith to endorse their dogmatic beliefs.
With such people discussion is clearly a waste of time because nothing will induce them to concede a single point.

Exeunt.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 08:02 AM

"He didn't and he strongly resents being misquoted."
I did not misquote you Vic, or if I did it was not intentional and is no cause for resentment
You commented on the pressure broadside writers worked under which I took to be a reason for their poor quality
If i was wroneIt was no more intentional than I# sure yours whan when you expected me to provide information from the 8th and 9th century when the discussion was of the songs of a millennium later
Mistakes happen
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 08:05 AM

"With such people discussion is clearly a waste of time because nothing will induce them to concede a single point."
I assume you are including Steve in this this time Vic?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 11:22 AM

starting out as 'popular music'
Just off the top of my head, lots more.
Sweet Nightingale, from the theatre
Dame Durden, glee clubs
Jim the Carter Lad, Music Hall
Villikins and his Dinah, theatre, burlesque
Caroline and her Young Sailor Bold, John Morgan, ballad writer
The Rambling Soldier, John Morgan
Pretty Caroline, George Brown, ballad writer
Flora, the Lily of the West, George Brown
The Constant Farmer's Son, George Brown
Bonny Bunch of Roses, George Brown
Dark-ey'd Sailor, George Brown
The Cruel Lowland Maid, George Brown
The Distressed Virgin, Martin Parker (17thc)
The Cooper of Norfolk "
John Appleby,          "
O dear O               "
A True Tale of Robin Hood "
The Wooing maid         "
Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, Thomas Deloney (17thc)
Down in the Meadows, Thomas Wise (18thc)
The Keeper, Joseph Martin, (17thc)
The Ploughboy's Dream, William Mason,
My True Love I've Lost, Lawrence Price (17thc)
The Famous Flower of Serving Men, "
The demon Lover                   "
The Merry haymakers,             "
Johnny Armstrong, Thomas Robins (17thc)
Robin Hood and the Beggar    "
Serving man and Husbandman, Richard Climsell, (17thc)
Baffled Knight                "
Gosport Tragedy                "
No Sir No                      "
Nightingales Sing/Bold Grenadier) "

But of course the vast majority are anon.

A ggod book for which Music Hall songs were found in oral tradition is 'Songs Sung in Suffolk' by John Howson of the Veteran albums label.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 12:22 PM

"starting out as 'popular music'"
Hmmmm?
"The Cooper of Norfolk "
No traditional versions listed by Roud
"The Constant Farmer's Son, George Brown"
Obviously a derivation of Bruton Town which shares its plot with one of Boccaccio's "Nights" and a Veronese broadside of 1629, indicating it has been around a long, long time
"Blind Beggar"
The length of the totally unsingable (50-odd verse) early version compered to the beautifully streamlined shorter traditional one indicates that the former well might have been a very-overindulged composition based on she latter
It is somewhat inconceivable that a traditional singer would plough through an ungainly epic and select a few verses in the middle, especially as a major source of this sonh was the still non-literate Travelling community
"The demon Lover"
The authorship of none of the ballads has been established definitely
The amount of pious moralising and actual folklore in this ballad suggests that it may have been expanded from a traditional composition and turned into a sermon on marital fidelity
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 12:40 PM

Steve, don't forget J. B. Geoghegan's "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye" (1867).


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 12:53 PM

Thanks for that list.

One sentence that caught my attention towards the end of the book, from Julia Bishop rather than Steve Roud, was "On the other hand, Kidson believed that "folk song", when all was said and done, was often little more than archaic popular song". The 'evidence' in the book makes it look that way to me, which is not to say that in the past, as in the late 20th century, some popular hits of the day were not penned by people who started of (and maybe ended up) 'ordinary'.

Overall the book seems to be a historical account of people doing what people who 'made their own entertainment' did. Tthe collectors' 'folk song' being when it was done near the poorer end of society.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 01:55 PM

Just picking up on one of Jim's points:
> "Blind Beggar"
The length of the totally unsingable (50-odd verse) early version compered to the beautifully streamlined shorter traditional one indicates that the former well might have been a very-overindulged composition based on she latter <

While that is not impossible, an alternative (and for most of us much more plausible) scenario is that the very long version was the original, in the fashion of its time, and that the ballad subsequently got cut down by singers, and/or by later broadside printers with or without the aid of their current writers. It certainly was printed umpteen times over the years: 317 entries in the Roud Broadside Index.

And what about the plot? Does it seem like a true account or a fictional tale calculated to appeal to a poor clientele?


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

Re The Blind beggar
Deloney (a silk weaver, probably from Norwich) had a reputation for re-working folk tales so he was obviously aware of the oral tradition
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 02:10 PM

"And what about the plot? Does it seem like a true account or a fictional tale calculated to appeal to a poor clientele?"
B beggar's daughter despised by rich suitors who turns out to come from a family that is richer than all three of them ?
That's the stuff folk tales are made of Richard
As for an illiterate peasant (as they would have been at the time the ballad was made), ploughing through a fifty-odd verse ballad to pick out the bits the or she didn't like - what do you think?
A later broadside hack maybe, but would a hard-pressed hack working to a deadline have time, or even be bothered to edit a ballad that length?
The latter is a possibility; the former, out of the question
"archaic popular song"."
Popular in the terms Kidson would use it, would be the same as Child's use of the term - of the people rather than top of any ancient hit parade.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 02:51 PM

Hi Jon,
The list wasn't meant to be definitive. I missed off all of Harry Clifton's and Joe Geoghegan's songs that entered oral tradition. jag only wanted some suggestions to look at. There are probably plenty of others on Bruce Olsen's website.

Apologies re 'Cooper of Norfolk'. I did say the list was off the top of my head. Actually it was only found in oral tradition in Scotland, not England. Check out 'Johnnie Cooper', versions in John Bell, Greig Duncan and Peter Buchan's Secret Songs.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 03:03 PM

The ballad writers in all centuries took their inspiration from a wide range of sources, folk tales, higher literature, newspapers, gossip, pub talk, other broadside ballads, etc., but heavily sprinkled with their own imaginations and creative abilities. (list not definitive).


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 03:10 PM

One that I missed off the song list because it's not a very common song in oral tradition is a song called 'Common Bill'/'I hardly think I will'/ 'I'll tell you of a fellow'. More often found in America in oral tradition than in this country, but Lucy broadwood saw fit to publish aversion in 'English County Songs' in 1891, 35 years after it was written by Mary F. T. Tucker (music by Tom Higgins) as 'Woman's Resolution'.

That's the equivalent of me publishing a song as a folk song that was written in 1982.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 03:11 PM

Roud 442 just for the record.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Howard Jones
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 03:36 PM

I wonder whether we are in danger of applying modern assumptions and attitudes to earlier and very different times.

If a 50 verse ballad was unsingable, I am led to wonder why the writer bothered to make it so long. Surely a shorter, more singable version would have attracted more customers, and been less trouble to write. As Richard says, this was the fashion of the time, but that implies that these long and unwieldy compositions were in fact popular.

I think it is possible to exaggerate the "illiterate peasant" angle. Literacy rates steadily improved throughout the 19th century, and whilst many rural workers may have been functionally illiterate it seems quite possible that there was someone in their community who could read or sing a broadside to them. It is often reported that these singers had very retentive memories (a skill which illiteracy encourages) so it does not seem impossible to me that they could that way acquire at least a substantial part of even a lengthy ballad, from which they could then strip away the irrelevancies. And of course folk singers were not all agricultural labourers but included artisans and other skilled and semi-skilled occupations who might be expected to have a higher level of literacy.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 03:54 PM

Personally I find the Blind Beggar plot not merely implausible as a true story but not even very convincing fiction. If the father actually had lots of money, why did he go about as a beggar? It wasn't (as in some other songs) in pursuit of his own amorous adventures. Was it just to make absolutely sure that whatever man took his daughter would be doing so for love, not for money? Did he really need to go to quite those extreme lengths? The ballad is typical in recounting what (supposedly) happened without saying much about the characters' motives.

Plausible or not, clearly the story was popular, and in the form of the tidied-up ballad remains so to this day among revival performers.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 04:00 PM

Hi Howard,
These longer ballads of the 17th/18th centuries were definitely aimed at the rising middle class in the cities, people like tradesmen, apprentices, and people would buy them to read as well as sing. By about 1780 many of the longer ballads were being cut down drastically and being reprinted on slips to cater for the rising literacy among the poor. One excellent example that was being sung in its entirety was The Yarmouth Tragedy with 56 verses. When collected in oral tradition lots of versions were found, several with no verses in common with others because they were taken from different episodes in the seminal long ballad. I would put this down partly to oral tradition and partly to the process mentioned above.

'that implies that these long and unwieldy compositions were in fact popular.'(HJ) They were extremely popular, being printed and reprinted well into the 19thc in full, by the likes of John Pitts, but had gone out of favour by the time Catnach came on the scene.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 04:48 PM

This may not be the case here, but in earlier centuries, indeed by many today, beggars were often portrayed as very wealthy people, who deliberately dressed in rags and went onto the streets to beg but in reality were living in big houses. Whether there was any truth in this I much doubt it. Recently on our local radio a taxi driver called in to say that he regularly picked up one of these street beggars from his house daily to take him to his begging spot. Again I very much doubt this. These street beggars generally are ignored. I rarely see anyone give them anything and nowadays we are encouraged to give to the homeless organisations instead which most philanthropic people do. Aggressive beggars are soon dealt with.

This ballad may well have been meant as a dig at beggars, at least partially.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 05:10 PM

Speaking for myself, I find that long narrative ballads are much easier to learn than shorter folk songs in which there is no narrative. I'm not sure on what sort of occasion the long ballads might have been sung or recited in full, but I have no problem believing that people could and did learn them.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 05:46 PM

In the situation described by Roud where the expectation was that everyone at a gathering contributed something being able to come back from town with a 54 verse ballad to simply read out may have been worth a ha'penny or so.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 05:00 AM

"Personally I find the Blind Beggar plot not merely implausible as a true story but not even very convincing fiction"
Pepys connected the broadside to an Eating House he frequented run by such a character in East London and describes a visit to it in his diary
"This very house was built by the blind beggar of Bethnal Grren so much talked of and sang in the ballads"   
Bishop Percy in his Reliques connects the character to a soldier who was blinded in The Battle of Evesham in 1265
Somewhat coincidentally, we recorded this first on a Travellers site just off the Mile End Road in East London, a few minutes walk from the 'Blind Beggar' pub, which was the hang-out of notorious gangsters, The Kray Brothers.
Of course the 'rich beggar' character in folklore owes much to the legend of James V (1512-1542), the hanger of Johnny Armstrong, who reputably wandered his kingdom in disguise, often as a beggar, as 'The Guidman of Ballangeich'
"The ballad writers in all centuries took their inspiration from a wide range of sources, folk tales, higher literature, newspapers"
As far as the broadside writers are concerned, there is no evidence whatever of where they took their inspiration from - we have no idea who they were, with very few exceptions
Working as they did, they appear to have written almost automatically to a set formula in order to produce as many songs as possible in the shortest time.
This is where the two-way process you raised in your talk possible came in
Lile today's pop industry, the trade wa a predatory one where the song sellers would get their goods wherever they could
If country singers, sailors, soldiers..... were in town and accessible, they surely would have been regarded as a rich source of material to be printed and sold
You only have to look at the collections I mentioned to see that there appeared to be very little artistic creation in their making, none of the subtleties that you find in folk song and certainly none of the humanity
In folk song ou get sentiment and compassion, in the broadsides you get (often very exaggerated) snitmentality
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 10:10 AM

I'd like to pick up two of Jim's points.

"You only have to look at the collections I mentioned to see that there appeared to be very little artistic creation in their making, none of the subtleties that you find in folk song and certainly none of the humanity
In folk song ou get sentiment and compassion, in the broadsides you get (often very exaggerated) snitmentality"

That is again making a black and white distinction between broadside ballads on the one hand and folk songs on the other, ignoring the overlap. Do you have some particular songs in mind as examples of subtlety, sentiment and compassion?

On the Maid of Australia thread you said
"it was Professor "Bob" Thomson, who was the first to put forward the extent to which folk songs appeared on broadsides (circa 1970) and who based his PhD on the subject"

Many scholars and collectors before and since have commented on the words of collected songs being found on broadsides. Was Prof. Thomson referring to the particular case of songs that appear to have started with the "folk" and then got printed?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 10:31 AM

Several contributors to this thread have frequently pointed out the fact that, like any other genre, there was a wide range of subject, quality, sources, inspiration used to produce the matter that appeared on street literature. We have on many occasions agreed that the overall quality of material put out on broadsides is certainly not to modern tastes. The evidence is there in the songs themselves for all to see. They certainly used set formulae and many examples of this continued onto the oral versions we now call folksongs. That doesn't exclude the fact that some of them were very creative and talented.

'sailors, soldiers..... were in town and accessible, they surely would have been regarded as a rich source of material.' Nobody is denying this.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 11:23 AM

"Do you have some particular songs in mind as examples of subtlety, sentiment and compassion?"
Take any of the press gang songs Richard, particularly those in from the point of the woman
They display an account of the feelings generated rather than than a reporting of the events
Singers we recorded told us over and over again "That's a true song" = they were able to identify with the songs they sang.
We thought at first that they meant that they believed the songs were based on real the events and people until we asked Tom Lenihan when he believed the song he had just sung had taken place.
He looked puzzled and asked, "Do you think it really happened?"
He meant reality of the emotion rather than of the factual events.
What MacColl spent years trying to persuade singers he worked with to try, country singers had been doing naturally
I became convinced that the broken token songs were country compositions when Pat linked them to the rural 'gimmel ring' tradition described by Robert Chambers and William Hone in their Day Books - both with illustrations
The practice was an old one which dates back centuries and crosses class barriers
A man wishing to seal a bond with a woman (or maybe just get his leg over) would obtain a special ring which broke into two matching pieces, he would give her half of it and keep the other himself.
Among the wealthy, the rings were beautifully crafted ones and elaborately entwined ones, sometimes made in three parts - one for the woman, one for the man and a third was given to a witness as proof of the engagement
In rural areas, they were cheaply manufactured, roughly riveted ones, scratched or indented so they would match when compared.
They could be purchased at a stall in any fairground or market - Thomas Hardy mentions them in 'Tess of the Durbeyvilles'
We puzzled for years trying to work out how anybody could break a finger ring in half without the help of tools
The songs don't attempt to explain the practice - they had no need to
When they were made it was common 'insider' knowledge
I've never read an explanation as to how the rings were broken - have you?
Yhis one makes sense to me.
"Was Prof. Thomson referring to the particular case of songs that appear to have started with the "folk" and then got printed?"
It wasn't an issue then - anywhere
That's why Topic named their set of recordings 'The Voice of the People' and Bert Lloyd called his magnificent thirteen-part series The Songs of The People'
It's why Child called his collection 'The English and Scottish Popular Ballads - popular = "of the people"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 11:29 AM

"Several contributors to this thread have frequently pointed out"
You certainly have Steve; I don't recall others doing so, certainly not frequently
Please speak for yourself and not for others - only politicians are allowed to speak on behalf as others when they are pushing through unpopular ploicies
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 11:34 AM

So Broadside writers were not People or Of The Folk.........

That seems to be the feeling of some correspondents here, ie. they could not have the same feelings or experiences as ordinary working people?

That makes all writers of Crime or Spy Novels Criminals or Murderers or even Spies...

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 12:46 PM

Tim, you should know 'people' don't live in towns or cities, and the creatures who live in towns and cities can't possibly be 'popular'!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 12:55 PM

"So Broadside writers were not People or Of The Folk........."
Not in the sense we are talking about here
Our songs are rurally set, lagely dealing with rural situations and occupations
Broadside hacks were based firmly in large cities - Roud makes a point of using the London writings of Charles Hindley for his information and descriptions
"That makes all writers of Crime or Spy Novels Criminals or Murderers or even Spies..."
The best of our Spy (in particular) novels like Le Carre and Deighton spent a great deal of time researching the background of their subjects in order to bring them the authenticity they did
Workers working under the pressure the hacks were would have had neither the time, inclination or resources to do that
Is it a coincidence that our folk songs exhibited the same authenticity while the broadsides, Dibden, et al more often that not gave us pastiches of country life and an 'Oirish'-type approach to country dialect and vernacular?
Not to me
Take time to wade through the broadside collections, as I did recently and you'll be facing writers who were writing out of their depth.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:11 PM

"Tim, you should know 'people' don't live in towns or cities, and the creatures who live in towns and cities can't possibly be 'popular'!"
Maiowww
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:24 PM

'Workers working under the pressure the hacks were would have had neither the time, inclination or resources to do that' (JC) You've now said this at least 4 times. Where did you get this information? The broadside writers were under equally the same pressure as the rural poor, i.e., putting bread on the table and beer in their bellies.

The resources have been listed numerous times.

FACT, once again the earliest manifestation of our southern English folk song corpus that first appeared on cheap print 89%. Do you realise that whatever percentage you think actually originated on broadsides (ranging from don't know, to none) you are condemning out of hand as crap?

Here again for the umpteenth time 'the fact that, like any other genre, there was a wide range of subject, quality, sources, inspiration used to produce the matter that appeared on street literature.' (SG from a few posts above.)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:24 PM

On the MoA thread Jim said
"it was Professor "Bob" Thomson, who was the first to put forward the extent to which folk songs appeared on broadsides (circa 1970) and who based his PhD on the subject"

I read that at first as referring to collected songs having previously appeared on broadsides, but realised Jim couldn't have meant that Prof. Thomson was the first to point that out, because many scholars and collectors had done so before 1970 (and others since).

So I wondered what Jim had meant and asked
"Was Prof. Thomson referring to the particular case of songs that appear to have started with the "folk" and then got printed?"

I don't understand Jim's reply.
"It wasn't an issue then - anywhere
That's why Topic named their set of recordings 'The Voice of the People' and Bert Lloyd called his magnificent thirteen-part series The Songs of The People'
It's why Child called his collection 'The English and Scottish Popular Ballads - popular = "of the people"

Without doubt, songs that were collected and labelled as "folk songs" had mostly appeared earlier in print. The bone of contention here is how many of them had existed as songs among the "folk" before they were printed. Was that what Prof. Thomson was addressing?

If not, what did you mean?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:43 PM

BTW, I'm quite sure that a few of the more talented writers were making a reasonable living out of this, the likes of George Brown and John Morgan. I would also imagine that many of them had other incomes as well, just like the printers did. certainly the pedlars sold many many more things than the street literature.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:45 PM

Good grief, I hadn't realised that this argument has been going on here, amongst the same people, for over 10 years. Curious about the term 'broadside hack' I searched the forum for it.

I am not convinced about the rural-urban divide that seems to be taken for granted in this discussion. Roud quotes Charlotte Burne's reference to a Shrewbury broadside printer. The Bodleian index has broadsides from several printers in Shrewsbury (I have not checked the date ranges). I guess (someone correct me if I am wrong) that these were jobbing printers set up to do the routine printing of a rural county town as well as street literature.

Even now within 15 minutes walk from the centre of Shrewsbury you can get to meet a sheep or cow. Sure, the industrial revolution started just down the road in Ironbridge, but in the first half of the 19th century most of the industrial revolution was happening in the country. Even in the 1970's Oldham was advertising itself on the London tube as 'the town in the country'; in the 1960's there our milk was still delivered on a round run by the man who who milked the cows. In the early 19th century most urban workers would have had relatives in the country, many were probably born there, or even lived there and walked into the town to work.

I was slightly disappointed that Roud left a lot for the reader to form a view on rather than summarise his views. However, having accepted Amazon's suggestion of a sample of "The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs", I now see that its Introduction is just such a summary - the later book has the data.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:55 PM

" Was that what Prof. Thomson was addressing?"
I siad it wan't becaue it was an unnecessary question
Ver few doubted that they had
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:58 PM

Excellent point, jag.
I would need to see some examples of broadsides printed in Shrewsbury
before I would make any points on this. Off the top of my head those printed by Fowler of Shrewsbury were very much the standard pieces printed in many places.

Then of course the larger centres had many many more printers producing broadsides.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 02:01 PM

I'm sticking my neck out here a little but I'm betting you won't find a single ballad printed by Fowler that became a folk song that wasn't part of the general stock of most printers around the country.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 03:00 PM

"I'm sticking my neck out here a little
I'm not sticking my neck out a single inch when I say they there#s not a single broadside that you can prove became a folk song
You have said numerous times that all this is a theory of yours and you cannot prove conclusively that one single folk song originated on the broadside presses, yet you are now pretending that you can
I'd say that was a sign of a rapidly sinking ship, wouldn't you?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 03:08 PM

'you are now pretending that you can' I'm sorry, Jim. I don't see how that statement relates to any of my last few postings. Perhaps somebody can explain. I'd say you were the one clutching at straws, but let's not get back into all the backbiting. I have promised not to be drawn into that.

All I was trying to say about Fowler was his output largely consisted of the very stuff you have been complaining about, as opposed to the output of the likes of Pitts and Catnach in London which was much more varied, and contained many of the songs we now call folksongs.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 03:32 PM

Jim: " Was that what Prof. Thomson was addressing?"
I siad it wan't becaue it was an unnecessary question
Ver few doubted that they had

Sorry I am not understanding at all.

Please tell us what he was addressing.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 04:11 PM

Is that Fowler of Salisbury, not Shrewsbury?

Most of the Shrewsbury broadsides on the Bodleian site seem to be to do with the 1822 Parliamentary election, some singing the praises of 'Pelham'. A web page says that John Cressett Pelham spent ?20,000 on his succesful campaign.

How many of the rhymes printed elsewhere were promotional or campaigning in some way and redundant after an election day or similar? Paper was expensive. Was the back blank and if so what did people write on it?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 04:22 PM

Right, here we go. Holloway and Black. These are not the only ones related to folk songs in the 2 volumes but just leafing through, what I can see immediately
1 Admiral Benbow (Come all you sailors bold version)
6 The Black Cow (trad in Ireland I believe)
11. Bold Captain Avery
17. The Buck's Elegy (Young sailor cut down)
18. Bunch of Rushes
36 The English Rover (Roving Jack of all trades)
37 The Bold Lieutenant
41 The Fishes (Up jumped the Herring)
46 the Highwayman Outwitted
54 the Irish Lovers (The winter it is past)
66 The Lamenting Maid ( "   "            )rewritten
71 the Maid and Wife
76 The Maids Resolution to follow her Lover (Polly Oliver)
77 The Merchant's Courtship (string round her finger)
80 Mountains High (Renardine)
88 Harry Newell (Hexamshire Lass/Katy Cruel)
90 Patrick Flemming (Whiskey in the Jar)
91 Paul Jones
94 Lark in the Morning
95 Sprig of thyme
99 rakes of Stony Batter
102 Riley and Colinband
108 the Grey Cock
109 Skewball
111 the Sheffield Apprentice
123 Will the Merry Weaver
127 The Young Man's Fortune (When I was a little boy)

That's 27 just in the first volume and whilst leafing through i came across several eminently singable songs not on the list above.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 04:28 PM

Absolutely GUEST. It is Salisbury. Apologies to jag. Rushing again. I'll have a look at those on the Bodl and see if any of them printed any that went into oral tradition, though I strongly suspect they are probably similar to Fowler's output. They certainly weren't among the main culprits.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 04:31 PM

BTW there is strong evidence to suggest that the first one, Admiral Benbow, was written and printed just after the incident c1702, off the top of my head.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 04:36 PM

Volume 2
3a & 3b The Bonnet so Blue( 2 versions) The printers pirated from each other and localised the location to suit their buyers.
5 My true Love I've Lost
8 The Cuckoo
10. the Basket of Eggs
13 Blow the Wind I O
14 The Cards (All Fours)

more shortly


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 04:37 PM

15 Buy Broom Besom


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 04:38 PM

900


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