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New Book: Folk Song in England

Jim Carroll 07 Jul 18 - 06:02 AM
The Sandman 07 Jul 18 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 07 Jul 18 - 06:19 AM
The Sandman 07 Jul 18 - 06:19 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 18 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Jul 18 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Jul 18 - 06:37 AM
The Sandman 07 Jul 18 - 06:41 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 18 - 07:08 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 18 - 08:15 AM
The Sandman 07 Jul 18 - 08:27 AM
GUEST 07 Jul 18 - 09:31 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 18 - 09:39 AM
Brian Peters 07 Jul 18 - 01:11 PM
Richard Mellish 07 Jul 18 - 01:12 PM
Brian Peters 07 Jul 18 - 01:17 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 18 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Jul 18 - 03:46 PM
Vic Smith 07 Jul 18 - 03:56 PM
Vic Smith 07 Jul 18 - 03:58 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Jul 18 - 04:19 PM
Brian Peters 07 Jul 18 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 07 Jul 18 - 06:31 PM
Brian Peters 07 Jul 18 - 07:06 PM
Jack Campin 07 Jul 18 - 07:16 PM
Brian Peters 08 Jul 18 - 02:55 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jul 18 - 04:06 AM
Richard Mellish 08 Jul 18 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Jul 18 - 05:58 AM
Richard Mellish 08 Jul 18 - 06:05 AM
Vic Smith 08 Jul 18 - 06:54 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jul 18 - 06:58 AM
Vic Smith 08 Jul 18 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Jul 18 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Jul 18 - 07:24 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jul 18 - 07:25 AM
Richard Mellish 08 Jul 18 - 07:31 AM
Vic Smith 08 Jul 18 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Jul 18 - 08:13 AM
The Sandman 08 Jul 18 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 08 Jul 18 - 09:08 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jul 18 - 09:18 AM
Jack Campin 08 Jul 18 - 10:13 AM
Brian Peters 08 Jul 18 - 11:20 AM
Brian Peters 08 Jul 18 - 11:36 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Jul 18 - 03:17 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jul 18 - 03:43 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jul 18 - 04:40 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jul 18 - 04:46 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jul 18 - 04:46 PM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:02 AM

I have no Brief for Harker or his politics and was infuriated by his attitude to the old collectors, but I find Roud's attack on Harker's expressing a political view offensive and no less "facile"
It has always been recognised that there are social and political implications to folk song (see Brian Peters previous post)   
We would have had no Folk Song Revival if it hadn't been for the politically/socially motivated Workers Music Association and Topic Records
I would describe myself now as a Socialist Humanist with Marxist leanings - does that mean my views are worth less than those who disagree with me?
I have already been accused of "having an agenda" in some of these arguments
About time we put a cork in this one, I think
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:14 AM

We would have had no Folk Song Revival if it hadn't been for the politically/socially motivated Workers Music Association and Topic Records.
spot on, and the efforts of Communists like Ewan MacColl,TedPoole,AlLoyd and all the club organisers of the sixties


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:19 AM

Got it largely wrong about "The Grey Cock" - all 7 notes do occur, but the B flat is only just perceptible. (It sounds odd if you put in a B natural instead, which suggests it isn't genuinely hexatonic as I thought).

X:1
T:The Grey Cock
S:Penguin Book of English Folk Songs
M:3/2
L:1/8
K:DMin
 G|        A2  A2  f6    ed |[M:4/4] c2  e2 (dc) A2-|A6
F2|[M:3/2] A A3    f6    e2 |       (dc) e2  d6
de|        f2  d2  c2 d4 B2 |        A2  G2  A2 D4
E2|        F2 (Ac) d6   (AG)|        F2  E2  D6    ||\
                                   "^original"\
                                     F2  G2  F6    |]


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:19 AM

My long experience of watching Left politics are the unnecessary divisions ,Iremember the poll tax protests i was involved in nottingham in 1989? and the revoloutionary communist party refusing to march with the socialist workers party, when i suggested at a meeting that we should forget our divisions and unite i was branded a trotskyite deviationist


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:26 AM

The point about Ewan and Bert is tha though both were'of the left' - Ewan particularly, when push came to shove, the Traditional songs always came before their politics
Song-making is a different matter - everybody makes songs about things the believe to be important enough - they always have done
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:28 AM

The fact that most of the new academic work came from the political left is no surprise. That was the mood of the time, and the right wing has never been known for its intellectual capacities. Simply by taking seriously the experiences of the common people and researching their lives branded you as left of centre anyway.


Harker successfully uses histories of the region and the mining industry and books on local dialect to explicate the song's meaning. But given the fact that it was not written by a collier or even by a working man its accuracy as a social document is unclear. It turns out that while historical sources can shed a great deal of light on the song and its contents it is much harder to argue that the song itself can be used as an unproblematic historical source.

One may disagree with Roud, but this does not appear to be 'facile', nor do other discussions he has of Harker's work, the value of which he acknowledges.

Jim: I did not intend to imply that I held your views as less important that those who disagree with you. I was just trying to 'contextualise'. I have no objection to using politically motivated songs: …. struggles for examples: I bought a download of Ding Dong the Witch is Dead. Does that count for anything? :)

But please have the last word on this...(ducks)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:37 AM

Is it time for a joke?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:41 AM

I would describe myself now as a Socialist Humanist with Marxist leanings - does that mean my views are worth less than those who disagree with me.
no , but views or opinions should always be backed up by facts or stats to make them more valid ,you do not always do this , if you did your opinions would be of more importance, when you do your views have more credibility, for example you on occasions are on this forum pontificating and dissing the uk folk revival as it is at the present moment or very recenmt past, yet you are not really qualified to make a serious judgement because your experience latterly is limited to the occasional visit from ireland


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 07:08 AM

Pseu
My remarks were aimed at Roud - not you
You'll know I'm annoy with you when I put a d at he end of my abbreviation of your chosen name!

"Is it time for a joke?
Just made one - but here goes:
How many folkies does it take to change a light-bulb?
Three- one to change the bulb and two to discuss how much brighter the old one was

I'm not getting involved in your vendetta Dick and I suggest nobody else does
This has been a fruitful thread, if fraught on occasion - let's keep it going in the direction it is taking
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 08:15 AM

"ducks"
You do realise that this was a common endearment used by elderly English working class ladies :-)
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 08:27 AM

However Jim if you took notice of my remark about not making unqualified statements[ not a vendetta, but an observation or even constructive criticism].it might make discussing subjects easier and more civil


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

why do you would be academic ethnomusicogists take yourselves so seriously? No one else does & the music will carry on without all this-- by the way, it wasn't much of a joke anyway, so lighten up & let's have some more jokes....


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 09:39 AM

For the same reason you troll anonymously to a thread you obviously have no interest in - it entertains us
If people hadn't thought about this music then got off their bums and gone off to find it for us we wouldn't have had a pit to hiss in
Why do you people do this?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 01:11 PM

Well said Jim at 0939.

The 'facile bourgeois bashing' (I'll take Pseudonymous's word that the quote is accurate) referred to by Roud concerns - I suspect - Harker's overriding argument that the very act of song collecting is in itself theft of workers' culture.

It is true that Harker has carried out good research on NE broadsides, and at least arguable that 'Fakesong' was a useful corrective to what had up to that point been a more or less unquestioning acceptance of everything that Sharp wrote. Unfortunately it is flawed in its scholarship (see Chris Bearman's counter-arguments as well as my own opinion) and too agenda-driven to be taken seriously as impartial academic research.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 01:12 PM

I'm struggling to follow GUEST,Pseudonymous's post from 06:28 AM today. The first paragraph is a direct quote from the book, page 176, though not identified as such. Is the next paragraph also quoting from the book? Which page? Which song is it referring to?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 01:17 PM

Incidentally I'm sure no-one here describes themself as an 'academic ethnomusicologist'. All of the contributors that I know anything about are singers and musicians who are 'carrying on the music' in just the way that our anonymous 'Guest' seems to think is somehow impossible to achieve while maintaining a healthy degree of curiosity about it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 03:28 PM

"Harker's overriding argument that the very act of song collecting is in itself theft of workers' culture."
Concur absolutely - he seems to be a very odd character who could never decide his first love - workers culture or politics - the two could go together comfortably, but not,apparently with Dave
I remember him saying at one point (Sheffield again) that he had stopped speaking at public gatherings because of the number of challenges to his ideas.
I'm really not really comfortable with this, but Dave was special.

He wan't the only one - Pat once had an uncharacteristic blazing row with one rising lady star when she was told that collecting was an "intrusion into people's privacy"
She said she preferred to jot down overheard conversations in a notebook - I am not making this up)
She has since risen to the top of the folk milk jug as a new-age academic.

We got tired of our work being dismissed because we weren't members of the 'club" (ur choice of course) - again, we were told by.... (well too close to this particular discussion to name) that we had it all wrong about Traveller songs because she had done a college course on the subject.
I got more respect from some of my most wealthy customers when I spoke about the folk songs they heard me singing around their houses at work, than I did from some of these people (even if it was a little 'dog walking on its hind legs' at times.

I came into a part of the scene that was based on sharing, instant friendship and constant encouragement, no matter what you knew and how good a performer you were
That attitude put enough petrol in my tank to keep me going for the rest of my puff

Sorry about that - grouse over - there's some of the finest Irish music and song happening up and down the length of our one street town for me to waste time talking to you bunch of scruffs!
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 03:46 PM

Richard (01:12) is right to pull me up on the post from 6.28.

I gave two quotations from Roud with the intention of demonstrating that his comments on Harker were not entirely 'facile', or simply about Harker expressing political views. The adjective 'facile' was applied by Roud to some aspects of Harker's work (p178), and had in turn been applied to Roud. Perhaps I should have marked these clearly as quotations, rather than, as I intended, letting this become clear as the post continued.

I had 'lost' a better post (honestly, it was better!!), and then I got lazy.

The 2nd quotation was from p578. It relates to a song called 'The Original Bob Cranky', which stayed in print for a long time. According to Roud, it first came out in 1804. The earliest known version states that it was written by a 'Gentleman of Newcastle' ie John Selkirk, who attended clubs where singing and songwriting were in fashion. The song is from a collection made by Bell, whose manuscripts Harker and a colleague produced an edition of. I'm sure a) the ironies here (Harker's use of a text which in some sense turns out to be 'fake') were not lost on Roud and b) the 'just because the earliest edition was print doesn't mean it wasn't by the ordinary people' argument may be brought to bear on the example.

For example, Roud disagrees with Harker's (alleged) assessment of the work of William Chappell. Roud disagrees that the work of this man, which took half a lifetime to complete and probably wasn't cheap to carry out, was done just to make money. I don't think this section by Roud is oversimplified. Others may, of course disagree.

On page 580, Roud quotes an idea of Harker's and the argument behind it with interest, so I don't think he just dismisses everything Harker had to say (in case anybody had got that idea from my posts).

I also get the idea that Roud isn't wholly opposed to people making money from working on folklore, that he feels if this had not been done, much more of the material might have been lost.

I think Roud, while not agreeing with everything Harker says, acknowledges his work eg in the NE.

But those who are interested can buy the book and judge for themselves. Roud describes it as an exercise in evidence gathering. As a relative newcomer to books about folk in England, it suggest to me not only places to look for songs but also places to go to read more generally.


Jim 9.39: It entertains us. Amen.

Most recent joke I read was about why Eeyore was looking down the loo, but I won't insult your intelligences by providing the answer.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 03:56 PM

Jim's endpiece -
"there's some of the finest Irish music and song happening up and down the length of our one street town for me to waste time talking to you bunch of scruffs!

Without doubting that Miltown is a very special place when it comes to knowledge of the tradition, could you tell us which of the contributors to this thread you would include in this 'bunch of scruffs'? It seems to me that your targets in the post above in what I would call a rant and you call a 'grouse' are entirely outwith those who are contributing to this thread - and if I am right, why the insult to those you have been discussing with here?

or was it a joke which I have failed to appreciate?

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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 03:58 PM

Given that Joe Offer has already given a yellow card to this thread, we ought to be treading a bit more carefully.

    True. I don't like the drifts into nastiness, but I still find the thread very interesting. -Joe-


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 04:19 PM

I think Jim was just trying to rhyme his last 2 paragraphs!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 05:43 PM

'bunch of scruffs'

Jim can of course answer for himself, but this sounds to me like a Scouse term of affection.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:31 PM

A few days away from Mudcat, and there are almost too many messages here to catch up.
One comment I noticed (and if it's been responded to and I missed it, then apologies) regards the title of Steve's book.
It was not deliberately chosen to be provocative by being the same as Bert Lloyd's 1967 book title. Steve suggested different titles, but the publisher insisted, in spite of the duplication with Bert's book. Steve has said this in public when talking about the book and subject. I can't remember his preferred title ... something like A social history of traditional song in England.... but don't quote me on that!
Derek


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 07:06 PM

the publisher insisted, in spite of the duplication with Bert's book.

Hmmm. Does the author of a book really have no say in the published title? Why would a publisher be so insistent on this particular form of words?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 07:16 PM

Does the author of a book really have no say in the published title?

Not usually.

Why would a publisher be so insistent on this particular form of words?

Because they think they can sell more that way.

In some genres, the publisher even gets to decide the author's name. Desmond Bagley had to fight to keep his own name when his publisher thought it would result in his books being stuck inconspicuously at the top left of the shelves.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 02:55 AM

Because they think they can sell more that way.

By using a pre-existing title rather than, say, the snappier 'English Folk Song'?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 04:06 AM

"Jim can of course answer for himself, but this sounds to me like a Scouse term of affection."

It was exactly that - it is beyond me why anybody should think otherwise
I'm sorry - I thought I'd made a reasonable assessment of the friendly and sometimes flippant nature of this discussion - it seems I was mistaken and will have to choose my words more carefully in the future
Sorry if I have given offence - it was not my intention

My comments on the writers I mentioned was not a "rant", by the way, it was an account of our own experiences as non-academics and some of the 'freemasonry' we encountered; maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it It is certainly not typical of what we were used to from fellow researchers and music-lovers
My comments on the writers I mentioned was not a "rant", by the way, it was an account of our own experiences as non-academics and some of the 'freemasonry' we encountered; maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it
It is certainly not typical of what we were used to from fellow researchers and music-lovers
Here in Clare I used to get mildly inebriated a couple of nights a week in our local with one of the finest and most generous minds in traditional song scholarship until he died - he and those nights are sorely missed

In fact, my whole attitude to the Summer School is somewhat ambivalent - as fine as the standard of music is, Pat and I tend to stay away from it because the town is overcrowded and uncomfortable - last night was the first and there was neither the space nor the necessary attention to sit and enjoy the music - we'll wait for the recitals, concerts and talks for that
The strength of the event is that it is a school - dozens of daily classes and discussions on all the instruments, all crammed full of youngsters - and now (at long last) a few more on singing   
It is very much part of the foundation that has now been established to ensure Irish Traditional music has a future - 46 years old this year
Personally, we can listen to good live Irish music in town`4 or five nights a week throughout the year - in comfort

Regarding the title of the book - I think it was chosen deliberately as an 'antidote' to Bert's book of the same name - two books with exactly the same title cannot be a coincidence, nor can it be based on ignorance of the other.
Rather than addressing Bert's most important point in the last chapter, Roud rides over it roughshod by ignoring it.
In doing so, he leaves us with a major decision - what do we call our songs now 'Knock 'em in the Old Kent Road' is a folk song, or is there really no difference between that and 'Tifties Annie'?
And how do we categorise that century-plus body of work that deals with that 'other type' of song?
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 05:52 AM

Jim said
> Pat once had an uncharacteristic blazing row with one rising lady star when she was told that collecting was an "intrusion into people's privacy"
> She said she preferred to jot down overheard conversations in a notebook - I am not making this up)
> She has since risen to the top of the folk milk jug as a new-age academic.

Whoever that lady was I have some sympathy with her statement. People sang the songs that we're discussing in various situations, but mostly either in private or among their fellows. Singing for an outsider who is visiting partly or solely for the specific purpose of collecting is significantly different. The extent to which it is an intrusion depends on the personality, skill and attitude of the collector. Jim and Pat clearly made friends with the people they were collecting from. Some other collectors have established a rapport, right back to Baring Gould in an age when the class system was much more rigid than it is nowadays. But it has not been universal. Harker's view of the collecting process was an exaggeration but not entirely without foundation.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 05:58 AM

I also took 'bunch of scruffs' as light-hearted. Given the present weather, 'sweaty scruffs' might have been closer to the truth! Or is that just me - the sweaty bit?

It has been suggested that Jim Carroll should write a book, and for me the anecdotes he gave in that post are worth recording and could be in it. For they seem important to me. Though a publisher might not be happy about the tone being quite so scathing. Sorry to speak about you in the 3rd person Jim.

As I have said before, I came to Lloyd's book recently, about five years ago, so I did not have the experience of being inspired by it that many posters here have described. But I can see that some of the ways I think about 'folk' music are influenced by the post-war left 'revival' that the book was part of.

So I have thought a couple of times while involved on this thread that it is useful to have the two books together. I don't think Roud 'replaces' Lloyd. If the publishers wanted us to think that it did, it won't wash. Roud is plainly attempting something different.

Leaving the definitional disagreements to one side for one moment (partly because I cannot being to answer Jim's question on this) I am honestly interested in the information Roud provides about the whole range of songs that were actually sung by ordinary people through the centuries he covers.

I'm not sure how we should categorise the century-plus body of work mentioned by Jim (8th July 4.06 and elsewhere), but if a person wants to know more about that work, Roud is as good a place as any to start.

Also, writing as he does later than Lloyd, Roud brings the story of that work up to date. It's sort of like a 'literature review', I have thought. And his references are undoubtedly better than Lloyd's, so you get a good idea where you can go for more on a topic or by a writer.

For examples of Roud bringing things up to date

1 He lists p175 people who have produced academic work (eg Gammon, Atkinson, Boyes, Harker)

2 He lists p176 non academic people who have continued to collect material and to work in the field (eg Palmer, Gardam,Purslow, Davis, Carrol, Mackenzie, Howson, Stubbs).

NB Currently I'm Sunday morning scruffy, which is ... well .. you really don't want to know.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 06:05 AM

For an entirely different assessment of the book's value, see here.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 06:54 AM

I'm afraid that Jim's (and Pat's) experiences in his 'not-a-rant' are far from unique. Over the years, I have heard of or from quite a few people - including one who has contributed to this thread - who have been bad-mouthed by so-called well qualified experts who have told them that they should not say that they are collecting songs or call themselves collectors because they did not have the the academic background to do so.

Actually, I could also give an example of the opposite being the case. Tina and I were tentatively sharing our recordings of Sussex singers with none other than the person who is at the centre of this thread. I was explaining to Steve that we were enthusiasts and not collectors and he told me not to speak bloody nonsense; that what we had was very valuable. Not long sfter he asked us to give our presentation on Gordon Hall to the joint Sussex Traditions/TMF conference day in Lewes.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 06:58 AM

"People sang the songs that we're discussing in various situations, but mostly either in private or among their fellows. "
Is that how you regard collecting - recording private conversations?
Certainly not in our job description
We spent thirty years sitting in farm kitchens and caravans, face to face with the people we recorded and actively questioning them on their songs, often intensely
We did so at their invitation and mainly with their encouragement
What little we know about traditional singing is based on that approach.
What the lady with her notebook and pencil was doing was eavesdropping - her accusation of "intrusion into people's privacy" was exactly what she was advocating.

"For examples of Roud bringing things up to date"
Your two lists from Roud are interesting
All the people on list two have produced articles on the material they were ollecting
I'm not aware that any on the top list (not sure about Vic) spent any real time questioning traditional singers face-to-face - if they have, I have come across no accounts of it.
One of the largest gaps in our knowledge is a total lack of input by the people who actually gave us these songs (with few notable exceptions), yet all, in our experiences, had plenty to say, when invited to do so.
This redefinition is based on the opinions and tastes of largely desk-bound academics

Jeannie Robertson's missed opportunity of a book is a good example
Hershel Gower makes a magnificent job of painting a picture of this important singer's life using her own words.
The analysis of the songs and their function is left to James Porter.
There is nothing wrong with Porter's analysis as far as I can judge, but for me, it lacks a certain.... something

For all the criticisms against it, I found MacColl and Seeger's book on The Stewarts far more satisfying - there was a far greater input by the family members - in fact, the authors got into hot water for putting too much in.

It has been suggested before I write a book - I doubt if that will ever happen
My object it to make available what we have collected, especially what the singers had to say, and make sure all the recordings we have gathered over half a century will go to somewhere that will guarantee their survival as an archive - we're nearly there in Ireland with that one.

I have become somewhat obsessed with the idea that the Irish singing scene needs some attention if it is going to reach the heady heights of the instrumental situation - hence my project on Irish Child Ballads
The next step is try to shift singing classes away from handing out song sheets to something a bit more substantial - we'll see what happens with that

The only 'book' I have in mind is a collection of Traveller songs, stories and interviews - now a possibility
As a retired electrician I still have a full and busy life in front of me, if not a long one
I have been working on a far-too-long article in fits and starts, possibly entitled 'Hack or Haymaker - who made our folk songs', but I keep wondering if it's worth taking time over - why not let people make their own minds up?

I have recently archived scripts of the forty-plus talks we have given as researchers since we started
One of the things I am most proud of is that they all give precedence to what the singers, storytellers and musicians had to say rather than what we had to say about them
That's worth putting your name to as far as I'm concerned.

"Currently I'm Sunday morning scruffy, "
Wear your uniform with pride
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 07:04 AM

Richard Mellish wrote -
"Singing for an outsider who is visiting partly or solely for the specific purpose of collecting is significantly different. The extent to which it is an intrusion depends on the personality, skill and attitude of the collector."


Exactly so! I can remember feeling very uncomfortable in the audience of a concert where a prominent singer talked about a ballad that he had recorded in recent times from an Irish traveller. He sounded very pleased that he had acquired this real gem but I felt that in the process of obtaining the song, the poor informant had been hounded and stalked.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 07:21 AM

With Jim 100% on the lady with the notebook as described above.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 07:24 AM

Sorry, spelled Carroll incorrectly at 5.58. Blame the heat! Sorry again.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 07:25 AM

"For an entirely different assessment of the book's value, see here."
Nice one Richard
It looks as if the effort of reading it has put the reader into a catatonic state
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 07:31 AM

I said "People sang the songs that we're discussing in various situations, but mostly either in private or among their fellows. "

Jim asked "Is that how you regard collecting - recording private conversations?"

Sorry, you have misunderstood. I was referring to how the songs were usually sung, in the absence of a collector, and then going on to the collection situation where the collector might or might not have a personal relationship with the singer.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 07:44 AM

It looks as if the effort of reading it has put the reader into a catatonic state
Careful, Jim. Remember the cat could be reading this. You don't want to upset its felines.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 08:13 AM

That would of course be a CATastrophe

Maybe the cat is saying it's 'purrfect'?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 08:57 AM

cataclysmic, or perhaps a cacophony of caterwauling


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 09:08 AM

Is it a mudcat? Saying 'Got you covered'.


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

About time we puss this one to bed, I think

Can I just explain how we worked
We started recording at the beginning of the school summer holidays; one of our colleagues, Denis Turner, was a schoolteacher.
By the end of those holidays, we had a list of potential singers that would take at least a year to get through (even if we found no more) so we stopped and took stock of how we were to proceed
We didn't re-start for eighteen months for various reasons; we had come to the conclusion that if three people (eventually reduced to two) with full time jobs were going to do a proper job we would have to be realistic
Instead of 'head-hunting songs, we decided to attempt to give them a context by talking to the singers at length by spending more time with them
Most of them we got to know personally and some, like Mikeen McCarthy and Mary Delaney, became close friends
We eventually arrived at a situation where, when they were inevitably evicted from their they would phone us to tell us where they were.
We met first met Mikeen MacCathy on the outskirts of West London and last recorded him on the Hackney Marshes, to the extreme East
Eventually, when John Major's Government abandoned their responsibility of providing sites for Travellers, which sent them all scattering to the four winds, we continued to record Mikeen, first in Norfolk and eventually on the outskirts of Bristol, where he died in 2005
We were recording friends - if we hadn't been, we could have got five times the number of songs, but a fraction of the information they gave us
We don't regret having taken the decision we did - almost as good as not voting for Tony Blair!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 10:13 AM

I think the cat is gingering up the discussion.

Because they think they can sell more that way.
By using a pre-existing title rather than, say, the snappier 'English Folk Song'?


That alternative would open a can of worms about ethnic ownership that Roud would have not have wanted to get tangled up in.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 11:20 AM

the cat is gingering up the discussion

OK, Jack, I get your point, and the previous one about publisher power, and I don't wish to cast aspersions on anything Derek has told us here, or Steve Roud has said. It's just that the title has struck me as odd ever since the book launch. If it had been my book (and I do realise it never could have been) I think I'd have done everything in my power to avoid using the same title as Lloyd, and quite probably Steve did, to no avail. Let's leave it there.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 11:36 AM

"What the lady with her notebook and pencil was doing was eavesdropping"

I was about to quote the story of Percy Grainger hiding under an elderly singer's bed to collect a song surreptitiously, but on checking it proves to be a myth, debunked amusingly by C. J. Bearman in his article on Grainger.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 03:17 PM

Lovely pic, Richard!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 03:43 PM

"but on checking it proves to be a myth"
Apparently as was the one about Kennedy asked an elderly lady singer if she has ever been bedridden, received the reply "Yes, and table-topped"
Don't you just wish these stories were true!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 04:40 PM

Ethel Grinsdale was one of our favourite singers with a sparkle in her eye and a large repertoire. She sang us her singular version of 'An Acre of Land' very popular in the area. We told her we recorded a completely different version from John round the corner a couple of doors away. When we went back a few weeks later she sang us the same song but with extra verses. She'd been round the corner and pinched some of John's verses.


I'd just recorded a version of Lord Bateman in Hull so naturally I asked Ethel if she had heard the song. Without pausing for breath she sang us, 'Lord Bateman was, he was, he was, Lord Bateman was, a bloody fool!'


Many of our singers had not had any audience for their songs for 30-40 years or more and were unanimously delighted to have someone take an interest, and even more delighted that their songs were going to be recorded for posterity and sung to audiences again.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 04:46 PM

I know this is cheating but...…..


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 04:46 PM

1200


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