mudcat.org: New Book: Folk Song in England
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42]


New Book: Folk Song in England

Jim Carroll 10 Jan 18 - 01:41 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Jan 18 - 01:31 PM
Lighter 10 Jan 18 - 09:37 AM
Howard Jones 10 Jan 18 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,just anothe guest 10 Jan 18 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Just another guest 10 Jan 18 - 08:52 AM
Steve Gardham 10 Jan 18 - 08:29 AM
Richard Mellish 10 Jan 18 - 06:32 AM
Jack Campin 10 Jan 18 - 05:49 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 18 - 05:41 AM
Joe Offer 09 Jan 18 - 06:02 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 18 - 05:54 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 18 - 05:44 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 18 - 05:41 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 18 - 05:35 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 18 - 05:29 PM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 18 - 03:09 PM
Brian Peters 09 Jan 18 - 02:54 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 02:45 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 18 - 02:19 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 01:27 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 01:19 PM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 18 - 01:15 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 01:14 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,just another guest 09 Jan 18 - 12:52 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 12:47 PM
Jack Campin 09 Jan 18 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,just another guest 09 Jan 18 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,just another guest 09 Jan 18 - 12:09 PM
Richard Mellish 09 Jan 18 - 12:08 PM
TheSnail 09 Jan 18 - 11:52 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 11:33 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 11:21 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 18 - 11:17 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,just another guest 09 Jan 18 - 10:22 AM
TheSnail 09 Jan 18 - 09:34 AM
TheSnail 09 Jan 18 - 09:31 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 09:30 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 18 - 09:19 AM
TheSnail 09 Jan 18 - 09:12 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 08:58 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 18 - 08:48 AM
Lighter 09 Jan 18 - 08:41 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 08:16 AM
TheSnail 09 Jan 18 - 07:52 AM
GUEST 09 Jan 18 - 07:31 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 18 - 07:12 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 18 - 07:10 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 01:41 PM

"Those broadsides which really were unsingable probably didn't survive very long, and possibly were never intended to be more than briefly topical. "
The ones I am referring to are the ones considered representative enough to be published - we have the thre volumes of Ashton 17th, 18th and 19th, Ashton's 'Real Sailor Songs' Hindley's 'Curiosities of Street Literature',   2 volumes of Holloway and Black..... and I would guess (without counting) another thirty collections - from early Elizabethan to 19th century
I have scoured the Pepys set and spent a long time looking through Chethams and Central Library in Mancester
Musa Pedestris and Pills to Purge Melancholy would , I think count as broadsides
Hardly a singable song in the lot of them - or certainly not for anything to use in a feature evening and then forgotten
Sorry Howard, I really have tried with these.
I would be interested to hear on a collection that did contain a few singable songs
Don't forget, many of these sheets were bought and used for decoration, as described in Issac Walton's 'The Compleat Angler'
I can hardly imagine many of them ever having been sung for any length of time.
Even most of those that went into the tradition were in very much need of adaptation.
"But Jim, do you now acknowledge that we all do accept that some songs were written by the people whose affairs they deal with, and that we disagree only in our estimates of the proportions?"
Not really Howard, otherwise people might have ventured the suggestion that the rural population might just have made a little more than the single figure numbers of our folk songs Steve is suggesting they did
Where do you stand on this?
If working people were capable of of having made our folk songs, the subject matter, the social stance of the songs, the folklore and folk speech..... and a whole host of other things suggests strongly that they made the majority of them
One of the things we noticed while interviewing singers was how they sectioned off their songs from other genres, identified with them and claimed them a their own
It would take poetical geniuses (geneii?) to have produced some work
Comared with the depth of our folk songs the work of the hacks was as different as mass produced goods next to that of skilled craftsmen
The timelessness and distribution of many of the songs is proof of that, if any were needed
Feel free to tell me if I am overstating
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 01:31 PM

More on The Maid of Australia.
If you haven't already done so it's worth taking a look at the other thread on this very song. We have an unpublished version from Devon and an Australian version collected somewhat later on. For reasons I would explain if needed it surely is very doubtful that the song was made in Australia. When we have looked at all versions together I wouldn't be surprised if that one goes back to American versions. The thread also mentions 2 versions collected by Carpenter and this might prove useful when we've seen these 2 versions. The VWML website is about to put up the Carpenter Collection shortly if it has not already been done. One feature of both the versions on the other thread is some shunting has taken place(the running together of 2 verses into 1 ( sometimes attributable to oral tradition, sometimes to rewriting by broadside writers. More likely oral tradition in this case.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 09:37 AM

> The significance to me of folk songs is their staying-power.


I take it you mean "without outside assistance."

A tiny proportion of pop songs and "art songs" have also shown great staying power - though helped along by marketing, star performers, and elaborate musical arrangements.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Howard Jones
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 09:26 AM

Jim contrasts broadside compositions which were "unsingably bad" with the folk songs which are "highly singable".

Those broadsides which really were unsingable probably didn't survive very long, and possibly were never intended to be more than briefly topical. However the very high percentage of collected folk songs which can be traced back to broadsides and other printed sources suggests that many of them were singable. In some cases that may be because they were existing songs (or it might be that they were actually quite good) but in others the explanation must be that they were transformed into singable folk songs by folk singers themselves. Like Brian, I regard that process as a creative one, and in the context of what we mean by 'folk songs' arguably more important than the original act of composition. It is after all the 'folk process' which distinguishes folk song from the rest.

The significance to me of folk songs is their staying-power. They clearly contained something which made them relevant and meaningful to generations of people who sang and listened to them. Whether that came from the authenticity of their original composition or whether it was acquired and added by singers along the way, or whether they were simply an escapist contrast to their lives, they came to mean something to those people and perhaps tell us something about them and their lives. For me it is the whole journey which matters, not just the starting point; not where they originated but where they ended up. Of course, this is a purely personal and perhaps an emotional response and others may have very different reactions to mine, but it explains my point of view. I am not indifferent to whether or not these songs were composed by the folk (and certainly not hostile to the idea) but it is not of particular importance to me, as that was only the beginning of the journey.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just anothe guest
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 08:54 AM

... ot beer in the pot.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Just another guest
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 08:52 AM

Another quote from Roud's book, here quoting Charlotte Burne in the last part of the 19th century;

"One such song-maker, commonly called 'the Muxton carter' ... ... used to think the verses over in his mind when he was going with the horses... ... It was doubtless such unlettered poets as these wh supplied the matter for the broadsides which emanated in great numbers from Waidson's press at Shrewsbury during the earlier years of the present century"

So far in the book I haven't come across what I would recognise as a 'broadside hack' as referred to in this discussion. This is reference to many sorts of people, with varying degrees of education, who's work came out on broadsides. To me the simple interpretation is that they area a result of straightforward business decisions on the part of the person with the words, the person with the press and the person who sold them. The arrangment may or may not have been equitable amongst the parties concerned but they all must have thought that it would help them keep food on the table.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 08:29 AM

No problem, Richard. If we give a very rough estimate figure of the main published corpus from about 1890 upto about 1920 from southern England we're looking at about 3,000 songs. My 95% still leaves the 5% as about 150 songs. These can easily be sought amongst the published collections mentioned and there are plenty in the Hammond-Gardiner (Marrow Bones) series. Just look for those that have very few versions and are songs with an obvious local flavour like local hunting songs.

Other than that I have a good selection of songs from my local area I know were written by local farm labourers.

I have posted details on several occasions of an East Riding bothy ballad which was known to every farm labourer in the East Riding during the 20th century (and in surrounding counties) and there are 19th century versions. As far as I know the song has never appeared on street literature and seldom in other forms of print. It is a song we usually call 'Mutton Pie'. If you haven't seen a version there is at least one on our website www.yorkshirefolksong.net and I have sung it at TSF meetings. I can post it here if you wish. I did hear of a version with 50 verses which doesn't surprise me, but I never got to hear or see this version.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 06:32 AM

After my last posting here at 12:08 Mudcat time yesterday I was out at Sharp's Folk Club, where were sung all sorts of songs, new and old, most of them in my opinion (though not all) worth listening to. Having got home late, I got off to late start this morning. In the meantime there have been many further postings here, and I was going to say that the thread has moved on; but more accurate would be to say that the thread is getting stuck deeper in the mire.

Jim asked (inter alia)
> why is it so impossible to accept that rural people wrote rural songs about rural subjects - likewise seamen, or soldiers....?

I would have ventured to answer that, but Steve already did
> It isn't! We keep stating that rural people (and soldiers and seamen) did write rural songs and indeed we have given plenty of good examples of what they wrote. More if you wish.

Jim came back again
> You have described these songs as Farers writing of their own exppereinces which have not become folk songs
No answer

(Excusing the typos) I presume that Jim is challenging the latter part of Steve's answer, concerning examples. I too would like to pursue that a little further.

But Jim, do you now acknowledge that we all do accept that some songs were written by the people whose affairs they deal with, and that we disagree only in our estimates of the proportions?

Steve, please expand about the examples. It seems to me that not very many particular songs have been mentioned on this thread, that some of those have every appearance of having been written by individuals whose business was song writing, and that we have no information as to who most of those individuals were. Which songs, mentioned above, do you personally regard as (probably or certainly) written by rural people?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 05:49 AM

Spare us. It is completely impossible to work out which is your opinion and which is quoted text in that last message.

Don't you ever preview what you post?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 05:41 AM

"It isn't! We keep stating that rural people (and soldiers and seamen)
did write rural songs and indeed we have given plenty of good examples of what they wrote. More if you wish."
You have described these songs as Farers writing of their own exppereinces which have not become folk songs
No answer
"There are lots of possible answers to this and others will probably add to my list."
Superficial twaddle
Most collectors referred to the songs as being produced by the people - Motherwell made a point of it when he warned against editing them and Sharp quoted him doing so
"We have already addressed this one numerous times. Vic just addressed the 'conveyor belt' idea."
No you haven't
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'
"Why is is so important to you that these songs were produced for money rather than made to reflect working lives.
It isn't. The fact that they were paid is incidental!
What!!!!
You maid a gleeful point of describing the money aspect of the production of these songs, comparing them to those produced by today's pop industry
You are joking?
"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
From: Steve Gardham - PM
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 07:22 PM
Jim,
Long ago I conceded that parts of Ireland and the Bothy tradition have songs made in local communities that have become part of oral tradition. You are well aware that I am talking about the body of material collected by the likes of Sharp, Kidson, Baring Gould, Hammond, Gardiner etc.

What is being suggested here is that they weren't necessarily rexamples of such
These are more excuses with no real responses Steve
Brian
Banks of Sweet Primroses
"would have demanded a countryman's specialist knowledge"
I raise the song as a beautiful example of a comparison in style and language between the broadside output and that of the folk, not as demanding specialist knowledge of the countryside
Will deal (with some pleasure) with your 'Maid of Australia' text in full later
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 06:02 PM

Hi, folks -
Wherever and whenever you post lyrics at Mudcat, please give the song's title and name the source of your lyrics. I've added titles to some of the lyrics in this thread. I hope I'm right.
Thanks.
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 05:54 PM

5) What makes 19th century rural England so different from Rural Scotland or Ireland, where folk song making is a proven fact?

Others have already addressed the Bothy Ballads issue. I was the one who originally suggested the Bothy Ballads. Although I can't claim to have conducted individual studies on Bothy Ballads I am very familiar with them. Perhaps it might be more relevant to look at the Greig-Duncan collection, a very large body of material but much more representative of North East Scotland. Much of the material in G-D is a very mixed bag. There aren't that many of the big ballads in relation to the whole corpus, there are lots of local songs not found elsewhere, there are also lots of broadside ballads in there, as you would expect crossing over with what Sharp and co were collecting, and a whole load of Burns type stuff again which you would expect.

As for comparing what was going on in rural England in the early 19th century with conditions in rural Ireland in the second half of the 20th century, well I'll leave that to the historians to answer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 05:44 PM

4) Why is is so important to you that these songs were produced for money rather than made to reflect working lives.

It isn't. The fact that they were paid is incidental to what they were producing as far as we're concerned. the writers were working people. The 2 things you point to here are not mutually exclusive anyway.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 05:41 PM

3) Who is more likely to have made these songs - city dwellers working under conveyor belt conditions or country dwellers responding to what was happening all around them?

We have already addressed this one numerous times. Vic just addressed the 'conveyor belt' idea. I certainly haven't given the impression (at least I hope so) that this was some sort of conveyor belt. I've already stated that from what we know of the writers they came from a variety of backgrounds and had various motives, admittedly the 2 most obvious, to feed a family and to feed a drink habit. We've also repeatedly asked you to give some examples of songs that couldn't have been written by the urban writers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 05:35 PM

2) If they did, why didn't those documenting the songs at the time spot that these songs were really Urban products?

There are lots of possible answers to this and others will probably add to my list.
Most of the collectors were not particularly interested in their origins. Presumably they were happy to accept Sharp's doctrine. Baring Gould and Kidson aside, few of them had done any research on this and we already know that they were much more interested in the tunes. Vaughan Williams frequently didn't even bother to note any more than the first verse of the text. As stated baring Gould and Kidson were well aware of the broadside influence but they lived far away from London where all the organising went on under Sharp's watchful eye.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 05:29 PM

Jim's 4 questions answered.

1) why is it so impossible to accept that rural people wrote rural songs about rural subjects - likewise seamen, or soldiers....?

It isn't! We keep stating that rural people (and soldiers and seamen)
did write rural songs and indeed we have given plenty of good examples of what they wrote. More if you wish.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 03:09 PM

There is nothing wrong in historical research in saying As yet we do not know the answer. We hope that future evidence will reveal this. It is a much more sensible and honest than saying, These are the facts and need to be regarded as the truth. when there is nothing concrete to back up a statement.

Let's take a couple of recent examples from this thread.
Firstly Bothy Ballads. We can date their heyday to 1830 to 1890. We know that they continued to be sung well into the 20th century by the rural population of the north-east. We know that they appeared in print from the earliest time and that there was a good distribution system and a ready market in farms and villages. We know that by the beginning of the 20th century any new song that entered the repertoire as a cornkister was likely to have been written by a professional entertainer. We know that the songs of Harry Lauder & Will Fyfe gained great currency in the north-east; Jane Turriff seemed to sing them all. What we don't know is who composed the earlier songs, let's say those that appeared before 1850, and of those, the ones that gained currency. They may have been commissioned by those who printed the sheets, they may have been written by farm workers. It may be a combination of both. In the majority of cases, we just don't know.
That's why Scotland has a fine repertoire of Bothie Songs made by farmworkers makes me uncomfortable because, in fact, we do not know for certain who made them.
That's why statements like First I've heard of it Vic are unhelpful because whether you or I or anyone else has heard of it proves nothing.

Let's move on to a subject we know even less about, the class and location of those who wrote the broadside ballads.
Urban people, not particularly skilled as poets and living outside of the subjects of our folk songs - all of which makes them highly unlikely as possible authors
Again I feel very uncomfortable about this because the amount of knowledge that we have is minimal about the poets' names, their education, their class, their other occupations if any, whether they were itinerant, living in town or country whether they were the printers or ballad sellers themselves or whether their ranks encompassed all or most of these. It would be honest to say that we don't have enough information so we should admit that, on the whole, we just don't know. We know from reading the survivors that their standard varied from drivel to some quite moving pieces. To claim otherwise as the statement above seems to me to be being economic with the actuality.

Finally, there have been a few statements of the nature of -
It most certainly is not - it's a well documented fact, including in Hindleys Hindley in teh Catnach biography and Leslie Shepherd's books on the subject
Vic has described the pressure they worked under quite adequately

Well, I certainly was not referring to any song printed as a broadside I was merely trying to make a joke (failed obviously) of the fact that the printer would not be able to wait for a polished edit of the tiresome prose of Last words of.... or Confessions of.... documents to be mulled over and corrected before the body was swinging at the end of a rope, Like football programmes, these sheets had a very short shelf life before they were discarded.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 02:54 PM

Regarding the microfilm copies of the Carpenter collection in the VWML, which Jim referred to, I certainly knew of their presence, used them extensively and learned songs from them about 15 years ago, after a tip-off from David Atkinson. So thanks for facilitating that, Jim.

Having initiated this thread I'm beginning to feel a bit like the fellow who chucked the bomb at Archduke Ferdinand. But since the discussion has touched several times on one of my favourite renditions of any traditional song, 'The Banks of Sweet Primroses' by Phil Tanner, I must say that his exuberant and irresistible performance, and his individual way with the rhythmic structure, demonstrate to me the creativity of the 'common folk' quite as well as if he'd written it himself. Haven't I spent years trying to justify my own musical career by pointing out that interpretation of existing material is as creative in its way as composing new stuff? As for the song itself, although it's a lovely lyric I don't see anything there that would have demanded a countryman's specialist knowledge - just some experience of wandering by a river on a sunny day, and of romantic rejection.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 02:45 PM

Just like the one that ot=rigianted on the tradition
Must have got it from a visiting countryman or picked up by a pedlar - if not, why not?
If not, you need to prove it as the original
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD Version: The Maids of Australia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 02:19 PM

Thomas Pearson, Printer, 6, Chadderton Street, off Oldham Road, Manchester. Stock No 76.

THE MAIDS OF AUSTRALIA

One morn as I stood on the Arbourer's banks,
Where the maids of Australia plays their wild pranks,
Beneath the green shades, I sat myself down,
A viewing the scenes that enchanted all round,
In the forest of happy Australia,
Where the maids are so handsome and gay.

I had not gazed long on these beautiful scenes,
Where the forest was wild, and the trees they were green,
Before a gay damsel to me did appear,
To the banks of the river she quickly drew near!
She was a native of happy Australia,
Where the maids are so handsome and gay.

She says young man I'm almost afraid,
That you will injure an innocent maid,
That is come here to bathe on these pure rippling shores,
In the streams of my native Australia
Streams of my native Australia
Where the maids....

She pulled off her clothes, and before me she stood,
As naked as Venus just rose from the flood;
I blushed with confusion, when smiling, says she,
This is the clothing dame nature gave me,
On the day i was born in Australia,
Where....

She plunged in the river without fear or dread,
Her delicate limbs she extended and spread,
Her hair hung in ringlets, which you know was black,
She says, See here, young man, how I float on my back,
In the streams of my native Australia
Where the ......

Being exhausted with swimming, she swam to the brink,
For assistance she cried, oh I'm afraid I shall sink.
Like lightning I flew, and gave her my hand,
She uncourteously slipt and fell back on the sand,
So I entered the bush of Australia,
Where...

I kissed and I toy'd with the fondest of glee,
With the fairest Australian that e'er I did see;
Long time on her bosom my face I did hide,
Till the sun in the west its visits declined,
So I left this fair maid of Australia,
Where.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 01:27 PM

"Again, we need to be very careful in attributing a majority of Bothy songs to the farmworkers themselves. "
First I've heard of it Vic and my favourite book o the subject id David Kerr Cameron's 'The Ballad and the Plough
From your link:
"In the first half of the 20th century, the bothy ballad took on a more comical 'stage' form through the works of George Bruce Thomson, G.S. Morris and Willie Kemp. These more recent compositions - by and large very humorous - are sometimes called cornkisters to distinguish them from older 'traditional' bothy songs which tend to be more sober accounts of work and conditions on particular farms"

The oral tradition at the beginning of the 20th century in Scotland was beginning to deteriorate and become mor reliant on print, as was the English one
The songs we are discussing here were those made in the latter half of the 19th century and recovered from a dying tradition
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 01:19 PM

And please read my list of the sources I believe to have made the songs - from MacColl's Song Carriers (which Steve Gardham dismissed as romantic rubbish)
"They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom".
I am at a total loss to understand why I have to keep repeating this?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 01:15 PM

Scotland has a fine repertoire of Bothie Songs made by farmworkers

Again, we need to be very careful in attributing a majority of Bothy songs to the farmworkers themselves. What we do know is that the bothy ballads found a willing audience of singers and listeners for these songs. By British standards, the farms of Aberdeenshire and the Mearns were large and often relatively isolated and the various farm tradesmen lived in the bothies and rarely left their farms during their six month 'fee'. The farms were regularly visited by all sorts of pedlars and as well as clothing, boots and 'bacca they brought song sheets to a captive market. Jimmy MacBeath was a popular figure in the bothies both as an entertainer and for the song sheets and books that he brought to sell. One of the few broadside ballads that I own was bought in a junk shop in Dundee; the lovely ballad of Tattie Jock and Mutton Peggy. It begins -
Ye'll a' o' heard o' Tattie Jock, likewise o' Mutton Peggy
They kept a fermie o'er in Fife and the name o' it was Craigie's

... though as you might expect from a song that has entered the tradition, it has been heard by me at the early TMSA festivals with the location changed - usually further north,
It was in print from the "Poet's Box" in Dundee as late as the 1950s though the subject is about transportation to Botany Bay for theft (1840s?). Extensive research has failed to locate the farm in spite of the song. Someone must have imagined the story as well as the location, but though the story sounds entirely believeable and likely, the odds are that it didn't happen. Who wrote it remains unknown but there is little doubt that the printed version helped its widespread popularity amongst old bothy workers that we met at those festivals such as Charlie Murray, Adam Young and Eck Harley. I heard a lot of these lovely old guys who must have started their work on farms around the time of the First World War. They sang all sorts of songs, not just songs about the farms; sentimental songs were prominent in their repertoires.
They talked a lot about the songs written by George Bruce Thomson, G.S. Morris and Willie Kemp, all of whom were famed as pro or semi-pro performers on stage and in village concert party and humour and 'bothy culture and songs' were prominent in their acts. They also recorded, mainly for the Beltona label and pedlars sold these '78s around the farms. The vast majority of the bothy songs sung by these old guys could be found in either one of these two publications by Kerr - Bothy Ballads - the songs of Willie Kemp and Buchan Bothy Ballads written by G.S. Morris. Both were still in print in that poor quality paper that Kerr's always used when I bought them (along with their many tune books) in the 1960s. (I would love to know the publication date for all of any of these Kerr publications. They seem to me to be difficult to trace.)
We also need to be very careful in taking as gospel the facts expressed in the lyrics of these ballads as Ian Olson, the expert of the bothy repertoire from the University of Aberdeen has said -
Bothies were more common in Angus than Aberdeenshire, but it is the latter that has become best known as the heartland of bothy songs.

Traditional bothy ballads were mostly composed between 1830-1890, and are often characterised as being songs decrying the conditions on a certain farm or in some cases certain farmers, seemingly gaining notoriety for places such as Drumdelgie, the Barnyards o Delgaty or Rhynie. However, bothy ballad expert Ian Olson points out that the songs were jokes rather than satires. He notes that Delgaty, for example, was a prestigious farm, "famous for having the very best of equipment, horses and horsemen. Singing that there was 'naethin there but skin and bone' would have been hilarious".
From https://www.scotslanguage.com/Scots_Song_uid65/Types_of_Scots_Song/Bothy_Ballads_uid3315


Now, it could be argued that the bothy evidence that I have been talking about came at a time when they were in terminal decline but three superb books that combine oral history with other written sources and account books by David Kerr Cameron - The Ballad & The Plough, The Cornkister Days and Willie Gavin, Crofter Man give us a detailed picture of life around the mid nineteenth century on the farms of north-east Scotland and they all talk about pedlars and their central importance in bringing news and song sheets as well as everything else to the farms.
The reason for my intense interest in this part of the world is that my grandmother born 1872, who I live with in Edinburgh when I was a boy, had been a 'kitchie maid' on an Aberdeenshire farm after leaving school before she achieved her ambition of training as a nurse in Aberdeen.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 01:14 PM

GAG
THese were not professional broadside writers as such
THey are in fact, what I have suggested the suggested authors of some of our folk songs - workers who made pennies on the side by selling some of their songs
Again - go look up Vic's description of the conditions of work of the professional broadside writers - there is no disput that they worked as professions at top speed to produce songs
Please respond to the questions I have laid out here 09 Jan 18 - 12:47 PM or leave me to draw my own conclusions - that you are unable to
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 01:07 PM

"Like Robert Tannahill? "
Tanahill wasn't a broadside writer - he was a weaver-poet, as was Bamnford, Axon, Lackock and all the others mentioned previously as examples of working men producing poems of working life based on their own experiences
He was not Urban, but came from the market town of Paisley, the population of which in the first couple of decades of the 19th century, was less than 5,000
There is no comparison between Tannahill and the metropolitan based hacks we are discussion - he was, in essence, a country poet
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 12:52 PM

"We are not talking about Urban dwellers Vic, we are talking about specific tradesmen who are (as you said yourself) working under high pressure to earn a living"

@Jim Carroll. It was you who brought up Samuel Laycock (also John Clare) , and me several pages back, who quoted some biographical details. Which included 12 hour days as a weaver, poetry on broadsides that helped him get by when unemployed and enduring respect, but not much money, as a published poet.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 12:47 PM

I've answered this already guest and asked for a response
MacColl, my father and many others educated themselves during the great depression, mainly by going into Libraries to shelter from the rain, off the streets
I have no doubt whatever that Urban working people were as capable of making songs as were rural ones, but there's no evidence that they wrote rural songs beyond the limitations of their experience at the time these songs were made
I ask again, why is it so impossible to to accept that rural people wrote rural songs about rural subjects - likewise seamen, or soldiers....?
If they did, why didn't those documenting the songs at the time spot that these songs were really Urban products?
Who is more likely to have made these songs - city dwellers working under conveyor belt conditions or country dwellers responding to what was happening all around them?
Why is is so important to you that these songs were produced for money rather than made to reflect working lives
What makes 19th century rural England so different from Rural Scotland or Ireland, where folk song making is a proven fact?
I've asked these questions over and over again and nobody appears to want to answer them!

For the interest of those who appear to be expressing doubt over the suggestion that the Vaughan Williams Memorial has held a copy of the Carpenter collection since the 1070s
I've just checked our section of the collection shelved in the loft and have established that we have 15 spring-back folders of photocopies from the contents of (I think) 5 or 6 microfilms
We paid to get as many of them copied as we could but didn't manage to get all of them
As far as I am aware, the set is still available at the Library
Each of our folders contains at least 150 songs (at a guess)
This is the first song from the first folder, though I can't guarantee we got them in order
Jim Carroll

Buchan Observer,
Turlundie Side
Bell Robertson, New Pitslogo, June 9, 1908

Now Nature decks Pitligo's groves
In all their summer pride.
And temps the wandering feet to rove
Upon Turlundie's side.
To gaze upon the prospect fair,
So varied and so wide,        
And breathe the sweet and balmy air
Upon. Turlundie's side.
To hear the little feathered throng
With music fill the woods
And the lav'rock chant his joyous song,
Hid in the fleecy clouds.
Sweet wild flowers deck the meadows green
Like to a bonny bride,
And wimplin burnies row unseen
A' down Turlundie's side.
From Brucklemore to Mormondhill        
And to the ocean wide,
The wanderer's eye can rove at will
From off Turlundie's side.
I care not for wealth's gaudy toys        .
It's pageantry and pride,
Just give me Nature's simple joys
Upon Turlundie'a side.        
Does any wish in quiet retreat
A few weeks to abide?
Just come and try this village sweet
Upon Turlundiefs side.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 12:35 PM

We are not talking about Urban dwellers Vic, we are talking about specific tradesmen who are (as you said yourself) working under high pressure to earn a living

Their output of poetry shows their limited skills as most of it is unsingable


Like Robert Tannahill? As urban proletarian as you can get.

Scottish and Irish rural singers (Travellers included) seem to have managed to sing his output without much of a problem.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 12:23 PM

On the other side of things, in the chapter on "The singing habits of sailors and soldiers", Roud quotes Herman Melville's (fictionalised, but presumably first-hand) account of Liverpool:

"But one of the most curious features of the scene was the numnber of sailor ballad-singers, who after singing their verses, hand you a printed copy, and beg you to buy... ... he composed many of his own verses, and had them printed on his own account" (Melville)

My Kindle says I am 65% of the way though the book, but there is not much of what seems contentious in this discussion that has not been touched on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 12:09 PM

"How about urban people who left school at 15 "joined the ranks of the unemployed ... found intermittent work in a number of jobs and also made money as a street singer (Wikipedia)" but became skilled poets and talked to the people who had done those things ?"
There is not a shred of evidence that any of them did this


@Jim Carrol. It's from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ewan_MacColl Now, to be sure, self education would have been a lot harder in, say, the 1700's but there are a whole ruck of people who became succesful in many spheres who did it. Maybe many who, like, MacColl, became involved in the theatre of the time. So why not a broadside writer?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 12:08 PM

I started writing this a few hours ago but then received a visitor to talk about concertinas (and many other subjects).

The phrase "Entrenched views" appeared.

That's the nub of it. Despite all the discussion, sometimes polite and sometimes not at all polite, I see little sign of anyone changing their mind. Even where we have hard evidence of the original provenance of particular songs that still tells us nothing certain about any of the others.

But I'm becoming very unsure what the parties are actually disagreeing about.

We established some time ago that all sorts of different people (including in particular both rural workers and professional songwriters) could and did create songs, that some songs appealed to popular taste and survived to be widely sung and widely collected, that others were collected only a few times, and yet others were sung only briefly and/or locally if at all and so were never collected. Modern subjective impressions of quality won't always align with what the folk adopted or ignored, but by and large at least some of the gems should have survived and most of the dung should have been forgotten.

Given the huge range of styles, from big ballads to bucolic May morning encounters, to music hall songs, etc, it's no wonder that the early collectors were selective. It's also no wonder that when later collectors bothered to ask singers for their opinions the singers drew distinctions between the different sorts.

Apart from the figure of 95% or thereabouts, which Steve believes reflects how many of the songs in the classic collections were made by professional songwriters (whether directly for broadsides or for the stage etc), and which Jim believes to be much too high, what else is under dispute?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: TheSnail
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 11:52 AM

How about those who make accusations likke, "They seem equally agenda driven and attention seeking"
That wasn't an accusation, it was an observation.

Leave my balls out of it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 11:33 AM

"have any research evidence or factual reinforcement for the statement that town and city dwellers bring little skill to their verses? "
We are not talking about Urban dwellers Vic, we are talking about specific tradesmen who are (as you said yourself) working under high pressure to earn a living
Their output of poetry shows their limited skills as most of it is unsingable (as distinct from our folk songs, that fit the mouth like custom-made false teeth) and display signs of a knowledge of working practices and equipment, conditions experienced by rural politics like the seizure of land, the effects of mechanisation on rural occupations, or experience of conditions at sea or in the army or in the rural industries.
No group of desk-bound poets working in the conditions they were forced to could ever produce a body of songs covering those situations the way our makes of folk songs did, in my opinion
It is still as simple as it ever was - if working people were capable of making folk songs they probably did
Nobody has suggested (yet) that they weren't
Any offers?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 11:21 AM

Sorry interrupted
Can I just reiterate that, here in Ireland, rural people were making their own songs right up to the mid 1950s - mainly anonymously - we uncovered at leasy sixty o them within a twenty mile radius of this one street town, and were made of a hundred more over the other side of the county
It is almost certain that this was repeated in every county in Ireland
While the political situation was different, the economic situation was similar to that of England
The post famine situation gave rise to many new songs - Terry Moylan published a magnificent 700 page book of them last year on political songs, but hoe we came across were on every subject under the sun, farmwork (including songs about hiring fairs), shipwrecks, emigration (probably the largest number, naturally), fashion, arranged marriages, murders, weddings, births, marriages, deaths..... everything touching on human existance.
Scotland has a fine repertoire of Bothie Songs made by farmworkers - the Tweed industry produced improvised songs made on the spot and political upheavals were marked by angry protest songs in Scots Gaelic
We know from John Holloway's 'Oxford Book of Local Verse' that similar songs have been made throughout England for centuries
I spent months in Manchester Library poring through microfiche copies of ld newspapers which carried regular columns of songs contributed, mainly anonymously (probably for fear of reprisals) by mill workers and land workers trying to get the vote
None of this is hard and fast evidence that working people made our folk song, but is shows (beyond any doubt) that they were capable of doing so.
"I'm not sure who "you people" are "
How about those who make accusations likke, "They seem equally agenda driven and attention seeking"
I have put my points without agenda and without attention seeking
I make no claims of percentages, nor do I dismiss the idea that these songs also appeared on broadsides in great numbers - a fact I have been aware of since Bob Thomson told me about them in 1969.
My reason for arguing as I do is that we examine all the facts and all the possibilities, gathering as much evidence and as many opinions as there are available.
"Fortunately, this is a very long distance relationship."
The ball's always been in your court Bryan !
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 11:17 AM

In spite of his marital difficulties, Bryan speaks a lot of sense at 09 Jan 18 - 09:31 AM. The reluctance to join in what has developed in part into an insult-strewn kicking match has clearly put off people who are well-qualified to participate. I have received an email and a Facebook message from two men asking me to make points on their behalf. Well, my answers to both (they will be reading this) was that I didn't want to fire the bullets that other people make. However, it does point out that things have reached a sorry state on a subject that requires participators to think what they are saying and back it up with evidence.

My silly verse above did have a serious point behind and it leads me to ask a polite question which hopefully will bring forward an answer that is without rancour -
Does the person who stated Urban people, not particularly skilled as poets and living outside of the subjects of our folk songs - all of which makes them highly unlikely as possible authors have any research evidence or factual reinforcement for the statement that town and city dwellers bring little skill to their verses? Otherwise it does seem to be a bold, bald and unsupported statement, bearing in mind that we know very little of the lives and living locations of the hundreds (thousands?) of people who contributed to the composition and/or adaptation of broadside ballads/chapbooks etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 10:49 AM

"How about urban people who left school at 15 "joined the ranks of the unemployed ... found intermittent work in a number of jobs and also made money as a street singer (Wikipedia)" but became skilled poets and talked to the people who had done those things ?"
There is not a shred of evidence that any of them did this
Steve Gardham has pointed out that some of them might have been born in rural areas, but most lived within reach of their work
Is it so unlikely that people actually created songs based on what was happening around them (as early researchers believed) that it is necessary to invent "what ifs" such as this?
It seems to me that peaple here seem to want working people not to have made their own songs
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 10:22 AM

Urban people, not particularly skilled as poets and living outside of the subjects of our folk songs - all of which makes them highly unlikely as possible authors,
Who better to suspect of making sea songs than someone who has actually worked at se
The same goes for agricultural work, soldiering, mining, weaving
(Jim Carrol)

How about urban people who left school at 15 "joined the ranks of the unemployed ... found intermittent work in a number of jobs and also made money as a street singer (Wikipedia)" but became skilled poets and talked to the people who had done those things ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: TheSnail
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 09:34 AM

Fortunately, this is a very long distance relationship.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

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

Meanwhile, back at my original interjection. I do feel that both Jim Carroll and Steve Gardham have taken up entrenched positions. Neither is really listening to what the other says, both argue against things the other haven't said and both claim that academic experts agree with what they say on the grounds that anyone who disagrees is clearly wrong. Jim genuinely doesn't seem to realise how insulting he comes over nor Steve how patronising. (Thanks for the apology, Steve, but I doubt if you really remember the specific incident.)

Jim responded "Are you people now hell bent on closing this thread by turning it into a kicking match?" I'm not sure who "you people" are that I am now a member of. My point was that the two of you had already turned it into a kicking match.

There is a constructive and interesting debate to be had here. This isn't it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 09:30 AM

Great Vic
Pity there aren't any broadside companies looking for haks!
"Jim and I will be seeking counselling."
No need - it's legal now Bryan!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 09:19 AM

Urban people, not particularly skilled as poets

I can't make a mark as a poet.
I make a good start then I blow it.
But then I live in towns
(Quite close to South Downs)
And by the time I get to the fifth line of a Limerick I just seem to lose all sense of rhythm and rhyme


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

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

It was bound to come out in the end. Jim and I will be seeking counselling.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 08:58 AM

" I don't see any reason to consider them other than "ordinary people,"
Urban people, not particularly skilled as poets and living outside of the subjects of our folk songs - all of which makes them highly unlikely as possible authors
Who better to suspect of making sea songs than someone who has actually worked at se
The same goes for agricultural work, soldiering, mining, weaving, whatever
Would you be happy to ask a plumber to rewire your house?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 18 - 08:48 AM

09 Jan 18 - 07:52 AM
"Bryan and I have our marital problems"
?!


I thought that Bryan must have been hiding something from me in the 40-odd years that I have known him well,


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

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.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

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


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

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

"Bryan and I have our marital problems"
?!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

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.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

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


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

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.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 20 September 6:33 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.