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New Book: Folk Song in England

Steve Gardham 22 Jul 18 - 11:17 AM
Vic Smith 23 Jul 18 - 08:07 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Jul 18 - 08:28 AM
Vic Smith 23 Jul 18 - 09:56 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jul 18 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Jul 18 - 04:41 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Jul 18 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Jul 18 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 24 Jul 18 - 02:12 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jul 18 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,jag 24 Jul 18 - 04:15 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jul 18 - 05:25 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jul 18 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 24 Jul 18 - 07:02 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Jul 18 - 10:39 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jul 18 - 11:08 AM
Jack Campin 24 Jul 18 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 24 Jul 18 - 11:26 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jul 18 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 24 Jul 18 - 02:38 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Jul 18 - 02:49 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Jul 18 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 24 Jul 18 - 09:36 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 24 Jul 18 - 09:49 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Jul 18 - 02:30 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Jul 18 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 25 Jul 18 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 25 Jul 18 - 07:54 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Jul 18 - 08:43 AM
Jack Campin 25 Jul 18 - 08:47 AM
Vic Smith 25 Jul 18 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 25 Jul 18 - 12:24 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 03:15 AM
Richard Mellish 26 Jul 18 - 04:25 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 05:53 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 06:33 AM
Vic Smith 26 Jul 18 - 07:16 AM
Lighter 26 Jul 18 - 08:03 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 08:14 AM
Vic Smith 26 Jul 18 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Jul 18 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,jag 26 Jul 18 - 08:47 AM
Lighter 26 Jul 18 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Jul 18 - 09:31 AM
Vic Smith 26 Jul 18 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Jul 18 - 09:50 AM
Vic Smith 26 Jul 18 - 10:17 AM
Brian Peters 26 Jul 18 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Jul 18 - 10:53 AM
Jack Campin 26 Jul 18 - 10:57 AM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jul 18 - 11:17 AM

BTW I'm about halfway through Gerould and have found very little to argue with so far. Thanks for the reminder, Tzu.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jul 18 - 08:07 AM

For this post to be closed permanently because of a few barbed and personal comments would be a travesty. Please can we discuss matters in a reasonable way without lowering the standards of the debate. We can oppose one another with reasoned argument and by backing our comments with evidence without recourse to denigrating others or the constant re-hashing of supposed past grievances.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jul 18 - 08:28 AM

I would agree with you if you didn't describe past arguments as grievances" Vic
I don't think anybody on either side has raised them (beyond this subject, I don't believe anybody even has them)
Past arguments are a different matter - when they are ignored they are bound to be "re-hashed"
I decided to stay clear of this to allow others to have their say, but I fully intend to go over old ground until I am satisfied it has been dealt with satisfactory - it would be a betrayal of everything I believe to do otherwise
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jul 18 - 09:56 AM

I have just come back from the Bradfield Traditional Music Weekend (just north of Sheffield, ) a really enjoyable weekend of song and tune sessions and some fine presentations. The finest and most interesting as far as I was concerned was The Fragrance of Country Melody - Irene Shettle's presentation, the result of exhaustive research into the life and work of Lucy Broadwood.
My ears really pricked up when she quote from a letter of Lucy's saying that of the 420 songs that she knew to be in the repertoire of the great Henry Burstow of Horsham - her major informant - that 75% of them could not be regarded as folk songs by her strict definition.
Irene has promided to sent me a copy of her script an when I receive it, I will post the actual words that Lucy wrote.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jul 18 - 10:39 AM

Tzu
Now the thread is being closely monitored it would be a good time to discuss any points you want to raise about the book.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Jul 18 - 04:41 PM

Well, we'll see.

I have been looking into Gerould, though as I have a pdf and not a book it is a bit frustrating to read. However, he seems to have a 'use' rather than an 'origin' definition of folk, rather like Roud (p3 of the 57 Galaxy Reprint of Gerould) and Karpeles. It seems Gerould had a specific 'recreation' theory about this. I still have a lot to read in Gerould.

Gerould has got me thinking just how it may be that the same stories (whether in ballad/narrative song form or not) crop up all over Europe. I found, as you will see from a new thread, which may or may not lead to discussion, a specific example where a work by a known Anglo-Norman poet got itself into a number of European languages.





This is really quite off-topic, but I am not going to criticise Roud for not going into all these theories and this far back in history, as a) he has enough of interest to say without it and b) Gerould himself at times flags up when he is being conjectural.

Unlike Roud, Gerould's discussion of music is closely linked with his discussion of words. He explains why on pages 11-12. However, Gerould can do this because the ballad as 'genre' is narrower than the concept of 'folk music'.

I have been listening to some 'collected' English folk, mostly via Spotify. One thing that strikes me is how sober the singers sound, yet much traditional singing is said to have taken place in pubs, and, according to some first-hand accounts given by Roud, in quite rowdy circumstances. Plus, of course, in the past people didn't drink water because it wasn't as safe as beer. I'm wondering what if anything was lost or at least different when the Victorian/Edwardian collectors interacted with tradition bearers in the sober contexts they did.

Gerould's last chapter (on American folk songs) reminds us how many ballads came back to the UK from the US, including some we might describe as 'blues', but I don't think Gerould does. Roud also charts the effect that American music has had on what the people in England sings, going back surprisingly far.

I was always told that my ancestors had been abolitionists, and I know that some ballads in the Bodleian touch on slavery. I don't remember anything on this in Roud, but I might be wrong. This might be an interesting area of study.

A few thoughts.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jul 18 - 06:13 PM

Finished Gerould now. Yes, he is very careful to flag up opinions, and probably due to all of the controversy at that time, goes over the top in repeating that for some conclusions we just don't know, and will probably never know. I can find very little to disagree with and that's pretty good for someone writing nearly a century ago. In his chapter on broadsides he in several places acknowledges the great influence of print, but not having access to all of the great collections we have today, he quite rightly keeps this general and quite vague.

>>>>>>I'm wondering what if anything was lost or at least different when the Victorian/Edwardian collectors interacted with tradition bearers in the sober contexts they did.<<<<<<
Yes, not hearing some of the more meaty songs in their natural environment must have led to them missing an important part of the tradition. Although they would have avoided the more overt bawdry, not only did the collectors record some quite near the knuckle stuff, what is more remarkable is Sharp actually published it. 'English Folk Songs for Schools' edited by Sharp and Baring Gould contains sexual encounters and other stuff we wouldn't give to pupils today, some of it quite obvious.

Whereas there were ballads printed on slavery, often tear-jerker poetry, I can't think of anything that went into the tradition in Britain.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Jul 18 - 06:38 PM

Thanks for your reply, Steve. I wasn't thinking about bawdiness, (I think that might be what you mean by 'meaty', but about aspects of delivery after a pint or two, or whatever poison took their choice, would it have been louder, faster, more gestured, interactive, passionate, more rhythmical, more improvisational flourishes in melody (of the sort A L Lloyd sometimes threw in), for example. Just thinking about the differences between sober and tipsy singing I observe today. Not to mention presumably a desire to allow the person taking it down to take it down.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 02:12 AM

An interesting point from Gerould is that for some Child ballads found in Europe as well as in England one cannot state with certainty which country they originated in. Lord Randall is one example he gives. For me, his discussion would benefit from dates. I like dates as they help to contextualise even though I am by no means the world's best historian.

I don't see how it could be argued with much credibility that such songs got to England via a purely oral non-literate tradition, unless it was a bilingual oral non-literate tradition in which those people who made up the conveyor belt of tradition has skills in ballad- making in two languages.

But his point, if correct, shows that Roud was right not to call his book 'English folk song' as was suggested higher up this thread.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 03:45 AM

"I don't see how it could be argued with much credibility that such songs got to England via a purely oral non-literate tradition"
Over the centuries the motifs of our traditions were obviously carried by colonisers, traders, armies of occupation seamen, slaves and slavers, settlers all who needed to breach the language barrier in order to carry out their occupations to survive
Much of our repertoire stems from or was carried by the Travellers who probably originated in Asia and, having travelled The Globe, eventually settled in the areas they are still to be found - they are still recognised for not being literate

All of this existed in a world where literacy either didn't exist or had not become a part of the everyday life of the people who sang songs and ballads.
The motifs in 'Bruton Town' date back earlier than Boccaccio and those in Hind Horn as far back as Ancient Greece and Homer

One point that seems to have been downplayed by Roud is that our singing traditions were largely based around the home and not the streets and pubs.

Sorry for the interruption - I'll leave you to it
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 04:15 AM

(just another guest)

Following in from Jim's suggestion, I wonder wonder how many were carried by wandering* traders and tradesmen for whom a good voice and repertoire of songs might engender hospitality, perhaps rather than suspicion as a stranger.

That might encourage conversion of songs into the local language or other forms of acculturation.

Did the Onion Johnnys, for example, sing?

I am avoiding using the word 'traveller', though some may be Travellers in Jim's sense

By the way, regarding the name of the book, only a few paragraphs into the Introduction Roud says "instead of asking 'What folk songs did people sing', we are more concerned with the question 'What songs did the folk sing?'"


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 05:25 AM

I don't know about the onion Johnnys but Travellers, wherever they were from, relied heavily on being socially integrated, so this must have involved becoming familiar with the language of their hosts
As afr as music goes, we know there were 'German Musicianers' and Italian Organ Grinders on the streets of the cities.
In rural areas agriculture depended to an extent on casual itinerant labour in the form of fruit and potato pickers - the traffic between Ireland and Scotland exchanged large numbers of songs - were told last week of a major Irish traditional singer instructing her daughters going to England to "Bring me back a song"
Once you take on the Norther Scotland/Scandinavian links and the Borders Italian Renaissance influences, you have your direct path to many of our big Ballads
The attempts to nationalise these ballads is a barrier to our understanding them.

As far as singing venues are concerned, Sam Larener once told MacColl and Seeger, Sure, we sand down in the Fisherman's Return' but the real singing to place at home or at sea.
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 05:32 AM

Sorry - missed the last question
As far as I'm concerned we should be concerned with what folk songs the people sang - the people sang everything from opera to advertising jingles and football chants
That makes any ration discussion on any specific type of song so fast as to be unapproachable
The fact that chosen the other is, as far as I am concerned, tha Achilles Heel of the book

Sorry about the typos above - my new keyboard is playing up
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 07:02 AM

I wonder wonder how many were carried by wandering* traders and tradesmen for whom a good voice and repertoire of songs might engender hospitality, perhaps rather than suspicion as a stranger.

David Thomson describes travelling tailors in Ireland (early twentieth century) in People of the Sea. They would make clothes in people's homes, in remote rural areas, and were usually housed in the loft where they could hear everything that was said in the house. They had a reputation as singers and storytellers (which would make them welcome to stay longer and maybe generate more work), and listening from up there would help expand their repertoire. But not much multilingualism involved, though presumably some between English and Irish.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 10:39 AM

Tzu
Regarding your query on 'delivery'. You are probably correct. Taking down someone's songs with just a pencil and a notebook inevitably misses out on a whole host of factors some of which you flag up. The answer, like much of the rest of the subject, is we don't know.

.....until Grainger came along with his cylinder recorder which gave us at least more information, but even then the environment in which they were recorded has to be taken into account. What we have is a tune and a text and perhaps a little biographical info, and maybe an odd comment was taken down. Folksong collecting has almost always been an amateur occupation (with some notable exceptions he added hastily) and I for one am extremely grateful for what we have.

My great admiration for the works of Sharp, Hammond, Gardiner, Baring Gould, Kidson and others of that era, is that whatever they did with their editing it would appear that they tried their best to leave what they collected intact as recorded in their manuscripts.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 11:08 AM

"David Thomson describes travelling tailors in Ireland "
Travellers of one sort or another were welcome visitors in many of the rural homes - their tinsmithing work and horse trading was an essential part of rural life and their abilities as singers and storytellers made them all the more welcome
Two brothers in North Clare described how, when Travellers with songs were in the area work would be abandoned ant they would go off deliberately to pick up new songs
From the opposite point of view we have a remarkable reminiscence from a Kerry Teveller, Mikeen McCarthy, who described how, as a child, he would eavesdrop on sessions where village people would walk out to the site with food and 'guals' (armfuls') of fuels and sit around an open fire listening to Mikeen's father singing, telling stories and laying music
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 11:13 AM

There is no implication in Thomson's book, as far as I remember it, that the itinerant tailors were "travellers" with a capital T, meaning Gypsies - they spent part of the year on the road for the job, but were based in a town.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 11:26 AM

Hello Steve

Thanks for your thoughts.

I wasn't trying to 'rubbish' the collectors, or to underplay the importance of their work. I was just musing. Sorry if it came across that way.

Keeping manuscripts (and recordings) is good, it's like researchers having their 'raw data' available for others wanting to review their research.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 11:35 AM

In Ireland, there was little difference between the two
It was the 'tradesmen' that was the uniting factor, not their ethnic origins
Onede strange feature we learned about in Clare was of the travelling women - lone women who would walk from town to town offering to work or just simply begging a meal and a bed in the barn
Tom Lenihan described a 'Mrs Brown' who he learned songs from
He guessed she had been abandoned and driven away from home to the life she was living when he met her
Other's he believed were girls who had 'got into trouble'
I know from Thomson's books that he was a reliable source of information
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 02:38 PM

Jim

Interesting point about German Musicianers and Italian Organ Grinders.
Do we have any dates for these?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 02:49 PM

19th century Peau
There's actually a song about one by Harry Cox
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 02:50 PM

G M that is (nothing to do with Genetically Modified though!
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 09:36 PM

While we are so off-topic, I have read several folk lyrics (in a Gammon book I think) involving grinding, though this is usually been done by Millers and involves rhyming 'sack' with 'back', if I remember aright. My friend points out that some blues songs feature similar metaphors, either with a plain and simple 'organ grinder', or with a 'mill', which in one famous case sung of by a woman 'done broke down', or coffee-related grinding. I don't know of any direct British or Irish to blues lyrics links on this line, though I know some blues ballads are versions of ballads whose life began this side of the Atlantic.

Sadly, none of the Millers appear to have made it into Child.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 09:49 PM

It was Jim's Italian organ grinders which set me off on that topic.

Sadly, Cox's song isn't on Spotify.

I can't speak about Ireland, but I think it may be a misconception to imagine some sort of Olde Englande in which people roved round singing songs for their supper. Starting in Elizabethan times, you needed paperwork officially to move area, so that they could send you back to where you were born if you were poor, and so on. This went on surprisingly late: we think one of my ancestors might have got sent back where he came from when he turned up in another Parish without means to support himself. This was 19th century.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 02:30 AM

Street singing was ommon in Britain and Ireland - it still is - they call it buskig nowadays
I used to drink in a pub in London which displayed a reproduction warning notice listing the horrific punishment meted out to 'singing beggars'
Harry Cox's 'German Musicianer' is a bawdy comic song, probably originating on the stage - Steve will tell you - 'romantic', but not in the way you mean!
Cox's 'musicianer' is an instrument mender rather than a performer - thre are also related songs that make him a watch or clock mender

I believe the 'profession' street singers (legal ot illegal) whod did nothing else were largely a feature of the Towns - those in Ireland did whatever work they could lay their hands on
We recorded a Traveller in Ireland, Mikeen McCarthy, from Kerry, who sand at the fairs and markets in rural Ireland in the 1940s and '50s - we got more songs, stories, lore and information from him then we did from anybody else (apart from Walter Pardon)
He described in some detal the process of taking his fathers traditional songs into a local printer, reciting them over the counter and having them turned into 'ballads' (the term used for the song-sheets that were sold all over Ireland)
There's a hilarious description of him trying to teach the tune to an American customer in Listowel on the double CD of Traveller recordings we issued, 'From Puck to Applby'
Mikeen's experiences are a clear example of traditional songs being given to printers in order to sell them.
Mikeen, like all the singers we interviewed, were clear dividing their singing into their different functions - those for street singing and selling on 'the ballads' covered the lot, from traditional to the popular songs of the day, those sung in the pubs were called 'come-all-ye's", and the traditional songs sung in a traditional manner he called 'fireside songs'
Irish radio made a magnificent three-part series of our recordings and interviews with us of our work with travellers, called 'Come All You Loyal Travellers' (one of the best displays of our work) I feel
WE have a recording of our interview with Mikeen, to our producer friend, as he listed all the jobs he had done on the road, from tinsmithing and horse-dealing right though chairmaking, general carpentry, selling holy pictures... to clearing rubbish from empty houses.
The list took nearly five minutes to get through - Paula had to fade it after less than a minute - she based an entire programme just on Mikeen.
Singing and selling was only a tiny fraction of his work
He was not just an 'informant' - he became a lifelong friend up to his death in 2005

I know that street singing was an occupation elsewhere in Europe - I once attended a memorable talk by Belgian collector, Stefen Topp on one of his street singers, Alfred(?) Geens

Walter pardon of Norfolk mentioned an Italian peddler who used to come around his art of rural Norfolk who sang in the streets

My point was that oral influences were far more likely to have been the reason why our folk motifs are international than literary ones (in a non-literate Britain)
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 06:15 AM

Sorry about the somewhat garbled posting
I really need to count up to 500 before I post first thing in the morning
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 06:19 AM

Jim

Interesting to note the use of the word 'musicianer' to name an instrument mender.

Because many African Americans used the term to refer to a musician.

This usage (musician) originates in Britain and occurs, for example, in a 19th century novel by George Eliot called Silas Marner. The word derives from the French.

I know that songs with 'German' in can be bawdy: this is in either Lloyd or Gammon or even both.

There has not been a 'non-literate' Britain for a very, very long time. Somebody on this thread recently gave a good example of how somebody non-literate might learn songs from somebody literate.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 07:54 AM

Jim

By the way your post was interesting even if, as you said, it was 'garbled'.

Pseu

PS Aren't we all playing nicely? :)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 08:43 AM

"There has not been a 'non-literate' Britain for a very, very long time. "
Not necessarily true - the ability to read doesn't mean that it was used for everyday life
In Ireland it was further complicated by the two languages - singers and storytellers mistrusted the printed texts and only used them to supplement oral ones - we have several examples of that from both singers singers and storytellers
I once checked the rural literacy percentages and was staggered to find how many people couldn't read past the middle of the 19th century in England
The towns were higher but even the use of literacy skills was patchy and confined largely to the wealthier classes, even into the 20th century
My grandfather, as a merchant seaman, was part of the the setting up of the Maritima Workers Education Association for seamen
Literacy became a political weapon in the 1929s depression - being able to read was reckoned to be a way to fight exploitation
None of this is definitive of course but one of the factors of our folk songs is that they were found in the countryside rather than in the towns

I belive the 'German' references owe more to general Xenophobia mixed in with the mistrust of strange men entering your homes at will
There are pop songs of the early twentieth century of Spaniards who "blighted my life" or italians like "Oh, Oh Antonio" who seduced wives or girl-friends , given the opportunity

"PS Aren't we all playing nicely?"
So far - early days yet :)
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 08:47 AM

singers and storytellers mistrusted the printed texts and only used them to supplement oral ones - we have several examples of that from both singers singers and storytellers

You could say the same about the Masons - for them the important stuff stays unwritten. Doesn't make them any less literate.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 09:21 AM

"Music/Musician/Musicianer"

The great Louis 'Scan' Tester of Horsted Keynes played Anglo-concertina, bandoneon, keyed bugle, fiddle and piano to my knowledge; he may have played others. He always referred to whatever instrument he as playing as a 'music' and several of the older pre-revival rural musicians that we met when we first came to Sussex in the 1960s did the same.
In a recorded interview that I did with him he in talking about his concertina made by Crabb and says:-
It's a very fine music.
.... and elsewhere in the interview he says:-
I always takes great care of my musics.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 12:24 PM

Referring back to earlier discussions on this thread: the song 'The Coalowner and the Pitman's Wife' has been mentioned on this thread as an example of how good the folk were at writing folk song. I looked this up in Lloyd's "Folk Song in England", and found the text less than precise, as it said something to the effect of its 'seemingly' having been made by William Hornsby, and later unearthed by a person in Whiston, Lancs. Given what we now know about Lloyd, I wondered what the true story was.

I now know that in a letter to Dave Harker, Lloyd stated that he had in fact received an incomplete text and had 'altered' it to 'accommodate bits of the incomplete text I got from Jim Denision.'

So you can go back and read what Lloyd said about this song in his Folk Song in England in the light of his later admission. Lloyd could have, but did not, write that he himself had created the version on the basis of a fragment, and he could have printed the fragment.

Instead, he comments (p110) that is is a 'masterpiece', 'wearing a smile that shows strong teeth'. On page 386 he asks whether its author/s can be seen as intermediaries between an old tradition and a new'. On page 323 he refers to it as 'an impressive specimen of early strike balladry'. On page 324 he says it emerges as a 'witty caricature' and that its dialogic structure hints at the French 'debat pastoral'. I cannot but read these on the basis that Lloyd is congratulating himself and his work here and that the joke is on the credulous reader.

I'm probably the last person on this thread to learn about this particular piece of Lloydian tinkering. Sorry to all those who already knew.

But this particular song seems to me to be an unfortunate choice if used as part of any argument that Lloyd's book about folk song is better than Roud's. (I'm not saying for certain it was used in this way, but I have a feeling that it was.)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 03:15 AM

Lloyd was not a collector as such - he was initially a singer with a wide interest in the background of songs and picked them up in the course of following that interest
If he was sloppy and inaccurate at times, it was due to that and not to dishonesty, as is all too often suggested
He was hired by the National Coal Board to gather together songs from the miners - out of that came as the pamphlet 'Coal Dust Ballads' and then as 'Come All you Bold Miners', later to be published in a much expanded form (we have all three here somewhere)
The people who accuse Lloyd of dishonesty are often those who have evolved a way of work and who believe there is a "right way to collect and present folk songs" just as some accuse people like me of claiming that there is "a right way" to sing them
Lloyds work was carried out as a revival singer asked to do a job - not an academic - he adapted the songs as a singer - I have no idea what he did with the paperwork of if he even made any extensive notes.

Similarly, MacColl and his then wife, Joan Littlewood were employed by the BBC to collect songs for a radio programme - 'The Ballad Hunters' around the Lancashire - Yorkshire Border   
They never kept a field diary - the only trace of the songs they collected were on typewritten sheets in a filing cabinet draw in their home, typed up by Peggy many years later from Ewan remembering them
They included, 'Fourpence a Day' from lead miner, John Gowland, 'T'ould Chap Cam' O'er the Bank' (an extremely bawdy 7 Nights Drunk), 'Drinking', and 'Four Loom Weaver' from Beckett Whitehead, 'The Mowing Match' and (I Think 'Forty Miles' (The Penny Wager).
The radio programme was never preserved and the songs survived in MacColl's memory only until Peggy wrote them down

I know this because Ewan and Peggy regularly let me loose in their collection to assist me as a wannabe singer - I never wrote down my researches and am recounting this from my memory of events from 50 years ago (this year, as it happens), so I can't guarantee the accuracy of what I have just written!

I have little doubt that as singers, both Ewan and Bert adapted these songs if they sang them - I did the same as a singer
I never made a note of the changes I made in the songs I got for my repertoire - I see no reason whic Ewan and Bert should be expected to have done so
I find it puzzling why today's researchers should demand high standards of accuracy from singers rather than academics

I knew Ewan well enough to know much of what he is accused of is inaccurate and unfair, often deliberately so.
I didn't know Bert as well, but I spoke to him enough times to believe he wasn't the charlatan he is all-too-often accused of being
As much as I loved my time in the revival - it could be a cruel, unforgiving, backbiting place towards those who didn't toe the 'folkie' line - sadly, some of that still lingers
Hopefully, the next generation.... pity we won't be around to find out
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 04:25 AM

It has been said often, but perhaps needs to be said again: there was nothing at all wrong with Bert adapting songs or even creating them from scratch, but what was very wrong was passing them off as having been made by and/or collected from someone else.

GUEST,Pseudonymous said "I now know that in a letter to Dave Harker, Lloyd stated that he had in fact received an incomplete text and had 'altered' it to 'accommodate bits of the incomplete text I got from Jim Denision.' "

Was Jim Denision (Denison?) the "person in Whiston, Lancs" who had "unearthed" the William Hornsby song, or was Bert saying that he had combined two incomplete versions?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 05:53 AM

This is Lloyd's note to the song from the first edition of 'Come All you Bold Miners - quite unequivocal and perfectly understandable and logical

THE COAL-OWNER AND THE PITMAN’S WIFE. Text communicated by J. S. Bell, of Whiston, Lancs, and reprinted by permission of the Editor of 'Coal'. Mr Bell believes that this ballad, which appears to date from the 1844 Durham Strike, was written by William Hornsby, a collier of Shotton Moor. The tune and a fragment of the text was communicated by jim Denison, of Walker.

We appear to have a song written by a collier and still being sung (in part) a century later - a folk song made by a working man - 'Heaven forfend'!!!
If that is not an example of folk composition unpolluted by commerciality, I honestly don't know what it
It certainly lets Bert off the hook
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 06:33 AM

"a song written by a collier and still being sung (in full and in part) "
Sorry - should read "it appears to have survived in full and in part (latter with a tune)"
Lloyd reports having found the two versions
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 07:16 AM

Richard Mellish wrote -
"It has been said often, but perhaps needs to be said again: there was nothing at all wrong with Bert adapting songs or even creating them from scratch, but what was very wrong was passing them off as having been made by and/or collected from someone else."


Totally agree, Richard. Bert Lloyd was an inspiring and admirable figure in the early days of the folk revival. If his deservedly respected place in the annals of folk song study has become somewhat tarnished, it is only because he has been less than straightforwardly honest about everything that he completed or 'improved'.
Robert Burns made a considerable number of alterations to the traditional songs that he included in the Scots Musical Museum and Burns and Lloyd shared the skill of being able to make their adaptations sound as though they fitted the bill.
The difference between the two is in the times that they were working in. Attitudes to authorship, copyright and intellectual property were different in the 18th and 20th centuries.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 08:03 AM

I think Martin Carthy has been at least Lloyd's equal in tinkering and recreating, but so far as I know has never tried to claim folk authenticity for his work.

I also think that most aficionados of trad are romantics at heart whose interest in and enjoyment of the songs is connected with a desire to get back in touch with a defunct and therefore exotic-seeming past.

This adds an extra aesthetic dimension to the question of altering songs - which, of course, can range from trivial unconscious changes to out and out forgery.

If we hear Lloyd sing a tinkered up song without telling us, we (OK,* I*) fancy a vicarious experience with 19th century folk culture.

When we hear Martin Carthy sing one of his own, often more extensively adapted pastiches, we're fully aware that much of what we're hearing is not only modern, but straight from the mind of Martin Carthy.

It's a different kind of experience, at least for me.

As students of folksong, Vic and Richard are right: like Carthy, Lloyd had an obligation to tell us what was real and what was Memorex (as the TV commercials used to say). But to do so would have changed the experience.

I'm not at all criticizing Carthy, nor defending Lloyd's practice (which I've criticized on other threads). I'm just noting what may be an interesting aesthetic point.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 08:14 AM

As singers, nobody was committed to "being honest" about what they did with their songs - it was not part of their job descriptions
Had it been, I can't think of a single revival singer who wouldn't have been standing in the dole queue looking for a new job
This has nothing to do with honesty
As for Burns - he adapted and improved folk songs and rewrite them to make his poems he collected as if they were going out of fashion without telling anybody
I think all this puts the Peter Buchan 'controversy' into context
Jim
I


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 08:25 AM

I think Martin Carthy has been at least Lloyd's equal in tinkering and recreating, but so far as I know has never tried to claim folk authenticity for his work.

Neither have I heard of Martin Carthy trying to pass of his reconstructions as anything other than what they were.
Peter Bellamy was another song tinkerer. When he sang Fair Annie he used to state openly that he changed the story a bit because he didn't like the way it went. His adapted version was taken up by Maggie Boyle, who, to my mind, made a much better job of singing it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 08:41 AM

Hello Richard

Two versions, though, of course, Lloyd doesn't explain that in 'Folk Song in England', which supports my criticism of his approach in that book. I assume that lack of clarity about the authenticity of the text as printed by Lloyd may be precisely why Harker was asking Lloyd about it in the first place.

But this looks like another of those ones that could run because the liner notes to a MacColl/Seeger version say that the written version of the song from JS Dell and the tune have different sources. I quote:

4. The Coal-owner and the Pitman's Wife
This ballad is believed to date from the Durham strike of 1844 and to have been written by William Hornsby, a collier of Shotton Moor, Durham. The ballad was discovered among a collection of papers relating to the strike by a studious Lancashire miner, J.S. Dell. The tune was supplied by J. Dennison. of WaIker and together with the text can be found in A.L Lloyd's 'Come all ye Bold Miners'.

Link to the liner notes:    https://www.wcml.org.uk/maccoll/maccoll/maccoll/music/industrial-songs/

Hello Jim

I'm sorry to disagree with you, in part.

If we alter traditional lyrics for performance we don't necessarily document the changes. I don't see why we should. Thus far I am with you.

But we don't (and could not due to the changes!) then give the impression that the lyrics we are singing are over one hundred years old, which would be dishonest, fake.


But I was not discussing modifying lyrics to suit different contexts I was discussing written work purporting to be 'research' into folklore.

The point I made about this song is in my view right. I was referring to Lloyd's book 'Folk Song in England' and not to performances. This is supposed to be a resource book, textbook. He printed his own 'tinkered'version and said how wonderful it was without mentioning his tinkerings and without printing the originals so that people could judge for themselves in possession of the facts. This is journalism. In view of just what a nightmare that strike was Lloyd's romanticising remarks about some medieval French genre strike me as verging on the crass.

I don't count Lloyd as 'working class', if that is what you are trying to say when you refer to a song being sung by somebody working class. Though I am now aware that he did misrepresent his background and that it was misrepresented on some LP covers. One thing that seems to emerge from the biography is that Lloyd doesn't seem to have had very much to do with working class people (the lifts he cadged from Jim Carroll, which might be an exception, not being mentioned).


Just to clarify one point in case readers of the thread misunderstood the context, Lloyd, I believe persuaded the Coal Board to let him carry out his project, it wasn't a case of them looking for somebody to do it. I think the prize for the best submission was his idea. The project was not especially successful according to Lloyd's biographer in that not much was submitted, not much of it was any good, and a lot of material was missed, including anything in Welsh, due to bad advice Lloyd was given, and, incredibly, accepted about Welsh miners not singing much or some such.

Nor was MacColl, who seems to have sung this song quite a lot, working class, though he may have started off as such. He was, from my perspective a sort of 'pop star', albeit one who produced 'lefty' stuff. (I was interested that the author of the Lloyd biography called Kenneth Goldstein a 'folklorist' when he was at that time a record company executive in the business of packaging up folk-like (revival?) performances and selling the results often with liner notes he wrote for money. the topic of liner notes crops up in the biography, with care being taken at one point not to spark a copyright suit! The commercial angle on the revival seems clear to me from my distant perspective. These people had to make a living, and Lloyd decided to do it out of folklore. )

And on one site I found it seems that on recordings 'The Coal Owner' was called 'traditional', odd since the actual author appears to have been known (usual for a 'folk' song).

The copy of Lloyd's book I have calls it 'scholarly'. This sort of journalistic and, in my view, less than fully honest praise of a piece that is at the end of the day of your own making, without offering the 'raw data' or a full account of the provenance is not 'scholarly'.

We do not appear to have a version 'unpolluted by commerciality' for several reasons; Bert got money for his book, and from his reputation as somebody who knew stuff and could and would communicate it. He was in the business of 'folk' both as a journalist and as a recording artist and live performer. It was obtained via a competition for the best song submitted. It isn't 'unpolluted' either, it is a tinkered version.

I don't know about this one, but lots of songs for the Durham strike seem to have been written by *literate* Primitive Methodists in order to support the strike by earning money. At least one miner's leader was a lay preacher. I believe they may have been 'sold' which is a form of commerciality albeit with a purpose I for one would agree with. There would have been quite a lot of literacy around if these Methodists had anything to do with it: they regarded it as important and would have been teaching it at Sunday Schools.

Moreover, I have an idea that the version JS Bell had was not passed down via oral tradition but was written. He found it in papers he had collected: he worked for the Coal Board but was doing research. This is how he got the papers. But I cannot find the web page where I learned about the background when googling the first time you came up with the song.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 08:47 AM

Before revival did it matter that singers changed songs, as they clearly did? No more polishing of stones allowed?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 09:18 AM

Just as a point of information, Goldstein began as a record producer, but he earned a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963 and was Chair of its Department of Folklore and Folklife for nearly twenty years.

He was honored by a Festschrift in 1995.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 09:31 AM

Thanks, Lighter. I know he moved into academia later in life. But his original education was in business, and then more business, and he worked in the recording business and the 'products' he sold were mostly revivalist material. There is a wiki page about him. Not criticising: we all have to make a living.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 09:35 AM

Jag wrote -
"Before revival did it matter that singers changed songs, as they clearly did? No more polishing of stones allowed? "


Your Honour, I would like to plead Not Guilty to the charge of tinkering with songs but Guilty to the charge of cobbling different versions together.
I was fascinated by The Unquiet Grave but could not find a set of words that seemed to flow easily and still tell the story. I can remember sitting at my kitchen table with 5 or 6 books and sleeve note transcriptions open at the correct place and taking a line from here and there, sometimes a complete verse, not adding a word of my own until I came up with something that suited me.
The tune I took from a recorded version of the ballad from a banjo-driven American version which I slowed down and loosened up rhythmically so that it suited my unaccompanied singing.
I remember singing it at a ballad event at the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh. At the end one of their staff, now deceased, rushed up to me with questions about where I had found the best version she had ever heard. The look of disappointment on her face when I explained how it has come about was palpable.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 09:50 AM

Massive thread drift but:

"The Primitive Methodists were particularly strong on the Durham Coalfield and in Norfolk and north Suffolk where they dominated the farm workers’ unions from the 1870s until the 1950s. It was probably the Prims that led to Hugh Gaitskell’s famous remark that 'the British Labour Party owes more to John Wesley than Karl Marx’."

http://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/radical-objects-2/

http://hettonlocalhistory.org.uk/documents/ThomasHepburn.pdf


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 10:17 AM

Pseudonymous wrote:-
Kenneth Goldstein a 'folklorist' when he was at that time a record company executive in the business of packaging up folk-like (revival?) performances.

Lighter wrote:-
Goldstein began as a record producer, but he earned a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963

Neither of you are doing justice to a major figure of the recording of traditional singers. He recorded and produced one of the finest ever albums of traditional singing of Child Ballads - Lucy Stewart: Traditional Singer from Aberdeenshire Folkways FG3519


I'll give you a text scan of the first paragraph of Kenneth's long introductory essay from the album's booklet notes:-
INTRODUCTORY NOTE
From October 1959 through August I960 I had the great privilege to meet, know and work with the Stewart family of Fetterangus, Aberdeenshire. My project was to make a study of the folklore of a Scottish family in the' context in which such folklore existed. After several months of meeting and working with a number of families in the Buchan District of Aberdeenshire (long a stronghold of folklore traditions), the variety, quality and amount of the folklore of the Stewarts of Fetterangus convinced me that this was the family on whom I should concentrate my time and efforts. I reaped a handsome reward. After eleven months of working and living with this family - of admiring and loving them, and of collecting their vast treasure of tradition - I was to return to the United States with truely magnificent materials collected and studied in the context in which they normally exist. Numbers alone will give only a superficial index of these materials for the quality, creative functioning and meaning of their folklore is far more important. But the scope of the collection will surely excite interest: more than 200 ballads and songs, over 60 tales and legends, 185 riddles, more than 300 children's games and rhymes, innumerable superstitions and beliefs, examples of witchcraft, devil-lore, weather-lore, dream-warnings, omens, fortune-telling — indeed the full gamut of folklore traditions existed in this one marvelous family. I should like to claim that I was able to observe and collect the total folklore of this family, but I feel certain that even if I were to spend ten years more with the Fetterangus Stewarts I would still not touch bottom in their deep well of tradition.

On the album Lucy sings wonderful versions of The Battle O'Harlaw, The Twa Brothers, Tifty's Annie, The Laird O'Drum, Doon By The Greenwood Sidie-o, The Bonnie House o' Airlie, The Swan Swims Sae Bonnie-O
I sang that last named ballad, which is Lucy's version of The Cruel Sister at a concert at the TMSA festival in Blairgowrie, It must have been 1969 or possibly the following year. At the end of the concert a short, balding, bearded smiley faced man came up to me and said, "You don't have to tell me where you got that version from; I'm Kenny Goldstein!". I was mortified. I told him him that if I had known that he was in the audience, I never would have sang that one. He assured me that it was fine; that I had done justice to it and that was pleased that other singers were taking it up. We agreed to meet later for a drink and I was very impressed by his knowledge of and enthusiasm for Scots traveller culture.
Meeting him and meeting Jane & Cameron Turriff at the same festival lead to Tina and I being invited up to Fetterangus in 1971 where we spent a glorious week camping in the Turriffs' garden and hearing them and some other remarkable singers who all lived in the same street, Gavil Street, including Jane's aunt Lucy Stewart, her mother Jane Stewart and her mother's cousin Blin' Robin Hutchison.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 10:20 AM

Pseudonymous, you might find the 'Bertsongs' thread on Mudcat of interest. I've tried to do a clicky, but for some reason the clickies don't seem to work for internal links any more. Anyway, it's easy enough to find with a search.

Oddly enough, 'The Coal Owner...' wasn't amongst the Lloyd creations analysed on that thread.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 10:53 AM

Thanks Brian: when Jim first mentioned the song I tried to find it on Mudcat, and elsewhere. I didn't find much on Mudcat about the Arthur biography, which I am finding fascinating, either.

Vic: information duly noted. Thank you. I knew he did collecting later in life: I first encountered him via work done as a record company executive producer.

NB There is an amazing hedge in or just near Blairgowrie, isn't there?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 10:57 AM

As for Burns - he adapted and improved folk songs and rewrite them to make his poems he collected as if they were going out of fashion without telling anybody

He did indicate which of the songs he sent to publishers were straight traditional, which he'd adapted, and which he'd written from scratch. And usually got them correctly labelled in print. Did anyone before him take that much care?


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