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New Book: Folk Song in England

Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 11:09 AM
Vic Smith 26 Jul 18 - 11:21 AM
FreddyHeadey 26 Jul 18 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Jul 18 - 11:34 AM
Vic Smith 26 Jul 18 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Jul 18 - 11:41 AM
Lighter 26 Jul 18 - 11:45 AM
Vic Smith 26 Jul 18 - 11:56 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Jul 18 - 12:37 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Jul 18 - 02:29 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 03:10 PM
Brian Peters 26 Jul 18 - 03:30 PM
Brian Peters 26 Jul 18 - 03:32 PM
Vic Smith 26 Jul 18 - 05:06 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 05:19 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 26 Jul 18 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 26 Jul 18 - 06:02 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Jul 18 - 06:21 PM
Vic Smith 26 Jul 18 - 06:27 PM
Vic Smith 26 Jul 18 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Phil 26 Jul 18 - 06:34 PM
GUEST 26 Jul 18 - 06:55 PM
GUEST 26 Jul 18 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,John Bowden 26 Jul 18 - 07:18 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 07:37 PM
Lighter 26 Jul 18 - 09:54 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 18 - 03:01 AM
The Sandman 27 Jul 18 - 03:47 AM
GUEST 27 Jul 18 - 04:59 AM
Will Fly 27 Jul 18 - 05:00 AM
Brian Peters 27 Jul 18 - 05:37 AM
Brian Peters 27 Jul 18 - 05:39 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 18 - 05:56 AM
Brian Peters 27 Jul 18 - 06:33 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 18 - 06:47 AM
Brian Peters 27 Jul 18 - 06:57 AM
Vic Smith 27 Jul 18 - 07:03 AM
The Sandman 27 Jul 18 - 07:03 AM
Vic Smith 27 Jul 18 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Jul 18 - 08:18 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 18 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Man of few words 27 Jul 18 - 09:23 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 18 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Man of few words 27 Jul 18 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Jul 18 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Shaman 27 Jul 18 - 10:06 AM
Vic Smith 27 Jul 18 - 10:10 AM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 11:09 AM

"Lloyd doesn't explain that in 'Folk Song in England', which supports my criticism of his approach in that book"
He didn't have to - he'd already made the information available elsewhere
If that was a condition of writing such a book Roud's version would have been three times the size it already was
This song has only become an issue because later researchers have chosen to question it - as far as I'm concerned, without reason.

"why Harker was asking Lloyd about it in the first place."
Harker bent over backwards to undermine what earlier researchers wrote - why should we do the same?
I can't see how MacColl's notes can do anything but add to the information on the song - Ewan and Bert were friends (for a time) and all Ewan had to do was to ask Bert for the details
They certainly don't contradict anything Bert said:
"Text communicated by J. S. Bell" (presumably to 'Coal' Magazine)
" Tune and fragment - J. Dennison. of Walker" - presumably a live informant when Lloyd was engaged in his project

"which would be dishonest, fake."
Can't speak fro anybody else, but I never went to a folk club where the singers took an oath of authenticity that what they were singing was authentic - on the contrary, everybody assumed they were arrangements - nowadays there's an unhealthy tendency to copyright thos alterations as "arranged by"
Sorry - I'm getting a little lost here
I think it's a little different when they are published as genuine and are not - it is claimed that Bert did this but never proven 100%

I believe that Bert's failings of 'scholarship' were down to the fact that, rather than being an 'academic' he was an enthusiastic researcher who people want to be an academic.
Bert wrote Folk Song in England shortly after he and Ewan had attempted to draw the various strands of the revival together at a meeting in Central London and had been scuppered in doing so   
Ewan went off and created his own band of disciples and Bert wrote and made some of the finest radio programmes of folk music ever produced
For that, I'd have forgiven both of them if I'd come home to find them in bed with my mother!

As far as Bert's working class credentials are concerned, I never heard him speaking with a 'gpr blimey' accent or claiming his father worked "down t'pit
He was what he was - the son of a loweer middle-class accountant who fought as a private in the trenches, and a mother who was the daughter of a printer
Bert's contact with the working class - as an assisted passage emigrant to Australia who tried his hand at sheep farming was good
credentials for me to be trusted as being knowledgeable on working class culture

I am always disturbed by the smugness of hindsight that often surrounds discussions about Bert, Sharp and others (including Child, it would appear)
I think Mark Antony had it about right at Caesar's funeral.

I don't care if a song is sung by a chartered accountant or a high-court Judge (like Stephen Sedley) as long as they don't make a mess of it - it is who is likely to have made them that concerns me

This is getting far too long - I'll come back if I've missed anything
I'll certainly come back to deal with the "leftie pop star" son of a blacklisted iron moulder (who was transported back from Australia for his Trades Union activity), who grew up and educated himself in depression-hit Salford and co-founded an agit prop theatre to perform at factory gate meetings during the massive cotton strikes
That is an appalling misrepresentation of one of the greatest benefactors in these Islands   
I'll go and take a few pills I think!!
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 11:21 AM

Pseudonymous wrote:-
Thank you. I knew he did collecting later in life:

Kenneth S. Goldstein, PhD (March 17, 1927 – November 11, 1995) so he was only 32 when he gained a Fulbright Research Grant to travel over to Aberdeenshire and study Lucy's family.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 11:25 AM

Bertsongs
thread.cfm?threadid=110621


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[it's now
copy&paste the URL into the "blue clicky"
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=110621

delete the
https://mudcat.org/

> Create Link
= Cut and paste this into your post:

etc
]


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 11:34 AM

Jag

If nobody had changed any songs before the revival, then, it seems, a whole amateur 'industry' and some professional careers might never have existed. Where would Child had been in this case?

'Matter': I'm developing a 'thing' about being specific, so I wonder 'matter' in what respect, and 'matter' to whom, and when?

If I'm reading a book purporting to be a 'factual' history on a subject, then I don't want it to be written by somebody who had themselves produced the written materials put forward as examples of this history, and who then expounded upon their wonderful expressiveness as evidence of some past skill.

If I was thinking about the relationship between words and music in songs from the past, then I wouldn't want to be looking at versions of lyrics which somebody has 'tinkered with' to fit with their own conception of how lyrics and musical meter should interact.

I have been criticised for changing lyrics on the basis that it is 'disrespectful' to the originals. But my view is that using them at all implies respect, ie that I have found something in the piece that for some reason pleases me and that I want to use.

{Has anybody made the 'It's folk, Jim, but not as we know it!' joke yet?}


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 11:37 AM

Brian Peters wrote
you might find the 'Bertsongs' thread on Mudcat of interest.

Now, the name of that poster rings a bell; Brian Peters? Wasn't he the person mentioned in the post in this thread on 16 Jul 18 - 12:09 PM? Wasn't he the person that remade a version of Barbara Allen around a tune and a verse collected by Cecil Sharp from the black singer, Aunt Maria Tomes? He was? Ah, that means that we can add the name of Peters to those of Lloyd, Carthy and Bellamy as those guilty of Traditional Song Reconstructivism


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 11:41 AM

I just learned that according to Wikipedia the Jim Carroll who attended the Critics Group with MacColl was in fact a punk musician who died some time ago. Have we been haunted?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 11:45 AM

No, Jim's just his own doppelganger.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 11:56 AM

Pseudonymous wrote:-
"There is an amazing hedge in or just near Blairgowrie, isn't there?"


Yes! You must mean the Meikleour Beech Hedges

The Stewarts of Blairgowrie were famed for a wide range of Traveller Culture. Belle Stewart was a great singer but unlike many in her family, she would rarely tell a story. If she was pressed to tell one it would be the one about the beech hedges.

(I wonder if there have been any threads on Mudcat that have been subject to as many cases of thread drift as this one.)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 12:07 PM

"No, Jim's just his own doppelganger."
Thanks L
Saved me the touble of digging out the doll and the pins
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 12:37 PM

Doppelganger? "It's Jim, Jim, but not as we know it."

Beam me up, Scotty.

Pseudonymous wrote:-

Thank you. I knew he did collecting later in life.

Sorry of course I meant later than the time of his life he was at when he did the early work which was the first work of his that I encountered. He was it seems remarkably young to have been doing what he did in the recording industry. Not a lot of time to work your way up.   He also had a publishing company. A man who helped create and supply a niche market. And it would appear one who kept involved with it.

I'm not wholly convinced that academia is free from commercial 'taint' (can't find a better word at the moment).. I knew somebody whose PhD was industry funded and whose funding vanished when the results were not favourable to the commercial interests in question, along with the chance of a doctorate.

He recorded over 800 LPs for various companies, says wiki.

And, shock horror, he published a textbook on how to collect folk song. You mean he thought that there's a right way to do this, so that people might do it the wrong way? That is tantamount to heresy, I think, to some who have posted here.

I note from Arthur (p357) that Kodaly thought both 'Bert' and MacColl were 'pop stars' or 'pop singers' at any rate. It was the knowledge that such a figure had made the comment that emboldened me to repeat it. Maybe 'stars' was putting it a bit strong. 'Singers' was better. :) I'll happily withdraw 'stars'.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 01:52 PM

"that Kodaly thought both 'Bert' and MacColl were 'pop stars' or 'pop singers' at any rate."
I go for all my information on the British folk song to long dead Eastern European Classical composers all the time - why wouldn't I!
Kodaly's heirs in Hungary welcomed us, feted us and fed us for our association with Ewan
Both Bert and Ewan are recognised worldwide as respected experts on British folk music
It really is refreshing to be now living in a country which largely escaped the backbiting and handbag swinging and accept and respect people for their creativity a nd contribution rather than their supposed reputations

One of the greatest frustrations for me is that MacColl and the Critics spent nearly ten years examining folk song under their microscopes, as a cultural phenomenon, a performed art and an important part of our social history
The mechanics of singing was examined and experimented with, exercises were devised, as were methods of making the songs the singers
Using the older songs to make new ones war a major part of the Group's work and actually managed to create some fine new songs
Most of these workshops were recorded and I have a copy of them (several hundred tapes) -
I am unable even to discuss them. let alone give them to someone who will use them and guarantee their survival thanks to the fact that any attempts to do so flounder on 'name changes' and 'war records'.
All because the lady cant recognise the uniqueness of folk song

THe present academia appears to be pandering to commercialism by attributing the creation of our folk songs to it
Never thought I'd live to see the day
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 02:29 PM

But Jim, I had only heard of Kodaly because Lloyd cited him as an expert on folklore in his 'Folk Song in England'. This is why Kodaly's comment on Lloyd and MacColl took my attention when I came across it. Kodaly's name crops up several times in Lloyds' book. If his ideas are irrelevant to the question of what is and is not folk song in England, then perhaps Lloyd should not have drawn upon him in a book of that title?


But tea is on the table. Yum.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 03:10 PM

"But Jim, I had only heard of Kodaly because Lloyd cited him as an expert on folklore in his 'Folk Song in England'."
Kodaly did wonderful owk on Hungarian folk song - I've got ten albums of his stuff
Bert was deeply involved in Eastern European traditional song and Kodaly was his hero in that field - he features strongly in one of Bert's finest Radio Programmes - 'The Savage in the Concert Hall
That doesn't make him like an expert on British folk music Personally, I prefer this:

"Thanks to the encouragement of many small successes, Kenneth Goldstein and Riverside have recently issued the boldest single venture yet in their eight double-sided LP set of Child ballads, sung unaccompanied by Ewan MacColl and A. L. Lloyd. It is not, I think, an exaggeration to declare that this is the most important event in the field since the publication of Sharp and Karpeles’ Southern Appalachian collection.1 It may be short of ideal that eighty-odd ballads are sung by only two persons, but in spite of their professional status, both of these men, in their very different styles, carry conviction. Lloyd, although he has learned most of his songs from print, sounds more folklike; but MacColl is rooted in a strong family tradition, and wins our fullest assent.
The length of many of these versions as sung by MacColl and Lloyd is a new experience, and as such it prompts reconsideration of ballad-form by bringing into sharp focus questions hitherto unasked or but dimly perceived."
Bertrand Harrison Bronson 1957

We really needn't have sunk to this level
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 03:30 PM

"Ah, that means that we can add the name of Peters to those of Lloyd, Carthy and Bellamy as those guilty of Traditional Song Reconstructivism"

Indeed you can, Vic, and of course I make no apology for it. Many of us in the field of traditional song performance have felt the need (like yourself, too) to do a bit of collation, plug a few gaps, write the odd line, find a new tune, etc., from time to time. With some of Child's ballads it would be impossible to sing a coherent version otherwise. I would never condemn Bert Lloyd for doing that, in fact in my first post on the 'Bertsongs' thread I mentioned a concoction of his that I was more than happy to perform even after being disabused of the idea that it was an old English song. He was extraordinarily good at tweaking his songs.

Regarding the use of concocted material to illustrate historical points, Steve Winick – a researcher in the Library of Congress who unpicked Lloyd’s emendations to The Recruited Collier and Reynardine - expressed the opinion that, by the time he wrote FSE, Lloyd had become more careful about his examples and omitted both of those songs from his analysis. Some of the more suspect stuff, according to Winick (I seem to remember that Malcolm Taylor at the VWML once told me something similar) had been published previously in ‘The Singing Englishman’ and ‘Come All Ye Bold Miners’, neither of which I have here to check. In FSE Lloyd did, however, print The Blackleg Miner – about which doubts have been expressed - and was also rather selective in the stanzas he published from The Weaver and the Factory Maid, another of his songs with a mysterious source.

What Pseudonymous has written about the flights of fancy in Lloyd’s FSE is quite true, but I must admit that – as always – when I came to thumb through it again just now I found it as entrancing as ever.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 03:32 PM

And thanks to FreddyHeadey for explaining how to do internal clickies!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 05:06 PM

I have held off posting this - but quite a number of posts here on the Bert/ song alteration/amending thread drift have made me think of a song that I learned directly from Bert who sang it each time he was booked at our club in Lewes and at a number of other local clubs where I saw him appearing. I have never seen this song anywhere in print (has anyone else?) so I give the version that I have typed out from my song book. According to my song book, he called it The Weaver:-
As I walked out rather late last night
The moon was a-shining and all things bright
I spied a fair maid by the light of the moon
And underneath her apron she working at her loom

She says, "Young man, what trade do you bear?"
"Oh!" says I "I'm a weaver, I declare."
" If you're a weaver then" said she
"Would you like to come and work upon my loom for me."

"Oh, no fair maid that never can be,
For last night I wove for two or three
Two or three and girls so bright
And they'd keep me at it all that night.

There was Nancy Fairclough of this town
I wove for her a pattern called 'The Rose & Crown'
And for Elvira, fairer still
I wove for her a pattern called the 'Diamond Twill'."

"A very fine pattern is the 'Diamond Twill'
And the 'Rose & Crown' is a finer still
But here's £20 I would lay down
If you weave a better pattern than the 'Rose & Crown'.

So I laid this fair maid on the grass
I braced her loom both tight and fast
My shuttle in her way back flung
And I thought "Good God how her loom was sprung".

The heels of her loom they being well greased
This young girl she began to hug and squeeze
And there and then by the light of the moon
I wove for her a pattern called the 'Bride & Groom'

"Oh, there's fine weaving!" then said she
"Would you like to come and weave another piece for me?"
And a my shuttle went to and fro
I wove for her a pattern called the 'Touch & Go'

My shuttle to her weft I bent
And I wove on to a lively end
And as a finish to the joke
I topped off the pattern with a 'Double Stroke'.

I can even remember how he introduced it saying that he thought it was a rather clever song because he had visited a weaving museum and seen all the patterns mentioned in the song - Bride & Groom, Rose & Crown etc. - so the person who made it up certainly knew what they were talking about.
Decades ago I was in a four piece group made up of regulars and residents from our club and I learned this song to sing with them. The group stopped performing together before my first daughter was born and she is now 43 so I'm talking about a long time ago.
We sung it, me singing to melodeon, concertina and fiddle accompaniment at our club and when we were given gigs at other clubs in and around Sussex. It was at one of these gigs (I think it was Chichester) when someone older then me came up at the end and asked me if I thought that it was a traditional song because he knew the A.L. Lloyd wrote it.

I didn't.... but the knowledge upset me. I had assumed from Bert's introductions that it was a traditional song.

I told the other members of the group that I didn't want to sing it any more and they were horrified. What did it matter who wrote it? It was a bloody good song with a great tune and one that always went down well with audiences and they all enjoyed playing the accompaniments. Of course they were right so I relented.
After the group finished, I rarely sang it and soon I gave it up altogether.... not because it was written and not traditional but because I started to find the words a bit Monty-Python-nudge-nudge-wink-wink and not the image I wanted to put over as a performer.
However, the posts about Bert and songs has made me think of it again and I wonder if there is anyone who could confirm that it is a Lloyd composition.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 05:19 PM

"I had assumed from Bert's introductions that it was a traditional song."
Edith Forke collected it from an old farmer in Canada - we have her field recording of it - that traditional enough for you Vic?
Did you have the same objection to singing Eric Bogle songs, I wonder!
It seems Bert has joined Ewan as a no-no
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 05:21 PM

Whoops - another typo
Fowke, of course
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 05:46 PM

It's from the magnificent O. J. Abbott, and is on the LP "Ontario Ballads and Folksongs" - it can be heard here: http://citizenfreak.com/titles/279670-fowke-edith-ontario-ballads-folksongs


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 06:02 PM

And it's also on

"The Barley Grain for Me
and other traditional songs found in Canada", by
Margaret Christl and Ian Robb with Grit Laskin

Folk-Legacy Records FSC-62 (LP, USA, 1976)
Folk-Legacy Records CD-62 (CD, USA, 1997)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 06:21 PM

Vic, Roud 2311. Broadside at Bodleian Harding B25 (243) 'A New Song called the Bold Weaver' (No imprint).

Bert's version appears to be a composite of the 3 extant versions, the broadside, a manuscript American version from a whaling log c1845-48, and O. J. Abbott's Canadian version already mentioned. With a couple of extra stanzas which may or may not be Bert's. Steven Woodbury gave me a comparison of all 4 versions verse for verse written in 2015. As you would probably surmise some of the extended metaphors appear to be Bert's (or SOE)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 06:27 PM

Thanks very much John. I have never heard it sung by anyone other than Bert and after all these years, I am glad that my Chichester(?) informant was wrong. However, if I compare the version that is sung on the recording by O.J. Abbott, the version that I learned from Bert is much fuller than the recording you linked to; many more references to the different patterns, so I am left wondering if Bert's hand was involved in developing the song. If it was, then it's a fine job he made of it in my opinion.

I was just going to post this, John, when I saw your second post with reference to the release dates the first one of which was 1976. Now, I must have learned it from Bert about 1971 or 1972 so the question became "When did Edith Fowke record this and was it the source for Bert's version?" I scrolled down your website link to find that there was a small facsimile of the album sleeve. By saving this as a .jpg and enlarging it, I was able to read the notes. The recording dates of each track is not given but she writes:-
I bought a tape recorder in the fall of 1956 and decided to see if I could find any traditional song within easy reach of my home in Toronto.

so the recording could easily have preceded the album release by up to 20 years and a person like Bert was likely to have access to the field recordings of a famous collector like Edith Fowke


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 06:30 PM

Sorry, Steve, you can see that I have cross posted with you but thanks a lot for the information.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 06:34 PM

Still, if the version collected from OJ Abbott is the same one Bert was using, it looks as if four verses have been bulked out to nine. Like other singers on this thread, I often smush different versions of a song together and occasionally interpolate a line or two of my own, but I'm not comfortable with a 50:50 ratio of old to new.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 06:55 PM

Vic, Edith Fowke recorded Mr Abbott in the summer of 1957, so Bert Lloyd would very likely have heard the recordings. I just referenced my old friend Ian Robb's 1976 LP as it's the only revival recording of the song I've heard (Ian and Margaret got a lot of help from Edith when making the record, I understand). I suppose I should have said "the only version I know originates from O. J. Abbott" rather than "it comes from...", since there are clearly other traditional versions. Anyway, it's definitely traditional, not a composition of Bert's!

Sorry I missed you at Bradfield by the way - I was looking forward to hearing your Johnny Doughty presentation, but was at Newark Traditions Festival and only made it for the Sunday night closing session!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 07:15 PM

It's late and I'm half asleep, so I'm not expressing myself very well! When I said "it's from O. K. Abbott" I was referring to Jim's mention of Fowke's "old farmer - I didn't mean to imply that Lloyd's version was the same as Mr Abbott's, just that Mr Abbott had a version and it was therefore a traditional song. Was Lloyd's tune anything like Mr Abbott's Vic? Did Lloyd's extra verses come from other versions, or are they his own invention, Steve?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,John Bowden
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 07:18 PM

And the last 2 Guests were me! Time for bed...


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 07:37 PM

I've just checked in the Canadian Book of Folk Songs, edited by Edith Fowke
She give O.J. Abbott's version - her note says he got it from an Irishman, but she also indicates there was a 10 verse version
She also makes clear that she believes it to be of English origin but pointing out that the Carpet weaves in the song were common to the English weaving industry
Technically, it is as English as I am Irish - by heritage
I recollect that O J Abbot's tune was identical to Bert's
I recollect that a number of Berts songs were acquired in the same way - Fowke being one of his sources - not so much dishonesty as an occasional ambivalence - Bert wearing his singers hat, in fact.

When Fowke was working on The Penguin Book she recruited Peggy Seeger to transcribe many of the songs and tunes - she sent her a large number of field recordings to work from.
Ewan and Peg were always generous with the recordings they owned and the Fowke Collection was on their shelves - the rest is history
I treasure that collection as a research guide to what was taken from Britain and Ireland by the emigrants in the 19th century
It is been of immense use in my current work in gatherings examples of Irish versions of Child Ballads
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 09:54 PM

Lloyd's version is very like the text learned by American sailor Lewis Jones (1823-1906) in the mid nineteenth century - except for being a little bit bawdier, little bit smoother - and a stanza or two longer. (I wonder why....)

Jones's version is still in manuscript, but Lloyd may have had access to a copy. I'd need special permission from the East Hampton, N.Y., Library to post Jones's text on the 'Net.

An undated broadside text ("A New Song Called the Bold Weaver") is online at the Bodleian site (Harding B 25[243]). But Jones's version is actually fuller!

My thanks to Steve Woodbury, who brought these texts to my attention in 2016!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 03:01 AM

I really don't see much reason in pursuing this song other than to prove Bert a chalatan - that maybe worth the effort to some...
We have established that it is traditional and that it possibly had it's roots in England, just as we established that Bert's statements on 'The Coal Owner and the Pitman's came from a collier rather than from Bert's invention
There will be no evidence that The Weaver originated on a broadside - that evidence doesn't exist for any of our folk songs
THat Bert as a singer may or may have added to it with verses of his own is surely immetarial?
I seriously hope that such as an important influence in my life as Bert was doesn't end up as MacColl has, as someone who is dug up regularly and rewarded for his work with a regular ritual kicking
Surely one sacrificial lamb is enough for people who get pleasure from that sort of thing!

Much of this argument has been little more than academic shadow boxing - the actual songs and singing has taken second place.
I spent the week before last as part of a week-long annual school which was set up 48 years ago in memory of a traditional piper (and singer) to promote the teaching and passing on traditional song and music
It has proved an essential part of the massive rise in the fortunes of Irish music that has occured here - that music has now been guaranteed at least another two generation-worth of future

Song hasn't fared quite as well, partly because the Traditional singers involved at the beginning, Tom Lenihan, Martin Reidy, Straight Flanagan, Nora Cleary, Katie Droney.... and the rest (all personal friends or acquaintances, to one degree or another) went and died before their influence began to kick in.

I decided some time ago that most of the rest of my conscious life would be dedicated to promoting people like these with the assistance of the works of people who have gone before - MacColl and Lloyd feature strongly in my intention.
Any examples I have of any of these generous enthusiasts`and the singers who left is such a rich legacy I intend to pass on to those who wish to avail of it
I can't think of anything more positive I can do with my time at present

During the six daily workshops at the Clancy school I met a number of enthusiastic singers who were happy to take up my offer of recordings and information - I made a similar offer on this thread some time ago and was deafened by the silence of the response.
I have opened a Dropbox and am regularly circulating material to those who gave me their contact number.
Once again I make the offer here
Anybody who wants to listen to the work of MacColl via 'The Song Carriers' or Bert with his magnificent 'Songs of the People' or 'Folk Song Virtuoso', or selections of traditional singing from source singers is welcome to be linked to the Dropbox, which will be filled and regularly replaced for as long as I have time to do so (we really do have a lot of material here)

I'm around till Sunday, when we are going off for a few days to celebrate(?) my being another year another year older and deeper in frustration.
Then those who seem happy to knock Ewan and Bert without having heard what they actually had to say or a consign our the role of our traditional singers to customers or parrots can hear what they had to say and sing up close

If some people consider my attitude immovable or unreasonable, I should think carefully about how much time and effort has been put in here by people who have bent over backwards to show that all previous folk scholarship has been based on starry-eyed naivety, or by the efforts of people to show that untalented bad poets (hacks) were the authors of our folk songs rather than those who sang them and passed them on
Off to link up a few more requests
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 03:47 AM

If some people consider my attitude immovable or unreasonable.
yes, it is.
here is another example three score and ten, originally a broadside but improved by the people, but the author was william delf and it was a broadside,Jim you have been proved wrong,will you please now desist from digging yourself a hole
you remind me of Trevor Bailey playing cricket immovable and reminscent of a stone wall


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 04:59 AM

I've been reading this thread with some interest - the polite bits, that is - but made no contribution so far because my knowledge of folk songs, as opposed to folk tunes, is minimal. However, I think the question of the literacy or illiteracy of the working class (for want of a better phrase) - with a bearing on the transmission of songs - in the 19th century and before, is not a straightforward, black & white issue.

It would be a grave error to assume that, up until such-and-such a period, working class people were largely illiterature. Many undoubtedly were, but a surprising number were not. I'm lucky enough to have family records which throw some light on this. My father's family were mainly generations of Lancashire miners up until the 1920s, and my mother's family were East Anglian agricultural labourers and blacksmiths for a similar period. Quite apart from the signatures or "X" marks on marriage and death certificates, denoting an ability to write or not, we have a treasure trove of letters written in Norfolk and sent to Canada between 1837 and 1890 by relatives of ancestors who had left as part of the great emigration of the 1830s.

The letters, luckily, have been kept and transcribed. They were written, in the main, by carters, labourers, smiths and the like. There is one in particular which is fascinating - written by the widow of a labourer in 1858 (at the age of 80). By contrast, much of the documentation on the Lancashire side of the family reveals a high degree of illiteracy.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 05:00 AM

Sorry - last post was mine without cookie.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 05:37 AM

A good point well illustrated, Will.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 05:39 AM

"I really don't see much reason in pursuing this song other than to prove Bert a charlatan - that maybe worth the effort to some..."

Jim, I don't think anyone here is trying to prove Bert a charlatan. All of us have expressed admiration for his work as an arranger of old songs, and for the quality of the writing in his FSE. The 'Weaver' song that Vic brought up (which I remember Steve Mayne, an old friend of Bert's, singing in Manchester during the 1980s) is yet another example of the kind of thing that was so fascinating about the 'Bertsongs' thread: the detective work involved in unpicking his editorial process.

If his historical analysis had rested to any significant extent on songs that he’d altered himself, that of course would be a serious problem. As far as FSE goes, this isn’t the case (barring possibly two examples amongst a vast number). His earlier published work was probably less scrupulous. Those flaws need to be acknowledged while praising Lloyd’s enormous contribution.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 05:56 AM

"Jim, I don't think anyone here is trying to prove Bert a charlatan. "
Unfortunately I think some have Brian - I am not alone in thinking so, Mike Yates felt the need to comment on it.
Bert has been a long standing to me of the rebvival's vitrionl, as has MacColl
Neither got everything right but both got enough right to be spared the abuse
As Peggy once said in an uncharacteristic outburst of anger in a letter, "they are no longer around to speak for themselves"
Bert, Ewan and a few others were dedicated to popularising folk songs - some of the treatment they have and still are receiving continues to anger and disappoint me "serpent's teeth and thakless children" spring to mind when the "name change, "finger-in-ear" mob bring out the rope and look for a suitable tree
It's not exactly as if somebody has stepped in their shoes and did what they did
I can't think of a single one

"Steve Mayne"
Of 'Mayne Coaches' fame
Another warm blast from the past - a close friend when I lived in Manchester
We argued from opening to closing time on many occasions, but still remained friends
Good days!
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 06:33 AM

"Steve Mayne"
Of 'Mayne Coaches' fame
Another warm blast from the past - a close friend when I lived in Manchester... We argued from opening to closing time on many occasions, but still remained friends.


Ah, that's interesting, Jim. Steve was a resident at Harry Boardman's club at the same time I was. I used to go back for coffee to his luxurious home (he had made more than a few bob from the coach company) after I'd played Warrington Folk Club. He always used to find it amusing that a rich capitalist like him should count so many lefties amongst his friends, and recalled that Ewan always enjoyed a dip in his swimming pool!

Sadly no longer with us.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 06:47 AM

"Ah, that's interesting, Jim. Steve was a resident at Harry Boardman's club at the same time I was
More and more interesting - I was a resident at two of Harry's clubs for a time - I remember "The Anchor(?)" - can't remember the other
I remember one incident particularly
I had the last song (just after closing time - I chose to finish with 'Ballad of Sharpeville" which I always became emotionally involved with and sang with my eyes closed
As I was reaching the end, I heard a murmur from the audience and opened my eyes to find two buly people trying to clear the room - a traumatically formative experience

Harry, if you remember, was a great singer but had a tendency to rise in pitch sometimes
I went with him one night (in the swingin' sixties) to watch him perform at the Manchester Uni Club - An The Toast-rack)
Harry launched into 'The Flying Cloud' which he sang with his eyes closed, and gradually rose in pitch until he was bulging at the gills
During the performance, two students sitting on the edge of the stage attempted to light up a joint and in the process, set the stage curtains on fire
Harry finished the song to a backdrop of floor-to ceiling blazing curtains, very apt for the song
Certainly good days
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 06:57 AM

Ha ha, good tale, Jim. I heard Harry sing The Flying Cloud more than once, and it being terrific - maybe he'd got over his pitching problems by then.

If everyone else can bear with us for a moment while I reply to Jim's Harry Boardman story:

In my day Harry's club was at the Unicorn just off Shude Hill. The 'old guard' of residents consisted of Harry, Steve, Joe Kerins and Bob Morton - Terry Whelan was a more occasional visitor. Harry then recruited a bunch of younger residents including me, my wife Margaret, Mark Dowding and Mary Humphries, amongst others. There were some really good regular floor performers too, representing styles from blues to political song to poetry. Harry and Steve gave me a lot of encouragement with my singing and playing - Terry less so!

Happy times!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 07:03 AM

The Weaver (continued)

I would only have had to cross from my desk to my desk to my wall of bookshelves to pick out The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk songs* edited by Edith Fowke and turn to page 142 to find The Weaver. It has been there since we moved to Lewes in 1978. I have learned quite a number of songs from it, most notably Mary Ann. It is only today looking for Edith Fowke books on the North American shelves that I came across it.
The fact is that this song had slipped from my conciousness between around 1974 when I stopped singing it until now when the current turn of this thread to the discussion of 'Bertsongs' brought it back to my my mind so I had no reason to look it up and at I can confirm that the version given here is as on the album that John Bowden linked to.
I'll give a text scan of Edith Fowke's note on the song:-
6i. The Weaver Fowke TSSO 38 (Prestige/International 25014)
This much rarer ballad Mr Abbott learned from Dan Leahy, an Irish farm labourer, in Marchurst, Ontario, around 1890, when Leahy would have been about seventy. It has not been reported from oral tradition elsewhere, but a ten-stanza version appears in the nineteenth-century Jones-Conklin manuscript of an American sailor which Kenneth S. Goldstein is preparing for publication. The song apparently dates from the pre-industrial era when handleom weavers travelled from town to town weaving the yarn that housewives had spun. Both 'the Rose and the Crown' and 'the Diamond Twill' are traditional patterns listed in a British dictionary of the weaving trade.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 07:03 AM

jim, do you agree 3 score and ten was originaly a broadside?and it has improved after the people folk processed it, it is an example of nothing being black and white, you said
or by the efforts of people to show that untalented bad poets (hacks) were the authors of our folk songs rather than those who sang them and passed them on. abad poet was the author and it got improved. another example is gentle annie[stephen foster not badly written] but made more interesting in its australian variant that was folk processed.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 07:23 AM

The Weaver (continued from the post of Dick's that separates mine)
Now there are two questions arising in my mind from these song notes:-

1] "It has not been reported from oral tradition elsewhere, but a ten-stanza version appears in the nineteenth-century Jones-Conklin manuscript of an American sailor which Kenneth S. Goldstein is preparing for publication." Did this 'preparation' ever reach conclusion? It is not mentioned under 'Publishing and Recordings' in Goldstein's Wikipedia entry

2] The song apparently dates from the pre-industrial era when handleom weavers travelled from town to town Is there any evidence for this 'apparent date' as modern scholarship would require?

I also put an * by the title of this book. This was because I wanted to make a rather more frivilous comment -
When Canadian singers were introducing songs learned from this book, did they say "Here's a song I learned from the Canadian Book of Penguin Folk songs" just as the introduction of songs from its sister publication of English songs - the Vaughan Williams/Lloyd book - caused thousands of folk club audiences to groan?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 08:18 AM

Guest

Your family documents sound wonderful. In my own family I know that in the 19th century literacy was in the family, and one man could read but his own son could not. Crosses on certificates and job descriptions are clues. A parish clerk has to be literate. If a person could not even write their own name their skills were limited.

I'm thinking maybe blacksmiths might in some earas have been more likely to be literate, but not sure about this.

I also know from studies of the places where my ancestors lived that richer people would leave the income from specified fields towards the cost of a local school. So if you lived in that area you might get to go to the school. Date 18/19 century.

I think though that it is more complicated than this. I found it hard to grasp/accept this at first, but it seems people in some eras could read but not write.

A lot of protestant sects taught literacy as they believed reading the bible was important. Maybe they did not believe writing was so important.

I have several times come across assertions that once a society has literacy, even if not all its members have it, then that affects the whole society. Which is why I said that England has not been non-literate for a long time.

Vic Gammon referenced a book on the history of literacy once, showing we are not of course the only ones to be exercised by this question.

The best example I can think of to show that non-literate people knew stuff that literate people got from books might be stories of scripture. This example comes to me because Gerould comments that no English folk songs are about the lives, even though they must have been to the forefront of the minds of medieval people. He blames the protestants who he says must be the cause of this. And a lot of these saints' lives were written down. In the bible. As well as in stained glass windows.

In medieval times plays were performed by travelling groups, using scripts which have come down to us. Interchange between literate and non literate.

I don't think it would be right to imagine a non-literate sub-section of society completely cut off from what was in print and maintaining over centuries a tradition that arose orally and was transmitted without interaction with written materials. The 'truth' for me has to be somewhere in between.

I am sorry, Jim, but it does seem to me as if at times Lloyd did behave like a charlatan, though I might have chosen a less polite word. Maybe we all do. I'm with whoever said that so much has been shown to be false that you have to take everything with a pinch of salt.

Brian comments that he finds Lloyd's FSE entrancing. I think it is, but, at the risk of upsetting Jim again, for me, speaking as a person coming to it looking for information, I can only be 'entranced' if I turn off my critical faculties and let the rhetoric wash over me. Otherwise I get frustrated by his lack of sources for his ideas, especially when they are what you might call on the grandiose side.

Arthur includes some comments on Lloyd's prose style, and again, if reading the book for information, this can, in parts, be frustrating. There seems to be to be a lot of 'waffle'. Arthur comments, rightly, on Lloyd's idiosyncratic choice of adjectives, saying that some of them come across as dated. I agree completely with this thought. It almost comes across as 'camp' in places, in the old sense of somewhat 'theatrical' in style. There is also a lot of metaphor. A lot of it is subjective aesthetic opinion, and in my view, often highly romantic.

For me, it would be the prose style and the rhetorical features of this that produce the enchantment, rather than closely argued theories based on evidence. Lloyd presents stuff more as fact when it seems clear that it is a 'theory', and one cannot always be sure when it is the source that Lloyd may or may not be relying on as an authority who came up with the theory or Lloyd himself.

A good example might be the section on Lady Isabel and the Elfin Knight discussed above. P144. We're back to delousing. Lloyd writes 'A fold-plated sword-scabbard ornament in the Hermitage collection … shows that as long ago as 300 BC the imagination of Siberian craftsmen had been struck by precisely the same scene'. How one would know from this ornament that the woman was delousing the warrier I do not know. How we know that the craftsmen were 'imaginatively' struck as opposed to churning out something traditional automatically I do not know. And I cannot check what Lloyd says as he gives no reference other than 'Russian scholars'.

Then after what seems to me to be at best a suppositional and theoretical account, Lloyd throws in a rhetorical question ( and simultaneously begs the question) 'How many English ballads are based, in whole or in part, on such venerable and far-travelled stuff?'

'venerable' is an emotive word; the question is a rhetorical device.
I admit to chuckling when reading in Arthur that Harker described FSE as 'megalomaniac', even though this was taken somewhat out of context, because it summed up for me how Lloyd was happy to make sweeping statements, almost about the whole of human history.

Here's another bit: 'What ancient Shamanistic duel suggested the theme of the amorous metamorphosis of man and maid, wizard and witch, known in Britain through the rare ballad ...'? I can only read so much of this. This idea about a Shamanistic duel being the source of the ballad strikes me as 'Jackanory', as does much of the book. Sorry, and not denying that the book may have inspired many people, but it doesn't really do it for me.

If you publish a book like FSE then it is only to be expected that people will want to read it analytically, and so I for one don't feel any guilt about doing this, while accepting that Lloyd played an important part in a 'revival'.

The idea that he did this wholly out of altruistic motives, or purely for love of the songs, or even wholly because of instructions from Moscow (see Arthur on this, and also see Arthur on the apparent blindness of the 'Stalinists' within the revival to how Traveller culture was treated in Hungary, a country still not always highly noted for its cultural liberalism), would to me to be unconvincing. He is said in Arthur's biography to have made a deliberate decision, at a time when he had no work, to try to make a living out of folk music. He was forever 'pitching' ideas to the media, mostly but not always about folk.

I think one can take a 'critical' view of something without acknowledging its strengths as well.

I don't think anybody could step into the shoes of Lloyd and MacColl because they were products of their time. Things move on.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 08:57 AM

"I am sorry, Jim, but it does seem to me as if at times Lloyd did behave like a charlatan, "
It appears that you are not supported by either evidence notr the experiences of people who actually knew him
If you can't take our word for it there is nothing more to say on the matter
You mention the 'delousing' the illustrations of which are fairly accessible or where when they were used in an article on the ballad in a folk magazine some forty years ago

Your 'shamanistic duel' is one of the most common motifs in folk tales - and well understood by the tellers - we'v recorded half a dozen of them an I know The Stewardts of Blair had a number of them in their family repertoir

Lloyd's book wasn't intended to be an academic thesis - it was intended to inspire an up-and-coming generation of folk enthusiasts to respect and love folk songs
It seems to me that the latest trend is to prove that the songs are neither unique nor are they distinguishable from everything else a traditional singer sang
That's an awful lot of silk purses down the Swanee

It seems we've reached a stage in academia/research where we demand finite proof for things that don't suit our own views but swallow wholesale views that do - like 'the folk didn't make folk songs' for instance or 'Ewan and Bert were pop singers'
Mosyt of the information we are seeking here either never existed or remains hidden somewhere, yet to be found
In which case, we need to apply logic and common sense
If a 'peasant' can take a 'pig's ear' of a ham-fisted broadside ad turn it into a 'silk purse' of a folk song, whyy could they not have made that folk song in the first place?
Add to this that, up to the first half of the 20th century Irish rural dwellers were making folk songs in their hundreds reflecting their lives and surroundings
Were their British counterparts so untalented or unimaginative that they had to pay somebody to do the job for them?
I'd like to think not

The longer I read and argue about what people have to say on this, the more I become convinced that many of these arguments have more to do with a dying revival than they do an honest examination of a people's culture
I'd hate to think that research ended up in the same sad state as has the clubs
Then I really would have to re-learn "Where have all the Flowers Gone?"
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Man of few words
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 09:23 AM

Shirley Collins knew Lloyd, and described him using those words


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 09:33 AM

Which words - I hope not "Man of his time"?
She owes more to Bert's encouragement than most of us though he did once desib her performance as 'bucolic'
The problem with Bert and Ewan was that when people asked them for their opinions, they gave them, not realising that enquirers were seeking unqualified praise rather than constructive criticism
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Man of few words
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 09:39 AM

Charlatan was the description.The problem with Bert and Ewan was that they were charlatans and posers.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 10:04 AM

On Goldstein, the way I see his early work as I do is because I read something about the history of the US record industry. Originally it produced recordings of 'art' music, with, it is said, educational aims. Finding this did not make much money, they then devised a strategy of 'niche' marketing, applying this both to the various nationalities/cultures/musics of their own immigrant population and to musical cultures abroad. The 'race' labels dedicated to certain forms of African American music being a general example of this. There was another strain of white music, eg Jimmy Rodgers. When abroad, I read, again seeking national music to record and sell, they often found music from different cultures, I think the Chinese example was given, 'noise' because they were not attuned to it. With more experience, they sometimes grew closer to appreciating/understanding it.

Goldstein recorded folk as well as blues, and if my sense of the history is right, this was at a particular when some on the left were seeing blues as 'political' as well as 'folk'. I don't know whether Goldstein was particularly political, seems unlikely if he got academic work back then. Lloyd came into contact with this as Arthur and E David Gregory tell us. But he backed a blues singer who apparently told all to the McCarthyist witchhunts, as well as Burl Ives, who did the same. Not getting at or blaming Lloyd here. Or Goldstein. His move into if not creation of the traditional 'English folk song' market seems to me a continuation of that particular commercial practice. Also part of a continuing strand in US of tracing 'their' culture (or the culture of some Americans, possibly with a rather monolithic Anglo Celtic view of what American culture was) back to these islands.

I quite like 'Where have all the flowers gone?' I appear to be beyond hope. :(   :)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Shaman
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 10:06 AM

On shamanistic duels, maybe the spirits have possessed us and unbeknown to us that is what this long and argumentative thread really is!

:) Tzu/Pseu


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 10:10 AM

Shirley's book makes totally fascinating reading. You can buy All In The Downs from the publisher here though there are probably cheaper places on the internet if you don't mind patronising multinationals that are renowned for exploiting their workforce.


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