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New Book: Folk Song in England

Brian Peters 27 Jul 18 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Tom Turner 27 Jul 18 - 10:30 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 18 - 10:44 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 18 - 11:18 AM
Vic Smith 27 Jul 18 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,EFDSS Member 27 Jul 18 - 12:01 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 18 - 12:57 PM
The Sandman 27 Jul 18 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Jul 18 - 03:22 PM
Richard Mellish 27 Jul 18 - 03:27 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 18 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Jul 18 - 06:31 PM
Brian Peters 27 Jul 18 - 06:51 PM
The Sandman 27 Jul 18 - 08:12 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 18 - 08:23 PM
Brian Peters 28 Jul 18 - 03:17 AM
Richard Mellish 28 Jul 18 - 03:33 AM
The Sandman 28 Jul 18 - 03:50 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jul 18 - 04:17 AM
The Sandman 28 Jul 18 - 04:52 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jul 18 - 06:28 AM
The Sandman 28 Jul 18 - 09:06 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jul 18 - 09:52 AM
The Sandman 28 Jul 18 - 11:36 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jul 18 - 11:47 AM
The Sandman 28 Jul 18 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 29 Jul 18 - 06:40 AM
Vic Smith 29 Jul 18 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 29 Jul 18 - 06:00 PM
The Sandman 30 Jul 18 - 06:19 AM
Vic Smith 30 Jul 18 - 07:23 AM
KarenH 30 Jul 18 - 08:34 AM
Vic Smith 30 Jul 18 - 10:24 AM
GUEST 30 Jul 18 - 11:14 AM
Billy Weeks 30 Jul 18 - 11:54 AM
Vic Smith 30 Jul 18 - 12:22 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Jul 18 - 02:05 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Jul 18 - 06:30 PM
KarenH 31 Jul 18 - 03:40 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jul 18 - 04:17 AM
Steve Gardham 31 Jul 18 - 10:05 AM
Brian Peters 31 Jul 18 - 01:06 PM
Steve Gardham 31 Jul 18 - 02:48 PM
Steve Gardham 31 Jul 18 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,KarenH 01 Aug 18 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Aug 18 - 06:48 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Aug 18 - 04:05 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Aug 18 - 06:00 PM
Lighter 01 Aug 18 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Aug 18 - 09:21 PM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 10:26 AM

'Charlatan' is clearly unfair. There's a huge amount of perfectly good information in Lloyd's FSE, and if it's not all footnoted that's because it's a general interest book, not an academic thesis. Personally I'm happy that I first read it at a formative age and was able to be excited by Lloyd's prose. Plenty of time to interrogate the detail later.

I think Jim might be right about babies and bathwater.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Tom Turner
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 10:30 AM

Where have all the Flowers Gone?" A well written song.
Describing Collins as Bucolic is a put down, would he have described Harry Cox as Bucolic, Unlikely because he was a revered Traditional singer. Double Standards again, Bucolic is an accurate description for Harry Cox.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 10:44 AM

Where have all... wasn't meant as a put down of the song - I quite like it
It was a plaintive cry asking where our love of folk songs have gone
I once wrote a notorious article asking "where have all our folk songs gone" - I'm sure Brian will remember it
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 11:18 AM

"Describing Collins as Bucolic is a put down,"
I think you're right but I don't believe it was aimed at Shirley specifically, rather to the imitators who pranced around the stage with floral dresses singing the the dreaded head-voice
I don't know what she is doing now other than she seems to be prominent in a EFDSS which seems to have lost the folk-plot

"But he backed a blues singer who apparently told all to the McCarthyist witch hunts"
If you mean Josh White, I think this is true to an extent, but a little misrepresentation of the real situation
I had the opportunity of discussing this with Goldseing when Bob Thomson took me to meet him in London and I have to admit his arguments made sense.
Goldstein was a ballad pioneer - his Riverside and other labels gave us access to some of the finest British and American traditional music
I did resnt his buying up some very rare books from British bookshops for his Singing Tree Press

I was delighted to here of an incident in a bookshop in Carlisle when he found himself in an Aladdin's cave of books son song, music, lore and tales.
He piled up a few doxen of them, plonked them on the counter and asked the propriorter if he gave discount for Trade
The proprietor replied, "We don't sell to trade", swept them off the counter and placed them back on the shelves

"The problem with Bert and Ewan was that they were charlatans and posers."
Now we are getting down to serious grave-dancing - about time we got to what is actually being said
Sorry - this gets more distasteful by the minute
If only you people had provided a workable alternative - all I can see is a pile of researchers and singers corpses amid the ruins of a failed revival - and "folk songs that ain't got nowt to do with the ones I know
How utterly depressing
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 11:37 AM

Pseudonymous -
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.


Unusually for you, I find this post somewhat confused. You talk about the early ethnically specialised and 'Race' records as though he was part of this. The real boom era of these labels OKeh, Victor, Brunswick etc. was roughly the decade from 1923, For the first time the urban Black communites of large American cities had some disposable income and the various immigrant groups - Polish, Jewish, Irish, Italian etc. were establishing themselves. These companies nearly all wanted their culture represented on 78s and these smallish independent labels provided it. And thank goodness that they did! If I look at my record collection, I find very many blues, early jazz, Old Time, Irish, Klezmer and other genres compilations from that era. Many were just single run pressings but others by the likes of Louis Armstrong and Johnny Dodds remained in the various catalogues for years. They nearly collapsed in the long depression of the 1930s.
By the time that Goldstein became involved as record producer in the 1950s, the record industry was a totally different place dominated by the big corporations like RCA each with their own stable of top selling stars. To become involved in recording minority folk music and blues became almost a political statement in itself. The two of his productions that have been mentioned recently in this thread were unlikely to make a pile of money for anybody.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,EFDSS Member
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 12:01 PM

EFDSS Lost the plot? how have they lost it?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 12:57 PM

"EFDSS Lost the plot? how have they lost it?"
Sorry member
If you don't know I don't know I can tell you
There has always been an imbalance between Dance and song - the latter seems to have disappeared from the agenda complete apart from a choir (just checked)
The Library never had the space to cater for the books it held thirty years ago when I was actively working to support it - now I know it has been turning down major collections because of lack of space
The listening facilities always poor and uncomfortable - are now non -existent
The website is poor
I suppose the Cellar Club is still in existence - last time we were there it was full of 'singers' reading their songs from I-phones   
I worked wit Malcolm for a while helping to produce cassette albums of field recordings - half a dozen great albums -
The project was abandoned and all the albums lost
Is there a shop - there wasn't lat time I was there?
Does EFDSS promote anything but dancing?
What exactly is it doing to promote folk song, music and dance proper?
What is it doing to promote song and music outside London?
How much of their holdings have gone on line?

The ray of hope was when the plan was mooted to sell The House and move into somewhere more user-friendly - kicked to death by neanderthals

Apart from that, I can't think of anything!!
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 03:20 PM

The ray of hope was when the plan was mooted to sell The House and move into somewhere more user-friendly.
Yes,Jim.
"Describing Collins as Bucolic is a put down,"
I think you're right but I don't believe it was aimed at Shirley specifically"
of course it was, but no worse than the Twit who called MacColl a poser.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 03:22 PM

Re Vic's posting at 11.37

He is exactly right Pseudo doesn't seem to be aware of the recording business in the States. As Vic points out it wasn't until the fifties or so that Ken was involved and it is to him and others like him that we owe a vote of thanks.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 03:27 PM

Thread drift apology!

To some extend I agree with Jim about EFDSS. For quite a while it has been repeatdely re-inventing itself, most recently focussing on "folk arts", which apparently include writing and performing new "folk songs".

However it has also enhanced the Library and it has made a vast amount of material available online including the Carpenter stuff.

And I must disagree with Jim on this
> The ray of hope was when the plan was mooted to sell The House and move into somewhere more user-friendly - kicked to death by neanderthals

If those who killed the plan were "neanderthals" that includes me casting my vote!

The plan to sell Cecil Sharp House and use the cash to set up a new EFDSS HQ somewhere else would have made sense if that new HQ would have offered better facilities. But the intention seemed to be for it to accommodate just the offices and the Library: nothing else. No places where people could sing, dance or play music. That was why the plan was killed.

Back on topic (or closer anyway). After the discussion of The Coal Owner and the Pitman's Wife I'm still unclear how much of the song as printed in FSE was as originally written and how much, if at all, Bert doctored it besides (quite reasonably) putting together words from one source and tune from another. (And, having consulted my copy, I'm surprised to note that there are two more verses at the end than I have ever heard sung. Does anyone sing those two?)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 03:45 PM

"online including the Carpenter stuff"
The Carpenter stuff - I'll grant you, but how long has that taken ?
I found out about the collection in 1960 from Bob Thomson, I persuaded the librarian to buy it
They had reel-to-reel recordings and poor microfiche texts that were virtually unreadable for about twenty odd years before the moved to make it generally available.
That is no way to serve our folk traditions

Beyond that, what is there?
I assume ther is still no shop and the moving the Library upstairs was a no-no because the floor wasn't safe
Moving it into the basement was out of the question as that would lose them precious dancing space
The building is not a suitable place to research yet was hung onto in memory of 'Dear Cecil' - that was the argument put forwards at the time
THe hall is too big for dancing and the small downstairs hall is too small to be taken seriously
Renting ouside venues would have solved many of the problemas and it would have inroduced the EFDSS to the outside world (though I think some of them would have crumbled to dust in the sunlight
If the building is treated as C# House was it becomes a shrine

Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 06:31 PM

Can someone clarify the above two posts?

Richard states "However it has also enhanced the Library and it has made a vast amount of material available online including the Carpenter stuff.".

Jim seems to imply that the library is no longer accessible.

Who is correct


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 06:51 PM

The library has just undergone a major refurbishment and is, to the best of my knowledge, fully open.

As for Carpenter, it was a mammoth task to sort through and catalogue what I understand was a huge and disorganised collection, and those who worked on it, and did the necessary tech stuff to get it all online, deserve a big vote of thanks.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 08:12 PM

Jim is wrong, what is new


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 08:23 PM

"Jim seems to imply that the library is no longer accessible."
No I am not - I an sying it was never practically usable in the past (not foor more than a couple of people) and, unless space has been freed, thirty years ago books books were being stored in cupboards
I know of one major collection of books and broadsides that was refused because there was no space to accommodate it
Can I just say that, as an electrician, I was contracted by Nibs Mathews to carry our a fairly large amount of electrical work in The House and am fully aware of the wasted and unused space, the potentially very usable rooms that were neglected
The listening facilities were a joke - they were uncomfortable, inadequate and unprotected from theft because there was nobody to supervise their use
Up to the time I (voluntarily) transferred the BBC collection onto tape, they were held on fragile acetate discs - if you wanted to use them, you were handed tham and pointed to a deck - hence the appalling state of the discs containing our folk heritage.

I realise much of this is down to lack of funding, but as few folkies took our music seriously, you could hardly expect the Arts Council to do so.

I have helped run clubs where, if the club room needed cleaning up to make it hospitable for club nights, volunteers would be called for (and got willingly)

As fior the Carpenter Collection - as an instigator of obtaining the collection, I was able to pull a few strings and get a fair number of the microfiche songs poorly photocopied
That was pre-computer days so I bought some spring grip golders and stuck what I had on a shelf so I could use them without going blind
Since then, I have digitised them - it took a long time due to the state of the Xerox copies
It took me a few months
I am over the moon that, after a little over 40 years of having obtained them they are now accessible

I have every respect for the team, but as people seem to be prepared to believe that folk songs are not particularly special and are little different than the pop songs churned out by the music industry, I hear the sound of swinging stable doors and bolting horses.
It seems to me that all this would have been possible decades ago if the will had been there

We once booked Irish whistle player, Micho Russell to play at our club only to find that a week before he was due to go on we lost our premises
We were then asked to run a singing night with our guest in the cellar of C # House on the night of the AGM
We wre in the basement singing and playing our Tradition stuff, while our officers and their guests where swinging away in the big hall in their bow ties and long frocks (don't think HRH Maggie was there that night)
During their interval, they sent down for us to send up cabaret to entertain them during their caviar and champers - out of divilment we sent up Micho in his gansey and cloth cap.
He held is own - as we knew he was well able to, the ladies and gents upstairs kepr peering out of the window looking for the hovering space-ship
I remember a science fiction film in my youth entitled, 'When Worlds Collide' - that was the night it happened
It was then I realised that EFDSS was run by people who neither knew or cared very much about our music
If things hadn't been this way, Pat and I wouldn't have had to go to Limerick Uni to seek a home for our archive (we know of archives similar to ours who haven't bees as lucky as we have been
A gang of us actually approached the N.S.A. to see if we couldn't set up an archive to store our heritage somewhere were it would be guaranteed a future - nothing happened until the B L moved to Euston Road

I'm not blowing trumpets here - we failed
I'm just trying to show I'm not throwing stones from an armchair
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 03:17 AM

Jim,

EFDSS has changed enormously since you last had anything to do with it, not least in the matter of vastly improved funding. The Dance faction lost control of the reins many years ago. The Library is thriving under the stewardship of Laura Smyth and her team, and the work that has been done to get their archive material online is absolutely priceless. The Society promotes regular music events in the (refurbished) hall, and Sharp's Folk Club still runs in the cellar, often with a number of young singers in attendance. They are also involved with all kinds of other projects, some of which I'm more enthusiastic about than others.

You should pay the library a call next time you're in London!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 03:33 AM

No reason to disbelieve Jim's account of an evening at C# House; but EFDSS has changed since those days, and changed and changed again. Not all the changes have been for the better (depending on one's point of view and tastes) and like any organisation it is still far from perfect. But overall it does much more for folkies in general than it did of old, giving similar weight to dance, song and music.

Besides participatory events and concerts it also runs seminars and conferences on various subjects. Bob Askew hosts occasional "ballad chats" where we listen to one or two version of a ballad, sung by one or other of us and/or recordings of transitional or revival singers, and then discuss the ballad, somewhat as we do on here but in real time face to face.

One development of which some of us would approve, but Jim presumably would not, has been several courses about folk song by Steve Roud.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 03:50 AM

but as few folkies took our music seriously" yet,more insults


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 04:17 AM

"Jim presumably would not, has been several courses about folk song by Steve Roud."
I would be first in the queue Richard - I hope someone is there to fill in for me
I'm delighted that things are changing - not before time (how long has the society been in existence?)
From what I have seen I am left with the feeling of 'dumbing down, but I may be wrong - (I hope I am)
It really isn't that long since I was there and I am in touch with people who are, so I'm not entirely out of the picture - my last visit still left me with that 'mausoleum' feeling
The last time I visited the Club will be just that - the last time
Am I wrong about the listening facilities - I hope I am
The combination of a large collection of books and a sound library to back them up is an essential pert of research - difficult enough when you don't live in London
It cost us a fortune and took half a century to make research possible at home

Whatever is happening - I certainly hope it is not a case of 'too little - too late' and I hope the new incumbents can tell the difference between Van Diemans Land' and 'When Father Papered the Parlour'
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 04:52 AM

The last time I visited the Club will be just that - the last time"
Jim, I would be interested to know your opinions of the club. if you want to PM me.
It is some years since i was there, I was the booked guest performer, I was singing a song when a resident thought it was appropriate to join me, unfortunately his concertina arrangement and mine were not compatible, it was the sort of thing that should never ever happen in a well run club, a guest performer is booked to be just that , if he wants anyone to join him ,that should be his decision, the club owed me an apology which of course i have not had


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 06:28 AM

Can I make it clear that my criticisms of the EFDSS do not include the Library and its staff, who I have always had th greatest respect for - my relationship with them all was always a warm friendly one
The first qualified Librarian, Barbara Newlyn, turned the Library around and had 'them upstairs' quaking in their bath-chairs - she brought a professionalism to the job
The two ladies that followed, Theresa Thom and (?) were not as fiery, but they too up what Barbara had created with skill and friendlines
Malcolm Taylor was a dream and a good friend who quietly negotiated the bureaucracy and got the job done - the Library Lectures and the Cassette series remain medals on his chest
The problem was they were all swimming against a stream of ignorance, indifference and sometimes antipathy   
I have little doubt that the present Librarian is just as dedicated as these unwritten heroes.

Dick
I haven't been to 'Sharps' for several years
My described experiences are based on two particularly bad nights and a feeling that things weren't going to improve - that feeling was the cause of my cutting many clubs out of my diary - eventually it drove me and many thousands of others out of the fok scene altogether
You want a view of how it is now, ask somebody who knows - I'm certainly not going to title-tattle behind anybody's back
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 09:06 AM

hat feeling was the cause of my cutting many clubs out of my diary - eventually it drove me and many thousands of others out of the fok scene altogether" any evidence that what you drove you out affected thousands of others


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 09:52 AM

Yes


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 11:36 AM

but of course you are unable to show us.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 11:47 AM

"but of course you are unable to show us."
I have, a dozen times Dick
There was long correspondence in the folk press at the time - then there was a rapid decline in the number of clubs - then the folk shops and labels disappeared - then the folk press itself dwindled down to half nothing
Finally the clubs began to bomb

I believe this was down to two things
THose going out to look for folk song at the clubs were coming away from many without hearing a folk song - their choice of what they wanted to hear had been removed
THere is a certain stupidity in the assumption that people who like The Rambling Blade and Banks of the Nile would be happy to sit through poor versions of Buddy Holly songs

THe second reason - in my opinion, was that the standers of performance bombed; the crib sheets that began to suggest that 'singers' were not even bothering to learn the songs - now we have them being read fom obile phones and I-pads
What do you suggest happened?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 18 - 01:59 PM

I talk from my experience and i visit the uk more frequently than you, the crib sheets occur much more frequently in non guest folk clubs singaround type clubs, there are fewer guest booking clubs so the standard has dropped partly because of that, however in the guest booking clubs the standard [in my experience] is as high.
the availabilty of venues is another problem the singing of buddy holly songs was started by a perfprmer called AndyCaven, in 1980, 38 years ago.
the club he is resident of, Colchester, do book trad artists but ,i think your crticism although over exaggerrated has some basis in truth. I know that I do not want to go and listen to an evening of buddy holly songs


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Jul 18 - 06:40 AM

Vic

I don't think I am confused, though my post might have been.

I am not saying that the 'niche' marketing was a necessarily a bad thing, and maybe it did preserve stuff that might otherwise be lost, just that it was something that continued.

Okeh was a subsidiary of Columbia by 1926, and prior to that was part of another company. Columbia was a 'big' firm. And for me, the fact that they marketing certain music as 'race' music was political, as I am sure you will agree, reflecting political realities of the time, including Jim Crow segregation, but not necessarily the way that American music actually was at the time or the way it developed. The marketing, I believe, helped to form the way that people thought about musical genres.

Companies had specific 'labels' marketing at niches and still did into my youth, when you associated certain sorts of music with certain labels. In the US they even had different 'charts' for different categories of music, some 'racially' based until recently and might still do.

There is a book that goes into this in some detail; you might enjoy it: https://www.dukeupress.edu/Segregating-Sound/

Hope that link works. It is a thought provoking book, and very good on early US folklorists and the racialist thinking behind their work which I referred to earlier.

And the folklore revival was a specific 'niche' which Goldstein as far as I can see both helped to create and then fed the demand for. So I think it is fair to see Goldstein's business practices (and he had two degrees in business) as a continuation of a strategy initially developed earlier in the century.

And in so far as Goldstein 'produced' records featuring Bert and MacCall then these two latter were making a living in part out of participating in what was, to use jargon, a capitalist enterprise, whatever their political motivation for doing this was.

And this, quoted above, sounds like marketing spiel to me:

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.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


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Jul 18 - 12:08 PM

Pseudonymous recommended to me:-
There is a book that goes into this in some detail; you might enjoy it: https://www.dukeupress.edu/Segregating-Sound/
Thanks for that. I may well try to get my hands on a copy of that though I did read the description on that website that includes:-
Focusing on the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth, Miller chronicles how southern music—a fluid complex of sounds and styles in practice—was reduced to a series of distinct genres linked to particular racial and ethnic identities.

Now, this era in the early days of jazz and jazz-blues is one that I have been interested in (obsessed by?) since I was a schoolboy and the whole area of the ethnicity and racism in all aspects of commercial recordings is an area that I do know a great deal about so I feel that my reading time ought to be devoted to areas than I feel I do not know enough about.

Here is another quote from that post:-
I am not saying that the 'niche' marketing was a necessarily a bad thing, and maybe it did preserve stuff that might otherwise be lost, just that it was something that continued.
Well, if you are talking about Soul music, Reggae, South African Township, the vast, growing and fascinating number of Manding jali recordings (amongst other genres) well. yes, specialist labels continue, but there is certainly a far higher proportion of entrepreneurs, recording engineers and other record label staff that come from the ethnic groups concerned than there were in the 1920s-ish era. The most interesting part of that quotation to me is it did preserve stuff that might otherwise be lost. You are right! There are numerous examples of exploitation, missing royalties, mistreating of source singers and musicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Just mention the name of Peter Kennedy on Mudcat and see the explosion that you get! However, we need to be eternally grateful for the recorded lagacy that such offenders have left behind. It is a difficult dilemma.

Another quotation from that post that I would like to respond to is this one.
And the folklore revival was a specific 'niche' which Goldstein as far as I can see both helped to create and then fed the demand for. So I think it is fair to see Goldstein's business practices (and he had two degrees in business) as a continuation of a strategy initially developed earlier in the century.
The companies and record labels that Goldstein was producing his albums included Stinson, Folkways, Prestige and Riverside Records. His 500+ albums mainly in what might broadly (without precise definition!) be called 'Folk' and they included a wide range of ethnicity of performers. If you investigate the ethos of all those American labels in this area of music from the late 1950s onwards, you will find a close association with campaigns against segregation and in favour of racial equality.
Yes, they were commercial enterprises and yes, as you have mentioned more than once, Goldstein had degrees in and an acumen for Business. That does not in itself put him in the wrong. I have always regarded Goldstein as one of the better guys in the murky music business unless you, or anyone else, is able to point out any exploitative element in his methods. If there are, I might have to change my opinion.
There is more in what you write about the business degrees than in the vast contribution that he made. He did drift between academia and music industry, but this was a very common experience in America in the second part of the 20th century.
I'll finish this overlong post with a reference one of his great achievements, the 1963 publication of Folk Song Of The North East by Gavin Greig. Goldstein worked on this with Arthur Argo, Greig's grandson. This main element of this work is the complete texts of the weekly articles contributed to the Buchan Observer of Peterhead between Dec. 1907 and June 1911. This is one of the richest publications for folk song texts from a part of Britain that was one of the strongest surviving traditions at the time. Goldstein's business acumen must have failed him because this priceless outstanding book did not sell well. What did Goldstein do with the excess copies? He shipped them over to Scotland for the TMSA to distribute and sell at a very much reduced price. That is where my copy came from. I would have to nominate it as being one of the books that has enriched my life.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Jul 18 - 06:00 PM

Vic

Thanks for your thoughtful response; much to ponder here. The amazing thing about Mudcat is how much you can learn here.

I would not want to labour my point about Goldstein, or to deny he did work that had uses beyond the commercial, or to say bad things about him that he did not merit.

Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 06:19 AM

Dave Arthur raise some interesting thoughts about Bert Lloyd", yoUr quote from BERT SONG THREAD guest Pseudonymouse you are remrkably well informed for a newbie, Do you know Dave personally


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 07:23 AM

Funnily enough, Dave Arthur is (probably) coming round to our house next week. I could put any specific questions to him.

Dave's book has been referred to several times in this thread without the details ever being mentioned, so here they are:-
Bert: the Life and Time of A.L.LLOYD (2102) Pluto Press ISBN 978-0-7453-3252-9
I have been a friend of Dave's since the 1960s and I know that the gestation period of this book must be the longest one on record. He has always been a very busy man who takes on all sorts of projects and I would say that his main motivation has been deadlines whether it was writing scripts for Roland Rat the TV-AM puppet show or the long years transforming and editing English Dance & Song.
This meant that his own projects were often put on the back burner. I would venture to suggest that one of Dave's problems - and I would say the same about Reg Hall - is that he does not know the point where research finishes and the writing process should begin.... but Dave did eventually complete the book and a publisher was found. There was a point where the publisher got cold feet and wanted to withdraw and there was a campaign by supporters of the project to inundate the publishers with assurances about how important this book was.
Looking at the book's dust cover, I see the EFDSS linked swords symbol which reminds me that I did hear that the quiet financial support from that organisation - much maligned in this thread - was the tipping point that ensured publication.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: KarenH
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 08:34 AM

I see that Goldstein and Lloyd are mentioned here.

In 1956 Goldstein released a Lloyd version of 'The Unfortunate Rake', a version I believe to have been one of Lloyd's tinkered versions. This was on the Folkways label.

Goldstein was submitting articles to the folkloric press as early as 1959, because in that year he published a piece on a group of songs which had come to be referred to as 'The Unfortunate Rake'. I listed his sources on the thread headed H M Belden Ballads and Songs.

Some of these are now to some degree discredited, eg Lomax on Cowboy songs. On the other thread, it was pointed out that the first words of this song cannot be checked from the recording of Ironhead as they are missing. Lomax admitted to tinkering with his cowboy songs.


Goldstein did not go back to the early sources referred to in the articles he drew upon, and repeated a false assertion that a version of the song had been published in Dublin in 1790. He had also referred to some of the early English Folk Song Society journals. So Goldstein had done some book research on the song, but seems at this time to have had no training in folklore or music or history or any other relevant discipline.

In 1960 Goldstein released an LP called "The Unfortunate Rake", also with Lloyd's version on. That LP referred to Lloyd's version as a 19th century broadside text, which it was not. It also referred to an article by Lloyd in the list of 'references'. The Lloyd article had been published in an English magazine called 'Sing', and was a rehash of an earlier Lloyd article on the same topic. This article was long on conjecture and short on information, omitting reference to what is now the earliest known version of the song, (which was not set in any sort of hospital), and setting out a trajectory for the history and travels of song which appears to be largely conjectural. However Goldstein was relatively 'open' in saying that these link were in his opinion not coincidental.


I assume that it was Lloyd himself who supplied Goldstein with his article, and since Goldstein cited it in the liner notes, it would appear that Goldstein never thought to question Lloyd's credentials or to request evidence that the lyrics sung by Lloyd were genuinely those of a 19th century broadside. Not only were they not the words of a 19th century broadside there is no direct evidence that the words St James Hospital were ever sung in 19th century England.

Bizarrely the liner notes comment on St James' Palace which has little to do with anything, and The Mall, which though it does permit some digs at George III and his court at St James, including an assertion to the effect that 'houses of amusement abounded' in it that appears to be completely false .

The notes assert that various songs have 'borrowed' the funeral request from The Rake, but this seems to be a case of opinion presented as fact. These included 'In Newry Town' and 'The Tarpaulin Jacket'.

Should Goldstein have known that Lloyd's version wasn't a 19th century broadside? Neither Lloyd not Goldstein emerge well from this.

If we are asked to read these flawed liner notes as a work of a folkloric expert, questions have to be asked about the quality of folkloric 'expertise'.

Moreover, the liner notes suggest that the LP and the somewhat 'shoddy' notes could be used in educational settings, and recommend the works of a number of record labels with which Goldstein was involved for that purpose.

Goldstein invites the reader to follow up the references listed. I did precisely this and came to the conclusion that the liner notes are flawed and overstate what is 'known' about the song.

However, presumably on the basis that Goldstein later achieved academic qualifications, and on the basis of a related topic, song collection, his word on this song and its history and relationship to other songs seems to be taken as gospel and the liner notes are quoted word for word as authorititive sources of information on it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 10:24 AM

A very interesting post by KarenH above
The section on Unfortunate Rake / St. James Hospital needs to be read in conjunction with the information given on the same group of songs on the Mainly Norfolk website which sometimes seems to agree with what Karen says and in other places contradict the statements.
I would not like to be the person to sort out the wheat from the chaff.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 11:14 AM

'The plan to sell Cecil Sharp House and use the cash to set up a new EFDSS HQ somewhere else would have made sense if that new HQ would have offered better facilities.'(Richard Mellish 27 July). Sorry, I've only just noticed this. The reason (a far more pressing reason) people like me voted against - I mean railed against - the idea of selling the House was that most of the money would have been used to get the Society out of its then serious financial difficulties. Selling the Society's biggest capital asset, a freehold in one of the most expensive parts of the capital,in order to solve a problem of bad management,would have been crazy, a self-inflicted wound from which the Society would never have survived and would not have deserved to survive.

Te fact that we have a strong, successful Society today, able to take part in arguments about what more it could be doing, what it could be doing better and where, geographically, it should be doing it, is down to the fact that we decided in the bad years, not to commit suicide.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 11:54 AM

Oh dear! The Guest submission of 11.14 was me, cookieless. Richard's memory of the proposed sale of the House, seem to differ from mine, but as a member for the last 60-odd years, I recall this as a terrible time - the nearest the Society approached to complete dissolution.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 12:22 PM

Re my post at 30 Jul 18 - 07:23 AM - I said that Dave Arthur took years to prepare the book but it was published in 2012 and not, as I suggested above, 2102.
I would hate it for anyone to be placing long-term pre-publication orders!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 02:05 PM

2 excellent posts there from Karen and Billy.

You really have 2 choices here: Accept what you read, or go out and do the research yourself. I know which I prefer.

Once people like Lloyd, Goldstein, Lomax have been found out, you cannot rely in a scholarly way on anything they have written without at least going back and checking sources.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Jul 18 - 06:30 PM

Here's another one for discussion. No need for any insults please! Sharp wrote 'Some Conclusions' based on his collecting experiences. He published many anthologies BUT has anyone seen ANY evidence that would suggest that he was a folksong scholar regarding their history and texts? Yes, he knew something about the tunes which could be considered his expertise. His comments in the Journals are largely confined to the music.

Kidson was something of a self-taught music historian and Baring Gould did a lot of research into the history of some songs, but the rest were solely collectors/composers and there is little evidence that they knew anything of the history of the material they were collecting. I would also include Greig and Duncan in this. Annie Gilchrist did a lot of research into the history but she came along later. I'm pretty sure Maud Karpeles was quite knowledgeable but haven't seen a lot of evidence even there.

This is not a criticism of any of them, just observations/queries/opinions.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: KarenH
Date: 31 Jul 18 - 03:40 AM

Vic

The Mainly Norfolk website was one of the first places I looked for info on 'The Unfortunate Rake'. It quotes Lloyd as saying on another LP that the the tune was collected in Cork. The tune was collected in Cork, and so was a fragment which was interpreted as being a version of the ending of the song. Where Goldstein went wrong was in asserting in the liner notes 'Dublin' instead of Cork. The date 1790 is right. I went right back to the original publication of the fragment by PW Joyce to check this.

The mainly Nrfolk web site also points up mistakes in what Goldstein says about the version sung by MacColl.

Happy to learn where you think I differ from that web site. As it stands I cannot look at this because I don't know where you mean. ANd I honesty would want to change my ideas if they were shown to be wrong. I am not denying that this song was taken up and transformed, becoming something of a favourite with revivalists, perhaps because its taboo content appealed to their sense of how 'repressed' society was over some subjects.

The Mainly Norfolk web site gives two Lloyd versions, one called 'St James Hospital'. Both in my view are Lloyd tinkerings. It was originally a 'homiletic' ballad with a sad ending: Lloyd makes the character more unrepentant, wanting to go out with a bang. He misses out a self-critical repentant verse in all of the 19th century broadsides.

The earliest known version was set in Covent Garden. It is a broadside. I learned this from Bishop and Roud's book of English Folk Songs. Nobody up to and including Lloyd seems to have known this. There were several more or less identical 19th century broadsides, all called The Unfortunate Lad, none set in St James, and one having a blank instead of a place name.

Do let me know where you think I contradict Mainly Norfolk.

I have read what you say about Goldstein above: I am sure he made a positive contribution to a revival of interest, just that on this one piece he seems not to have been quite thorough enough in terms of historical accuracy and in terms of the authenticity of what he plainly presents as a genuine 19th century broadside version. None of the sources cited by Goldstein claims to have seen a 19th century version featuring the words 'St James' anything. I think Lloyd realised this himself, so he came up with one.

Karen


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jul 18 - 04:17 AM

Steve's question is a good one. I just have one book by Karpeles, and I wouldn't say off the top of my head that she tried much to go back far.

I haven't read Some Conclusions, only FSE, and the one song I looked at in detail was Lady Isabel, where Lloyd was trying to argue that there were pictures of somebody delousing somebody on sword-scabbard ornaments in Leningrad. It isn't clear whether this is original research on Lloyd's part, or whether he has taken this from a Russian Language piece he cites as a reference. I doubt he could read Russian, though it is claimed in Arthur that he could read it. Lloyd then makes vague claims about shamanistic duels. I looked up shamanistic in wiki and decided this word was far too vague to be useful, as well as questioning how reasonable it was to describe the stuff in the song as looking 'shamanistic'. And because I cannot read Russian I cannot check what Lloyd says; I just find the whole sweep of the argument rather 'grandiose' and 'romantic' and not very convincing.

But the question that passage and Steve's email raises for me is one about 'methodology' ie knowledge about how to do this tracing. What criteria are to be used in deciding that two songs with some similarities, and in some cases similarities as small as a 'motif' are actually linked 'genealogically', as opposed to having similarities because they are both about human relationships, or whatever. Nowadays if you do a thesis you are supposed to start off as often as not with a section about your methodology, so that readers can see where you are coming from (and I guess to impress your supervisors with your intelligence, and to show you are not just setting down subjective impressionistic ideas). In some cases a relationship seems clear, in others (eg sword scabbard ornaments) it might seem less so.

The next thing would be to present thoughts about origins as what for me they have to be, theories, arrived at via the application of a methodology, whether or not this methodology has or has not been clearly thought through and articulated.


just putting out ideas for consideration.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Jul 18 - 10:05 AM

Hi Tzu
If I read you correctly the methodology you describe, as far as I know, has not yet been proposed by anyone academic. Remember our subject here suffers from a distinct lack of academic interest. The last serious academic treatise on this was carried out more than a century ago by Professor Child. Even that dealt with a very small corpus of ballads and he struggled to come to any sort of concensus/conclusions generally; although we all accept that by and large his tracings of the histories of the individual ballads was exemplary.

Forming the Roud Index has presented problems in this area. Steve still hasn't got to grips with related ballads and hybrids yet. I have made some inroads on this by sorting out the many 'Died for Love' family ballads and allocating new numbers based on this, but then Richie comes along with one of his detailed studies and tells me that even one of these oecotypes should actually be split into 2 separate ballads needing a new number for one of them. New evidence is appearing all the time as more and more collections come online.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 31 Jul 18 - 01:06 PM

Sharp wrote 'Some Conclusions' based on his collecting experiences. He published many anthologies BUT has anyone seen ANY evidence that would suggest that he was a folksong scholar regarding their history and texts?

Do we know, for instance, how big a collection of broadsides he had in his possession (which we do in the case of Baring-Gould)?

I'm not quite sure what you're looking for here, Steve, but if it's any help I found the following in Sharp's correspondence from North America:

“They ][mountain people] are wonderful singers and fond of singing and of their own songs and sing far fewer of the 19th century broadside versions of the words than do the English peasants.”

To a 'Miss Smyth' regarding claims that most folk songs had originated in Ireland:
"Stopford Brooke says that the English language was not used for particular purposes in Ireland prior to 1790. All of the Irish folk songs to English words are, therefore, subsequent to that date. As a matter of fact, what really happened was that the Irish ballad-printers copied freely from the ballad-broadsheets issued by Pitts, Evans, Such, Catnach and other English printers. I have a very fine collection of Irish broad-sides, which make this quite clear."

And this to his wife:
“By the way when you get back home and you have some time to spare will you copy out the words of my broadside called ‘Nancy of Yarmouth’. It is in my very first vol. of broadsides – the one you indexed for me… I wanted to compare it with certain songs I am getting here.”


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Jul 18 - 02:48 PM

Sharp's broadside collection is on the Full English. It wasn't massive and was largely the common mid-19thc stuff. Baring Gould's knowledge and collection were far superior. He was very wrong about the Irish broadsides. By the late 18th century printers like Goggin in Limerick were printing a mixture of native Irish, Irish-English ballads and some derived from the pleasure gardens, including a fair amount of macaronic material. In the north there were printers printing Irish songs like Willy Leonard, Polly Vaughan, Fanny Blair, Streams of Nantsian which came across to England via Liverpool. Baring Gould also spent a lot of time in The BL looking at broadsides from 16th to 19th centuries. It would be far fairer to say there was an exchange of ballads between the 2 countries (actually one country at the time)

All those quotes show is that he knew very little compared with Baring Gould, who would have been well aware of the earlier Irish ballads.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Jul 18 - 03:37 PM

Tzu
If you haven't already read them, I can strongly recommend you read through Child's headnotes, skimming over the foreign analogues, but noting their existence. If you want to do this I can present you with some opinions based on my own experiences and more recent approaches. If the musical side appeals to you more, then Bronson is obviously the best possible start.

If Child's headnotes are the way forward then I recommend you start with his introduction and Dover Vol 5, p182, in the headnotes to Young Ronald. Perhaps his most telling statement.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,KarenH
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 05:31 AM

I once read that Cork was a centre for broadside ballad production at a time when copyright laws were a problem in England, and Cork produced what you might call 'pirate' broadsides for export - to the colonies I think - because the copyright laws did not apply there, the laws being different in Cork. But I cannot now find the source or remember the date. It stuck in my mind because of the suggested Unfortunate Lad connection.

Can anyone help about this?

NB This thread seems to have drifted so far that this post won't do much more damage on the relevance front.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 06:48 AM

Steve

Thanks for your thoughts.

The bit where Child says he is following Grundtwig's advice not to leave out anything if there is a remote possibility it might contain relics of something better? But he says he has ignored this in more cases than he has followed it. Where he suppresses his 'disgust'?

He gives several reasons for rejecting it as 'genuine' but you have to guess what the underlying criteria are. He dislikes the hat lifting, perhaps because he regards this as a sign of relative modernity. He doesn't like the 'mint in the meadows', but I'm not sure why. It seems an unusual detail. Maybe he dislikes the omission of the definite article?

The song reads 'oddly' to me: the bit about the boy being still at school doesn't ring true. Especially if, as Child said, he regarded the ballads as being from pre-literate times!

But it doesn't really help with what I was thinking about, which was not so much whether a song was originally old or not, but how people concluded that different songs were in some sense 'the same'.

Child I know at one point in an encyclopaedia article said that songs were written by higher classes in a complex pre-literate but not 'primitive' society and got ruined when the lower classes got their hands on them. He seems to think this might be an example. He doesn't seem to have subscribed to a 'folk process' idea. Or have I got this wrong?

I don't find his introduction much help, except that he was trying to collect and focus on manuscripts, but I note the reference to the 'mother island'; this suggests to me a relatively narrow view of who Americans are. It would appear to exclude the Irish for example. (Not sure where the Welsh fit into this!) Was Child what they sometimes call a 'nativist', I wonder? Not trying to undermine his achievements, however.

This is probably a topic where it would take even more years than usual to get to grips.

I think Roud comments that there is already an 'industry' of Child scholarship!

Also, if the academics did start to debate it, then, without meaning any disrespect to academics, I can see that this might become an 'industry' in itself with different ideas and ideologies tangled up in things. So just getting to a shared methodology might not be practicable.

I can imagine that 'hybrids' would cause problems! Floating verses and so on.

Tzu


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 04:05 PM

Child's purpose is certainly an enigma. When on Grundtvig's advice he chose to be inclusive, at first he could include almost anything without having to go into detail about why he included certain ballads; but later-on I certainly detect a weariness about some of the suspect items he felt duty-bound to include, for instance, one off items with little real likelihood of ever having been part of oral tradition. In the first 2 volumes (Dover 5) he was quite sarcastic and scathing about those pieces he felt had been heavily tampered with by the editors and their contributors; but after that he becomes strangely silent in this respect and largely includes suspect pieces with no comment. I have my opinions on why this happened but they are just opinions, though the Young Ronald statement would appear to bear me out. I think the fact that he didn't produce the longed for definitive statement was a deliberate act.

>>>>>The song reads 'oddly' to me:<<<<< I presume you are referring to No.3 but several of the ballads refer to scholars/school and also one he didn't include, Trees they do grow High.

I can't remember reading >>>>>songs were written by higher classes in a complex pre-literate but not 'primitive' society and got ruined when the lower classes got their hands on them<<<<<< He may have written this before he got well into studying the ballads. It certainly goes against modern scholarship which tells us very few of the surviving ballads (in ballad form) go back beyond 1500 and many are much later. One has only to look at the historical ballads to realise this. Some of the stories are certainly a lot older but not in English ballad form. (Hind Horn, Lord Randall)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 06:00 PM

"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"
THen perhaps you'd like to avail yourself of my offer to listen to some more of the contributions to folk song by Ewan and Bert rather than having to rely on the word of an Eastern European Classical Composer !
I've made this offer before but people seem to prefer to rely on the words of the New School of Academia
Perhaps actually listening to the stuff might help make your mind up who wrore our folk songs rather than trying to show the hacks did
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 08:34 PM

> he didn't produce the longed for definitive statement

Steve, are you familiar with FJC's lengthy article on "Ballad Poetry" in Johnson's Universal Cyclopaedia, Vol. I (1890).

Maybe not "definitive" but quite substantial.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Aug 18 - 09:21 PM

Lighter

Thanks for mentioning this article.

I was trying to base my comments on Child's views on the Cyclopaedia you mention. I had read somewhere it was the nearest thing he wrote to a 'statement' and found it via a journal that reproduced it. This was The Journal of Folksong Research, a double issue dated 1994.


I may not have summarised the findings quite fairly in the bit quoted by Steve at 4.05 pm, but it isn't far off.

This article does seem to go against the date of emergence of the modern ballad form if this is dated to 1500 and later. But he counts some very early narratives as ballads of a sort. Child thinks that some Robin Hood ballads come from the 13th century. He thinks that the story of Hereward the Wake, which we have in Latin, probably came from ballads. But he says there are very few old English ballads.

It is quite an ambitious piece, covering a range of countries.

In the opening section, Child says that the 'popular ballad' (ie the sort he liked) predates "the poetry of art" towards which it was a step. He specifically states that it was not the work of lower orders because he imagines that it comes from some sort of unified society.

"The primitive ballad, then, is popular, not in the sense of something arising from and suited to the lower orders of a people...An increased civilisation, and especially the introduction of book culture, gradually gives rise to such a distinction (between higher and lower orders, in terms of knowledge, desires etc, my explanation here) the poetry of art appears, the popular poetry is no longer relished by a portion of the people, and it is abandoned to an uncultivated - or not overcultivated - class ... "

He repeats this idea of a united, almost 'classless' society later in the article. He then describes ways in which what we now have is altered from the original ballads, including 'willful' change, which he thinks is less likely to come from the uneducated, 'professional singers', and 'the modern editor'. He says that in all cases there will be drifts in language.

As I think I said before, he contradicts himself by saying that most of the best ballads were created by the people depicted in them, the higher orders.


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