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New Book: Folk Song in England

GUEST 15 Aug 18 - 03:36 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 04:51 AM
Richard Mellish 15 Aug 18 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Aug 18 - 05:00 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Observer 15 Aug 18 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Aug 18 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Aug 18 - 06:26 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Aug 18 - 06:36 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 06:43 AM
Vic Smith 15 Aug 18 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 06:46 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Aug 18 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Aug 18 - 07:33 AM
Vic Smith 15 Aug 18 - 07:41 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 09:04 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,Observer 15 Aug 18 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 10:27 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 10:30 AM
Vic Smith 15 Aug 18 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Aug 18 - 10:41 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 11:07 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 12:18 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 01:31 PM
Brian Peters 15 Aug 18 - 01:41 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 02:33 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 18 - 02:51 PM
Vic Smith 15 Aug 18 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,jag 15 Aug 18 - 03:53 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Aug 18 - 03:53 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Aug 18 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Aug 18 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Aug 18 - 06:02 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Aug 18 - 06:08 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Aug 18 - 03:22 AM
Joe Offer 16 Aug 18 - 03:27 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Aug 18 - 03:31 AM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 03:36 AM

Walter had several hundred songs 'Cupid' was among the poorish broadside versions

So is it correct that he did learn it, he did sing it, and it did come from a broadside?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 04:21 AM

Who suggested sme songs didn't come from broadsides - certainly not me
The proliferation of broadsides at the end of the 19th century were part of the destruction of the oral tradition
Actually walter only ever sang for revival audiences with the exception of one song
I've described how he wrote down his songs from having heard family members sing them and put them together with tunes he remembered after the family singers were all dead
He said he never saw a broadside and as his grandfather was so poor he and his family ended up in the workhouse, he doubted if he ever owned many broadsides - just that he had learned "some" from them
Walter had an uncanny knack of being able tto date his songs by their texts and tunes
The fact that traditional songs appeared on broadsides in no way proves (or even suggests) that they originated on them
That is what the argument is about
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 04:51 AM

(last GUEST was me)
I think the argument is about whether or not Roud's book gives fair account of what 'the folk' sang and to what extent criticism of the book stands up to scrutiny.

If you think the Wikipedia page on Walter Pardon contains fatual errors why not correct them? At least two people who have made changes to it seem well read on the subject of folk song.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 04:59 AM

I'm only partway through the later interview but feel the need to mutter about some typos/misprints/spelling mistakes/call-them-what-you-will. Perhaps the worst is a reference to someone named "Peggy Singer".


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 05:00 AM

Jim,

"(more or less what Hoot has just put up)"

You have got it wrong again. In no way was I implying that Walter was a simple country man. I thought it might be his way of cutting short a one sided and probably boring conversation.

I might describe Walter as a country man but never simple.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 05:13 AM

Hoot
Your whimsical story of a collector imposing his view on Walter suggested just that - you certainly wouldn't be the first to suggest that
I apologise if I have your meaning wrong
"If you think the Wikipedia page on Walter Pardon contains fatual errors why not correct them?"
Because life it to short to correct errors on a web-page notorious for making them
If you want to find our abour Walter read him up on reliable site s- Musical Traditions carry several excellent articles on him by Mike Yates
I would have thought a good way to qualify yourself to discuss him was to listen to what he sang at length
Cupid the Ploughboy - you have to be joking !
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 05:57 AM

"In my experience, shepherd, lad [land?] workers, labourers were not paid for playing at dances, most of them did so for the sheer pleasure of doing so - money has only recently become an issue and has, in my opinion, done as much damage as 'the Folk Boom, in killing off the democracy of the music and replacing it with a need to 'make a name'
This at the time folk song in Britain is sinking out of sight and needs all the volunteer dedicated support it can get"
- Jim Carroll.

I think Jim is spot on with that. The idea that those part time local musicians had to have been paid in coin is current thinking transposed back in time. Back in the times we seem to be talking about people worked incredibly hard, the little leisure time they had was extremely precious. They lived, worked and "played" together as a community that was interdependent on the skills, talents and abilities within that community. So if there was some form of social event in the community they had to do it all themselves and those who played instruments did so because they could and it was their contribution, the only form of payment they might get, if any, would be in the form of food and drink. As Jim put it - They did it for the love of it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:06 AM

Speaking for myself I am trying to have a conversation, though it does seem difficult for it not to turn into an argument. However, I have read and absorbed what Jim has said, to please take it that from herein on none of my remarks are addressed to Jim. I can see when I'm not wanted!

Again, speaking for myself, I have expressed interest in the investigation suggested by Steve Gardam. As a point of information I also consulted the Mustrad page linked to some CDs about Walter Pardon and earlier posts on this thread.

Jag: as I understand it, Jim Carroll's main objection to the book by Steve Roud is that it adopts a 'use' definition of what folk song is, whereas Mr Carroll believes that we should use the term to apply only to songs that originate with what he sometimes calls 'the folk' and sometimes as 'traditional singers','ordinary people', 'working people', 'the people'.   

Jim also argues that the 'origin' definition has been the orthodoxy for more than one hundred years. My own view is that this is not the case, on the basis that a defition internationally agreed in 1954 gives a 'use' plus subsequent oral transmission definition, which is the one presented and discussed by Roud. Jim refers to A L Lloyd, whose view of English history was heavily influenced by a Marxist historian called A L Morton who wrote a book about England framed largely in terms of class struggle. Lloyd's book on Folk Song in England is, for me, something of a patchwork of ideas, drawing partly on Morton and also drawing heavily on the work of folklorists from behind the iron curtain as well as other sources. (NB Arthur's biography of Lloyd had some interesting information on the uses made of the old communist regimes of folklore)

On Walter Pardon, this appears to be a contentious subject as scrolling back through this thread, some discussion took place last November. Jim provided a list of songs which, he says, Walter Pardon did not regard as 'folk songs'. Jim's argument there appears to have been that even if Walter did include material in his repertoire that was not 'folk', then Walter himself did not claim it to be folk.

Naughty Jemmy Brown
Old Brown?s Daughter
Marble Arch
One Cold Morning in December
Peggy Band
Ship That Never Returned
Skipper and his Boy
Suvlah Bay
The Steam Arm
Traampwoman?s Tragedy
Two Lovely Black Eyes
The Wanderer
We?ve Both Been Here Before
When The Fields Were White With Daisies
When You Get Up in the Morning
Wreck of the Lifeboat
Write Me a Letter from Home
All Among the Barley
As I Wandered by the Brookside
Balaclava
Black Eyed Susan
Bright Golden Store
British Man of War
Cock a Doodle Doo
A Country Life
Faithful Sailor Boy
Generals All
Grace Darling
Grandfather?s Clock
Help one Another Boys
The Huntsman
I Traced Her Footprints
I?ll Come Back to you Sweetheart
I?ll Hang my Harp
I?m Yorkshire, Though In London
Irish Molly
I Wish They?d Do It
Shamrock Rose and Thistle
Lads in Navy Blue
Miner?s Return
Mistletoe Bough
More Trouble in my Native Land


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:09 AM

What is the evidence that any named folks songs or their tunes that date from from before the time of the late 19th century collectors where created by 'the people'?

Evidence. Not backwards extrapolation.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:26 AM

Jim,

In your post at 05.13 you seem to be confusing me with someone else.

Only the "whimsical story" was mine. I do not use Wikipaedia.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:32 AM

"What is the evidence that any named folks songs "
What evidence is there that they didn't?
Evidence not backward extrapolation please

Enough of this anonymous waterboarding
I have made my position quite clear
I firmly believe that the folk were capable having made their folk songs - nobody here has ever suggested that they couldn't have
I belive that to have been the opinions of researchers and anthologists since the beginnings of folk song research until a bunch of new kids on the block came along, redifined folk songs as "anything the folk sang" and claimed otherwise
It is logical to me that sailors songs fairly accurately describing life at sea and on shore might well have been made by the people the songs were about
The same with soldiers, and farmworkers and miners and rural dwellers and navvies.....
I believe that on the basis of talking to traditional singers who accepted the "truth" (authenticity) of the songs they sang
I also believe that if Irish rural dwellers in similar situations ot their English counterparts made the me=any hundreds of songs describing their lives, why not the English - a cultural deficiency maybe?
THese were not Dibdin's "jolly Jack Tar' pastiches or Marie Antoinette's Versailles tableau Shepherds and Shepherdesses - they were realistically described people in realistically described situations using genuine-sounding vernacular language and an apparent knowledge of country and trade practices and lore.
It has always been the down-to-earth universal reality that has impressed me about our folk-songs
Now - instead of these fingernail-extracting interrogations, why not tell me why these songs should be the products of desk-bound city hacks who were notorious for their bad poetry?
These discussions are not being turned into "arguments" - that would involve two sets of ideas - not one sid offering only one-sided stonewalling
Your turn now, I think - that's an offer to anybody here, by the way
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:36 AM

Jim's Wikipaedia comment was to me.

Do you people think Wikipedia's editors (or even its algorithms) would accept the 'I know one when I hear one' or 'the old singers could tell' or 'I can tell from my melodeon bellows' means of identifying the true folk songs?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:36 AM

Hootenanny

I took the wiki jibe as aimed at me.


Tzu


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:43 AM

"'I know one when I hear one' or 'the old singers could tell' "
The Wiki editors know nothing of folk songs as far as I know - the contributors should
As for the argument istself, it would be a fairly weak one of we had anything better to go on, but if you believe that the singers knew less about their songs than we do, we're not speaking about the same people
That is academic arrogance in the extreme.
We don't know who wrote the songs - wr probably never shall
All we can do is gather what we do know and add common sense - personal perception by thingers and those associating with them has to be a major part of that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:43 AM

I crossed with Jim there, so the last post was not a response to his.

But it will do apart from adding that it sounds more like an declaration of faith rather than a reasoned argument.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:46 AM

Jag calls for "evidence" and so do I on a different atatement.
Observer states with a considerable degree of confidence:-

So if there was some form of social event in the community they had to do it all themselves and those who played instruments did so because they could and it was their contribution, the only form of payment they might get, if any, would be in the form of food and drink. As Jim put it - They did it for the love of it.

My response would be "What is your evidence for this?" I would suggest that there is plenty of evidence that, particularly in the dog days of winter that the rural poor with any talents were pleased to join the plough stots, mummers, tipteerers, morris etc. in their rounds. Of course they were doing it for the love of it, anything that would lift spirits in their drab existence was welcome - but so was the sharing of the money that they collected for performing outside the pubs and from their pre-arranged visits to the vicarage, the manor and the various landed gentry.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:46 AM

It's not academic arrogance. As Lloyd said "If one's dealing with a thing on any plane of scholarship, then it's necessary to be as precise as one can."


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 07:03 AM

"It's not academic arrogance. "
I'm afraid it is if you dismiss impressions and can replace them with nothing else
You haven't responded to mey request - the same goes for you Vic - you've had your turn - mine now
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 07:04 AM

And the jibe about these not being 'arguments'. That at least, though deliberately "equivocal", has a touch of humour to it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 07:18 AM

I don't dismiss impressions. I am aware that impressions, including my own, may be wrong.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 07:33 AM

Jag: true.

On this 'insider knowledge' argument, I have a thought which might well result in a torrent of exasperation from certain quarters, but there are fairly obvious questions to be asked about the ways in which what is asserted to be such knowledge may have been obtained.

They sometimes used to use a metaphor based on the concept of 'observer interference' from physics in social sciences. Basically this usage refers to the problems involved in face to face interviews and experiments in which people know they are being observed. Another way of putting this would be 'experimenter effect' or 'observer expectancy'.

It seems possible to me that some of the contexts which have been described for the collection of the views of tradition bearers are those in which the collectors plainly had strongly held personal views, often highly policitised ones, about the nature and function of folklore though history, and that this may have affected the nature of the responses they obtained. This is without any question of bias, even if not conscious, in the selection and presentation of the data obtained in the interviews.

Awaiting tirades of indignation, but this is not intended personally. These are points that future generations of researchers are bound to bring up. I guess some of them have been brought up.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 07:41 AM

You haven't responded to mey request - the same goes for you Vic

Could I politely refer you to my post at 14 Jul 18 - 10:11 AM


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 08:05 AM

The argument has been that money has played a major part in the creation of our folk songs since the days of the minstrels
You appear to be suggesting that the songs were created for "the sharing of the money that they collected for performing outside the pubs and from their pre-arranged visits to the vicarage, the manor and the various landed gentry."
If that is your argument, of course I don't accept it - does anybody ?
Now - can I have some responses to my points please ?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 09:04 AM

The argument has been that money has played a major part in the creation of our folk songs since the days of the minstrels

No, the argument has been that someone having got money for the creation or money having been involved somewhere along the line of transmission or in performance does not bar a song from being a folk song.

You appear to be suggesting that the songs were created for "the sharing of the money ... I didn't read it that way.

You seem to be responding to things that people didn't say.

Please remind me what the points that need answering are.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 09:37 AM

You are still not responding to my point and it becomes obvious that you are not intending to, despite the fact that have assiduously responded to all of yours - no change there
I think Vic is quite capable of speaking for himself
"Please remind me what the points that need answering are."
Are you really not reading what I put up, neither has anybody else -
15 Aug 18 - 06:32 AM

I certainly don't accept Vic's " 14 Jul 18 - 10:11 AM" offhand dismissal even touches the points I made
This is really pissing against the wind
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 09:55 AM

" I would suggest that there is plenty of evidence that, particularly in the dog days of winter that the rural poor with any talents were pleased to join the plough stots, mummers, tipteerers, morris etc. in their rounds. Of course they were doing it for the love of it, anything that would lift spirits in their drab existence was welcome - but so was the sharing of the money that they collected for performing outside the pubs and from their pre-arranged visits to the vicarage, the manor and the various landed gentry." - Vic Smith.

Well Vic that would cover from what we now know as late December to mid-January, and as we are mentioning "evidence", the evidence suggests that these were local men - not bands of wandering players - which brings us back to - So if there was some form of social event in the community they had to do it all themselves ......"

History of Morris Dancing

"'as with many folk customs, the origins are hidden in the mists of time and coloured by later perceptions, which may or may not have been correct' Alun Howkins

Over time the dances were assimilated by the established church, and by the 1500s Morris was being performed for Easter, Whitsuntide, and saint's days. In fact Morris dancing became so much an accepted institution that medieval churchwarden's accounts show that accessories were provided by parish funds. St Lawrence Church Reading, accounts show "Moreys Dawncers" perfomed on Dedication Day 1513 and were given 3d for ale.

The accessories mentioned included shoes and bells do you honestly think that parishes doled out money for passing troupes of itinerant morris dancers? I do not think so, those making up the members of the troupe were locals. Why would total strangers have to black their faces to avoid being recognised in a particular parish? Locals would. The 3d for ale brings us back to - the only form of payment they might get, if any, would be in the form of food and drink.

Besides I do not believe that there were that many Plough Stots, mummers,tipteerers or morrismen doing the rounds in Scotland, Ireland or Wales.

There is also documented evidence that traditionally the music for the above was originally provided by a flute or a whistle and a tabor or a drum, very basic. Other instruments only became common much later when people were actively reviving the art.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 09:57 AM

I was not speaking for Vic, I was saying that I hadn't read his post that way.

If you mean why not tell me why these songs should be the products of desk-bound city hacks who were notorious for their bad poetry?

Why should I answer it? I didn't suggest it. I don't recall anyone suggesting it. Does Roud? I didn't notice it in there.

I was pressing the issue of Laycock because you introduced him to the discussion and I have known for 50 years that his biographer said that he wrote poems that were sold and sung in the streets and I knew I had that description on the shelf behind me to quite from. I don't know much, but it is enough to make me suspect the accuracy of what you say.

I don't know the background of all the broadside writers, neither do you or anyone else. So we don't know if there were people similar to Laycock (and maybe the Muxton carter who is described in a quote in Roud's book) going back through the centuries.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 10:27 AM

Observer. Pace egging would extend it to Easter time. But it was instrumantalists I was thinking of.

For example the weaver Richard Ryley who's diary for 1862 is at http://www.village-music-project.org.uk/?page_id=141

See for example May 1 to May 3 Or this:

July 7th. No work. In the Afternoon went with four others on a playing excursion, to the Crook’s House first 3d. Then to Gledstone Hall, where after playing for some time we were very genteely informed that they could not give us anything. I think they must be very Poor!. Then to the Poor Gardener who very cheerfully gave us 4d. then to Marton Scar, 6d. Thomas Hunter Esq. Stainton; 3s. Stainton Hall 1s. Ingthorpe Grange 3d. Marton House, East, 6d. Then to West Marton where we got about 4s. more, On dividing we had 2s. 1d. Each.

He also gives details of his income from weaving and of his costs of living.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 10:30 AM

"Why should I answer it? I didn't suggest it. I don't recall anyone suggesting it. Does Roud?"
Stever Gardham, who has featured largely in all these arguments ahd clamed that 90% plus originated this way - you can't really have missed this
Roud only says a"a high percentage" and does not commit himself to a specific figure.
Few of Laycock's songs entered into the tradition - I put him up as somebody from a working background who was capable of making songs/poems.
My question remains - if working people were capable of making songs, why didn't they make our folk songs?
That is the question everybody is avoiding like the plague
I have been somewhat underwhelmed at the response to my offer of posting off our article on Walter Pardon - it seems people, (you included) woould rather talk about Walter without knowing what he had to say
I am going to ask Joe Offer to link to the article so at least we have the voice of a Traditional singer in this battle of academics and researchers
Pity I have to, but that seems par for the course nowadays
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 10:36 AM

Jag wrote (with reference to the Taylor/Lloyd interview) wrote:-

Interesting comment about the exclusive blokes with 'spiky titles'.

That stood out for me as well. Is there anyone who would like to hazard a guess as to who Bert Lloyd might have been referring to?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 10:41 AM

No, the argument has been that someone having got money for the creation or money having been involved somewhere along the line of transmission or in performance does not bar a song from being a folk song.

I would not argue with that sentiment.

But the 'discussion' about commerciality also touched on Bert Lloyd's view as quoted above that we now call 'folk music' originated in a particular era out of a synthesis of commercially created music by minstrels and others. This came in the middle of a rather Mortonian bit about social change in a particular century.

I am aware that Lloyd was not always consistent in 'Folk Song in England' but this is one of the things that he said.

Jim has already responded to this. His point, as I understood it was that Chapter One of Lloyd's book is a better reflection of what Lloyd thought folk music was. Jim expressed a view that minstrel songs of that century were nothing like folk music. Jim also referred to the point as 'shadow boxing' because it touches on the 'origin' question which I don't intend to debate any more. However, it serves to illustrate the point that when writing that particular chapter Lloyd did not seem overly concerned that 'folk music' had commercially produced material at the heart of its origins.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 10:51 AM

"No, the argument has been that someone having got money"
No - the argument has always been about the origins of folk songs and their uniqueness
You need to read the full thread
Nobody has ever argued that people didn't make money from the songs - we spent thirty years recording a ballad seller who sold his father's songs for money
If you are nt prepared to debate that I see nothing we have to say to each other
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 11:07 AM

"we spent thirty years recording a ballad seller who sold his father's songs for money" Exactly. I quoted you on that way back in the discussion when it seemed relevant but seemed to have been passed over.

So where do you get this idea that broadsides were all written by "desk-bound city hacks who were notorious for their bad poetry" I would have thought that those were the ones that didn't find their way into oral transmission.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 11:45 AM

"So where do you get this idea that broadsides were all written by "desk-bound city hacks who were notorious for their bad poetry"
Sorry - I don't follow you - that is what I am arguing against
Our singer to his father's songs from the oral tradition and gave them to a printer
The argument here has been exactly the opposite, that most of the songs in the oral tradition WERE COMPOSED for the broadsides and make up 90% plus of our folk songs
My argument has always been that most folk songs appearing on broadsides were taken

This is where all this began - a statement by Ewan MacColl at the end of a series of Radio prgrammes

"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island.
We are indebted to the Harry Coxes and Phil Tanners, to Colm Keane and Maggie MaccDonagh, to Belle Stewart and Jessie Murray and to all the sweet and raucous unknown singers who have helped to carry our people's songs across the centuries"


This statement was received derisively bt Steve Gardham who described it as "starry eyed nonsense"
The 10 programmes in question covered the entire folk spectrum from the 16th century 'Frog and the Mouse' to an anonymous Irish song made during World War Two - the entire folk reperoire
It has since been adapted to only cover the songs that were collected when the folk tradition was at its lowest ebb, but has wobbled back and forth to our traditional ballads on occasion.
That is the argument here
I really shouldn't have to explain this - it's all old argument
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 12:18 PM

I give up Jim. You can't be clear about what you mean. If you want someone to answer for a point they made please refer back to when they made that point and if quoting it use the exact words and don't paraphrase them using you own interpretation/misinterpration of what they said.

I think it's a good book. It is not written in an academic style - I don't think it should be - but it is precise and clearly set out. There is a good separation of raw material and interpretation. Previous work is acknowleged. Is anything significant missing from the bibliography and is there anything in the bibliography that is not referred to in the text?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 12:41 PM

"I give up Jim. You can't be clear about what you mean."
Nobody else has a problem understanding it
You obviously haven't bothered to read the thread
This has been going on for some time now and not a single individual has claimed not to understand the argument - congratulations on being the first
Nice cop-out though
"I like it but I don't want to discuss why"
Jim Carroll
I've asked Joe to post up two articles about Walter Pardon - if that is possible I'll be interested in the reaction, if any


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 01:31 PM

Jim. I have been following the discussion from the start. It helped me to decide to read the book.

I understand what Roud says, I understand what Steve Gardham says about the broadsides. I don't understand your basis for disagreeing with them.

Am I right that you disagree with them?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 01:41 PM

This thread has moved on a long way since I last looked at it. I've nothing especially original to add, but can at least clarify one or two points.

Pseudonymous wrote:

It was stated above that the hand loom weaver's lament was by Bamford. I'm not sure this is right. a) can't find it in online collections of Bamford's work b) found a book dated 188ish online saying it was taken from someone else.

Bamford was a special constable during Chartist times, some of his work seems to reflect a dislike of the movement.


‘The Hand-loom Weavers’ Lament’ appears in Harland’s ‘Ballads and Songs of Lancashire’ (1875), and was collected by John Higson (a Droylsden man who supplied several pieces to Harland) "from the signing of John Grimshaw". Grimshaw was from Gorton and was also the source for ‘Handloom versus Powerloom’.

The ‘Lament’ doesn’t have a known author, but it doesn’t read like the work of Sam Bamford, who used a more poetic style. Some of his work was published on broadsides, however, such as ‘Song of the Slaughtered’, which can be found on the Bodleian site. During the Peterloo period either side of 1819, Bamford was a hardline radical, if he’s judged by his poetry rather than his own revisionist account written later, after he’d fallen out with Henry Hunt and co. By the late 1830s he seems to have been more concerned with gaining respectability by distancing himself from the direct action he’d once espoused and from the Chartists in particular, and he seems to have become a bit of a maverick. Like many of the Peterloo protestors he was a handloom weaver.

Re. Harry Boardman.

I found a Henry [sic] Boardman song on Spotify. He plays that old traditional English instrument - the banjo! And not particularly well.

Harry Boardman was no Bela Fleck, but he was an effective accompanist of his own singing on the banjo as well as the anglo concertina (both instruments were around in England from mid 19th century, FWIW). Harry was a very significant figure in the folk revival, establishing an independent genre of North West folk song (in an area generally neglected by folksong collectors) through settings of industrial broadsides and local poetry by Laycock, Bamford, Waugh and Brierley. It's thanks to him that many of us ever heard any of that material.

So before dismissing him as nothing but a poor banjo player on the basis of one song, Pseudonymous, maybe listen to a bit more?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 02:33 PM

"I don't understand your basis for disagreeing with them.
"
Then you haven't read the thread properly - I have made myself perfectly clear over and over again - afr more than I needed to
Yous claim came after I explained exactly why I disagreed with them - that is when you first said you didn't understand me
Ther is nothing in any way complicated in what you responded to
"Am I right that you disagree with them"
Do you really have to ask that ?
Sorry - I give up - that is what this whole argument is about
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 02:51 PM

I agree totally with Brian - Harry may not have been a great banjo player, but he was certainly an effective one on certain songs
You seem to be too ready to dismiss singers on very little hearing - Walter Parddon being a prime example
I htought you were being ironic when you said it was an English instrument - many would argue about that one
It probably originated in West Africa and was developed by slaves in America
The English singing tradition is largely unaccompanied
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 03:03 PM

I never met Harry Boardman but in my early days on the folk scene his name was revered. Everyone who came into contact with him spoke well of him On my record shelves I still have his sublime album Trans Pennine - Topic Records - 12TS215 (1971) where he is partnered by Yorkshireman, Dave Hillary. I also still have another Topic album which he curated Deep Lancashire - Topic Records - 12T188 (1968) which were the first recordings by the Oldham Tinkers, Mike Harding and Lea Nicholson.
When I came to Sussex in 1968 Tina and I started a folk club within a few weeks of moving to Brighton. We asked two other singers to join us as resident singers at the club - One was Lea and the other was Mick Jones. Both were Lancastrians and both were at the U. of Sussex. Both spoke highly of the time and effort that Harry had put into teaching them an approach to singing and to song accompaniment.
It would be easy now to forget the effort and enthusiasm of some of these regional pioneers after such a long time. Fortunately, in Harry's case, there is a webpage that details some of his accomplishments.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 03:53 PM

Ha, 'Deep Lancashire' is part of my only link to a (probably) unbroken oral tradition and the influence of commercial recording - that one - on it.

I come from those parts, and Cob Coalin' was something we kids did before bonfire night. The sleeve notes give an explanation. In my case it was late 1950's.

The tune we used wasn't the one Harry Boardman used, but the words were along the same lines. 'Our tune' is not very interesting but suited to the primary age kids we were; it's about the level of a playground skipping tune. Harry's is better.

I left home and in the mid nineties asked some of my fathers generation if it was still going on. They said "yes but they use the wrong tune, they use the one off that record. It's spoiled it."

Our words were always fragmented. In the early 2000's I wondered if the old folk remembered them better. I said that when we were kids our parents told us we were gettig the words wrong. The response was "that's what they told us when we were kids".


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 03:53 PM

Greetings, Jim
I'm getting the impression you are not too enamoured with the MT CDs of Walter. I have a copy of the album 'A Proper Sort' but you mention several others. Okay, could you please choose one of the other albums, put up a track list for us and then we can all check out the 'insider knowledge' or you can itemise them for us and make it easier.

Desk-jockey Steve


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 04:01 PM

While we're waiting for this, Jim, straight question: Roud 1080 'Jim, the Carter Lad' folksong or not, in your opinion? There must be plenty of versions on your shelves and in various recordings of source singers.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 05:08 PM

OK I will listen to more Boardman.

I found it 'odd' to be referred to a supposedly trad-style singer who was playing an instrument I associate with the USA (via Africa, probably). In fact it came as a shock! I had understood that people saw English folk song as being unaccompanied (though I am finding myself asking 'how do we know', along the lines of how do we know the actual origins of any particular song? I was indeed being ironic when I referred to the instrument as British.

Specifically I have seen some brilliant claw hammer playing, from the USA.

I am happy to try more Pardon, and have a list of stuff not to try first thanks to Jim. But I note some of the sources I found noted that he sometimes went a little out of tune, so I am not the only one to notice this. I agree that there is a feel of humour in some of his delivery.

Happy to get advice and to learn stuff. This site is really amazing if sometimes a bit cantankerous.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:02 PM

The 1862 diary on the Village Music site is very moving and interesting.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Aug 18 - 06:08 PM

Harry was very much a part of the early revival in the 50s when English folksingers were experimenting with a wide range of instrumentation. He was highly respected for researching and singing the songs of his native Lancashire, and he influenced a lot of people who came along later. At that time he was the main representative of his county taking those songs around the country to folk clubs and festivals. Whether what he sang/played was 'authentic' wasn't really much of an issue then and all he needed to be was entertaining and representative of the genre and he certainly fulfilled that.

Walter was very different in that he was a source singer who had retained the songs from his own family and became something of a celebrity in the 60s as there weren't many source singers left who had a reasonable repertoire. Consequently he was much recorded by a plethora of collectors and many of his songs were sung by revival singers. I never actually met him but the Waterson family who were my friends often referred to him affectionately as 'Uncle Walter' so they knew him well and sang some of his songs particularly some of the Music Hall ones.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 03:22 AM

"I'm getting the impression you are not too enamoured with the MT CDs of Walter."
You would be wrong
There was nothing I didn't like about Walter - he was a close friend for twenty years and Pat and I treasured the time we spent in his company
The CD was not representative of Walter's own tastes it, but it presented a side of him that was part of his history
Walter had a phenomenal memory and as a young man he took in songs of all types that were being sung around him, at home and in the army
In one interview we did he described when his cousins and other relatives (he had no siblings) "went our separate ways - they went with the moden stuff, I stuck with the old folk songs"
He was extremely articulate and describe in detail what he considered the differences between the genres
He wasn't alone in doing this but he was certainly the most articulate singer we ever met

I've told you Steve, I have no intention of entering into one of your "insider knowledge" blind alleys again - you want to re-visit it, dithem up and link to them
We have been here before and you presented a number of excuses as to how the hacks would know these things - hacks who worked on the land or went to sea to gain knowledge of sea terms and practices, or those who "might have moved in from having worked in the countryside to work on the land", or had "researched newspapers to get the knowledge contained in folk songs" (I'm paraphrasing this but I'll dig them out if you insist)
None of this came with evidence of hacks actually doing this - it was a knee-jerk response to me pointing out that our songs are full of such insights - that, for me, is what separates them from the pastiche and that is why the singers believed them.
Both Walter and Tom Lenihan compared their songs to the modern genres in these terms.
There are many dozens of examples of country lore in the ballads, before folklore became a research discipline and some of these examples occur in the songs; a killer stepping over his victim and causing it to bleed occurs in several Irish murder ballads; searching for a drowned person by floating candles is another example.

When Tom Lenihan and others said, "That's a true song", they didn't mean that it happened, but that it rang bells in their own lives.
It would take a skilled social historian or an assiduously researching writer to gain that level of conviction
You can try to take that belief away from working people as you have attempted to take away the authorship of the songs if you wish, but you'll have to provide far more than excuses

You have never explained how bad poets could possibly have made so may good songs (maybe you don't believe they aren't good songs)
You went through a whole string of excuses for that
First, "hacks" didn't really mean bad poets, then "a school of good ones among the hacks".... anything rather than the folk might have made folk songs
You have paid lip-service to the two-way street coposistion that MacColl described in the Song Carriers and which you treated with so much disdain, but there is no sign that this is any more than lip-service.

Once again you are insisting that I passively accept your continual grilling yet not one of you have had the courtesy to answer my arguments with anything resembling a reasonably articulate answer
Who do you think you are, a CIA interrogation team

One more time.
I have made my position quite clear
I firmly believe that the folk were capable having made their folk songs - nobody here has ever suggested that they couldn't have
I belive that to have been the opinions of researchers and anthologists since the beginnings of folk song research until a bunch of new kids on the block came along, redifined folk songs as "anything the folk sang" and claimed otherwise
It is logical to me that sailors songs fairly accurately describing life at sea and on shore might well have been made by the people the songs were about
The same with soldiers, and farmworkers and miners and rural dwellers and navvies.....
I believe that on the basis of talking to traditional singers who accepted the "truth" (authenticity) of the songs they sang
I also believe that if Irish rural dwellers in similar situations ot their English counterparts made the me=any hundreds of songs describing their lives, why not the English - a cultural deficiency maybe?
THese were not Dibdin's "jolly Jack Tar' pastiches or Marie Antoinette's Versailles tableau Shepherds and Shepherdesses - they were realistically described people in realistically described situations using genuine-sounding vernacular language and an apparent knowledge of country and trade practices and lore.
It has always been the down-to-earth universal reality that has impressed me about our folk-songs
Now - instead of these fingernail-extracting interrogations, why not tell me why these songs should be the products of desk-bound city hacks who were notorious for their bad poetry?


Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 03:27 AM

Jim Carroll send me two articles that I'm assuming that he wrote - or maybe he and Pat wrote them. He said they're too long to post at Mudcat. But they're very interesting, so I hope I can figure out a way to post them at Mudcat sometime. Here they are:

http://www.joe-offer.com/MudcatGraphics/Articles/A_Simple_Countryman.doc (great Walter Pardon article)

http://www.joe-offer.com/MudcatGraphics/Articles/Folksong_by_any_other_name.doc

Let me know if these links work.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 18 - 03:31 AM

" and became something of a celebrity in the 60s as there weren't many source singers left who had a reasonable repertoire."
I find this incredibly derogatory
If Walter had appeared at the beginning of the revival he would have been considered an important singer, for the size of his repertoire, for his skill at singing them and for his understand of them
Suggesting that he was important only because there were so fer of them is downright insulting
What the hell are you on Steve - are you maligning the singers as well as the scholars?
THe music hall songs sung by the Watersons were a reflection of their (poor, in my opinion) taste
When the club scene was at its most healthy nobody bothered with them because there were far better ones available
Jim Carroll


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