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New Book: Folk Song in England

Steve Gardham 30 Aug 18 - 06:33 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Sep 18 - 09:39 AM
Will Fly 02 Sep 18 - 10:36 AM
GUEST 03 Sep 18 - 06:22 AM
Steve Gardham 03 Sep 18 - 01:16 PM
Brian Peters 03 Sep 18 - 02:08 PM
Steve Gardham 03 Sep 18 - 02:29 PM
Brian Peters 03 Sep 18 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Sep 18 - 08:23 PM
Lighter 03 Sep 18 - 08:49 PM
The Sandman 04 Sep 18 - 02:05 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 04 Sep 18 - 05:59 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Sep 18 - 10:58 AM
Jack Campin 04 Sep 18 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,jag 04 Sep 18 - 11:36 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Sep 18 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,jag 04 Sep 18 - 04:56 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Sep 18 - 05:39 PM
Brian Peters 05 Sep 18 - 06:17 AM
Jack Campin 05 Sep 18 - 06:40 AM
The Sandman 05 Sep 18 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Sep 18 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 05 Sep 18 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,jag 05 Sep 18 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,jag 05 Sep 18 - 09:30 AM
Steve Gardham 05 Sep 18 - 05:13 PM
Vic Smith 10 Sep 18 - 10:21 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Sep 18 - 04:01 PM
GUEST 27 Sep 18 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 27 Sep 18 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Hootenannny 27 Sep 18 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,JHW 05 Feb 19 - 03:06 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Feb 19 - 04:44 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 19 - 03:32 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 19 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 07 Feb 19 - 05:12 AM
The Sandman 07 Feb 19 - 05:32 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 19 - 07:02 AM
The Sandman 07 Feb 19 - 09:05 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 19 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,JHW 08 Feb 19 - 06:08 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 19 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Cj 09 Feb 19 - 04:09 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Feb 19 - 03:49 AM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Aug 18 - 06:33 PM

Most of the songs we discuss are indeed ballads which in Britain usually means a solo singer with perhaps the opportunity to join in with a chorus if there is one, but there are specialist areas where group singing is the norm. Carol singing is perhaps the most obvious of these and sometimes similar ritual pieces. Some songs either are or were intended as duets as with some dialogues where the obvious singers are a male and a female. In communities which were still alive and singing in living memory (e.g., hunt suppers) solos, duets and group singing were common enough. A good example, listen to Will Noble and John Cocking of the Holme Valley Beagles singing Gossip Joan as a duet, very effective and entertaining. Obvious duets are pieces such as 'madam I am come a courting' and 'The Keys of Heaven'. Many of these country pieces were staple repertoire of village productions where the singers dressed up for the performances.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Sep 18 - 09:39 AM

Hi Tzu
The excellent Copper Family are probably unique in Britain. Their style seems to have evolved in some way from the glee clubs of the early nineteenth century although I strongly suspect developed further by the family. I say this because some of their songs are indeed from this glee club repertoire but most are certainly not. There are plenty of families who have been recorded right up to the present day, but all the ones I have heard of have been solo singers with the occasional solo singer being accompanied on instrument by another member, but even this is rare. Hundreds of singers have been recorded either in writing or by sound recording since the 1880s and to the best of my knowledge there are no others.

However, arguably there have been performing families of musicians in Ireland who have sung together, such as the McPeakes. Whether they sang together in this way before they became performers I couldn't say.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Sep 18 - 10:36 AM

"A Song For Every Season" by Bob Copper is, to my mind, essential reading for anyone who wants to get some idea of how traditional songs could be embedded and sung within a community.

Bob describes various seasons of the year and the songs that were sung at the time, with references to lambing, shearing, harvesting, and descriptions of the people within the village and within the Copper family who sung them. Songs are included in the book. It's a wonderful book and one I read and re-read. Like many in my area of Sussex, I knew Bob and occasionally attended the Copper's evenings in the Central Club in Peacehaven on the Sussex coast. His son (and some family members who came along) were recent guests at the Brighton Acoustic Session.

Another book of his, describing his song collecting in Sussex and Hampshire, is "Songs and Southern Breezes" - also a good read. Both books contain Bob's excellent b&w line drawings. Bob was also a devotee of jazz and blues, and he once told me that his Dad's favourite song was "Brother Can You Spare A Dime"!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 18 - 06:22 AM

This is Vic Smith speaking cookie-less and briefly from Corsica -
The excellent Copper Family are probably unique in Britain.
Not quite, Steve. I know of three other examples of their glee harmony folk singing in Sussex. Isabel Sutherland told me of some that she had heard in the Rotherfield area. They were a family of pig farmers. The Lewes singer George Townsend reported singing in this sort of harmony with his father and others when his father kept the 'Jolly Sportsman' four miles outside Lewes at Eaat Chiltington in the late c19. Luther Hills collected by Bob Copper in the 1950s was blacksmith in East Dean and said that he sang in harmony with his father and others and fially there is the family (Millin or something similar?) that George Fraanpton recorded in Kent


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Sep 18 - 01:16 PM

Thanks, Vic
It's useful to know of these other examples. Of course there may have been other examples in other parts of Britain that weren't so heavily visited by collectors. I remember George mentioning this family at a TSF meeting but we didn't get to hear much about them after that which is a pity. To be honest it would be really odd if the Copper Family were the only ones to do this.

In comparing the source singer traditions with those of the Revival (and perhaps even the First Revival) harmony singing in the latter is much more prevalent (thankfully). What would make an excellent study is the history of influences on the harmony singing that has blossomed in the current revival since the 50s. It would probably include glee singing, carols, American influence (Carters), popular music, hymns, choirs etc....Watersons, Young Tradition, Cropper Lads and others from the 60s.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Sep 18 - 02:08 PM

"Almost all the songs mentioned here were sung (and revived) by solo singers. No-one seems inclined to discuss wassail songs, work songs, local carols, drinking songs etc."

I'm not sure whether your 'no-one' refers to this thread or to the collectors, Guest jag, but Cecil Sharp for one collected dozens of carols, wassails, shanties and a good few songs about ale, and also lectured on the first two. Lloyd talked a lot about them as well, and I think most people regard them as an essential part of the 'folk' canon. Baring-Gould collected a lot more in pubs than the others, and heard more communal singing, also a few specific instances of two-part harmony.

None of that changes my view that English traditional singing is primarily unaccompanied, but pub singing does need to be taken into account - for example, Cyril Poacher appears to have added a refrain to 'The Broomfield Wager' only when he sang it in the pub.

"From the descriptions of and by many collectors there seems to have been a collection bias towards these features [modal and gapped scales] and a tendency of source singers to offer them."

I'd say more a publication bias than a collection bias, though of course we'll never know for certain.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Sep 18 - 02:29 PM

>>>>>wassail songs, work songs, local carols, drinking songs<<<<<

Apart from local carols which are well-documented, which of the other 3 have examples of being sung in any other way other than by a lead singer singing the verses? Other than the examples already given here I might add. Even chanteys were always as far as we know a solo lead singer. Where we have recordings of strong traditional pub sings (East Anglia in particular) the rule was 'one singer, one song' with the others joining in the chorus. Bob Roberts was sometimes present at these as a young man, with his melodeon, but he only used it to accompany step-dancing and his own songs.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Sep 18 - 02:56 PM

Indeed, Steve.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Sep 18 - 08:23 PM

I wonder whether the 'family' set up has something to do with it. When we were kids we would sing with mam, whether it was nursery rhymes, or songs she knew from 'community song' books, or the radio, etc, 'folk songs' learned in schools thanks to Sharp. Maybe if people sang in families and with kids then group singing was more common, but those from whom collectors collected songs were often past child-rearing stages of life (with a few exceptions of families being found).


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 03 Sep 18 - 08:49 PM

This adds nothing of substance, but I feel the need to mention that when I heard the Watersons' debut album, "Frost and Fire," here in the States in 1967, I thought the a cappella harmonies nothing less than electrifying.

I'm guessing that the Coppers' neighbors reacted similarly, when they first heard the Coppers' harmonies.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 02:05 AM

i uderstood that bob and ron copper and ther father an uncle all sang in the church choir, so tir neighbours were possibly used to harmonies in church services


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 05:59 AM

It's a pity there isn't a Scottish equivalent of Roud, I was thinking the other day.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 10:58 AM

I presume you mean 'Folk Song in Scotland'. An interesting thought. Certain sub-genres and periods are well covered but an overall insight would be very welcome. The Roud Indexes of course cover most of the English-speaking world where these songs are found. Is there anyone left still in Scotland who has that sort of knowledge and commitment? Hamish Henderson springs to mind but he's no longer with us.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 11:33 AM

Chris Wright and Steve Byrne have the expertise but they probably don't have the time.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 11:36 AM

Thanks for your comments Brian and Steve regarding the communal singing.

I was meaning 'no-one' saying much about communal singing (to that point) in this thread about a book covering 'what the folk sang'.

I am unclear about the extent to which the informal communal singing I have experienced while the second revival has been going on is a creation of the revivals (BBC singing for schools, Clancy Brothers records etc) and how much just a continuation of what had gone on before. If it had been going on before did it qualify as part of 'English Folk Song'?

The same might apply to harmony singing as it came to be heard in performance. As 'The Sandman' has pointed out some people sang in church choirs. When church attendance was almost universal in rural areas how often was the local 'song carrier' also a chorister and how many of the congregation could accomodate a hymn in the wrong key for them by singing an octave, or a fifth, or somehting that harmonised, for awkward notes.

I bought Roud's book because I was interested in the social history of song and I wasn't dissapointed.

I understand that collectors might be seeking out the remnants of a dying 'folk art' but the line between art and craft (including the craft of the broadside and stage-show writers) can be a fine one and very much in the eye of the observer.


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

Thanks for coming back in, jag. The evidence in the book and other evidence we have would seem to suggest that communal singing of full songs was rare in oral tradition. Regardless of what category you would put coach parties and the practice of community singing in, this is not normally regarded as part of our folk song tradition, though it could be argued that it is. The over-riding feature of this type of singing is it relies on singing medleys of choruses. It certainly was/is a practice of the 'folk' but it has its own features. The vast majority of what has been recorded as folksong in this country is narrative, the ballad, and generally, but with a few exceptions as we have seen, this is one singer, one song. Even the iterative catalogue songs more often than not need a lead singer with others coming in on the bits of refrain and repeats.


The short answer to your question is that communal singing would seem to be much more a feature of the revival than anything earlier in oral tradition.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 04:56 PM

Steve. On that basis the singing described in Roud's quotes from Fred Kitchen (b. 1891) and William Woodruff (b. 1916) in chapter 11 (Folk Song in the First Half of the Twentieth Century) does seem to be more akin to 'popular music' than 'folk song' and not much different to singing 'Caledonia' on the back of a late night bus.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 05:39 PM

Perhaps so, jag, but going back as far as we can the folk have always borrowed from popular music (just as popular music occasionally borrows from folk), and we also have to remember that musical genres overlap so it's best to picture this in the form of Venn diagrams rather than something with hard and fast boundaries. There are those who want to say 'this song is a folksong because of blah blah' and 'this song isn't a folksong because of blah blah' but it's not as simple as that with every song in the canon. Some songs fulfil all of the criteria and some only fulfil some of them.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Sep 18 - 06:17 AM

The idea that singers might have been members of church choirs is certainly true of Joseph Taylor, and it might have helped to contribute to the quality of his voice. Could he harmonize spontaneously? I don't think we know.

The 'communal harmony singing' question has come up on Mudcat before; I did a bit of listening to the recordings I had here of singing pubs, and wasn't able to make out much harmony. OTH, my 'Wild Rover' researches turned up a version from the songbook of Thomas Hardy's father, which was scored for two parts.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Sep 18 - 06:40 AM

Worldwide, harmony singing and solo ballad singing often seem to be exclusive. Among the Kartvelians and the Svan of Georgia, and the Tosk of southern Albania, you get three-part harmony singing but no solo ballads. Among the English, the Laz of southwest Georgia and the Gegs of northern Albania, you get long epic solo ballads but no harmonized folksongs. There are other examples. I'm not suggesting a grand theory but there does seem to be a correlation. And it doesn't seem to be a regional or ethnic one, as the proximity of these divergent cultures suggests. (Instruments may affect it; the Laz and the Gegs both use droney fiddle accompaniment so maybe they don't need voices doing the job).

Did the Welsh ever have a solo narrative ballad tradition, or are they another of the harmonized-only cultures?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Sep 18 - 07:55 AM

it may help to understand social historyin relation to fok song is to investigate in depth the collector alfred williams.


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

So, a folk song in Scotland would perhaps include sections on the history of collectors in Scotland, and a century-by-century account drawing on contemporary accounts of practices, and, perhaps, some discussion of the 'Scottish snap' controversy?

There's a web site about Alfred Williams, which mentions Bellowhead, and the first song I found on it, Betsy Baker, seems to have come from a broadside. But this isn't 'in depth' research!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 Sep 18 - 08:22 AM

http://www.alfredwilliams.org.uk/folkhero.html

He was educated at Ruskin (albeit it seems at a distance). Fascinating.
Thanks for the idea, Sandman.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Sep 18 - 09:28 AM

Roud, when discussing glees comments that they "were on their way down the social scale , and the were eventually found in the villages and town acverns and even on the streets of London" and quotes Alfred Williams' Folk Songs of the Upper Thames:

Glees were usually sung my those having slightly superior taste in music; that is, by those of above average intelligence among the villagers, or by such as had been trained at some time or other to play and instrument, it may have been a fiddle or cornet in the local bands, or in the choir on Sundays in church.

(If one of the collectors born into the middle classes had said that would they have been criticised for being condescending?)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 05 Sep 18 - 09:30 AM

"... they were eventually found in the villages and town taverns..."


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Sep 18 - 05:13 PM

I get the impression that most of these contributions to the folk canon started off in London as one might expect, the song cellars, glee clubs, Music Halls, pleasure gardens. Of course it wouldn't take long for them to be imitated in other large urban centres. Also London was the centre for printing with many more printers per sq mile than anywhere else in Britain and it follows that that's where most of the ballad writers were.

One genre that definitely started elsewhere was the minstrel troupe genre which came from America but soon hopped over to London c1840.

Yes, I believe the glee clubs were originally a middle-class thing, as you needed to be able to sight read. Books of glees, catches and rounds were very popular. Many of the glees were published singly in sheet music form, e.g., 'Dame Durden'. The earliest version of 'The Derby Ram' I have seen is on a glee sheet. I couldn't state that's where it originated, but it's possible.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Sep 18 - 10:21 AM

PEDANTS' CORNER
Dick wrote:-
i uderstood that bob and ron copper and ther father an uncle....
Actually Bob & Ron were cousins, not brothers. Jim was Bob's dad and John was Ron's dad. This is a very easy mistake to make as you will find a number of places where Bob & Ron are referred to as "The Copper Brothers" - including the sleeve notes of a Tony Rose album.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Sep 18 - 04:01 PM

>>>>Some songs either are or were intended as duets as with some dialogues where the obvious singers are a male and a female.<<<<

In researching my next book just came across another good example in Kidson's 'Traditional Tunes' in reference to 'Colin and Phoebe' which occurs in several collections from oral tradition. Kidson was of course a collector AND a music historian, unlike many of the other collectors of the time. p73. (writing in 1891 by the way)


'With the few remaining old-fashioned singers in country places, songs of the type of 'Colin & Phoebe' are still favourites. They are a survival of the school of fashionable music and song when Mr. Lampe and Dr. Arne composed, and when Mr. Beard and other singers delighted Vauxhall audiences with these composed productions. 'C&P' used to be sung in Yorkshire, and on the Lancashire and Cheshire borders, in the correct old-fashioned style. It being 'A Dialogue' a male and female singer took their respective parts, one as Colin and the other as Phoebe, and put as much archness and tenderness into their performance as the part warranted.'

He then gives 2 oral versions and the original from 1755.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 05:38 AM

I hesitate to chip in again when this thread had finally gone quiet for a whole two weeks, but I think it's worth mentioning one aspect of the upcoming Lewes workshop with Bob Lewis: "we'll discuss ... where the songs come from ...".


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 09:26 AM

Vic's correction re. Bob and Ron Copper, has a good tale attached...
The two were booked incorrectly to appear as the Copper brothers, unfortunately Ron was indisposed and son John stood in for him which led Dominic Behan, the compere to introduce them thus -
"And now we have the Copper brothers...and if you're thinking that one Copper brother is a lot older than the other Copper brother, that's because the older Copper brother is the younger Copper brother's father..." Priceless!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenannny
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 11:57 AM

Seeing this thread re-awaken today I expected it to be in reference to Ian Hislop's BBC 4 TV programme last night regarding the "idealised vision of the countryside celebrated by writers, painters and musicians"
There was discussion with and a tune or two by Vic Gammon and some film of C Sharp himself the expert on country dance poncing(sorry)prancing around and not getting it quite right. There was also some interesting information on Morris Dancing and WW1 which I was completely unaware of.

The programme will probably be available on I-Player.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,JHW
Date: 05 Feb 19 - 03:06 PM

I've finished reading it. I may remember a few more names. I may remember a few more scenarios.
I was rather assuming he would come to 'some conclusions'.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Feb 19 - 04:44 PM

Which conclusions would you have envisaged? I think basically he presents evidence and allows you to come to your own conclusions. Perhaps he was put off actually documenting conclusions after some of his predecessors were being far too 'conclusive' whilst presenting very little evidence.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 19 - 03:32 AM

"I get the impression that most of these contributions to the folk canon started off in London as one might expect, the song cellars, glee clubs, Music Halls, pleasure gardens...."
Nobody can say with any certainty who made our folk songs - nobody knows who did and probably never will so we can only rely on what little we do know and common sense to even approach the question   
The suggestion that our folk songs, dealing with the real lives of real people, as they do, originated from the pens of city dwelling entertainers whose lives were as far from those depicted in the songs flies in the face of over a century's scholarship and research and in the face of logic.
The published collections of unsingable songs by bad poets - (HACKS) - who churned out their wares at a rate of knots indiucate that they are the least likely to have made them - they had neither the experience to handle the subject matter nor the creative ability to pen the deathless pieces of social history that make up our folk song repertoire - Ashton, Hindley, Bagford Holloway and Black, Euing.... all fairly convincing proof, as far as I'm concerned, that they could not have made our folk songs.

The 19th century popular songmakers, represented by the mammoth 'Universal Songster' and the pastiche outpourings of Dibden, stand out as examples of poor and often extremely patonising (sometimes denigrating) representations of working peoples' lives, next to the insightful and sympathetic realities of the poaching and transportation songs, or the broken-token pieces describing the popular practice of exchanging 'gimmel rings', or the songs depicting the 'camp-following' women who accompanied men into battle.

Over a century of scholarship unswervingly attributed the making of these songs to the people whose lives and experiences they described
Child named them "popular" (belonging to the people) while at the same time writing off the commercial products that occasionally included the occasional folksong as "veritable dunghills"
Motherwell sharply warned against tampering with the people creations by "improving" and rewriting them   
Sharp went to great lengths to analyse their structure.
Up to comparatively recently, there has been no doubt as to who made our folk songs...
Topic Records, which dedicated its existence to making available folk songs, chose as the title of its monumental and ongoing set'The Voice of the People', just as Lloyd, four decades earlier, entitle his 13 programme presentation for schools, 'The Songs of the People'
How could so many clever and experienced people have got it so wrong for so wrong?   

Pat Mackenzie and I dedicated thirty years of our lives to finding out what the remaining bearers of our 'folk songs' considered the songs they sang and how they compared them to 'The Other Songs" (Mike Yates's phrase) they also sang - apparently they got it wrong too.
Walter Pardon went to great lengths to describe the difference between his "old folk songs" and "them other old things" - his opinions were swept aside by giving everything hie sang Roud numbers

I looked forward to Steve Roud's book with some anticipation, hoping it might correct some of the previous flaws in our understanding - in removing the uniqueness of our folk songs by lumping hem in with the long rejected popular songs, the parlour ballads and the rest, Steve Roud's book has blurred the lines between many genres of song
Despite the fact that Roud's work is larger and far more widespread in its approach and gos into far greater detail, in my opinion it measures small next to Lloyd's book of the same name written all those years ago.
In my opinion, despite Bert's flaws and idiosyncrasies his 'Folk Song in England has a far greater understanding of the uniqueness of the genre than does the latest condenser for the title .

What we learned by our field work, especially among the non-literate Travellers and the Irish singers who were still singing their songs socially up to the middle of the twentieth century was that the communities they came from produced instinctive songmakers who constantly reflected their experiences and emotions in verse whenever the occasion arose
A discussion going on at present on this forum concerning the Peterloo massacre clearly indicates that English workers were probably as prolific in songmaking.
We owe the survival of many of our greatest ballads to a cultural group who have yet to accept literacy as part of their lives      
      
Over the last decade or so there have been many claims that we no longer know what folk song is - little wonder, considering what has happened to the clubs.
Now, it seems, that confusion has spread to the world of research.
For me, and many like me, what "folk" means has never been in dispute
Folk song is as researched and analysed as any other cultural form - there may have been disputes following the singer-songwriter phase inspired by the protest song-maker that once was, Bob Dylan,   as to what wasn't a folk song, in my experience, there has been little doubt as to what a folk song was
For me, the answer lies in the two terms "tradition and folk", often treated as separate entities but in fact two sides of the same coin
the "Folk" were the people who almost certainly made and remade the songs to suit their lives and record their personal experiences, "tradition" is the process they used to do so - I don't believe it ever gets more complicated than that.

Perhaps we might discuss this without the aggressiveness (on all sides), as people with a mutual love and objective rather than opponents this time?
That is my intention anyway
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 19 - 04:28 AM

Incidentally
Steve Gardham cites "Song Cellars and Glees" as a possible contender for the title of of folk song maker
Laurence Senelick's extensive lists of the songs sung in the easrly Victorian Taverns tends to rule them out
See
'Tavern Singing in Early Victorian London' (the diaries of Charles Rice for 1840 aande 1850 (Society for Theatre Research 1997), tend to rule them out, in my opinion
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 07 Feb 19 - 05:12 AM

I haven't really been keeping up with this thread, but I do agree with Jim when he writes 'In my opinion, despite Bert's flaws and idiosyncrasies his 'Folk Song in England has a far greater understanding of the uniqueness of the genre than does the latest condenser for the title .' I am saddened to see that Bert Lloyd's reputation is slowly being pulled apart by people who often did not actually know him and who were not around when Bert was writing his book. I spent quite a lot of time with him and came to admire him greatly. His knowledge, especially of Eastern European music/song traditions was quite outstanding. Without him, and MacColl, the revival would not have been able to take off in the manner that it did. I just wish that some people would remember that.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Feb 19 - 05:32 AM

Mike, what you say is true,however there were others who ran folk clubs week in and week out some for over 50 years,whose importance wshould be acknowledged.
The direction of the uk folk revival was propelled by MacColl and Lloyd[ [at last this is being acknowleged,in the past Jim has tried to give the impression that MacColls influence went no further than the singers club    well considering they were both communists , i find it interesting, that the revival was to SOME EXTENT propelled towards traditional music,and to some extent away from political social comment, of course Ewan contiued to sing social comment songs as well as tradtional material
PARADOXICALLY a rule was encouraged at the singers club which in effect meant that unless you were american you could not sing Woody Guthrie songs.
There are two possible conclusions here the first one was that at some point Ewan and Berts influence lessened and the uk folk revival was steered in a more esoteric direction BY OTHERS., and more latterly in a commercial direction with much of the hype that is reminscent of the pop world


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 19 - 07:02 AM

"Jim has tried to give the impression that MacColls influence went no further than the singers club "
I have done no such thing Dick, on the contrary
Ewan's influence gave rise to workshops throughout Britain, including the one I ran in Manchester back in the mid- sixties
I have spent years trying to publicise the fact that Ewan's and the Critics groups' work on analysing songs in order to understand and sing them is probably the most all-encompassing and detailed ever carried out on folksong and could change that facce of the revival is it could get beyiong the imbecility of 'war records' and 'name changing' (the latter often coming from debutees of a rock star once protest singer who swiped his name from a Welsh poet)

The practice (not rule) of Singers Club (only) residents, including Bert, to sing songs from your national backgrounds in your own accents was designed to promote our own indigenous music - and it worked a treat
Anybody can sing it whatever accent they choose if that's what turned them on, but they would been discouraged from doing so at the Singers Club - I'm glad to say
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Feb 19 - 09:05 AM

yes, it promoted our own indigenous music, that was a positive but the negative was that it discouraged singers from singing for example Guthries songs.
I also knew a couple who were discouraged from singing Bessie Smith because it was not their indigenous music.
you can say what you like, but i was around and my experience of events is different from yours, Jim.
that does not mean that I do not value Ewan and Berts contributions to the uk folk revival


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 19 - 09:21 AM

"t discouraged singers from singing for example Guthrie's songs."
Why should a club specializing in indigenous music be a problem Dick
If you wanted ot hear Guthrie songs there was nothing wrong with finding a club that catered for them - god knows, there were, and still are plenty of them
Your statement is like suggesting jazz clubs discourage other forms of music because they only cater for jazz enthusiasts - or any other type of establishment which spacialises in a specific type of music
Sorry Dick - this is a subject drift which I have learned not to follow
It finishes here as far as I'm concerned
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,JHW
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 06:08 AM

'I think basically he presents evidence and allows you to come to your own conclusions.'
Yes I reckon that's what he does. Perhaps I was hoping for a revelation.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 19 - 06:30 AM

"Perhaps I was hoping for a revelation."
There are several of those if you look for them - the folk only repeated their songs rather than having made them and folk song is no different than history's pop songs made for money
Not claims I'm ready to swallow without proof - that latter was actually put into those words by one of Roud's folloers
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 04:09 PM

Jim, is there somewhere on line one can explore your recordings?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Feb 19 - 03:49 AM

Sorry Cj - didn't see this
You can here the Clare singers we recorded on the Clare County Library website - Google 'Carroll, Mackenzie Collection at Clare County Library'
There is some in the 'Irish Traditional Music Archive' site - Clare singers and some Travellers
Mary Delaney, the Irish Traveller can be googled singing 'What Will We Do' and 'Buried in Kilkenny' - both well worth seeking out
There's another site on 'The Carroll Mackenzie recordings I stumbled across last month - no idea who put it up but I'm delighted they did
Musical Traditions carries two double CD of our work ' Around the Hills of Clare' (Clare singers) and 'From Puck to Appleby (Travellers)
We are depositing our collectio in Limerick Uni's 'World Music Department' - there is talk of setting up a Travellers website - all in the air so far
Unfortunately Walter Pardon and some other Norfolk singers reside in a locked vault in the National Library on Euston Road - and have done for several decades - no money and not enough interest to put them up

Can I say that if anybody is interested I'm more than happy to send people any of our recordings via Dropbox or PCloud - there are a number of radio programmes on our work, particularly with Travellers, and also a rather good (he boasted) double-programme on the work of Ewan MacColl that we participated in for the centenary of his birth
Feel free to ask and, if you're not a member of Mudcat, I know an
e-mail to Joe Offer will get you our contact number
Jim


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