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New Book: Folk Song in England

Jack Campin 02 Nov 17 - 01:07 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 17 - 01:34 PM
RTim 02 Nov 17 - 02:06 PM
Jack Campin 02 Nov 17 - 02:26 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 17 - 03:56 PM
Jack Campin 02 Nov 17 - 05:41 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Nov 17 - 05:44 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Nov 17 - 06:48 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 17 - 04:44 AM
Steve Gardham 03 Nov 17 - 03:55 PM
Steve Gardham 03 Nov 17 - 04:27 PM
RTim 03 Nov 17 - 04:47 PM
GUEST,Sue Allan 03 Nov 17 - 05:09 PM
Jackaroodave 03 Nov 17 - 05:10 PM
RTim 03 Nov 17 - 05:30 PM
Steve Gardham 03 Nov 17 - 05:56 PM
GUEST, Sue Allan 03 Nov 17 - 07:11 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 17 - 08:51 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 17 - 09:12 PM
Jack Campin 04 Nov 17 - 04:11 AM
GUEST,Sue Allan 04 Nov 17 - 05:02 AM
Jack Campin 04 Nov 17 - 05:21 AM
Vic Smith 04 Nov 17 - 05:38 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 04 Nov 17 - 05:51 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Sue Allan 04 Nov 17 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Derrick 04 Nov 17 - 06:32 AM
Richard Mellish 04 Nov 17 - 07:07 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 07:48 AM
Brian Peters 04 Nov 17 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,uniformitarianist 04 Nov 17 - 09:18 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 09:25 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Nov 17 - 09:48 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Nov 17 - 10:03 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 10:16 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Nov 17 - 10:31 AM
Vic Smith 04 Nov 17 - 10:33 AM
RTim 04 Nov 17 - 11:03 AM
Vic Smith 04 Nov 17 - 11:14 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 11:24 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 11:39 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 11:48 AM
Jackaroodave 04 Nov 17 - 11:51 AM
Vic Smith 04 Nov 17 - 11:59 AM
RTim 04 Nov 17 - 12:00 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 12:14 PM
Jackaroodave 04 Nov 17 - 12:38 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Nov 17 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 04 Nov 17 - 12:57 PM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 01:07 PM

Maybe Roud explains this. Given that so much of the standard British song repertoire comes from known authors, why isn't their authorship better acknowledged?

In Turkish bardic song (roughly comparable in its position to the Child ballad corpus) the great majority of the repertoire was composed by known authors who are invariably recognized - ok, it helps that they usually worked their own names into the last verse, but that could been dropped or munged if singers had wanted to. So everybody knows which songs go back to Yunus Emre (contemporary with Chaucer) or Pir Sultan Abdal (contemporary with William Dunbar) - and there are many songs by both of them which are still sung regularly. In Anglo-Scottish song, Anon has staked out copyright to everything before Burns and most of what came after.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 01:34 PM

I don't think this explains much Jack
If Irish people composed their own songs, why not Brits?
If sections of the British population composed songs, why not all of them
Where did the knowledge and faamilirity come from among poor, urban-based writers (those are the ones Roud goes into)
Our knowledge dates only to the turn of the century when the traditions were very much on the wane
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 02:06 PM

If - as Jim states - "Our knowledge dates only to the turn of the century when the traditions were very much on the wane"

Then - Why is he so certain that his 20th Century experiences in Ireland were reflected in 18th and 19th Century England?

At least Steve Roud has real physical evidence that Broadsides were written (by "Hacks") and printed in the earlier Centuries - but none that they were written by ordinary people.....

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 02:26 PM

If Irish people composed their own songs, why not Brits?
If sections of the British population composed songs, why not all of them?


That misses the point - I wasn't talking about songs of mysterious popular origin. There are huge numbers of British and Irish songs which appeared on broadsides more than 200 years ago, and where the evolutionary evidence suggests a single source. In almost every case, where they are still sung, the singer doesn't know where they came from, despite their origin being knowable. While in other traditions that feat of collective memory is quite routine. How come the English forget so easily what the Turks almost invariably remember?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 03:56 PM

Thought I'd dealt with that Jack
The broadside output runs contrary to the traditional repertoire in style and in quality - most of the published broadside collections are crammed full of unsingable songs - read Hollway and Black or Bagford or Ashton...
Literacy is peculiar anyway in terms of the country singers - certainly the ones we interviewed
Something in print is treated as fixed and sacrosanct
Singers have commented to us that songs they have bought are not to be trusted and have been rejected rather than altered
Harry Cox had a large collection of broadsides but he told Bob Thomson he never learned from them
Even the subject matter of the broadsides is iffy
If you read Hugill's Sailortown you will find that sailors as a whole were hated and feared (except maybe in wartime)
Yet here are all thise songs lamenting the hard life of a sailor or Jack coming ashore, pulling a string and having his way with the townies woman, or going into a gin-shop, smashing it up and stealing all the booze - heroes all
These ate class boasts about about 'our boys' coming out on top.
THe same with navvies - read the note to the song on the club thread I put up this morning - not much evidence of a 'Bold English Navvy' there.
Soldiers the same - the garrison towns weer no-go areas.
The folk songs throughout reflect a sympathy for and a knowledge of their subject matter that, in my opinion, is almost certainly based on an insiders view.
Even the ballads are made from the point of view of the 'lower classes' - the lame dog invariably getting the best of his better.
Some of the historical ones are downright seditious - not the stuff you peddled around the streets in the 18th century
If you have a chance, get hold of Alec Stewart telling traditional tales - the humour is the same as us much of the turn-of-phrase.
"Why is he so certain that his 20th Century experiences in Ireland were reflected in 18th and 19th Century England?"
Steve's point appears to be aimed at the 19th century repertoire - Steve Gardham is now insisting that his 90% refers to that time, though it appeared to cover everything at one time
When Sharp's gang were doing the rounds they were collecting material learned in the latter half of the 19th century and were insisting that their job was a race against the undertaker as the tradition was dying.
The Iris tradition lasted probably to the late 1940s and was still pretty active - singers we knew were remembering from a living tradition - the BBC was largely recording dead one.
The Irish Travellers tradition was very much alive to the middle of the seventies - their communities were virtually non-literate yet, as with the Scots Travellers, if you wanted the big ballads or narrative songs, that's where you went
We really don't know anything for certain, but the printed word appears not to feature in the making of traditional songs as far as I can see - borrowing from them maybe.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 05:41 PM

By sheer fluke I read this today. In Hugh MacDiarmid's The Company I've Kept there is a conversation between him, John Ogdon and Ronald Stevenson about Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (who MacDiarmid knew very well for most of his life). Stevenson says this (thinking about the quotation of folk tunes by art music composers):
Dozens of phrases from Shakespeare have been absorbed into common parlance in Britain; the same can be said for Dante in Italy; the difference is that in Britain most people don't know it's Shakespeare they're quoting, whereas in Italy they do know it's Dante. A few years ago, on O'Connell Bridge in Dublin, an Irish tramp quoted Yeats to me. I said, 'Could you direct me to the Abbey Theatre, please?' and he replied, correcting me with kindly reproof, 'You mean Yeats's theatre'; and he proceeded to quote Yeats to me.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 05:44 PM

**the printed word appears not to feature in the making of traditional songs as far as I can see** And there we have it in a nutshell, Jim. Your opinion. Fine. I'll keep reposting this statement every 5 or 6 postings so that you don't have to. Is that okay with you?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 06:48 PM

Walter Pardon learnt just about all of his songs from his Uncle Billy Gee who in turn learnt them from Walter's grandfather. Guess where Walter's grandfather got all his songs?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 04:44 AM

"Guess where Walter's grandfather got all his songs?"
Walter's grandfather was ain impoverished land worker who went to sea to feed his family and ended up with them in the workhouse - I doubt if he spent many pennies buying broadsides.
Walter said that there was no trace of his family ever learning songs from print - he never saw a broadside and the only evidence of a printed version of a song in his family horde was a version of 'Bonny Bunch of Roses', which Walter learned from hearing his uncle Tom sing
Walter never threw anything away - when he died, his house was full of boxes of papers going back two generations
He told us that he once saw a street singer in North Walsham, but he coudn't recall any of his songs.
Do you know something he never told us?

"Your opinion."
Which is the point I have been making all along - all this is just our opinion Steve - yours, mine, everyone else's - we have nothing to go on for it to be anything else.
It's why I don't make pronouncements and why I wish you didn't

"Dozens of phrases from Shakespeare have been absorbed into common parlance in Britain"
Which was a two-way street Jack
There are a number of books on our shelves linking the works of Shakespeare (son of a glove-maker) with the customs and practices of his time; 'Shakespeare's Puck and his Folkslore', William Bell (1852), 'Folklore of Shakespeare' T F Thiselton Dyer (1883), 'The Flora and Folk Lore of Shakespeare' F.R. Savage (1923) and 'Old Customs and Superstitions in Shakespeare Land', J Harvey Bloom (1929) ; all showing that Shakespeare constantly dipped into the peoples' culture for his inspiration.
The most comprehensive work, a large, two volume collection of essays by various authors, is 'Shakespeare's England (Oxford Union 19717), which deals with the lot, language, sports, fine arts, sciences... right through to music and broadsides.
That's why it's always struck me as irrational to attribute our culture to literary sources.

My paternal grandfather was one of the founders of the maritime section of The Working Mans' Association when he was at sea.
He bacame a Shakespeare nut and past the infection on to my father who passed it on to me.
He filled dozens on notebooks describing Shakespeare's works in down-to-earth North-of-England language
When he remarried and moved to Stoke on Trent, he was latched onto by a local college and invited on several occasions, to speak on his enthusiasm - in broad Scouse   
He also remembered a few shanties, which he had picked up from fellow seamen after they had gone out of use.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 03:55 PM

I think there must be 2 Walter Pardons from Knapton, Norfolk, Jim.

Quote from the one I'm referring to.

"Uncle Billy (Gee) was an outstanding fellow. He was born here in this house. I learned nearly all my songs off him; he was born in 1863. Most of the songs he got from my grandfather. My Uncle Tom at Bacton, he knew a lot, but they were different from what Billy's were.

Most of them come from the one man; he knew a hundred, my grandfather did.............................My grandfather got the songs from broadsheets, apparently that's how they were brought round, so they always told me."

There's a lot more detail in the interview but I think you get the flavour.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 04:27 PM

**we have nothing to go on**

I've been studying broadsides and other forms of commercial music from previous centuries for about 40 years now, Jim. How long and how intensively have you been studying them? Is there anywhere I can look at the results of your studies on them?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 04:47 PM

Steve - Where does the Walter Pardon quote about Broadsides come from?

eg - Who interviewed him and when...........I am not calling what you say into doubt - I just feel it should be referenced.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Sue Allan
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 05:09 PM

I think you are making too much of the 'rural workers v broadside hacks' argument Jim, and so getting hot under the collar about it quite unnecessarily. It is not the straight dichotomy you are making out, but rather a fluid situation and a two-way street: songs were re-cycled in both directions, with broadside printers picking up on songs sung in the countryside by singers in pubs and so on and towns and printing them to circulate more widely, for profit, and country people learning songs from ballad singers who bought their supply of ballad sheets from the printers or stationers, and sang them at country fairs and market - and would also have picked up on other songs being sung to relay to the printers. Obviously the ballad singers and sellers tried to sell their sheets to whoever would buy, but some may just have listened. In rural Cumberland and Westmorland small printers in market towns were churning out broadsheets and chapbooks, and buying in from the larger urban printers. So it does seem to me that the situation is not black and white but very many shades of grey.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 05:10 PM

Tim may have a better reference, but here is one I found that you can easily check out. Apologies for butting in, but I was interested and thought I'd share.

"Quotations from Walter himself are taken mainly from transcriptions of conversations with Peter Bellamy (published in Folk Review, August 1974, pp.10-15) and Karl Dallas (published in Folk News, August 1977, pp.14-15)."

From http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/pardon2.htm


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 05:30 PM

Thanks - That's pretty clear...........

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 05:56 PM

That is correct JD but I got them from the booklet that came with the Mustrad 2 CD set so basically the same source.

Hi, Sue.
Of course it was a two-way process and I have plenty of examples of broadside printings that obviously came from oral tradition that didn't survive to be collected from oral tradition. However, the earliest extant versions even of these are still found to have come from some literary source or from some urban commercial source. If we are talking about the English songs published as part of the general corpus I for one am convinced that the vast bulk originated in this way in urban areas, not rural. It is possible that some of the pedlars were also contributing to the corpus as 'collectors' but I've seen no evidence of this. Of course looked at from a more recent regional approach there are all sorts of songs that came from rural writers, but in my experience these songs very rarely made it into the national corpus for a variety of reasons. I'm sure you have plenty of examples of local folk songs in Cumbria but how many of these appear in the national corpus as published by the likes of Sharp, Broadwood, Baring-Gould, Kidson etc?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST, Sue Allan
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 07:11 PM

Hi Steve,
well I can think of just one off the top of my head - ?D?Ye Ken John Peel?, written by local person, became popular, went into print as broadside and in chapbooks (Fordyce, Newcastle) and then published in local book 1866, Stokoe &Reay 1893, National Song Book 1905 etc etc. Later collected from oral sources by eg Williams.
There are other regional songs which circulated in a similar way, which presumably you wouldn't include in ?the national corpus?, a term with which I am unfamiliar in the folk song context. I?m sure you?re right that proportionally more, possibly many more, songs originated in the pleasure gardens and theatres (not all urban: there were plenty of small companies doing ?rural touring?, albeit often advertising the latest songs from London) and the songs composed by working class & artisan class (skilled workers) singers and musicians at Harmonic Societies and Glee Clubs.
I?m puzzled by ?the national corpus? you refer too though as I?m not sure there really is such a thing: there are too many variables - eg regional songs which become national as opposed to those which do not, Scottish (more usually ?Scotch? in eighteenth century)songs which are in fact English for example, while those published by Sharp et al represent a relatively limited number of singers in a few selected locattions, eg in my area, none of the collectors who came here ever went to a hunt meets so missed out on 30% possible Cumbrian songs. Can of worms warning!!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 08:51 PM

I think there must be 2 Walter Pardons from Knapton, Norfolk, Jim.
I am not going to enter into debate about any contradictions there might be with walter only to say that we have him on tape rejecting the idea of broadsides being a part of the family reprtoire
I have the recordings Tim is referring to with Dallas.
This is what Walter told us about the situation his grandfather and family was in -

"?I think he swore at the old man. Anyone who answered back, you see, that was instant dismissal in them days then, this would be, I should think, in the early 1850s or even 1840s. He was given instant dismissal and no-one would employ him. My grandfather and his three sisters, he had to keep them and their mother. He?d got no money so he went to Yarmouth and went to sea, like Sam Larner did, you know, this trawling. My grandfather and his sisters and the mother had to go into Gimmingham Workhouse while he was away at sea, ?cause no-one would employ him. There?s a man told me that when his mother was a little girl, they all come past the house crying to think they had to go in the workhouse; she cried to see them cry. But father said my grandfather told him he liked it in the workhouse, it was warm and he was fed. Well, they?d have starved, workhouse or starve, so they went in there until he could come home with some money?.

"I've been studying broadsides and other forms of commercial music from previous centuries for about 40 years now, Jim"
And you have yet to produce one definite song they you can prove originated on a broadside
Pushing paper around a desk proves nothing Steve - as nobody ever got around to asking traditional singers about their songs, we have no information who made them
You have yet to address the fact that the output of the broadside hacks indicates that they were incapable of doing so
You seem to have abandoned your original argument that "hacks" meant something other than bad poets.
We were talking to and recording traditional singers for thirty years and we can prove categorically that from the middle of the nineteenth century, rural workers were prolific song-makers fully capable of making our folk songs - far more than the purveyors of bad verse that Cjild and his contemporaries wrote off as "dunghill" writers
"and so getting hot under the collar about it quite unnecessarily."
I'm afraid I can't agree Sue (I'm not getting hot under the collard, by the way - I was when my conclusion based on thirty years of work with traditional singers was dismissed as "romantic nonsense", but that passed when I found he was had no real evidence to back up what he said and put forward arguments like "English workers were too busy to make songs" - or that the large repertoire of locally composed songs were "the scribblings of retired people"....
Whether the people who have, up to now been credited with making folksongs, did make them is a pretty fundamental question - as far as I am concerned, such an important claim needs to be either proved or admitted to be no more than a theory without evidence
Steve has vacillated so much that it is difficult to keep up -
First it was "all folksongs" (based on centuries of repertoire covered by 'The Song Carriers - which is what prompted his "romantic nonsense" comment, then it went to only that collected at the beginning of the 20th century
I'm not quite sure where we are now
If Steve is right, we are back to the Phillips Barry dismissive comment that 'The folk' were incapable of composition and could only repeat what they hears
"Popular tradition, however, does not mean popular origin.....the ballad.... has sunk to the level of the folk which has the keeping of folklore. To put it in a single phrase, memory not invention is the function of the folk".
Taking the credit of making its songs from an entire class of people and putting it into that hands of notoriously bad writers is, as far as I am concerned, a serious business and needs to be proven beyond doubt
If working people were capable of making songs, logic tells me they probably made the folk songs - they were far to good and knowledgeable of their subject matter to be the work of shoddy Urban writers (they were the ones Roud described)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BOBBED HAIR
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 09:12 PM

Just as an example, this is fairly typical of the songs that were being made in their several hundreds by rural workers within fifteen miles of this town in the 1930s - none ever appeared in print and the vast majority were anonymous
It appears to be the case that they were common throughout Ireland
It has been argued for some odd reason that Ireland was somehow different than England, bu the local repertoire here inluded large numbers of songs which probably originated in Britain, including a significant number of Child ballads still extant into the 1970s
Jim Carroll

The Bobbed Hair (Roud 3077) Tom Lenihan Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
I feel depressed and sad tonight, my heart is filled with woe,
Since I met my Biddy darling when we parted long ago.
I remember when we parted how the sun came shining down
On that fair and handsome creature and her lovely locks of brown.

When I met her I was horrified, I could not understand
What made her locks so ugly now that once was sweet and grand.
I gazed in silent wonder, yes, I looked and looked again;
My heart near burst asunder when I found she had bobbed her hair.

I said: ?Biddy dear, what happened you, that you looked so neat and trim
The night we kissed and parted in the road near Corofin??
I asked why she had shorn her locks, she smiled and made a bow,
And the answer that she made was: ?Tis all the fashion now.?

Ah, to see my darling?s hair, too, it was a lovely sight,
And although ?tis hard to make me cry, I shed some tears that night.
Before we left I asked her how this bobbing first began,
?Some years ago,? she said, ?you know, ?twas done by Black and Tans!?

Farewell, dear Bid, I?m clear fed up, there is no bobbed hair for me.
Our partnership we must dissolve, I?m horrified to see,
The locks that nature gave to thee, oh, just for fashion?s sake
Clipped off, and now you neck is bare, like Paddy McGinty?s drake.

Of course I know the times have changed, but I?ll allow for that,
And shingled hair looks horrible beneath a nice new hat.
And why don?t fashions doff the shawl our grannys used to wear?
Some has done it still and always will but they have not bobbed their hair.

The ass brays in a strong protest and swears he will not move
And goats upon the mountains bleat that fashions may improve
The swallows are about to leave, no more we?ll see the hare
And stalks are burned with the blight since the women bobbed their hair.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 04:11 AM

I don't see anything in Jim's quote from Walter Pardon that says his grandfather wouldn't have bought broadsides. They were cheap.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Sue Allan
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 05:02 AM

Apologies for all those question marks in my post: they were typed as inverted commas so not sure what happened there!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 05:21 AM

You're on a machine running a recent version of Windows. They don't let you type an ASCII-standard straight quote sign (as you can on any other operating system, like the one I'm using). Instead, when you type ' on a keyboard attached to Windows, you get a curly-single-close-quote sign ’, which isn't ASCII and isn't recognized in HTML source by most browsers, so they display ? instead. Max hasn't yet got round to modifying Mudcat's text-entry code to keep track of Microsoft's incompetence.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 05:38 AM

Jim wrote -
logic tells me they probably made the folk songs
You have been picked up on a similar block in your thinking by Steve G. so now it must be my turn.
You are misusing the word "logic" here. Logic requires carefully referenced structural argument. Logic is generally held to consist of the systematic study of the form of valid inference. A valid inference is one where there is a specific relation of logical support between the assumptions of the inference and its conclusion.

You haven't offered a single piece of historical reference to make the above statement. What you are talking about is what you "presume" to be the case; what you are describing is an "assumption" or even a "gut feeling". An unkind person might even call it "wishful thinking" but I wouldn't because that has pejorative overtones.

Jim wrote (03 Nov 17 - 04:44 AM)
It's why I don't make pronouncements and why I wish you didn't.
... but you do, Jim, you make them all the time and that is why you are challenged on them because they they do not have the rigour or evidence that modern academic research demands.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 05:44 AM

"I don't see anything in Jim's quote from Walter Pardon that says his grandfather wouldn't have bought broadsides. THey were cheap"
To a family forced to living in a workhouse, nothing was cheap, Jack, certainly nothing as unnecessary as songsheets
I checked what Walter actually said about broadsides - can't find the reference to his saying his family never bought them, but what he did say was that none of their "folk songs" ever came from them - walter was extremely specific as to what he thought were folksongs
We went through his repertoire with him once and listed those he regardd as not being folksongs.
This is what he dismissed - some of them undoubtedly are from broadsisdes
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
He was not sure about Farmer's Boy which, he said had been ?Written by someone who didn?t know the difference between wheat and barley".

Mike Yates once wrote an article pointing out, rightly, that traditional singers sang songs other than folk songs
I responded with this - A FOLKSONG - BY ANY OTHER NAME (article 41)
That remains my view
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 05:51 AM

Jack Campin: No ... I typed my post on my ipad!!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 05:52 AM

"The Dandy Man" seems to have gone astray from that list
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Sue Allan
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 06:30 AM

Even weirder ... my last post re. ipad says it's from Jack Campin! what on earth is going on here?! Definitely put Sue Allan in box so it should have said guest Sue Allan (forgotten password to reset cookie).


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 06:32 AM

I broadly share the views of Sue Allan in her post of 03nov 11 07pm.
I think songs and tunes were composed by all levels of society from the humblest to the higher echelons.
They moved in all directions and were picked up by performers who took a fancy to them.
Some of the material remained much as the original and others changed to the taste of the performer or his audience.
With regard to the quality of the songs,a farm worker could easily have had a better use of words than a bad broadside writer or vice versa.
The argument as to who had the most influence depends on the the opinion of the commentator,whose views will be shaped by what he or she thinks is most important.
No one today knows exactly what happened in the past,the only evidence we have is snapshots of the time,what the collectors chose to record.
What they chose to leave out of their collections and the explanatory notes.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 07:07 AM

I am with Sue in this, seeing shades of grey more than black and white.

I also feel that Jim and Steve are to some extent at cross purposes, arguing about different subsets of the thousands of songs that have existed in England. Jim has ample evidence of "the folk" in Ireland making new songs about current events up until modern times and surmises that the folk in England were surely capable of the same, at least around 200 years ago if not more recently. However a large proportion of such songs in Ireland spread only locally and were collected only if someone happened to go collecting in that locality. The same seems very likely in England. So, however many songs were genuinely made by ploughboys, milkmaids, weavers, etc, few of them ever reached Sharp, Baring-Gould and co unless at some point they found their way into print and thus got more widely disseminated. Likewise all of us would surely agree that a large proportion of broadsides were pretty poor stuff, were actually sung by the folk only briefly if at all, and were never collected.

The songs that are of interest are those that were sung for at least a few decades, in some cases centuries, from when they were first made. These include the classic corpus from the collectors a hundred-odd years ago. (Opinions differ as to whether more recent ones, for example from the music hall, deserve the label "folk", but certainly the folk have sung some of them.)

Sticking to that classic corpus, the earliest evidence of most of them is in print, and some of them were certainly written for the stage or the pleasure gardens by the likes of Dibden. Who wrote most of them will never be known for certain. Jim would like to attribute a lot of them to the folk, largely on the basis of internal evidence of expert knowledge of the subjects addressed. Others attribute the bulk of them to "hacks" largely on the basis of style.

One of the most beautiful songs is the Coppers' A Shepherd of the Downs. It can hardly be disputed that that song derived from The Shepherd Adonis (rather than the other way round), but someone changed it along the way, greatly improving it. And yet in the last verse there appears the phrase "we hear", which is quite superfluous to the story and serves only to satisfy the metre and provide a rhyme. Roud says (on page 307) that that last verse "appears nowhere else". It is very unlikely that evidence will ever emerge of who exactly wrote that verse, but whoever did so borrowed that phrase from umpteen other songs. A broadside hack or a Sussex Shepherd?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 07:48 AM

I have no problem with most of your points Richard
The evidence of workers making song in Britain throughout the 19th century; the Chartist newspapers ran weekly columns by weaverts et al which are still accessible in Manchester Central Library
I seem to remember Stave conceding that The Bothie workers made their own songs without the aid of print.
The BBC even recorded Scots women in the Hebrides making songs on the spot extolling the sexual virtues of Alan Lomax.
Song Making continued right into the twentieth century with miners like Joe Corrie, who is, I believe on par with the Irish local songmakers
What made Ireland stick out as a songwriting nation was its 'over-abundance of history' - events like The Famine, the mass evictions, the enforced emigrations and the fight for national freedom demanded that songs were made, both in print and orally - this happened in every County in Ireland, North and South
Can I just remake my point as to why I believe the question of who made our songs to be an important point
In a couple of weeks time, Pat and I are speaking to Galway Uni students on the conclusions we drew from our collecting in Ireland
We intend to finish with this on locally made songs

"To bring this a little nearer home, following the Famine, the emigrations and the mass evictions, in the 1870s, when the British government decided to break up estates owned by absentee landlords and redistribute the land into Irish hands, some areas, particularly Clare, Limerick and parts of Galway objected to the way this was done, claiming that already wealthy farmers with large farms were being given the largest portions.
The most popular form of protest adopted was the 'cattle raid'; cattle would be stolen from the wealthiest farms, stampeded through the larger towns accompanied by the rustlers, shouting and blowing on horns and then let loose on large stretches of open lands, The Burren, in North Clare being a favourite spot
The official protests were abandoned around 1911, but in some places continued to Independence and beyond and these actions gave rise to a number of songs We were given this by Clare man, Michael 'Straighty Flanagan' he called it 'The Graziers'; Patrick Galvin included it in his 'Songs of Irish Resistance' as 'The Grazier Tribe'

Eg 10 ?Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan The Graziers

This brings us to probably the most important discovery we made throughout our collecting activities, local songs.   
Apart from the general repertoire, West Clare singers had a wealth of home-made songs, largely anonymous, dealing with local events, people or aspects of daily life and quite often made during the lifetimes of the singers. Only a couple, as far as we could find, had made it into print. We?re not referring to songs from the national repertoire which has had local place-names tagged onto them; these are common enough, but the home-grown compositions which have seldom taken root elsewhere because of their specifically parochial nature, quite often disappearing when the cause of their inspiration faded from memory.
These songs included many aspects of life, from everyday experience to national events viewed locally. As one 94 year old singer told us, ?In those days, if a man farted in church somebody made a song about it.
This is a song, almost certainly made in Corofin, North Clare some time in the 1930s, commenting on a new hairstyle; the singer is Tom Lenihan of Miltown Malbay.

Eg 11 Tom Lenihan The Bobbed Hair

We have recorded a number of such local songs and have been made aware of many more ? back in the 1970s a book entitled 'Ballads of Clare' edited by Sean Killeen was published containing 147 of these songs originating in East Clare. Some casual enquiries suggest that songs such as these were once common all over Ireland and have been largely neglected or have disappeared from the repertoires because of their parochial and ephemeral nature. The implication of the existence of these songs is extremely significant
Since the early days there has been a running argument as to whether the ?ordinary? people were capable of making our Classic ballads. Now, this idea has spread to our songs, with suggestions that 90% plus of them originated on the broadside presses and this questions the entire concept of rural song making
We believe that working people were natural song makers who found it necessary to put their feeling and experiences into verse, for entertainment certainly, but the subject matter and the time in which they were made makes them essential pieces of our history
For instance, over forty years ago we got this next song from several Travellers, all of whom asked that we don?t make it public as the couple in the song were still very much alive at the time; we've respected those wishes up to now but feel that all concerned, the couple and the singers, are now long dead, so there?s no harm in playing it on occasions such as these
The singer here, blind Travelling woman, Mary Delaney, told us laughing, "Paddy's my cousin and he?d murder me if he found I'd sung it to you" The song deals with ?made matches, marriage done through a matchmaker; such songs are to be found throughout the oral tradition, some about willing marriages, but most about enforced ones. The woman in the song was chosen because of her skill at one of the traditional Traveller trades of the time, buying, cleaning and re-selling old feather mattresses. We got the background of the song from our friend, Kerry Traveller, Mikeen McCarthy, who was present when the song was made. He said it was made on the morning of the wedding by a group of Traveller lads sitting on a grassy bank outside the church humorously predicting how the marriage taking place would end up

Eg 12 Mary Delaney Paddy McInerney"

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 08:21 AM

Richard Mellish wrote:
"So, however many songs were genuinely made by ploughboys, milkmaids, weavers, etc, few of them ever reached Sharp, Baring-Gould and co unless at some point they found their way into print and thus got more widely disseminated."

This is a really important point. Phil Tanner sang 'Henry Martin' and Sam Larner 'The Lofty Tall Ship', both excellent variants of a single song, interestingly different melodically and textually, but strongly similar as well (Cecil would have called that 'Continuity versus Variation').

It beggars belief that the song would have been known at locations 350 miles apart simply by travelling along some rural grapevine, and indeed there are numerous 19th century printings. Though how the melody kept the same form at that degree of separation, without the help of print, is the really interesting question.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,uniformitarianist
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 09:18 AM

Do those who make an academic study of these things have anything similar to the geologists concept of "uniformitarianism"?

If so the recent evidence that those at the 'humblest' levels of society do write songs allows us to ask "do we have any evidence that 'ploughboys, milkmaids, weavers, etc, ' didn't write songs?" rather than having a strict requirement for evidence that they did.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 09:25 AM

"along some rural grapevine"
Not sure how much of a mystery this is Brian
Sam described stopping off at various ports as a trawlerman and taking part in singing competitions
These songs didn't necessarily have to travel by land.
Navvies also played a part in their transmission
I attended a talk given by Peter Cook once where he discussed the richness of the oral tradition in Aberdeenshire, particularly in relation to the Greig collection
He projected a 19th century map of the area onto a screen and then superimposed a plan of all the railways, roads and canals being worked on at the time
I don't know about the rest of the audience, but it impressed me
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 09:48 AM

The simplest answer to your question, Brian, is that one of the ways these ballads were disseminated over large distances is that the pedlars who travelled great distances always carried a stock of broadsides and songsters with the rest of their wares. Of course we cannot discount migratory workers as well. We have much less information about how the melodies travelled for obvious reasons. The normal street/market ballad sellers of course sang the songs to their buyers but by and large these didn't travel great distances.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 10:03 AM

Sue,
In answer to your comment re English national folksong corpus. This is something some of us use to describe that great body of published anthologies from about 1890 up to WWII. Whilst this has a massive southern bias, this is a useful body for us to study and comment on, and it is this body of material that I have always referred to when presenting my percentages (fact: 89% earliest manifestation in urban commercial material, opinion: 95% originated in this way.)

**the classic corpus from the collectors a hundred-odd years ago** a quote from Richard's post above, for example.

Of course much more material has come to light since those collections were published, a lot of it of a local nature. Some would argue that 'D'ye ken John Peel' nowadays fits far better into the genre of 'national song or community song' rather than 'traditional folk song' which it undoubtedly is. How many people outside the hunting fraternity would know more than the chorus for instance?

You mention the hunt suppers and the distinct repertoires involved. As you know from our recent conversations I am very aware of these and the fact that in some areas they are indeed flourishing whereas in others the locals have lost interest and their singers are now very much part of the folk scene.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 10:16 AM

"The simplest answer to your question, Brian, i"
That thn an "answer", this suggests that both oral and print transission are viable options
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 10:31 AM

They're not just viable options, they are the only options. Don't really understand what you are trying to say, Jim. I think you mean 'transmission' rather than 'transition', and no-one is arguing with this or indeed could.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 10:33 AM

Brian Peters wrote
It beggars belief that the song would have been known at locations 350 miles apart simply by travelling along some rural grapevine

Last Saturday I sang MacDonald's Return To Glencoe in a folk club; the same twelve verses exactly the lyrics, if not the great ability to put over a song, that I had recorded from the great Davy Stewart in 1972. One of my enduring memories of that meeting with him was asking him to write his name and address for me and handing him my notebook and a pen and my acute embarrassment as the pen hovered over the paper, he said to me, "Ye'd better write it oot yersel'. laddie, I ha'nae got ma specs wi'me." (He was wearing them at the time). I still blush when I think of that 45 years later. He then chanted out his Possil Park, Glasgow address for me.
Afterwards, I thought to myself that I had found something very important, a 12 verse broken token ballad from a man who could not read and write! The oral tradition at work!
Later again I thought of two lines that Davy had sung:-
Like she whom the prize of Mount Ida had won,
There approached a fair lassie as bright as the sun....."

Something about those lines stuck out like a sore thumb. I wondered if some minor poet/broadside hack had been at those lines. They were very different from other ways the start of the story appears in other broken token ballads.

Decades later I was at the Take 6 project was being launched at Cecil Sharp House. When was that? Something like 6 years ago? This was the pilot project that EFDSS had for digitising the collections of all the great collectors. One of the speakers at the launch - Malcolm Taylor? Steve Roud? (more likely) had said that one of the first six collectors in that pilot group had collected songs in Portsmouth Workhouse. My ears pricked up. That old workhouse building was now part of St. Mary's Hospital and I had ridden past it on my bike every day in the seven years of my secondary education. As soon as I got home I did an internet search for George Gardiner + Portsmouth and it appears that this had been something of a treasure trove of old songs, but what was this? To my surprise there was MacDonald's Return To Glencoe notated in the first few years of the 20th century and give or take a few words it was identical to the version that I had recorded from the man whose by-name amongst the Scots Travellers was 'the Galoot'.
The Portsmouth version also had 12 verses and included the lines I quote above.

My interest in the song re-kindled by singing it for the first time in while in public for quite a few years, I did an internet search for it. One of the references that the search found was from The County Clare Library. Now for those of you who don't know, one of the things that this library does is to share on its website/database the material collected by a number of important song collectors in the west of Ireland. My link takes you to an article, The Long Song Singer: Martin Reidy of Tullaghaboy 1901-1985 by Tom Munnelly.
Tom writes about Martin
His spartan cottage is just off the road from Connolly to Lisroe in West Clare. In this cottage he was born and reared. He spent all his long life there, a solitary bachelor eking out a living on his mountain farm after his parents had departed this world and the other members of the family had scattered to the four winds. Not that Martin was discontented with such a life, for he had little inclination to travel beyond his immediate environs except perhaps to walk his cattle to the fairs in Ennis or maybe go for a pint and do some shopping in Connolly. His disinterest in the world beyond his mountain was such that he never even travelled the twenty-odd miles to the mating Mecca of Lisdoonvarna in all his years.

Tom goes on to quote that same song in the version he collected from this isolated informant.
Tom only got nine verses from Martin (Vic writes showing his smug side) but they again include the two lines that I quote above. This makes me share the opinion expressed by the worthy Mr. Peters that this "beggars belief" that this travelled between these three different locations in time and location without the aid of print.
I go to the Roud Broadside Index and search for this song and find quite a number of references to it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 11:03 AM

Vic - The version song collected by Gardiner - ie. MacDonald's Return To Glencoe, was collected in Portsmouth Workhouse from Charles Bateman who was born in Ireland............

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 11:14 AM

A lot of old matelots from all over when they left the Royal Navy settled in Posrtsmouth after they left, especially the ones who had signed up for the maximum 27 years, they had nothing to back to their home area for.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 11:24 AM

"this "beggars belief" that this travelled between these three different locations in time and location without the aid of print."
Not only did Martin not make it to Lisdoonvarna, but he only made the market town of Ennis, about five miles away, a few times in his long life.
When he was 'discovered' by the revival he was taken to sing at the Cork Folk Festival - he stepped out of the car on the main street, looked wonderingly up and down and declared it to be 'a grand bit of a village'
He sang the longest song we ever recorded - 'The True Lover's Discussion', lsting over 15 minutes
He once told us that "I wouldn't give you tuppence for a short song"
As Tom Munnelly points out, the song was widely popular throughout Scotland and Ireland among country singers - it is as likely as not that it was carried into Ireland by the Northern singers and made its way down the country.
Martin learned his version as a child but he could never remember where he got it.
His area, Tullochaboy, on the higher slopes of Mount Callan, was once a rich hunting ground for singers and storytellers.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 11:39 AM

Should read:
" it is as likely as not that it was carried into Ireland by the Northern singers who travelled to Scotland regularly to pick potatoes 'The tattie howkers'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 11:48 AM

" think you mean 'transmission' "
I do - I assume spell checker did that
I'm trying to say that oral transmission is as likely as print for that particular song, particularly considering the sitances
The coastal trade between Yarmouth and Swansea was a far more likely rout that the peddlers, when you consider a 'long rout' for a peddler was considered the one from Birmingham to the South East which would involve a trip lasting three and a half months for a trader plying his wares - according to the PDF covering 19th century trade
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 11:51 AM

"Like she whom the prize of Mount Ida had won,
There approached a fair lassie as bright as the sun....."

This goes way back in oral transmission: The prize was the Apple of Discord awarded by Paris to Aphrodite, precipitating the Trojan War. According to Wikipedia, Mount Ida goes back beyond Homer, figuring in pre-Olympian Greek myth.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 11:59 AM

it is as likely as not that it was carried into Ireland by the Northern singers who travelled to Scotland regularly to pick potatoes 'The tattie howkers'

It is a well-established fact that Scots songs travelled to Ireland since the time of the Cromwell planters; there is much evidence for this. It is also very interesting the way that the songs changed during that journey - the way that The Auld Beggarman becomes The Lame Poor Poor Man for instance.
What is much more difficult to go along with is that a multiplicity of collected versions refer to the Mountain of the Goddess in Greek Mythology - Mount Ida in Crete - and the prize that was won there and that this was not changed in the mouths of the people without reference to print.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 12:00 PM

Again Vic Smith - Bateman in the 1891 Census was a Dock Labourer living in Warlington Street and again in 1901 was a Grocer's Porter, again in Warblington Street (next door to 1891 address - not far from the Dockyard) - so was possibly not a sailor - unless he served in the Navy and then took shore jobs later. He was born in Cork circa 1847.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 12:14 PM

Greek mythology is fairly common in Irish song Vic
Paddy Tunney, whose mother Brigid, also sings the song (as he does) with the same "Mount Ida" reference, put it down to the Hedge Schoolmasters who set up clandestine schools under the most repressive periods of English rule
They taught the classics to Irish peasant kids which fed into the songs made such references commonplace, so wherever it started out, there wwas no reason to rationalise it.
I don't know if you've had our Irish singer friend, Oliver Mulligan at your club, but his wife, Susan, a Greek Scholar, used to curl me up when she'd ask him to sing 'The Dung Beetle Song', referring to 'Sheila Nee Iyer' which mentions Sisyphus - a Greek mythological character who gave his name to the insect.
Jim Carroll


.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 12:38 PM

I know SFA about it, but does such convoluted syntax often appear in folk compositions? The long prefatory adjective clause, followed by the subject-verb inversion (and shouldn't it be "like her who"?) sound rather genteel to me, dare I say it, like something a hack might write?

But as I say, I have no idea. Please enlighten me. Thanks


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 12:46 PM

Vic,
'Donald's Return to Glencoe' was very widely printed on broadsides all over the British Isles and even in America, but none of these have more than 11 stanzas. None of these are any earlier than 1800, in fact I'd guess a date of origin of about 1825 based on the many printers and the content of the ballad.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 12:57 PM

I'll stop lurking and make a few comments:

First, I dislike the term "hacks" .. it's a disparaging term. Broadside poets is a better description I feel, and more accurately describes what they did. Yes, they got paid... so did Wordsworth. Some of them were good poets, some were not.

Second, just because a song was collected from a singer who could not read, or who was uncomplimentary about broadsides, does not mean that somewhere further back in the transmission process, a broadside had not been used - either as a source, or as an aide memoire.

Third, it is logical to me (!) that some singers wrote songs. As has been suggested, if these remained local, there was less chance that the collectors heard and noted them, even if some other members of the community learned and sang them. In a slightly more literate environment (such as industrial Lancashire) the authors might be known, the songs might be published and so the song collectors dismissed the songs (or didn't even bother going there because it was industrial not rural).

Fourth, whatever the source of the song, it is what happened to it in oral transmission that interests (most of) us. The way the words were re-crafted (or indeed stayed the same), the way the tune was added, adapted, varied ...

Fifth, no-one is disputing the existence of the songs collected by Jim and Pat in Ireland - recently written songs. Thank goodness Jim and Pat are there to record them. An equivalent in England would be the hunting songs of Cumbria and elsewhere. It's a pity that the latter context is politically incorrect!

I'll go and watch some fireworks now...

Derek


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