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New Book: Folk Song in England

Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 01:36 PM
Jackaroodave 04 Nov 17 - 01:52 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 02:31 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 17 - 03:00 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Nov 17 - 03:28 PM
RTim 04 Nov 17 - 03:43 PM
Jack Campin 04 Nov 17 - 05:08 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 17 - 03:30 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 17 - 03:51 AM
GUEST,ST 05 Nov 17 - 06:36 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 17 - 07:06 AM
Vic Smith 05 Nov 17 - 07:10 AM
Steve Gardham 05 Nov 17 - 09:32 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 17 - 09:36 AM
Brian Peters 05 Nov 17 - 11:37 AM
Snuffy 05 Nov 17 - 12:41 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Nov 17 - 12:47 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Nov 17 - 12:59 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 17 - 01:18 PM
Vic Smith 05 Nov 17 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,Sue Allan 05 Nov 17 - 01:57 PM
Sue Allan 05 Nov 17 - 02:01 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 17 - 02:15 PM
Vic Smith 05 Nov 17 - 02:36 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 17 - 02:46 PM
Vic Smith 06 Nov 17 - 08:49 AM
Sue Allan 06 Nov 17 - 09:48 AM
Vic Smith 06 Nov 17 - 10:31 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Nov 17 - 10:53 AM
Richard Mellish 06 Nov 17 - 04:08 PM
RTim 06 Nov 17 - 04:24 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Nov 17 - 04:50 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Nov 17 - 05:07 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 17 - 03:58 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 17 - 04:06 AM
Sue Allan 07 Nov 17 - 02:25 PM
Sue Allan 07 Nov 17 - 02:46 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 17 - 02:51 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 17 - 02:57 PM
Vic Smith 07 Nov 17 - 03:15 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Nov 17 - 03:54 PM
Sue Allan 07 Nov 17 - 03:59 PM
Vic Smith 07 Nov 17 - 04:06 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 17 - 05:53 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Nov 17 - 03:40 AM
Vic Smith 08 Nov 17 - 06:40 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Nov 17 - 07:20 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Nov 17 - 09:16 AM
Brian Peters 08 Nov 17 - 11:21 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Nov 17 - 12:32 PM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 01:36 PM

First, I dislike the term "hacks"
I'm sure they weren't happy about it either Derek, but it was a common reference to their bad poetry as far back as you care to go
Singers may well have learned them or filled in texts with them, but this is no indication that the songs originated on them

One of the problems of knowing what went on in the minds of both the collectors and the singers regarding the local songs is that they went around asking for 'the old songs' and while they my have passed into a local singing tradition (we recorded many that did, such as 'The Wreck of the Leon' - see Clare Library website), they could not be described as 'old'
Mary Delaney complicated this by refusing to sing thirty year old Country and Western songs but was happy to describe as "old" a Travellers song that had been made a year earlier - presumably she was judging them by style rather than Age

As far as I'm concerned everything about both the making and the transmission of the songs is equally important - whether working people were capable of composing hangs on the question of whether they made the songs - an incredibly important question
I and many others have always gone with the idea that, if you wanted to know the nuts and bolts of sea battles, you would go to the naval records, if you wanted to know how it felt for a land worker to be pressed into the navy and be stuck in the middle of a bloody battle, the only way you'll find that out is through the songs

There's an interesting point regarding this in the Bothy songs, a number of which refer to the farm-hand having served at sea (ie 'Scranky Black Fairmer' and 'The Lothian Hairst'.
One of the practices of humane sea captains sailing into Aberdeen or other Eastern seaports at the time of war was to allow some of the crew to land up the coast from the ports in order to avoid the Press Gangs
Many of these who had no families would look for work in the farms on the way, especially around harvest-time - insider knowledge

"But as I say, I have no idea. Please enlighten me. Thanks"
Vernacular speech Jack - the folk songs are structured around local and county accents
The problems with the broadsides is not that they are ungrammatical but they are blocky and ungainly - they lack the reality of relaxed, everyday speech and sound 'forced' and false - they don't lie on the tongue easily.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 01:52 PM

"The problems with the broadsides is not that they are ungrammatical but they are blocky and ungainly - they lack the reality of relaxed, everyday speech and sound 'forced' and false - they don't lie on the tongue easily."


In other words, not unlike

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

with its hifalutin syntax and hypercorrection?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 02:31 PM

""Like she whom the prize of Mount Ida had won,
There approached a fair lassie as bright as the sun.....""
It's quite possible that that particular song is the work of either an Irish or Scots Gaelic poet that has been absorbed into the tradition
As I said, the Irish repertoire has a number of such songs Paddy Tunney specialised in them
That language is not common to folk songs
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 03:00 PM

'Tom?s ? Canainn' of the group, Na Fili was the real expert on these 'hedge school' songs
What little I know of them came from a talk he once gave at Loughborough
What gives this particular song its traditional flavour is the fact that it is a 'broken token' song, where a soldier or sailor returns from the wars and chats up a former lover who does not recognise him -
He produces half ring they had bronken in two on his departure to prove his identity
I never understood how you could break a gold ring in two and always pictured a feller wandering around the countryside looking for women with a hacksaw hanging from his belt, until Pat came up with this fascinating 'insider information'. I've never seen it referenced elsewhere
Jim Carroll

"Lady in Her Father's Garden - Peggy McMahon undated
See also: 'Lady in Her Father's Garden' Tom Lenihan Recorded at singer's home, July 1980
This is probably one of the most popular of all the 'broken token' songs, in which parting lovers are said to break a ring in two, each half being kept by the man and woman. At their reunion, the man produces his half as a proof of his identity.
Robert Chambers, in his Book of Days, 1862-1864, describes a betrothal custom using a 'gimmal' or linked ring:
'Made with a double and sometimes with a triple link, which turned upon a pivot, it could shut up into one solid ring... It was customary to break these rings asunder at the betrothal which was ratified in a solemn manner over the Holy Bible, and sometimes in the presence of a witness, when the man and woman broke away the upper and lower rings from the central one, which the witness retained. When the marriage con?tract was fulfilled at the altar, the three portions of the ring were again united, and the ring used in the ceremony'.

ILLUSTRATION

The custom of exchanging rings as a promise of fidelity lasted well into the nineteenth century in Britain and was part of the plot of Thomas Hardy?s 'Far From The Madding Crowd'.
These 'Broken Token' songs often end with the woman flinging herself into the returned lover's arms and welcoming him back
Tipperary Travelling woman, Mary Delaney who also sang it for us, knew it differently and had the suitor even more firmly rejected:

"For it's seven years brings an alteration,
And seven more brings a big change to me,
Oh, go home young man, choose another sweetheart,
Your serving maid I'm not here to be."

Ref: The Book of Days, Robert Chambers, W & R Chambers, 1863-64.
Other CDs: Sarah Anne O'Neill - Topic TSCD660; Daisy Chapman - MTCD 308; Maggie Murphy - Veteran VT134CD."


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 03:28 PM

'blocky and ungainly' indeed and in most cases oral tradition has improved on this. However in their own time they were immensely popular judging by the numbers that were sold. I wonder why.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 03:43 PM

Can I remind everyone this thread is called "Folk Song in ENGLAND" -

I asked Steve a question at Sidmouth about the situation in Ireland - and he said - Ireland is different - This book is about ENGLAND..............

Just saying..........

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Nov 17 - 05:08 PM

Robert Chambers, in his Book of Days, 1862-1864, describes a betrothal custom using a 'gimmal' or linked ring:
'Made with a double and sometimes with a triple link, which turned upon a pivot, it could shut up into one solid ring... It was customary to break these rings asunder at the betrothal which was ratified in a solemn manner over the Holy Bible, and sometimes in the presence of a witness, when the man and woman broke away the upper and lower rings from the central one, which the witness retained. When the marriage con?tract was fulfilled at the altar, the three portions of the ring were again united, and the ring used in the ceremony'.


There is a kind of linked wedding ring from Turkey (and maybe other places) which has several links in a puzzle-like arrangement. The folklore explanation is that women are supposed to be too stupid to reassemble them if they take them off to have an affair. If the husbands really believed that, their wives would be playing the field en masse.

Chambers must have been talking about rather wealthy people.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 03:30 AM

Chambers must have been talking about rather wealthy people."
Chambers's article extends the practice to the rings sold at country fairs which were crudely riveted together and the two separate pieces deliberately scratched by the lovers so that when they were compared, they corresponded as proof of the promise
It has been suggested that the 'token' given to Fanny by Sergeant Troy in 'Far From the Madding Crowd', and which was discovered by him in her coffin was such a device
It was an ol custom, the earlier rings being somewhat elaborate, but later adapted for the poor.
You used to be able to buy quite nece reproductions in shops like 'Pat Times'
I had a friend in Manchester who used to wear a three-part Arabic one.
"This book is about ENGLAND"
At the time these songs were being made Ireland was still very much a part of the British Empire Tim
Steve has used thie excuse that "Ireland was different" a number of times, but the two song traditions correspond more than they diverge and there are many examples of English and Scottish songs that have turned up from Irish field singers
Three years ago we recorded a version of 'The Girl With a Box on her Head' from a 95 year-old farmer living a few miles from here
He also gave us, Katherine Jaffery', The Keach in the Creel,v and a stunning version of Lord Bateman
Other songs we recorded from this area include The Cruel Mother, The Banks of Sweet Dundee, The Crabfish, The Blind Beggar, Young Roger (The Grey Mare), The Frog and the Mouse.....
In reference to 'The Demon Lover' Child recommended that researchers should seek further information in Ireland - a version of it turned up in Roscommon in 1983
Ireland in the first half of the 20th century presented a mirror image of English rural life must have been half a century or so earlier and the 8 centuries of colonial interference and commerce left an indelible footprint on the culture.
As Peter Cook described in his talk, that process was a two-way one
If we don't have the information required to reach a conclusion on our songs in Britain, it seems to me logical that we use what is on hand elsewhere (Britain's nearest neighbour seems a pretty fair alternative)
To ignore Ireland in a study of our songs is as illogical as ignoring Sandinavia when it comes to our ballads
Jim Carroll

This is Tom Munnelly's list of Ballads he collected, still extant in Ireland between 1969 and 1985 - we added Famous Flower of Serving Men to the list   
THE ELFIN KNIGHT
LADY ISABEL AND THE ELF-KNIGHT                                                
LORD RANDAL (Appendix: BILLY BOY)                                                EDWARD                                                                        
THE CRUEL MOTHER                                                                 THE MAID AND THE PALMER                                                         THE TWA MAGICIANS                                                                 CAPTAIN WEDDERBURN'S COURTSHIP                                         
THE TWA BROTHERS                                                                YOUNG BEICHAN                                                                
DIVES AND LAZARUS (Appendix: RYE-ROGER-UM)                                YOUNG HUNTING                                                                 
LORD THOMAS AND FAIR ANNET                                                 
FAIR MARGARET AND SWEET WILLIAM                                         
LORD LOVEL                                                                        THE LASS OF ROCH ROYAL                                                         SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST                                                         1
BONNY BARBARA ALLAN                                                            PRINCE ROBERT                                                                 2
BONNY BEE HOM (Appendix: THE LOWLANDS OF HOLLAND)                        7
LAMKIN                                                                        4
THE MAID FREED FROM THE GALLOWS (Appendix: THE STREETS OF DERRY)
WILLIE O WINSBURY                                                                 THE BAFFLED KNIGHT                                                         THE GYPSY LADDIE                                                                         GEORDIE                                                                        THE BRAES OF YARROW                                                                 KATHRINE JAFFRAY                                                                         THE SUFFOLK MIRACLE                                                                 OUR GOODMAN                                                                GET UP AND BAR THE DOOR                                                                 THE JOLLY BEGGAR                                                                         THE KEACH I? THE CREEL                                                                 THE SWEET TRINITY                                                                        THE BROWN GIRL. (Appendix: SALLY THE QUEEN)                                 

ADDITIONAL CHILD BALLADS RECORDED BY OTHER COLLECTORS IN IRELAND.
THE FALSE KNIGHT ON THE ROAD
LORD RANDAL
BONNIE ANNIE
TAM LIN
THE CHERRY TREE CAROL
JOHNNY SCOTT
JAMES HARRIS OR THE DAEMON LOVER
THE GREY COCK
THE FARMER'S CURST WIFE
JOHN OF HAZELGREEN

Sorry about the state of the list - can't get them any straighter


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 03:51 AM

"blocky and ungainly' indeed and in most cases oral tradition has improved on this. "
You cannot possibly prove which way around this happened and it is ingenuous to suggest that you can
There were many broadsides sold but very few if any examples of them being sung widely - by Roud's description, it was an Urban occupation anyway.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating - look in Bagford or Roxborough or Ashton or Ensworth or Euing or Hindley.... they are overwhelmingly bad songs - that's why their authors fully earned the derogatory title of "hacks"
You may as well claim that William McGonagall wrote the Child Ballads.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,ST
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 06:36 AM

With regards to the inclusion of phrases such as "Like she whom the prize of Mount Ida had won, There approached a fair lassie as bright as the sun": surely one possibility (and of course not the only possibility) is that a non-literate writer of the song had heard this line elsewhere, thought it fitted a song s/he was writing and/or perhaps liked it and included it in their own. If the rest of the verses in that song don't sound "broadside" the perhaps they aren't.

I have done the same thing myself when I have occasionally found myself making up songs. I don't record or publish these, just sing them down at the pub so I'm more concerned about whether I like them (and how well, or more likely badly, they go down when I've sung them) than exactly how I come to make them up. In this way, perhaps I resemble some of those songwriters that existed in the illiterate classes of the past. (I know quite a few others who write songs like this - perhaps non-commercial "folk???" songs are still being born after all but who wants to collect them until or unless they've survived for a few generations?!) When such songs come to me I sometimes find I've inserted a phrase that's been inspired, or even lifted complete, from some other song. It never more than just a turn of phrase so I'm not concerned that I'm infringing copyright (and anyway most of my other repertoire and source of these phrases is "traditional") so there they sit in "my" song. Surely that's a possible explanation for some of the occurrences of broadside-like phrases in songs that may not have been entirely composed by broadside writers.

By now, my reading of the posts here seems to suggest that just about everybody is accepting songs arise from a variety of sources and sometimes from a mixture within one song. Agreement seems to have been reached on this but there are many who have fallen to defending their own views that no-one is really attacking as completely wrong anymore (if they ever were) simply because they have failed to notice no-one is totally disagreeing anymore.   The world isn't black and white; it's grey.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SHEILA NEE IYER
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 07:06 AM

Guest
Paddy' Tunney's 'Hedge School' explanation is the one that always rings the truest to me, though your 'mixture iwing one song' addition would explain things - something thrown into an already existing song.
A couple of years ago, tutor/singer, Brian Mullen played a recording of Mrs Tunney's exquisite rendition of this song to a group of students who had never heard it before - at the end of the session they were queuing up to get a copy of it.
Those who haven't heard it I would urge you to seek out a copy (happy to oblige)
Below is an example of Hedge Poetry on overdiive
Jim Carroll   

It was on the banks of a clear, flowing stream
That first I accosted that comely young dame
And in great confusion I did ask her name
Are you Flora, Aurora, or the fame queen of Tyre?
She answered, "I'm neither, I'm Sheila Nee Iyer

Go rhyming, rogue, let my flocks roam in peace
You won't find amongst them that famed Golden Fleece
Or the tresses of Helen, that goddess of Greece
Have hanked 'round your heart like a doll of desire
Be off to your speirbhean," said Sheila Nee Iyer

May the sufferings of Sisyphus fall to my share
And may I the torments of Tantalus bear
To the dark land of Hades let my soul fall an heir
Without linnet in song or a note on the lyre
If ever I prove false to you, Sheila Nee Iyer

Oh had I the wealth of the Orient store
Or the gems of Peru or the Mexican ore
Or the hand of the Midas to mould o'er and o'er
Bright bracelets of gold or of flaming sapphire
I'd robe you in splendor, my Sheila Nee Iyer


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 07:10 AM

Derek wrote -
First, I dislike the term "hacks" .. it's a disparaging term. Broadside poets is a better description I feel,

You are right, Derek, it is a denigrating word, but if we are not to use the word 'hack' then we need another to distinguish broadside writers of the past and newspaper reporters of today from 'songwriters', 'poets' and 'writers'. If not 'hack' then we need some word to call those who are forced to write to a very short deadline and do not have time for reflection or time to live with and refine what they have written.
The hangman was not going to wait for the broadside writer to come up with some beautiful prose or poetry written on reflection and as a result of research. The printer needed them ready to sell to the crowd where the execution was taking place.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 09:32 AM

Jim,
I'll send you an email. I don't want to respond in public as what I have to say is personal.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 09:36 AM

PLease do Steve, but I'm not sure what difference it will make
I it's any easier, you can PM me
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 11:37 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


Point taken about Sam's travels, Jim, but I selected those two examples of 'Henry Martin' because they're the best known from recent tradition (and rightly included in your list of favourite recordings). However, exactly the same goes for the numerous traditional versions collected all over the Southern counties and as far North as Yorkshire: very consistent texts, and tunes that are recognizably variations on a common source. I'm prepared to believe in Steve's travelling pedlars carrying broadsides but, as he says, that still leaves a mystery surrounding tune transmission. Also, the broadsides I've seen don't include the repeats of the last phrase of line 3, which are universally present in sung versions. Looks like there was a popular sense of how the song should be sung.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Snuffy
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 12:41 PM

Oral transmission throughout Britain would have been facilitated through the navvies and other workers who moved round the country, but stayed in one place long enough to pass on songs from afar and absorb local offerings.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 12:47 PM

**a popular sense of how the song should be sung**

Now here's one that could really do with a lot more research.

I can present only a few possibilities. Many of these songs were also sung in the big cities in the likes of coal cellars, glee clubs, supper rooms, and social gatherings. It may well be that at least some of the pedlars picked up the formats/tunes to some of the songs in this way. The scenario....pick up your pack of songsters and broadsides from the printers then drop into one of the above establishments and acquire some of the tunes.

Also don't forget there were many shared tunes and formats and often a refrain 'derry down' would suggest the tune. I use this example as by far the most widespread tune for ballads in the English-speaking world over the last 5 centuries.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 12:59 PM

Absloutely, Snuffy, like seasonal harvest workers, many of them Irish as well. One of the songs quite common in Yorkshire rural areas is 'I wish they'd do it now' in quite different variants all learnt from seasonal labourers.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 01:18 PM

"because they're the best known from recent tradition"
I have never had a problem with the idea that the broadsides had an increasing influence on the repertoire as the tradition deteriorated but I still reckon the options are still open that it was orally transmitted - you made the point yourself about the similarities of the tunes, which indicates oral transmission
One of those "nobody knows - QI questions again"
Steves marathon pedlar's journey from Yarmouth to Gower seems the less likely of thecchoices.
Peter Cook's Canal, railway road workers continues to attract me and, as he was talking roughly about the same period with the Greg material, increasingly so.
It seems to me that there are a lot more questions here being avoided rather than answered - not referring to you, of course
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 01:54 PM

Brian wrote -
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


Jim wrote -
Steves marathon pedlar's journey from Yarmouth to Gower seems the less likely of the choices

Credit where it is due to the person who suggested the song's unlikely journey, please.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Sue Allan
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 01:57 PM

There certainly were marathon pedlar journeys: ?Putty Joe? - Joseph Hodgson from Whitehaven in Cumberland - relates in 1850 stories from his travels not only in the north of England but also in Scotland and as far afield as the midlands, the south east, London and even Dublin.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Sue Allan
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 02:01 PM

Blast: I put double quotation marks instead of single and STILL they end up as question marks! What?s going on here? (am typing on iPad)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 02:15 PM

"Credit where it is due to the person who suggested the song's unlikely journey, please."
Why is it unlikely that the song could have been ben carried by navvies or around the coast by sailors involved in the maritime trades Vic
James M Carpenter was having no trouble picking songs up from Swansea docks between 1928 to 1937
In the latter half of the 19th century, there was a thriving coastal trade right around Britain - the maps are all there.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 02:36 PM

Jim,
The point that I was making was that it was Brian's suggestion that the journey was 'unlikely' ("beggars belief" was the phrase he actually used)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 17 - 02:46 PM

Sorry Vic, I was responding to this
"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."
I thought you were
"I put double quotation marks instead of single and STILL they end up as question marks!"
Sue,
Bit cumbersome, but I've resorted to previewing it, replacing the question marks and then posting
I usually manage to miss a few but a bit better than appearing to permanently question your own statements
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Nov 17 - 08:49 AM

Jim wrote
"I put double quotation marks instead of single and STILL they end up as question marks!"
Sue,
Bit cumbersome, but I've resorted to previewing it, replacing the question marks and then posting
I usually manage to miss a few but a bit better than appearing to permanently question your own statements.


If you have "Notepad" on your PC - most computers using Microsoft Windows do - than try preparing your posts using that rather than any word processing programs where you start getting into letter and symbol coding problems. Then you can cut'n'paste what you have written into Mudcat without having nearly every symbol changed to a question mark. Am I making sense?

Of course, using 'Notepad', you lose the spell-checking facility which is helpful to most of us in using 'Word' and the other word processors, but you can still get around this! Still use your word processor to write your posts but then cut'n'paste your text into 'Notepad' and then and then cut'n'paste from 'Notepad' into Mudcat. This is a bit laborious I'll admit, but less cumbersome than "replacing the question marks and then posting".

I tried it out with this post and it seems to work.

@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~

Right! That's it from me for this thread as I am now packing ready to fly out to The Gambia for a month - our 21st visit to that wonderful country since 1997.
One of the things that we will be doing is recording, photographing, videoing and documenting the small group of high status Manding jali families that we have been working with in Brikama and Bakau since 2000 and studying how their traditions are developing as younger jalis come in and how material comes and goes in popularity. Mandinka is an entirely oral language as are all the six ethnic languages of The Gambia so the problem of written v. oral tradition does not arise and modern songs written by creative jalis like Pa Bobo Jobarteh and Jali Sherrifo Konteh sit very happily with songs that existed alongside others that we know existed in the time of Mungo Park's exploratory West African trips and nobody gives a monkey's! Well, saying that we sometimes have the very inquisitive green vervet monkeys who are sometimes sitting in nearby trees apparently listening very carefully. Great mimics, the vervets - they will sometimes join in the clapping when they see humans clapping!
However, you do have to be very careful about what you say within the hearing of monkeys. One of my favourite pieces of jaliya is a story and song called Kedo. That tells of a time in the past when the Fulas and the Mandings were at war with one another and for the price of a meal of peanuts the monkeys would spy and report to both sides about their movements, plans etc.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Sue Allan
Date: 06 Nov 17 - 09:48 AM

Don?t use any Windows programmes Vic so that won?t work for me, sadly. Was typing directly into box on my iPad.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Nov 17 - 10:31 AM

I have no knowledge of working with iPads or any Apple products - but there must be a simple text based method of entering your posts. Try reading https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/mail/format-text-mlhlp1219 and surely you will find the right application that will suit your purposes..... but I am not the person to ask.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Nov 17 - 10:53 AM

I wouldn't worry, Sue. We all know what you're intending to write. Most of us have multiple technical problems anyway.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 06 Nov 17 - 04:08 PM

Apropos England versus Ireland: one point that Steve R makes in the book is that some previous writers, lacking direct evidence in favour of some argument, adduce evidence from a different time or place. Such evidence may be valid but needs to be taken with care.

What I've always loved about Ireland, ever since my first visit there, is that it's just like England except when it isn't.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 06 Nov 17 - 04:24 PM

I am surprised that Steve Gardham has not made reference to his own writings on the subject of Broadsides and Folk Sings, etc.

I am also behind the times, because I have had the book "Wanton Seed" for some time - and I did not myself discover this until today - in Steve's own Introduction to the new 2015 publication - the following link...Tradsong.org : Where's that song from...

http://www.tradsong.org/Where_that_song.pdf

I think it adds to the debate.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Nov 17 - 04:50 PM

Thanks for posting that, Tim.
It was 6 years ago and my short term memory is not what it was. My views haven't changed much since I gave that presentation, but I have another in a couple of weeks which looks at the recycling of previous ballads by the broadside poets which led to drastically different ballads in some cases. For people like Steve and me who regularly classify ballads this can be a minefield when ballads have obviously been rewritten using bits and pieces of other ballads. At what point are they the same ballad or a different ballad? Not an easy question to answer. Hopefully some answers will come out at the Broadside day presentations and discussions in Sheffield.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Nov 17 - 05:07 PM

Looks fascinating, Vic. have a great time. I'm sure you will.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 03:58 AM

2Thanks for posting that, Tim."
Thanks indeed Tim - interesting indeed
It calls into question Steve's claim that his percentage refers only to the material collected by Sharp et al - it goes back far beyond that to suggest that all our folk songs originated in print
Interestingly, the article does not include the claim made on a previous thread that Child was coming around to revising his view on broadside "dunghills" - a pretty essential piece of information for those wishing to prove that the folk didn't make folk songs, I would have thought!
As Steve says, Child did rely on broadsides as a source, but he had the good grace to attribute those songs as "popular" - of the people

It cannot be repeated enough that our knowledge of folk song does not precede the beginning of the twentieth century, so anything before that has to be based on speculation and common sense based on what little we do know

It seems beyond reason to attribute our folk songs to Urban based bad writers of doggerel who would have had to be skilled in folklore, social history and rural practices to create the love songs, work songs, sea and soldiers songs dealing with hardships brought about by the enclosures, the devastating effects of the Industrial Revolution on ordinary lives, the effects of transportation, impressment..... and the vast panorama covered by folk composition
Bad writers are bad writers, nothing more

I was disturbed recently to discover that "Street Ballads in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and North America: The Interface between Print and Oral Traditions ed. by David Atkinson, Steve Roud" makes the same claims for Irish songs
This flies in the face of everything we have learned about Irish song making over the last forty years

As long as I have been involved in folksong that have been a little bang o brothers setting out to claim that the "folk" were incapable of having made the ballads
Now that disease has spread to our folk songs
Let's hope it dies as quick a death as previous such claims
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 04:06 AM

"that have been a little bang o brothers"
Damn
Should read "there has been a little band of brothers"
In fairness to Roud and Atkinson, I should say I have not fully read ""Street Ballads in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and North America"
the exorbitant price of ?38 paperback, ?85 hardback asking price will preclude even our local library from purchasing a copy
For elitist eyes only - obviously!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Sue Allan
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 02:25 PM

That sort of price sadly typical of academic publishers across the board I?m afraid Jim.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Sue Allan
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 02:46 PM

Reading back through your longer post, I was somewhat puzzled by your assertion that ?our knowledge of folk so g does not precede the beginning of the twentieth century?. What then of Baring-Gould?s collecting in the West Country, before him Chappell?s work, John Broadwood, Walter Scott?s informants and collector, and in the eighteenth century the songs collected by - albeit frequently ?improved? by as well - Robert Burns. Oh, and also John Clare in Northamptonshire, John Bell in the North-East. Are you dismissing all these?!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 02:51 PM

"That sort of price sadly typical of academic publishers across the board I?m afraid Jim."
For books about the music of the 'common People - Harry Cox would be spitting feathers, given his attitude to the wealthy - "THEM"
I've been collecting books for decades and have reluctantly paid that price for a nineteenth century gem - but for a modern publication!!
I think I paid ?30 per hardback volume, for the Greig Duncan collection at 500/600 pp each - at 306pp for Atkinson/Roud - at that price, that's just silly Sue
I'm not saying the authors have any control on the price - it's the philosophy behind it that gets up my nose
Think I'll wait till it's remaindered
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 02:57 PM

Meant to add - we have little information on the actual singers and the methodology of Baring Gould, Scott or Broadwood
Chappel didn't collect from live singers as far as I know - if he did, we have no knowledge of how or what he did with the originals
That came with the Sharp gang
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 03:15 PM

Jim wrote -
It cannot be repeated enough that our knowledge of folk song does not precede the beginning of the twentieth century.

Outrageous - even by Jim's standards! Suggest you read pages 221 - 406 of the book under discussion for meticulously researched evidence of the state of folk song in England from the 16th to the 19th century.
Jim has also stated recently on Mudcat that he does not make pronouncements. In that case, I wonder what the above quotation is.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 03:54 PM

What a timely point to mention another very important book hot off the press! Martin Graebe's excellent 'As I walked out: Sabine Baring-Gould and the search for the Folk Songs of Devon and Cornwall'. The bulk of his collecting was done from about 1888 to about 1900, but he had recorded a few songs in Yorkshire in the 1860s. He also went to great pains to document the lives of the people he recorded and built up a strong relationship with many of them. Like Steve's book this one won't break the bank.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Sue Allan
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 03:59 PM

Steve - in Facebook speak: *Like* ...sadly no button to do that on Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 04:06 PM

Steve - in Facebook speak: *Like* ...sadly no button to do that on Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 17 - 05:53 PM

"Jim has also stated recently on Mudcat that he does not make pronouncements"
Tell me where it does Vic - not a pronouncement of mine
The clue is in the title of D K Wilgus book - 'Anglo American Folksong Scholarship since 1899
One of the few certainties from the singers we have to dat is Margaret Laidlaw's (James Hogg's mother's) admonishment of Scott for daring to put her ballads into print "'ye hae broken the charm noo, an' they'll never be sung mair'"
One lady who didn't rely on broadsides.
Even after Sharp, we knew nothing of what the singers thought
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Nov 17 - 03:40 AM

"221 - 406 of the book under discussion for meticulously researched evidence of the state of folk song in England from the 16th to the 19th century."
I've read this Vic - if you re-read it. Roud treats it as an Urban phenomenon and from the point of view of a town-based commercial enterprise
The songs he discusses are largely ones that did not pass into the singing tradition we are discussing here, but were created for town and city customers, full of Phillidas and Valentines rather the the folk's "Jimmys and Marys".
Charles Dibden was typical - a British composer, musician, dramatist, novelist and actor, with over 600 songs to his name who was nioted for his sea-songs but would probably have become seasick if he drank a glass of water

The traditional repertoire being discussed here is that of sailors, soldiers, land labourers and workers in rural industries such as textile work and mining - songs made by them and not about them.
There are snippets in passings about country singing in Roud and elsewhere, but by an large the songs have been regarded out of context, rather like butterfly collecting - objects in themselves rather than a part of the singers' lives - a social phenomena.

This argument has led me to revisit, Maud Karpeles's 'Cecil Sharp's Collection of English Folk Songs', and some of the contemporary collections
The thing that strikes me is how remarkably free they are of the stiltedly ham-fisted technique associated with the broadside hacks - not completely, but the ones that aren't stick out like so few sore thumbs.

It seems to me obvious that, rather than the folk taking from print, the opposite was the case - the hacks were borrowing ideas from sailors, embarking soldiers, countrymen coming to town to sell their produce and taking songs with dirt under their fingernails and turning them into the pap they ended up as on the presses.

We know country people made songs - we know the songs reflected fairly accurately country life and conditions - no 'sons of the soil' or jolly Jack tars' but real ploughboys, sea labourers and soldiers in the ranks - the voice of the people that they have always been regarded - up to recently (and by a few desk-jockeys).

A true approach to where our folk songs came from would be to gather together what contemporary information there is, including Baring Gould's writings, Sharps' diaries - anything else available - and compare it to the spurious (in my opinion) claims of literary origin and see which holds the most water - earliest publication dates mean nothing
I've often wondered if the BBC project recorded anything more than the songs - it would have been an ideal opportunity to gather information

We know that some of the motifs and references used in traditional song making go back to Shakespeare and Boccaccio, even as far as Homer, who was liberally borrowing from folk beliefs
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Nov 17 - 06:40 AM

Tracing it back -

Jim wrote (03 Nov 17 - 04:44 AM)
It's why I don't make pronouncements and why I wish you didn't.

I replied (04 Nov 17 - 05:38 AM)
. but you do, Jim, you make them all the time and that is why you are challenged on them

Jim wrote (07 Nov 17 - 03:58 AM)
It cannot be repeated enough that our knowledge of folk song does not precede the beginning of the twentieth century.

Perhaps stupidly, I rose to the bait and challenged him (07 Nov 17 - 03:15 PM)
Outrageous......Jim has also stated recently on Mudcat that he does not make pronouncements. In that case, I wonder what the above quotation is.

Jim replies (07 Nov 17 - 05:53 PM
Tell me where it does Vic - not a pronouncement of mine.

What am I supposed to reply to that? Am I expected to repeat what I said above - Jim wrote (03 Nov 17 - 04:44 AM)
It's why I don't make pronouncements and why I wish you didn't.

Finally, and it really is finally as far as any attempts on my part to hold discussions with Jim, I read in his long bluster of 08 Nov 17 - 03:40 AM he says:-
A true approach to where our folk songs came from would be to gather together what contemporary information there is, including Baring Gould's writings....

Aaargh! But Jim, you have to us "our knowledge of folk song does not precede the beginning of the twentieth century." and Baring-Gould's contact with folk singers goes back to the 1860s!

I was actually thinking that Jim stating that we should "gather together what contemporary information" to inform our studies was a good thing. Yes, we are getting somewhere - that is exactly what we should be doing....... then he writes
We know that some of the motifs and references used in traditional song making go back to Shakespeare and Boccaccio, even as far as Homer, who was liberally borrowing from folk beliefs.
Can we look forward to Jim's exposition using "contemporary information" on what were "folk beliefs" around the late 8th or early 7th century BC?

I have received two PMs advising me not to try to reason with Jim, From here on that advice will be followed.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Nov 17 - 07:20 AM

"Baring-Gould's contact with folk singers goes back to the 1860s!"
Baring Gould's work has only just become available for public consideration - his published song collections prior to the current book contain only notes to the songs
As excellent as they are, they do not touch on the songs in context to the communities they come from
As I said, our knowledge of that context stretches back to the beginning of the twentieth century, which is why Wilgus entitled his book as he did
Even Steve Gardham has agreed that this is how far back our knowledge goes and we can only speculate on who made the songs
It remains to be seen how much the Baring Gould Ms or the Sharp diaries - and all the other passing references add to the question
"I have received two PMs advising me not to try to reason with Jim,"
And I have a log, arrogant and abusive PM from one of the protagonists here - wasn't it you who once told me that it was unethical to use PS in these arguments?
PMs are for those who don't have the bottle to state their beliefs openly (talking behind ones back, in other words)
Not something I puut a lot of trust in
Shame on you Vic, using something you have yourself condemned - tsk-tsk!
Perhaps you should follow your own advice
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Nov 17 - 09:16 AM

"advising me not to try to reason with Jim"
Your "reasoning" appears to refer to capitulation to non-argument

My case is simple
We don't know who made the folk songs, therefore we have to work with what information we have and use our common sense
I have pointed out that the quality of the output of the broadside writers does not match up to that of our folk songs
The knowledge contained in our folk songs is hardly that you would expect from a bench bound, urban based broadside hacks.
I have proved to my own satisfaction that rural working people were more than capable of making songs, having done so throughout the 19th century - in Britain and particularly in Ireland.
I have pointed out over and over again that researchers such as Child, Burns, Sharp, Isaac Walton - even broadside producers themselves, regarded these songs as products of the countryside, not the town.
Child dismissed broadsides as products of the "dunghill" at the time the trade was at its height, Sharp wrote a long dissertation explaining his contemptuous attitude to broadsides.

The whole idea that the vast majority of our folksongs started life as broadsides is a 21st century one which overrides previous beliefs that 'the folk' created their songs
Steve's case has vacillated from 'all our songs' when he described MacColl's comments at the end of 'The Song Carriers" as "romantic nonsense", to his sometimes present situation of 'only those collected by Sharp, et al.'
The article of Steve's put up up by Tim suggests that he has not moved from "all folk songs" - The Song Carrier's' comment disparaged as "romantic nonsense' included the entire repertoire, from 'The Frog and The Mouse' - the first folk song ever mentioned in print, right through to an Irish song composed during WW2.
The article mentions 18th century 'Pleasure Gardens' and theatres, as being the source of our folk songs
What's it to be - the entire repertoire or just those collected in the 20th century - he can't have it both ways?

If I am being "unreasonable", as Vic and his supporters from the shadows, have accused me of being, what arguments have I missed, or what have I got wrong?
It seems to me that all I am guilty of is refusing to take the opinions of a handful of desk-bound academics on trust
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Nov 17 - 11:21 AM

Jim wrote:

"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"

This is true for a lot of them; Harry Boardman used to have me create songs out of 19th broadsides for his radio broadcasts and, if not literally unsingable, a lot of them were pretty bloody awful.

But then there's no reason that a print original should have had to be singable in the first place. Apologies for going back to 'The Wild Rover', but it's the one I know most about. The original ballad by Thomas Lanfiere, 'The Good-fellow's Resolution', is indeed wordy and moralistic - like many similar ballads of its day, composed by Lanfiere and others - although verses 1, 8 and 9 clearly belong to the song as we know it. You wouldn't look at that text and think it was the work of an unlettered toper of the lower classes. But what happened to it next - probably around 1800 - was clearly a conscious edit rather than some kind of oral processing, since in the course of cutting the song down to five verses stanzas have been deliberately cut-and-pasted, split, rejoined and boiled down. Thereafter there is a trail of 19th century broadsides each looking a bit more like the song as collected in oral tradition. So, even though the original was arguably 'unsingable', it nonetheless formed the basis for something that became highly singable.

Something similar seems to have happened with Child 243 ('The Demon Lover'), in which seven verses from the middle section of a 32 verse original 'A Warning for Married Women' - were cut out and used as the basis for a new ballad.

However, if you look at Child 286 ('The Sweet Trinity' / 'Golden Vanity' etc) The 17th century London broadside 'Sir Walter Raleigh Sailing in the Low-lands' is almost word-for-word) the same as oral versions collected in Appalachia by Cecil Sharp (apart from Sir Walter's part in the drama), and seems to have gone into oral tradition more or less unedited, then remained more or less unaltered for 200+ years.

Re Sharp's diaries:

I've spent a lot of time with his Appalachian diaries (I'm not aware that he kept one when he was collecting in England) and they don't really provide answers. Where he asked a singer about their source, the answer was usually a senior family member. He saw no printed broadsides, though he did observe one or two handwritten 'ballets'. Some of the songs he collected have texts almost identical to those in 19th century songsters, but the majority do not. The most popular ballads noted by Sharp from mountain repertoire are mostly those known to have existed in print in the 17th or early 18th century (Barbara Allen, Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender, House Carpenter etc), which fits with the notion that 18th century migrants brought them over, either on paper or in their heads. Of course the fact that most of them were in print by the 17th century does not necessarily mean that the migrants learned them directly from broadsides, but it does tell us that they were definitely around in England at the appropriate time, and suggests that they arrived with the settlers rather than being learned by later generations in America.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Nov 17 - 12:32 PM

Couple of assumptions there Brian
I question the claim that the broadside version of the Demon Lover is definitely the first - the story is quite popular as ain international tale (can't remember the Stith Thomson number, but we have it in one of your published collections)
It might well have been an original composition, but it could just as likely have been created from either a tale or existing song)
Same with the Golden Vanity - was the broadside definitely the original?
I'm not prepared to argue the case for individual songs; I fully accept that either might be the case
What disturbs me is the definitive and all- embracing nature of the claims and the implications of what they imply
Can over a century of scholarship really have been so wrong?
Jim Carroll


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