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Correct location for historical song?

11 Aug 19 - 11:25 AM (#4004147)
Subject: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer

I have composed, performed and won favour with a recent song. I have several requests from others to use it. I have however discovered a flaw in my 'facts' regarding the location of the activities described, a matter of maybe 30miles of coast which is not much in global terms. Should I plough on, hoping historians present turn I blind eye? If anyone can cite other examples of incorrect history in well know songs it would make me less uncomfortable pressing on. A rewrite is not possible as it won't scan.


11 Aug 19 - 11:31 AM (#4004150)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Stilly River Sage

My father wrote a song about the "Pig War" in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, and when it was played for one of the park rangers at that park he had a dispute with one of the facts. I asked Dad about the ranger's suggestion that the "fact" be changed, and he would have nothing to do with it. In hindsight, it was a negotiable tidbit and the ranger was not a reliable source, so I think Dad made the correct decision.

If you know it's wrong, and you can determine how much wrong, you are in charge of this research and a rewrite if you choose. In my opinion.


11 Aug 19 - 11:37 AM (#4004152)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Jack Campin

The Haughs of Cromdale is the definitive example of a song with totally discombobulated history. The Band Played Waltzing Matilda isn't much better.


11 Aug 19 - 11:43 AM (#4004153)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Jim Carroll

Folk song (proper) is full of historical inaccuracies - sometimes deliberately so - they are more often records of people's desires and impressions rather than documentary information
The bard who composed Haughs of Cromdale actually invented a second battle in which the Jacobites routed the enemy, a pretty good example of this

For me, it depends on two things - how important the inaccuracy is and how difficult it is to alter - if what you have written captures the general spirit of the subject, why bother ?
Jim Carroll


11 Aug 19 - 12:14 PM (#4004160)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Jeri

Rumor has it that from Ushant to Scilly isn't 35 leagues.
I think Jim's right about how important the inaccuracy is. If it's fun to sing, people can suspend the impulse to say "but that's not right".
Plus, depending on how far it's spread, there probably is some way to alter it.


11 Aug 19 - 12:37 PM (#4004161)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Joe Offer

I think I'd prefer accuracy. If you put the song out of mind for a week or so, there's a good chance your mind will come up with a workable alternative.
Good luck.
Joe


11 Aug 19 - 05:40 PM (#4004183)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Lighter

John Keats thought Cortez discovered the Pacific, but the poem containing the error has been hailed as a classic for 200 years.


11 Aug 19 - 05:43 PM (#4004185)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Steve Gardham

Does anybody actually expect a piece of entertainment to be factually correct? Is there such a thing as a historical song? Song is either propaganda of some sort, or entertainment, or a combination of the 2, is it not? Having said that, songs are generally more accurate than what the media put out or what politicians say(IMO).


11 Aug 19 - 11:01 PM (#4004206)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Gerry

The historical accuracy, or the lack of it, in the song Joshua Gone Barbados has been discussed here, https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=4030 (mostly in the later postings).


12 Aug 19 - 03:18 AM (#4004210)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Mr Red

The problem with inaccuracy in poems/lyrics is that you are painting a scenario, and once an inaccuracy is spotted it looms much larger than the odd word or two that describe it.

Longfellow wrote about King Arthur and castles with sunlight streaming through (large) stained glass windows. In those days glass was expensive and windows in castles were small for the safety the castle provided. It is possible that a king could afford whatever he wanted, but................

Knowing there is a wrong fact has already conflicted you. I would try and change it. It is always possible to change the word order, the English language is the one medium that affords such richness.

GBS said "the golden rule is that there are no golden rules" - but you have to carry the audience with you for that to be true in this context.


12 Aug 19 - 04:00 AM (#4004211)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Jim Carroll

"Does anybody actually expect a piece of entertainment to be factually correct?"
I believe that regarding these songs simply as "entertainment" is to superficialise them
Many of them were made to reflect struggle, outrage and aspiration - as howls of protest or cries for help, and as such, they represent an important part of our social history
Do I find the tale of a man framed and hanged for the rape of an eleven year old girl "entertaining" ?
Can't say I do particularly – (less so when My friend, John Moulden researched the background of this ourageous manipulation of justice)
The same goes for many of our songs which, if they don't describe actual events, they paint vivid pictures of life in the past

Living in Ireland for two decades has made me sharply aware of to what extent the Irish used songs to capture the worst parts of their history - The Famine, the National Liberation Wars, the forced Emigrations, The Land Wars... all vividly painted in song, often in minute and personal detail
The Civil Rights Movement in the American South was largely recorded in verse, as was the Poaching Wars, The Enclosures, the fight for the vote, for better conditions in the mines and mills ….

Harry Cox’s comment on the song, ‘Betsy the Serving Maid’ summed it up for me – after he’d sung it to MacColl and Lomax he spat out, “And that’s what they think of us”
Singer after singers has told us of ‘the truth’ they found in their songs, but that truth lay in the feeling and humanity of the songs rather than the accuracy
A world apart from 'Carry on up the Khyber' I would suggest
Jim Carroll


12 Aug 19 - 07:37 AM (#4004227)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,henryp

"The Civil Rights Movement in the American South was largely recorded in verse, as was the Poaching Wars, The Enclosures, the fight for the vote, for better conditions in the mines and mills..."

There are many songs about the poaching wars, and about transportation too.
John Clare describes the enclosures in his verse, but there seem to be very few songs specifically about them.


12 Aug 19 - 08:08 AM (#4004234)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: John C. Bunnell

Speaking as a lyricist raised in a family of historians, I feel the original poster's pain, and I deduce from the phrasing that it's a matter of the place name being woven deeply enough into the lyrics that any rewrite would necessarily end up amounting to an entirely different song (to use some examples from my part of the world, it would be like trying to switch Tillamook for Seaside, Pasco for Walla Walla, or Chewelah for Twisp).

That being said...one question for me would be how much accuracy of place matters to the story told by the song. If the song is a story about how a town was founded, or some quirk of geography is integral to the events narrated, then an error of location is probably very significant. If it's a story about a shipwreck or a mountaineering accident, then it may be less critical that it happened nearer to Astoria than to Bandon, or on Mt. McKinley rather than Mt. Rainier.

It may be enough in the specific case for a performer to note that sources differ as to the location of the events described, or to flat-out admit in one's introductory patter that the song was written based on incomplete historical data (but that the story is still true even if misplaced).


12 Aug 19 - 08:12 AM (#4004236)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Jim Carroll

"but there seem to be very few songs specifically about them."
The enclosures are very much part of the poaching wars - one led to the other nad dragged in transportation as a subject of songmaking
Jim


12 Aug 19 - 09:21 AM (#4004245)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Iains

Jeri, Ushant to Scilly is 35 Leagues (186kn or 33.5 leagues). It was probably quite an accurate measurement back in the day. After all the first Admiralty record of Spanish Ladies is the 1796 logbook of HMS Nellie. John Harrison's maritime chronometer was not grudgingly accepted until 1773, and mass production of Arnolds chronometers in 1783. Prior to that longitude determination(and thus accurate positioning) was a disaster as evidenced by:
The Scilly naval disaster of 1707 was the loss of four warships of a Royal Navy fleet off the Isles of Scilly in severe weather on 22 October 1707. Between 1,400 and 2,000 sailors lost their lives aboard the wrecked vessels, making the incident one of the worst maritime disasters in British naval history. The disaster has been attributed to a combination of factors such as the navigators' inability to accurately calculate their positions, errors in the available charts and pilot books, and inadequate compasses.


John Harrison was skanked out of his reward by the British Government despite a lifetime of work developing his extremely accurate seaworthy chronometers.


12 Aug 19 - 09:35 AM (#4004247)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Starship

"Ushant to Scilly is 35 Leagues (186kn or 33.5 leagues)" Close enough for folk ;-)


12 Aug 19 - 11:04 AM (#4004269)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Mrrzy

Wait, what was incorrect about And the band played Waltzing Matilda? Admittedly all I know about Gallipoli came from the movie. But the song doesn't seem to have any details that could be right or wrong.


12 Aug 19 - 11:04 AM (#4004270)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Grishka

Poetic licence is willingly granted if deserved. In most cases, "it won't scan" doesn't count as an excuse; if this is the only reason, think harder, as Joe suggests.

This said, incorrect statements can be very charming. If you feel yours to fall under that category, you will be in excellent company including, but not even starting with, Shakespeare.


12 Aug 19 - 11:54 AM (#4004275)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Jeri

Starship, I am aiming a raspberry in your general direction.


12 Aug 19 - 12:29 PM (#4004277)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Allan Conn

Jack is spot on re "Haughs of Cromdale" in that the lyrics make no sense historically. First of all it has the Jacobites fighting an English army at Cromdale. They weren't - they were rebelling against the Scottish gvt and the army that routed them (in what was a pretty minor affair really) was a Scottish gvt force. Then it brings in Montrose who of course wasn't a Jacobite! He was a royalist civil war general who had been executed decades previously. It also has him fighting 'the English' when he never fought an English force. Certainly not as a royalist general in Scotland during his rebellion. He would have faced English forces when he was a Covenanting general for the Scottish gvt before he changed sides. But the song has him fighting Cromwell. Montrose had been executed by the Scottish gvt several years before the Cromwellian invasion of Scotland. When Montrose had faced any English force it would have been the forces loyal to Charles I - during the Bishops Wars or the Scottish occupation of Northern England. Rather than being his opponent - Cromwell would probably have sympathised with the Scots. It is a grand tune but lyrically it is stuff and nonsense.


12 Aug 19 - 02:02 PM (#4004284)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: JeffB

Mrrzy - the historical problems with "The band played Waltzing Matilda" are in the lines referring to the landings at Suvla Bay, which is about 5 miles north of Anzac Cove where the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps ANZAC)had landed some four months previously. In the first place, there were no Anzac troops at Suvla; there were all British and Irish. Secondly, they were not "butchered like lambs at the slaughter"; the landing was only lightly opposed, as indeed was the earlier Anzac Cove landing.


12 Aug 19 - 02:39 PM (#4004291)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Lighter

As I learned the words, from Ushant to Scilly is *thirty-four* leagues, which is as close as you can get in a song.


12 Aug 19 - 04:31 PM (#4004313)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,CupofTea, no cookies

James Keelahagn 's lovely song, "Rebecca's Lament" is an example of someone taken by historical fact far from their own home fields, and weaving a story about it. Unfortunately, he didn't know how to pronounce Chillicothe, and it seems to remain "Chili co town" in others covering it. It's only a mild annoyance to folks who live in Ohio, and are familiar with the town, and reminds us that the writer wasn't from around these parts.

With factual inaccuracies included in great songs with lots of exposure, I can see a much bigger problem, with the song being the main way folks learn about an event. I stand corrected about "The band played Waltzing Matilda" - It makes the specificity of location, which gave it a depth, a sad thing for being incorrect. I don't think I'd want to sing it again withOUT specifying that there are some artistic liberties taken with the facts, though the gist of it is real, and important.

Joanne in Cleveland


12 Aug 19 - 04:33 PM (#4004314)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Steve Gardham

'the gist of it is real, and important'. Correct!


12 Aug 19 - 06:21 PM (#4004336)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Jack Campin

The band wouldn't have played "Waltzing Matilda" either. It was hardly known at the time.


12 Aug 19 - 10:22 PM (#4004363)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: mg

i would urge you to correct it, with help from mudcat if necessary. if it were sung historically but was wrong, that is one thing, but to be the author of an incorrect song and not correct it is not great I think.


13 Aug 19 - 01:10 AM (#4004369)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Gerry

Here's Wikipedia on historical accuracy, or otherwise, of And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda:

Historical accuracy
The line "they gave me a tin hat" is anachronistic, as steel helmets were not issued to British and Empire troops at Gallipoli.

Walsh (2018) suggests that the line "they marched me away to the war" implies compulsion, in the form of conscription, whereas all Australian troops were volunteers, and the government did not introduce conscription.

The song refers to the fighting at Suvla Bay in the lines:

And how well I remember that terrible day, how our blood stained the sand and the water.
And of how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay, we were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk he was waiting, he'd primed himself well, he showered us with bullets and he rained us with shell, and in five minutes flat, he'd blown us all straight to hell. Nearly blew us right back to Australia.

The vast majority of the 16,000 Australian and New Zealand troops landed not at Suvla but at, as the name implies, Anzac Cove, 8 kilometres to the south, and some 15 weeks earlier. The Suvla landing was initially successful and established a beachhead, with comparatively light casualties. Bogle states that he substituted "Suvla" for "Anzac" because at the time he wrote the song (1971) there was already a "deeply ingrained misconception" amongst Australians that all their troops had fought entirely at Suvla. He also states that it was easier to incorporate the word "Suvla" into the lyric.

(There was a small Australian presence at Suvla, the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train, an engineering and construction unit comprising 350 men, of whom none were killed during the initial landing and two by the time the campaign was abandoned eleven months later.)


13 Aug 19 - 01:12 AM (#4004370)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Observer

The Played Waltzing Mailda - Inaccuracies continued.

Contains the lines from the first verse:

"Then in 1915 my country said son
It's time to stop rambling, there's work to be done.
So they gave me a tin hat and gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war"


1. Infers conscription - there was no conscription in Australia, or indeed in any other place in the British Empire apart from mainland Great Britain and even then that only started in 1916.

2. If you watch any historical documentaries or look at any photographs from the Gallipoli campaign the one item that is strikingly evident by it's total absence was the lack of tin hats. These were initially only ever issues to troops in the front line on the Western Front and only became standard issue in 1916.


13 Aug 19 - 02:44 AM (#4004380)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Gordon Jackson

‘Archaeology is the search for fact. Not truth. If it's truth you're interested in, Doctor Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall’ (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).

Are you an archaeologist (or historian) or a philosopher (or songwriter)? Were you a historian I think we’d be concerned about a factual error, but the truth of your song is surely more important than one small factual detail. Anyway, I’m sure you can set the historical record straight in your intro/sleeve note.


13 Aug 19 - 04:31 AM (#4004398)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: John C. Bunnell

For a completely different example relative to historical accuracy in song, one might look at the Wikipedia page for Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"; there's some interesting data interpolated into the section on lyrics.


13 Aug 19 - 05:01 AM (#4004404)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,henryp

It's clear that a song can bring greater interest - and research - to an event.


13 Aug 19 - 05:45 AM (#4004406)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Observer

In dealing with retrospective songs about historical events and characters Brian McNeill is excellent at doing this. His history is extremely accurate and his skill as a wordsmith is unparalleled. Two really good examples that demonstrate this are "Far North Land" (Character sketches of Mary Queen of Scots and John Knox - who "both betrayed the future of a far North land") and "Auld Man By The Fire" (Character sketch of Colonel "Bluidy Tam" Dalyell). Cannot see, for the life of me, why with all the relevant information at hand it isn't just as easy to get it right.


13 Aug 19 - 05:52 AM (#4004408)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Gordon Jackson

Because Fyledeplayer only discovered later that he had made the mistake!


13 Aug 19 - 07:06 AM (#4004411)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Observer

Gordon Jackson, I think that the, "Cannot see, for the life of me, why with all the relevant information at hand it isn't just as easy to get it right." was a general observation not directed at anyone in particular.


13 Aug 19 - 08:04 AM (#4004413)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Gordon Jackson

OK, fair enough. My apologies.


13 Aug 19 - 08:22 AM (#4004416)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: John C. Bunnell

[putting on "raised by historians" hat]

The key phrase above -- whether in the general or specific case -- is "with all the relevant information at hand". The great trouble with history is that the body of available information is forever changing. Archaeologists find new tombs in the Valley of the Kings, divers locate previously unknown shipwrecks, family journals turn up revealing information about historical figures or events that wasn't previously known.

The shipwreck example is relevant here in the Pacific Northwest; something over a year ago now, researchers published new findings regarding an early shipwreck near Neahkahnie Mountain on the northern Oregon coast. The fact of a shipwreck was well known, but there'd been speculation and guesswork for most of a century as to the ship's origins. Finally, though, enough specific evidence became available -- and the technology for analyzing it got good enough -- that it was possible to reach a reasonably firm conclusion. This is, of course, important from a historian's perspective, but it also forces the re-examination of a lot of entertaining local folklore involving reputed buried treasure.

I rather think something similar must have happened in the current author's case, since it's evident from their story that a number of other performers clearly shared the same understanding of the tale in question that the original songwriter did. But that's a theory...and I need to head off to work right about now.


13 Aug 19 - 08:35 AM (#4004417)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Starship

What are the song lyrics?


13 Aug 19 - 11:10 AM (#4004441)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: leeneia

Hi, Fyldeplayer. You wrote the song yourself, and if you yourself value accuracy, then you ought to correct the location. Otherwise, it will get on your nerves the rest of your life. There are too many fake folk songs already.

Here are some ideas to use if names don't scan:
Put a syllable to more than one note.
Use a triplet
Use the name of a nearby stream or church instead of a town
Be vague. Write something like "on the rocky eastern coast".

As Starship asks, what are the lyrics?


13 Aug 19 - 11:27 AM (#4004447)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Gordon Jackson

Oh dear, poor Fyldeplayer - you asked a simple question and you got a whole bunch of very sensible and completely antithetical replies! There's only one thing you can do to retain your sanity: ignore all these responses (mine included) and just do what the hell you want!


13 Aug 19 - 11:32 AM (#4004448)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,DTM

"Floodgarry" as recorded by the Corries and written by George Weir is a great song however, I'm sure there is a blatant error in the chorus.

"Green is Flodgarry, blue is the sea,
Born here the lassie, tae guide oor Prince free"

There's no doubt the 'lassie' referred to is Flora Macdonald who was born in South Uist and died in Flodigarry. (Note also the three variations of the spelling of Flodigarry). Okay, it may have been better had the lyrics been historically accurate however, it doesn't detract me from really liking the song.

Bottom line: it's your song, you say what you like.
It's easy, just think 'politician'


13 Aug 19 - 05:45 PM (#4004489)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,alan whittle

I've aiways resented that song they wrote about me, The Wild Rover. It completely misrepresents the facts.

I wasn't in the slightest bit 'wild'. I have always pursued a macrobiotic and ecologically sound lifestyle. Jeremy Corbyn and I passed our cycling proficiency test at the same time. Our generation learned our hand signals and never did 'wheelies'.


14 Aug 19 - 02:19 PM (#4004545)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Tattie Bogle

More of a geographical error or even mondegreen, but gets up my nose to hear people sing "Lighthouse Reach" in "Sweet Thames, Flow Softly" by Ewan McColl. Of course, it's LIMEHOUSE, I think a certain Irish band can take the blame for that, since copied by others.


15 Aug 19 - 04:58 AM (#4004606)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer

I am currently searching and contacting the harbour authorities in hope that I can set the record straight. The original theme was sparked by an historical blue plaque indicating that convicts were 'transported' to the nearby coast. The convicts mentioned are correct and were tried in the song location. many people enjoyed the song, however I am aware that folk audiences tend to be well read and educated. I've certainly learnt a lesson. Thanks to all supplied views. I can hopefully post a successful outcome soon.


15 Aug 19 - 06:57 AM (#4004624)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Grishka

All this said, may I, before we learn about the actual event Fyldeplayer's song is about, observe that many songs use facts of history, whether accurate or not, for unreasonable or at least questionable propaganda. All too often the echo will be "We want revenge!" - or "... reparations!", even for crimes of centuries ago, true or alleged. And expert propagandists will tell their audience who "We" is, whereas in fact everybody has many group identities. Be warned, everybody; preserve the dignity of facts!


15 Aug 19 - 10:41 AM (#4004636)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,beachcomber

I haven't got the poem to hand but, did Keats really say that "Stout Cortez" actually discovered the Pacific Ocean when he stood "silent upon" that peak ? Just wondered.


15 Aug 19 - 01:22 PM (#4004651)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Starship

' Note: the poem contains a factual error: it was Balboa, rather than Cortez, who would have stood 'Silent, upon a peak in Darien' (Cortez conquered the North American lands of modern-day Mexico; Darien is in Panama at the top of South America). Whether this error mars the poem or not depends on your view of poetry (and assuming that the error is an error on Keats's part, rather than artistic licence). '

That is from

https://interestingliterature.com/2016/02/25/a-short-analysis-of-keatss-on-first-looking-into-chapmans-homer/


16 Aug 19 - 12:16 AM (#4004674)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Gurney

I have noticed that the folk scene is well supplied with mild Aspies, and any inaccuracies will be pointed out for the rest of your life!


Asperger's syndrome. A disorder(some say)characterised by repetitive behavior and insistence on accuracy.

Who else would spend all that time to just learn to play an instrument.

Or research a song for accuracy, then post to a thread like this.


16 Aug 19 - 06:17 AM (#4004691)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Grishka

Gurney, an interesting theory, but certainly not exhaustive of the phenomenon. There are indeed "fault finders" who hope to raise their own prestige by diminishing others' – a motivation to which ignoring is the adequate answer. But analyzing poems and comparing them with their sources is a very honourable and enlightening exercise, by which the poets may shine all the brighter even if caught with creative adaptations of facts, provided the creativity is deemed successful.

"Aspie" is not a verdict about the moral or artistic quality of one's work. Some are obsessed with their genius, others with pedantry; the distinction is not always obvious.

Those who post their (second-hand) knowledge to this thread do so because the OP has invited them: "am I in good company at least?" Yes, you are, and congratulations if the overall quality of your song matches Keats as well.


16 Aug 19 - 01:17 PM (#4004749)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: John C. Bunnell

Indeed, all indications are that from a musical and dramatic standpoint, Fyldeplayer's original song is clearly a good song; its listeners have enjoyed it, and other performers have liked it well enough to want to sing it and thereby circulate it more widely.

It seems to me that this last point has been passed over a bit too lightly in the ongoing discussion, as it says a couple of things that are important in context: first, that Fyldeplayer and his works are respected by his local peers and audiences, and second, that most or all of his musical peers understood the local history from which the song was derived in the same way that Fyldeplayer did.

I don't think there's enough available data for us to second-guess the specific historical issues associated with Fyldeplayer's lyrics. That said, the bits of detail we've been given strongly suggest to me that any outright historical errors (if present) are matters of narrow detail, not mis-representation. I do find myself wondering whether part of the problem involves an outright error on the blue historical plaque mentioned above; if that's the case, then I submit that correcting the plaque is of equal or greater importance than correcting the song (and it sounds as if Fyldeplayer has that set of questions more or less well in hand).

Overall, though, I am of the general mind that the song -- having been recognized as a good song by its audience -- deserves to survive, even if a bit of introductory commentary in a performance (or a paragraph in an album's liner notes) is necessary to better place it in full historical context.


18 Aug 19 - 04:31 AM (#4004921)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer

I have revised a line in my song so that the convict who sailed with the first fleet now correctly departs from Portsmouth. I am also awaiting news from Poole museum that will confirm the local transportation history. I have struggled to get historical background from other institutions, always passed to some one else!


18 Aug 19 - 04:56 AM (#4004922)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Jim Carroll

I often wonder if too much attention to detail acts against the song
Oir traditional songs tended to deal with details in passing rather than make an issue of them where they occurred - I believe this is because the song were made locally for the local consumption and it was unnecessary to repeat something everybody already knew
As outsiders, it is necessary to have some knowledge of what you are writing about but overemphasis of detail brands you as a 'blow-in' - an outsider
In my opinion, MacColl best songs were those he made using the actual words of his subjects - Shoals of Herring, Tenant Farmer, Shellback, Rambler FRom Clare....
Their reality came directly from 'the horse's mouth'
Sometimes it's necessary to explain things in your introduction (or notes)
A perennial favourite of mine is Pete' Smith's 'Clayton Aniline' - a song I still sing and thoroughly enjoy after over fifty year of singing
A couple of the terms would be gibberish if unexplained, but apart from these, the song is so well constructed that the listener can fill in the gaps in knowledge for themselves   
The devil is not always in the detail
Jim Carroll


18 Aug 19 - 12:37 PM (#4004979)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing

If one is going to write a song, or a play, or make a film drama or a documentary then do it like Tinseltown or theatreland. Ignore the facts and make sure your errors are in Spades. For example, it`s no good singing about a "disaster" when, in truth, hardly any poor souls were lost. That doesn`t get bums on seats. Make sure there are enough lives lost and people to blame. Your version will deceive but last for years. The only downside is when schools begin to use such "traditional" songs to teach history.


18 Aug 19 - 02:22 PM (#4004987)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Jim Carroll

"That doesn`t get bums on seats"
Not sure about that John - if all you want is to put bums on seats you may as well just book a popular group or star
The most moving and eternal poetry/song is that where the composer says what he/she has to say, croud-pleasers invariably don't
Jim


18 Aug 19 - 05:14 PM (#4005017)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Grishka

Jim, I think John was in irony mode, with a similar message to mine of 16 Aug 19 - 06:17 AM.

On the other hand, History Drama à la Shakespeare is a genre of its own, where indeed accuracy is not being claimed at all. The price to pay is that such a drama must derive its sense entirely out of its fable, without any accreditation from historical science.


18 Aug 19 - 05:20 PM (#4005018)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Grishka

In songs, the corresponding genre is the historical anecdote or legend, equally time-honoured. Invent a story and attribute it to, say, Jesus or George Washington. The audience will judge whether it is fitting, not true or even likely.


19 Aug 19 - 03:28 AM (#4005050)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: Jim Carroll

"Jim, I think John was in irony mode, "
I thought he might be Grish, but I believe it was worth saying anyway
There are far too many people on the scene who have payed more attention to pulling in the punters than to the quality and importance of the music (in my opinion, of course)
Jim


19 Aug 19 - 04:49 AM (#4005061)
Subject: RE: Correct location for historical song?
From: GUEST,Observer

So the song was about "transportation".

Best sources for information on transportation to Australia are Australian and there is a mass of information detailing names, numbers, crimes, the years they were transported, the Ports in the British Isles they sailed from [Note: NONE sailed from Galway, or Athenry, NONE sailed in 1803, let alone "out from the sweet town of Derry"], the names of the ships they sailed in, even the names of the Captains and Surgeons serving in those ships. Unfortunately Fyldeplayers song would appear to be about the First Convoy and that and the second were not so well covered.

In England those sentenced for transportation to Australia were gathered together in the prison hulks in the Medway and the convict ships sailed in convoy from Spithead. Latterly the Verne Prison on Portland Bill was build and convicts were assembled there prior to transportation. In Ireland the ports were Dublin and Cork. Instances of Scottish Courts sentencing people to transportation were few and far between due mainly to loss of population, particularly males, in the early to mid-1700s due to famine and clearance driven emigration - Scotland just couldn't afford the loss.

Would love to be able to listen to, or at least read the lyrics of your song Fyldeplayer.