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Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!

Jack Blandiver 22 Aug 14 - 06:32 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Aug 14 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Aug 14 - 09:36 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Aug 14 - 09:46 AM
Brian Peters 22 Aug 14 - 11:29 AM
Jack Blandiver 23 Aug 14 - 06:12 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Aug 14 - 06:15 AM
Jack Blandiver 23 Aug 14 - 06:15 AM
GUEST, 23 Aug 14 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,kendall 23 Aug 14 - 10:12 AM
Brian Peters 06 Oct 14 - 06:41 AM
Jack Blandiver 06 Oct 14 - 07:07 AM
Brian Peters 06 Oct 14 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Rahere 06 Oct 14 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 06 Oct 14 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 06 Oct 14 - 09:15 AM
Brian Peters 06 Oct 14 - 09:25 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Oct 14 - 09:31 AM
Brian Peters 06 Oct 14 - 09:58 AM
Edthefolkie 06 Oct 14 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,Rahere 06 Oct 14 - 05:46 PM
GUEST 06 Oct 14 - 06:11 PM
Brian Peters 06 Oct 14 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Rahere 07 Oct 14 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Phil 07 Oct 14 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Rahere 07 Oct 14 - 07:40 PM
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Subject: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Aug 14 - 06:32 AM

On this very day, August 22nd 1903, Cecil Sharp heard John England singing The Seeds of Love. And so it began...

Cecil Sharp hears a gardener singing a traditional song. From : The Story of Music - A Ladybird Book, 1968


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Aug 14 - 07:30 AM

August 22nd! I don't suppose I could have a correction???


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Aug 14 - 09:36 AM

Thank you, Jack. That's interesting. I like the rich colors in the artwork.

When somebody mentions a song on the Mudcat, I try to find it and see if I'd like to learn it. 'The Seeds of Love' seems like a keeper. Music and lyrics can be found here:

http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/6.html


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Aug 14 - 09:46 AM

The Ladybird book omits the fact that that gardener, the first man from whom Cecil Sharp recorded an English song, had the almost unbelievably appropriate name of John England!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Aug 14 - 11:29 AM

Ladybird certainly managed to achieve an uncanny likeness of John England. Speaking of which, does anyone know what's happened to the archive of Cecil Sharp's photos on the EFDSS website? I used to be able to find it quite easily - but no more.


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 06:12 AM

There are photos of John England??? Must explore...


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 06:15 AM

Yes. Surely Sharp was himself a photographer who took likenesses of some of his informants? I have not misremembered that fact, have I? No -- looking back, Brian mentioned it a couple of posts ago.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 06:15 AM

First hit. Crikey. I feel - awed.


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST,
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 06:33 AM

Likeness? Not really.


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 23 Aug 14 - 10:12 AM

One of the high points of my life was performing there.


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 06:41 AM

Just wanted to express belated thanks to Jack B for pointing me towards this image, which I'll be using in a forthcoming lecture on Cecil Sharp's work.

Apologies to the above Guest, who took my attempted drollery about an uncanny likeness at face value - the artwork is funny and provocative, because it portrays John England as a stereotypical rosy-cheeked English yokel. That's just how some subsequent analysts have claimed Sharp viewed the singers he met, although I don't think that was the case. At any rate, the real John England cuts a much more impressive figure in his photograph - and he was actually mowing the lawn, not rearranging his greenhouse, as he sang the 'Seeds of Love'. Come to that, Sharp overhearing the song was no accident either.


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 07:07 AM

Is that scan quality okay, Brian? I can do one at a higher resolution is needs be. Although the book shouldn't be too hard to find - it's full of other amazing things, like this ...

Ballads & Broadsides

and this...

Music of the People


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 07:28 AM

The existing scan will be fine for Powerpoint, thanks, Sean. I enjoyed those two others - the Ballads and Broadsides' page isn't actually too bad a summary, and I rather suspect the artist was inspired by this wonderful piece of work:

Hogarth: The Engraged Musician


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 08:44 AM

"And so it began"? Francis Child was 7 years in his grave before then, having completed his published collection 4 years earlier yet. The Folk Song Society was five years old! Sharp and Marson's first collaboration in the field, in Australia, dates from 1890. Yes, these are the earliest known saved recordings, but even so! And I'll leave the debate about who actually did the work to those with an axe to grind in the area...but we would do well to learn more about his peers and colleagues.


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 08:48 AM

Please tell us when and where the lecture's taking place Brian?
Derek


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 09:15 AM

How different to think the course of folk music history might have been
if John England had been on the cider all day,
and had nipped off behind a wall for a piss,
then fallen into a deep slumber in the nearest comfy looking clump of grass.....

Meanwhile Cecil Sharp, sat in the vicarage garden, carried on with his crossword blissfully unaware.........

"hmmmmm.. 4 letter word, first is 'F'.. last is 'K'.....?????"


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 09:25 AM

Quite right, Rahere: 'The Strong Men and Women Before Agamemnon', as Harker refers to them. Sharp was already a member of FSS, in receipt of the Journal, and had been using songs in his teaching career, so he knew all about folk song by the time he arrived in the vicarage garden. Marson had heard England sing 'Seeds of Love' before, so it was probably more of a set-up than a chance encounter.

Most of that info comes from a very interesting article by Derek Schofield on Sharp and Marson (FMJ, 2004). The lecture, FYI Derek, is part of a seven-week course on English Folk Song for Glossop Guild - I await the invitation from CSH with eager anticipation!


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 09:31 AM

the V.W.M.L, once issued a series of postcards of old photographs (probably to prove the singers weren't products of Sharp's and co's imagination!) - pretty sure John England was among them
Happy to make copies of any if anybody needs them
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 09:58 AM

A kind offer, Jim, but all of Cecil Sharp's photos (from both Somerset and the Appalachians) are available at this Flickr page, pending the library getting them back online at the EFDSS site. John England is on p2, though Jack B did provide a link to his portrait previously, under 'First Hit'.


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 03:19 PM

Thanks for posting those Mr Blandiver.

As soon as I saw 'em I thought "Aha! - Eagle artist!" For an instant I thought it might be Frank Hampson's work as I know he illustrated some Ladybirds (apart from being the creator of Dan Dare).   

However, it's not Hampson but Martin Aitchison, who drew "Luck Of The Legion" in the comic for years. Mind you these are in a different, rather classier league than that; I imagine he had a rather easier deadline to meet.

Just think, he could have done a nice illustration of the Cousins with assorted ne'er-do-wells falling off chairs, but I suppose it would have frightened the children.


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 05:46 PM

I think there may even be another agenda worth examining, one which has not been discussed, as far as I know. WWI was not the sudden explosion of political outrage often described, in the wake of Sarajevo, but ten years military posturing building Dreadnaughts, and more before that. There was a positive wave of jingoistic nationalism before that, which included The National Songbook and Arthur Quiller Couch's Oxford Book of English Verse, both of 1900. The Quiller Couch family were Establishment, and folklorists, and Arthur went on to start collecting the Oxford Book of Ballads immediately after. Were they active in the FSS too? See my drift? Cecil Sharp working to replace German folklore inherited from Prince Albert with English. What a glorious thing to be an English ploughboy, ploughing the fields of France...


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 06:11 PM

Looking at those EFDSS pictures on Flickr it strikes me that as well as moving John England off the lawn Ladybird may have thought that William Burland looked more the part.


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Oct 14 - 08:19 PM

Yes, that under-the-chin beard was definitely in vogue at the time, even if John England himself resisted the urge.

Rahere: resistance to a perceived German musical hegemony was definitely part of the picture.


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 07 Oct 14 - 09:13 AM

I'm painting it wider, though: it was part of agressive nationalism. Was it overconfidence in seeing how big a dick each country had? Should we therefore concentrate on a review of the Take6 database to see whether our main corpus was carefully selected to support this hidden agenda, leaving good tunes and songs which didn't fit the bill forgotten?


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 07 Oct 14 - 09:39 AM

I think you're jumping to conclusions, Rahere. Is it possible it was part of a non-aggressive (cultural) nationalism?


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Subject: RE: Cecil Sharp's Folk Epiphany - 111 Years!
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 07 Oct 14 - 07:40 PM

Ah, don't drag me into the specifics of his case, Brian: what I'm pointing out is well-discussed, Maud Karpeles picture of him as a Fabian Socialist forced to trim to the humours of his day to survive is well known. He was by that time already past his prime, and so that's not unreasonable, whatever the more diehard Communists of more recent times might feel.

What I'm pointing out is that the humours of the day were excessively robust, to the point where one of the leading voices, Kipling, would later regret "If any question why we died - Tell them, because our fathers lied." They were aggressive - for example, the UK had only just come out of the Second Boer War, caused by Cecil Rhodes in promoting the interests of his British South African Company. Nor, for that matter, did those battleships just wash in on the tide! Weapons are the loss-leaders, it's the war which brings in the business, and that kind of promotion was heading in just one direction. If Cecil Sharp was caught up in the tide, then we must recognise the fact.

BUT, that is not all there is to say on the subject: the real question is whether it is important, and I don't think it is. Cecil Sharp left his working notes, a legacy to us far wider than the works we commonly know because he and RVW popularised them, and we should not reject that wealth just because we have the scope to be more liberal than his generation had. The entire point of the Take 6 initiative in particular was to make the contents of their collections more readily available. It's now up to us, I think, to take the work onwards by taking a fresh look in the trunk.


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