The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #77728   Message #1393168
Posted By: Amos
30-Jan-05 - 09:32 AM
Thread Name: What is wrong with being a purist?
Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
The litmus case in my mind on this issue is the ballad of Darcy Farrell, which was written in the 1970's, but had enough of the phrasing, language and melodic traits typical of a 19th century porch ballad that it fooled me until I looked it up. Now, of course, it seems "obvious" but I cannot say why that it is a modern song. In the final analysis, though, the critical traits for me are a certain non-commercial genuineness, born out of human experience. Certain of John Denver's songs seem to meet the test, and "City of New Orleans" does as well, seeming just as germane and natural as "Good Morning, Mister Railroad Man" from a hundred years earlier.

Maybe the real test of a folk song is whether it is human enough to induce time-travel!! If I recall correctly, "Days of '49" was not written by a Forty-niner, but was a commercial entertainment creation in the days before radio, written for beer hall performance. But it evokes the time it sings about without flaw.