The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #21125 Message #3580343
Posted By: Jim Carroll
01-Dec-13 - 04:03 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Kitty Alone
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kitty Alone
"earliest known version of at least a third of them came from a broadside or similar cheap print."
Hate to be the elephant in the room (again), but can I point out that the "earliest known versions" are merely those that have made it into print and that there is no evidence whatever to confirm that these originated in print.
After thirty odd years of field research among traditional singers I have come to the unavoidable conclusion that 'the folk' were not only capable of producing songs without the aid of professional song-makers, but that they did so in huge quantities in the form of anonymous local songs which never made it into the national repertoire because of their parochial nature.
Our field work includes a thirty year association and close friendship with a many who spent a section of his youth selling ballad sheets around the fairs and markets of rural Ireland in the 1940s and 50s.
He went to a printer and recited his father's songs or those he'd learned from his Travelling community over the counter - the printer then ran them off in the required number.
As our friend said - "why bother to write songs when there were so many about to just pick out of the air.
Humanity, by their very nature, are natural song-makers and until somebody proves beyond any doubt that our folk songs were the product of the broadside presses and not poetic expressions of everyday life and observation.
Sorry to interrupt, but I find this somewhat illogical drift towards 'broadside origins' more than a little disturbing - not quite ready to empty my shelves of more than a century's worth of folk song scholarship on the say-so of a very-much unproven theory.