The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #155622   Message #3662897
Posted By: GUEST,Fred McCormick
23-Sep-14 - 06:12 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Lovely Joan
Subject: RE: Origins: Lovely Joan
Dave. Actually, the Wild Rover is a bloody good song. The problem is two-fold.

Firstly, the happy-clappy-stompy-Guinness swilling-fine girl you are mob completely missed the point, as they did with everything. The result was that a lot of people - me included - got turned off everything remotely associated with ersatz Irishness. Unfortunately, a lot of babies got thrown out with an awful lot of bath water.

Secondly, absolutely everyone sang the well known versions and nobody ever bothered to look for alternatives. EG., The folk world was swamped by the ubiquitous Clancy Brothers version of TWR (which isn't even Irish as Brian Peters may well explain), ignoring, among others, Sam Larner's splendid version.

I'm glad to report that LJ never seems to have suffered the mauling which TWR was subjected to. Regarding Brian's post about the ubiquity of LJ, perhaps I'm guilty of exaggeration. However, it's important to remember that developments on the folk scene were often more localised than they later became. EG., Liverpool in the mid/late 60s had developed a good strong core of traddies, for want of a better word; people who wanted to sing traditional songs in an authentic traditional style.

The problem however was lack of resources. Records cost a fortune in those days and there were very few LPs of traditional singers available, and precious few even of "acceptable" singers like Ewan MacColl, Bert Lloyd and Louis Killen. (NB., I am talking of the days before even Caedmon's Folksongs of Britain became widely accessible and affordable.)

Prime among those records was that first LP of Martin Carthy, the one which showed him sat aboard a pallet and which had Lovely Joan on the tracklist. Naturally we were all agog at Lovely Joan, not least because of its beautiful tune, and the way in which the stuck up toff receives his come-uppance. The consequence was that everybody learned it and everybody sang it - until they got tired of it and moved onto something else. Greenland Whale Fishery? Who mentioned The Greenland Whale Fishery?

They were happy adventurous days for sure. But Jeez, I wish we'd had one tenth of the resources then that we've got now.