The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157805   Message #3832479
Posted By: Jim Carroll
14-Jan-17 - 04:30 AM
Thread Name: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
Subject: RE: Border & Hero ballads, Child #171-188
"The Long Harvest" is MacColl & Seeger's multi-disk anthology of more or less authentic texts and tunes.
"Blood and Roses" consists of rewrites with tunes attached.
I'm not sure that either of those statements are accurate Lighter - "authentic" to what?
Child is based entirely on printed texts, few of which haven't been altered by their sources.
Virtually all the early ballad anthologists took liberties with their material - I can't recall a collection that hasn't been adapted to meet the tastes of the time or the anthologist (it's why I've never understood why Peter Buchan was singled out for the nonsense he was subjected to).
Most of the recorded versions we have come from dying traditions where the singers are remembering them rather than repeating them from living traditions.
MacColl and Seeger were doing little more than repeating what all those who had made public the ballads have done before them.
In my opinion (and in Bronson's, by the way), the great milestone in ballad knowledge was MacColl and Lloyd's Riverside series.
"Harvest" and "Roses" were fitting follow ups from the revival.
It is interesting to examine the sea-change that occurred in MacColls approach by comparing the Riverside anthology to "Roses", we interviewed him on his approach to ballads and the problems he encountered and there is masses of recorded material of him talking about ballads, all hidden away on shelves and in cupboards.
It often occurs to me that it is a crying shame that we can't discuss MacColl's work without having to scramble over the usual mountain of garbage that surrounds his name - in thhe fifty years I've been involved in traditional song I've never encountered a singer who put in so much thought into what he sang - nor one so articulate.
'The Muckle Sangs' is the best single sample obtained from traditional singers.
Jim Carroll