The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878 Message #4029674
Posted By: Vic Smith
22-Jan-20 - 04:27 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
I get to feeling very uncomfortable with the post by Pseudonymous at 22 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM. In particular I feel that motives and extra-musical considerations are being ascribed to the Copper family which are simply not there
Personally, the Copper family do appear to me to be consummate performers.
Can I ask you if you have seen a live performance by The Copper Family? If you could give time and place it would be a help. I must have seen them at least ten times a year over the last fifty-odd years and the words "consummate performers" do not come to mind; "endearingly shambolic" would be nearer the mark.
Not least because I like to hear harmonies sung and you don't often find it in English folk music.
Well, you do (or did) in their part of East Sussex; the Hills of East Dean and the Townsends of East Chiltington would be just two examples with family repertoires that had lots of cross-overs with that of the Coppers. Alternate sections and harmonies with "glee"-style harmonies were far from uncommon in both secular and church singing. The Coppers are unique in maintaining this today throughout the five generations of this family that I have heard sing.
Moreover, I think it is fair to say that they do run a sort of 'cottage industry' relating to their own heritage and skills. I think that people with such skills have probably used them in this way from time to time through the ages. And good luck to them: they are talented!
I can only think that the return of the 'cottage industry' phrase is designed to irritate as it did successfully in the Walter Pardon research thread. Indeed in his long post explaining why he closed that post, Joe Offer wrote: -
as soon as they settle down a bit, Pseudonymous or some other troll will come in and wind them up again. If I do away with Pseudonymous, some other troll will come in, so what's the use in doing away with Pseudonymous?
I think this shows what the moderators think of the role of Pseudonymous here.
Indeed, Vic Smith in his article said that with hindsight the interview with him might have been good practice for Copper who was about to engage in media interviews in connection with his book.
A subsequent impression of mine when I was transcribing the interview some 35 years after it took place.
I need to point out that the reason for the interview was for us to investigate the family story because Bob had asked us to help in running the folk club that he was planning to start. Perhaps I ought to have stuck to saying in the introduction - "However, we felt that we did not know enough about the family and we asked if we could come and record an interview so that we could get some background. (This was before Bob's first book was published and details of the family were not as well known as they are now) It was a fortuitous time to record him as he had just written his first book and had all the information fresh in his mind." This is the reason that in the transcription, I report Bob as saying this is the sort of thing that you want to know, isn't it? My motive in asking to interview Bob was that it would provide background for me to make sure that I didn't make any mistakes as the prospective compere of the Coppersongs Folk Club.
I feel it needs to be pointed out that when Bob, in his mid-50s started to write out various personal memories and had dug out his dad, Jim's writing it was for the benefit of John & Jill and for Jill's three songs (John's offspring were not born until later). Bob's first memories would have been during the 1st World War; Rottingdean/Peacehaven was very diferent by 1970 and the changes were what Bob wanted to explain. It was not until Peter Bellamy had read a rough draft and talked to Bob into considering publication that anything came of it and Bob started to rework things.
And the book, as Copper explains, was to come out earlier but was delayed to hit the Xmas market. I seem to remember that there was some sort of local connection, which Copper explains, to the publishing firm?
By the time of this interview - between writing and publication of A Man For All Seasons Bob had to work with Heinnemans on editing and had been asked to prepare himself for media interest as the publishers were starting to think that they had a potential top seller. They were right. However, publication was far from his initial thoughts when writing.
This post is to explain my discomfort at the way Bob's intention and motives are portrayed by Pseudonymous here. I have quoted what Joe Offer thinks, perhaps Pseudonymous could explain the purpose more clearly.