The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4033201
Posted By: Brian Peters
09-Feb-20 - 11:55 AM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Meanwhile, in the parallel universe where we consider Fakesong's treatment of Sharp and Marson, Pseudonymous wrote:

"Giving kids songs with lyrics largely by Marson and letting them think or teaching them that these were folk songs passed down through the ages strikes me as intellectually dishonest.

I wonder what evidence you have for the preposterous claim that lyrics were "largely written by Marson"? At a guess, the 'evidence' will consist of "Harker says...", but even Harker goes nowhere near saying such a thing. Besides, the analysis presented in Fakesong of Sharp's and Marson's editing in Folk Songs in Somerset (not BTW a publication aimed at 'kids' as far as I'm aware) is very thin. Bearman has conclusively debunked the specific claims regarding Geordie and Wraggle-Taggle Gypsies – I’ve checked, and he is absolutely correct – and, while I was at it, I took a look at the other examples.

Harker comes down hard on the published text of The Unquiet Grave, of which he writes: “whole verses are evidently composed, and others are strangely jumbled... Ironically, the new verses are laced with sensationalism and bourgeois sentimentality of the most vulgar kind.” He could, of course, have checked Sharp’s notes to the song, which state: ”Mrs Ree’s words have been supplemented from other versions.” Sure enough, if you check Sharp’s and Baring-Gould’s manuscripts, you can find all four of the added verses, pretty well word-for word, in alternative variants of the song . Neither Sharp nor Marson made up any of them.

Then there’s the complaint that “The mildly erotic implications of what had been the sixth verse of Sign of the Bonny Blue Bell are enough to ensure its excision.” Verse 6 reads:
‘On Tuesday night when I go to bed
With my precious jewel that I lately wed
Farewell and adieu to my maidenhead...’
‘Mildly erotic’ by modern standards, maybe, but quite explicit in meaning and not publishable in a mainstream songbook in 1905.

Of Sweet Kitty, Harker writes that it “seems to have been patched up with bits of Mrs Overd's version.” No shit, Sherlock! The song notes are open in stating that Mrs Overd’s words were fragmentary and that Marson had “endeavoured to reconstruct the song.” So no subterfuge there, then, although the notes don’t mention that the song has had a verse cut in which Kitty offers her lover ‘kisses and comforts’ before creeping from his bedroom. The bowdlerization is again perfectly understandable, though I will admit that Marson’s rewritten lines are pretty execrable..

More follows shortly...