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Folk Song in England - Lloyd

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Les in Chorlton 27 Apr 07 - 03:54 AM
GUEST 27 Apr 07 - 05:03 AM
Grimmy 27 Apr 07 - 05:20 AM
Les in Chorlton 27 Apr 07 - 05:28 AM
Les in Chorlton 27 Apr 07 - 05:29 AM
The Borchester Echo 27 Apr 07 - 06:08 AM
Dave Sutherland 27 Apr 07 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,redmax 27 Apr 07 - 08:36 AM
greg stephens 27 Apr 07 - 01:13 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Apr 07 - 01:29 PM
Charley Noble 27 Apr 07 - 01:39 PM
The Sandman 27 Apr 07 - 02:16 PM
r.padgett 27 Apr 07 - 02:59 PM
Fred McCormick 27 Apr 07 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Chris Burd 27 Apr 07 - 07:10 PM
GUEST 28 Apr 07 - 06:51 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Apr 07 - 08:47 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 Apr 07 - 03:05 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Apr 07 - 07:24 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 Apr 07 - 09:00 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Apr 07 - 10:44 AM
GUEST 30 Apr 07 - 03:50 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Apr 07 - 04:14 PM
The Borchester Echo 30 Apr 07 - 04:35 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Apr 07 - 04:41 PM
The Borchester Echo 30 Apr 07 - 04:51 PM
Les in Chorlton 30 Apr 07 - 05:21 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Apr 07 - 05:29 PM
Les in Chorlton 01 May 07 - 04:46 AM
oggie 01 May 07 - 06:50 AM
GUEST 01 May 07 - 07:26 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 May 07 - 07:39 AM
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Subject: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 03:54 AM

I have just re-read "Folk Song in England" by AL Lloyd(1967) and a very interesting book it is too, especialy the long sections on the evolution and proporgation of "Big Ballads" and "Lyrical Songs and Later Ballads".

A quote on the back from the Melody Maker:

"It is unlikely during your lifetime any book on folk music half so important as this will be published"

Has this been proved true and if not, which books are have proved important?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:03 AM

I wish he'd cited his references


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Grimmy
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:20 AM

I learned more from the introduction to Alfred William's 'Folk Songs of the Upper Thames' than all the academic writings put together.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:28 AM

Mmmm,

He does give 3 pages of references but the book does seem to have a lot of stated information with out references presumably simply based on Lloyd's memory?

I love this:

Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight, 'Of all ballads' says Child, 'this has perhaps obtained the widest circulation.'

Which Lloyd follows with;
At least 150 variants of it have been collected in the English spaeking-world, and its relatives are well known from Portugal to Poland, from Scandinavia to the Balkans. More than 250 versions are reported from Germany, 80 from Poland, 60 odd from Franceand French Canada, about 50 from Hungary.

Can anybody know of this is true?

Lloyd certainly paints a conclusive picture of pan-european songs - how true is this picture?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:29 AM

Is Lloyd's writing academic or polemic?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 06:08 AM

Without wearing out my fingers googling and counting variants, it would surprise me not if Child #4, Lady Isabel and the Elf and/or Outlandish Knight aka Bluebeard had one of the widest circulations.

Bert Lloyd's writing is a bit of both 'academic' and 'polemic'. When I first started out, haltingly, in music journalism (early 70s), I'd get single-spaced reams of 'notes', far longer than the original pieces, on what I should have said and how ought to have attributed my assertions, from him. So perhaps with him it's a case of do what I say, not what I do/did.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 06:10 AM

The Melody Maker quote I'm sure came from Karl Dallas's review just after publication; however some years later Dallas was to turn on the book calling it "flawed and phony". Personally, although I have not read it right through for many years, I still think of it as a fascinating publication containing a fantastic collection of songs and it is still the first thing that I would turn to for reference.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 08:36 AM

When I read this I couldn't help wondering if Lloyd was trying to be illuminating or just trying to impress the reader with how clever he was. Judging by widespread comments about his modesty that doesn't seem likely, I suppose


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 01:13 PM

Footnotes are great if you like that kind of thing(which I do) but can be a bit overwhelming for the average reader. It's a general interest book, not a Ph.D thesis, after all. Treat the book as "What A L Lloyd thought and knew about the subject at the time" and you'll have loads of fun.
   As regards Les from Chorlton's original question, I dont recall reading another book on English folksong with that depth of background since. Granted Bert may have been been a slight bender of the actuality), he knew his stuff and had a variety of opinions always worth considering. Great stuff. But beware, the man was not averse to revamping traditional lyrics without telling you what he was up to. And clever enough for you not to spot he was doing it (which is a very difficult trick to pull off).


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 01:29 PM

It was an extremely important work; the first serious attempt at an overview of folk song in England since Sharp's early essay; and with a scope greater than Sharp's book, which was based on, in effect, a geographically limited survey. The references certainly ought to have been more detailed, but there were doubtless practical considerations at work as well as Bert's tendency to gloss over certain (sometimes rather weak) points. Although we all learned a great deal from it, some of that was quite wrong: there are still people who believe, against all the evidence, that 'Hunting the Wren' dates back to the Peasants' Revolt, for instance. Not that Bert actually said that it did; but the ambiguity of his wording gave a lot of people that impression.

I was thinking only yesterday about what books would be most helpful for newcomers to the subject. Even with its many faults, I'd still recommend Folk Song in England as probably the best place to start, though Georgina Boyes' The Imagined Village ought to follow it, along with Sharp's own English Folk Song: Some Conclusions and David Harker's Fakesong, though the latter is really about the people involved rather the singing tradition itself. Harker's work, in its turn, contains a lot of misleading or unreliable information and is just as ideologically partisan as the people he criticizes, so Chris Bearman's articles are needed as a corrective... and so on.

On the whole, commentators tend to restrict themselves to specific areas of what has become a very big subject, and attempts at a detailed overview have been quite few and far between. They have all been flawed, not least because they have been driven in part by ideology and romanticism of one kind or another. That seems to be almost inevitable; it may be that people capable of considering the whole matter quite dispassionately are insufficiently 'driven' to undertake such a vast job.

On 'The Outlandish Knight', Lloyd was fairly accurate on the distribution of analogues in Europe, though there are probably more than that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 01:39 PM

There's still room on my bookshelf for my well-worn copy.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 02:16 PM

It is a book that should be on the bookshelf of anybody interested in English folk song.
But like every book including the Bible, it needs to be questioned and analysed.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: r.padgett
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 02:59 PM

Just seen a copy in my local library so check yours out unless they have thrown it out for being too old

I have had my own copy for many years


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 03:05 PM

There's not much I can add to what's been said already, except to point out that there's an excellent and even handed appraisal by Vic Gammon of the book in a collection of essays about Lloyd, Called Singer, Song and Scholar. I'd advise anyone who is interested in this thread to read it.

Overall, I think there are real problems with the book, which largely derive from Lloyd's apparent inability to decide(distinguish?) between scholarship and polemicism, but also from the fact that it is of its time and age. In particular, it is too deterministic, relies far too much on failed theories of social evolution, and sometimes fails to address contradictions in Lloyd's own thinking. For instance, whilst his basic evolutionary model is economic and Marxist, he dips into Tylorean/Frazerian theories of racial evolutionism for the chapter on ritual songs; apparently oblivious to the fact the two approaches are incompatible. At any rate he makes no attempt to reconcile them.

Equally, whenever I re-read the book, and I have done so several times, I am struck by Lloyd's apparent inabilty to evaluate history. Yes there is some good stuff in there, mostly derived from radical historians such as the Hammonds, A.L. Morton and E.P. Thompson. But his arguments on the effects of enclosure might have been more convincing if he had taken the entire debate on the enclosure movement into account.

Yet, I am left with the feeling that it's a great book, and vastly superior to other expositions on national folk musics I have read. I am of course thinking of Sharp's English Folksong Some Conclusions, but also of FSE's near contemporaries, The Traditional and National Music of Scotland by Francis Collinson, and Folk Music and Dances of Ireland by Breandán Breathnach.

Why do I think it's a great book ? Well, it covers a huge tract of time, stretching back before the mediaeval period almost almost into the present. Moreover, it conveys better than anything else I have ever read, the sheer richness and variety and artistic worth of folk song, and of the creative potential of ordinary people. And it is one of the few books I have ever come across which attempts to assess folk song as a sociological phenomenon. (Yes, I know Sharp went some way along that latter path in EFSSC, but he ended up being hoisted by his own neo-Darwinian pre-conceptions.)

There's another and more personal reason. I bought and devoured FSE in 1967, I think, at a time when I was a green horn apprentice with hardly any experience of the world around me, beyond a few vaguely left wing leanings to counter what I had had drummed into me by school and the British establishment. Around the same time, I first heard Ewan MacColl talking on the subject of folk song, and I was able to get hold of a paperback copy of E.P. Thompson's Making of the English Working Class. Between them they made me realise that the working class is not the collection of mute dumb ass morons, incapable of doing anything but following orders, which our "betters" would have had us believe; that we are in fact no less intelligent and articulate and artistic than anyone else.

So, I would unhestitatingly put Folk Song in England down on anyone's reading list, with the proviso that it needs to be read carefully and sceptically. But what great work doesn't ?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST,Chris Burd
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 07:10 PM

I picked up my copy from the library's discard bin a few years ago.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 06:51 AM

Flawed as it is, 'Folk Song in England' is, for me, probably the most influential work on the subject (alongside the equally flawed 'The Ballad Tree' by Evelyn Wells).
It is a great work, if only by default; as far as I am concerned there has been nothing to equal it (somebody mentioned 'Fakesong' and 'The Imagined Village', both of which left me with a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth that I have never quite been able to get rid of).
Those of us lucky enough to hear Bert perform live, or attend his lectures, or hear his radio talks such as 'The Lament' or 'Folk Music Virtuoso' were well aware of his tendency to 'fly by the seat of his pants' academically, but what always came over to me was the love he had for the songs and music, and more importantly, for the people who created them and passed them on. This occasionally led him (and MacColl) to present wishful thinking as academic accuracy, if only for the best of reasons.
'Folk Song in England', for me, was a step in the right direction away from Sharp's 'Some Conclusions'; by no means containing all the information of traditional singing, but giving enough to indicate that, if we lifted the corner of the subject and looked underneath, there was a treasure-trove yet to be discovered. Probably its greatest strength is that it is extremely readable.
It's always seemed to me that the field of folk song research is very much virgin territory, relying heavily on speculation and partially informed analysis. This is due mainly to the fact that there has been no real effort to collect information from the real experts – the traditional singers. I believe that personally, I learned much of what I think I know, sitting in Walter Pardon's or Tom Lenihan's kitchens, or in Mikeen McCarthy's or Mary Delaney's caravans – light years away from the dry, laboratory atmosphere of some of the conferences and lectures I have attended or the impenetrable tomes I have waded through in an effort to understand traditional music.
Bert Lloyd's world seems to me to have been a gentle, kind, humane one, a far cry from the predatory tendencies of some of today's academics who seem to be more concerned with carving niches than passing on information and experience (aptly described by one writer as a piranha pool).
The great Irish traditional music expert, the late Brendán Breathnach one boasted that he and collector Tom Munnelly were the only employees of the Irish Folklore Department lacking academic qualifications; I know whose work I would choose to consult if I had to choose between these and the lab technicians.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 08:47 AM

Thanks Jim, much thoughtful comment as ever.

The world of academia is a different world from that of song collectors and singers. A major problem seems to be the latter pretending to be the former. Bert wondered and sometimes charged into the world of acedemia. McColl sometimes behaved as if he was well above and beyond it. But we owe them and many others much.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 03:05 AM

Refresh?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 07:24 AM

Its an interesting, passionate and above all persuasive book by a gentle, decent and learned man.

If you get a chance to skim through a Penguin poetry anthology called Poetry of the Forties - you wil find the name A L Lloyd there as a transalator of French surrealist poets. I get the impression he was a man, fascinated by ideas - and Folk Song in England despite being full of information was not merely factual, but also a book with a dialectic attached.

You have to remember the times. The term 'pop historian' was very prevalent at the time. John Prebble's books on Culloden and the Highland Clearances were bestsellers. Despite the perjoratives heaped on these books - they had a point of view and persuaded others to have a point of view about matters hitherto unconsidered.

For myself, I loved the information, but found the general thrust of the dialectic generally destructive. Suddenly the folk clubs were full of 'experts' telling what was real folk music.

If you read my piece on my entry into folk music in the 'Your favourute male folksinger thread' - you will see how I came to regard the traddy element as a segment which provincialised an artistic movement which was addressing the whole world at one time. And to be honest I often feel myself on mudcat to be articulating the views of many people who were cast out of the 'folk revival' as a cultural event, but still run most of the folk clubs in England.

For all that its a wonderful stimulating book, and I would recommend it to anybody - it reminds me a little of Wilde's phrase - we must make ideas acrobats!


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 09:00 AM

Thanks Drummer - chimes with how I felt after reading it. I suppose my lazy view is - I want somebody to tell me what is true and what is not - and that is not really possible.

I want to believe the general idea of a pan-European, and beyond, genra of rural and working class folk tradition that has been passed on for hundreds if not thousands of years but I suspect lots of what we call traditional songs were made quite recently.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 10:44 AM

The contentions I found hardest to swallow were really the ones that traddies took to like ducks to water.

For example this business of the tremulous voice that reflected how the population had suffered a mass nervous breakdown at the time of the enclosures of land. Some people could do this, with some songs - the late great great Peter Bellamy will spring to the forefront of most minds. But a hell of a lot of people couldn't, and it sounded awful. For a while however it was 'de rigeur' amongst traddies who spent the other half of the evening sneering at American influenced English folksingers like Jack Hudson, Brimstone and Gerry Lockran.

The other thing was the contention that English folkmusic was Celtic in origin - and he gives the example of the (almost) extinct Lincolnshire bagpipes. this led to modal scales and strange rhythms being injected into and grafted onto English folksongs - the Swarbrick/Carthy Byker Hill - being a case in point.

Whatever the merit of these contentions - the folk clubs became policed and then emptied by the adherents to these theories. It simply didn't reflect the sensibility of the average English listener - it was the badge of the traddy club.

But none of that should deflect from the fact that this was a glorious book. It wasn't Lloyd's fault - that people read it and went mad. It was ambitious, clever, and coherent.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 03:50 PM

I accept all the above reservations but still, for all the flaws, it is still the best as far as I am concerned.
Unfortunately the "many people who were cast out of the 'folk revival' as a cultural event," I believe are a figment of the WLDs' imagination; far from being driven out, they took over and naused up the revival.
In spite of the constant 'traddie' dig, I have yet to hear of an acceptable alternative definition to the one more-or-less generally accepted by those researching the subject.
As far as the working class roots of the tradition - I know from experience that (certainly up to 20-odd years ago), if I wanted to find classic ballads and traditional songs (outside of the clubs) I had to go to a gypsy site, or to a carpenter in North Norfolk, or to to small farmers or rural labourers in the west of Ireland. The jury is still very much out on the subject of who wrote the traditional repertoire, but it was people like Walter Pardon and Tom Lenihan who put the 'folk' in 'folk song'.
One of the puzzling aspects of the tradition here in West Clare is that, in spite of the fact that a number of (local) songs must have been made during the lifetime of the singers they were recorded from, they still bear the 'anon' label - almost as if authorship doesn't matter and it is what happens to them during the process of being passed on that gives them their significance.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 04:14 PM

The trouble with paranoia, Jim is that they're still out to get you.

I just love the way you have attached such value to what was going on in isolated gypsy sites, etc, - without even noticing you have cavalierly dismissed the greater population of Britain as being incapable of producing folk music you can can ascribe any value to.

I'm sorry you feel this way, but in three lengthy and quite seriously intended contributions to mudcat in the last two days - I hav outlined my opinions. they are not based on malice, but rather they are the working ideas I have utilised as abase for my songwriting in a folk idiom for around 30 years.

Other people have more profitably used and conformed to the traddie route - perhaps I am a bit jealous. But it doesn't mean I'm wrong.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 04:35 PM

far from being driven out, they took over and naused up the revival

Indeed they did. Unfunny 'comedians' and wifty-wafty pseudo-celtic new-age shit all but destroyed it, had it not been for English dance musicians through the 1980s up to the early 90s when things began to look up again. In the intervening years, the very last place to seek out trad was a 'f*lk' club.

The observation about authorship not mattering in the really very recent West Clare tradition is fascinating. Would you consider that this has changed dramatically in line with the West of Ireland's rapid 'modernisation' in recent years? Have the local singers become 'singer-songwriters' like everywhere else?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 04:41 PM

as ususual this is getting offensive, and all the offensiveness comes from the same quarter of the folk revival.

don't worry you revival with its dance music that nobody much dances to will keep it exclusive , so you can keep feeling superior to the rest of us.

theres nothing to do, but walk away.

sad, cos this was a serious discussion about a very well written book.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 04:51 PM

How do you know which 'quarter' of the revival I come from WLD?
Sorry, not interested in your ill-informed slagging.
Nobody much dances, do they not? Where have you been? Don't answer that.
As for Bert Lloyd's book being 'well-written', who said it was not?
But what I am inquiring now, of Jim Carroll who would know, living as he does in the West of Ireland, was more about the lack of known authorship there.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 05:21 PM

Ok, you are really losing me now.

Bert stated a case or put forward an argument about what we had inherited. This was 1967. It is full of 1967, weren't we all? But Bert went a long way back and to many, many places.

Folk Clubs are 1960 +. They are the second revival not the history of the living tradition 1400 - 1967.

The essential question is what did we inherit and from whom and what responsibilty does this place upon us, or should we simply have fun?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 05:29 PM

walk away I should run away from this bloody site!

'Indeed they did. Unfunny 'comedians' and wifty-wafty pseudo-celtic new-age shit all but destroyed it, had it not been for English dance musicians through the 1980s up to the early 90s when things began to look up again. In the intervening years, the very last place to seek out trad was a 'f*lk' club.'

brilliant exposition of where you stand on the folk revival - its just the common tide of humanity who screwed up the folk revival - with their insatiable desire for songs about their own lives rather than their grandads, if possible delivered with degree of humour.

No I can see you're not intersted in where I (or indeed anybody else) might have gained access to different ideas.

Ask Jim what you like I wasn't disputing your right to do that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 May 07 - 04:46 AM

Possible reasons for the collapse of th Folk Club scene?

I feel another thread coming on!


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: oggie
Date: 01 May 07 - 06:50 AM

To return to thread. I was given a copy (which I still have) of FSE as a fifteenth birthday present soon after I became interested in Folk Music. Thirty five years later I still go back to it.

It has it's flaws as outlined above and it is not as academic as it would like to be. It has a political viewpoint (but then I did my Economic History degree at a time when all history seemed to have a polical viewpoint).

I think it is a great book because of the scope of the book which also harks back to an earlier age. Today an academic approach would be to take one small section of the material, research it to the nth degree and produce a book nearly as long on, say, "The factual content of miner's songs, 1870-1914" (NB if this book exists I apologise for any offence). FSE gives a context and a continuum from which to start which is clear and concise and that's the reason for my opinion.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 07 - 07:26 AM

Countess,
From conversations we had with older singers who have given us local, more recent songs, the authorship of these appeared not to have been important. The information we usually got was "I think it may have been......" We always put this down to disinterest by the singers, though it may have been an attempt by some authors to remain 'anon'. The main concern of the singers seemed to be that they should not give offense to the subjects of the songs. Our neighbour (aged 80+, now dead) visited us regularly with scraps of paper and notebooks containing songs which had been composed during his lifetime, insisting that we should keep them safe for him. I can't remember him ever being able to supply an author for them except perhaps for a couple he had a hand in making. One song he gave us, on a highly respected member of the community, a doctor who, (about 60 years ago) demanded money for drink at gunpoint, went on a drunken tear and was barred from every pub in town, was handed over with the words "Don't show this to anybody until after I'm dead".
Hard to tell about newly written songs nowadays as few local people are singing here and even less (if any), are writing them.
Up to thirty-odd years ago there was still a healthy singing and song-making tradition. The great bulk of the songs were about emigration. The advent of the portable recorder more or less guaranteed that the origins of the songs can now be traced and also that they remain unaltered.
Nowadays, there are a small, rapidly diminishing number of people known as songwriters (Con 'Fada' O'Driscoll, Fintan Vallelly, Tim Lyons – none of whom are from Clare) writing songs using traditional styles on subjects such as corrupt politicians, moving statues, and turtles being washed up on shore during the Willie Clancy Week (oh- and spoons players at sessions).
WLD (why do my fingers want to type WMD?)
I, and traddies like me didn't invent the terms 'folk' or 'traditional', we (in our blindness) merely took up the long established and accepted definition and, until a better one comes along, will continue to do so. This does not mean that the definition should not be re-considered in the light of new information, but this has, to my knowledge, not happened. Rather, what has taken place is a total abandoning of any definition – summed up beautifully by one contributor to the subject with "words mean what I want them to mean".
If there is an alternative definition which would include Ralph McTell, Derek Brimstone, Steve Tilson et.al., please point it out (sorry; for a definition to be valid it has to be accepted by enough people to make it workable – that's how language works).
In the meantime, I would be grateful if you didn't misrepresent what I have to say by adding your own twist. While "Isolated" gypsy sites gives a nice ring of exotic romanticism to my approach, Hackney; Mile End Road; Heathrow Airport, Swiss Cottage, under the Hammmersmith Flyover, and all the other urban Travellers' sites we worked on were far from "isolated". It's a little difficult to hang on to any romantic notions on a rat-infested site in the East End of London (not, I hasten to add, the fault of the occupants).
And once again let me re-iterate, my opinions were formed by talking and listening to singers and not from my bookshelves as you once suggested. Our work with Travellers, small farmers, carpenters and rural labourers (we really didn't imagine them)has only served to indicate that by-and-large the 'traddies' got it more-or-less right.
Les From Chorlton (is that Cum-Hardy?)
Why should gaining knowledge, 'taking responsibility', or singing well stop us from 'having fun'? I certainly agree that the collapse of the folk scene is worthy of another thread - though if you start it, please try and make it last for two weeks as we'll be sunning it up in Sardinia till then.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 May 07 - 07:39 AM

Well, if you are still there Jim,

I have been in some clubs where fun was not much in evidence and sometimes songs were given much reverence and were a bit dull to say the least. But I have had much fun and will not complain.

We saw Sardinia from the air last week, it looks like an amazing place and one where songs might well turn up? Have a good one

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 May 07 - 08:58 AM

WLD (why do my fingers want to type WMD?) >>Wry smirk<<

Just been looking at this thread Suggested definition: Tradition

and that's actually frighteningly appropriate.
Thanks Jim.
I went with a collector to an urban Travellers' site under the Westway in North Kensington. Not romantic. Not isolated. But full of relevance to how things are.

Defining the tradition? Didn't we do this only a few weeks ago?
Yes, here it is, last December:

'The tradition' comprises art forms of a distinctive national, ethnic or social group rooted in that community's lore and customs and passed on orally, aurally or by demonstration rather than by written/recorded or formal didactic means. It has thus belonged collectively to that community, rather than to individuals or the state, and tells the history of the people from their common experience.

In the case of music, its platform has been predominantly the informal social gathering, the workplace or the home rather than the theatrical stage or concert hall, and pieces tended to be known by what or who they were about rather than by composer. This is not, of course, to say that trad musicians have not borrowed and adapted from formal composers or from other cultures. Obviously they have, and do, which is why the tradition continues to evolve.

However, three factors in the current revival are forcing ever more rapid and inexorable changes:

(a) digital archiving.
(b) writing, consciously, 'in the tradition' and registering the result with MCPS/ PRS
(c) population mobility resulting in monumental cross-cultural influence and collaboration.

It will, thus, never be the same again. 'The tradition' will remain that static body of information that has been quite literally passed down before the irrevocably altered times put an end to the centuries-old process (cue Richard Thompson . . . ). What is NOT traditional, by definition, is a recently composition of known origin. Even if you call it The White Hare.


Did WLD disagree with that? Probably, as a representative of the 'wilfully ignorant' brigade. I can't remember.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 07 - 01:38 PM

Les,
I've been in clubs like that too, though not necessarily traditionally based ones. - I've never thought reverence was the problem, just people who take themselves too seriously.
Don't know why we're going to Sardinia while the weather is as good as it is here in Clare - but somebody has to do it!
Countess,
We started work with Travellers under the Westway, on an unofficial pull-on a few hundred yards from the present one - good days. I understand that a book has recently been published on the established site there.
That definition will do as a start for me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 May 07 - 04:52 PM

WLD,

I still struggle to get my head round what you're trying to say. I think that you wish that there was still a living tradition in this country - a tradition which is relevant to today, but which has continuity with the past (correct me if I'm wrong!). I think that you blame 'traddies' who go to folk clubs, like me for example, for this state of affairs(?)

I actually think that it is more complicated than that and has much more to do with the nature of modern commercial, popular culture than with the presence of a few 'dinosaurs' like me. Are you sure you're not singling out a group to blame because the world is not as you would wish it to be?

You see, in some ways I agree with you (!) - I wish that there was a continuous tradition as well. And I also agree with your post of the 30th April about the (probably unintended) effect of Lloyd's book on the direction of the Folk Revival.
Also, if it's any comfort, much of the way that trad. song has been presented, by certain 'leading lights' of the post-war Revival, pisses me off to!


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: shepherdlass
Date: 01 May 07 - 05:58 PM

Fascinating thread. I didn't read the book until after the year 2000 so I wasn't swept along by the earlier enthusiasms - so my opinions are those of someone who never got to meet Lloyd or hear him sing live.

Yes, it has flaws, it can be polemic. Yes, there are some inaccuracies and a tendency to wax lyrical (who's immune to those?). Yes, footnotes would be nice, though given Lloyd's unbelievable output on all kinds of subjects (how many radio scripts could he produce in a single year?) they may have just been too time consuming. But the main thing I love about the book is that it's the work of an obvious enthusiast - passionately and poetically written with great faith in 'the people'. Did it - as has been influentially argued - return the folk revival to Cecil Sharp's values and definitions? Probably, yet there's enough love in there for the work of named, literate, industrial songwriters such as Tommy Armstrong (though with claims for anonymous, often Irish, sources of inspiration) to demonstrate that Lloyd remained far less prescriptive than earlier collectors.

But, like so many great books, it has the capacity to both enthral and exasperate - isn't that just a wonderful combination?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Fidjit
Date: 02 May 07 - 03:02 AM

Had my copy since '68. now well pencil underlined and * marked.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 May 07 - 04:24 AM

Time you bought a new one................

Dave Eyre
folk bookseller............


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 May 07 - 04:59 AM

So Dave, Folk Bookseller, what other volumes do you rcommend to the reading folkie?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 May 07 - 05:10 AM

Currently being discussed elsewhere -

Stations of the Sun by Ronald Hutton.

When people ask me for books with songs and music I always recommend the Penguin book (now republished) since there are still songs in there which are rarely sung.

Marrow Bones and that series for songs and music, Foggy Dew is rare.

Karl Dallas's two books. Hundred years of Toil+Cruel Wars

Peter Kennedy's Folk Songs of Britain and Ireland

All MacColl and Seeger's books. Including Shuttle and Cage, Personal Choice, Singing Island, etc.

Books that have an academic content. Also some music and song

Anything by Roy Palmer

MacColl and Seeger

Traveller's Tales of England And Scotland.
Till Doomsday in the Afternoon.

I could go on..........

I don't have all of these by the way so whilst it is a blatant advert, it isn't totally.

Best regards,

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 02 May 07 - 05:14 AM

I have a spare copy of Folk Song in England (hardback, jacketless, in reasonable condition) which I'll be glad to send free, gratis and buy-us-a-pint-if-you-ever-run-into-me, to anyone in the United Kingdom who can make use of it. Naturally, I would expect such a party to treat it with respect and not to sell it on.

Anyone interested, please PM me.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 May 07 - 05:48 AM

I'd snap that up folks.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 May 07 - 05:50 AM

Do you aheve a shop Dave or the spare bedroom?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 May 07 - 08:57 AM

Spare bedroom, garage, living room, under the stairs, and a load of other places. It is an occasions like this I can truthfully state my wife does not understand me. I recently bought a large library!!

I shall be at Shepley Spring Festival with a stall and also Warwick Festival. The National Festival which I helped with a donation - was a big sales weekend for me.

I am in Sheffield and anyone is welcome with a day or so notice to call around. No obligation. People have been known to call and use the place as a research venue. Home-made bread and soup supplied.

I am trying to arrange other festivals, at this moment.

End of blatant plugs.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 May 07 - 09:48 AM

Sounds amazing Dave, best of luck

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 07 - 04:44 AM

"I recently bought a large library"
Are the contents on your web page yet Dave?


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 May 07 - 04:44 AM

Sorry, now.

PM me.............

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 03 May 07 - 04:49 AM

Whats up with Holmfith FF Dave (Eyre?)?

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 May 07 - 10:53 AM

Nowt Ray - but I am down in London at the "Mighty River of Song." A gang of us from the Bluebell days are going down there for a long weekend.

We were intending to combine it with the launch of Marrow Bones on the Sunday since Steve and Malcolm are also mates of course, but that's been cancelled.

Have a good one.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 May 07 - 10:55 AM

In fact I should have added - if anyone has space and would like the added attraction of a specialist bookstall at their festival I am happy to come along, anywhere, anytime, subject to other commitments.


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 10:30 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: BTNG
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 10:48 AM

Folk Song in England and my much used copy,(found in a used book store: cost, about a pound)of The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L. Lloyd, the perfect combination


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Subject: RE: Folk Song in England - Lloyd
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 07:37 AM

seeing as someone's decided to refresh this old thread, it's probably worth pointing out that the book was brought back into print by Faber, as part of their print-on-demand range.

It's a great book. I wouldn't even call it an "academic" book: it's certainly not written in any kind of jargon or cant, and it doesn't really on theory in any programmatic or doctrinaire way. Meaning that there's a strong sense of the writer's own personality in there.

More importantly, it's wholly unpretentious. Academic writing today almost always has a sense of the author's self-importance: the author has something to prove, or a school to establish.


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