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publication does a doubtful service to folksongs

The Sandman 09 Jul 07 - 01:33 PM
Ebbie 09 Jul 07 - 01:51 PM
beardedbruce 09 Jul 07 - 02:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jul 07 - 02:11 PM
beardedbruce 09 Jul 07 - 02:17 PM
Nick E 09 Jul 07 - 02:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jul 07 - 02:24 PM
Goose Gander 09 Jul 07 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 09 Jul 07 - 02:32 PM
The Sandman 09 Jul 07 - 05:05 PM
oggie 09 Jul 07 - 06:04 PM
The Sandman 09 Jul 07 - 06:17 PM
GUEST,meself 09 Jul 07 - 06:23 PM
PoppaGator 09 Jul 07 - 06:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jul 07 - 06:38 PM
Mary Humphreys 09 Jul 07 - 06:40 PM
The Sandman 09 Jul 07 - 07:00 PM
dick greenhaus 09 Jul 07 - 09:12 PM
Bert 10 Jul 07 - 12:01 AM
katlaughing 10 Jul 07 - 12:42 AM
Rowan 10 Jul 07 - 01:09 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 10 Jul 07 - 02:38 AM
Rowan 10 Jul 07 - 02:55 AM
The Sandman 10 Jul 07 - 06:08 AM
Rowan 10 Jul 07 - 07:18 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jul 07 - 07:20 AM
Rowan 10 Jul 07 - 07:37 AM
Folkiedave 10 Jul 07 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Darowyn 10 Jul 07 - 07:46 AM
The Sandman 10 Jul 07 - 08:02 AM
EBarnacle 10 Jul 07 - 08:08 AM
dick greenhaus 10 Jul 07 - 10:36 AM
Dave the Gnome 10 Jul 07 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,PMB 10 Jul 07 - 11:15 AM
Bert 10 Jul 07 - 12:02 PM
Folkiedave 10 Jul 07 - 12:09 PM
The Sandman 10 Jul 07 - 12:47 PM
The Sandman 10 Jul 07 - 01:03 PM
Barry Finn 10 Jul 07 - 05:31 PM
Folkiedave 10 Jul 07 - 05:41 PM
oggie 10 Jul 07 - 05:54 PM
The Sandman 10 Jul 07 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,IS 10 Jul 07 - 05:58 PM
The Sandman 10 Jul 07 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,IS 10 Jul 07 - 06:16 PM
Folkiedave 10 Jul 07 - 06:29 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Jul 07 - 08:55 PM
The Sandman 11 Jul 07 - 06:28 AM
The Sandman 11 Jul 07 - 06:55 AM
melodeonboy 11 Jul 07 - 07:02 AM
Folkiedave 11 Jul 07 - 09:02 AM
The Sandman 11 Jul 07 - 12:51 PM
GUEST, Mikefule 11 Jul 07 - 02:45 PM
GUEST 11 Jul 07 - 02:49 PM
Folkiedave 11 Jul 07 - 03:12 PM
The Sandman 11 Jul 07 - 03:42 PM
pattyClink 11 Jul 07 - 04:05 PM
Folkiedave 11 Jul 07 - 05:39 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Jul 07 - 05:51 PM
Rowan 11 Jul 07 - 10:18 PM
The Sandman 12 Jul 07 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 12 Jul 07 - 03:04 PM
Folkiedave 12 Jul 07 - 03:16 PM
pattyClink 12 Jul 07 - 04:24 PM
Rowan 12 Jul 07 - 07:01 PM
Folkiedave 12 Jul 07 - 07:42 PM
The Sandman 12 Jul 07 - 08:58 PM
Stringsinger 12 Jul 07 - 09:08 PM
The Sandman 13 Jul 07 - 12:01 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 13 Jul 07 - 02:08 AM
Malcolm Douglas 13 Jul 07 - 11:50 AM
The Sandman 13 Jul 07 - 08:43 PM
Rowan 06 Dec 07 - 11:04 PM
theleveller 07 Dec 07 - 03:36 AM
GUEST 07 Dec 07 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 07 Dec 07 - 11:19 AM
The Sandman 07 Dec 07 - 01:15 PM
Rowan 07 Dec 07 - 07:49 PM
The Sandman 07 Dec 07 - 08:25 PM
Art Thieme 07 Dec 07 - 09:04 PM
dick greenhaus 07 Dec 07 - 10:19 PM
M.Ted 07 Dec 07 - 10:49 PM
Rowan 08 Dec 07 - 01:18 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Dec 07 - 06:06 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 07 - 06:38 AM
Newport Boy 08 Dec 07 - 06:55 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Dec 07 - 01:34 PM
Stringsinger 08 Dec 07 - 04:12 PM
Jon Bartlett 09 Dec 07 - 03:54 AM
dick greenhaus 09 Dec 07 - 12:35 PM
Stringsinger 09 Dec 07 - 01:19 PM
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The Sandman 10 Dec 07 - 01:18 PM
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Jon Bartlett 10 Dec 07 - 04:33 PM
Rowan 10 Dec 07 - 04:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Dec 07 - 04:46 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Dec 07 - 03:53 AM
The Sandman 11 Dec 07 - 07:16 AM
Newport Boy 11 Dec 07 - 07:43 AM
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Jim Carroll 11 Dec 07 - 02:18 PM
Andrez 11 Dec 07 - 04:18 PM
Rowan 11 Dec 07 - 04:55 PM
Bonzo3legs 11 Dec 07 - 05:14 PM
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dick greenhaus 12 Dec 07 - 12:18 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 07 - 10:20 AM
dick greenhaus 12 Dec 07 - 12:16 PM
Stringsinger 12 Dec 07 - 12:47 PM
Lowden Jameswright 12 Dec 07 - 01:01 PM
Rowan 12 Dec 07 - 04:37 PM
George Papavgeris 13 Dec 07 - 12:01 AM
The Sandman 30 Sep 09 - 12:53 PM
dick greenhaus 30 Sep 09 - 04:30 PM
Art Thieme 30 Sep 09 - 04:46 PM
Don Firth 30 Sep 09 - 04:59 PM
The Sandman 30 Sep 09 - 05:06 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Sep 09 - 05:13 PM
The Sandman 30 Sep 09 - 06:07 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Sep 09 - 06:43 PM
MGM·Lion 30 Sep 09 - 11:23 PM
MGM·Lion 01 Oct 09 - 01:15 AM
LostHills 01 Oct 09 - 02:20 AM
The Sandman 01 Oct 09 - 07:55 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 09 - 08:32 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Oct 09 - 08:51 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 09 - 10:31 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Oct 09 - 11:49 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 09 - 12:51 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 09 - 12:55 PM
The Sandman 01 Oct 09 - 03:06 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 09 - 03:15 PM
Jack Blandiver 01 Oct 09 - 04:12 PM
The Sandman 01 Oct 09 - 04:29 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 09 - 04:53 PM
Jack Blandiver 01 Oct 09 - 05:20 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 09 - 07:46 PM
MGM·Lion 01 Oct 09 - 09:28 PM
The Sandman 02 Oct 09 - 06:01 AM
GUEST, Sminky 02 Oct 09 - 06:39 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Oct 09 - 08:03 AM
GUEST, Sminky 02 Oct 09 - 09:23 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Oct 09 - 10:00 AM
The Sandman 02 Oct 09 - 10:11 AM
GUEST, Sminky 02 Oct 09 - 10:20 AM
GUEST, Sminky 02 Oct 09 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Brendan Phelan 12 Oct 09 - 11:48 AM
Folkiedave 12 Oct 09 - 12:40 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 09 - 01:02 PM
Goose Gander 12 Oct 09 - 01:29 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 09 - 01:46 PM
Folkiedave 12 Oct 09 - 01:46 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 09 - 01:48 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Oct 09 - 02:05 PM
Goose Gander 12 Oct 09 - 02:18 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 09 - 03:57 PM
Goose Gander 12 Oct 09 - 05:37 PM
Jon Bartlett 12 Oct 09 - 06:46 PM
Folkiedave 12 Oct 09 - 07:13 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 09 - 07:19 PM
Goose Gander 12 Oct 09 - 11:29 PM
Folkiedave 13 Oct 09 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,synbyn no cookie 13 Oct 09 - 06:09 AM
The Sandman 13 Oct 09 - 07:53 AM
Goose Gander 13 Oct 09 - 12:05 PM
The Sandman 13 Oct 09 - 01:04 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Oct 09 - 05:48 PM
Sue Allan 13 Oct 09 - 06:21 PM
Folkiedave 13 Oct 09 - 06:28 PM
The Sandman 14 Oct 09 - 10:01 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 09 - 05:59 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 09 - 08:21 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 09 - 11:22 AM
Goose Gander 15 Oct 09 - 11:50 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 09 - 12:04 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 09 - 12:07 PM
Paul Davenport 15 Oct 09 - 12:20 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 09 - 12:44 PM
The Sandman 15 Oct 09 - 01:28 PM
The Sandman 19 Sep 11 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,SteveG 19 Sep 11 - 02:16 PM
The Sandman 19 Sep 11 - 07:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Sep 11 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,SteveG 20 Sep 11 - 12:52 PM
The Sandman 15 Oct 13 - 03:57 PM
The Sandman 15 Oct 13 - 04:01 PM
Airymouse 15 Oct 13 - 08:44 PM
dick greenhaus 15 Oct 13 - 09:48 PM
Airymouse 15 Oct 13 - 10:48 PM
Reinhard 15 Oct 13 - 11:50 PM
Tootler 16 Oct 13 - 11:44 AM
GUEST 16 Oct 13 - 11:59 AM
Stringsinger 16 Oct 13 - 12:05 PM
The Sandman 16 Oct 13 - 04:03 PM
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Subject: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 01:33 PM

Publication does a doubtful service to folk songs .it preservesthem;
but it preserves them dead,like stuffed animals in a museum,it brings them to awide audience,but this includes so many of thewrong people,from school teachers,to hill billy addicts.the wrong people are those who are bent on taking folksong out of its natural surroundings.Folksongs belong in the home,in the pub,in the focsle,in the back of atruck or a friendly verandah;not in the list of set peices at an Eisteffod,not in the schoolroom unless as a rare
treat,not between toothpaste advertisements on radio or television.In the alien atmosphereof the concert hall it takes agreat artist to preserve the life and spirit even of his own folksongs let alone those of other people.
J s.Manifold,Queensland 1962[compiler of Penguin Australian folk songs]
this raises some interesting points,that are worthy of discussion.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 01:51 PM

From my perspective I see no reason why we can't have both. There is no way that it can be taken from 'the people.'


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: beardedbruce
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 02:03 PM

"Folksongs belong in the home,in the pub,in the focsle,in the back of atruck or a friendly verandah;"

Most of what I hear ( from non-folkies) in these places have been popular songs ( Beatles, etc) that (probably) do not qualify as "folk"

(NO, I do NOT want to get into a discussion of what is "folk music"!)


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 02:11 PM

Throw away the past and what remains? damnlittle.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: beardedbruce
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 02:17 PM

It also seems to me that a number of those "folk" songs are those of people who are NOT in their "home" area- refugees/immigrants, men at sea, wanderers of all sorts. What are the " natural surroundings" for a song by a person from a mountain community who is in a large city, singing about home?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Nick E
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 02:19 PM

Poems come alive when read aloud, should we not put them on a page?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 02:24 PM

Any 'live' folk songs heard lately?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 02:28 PM

Many (most?) English-language folk songs are derived from printed sources if you trace them back far enough. So folk songs are still-born?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 02:32 PM

If folk songs hadn't been collected and published you, or I, Cap'n wouldn't have very many to sing, would we?

...end of discussion, really ...


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 05:05 PM

I presume Manifold ,means they should be passed on orally.,and if they are learnt from a book,the learner should try and hear someone singing the song in the flesh,preferably a source singer.
Or he might mean we should hear a shanty singer, singing a shanty while working at the capstan.
Shimrod,I dont know,its possible they may have survived in the oral tradition.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: oggie
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 06:04 PM

With a very few exceptions they did not survive in the oral tradition. Within those exceptions very few variants survived. How many "source singers" are there now? How many instrumentalists haven't used a tune book?

Thirty years ago Bob Pegg suggested that rugby songs were possibly the last example of the folk process and got howled down. Are you suggesting he might have been right? and in the larger scheme of things does it matter? The music has survived, anyone here wishes it hadn't?

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 06:17 PM

j s manifold is doing the suggesting not me.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 06:23 PM

"Hillbilly addicts"?! Is that something like Cowboy Junkies? Backwoods crack-heads?

What's he got against them, and why shouldn't they be allowed to sing folk songs? (Out of books, or otherwise).


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 06:26 PM

I agree that rugby songs and the like ARE the only true "folk songs" possible any more. The subcultures of ruggers, hash-house-harrier runners, etc., are among the very few contexts in the modern world wherein a true oral tradition can still be maintained.

The more conventional or respectable "folk traditions" rely on recordings, if not books, if not academic support and sanction, to maintain their existence. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it is qualitatively different from the way these same traditions were created and maintained prior to the 20th century.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 06:38 PM

Songbooks are a bit like woodpiles. They keep the songs ready until someone is able to bring them alive by using them to make a fire, when there's no wood lying around to be gathered.

The important thing to remember is that the song as printed is just a note of a single variant, or a cobbled together version made up of of different variants. The same goes for recordings. And the same goes for singers. The song itself is something broader than any of these.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 06:40 PM

Source singers have been known to refresh their failing memories from printed broadsides when they have forgotten their words. Such publications were therefore invaluable to singers, even if not used very frequently.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 07:00 PM

Ithought Hillbilly addicts as amusing along with schoolteachers.
not in the schoolroom,is perhaps the most outrageous.
although I must say, I agree about the toothpaste adverts[Icant give alogical reason,just doesnt seem right].toothpaste shanty


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 09:12 PM

I am constantly being surprised at how far my singing of a song has wandered from a printed source I may have leaned it from. Try picking up a copy of, say, The American Songbag and see for yourself how "old chestnuts" have changed since they first appeared there. Yes Virginia, there is a folk process.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Bert
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:01 AM

Folksongs belong in the home,in the pub,in the focsle,in the back of atruck or a friendly verandah...

But when I forget the words I fall back on The Digital Tradition.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:42 AM

I hope my sister who taught elementary music for umpteen years doesn't read this!

Sheesh! What a dolt.Music belongs wherever and whenever we can get it there. If folks show an interest, kindle it and watch it grow. What a snob he must've been.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 01:09 AM

Manifold, manifestly, was no snob, and definitely no dolt. In 1962 he was one of very few collectors who thought of Australia as having folk and other oral/aural traditions (songs, music etc) worthy of collecting and was working in a context where much of what little transmission was occurring, of such material, was by school teachers and some music teachers who thought Eisteddfods a fair way of encouraging pupils to learn how to perform for an audience containing more than just their peers or extended family.

By and large, Manifold canvassed most of the arguments that have appeared, a generation later, in Mudcat's threads. Dick knows all of this and is, selectively and for your delectation, "stirring". As might be said, in Ozspeak. to y'all, "Come in spinner!"

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 02:38 AM

James Hogg's mother, when she gave her songs to Sir walter Scott, told him that by writing them down he had destroyed them.
David Buchan put forward the fascinating theory that ballads had no set texts, but were plots and commonplaces which a singer took and recreated each time they were sung.
On the other hand, as has been said, the tradition has relied on print to circulate and preserve the repertoire (in some cases, many of our songs originated from print) - thereby hangs a contradiction.
As for me; I can't wait to get my hands on the Carpenter Collection.
Jm Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 02:55 AM

And a gentle reminder, intended politely; if you want to start a conversation with what appears to be a contentious quote, it would be a courtesy to the author of the quote to reproduce, exactly, the words and punctuation used by the author of the quote. This has the double benefit of ensuring that the author is not misrepresented and that subsequent readers understand the quote correctly.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 06:08 AM

Rowan,that is what I have done ,Check it out.
Of course this was written in 1962.technology has moved on.
Iam not stirring, Ithought his comments inteesting [some Iagreewith some Idont]and worthy of discussion.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 07:18 AM

Greetings Captain. I regard your response as disingenuous.
However, leaving my pedantic notions of spelling and punctuation aside I offer the following as relevant context in which to posit your quote, which is from the "Introduction" to "The Penguin Australian Song Book" compiled and with notes by John Manifold, published by Penguin Books, Ringwood, Victoria, in 1964. The Introduction, written in 1962, has a total length of 43.4 column-centimetres and the quoted part (3.7 column-centimetres long) occurs after 34.0 column centimetres of discussion of the various geographical, temporal, social, economic and historic contexts of the material, both individual items and genres.

The quote offered by Dick is immediately followed by (in 3.7cm);

"I sometimes wish, in vain, that we could keep up the strict etiquette that was observed by the real bush singers. A young man used to learn his songs from the acknowledged singer of the district, and might eventually earn permission to sing them to the limited 'public' of the bush wherever or whenever the acknowledged singer was not present. Some few songs were common property; others, 'songs from the books', were rather contemptuously exempted from the rule; but in the main this apprenticeship system prevailed, at least among men. When the public performer of a 'treason song' might earn a stretch in jail, it was a point of honour to perform it properly.

"Today I suppose all songs are 'songs from books', and the songs from this book lose their old status accordingly. It would be nice to think that this demotion might be temporary, and that they might walk off the page back into oral circulation again over a wider stretch of country than the old method could cover.

"That this has often been done, can be seen by many of the notes to the individual songs, where I have set out to give the source and background of many oral performances which have led to the inclusion of the songs in this book."

It would appear, from what I have remembered of some of Dick's postings, that John's wish "that they might walk off the page back into oral circulation again over a wider stretch of country than the old method could cover" has been granted, as Dick appears to have sung at least some of them in Britain and Ireland.

1962 in Oz was a time before our participation in much of the feminist revolution of the mid-late 60s and there were precious few singers of what all of us might accept as traditional songs; at the time I was singing songs I'd learned from the oral tradition but, outside the domestic circle, that tradition was centred on singing as done in bushwalking circles which greatly resembled (in character if not material) the rugby singing mentioned in the posts above. The apprenticeship system described by Manifold still operated in such circles and I had to earn my right to sing particular songs and wouldn't lead them when their 'owner/s' were present.

As a collection, Manifold's book was most influential in getting the songs out to a wider public; its shape made it easy to stick in a bushwalking pack and I've lost count of the number I've sent to friends overseas who want a snapshot of where some of the tradition was and came from. I may well have got the last of Angus and Robertson's stock to send to a friend in Columbia SC.

Contrary to what some have inferred from Dick's original posting. I saw that quote as a rather early warning of the dangers that other Mudcatters have also noticed; the likelihood of fossilisation of a dynamic tradition when aspects of it get caught in the aspic of the bound book or the CD and stay fossilised. And I suspect Dick and I agree on that.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 07:20 AM

Stirring isn't necessarily a bad thing to do, either in cookery or conversation.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 07:37 AM

G'day Kevin. Yeah, I appreciate a good stir too. But I was a bit taken aback by some of the responses from people who hadn't a clue about John Manifold. So I got my copy out from under the midden I call my study and cluttered up the bandwidth with some, hopefully explanatory, context.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 07:44 AM

We know that most folk songs that we sing today were derived from printed sources i.e. broadsheets. So is it OK according to what you have just said, if we publish songs one by one?

"Harry had a large collection of song books and sheets...... 'These consisted of newspaper sheets of songs, broadsides, chapbooks (mostly by Such) and songs in manuscript. These latter were written on loose sheets of paper and in two or three school-type exercise books... Overall the collection was quite sizeable - I suppose about 300/400 songs and ballads.' Bob added 'Harry was quick to point out that he did not write or read well - in fact he said he learnt to "draw" his signature so that he could sign documents... though he would admit to having his mother or someone else read the words of songs to him so that he could learn them.'"

From the sleeve notes of the Topic record of Harry.

We know that many songs were taken down from singers by collectors beginning with John Braodwood and passing on to Sharp, Baring-Gould and other collectors like Mike Yates and Jim Carroll. Are you suggesting that these people should not have disseminated those songs which they collected?

Many singers take collated versions of songs from different sources. How would they do this without books?

And finally Dick do you believe that books on music instruction for instruments also simply preserve techniques and that they shouldn't be published.

Finally let me declare an interest - I sell second-hand books about folk music. Perhaps Dick is wanting to put me out of business!!


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: GUEST,Darowyn
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 07:46 AM

Surely, it's not the publication itself which is the problem, it's the tendency for a proportion of the population to regard anything "written down in black and white" as if it was a fundamentalist's Bible.
There is an obsession with the idea of a "correct version" which leads those with such an attitude to cling like limpets to a published version. A key factor in aural tradition is its fluidity, the fact the different versions occur in different areas, in different cultures and subcultures and at different times.
If you look at a published version of a song as holy writ, it has been fossilised as far as you are concerned.
If you look at it and think, "That's good. I could do something with that" then the song is still moving on.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 08:02 AM

Dave ,you misunderstand me ,of course I am not against books. neither have I ever said I am .I thought it was an interesting Thought provoking article.
I am in strong disagreement with Manifold,about his attitude to traditional music in school. I also think folksongs belong to the people,and disagree with his exclusivity,I also said that I didnt feel right about folksongs being used for adverts[it is just a gut feeling].
Rowan,I agree with your last point.
CAN Posters please understand, that just because I start a topic off,itdoes not mean I entirely agree with the authors sentiments.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: EBarnacle
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 08:08 AM

If you look in almost any of the major collections, you will find several variants on almost any of the songs. Many of them are fragments.

A classic example is Sir Patrick Spens. The version we were all presented with in school is woefully incomplete if you go to the collections of either the Appalachian or Anglo/Scottish collections. On the other hand, it is possible to create a concordance from these which recreates something which may be closer to the original--all xx verses of it.

Is the song frozen by the act of publication? No, but at least one version of it is preserved.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 10:36 AM

Jim Carroll-
The James Madison Carpenter collection (original recordings) is available from CAMSCO Music on the Folktrax label. Fascinating collection, but horrible sound quality (recorded in the 1920s on a Dictaphone). 2 CDs, $18.00 (US) per.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 10:59 AM

We were talking the other day of the oral tradition and the idea that by the simple act of recording, by whatever media, the oral tradition ceases. My daughter came up with the best idea I have heard in a long time. Because the past IS important and because, without records, knowing how people did things in the part is impossible, we should indeed record folk music (Whatever that is!). However once it is recorded the record should then be removed from all public domain and be placed under lock and key so that only historians and those interested in what used to happen can see or hear it. Anyone saying this is how it was, is and always should be needs to be locked away with it:-)

I would agree with the premise of the thread title but qualify it somewhat. Publication does a doubtful service to music - But only when those who insist that adherance to the publication is the only way gain control!

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 11:15 AM

Was there ever a purely oral tradition, since literacy became more common than not, about the Reformation? yes, people learned songs at their mother's knee, but whwre did mother get her songs from? Bllad sheets were being published from the 16th century onwards, and though only the tiniest fraction of these has survived, many of the "traditional" songs can be traced back to these. And probably the publishers got them orally from street or pub singers.

And every now and then, someone rooting around in a collection of old books comes across some jovial shepherd's (*) little collection of handwritten songs, whatever had taken his fancy that he wanted to sing.. a little gold mine.

To my mind, it's not the means of transmission that preserves or ossifies the songs, but the authority given to the source. A song is just as surely fossilised if the only accepted way to sing it is in accordance with the source, whether that be written or oral. and written songs come alive when singers internalise them and make them their own.

This is incidentally why I rather disagree with the author of the song in the trhead down there (Dublin in my tears was it?), saying that as he wrote it, other versions must be wrong. He should be flattered that it has entered the traditon, and accept that, as a mark of life, it will change. Though he has the right to protest if people traduce the spirit of the song; and has every right to claim his whack if anyone makes serious money out of it.

(*) or jolly farmer, or tinker, or miller, or collier laddie, or servant girl, or whatever.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Bert
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:02 PM

Oral tradition is prehistoric, one has to keep up with the times.

Just look what modern sound equipment has done for American Square dancing. It has allowed it to be a moving living tradition and not just some museum piece.

Sheesh I even write down my own songs.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:09 PM

Publication does a doubtful service to folk songs .it preserves them;
but it preserves them dead,like stuffed animals in a museum,it brings them to a wide audience,but this includes so many of the wrong people,from school teachers,to hill billy addicts.the wrong people are those who are bent on taking folksong out of its natural surroundings.


Dave ,you misunderstand me ,of course I am not against books. neither have I ever said I am

Sorry Dick, clearly I made the mistake of believing what you had written.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:47 PM

it was written by J.S.MANIFOLD.as I made clear.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 01:03 PM

Folkie Dave,if you had read Rowans post,and the original post properly,it is quite clear who wrote it .I state quite clearly that it is from the compiler of the Penguin book of Australian Folk songs,.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Barry Finn
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 05:31 PM

"The most important music is the music that you bring with you" said by me.

Barry


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 05:41 PM

No Dick - thanks to your somewhat idiosyncratic spelling and punctuation it wasn't clear at all.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: oggie
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 05:54 PM

It is possible that publication does the greatest service of all in preserving what is written, heard or collected. Publication that is in ink on paper. In 50 years time do you expect to be able to read the DT? Will you be able to play an LP? Can you now play an 8-track casstte?

In 1986 (I think that's the right date) there was a school's project to create a New Doomsday Book, by 2000 the format it was stored in was obsolete and at great expense some new decoders had to be written. The problem is getting worse. The only way to preserve, in it's current form, and I accept that's another debate, is to make paper and ink copies. Listen to some of Nic Jones' versions of classic ballards (say "Anachie Gordon") and then tell me it's not been of service.

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtfiul service to
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 05:56 PM

Folkie Dave,you are a time waster.
the punctuation and spelling is copied directly from Manifold,its perfectly clear to everyone else.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST,IS
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 05:58 PM

Manifold's rant is nonsense. Didn't make sense in '62, doesn't make sense now - and I think (hope) you know it, Birdseye. A serious question for you: why do you raise the matter now? Just something that's preoccupying you? I'd like to know where you stand on the matter.

Respectfully, Guest


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 06:09 PM

I made my position clear in an earlier post.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST,IS
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 06:16 PM

Birdseye, which post?

I don't understand the term 'source singer.' It implies some kind of cut-off point between some idealised Golden Age of Song and now, which I just don't think is the case. I sing songs, and have learnt them from various sources, some of whom you might call 'source singers' and some probably not.

But then, returning to the title of this thread, I have problems with the term 'folksongs' also, and with the word 'folk' more generally.

So, anyway, please Birdseye tell me what 'source singer' means to you.

Guest


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 06:29 PM

The punctuation and spelling is copied directly from Manifold,its perfectly clear to everyone else.

No it wasn't Dick.

Manifold did not write "folk songs .it preservesthem;"

Manifold did not write "dead,like stuffed animals in a museum,it brings them to awide audience,but this includes so many of thewrong".

There are two examples.

Manifold (or his editors) leaves gapes after commas, like most people do.

Manifold (or his editors) understands the use of the apostrophe.

Manifold (or his editors) puts gaps between words and does not run them together.

Manifold (or his editors) does not put one of his initials in capital letters and one in lower case like you did.

Manifold understands the use of a full stop and beginning a new sentence with a capital letter after it.

So please don't tell me that it is copied directly from Manifold - it isn't.

(source HTML corrected [backslash inserted]) by joeclone


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 08:55 PM

It was also selective and incomplete, and therefore seriously misleading; it misrepresented Manifold in a quite inexcusable fashion. Whether this was deliberate or the result of incompetence is hard to tell.

Rowan has provided the proper context, so I'd suggest that anyone wishing to make informed comment reads Dick's barely legible original post in the light of the rest of what Manifold wrote.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 06:28 AM

Malcolm Douglas ,a duplication of ROWANS post ,if you wish to have ago at me,Iwould be happy to meet you personally for a duel[JOKE].
Malcolm,you are unecessarily patronising,as has been pointed out to you before, by another poster.
Folkie Dave ,We must have different editions of the book,in the book in my possesion ,he most certainly does say[Publication does a doubtful service to folksongs.It preserves them ;but itpreserves them dead,like stuffed animals in a museum.It brings them to a wide audience;but this includes so many of the wrong people]
That is manifolds exact words, exact punctuation,so stop wasting time,and stop nitpicking and trying to score points.,
the fact that I used commas instead of semicolons,does not alter the meaning of Manifolds words,The meaning is perfectly clear.
Malcolm Douglas,if you are genuinely concerned about quoting out of context,why not quote the whole article,all two and a half pages of the introduction[particuarly the preceding two paragraphs which deal with Patersons poems/songs and how they walked off into the bush and became folk tunes ].
Rowan himself is being selective,just as I was .


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 06:55 AM

Malcolm Douglas,Rowans post is not the rest of what Manifold wrote,there are two paragraphs before that are relevant, here they are .
Paterson made another contributionto our folk music too,quite distinct from this one.Several of his own poems refused to lie flat on the printed page,but walked off into the bushand grew themselves folktunes.Some of Lawsons did the same.
Atthe time,Paterson believed that the bush songs were threatened with speedy extinction.The danger seems to be more imminent today.The old songs are tough,and die as hard as snakes do.Sometypes of song which fill a lot of space in his volume are less common now;we hear for instance,far fewer Jackaroo songsthan he did.Treason songs on the other hand,still clandestine in 1905,have been more easily collected in recent years.Balladswhich he noticed asbeing sung to overseas tunes have since grown tunes of their own.some of his texTs look unweildy,as we havebecome accustomedto versions prunedand compressedby anoyther thirty years of singing.Into the bargain,thereis quite acrop of new ballads sprung from the old stock.But the changes are all normal and natural songs of life.
this just as relevant is as Rowans addition.
and now it is all in context ,it doesnt alter the fact that Manifolds comments about the exclusivity[no schoolteachers,no hillbilly addicts,not to be taught in the schoolroomunless as arare treat are questionable.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: melodeonboy
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 07:02 AM

"To my mind, it's not the means of transmission that preserves or ossifies the songs, but the authority given to the source. A song is just as surely fossilised if the only accepted way to sing it is in accordance with the source, whether that be written or oral. and written songs come alive when singers internalise them and make them their own.", says Guest PMB.

Spot on! Those two sentences say far more than all the nitpicking and backbiting and worrying about what precisely Manifold did or didn't say or where he put his semi-colons!


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 09:02 AM

Dick the punctuation and typing errors in your postings are legion. Manifold even.

So please do not suggest they are in the original when you have copied something.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 12:51 PM

Folkie Dave,take melodeon boys advice.
Manifolds point[asIunderstand it] is the text is only a skeleton,and that with modern technology[the computer perhaps]theycan be circulated far quicker and over a wider area,than when they were passed on orally as in Patersons time.
However he contradicts himself IMO by stating that they only belong in certain places,and shouldnt be sung by schoolteachers or hillbilly addicts[hillbilly music is folk music ClarenceAshley Roscoe Holcomb,Jean Ritchie.
HE SAYS.the wrong people are those who are bent on taking it out of its natural surroundings.
So on the one hand he says he hopes the songs will leave the page and pass into oral circulation over a wider stretch of country than the old method could cover,.but then he says only certain people can sing them,and then only in their natural surroundings[whatever that is][does that mean only miners can sing mining songs]that means Ewan Maccoll shouldnt sing Springhill disaster.
the last line is pure boloney,people will sing the songs wherever they like, regardless of their occupation,because they are the songs of the folk or people.
If you dont want certain people to sing the songs you shouldnt publish them in a book.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 02:45 PM

The problem isn't so much the writing of the songs as the fact that some people attach exaggerated importance to the written version. I was once criticised in this forum for not quoting the "official version" of a well known song - I had written the words from memory.

A good singer uses the words like a good cook uses a recipe. A bad singer uses the words like a chemist uses a formula.

One of my best friends, a fine singer, always has the words open in front of him when he sings, in case he forgets. He seldom forgets, but he very seldom sings the actual words on the page in front of him either.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 02:49 PM

Dick Greenhaus,
Don't really want to have another go at Peter Kennedy but I wonder why he had the Carpenter Collection in his catalogue!
I know that I was asked to send him a set of the recordings for him to review for the Folk Song Journal - which I did. They shortly afterwards appeared for sale on Folktrax and there was a degree of disquiet about it at the time.
Was this sorted out at the time or is this just another case of letting sleeping dogs lie.
Best,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 03:12 PM

Jim I'm not in the business of defending Peter Kennedy - I do not know enough to make a judgement.

But the Carpenter Collection as I understand it, is huge, so it cannot be the one at the American Folklife Centre or Sheffield University.

This is what I understand by the Carpenter Collection.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 03:42 PM

FOLKIE DAVE, were you not selling books from his estate?.
Ihave been called an apologist for PeterKennedy,I appreciate his collecting, but having listened to Jim Carroll and Fred Mcormick,I wish he had treated his source singers better.
I wouldnt have touched his estate with a barge pole.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: pattyClink
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 04:05 PM

PoppaGator (or other answerer)what the heck are "hash-house-harrier runners"?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 05:39 PM

For a short period of time I was selling some of his books on commission. (As I made clear at the time).

That was instead of them going to local bookdealers who would have given his ill wife and his son
next to nothing for some very valuable books.

I knew nothing of the man having hardly met him.

I wish everyone had treated singers better - including me.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 05:51 PM

The Carpenter Collection I referred to consisted of the recordings of Sea Music that Carpenter made in England. I know not how Kennedy got it, but it's the only source I've been able to find that's in print.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Rowan
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 10:18 PM

Hash House Harriers may differ from the definition following but generally they are groups of people (originally blokes) who get together regularly for a cross country run followed by conviviality and libations. Originally it was an expat British thing but there are outbreaks all over the place.

Now, back to Dick's interpretation of Manifold and his suggestion I was being selective. Given the size of the text I regarded my summarization of the main body preceding Dick's 'quote' as an adequate saving of space while conveying the message. DIck is correct about the Lawson and Paterson texts entering the tradition and I was surprised to hear an example come back to me (a Lawson text which was published in 1891 and collected more than half a century later from someone who'd heard it sung in 1893 in the backblocks of west Qld; I cobbled a modification, sang it in the Singer's Club in 1977 and heard my effort from a bloke who introduced it as an Irish version. C'est la vie.)

While Manifold's words were replicated in Dick's post I thought his idisyncratic expression did a disservice to both Manifold's argument and Dick's proposition so I thought it best to put both into the context that would allow Manifold's argument to be properly understood and thus properly debated. It's the academic training, I know.

I suspect (but don't "know") that what was really getting up Manifold's nose when he wrote the words that Dick presented was the steady gentrification of music that certainly was not (in his view and despite contributions from both Paterson and Lawson) music of the "working class", hence the disparaging of teachers and Eisteddfods in the one breath.

So it's with some irony that most of the current population that owns his books, sings the songs and argues about their attributes (real or imagined) is much more gentrified and "middle class" than the milieu Manifold preserved. Australian shearers these days don't sing these songs and neither do Australian miners, unless they're performing in a bush band. And I think I've exemplified the gentrification of the Oz folk scene elsewhere on Mudcat.

I think the point Dick might have been trying to elevate for debate is worth discussing but he could have done it without (what in Oz politics is known as) the 'dog whistle'.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jul 07 - 10:47 AM

Ijust wanted to discuss it because it was interesting.Rowan you put your points,in an acceptable and civilised manner,Ihave no problem with that.
However the attacks from Malcolm Douglas and Folkie dave were something else,and added nothing to the debate,that hadnt already been said.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jul 07 - 03:04 PM

Dick/Dave
The Carpenter Collection is a massive manuscript collection of songs and stories collected in the US and the UK (mainly ballads from Scotland). It includes 20 odd 7" reel-to-reel tapes of the singers (often a couple of verses only of each song).
It is at present being worked on by Julia Bishop and others (Sheffield).
As I explained, Kennedy reviewed it for the Folk Song Journal and promptly put the tapes he had been sent (by me) up for sale in his catalogue.
That was how he got the ones that are presumably now for sale on Dick's catalogue.
Judge for yourself.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Jul 07 - 03:16 PM

Jim,

The website seems to indicate the work is finished now.

Julia no longer works at Sheffield and hasn't done so for some time. She is at the Elphinstone Institute in Aberdeen.

Sorry Peter Kennedy treated your tapes in such a cavalier fashion.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: pattyClink
Date: 12 Jul 07 - 04:24 PM

Thanks Rowan for the hash answer!


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Jul 07 - 07:01 PM

My pleasure, Patty.

Dick, I didn't interpret anything that Malcolm or Dave wrote as other than civilised but perhaps there are cultural filters at work that us southerners don't immediately perceive.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Jul 07 - 07:42 PM

No cultural filters I am aware of......

Dave


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jul 07 - 08:58 PM

Dave Eyre, idiosyncratic spelling,[untrue].
punctuation, commas instead of semicolons, does not in this case alter the meaning.,
the post seemed to be understood by everyone else.
The omission of that which followed my original post,was no more important than the omission of the two paragraphs before it.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 Jul 07 - 09:08 PM

The best way to learn a song is aurally from a person who knows the history in person. How many of us really have that opportunity? If I could sit at the feet of Big Bill Broonzy, Jean Ritchie or Buell Kazee and learn the song first hand I would be happy.

So...we go to recordings and books. Publication preserves some songs as in the case of Barbara Allen which was forgotten for many years until it reached print. Many a "Broadside" ballad was scribbled out on a piece of paper and learned that way.

The doubtful service is when people become "paper trained". They don't have the courage to deviate from the "score" and do their own version. I have no problem changing lyrics when I think I can improve on them and that goes for all the written and anonymous songs that I know. The best songwriters don't need any changes. I won't get into that mess o' beans.

I think one of the doubtful services is trying to imitate and be something you're not.
Style is one thing but making your voice crack or squeak because you think it sounds authentic is phony.

Learn 'em anyway you can is my tune.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 12:01 AM

to stop any more time wasting, nar narnar childish stuff from FolkieDave, Eisteddfod instead of eisteffod,well if that isnt nitpicking.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 02:08 AM

Dave,
I think the eventual aim of the team working on Carpenter was (or should be) to get the collection in a state for publication.
If this is the case, it will, in my opinion, be one of the most important collections ever made generally available.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 11:50 AM

The Carpenter website is the result of the initial indexing project only.

Preparing the materials themselves for publication is obviously a very large task requiring funding of the sort not usually available to the folk arts in Britain; the physical collection, however, belongs to the Library of Congress, and American funding allows the project to continue. The aim is eventually to make the raw materials available in digitised form via the web (the initial digitisation is already completed), and to publish a full print edition with the appropriate scholarly apparatus.

This is liable to take some time, though we must hope not as long as Greig-Duncan, which took about twenty years to complete. I don't know what stage the team has reached, but I do know that the work continues.

The recordings Peter Kennedy was selling copies of are sometimes reproduced at the wrong speed (the late Bruce Olson went into technical details at some point; I forget whether here or on the BALLAD-L list) and there may be a question as to their legality. Probably the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, as the owners of the original recordings, would be able to advise.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 08:43 PM

Frank Hamilton,I agree with you,earlier today I was listening to a recording of Lady Diamond[The vinyl lp was for sale on folk yourself],with Martin Carthy playing guitar and I had forgotten that I had written a new tune for the ballad.
like Manifold I regard the music as a SKELETON, I know Iam not alone in Thinking like this,Andy Irvine put a new tune to Willy of the Winsbury,that has entered the folk tradition.,but of course without Childs published words,he could not have done so.
Finally might I say, how much I like the Penguin book of australian folksongs.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Rowan
Date: 06 Dec 07 - 11:04 PM

From the Ausfolk list:
Hindsight, ABC Radio National

On Sunday December 9th, 2pm, repeated on Thursday, December 13th, 1pm, there will be a broadcast of a radio program (duly available for the following four weeks online at the link), where Tom Morton explores a forgotten chapter in Australia's musical history -- through the life of a man who worked to rescue it from oblivion.

John Manifold was a collector of Australian folksongs, a musician, and an internationally acclaimed poet.

Manifold was one of the pioneering figures in the Australian folk revival of the 1950s -- a movement which believed folksongs carried within them an alternative, subversive version of our history.

In many ways he was an unlikely champion of the people's music -- born into a family of wealthy pastoralists in Victoria, he went to Cambridge, became a communist and worked for British intelligence in WW2 -- and was kept under surveillance by ASIO in the 50s.

And as we'll hear, he not only collected songs, he also shaped and in some cases constructed them.

Hindsight, ABC Radio National,
Sunday December 9th, 2pm, repeated Thursday, December 13th, 1pm
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/hindsight/

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 03:36 AM

Just seen this thread for the first time. Last week I got the s**t kicked out of me on the BBC board for suggesting soemthing similar - that folk music is, essentially, the music of the people and not an art form for professional performers. (Runs away and hides under table awaiting another flood of abuse).


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 05:02 AM

Why not in the school room? What is awful about that?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 11:19 AM

These days, if we had to rely strictly on the "oral tradition" to promulgate folk songs, the cupboard would be a bit bare, I reckon. Like many others, I have "adopted" a fair number of songs from other performers and from records. But, were it not for library sources, numerous books, pamphlets and the like, I know I would have a far slimmer repertoire, and I would be the poorer for it.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 01:15 PM

Subject: publication does a doubtful service to
From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 01:33 PM

Publication does a doubtful service to folk songs .it preservesthem;
but it preserves them dead,like stuffed animals in a museum.It brings them to awide audience;but this includes so many of thewrong people,from school teachers,to hill billy addicts.The wrong people are those who are bent on taking folksong out of its natural surroundings.Folksongs belong in the home,in the pub,in the focsle,in the back of a truck or a friendly verandah;not in the list of set peices at an Eisteddfod,not in the schoolroom unless as a rare
treat,not between toothpaste advertisements on radio or television.In the alien atmosphereof the concert hall it takes agreat artist to preserve the life and spirit even of his own folksongs let alone those of other people.
J. S.Manifold,Queensland 1962[compiler of Penguin Australian folk songs]
I have now corrected the punctuation and idiosyncratic spelling mistakes that so upset a couple of Earlier contributors[Folkie Dave.
[It was also selective and incomplete, and therefore seriously misleading; it misrepresented Manifold in a quite inexcusable fashion. Whether this was deliberate or the result of incompetence is hard to tell.

Rowan has provided the proper context, so I'd suggest that anyone wishing to make informed comment reads Dick's barely legible original post in the light of the rest of what Manifold wrote.]


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Rowan
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 07:49 PM

I posted the advert for the ABC (Oz) program in this thread because it was the only one that I saw as"relevant", in that the program (which I haven't yet heard) might give those on this thread an opportunity to hear what someone else says about Manifold.

From memory, the part of Dick's 7 December post that appears between square brackets (under the date of 9 July) is a quote of Malcolm Douglas' posted on 10 July, with the rest of what Manifold wrote hotlinked to some of the rest of Manifold's published 1962 Introduction to the Penguin Book of Australian Folk Songs.

Following the discussion of Dick's proposition properly will require some recursiveness or reading the thread right through; the later would be easier. But I await the broadcast with some interest.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 08:25 PM

Rowan ,as I think you understand, I was not trying to rubbish Manifold,but trying to Stimulate discussion.
anyone that has a copy of the Penguin Book of Australian Folksongs,and reads Manifolds introduction can judge for themselves.
here is his next paragraph.
[Isometimes wish,in vain,that we could keep up the strict etiquette that was observed by the real bush singers.A young man used to learn his songs from the acknowledged singer of the district,and might eventually earn permission to sing them to the limited public of the bush,wherever or wherever the acknowledged singer was not present.Some few songs were common property;others,songs from books,were rather contemptuously exempted fromthe rule;but in the main this apprenticeship system prevailed at least among men.When the public performer of a treason song might earn a stretch in jail,it was apoint of honour to perform it properly.]
I strongly disagree with Manifold about folksong not belonging in the school room,furthermore publication does not preserve them like,stuffed animals in a museum.Publication of traditional songs and tunes enables them to be circulated further,it is then up to the reader, to realise that both the tune and the story is open to alteration.
we must also realise that when songs /tunes were passed on only by oral means,some of the alterations were not just accidents or misheard mistakes,but were deliberate improvements.Dick Miles














;


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 09:04 PM

To all,

Yes, and no.

Art


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 10:19 PM

In pre-publication days, I'd guess that most folks who sang knew, maybe, a dozen or so songs. How many do you know?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Dec 07 - 10:49 PM

I think that folk music belongs to whoever wants it, regardless as to what anyone else happens to think about it. You can collect, record, notate, and transcribe songs, but you can't make people like them. You can sing them, or not, and others will sing them, or not. Oh, yes, you can publish them, too. And people will either read the book, or...well, you know.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 01:18 AM

Relax, Dick. I'm not having a go at you but trying to help interested parties follow the ins and outs of a discussion.

CHeers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 06:06 AM

Cap'n,
The idea that there is a 'right and wrong' person to receive information - of any kind - is disturbing, to say the least.
Who is to be the judge - you - me George Bush; come on Cap'n, you can do better than raise a silly statement made forty five years ago.
This smacks of the mysterious 'big league' which first came to light in a Musical Traditions review some years ago, presumably a self-appointed elite who decides what is good-bad or right-wrong on behalf of the rest of us.
As far as print is concerned, I have never met a source singer who was not influenced in one way or another by print. The Irish song repertoire would be very much impoverished without the existence of the garlands and song books that could be bought at the fairs and markets up to the first half of the 20th century, or the ballad sheets that were sold on the streets and in the pubs, or even the still ongoing song page in Ireland's Own.
Putting songs in a book does preserve them, but not like stuffed animals.
The future of published songs lays entirely in the hands of the people who get hold of the books.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 06:38 AM

I agree with you JC,.
could you email me sometime about a different matter,so I can contact you.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Newport Boy
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 06:55 AM

Dick Greenhaus posted:

'In pre-publication days, I'd guess that most folks who sang knew, maybe, a dozen or so songs. How many do you know?'

I'm not sure I agree with you, Dick. If you're saying that, in pre-publication days, singers didn't learn more than a dozen songs, I don't think that's true. When James "Brasser" Copper wrote down all the family songs that he knew, there were many more than a few dozen.

Some singers only learn a few songs, others have a large number. I don't think the form of the original matters - if you want to learn a song, you learn it.

I think you're on stronger ground if you say that most singers don't sing more than a dozen songs. I know many songs which I sing to myself, but I can't do them justice in performance.

In my active days singing and running a folk club (1970s), I wrote a repertoire list. These were only the songs that I could stand up and sing without notebook or rehearsal. The list ran to over 200 songs. The majority had been learned from records or books, but there were 20 or so from family and other singers.

Wherever the songs came from, I usually wrote the words down to learn them. I still have some of the postcards and scraps of paper that I carried around for the few days it took to commit them to memory.

I really don't sing in public now, but I think I probably still have half that list in memory. Plus at least 30 male voice choir pieces and most of the male solos from the Gilbert & Sullivan operas. My party piece (which I was not often allowed to perform) was a solo rendition of the whole of 'Trial by Jury'.

Phil


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 01:34 PM

Cap'n,
Have done so - think I got it right,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Dec 07 - 04:12 PM

Sam Hinton, the folksong performer, scholar, Renaissance man and brilliant made an important observation. Barbara Allen would be lost in the folk tradition had it not been set
in print and subsequently revived. The whole notion of what constitutes a folk singer in America came from the literary man who used it to describe what he did in concert, Carl Sandburgh. John Lomax would find it uphill sledding to get his cowboy ballads out in print and as a result, there is an interest in this kind of occupational song that gives rise to the annual meeting of cowboy poets.

The folklorists and academicians serve an important function in the appreciation of folk music. The stuff pouring out of pubs and bars can be said to be kind of a mish-mosh. I do agree that folk music is best communicated on a personal level, people-to-people rather than frozen accounts in books.

Bartok and Schubert recognized that folk music was unique and studied it academically.
Also Villalobos and the composer Chavez from Mexico. Stravinsky too.

Publication amplifies but by no means substitutes for a personal experience of folk music.
What does a doubtful service is to isolate any information coming from any source as being valueless.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 03:54 AM

I'm just listening to the fascinating piece on Manifold on ABC.

I think that there are two traditions in "folk music". Think of a Venn diagram, of two circles, intersecting. The first circle, what might be called "the old tradition", contains a) the tradition itself - the oral transmission of song and story; b) the locus of this transmission (e.g. shearing shed, logging camp, the pub, army camp, rugby shower rooms, fo'c'sle); c) publications used by the this tradition (e.g. broadsides, occasionally notebooks, etc.); and d) the singers themselves.

The second circle is what might be called "the new tradition", which contains a) the tradition itself - the oral transmission of song and story; b) the locus of this transmission (folk club, folk festival, academic folklore departments and conferences); c) publications used by this tradition (books, CD/LP/DVD/MP3's/cassettes, radio/TV/internet, and schools); and d) the singers themselves.

These two circles overlap very little: in the area common to both are the singers of "the old tradition" (now called "tradition bearers" or the like) and the publications of "the old tradition".

Two points to consider:
1. These are two circles, and not one.
2. There are no moral connotations associated with either circle: neither circle is "right" or "wrong" (whatever these words might mean).

Manifold was a passionate, intelligent, motivated and tenacious intellectual and he admired the first circle very much: its intelligence, its community, its musical code. From what I have read by and about him, I gather that he hated what had sometimes happened to "the old tradition" – its transformation by some into middle-class piano-accompanied parlour music, its ossification and dissemination in ossified form by print, and its falling into the hands of professional performers.

Capt. Birdseye's original post, and the preceding and following paragraphs in the introduction to PBAFS, nicely display his awareness of the existence of thee two intersecting circles, and his dialectical recognition that they both helped and hindered each other. Helped: because the second circle needed the first as material, and the first needed the second as a preservative. Hindered: because the second's preservation of the first ossified a living tradition, and the first's "authority" limited the free creativity of the second.

I share many of his concerns. As a researcher, a former teacher and a historian, I have often thought that we'd learn better if we closed down all the schools, the folk tradition would be better if there were no books or recordings, and that we'd understand history better if we blew up all libraries and museums. "The tradition of all dead generations", a German philosopher once said, "weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living ..." I take Manifold to be expressing in the words of his already quoted just this dialectical awareness. I think that Capt. Birdseye did us all a service by opening this discussion.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 12:35 PM

Jon-
I'd go along with the intersecting circles idea, but to my mind the first circle would consist of music played, sung and performed to members of your own cultural community, and the other music plyed, sung and performed for "outsiders". The fist circle is what I consider to be folk. And the area of intersection can become vanishingly small.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 01:19 PM

The future of folkmusic in the consciousness of the public relies upon the intersection of
the Venn diagrams. If tradition informs a small group of people who represent a culture that will eventually be replaced by another one more tuned to today, then this tradition has a comparitively short shelf life. If however, this tradition is taken up and responded to by in an outside culture, it may mutate and change but still be around years from now. If it is studied and respected the baby won't be thrown out with the bathwater.

The romantic view that somehow a Rousseauian approach to the return to primitive modes of learning as a viable means to preserve something seems misguided to me. Information comes from many different sources and why isolate how it is disseminated?

There are many folk "agendas" some coming from academia, some coming from active performers, and some who don't care too much about knowing about the songs but just enjoy them, all have a place and when these elements intersect, you have a vital folk culture. To try to separate these elements into convenient slices seems to be antithetical
to a vibrant living folk culture.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 01:26 PM

Thanks for that pointer to the John Manifold programme, Rowan. I'm listening to it now.

It strikes me that some of us do make heavy weather about classifying and pigeonholing and drawing lines between different ways of doing that. All that's fun and can even be useful - but we shouldn't give them do much weight. As the saying goes, don't go taking the map for the territory.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Andrez
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 03:49 PM

I only came across this thread today and so missed sundays broadcast. I'll make sure I catch the repeat on Thursday and listen and reflect and learn. Thanks so much for publicising this program Rowan... and Radio National of course. I dips me lid to yez both!


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 06:24 PM

You don't have to wait for the repeat, Azizi - just click on the link Rowan gave and you can listen to it at your convenience.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 07:20 PM

Andrez, not Azizi - sorry.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 01:18 PM

ThankyouRowan ,a fascinating programme.
One thing that struck me,the importance of these collectors, many of whom were communists according to ASIO,as were Lloyd and MacColl,and how much we are indebted to all these people who were driven by an evangelical belief.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 02:05 PM

I liked the bit where the secret service spy file reported that the man had broken his false teeth...


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 04:33 PM

Now if only we could get into our own MI5 and MI6 files...

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 04:33 PM

I was very pleased to have met many of the people mentioned in the broadcast and I have no doubt they influenced my own appreciation of how society worked and how it could be improved. And it wasn't just in Oz; Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Cecil Sharp were all tarred with a similar brush.

Back to the thread and the broadcast; they also influenced my participation in the folk scene both as a transmitter and interpreter. Some of you may be interested to know that Keith McKenry was the person, in the broadcast, who was compiling histories by trawling through ASIO's files. Before he retired he was an Assistant Commissioner in the Taxation Office but is well known in the Oz folk scene as a poet and a publisher; "Fanged Wombat Publications" is his baby.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 04:46 PM

Fangs for the memories!


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Dec 07 - 03:53 AM

'.....how much we are indebted to all these people who were driven by an evangelical belief.
Cap'n,
Neither MacColl nor Lloyd could be described as 'evangelical communists' as far as I remember them. Certainly both were on the left, but I can't remember them ever peddling a 'party line' - often it was quite difficult to spot Bert's politics - in fact, he was usually 'all things to all men'.
The early (present) revival owes its existence largely to the support it got from the left; The Worker's Music Association was the forerunner to Topic Records.
Singers like MacColl and Lloyd believed, as I do, that the songs we call 'folk' were made and transmitted by the 'lower' classes (for the want of a better word). The sea songs were obviously made by people who had a working knowledge of the lower decks, and the soldiers songs smack of lower-rank experience. Could anybody who hadn't experienced farm life have written the bothie ballads? I doubt it.
I firmly believe that the great body of our (anonymous) folk songs were the creation of the (largely agricultural) working classes.
There has been much activity in the past in trying to discover who wrote 'the ballads', pretty much without success so far, but for me they smack of vernacular speech, humour, experience and observation and are fairly obviously of common origin.
Even if they came from the pens and the heads of 'the educated classes' as has been occasionally claimed, it was the uneducated labourers, weavers, miners, Travellers who put them in circulation, adapted them, created many versions of them and made sure they didn't die off.
One thing I definitely got from working with MacColl was a pride in my own origins - there - I'll put my soap-box away now.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Dec 07 - 07:16 AM

Bertlloyd and EwanMaccoll,were both members of the communist party.
J S Manifold was a communist,and according to the programme [if I heard correctly],so was Meredith,Ian Turner,and others involved in the 1950s collecting of australian folk /bush /traditional songs,and early Australian folk revival.
however, both LLoyd and Manifold tampered with the tradition[in my opinion with varying success]yet neither were working class.
The input[to the folk revival,and also The recording and collecting both in England and Australia] by many people who were in the communist party or left wing is undeniable and should be recognised,we owe them a debt.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Newport Boy
Date: 11 Dec 07 - 07:43 AM

In the 50s and early 60s there was definitely a strong connection between the early folk clubs and left wing politics. The first club I attended (MacColl, Seeger, Rosselson et al) was held above the offices of ACTT (Association of Cinematograph and Television Technicians) at 2 Soho Square. The general atmosphere was such that my true-blue college friend always felt a bit daring when he came.

When I came to Bristol in 1963, Bristol Ballads & Blues was held in the offices of the Communist Party in Lawford Street.

Phil


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Dec 07 - 10:37 AM

A L LLOYD
During this decade, he joined the Communist Party of Great Britain[5] and was strongly influenced by the writings of the Marxist historian, A. L. Morton, particularly his 1938 book A People's History Of England.[6] In 1937, Lloyd's article "The People's own Poetry" was published in the Daily Worker (now known as the The Morning Star) newspaper.[7]

In 1938 the BBC hired him to write a radio documentary about seafaring life, and from then on he worked as a journalist and singer. A proponent of communism, Lloyd was staunchly opposed to Adolf Hitler, and, in 1939, he was commissioned by the BBC to produce a series of programmes on the rise of Nazism. Between 1945 and 1950 he was employed as a journalist by Picture Post magazine but he left the job in an act of solidarity with one of his colleagues.[8]

By the 1950s he had established himself as a professional folklorist—as Colin Harper puts it "in a field of one".[9] Harper goes on to note that, at a time when the English folk revival was dominated by young people who wore jeans and pullovers, Lloyd was rarely seen in anything other than a suit (and a wide grin). Ewan MacColl is quoted as describing Lloyd (with affection) as "a walking toby jug".[10]

In the early 1960s, Lloyd became associated with an enterprise known as "Centre 42" which arose from Resolution 42 of the 1960 Trades Union Congress, concerning the importance of arts in the community. Centre 42 was a touring festival aimed at devolving art and culture from London to the other main working class towns of Britain. It was led by Arnold Wesker, with MacColl and Lloyd providing the musical content. Centre 42 was important in bringing a range of folk performers to the public attention: Anne Briggs, the Ian Campbell Folk Group, The Spinners and The Watersons.[11]

Lloyd recorded many albums of English folk music, most notably several albums of the Child Ballads with Ewan MacColl. He also published many books on folk music and related topics, including The Singing Englishman, Come All Ye Bold Miners, and Folk Song in England. He was a founder-member of Topic Records and remained as their artistic director until his death. He died at his home in Grenwich in1982.
As a child I lived in Blackheath,I regularly went to the lloyds house, for their childrens birthday parties,My parents were members of the Communist party,and I distinctly remember lloyds recordings being discussed,as was the fact he had been a member of the Communist party.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Dec 07 - 02:18 PM

Cap'n,
I know they were; I wrote:
"Neither MacColl nor Lloyd could be described as 'evangelical communists' as far as I remember them."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Andrez
Date: 11 Dec 07 - 04:18 PM

Many thanks for pointing out Rowans link to the ABC Manifold program McGrath from Harlow. I clearly missed it. Methinks l need to make an appointment with ye local eye doctor before the silly season really gets underway. I mean whats the point of being blind without being .......?

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Rowan
Date: 11 Dec 07 - 04:55 PM

To me it appears the fulcrum of the discussion in the most recent posts from Dick and Jim is the notion of "evangelical"; both have made it quite clear they understand both McColl and Lloyd to have been communists. From my own observations of various people and their writings, we in the 21st century, are probably viewing even our own backgrounds and activities of 50 years ago through tinted filters and I suspect we view writings through filters as well; some people were openly flaunting beliefs and activities while others, no less committed, acted with more subtlety. From my hearing of the ABC program, Manifold may well have been an example of the offspring who converts to a stance/outlook/set of beliefs opposing their parents' position and quite unconcerned about the juxtaposition of his accent (denoting a privileged background) with his political outlook.

Dick, the numbered square brackets in your post lead me to believe you're quoting something with bibliographic references or footnotes. Have I missed a post where you indicated the source(s)?

Cheers, Rowan

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 11 Dec 07 - 05:14 PM

"Folksongs belong in the home,in the pub,in the focsle,in the back of atruck or a friendly verandah;not in the list of set peices at an Eisteffod,not in the schoolroom unless as a rare
treat"

Back to the beginning - this is absolute rubbish.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 11 Dec 07 - 05:16 PM

If you think about it we had folk songs performed at high volume to 20,000 paying guests at the O2 last night - roll on the live recordings!!


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 12:18 AM

Ban Harker's biography of MacColl--"Class Act"--provides some interesting insights into MacColl's political views and actions.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 10:20 AM

jc ,this iswhat I said
ThankyouRowan ,a fascinating programme.
One thing that struck me,the importance of these collectors, many of whom were communists according to ASIO,as were Lloyd and MacColl,and how much we are indebted to all these people who were driven by an evangelical belief.
I said an evangelical belief ,an evangelical belief,that this was the music of the people, that this was music that needed recording, saving and promoting.I did not say they were evangelical communists.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 12:16 PM

It may be of interest that way back in the early 1900s, Henry Ford was sponsoring studies and demonstrations of American Square Dance, to push his agenda that American culture was WASP based. Evangelicals are evangelicals, regardless of orientation.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 12:47 PM

Henry Ford was out to destroy any semblance of ethnicity from immigrants to America.
He was an avid collector of fiddle music from the Northeast.

Lloyd and McColl were different in that they were concerned that a working-class music would be destroyed by a kind of musical imperialism, that which would overtake the less commercial and folk-based music not for profit.

I see them as different from Ford. Lloyd and McColl were far less Wagnerian in their wanting to recreate a legendary folklore based on racial and cultural supremacy as did Ford.

Many people, including myself, got interested in folk music through Left-wing people. At the time of the early Fifties, these were the only folks who gave a damn about folk music in general. By that time, Ford's views about preserving folk-based music was considered to be kooky curiosities.

The rise of the Folk Revival and folklore scholarship rests with the advent of the Left-wing movement and the Popular Front. There were those such as Lunsford who were interested in the folk music of the area in which he lived but he was not that influential in calling attention to folk music internationally as was Lloyd, MacColl, Seeger and folk scholars such as Archie Green, Kenneth Goldstein and others who came out of the Left.

Not all of these folks were active or ideological Marxists or even communists. Some drifted in and out of the CP as did many people during the Forties and early Fifties before it became a purge by power hungry politicians such as McCarthy. Many, including myself, had questions as to the consistency and integrity of the beliefs of many in the Party or outside and of some who professed to be Marxists.

In summary, not all can be painted with the same brush. Not all were rabid evangelists.
They were people of their time and the interest in folk music had to do with a rise of class-consciousness that was inherited from the Thirties.

Back to the topic, to limit folk music to bars, pubs, homes, or any particular environment is to rob it of its universal appeal. To keep it out of print because of some peculiar notion that it would be contaminated doesn't make sense.

It doesn't matter what we say about folk music. It will survive because it answers a basic cultural need. At times it's Lomax's "security blanket". It is accessible and that is its social beauty. You can sing it in groups, dance to it and it doesn't rely on manufactured media-driven musical drivel from the marketplace. You can also sing it privately without someone telling you that you are doing it wrong.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 01:01 PM

Frank - yours is the voice of reason and wisdom.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 04:37 PM

Frank's post is, to me, an interesting description of the dynamics in Britain and the US. Manifold had been in Britain while at Cambridge in the 30s but my reading of him doesn't suggest he had quite the same sort of class consciousness as Frank describes. More particularly, Manifold seemed to regard the music of the 'workers' (often collected from informants in bars) as subversive of the dominant way of thinking in its illumination of an 'alternative' history.

He was brought up in Western District Victoria and, I can tell you, that area of Oz in the 50s was as mind-numbingly conformist and conservative as you could find anywhere, so it probably even more so in the 30s and 40s; the influx of Americans in WWII didn't have much influence west of Ballarat. Brisbane was notoriously still in the 19th century until Expo in the late 1980s and the Queensland hinterland has never been enthusiastic about social change from 'the old order'. So Manifold had a case.

Back to the topic, to limit folk music to bars, pubs, homes, or any particular environment is to rob it of its universal appeal. To keep it out of print because of some peculiar notion that it would be contaminated doesn't make sense.

This makes perfect sense to us, here and now, but Manifold was writingagainst a different backdrop, temporally and locally. Each State govt Education Dept had a fair amount of control over what kids were exposed to culturally and one or two took it upon themselves to try and get Australian folksongs into the kids and the only way was via the classroom.

Manifold was worried that the only exposure to this "subversive" culture would be via middle class practitioners; that is at the root of his comments. I suppose an analogy that might fit is to think of the "Songs of the Auvergne", a collection of lovely songs sung by the likes of Elizabeth Scwarzkopf. I love both her singing and those songs but I know the folk of the Auvergne sang quite differently. If all we ever had of the Scottish Bothy ballads were renditions from lieder singers I think we'd be on Manifold's side of the argument.

Thankfully, these days, because of print, records and 'pain in the arse' folkies (and lieder), we've got close to the best of the Venn subsets.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 13 Dec 07 - 12:01 AM

Going back to the top: An interesting notion, Captain, and as Peace rightly says, some stirring does no harm, in ideas as much as in cookery. But I always like to test theories by turning them on their head.

So before bemoaning the fossilisation of folk songs in print, let's consider: What are the alternatives? What is the likelihood of their being accepted/taken up? And if they were, what would be the end effect on folk songs?

After all remember - this is an era where we all depend much more on the written word for our communication, even if much of it is electronic. It is a sad fact that we talk a lot less to each other IMHO(compared to writing), and certainly a lot less meanignfully, families don't gather round dinner tables, grandparents don't tell as many stories to their grandkids (they don't see them enough, often), time has become precious.

The folk process doesn't die, however. It just adapts, taking on whatever technology and social interaction has to offer as its tools.

So, like the old joke about folkies and electricity, it is senseless to bemoan the advent of the spread and ubiquitousness of the written word and its effect on the preservation or fossilisation of traditions. Just use it. And use it sensibly and to its full advantage.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 12:53 PM

Thirty years ago Bob Pegg suggested that rugby songs were possibly the last example of the folk process and got howled down. Are you suggesting he might have been right? and in the larger scheme of things does it matter? The music has survived, anyone here wishes it hadn'[quote]
Yes, he was right although I would also include soccer songs.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 04:30 PM

This concept has been promoted at least as far back as Robbie Burns. IMO, it was a crock then and is a crock now. Folks learn songs form whatever and do what they will with them, for their own edification and amusement. That's folk music.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Art Thieme
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 04:46 PM

Folks, my records will need to stand for themselves. I found the songs all over the damn place, and then I sang 'em. They meant a lot to me, and even to some of those that heard them.

To intimate that a disservice was done, on any level at all, by Lomax etc. is pure B.S. ---- This discustsion belongs below the line.

(The "t" in the middle of the above word is intentional. ;-)

Art


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 04:59 PM

If it were not for the collectors who put the songs they collected into books, we'd have damned little to sing today.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 05:06 PM

and Manifold himself was a collector,and also like LLOYD,he was a dab hand at reconstruction,I recommend people to listen to the radio programme about him ,it is fascinating.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 05:13 PM

Dick,
Whilst I agree in principle with what you say here, I will try to defend what Bob was saying. First of all he was obviously alluding to Britain specifically. Secondly he uses the word 'possibly'.

If I can be allowed to add my interpretation to what he said...rugby songs are close to a pure living oral tradition within a particular and well-defined community. Of course he was wrong to suggest this is the last example, children's playground songs and lore are equally (but not totally) pure. Dick also added 'soccer songs' by which I presume he means 'terrace chants' and of course he is absolutely correct on that score.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 06:07 PM

chants and songs, e .g. the wheelbarrow song.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 06:43 PM

What is given out on the rugby and football terraces - at a streeeeeeeeeeeeeetch - might be described as ritualistic chants, but they are little more than that; certainly not songs. There are sporting songs; a number of serious collections of them (in print, I'm afraid Cap'n), but these are not what Bob Pegg was talking about.
As for publication doing a doubtful service to songs - Don Firth says it all really.
As a folk song enthusiast I spend a great deal of time listening to recordings; as a singer, (when I was one) as far as possible I would avoid learning songs from other singers like the plague. If I wanted mannerisms to be part of my singing, they might as well be my own - there are far too many 'Jonie clones' and Carthy copiers and 'Bellamy bleaters' without my adding to their ranks.
It always used to amuse me that the acusations made towards members of the Critics Group that "those who didn't sound like Ewan sounded like Peggy" invariably came from Carthy or Rose or Jones soundalikes, all of whom sounded like each other anyway - funny old world!
I'm afraid the idea of print being a bad thing went out with James Hogg's mother!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Sep 09 - 11:23 PM

Jim does well to remind us again of Hogg's mother & Scott.

Re what Art Thieme said just above, I quote again from inlay to a record I made 20 years ago, Butter&Cheese&All [Brewhouse 8904]: "These songs are all traditional, but I believe all will have been more or less consciously modified in the process of making them my own". Surely we all do that - esp if we don't want to sound like Carthy·or·whoever·soundalikes. To quote [sorry but its true & I think it relevant here] a review of a folk-evening I gave at Eye [Suffolk] Theatre a few years ago: the local paper man there wrote "He would address us in pure middle-class tones and then go right into the spirit of a song without putting on the folk voice"; which I value as one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me.

Re living forms of folklore: as well as rugby songs, we must remember the Urban Legend [see works of Jan Brunvand and Rodney Dale]; and especially the JOKE; which can still blanket the world absolutely & instantaneously & unaccountably from east-west & from pole-pole by oral transmission — & ALWAYS DID even before radio & tv & WWW. Much speculation has gone on for a long time as to HOW this phenomenon occurs — an entertaining fantasy-sf explanation suggesting extra-terrestrial implantation is in the great Isaac Asimov's story 'Jokester', well worth a read to anyone interested in the Folk Process.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 01:15 AM

... and at risk of appearing unduly to squeeze my own concertina [I don't play the trumpet], let me quote from what I wrote about Mrs Hogg in my article on Folklore in The Continuum Encyclopedia Of British Literature [NY 2003]:

'"They were made for singin' and no for readin', but ye hae broken the charm now, and they'll never be sung mair." Her words have been called prophetic, but the resultant decline in living folklore was probably a factor of the same influences that led to the folkloric researches of Scott and others in the first place — awareness that urbanization and the spread of easily accessible forms of popular entertainment (pleasure gardens, music-hall; later, radio, cinema, television, recording) were undermining those popular roots on which the uninhibited spread of living folklore depends, and a consequent desire to preserve what could be saved before it vanished entirely. Although the folk forms have turned out tougher than this pessimistic view suggested, it is true that, from the invention of printing onward, every technological and popular artistic development had tended to fix the form. Mrs Hogg, alas, was too late.'


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: LostHills
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 02:20 AM

People originally started collecting and publishing folk songs because they realized that they were disappearing from this earth forever. What a great service Child, Sharp, the Lomaxes and so many others have done for future generations by preserving the songs of our ancesters. The printing press is one of humanity's greatest gifts, and preserving these treasures has been one of it's most valuable uses. Putting volumes of old songs on public library shelves and teaching them in the public schools is a continuing source of inspiration for each new generation. They're folk songs and they belong to everybody. Everyone has a right to do them in their own style and in their own way, to add to them, change them around, rewrite them, reinterpret them and reinvent them. And we can be thankful that the source material, the written representation of the state they were in when the song collector first discovered them, will always be there for folks to learn from.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 07:55 AM

JONES CARTHY AND ROSE,do not sound like each other.
the ironoic thing here is that Manifold made the statement,but was happy to collect and alter songs and have them published.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 08:32 AM

"JONES CARTHY AND ROSE, do not sound like each other."
Oh yes they do - IMO. The same hiccupy phrasing, the same over-indulgent, intrusive accomaniment........
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 08:51 AM

publication does a doubtful service to folksongs

Not having the time to plough through the entire thread - but has anyone mentioned Boadsheets at all? Without which...

Otherwise, our entire perception of the nature of Folk Song is determined by the early collectors. The condition we call Folk wouldn't exist without them, or publication.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 10:31 AM

"Otherwise, our entire perception of the nature of Folk Song is determined by the early collectors. "
"Rambling Blade is the best old folk song ever written"
Walter Pardon March 1982
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 11:49 AM

Indeed, but it's worth pondering the extent to which the revival affected traditional singers & performers. Nothing exists in a vacuum after all, and many traditional singers were canny enough to operate quite happily in a revival context. So - fair enough Walter Pardon in 1982, but what about John England in 1903?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 12:51 PM

Every single singer we questioned on the subject discriminated between what we folkies refer to as 'folk' and other types of songs in their repertoire.
They may not have used the same terminology as we did, but they recognised them as being 'different'.
'Come-all-yes' and 'traditional' or simply 'the old songs' were probably the most common terms used; some referred to them as 'traditional'.
Traveller, Mary Delaney called all her 200-odd traditional songs her 'daddies songs' - she learned around a dozen from her father. She went as far as to say that 'the new songs have the old ones ruined'. Her 'old' songs ranged from 18th century ballads to Traveller-made ones referring to incidents that had taken place within 5 years of our recording them.
Mikeen McCarthy said he didn't discriminate, but with all his traditional songs he saw pictures - "like being in a cinema". When questioned more closely he referred to his traditional repertoire as "fireside songs", as distinct from "street songs" (those used for selling ballad-sheets) or "pub songs" (those sung for pennies around the bars during fairs and markets). Mikeen's terminology wasn't restricted to the songs, but also to the different way they should be sung.
I can't speak for John England in 1903, but Walter Pardon was listing his family's songs into distinct catergories as early as 1948, a quarter of a century before he became a twinkle in the revival's eye.
He spoke at length, not just about the different types of song in his repertoire, but what those differences were (see Musical Traditions article).
Personally, I find the suggestion of "Canny singers" manipulating the revival for their own purposes, deeply offensive and patronising, but as it usually comes from people who can't tell the difference between Phil Tanner and Richard Tauber, I don't suppose it matters too much, and we can be content with the fact that the 'ignorant traditional singer' is about as real as the Victorian 'noble savage'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 12:55 PM

Meant to say that, apart from Walter Pardon, none of the singers we questioned had come within a thousand miles of a folk club, or a collector (until they sang for us - that is).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 03:06 PM

now of course we can transmit the songs orally using youtube,which I would suggest is a better way of learning a song than going to mudcat,and learning a printed version.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 03:15 PM

Personally I would hold to my original preference and learn from print - in that way you have to interpret the song yourself rather than rely on somebody else's interpretation.
Surely that is the most enjoyable part of singing, making your own analysis and doing handstands when it works for you - and your audience?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 04:12 PM

deeply offensive and patronising,

Not at all, just giving respect where respect is due that's all - I especially like the tale of Davie Stewart busking the queue for one of his Cecil Sharp House concerts.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 04:29 PM

Jim,I find I change things anyway,regardless of whether I learned a song orally,or from a printed source.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 04:53 PM

Doesn't alter the fact that you inferred that people like Walter were manipulative chancers who "were canny enough to operate quite happily in a revival context".
Here we are again - it would appear!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 05:20 PM

Jim - you twist my words I fear! I inferred nothing of the sort. When I say canny, I mean exactly that & hopefully the traditional singers who have operated in a revival context as performers have been as happy with the situation as those audiences privileged to see them. In my experience this has invariably been the case. No offence meant, only respect.

S O'P


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 07:46 PM

"Jim,I find I change things anyway,regardless of whether I learned a song orally,or from a printed source."
However we learn our songs, I wonder how far we would have got without The Penguin Book of English Folk Song or The Singing Island or Marrowbones, or any of the basic collections that helped by giving us a push-start all those years ago.
The sad thing for me is, at a time when there has never been so much material available the folk repertoire seems to have shrunk to almost nothing. I'm afraid I find very little to inspire me nowadays - certainly not on Utube.
As regards the tradition proper, your question of publication is a fascinating and far more complicated than it appears on the surface. For instance, it seems a contradiction that a non-literate group like the Travellers should have had such a strong influence on the Irish singing tradition through the printed word - ballad selling. The rarest, also the longest ballads in the tradition survived far longer in the non-literate Scots and Irish Travelling communities than they did in the literate settled communities.
The cross-over between literary creations such as The Bramble Briar (Boccacio's Decameron) or Lord Gregory (Chaucer's Canterbury Tales) has never been fully explained - chicken or egg?
I am at present indexing and annotating part of our collection of London/Irish material for archiving and have come across stories (refered to as yarns) from a building worker, originally a fisherman and currach maker from West Clare. These include jokes sharing their plots with Chaucer's Merchant's Tale; (blind, cuckolded husband is persuaded to climb tree) and part of 'The Spanish Bawd (a play written in 1499 and translated into English 1631). How did they get into the repertoire of a poorly educated McAlpine's Man?
The same man had 'yarn' versions of Child ballad, The Bishop of Canterbury and The Merchant and The Fiddlers Wife, a song that appeared in 'Pills To Purge Melancholy in 1702 and has not turned up in the tradition since then.
I think it would be unwise to discard the influence of literature on our song traditions before we fully understand it - don't you?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 09:28 PM

Indeed, Jim — but are you not begging the question as to whether the subjects of these yarns were original with Boccaccio, Chaucer, et al, or whether they in turn had not taken them from tradition? Chaucer, e.g., well in the tradition of literary persons' having always, from Homer onwards, been expected to rework tales already known to all their audience, never pretended to have invented the tale of Troilus&Criseyde, any more than Shax did later, or than Henrysoun did even sooner after. So that your McAlpine man's yarns might well have come to him, as it were, in parallel, rather than via Dan C?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 06:01 AM

to return to Manifold,I think he has a valid point.
for instance when I listen to recordings of older IRISH musicians ,such as Paddy in the Smoke,what i hear in the music is the joy of people playing.
they were working hard all the weeek and playing music at the weekend for enjoyment.
a professional musician has to play whenever someone asks him/her,he may not feel like playing,but it is his job,on occasions that can be reflected in the music.and occasionally he she will produce a lifeless mechanical performance
MANIFOLD says;In the alien atmosphere of the concert hall it takes a great artist to preserve the life and spirit even of his own folksongs let alone those of other people.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 06:39 AM

apart from Walter Pardon, none of the singers we questioned had come within a thousand miles of a folk club

Fred Jordan learned at least two songs at Folk Clubs (I think 'The Outlandish Knight' may have been one of them).

Jim, if you dislike the work of Martin Carthy, Nic Jones and Tony Rose then it's small wonder you find little to inspire you nowadays.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 08:03 AM

Sminky,
"if you dislike the work"
Sorry 'bout that - I find all their mannerisms and accompaniments intrusive and their performances samey.
If their work is a gauge of how well or badly the revival stands at present........ oh dear!
I think you'll find that Fred learned The Outlandish Knight traditionally (didn't he live over or next to a pub were singing went on). It was certainly recorded from him by the BBC in the '50s.
On the other hand, I believe around half the songs included on his EFDSS cassette 'In Course of Time....' were learned via the revival.
MtheGM
More later - the moss-ridden, rush covered acre which we lovingly refer to as a garden requires a bit of mouth-to-mouth before it starts pissing with rain again
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 09:23 AM

Sorry 'bout that

No problem Jim, each to their own.

I'm disappointed you find their accompaniments intrusive. In Fred Jordan's obituary, a certain Mr Karl Dallas says:

True, he sang unaccompanied, regarded as a sine qua non, mostly quite wrongly, by many students of the English traditions, which in their moribundity have for the most part lost touch with the sort of instrumental virtuosity which distinguishes the folk arts in most other parts of the world.

It would be interesting to know in how many other countries, with a folk song tradition, is singing performed solo and unaccompanied.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 10:00 AM

Sminky,
I don't have any objection to accompaniment per se - I used to sing to a friend's accompaniment all the time (being instrumentally illiterate myself). When we ended our partnership through my moving away, I felt as if I had lost an arm and there were a number of songs I dropped from my repertoire for a long time. When I finally did come back to them I found I had to re-think the the phrasing completely as I had allowed the accompaniment to dictate the way I performed - the accompaniment hadn't accompanied, but rather, had dominated my singing.
It's the type of accompaniment that breaks up the narrative of a song I find intrusive and unnecessary - you know - line of song - line of music, type of thing. It happens all the time with singer/sonwriter stuff, and, to my taste, far too often with traditional material.
When we were recording the older singers, time after time they told us that they considered themselves storytellers whose stories had tunes - that seems largely to have disappeared.
The most spectacular example of what I am talking about was Steeleye Span's recording of the ballad Lamkin. Half way through the action they appear to become bored with it and play an Irish reel - now what's that about?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 10:11 AM

The most spectacular example of what I am talking about was Steeleye Span's recording of the ballad Lamkin. Half way through the action they appear to become bored with it and play an Irish reel - now what's that about?
excellent point, Jim.
and one of my minor criticisms of Martin Carthy,he on occasions puts an instrumental bang in the middle of a story ballad,why why why.
all it does is assist to lose the thread for the listener,if one forgets the words it is a very useful ploy,but i dont think that is the case with Martin.
of course his guitar playing is excellent,but it seems to me to be pointless.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 10:20 AM

I take your point, Jim, there is certainly 'bad' accompaniment out there.

The instrumental 'break' halfway through a song (once [still?] compulsory in rock music) seems to be very prevalent these days. For me, it serves no purpose other than to interrupt the flow of the narrative.

When done well, however, accompaniment can enhance the emotional dimension of a song IMO.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 10:26 AM

GSS - Snap!


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST,Brendan Phelan
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 11:48 AM

Hello, PMB. I came across your segment re: Dublin In My Tears, recently ( I don't spend much time surfing the Net, or the ocean, for that matter ). You are quite right to suggest that songwriters should be happy to have their work accepted into the tradition and refrain from quibbling about changes to certain lyrics that evolve with time. For my own part, I feel very humble and priveledged to have my song accepted into such illustrious company.
However, I feel you were in error in your criticism. I don't think it too much to expect singers to keep to the HISTORICAL facts mentioned in a song, ie. the sailing 'vessel', SS Princess Maud, mentioned in Dublin In My Tears, which transported many hundreds of thousands of migrant Irish workers to England in the 40s, 50s and 60s surely has a right to be properly noted by singers, or 'Songwriters labourers', as I affectionately call them.
One more ommission which gauls me is when singers refer to 'Sap' Kelly of the Coombe as "Sean", or "John". He was my grandfather and I wish him to be remembered by his correct name. After all, one would not refer to Robin Hood as Robert Hood, would they? Slan Leat.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 12:40 PM

This last weekend (October 10th) the Tradsong Forum had it's quarterly meeting with discussion papers around the influence of the printed word on what we call folk song.

Those who led the discussion included Steve Roud, Steve Gardham and Roy Palmer. I can't imagine people questioning their credentials, though no doubt someone will try.

Steve Gardham in particular who has spent a lifetime gathering together and studying printed material is convinced that most songs we regard as "traditional" have a printed origin. Of course it won't be the version that you now hear sung and sometimes the songs have altered beyond instant recognition.

It rather gives the lie to the suggestion that printing destroys the oral tradition if the so-called oral tradition was a print one anyway.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:02 PM

I will question anyones credentials,nobody questioned Berts credentials, or his intellectual honesty and look at the problems it caused.
[It rather gives the lie to the suggestion that printing destroys the oral tradition if the so-called oral tradition was a print one anyway.]quote FD.
Interesting if that is the case,why do folk song collectors differentiate between revival singers and singers who have learned their songs orally,their guideline are completely artificial and phoney.
Mike Yates was right when he collected Bob Blake[by mistake],he was a good singer singing in the accepted style it didnt matter a fiddlers fart that he learned the songs from the printed source,yet collectors like Peter Kennedy would prefer to collect anything providing it had been learned orally[regardless of quality].
the logical conclusion of this is that collectors could end up collecting the white cliffs of dover because its been learned orally
its not just football thats afunny old game,yours disgusted of Ballydehob .


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:29 PM

Good Soldier, if you can't understand why a folklorist with limited resources would prefer to record a singer who learned a particular song from an oral tradition over someone who learned a set from a published book, then I doubt that I or anyone else here could explain it you.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:46 PM

MM,Because they are not using quality as a guideline.
I would rather listen to Martin Carthy singing Thornymoor Woods,than a traditional singer singing CArOLINA MOON,and if you dont understand that you are a bigger berk than I previously thought.
however a good traditional singer like Phil Tanner who learned his songs and repertoire orally is worth recording,but not if he sings Humpty Dumpty.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:46 PM

Interesting if that is the case,why do folk song collectors differentiate between revival singers and singers who have learned their songs orally,their guideline are completely artificial and phoney.

I really don't know if they did in fact. Apart from that one case - who you have quoted incessantly elsewhere - who else is there?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:48 PM

ha ha ha FD,you live in cloud cuckoo land?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:05 PM

Wouldn't it depend which VERSION of Humpty Dumpty Phil Tanner sang, Dick?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:18 PM

"Because they are not using quality as a guideline . . ."

'Quality' is a matter of taste, and it is subjective. But all the Martin Carthy's in the world would have precious little to draw upon if not for the traditional singers you and others continually disparage and the folklorists who have collected their work. Without them, you might well be singing 'Humpty Dumpty' or 'Hotel California' and be satisfied that you are singing traditional English folk songs.

". . . if you dont understand that you are a bigger berk than I previously thought."

What kind of berk do you think I am, anyway?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 03:57 PM

What kind of berk do you think I am, anyway?[quote]
like The Skibbereen Eagle, watching the Tsar,I am at present observing and watching your posts,to decide on the magnitude of berkdom,do you come from Berkshire?
But all the Martin Carthy's in the world would have precious little to draw upon if not for the traditional singers you and others continually disparage and the folklorists who have collected their work.[QUOTE]
I am not disparaging anyone,I appreciate for example many of the songs Kennedy collected.,he also collected some dross,with which he padded his book up.
but how many songs have been missed because of the prejudices of folk song collectors , for starters lets look at the great man himself,Cecil J Sharp,can you explain why he collected precious little in the way of industrial folk songs,
Mike Yates would never have collected or recoreded the fine singing of Bob Blake if he had heeded KENNEDY and we would have been the poorer for it,
and so it goes on,priceless BERKDOM,prejudices.,and nonsensical artificial boundaries which allow colectors to collect tin pan alley rubbish because it has been learned orally,but reject a song that the traditional singer may have written himself because it has not been learned orally or not been folk processed,regardless of the quality of the song.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 05:37 PM

" . . . nonsensical artificial boundaries which allow colectors to collect tin pan alley rubbish because it has been learned orally,but reject a song that the traditional singer may have written himself because it has not been learned orally or not been folk processed,regardless of the quality of the song."

Don't know where you get these ideas. Point of fact, many folklorists chose not to record the 'tin pan ally' type stuff sung by many traditional singers, but I can't think of many collectors who rejected original songs from the same singers.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 06:46 PM

This thread has been a series of thoughtful exchanges between many people. I'd hate to see it turn into a slagging match. We all have different points of view and the point of the thread (and all the other threads) is to exchange and reflect on them, not to vilify others' opinions.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 07:13 PM


however a good traditional singer like Phil Tanner who learned his songs and repertoire orally is worth recording,but not if he sings Humpty Dumpty.

I am not sure you know how and where Phil Tanner learnt his songs, Dick. Do tell.

But a problem with the early collectors is they made value judgments about what people sang, Instead of recording everything. Whose value judgments would you use? Apart from yours of course............


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 07:19 PM

good point jon,
michael, please give me details of collectors who collected self composed songs from traditional singers,apart from Jim Carroll,I cant think of many.
which brings me on to the next point;why did Bert Lloyd pass off his own compositions as being songs collected from traditional singers?
I think it encapsulates an attitude that was typical of the folklorists ,academics and collectors of the mid 20th century,a prejudice against self composed songs that had not been processed[altered orally].
plus a prejudice against collecting songs from revival singers[as illustrated by the Bob Blake incident].
if Bert thought it was necessary to hoodwink the folk world in the manner he did,it seems unlikely to me that people at that time would be collecting self composed songs from traditional singers.
please name collectors who did collect original songs from traditional singers.
cecilsharp?baring gould? john howson? Frank Kidson? PeterKennedy?
no, they are few and far between, John Brune was one he collected Loch Dhui[words BelleStewart]I cant think of any others.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 11:29 PM

The Warners collected original songs from Frank Proffitt and other singers, as did Sandy Paton; Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin collected original songs from Okies in Southern California; Alan Lomax collected original songs from bluesmen in the American South; Mark Wilson collected original songs, ballads and fiddle tunes from traditional artists in the Midwest and Southern highlands; Max Hunter collected what in many cases likely were original compositions from singers and musicians in the Ozarks; John Cohen collected original songs from Roscoe Holcomb; Mike Seeger collected original songs from Nimrod Workman. Quite a few folklorists have collected self-composed songs from traditional musicians. Maybe American folklorists have been more willing to do so, but I don't believe Jim Carroll is the only one in the UK to value original material.

Bert Lloyd passed off his own songs as folk songs because he had an agenda. If he had been able to collect more real industrial songs from traditional singers perhaps he wouldn't have needed to lie about his own songs.

A folklorist choosing not to record a book-learned song from a revivalist reflects an entirely different reality: limited resources and a limited number of living singers who learned their repertoire in a time and place where music could not be gotten from the store or the radio or downloaded. Suppose you were collecting wild medicinal plants - would you buy camomile from a local herbalist because it was of 'better quality' than something lurking undiscovered in a nearby field?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 04:55 AM

please give me details of collectors who collected self composed songs from traditional singers

I was listening to a traditional singer and his mother on this Saturday evening in London.

There is no doubt that songs that both of them sang were self-penned.

Their songs are currently being noted.

Since Sharp and B-G were only interested in what they thought of as traditional songs- they would have ignored (I guess) songs that people said were self-penned.

There was a local singer in my wife's s home village who had some traditional songs but he wrote a song virtually every day, including one for our wedding.

Dick - you keep banging on about Bob Blake. Any other examples?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST,synbyn no cookie
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:09 AM

well said a while ago)Jon! Publication is about the only way to get through to the wider community, surely. We can sing to ourselves until we drop off, but I'm reminded of the Stevie Smith poem about the monk who buries his life's work... we've got to reach people who don't know of folksong's virtues. It may inevitably lead to some rather stilted versions of songs performed by those trained in conventional performance of the written note- who among us actually sings what the score suggests every time?
Re worksongs- the Sing London site has 8 songbooks from across the country in which 12 songs per area can be found. Some well known, some not. Downloadable pdfs and teachers notes too. For teachers an acessible resource, along with the new EFDSS websites.
Half the battle is encouraging adults to sing, and not just repeat stadium anthems!imho...


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:53 AM

but I don't believe Jim Carroll is the only one in the UK to value original material.[quote]Ididnt say he was,I mentioned J Brune.,they were unusual however.
of the more modern ENGLISH collectors;can we have examples.
and if so why collect self composed songs from traditional singers but not from revival singers?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Goose Gander
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 12:05 PM

I gave you some examples, now it seems you are only interested in ENGLISH examples.

I've tried to explain why folklorists are/were much more interested in traditional singers than revivalists - sorry if you just don't get it.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 01:04 PM

I was only interested in English ones, anyway,but apologise for not stating it.now some examples
no, I dont get it,its a load of bollocks,and has nothing to do with musicianship.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 05:48 PM

Self-penned stuff from traditional singers. I recently had the great privilege to record one of our local retired farm workers before he died. His repertoire consisted of versions of local traditional farming songs, songs he learnt at school (inc. Jolly Waggoner) and at least as many he had written himself ( inc. one about the local supermarket and one about his wartime experiences in the LDV). Needless to say I recorded the lot and value all of them equally.

As for revivalists being recorded, we are just about to add 50 tracks of recently written Yorkshire songs to our Yorkshire Garland website to join the 88 tracks of traditional Yorkshire songs. We will value them all equally.

Someone has already given excellent reasons for the early collectors being selective. They simply didn't have time to record everything so they stuck to what was not readily available elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Sue Allan
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:21 PM

How are we defining a traditional singer here?
I've collected songs written by a local (Cumbrian) singer, who used to sing his own self-penned to someone else's guitar accompaniments as well as perform 'traditional' ballads.

Also in Cumbria Vaughan Williams, Frank Kidson and Cecil Sharp all collected versions of songs which had been written by 'The Cumberland Bard' Robert Anderson (1770-1833) but passed into 'the tradition' (sorry, but I seem incapable of writing traditional without adding inverted commas!)

Peter Kennedy also collected hunting songs in Cumbria which were written if not by the singers themselves then by people of just the generation before. Many hunting songs which are regarded as 'traditional' have known composers.

Incidentally Kennedy was contracted by the BBC to do this (I've seen a copy of the contract) and given a budget to pay singers with, if necessary. However the money was not used for singers, nor repaid as far as I can see, AND Kennedy subsequently released these recordings comercially under his Folk Tracks/Folk Trax label - but that is a whole other can of (fairly well-known) worms ...


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:28 PM

So there you are Dick another set of recent examples of traditional singers with self-penned songs.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:01 AM

Folkie Dave,you have scored some points I hope that makes you happy,ever since you came on this thread 2 years ago,your attitude has been aggressive firstly nit npicking about my incompetence with the computer key board[pretending you couldnt understand the original post].
so we have had a few examples of recent collection of self penned songs from traditional singers,no one has yet justified why its acceptable for collectors to collect self penned songs from traditional singers but not from revival singers,and why collectors dont collect traditional songs from revival singers or self composed songs from revival singers.
the whole criteria of collecting songs needs to be examined.
its a nonsense to collect self penned songs from traditional singers but not from revival singers,the self penned songs of the traditional singer have not been orally transmitted so what justification is there.
which brings me back to my point,its a load of bollocks because you are not taking into account the quality of the singer or the songs,but collecting self penned songs because they are from a traditional singer,even though the songs have not been processed or orally transmitted[which seems to be the criteria for collecting traditional songs from traditional singers rather than revival singers]
Does anyone go out and collect Fiddlers Green[written by a revival songwriter],from a singer who has processed it?
do collectors collect other modern composed songs ,just because a traditional singer has them in his repertoire?.
what I see here is double standards and boundaries that are ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 05:59 AM

the silence is deafening.
there appears to be no logic to the criteria collectors use for collecting songs at all.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 08:21 AM

"no one has yet justified why its acceptable for collectors to collect self penned songs from traditional singers but not from revival singers,"
Sorry Cap'n - must have dozed off.
Your point appears to be based on a misconception of what folk song collecting is about.
For a start - no self-respecting collector I know would ever have based their work on anything as subjective as good and bad; they/we collect songs in order to get an insight into the folk traditions, through its material and (hopefully), through discussions with the traditional singers. A song made by, say, Harry Cox (I may be mistaken, but I seem to remember he made a couple of songs) tells us much about the tradition and how it influenced the creative faculties of the singer. On the other hand, a song by MacColl (whose writing I much admire), does not fall into that category and therefore does not come within my terms of reference as a folk song collector.
This isn't to say that we don't record songs from revival singers - we do/did - at events based on traditional singing, such as The Willie Clancy Summer School, Forkhill and Ballyliffin.
I know the late Tom Munnelly's collection of 20,000 songs includes numerous self-penned revival singer compositions, but these would be made in similar circumstances to those I have described. If we were writing or talking about our collection, as we occasionally do, we would make a clear distiction between revival and traditional material - as far as we are concerned they come from a different stable and have a different (not better or worse) pedigree and significance.
Wearing a different hat altogether, my personal interest in the folk song revival has led me to gather in recordings from revival singers - but that's something else entirely.
There is a great deal to be said (not here) of the locally made songs we have recorded (in the UK and in Ireland) some of which have become traditional, while others haven't, but not here.
Just to make a point on the whole revival/tradition thing; in my opinion, one of the greatest contributions made to our access to and understanding of our song tradition over the last 30-40 years has been the Roud Index, and much of the importance of that is down to Steve's decision (and ability) to distinguish between revival and tradition.
There is, I believe, a great need for a study of new writings, as distinct from the older songs sung in the revival (and all too often passed off as folk), but that is up to those who are interested in the subject, for me, life is too short as it is.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 11:22 AM

.
Your point appears to be based on a misconception of what folk song collecting is about.
NO NO NO NO NO,
folksong collecting is about collecting from tradtional singers,songs that have been orally transmitted ,do you agree?
then why collect songs from traditional singers that have not been orally transmitted,and if you do ,and dont use the above criteria,how do you logically justify not collecting self composed songs that are not from the pen of a traditional singer.
or: why do collectors not collect songs that have been orally processed,such as Fiddlers Green,but are from the pen of a revivalist,
it is completely illogical,and seems purely whimsical.
[For a start - no self-respecting collector I know would ever have based their work on anything as subjective as good and bad; they/we collect songs in order to get an insight into the folk traditions, through its material and (hopefully), through discussions with the traditional singers]quote.
I know you didnt know Sharp personally,but Sharp did just that,he did not collect industrial folk songs, do we know why?
but he made a conscious decision to concentrate on rural folk song,it may have been because subjectively he preferred the ideal of rural folk song,or he considered it better,he exhibited a preference.,or it may have been lack of time.
if the collectors role is to get an insight into folk traditions[as you state] why collect self composed songs.,how will that give an insight into folk traditions?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Goose Gander
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 11:50 AM

"the silence is deafening.
there appears to be no logic to the criteria collectors use for collecting songs at all."

Myself and others have attempted to explain the logic to the criteria collectors use for collecting songs. You seem bound and determined not to understand. So after a while, it does seem pointless to respond.

That being so, I will reiterate a few final points:

You have argued that folklorists refused to record original compositions from traditional singers - pointedly false, and easily refuted. American folklorists have recorded such songs extensively, and posts above demonstrate that UK folklorists have also recorded original compositions from traditional singers (perhaps not to the degree that Americans have, but that is only my impression based upon limited information).

You seem outraged that a folklorist would prefer to collect a particular song from a traditional singer over a 'better' version sung by a revivalist. Again - feeling like a broken record - a folklorist with the opportunity to record someone who learned ballads, songs or tunes from family, co-workers, friends, etc. within an oral tradition will certainly prefer to record said musician/singer over someone such as myself, who learned 98% of his repertoire from recordings, printed sources, etc. I can always learn new songs, new styles, etc. and I'm relatively young, but died-in-the-wool traditional singers are a far rarer breed.   Please refer to my chamomile reference above.

You seem to see no difference between an original song composed by a traditional singer and an original song composed by a revivalist. As Jim suggested above, the first will reflect the tradition within which the singer learned and developed his craft, and is a manifestation of that tradition. It is an animal of a different sort than the second. That being said, posts above demonstrate that folklorists have collected original songs from revivalists, so what are you grousing about?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 12:04 PM

"NO NO NO NO NO,"
YES, YES, YES, YES.
Folk song research - in any form - is not (just) about collecting orally transmitted songs - it is about understanding our song tradition. In order to do this you have to take into consideration the singers' approach to songs that are not necessarily part of the oral tradition; (music-hall, Victorian parlour ballads, pop-songs of a given era......) they are all part of the singer's experience, therefore are part of our understanding of the tradition. No collector worth his/her salt would ever refuse a song from a traditional singer because it doesn't fit into their definition of 'folk'.
The question of the place of literacy in the oral tradition is very much in need of discussion - it is an extremely complex subject, too often approached on a far too simplistic level.
Has 'Fiddler's Green' been "orally processed" - how many significantly differing variants of it do you know? In my experience, it hasn't moved very far from its original conception.
Why didn't Sharp collect industrial songs - a whole bunch of reasons, nothing to do with personal taste. For a start, he chose to work in rural areas because he believed these to be the richest sources of what he was looking for.
There is no reason to believe that he was even aware of their existence.
Our knowledge of the urban repertoire, such as it is, is largely down to the work of MacColl (Shuttle and Cage/Second Shift, The Big Hewer...) and Lloyd (The Industrial Muse/Come All You Bold Miners... et al).
Self composed songs by traditional singers, and non-folk material in their repertoire is more about understanding the singer and his/her place in the culture rather than the repertoire itself. Revival singers play no more part in this particular body of research than do - say: Delius (Unto Brigg Fair), Vaughan Williams (Tallis/Greensleeves) or Butterworth (Banks of Green Willow) do - they were, as we are, borrowers/users/sometimes abusers of the tradition rather than participants in it - as I have said, a subject worthy of study in itself, but not part of our knowledge of the tradition.
Our understanding of our tradition must be based on our traditional singers - god knows, we're swimming in muddy enough water as it is, thanks to the revival largekly having divorced itself from its source music, without fouling up the picture even further!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 12:07 PM

Sorry Mike - cross posted with you, hence repeated some of what you had to say
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 12:20 PM

Now, somewhere else on this forum I got into a discussion which wandered a bit off thread but the gist of Steve Gardham's argument at that time, was that all folk songs can be found on broadsides. By implication therefore, Steve (and he is not alone on this) maintains that the broadside was a significant means of dissemination of the songs contained therein. Thus, it would seem that writing it down was considered, and according to some, proven to be a very effective means of preserving, spreading and encouraging participation in folk song. This would make the original statement on this thread simply untrue.
Significantly? I can't find any participation on this thread from Steve.
Paul


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 12:44 PM

Paul,
One of the greatest influences on the oral tradition in Ireland has been 'the ballads' - the song sheets sold around the fairs and markets up to the mid-fifties, (almost exclusively by non-literate Travellers).
Back in the 60s in the UK, Bob Thomson made a study of the effect on the repertoire of the sale of broadsides, tracing the routes taken by sellers and assessing their influence (in Bob's native Cambridgeshire). Though he never published it, Bob's thesis is housed at C# House.
John Moulden has recently completed similar research in Northern Ireland.
A large part of our own work with Irish Travellers was with Mikeen McCarthy, a Kerry Traveller who, in the forties, participated in the ballad selling trade along with his mother.
As I said earlier, the relationship between the oral tradition and literacy is a significant, but complex one.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 01:28 PM

Has 'Fiddler's Green' been "orally processed" - how many significantly differing variants of it do you know? In my experience, it hasn't moved very far from its original conception.Quote.
interesting,how far do things have to change?does the essence /meaning of the song have to change,or do a few words suffice for it be processed,and who is the arbiter of the judgement.
as far as I am concerned Orally processed,blankets instead of jumpers is sufficent,or jodhpurs instead of jumpers,the first one was the result of a printing error,the second a mishearing.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 08:30 AM

Not between toothpaste advertisements on radio or television.
I can understand Manifolds point here, by association a song can have its overall point ruined, if a few lines are taken out of context and used to advertise some consumer product.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 02:16 PM

Only just spotted this thread again. PaulD asks why I haven't contributed. Simply because Jim and others were doing such an excellent job and didn't need any help. Hopefully what they had to say has now sunk in.

Dick, you seem determined to continue this thread in some form. Whilst I get mildly irritated that advertisers can make millions out of folk songs, I'm afraid that's a fact we have to accept if these songs and tunes are to stay in the public domain. This means they are available to all. If some dictator like PRS starts putting restrictions on them you might be one of the losers. They've already started charging festivals for including them (effectively).


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 07:02 PM

you have missed my point, it is nothing to do with money.
my objection is an aesthetic one,I don't particularly like a song that I envisage in a particular way being cheapened by its association for a tooth paste advert.
Steve Gardham, I still disagree, furthermore I dislike your patronising comment "Hopefully what they had to say has now sunk in


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 10:15 PM

I've always dreamed of writing a folksong that was good enough for a toothpaste advert

How many tubes of Macleans must you use before your smile is pearly white?
And how many times must you scrub your teeth - morning, dinner time and night?
Yes and how many times must we do oral sex, before you learn not to bite?
The answer is brief, the best thing for your teeth
Is a bottle of green Listerine.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 12:52 PM

Nice one, Al.

Dick, I wasn't being patronising, I was being sarcastic. And yes I know sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but it was late.

On second thoughts, my attitude to advertisers using folk song and folk tunes is ambivalent. My initial response is mild annoyance, but actually when you sit down and think about it imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. What these very clever people have latched onto is that these songs/tunes/ditties are already widely diffused in society and it's their familiarty that they are latching on to. it's a natural progression really.

Besides life's too short to let this get to me.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 03:57 PM

reading through these posts, it makes me realise little changes here on mudcat, someone tries to start an interesting discussion, and along come nit pickers and pedants like folkie dave.
folkie dave, appears to have gone the same way as the owl of the remove, dear old billy bunter, perhaps like bunter he is preoccupied with where the next postal order will come from.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 04:01 PM

oh and jimcarroll and blandiver are still slugging out in one of the longest boxing matches ever


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Airymouse
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 08:44 PM

I must admit that I am irked by the idea that publishing folk songs is a doubtful service. For me, one recent astounding publication of old songs is "The Mary Lomax Ballad Book". I gather the argument that this publication is a dubious service is that without the publication people would have sat at Mary's feet and learned all her songs with complete accuracy firsthand. I think it far more likely that without the publication some of her 59 songs would have been lost irretrievably. I heard Hortie Barker sing old songs unaccompanied many times and you can buy a recording of him singing this way from Folkways. The last time I heard Hortie sing old songs was in a nursing home in Marion Virginia and he accompanied himself on the piano. I would love to have a recording of that afternoon's singing; unfortunately no one did the world the disservice of recording and publishing it.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 09:48 PM

Folksong collectors,in general, collect only what they're looking for. In many cases, that brings a peculiar bias to the collection. I really prefer the "collect 'em all and let God sort them out" exemplified by Randolph and Hunter.
   I clearly agree about the worth of "The Mary Lomax Ballad Book" ( I should, I published it.) It presents a vivid picture of a traditional singer and her family, self-penned pieces, songs learned originally (by her father) from recordings and all.
   I strongly suspect that the idea of the illiterate singer, learning songs solely aurally, is a rarity, if not an outright myth.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Airymouse
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 10:48 PM

People who learn songs solely aurally are not mythical creatures. I learned the Peapod Song from my father; my wife learned Jack Munro from her father; the man who taught me The Cutty Wren said that it had been handed down for 5 generations in his family in Pennsylvania. Was he illiterate? Of course not, he taught art at Duke University. What is a myth is that the people who have learned folk songs in an aural tradition are all poor, or all illiterate, or all rural. Nellie Galt sang for The Library of Congress a version of the song we sing as Old Crump's Dead, which she called Mulberry Hill. But Nellie Galt lived in Louisville Kentucky and took both piano lessons and voice lessons. Nellie was rich, literate and urban. Can I prove that I learned Old Crump, Jack Munro, and The Cutty Wren aurally and not from some book of songs or some recording? Yes. Just listen to those songs on the CD I sent you, and then try to find some other place where any one of them is written down or recorded.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Reinhard
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 11:50 PM

jimcarroll and blandiver are still slugging out ??

Their last postings in this thread were four years ago. Since blandivers last post you have posted 17 comments in this thread. Now who is goading things on?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 11:44 AM

I think GSS may have been referring to the "Where are we going wrong" thread where they are currently slugging it out along with one or two others.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 11:59 AM

Who cares?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 12:05 PM

In early England, many traditional songs were learned from printed "ballets" or handed out sheets of paper. Over the course of years they were changed. Barbara Allen would not have lasted unless someone printed the song out to be learned first.

There is an interaction between songs in print and songs in aural transmission.

Many songs started as poems such as "Home on the Range" or "Spanish is a Loving Tongue". Many came from the popular stage shows. Much of the dance music of Southern Appalachia stem from the songs of the Minstrel Shows and Uncle Tom's Cabin.

The main difference is that folk music extends beyond copyright laws and can be changed by people at their pleasure.

Schubert Lieder became Germany's folk music. Stephen Foster's song also went into aural transmission. Dick is right about the songs from American Songbag. I've changed a few of them, myself, sometimes unwittingly.

I'm reminded of Sam Hinton's famous analogy, "Folk songs in print are like a photograph of a bird in flight." The real deal goes on jumping off the printed page.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 04:03 PM

indeed , Tootler, I am


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 06:21 PM

Please publish everything.

I have sung 'folk songs' in private, in solitude, in company, in concert, in desparation, and in defiance of supression by those for whom the truth would bring embarrassment beyond belief.

I shall sing until I die.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 06:31 PM

I think people who worry about what "we" should or shouldn't do have an unwarranted belief in the ability of people to direct the course of folk music. It happens the way it does in spite of attempts to control it.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 07:12 PM

If music needed sheep tenders it would wear wool.


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