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Child's ballads (back in the early days)

GUEST,redmax 07 Oct 08 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 07 Oct 08 - 05:50 PM
Folkiedave 07 Oct 08 - 06:04 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Oct 08 - 06:25 PM
Terry McDonald 07 Oct 08 - 06:58 PM
12-stringer 07 Oct 08 - 11:32 PM
mrdux 08 Oct 08 - 12:56 AM
GUEST,Volgadon 08 Oct 08 - 03:49 AM
Bryn Pugh 08 Oct 08 - 04:30 AM
Fred McCormick 08 Oct 08 - 04:43 AM
Folkiedave 08 Oct 08 - 05:32 AM
Folkiedave 08 Oct 08 - 05:37 AM
Brian Peters 08 Oct 08 - 05:59 AM
Emma B 08 Oct 08 - 05:59 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Oct 08 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,doc.tom 08 Oct 08 - 07:45 AM
GUEST 08 Oct 08 - 08:04 AM
Folkiedave 08 Oct 08 - 09:12 AM
Brian Peters 08 Oct 08 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 08 Oct 08 - 11:37 AM
Terry McDonald 08 Oct 08 - 11:40 AM
GUEST 09 Oct 08 - 06:57 AM
Arkie 09 Oct 08 - 11:02 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Oct 08 - 03:00 PM
BB 09 Oct 08 - 03:04 PM
Folkiedave 10 Oct 08 - 12:34 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Oct 08 - 01:20 PM
Hrothgar 10 Oct 08 - 04:36 PM
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Subject: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 04:15 PM

This is a question for the UK folkies (I'm researching a folk song dissertation which is only British in scope)

Early on in the revival was it hard to get access to Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads collection? I know in these Internet days we take access to the texts rather for granted, but I presume in the 1960s (and of course the 70s & 80s) it wasn't quite so easy.

You could buy the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs reasonably cheaply, but I assume owning Child's collection was too pricey a prospect? Was it feasible to go to your local library and view a copy?

I have a friend who bought them, but he told me it wasn't cheap. He also told me that owning Bronson's tune anthology was out of the question, way too expensive.

Given that people seemed to be well aware of Child's collection, it got me wondering how many people found it easy or hard to actually peruse them?


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 05:50 PM

In the 60s it wasn't hard to get access to Child's 'English and Scottish Popular Ballads' because the US paperback house, Dover Books reprinted all 5 volumes in paperback. I can't remember how much they cost - but they were reasonably affordable. Bronson, on the other hand has, to my knowledge, never been easily available or affordable.

Dover were amazing - they reprinted all sorts of hard to find books:

'Percy's Reliques', Chappell's 'Popular Music of the Olden Time', Wimberley's 'Folklore in the English & Scottish Popular Ballads' etc., etc. They also did various fairy tale collections (Grimm, Lang, Jacobs etc.) and stuff like Mayhew's 'London Labour & the London Poor', Catlin's 'Letters & Notes on the Manners Customs & Conditions of the North American Indians' etc., etc. I've seen Dover books around in the last few years - but a lot of their back catalogue doesn't seem to be available any more.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 06:04 PM

The original edition was first published 1892-1898 in a limited edition of 1000 copies - so it was a bit hard to get hold of!!

There have been a number of later versions, the first as far as I know in 1904 (since reprinted in 1976) but by far the most popular of these reproductions was the Dover Edition of 1965 a paperback facsimilie edition.

There is another edition being produced by Llanerch Press.

Sorry this is a bit brief - I can talk for hours on this.

HTH

Dave


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 06:25 PM

I've had my Dover set since the early 70s but many of the ballads themselves were available very cheaply in little anthologies, mostly containing collated versions from Percy and some of the Scottish collectors. I had lots of these in the 60s, all stuffed in the loft once I got my Dover set. I've had plenty of cheap sets of Percy's Reliques which are near useless to a researcher. Again these don't get opened now I have the Folio Manuscript set.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 06:58 PM

I was aware of the Child collection in the mid 1960s but never saw them in print until much later. However, I used to borrow the Oxford Book of Ballads,edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch, from our local Public Library and (as no one else ever seemed to want it) kept re-newing it to such an extent I almost regarded it as my own property. It contained the lyrics to many of the 'great' English and Scots ballads and when I was able to buy LPs such as the two Child Ballad ones from Topic's Folk Songs of Britain series, I could match some of the melodies to the by now familiar words in the Oxford Collection.

I also remember Martin Carthy doing a gig at Yeovil Folk Club c1965 and carrying with him the recently published volume of Bronson's melodies to the Child Ballads. Bob Common of the Yetties (or was it Bonny?) asked him if he was going 'all ballady?'


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: 12-stringer
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 11:32 PM

What about Kittredge's Riverside 1-volume edition of Child? Was this available in the UK?

It was employed for decades in the US as a textbook in folklore classes. One of my high school teachers used it in the 40s, gave it to me in the late 50s because I was so interested in the subject, and I used it for English 371 in the 60s, which saved me $2 or $3 on textbook costs that semester. The Kittredge edition must have been in print for a good 60 years.

It's an abridged edition so it doesn't include every variant, but it's quite representative though without the entire critical apparati of the 5-volume set. I don't think it has the dozen or so melodies that the original included. (Haven't seen mine in years, as I bought the Dover 5-vol reprint in the 70s and paid something like $25 for it.) Five ballads are omitted for reasons of prudery -- "Trooper and the Maid," the dirtier of the "Beggar Man" songs, the one about the grotesque bride covered with snot, and a couple of other obscure items. Oddly enough, the well-known incest and kid sex ballads are not among the omissions. I think 4 of the left-out items are in the high 200s/low 300s.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: mrdux
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 12:56 AM

I've had the Dover 5 volume set for maybe twenty years or so. I just took a look and the cover price was $30 US for the set. As Dave mentioned, it was originally published in 1965, and my guess is that it probably cost less back then.

michael


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 03:49 AM

I have a copy of the 1965 Dover reprint, the price on the cover is $5. There were five volumes, so $25, give or take.

When was the Kitteridge published? I ask because as a kid there was a single volume edition of Child ballads in Hebrew, translated by the poet Nathan Altermann.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 04:30 AM

I s'pose I was (and others were) quite fortunate, living in Manchester at that time.

The Henry Watson Music Library, part of Manchester Central Library, had the full set of Bronson, as I remember ; and there was also Grieg, 'Northumbrian Minstrelsy', and another book (the name of which escapes me - an age thing, I know) which had the full version of the Song of the Royal Earsdon Sword Dancers.

So, for me and doubtless many others, access to Bronson was access to Child.

There was at least a half dozen versions of Child #1 being sung around the clubs in Manchester at this time : the Wood Family sang "Lay the Bent" ; I sang "The Devil's Nine Questions", for examples.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 04:43 AM

Shimrod. "Dover Books reprinted all 5 volumes in paperback. I can't remember how much they cost."
My set cost one pound six shillings and sixpence per volume. For paperbacks that was horrendously expensive in those days. But my God the quality of those Dover reprints! First class paper with the sheaves sewn into the bindings so that the pages would open flat. After forty years, the covers of my set of Child are getting a bit frayed round the edges. But otherwise they're as good as new. And that's before we begin to discuss the wonders of the material therein.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 05:32 AM

The problem of the Dover sets was that they were laminated originally and this tended to wear and make them look "tatty". Otherwise great boks. A set will currently retail for around £125.00 i.e £25.00 per volume.

Bronson is a totally diferent kettle of fish.

The volumes were printed in different numbers over a period of 14 years and thus volume 4 is really hard to get hold of.

There is a complete set for sale in America at £1750 which is a lot more than I have ever charged anyone - a lot more. I have sold 6 sets in total over the years.

(For those not aware I dabble in s/h folk books).

I have a nice set of the original Child !892 - 1898 about to go up on ebay when I get around to it. Probably starting at £800.00. Frankly both a blatant plug and a bargain.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 05:37 AM

First rule of management - test all assumptions.

That's $1750.00 (not pounds) which is just below £1,000 and thus much closer to a price I might charge - though I have sold three immaculate sets for less than that. It's just a little over the odds - but if you wanted the set then,,,well,,,,,you judge.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 05:59 AM

> There is another edition being produced by Llanerch Press. <

Dave, did you mean Loomis House Press? Their edition is available here Does anyone know whether this edition has got beyond vol. 3 yet?

And was there a rumour the Dover edition was going to be repressed in the old format, or did I imagine that?


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Emma B
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 05:59 AM

I received the set of 5 Dover books for my 21st birthday (I still have them plus the companion book 'Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads)
I don't know how much they cost in Sterling but the price of each is given as $2.75!


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 07:24 AM

The Dover Paperback was easily available and (I thought) not a bad price, even for those days.
As well Percy's Reliques and others already mentioned, they also published Wimberley's Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads and several other related works.
I had my paperback set until the cellophane covering began to peel off from the covers and, even though they were extremely well bound they were beginning to show bad signs of use.
About a dozen years ago I was lucky enough to get a library hard-bound set for the grand sum of £40 sterling.
I bought vols 1 and 2 of Bronson, but gave up in disgust when the price of vol 3 leapt from £12 to £14.
I realised my mistake just in time and, thanks to the help of a kind librarian, I got the final volumes at £30 each just before they disappeared from the shops altogether.
In the 60s and 70s they were all freely available from libraries - I probably borrowed the same ones as Bryn at Manchester Central Library.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 07:45 AM

Child ballads were not only avaialble in Child! He was part of, and further stimulated a general litereary interest in the ballad form which resulted in a great many books of ballads (many later ones were neary all 'Child Ballads' as he had effectively defined the canon!) Many of our books we got were of this type: - Bell: Earl Ballads & Ballads of the Peasantry, Sidgewick: Ballads & Poems, Tomson: Border Ballads, Sidgewick: Popular Ballads of Olden Time, Milner & Sowerby's Life & Ballads of Robin Hood, Quiller Couch: Oxford Book of Ballads, Smith & Soutar: A Book of Ballads for Boys & Girls. etc., etc.

The literary interest in ballad form at the end of the 19th century had waned and such books were avaialble very cheaply in second-hand book shops.

For tunes, you nicked them from recorded versions - and then came Bronson! And regular trips to the library.

Good luck with the dissertaion.

Tom Brown


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 08:04 AM

And Brian - yes I did mean Loomis House - now news on other volumes.

Interestingly the price of Dover was up around £250.00 when Loomis published their volume 1 and it dropped faster than the FTSE did yesterday.

The delay in getting the rest of the volumes out seems to have pushed the price of Dover up again.

Not heard anythuing about Dover re-publshing.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 09:12 AM

And sorry - that was me sans cookie. And it should have read " no news"....

Dave


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 09:33 AM

Interesting, Dave.

"I also remember Martin Carthy doing a gig at Yeovil Folk Club c1965 and carrying with him the recently published volume of Bronson's melodies to the Child Ballads."

.... and Bob Dylan's bookshelf in the 1960s reputedly boasted a full set of Dover edition ESPB.

Manchester University Library (Rylands) had a full set of Bronson in the late 1980s - the only reason I ever went in the place. Central Library still had piles of stuff at that time, but I don't know whether it still does.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 11:37 AM

"I also remember Martin Carthy doing a gig at Yeovil Folk Club c1965 and carrying with him the recently published volume of Bronson's melodies to the Child Ballads"

Yeovil must have been paying MC too much! I think Bronson at that time cost close on £50 - something like a fortnight's pay for an agricultural worker.

The Dover edition of Child was sold in CSH around 1970 for £5 per volume. I know because as an impoverished student I decided that was far too much to pay, but it didn't matter because in a few years time I would be earning money and could buy it because it was absolutely certain it would still be available for ever ......


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 11:40 AM

To Martin it was obviously an investment!


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 06:57 AM

Dover still has the Child volumes in its catalogue at $25.00 each. Good value.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Arkie
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 11:02 AM

I think the paperback volume of Bronson that I have was purchased in the 70s but I believe that it is condensed. I cannot locate it at the moment to comfirm any information.


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 03:00 PM

There is a somewhat biter-bit story told of a folklorist (now dead, and not able to answer for himself) who, in the sixties, combed the British Isles for books on folklore, folk music, ballads and related subjects. He incurred the wroth of many by buying up everything he could find, then taking them home to the US and re-publishing them in facsimile through several companies he set up.
The story goes that he went into a second-hand bookshop in Carlisle where he found somewhere near 100 books of interest. Placing his finds on the counter, he fished into his wallet, produced his business card and asked the proprietor what discount he would receive because he was 'trade'.
The proprietor swept them all from the counter and placed them out of reach saying, "Sorry, we don't sell to trade".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: BB
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 03:04 PM

The final volume of Bronson was published in 1972, and has a price printed on the cover of $40. I'm pretty sure we actually bought it when it was published, and it was £25. It's doubtful that Martin bought a volume in '65 at a cost of £50!

As Kennedy's 'Folk Songs of Britain & Ireland' cost £15, I thought that Bronson, with all the known tune versions, was very good value.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Oct 08 - 12:34 PM

Since I currently sell Kennedy @ £25.00 and Bronson (which I don't have) at around £200.00 a volume - though as I pointed out the 4th volume is the most expensive by far - it was indeed excellent value!!

I have the same story of the now dead folklorist as Jim, I wonder did you get it from me Jim? :-)


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Oct 08 - 01:20 PM

Dave,
No - so it must be true!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Child's ballads (back in the early days)
From: Hrothgar
Date: 10 Oct 08 - 04:36 PM

The Dover edition was on special at Mary Martin's bookshop (of blessed memory) in Brisbane in about 1981, and I went mad and bought five sets.

I only have one left now. I gave the others away to various people - what bothers me is that I can remember three of the other people, but I'm blessed if I know what I did with the fift set!


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