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'Secret Songs of Silence' published

Jack Campin 13 Jun 10 - 08:27 PM
Jon Bartlett 14 Jun 10 - 02:14 AM
Jack Campin 14 Jun 10 - 03:19 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jun 10 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,bigJ 14 Jun 10 - 06:45 AM
Steve Byrne 14 Jun 10 - 06:52 AM
Jack Campin 14 Jun 10 - 06:58 AM
Steve Byrne 14 Jun 10 - 07:01 AM
Jack Campin 14 Jun 10 - 07:15 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 10 - 07:36 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jun 10 - 10:37 AM
dick greenhaus 14 Jun 10 - 12:02 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jun 10 - 12:51 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 10 - 01:22 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jun 10 - 03:40 PM
Jon Bartlett 14 Jun 10 - 05:08 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jun 10 - 03:58 AM
GUEST,Ian Spring 15 Jun 10 - 06:19 AM
Steve Gardham 15 Jun 10 - 06:17 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Jun 10 - 03:23 AM
GUEST,Ian Spring 16 Jun 10 - 06:13 AM
dick greenhaus 23 Jun 10 - 01:37 PM
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Subject: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 08:27 PM

Ian Spring in Edinburgh has just published Peter Buchan's Scottish collection of bawdy songs for the first time since it was compiled in the early 19th century.

Peter Buchan (ed. Ian Spring)
Secret Songs of Silence
ISBN 978-0-9540704-1-0
16 pounds 99 pence
Hog's Back Press
13 Palmerston Place
Edinburgh EH12 5AF
tel +44 (0) 131 538 6732
http://www.hogsbackpress.com

I phoned Ian as soon as I saw his flyer for it and got him to bring me one at Sandy Bells, so I got it within an hour (on the Lord's Day, even). That was this afternoon so I haven't had much time with it, but it looks VERY well edited, with the songs put informatively into context. Not only do you get to sing degrading filth, it's SCHOLARLY degrading filth. Go for it, you know you need it.


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 02:14 AM

The Editor is none other than my old mate Murray Shoolbraid, a scholar deeply immersed in Filth and Scottica. Murray has an encyclopaediac knowledge of Scots tunes and songs, nursery rhymes, slang, and the like. It was he who first introduced me to Gershon Legman, bestknown I suppose as author of The Horn Book and ex-editor (?) of Kryptadia.

Murray was the founder and first editor of Come All Ye: the Journal of the Vancouver Folk Song Society (1972-78) which in its heyday and when universities had money, went to twenty or thirty such throughout N America and Europe. He was also editor for many years of the British Columbia Folklore Society's journal.

I've just finished reading it all - the songs (which actually aren't much in the way of filth) and the deeply learned notes. It's a fine piece, and I believe it can be got very reasonably from Dick at CAMSCO.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 03:19 AM

I know Murray has been looking at erotic folksongs for many years, and has had access to a copy of SSoS, but he hasn't published any of his work, as far as I know. This edition is by Ian Spring.


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 06:23 AM

Murray has published.
It looks like we have 2 publications here. You wait 180 years for one copy and then 2 come along at once!

I haven't got either yet but I know Murray's is a critique. I have a copy of the original mss but would appreciate seeing reviews of both publications before splashing out. Warning!! Peter Buchan is well-known for doctoring texts and even adding his own poetry as collected from tradition! (IMHO and Francis James Child's)


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 06:45 AM

Yep, Murray Schoolbraid's edition of Peter Buchan's Secret Songs of Silence - which is called The High Kilted Muse, has been published by the University Press of Mississippi.
Only available as a hardback as far as I'm aware.
Foreward by Ed Cray
Best English price that I could find was £44.31 from The Book Depository.
A pity that the two should be vying for customers.


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Steve Byrne
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 06:52 AM

They are indeed two publications - Murray Shoolbraid's is called 'The High-Kilted Muse', published through the University of Mississippi Press in conjunction with the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen.

I was initially confused myself, as, like Jack, I know Ian Spring and of his recent publication (it was launched on Sunday 6 June), and around the same time heard mention of the Elphinstone version in their recent newsletter.

I haven't seen Murray Shoolbraid's yet, but Ian Spring's work contains many helpful references to items in the School of Scottish Studies archive (now gradually being published online at www.kistoriches.co.uk / www.tobarandualchais.co.uk )

While the notion of Peter Buchan as a faker persists, he has also been rehabilitated to some extent through the collecting activities of Greig & Duncan, and later Hamish Henderson. It was Hamish who originally brought the SSoS MSS to Ian Spring's attention.


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 06:58 AM

Spring points out that Buchan was far less of a faker than he's been made out to be - Scott and Hogg both published a lot more dodgy material without attracting the same opprobrium. Buchan's problem was his lowly origins, which meant that his face didn't fit in the aristocratic milieu of 19th century antiquarianism. His life was an appalling chronicle of misery and disaster as a result (Spring has a few pages of biography).

I just tried to check the details of the Shoolbraid and Cray edition. The Barnes and Noble site displays no information at all in my browser - needs Javascript, Flash, ActiveX or something. Anybody got a link to the details that just works without any buggering about?


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Steve Byrne
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 07:01 AM

I don't know how this works in your browser Jack but there's a preview on Google Books - http://tinyurl.com/2v6wkct

Additionally here's the Mississippi Press page - http://www.upress.state.ms.us/books/1291


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 07:15 AM

That's better:

Blue clicky for UMiss site

Their front cover is the same image that Spring uses on his back cover. The designs are rather too alike.

I'd have bought the Shoolbraid one in a flash if I knew it existed, but it's twice the price of Spring's and the blurb suggests the two are very similar in aims and scale.


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 07:36 AM

"Peter Buchan is well-known for doctoring texts and even adding his own poetry as collected from tradition! (IMHO and Francis James Child's)"
Warning:
There is no definite evidence that he did this any more than any other editor did at the time and it is misleading to suggest he did without referring to the debate on the matter.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 10:37 AM

'the debate on the matter'
Which parts of the debate do you want me to refer to, Jim?
Keith's heavily biased and inaccurate book influenced by the turncoat Walker?
Or Child's numerous slatings of Buchan's fakes?


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 12:02 PM

Well, as a service to the folk community, CAMSCO Music has instituted a one-time offer:
The UMiss Edition for $45 ($10 off Amazon's price). I'll take orders (800/548-FOLK<3655> for one week only, starting today.


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 12:51 PM

Jack,
What you say about Scott and Hogg (and others) is very true but at least Scott came clean and at least in the case of all the other collectors their manuscripts exist and can be compared. Buchan went way over the top (IMHO) and no field note type manuscripts survive or are ever known to have existed. The manuscripts at Harvard and the BL are actually copy for publication. The Harvard manuscript is verbatim the 2 vol Ancient Ballads of the North, with a few crossings out by the editors. There is a great deal of consistency in the 'adaptations'/'additions' he makes to his 'versions' which suggests largely the work of one man. Blaming Jamie Rankin for this is not on either. Bell Robertson knew Jamie Rankin personally and she stated he didn't have the wit to compose songs or doctor them to the level Child claimed. Nicol no doubt has to take some of the blame but not the lion's share.


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 01:22 PM

"Keith's heavily biased and inaccurate book influenced by the turncoat Walker?"
Steve;
It's always seemed to me that those who choose to vilify Buchan are the same people who are anxious to prove that working people are incapable of producing great art - my experience with recording traditional singers, including broadside (ballad-sheet) sellers, tells me otherwise.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 03:40 PM

Sorry, Jim, I can't quite make the connection here????


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 05:08 PM

In contradistinction to Child, Grudtvig thought that the vulgarity of Buchan's material argued in favour of its authenticity. Judging from Steve G's and Jim C.'s comments, however, the jury is still out.

I WAS struck, however, by how seemingly low-kilted or bland Buchan's secret songs were.

My apologies to Ian Spring, by the by, for confusing his work with Murray's. With two books on Buchan in as many weeks, it's either feast or famine.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 03:58 AM

"Sorry, Jim, I can't quite make the connection here"
Possibly none Steve, but in my experience the two THEORIES seem to go hand-in-hand.
As with the 'origins' of folk songs - we simply don't know and to give the impression that we do is, at the very least, misleading.
"Turncoat Walker?" is a very definitive phrase and one much in need of substatiation.
To me, Walker was someone who worked with a collector who produced the finest and most comprehensive collection of folk songs in Britain - from Abedeenshire. It makes sense to me that he was in a far better position than either you or I to judge whether Buchan's Aberdeenshire ballads are authentic or not.
To me, 'Turncoat' indicates the ability to change ones mind, an indespensible facility in the learning process, I would have thought!
As Jon Bartlett rightly says - the jury is still out, and has been sending out for tea and sandwiches for a long time.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: GUEST,Ian Spring
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 06:19 AM

Just to say that my own version of the Secret Songs has been some years in the making. I haven't seen Murray Shoolbraid's version or any of his work but I wish him well.

My book merely touches on the 'Buchan Controversy' but I am planning an extended biography of Buchan next year.

Meanwhile, if anyone on this forum would like a copy of Secret Songs of Silence, edited by Ian Spring, I can offer a discounted copy at £15.00. Just email enquiries@hogsbackpress.com with your contact details.

Ian


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 06:17 PM

That's extremely generous, Ian. I'll go and check the piggy bank. And I would be very excited to see an extended biography of Peter Buchan. If I can be of any help do please ask.

Jim,
We do, as you say, all have the right to change our minds. In the case of William Walker it is intersting to conjecture why?


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 03:23 AM

Steve,
If William Walker had been the only one to take up the cudgels on behalf of Buchan, maybe this very 'Cold Case' would be worth re-opening - he wasn't, and without fresh information, it isn't IMO. Spinning a coin to decide whether you accept Child's (or Grudtvig's) opinion or Walkers really is not evidence, fresh or otherwise - it is opinion.
As before, if you have anything new to add to the argument, let's have it, otherwise, (to repeat) definitive statements without such are misleading.
I await Ian's book with some interest, even though he does say that he only touches on the controversy.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: GUEST,Ian Spring
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 06:13 AM

As noted, there is no definitive evidence re the reliability of Buchan's texts. My own opinion, however, is that Buchan was certainly guilty of collation and amendment (as were many other collectors), but there is no evidence that he fabricated whole songs. Stylistically, the songs that we know were composed by Buchan (eg, those marked as such in the Gleanings) are quite dictinct. Adopting, this approach, my view is that only one song in the Secret Songs seems to bear the hallmark of Buchan's own style. Therefore, I suspect that Legman is mistaken when he takes the evidence of Buchan's tangential remark to Laing to suggest that Buchan himself composed some of the Secret Songs. The sources of the songs in the Secret Songs are various, including many broadsides. Some, but by no means all, of the north-east pieces, I suspect, came from Jamie Rankin.

Re Walker, a remarkable man (as a perusal of his library catalogue which I have in my collection, will testify) but his opinion of Buchan was ambivalent and not uncritical. Despite cataloguing the Secret Songs he did not care for them: 'without a spark of wit or decency in their unrelieved grossness'!


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Subject: RE: 'Secret Songs of Silence' published
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 01:37 PM

Well, if anyone wants a discounted copy ($41.25+$4.20 S&H) they'll have to let me know by Monday, June 27. Amazon has it for $55.
CAMSCO Music
800/548-3655


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