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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Phil Edwards 10 Aug 15 - 05:57 AM
Will Fly 10 Aug 15 - 06:16 AM
Dave Hanson 10 Aug 15 - 06:19 AM
Jack Blandiver 10 Aug 15 - 06:28 AM
Phil Edwards 10 Aug 15 - 06:35 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Aug 15 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,matt milton 10 Aug 15 - 07:03 AM
Phil Edwards 10 Aug 15 - 07:27 AM
GUEST,Lighter 10 Aug 15 - 07:39 AM
Will Fly 10 Aug 15 - 08:44 AM
Will Fly 10 Aug 15 - 08:48 AM
Phil Edwards 10 Aug 15 - 09:01 AM
Will Fly 10 Aug 15 - 09:12 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Aug 15 - 11:15 AM
Jack Campin 10 Aug 15 - 11:23 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Aug 15 - 11:35 AM
The Sandman 10 Aug 15 - 01:11 PM
Jack Campin 10 Aug 15 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,surreysinger sans cookie 10 Aug 15 - 01:27 PM
The Sandman 10 Aug 15 - 02:33 PM
Will Fly 10 Aug 15 - 03:01 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Aug 15 - 04:55 PM
oggie 10 Aug 15 - 05:12 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Aug 15 - 05:28 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Aug 15 - 06:06 PM
GUEST 10 Aug 15 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,Chris Wright 11 Aug 15 - 12:18 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Aug 15 - 12:42 AM
GUEST,Chris Wright 11 Aug 15 - 12:57 AM
GUEST,matt milton 11 Aug 15 - 04:54 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Aug 15 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,jim younger guest 11 Aug 15 - 01:52 PM
Vic Smith 11 Aug 15 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 11 Aug 15 - 05:39 PM
Lighter 11 Aug 15 - 06:17 PM
Jack Blandiver 12 Aug 15 - 06:56 AM
Lighter 12 Aug 15 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie) 12 Aug 15 - 09:04 AM
Stanron 12 Aug 15 - 09:31 AM
Lighter 12 Aug 15 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 12 Aug 15 - 10:16 AM
The Sandman 12 Aug 15 - 05:42 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Aug 15 - 06:02 PM
MGM·Lion 13 Aug 15 - 01:45 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Aug 15 - 01:53 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Aug 15 - 03:07 AM
Phil Edwards 13 Aug 15 - 05:08 AM
GUEST,matt milton 13 Aug 15 - 05:28 AM
Vic Smith 13 Aug 15 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,matt milton 13 Aug 15 - 07:35 AM
Vic Smith 13 Aug 15 - 09:12 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Aug 15 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Jan 20 - 05:02 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Jan 20 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Jan 20 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Jan 20 - 07:05 PM
Joe Offer 10 Jan 20 - 07:10 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 20 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Jan 20 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Jan 20 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 11 Jan 20 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Jan 20 - 12:43 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 20 - 02:02 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 20 - 02:13 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 20 - 02:29 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 20 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Jan 20 - 07:24 PM
RTim 11 Jan 20 - 09:59 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 03:48 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:13 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 06:12 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 06:31 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 06:36 AM
Richard Mellish 12 Jan 20 - 06:51 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 07:19 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 08:12 AM
Howard Jones 12 Jan 20 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 10:15 AM
The Sandman 12 Jan 20 - 10:52 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 12 Jan 20 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Jan 20 - 11:35 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 12 Jan 20 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Hi Lo 12 Jan 20 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 12 Jan 20 - 01:31 PM
Richard Mellish 12 Jan 20 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 04:24 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,jag 12 Jan 20 - 04:44 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:47 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:50 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:57 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:57 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,jag 12 Jan 20 - 05:06 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 12 Jan 20 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,jag 12 Jan 20 - 05:41 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 05:47 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 12 Jan 20 - 08:11 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,jag 13 Jan 20 - 07:09 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,jag 13 Jan 20 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,jag 13 Jan 20 - 07:56 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 08:26 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 08:50 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 08:57 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 10:51 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 10:58 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 01:47 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 02:05 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 02:50 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 04:06 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 04:26 PM
Richard Mellish 13 Jan 20 - 05:02 PM
Jack Campin 13 Jan 20 - 05:15 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 05:21 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 05:45 PM
Richard Mellish 13 Jan 20 - 06:22 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 04:14 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 04:32 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 04:54 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 09:49 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 10:09 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 10:32 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 11:14 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 11:43 AM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 20 - 11:45 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 12:20 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 12:25 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,jag 14 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM
Lighter 14 Jan 20 - 01:34 PM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 20 - 02:31 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 02:54 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 02:58 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 03:09 PM
Richard Mellish 14 Jan 20 - 04:47 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 04:48 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,jag 14 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 05:53 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 20 - 03:55 AM
The Sandman 15 Jan 20 - 04:08 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Jan 20 - 04:17 AM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 20 - 04:18 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Jan 20 - 05:04 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM
Richard Mellish 15 Jan 20 - 05:12 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Jan 20 - 05:17 AM
Jack Campin 15 Jan 20 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 05:40 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 20 - 07:38 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 20 - 07:41 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 20 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 09:03 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 20 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 09:37 AM
Lighter 15 Jan 20 - 11:22 AM
Jack Campin 15 Jan 20 - 12:18 PM
Jeri 15 Jan 20 - 12:18 PM
Lighter 15 Jan 20 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,jag 15 Jan 20 - 12:53 PM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 20 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 03:29 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jan 20 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 05:43 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jan 20 - 06:14 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jan 20 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 06:29 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jan 20 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 08:12 PM
RTim 15 Jan 20 - 10:44 PM
Karen Impola 15 Jan 20 - 11:12 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 04:50 AM
Lighter 16 Jan 20 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 16 Jan 20 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 16 Jan 20 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,jag 16 Jan 20 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,jag 16 Jan 20 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Modette 16 Jan 20 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,jag 16 Jan 20 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Modette 16 Jan 20 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,jag 16 Jan 20 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 02:35 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 20 - 02:52 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 20 - 03:03 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM
Lighter 16 Jan 20 - 03:45 PM
GUEST 16 Jan 20 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 16 Jan 20 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,jag 17 Jan 20 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 08:38 AM
Vic Smith 17 Jan 20 - 10:01 AM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 10:17 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 12:30 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,HiLo 17 Jan 20 - 01:03 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 01:10 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:41 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:46 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 04:39 PM
Brian Peters 17 Jan 20 - 04:40 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 04:43 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 17 Jan 20 - 05:57 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Jan 20 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Jan 20 - 06:58 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 17 Jan 20 - 08:25 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 20 - 03:04 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 20 - 03:09 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 03:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 07:48 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Jan 20 - 08:12 AM
Vic Smith 18 Jan 20 - 08:18 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 20 - 09:36 AM
Lighter 18 Jan 20 - 12:27 PM
Brian Peters 18 Jan 20 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 18 Jan 20 - 01:52 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 20 - 04:28 PM
Lighter 18 Jan 20 - 06:17 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 01:00 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 02:55 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 04:04 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 04:05 AM
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Subject: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 05:57 AM

Review here: Fakesong.

Some time ago, in a discussion on the Cat, I was taken to task by Georgina Boyes for bloviating on the subject of her & Dave Harker's contributions to the study of folksong without actually having read them. Fair point.

I have now read Fakesong - it took a while - and written a review. I'm not sure my opinion's changed very much, but it's definitely better informed.

Review of The Imagined Village to follow - probably in about 2017.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:16 AM

Thanks for the blog review, Phil, which I found very interesting.

I've never read "Fakesong", as it happens, but was curious to see what you made of it after having read several threads/posts about that book on this forum over the years.

I've always thought it necessary to have a positive and firm agenda if you write a scholarly book, but it seems that the agenda of this work is so closed as to be pretty pointless - this from your review.

So, I can't see myself opening up "Fakesong" in the near future - but I'm tempted!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:19 AM

You summed your attitude up with your first sentence, ' I'm not a true believer in folk '

I therefore fail to understand your purpose, and you really ought to know that the boredom factor of the average Mudcat user is 1 page length, so, all in all not a lot of point in posting it here.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:28 AM

Dave Harker set out to show that folk song did not exist. In the end, all he demonstrated was that he didn't want to study it.

Phil Edwards set out to write a review of Fakesong. In the end all he demonstrated that he didn't really agree with it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:35 AM

Jack Blandiver set out to... aah, never mind.

Dave - not sure I get your point. Not being a "true believer" ought to make me more sympathetic to Harker's debunking approach.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:50 AM

Can't help thinking this all a bit behind the fair. My brief review of Fakesong appeared in The Times of November 8 1986. Near as dammit 30 years ago. Still in print then? And still got readers? Crikey!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 07:03 AM

Wow, thanks Phil. A lot of nails hit on the head there.If only all academics wrote as clearly and perceptively as you!

There's a big difference between disagreeing with the argument of a work; and demonstrating exactly how and why that argument is flawed. Your review does the latter.

I've wanted to read Fakesong for a while, and would have bought it if I could have found an affordable copy on Amazon. I don't think I'll bother now.

I had millions of similar problems with the Imagined Village - I eventually gave up in frustration over all the inconsistencies and muddled writing in it. The lack of conscientiousness angered me: it says it's going to do X (sort of), then does Y, then points to an instance of Z saying it's evidence of X. Woeful chicanery of bad faith.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 07:27 AM

Matt - you're too kind! TIV is next on my list; I'm hoping for the best.

I doubt Fakesong is still in print, Michael - I borrowed the copy I read from a university library. I could have read it in 1985 - I'm old enough - but I only got into traditional music about ten years ago. People discover these things in their own time - rather late in my case, maybe.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 07:39 AM

A very fair review, Phil.

I read Fakesong not long after it appeared. Harker's passion initially impressed me. But his polemics undermine the valuable biographical and textual information he's gathered.

What Harker shows should (but didn't always) go without saying: that folksong texts and collections, like almost everything else, are complicated artifacts not to be taken simply at face value. Fair enough. But what he thinks he shows - that a pure proletarian art was vitiated by self-seekers and frauds - is rather different. So is the idea, as Phil says, that "traditional song" doesn't exist. Harker seems to confuse conceptual categorization (lumping similar things together) with difficulty of definition (saying just why they should be lumped together). By that standard, poetry clearly does not exist; in fact, few things do.

Harker's relentless attacks on long-dead enthusiasts, his dismissal of all their efforts as bad faith and (even in the case of great talents like Walter Scott) bad art, and his tendentious sorting of the world into simple class-based camps of good and evil, make Fakesong - even aside from its alleged fudging and factual errors - a rather unpleasant and less than satisfying read. However, it is worth looking at - with appropriate caution - for the light it sheds on collectors and interpreters.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 08:44 AM

Harker's book is out of print - but you can get a used paperback copy from Amazon for £60 minimum...


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 08:48 AM

Checking the book on Amazon, I saw that there were two reviews, one of them containing this link:

18 Fakesong in an Imagined Village? A Critique of the Harker - Boyes Thesis

More reading for me...


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 09:01 AM

Yes, that's the David Gregory review I mention in my post. He's not crazy about TIV either.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 09:12 AM

I thought his analysis of TIV (which I have read) was quite good. I discovered that Athabasca University is in Canada - I wonder whether they have a faculty or department which covers traditional music.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 11:15 AM

I think we have reached a consensus on "Folk" tunes:

.........the role of tune books has a very long and central history in the survival and evolution of English dance tunes.

One of the earliest publications was "The English Dancing Master" published in London in 1651 by John Playford. This volume contained the figures and the tunes for 105 English country dances and a number of the tunes first published there appear in our collection.

Across the intervening 350 or so years thousands and thousands of tunes have survived and evolved because people enjoy dancing together on social occasions and because they are great little tunes. Some were printed, published and sold in collections and some were written down with pen and ink by musicians for their own personal use. Sometimes musicians played for grand balls, dressed well and lived a good life. Others played elsewhere on the social scale. The tunes have passed back and forth between those who could 'read' and those who learned and played 'by ear'.

Has the journey for "Folk" songs been much different?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 11:23 AM

BTW if you want a copy of "Fakesong" it's going to cost you:

second-hand copies available


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 11:35 AM

Blimey; will you look at those prices!

I've still got my original copy in prime condition. Will sell it to first to write to me with their address to send it to, for £15, inc postage, & will enclose invoice and trust to receive payment in return.

MICHAEL GROSVENOR MYER  
34 West End   
Haddenham  
Cambridge CB6 3TE


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 01:11 PM

The best thing to do with songs is sing them.
Lets not beat about the bush Harker is an intellectual wanker.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 01:25 PM

He was wrong about a lot of things, but it's better that book had been written than not; there is useful and enlightening content in it. He was no more unreasonably opinionated than you are and wrote far better.

I'm not about to pay 60 quid (or even 15) for my own copy, though.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,surreysinger sans cookie
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 01:27 PM

Will. Athabasca University is a sort of Canadian equivalent of our Open University. Dave Gregory is, or was, an Associate Professor there, and the programmer for the B.A. (Humanities) course. His research area is the history of popular music, particularly the folksong revival in Canada and the United Kingdom.He has written a fair few papers on the subject, and published quite a few books, including "Victorian Songhunters: The Recovery and Editing of English Vernacular Ballads and Folk Lyrics, 1820-1883 (2006) and "The Late Victorian Folksong Revival: The Persistence of English Melody, 1878-1903 (2010)". When I was last in contact with him he was in the process of writing a work on Lucy Broadwood - I have not yet heard how that is/was faring. Hope that answers a couple of queries?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 02:33 PM

"He was no more unreasonably opinionated than you are and wrote far better."
hilarious and Grammatically incorrect, it should be
He was no more unreasonably opinionated than you but his writing style was better.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 03:01 PM

Cheers, Irene - thanks for the info.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 04:55 PM

Jon Lighter gives a very fair summary. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. It's unfortunate that such a highly criticised book is the only one so far that gives an overview of all the fakery over the centuries. The fakery exists in many different forms and was done for many different reasons.

By the way, Phil, I agree with much of what you say in the review but nowhere have I said that all English folk songs derive from broadsides. I strongly believe that about 95% derive from some form of commercial activity in towns (including broadsides) and I can demonstrate easily that 89% have their earliest extant forms in this medium.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: oggie
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 05:12 PM

From memory, it's a long time since I read it, in the intro he says something to the effect that this is written for my colleagues in the SWP to be the final arbiters of and I don't care for the judgement of any others.

At that point it couldn't go any further down hill, it was written as a point scoring exercise for one faction of the left over another faction. That central bias weakens it as a work that could have been a fascinating treatise and looms as the elephant in the room over it's many pages.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 05:28 PM

Nicely put, oggie.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:06 PM

Steve - thanks, I'll revise the review!

One of the things I found most frustrating about the book was that I really wanted to know more about the fakery - I'm fascinated by things like Child dismissing Tam Lin as a "grossly modern invention" or Chambers attributing Sir Patrick Spens to Elizabeth Wardlaw. On several occasions Harker indicates that some of such-and-such a collection was clearly faked-up and then leaves it there. The implicit question he's answering is "did the early collectors transmit the pure and authentic voice of the people?", the answer obviously being No. But that's not very informative. What I wanted to know is how much of those collections does represent products of oral culture (even if ultimately traceable to print sources); saying "Not all of them by any means" is a start, but it's only a start.

oggie - I've got the book here (balanced rather precariously on my knee as I type). It's got an odd structure: Introduction, 11 chapters, then a two-page Conclusion and a two-page Appendix devoted to Harker himself. As far as I can see the only reference to the SWP is in the Appendix - and he doesn't suggest at this point that other factions of the Left are wrong. Writing about himself in the third person, he says that in 1982 a series of work & political pressures "drove him to reading and writing so as to keep his head together." Then: "How far he succeeded in doing so, and whether the effort was worth it, will be best judged by his comrades in the Gorton Branch of the SWP and those in other socialist parties." That's the last sentence of the book.

You may have been remembering Chapter 11, which is rather unnecessarily rude about the Communist Party while talking about Bert Lloyd; I was going to say something about this in my review but thought I'd done enough complaining.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 06:48 PM

> "did the early collectors transmit the pure and authentic voice of the people?", the answer obviously being No.

Because nobody can do the impossible.

Taken together, however, and with special emphasis on 20th century collecting and recording as a control, they seem overall to have done a pretty good job - partly because the worst fakery is usually obvious (because so sophisticated) and, in a few cases like that of Baring-Gould, the fakers were proud of their work.

And if, for example, Burns was the principal genius behind the canonical "Tam Lin," so much the better for "Tam Lin."

It is good, however, to know who likely contributed what and when.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Chris Wright
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 12:18 AM

Michael - I've put a letter in the post to you today.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 12:42 AM

Thank you, Chris. As first to respond, you shall have precedence.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Chris Wright
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 12:57 AM

Thanks, Michael.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 04:54 AM

"did the early collectors transmit the pure and authentic voice of the people?", the answer obviously being No.
Because nobody can do the impossible.
Taken together, however, and with special emphasis on 20th century collecting and recording as a control, they seem overall to have done a pretty good job - partly because the worst fakery is usually obvious (because so sophisticated) and, in a few cases like that of Baring-Gould, the fakers were proud of their work."

That's a good summing-up, GUEST. One of my frustrations with The Imagined Village (not having read Fakesong) is how little engagement there is WITH THE SONGS THEMSELVES. I can't actually remember there being any at all. It seems truly bizarre that anybody would write at length on this subject, yet not engage with the CONTENT. The words.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 01:32 PM

AS I wrote earlier mediating the material for publication over the centuries has been done for different reasons and in different ways so we have to be careful when condemning that we treat the perpetrators in the spirit of their own times and take into consideration their reasons.

One of the big factors was they were preparing the material to be accepted by a discerning literary/musical audience and for various reasons the material couldn't be presented as found. However there is a big difference between this and claiming the mediated material was printed exactly as it came from the memories of the sources when patently this is a deception.

In Sharp's case we have no problems with his bowdlerisation. He had little choice and his manuscripts appear to contain the genuine article. The problem here is his romanticising of the material leading people to believe the material originated amongst the peasantry of Merrie Englande when this is patently not the case.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jim younger guest
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 01:52 PM

When I read Fakesong, I was struck by the glee the author seemed to take in Alfred Wiliams's disappointing ( to say the least) last years. Now, if only AW had been a Marxist ... or a even member of a forerunner of the SWP ... he might have been given more sympathetic treatment.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 05:24 PM

Steve Gardham makes an important point -
"Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater."


I read this book not long after it came out. My initial memory of reading it was initially how much I disagreed with it. But it also made me think deeply about the subject about why I disagreed with it and helped me form my own opinions. In fact this thread makes me want to read it again - but when I look at my shelves of folk music books, it is no longer there!

I can also remember disagreeing strongly with Bob Stewart's 1988 book Where is St. George? and found the disagreement thought-provoking.... though less stimulating than the Harker book because it was less well written.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 05:39 PM

My basic impression of Harker's book was that he appeared to marshalling 'evidence' he liked the look of to deliver what he considered would be a knockout blow against somebody or some people, but then never swung his fist forward. I was left rather bemused. I was interested to learn from Maggie Mackay of the School of Scottish Studies that she was similarly frustrated by the lack of delivery at the end. We were left puzzled at who it was he was trying to convict.
From the above it looks like others managed to get the point more clearly than we did.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 06:17 PM

Yesterday's 6:48 pm GUEST was me.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 06:56 AM

I can also remember disagreeing strongly with Bob Stewart's 1988 book Where is St. George? and found the disagreement thought-provoking.... though less stimulating than the Harker book because it was less well written.

I found my old copies of both of these recently whilst re-arranging my folk-shelves. Even took a picture for Facebook (CLICK!) with the legend : A couple of Folkin' Classics nailing the extremes from the weird to the wonderful...


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 07:12 AM

"Manufacture" sounds especially calculating in the context of cultural artifacts.

You generally need a team of some sort to "manufacture" (rather than "craft," "create," "make," etc.) something.

And in this case a team effort suggests (only rhetorically, of course) some kind of conspiratorial intent.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie)
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 09:04 AM

A very interesting and informative thread. The linked reviews by David Gregory and Phil Edwards are both excellent, and both agree pretty much with my own responses to 'Fakesong' (some interesting ideas, but author appears to be in danger of drowning in his own bile') and to 'The Imagined Village' (also some interesting ideas, but they deserve a more balanced analysis).   

Both books seemed to be overly concerned with point-scoring and name-calling in factional disputes between small sects of scholarly and/or political enthusiasts. (Rather like the mutually hostile liberation movements in Monty Python's Life of Brian).

And yet ... when I heard Dave Harker give a lecture in Newcastle for the 150th anniversary celebration of the Blaydon Races ('Eighteen hundred and Sixty-two on a summers afternoon')he seemed to be a very capable scholar, and a decent enough bloke - an impression reinforced when I had a brief chat with him afterwards. Maybe he's mellowed a bit over the last few decades?

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Stanron
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 09:31 AM

The 'conspiratorial intent' could have come from a need to validate / invalidate imperialism, upper / lower class superiority or exploitation, or any of a number of things. I've not read any of the books mentioned and not fully read the review linked in the first post but the bit I did read reminded me that I've long thought that the term 'Folk' was a construction in the mind of the collector rather than a truth and has had a number of different interpretations or definitions since first use. It's fair enough to point out that 'traditional' singers since Cecil Sharp might have considered their material as 'Folk' but the people who composed the ballads that ended up in the old collections probably didn't because the term had yet to be construed. They would have thought they were writing songs. The people who learned those songs were doing exactly what any spotty teenager today does when they learn a song by ? (actually I don't know the names of anyone who today's spotty youth would be listening to but the principle stands)

The name, Folk, is a convenient label but not something I can be seriously pedantic about. I like my music acoustic, intimate, rootsy, honest and beautiful. I like to think that it is a natural part of everyone and not the preserve of a talented few and I prefer it to be unpolluted by any kind of political or commercial agenda. Calling it folk is a nice simple act of categorisation.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 10:11 AM

Harker was arguing - at least to some extent - that "British folk music" is a "bourgeois" categorization of something essentially like any other kind of music enjoyed by the working class.

See the countless threads on "What is folk music?" for endless, though usually less Marxian, discussion.

Fakesong reckons "folk music" as an empty concept faked up by and for outsiders out of a patronizing, hypocritical sentimentalism, and - once their artificial fad had caught on - their self-serving ambitions.

IMO, the reality was neither so stark nor so mischievous.

IMO.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 10:16 AM

To clear up a few points.

The Imagined Village is about the ideas that underlie the emergence and development of the English Folk Revival. What shaped the proposals that there was a 'Folk' in England and why did people feel their culture was in danger and needed reviving?

I wasn't by any means the first to suggest that the whole concept of the Folk as it came to be presented over time by most Folklorists and then later by Folksong collectors was illogical and bore no relation to the real people who sang, told stories, danced or took part in the customs at the end of the 19th century or into the 20th. The heading of Chapter 1 is a quote taken from Joseph Jacobs (1854-1916) who wrote in 1893 that the Folk was 'a fraud, a delusion, a myth' and simply 'a name for our ignorance'.

Jacob's whole, short article is still relevant today and could potentially reduce the amount of misinformation in some contributions to this discussion.

Also, I've written quite a lot of articles and sleeve notes that engage with the content of songs, but this particular piece of work was about the Folk rather than the specifics of what they sang.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 05:42 PM

I am sure it is more interesting than Maos' little red book, now there really was someone who was a bollocks.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 06:02 PM

>>>>>Fakesong reckons "folk music" as an empty concept faked up by and for outsiders out of a patronizing, hypocritical sentimentalism, and - once their artificial fad had caught on - their self-serving ambitions.<<<<<<< Jon.

There is some obvious truth here. Nearly all folklorists in the past can be accused of being selective and reading far too much into the artefacts they sought to record. Selective in what they chose to ask for and selective in what they sought to publish. However they manipulated the artefacts the concept cannot be described as empty, so in that respect Harker was definitely wrong. As some posters have already said folklore (and all other uses of 'folk' as a prefix) is not a scientifically fixed concept, it is an umbrella word that can be described but not easily set down with distinct limits.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 01:45 AM

folklore (and all other uses of 'folk' as a prefix) is not a scientifically fixed concept, it is an umbrella word that can be described but not easily set down...
.,,.

...and also surprisingly modern; first used in English [presumably derived from German volks], it appears, by W J Thoms in 1846 (see my entry on 'Folklore' in The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature - 2003). Before that such terms as "popular" [as still used later on by Child], "household" [as in the translations of the Grimms' collections of German folktales] &c would be used.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 01:53 AM

"Thoms is credited with inventing the word 'folklore' in an 1846 letter to the Athenaeum. He invented this compound word to replace the various other terms used at the time, including "popular antiquities" or "popular literature". He was fond of the works of Jacob Grimm, which he considered remarkable." -- Wikipedia


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 03:07 AM

My main problem with the fakers is not that they did it. In most cases they had valid reasons and were of their time, but all of them had the opportunity to come clean at a later stage, when they mostly regretted what they had done; but they didn't and now their works are tainted because we will never know to what extent they faked the material. This was Child's greatest exasperation with the material if you read his correspondence.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 05:08 AM

Is there a ballad-by-ballad commentary on Child anywhere? I'm thinking of something that would go through each ballad printed by Child & document

where Child got it from (as far as we know)
any concerns expressed by Child and others (e.g. Chambers)
any reasons we might now suspect major rewriting or outright fabrication (e.g. single sourcing)
and conversely any examples of the same or a similar song being collected independently - for instance, Child only had a thoroughly prettied-up version of the Holland Handkerchief, but the song was collected later in Ireland.

Is there a scholarly edition of Child with all of that in, or has anyone written a Companion to Child...?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 05:28 AM

Didn't most of Child's collection come from printed broadsides? And from earlier ballad collections? (Many instances of which are now readily available to view online.)

I also read that he deliberately excluded some ballads due to sexual inuendo (such as 'The Crabfish') – which suggests to me that he favoured exclusion rather than bowdlerisation.

Doubtless someone much better informed than me could confirm.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 07:15 AM

Inevitably in a thread like this, other books have been mentioned for comparison with Dave Harker's book. I mentioned Bob Stewart's Where Is St. George? and Mike Tickell mentioned Georgina Boyes' The Imagined Village.

Personally, I would not be happy to see the three lumped together. The Harker and Stewart books seem to have the authors' own agendas shining through them at the expense of the facts or research. People who have met her will know that politically Georgina is of the left but the careful research and presentation of her book cannot be denied. The pre-2nd World War EFDSS had many worrying unattractive qualities and these were detailed in her book. It was a top-down authoritarian organisation and those at its centre did not like their opinions to be questioned. There was a prevailing strong misogynistic attitude and the work and achievements of women workers in the field was undervalued and what is described as at least a sympathy with Fascism existed.

Steve Gardham wrote -
we have to be careful when condemning that we treat the perpetrators in the spirit of their own times and take into consideration their reasons.

....and this was as true in the 1930s as it was in the times of Scott. Child and Sharp, but what Georgina wrote needed to be said.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 07:35 AM

Well Vic, suffice to say that I felt obliged to mention The Imagined Village because aspects of Phil's Fakesong review reminded me strongly of my experience of reading TIV.

But to express my thoughts properly on that book, I would have to re-read it and write a detailed review, like Phil's

And having noticed that Georgina Boyes has contributed to this thread in commendably civil and to-the-point fashion, I will say no more about it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 09:12 AM

Phil Edwards wrote -
"Is there a ballad-by-ballad commentary on Child anywhere? I'm thinking of something that would go through each ballad printed by Child & document.... where Child got it from (as far as we know)


There is none that I know of but might not Bertrand Harris Bronson's 4-volume The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads or even his abridged 1 volume The Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads be the sort of thing that you are seeking.

Both are available from Pete Shepheard's website by clicking here. Of course, you may have to re-mortage your house to get them for as Pete points out - "second hand copies of the four volumes have been fetching well over £1000."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 09:46 AM

Phil,
The ESPB itself is still the prevailing commentary on each of the 305 ballads. Yes, further versions have surfaced since his time and he was largely blissfully unaware that some of these ballads existed on his own doorstep. The first stopping point for all scholars is still usually what Child had to say about the ballad in his headnotes to each ballad. The next point might be Bronson or finding out if anything further has been done on a particular ballad. There are some glaring errors but these are simply because he didn't have the necessary information at that time. For instance, many of his notes to Child 20 actually apply to 21 but from the info he had he wasn't to know that.

Matt, yes most came from existing collections. Child was a scholar and editor, not a collector. Some came solely from broadsides (e.g. most of Robin Hood ballads) but not that many.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Jan 20 - 05:02 PM

I've read a lot about this book, including this thread, but only just begun to read it. Just after the library says it will get hold of a copy for me, I discover it is online at the archive.org web site. I discovered this by chance when googling. So I'm sharing the knowledge, since 2nd hand copies are expensive.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jan 20 - 06:12 PM

Pseu,
When you've finished reading it, if you are interested, I can give you some concrete examples of fakery by some of those accused, but as we've said earlier for the majority of those accused, we simply have no way of knowing the actual extent of it. There are some excellent academic books and theses not so well-known that go into the fakery that was taking place in the eighteenth century. David C Fowler is excellent in this respect, and I've come across several academics who imply that many of the ballads in the Child canon were deliberately fabricated by sophisticated hands in the eighteenth century, and this continued through into the early-nineteenth. Chambers may have been wrong when he attributed many of them to one writer, but his thesis may have been correct if applied to several writers, all possibly co-operating or being tutored.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Jan 20 - 07:03 PM

Hello Steve

This is a very kind offer; I really do appreciate it.

I read some of your comments on this book already, and would indeed be interested.

I know something about Lloyd's 'tinkering', having read some material on this eg the work of Gregory. I know there was some 'tinkering' with one of the singers covered by Hillery, the collector had to give him word sheets as he could not remember the words to the songs. (Did I read this in Atkinson somewhere?). Having been suspected of actually being Dave Harker (on the MacColl thread) I am interested to read his book at long last.

Thank you again
Tzu


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Jan 20 - 07:05 PM

I also agreed with some of the points Lighter makes in this thread.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jan 20 - 07:10 PM

Here is the URL for the book. I'll change it to a link when I get home.


https://archive.org/details/FakesongD.Harker/page/n2


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 03:41 AM

Not going to be around long enough to participate in this, but for a ballad by ballad analysis, you might try 'The British Traditional Ballad in North America by Tristam P Coffin - by no means complete, but some excellent commentaries and excellent

Harker's 'Fakesong' is one of the most damaging work sever to hve been written o folksong in my opinion
Harker relied on the support and generosity of people who knew ald loved folkson far more than he did - I believe he betrayed that trust - I actually heard some of those who helped him say as much
At the time he said publicly (at a Sheffield conference, I think) that the hostile reception he was being given forced him into refuse talking questions when he spoke
Unforunately he has now become the darling of some researchers who wish to debunk the work of the pioneers

Child may have been "only an editor" - his strength was his reliance on te work of collectors
He expressed his contempt for and mistrust of broadsides as clearly as anybody else ever has
It is to his credit that he had the integrity to use when he had no alternative them, rather than ignore them
They are largely pretty awful
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 05:20 AM

@ Steve: by the way, I know that I am not so well-informed as some on this site, but my interest is genuine and I do have some knowledge of the literature. I know about the discussions on Percy, for example, one of the people Child drew on. In fact Child worked very hard to get hold of Percy, did he not? By the way, my educational background in case this is of interest is that I 'majored' as they say in the US in English and Psychology (hence the interest in social science research methods, which overlap with those of ethnomusicology to some degree). I know some theory of music, play piano and guitar (badly) and used to play melodeon for traditional clog dancing. I am also interested in politics: I once read a book with a lot about Trotsky in it, by a US sociologist called C Wright Mills, but have forgotten almost everything about it, it was about four decades ago, and I know some current SWP members, (very good on anti-racism they are too) so I have a rough idea where Harker is coming from viz a viz the CPGB.ñ


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 05:31 AM

@ Steve: re the comment above on Child not being a 'Colector.This is right. I also think I have a handle on Child. He was a philologist (who also taught history and maths). In his day English Literature as we know it today did not really exist as a subject. As you will know, Atkinson at some point describes/discusses what Child did with texts. I also have a selected bibliography and discography on Child somewhere by Atkinson. Child was not a 'literary critic' as this might be understood today. So his main contribution on Chaucer related to the grammar not to character or poetry analysis. Haven't read Harker on Child yet, started with the intro and went to the Chapter on Lloyd, having already read two long bits by Lloyd including the Penguin on folk song, and the biography by Arthur.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 08:38 AM

I have yet to hear a definition of a 'Fakesong' that I could understand, or with which I could agree.
I have sat in front of singers of the old songs from all walks of life, and watched them point out the alterations they have made to the songs they learned from their father, who in his turn learned it in the pub from a singer who was not a blood relative. (Traditional??)
I watched an old singer from Dorset, look at a set of words, suggest a tune, (The Manchester Angel) and then tell me the tune was used in the village for the Lincolnshire Poacher. Yes I collected all of the songs. Anyone able to tell me which is the Fake? Simply retreating into a quibble about definition, or suggesting the whole concept of Folk song is a lie, will only result in the attachment of yet another label to the same musical medium. I suggest we allow ourselves some guilt free subjectivity, and put Harker back on the dusty shelf where he belongs, allowing Fakesong the footnote it deserves.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 12:43 PM

I have been trying to summarise what Harker says he is doing, the account he gives in the introduction of what the argument of the book will be. His concept of 'mediation' is important. I started by looking at that because he calls the people whose work he discusses 'mediators'. Two examples of mediators are Child and A L Lloyd. The former compiled a famous selection of ballads and the latter was, among other things, the writer of an influential book purporting to set out a history of 'folk song' in England, 'Folk Song in England' as well as an earlier shorter piece on the same topic.

Harker says that 'mediation' refers not just to the fact that people (the ones he discusses) passed on songs they had taken from other sources but also to the fact that what they passed on may have reflected their own 'assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes' in that these determined what they looked for and what they accepted and rejected. In addition, Harker points out that what he calls 'material' factors were involved, such as the fact that some people had the time and resources to engage in their mediating activities at all. He says that the class position of those doing the work and their ideologies will have been connected in complex ways. The latter is a classic Marxist point, I suppose.

The term and concept 'mediation' seems to have been useful: Dave Hillery makes use of it in his comparative thesis related to Jack Beechforth and three other singers. It is on page 24, 69, 95, 152, 157, 320. The thesis is here: https://theses.ncl.ac.uk/jspui/handle/10443/158

Hillery suggests that some singers themselves engaged in 'mediation' with Joseph Taylor offered as an example. He also suggests that collecting a song shorn of its customary context is another form of 'mediation'.

So it might be interesting to discuss whether this concept of mediation is valid and useful? Just a suggestion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 02:02 PM

Hi Nick
Not sure if you're referring to the book title or just the concept in your final sentence. Personally as you would expect from my previous comments it matters a great deal to researchers into the history of individual songs. My own thought on the examples that you give is that any mediation by source/vernacular singers is simply part of the vernacular tradition, call it what you will.

However, sophisticated editors mediating material and then trying to pass it off as directly from tradition, is not just deception (whichever way you look at it) but causes a great deal of misinformation in research.

Whether there is a grey area between the two is something I have not yet looked into.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 02:13 PM

Although I have read recently some lengthy academic papers That go into the history of how the word 'folk' was evolved to be attached to lore/tales/music/dance/song, and they try to claim with some success the terminology is heavily flawed, I think everyone here knows that whatever their limitations are they are real and can and are applied to a specific body of material. My only get out clause is that I don't accept that the boundaries are as rigid as some would have it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 02:29 PM

A decent but lengthy start to reading about fakesong is the ESPB itself. Reading, as I have frequently, Child's headnotes to each ballad, you can't escape from the fact that Child heavily criticised, occasionally with sacrcasm, many of the versions, particularly in the first 3 volumes. (For some reason after that he suddenly went silent...I have my suspicions why), particularly the overegged versions of Peter Buchan.

If you want a very short summary, just before he died, see p182 in vol.5, his parting shot.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 02:31 PM

Tzu
It matters to me 'Jacky Beeforth'. I never met him as far as I know, but his neighbour is a good friend of mine.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 07:24 PM

@ Steve. I apologise profusely. Grey cells faltering ? - as previously discussed. Thank you for pointing out my error with your usual courtesy. I appreciate that.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: RTim
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 09:59 PM

I guess I should read the copy that has been in my bookshelf for at least 20 years sometime...but is it really worth it??

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 03:48 AM

"but is it really worth it??"
It should have been the most important work to have come out of the latter years of the the 20th century but turned out to be an exercise in book-burning, based on the old building trade adage that "it's far easier to tear down something somebody else has built that to put up something yourself"
I'm afraid that philosophy seems to have caught on with some when you read some of the comments on the work of pioneers like Child and Sharp
Unless the folk scene learns to incorporate the work of all instead of hastily sweeping it aside to make room fo the latest craze, fols song scholarship will become like putting on clean socks every morning
These pioneers may have made mistakes, but many of them actually met the people whose songs they wrote about and listened to what they had to say
There are very few of today's desk-jockeys who can make that claim

I found 'Fakesong' and 'The Imagined Village' to ahve the most negative and depressingly difficult works on folk song I ever forced myself to read

Jack Beeforth
We were given recordings of this singer by a late friend, Dave Howes - interesting stuff
Unfortnately the rerecordings were made in difficult circumstances - Jack was very ill at the time - bedridden - and the recording set their machine onto 'automatic', so they are not of the best quality

Dave Hillary had a holiday home in Whitby, last tine I met him
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:13 AM

Tim
Any controversial book is always worth reading. The fact that it is so controversial means, if you can avoid the obvious political agenda, you can find some very useful information. It brings together much of the past very real concerns we have over the mediation of the editors from Ramsay right up to Bert. Whilst this information has very little interest to most of the people on Mudcat who are happy with what is set in front of them, serious researchers want to know the truth, or at least the greater likelihoods based on their own detailed research.

Here's a valid analogy: Do we accept the version of history presented to us by the elite, and what happens when new research shows some of this to be plain lies, or heavily biased?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:24 AM

"Do we accept the version of history presented to us by the elite,"
"Elite " is an unbelievably loaded accusation
These people did the work - we didn't because the tradition was dead by the time we got to it
Our understanding must be based on what they found and our own common sense
Smearing the pioneers by branding them as "elite" is the last thing we need
This is getting as bad as the attacks on Walter Pardon
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:08 AM

@ Steve I can't really claim to be a 'serious researcher' in this instance. But I think your reasoning applies just as well to, say, an enquiring reader taking a serious interest.

In Harker's favour, he is explicit about his political/theoretical stance and his intended authorship. Some would argue that all researchers should do this.

Harker's book came out before Arthur's biography of Lloyd. I've read that. Because of Harker's political slant, I think he is quite good on Lloyd's pro USSR, CPGB-related slant, and the effect of this on Folk Song in England that I had thought myself. He is also quite good on how Lloyd used his party connections to get work and forge a career, though I felt he could have pointed out that Lloyd must have had and is reported to have had, good social skills to do this. I know and can see to some extent why so many people regard Lloyd's history as a bible, and as inspirational, but I think Harker is quite good on its contradictions and on the extent to which (and here I use my own words) Lloyd just wrote stuff for which he did not (and possibly could not) provide either reference or evidence. Again, this reflects my own thoughts on Lloyd.

It is an interesting read, though I agree that at times, not being one of Harker's intended audience, I find the tone a bit off-putting.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:12 AM

Grey cells again, I should have put 'intended readership'. In Harker's case the members of his local party branch, of course.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:22 AM

When is this witch-hunting of people whose political views conflict with that of our pet troll going to end
Sharp was a Fabian socialsi hmanitarian so that excludes his opinions, it would appear
Loy'd, macColl Gerry Sharp Alan Bush and many hundreds of those who launched the present folk revival can play no part in ur considerations
As for all those leftiess like Eric Bogle and Leon Rossleson, who used the tradition to prodice some of the best left-humanitariian songs
I wonder if Mrsh Thatcher or Norman Tebbitt had anything to say on folk song - now that might put us on the right path to understanding folk song....
Please let this stop now before someone exorcises the spitit of senetor Jowe and demands we sell our friends out
Politics should never play a apart in these discussions
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:31 AM

I was interested to see that Harker cited Terry Eagleton as one of his influences. I have several books by Eagleton, including one on Shakespeare. He argues, delightfully, that the three witches are the heroines of Macbeth (though, he says, Shakespeare did not realise this himself) because they expose a reverence for hierarchical social order, the 'pious self-deception of a society based on routine oppression and incessant warfare'. Linking, perhaps, to Steve's point on the opinions of elites?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:36 AM

DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT HIS MAN HAD TO SAY - HE'S BIASED
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:51 AM

Steve Gardham
> Here's a valid analogy: Do we accept the version of history presented to us by the elite, and what happens when new research shows some of this to be plain lies, or heavily biased?

Jim Carroll
> "Elite " is an unbelievably loaded accusation
These people did the work - we didn't because the tradition was dead by the time we got to it.

Jim, Steve may care to clarify, but surely he was suggesting an analogy with history in general, most of which was indeed written by a more-or-less elite. I don't think he was commenting on the social status of the collectors. FWIW most of them were middle class, but not all of them.

And BTW, you yourself have written about your own collecting from a tradition that may have been past its prime but was certainly not dead.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 07:19 AM

Then we write off history, literature, science.... and virtual every other achievement made by humanity that was aarrived at by a educated elite, do we?
Of course we don't
Dave Harker is of the higher educated elite in Britan as things stand at present, which makes him suspect by those rules
The significance of Sharp et al is that they recognised as being of the people
Of cours the tradition as a whole as dead, all but a few survivals among the Travellers
The Irish settled singers had participated in a living tradition but they all insisted it was of the distant past
The situation changed when the people became passive recipients rather nan active participants of their creative cultures - that is getting more and more the case, even in the revival
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 08:12 AM

Thanks for that simple explanation, Richard. You are of course correct.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Howard Jones
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 08:45 AM

For those of the Harker/Boyes persuasion it appears that their only interest in folk song is that it represents working-class culture. They don't seem to be very interested in its artistic merits.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 10:15 AM

I have an essay by Atkinson in which he discusses the points of view of Child and Sharp which gives me a well argued and reasonable alternative to Harker, while having some degree of broad overlap. It's called The Ballad and Its Paradoxes. I think I found it on JSTOR. It was a Katherine Briggs Memorial Lecture in 2012.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 10:52 AM

not every controversial book is worth reading, eg mein kampf


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 11:05 AM

Yes, Dick, to be clearer, what I would have put if it wasn't already obvious was, any controversial book in your particular field is always worth reading as I would assume 'Mein Kampf' would be to anyone interested in WWII history or the rise of the Nazis.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 11:27 AM

I'm still waiting for the definition of a Fakesong. Is it a song re-written for whatever reason by a collector? What if the 'new' version is absorbed into the tradition,and sung a couple of decades later, then collected again with still more alterations? Is it still Fake? Is it Fake because of the 'class' of the collector, but OK if the alterations were made by a retired country ploughman of factory worker?
How many collectors working in the field have been presented with a gem of a song, but then discovered that the singer learned it at school from C#'s book. Do we switch off the tape recorder, or is that elitist?
By the way Caroline Hughes descendants and friends learned her songs from Kennedy's cassette tape after her death, I know I was there and discussed it with them. Are they traditional singers? None of it adds up really for me. The best that can be achieved is pointing out alterations and deceptions and giving the reader a choice. I remember Roy Palmer commenting on one of Bert Lloyd's re-writes- 'Would you rather have that or not?' The good manners of owning up to a rewrite was notably missing in Bert's case, but it does not warrant the mauling that Harker gave him (or anybody else who got the same treatment). Grind your own axe by all means, but don't chop anybody up with it, it might end up on your own head.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 11:35 AM

Thanks for the heads up about it being online Pseudonymous. I've read Part 1. For now that is enough for me to accept the opinions of most reviewers. I may come back to it when I read about one of the later 'mediators'

It's a curious work of scholarship that, right from the start, presents all the 'data' in the context of its conclusions (or initial prejudicies?), the way one would setting out a conspiracy theory - "and then there is this.."

His treatment of John Broadwood (pages 84-85) is interesting. I don't think he found any 'mud that will stick'. From Harker's description Broadwood seems to have 'packaged' what he took the trouble to collect (adding harmonies but keeping the tune) rather 'mediated' it. Is 'Peasantry' condescending when it comes from a 19th century toff but not when 20th century Marxists are forming 'Peasants Associations'?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 11:36 AM

Richard, The combative tone in which Steve stated his alternatives indicated that somehow the status (whatever that meand) made Sharp and his collegues either biased or downright dishonest

Do we accept the version of history presented to us by the elite, and what happens when new research shows some of this to be plain lies, or heavily biased?
There is no "new evidence" that they were either
Certainly they were of their time as were all pioneers, and they made mistakes, but to denigrate their work, although now fashionable among the Neo researchers, I find unacceptable and openly offensive (especially remembering the lifelong pleasure their work has given me)
I have to say that when I first stated my reservations on the theory that over 90% of our folksongs originated on the broadside presses I was met with the same insulting responses
All Steve can offer is his own opinion - nobody knows for certain the answer to any of these questions and probably never shall
Unless we can conduct these discussions with respect for each other and thos who came before us we stand to lose everything we have got so far - and the songs with it, if they lose their uniqueness (a serious possibility as things are going)
Our own researches among source singers indicates that while the old crowd seem to have got some things wrong, that got far more right than they are being given credit for

Incidentally, at the same time as I was being accused of being a "starrty-eyed naivete for beiliving that the folk created their own folk songs I was also told that the Peter Buchan controversy had been long done-and-dusted
That is far from the case as well
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 12:01 PM

Howard Jones must obviously have read the many popular and academic articles, album notes and radio and live performance scripts I've written over the years to be able to comment so knowingly that my sole interest in folk song "is that it represents working-class culture" and that I'm uninterested in the "artistic merits" of traditional song. Will he give specific quotes from my writing to demonstrate this?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Hi Lo
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 12:42 PM

To me it is the "controversial" books that ARE worth reading, including Mien Kampf. If we only read those things that raise no questions or set off alarms, we will never understand both sides of a story.
As for "elites"..I hate that word, it is always used as a pejorative, as if having attained expertise through hard work amounts to an unfair advantage.
I would like very much to read the book in question because it IS controversial.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 01:31 PM

OK I'll have a go then..
Fakesong a term used for a Traditional Folk Song that has been altered or censored by an individual without the approval of Dave Harker.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 02:30 PM

Jim: >Richard, The combative tone in which Steve stated his alternatives indicated that somehow the status (whatever that meand) made Sharp and his collegues either biased or downright dishonest

Some of the earliest collectors were certainly dishonest: messing about with what they collected and passing it off as authentic. And it seems pretty clear that Bert went so far as to invent sources for a few songs that he cobbled together. But I don't think any of us are claiming dishonesty for Sharp and the other collectors of that period, except maybe an occasional exception like Baring Gould's practical joke on Child about The Brown Girl.

As for being biased: yes they certainly were, at least in how they chose what to collect and what to ignore. They collected the sorts of songs that they had gone out looking for. One can agree or disagree with their bias but one can hardly deny it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:24 PM

On the basis of my reading so far:

Harker's central topic isn't which songs are and are not folk songs, it's as much or more about the historical narratives that the mediators told about these songs and about the subjectivities and cultural attitudes and activities of people in the past. For example Lloyd's book on folk song in England.

So one thing he criticises about Lloyd is his assumption that he knows what people in the olden days would have been thinking and feeling, about what Harker calls their 'psychology'. He gives examples of statements about such things that he finds lacking in evidence. I think this is probably a fair point.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:34 PM

Nick, your post presents a multiplicity of scenarios, all of which deserve individual responses, most of which I can only answer with a personal opinion. Before I answer them, what is your opinion on the mediations made by Percy, Scott, Buchan, Jamieson, and notoriously the one mentioned by Richard for which there is undeniable proof.

Despite what one usual suspect is writing no-one I know is blanket criticising anyone. We all appreciate the enormous beneficial work done by those who have gone before us, but we should not treat them as gods. It is useful at least to researchers to be able to point out their errors if only for better understanding of the subject.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:44 PM

On the basis of my reading so far, which isn’ t as far as yours Pseudonymous Harker says nothing about the historical narratives that the mediators told and is unconvincing about the subjectivities and cultural attitudes of the mediators. Its as if their position in his Marxist scheme of things leaves nothing to say.

In Part 1 the folk don’t seem to exist.

Maybe this discussion will convince me to read on.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:47 PM

>>>>>What if the 'new' version is absorbed into the tradition,and sung a couple of decades later, then collected again with still more alterations? <<<<<
I think I have come across probable examples of this. The simple answer is if they have gone back into the tradition then they are traditional but any researcher worth their salt would want to know about the mediation. Your Sharp example fits in with this. I can only answer personally, I have just read DaveH's thesis and he gives an example from Frank Hinchliffe's repertoire. I also have come across examples. Personally I record everything and present everything so it doesn't affect me. However, I must confess that having recorded as much of a singer's repertoire as possible I would personally value those songs that had more likely been much longer in tradition. I can't speak for others. What about you?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:50 PM

>>>>>>I remember Roy Palmer commenting on one of Bert Lloyd's re-writes- 'Would you rather have that or not?'<<<<
deja vu here. I've said on many threads I don't know anybody who didn't admire Bert's mediations. It's what he said and didn't say about them that worries researches. To the singing community, and I'm part of that, they are diamonds.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:57 PM

This idea of offspring learning the songs of their parent traditional singers from tapes has occurred before. Roger Hinchliffe had little interest in his dad's songs until Frank passed on. Ian Russell then persuaded him to take on his dad's repertoire, and he now performs this repertoire at song gatherings etc. Personally I can't see anything but positives in this. There is certainly no deception so we are out of the realms of 'fakesong' here, obviously. There are 2 points perhaps to make which I don't think will be controversial. Future researchers will be able to come along and compare the versions sung by the parents and their offspring, and anyone wishing to go direct to the source can easily do so. Of course to anyone just interested in singing this is all irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:57 PM

100


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:58 PM

Joe
if that juvenile last post upsets any of your mods just delete it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:06 PM

So far as ‘handing on’ is concerned is learning from a tape all that different to writing down grandad’s old song and then later becoming known for singing it?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:18 PM

Interesting question which also leads to how we treat any learning of a song using modern technology. We've had similar questions before such as the validity of learning songs from YouTube. To the vast majority of people none of this is any sort of issue.

The only perspective I can give you is that all of my family songs I now sing I learnt after I became a folksong collector. I don't consider myself in any way to be a source singer, but that's just my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:35 PM

Thanks for those detailed responses Steve. I will take a back seat for a bit and give them some thought.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:41 PM

Possibly through ignorance on my part I am not convinced about the concept of a source singer. If in the past a song could skip generations, possibly with the help of something written down ‘first hand’, or skip families if it was a neighbour not a family member who picked up thread, or at greater distance was picked up from the pub in the next town or a traveller family who passed through then I am not convinced that you singers of the last revival will not be seen as just another step in the songs’ journeys in 100 years time. And thats without the possibility that their may have been a diversion into a broadside or chapbook somewhere along the way.



in 100 years time


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:44 PM

A polite request. Can we distinguish please clearly between 'Fakesong' the book and 'fakesong' the phenomenon? Otherwise things could get confusing.

As far as I'm concerned fakesong implies deliberate deceit on the part of the faker so this isn't a general discussion of how songs are passed on.

Apart from a very few examples none of the first revival collectors claimed their published songs were not bowdlerised and all of them left us with the corpus of material as taken down to best of their ability. Any deception came in the form of how and where the songs originated and in that sense there was definitely an agenda well documented.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:47 PM

Jag: Thanks for your comment. I read the into and then moved to the bit on Lloyd. Lloyd does spin a narrative, in his book on Folk Song in England. You may well be right about the early chapters, I'll see when I go back and read them, but Harker does criticise Lloyd's account, on various grounds, lack of evidence being one.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:53 PM

Hi jag
I don't think anyone is saying all of this is cut and dried. There are many overlaps and grey areas. However most of the academic pieces I am avidly soaking up seem to suggest (and Jim is also saying it if I read him right) that what went on in families and communities when the songs were passed on orally/aurally can no longer take place in anything like the same way as it did prior to say 1920 (arbitrary). There is no cut off point as it was gradual process. Nearly all of those survivals are gone or will be gone in a few years. (We can argue about a very few possible exceptions) but this is the general situation. One thing that has replaced this (and it is just one thing) is that thing set up and known as The Folk Scene, or the second revival, which ought to be considered as perhaps a new tradition with new methods of transmission.

Apart from that who knows what researchers in a century's time will make of it?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 08:11 PM

Thanks Steve, Deliberate deceit on the part of the Faker, in the light of that definition do you or anybody else have any views about C.J Bearman and Mike Yates opinion of Harker?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 06:31 AM

Can't be "passed on orally"
I am saying no such thing Steve- of course they can
To reduce the tradition to the passing on of songs is to superficialise it - it is far for complicated than that and involves identifying taking ownership, localising and adapting the songs by communities rather than individual adaptation
The tradition ceased to exist when people stopped making songs or when print made significant adaptation unlikely
The songs were repeated rather than owned and they lost much of their social significance - the listeners became bums-on-seats rater than active participants and re-creators - then the media and 'popular' (in the 'pop' sence replaced the tradition
One of the most significant things we discovered in our work in the West of Ireland was the existence of a massive repertoire of locally made songs. largely anonymous, created to cover almost every aspect of human existence   
One local man described them - "If a man farted in church in those days someone made a song about it"
We thought this was limited to Count Clare, but it transpires that every County in Ireland had similar
Those songs drew from and fed into the older traditions - when they died, so did the song-making (a few local song-makers carried on) but their songs are always identified with the maker and not claimed for the 'folk'
This is only a small part of what constitutes the tradition

I have no doubbt that the British people wwere just as capable songmakers as the Irish - the bothy songs, or the radical 19th century pieces to express grievences, or the improvised shanties, or teh miners songs from the pit areas... all are examples of the "common man's" ability and desire to make songs expressing their lives and feelings

"Usuasl suspects" is a term of abuse used by "usual suspects"
We all know how each other is going to respond in certain arguments - I certainly know how you are as you know how I am
Such terms of abuse will, at the very least, foul the atmosphere of any discussion (at the very least)
Leave it out please Steve
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 07:09 AM

Thanks for your response Steve (and sorry about the typos in my post)

Jim - how does the 'ownership' of songs differ from common courtesy appropriate in situations where people get together to share songs, tunes and stories? It's bad manners to come out with someone elses 'party piece' or start the tune that someone else always starts.

I think the question is on topic because it relates to 'mediation' in the way Harker uses the term. I meant to ask on the Walter Pardon thread, where it struck me that though it was important in the context of him recording his recollections it wasn't special in the context of a boy learning to fit in with the behaviour of his elders.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 07:30 AM

Are you suggesting the clubs, based on songs once made and owned by communities of the past are communities in themselves
Usually nowadays the songs sung there are either oned with a little (c) attached to them or have been copyrighted as arrangements
I gat tired of someone standing up ans saying "I'll sing a Martin Carthy song" and blasting out a three-hundred year old ballad
What goes on in clubs is 'revival' of old forms (or is supposed to be but quite often isn't
"Folk" and "tradition are two sides of the sem coin - one denoting who the songs belonged to, the other, the journey they had made to become what they were
That's gone now - it's hard enough to get the songs recognised as "the songs of the people" nowadays - (although Topic have done their best with their magnificent series)
Make no mistake, the older singers differentiated between the folk songs and those they picked up from the music halls and popular performers
The eternal Big Lie was that they didn't
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 07:52 AM

I am not suggesting anything of the sort.

From my experience of non-club social occassions where people 'make their own entertainment', and I include pub sessions in that, the idea of not 'singing other peoples songs' is so normal as to be not worth mentioning except to crass newcomers.

So I am left thinking that the collectors who make much of 'ownership' of particular songs (in the way Walter Pardon describes first-hand) are describing something else that I need explaining to me.

Either that or the collectors who make a fuss of it are standing outside of an alien culture looking in. Most of the 'source singers' grew up in a time when people started work at 14 or earlier and so were adolescents working alongside adults. Very different from most, but not all, of the collectors.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 07:56 AM

Sorry, missed the Preview box.

... the collectors who make a fuss of it are standing outside of an alien culture looking in and describing it to others on the outside - 'mediating' in Harker's terms.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 08:26 AM

"'mediating' in Harker's terms."
"Reporting" in common parlance
the losdaed term "mediating" automatically assumes censorship and bias - not proven by anybody to date - certainly not Harker
"that I need explaining to me."
I'm more than happy to do that - I have done so on other threads
I would have liked to do so in relation to Walter but we've been forbidden to talk about him for a month
Most of us - collectors and singers of folk songs - are from a different (alien's a funny word) culture which is why we need to discuss and understand it
Folk songs are certainly entertainment, but the cultural baggage they carry makes them so much more - unwritten history being only part of this
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 08:50 AM

>>>>>>The eternal Big Lie was that they didn't<<<<<

Can't let this one go as the truth is almost exactly the opposite of what is being claimed. WP was very much an exception in his compartmentalising of songs.

I'll tell you what, Jim, you give me a list of all those English source singers who compartmentalised like this and I'll give you a list of those that definitely didn't and we'll see who gets the furthest.

It was largely the collectors who were compartmentalising and the singers only did it to please the collectors.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 08:57 AM

jag
These are just as much 'communities' as anything that went on in the nineteenth century, different of course, but still communities.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 10:51 AM

"WP was very much an exception in his compartmentalising of songs."
There is no evidence whatever that this is the case      - the singers were never asked at the time there were living traditions and, (at the risk of being accused of repetition) the little we did, both with the Travellers and in the West of Ireland, points to the contrary being the case - like they say in QI - "Nobody Knows"
It shows a degree of contempt for the traditional singer to suggest that they didn't differentiate between the different genres in their repertoire - folk song is unique in both its form and its function - if I can spot that, why can't a rural singer
Again, at the risk of being accused of repetition, I never get tired of quoting jEan Richie's account of her collecting in Ireland in the 50s

"“I used the song Barbara Allen as a collecting tool because everybody knew it.
When I would ask people to sing me some of their old songs they would sometimes sing ‘Does Your Mother Come from Ireland?’ or something about shamrocks.
But if I asked if they knew Barbara Allen, immediately they knew exactly what kind of song I was talking about and they would bring out beautiful old things that matched mine, and were variants of the songs I knew in Kentucky. It was like coming home.”

That was our experience exactly - they knew the difference and were well able to describe them when asked
One of the greatest gaps in our knowledge of folksong is the view of the singers, which has lefr the field wide open to adopt the "simple countryman who didn't know any better" to our view of singing
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 10:58 AM

>>>>>>"simple countryman who didn't know any better"<<<< That statement must have come from the first revival middle-class collectors. None of the collectors I know ever said anything like that.

Jim, I'm sure you'll soon put me right, but the impression I'm getting is that you only have any amount of knowledge of one English country singer, the number of times you mention Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 01:47 PM

None of the collectors I know ever said anything like that.
Amen too that Steve – it was said to us by a well, known folkie (initials T. F.) (brother-in-law of Tom Munnelly), in response to our description of Walter expressing his opinions on different songs
Full quote “How could he think that, he’s a simple countryman – he must have been got at”
It is repeated every time someone suggests that the old singers didn’t discriminate between their different genres of songs, albeit in different words, as you did above Steve
“WP was very much an exception in his compartmentalising of songs.”

In our experience, singers were very aware of the differences though you had to approach them with a little thought, as Jean Richie did in my example

I would have replied to this earlier but we’ve been out of electricity for a couple of hours thanks to Storm Maggie Thatcher (we name our storms differently on the West Coast of Ireland
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 02:05 PM

Beware of Storm Boris, it'll be a lot worse!

Jim,
This is a genuine suggestion and you may already have done it. Dave Hillery's thesis is readily available online. Just Google 'Dave Hillery Thesis'. It's a longish read but well worth it. And contrary to what I said elsewhere it is very academic, very knowledgeable and very well researched, BUT accessible to the likes of thee and me. He compares the lives and repertoires of Jack Beeforth (N Yorks), Walter, Frank Hinchliffe (West Yorkshire) and Joseph Taylor (N Lincs). It even mentions the contributions of one Jim Carroll.

I would be very pleased to read your thoughts on it.

Non-compartmentalisation or compartmentalisation of repertoire have got sod all to do with a singer's intelligence or worldliness. it is affected by a whole set of factors.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 02:50 PM

Don't you think it a little to academic for me Steve -- after all !!!!
I communicated with Dave at length before he wrote it

I confess I find most academic-speak extremely pretentious and impenetrable
I once attended a lecture by Mike Pickering at a Sheffield Conferencem along with my friends, Barry Taylor and Terry Whelan - none of us understood a word of what he said (Terry has recently done a course in social Anthropology at Salford University)
I wrote a review of the lecture for Dance and Song and mentioned our difficulty
Mike took up my review in the next edition of D and S - all three of us didn't a word of his response
His book is one of the few that lies unread on our bookshelves

I once made it a rule that I wouldn't spend too much time reading stuff I wouldn't give to people like Tom Lenihan and and Walter to read - I understand far more easily what they had to say than I do those who write in "the language that the stranger does not know (to quote a mushy Irish song)
I'll think about it if I think I'm going to live that long
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 04:06 PM

There are 344 pages in the thesis bit. I can empathise with the language barrier. However, I think like me you would be able to follow his thrust. There is some technical musical stuff in there but you can always skim over this like I did.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 04:26 PM

On the subject of academic works being impenetrable to us plebs:
I must have joined a website called Academia at some point and they keep sending me emails of attached copies of theses and published papers. Whilst most of them are indeed very heavy-going for the likes of us, they can contain a goldmine of info, and we mustn't forget these people have been going into this from the far end of a fart so they leave no stone unturned.

The latest one was on the works of Ravenscroft. What I could follow was fascinating. All the evidence displayed which went into detail on his life story would suggest that all of the material in the 4 books came from other printed and manuscript collections and from contemporary plays. Whilst he was an anthologist like Child the material was largely London-based and was intended for the use of the well-to-do there. Of course that doesn't affect the half dozen or so pieces that eventually were recovered from oral tradition in later centuries.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 05:02 PM

I haven't read Fakesong and, having regard to the damning criticisms of it, I am little inclined to read it. Therefore it is from a position of ignorance that I enquire: is Harker's notion of fakesong to do with the collectors misrepresenting the content of the songs (by bowdlerising or other distortions) or misrepresenting the status of the songs as products of the peasantry? Or what?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 05:15 PM

What.

It's not reproducing the cliches you're imagining. And it isn't hard to read - far easier than Jim Carroll's unformatted rants despite being many times bigger.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 05:21 PM

I think that's part of the problem with it, Richard, I think he tries to cover all of these. It's a while since I read it but I do have an exercise book full of notes on it as it's a subject I've researched myself. Much of what he has to say about the mediators is fairly well-known in academic circles anyway. For me it's his dogged determination to put political spin on all of this, when in reality their mediation was done in different ways and for a variety of reasons, some of them quite reasonable for their time and station.

Let's look at Percy for instance, the man who it is accepted sparked off all this middle-class interest in balladry after it had almost disappeared. If he had simply reproduced the 17th century manuscript and given whatever other fragments he was sent he would have been laughed out of the literati. As it happened he rewrote most of it and only selected what he thought would go down well with the literati. Result, a burgeoning interest in balladry all over the continent. He inspired nearly all that followed him, particularly Scott, lots of German poets, the Grimms. Unfortunately for us today most of them followed his methods, though they also had similar reasons for their mediation.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 05:45 PM

Part of the claim by Dave Harker which is certainly what academia believes is not so much that the editors mediated the material, but that they stated or implied heavily that the material they published was not mediated at all. Part of the problem was also that the correspondents sending material to the likes of Scott had already mediated it themselves. There is proof for some of this but the even bigger problem for us now is that we have no way of discerning exactly how much and to what extent the majority of the material, say in Child, was mediated by sophisticated editors. Child gives his opinions but in my opinion he was grossly understated. But again he had good reasons. Just like Scott and Percy he had to shift books. No-one wants to buy a book full of fakes.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 06:22 PM

Steve, thanks for those clear explanations.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:14 AM

"Far easier than Jim Carroll's unformatted rants"
For Chrst's sake Jack give your vendetta a rest
I haven't insulted you - please have the decency to do the same
You find wahat I have to say boring - I'm sure I and others would find the vies of a self-admitted ignoramus on tradition music equally interesting - the difference being that twe would probably be too polite to say so

"Whilst most of them are indeed very heavy-going"
I get regular Academia postings and find the ones that interest me comparatively easy to read
I was referring to the impenetrable neo-folkese language which has appeared on the scene and seems to be designed to confine the discussions to a Folk-Freemasonry - I suspect there might be a secret handshake involved somewhere
I never found theoretical works easy - my Secondary Modern Education didn't prepare me for that, but I gradually learned to cope with most
Now I find myself having to plough with some stuff with a dictionary at hand
- sometimes that doesn't help as words appear that aren't included in standard dictionaries

I'll give you an example
A while ago our local history group produced a festschrift in honour of a well-know folklorist
Articles poured in from Britain, Ireland and the US and Canada - a wonderful set of essays on mainly song
One, from a highly respected and skillful academic was chosen as the first article - an excellent contribution - but difficult to read
Had it been placed otherwise theer wouldn't have been a problem
Unfortunately, local people, mainly farmers, saw the book in the shop with the photo of the researcher being honoured "I know him" - turned to the first article and put it back on the shelf
You probably know the book in question

If you are writing about 'The Music of the People' it's good manners (and common sense) to write in a form 'The People' can understand (unless your aim is to set up exclusive private clubs)
Mine is to make folk music as accessible to as many people as possible again
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:32 AM

"No-one wants to buy a book full of fakes."
I find this a scandalous thing to suggest Steve
The idea that these people were writing to "shift books" is abhorrent - first time I've ever come across it
I have little doubt that they did what they did because they were caught by the subject and wanted to oppress on their love and interest
I'm sure many would be offended if I suggested that many researchers today were trying to overturn the work of over century folk song deveotees to gain a reputation for themselves
Harker and hsi acolytes were writing as if there was a strict set of rules concerning what you were and were no allowed to do with folk song and ballads when you came across it - there wasn't
Many of them genuinely believed that they were improving them by re-writing them - not "fakery" or "dishonesty" - a genuine attempt to ppass them on in an "improved" form and a noble, if misguided one
A few, like Motherwell, had the insight to recognise the beauty of the vernacular language and warn against tampering with it, but most didn't
I find it ludicrous that many who participated in the Peter Buchan kicking match were doing exactly the same thing, to one degree or another
The irony, of course, is that Buchan produced some of the best and most singable ballads - as well as some of the worst gluggers
I find today's 'Jason Bourne' approach to the work of past giants is largely based on smug hindsignt
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:54 AM

"wanted to oppress"
Whhops
"express and pass on" of course
Something for Jack Campion to pick up on
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 09:49 AM

Jim, you're doing it again! kneejerk reaction with response totally out of context.

Nobody would be foolish enough to suggest Child's only motive was to sell books. However he has a publisher, Houghton & Mifflin, who won't publish his work unless it conforms to certain standards. If he's constantly slagging off the works he's including (which he did quite a lot in the first few volumes) they're going to pull the plug. Don't forget like many nineteenth century works like this it was published in parts over a long period (10 to be precise) If you look very carefully at all of his comments the critique suddenly disappears about half way through. I don't think it is unreasonable to suggest that H&M were putting on pressure for him to do this, especially as many copies were being sold in the places the mss came from.

I was obviously exaggerating for effect to make the point. The works aren't full of fakes, and that's the point; we know some are because he told us so, but as I said earlier the big one is we don't know the extent of it. Can I ask that you reread Vol 5 p182 for his parting shot just before he died. Tell us what you think he is trying to say there.

Would you like me to flag up all of the pages where he makes comment on the veracity of various versions? Mainly Buchan, but there are others.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 10:09 AM

>>>>>I find today's 'Jason Bourne' approach to the work of past giants is largely based on smug hindsignt<<<<<<

You are of course welcome to your opinion, Jim, but all of the researchers I correspond with are simply trying to seek the truth, as am I. The alternative is to sit back and take everything they wrote as gospel. Too much of that going on in the world and in my opinion that's why the planet is in the current state it is.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 10:32 AM

Jim, I'm asking a big favour here. Please would you when someone criticises something from the past, be it MacColl, Sharp, Child, Peter Buchan, could you think about it a little before reacting....could they be right to some degree, or at least give a response that actually presents some proof that this isn't the case, or at least respond with a calm reasoned opinion.

I know you think we are sometimes patronising when we praise you (but we're not intending that and it's insulting when you praise someone and they throw it back at you.)

I am not trying to wind you up!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 11:14 AM

"Jim, but all of the researchers I correspond with are simply trying to seek the truth, "
Express an opinion, don't you mean
Do you have any evidence to prove that these people were concerned with selling their books
I think Harker, and his hit-mens made the point quite strongly that these people were of a class that didn't have to worry too much about the little that would have been forcoming from such sales
Is there any evidence that DChild doctored hi texts to please his publisher ?- first time I've ebver heard of it

Are you aawre of the implications of that accusatyopn ?
Every ballad scholar sing the clollection was published treated it with the utmost respect, Geould, Gummere, WWmberly, Pound.... right through to Broson and beyond
All os a sudden we learn that they have been reliing on doctored texts
I have no idea what Hortin and MIfflin's standards were - were they really low enough to demand tampered texts?
If they were, why should someone who spent as long as chald did bow to such pressure
Why has it taken so long for this to hit the fan ?
Whare can I find reference to this shock-horror scandal
Frankly - I think it is utter nonsense
Buchan is a different issue - we've been there before
This is about money
I most certainly "don't tak everything (or anything as gospel"
I question everything - but when something has been around for as long as ESPB has, I'm happy to accept that they are worthy of trust
This really is a case of modern desk-jockeys smearing the giants
Distasteful, to say the least

As for "all of the researchers I correspond with" we've been here before, haven't we ?
I remember early arguments on your astronomical claims of how many folk songs originated on the hack presses
You presented your claims as definitive and were scathing when I questioned it
When I asked for evidence, you offered me a list of people who agreed with you
It took a long time to establish that there was not an shred of evidence and your claims were merely your opinion (or wishful thinking)
I've had experience of Harkerists in the past
Pat was onvce told by one of them that what we reported to have found out from Travellers was wrong because "I did a course on them at Uni"
Must get my annyual anti-academic vaccination in case I catch Deskjockeyitis
This really is undermining everything we thought we knew about folk song - bigtime
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 11:43 AM

As for thinking before I react
This is the second time yous tarted a major discussion (which this is) without evidence, but have told me I'm gullible if I don't immediately accept what you say
It's wearing somewhat thin
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 11:45 AM

A polite discussion on Child and his sources is certainly worth having, but back to the actual book for a moment...

‘Fakesong’ is certainly essential reading to anyone interested in our subject, but it should be approached with a sceptical eye, a familiarity with alternative accounts, and the foreknowledge that this is a polemic, not an impartial work of scholarship. Personally I found it useful in summarizing the work of certain collectors pre-Child, and of Alfred Williams, but even at first reading certain logical non sequiturs leapt off the page. Harker’s confidence in his own notion that the mother of Sharp’s singers Louie Hooper and Lucy White was a broadside seller, increases from ‘may have been...’ to ‘was almost certainly...’, within the space of ten pages, for example, without any evidence being presented for the proposition beyond the fact that she knew a lot of good songs.

Lighter’s excellent post of 10 Aug 2015 alludes to “alleged fudging and factual errors” but, having examined the evidence, I’d put it stronger than ‘alleged’. C. J. Bearman’s right-wing politics and irascible personality were off-putting to many, but I’ve checked some of the critique of Harker in his Ph.D. thesis (available online here) and, on the specific issues of the demographics of Sharp’s Somerset singers, and his editorial practice, he makes a compelling case. The point about demographics was that Harker offered a statistical analysis of the singers and their places of residence to show that Sharp’s categorization of them as rural agricultural workers was inaccurate; Bearman, however, found many questionable assumptions and arithmetical errors in the Harker’s figures. Harker has since conceded that he got some of his figures ‘jumbled’ but, as Bearman remarked, “it is a very interesting variety of mistake which so consistently produces errors in favour of the argument being presented.”

On the matter of text reworking and bowdlerization, Bearman was able to show that at least some of the examples cited by Harker were false, and provided his own analysis of 25 published songs to show the degree of textual editing was minimal in many cases, and simple augmentation from other singers’ versions in others.

Bearman died in 2013, and in 2017 (17 years after CJB’s first publication) Dave Harker finally responded to his analysis with an extraordinary 4 page letter published in the Folk Music Journal, including 39 bullet points of rebuttal – which did not, to my mind, address Bearman’s most serious points. There then followed a lengthy series of claims based on Cecil Sharp’s American diaries, with quotes apparently selected to show him in an unfavourable light. I carried out my own analysis of these (see my paper on Sharp’s Appalachian collection published in the FMJ in 2018), and found, for instance, that Harker had over-estimated Sharp’s US earnings by a factor of more than three in one instance, and that even the expensive pair of pyjamas Sharp purchased in the US (a fact of doubtful relevance in the first place) had somehow doubled in price. Those pesky mistakes again.

The reason some previous contributors to this thread have told us that reading ‘Fakesong’ wasn’t a pleasant experience is, I’m sure, because of the relentless negativity in tone, particularly about the character of the collectors. It includes plenty of quotes from their manuscripts, letters and publications – Harker had clearly done his research – but they are selectively edited to portray them as grasping cynics who had no regard for the singers they met, while anything that might give a favourable impression is rigorously excluded. On p. 159 we find a quote from Baring-Gould beginning “I had in old Hard...” Just those five words are sufficient to convince Harker that Baring-Gould regarded Robert Hard the ex-stone-breaker (who died shortly afterwards) as “rather like a dumb animal”, from whom the Reverend could “extract all that was left of Hard's cultural property, and then let the forces of nature do their worst.” You have to turn to Martin Graebe’s excellent biography of Baring-Gould to learn that the clergyman collector presented Hard with takings from a concert exceeding Hard’s annual income, and then took pains to ensure that the gift didn’t result in the man’s dole being stopped.

Likewise in ‘Fakesong’s chapter on Cecil Sharp you’ll find several references to Louie Hooper, but none to her own testimony of a friendship with the collector that extended to shared excursions and gifts including a concertina. You will, however, find plenty about Sharp’s greed, in statements like “He was still trying to pump Rockefeller and Yale University for cash in 1917” – which, when the cited reference is followed up, turns out to refer to what most people would call a ‘grant application’ for funds to continue the research (which was, incidentally, unsuccessful). In the field of Sharp’s politics, his reference to ‘the Arian race’ is (of course) quoted, but without the context that clarifies the Sharp’s meaning as ‘Indo-European culture’, and nothing resembling Hitler’s fantasy. When Harker quotes Sharp in 1917 as admitting to “taking the taking 'the conservative view in politics'", a check of the actual passage in his diary reveals that Sharp took “the conservative line” in a particular argument on a social occasion - probably for the sake of Devil’s advocacy; it does pay to check the original quote!

There are many, many more instances like this. My attitude is that, while I can of course forgive the occasional error, as soon as I see one piece of dodgy scholarship, or a blatant agenda, I begin to distrust everything. There may indeed be much useful and accurate information in ‘Fakesong’, but I can take little of it at face value. One of the things I’ve learned in my work on Cecil Sharp (and this is by no means confined to Dave Harker’s writings) is that the very people who shout the loudest about ‘bias’ and ‘selectivity’ are very often carrying a mountain-sized burden of both around with them.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 12:20 PM

Okay, Jim. I've tried. That's me out.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 12:25 PM

Excellent post, Brian
With a bit more meat on it it would make a great article for FMJ!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 12:48 PM

"Okay, Jim. I've tried. That's me out."
Well actually, you haven't Steve
You made a definitive statement about Child and others
I asked you to provide evedence, and a lsit of other questions, You called me gullible (again) for not believing you
You have yet to provide a single shred of evidence for your somewhat spectacular claims
You haven't begun to try
I await ansers to thos questions with eager anticipation

I wan't aware of Bearman's politics and I did find his outbursts at the time somewhat over the top, but as Brian says, he was positive and more prepared to set the work of the collectors in contest than Harker ever tried to be
Given this, his views on Hreker, coincided with those of a great deal of others at the time who calimed that Haerker had betrayed their trust by misusing the help they had given
I also found David Gregory's account of them far more approachable as a balanced work
I attended a talk Harker gabe at MacColl's 70th birthday sypmposium, where some of his descriptions of the work of the Critics Group were so off beam that a number of the Group in the audience shouted out corrections from the floor - this was after the break-up

There have always been questions surrounding - there are similar reservations about all work carried out by pioneers breaking new ground for the first time
This "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" approach is as destructive as it gets
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM

I am not following this. Steve Gardham didn't start this discussion and he didn't revive it. The last post in it's previous life in 2015 was by Steve and in that he was recommending Child's work.

Worth hanging round for posts like that from Brian Peter's though


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 01:34 PM

Outstanding discussion, Brian.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 02:31 PM

Thanks for the comments - I did take a bit of time over that post. But another FMJ paper, Steve?? Don't know if I've got it in me...

Going back to an earlier post of Steve G's, I'm interested in the following and would like to know more (although it might warrant a separate thread):

"There are some excellent academic books and theses not so well-known that go into the fakery that was taking place in the eighteenth century. David C Fowler is excellent in this respect, and I've come across several academics who imply that many of the ballads in the Child canon were deliberately fabricated by sophisticated hands in the eighteenth century, and this continued through into the early-nineteenth. Chambers may have been wrong when he attributed many of them to one writer, but his thesis may have been correct if applied to several writers, all possibly co-operating or being tutored."

I would probably have regarded this as heresy a few years ago, but my work on Appalachian variants (many of which derived from ballads taken to North America by 18th-century migrants) makes me wonder. For instance, all the numerous Appalachian versions I've seen of Child 68 'Young Hunting', end with the conversation between the murderess and the talking bird, whereas just about all of the texts in Child from Herd and Kinloch onwards proceed considerably further with the story, often to such supernatural elements as the corpse-candles on the water, the bleeding cadaver, and the fireproof maidservant. This at least suggests the question of whether there was an as-yet undiscovered version of 68 doing the rounds in the 18th century lacking all the supernatural stuff and, if so, at what point the embellishments to the story were added. I don't think there's any early print version to help us out.

I see that Fowler is available online for a fiver, so it looks like I need to read that one, but I'd love to know who the other academics are and what' if anything, they've published on the matter.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 02:54 PM

No worries, Brian.
They are certainly relevant here. I'll give you chance to read Fowler (incidentally and rather oddly recommended to me by someone on this very thread. ta very much) and then I'll flag up some of the others. Worth finding Chambers' accusations in the middle of the 19thc but it often is referred to and quite rightly shot down as it is somewhat far-fetched. I tend to print off a lot of the academic stuff so I can easily have a skim through these for relevant papers. One of the main general claims by some of the academics is the bulk of the ballads were manufactured or rewritten during the 18thc using Scandinavian versions, English broadsides and well-known stories. Others cobbled together by bits and pieces from other ballads. T.F Henderson's edition of Scott also has some info but I haven't seen a copy of that.


Off hand I can't remember the pair who shot to pieces some of David Buchan's claims, but will have a look.

Worth a close look, a comparison between Earl Brand and the Douglas Tragedy. Both based on Scandi ballads but I maintain TDT is a rewrite of EB.

Also the most suspect ones have got to be those that occur in single versions only, and guess who contributes most of these.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 02:58 PM

Of course the other very important resource is your magnificent pristine set of Bronson. Those ballads either not in Bronson or only there in a couple of versions speak volumes.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 03:09 PM

Another great resource is the published correspondence between the editors, by the likes of Mary Ellen Brown. There are only useful snippets here and there but they build up to a general picture.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:47 PM

> David C Fowler is excellent in this respect

Would that be "A Literary History of the Popular Ballad"?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:48 PM

That's the one, Richard.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:54 PM

Unfortunately I can't find any other work of his that relates to ballads. He finished his book with a hint that he might go beyond the year 1800 but I haven't seen anything. He would have done a much better job than I could. In order to expand on what Child did you would have to have the time and access to Scott's, MacMath's manuscripts and whatever Aberdeen have got.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM

Do we know why the forgeries were done? Say for financial gain through fraud, or out of mischief, or by someone who fancied their hand at what would now be called 'fantasy' writing?

There are 'new' songs around now that might 'pass for trad' that were written to sing for fun or to earn some money.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 05:53 PM

Hi jag,
I wouldn't exactly call it financial gain although it plays a secondary part in that people like Scott wanted to make a name for themselves and needed to sell books to maintain their status in society. Patronage also came into it. Certainly Scott and Buchan had the patronage of powerful people. It is pretty obvious that Buchan was trying to emulate Scott and he went to great lengths to try and sell his manuscripts, but he was suffering financially at the time as was Scott occasionally in trying to keep Abbotsford running, quite a substantial country residence. In Scott's case I don't think you can use the word fraud or even mischief. He was following in the footsteps of Percy. unfortunately those that came after Scott and Jamieson were competing for sales with already well-established ballad editors and Buchan went way over the top in what he claimed. The biggest motivation especially in the 18th century was linked to the need of literary Scots to establish their separate identity from their southern powerful neighbours.

There are certainly new songs around now that pass for trad but as far as I know none of their authors have tried to pass them off as trad. If anyone took one of my songs for trad I would take that as a massive compliment. 'Bring us a Barrel', 'Shoals of Herring' and 'Fiddlers Green' spring to mind.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 03:55 AM

I intend this to be my last contribution to this topic and to this forum - I consider being unable to discuss this important issue to its full conclusion so significant that I have decided that this forum no longer holds an interest for me - on the contrary - it disturbs me greatly

Francis James Child remains one of the most respected figures in the field of balladry throughout the world, inside and outside of folk song - certainly outside the bubble created for themselves by a handful of neo--rearchers who have taken up the cudgels of Dave Harker and decided to target some of of the greatest names in folk research by accusing them of "fraud", "greed" and "dishonesty" - all without offering solid evidence for such serious accusation - accusing Child of dealing in doctored texts in order to sell books is about the limit for me
It not only displays disrespect and ingratitude for the centuries of pleasure and information these people have passed on - it is, I believe, severely damaging any chances of survival for our folk songs as a viable performing art - who wants to "sing fake songs doctored into existence by elitist charlatans?"   

If to attampt to discuss this to its necessary conclusion is to be accused of as "picking a fight" and threatened with thread closure, then I'm off
I don't know how much Jeri knows about Child and Sharp - judging by her outburst some time ago when she told people who were criticising Bob Zimmermann (Dylan) that we "should get a life", I suspect not very much

The direction this forum has taken has been of growing concern to me for some time - in my opinion its effects are beginning to show, particularly in the fact that this thread is the only one I can see of any interest to the serious 'real folksong' lover - I can praise "my favourite folksinger" in a hundred places on the internet.
People I once debated with no longer post, some have died but others simply don't bother posting regularly, or at all, for various reasons

Recent events have cause great anger among some of my old folkie friends - one veteran in particular
I found the treatment of .... the singer whose name we are forbidden to mention.... totally so unacceptable I have decided to take that subject and how he has been dealt with here, elsewhere - to a sympathetic on line folk magazine, in order to indicate was is happening here
I would have done so yesterday, but have decided to add the treatment that Child, Lloyd and others have been given to my correspondence
I do this, not in order to target this forum but to indicate the dangerous downhill slide in the fortunes of English folk-song these discussions indicate   

I've enjoyed my nearly fifteen years here and am very grateful for the knowledge I have gained and the friendship I have been shown - even by people people I have strongly disagreed with and occasionally upset (never deliberately)
I am now approaching 80 and not suffering from "dementia", as one moderator has publicly suggested - far from it - I have never been so active as I researcher and public speaker as am at present.
I really can't do with the distress and the sleepless nights that have begun to invade my usually peaceful and friendly life.
To quote Douglas Adams - "So Long and thanks for the fish"
Jim
I don't expect this message to survive too long in the sunlight, but I will do my best to ascertain that it gets to those I wish it to


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 04:08 AM

Thankyou Jim.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 04:17 AM

See you in a few days, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 04:18 AM

Jim, I think that most of us posting in this thread would agree with you in questioning Dave Harker. Some may have ideas that conflict with ours, and they also have the right to speak. It is not a matter of comments being right or wrong. If we disagree with a comment, it gives us the opportunity to present a rational response. It is not deplorable for somebody to post something that I disagree with. If the only way I can respond is to condemn the other person as deplorable, I add nothing to the discussion. If I can offer a rational response, then the discussion can move forward.
While Harker has been severely ctiticized in this thread, and rightly so, he has given us the opportunity for a good discussion and I have learned a lot from it.
All the best to you.
Joe


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM

I want no part in a forum that makes Walter Pardon a no-go area until a moderator decides otherwise
I see no value in having done so in the first place and I see it completly unacceptable that it has continued
I will take my arguments elsewhere
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:04 AM

I said a few days but there was only 48 minutes between a "never posting here again" message and the next post. Is that a record?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM

Maiou Dave
ThAnk you for your support and helping me to make up my mind whether to stay or go
I responded out of politeness to Joe as I am now doing in disappointment to you
I'll leave you to get on with it
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:12 AM

Jim, you are taking umbrage at what you imagine people to be saying, not what they are actually saying.

Harker (I understand, having not actually read him) claimed that numerous collectors were fraudulent.

No-one here is claiming that for Sharp and his contemporaries, nor for Child. We are agreeing with Child that some earlier editors were fraudulent.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:17 AM

I'll run a sweep on when your next post will be, Jim. I was miles out before but I'll go for around the 8 day mark this time.

Are you recovering well from the sense of humour by-pass?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:32 AM

I found Harker's "relentless negativity" (as Brian characterized it) hard to take as well.

I wondered where it was coming from, as other Marxist critics I've read could be quite generous towards creators whose roles in the class system were anything but revolutionary - Lukacs and Eagleton, for two. But those folks were writing about creative work itself, not about the work of others in curating and interpreting it. So I couldn't think of an obvious parallel with anyone taking a Marxist approach to a similar task. Though radical left critiques of art gallery and museum management are about as aggressive as Harker - and knowing some of those critics personally I know it isn't just a rhetorical pose. Maybe there's something about second-order criticism that makes people lose their cool.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:40 AM

I haven't got through Harker on Sharp yet. Why was he discussing the population or size of Sharp's villages? And why is it so important if these 'statistics' are inaccurate, apart from the inaccuracy generally casting doubt on the quality of Harker's work?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 07:38 AM

Jim, as you know I shared your frustration over the Walter Pardon thread. However, on the present thread I've seen no disrespect shown to Child, nor accusations of fraud, greed or whatever. As you've said many times, folk song is a subject into which digging deeper can be very rewarding - although much as I value the research element in Mudcat I realise that it isn't the raison d'etre of the site, and I accept happily the different interests of others. But, if we're interested in research, we have to be prepared to lift stones as well as study with respect the work of those who went before us.

Child himself was a scourge of fakery, which is of course why his quest for the Percy manuscript was so important to him. As I think you'd agree, he knew that other sources were suspect too. To delve deeper into that is not to become a 'Harkerist', or to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Similarly, in the case of Bert Lloyd, he did edit songs (very skilfully), and the highly informative discussion on 'Bertsongs' a few years back set out merely to unpick those alterations, not to trash his entire reputation.

Over my many years involvement with folk song I've experienced several episodes of reappraisal amidst the many pleasures. It was shock at the time to realise that Steeleye Span's magnificent version of 'King Henry' wasn't actually representative of what common folk had sung for 400 years, or that the Copper Family's delightfully localized 'Shepherd of the Downs' began life as a flowery poetic piece called 'The Shepherd Adonis', or that 'Bold Lovell' - which I'd sung for years and believed to be English - was something Bert Lloyd had plucked from a Vermont songster, Anglicized, and furnished with a chorus. But I got over all those jolts, and others, because none of them affected my enjoyment of the actual music. It was a very romantic notion to my 20-year-old self to believe that the ballads I was becoming fascinated by were the communal creations of medieval peasants, but I didn't like them any less when they turned out not to be.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 07:41 AM

"I haven't got through Harker on Sharp yet. Why was he discussing the population or size of Sharp's villages? And why is it so important if these 'statistics' are inaccurate, apart from the inaccuracy generally casting doubt on the quality of Harker's work?"

I think you'll understand more when you've finished reading Harker, and also Bearman's critique (linked in my post). How significant the argument was is a matter of opinion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 07:52 AM

Jack, there's some interesting comment on your point about Marxist critiques in James Porter's chapter in 'Comparative Musicology and Anthropology of Music', eds. Nettl & Bohlman. According to Porter, the Fabian sympathies of Sharp, RVW, etc, were a significant part of the reason for Harker's antipathy: "the traditional contempt of revolutionary socialists to gradualism", as Porter puts it. Certianly DH was determined to discredit Sharp's socialism.

This link should get you there.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 08:58 AM

Regarding the last few posts here: maybe I can help? Put simply, there are many different kinds of Marxism and Marxist. Harker was/is a member of the SWP which as I understand it identifies as a Trotskyist group.

Again, put simply, and from background/general knowledge:

After the Russian revolution, Trotsky was actively involved in the Government, and was a successful military strategist. Lenin evolved a new 'version' of Marxism, called Marxist-Leninism or some such. The need to do this was partly because according to Marx the workers' revolution would be carried out by the urban proletariat. They could not claim that this had happened in Russia. Trotsky disagreed with Lenin and was ousted, and eventually murdered with an ice pick in Mexico.

The British Communist Party was closely linked to, and possibly partly funded, by the Soviet Union. It tended to take its line from Moscow. Lloyd, one of the mediators discussed by Harker, was a member of the CPGB. So Harker, no let's speak generally: a Trotskyist would be likely to view the work of a CPGB member as to be crude 'ideologically suspect'. Similarly, they might see the Fabians as mere bourgeois liberals or some such.

There is another aspect, raised by Harker himself. Some people use the term 'vulgar Marxist' to refer to those who apply simplistic class analysis to culture as if culture could be fully explained in terms of class. Harker raises this challenge in his book.

This is a rough and ready account. Maybe the link supplied by Brian Peters says all this and more better.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 09:03 AM

Students learning to write are often told to consider their audience and to tailor what they say accordingly. Harker says at the outset his main audience is his local party branch. On that basis, some of the more polemical passages in his work could be seen as apt for that audience even though they annoy/distract readers expecting a more neutral tone in an academic piece.

One thing that seems to annoy Harker is when folklorists pour scorn on material that the working class like: two examples he gives if I remember aright are Bob Dylan and Donovan. It's as if Harker is saying who are you to criticise working class taste'. Is this a fair comment?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 09:15 AM

I happen to know a former member of the Gorton branch of the SWP and had a long conversation with him about his former comrade. Suffice to say that 'Fakesong' is not his favourite book!

I thought it was mainly middle-class youth who were fans of Dylan and Donovan, but I shouldn't generalise.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 09:22 AM

Brian: I'm not by any means attempting to defend Harker, I just think it helps when discussing a book to try to get a clear idea about what it says!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 09:37 AM

One of the best historical critiques I have read of early 20th century academic folklorists in the USA is contained within a book by Karl Hagstrom Miller called 'Segregating Sound. Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow'. He discusses the very early days of the American Folklore Society of which Child was a member. I went back and read some of the early papers, including the first. I share Hagstrom Miller's view that it is very racist, touched it seems with some sort of 'Darwinist' view that some 'races' are more evolved than others.

While in no way seeking to deny Child credit for his achievements, I think it is fair and possibly morally important to identify that there were not only some flaws in the 'raw data' he had to work with, but also, possibly in the intellectual zeitgeist of the time (think Jim Crow etc).

Hagstrom Miller's work makes for interesting comparison with that of Harker.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 11:22 AM

> some sort of 'Darwinist' view that some 'races' are more evolved than others.

The nearly universal European intellectual assumption at the time.

In other words, the collectors may have been racists, but they were not seemingly vicious racists. They simply accepted the prevailing unscientific ideology.

Since Child's interest was in "English and Scottish Popular Ballads," it's hard to see how any putative racial bias might have affected his choices or methods.

If he'd known more about "American Native Ballads," he might have included a (very ) few American items like "John Hardy" and "John Henry":   Anglo-American in form, if largely African-American otherwise.

But I believe Child died before texts of either song - not to mention "Frankie and Johnny" and "Stagolee" - could have been available to him.)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 12:18 PM

Frazer's "The Golden Bough" came out at the same time as Child's collection and doesn't share that racist-Darwinist ideology. For that matter Morgan, Hobson and Engels were all working at the same time, with ideas of social evolution that didn't include race as an essential ingredient; none of them was obscure or isolated. So, there were alternatives Child should have known about.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 12:18 PM

FJC
Born 1 Feb 1825
Died 11 Sept 1896
Anybody want a gravestone rubbing? (It's large)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 12:28 PM

Hi, Jack. My point is simply that it's hard for me to see how racism could have affected Child's treatment of the ballads.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 12:53 PM

Child > American Folklore Society > Hagstrom Miller > Pseudonymus is rather tenuous. Is there anything specific about Child in Hagstrom Miller, or anything that Child wrote to indicate a) is views on race and b) that they were relevant to his work on the ballads ?

(@Steve Gardham - thanks for your response to my question)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 01:12 PM

"The nearly universal European intellectual assumption at the time... In other words, the collectors may have been racists, but they were not seemingly vicious racists. They simply accepted the prevailing unscientific ideology."

I think this is true of Sharp as well. He did however - despite his Anglocentric search preferences - manage to collect versions of 'John Hardy', 'Frankie and Johnnie', 'Nine Pound Hammer', 'Pharoah's Army' and many other songs of African-American origin.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 01:26 PM

Hello Lighter

I did not say that Child's treatment of the ballads was so affected.

Part of Harker's intention is to give a picture of how folkloric work changed over time (albeit not, he hopes, a 'vulgar' Marxist one). My point was that other researchers have taken different approaches to that topic. I agree with most of what you say, as it happens.

When the American Society started up, it claimed in its journal to be 'scientific', but rather looks anything but, being as you say imbued with 'ideology'. And yes the date is pre 20th century, Vol 1 is dated 1888.

By the way, I'm guessing that the arguments about the size of 'villages' will be linked to arguments about whether Sharp was discovering rural people whose song culture had been untouched by literacy or industrial culture and who could be said to represent some sort of unsullied oral tradition, an idea that Lloyd, for example, strongly criticises.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 03:29 PM

I hope the above answers Jag's point as well. Referring back to my post of 15th Jan 9.37, I mentioned historical critiques of folkloristic studies. I hope the relevance and the point (a contrasting example, a different approach from that of Harker) is now clear. Sorry if it wasn't first time around.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 04:40 PM

Child: I have read and reread many times ESPB and what of his correspondence is generally available plus the work of his pupils, Gummere, Kittredge. I haven't read ESB cover to cover. I have read what biographies exist. To me apart from his obvious godlike qualities he lived in an academic bubble surrounded by a loving family and his beloved roses, and worked himself to death. I strongly believe by about half way through his life's work he was exhausted and was beginning to lose heart, but as a single-minded obsessive (as most of us here are to some degree) he had to finish what he started, and by and large he did. His statement (I flagged up in Vol 5) just before he died speaks 10,000 words. I cannot remember every word he wrote but the only slight prejudice I can detect is that, as a Professor of Eng Lit, he favoured Anna Gordon's versions of ballads. She was far from being any sort of peasant and came from a very literate well-off musical background and her ballads show evidence of mediation by her own family if not herself. There is no evidence I can remember of any racial preference. He was not a collector. There is no reason for him to have come into contact with American ballads of any type. The titles of the books say it all and it's ridiculous to accuse him of neglecting anything other than this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:43 PM

I did look up the statement in Vol 5, and noted the preference for Anna Gordon and as far as I know what Steve Gardham says here is correct. If I did not thank Steve for the ref I do so now. Steve is one person on MUDCAT who has pointed me in the direction of a lot of interesting wider reading. Once again, I do not think I have said that Child's work on ballads shows evidence of 'racial preference' but that the context in which he worked, and some of the broader work with which he was connected eg early 'folklore' does have racist/racialist overtones.

I agree with Brian Peters on Sharp, as another thing I found on archive.org was the big Sharp work on English folksong. Sharp cites Wagner at one point. Atkinson somewhere surmises that Sharp would have been more likely to have been influenced by Wagner than by Child, I read that just before coming across Sharp referring to him, showing Atkinson at least had some sort of back up for his point, as you would expect. I'm thinking Harker had something to say about folklore and nationalism, and interested to hear people's views on this aspect of Harker's critique.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 06:14 PM

Folklore has certainly been used for nationalistic and patriotic ends and one would be surprised if it hadn't. Why, quite recently we were presented with the National Front trying to utilise folk music and it reared its ugly head on this very Forum.

I'm certainly convinced as I've already said that the burgeoning of interest in making, mediating and publishing Scottish ballads was part of the national need to emphasise Scottish identity as separate from the rest of Britain, along with the appropriation of the Highland bagpipe and the kilt, following the Highland clearances.

Tzu, I was a member of the EFDSS in the 60s but I certainly did not agree with all they stood for then.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 06:26 PM

Without touching on Georgina's and Dave's books there is plenty of other evidence on Sharp in other people's biographies. He was an authoritarian and difficult to get on with. He liked things doing his own way and fell out with anyone who opposed him. I think also he was to some degree like Child an obsessive but obviously that's not a criticism. A latecomer to the scene he soon asserted his dominance and the 2 most knowledgeable people who could have perhaps tempered/balanced him were a long way from London, Kidson and Baring Gould.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 06:29 PM

Steve
Having read about Walter Scott (mentioned above) in a more specifically 'Eng Lit' context, I agree to some extent, though Highland Clearances are just one part of the story, as I am sure you know.
I've had my own house daubed with far right stickers so this is something I am quite hot on.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 06:40 PM

I still don't know why, perhaps someone can hazard a guess, that the only person out of the early English collectors to take an interest in Child Ballads specifically was Baring Gould who corresponded with Child
(I have copies of the letters). Any Child Ballads collected by any of them were simply accorded the same status as all other ballads collected and given no prominence. Sharp, Gilchrist and Kidson were well aware of the Child Ballads but made little use of Child's expertise. It wasn't until Sharp published the Appalachian songs that he started to prioritise Child ballads and the system of placing the Child ballads first in order of number as in EFSFSA was then followed by all of the American university collections for the next 60 years. The Child Ballads are rarely given any sort of prominence in the early journals of the Society.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 07:01 PM

Obviously I'll be reading Boyce soon, but whether I'll be discussing it online I don't know. I have read some Bearman, which is why it makes sense to look at Harker! 'Base over apex' I know.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 07:03 PM

"obvious Godlike qualities" :)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 08:12 PM

The other piece I have read is one by David Gregory, mentioned already on Mudcat. I have enjoyed several pieces by this writer and found he had a lot of sensible remarks on Harker, including weighing the pros and cons. No more from me here until I've read the whole of Harker. NB I can hear the sighs of relief!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: RTim
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 10:44 PM

I believe I am right in saying that the first printing of Child Vol. 1 was not until 1904.. so unless the early collectors were really aware of Child - why would they reference him.......

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Karen Impola
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 11:12 PM

Wikipedia says, "The Child Ballads were published in five volumes between 1882 and 1898."

I don't know exactly when all these other people were collecting, but I just thought I'd throw that in there.

(Wikipedia also cleared up my misconception that Child must have been British, so what do I know? I do know that I'm learning a lot from this thread, and this site in general.)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:19 AM

If I may return to take up a point made about Child by Steve and also previously by other posters: "the only slight prejudice I can detect is that, as a Professor of Eng Lit". I think this may be slightly, and from my perspective, perhaps importantly wrong.

As usual I would be happy to be corrected if wrong, but I have done a quick check. From 1851 Child was Boynton professor of rhetoric, oratory and elocution, and from 1876 he was professor of English (not English Literature). He worked within a 'philological' tradition. This approach is a bit out of date, but is more like being interested in English Language than in English Literature. Nowadays the sort of work he did might be described as historical linguistics (See Britannica on philology).

He wrote about Chaucer, focussing on deducing from Chaucer facts about the grammar of Chaucer's time, and his results have been much improved upon since then; it is now realised that Chaucer's dialect was just one among many at that time. He did not discuss themes, characters, use and effect of rhyming structures etc.

He edited or arranged for editions to be produced of various works of English Literature, partly because the Americans wanted to study them but did not have editions. So when these works survived in partial or multiple and differing versions (as indeed does a lot of Shakespeare) the editor would decide which version to treat as the main one. The edition might include notes indicating why certain wordings had been chosen, and perhaps some historical notes to aid the reader.

He was not the sort of Eng Lit critic who made aesthetic judgments about works of literature based for example on a study of structure, form, language, imagery, character and theme.

I have read a number of suggestions that some of his criteria for selecting and rejecting ballads were 'aesthetic' but for me to argue that he had expertise in 'aesthetics' or 'Literary appreciation' on the basis of his academic career doesn't square with the facts.

There have been all sorts of literary critics, and a recent fashion for using literary theory and differing perspectives (eg Marx, Freud, Post Colonialism, various post-modern approaches) in the study of literature. I imagine that some folkies would tear their hair out if people attempted any such thing with folk music. In fact, I think I've been on the receiving end of it at times.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:20 AM

Apologies for thread drift.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:24 AM

The county library service just rang to say they have in the copy of Harker that they obtained for me via the inter=library loan service (cost 50 pence). So no more squinting at Harker on-screen for a while.

They have obtained a number of expensive things for me, including works by Sharp/Karpeles. Worth a try rather than paying for expensive books, though they cannot get everything as some Universities won't lend books to public libraries.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:50 AM

@ Karen Impola

I was once told on MUDCAT I was talking nonsense for saying this, but among the other subjects Child taught at Harvard (possibly before it became a University) was history. If you look, for example, at his lengthy commentary in volume 5 about Sir Andrew Barton you will see evidence of this.

I did not realise till I read Harker that he was also involved with the library at Harvard. How far this helps to explain his motives for and success getting his hands on British manuscripts I do not know. I did think that today such artefacts might not be allowed to be sold out of the country so easily. But times change!

None of this of course is designed to do any damage to bathing babies or to constitute blasphemy.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 08:49 AM

Not until the 20th century was "English literature" (still less "American"!) thought to be a subject worthy of university study.

Classical and Medieval literature (in the source languages, of course) the chief topics of philological interest. The Pepys and Roxburgh broadsides , for example, were scrutinized and published (and referred to) by only a small number of people with antiquarian interests. They were generally thought to be worthless as literature.

"Literary theory" as an academic discipline with contending aesthetic and sociological positions did not exist. Intellectual belief was that whatever was of value in literature written in Modern English was readily accessible to any intelligent reader.

Aesthetics was a matter of established taste that had been formed by the rigorous study of Homer, Vergil, Cicero, and other Classical figures. In the academic world, the free verse of Whitman, for example, was widely regarded as doggerel.

Seen in that intellectual context, Child's decision to devote much of his career to the cross-cultural literary study of ESPB was arguably unique and obviously trail-blazing. (It is certainly possible that he was drawn to the subject partly because of his own working-class origins.)

As a reminder to Mudcat: Child wrote a substantial article expressing much of his mid-career thinking about the ballads, which appeared (as "Ballad Poetry") in Johnson's New Universal Cyclopaedia in 1874.

It's too bad he didn't update it for his five-volume collection.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 08:51 AM

I haven't died, and it is my 79th birthday, but I haven't posted at all of late and the reason is obvious. I see no point in discussion which is not conducted politely, and more than politely; that is, without an assumption that everybody has a political or monetary gain in mind. The only point is that we should, between us, arrive at an understanding of what traditional song is about, its worth to people, and how people used it. This is knowledge and empowers us to sing better and to be a better support for those who do. I reject arid scholarship or conversation that speaks in terms that would not be understood by those who sang these songs. It is an insult to speak so. However, this is not a criticism but an observation and a description of what I try to do.

I met Dave Harker once, at a one day conference in Sheffield organised by Ian Russell and others. I gave a brief paper on my discovery that a little book, "Songs and Poems on Various Subjects by Hugh McWilliams, Schoolmaster" published in 1831, contained texts of a range of songs known in tradition - including "When a man's in love" and "The trip over the mountain" and how I justified my conclusion, by analysing textual variations, that Hugh McWilliams was their originator. Obviously I pointed out that this disturbed the notion that 'folk' songs were necessarily anonymous and old which my generation had derived from the opinions and writings of our predecessors. Dave asked me was I not angry that earlier commentators had so misled me. My response was that I was glad that they had done the work, that no matter how distorted their thinking or their snapshot of the singing tradition, it still provided starting points, that we would be poorer without it, indeed without it little would have survived, in pure or distorted form.
You might as well have asked Galileo if he could forgive the Babylonians. They could only understand from the standpoint of their own world view, from the stage that their science had reached. However, their stooped, even distorted shoulders were there to be stood upon.

I wish it could be understood that the point of discussion is not to win an argument but to reach understanding and to be grateful to all those who contribute.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 09:03 AM

Thumbs up for that post John. And Happy Birthday.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 09:27 AM

Yes Lighter:

I have referred to the Encyclopedia article before. I was told in no uncertain terms that it misrepresents Child's point of view. Allusion was made to other pieces by him stating a quite different view that it was the lower classes or 'ordinary people' who produced ballads, but no references were provided. I would be happy to read these if they were available.

Yes, Lighter. I agree on Eng Lit as a uni subject. My understanding is that there was work on 'aesthetics' of sorts in classical times. The bits I know a little about are from Aristotle: catharsis etc.

But a lot of modern 'aesthetics' seems to come from the Romantic period?

Sorry we are drifting off topic.

None of the above, is, of course, designed to do any damage to bathing babies or to constitute blasphemy.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 10:41 AM

The 'ordinary person' in the village who wrote ballads would not be remembered as an 'ordinary person'. He would be "Fred the poet" or "Fred the minstrel". If times were hard he may have been 'Fred the market busker' or sunk to being 'Fred the ballad seller'. Or maybe he helped out with rural literacy as 'Fred the teacher'. In many people's categorisation he would no longer be one of 'the folk'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 10:43 AM

If he did really well he might, for Harker, be 'Fred the bourgois'

200


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 01:01 PM

You know, jag, that women may have written a fair few of those songs (and none of them would have been called 'Fred').


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 01:40 PM

Sorry, should have put "They might" not "He would". The rest still works.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 01:53 PM

No, it doesn't, jag. They'd still all be Freds!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 02:19 PM

"They might" is commonly used to introduce an example.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 02:22 PM

So first of all, thank you to John Moulden for his contribution.

Believe it or not, I heartily agree with the final sentence, though I may not always practise what I preach.

I'm sure John Moulden will agree that the term 'arid' has negative connotations. I cannot disagree with what he has said about 'arid' research since almost by definition nobody would enjoy it. But one person's arid research is another person's oasis of delight. Not only that, but my own experience suggests that interests come, and go, and return over time.

Regarding the idea that one should not speak about traditional singers except in terms which they would understand, I respect that point of view, and that choice, but disagree that to do otherwise is 'insulting'. This is the second time I have come across this idea recently. I cannot quite see how one can describe a practice as 'insulting' without intending the word as a criticism, but perhaps that is my problem.

I'm not sure whether John's first paragraph is intended to relate to Harker's book, and again, perhaps the fault here is on my part. However, on the basis of my reading so far, one of the criticisms that Harker makes time and time again is precisely that the 'mediators' he discusses to presume to have knowledge of what ballads (Child) and folk (most of the rest) meant to their originators, when, that is, they accept the idea that folk songs had individual creators, which not all of them did. To that extent, perhaps there is some common ground between John and Harker. Moreover, on the basis of a view that the only thing to do with folk songs is to learn how to support traditional singers and to learn from them how to sing, a characterisation of Child and so on as the giants upon whose shoulders the rest stand would seem to me, with respect, to be misplaced, as their aims do not seem to me to have been in line with the recommended 'point'.

I hope you have a lovely day. Thank you again for sharing your view and your story about Harker.

@ Modette: Harker uses the term 'masculinist' several times.   

I have noticed that Harker criticises Lloyd's romantic image comparing folk songs to pebbles worn smooth by the action of the sea as 'Sharpean'. I haven't checked back with Lloyd yet, but as the image seems reasonably clearly to be taken from Sharp's 'some conclusions' folk song book, I hope Lloyd acknowledged its source. Harker doesn't pick up on the extent to which this is a more or less an unacknowledged quotation (albeit maybe unconscious) though he does pick Lloyd up on this elsewhere, I think. I am realising that one advantage of PDF versions of books is that you can search for words like 'pebble' within them very quickly.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 02:35 PM

Sorry, forgot to say I had a few weeks ago found John Moulden's PhD work on ballad and pamphlet sellers online and read (or at least skim-read) it and very much enjoyed it. I think I have mentioned it on Mudcat. So now's the time to say I did not find it 'arid' but enjoyable.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 02:52 PM

Hi John
Happy birthday.
I also wake up in a morning thankful I'm still here and I'm only 72.
Couldn't agree more with your second paragraph and your response to Dave. I also believe all of the people in discussion here would say amen to that.

I also agree with Pseu's point that one person's arid is another's delight, and further we shouldn't be too ready to criticise others' preferences.

I sing almost all traditional songs and many of them have come direct from the source singers, some in my own family.

Pseu, you mention online articles by Fowler. Could you flag them up for me, please?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 03:03 PM

Child was obliged, as someone without a private income, to take on all sorts of teaching jobs, both at Harvard and in other universities. He had well-heeled friends like Lowell, but in order to support his family and his expensive hobby he needed to work very hard. If I remember correctly he had a budget in the library and a lot of the manuscripts and books he needed were acquired in this way, but even this was restricted so that he had to be careful how much he paid for manuscripts from Scotland. He never saw the second Peter Buchan manuscript as it was bought for the library after he died. I think he did see the Buchan manuscript in the BL but it is actually just a proof for the 2 volumes and adds very little to those in the way of ballads.

Karen, I thought they were actually released in 10 parts at first and then bound up in the 5 volumes later, but I could be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM

I know Child got a lot of the info on the continental analogies from Grundtvig but I find it difficult to conceive the amount of work that went into compiling all of that information, and how many of us actually use it? I dip into it for the odd ballad occasionally as I have an interest in the Danish ballads, but some of it is so involved and detailed.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 03:45 PM

Happy birthday, John.

It's not "arid research" that's my bane, it's "arid writing."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 04:08 PM

Hey what's going on? Numerous recent posts are all more or less agreeing with each other, and I find myself agreeing with them too.

If we didn't love the ballads and the other songs (or some of them anyway) we wouldn't be here discussing them, although our interests may very well focus on different aspects: listening to them, singing them ourselves, discussing the stories or researching and discussing the origins.

Happy birthday, John, from me too, what's left of the day.

Is your paper about the Hugh McWilliams book available anywhere?

[Richard Mellish] (added by mudelf)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 07:08 PM

More thread drift, but taking up the topic with Lighter once more: the very term 'literature' has shifted in meaning. My understanding is that in Elizabethan times the word would indicate anything written, more or less. This broader sense survives in some usages today: we might read of 'marketing literature' for example. It took a while to acquire the modern, perhaps rather elitist sense of 'literature' - as opposed to, say, 'pulp fiction'. But for me, much of this is in the eye of the beholder anyway.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 16 Jan 20 - 08:20 PM

Just out of interest I searched Harker for the word 'fraud'. He uses it once in connection with a reform (fair enough). In connection with folklore, he uses it when he discusses an 18th century scholar and antiquarian Ritson. He praises Ritson for seeking to sort out authentic material as opposed to the less authentic material offered by Percy and a number of people who seem to have published material Ritson regarded as less scholarly and authentic. So concerns about authenticity fo back to the 18th century. Of course somebody may know more about Ritson than I do and may say Harker was wrong about him and about Percy.

Similarly I searched for the word 'greed' and did not find it anywhere.

Polemic Harker may be but not quite that crude? Asking here, not asserting.

No bathing babies were harmed in the making of this posting.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:28 AM

@Pseudonymous. Try "forgery"


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:34 AM

I'm sharing an overview of the contents of Harker's book, in case Mudcat readers who have not read it look at this thread and wonder. Also because I think we are in danger of discussing some of the people Harker discusses, not the book itself. Some have their own threads.

So what is the book about?


A Title.   People have objected to the title, especially the word ‘manufacture’. It might help us get a handle on what the book is about (e.g. for Mudcat readers who haven’t read it and come here hoping for information) to consider less charged alternative titles. Is it fair to say it is ‘A Critical Historical Review of What Has Been Written About and Offered As Examples of British ‘Folksong’ from 1700 to the Present Day?’ The present day being 1985.

B Contents and their arrangement. I’ll attempt a simple outline. Apologies for any oversimplification. As said before, largely chronological.

Introduction: includes discussion of the concept of ‘mediation’. This concept highlights the fact that this is a largely book about people who are not ‘working class’ making assertions about working class culture (eg ‘folklore’). Put simply, Harker doesn’t think they get it right. And he thinks some of their mistakes reflect the class interests of the bourgeoisie (e.g. a desire for national unity/national identity instead of a workers’ revolution).

PART ONE: Two Centuries Before Child (roughly 1780 to 1860) Focus on UK.
1 Early mediators
2 Thomas Percy to Joseph Ritson
3 Walter Scott to Robert Chambers
4 Thomas Wright to John Harland

PART TWO: FJ Child and the Ballad ‘consensus’ (Focus mainly on US-based work)

5 FJ Child. Biography and discussion of his ‘editions’ of selections of ballads with commentaries etc
Discusses problems Child faced sorting out and categorising the mass of what I’ll call ‘raw data’ he had assembled and selecting what to publish and what to leave out.
6 The ‘Ballad Consensus’

PART THREE: CJ Sharp and the Folksong ‘consensus’. (Focus mainly on UK-based work)

7 Some pre-Sharp characters including Engel and his ‘national music’; the late 19th C early 20th C collectors e.g. Broadwood, Baring-Gould, Kidson. Formation of Folk Song Society 1898
8 Sharp himself: biography, career, ideas about folk song and its origins etc
9 The folksong consensus
10 Alfred Owen Williams and the Upper Thames
11 AL Lloyd: the one that got away


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:38 AM

@ Jag. Will do. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 10:01 AM

John Moulden wrote:-
I see no point in discussion which is not conducted politely, and more than politely; that is, without an assumption that everybody has a political or monetary gain in mind. The only point is that we should, between us, arrive at an understanding of what traditional song is about, its worth to people, and how people used it. This is knowledge and empowers us to sing better and to be a better support for those who do. I reject arid scholarship or conversation that speaks in terms that would not be understood by those who sang these songs. It is an insult to speak so. However, this is not a criticism but an observation and a description of what I try to do.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><>

I wish it could be understood that the point of discussion is not to win an argument but to reach understanding and to be grateful to all those who contribute.


I cannot stress strongly enough how important I find these words from John Moulden.
In another of my activities, I am one member of nine in a monthly book group. Each of us choose a book for all to read and we discuss that book at a subsequent meeting. A very wide range of fiction, non-fiction, biography, classics, books on a variety of specialised subjects are chosen. Everyone is given a chance to give their opinion of the set book followed by a group discussion then in the second hour each of us introduces a book that we have enjoyed in the last month; a lot of borrowing and lending goes on.
Sometimes there is broad agreement but some heated but healthy discussion takes place where there is disagreement, but no-one has ever suggested that another member's views are not valid or worthwhile. No-one would ever consider leaving the group because they cannot get the rest of us to agree with them. Members often express the view that the range of opinons is stimulating and has helped to broaden their understanding of the book we have all read.
This civility may be because we are all in the living rooms of members - we take it in turn - and not making points with others who we will likely never meet. None of us is able to hide behind a nickname and there are no anonymous GUEST posters.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 10:17 AM

Well said, Vic.

Mea nwhile, I’ve become interested by the question raised above, regarding of the influence of Child on Cecil Sharp...

Sharp was on the hunt for a set of Child Ballads during his first Appalachian collecting trip in 1916, and acquired a set in October with the assistance of John C. Campbell. I have a copy of a letter held in the University of North Carolina in which JC writes to a colleague asking him to source a full set of ten volumes of ESPB, for which Sharp would be willing to pay $100 – for interest, Campbell mentions that the set was had a print run of 1000 and sold originally for $50. However, even before this set arrived, Sharp was expressing great excitement in his letters and diaries about finding Child Ballads in the mountains; when he first heard Child 3 in September 1916 he mentioned in a letter to his wife that Child had only a single version - from Motherwell – but that he had now found one with a tune: “A great prize”. So clearly he was familiar with ESPB before receiving his own copy. During his first trip in 1916 he took the trouble to compile a list of 26 Child Ballads noted up to that point, and by 1917 he recorded that he’d found 42.

As Steve said, ‘English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians’ was the first of Sharp’s books to place the Child Ballads in numerical order at the front, but ‘One Hundred English Folksongs’ did have a first section of 29 ‘Ballads’, in which all but four (‘Bruton Town’, ‘Duke of Bedford’, ‘Death and the Lady’, and ‘The Trees They Do Grow High’, plus arguably ‘Lowlands of Holland’) were in Child, although there was no attempt to order them as per ESPB. So, either Sharp was familiar with ESPB but decided that these others merited promotion to ballad status, or he drew up his own list that corresponded largely to Child’s judgements. 100EFS was published in 1916, but presumably Sharp edited it before then. He met and corresponded with Olive Dame Campbell in 1915, and she may well have discussed with him the Child Ballads in her own collection, but I’d have thought he’d have known about ESPB before then – it would be interesting to search FSJ articles in this period to find out whether English collectors were discussing Child. At any rate there’s no doubt that Sharp was considerably influenced by him in his later collecting.

As for Wagner, Sharp mentions in EFSC that he’s read Wagner, and cites him to support the idea that German art music drew on folk material. Sharp had, after all, conducted in and lectured on classical music in his early career, so it’s not surprising he’d have come across Wagner’s writings. Atkinson’s linkage of Sharp and Wagner concerns an early lecture by Sharp (1905) in which he propounds ideas about communal composition in a pre-literate, pre-medieval populace (he later revised these ideas), which Atkinson believes were probably borrowed from Wagner rather than Child’s – very similar – ideas.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 12:06 PM

Brian,
If no-one else is offering I can easily check the Journals for the first mentions of Child. In fact I'd enjoy that. I can not possibly conceive of anyone in this country connected with folksong from 1888 onwards not being familiar with the Child Ballads. Baring Gould certainly was as he was sending material to Child and asking for copies as they appeared, in return for his contributions. What I do find strange is they seem not to have been given any extra status over the broadside ballads until Sharp went to America.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 12:30 PM

This is an interesting thread;glad I revived it. Still ploughing through the text! The think with Wagner in my head goes Wagner, Nietzsche, The Superman, Nazis, unfortunately. Wagner went back to old Germanic myths to create his ring cycle so got linked to the worst sort of nationalism. So thanks Brian for your take on this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:01 PM

Ah, stop press...

Sharp does make several references to Child in 'Some Conclusions', such as:

'The extent and character of these variations may be studied with profit in the late Professor Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads, where many of the ballads, which have in recent years
been collected in Great Britain, may be seen and compared with their European analogues. Indeed, as Mr. Andrew Lang has remarked: "It is unnecessary to indicate more than one authority on the subject of ballads. Professor Child of Harvard, has collected all known ballads, with all accessible variants, and has illustrated them with an extraordinary wealth of knowledge of many literatures.'

I'm afraid I don't have many early American folk song books on my shelves, so I can't say who was the first to adopt the 'Child and Other' ordering. I have Belden's 1912 review of the literature, but most of the collectors were publishing in JAF at the time, as far as I can see, and I'm not sure when the first books appeared. Wilgus would tell us, but I don't have that, and I know that Wyman and Brockway's Kentucky collection didn't place Child at the front. Is it even possible that Sharp and Campbell were the first to adopt the practice?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:03 PM

I have really been enjoying this thread, especially since the bickering stopped. I have learned a great deal about Harker, I knew little of him until now. It is so refreshing to have these conversations without rancor.
I too agree with what Vic said, however it is not "guests who are the problem..it is often the ones whose names we know all too well that are the problem. I have refused to join Mudcat because of them.
    Yeah, but the idea is that we're going to keep this thread on topic, and not discuss the recent rancor. I had to delete a number of messages about the "unpleasantness" from this thread. Please, let's forget about that. This is an interesting topic.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM

Going back to Wagner, the whole point of Sharp's plan that folk song might be the basis for a new English muse (see also RVW etc), was to counter German hegemony over art music. By the time of WW1 Sharp had developed quite an antipathy towards Germany, that wasn't improved when his son got wounded in battle. I think the thought progression Sharp - Wagner - Nazis can be safely discounted.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 01:10 PM

And, while we're all patting each other on the back, can I just say that John Moulden's "You might as well have asked Galileo if he could forgive the Babylonians" is one of the pithiest contributions to this thread.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:41 PM

Just lost a pile of responses because the Cat went down again so I'll post stuff in small bites in case it disappears again.

Thought I'd start with Kidson and Broadwood as they predate the FSS.

Kidson's Traditional Tunes 1891 was published just after Child had published part 7 in 1890. Kidson started of TT with 11 Child ballads but no Child Ballad order and no references to Child whatsoever in the book. child started publishing in 10 parts in 1882.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:46 PM

However in later parts Child did include Kidson's versions. later in TT Kidson gave a version of Child 283 the Crafty Farmer which Child included but this is an exemplar broadside piece from the late 18th century anyway. Kidson does refer to most of Child's well-known sources in his notes, Percy, Herd, Scott, Motherwell, Kinloch, Buchan, Hogg, Chappell, Chambers, Dixon, etc.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:48 PM

Broadwood's English County Songs of 1893 does very briefly mention Child in the notes to 4 of the 11 Child ballads she includes. 'see Child's headnotes to....'


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 03:56 PM

When The Folk Song society started up in 1899 there was no mention of Child right up to the 4th volume (1902) and 6 Child ballads had been published in the first 3 volumes. However in the fourth there are 3 Child ballads and Lucy Broadwood in her notes quotes Child in all of them. Kidson also contributes to the notes without a mention of Child. However, to be fair, he was largely a musical historian, not a ballad scholar. Baring Gould was not an active member at that point but his work is referred to. Of course his 'Songs of the West' 1891 has numerous mentions of Child as from just prior to that he was corresponding with Child.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 04:39 PM

The bit Sharp wrote about Wagner that I was thinking about is indeed when he comments that German Art music was based on German folk music, and as Brian said, he was discussing national musics and stating that English music was dominated by foreign influences. The point about the Nazis was just me risking thread drift be reporting personal associations. I wasn't thinking that was in Sharp's mind.

Obviously I agree with what HiLo just said.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 04:40 PM

Good work, Steve.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 04:43 PM

Brian
Regarding who started or continued the process of prioritising the Child Ballads and indeed the triple section layout, it looks from what I can see is Sharp and Campbell started it off. The next I have is the great Louise Pound (American Songs and Ballads) who probably started off the tripling. (Child ballads first in number order, then other British ballads, then native American ballads). Then comes Cox (Folk Songs of the South) in 1924 emulating Pound, Mackenzie in 1928, and Davis in 1929.
I haven't got any of the Barry/Eckstorm Maine books, 1927 & 29, but I bet they have the same system.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 05:42 PM

Jon will probably fill in any gaps.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 05:57 PM

Even if Sharp did not have his own copy of Child prior to 1916, I am sure he would have consulted a copy in the BM, as he was a visitor there to consult copies of Playford, for example. Or perhaps he just needed to consult a copy of Child in the USA as his own copy was in UK. Is his own copy still in VWML?
Regarding Wagner, Karpeles writes, in the biography, that he was almost as enthusiastic about mathematics as about Wagner, while at Cambridge (p. 6), and "as with most young musicians of his day, Wagner was his god." (p. 13),this was 1892. He quoted Wagner in love letters to his intended wife, Constance, (p. 16). Daughter Dorothea's third given name was Iseult and son's second name was Tristan, (p. 18). Methinks Sharp was something of a fan of Wagner!
Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 06:23 PM

Welcome to the discussion, Derek. Do stay!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 06:37 PM

According to Harker, Baring-Gould (another English collector) was also fond of Wagner. Harker mentions Sharp's partiality, saying he quoted him upon his engagement. Harker specifically says Sharp 'read' Wagner (what did he write, I wonder?) Not too much on Wagner in Harker (the search facility on pdfs is useful!). That's all I could find.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 06:55 PM

Harker's stuff on Alfred Owen Williams is fascinating. I think Steve has quoted bits of his descriptions of ballad sellers to me; anyway I have encountered them before. Did anybody else enjoy this, and why isn't there more on Mudcat about this person? Harker seems to prefer him to a lot of the others he discusses, maybe because he isn't quite as posh?

I hate to say this, but I am quite enjoying Harker, while of course bearing all the health warnings in mind. Wish I could afford to buy a copy.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 06:58 PM

no, like isn't the word, not at all.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:25 PM

"What did Wagner write, I wonder?"

you would be sorry you asked,
if you went so far as to read what Wagner wrote ...
his music and libretti are one thing,
but Wagner's prose is quite another.

Well, he wrote something titled
"Die Juden," if memory serves ...


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 03:04 AM

Sorry, Pseu, I didn't enjoy reading it. I've spent many years studying the mediations by the editors and when his book came out, skewed and tainted as it was, despite the many correct accusations it made, it set back this study 20 years.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 03:09 AM

Williams hadn't been schooled by the FSS and went out collecting without their preconceived notions of what constituted a folk song, so his collection is more representive of what the folk were actually singing.
The only problem with his work is he had no means of noting down the tunes.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 03:38 AM

Hello Steve, no need to apologise for not agreeing, but thanks for the courtesy.

I agree with you that Williams seems to have got some broader idea about what the folk were actually singing. I think Harker felt this too, hence my sense of him liking his work, if not his politics, of course. I think that this point about what people were actually singing is one of Harker's key ones. To this extent, I think I agree with Harker. I personally enjoyed the information that Harker conveyed about what Williams found out (assuming it is correct). For example, what he says about people who were singing 'traditional songs' but had been taught singing lessons by a local schoolmaster. And I agree with your point about preconceived notions, not that expressing views like that has made me popular in the past.

Am I right in reading you as saying that Harker's book set back the study of mistakes back 20 years? I'm struggling to take this in, if so, since it seems quite a daring point of view, to imply that there were mistakes. It seems to count as blasphemy in the eyes of some?

And don't get me wrong, I hope I haven't turned my critical faculties off when reading Harker: nobody can say I wasn't warned about the possible shortcomings in his work.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 AM

@ Xeberoxu

Thanks for your comment. I've googled since reading your post and found a Wiki piece on Wagner controversies. It makes my mental link to Hitler seem more rational! It gets worse as you read on since some people think Wagner subscribed to a belief called Aryanism, and that he held beliefs that Western society was doomed because of 'miscegenation'. I've moaned before on Mudcat about an English folklorist using that word, in connection with a song called 'The Bush of Australia'. I don't think it made me popular. But I don't regret it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 AM

Sorry for thread drift, if this is what it was!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 04:12 AM

I've been getting deja vu over Harker's section on Williams. I'm thinking that Roud will have mentioned him in his book on English Folk Song? He must have, surely? And that will be where I've heard of him before?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 07:48 AM

OK so here's what Harker writes at the end of his section on Percy to Ritson:

'From our point of view, in spite of what most of them did to the songs, their contribution was crucial. Without their collecting, and irrespective of their mediations and their motives, we would not have had hundreds of songs recorded and published for posterity. In fact, without their example, the modest boom in song-book publishing which followed might not have happened at all. In the work of Ritson, too, we see the beginnings of a genuine scholarly approach to mediation, which remained as a standard and a source of editorial guilt for generations.'

I don't read this as Newton scorning the Babylonians. But of course, this is just my take on it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 08:12 AM

Steve - British Ballads from Maine (1929 edition) is organized in 3 sections:

1-56: The Child Ballads (given in Child's order, at a quick glance from The Elfin Knight to The Trooper and the Maid).

57-64: Secondary Ballads (Soldier's Wooing, Loathly Bride, Gallows Tree, John Webber, Squire of Edinburgh Town, Yorkshire Bite, High Barbary, Sally and Her True-love Billy)

65-94: Traces and Jury-Texts

In the Foreword they write:

"This collection builds a New England superstructure upon Professor Child's well-laid foundations. We do not ask why he accepted or rejected his titles, but we try to square our work to his lines and to agree with his conclusions wherever possible. Sound critical work upon Child's own lines has been the objective.

Yet is some respects it has been impossible to be bound by Professor Child. The study of ballad music was outside his chosen field. Though he gathered some records of melodies with his texts, he did not weigh them...

Furthermore, Professor Child confined himself to the English and Scottish variants of the ballads. He printed very few texts from Irish sources. But in Maine the Irish element is very strong and often very old. In calling these "British Ballads" we have enlarged the field of study."


So based entirely on Child, but acknowledging that Child was interested in the literature of the ballads, not text+music.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 08:18 AM

Pseudonymous wrote: -
Harker's section on Williams. I'm thinking that Roud will have mentioned him in his book on English Folk Song? He must have, surely?
I am not completely sure which of the two Pseudonymous is referring to here - but the answer is that Roud has plenty to say about both; the index shows:-
* 12 references to David Harker
* 28 references to Alfred Williams


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 09:36 AM

Pseu 7.48. I don't think anyone with a rational mind would disagree with Harker there.

When I said he set back 20 years the study of this sort of mediation by editors, I was referring to the status of the subject. His book caused such an uproar that many people condemned the book out of hand and anyone then who was criticising the ballad editors (myself) was tarred with the same brush.

I wrote a paper on Baring Gould re Child 295B on which he sent bogus material to Child. Some denied it and one of the volume editors was reluctant to publish it, and I was asked to temper it because I included some conjecture on why he would have done this. Of course the absolute proof is there on the EFDSS website now for all to see, but it wasn't at the time.

I wrote an article on Peter Buchan's interference in the ballads, for FMJ and some of the reviewers rejected it. It had been read as a paper and I know at least 2 of the reviewers wanted to include it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 12:27 PM

Steve, the most likely place for finding the familiar tripartite form of presentation would be articles in the pages of the Journal of American Folklore, which started publication in 1888,

I've just done a JSTOR cybersearch of the Journal for the phrases "Child Ballads," "English and Scottish Popular Ballads, " "Scottish ballad," "English ballad," and "ballad of."

The earliest example of the familiar tripartite structure appears to be so late as Herbert Halper's "Some Ballads and Folk Songs from New Jersey," LII (1939), pp. 52-69. (Among the non-Child ballads is a somewhat spicier than usual version of "The Indian Lass.")

Believe it or not, Halpert's article looks to be the Journal's earliest mention of *any* of the searched-for phrases.   

The early years of JAF were heavily skewed toward American Indian material and folktales, but these results astonish me.

The first large collection or American folksongs was John Lomax's Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads (1910). Lomax, obviously, had no need for the tripartite structure.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 01:40 PM

"Believe it or not, Halpert's article looks to be the Journal's earliest mention of *any* of the searched-for phrases."

Do you mean phrases like 'Child Ballads', etc.? If so the search facility you've used seems to be letting you down. Phillips Barry mentions Child in his 1905 paper 'Traditional Ballads in New England', and by 1910 he's giving every ballad its Child Number. Belden and several of the others are full of refs to FJC as well.

I'm beginning to think that Steve may be right about Sharp & Campbell having been the first to use the tripartite system. Although Sharp had the final word on editing the 1917 EFSSA, I'm sure Olive Campbell collaborated in some of the decisions - and she'd presiously corresponded with Kittredge and the various mountain folksong societies, so knew all about Child. Possibly her idea?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 01:52 PM

This is only relevant to Richard Mellish who asked about my work on Hugh McWilliams. Email me - jmoul81075 AT aol.com for details. Or anybody else interested is welcome to do so also.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 04:02 PM

Jon
I haven't been through the early JAFL with a fine tooth comb, but from what I've seen I would agree with you and I'm not that surprised. They were full of the results of individual collecting expeditions and papers
and none of them contained a large enough collection to warrant using the tipartite system.

By the way strictly speaking Sharp/Campbell doesn't use the tripartite system. Whilst the Child ballads come first in number order there is no marked division between these and the broadside ballads 1-72. Then Vol 2 is split into songs (mostly British) 73 to 207 finishing up with smaller sections, Hymns, Nursery Songs, jigs and Party Games. But yes it is the first one to set the scene for giving the Child ballads in order first. Unless someone comes up with an earlier I think Pound (1924) was the next and the first to truly use the tripartite system, though once she has presented sections A,B & C there follow, similar to Sharp/Campbell, 4 sections according to subject which contain a mixture of native American and British texts. Pound could well be described as being based on the setting out of Sharp/Campbell.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 04:28 PM

It appears Sharp was fully au fait with Child's ESPB by 1905. He refers to it in Vol 1 of Folk Songs From Somerset.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 06:17 PM

Brian, I 've searched again for "Child ballads" (plural) with no additional results that I can see.

You're right, though, that "Child ballad" (singular) appears in several early articles by Barry and one by Belden.

In any event, no tripartite structure before Halpert in 1939, though Mellinger Henry's "More Songs from the Southern Highlands," XLIV (1931), 61-115, begins with four numbered Child ballads, without (apparently) using the phrase "Child ballad(s)."

Much earlier articles print Child ballads identified by "Child No." (without using the phrase "Child ballad(s)."

Moral: Not all search engines will find singular and plural at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 01:00 AM

Hello Brian
For me, it figures that Philips Barry would use Child numbers because he was Harvard-based or educated. As was Kittredge. As you will know, Sharp knew Kittredge and met him when in the USA. I think I am right here.
Child was president of the society that produced American Journal of Folklore. I learned this from a review of one of the parts of his opus at the back of the first every issue. It says it won't be a eulogy, but plainly is! His position explains, I think, why ballads are mentioned in the opening piece in the journal. The introduction to the first volume I have quoted before as showing the 'racialist' thinking of the early folklorists, as do some of the pieces in it.
Not sure how we got here from Harker, but finding the discussion interesting!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 02:55 AM

@ Steve

Thanks for your explanation of how Harker set things back: I had guessed that this might be what you meant. Ironic, since, as Harker shows, people had been having similar thoughts for a long time!

I have found and been reading (tricky to get hold of but I managed it via googling etc) a review of two of Harker's works, including this one, by Vic Gammon.

It is 'Two for the Show': David Harker, Politics and Popular Song
Author(s): Vic Gammon. Source: History Workshop, No. 21 (Spring, 1986), pp. 147-156

Gammon says that Harker's book will win a place as a very important work of reference, while being quite critical of various aspects of Harker's 'preaching'.

Sharing the reference in case any other Mudcatter would like to see a reasoned response from a relatively 'left' position.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:04 AM

When VicG says 'will win a place as a very important work of reference,' is he referring to Fakesong or the other book?

Earlier upthread you mention Fowler's writings. Can you please flag up any for me that relate to ballads other than 'Literary History'?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:05 AM

I think Vic could make a very strong contribution to this thread. I think I'll ask him.


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