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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
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,jag 19 Jan 20 - 11:53 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 03:09 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 20 - 03:25 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 20 - 03:43 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 20 - 03:50 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 04:02 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 20 - 04:06 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 04:13 PM
Lighter 19 Jan 20 - 04:16 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM
Joe G 19 Jan 20 - 06:14 PM
Joe G 19 Jan 20 - 06:23 PM
Lighter 19 Jan 20 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 06:21 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 09:57 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 10:04 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 10:23 AM
Lighter 20 Jan 20 - 10:32 AM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 11:36 AM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 02:35 PM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 02:45 PM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 02:47 PM
Richard Mellish 20 Jan 20 - 02:59 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 06:37 PM
Lighter 20 Jan 20 - 06:47 PM
Lighter 20 Jan 20 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 04:54 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 05:24 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,kenny 21 Jan 20 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 05:50 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 21 Jan 20 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 06:18 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 06:28 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 06:40 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 06:50 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 07:42 AM
Vic Smith 21 Jan 20 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 08:05 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 08:52 AM
Vic Smith 21 Jan 20 - 09:12 AM
Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 09:25 AM
Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 10:22 AM
Jack Campin 21 Jan 20 - 10:35 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 10:49 AM
Vic Smith 21 Jan 20 - 10:53 AM
Vic Smith 21 Jan 20 - 10:56 AM
Lighter 21 Jan 20 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 11:28 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 12:45 PM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 12:57 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 01:05 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 01:14 PM
Vic Smith 21 Jan 20 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 01:28 PM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 01:38 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 03:58 PM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 08:50 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 01:17 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 20 - 04:56 AM
Joe Offer 22 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 20 - 05:15 AM
Joe Offer 22 Jan 20 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 22 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 06:20 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 20 - 07:06 AM
Vic Smith 22 Jan 20 - 07:23 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 20 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 11:18 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 20 - 11:35 AM
The Sandman 22 Jan 20 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 02:09 PM
Vic Smith 22 Jan 20 - 02:34 PM
Vic Smith 22 Jan 20 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 22 Jan 20 - 04:48 PM
The Sandman 22 Jan 20 - 05:10 PM
Joe Offer 22 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Jan 20 - 02:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Jan 20 - 03:01 AM
The Sandman 23 Jan 20 - 03:25 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 20 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,jag 23 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 23 Jan 20 - 05:25 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Jan 20 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Jan 20 - 08:39 AM
Vic Smith 23 Jan 20 - 08:57 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 20 - 09:36 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 20 - 09:42 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 20 - 09:52 AM
Jack Campin 23 Jan 20 - 09:55 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 20 - 10:02 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 20 - 10:11 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 20 - 10:12 AM
Brian Peters 23 Jan 20 - 10:56 AM
Lighter 23 Jan 20 - 11:41 AM
Vic Smith 23 Jan 20 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Jan 20 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Jan 20 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 27 Jan 20 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Jan 20 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Jan 20 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Jan 20 - 05:29 AM
GUEST 27 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Jan 20 - 05:56 AM
GUEST 27 Jan 20 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,jag 27 Jan 20 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,jag 27 Jan 20 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Jan 20 - 09:12 AM
Vic Smith 27 Jan 20 - 11:53 AM
Steve Gardham 27 Jan 20 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,jag 27 Jan 20 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,jag 27 Jan 20 - 01:31 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Jan 20 - 02:47 PM
Lighter 27 Jan 20 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,jag 27 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,jag 27 Jan 20 - 03:25 PM
Richard Mellish 27 Jan 20 - 04:39 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Jan 20 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 28 Jan 20 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 28 Jan 20 - 05:46 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Jan 20 - 06:46 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Jan 20 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 29 Jan 20 - 05:43 AM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 20 - 05:52 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Jan 20 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 29 Jan 20 - 06:03 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Jan 20 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 30 Jan 20 - 03:51 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Jan 20 - 05:31 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Jan 20 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 02:50 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 03:42 AM
Joe G 31 Jan 20 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,jag 31 Jan 20 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 05:48 AM
Jack Campin 31 Jan 20 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,jag 31 Jan 20 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 06:56 AM
Brian Peters 31 Jan 20 - 07:29 AM
Lighter 31 Jan 20 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,jag 31 Jan 20 - 10:53 AM
Brian Peters 31 Jan 20 - 11:09 AM
Steve Gardham 31 Jan 20 - 12:56 PM
Steve Gardham 31 Jan 20 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 02:34 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Feb 20 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 07:59 AM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 08:18 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Feb 20 - 10:11 AM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 10:25 AM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 12:52 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 01:19 PM
RTim 01 Feb 20 - 01:23 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 01:25 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 01:56 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 02:14 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Feb 20 - 03:29 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Feb 20 - 03:59 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 04:22 PM
Richard Mellish 01 Feb 20 - 05:25 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Feb 20 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Feb 20 - 08:25 PM
RTim 01 Feb 20 - 09:40 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 20 - 03:17 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Feb 20 - 03:49 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 20 - 04:33 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 20 - 05:10 AM
Jack Campin 02 Feb 20 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 02 Feb 20 - 05:58 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Feb 20 - 06:37 AM
Vic Smith 02 Feb 20 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Feb 20 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Feb 20 - 07:12 AM
Jack Campin 02 Feb 20 - 07:19 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 20 - 07:20 AM
Vic Smith 02 Feb 20 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Feb 20 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Feb 20 - 12:00 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Feb 20 - 03:15 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Feb 20 - 03:21 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Feb 20 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 04:01 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 04:03 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 04:05 AM
Jack Campin 03 Feb 20 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 04:54 AM
Jack Campin 03 Feb 20 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 03 Feb 20 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 06:33 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 20 - 06:34 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 20 - 06:36 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 06:48 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 07:00 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 20 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 08:12 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 20 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 08:34 AM
Jack Campin 03 Feb 20 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 09:36 AM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 20 - 09:43 AM
GUEST,jag 03 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM
Jack Campin 03 Feb 20 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,jag 03 Feb 20 - 10:10 AM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 20 - 10:12 AM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 20 - 10:22 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 11:09 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 11:11 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 11:32 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 11:39 AM
Steve Gardham 03 Feb 20 - 12:05 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 12:32 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Feb 20 - 01:13 PM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 20 - 01:43 PM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 20 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 02:53 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 03:24 PM
GUEST 03 Feb 20 - 03:40 PM
Jack Campin 03 Feb 20 - 03:49 PM
Steve Gardham 03 Feb 20 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 04:49 PM
Steve Gardham 03 Feb 20 - 05:03 PM
Steve Gardham 03 Feb 20 - 05:04 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 07:43 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Feb 20 - 02:59 AM
GUEST,jag 04 Feb 20 - 04:14 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 04 Feb 20 - 04:40 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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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 08:47 AM

@ Steve; Gammon is referring to Fakesong, believe it or not. Page 153. As you can imagine, he has plenty to say on its shortcomings!

Sorry Steve, on Fowler, I cannot find the comment you mean: I got as far as (following the suggestions on this thread) looking for him on AbeBooks and Amazon), and, perhaps JSTOR. Can you give me a date and time for the post? He seems to have produced a lot of Piers Ploughman and something on Chretian de Troyes. SO the short answer to your question is sorry but no.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 09:34 AM

Drawing links between texts: Harker gives an account of some of the findings of Williams, who almost seems to have been an early ethnomusicologist (i.e. a person who studies music in its context). Or maybe 'historical ethnomusicologist'? He describes musical families, playing music in church, with bands featuring all sorts of instruments, and says that within some villages there might be musical families down through time. I think he comments on how many people could read music. I thought of the Cook-Gee family in Walter Pardon's background when I read this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 10:14 AM

And I also thought of 'Under the Greenwood Tree', the Hardy novel. Roger Dixon mentions this in connection with the Cook Gee family in an article somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 10:45 AM

Sorry! Ignore previous 2 posts. Thread drift. Apologies. (Kicking self).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 11:53 AM

Maybe the drift indicates that, on Williams, Harker's book has some interesting points. Though we could read Williams' own writings, listed by Harker, to avoid any 'mediating' done by Harker.

I knew there were more mentions of 'forgery' than 'fraud' because I searched for 'forge' to find a paragraph in the Williams section. On the politics what caught my eye was " ...Williams was trapped, ideologically as well as materially, in his job, between what he knew of managerial pettiness and what he characterised as working-class selfishness and ignorance" .

For someone in that position at the lower end of the supervisory ranks between the bosses and the workers and I don't find his politics surprising. One of my forbears about 10 years younger that Williams rose to be an 'overlooker' in a factory (and stayed as one till he got his 50 years faithfull service certificate). A Tory voter, lived with the workforce (the bosses didn't), respected 'good workers' even if some of them were non too bright, didn't like slackers and thought that union activists tended to be amongst the worst workers. However, he did apparently think the improvements in safety over his working life were mainly down to the unions. I think my copy Samuel Laycock came from him.

Harker seems to have respected Williams' work, and Williams' himself, as if it wasn't his fault that he was 'trapped ideologically'. Come Harker's revolution where will the Williams of this world and the other Tory voting workers be? They clearly still provide a challenge for the gradualists of the left ...)

I'm dipping into Harker now, I doubt I'll read it all. I skipped on to Williams because I recalled a lot of what Steve Roud wrote about him. I'll refresh my memory of Lloyd's book before I read the section on him.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 02:51 PM

Hi Pseu
I've been back over the thread re Fowler. I must have misread something somewhere along the line. I occasionally get Fowler and Gregory's names mixed up so that could have been it. Sorry about that.

Regarding fakesong, I think largely the editors edited, and their published works were mediated for genuine reasons, so that is not fakery. However their introductions and book titles are where the fakery comes in. To go back to Percy, for instance, 'Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, consisting of Old Heroic Ballads, Songs and other pieces of our earlier poets, together with some few of Later Date. Percy published in 1767; the Folio Manuscript is said to date from about 1650 using some of the items in it with known dates. Much of the rest is from 17th century broadsides and fairly contemporary stuff sent to him by correspondents so most of the material could only be traced as far back as the 17th century, say a century before it was published, hardly 'ancient'.

At the other end of the scale Peter Buchan went to great lengths to declare all of his material unmediated direct from oral tradition. Having got copies of all of his manuscripts and the published works I am solidly with Child.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 03:01 PM

@ Steve: I used to muddle up Weatherstones and Waterspoons, with general confusion as a result b...


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 03:09 PM

Actually, I think Harker makes few accusations of 'fakery'; maybe his target is 'inaccurate' or 'politically incorrect' or 'selective' (in his view) representations of working class culture/ He also seems to me to be sparing in suggesting 'appropriation' of working class culture, something else that people say is a theme of his. I expected a lot more on this subject. But this sparsity maybe because in many cases he doubts whether the material that people were printing actually did originate with the working class/lower strata of society/peasants. You cannot appropriate from the working class culture which wasn't working class to start with. A few times I found him saying, in effect, 'X printed these songs, some of which may have come from working class culture'. So a person who took a strong 'all these brilliant songs were definitely written by the working class' view would get pretty annoyed with Harker? Is what I am saying the ideas others are getting from reading him?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 03:25 PM

in my opinion Williams and his collection will be remembered long after dave harker has gone to kick up daisies.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 03:43 PM

it io my opinion that time is better spent on singing the songs than concerning myself with pipsqueaks like dave harker


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 03:50 PM

Williams left us a fine collection of songs , i do not know what Harker has left us with apart from the sad deprture of jim carroll, all this bickering over scholastic opinions, i inconsequential in comparison with the importance of apprecioating the beauty of some of our traditional songs, i wish harker would go away and caUse trostykite devaitionISM amomgst the SWP WANKERS


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:02 PM

Well it was nice while it lasted!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:06 PM

the Tradtional songs that williams collected will last much longer than harkers inconsequential pathetic scholastic codswallop, steve have you thought of spending more time on music performance insted of this dung beetle drivel


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:13 PM

I spend lots of time playing and singing, Dick, but studying the songs and their history is something I also like to do. Nobody's telling you how to spend your time. Please reciprocate!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:16 PM

Steve, in defense of Percy, a hundred years back or so could well have been for him "ancient."

OED, def. 1a: "Of or belonging to time past, former, earlier, bygone. "

Initial date is 1490; end date, 1793 (Thomas Jefferson).

The editors mark this sense as "archaic." Our familiar sense is 2: "Which existed in, or belonged to, times *long* [OED's emphasis] past, or early in the world's history."

Initial date, 1366. So both senses existed simultaneously for centuries.


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

Yes I suppose that makes me also guilty of imposing modern meanings on older words that could have a different meaning. Perhaps I need to look more closely at his introduction.

Pseu
Just printed off a very interesting article from Academia by John Cole of Cambridge Uni. 'Vernacular Song and the Folkloric Imagination at the Fin de Siecle.' It is very technical in places but I can mostly follow it and the main thrust is obvious. I think you'll like it. It certainly puts the early collectors in perspective, and folklore in general.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe G
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 06:14 PM

'Well it was nice while it lasted!'

Indeed it was Steve. I am not particularly engaged with this thread as I don't know the work referred to and my interests lie more with contemporary folk but I have been dipping in and was thinking how nice it was to see people having a friendly discussion without rancour or insults. Hey hi I suppose it couldn't last. Best to carry on and ignore the negativity. :-)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe G
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 06:23 PM

Hey ho that was supposed to be!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 06:45 PM

This sentence, buried deep, seems to sum up much of Cole's argument:

"Folk traditions...do not exist outside the discursive edifice of revivalism."

If my doctorate in English literature and linguistics is of any use here, he appears to be speaking not about real traditions but about the "idea" of traditions that was cobbled together by fin-de-siecle enthusiasts deluded by both a fear of and a fascination with perceived Otherness (or "alterity").

More especially, their fear of the modern world's "corruption" led them to seek cultural purity, personal comfort, and occasionally profit, in songs and lore taken from "simple" (i.e., supposedly ignorant, ingenuous, and pretty much interchangeable) country people. The collectors wanted to believe that what they arbitrarily denoted "folklore" and "folk song" contained precious holdovers from the racial past - if only they could be teased out.

But I could be wrong, and I'm sure I'm leaving some things out.

If only Joseph Jacobs, Henry Burstow, or the "overlooked" Louise Pound could have edited this article.


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

Hello Lighter: 1) Louise Pound is mentioned in Harker (eg p109). 2) Dictionaries do have their uses, don't they? And the history of the usage of the word 'ballad' is itself interesting; to some extent it is a contested word 3) this is I think only the 2nd time I have read the words 'othering' and 'alterity' used in the context of folk discussions, but that might merely reflect my limited background reading of course 4) what Cole seems to be saying might be, albeit not in the same ideological framework, to some extent (hedging like mad here!) similar to some points made by Harker?

Hello Joe G: Hope you are well?

Hello Steve: thanks for the ref I'll add it to the list. For a horrible moment I read one of your posts as 'with child', but of course it was 'with Child'. :)

I'm not much of a singer, and rarely do it in company, but I make music (of sorts) almost every day of my life. I think my lifelong love of it is maybe why I am so interested in it.

Have a nice day everybody!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 05:37 AM

… on the other hand, I agree with those who have said that some of Harker's more sweeping summings-up aren't fully justified from his evidence and that he tends to move between the more precise and carefully thought about assertion to less sustainable broader generalisations. I also agree with Vic Gammon that Harker's paragraphing detracts from the readability of his text. It's a bit of a curate's egg book.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 05:44 AM

Where Cole has 'discursive edifice' I might have put 'ideology'. But Cole's metaphor expresses it well, says more probably. I'll see how far I can get with him later on! Here's a link, hope it works. Thanks for the reference.

https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1810/277116/73.full.pdf?sequence=6&isAllowed=y


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 05:52 AM

Hustvedt: mentioned by Cole and Harker. Any quick info on him?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 06:21 AM

Cole has referenced Derrida: I feel a migraine coming on!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 09:38 AM

Is it anything like DerryDown?

Hustvedt. 'Ballad Books and Ballad Men' essential reading for all to do with Child.

Chapter 1 should be a good comparison with Cole.
2. Scott
3. Scott's ballad clan.
4. English baldly stuff
5. 70 years of British Varia
6 The Scandinavians
7.Grundtvig
8. Child
Appendix A The Grundtvig-Child Correspondence. Very enlightening. essential.
Appendix B, a useful listing of all Child Ballads and their published variants+sources.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 09:57 AM

The list of 'essential reading' is rapidly looking as if I may not have enough life span left to get through it! But Steve's reply (for which thank you) shows Harker had at least one 'essential' work on his list and in his references.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 10:04 AM

Oops.
4 ballady stuff


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 10:23 AM

Going back to Percy, I don't want to labour the point, but just a few selections from his Preface might make it.

xxxviii 'many of these reliques of antiquity'.
...those of our ancient English Minstrels; and the artless productions of these old rhapsodists....Yet perhaps the palm will be frequently due to the old strolling Minstrels, who composed their rhymes to be sung to their harps'

He then goes on to describe his sources the vast majority from the 17th century. Were there still minstrels playing on their harps then. The masques organised by the nobility certainly revived them in a theatrical way, but all the books I've read seem to say the minstrels were already disappearing in the 16th century, and that they are something associated with the medieval period.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 10:32 AM

> has referenced Derrida

Always a bad sign. Surely Foucault is in there somewhere.

There's a postructuralist point of view (they would say "stance") that exceptionally dense, even nearly incomprehensible prose is the best for some topics because (wait for it!) . . .



It makes the reader think for himself! What the writer may have meant is secondary to what the reader persuades himself is true.

When intelligent readers on two continents with many years among them of studying a subject have a hard time deciphering exactly what a writer on that subject means, something's wrong somewhere.

(PS: I've seen worse than this.)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 11:36 AM

I've had a look at Cole now. A lot of familiar ideas - the author himself tells us he's "extending ideas sketched out in 'The Imagined Village'", and there's a section on broadsides that won't be news to most of us. Lighter's precis above is pretty accurate. I was interested to read about Hubert Parry's links with William Morris and 'Romantic Socialism', not least because I've long felt that Cecil Sharp's thinking followed many similar lines - the detestation for capitalism and modernity and the harking back to simplicity and cultural purity, for instance.

In the account of Kate Lee and the Coppers, though, Cole is guilty of precisely the kind of speculative leap that led me to mention the mote in the eye of those flinging around accusations of bias and selectivity. He quotes Bob Copper, describing the first visit of 'Brasser' Copper and his brother Tom to Sir Edward Carson's house to meet Kate Lee:

"Any embarrassment they might have felt at being asked to sing in front of a lady in an elegantly furnished drawing-room instead of at home in the cottage or in the tap room of the “Black ’un” was soon dispelled by generous helpings from a full bottle of whisky standing in the middle of the table with two cut-glass tumblers and a decanter of water. They sang, they drank and sang again and all the time Mrs Lee was noting down the words and music of their efforts."

Now - bearing in mind that the event occurred before Bob was born, and that here he is paraphrasing in his usual colourful style his father's teenage memories - this sounds like quite a convivial meeting. Any embarrassment they might have felt was soon dispelled. But here is Cole's interpretation of BC's words:

"Uprooted from both pub and cottage and held captive in a country house by an unfamiliar woman of higher social status, the Coppers were requested to sing in a manner wholly foreign to their quotidian experience while wearing clothes ordinarily reserved for church... The uncomfortable environment, moreover, played a decisive role in James and Thomas’s choice concerning which songs to offer."

A little later, he writes: "the very social settings that made [...] the Coppers feel so uncomfortable."

But nowhere does Bob Copper say that his grandfather and great-uncle actually felt uncomfortable - rather the opposite, in fact. He does not say that they were requested to sing in any particular manner, nor does the quoted passage mention that they chose their songs according to the surroundings. Cole is giving an account tailored to fit his thesis. I'm reminded of Harker's account that James Parsons "trembled with fright" on his first visit to Baring-Gould's grand house, and his strange omission to mention that before long Parsons was forcefully correcting mistakes in the Reverend's notations.

Cole writes subsequently about Kate Lee's performance of Copper songs: "The audience was thus granted access to the Copper brothers’ songs only via a chain of mediations in which the songs were filtered, notated, arranged, and restaged by a group of metropolitan folk-song devotees." This may well be true of the evening in question, but where is the mention that the family sang their songs themselves in the Royal Albert Hall in 1952, and on national radio in the same period, never mind the innumerable and continuing performances in folk song environments ever since - i.e. some acknowledgement that the priorities of folk song devotees might have changed since 1897? When I read, "Increased attention should hence be paid to singers such as [...] the Copper brothers of Rottingdean in order to rescue their histories from the conceptual apparatus of folk song", I wonder how much the writer actually knows about the Coppers, even if he is clever enough to use the word 'quotidian' instead of 'everyday'.

The other thing that strikes me when I read these critiques of collectors carrying out their work according to an agenda of nationalism or imperialism or whatever else, is that the writers never consider for an instant that the collectors might have been motivated also by the aesthetic qualities of what they were hearing. This comes over again and again in Sharp's writings - he's simply thrilled by the songs, and cheerfully acknowledges his own 'butterfly collector' tendencies. I acknowledge my own bias in having sung and loved these songs for 40 years, but it's pretty clear that critics like Harker and, I suspect, Cole, feel no such affection for them and are simply unable to comprehend the feelings that Sharp, B-G et al experienced.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 11:47 AM

"Folk traditions...do not exist outside the discursive edifice of revivalism."

One is bound to ask: is there any such thing as a tradition at all, then, or does it cease to exist the moment a folklorist identifies it as such?

Enjoyed your last post, Lighter.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:01 PM

I found Brian's piece interesting. However, just on a very minor point, it seems to me that Copper does say that his grandfather was 'embarrassed', and the explanation of the context and audience that follows provide a reason for it. And being embarrassed is uncomfortable, more or less?

On the point about enjoying the music: I had always understood it that Sharp's main interest was in the tunes. I wonder which of his writings Brian could recommend for insight into his enjoyment of the musical side, something I myself sometimes think is ignored due to a focus on the words/text.   

I don't claim to know very much at all about Derrida, but I do know that within academia he is a controversial subject: differing Mudcat views on Ewan MacColl might give a sense of this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:33 PM

Sorry the MacColl discussions analogy was intended to convey a sense of how divisive the topic Derrida has been. Maybe a tad overstated but …

Personally, I am trying to get through Harker without too many side-tracks, fascinating though they are! I've got to take him back to the library soon, and then I'll be left with the onscreen version. I much prefer 'real books'!

Cole makes us think when he starts his piece with by introducing an eminent late 19th-century Jewish historian, Joseph Jacobs, and by referring to a paper he gave to the London's Folklore Society, of which he was a member, in 1893. What an interesting beginning to a piece on English Folkloristics!


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

Yet another resolution down the pan.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:45 PM

"it seems to me that Copper does say that his grandfather was 'embarrassed'..."

No he doesn't - see my italicization of the words 'any' and might'. Meaning, if they had felt any embarrassment, it was soon dispelled.

"I wonder which of his writings Brian could recommend for insight into his enjoyment of the musical side, something I myself sometimes think is ignored due to a focus on the words/text."

Sharp is usually criticized for the opposite failing, i.e. that he was interested only in the tunes, but although tunes were his first focus, he valued good texts too. He waxes especially lyrical about the songs he's hearing in Appalachia in letters home to his wife, but you'd need to go to the library as I did to read those. Online you could try his diaries and fair copy notebooks, which are available on the VWML site, though they take a lot of wading through, and are drier in one than the letters. The FOx Strangways / Karpeles biography has a vivid account of he gypsy singer Betsy Holland, then there's the introduction to EFSSA, and you might look at the account of Henry Larcombe's singing in 'Some Conclusions', though again that's a bit more technical than the boyish enthusiasm shown in the letters. A couple of samples below - not necessarily the best examples but the first ones I found in a quick trawl.

“I got some wonderful tunes and words this week, including a rare variant of The Cruel Mother, even more beautiful than my Somerset version.”

"I have had many long walks, doing 16 or 17 miles each day, and that very rough walking. But I am gradually getting used to it… I have got some very good songs – a wonderful version of Wraggle Taggle Gypsies much older than any I have found in England, and one called the False Knight on the road wh. I expect is one of the oldest songs I have ever collected. It is mentioned in Child who gives but one version – words only – wh. was collected in Scotland by Motherwell about 120 years ago. And now I have found another, tune and all – a great prize."

I'm preparing a piece for Musical Traditions which will go over a lot of this ground.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:47 PM

Damn, dodgy letter 'T' on my keyboard.... Should have read 'drier in TONE...'


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:59 PM

I like Pseudonymous's "I agree with those who have said that some of Harker's more sweeping summings-up aren't fully justified from his evidence": in other words, Harker did much the same as many of the collectors stand accused of doing.

Sometimes I regret that Mudcat lacks the "like" facility that some other online fora have. A lot of sense has been written in this thread in the last few days, and very little nonsense.


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

Richard, VicS has managed to acquire a thumbs up symbol on here. He'll have to tell us how to do it.

Hmmmm! I can see where Cole is coming from and I don't completely disagree that 'folk' is a middle class construct when only applied to certain levels of the community, the 'peasantry' for instance. However distorted it is, that construct has specific descriptors, and whilst we now allow for plenty of overlap with other constructs, it is surely quite valid to study that construct and how it has evolved and relates to other aspects of social history.

What I'm trying to say somewhat clumsily is, whether I agree with him or not, it certainly won't put me off to any extent doing what I do.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 06:28 PM

Hello All

@ Brian: "Any embarrassment they might have felt at being asked to sing in front of a lady in an elegantly furnished drawing-room instead of at home in the cottage or in the tap room of the “Black ’un” was soon dispelled …" Had there been no embarrassment, then for me it would have said 'would soon have been dispelled'. The determiner 'any' usually means 'some' or 'a bit' or some such. The fact that a large amount of whisky was required suggests that the discomfort was not insignificant. Yes, I am showing a pedantic streak here. For me Cole is trying to put across the view of the Coppers. These words are from their own account. Lady Lee's account does not even mention the whisky. The account continues that the brothers were not allowed to leave until the bottle was empty and the Lady's note book was full.

Did I dream making a post about Cole?

Somebody (Lighter?) said that this sort of work was supposed to make you think. Cole does make you think at the outset by setting out a challenging scenario: an eminent Jewish scholar and 'polymath', Joseph Jacobs, addressing the English Folklore Society in and advancing a view that a) too often discussions of 'the folk' as people spoke as if the folk was one whereas 'the folk' would have been 'many-minded' b) communities are never entirely hermetic c) therefore you cannot draw a hard and fast line between 'folk' and 'art' d) a focus on sorting out what is old and what new interferes with a full 'folkloric' description of what the folk now are doing (if I have this right).

I think I said before that Cole makes you think by starting an article about fin de siècle English folklorists by referring to a lecture given in the England to a Folklore Society by a well-travelled and highly educated Jewish person (ie precisely one of the groups often 'othered' or treated as 'alterior' to use the language of the piece) - a process he discusses later in his piece when he discusses the tendency within folklore to look for nationally innate differences in music).

For me it is as if he is sort of making you see the development of English 'folklore' from the outside, from another perspective. He has an outsider sort of 'telling it like it is' but people on the inside of the folklorist world not listening. I think he is also showing how there were other views on folklore way back in time: he says how strikingly modern Jacob's views sound.

I probably haven't expressed my thoughts clearly enough here: but there you go. But this is my first attempt to answer the interesting question of why Cole starts his piece in such an unusual way.


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

Forgot to say that I have looked at some videos of the Copper Family, as a result of reading about them on MUDCAT and that I enjoyed these!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 06:47 PM

Hi, Brian,

> "The audience was thus granted access to the Copper brothers’ songs only via a chain of mediations in which the songs were filtered, notated, arranged, and restaged by a group of metropolitan folk-song devotees."

Seems to imply that somebody (including the Coppers and the audience) should be angry about this.

> according to an agenda of nationalism or imperialism

This sounds sinister but isn't. As Brian says, the collectors obviously loved the songs they were collecting. Otherwise, why bother? Did Sharp & Karpeles travel to the remote Southern Appalachians, or publish what they found, because they were driven by a nationalist or imperialist agenda? (A suggestion/ accusation that makes them seem more like jingo politicians stirring up trouble than mere folksong collectors.)

(Cole and Harker might argue there's no such thing as a "mere" collector, because, as is often said, "everything is political" and "everybody has an agenda.")

It seems clear, at least to me, that any nationalist, imperialist, racialist, reactionary, elitist, or similarly unsavory motives the collectors may have had were no greater than the average person's of their day, and far less consequential than those of some.

But suppose the collectors were just as self-deluding, condescending, sanitizing, and generally falsifying as Harker and Cole suggest. Without their "agendas" (sounds calculating, doesn't it?), the folklore, "mediated," edited, and arbitrarily chosen as it may have been, presumably would have gone forever uncollected.

Fortunately that didn't happen. What might we have now if poststructuralists, deconstructionists, post-colonialists, sociopolitical historicists, and others had been around in Scott's day, for example, to do the job of collecting, disseminating, and commenting "right," while trying to keep the likes of the Folk Song Society at bay?

One wonders.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 07:05 PM

Wikipedia has (what appears to be) a fine article on Joseph Jacobs.

In college I read Jacobs's four-volume collection of "English Fairy Tales" and "Celtic Fairy Tales" (edited for children but with endnotes for adults).

They are drawn from "mediated" sources and rewritten further for their intended audience, but they are quite delightful nonetheless.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 04:43 AM

If you have a tendency to get a dry throat either skip this or take it with a glass of water. I expect and would be glad if Lighter would feedback on any misrepresentations in terms of 'literary theory' because in one sense this is what Cope is applying, especially the 'postmodern' variety/ies. Having started with a theorist from one context, Cole relies on a theorist from a very different context for the rest, a Jesuit academic called Michael de Certeau. Chalk and cheese? If so, then perhaps an example of the 'bricolage' mentioned by Cole himself in the piece. Put simply, and I have not studied de Certeau beyond Cole (which I have only skimmed) and Wikipedia, which is often rubbish, de Certeau's framework offers a way for people at the bottom of the power struggle to struggle, this comes via his 'strategy' -'tactics' ideas. So Jesuit, Roman Catholic, another group perhaps 'othered' within fin de siècle nationalistic imperialistic ethnocentric folklorist thinking? (And of course historically not above a bit of 'othering'? I'm think Galileo will often have had the Jesuits in his mind a lot more often than the Babylonians).

I would say to sum up that you can read Cole's piece as 'postmodern'. This line of thinking gives me a migraine (as mentioned above) a) because a lot of it is difficult to the point of being stylistic rather than rational in its arguments (eg Derrydown) b) because it means something like a distrust of overarching narratives - while as far as I can see being one itself - but ignore that for now.

The overarching narrative he seeks to critique is a complex one in which the history of what he calls something like the 'low other' (aka the working class/ordinary people/peasants delete as appropriate) is subsumed together with romanticism about the past and a dollop of oral origins theory within an overarching nationalistic etc narrative.

The two theorists I have mentioned are interesting choices because (and this is just my take) Judaism and Roman Catholicism have of course had a lot of influence on the history of England via among other things the Roman Catholic faith, the first part of whose religious book is also a religious text for Judaism.

It is in line with this postmodernist distrust of overarching narratives that he says we should try to listen to the voices of 'the folk' to use a loaded term, which are not overarching narratives. So he says that the Coppers have produced some well-written books.

I am sorry if this doesn't make sense. Maybe Lighter can help me out here!

Changing tack: as long-term lovers and singers of old songs, both Brian Peters and Steve Gardham will have their own personal relationships with the material, and a unique perspective as performers. This is to be respected of course.

Have a nice day everybody.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM

"What might we have now if poststructuralists, deconstructionists, post-colonialists, sociopolitical historicists, and others had been around in Scott's day, for example, to do the job of collecting, disseminating, and commenting "right," while trying to keep the likes of the Folk Song Society at bay?"

Excellent question, and who knows? Perhaps a little more of the voice of the people? Scottish Independence? Who knows?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 04:54 AM

Back for a moment to the Coppers and Kate Lee...

"The determiner 'any' usually means 'some' or 'a bit' or some such."

I'm sorry, but this is incorrect. The word 'might' in the sentence makes the sense subjunctive.

Bob Copper was a remarkable, generous and delightful man, blessed with great intelligence, articulacy and powers of observation. In this context, however, he is a 'mediator', for those that like the term. Brasser and Tom Copper met Kate Lee in 1897, 18 years before Bob was born, and when his father Jim was 17. Bob stated in an interview in the 1980s that the meeting had never been mentioned within the family until 1950, when Francis Collinson - who was collecting songs from them - brought it up. At which point Jim broke in with [to quote Bob] “Oh yes, I remember my old dad and uncle Tom going to old Teddy Carson’s house, and there was some woman up there that put a bottle of scotch on the table, a decanter of water and two glasses, and she wouldn’t let ’em go until they’d finished the scotch.”

There's no mention of embarrassment or discomfort here, in fact the reference to "old Teddy Carson's house" conveys the opposite impression. However, when Bob wrote up the story in 'A Song for Every Season', he clearly used his mastery of story-telling to embroider the tale with some speculation of his own about how his forebears might have felt, guessing that if they'd felt any embarrassment, this would soon have been dispelled by the prospect of alcohol - which, it has to be said, features prominently in much Copper Family lore.

Does this matter? Well, I raised it because it seemed important to Dr Cole's argument in one of three real-life examples he chose to illustrate his theoretical position, and his interpretation of the story looks a lot like bending the facts. There is simply no evidence in the above that the two Copper brothers were 'uncomfortable' during their meeting with Kate Lee, or that this affected what they sang.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:16 AM

"Cole makes us think when he starts his piece with by introducing an eminent late 19th-century Jewish historian, Joseph Jacobs, and by referring to a paper he gave to the London's Folklore Society, of which he was a member, in 1893. What an interesting beginning to a piece on English Folkloristics!"

It's not so surprising when you recall that the quote Cole pulls from Jacobs - “the Folk is simply a name for our ignorance" - was previously quoted in 'Fakesong' and is also used in 'The Imagined Village' for the title of the first chapter. As I said, Cole is rereading some familiar territory.

"a well-travelled and highly educated Jewish person (ie precisely one of the groups often 'othered' or treated as 'alterior' to use the language of the piece)..."

Could you perhaps explain what you're getting at here?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:24 AM

I think what Brian Peters says about the Copper's trip to the big house relates to something that for me is the elephant in the room for many discussions of song collecting. Harker's political standpoint leads to his characters being largely regarded as of the bougoisie or of the folk.

The real world is made up of multitudes of subcultures related to type of work, geography, place of work, who people chose to hang out with etc. Some people interact awkwardly when even a little out of their comfort zone, others seem to me able to talk easily to anyone anywhere.

Never mind how comfortable to Coppers were in the drawing room, how would Mrs Lee have coped in the pub or their kitchen? That's a situation more common in most of the collecting. The source singers may have had more idea of life in a big house (from being related to the staff perhaps) than the posh folk did of life in the village. But then a concientious long-serving country parson might have a very good idea of what made his parishoners tick. Reading part 1 of Harkers book I was left with no idea of how good the collectors where at talking to the folk. Some might have been quite good, others a visitor from a different world.

This continues into the latest revival - stories of Fred Jordan wearing his Sunday best for first visits to folk clubs (why wouldn't he put on decent clothes for a trip out?) and the way Walter Pardon was described in that short film. Only few years ago at tunes session an oldish guy mentioning that some Irish travellers had set up in a layb-by just out of town resulted in some sucking in of air through teeth - followed by embarrased silence when he went on to say he was going to walk down to see if they had any tunes.

[was typing this during todays first posts]


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM

I should have put above: The two theorists I have mentioned are interesting choices because (and this is just my take) Judaism and Roman Catholicism have of course had a lot of influence on the history of England via among other things the Roman Catholic faith, the first part of whose religious book is also a religious text for Judaism. Yet the voices of neither seems to come through to any extent in the 'folksong' canon that has been passed down to us.

Brian. I do love a good grammatical argument. You wrote

" 'The determiner 'any' usually means 'some' or 'a bit' or some such.'"

I'm sorry, but this is incorrect "

With respect, it isn't. I refer you to the discussion of 'some and any' in An A - Z of English Grammar and Usage by Leech, Cruikshank and Ivanic.

Cole gives quite a long quotation from Copper. The uncomfortable nature of the situation shines through the details: the place, the power situation (they could not go until allowed to); the clothing being unlike their usual singing clothes. And this comes from Copper, not from Cole. Cole points out that Lady Lee then went on the perform at least some of the songs she had noted down.

Cole is writing about a performance by Lady Lee when he says: The audience was thus granted access to the Copper brothers’ songs only via a chain of mediations in which the songs were filtered, notated, arranged, and restaged by a group of metropolitan folk-song devotees."
I cannot argue with this. However, in line with his postmodern approach Cole gives the view of Copper, the 'lower other' to use Cole's term.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:38 AM

A story to follow on from the above :
The late Jim Reid, that great singer from Arbroath told us this at Blairgowrie Folk Club in the early 1970s. Jim was in a trio at the time whose name escapes me, but they were driving north on the A9 to do a gig in Aviemore, when they spotted some travellers camped beside the road. They stopped the car, went over and explained that they were interested in traditional Scottish songs, did they, the travellers, know any ? One of them sang a few songs for Jim and the lads, who then asked where he got the songs from.
"Och, I got them off a couple of "Corries" albums" :)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:50 AM

@Pseudonymous. Do we know what grammar textbook Bob Copper used?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:55 AM

jag writes:
"how would Mrs Lee have coped in the pub or their kitchen? That's a situation more common in most of the collecting."

I wonder how much pre-1914 folk song collecting was done in pubs? I know of one story of Sharp (but can't recall the name of the pub), and one story of RVW and George Butterworth. There may be a few more, but most of the collecting was done (certainly by Sharp) in people's homes, by the side of the road, or the workhouse. Sometimes the singers went to the home of the local gentry such the Coppers in the references above, the gatherings of singers at Marson's home / vicarage in Hambridge. Grainger did this in Lincolnshire, because he wanted to record the singing on a phonograph - putting it in the basket of a bicycle and trundling it along country lanes isn't conducive to keeping the machine in working order. Grainger found his singers in the villages and then brought them to the local 'big' house for the recordings.

Ah, the old story of Fred in his Sunday best. I don't think Fred had what people would think of as Sunday best. His first "folk" performance was 1954 at a barn dance in Birmingham Town Hall. Details of what he wore on that occasion have not emerged. See the booklet accompanying the double CD on Veteran, A Shropshire Lad.

By the way, it's Ross Cole not John Cole (unless he has two given names!).

Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:59 AM

Leech and co are also quite good on the subjunctive, as is David Crystal's 'Rediscover Grammar'. The superordinate/main clause we are discussing is declarative:'The .. embarrassment .. *was* soon dispelled. What Copper is saying is that no matter *how* embarrassed they were by this unusual situation the whisky would have relaxed them. But I don't want to digress from thread topic more, and would be happy to disagree or for Brian to have the very last word on this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:18 AM

@ Brian. To clarify my point, if you had time you could look at the first paragraph at least of this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_England

and the whole of this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Expulsion

And a short definition of 'to other': VERB
othering (present participle)
view or treat (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself. eg "a critique of the ways in which the elderly are othered by society"



Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:27 AM

Steve G wrote:

"I don't completely disagree that 'folk' is a middle class construct..."

Nor do I completely disagree with it, especially in the drawing-room piano arrangements that Lee, Broadwood and Sharp applied to some of their material - though overall they published a greater proportion unembellished, and recorded in their notebooks as faithfully as they could the raw material.

What is not a middle-class construct, though, is that people sang songs for their own entertainment, and that in many cases these were passed down orally through one or more generations. You can of course argue about the selectivity of the Edwardian collectors in terms of material and geography, but even in this area there was a logic at work: to qualify as 'folk' a song had to have been passed on generationally (even today Steve Roud cites two generations' transmission as being a desirable qualification) which meant that songs composed during the lifetime of an informant - which would include a lot of the music hall stuff - wouldn't pass muster. Aesthetic preference was no doubt an element as well. It's a fact acknowledged surprisingly infrequently that music hall or minstrel songs generally used language (musical and/or textual) and subject matter different to those of the older songs the collectors defined as 'folk', and a field worker would be able to distinguish the two with some degree of accuracy. So, while a modern ethnomusicologist would disapprove of Sharp's having spurned all those versions of 'My Grandfather's Clock' he so despised, there was a rationale behind the selectivity.

Naming the phenomenon 'folk' is arguably a middle-class construct - since no singer predating the revival would have used the term - but no more so, I suggest, than calling it 'vernacular singing' or 'workers' culture'. Observers studying something generally need to find a name for it.

"It seems clear, at least to me, that any nationalist, imperialist, racialist, reactionary, elitist, or similarly unsavory motives the collectors may have had were no greater than the average person's of their day, and far less consequential than those of some."

I agree with that, Lighter. And regarding your point about the possible anger of the Copper Family a he mediation of heir songs, of course Bob was delighted to find out about Kate Lee: "Don’t think that Ron and me as kids were brought up thinking our grandfathers were this or that. We existed!"


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:28 AM

and by Joseph Jacobs:

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5764-england

and this is interesting, with links to Vic Gammon, who almost always has something interesting and sensible to say.

https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/sirhugh.html


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:40 AM

So your suggestion is that he folk revival was institutionally antisemitic?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:50 AM

"how would Mrs Lee have coped in the pub or their kitchen? That's a situation more common in most of the collecting."

An interesting question. To Derek's reply I can add that Sharp and Karpeles in the Appalachians collected a lot of his songs in family homes, often eating with the family and very occasionally staying overnight. These occasions were cordial, and Sharp seems to have felt no discomfort either materially (in the local hotels it was a very different matter!) or socially.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:58 AM

"would be happy to disagree or for Brian to have the very last word on this."

'...might...'


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:16 AM

@Pseudonymous. I don't find your use of the sociological term 'other' outside an academic context helpful. Your brief explanation doesn't make sense to me - for elderly people are regarded intrinsically different from, presumably, non-elderly people then 'intrinsic' must have a meaning diferent from the one in the dictionary. See a longer discussion of usage https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/other-as-a-verb

In non-specialist usage you get daft things like people resenting being 'othered' and then forming campaign groups for their particular concerns.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:17 AM

Well said, Brian!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:28 AM

OK Jag. Interesting - and fair point for discussion. I was trying to get the general idea across though, if that excuses my oversimplification. There is a lot about this concept and its origins on Wikipedia. Lighter mentioned Foucault, who comes in under the Wiki section on 'othering' under the heading 'cultural representations' and is indeed mentioned in Cole. I used the term simply because Cole does. But this thread is drifting further and further.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:42 AM

"What is not a middle-class construct, though, is that people sang songs for their own entertainment, and that in many cases these were passed down orally through one or more generations."

Hello Brian. I'm not sure that anybody here is denying this. (Does the first generation have to have died for Steve's number of generations rule to apply? I have a (living) friend with great, great grandchildren!)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:49 AM

I have been following the investigation of the Coppers/Kate Lee meeting with considerable interest. I know the story well from fairly close and regular contact with the family over 50 years. Of course, I know the story as told by Bob and latterly by John from the Family's point of view but without giving much thought to the mediation, interpretation or even the linguistics and grammar of the story which participants of this thread are attempting to analyse.
I feel that I am playing an on-going part in this from my many TV and radio broadcasts and articles that I involved in with them. Here is the earliest example before Bob's first book was published.

This morning I was sorting out some photos of 2008 interview that I conducted with five of Bob's grandchildren to load on Facebook - Brian and Derek and possibly others are likely to see these.

Next week, I will be going over there again to interview Jon Dudley for an article I am planning on his important role in family. Before then, I will ask Jon to read the relevant section of this thread. It will be interesting to hear his views on it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:51 AM

I think the drift started with Cole, not that he isn't relevant.

When I started reading the link you gave to him I decided I would get round to reading "The Imagined Village" (have read lots of the reviews and discussion) rather than read more of Harker. Then the discussion swung to 'The Folk'


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 08:05 AM

I think Steve Gardham suggested Cole as a comparison with Harker, so one is Trotskyist, the other 'postmodern'? And similarities...

Has anybody seen the Big Red Songbook co-edited by Harker and published by Pluto Press (1981), or a song list from it. It might throw light on what Harker thought it worth singing? Can't find a Mudcat thread on it, did look.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 08:07 AM

Many thanks, Vic. I apologise for not having recommended (nor, I suspect, having read) this fascinating piece. It's weird how this stuff can hide in plain sight - but one of the reasons for having discussions like this one is that people share good things.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 08:52 AM

I too like Vic's piece. Assuming the whole interview is verbatim, including the questions, then it seems that Bob Copper was a highly articulate and confident person who did not need much 'prodding' or 'leading' to hold forth. I suppose that the fact he had just written a book means he had lots of ideas fresh in his head.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 09:12 AM

Pseudonymous wrote:-
Assuming the whole interview is verbatim, including the questions
It is.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 09:25 AM

>>>>>>What is not a middle-class construct, though, is that people sang songs for their own entertainment, and that in many cases these were passed down orally through one or more generations.<<<<<
Absolutely. But can we just take as read that everybody we know is eternally grateful to all of the collectors for what they did?

Perhaps in hindsight, they could have made a comment that their singers also sang other material than what they collected. Were these other items (parlour songs, Music Hall etc.) also folk if they were sung and valued by the same singers? I know you are aware of this but their collections do include quite a few songs that were definitely Music Hall and parlour songs. And what of those of us who were collecting in the 60s? Should we have ignored Music Hall songs? All of the songs in John Howson's 'Songs Sung in Suffolk' have Roud Numbers. John may have avoided using the word 'folk' to avoid any contention, but to me they are all folk songs.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 09:56 AM

BTW Jon Dudley does occasionally pop in here and very welcome are his thoughtful contributions. He certainly has no romantic delusions about their generation keeping the songs alive.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 10:00 AM

Should we have ignored Music Hall songs?

If the aesthetic choices of the folk are relevant it seems odd to propogate the songs they have polished without also including the other songs for which they had voted with their voices. But maybe they just needed listing, and singing, if the original texts were still around. Singers of the recent revival certainly didn't ignore all of them.

As Joseph Jacobs, quoted by Cole, wrote "Breaking down the distinction between the Folk of the past and of the present, we shall be able to study the lore of the present with happy results....The music-hall, from this point of view, will have its charm for the folk-lorist, who will there find the Volkslieder of to-day.”

(Discussion about the state of Folk music in the UK anyone? ...)

@Pseudonymous. I don't think Cole starting with Jacobs had anything to do with him being Jewish. It's because he was a forerunner of some later approaches, as Cole says. Whether Jacobs background and experience has anything to do with him being able to stand back and take an original view of things is another matter.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 10:22 AM

Vic: thanks for the clarification here.

Jag: I respect your point of view: I am just offering one interpretation.

Regarding what 'collectors' should collect: maybe this depends on what they set out to do?

If a person sets out to do some sort of 'ethnographic' or 'ethnomusicological study' of how a particular person or group use music/song in their lives, then perhaps it would be odd to exclude music/songs of a particular provenance?

If a person just sets out, for whatever reason, to collect just songs they define as 'folk' (trying to steer away from definitional problems here), then they might take a different approach.

I think that Harker makes the point that by ignoring whole 'repertoires', and making broad statements on this basis, some mediators run the risk of/have misrepresented working-class life as lived. Something like that.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 10:35 AM

Has anybody seen the Big Red Songbook co-edited by Harker and published by Pluto Press (1981), or a song list from it.

I may have a copy around somewhere - I sold dozens of them when I was in the radical book trade at the time it was published. Very handy little book, pocketable format and it had a lot of the songs people actually did sing on demos at the time (as well as a few clunkers the SWP hoped would catch on). If I remember right the one problem with it was that it was a bit random whether a song was given with its tune or not, and sometimes the omitted tune was something I didn't know.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 10:49 AM

I have a Big Red Songbook, edited by Collins, Harker and White. The first two songs are 'The International' and 'The Red Flag', and most of the material thereafter is by songwriters such as Alex Glasgow, MacColl, Seeger, Rosselson etc. There's a small number of tradiional songs, one of which 'The Blackleg Miner', we suspect to have been highly 'mediated'. To what extent the book tries to represent 'Workers' Culture', as opposed to the tastes of the second Folk Revival, is open to question, since there's no introduction nor notes on the songs. There's some good stuff in there, mind.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 10:53 AM

Steve wrote: -
I know you are aware of this but their collections do include quite a few songs that were definitely Music Hall and parlour songs. And what of those of us who were collecting in the 60s? Should we have ignored Music Hall songs?

This is, of course, was the centrally disputed point in the long, contentious - at times aggressive - thread on Steve Roud's book with the main objector not currently taking part in Mudcat debates.
One of the strangest things for me about this is that quite a number of the songs that my father (born -1914 - & raised in rural Oxfordshire not far from where Freda Palmer lived) sang around the house now have Roud numbers. Two examples would be The Little Shirt My Mother Made For Me (Roud 10437) and Two Sweethearts (Roud 1783). The latter is the "One had hair of silvery grey..." song.
I particularly hated the "Little Shirt" song when I was young finding it a silly, annoying song. Much later on when I started spending time with the old rural singers in Sussex, I was surprised to hear it sung by, amongst others, George Belton and George Spicer. Significantly, the versions in words and tune that the Georges sang showed differences from one another and both these showed differences from that version that I had learned (unwillingly, reluctantly but very vividly in my memory) from a previous Vic Smith. By that time it was too late to ask my dad where and how he had learned it.
I would bet that none of these three singers could tell you that the song was written by Harry Wincott (1 January 1867 – 20 April 1947) who composed songs for many of the Music Hall greats. All of them could have the song learned from recordings, from the radio or sung by members of their family or community. The important thing for Steve R. and other modern ethnomusicologists/folk song scholars is that the song had been taken up by the "folk" and had been subject to the process of change.
This raises two (not all that serious!) questions for me: -
1] If I learned songs with Roud numbers from my father, does that make me a traditional singer?
2] If the answer is Q.1 is "yes" can I expect to be treated with more respect and reverence on this forum?
Apologies for the thread drift but don't blame me, guv, blame that Steve Gardham, He set me off - honest!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 10:56 AM

Steve Gradham again:-
Jon Dudley does occasionally pop in here and very welcome are his thoughtful contributions. He certainly has no romantic delusions about their generation keeping the songs alive.

I have emailed Jon to bring the latter part of this thread to his attention. I will certainly be taking up some of the points that have been raised when I interview him next week.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 10:58 AM

> some mediators run the risk of/have misrepresented working-class life as lived.

Few (if any) song mediators have been sociologists or anthropologists , or even thought of their work in those terms, so this is a bit like criticizing novelists, perhaps, for not being academic postmodern theorists.

I'd expect that an understanding of working-class life must rely far more heavily on other sources than tunes and songs - though those sources would obviously include non-musical lore.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 11:28 AM

I'd expect that an understanding of working-class life must rely far more heavily on other sources than tunes and songs.

Yes, though an understanding of the musical life of working class people should rely on more than just some of the songs.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 12:45 PM

"Yes, though an understanding of the musical life of working class people should rely on more than just some of the songs."

But they weren't trying to do that either. If the work of the collectors happened in passing to shed at least some light on he musical culture of the rural working class, isn't that a good deal better than nothing. Who else was studying working class culture at he time (genuine question).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 12:57 PM

SG:
"Perhaps in hindsight, they could have made a comment that their singers also sang other material than what they collected. Were these other items (parlour songs, Music Hall etc.)..? I know you are aware of this but their collections do include quite a few songs that were definitely Music Hall and parlour songs. And what of those of us who were collecting in the 60s? Should we have ignored Music Hall songs?"

I know that Sharp did in the case of 'Grandfather's Clock' a piece of info I got from one of Derek's publications. There may be more examples of exclusions (*Derek?), though even Harker concedes that he noted 'Down in a Coal Mine' from Louie Hooper, and there may have been others. Certainly in the Appalachians he made value judgements about the material he heard and admitted excluding items, but he also collected and sometimes published American songs including some relatively recent ones (civil war, etc), minstrel songs, hymns and sentimental parlour pieces. My case in the FMJ paper was that he opened the gates a bit wider with each successive year.

Of course you shouldn't have excluded Music Hall songs, Steve. Quite apart from the changing focus to reflect a complete repertoire, by the time you were in the field those songs had been around a lot longer with (a least potentially) more time to be assimilated. Of course that doesn't rule out the possibility that some were learned from the radio, but that wouldn't rule them out to a later C20 collector, especially given the American experience.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:00 PM

Henry Mayhew??
>>>>>isn't that a good deal better than nothing<<<<
>>>>>>everybody we know is eternally grateful to all of the collectors for what they did?<<<<<< Steve 9.25 am (3.25 BSTish)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:00 PM

Thank you Jag and Lighter for showing me what I should have put.

I am thinking of partly something MacColl said about studying music in context. A recent discussion shows that his attempt to do this with Scottish Travellers has met with a mixed reception. I think he probably was attempting some sort of ethnomusicology.

Just a point: while I am trying to get clear (in my own head as much as anywhere else, this is one point of discussion, to learn) what Harker does and does not say, this does not necessarily mean that I agree with his points!

For example, though I can see why he does it, I wish he wouldn't use the phrase 'social-Darwinist' quite so often (maybe I've just read the same passages several times?)

By the way, one thing I liked about Vic Smith's Copper article was that the date and the context were both clear. One can find 'in your own words' pieces made up of quotations from various interviews at various times, with no background and context. If an interviewee has been spoken with over a reasonably long period in time, it may be that their views have altered. This is ok as journalism, but if people later come along (say 50 years later) and want to draw serious information and so on it is less than helpful.

Interesting thread, hoping to focus myself on what Harker has to say about Child - and Grundtwig - especially the latter's contribution.

Of course, not all the 'collectors' Harker discusses were song collectors, or even collectors from the oral tradition; a lot of them seem to have collected mainly antiquarian manuscripts especially those in earlier chapters.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:05 PM

Has On Ilkley Moor bar t'at got a Roud number yet? Because I know a family where two generations learned it orally, though with what variations I don't know as I never saw or heard an original? We sing this when making an appropriate journey and with our tongues in our cheeks and a due respect for regional varieties of the English language I hope.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:14 PM

I think there's a thread on it somewhere. There is actually a full book on it by I think Arthur Kellett. Apparently it dates from the 1920s among ramblers from the big cities. I've known it practically all my life, being a Yorkshireman, but I don't think it would stand up to the variation factor. It certainly started off in a specific community and then was taken up as some sort of Yorkshire anthem, so then a wider community; much like the broadside ballads actually.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:22 PM

I thought that I would check this song for Pseudonymous so I clicked on my much-used link to the Roud index - last used successfully to get the Roud numbers that I posted earlier today but when I did I got this message: -

That page is not recognised

Apologies for the inconvenience, but the page you have requested has not been recognised.

You are probably trying to look at a deleted or out-of-date page.

To find the page or event listing you were after, please go to either The English Folk Dance and Song Society site, The Cecil Sharp House site, or The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library site and either search for the page, or browse through the menus.

If you still can't find what you're after please feel free to email us for help.

Could anyone tell me what is happening (and if they are encountering a similar problem?)
All the sites in the "To find the page...." sentence were provided with links and can't get any of them to work.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:28 PM

@Brian Peters. Sorry, I wasn't clear. I was taking Lighter's point and going further to say that not only is more required to understand "working class life" but more is required to understand even the more restricted "musical life of the working class".

I wasn't faulting the collectors from not representing the wider musical life (and some such as Alfred Williams did), I was faulting the sociologists and anthropologists for either going too with something that is so incomplete or claiming that the 'mediators' went too far.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:37 PM

OK Jag, we're in agreement then.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:38 PM

@Vic Smith. I get the same. It looks like their web site is not working properly. It's been working within the recent life of this discussion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 02:08 PM

Me too. Also Tradsong Yahoo forum got a message from one of EFDSS giving info on the Roy Palmer lectures and the attachment gave the same message.
Steve Roud's on it so hopefully it will be fixed quickly.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 03:08 PM

I am amazed at the knowledge and work on folksong and the dedication that some posters on this thread demonstrate. It is honestly humbling! And so nice not to get into overheated repetitions of the same engrained points of view.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM

I think we made some minor changes to Ilkley Moor and these relate to differences between regional characteristics in English. Basically, we didn't do the 't' thing where I grew up, and we don't sing it except in the chorus line. We sing 'then ducks will come and eat up worms' etc. Probably not significant variance.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 03:58 PM

response disappeared! Oh, well that's gone. haven't got time to keep typing out the same stuff over and over.
    Steve, Highlight [CTRL-A] and Copy [CTRL-C] long posts to your computer's clipboard before posting, just in case your post doesn't "take." Then you can Paste [CTRL-V] it into a new message box or into a word processing document to save for later posting. Of course, I rarely remember to do this.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 08:50 PM

SG
"I don't think [Ilka Moor] would stand up to the variation factor.."

Well, wiki has this: 'Some singers add the responses "without thy trousers on" after the fourth line of each verse, and "where the ducks play football" after the seventh. Other variations include "where the nuns play rugby", "where the sheep fly backwards", "where the ducks fly backwards", "where the ducks wear trousers", "an' they've all got spots", and "where they've all got clogs on".

I've also heard: "...and they've all got tits on", "...where the ducks play rugby", and "...where Sir Geoff plays cricket". Sufficient variation there, surely?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 01:17 AM

I was reviewing the thread and found this in one of Brian's interesting posts on discussion of the Copper family in Cole:

"However, when Bob wrote up the story in 'A Song for Every Season', he clearly used his mastery of story-telling to embroider the tale with some speculation of his own about how his forebears might have felt … "

I cannot remember where but I have come across the phrase 'self mediation'; I think the example was early 20th century informants holding back stuff they did not want to sing to collectors or did not think collectors would want. But it might apply to a person with a mastery of story-telling, with a tendency to embroider a tale.'

Without any disrespect to the Copper family, they do have a talent for self-presentation, and this will be partly linked to broader projects such as a book launch (in the example from Vic Smith) or CD releases etc. So this is a source of potential 'bias' in their accounts. In saying this I am just taking a step back and trying to see how their words and written prose may be viewed in later times by music historians trying to get to grips with it. I am not criticising: as I have said, I like what I know of them.

It seems that some people who sing folk and are collected from, and who are asked about what songs mean to them, are also good story tellers; this in itself casts doubt on how far one can rely on their accounts of the origins of songs, family lore, does it not? Please don't tell me I am calling people 'liars': this isn't what I mean at all.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 04:56 AM

"a person with a mastery of story-telling, with a tendency to embroider a tale"

I spent quite a bit of time with Bob Copper, though I didn't know him as well as Vic, to whose judgement I would defer. However, what I can tell you about him is that, apart from his undoubted skills as a raconteur and writer, he had a tremendous grasp of detail, and ample dedication to carry out thorough research and documentation. Just read the interview with Vic, and the depth of knowledge that Bob displays. It doesn't rest on romantic imagination, and reads nothing like a 'promo puff' of the kind you're implying. That's just daft.

The phrase I described as 'embroidered' was carefully worded by Bob and it's clear which bit is speculative. I suggest you read 'A Song for Every Season' - it really is a wonderful book - before making claims of 'bias' - whatever you think that might mean in the present context.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM

I dunno, Brian. It seems to me that Bob Copper was a consummate showman, and I mean that as a compliment (and I think Pseudonymous does, too). But showmen always have a bit of "hooey" to them, and that's why we love them. I've never met Bob Copper in person, but his recordings and his books hold me in thrall.
Nobody can be as good as Bob Copper seems to be, but he had whatever magic it takes to make me a True Believer.
Joe


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:15 AM

Joe, I can assure you that Bob Copper was just as entertaining, fascinating and generous in private as in public. He regularly amazed me with his depth of knowledge. It really wasn't 'hooey'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:30 AM

Hi, Brian, I think we're observing the same thing, but it may be a bifference between US and UK perception.
Whatever the case, my perception is that Bob Copper was absolutely delightful and absolutely credible. I myself have been accused at times of being a showman, so I think this is cool.
Joe


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM

Brian … I can't remember writing anything about Grandfather's Clock. You'd have to remind me where it might have been.

Regarding Sharp and music hall songs. Of course he didn't collect them, unless by accident. He wrote in the introduction to The Country Dance Book part 1 in 1909:
"In the village of today the polka, waltz and quadrille are steadily displacing the old-time country dances and jigs, just as the tawdry ballads and strident street-songs of the towns are no less surely exterminating the folk-songs" P. 7. No doubt there are similar quotes in other publications, such as "poverty-stricken tunes of the music-hall … superficial attractiveness" … "coarse music-hall songs" English Folk Song: Some Conclusions, pages 135 and 137.

I only look at Mudcat once or twice a day, so I'm inevitably way behind on the discussion.

Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 06:07 AM

I made my admiration for the Copper family explicit a few posts back.

Like Brian, Cole praised Copper's book, so it's on my list, which is very long. In addition the Copper family have a web site offering a discography and a range of print-based products, including song-books. It 'links' section leads to various interviews and articles. They also have a facebook page. As I have said before, I don't see anything wrong with people embracing, to whatever extent, commercial possibilities for their work. If all this isn't promotional (and therefore potentially biased i.e. showing a preference one way or another) …

I like Joe's word 'showman' even though perhaps it isn't the word an English person would use in this context.

The last paragraph in my post on 1.17 am (as recorded here) was a general one, not one aimed at the Copper family. And I think it is a point worth making in general.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 06:20 AM

As usual, Brian makes an interesting contribution to the discussion.

Perhaps we can agree that we find a mixture of 'hooey' and well-documented research in the work of Copper? Nothing to say that people cannot or do not produce both.

When I read the Vic Smith interview, I was reminded in part of those TV programmes where a guest has a product just on the market and this inevitably is mentioned during the programme. Nothing wrong with this, and it doesn't not imply that the product is poor quality.

A lot of modern folk singers and musicians are professional or semi-professional, as indeed is Brian himself. The Coppers seem to fall into this category.

This is a source of tension for some in the folk world, I think, who have in the past tended to define themselves in opposition to the world of commercialism, or in the case of others, to capitalism. We have discussed this already in connection with Harker, William Morris etc.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 07:06 AM

"Perhaps we can agree that we find a mixture of 'hooey' and well-documented research in the work of Copper? Nothing to say that people cannot or do not produce both."

I suggest you wait until you've actually read the work of 'Copper' (ugh) before making a pronouncement like this, and expecting anyone to agree to it.

"When I read the Vic Smith interview, I was reminded in part of those TV programmes where a guest has a product just on the market and this inevitably is mentioned during the programme. Nothing wrong with this, and it doesn't not imply that the product is poor quality."

We're not talking about quality here. You've brought up an allegation of 'bias', which suggests you believe that Bob Copper's account of life and singing culture in Rottingdean may be unreliable. I'd like to know how you can justify this, on the basis apparently of a single interview, albeit one which includes a wealth of extremely important detail.

"A lot of modern folk singers and musicians are professional or semi-professional, as indeed is Brian himself. The Coppers seem to fall into this category."

The Coppers run a very attractive website these days, not surprisingly since certain family members are professional graphic designers. Of course the family has been paid for their guest appearances, but again I don't see how this bears on the accuracy of Bob Copper's testimony in 1971, which is what we are talking about.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 07:23 AM

Pseudonymous wrote:-
Please don't tell me I am calling people 'liars': this isn't what I mean at all.
Certainly I would not call you a liar for what you are saying about Bob Copper but I would say that you are exhibiting a profound lack of empathy for the way that Bob expressed himself as well a complete misunderstanding of the way that we should regard Bob's statements, musings, reflections and stories. They are not academic attempts to get to the factual roots of past occurrences; they are Oral History and as such they are very important for informing us not only about events, but also about attitudes, opinions and a recognition of the things the go towards defining the spoken cultural heritage of a community. They are vital.

An interviewer should say as little as possible and give the informant his or her head about what is important in their view - and nearly always they are right. There are many points in the interviews that I have conducted where I have not realised the significance of what I have recorded until some time afterwards.

The interviewer should never express disbelief, never contradict, never challenge. This is not a media situation where a politician is being grilled on behalf of the public. It is much more intimate and eventually much more revealing than that. This became even more important when I interviewed some of the greatest tradition bearers amongst the Scots travellers - a severely marginalised group for whom the supernatural was part of their everyday lives. If I had said anything like, "That's not true - that didn't actually happen - I don't believe you." etc. then they would have dried up on me straight away and I would have failed to uncover the attitudes that led to their view of the world and that was what I was after.

I suppose what I have written reveals as much about myself as anything else; I have always been much more interested in people than raw information.

Coming back to Bob - and to his singing contemporaries in Sussex - the likes of Johnny Doughty, Gordon Hall, Bob Blake, Ron Spicer, Louie Fuller, George Belton, Scan Tester - all of whom I interviewed (probably others, I don't keep lists), usually but not always for the weekly BBC Radio Sussex folk music programme "Minstrels Gallery" which I introduced for 17 years, I can only thank them belatedly for the hours of enormous pleasure that I spent in their company and the huge insights that I gained from talking to them.

But particularly Bob Copper.... We used him on our programme many, many times during those years and he was such a great natural broadcaster and could speak knowledgeably on a wide range of subjects. I remember saying to him on one occasion after again being really impressed with his performance in front of a microphone, "You know, Bob, you could have been the BBC's countryman, another Franklin Engelmann, another John Arlott." But I knew that in those days on his wife's illness that he did not want to be away from home for more than a short while; so the trip over to our studios in Brighton would be about right. His reply was brief but firm - "Family first! Always family first." - and, as always, he was right.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 09:06 AM

”Brian … I can't remember writing anything about Grandfather's Clock. You'd have to remind me where it might have been.”

Derek, I refer you to:
Schofield, D. (2004) Sowing the Seeds: Cecil Sharp and Charles Marson in Somerset in 1903. Folk Music Journal 8 (6), p 497

This includes the following quote from Cecil Sharp’s Hampstead lecture in1903:

“I could easily have filled my notebook with Music Hall songs, [Minstrel] songs, or with the popular songs of fifty years ago and less, such as ‘Grandfather’s Clock’, ‘A Life on the Ocean Wave’, ‘Woodman Spare That Tree’, ‘Wait Till the Clouds Roll By’ and drivel of that sort. Gradually however we worked through that stratum and eventually struck a rich vein of Real Folk Song, of the kind we were searching for...”

It’s an excellent article, and I commend it to you and others.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 11:14 AM

I think I might have misread something Brian put. When he wrote that Copper 'had a tremendous grasp of detail, and ample dedication to carry out thorough research and documentation' I took him to mean that I would find examples of these qualities in his book. This is why, taking Brian's word for it, I suggested that we might agree that the book included both hooey and well-documented research.

As I seem to have misunderstood why Brian was making this point, and as it seems he is not claiming that the book includes well-documented research, then obviously there can be no agreement of the sort I proposed.

Brian uses the word 'allegation' to refer to my point that what Copper says will be potentially biased. For me, it isn't the right word for the point I was making, and for me it wouldn't be the right word even if I put plain 'biased'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 11:18 AM

Still reading Harker on Child and on 'balladry'. Some of those mentioned I have encountered before, eg Gerould, so I can make an attempt to see how far I think Harker represents their views fairly.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 11:35 AM

Definitions of 'hooey': 'foolish', 'wrong', 'nonsense'.

"I seem to have misunderstood why Brian was making this point, and as it seems he is not claiming that the book includes well-documented research"

As you very well know, despite the leaden sarcasm, I discount entirely the notion that 'A Song for Every Season' contains 'hooey' (and am disappointed that Joe Offer first brought up the term).

I try not to fly off the handle or get personally affronted when people dangle wilfully contrarian and ill-informed comments on subjects I know and care about, but I've found some of the stuff written about Bob Copper above tasteless and trying. Assuming the rattle of hooves I hear in the distance is indeed the Three Billy Goats Gruff arriving to take over my shift, I'll abstain from further response for now.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 12:30 PM

I dunno, Brian. It seems to me that Bob Copper was a consummate showman. joe offer.
for god sake, Bob Copper was just himself, to describe him as a consummate showman, is in my opinion inaccurate, its the same sort of inaccuracy as saying there was a walter pardon industry, or much worse that nic jones stole the guitar arrangement of canadeeio. these sort of statements, show the worst aspect of this forum.
consummate showman imo implies a flamboyant extrovert, a sort of modern day, harry lauder or derek brimstone
    I said what I said as a compliment. Don't try to divert this discussion into a battle because you don't like my choice of words.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM

It is a shame that Brian feels the way he does; I for one do respect his love for and knowledge of his subject and I have said so. I hope he will continue to share his views and experience. I do agree that perhaps 'hooey' was too strong a word, though I won't back down on my view that Copper is presenting himself and his family and is likely to leave out stuff that for various reasons he might not want people to know or which might not suit the impression he seeks to make, or which might not be what he thinks the interviewer wants. Indeed, at one point in the interview with Vic Smith he says something like 'I suppose this is the sort of thing you want'.

Personally, the Copper family do appear to me to be consummate performers. Not least because I like to hear harmonies sung and you don't often find it in English folk music. Moreover, I think it is fair to say that they do run a sort of 'cottage industry' relating to their own heritage and skills. I think that people with such skills have probably used them in this way from time to time through the ages. And good luck to them: they are talented!

Indeed, Vic Smith in his article said that with hindsight the interview with him might have been good practice for Copper who was about to engage in media interviews in connection with his book. And the book, as Copper explains, was to come out earlier but was delayed to hit the Xmas market. I seem to remember that there was some sort of local connection, which Copper explains, to the publishing firm?

I take Vic Smith's interesting point about 'oral history', which is part of an interesting post. This area is sort of linked to the themes raised by Harker and Cole about mediation. But it isn't, I suggest, quite as simple as could be assumed. When faced with historical sources, even at GCSE pupils are asked to evaluate these sources, analysing potential sources of bias. In pointing this out, I don't think I am being 'contrarian'.

Here is a web site about 'oral history' which makes exactly this sort of point. See the section on narrative and memory.

https://archives.history.ac.uk/makinghistory/resources/articles/oral_history.html

My point isn't 'contrarian'; it is mainstream.

Finally, I come back to Cole, which is where Copper comes into the discussion. Cole offers us two different perspectives on the same incident, one from the lady and one from Copper and invites us to consider how they differ. In one there is no mention of whisky; in the other Copper states that the brothers were not 'allowed' to leave until the bottle was empty and the lady's note book is full. Vic's Cole's point is that the voices of the 'lower other' (presumably including the Coppers) has too often been missing from discussions of folklore. What I am saying is that this still leaves those looking at the differing accounts in future years the problem of evaluating the evidence that they have from the past.

Have a nice evening everybody.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 02:09 PM

Vic's Cole's should have read Cole's.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 02:34 PM

Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM
However, in line with his postmodern approach Cole gives the view of Copper, the 'lower other' to use Cole's term.

Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM
Vic's Cole's point is that the voices of the 'lower other' (presumably including the Coppers) has too often been missing from discussions of folklore.

Could I ask how "Vic" comes into it?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 04:27 PM

I get to feeling very uncomfortable with the post by Pseudonymous at 22 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM. In particular I feel that motives and extra-musical considerations are being ascribed to the Copper family which are simply not there

Personally, the Copper family do appear to me to be consummate performers.
Can I ask you if you have seen a live performance by The Copper Family? If you could give time and place it would be a help. I must have seen them at least ten times a year over the last fifty-odd years and the words "consummate performers" do not come to mind; "endearingly shambolic" would be nearer the mark.

Not least because I like to hear harmonies sung and you don't often find it in English folk music.
Well, you do (or did) in their part of East Sussex; the Hills of East Dean and the Townsends of East Chiltington would be just two examples with family repertoires that had lots of cross-overs with that of the Coppers. Alternate sections and harmonies with "glee"-style harmonies were far from uncommon in both secular and church singing. The Coppers are unique in maintaining this today throughout the five generations of this family that I have heard sing.

Moreover, I think it is fair to say that they do run a sort of 'cottage industry' relating to their own heritage and skills. I think that people with such skills have probably used them in this way from time to time through the ages. And good luck to them: they are talented!
I can only think that the return of the 'cottage industry' phrase is designed to irritate as it did successfully in the Walter Pardon research thread. Indeed in his long post explaining why he closed that post, Joe Offer wrote: -
as soon as they settle down a bit, Pseudonymous or some other troll will come in and wind them up again. If I do away with Pseudonymous, some other troll will come in, so what's the use in doing away with Pseudonymous?

I think this shows what the moderators think of the role of Pseudonymous here.

Indeed, Vic Smith in his article said that with hindsight the interview with him might have been good practice for Copper who was about to engage in media interviews in connection with his book.
A subsequent impression of mine when I was transcribing the interview some 35 years after it took place.
I need to point out that the reason for the interview was for us to investigate the family story because Bob had asked us to help in running the folk club that he was planning to start. Perhaps I ought to have stuck to saying in the introduction - "However, we felt that we did not know enough about the family and we asked if we could come and record an interview so that we could get some background. (This was before Bob's first book was published and details of the family were not as well known as they are now) It was a fortuitous time to record him as he had just written his first book and had all the information fresh in his mind." This is the reason that in the transcription, I report Bob as saying this is the sort of thing that you want to know, isn't it? My motive in asking to interview Bob was that it would provide background for me to make sure that I didn't make any mistakes as the prospective compere of the Coppersongs Folk Club.
I feel it needs to be pointed out that when Bob, in his mid-50s started to write out various personal memories and had dug out his dad, Jim's writing it was for the benefit of John & Jill and for Jill's three songs (John's offspring were not born until later). Bob's first memories would have been during the 1st World War; Rottingdean/Peacehaven was very diferent by 1970 and the changes were what Bob wanted to explain. It was not until Peter Bellamy had read a rough draft and talked to Bob into considering publication that anything came of it and Bob started to rework things.

And the book, as Copper explains, was to come out earlier but was delayed to hit the Xmas market. I seem to remember that there was some sort of local connection, which Copper explains, to the publishing firm?
By the time of this interview - between writing and publication of A Man For All Seasons Bob had to work with Heinnemans on editing and had been asked to prepare himself for media interest as the publishers were starting to think that they had a potential top seller. They were right. However, publication was far from his initial thoughts when writing.

This post is to explain my discomfort at the way Bob's intention and motives are portrayed by Pseudonymous here. I have quoted what Joe Offer thinks, perhaps Pseudonymous could explain the purpose more clearly.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 04:48 PM

Well, this is all very interesting. As one who very occasionally puts his head above the parapet, and if you don’t mind me returning rather late to the observations being made of the ‘collecting’ of the Copper Family, might I offer a few thoughts?...
Much of what has been written is in a language unfamiliar to me, of ‘socio’ this and ‘postconstructionalist’ that, so I’ve spent more time flying to the OED than is necessarily good for me. However, I think I see at least some of the points being made. The background of the situation surrrounding Mrs Kate Lee’s collecting from the two Copper brothers James and Tom is documented in the family exactly as Vic and Brian have indicated , that is through the prompting of Jim Copper’s memory by Francis Collinson. Quite simply it was an event that had occurred some 50+ years previously, but had not been of continuing significance to the family. Naturally, once Frank had pointed out the fact, Bob was fascinated and asked his father what he knew. Bearing in mind the social niceties of that time (the late 1890’s), attitudes were very different. The Rottingdean ‘squirearchy’ was predominantly Quaker and therefore of a more liberal persuasion than might have been encountered elsewhere, nonetheless, it was most unusual for women to use the local pubs which would have precluded any such musical interviews there by Mrs (not ‘Lady’ by the way) Lee. Apparently Kate Lee, already a noted singer and musicologist, had asked staff at Sir Edward Carson’s house where she was staying on a seaside holiday, if they knew of anyone who might be able to sing her the type of songs in which she was interested. The two Copper brothers were recommended and invited to attend the house at a given time. It would have been normal for farm workers, tradesmen or indeed anyone of the ‘working class’ to attend the back rather than the front door - historic and social convention. We know that they didn’t go in their working clothes, and they wouldn’t have had a vast wardrobe, so they would have donned their Sunday’ suits, worn and old as they were. Again, as others have noted, Mrs Lee had already placed a bottle of whisky, a jug of water and two glasses on the kitchen table, for this was all conducted in the scullery. The intention was clear, to put them at their ease. Whilst they were not the type of men to be easily discomfited, this would not have been a normal situation, and something for which they would have been unprepared. Being asked to sing to order in itself was unusual, unless it was in the realms of the pub, a sheep fair, or even at work, when a ‘gives us Shepherd of The Downs’ might have been shouted out in a busy bar. To ‘perform’ was the unusual bit, and not only that but to sings songs repeatedly in order that Kate Lee could gather both words and tune. The process was fairly time consuming so it was conducted over the course of three evenings with a bottle of whisky placed on the table each time!

Kate Lee obtained the songs by the simple stratagem of saying ‘do you have a love song’ or ‘do you have a song of the plough’ ‘a sea song’ or whatever - she wrote this in her account of her visit to Rottingdean which appeared in the first journal of The Folk Song Society. Because of their relatively elevated positions in the farm labouring community the Copper brothers would have mixed with the ‘gentry’ and indeed have been consulted on agricultural and sporting (hunting) matters so they were not cowed or inexperienced in their dealings. To say that they would have been surprised at anyone being quite so interested in their songs would I think be closer to the truth, but it didn’t alter the course of their lives! Incidentally, family lore tells us that the brothers were made honorary founder members of the FSS whereas in fact we now believe that Kate Lee paid their subscriptions - no matter, they were recognised for their contribution.

Coming late to Vic’s comments re. ‘consummate performers’, he has it right when he uses the term ‘shambolic’ - it’s sincere though and done with love!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:10 PM

joe offer, i do not like your choice of words , you appear to know very little about english tradtional singing,very little about nic jones and very little about walter pardon, you in your own words consider yourself a showman.
i would choose other words
    OK, that's enough. I think I own most of the Copper Family recordings, and I have listened to them over and over. I've read Bob Copper's A Song for Every Season and Songs and Southern Breezes. In both books, Bob Copper shows himself to be a very good storyteller. I have not attended a Copper Family performance and I've seen only a few YouTube videos. But whatever the case, my experience of them is very positive - and what I have said about him is a valid and honest opinion from my perspective. Your results may vary. And that's OK.
    But I have a right to my opinion, and there is no reason for you to make an issue of it.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM

    OK, that's enough.

    Pseudonymous can be annoying. All of us can be, at times. It's time to get on with this discussion and to stop being annoyed.

    I'm here to exchange ideas about music, to learn from other people, and to have a good time. There is no room here for doing battle, and it is my job to ensure that the music forum does not become a battleground of bickering.

    We've discussed closing threads at 250 posts, because so many of our threads seem to go nasty once they get beyond that size. Maybe we should. But this has been a very interesting discussion. Let's keep it that way. I'll reopen it for a while and see what happens.

    -Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 02:57 AM

Jon Dudley's post was interesting in more than one way and corrected some errors at least one of which I had noted myself. I'm glad he posted it: thank you.

It also illustrated several of my points: a) there is more than one way to tell the same story b) each way of telling, each selection of what to put in and what to leave out, reflects the teller as much as the facts of the matter.

I am sorry that Vic Smith is upset. His last post sketches in some useful and additional background, but for me nothing in it detracts from or contradicts the points I have made about the fascinating Copper family. Vic is of course entitled to interpret my posts however he sees fit. He writes of his 'discomfort at the way Bob's intention and motives are portrayed by Pseudonymous here'. I am left to guess what interpretation of what I put he came up with that left him so discomforted. But I hope he will accept that I intended no insult either to him or to the Coppers.

I admit that I did get a bit annoyed when I was given an incorrect grammatical analysis of the modal verb 'might' as used in the verb phrase 'might have felt' (an example of epistemic modality in the verb phrase; in this case occurring in a noun phrase functioning as the subject of the main clause whose verb was the declarative 'was') but I just let Brian have the last word on the matter to avoid getting into an argument. NB When Jim Carroll tells me I don't understand Shakespeare because I haven't been paying attention, I just laugh aloud. Such is the world of Mudcat.

As far as I am concerned (and Ord wrote a good PhD on similar topics relating to folk) and appearance of being shambolic would be apt for the folk genre, giving an authentic feel, in line with folk's tendency to see itself as being in opposition to the rest of popular, slick, commercial music and therefore appearing 'endearingly shambolic' - the key word here being 'shambolic' would be a feat of consummate showmanship. A lesser showman would just appear shambolic.

So this is sort of an apology, sort of not.

Returning to Harker, the thread could go on for ever. What he has to say on Child and balladry (ie post-Child 'research' arising from Child, Gerould etc) could be discussed in another thread, as could his comments on Lloyd. 'Breathtaking arrogance' was one phrase he used in connection with Lloyd, though at the end of his section on Child he sort of teams up with Lloyd by quoting a less than 100% admiring paragraph Lloyd wrote on Child's selection.

So for me, since this thread has got very long, I wouldn't mind if it did close. It has been interesting to discuss Harker's book, and I have got some more ideas for stuff to read, and have also had some pleasure listening to the Copper family singing again.

Thanks all. Have a good weekend.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 03:01 AM

Sorry I put "the key word here being 'shambolic". The key word, of course, was "endearing". That was the phrase Vic used in his original post, he did not just say 'shambolic'. For me appearing to be 'endearingly shambolic' would be a feat of consummate showmanship.

Once again, a good weekend to all.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 03:25 AM

I too have aright to an opinion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 03:45 AM

Thanks, Joe
I'm happy to ignore any negative posts.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM

A really interesting post from Jon Dudley, thanks.

Sorry, it was me who accidently introduced the idea of Mrs Lee going to the pub into the discussion. I was just making the point that not feeling comfortable in an unfamiliar environment worked both ways, and pub and cottage where the ones that were mentioned.

Jon Dudley's comments on both the Coppers' clothing and likelyhood of them not neccessarily being unused to engaging with 'the gentry' are more in line with my readings on the social history of the period (and first hand accounts from a generation later). In fact I have a elderly neighbour who's wardrobe was much as Jon Dudley suggests for the Coppers (and maybe Fred Jordan) until we coaxed him towards the clothing rack in a charity shop (note for non Brits - charity by the givers, not to the buyers).

Bearing in mind the bimodal bourgois-worker view of things behind Harker's philosophy I would speculate on a practical aspect of Jon's "It would have been normal for farm workers, tradesmen or indeed anyone of the ‘working class’ to attend the back rather than the front door - historic and social convention. I suspect in those days anyone who came off the street rather than stepping down from a carriage or having servants ready with clean footware would probably come to the back door rather than mess up the doormat and hall carpet with mud and horse-shit.

@Psuedonymous - you are slacking. You missed commenting on the discrepancy between the scullery (I guess from Mrs Lee's account) or the drawing room (the Coppers). I have have no problem with details drifting in transmission especially if it helps tell the story (it's the folk process ...) . I could go on about the interview process for oral history accounts (on the basis of limited personal experience that doesn't fit with some assumptions made in this thread. One point is - if the intervier of the Coppers already knew about the account of the meeting with Mrs Lee not being in the drawing room, should they have sought confirmation ("So do I understand this properly, it was in the drawing room?") or let it pass. However, as a scholar I think Cole is at fault in not having fully researched the situation before making a sociological interpretation and misleading his readers.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 05:25 AM

I don't know how you folks have time to read any books … you always seem to be posting comments here...
Thanks to Brian Peters for reminding me of that quote from an article I wrote 17 years ago!
Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 06:32 AM

jag
Good point in that last paragraph, thank you for the post (and I mean that)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 08:39 AM

Returning to Harker, Child and Balladry.

Does anybody who has read the book have a view on how far Harker is fair in calling Child Gruntvig's student?

How much of an impact did Gruntvig have on the final selection?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 08:57 AM

Pseudonymous wrote: -
I am sorry that Vic Smith is upset
He isn't. However he is interested in the motives of a person who chooses to use terms like a "cottage industry" in response to a traditional singing family's willingness to share their background, history and songs with a folk revival that is anxious to hear about them.
The same person wanted to describe them as "consummate performers" despite apparently never having seen them and when it is pointed out the Coppers behave in a way that is no different whether they are singing in a public performance or in wide variety of other business and social settings (which I firmly believe to be the case) then alters the view to suggest that "For me appearing to be 'endearingly shambolic' would be a feat of consummate showmanship." That, of course, is based on my casual comment rather than any factual study of a range of observations.
It is puzzling and I do not understand the motives. One suggestion that has been posted above is that is trolling. I am prepared to accept that this is not the case but it would be helpful to see the reasoning behind the comments.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 09:36 AM

Child-Grundtvig.
I think Grundtvig is best described as Child's mentor. Child actually paid him quite a lot for his information on European ballads (not all of it of course, Child was a multi-linguist). Hustvedt is probably the most accessible source on their relationship.

As for influence, in many ways, and in the earlier days, Child was very influenced by G but he was also his own man and would not be dictated to. It was Grundtvig who suggested the pattern of publishing, romantic, historical etc, based on his own Mammoth work nearly twice the size of Child's.

Not risking any more till this gets posted.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 09:42 AM

Having already translated some of the E&S ballads in 1840 (Engelsk og Skotiske Folkevisor), including some of Buchan's specials, G tried to influence Child to stop criticising the Scottish ballads in his headnotes, his opinion being they were all genuine, contrary to literary opinion of the time and earlier. This may have had a bearing on Child ceasing to critique the ballads half way through publishing.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 09:52 AM

If I can attempt mediation for a moment....

I have followed Pseu's contributions with interest, and what I see tells me of someone not brought up in the bosom of the folk revival like the rest of us, but now with a curiosity like ours to get at the truth, albeit a little clumsily at times.

As a researcher I do welcome criticism and different perspectives. They can certainly sharpen your own argument, even he who shall not be mentioned contributed a lot in this way, and for a while until it got repetitive I certainly welcomed it, and said so on occasions.

I do not see Pseu as a troll. Trolls are purely there to cause mischief and he/she has contributed very intelligently (more than I have) on many occasions. If he/she writes something you disagree with or find offensive then by all means say so. If as I think he/she has a genuine interest in finding out more of what we are about then I for one welcome it. We are small enough in number as it is without cutting it down further.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 09:55 AM

The interviewer should never express disbelief, never contradict, never challenge. This is not a media situation where a politician is being grilled on behalf of the public. It is much more intimate and eventually much more revealing than that. This became even more important when I interviewed some of the greatest tradition bearers amongst the Scots travellers - a severely marginalised group for whom the supernatural was part of their everyday lives. If I had said anything like, "That's not true - that didn't actually happen - I don't believe you." etc. then they would have dried up on me straight away and I would have failed to uncover the attitudes that led to their view of the world and that was what I was after.

This raises some difficult questions that may have parallels in music. Some of the Romany use what appears to be traditional belief as a tool for earning money from the outside community - fortune telling, selling talismans and the like. But do they seriously believe it themselves? Probably most of them adhere to some fairly conventional form of Christianity, but how many folklorists would want to know about that? (In Eastern Europe, the majority religion among the Roma is Baptist Protestantism). What I suspect happens is that they mediate their own reporting of what they believe to select what they think their audience is interested in. The exact function of each bit of their heterogeneous belief system takes some unravelling and you can't just copy everything down as if it all had equal status an assertion in a scripture. (I'd guess Vic has had to deal with that many times and I'm not telling him anything new).

It took some time for any outsider to even realize that the Roma of Eastern Europe had any folk music of their own, and it's only become somewhat available in the last couple of decades (thanks to groups like Kalyi Jag). The Gypsies have had a professional musician caste for centuries, but what they play to the non-Gypsies of Europe has absolutely zero overlap with the traditional music of their own community. British Roma and other Travellers haven't had such a caste, but they'd have had obvious reasons to evolve one if it looked like there'd be a audience for something labelled as "Gypsy music".


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 10:02 AM

G>C
It may also have had an influence on Child continuing to print everything, even against his better judgment, but when G died Child started taking advice from the likes of MacMath.

I would love to see some correspondence between the English ballad editors and Child as generally they were very skeptical of all this Scottish material suddenly appearing, seemingly out of nowhere. Child actually dedicated ESPB to Frederick Furnivall who helped him get access to the Percy Folio Ms. Both Chappell and Ebsworth were very knowledgeable on ballad history, and Chappell actually lived in Edinburgh.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 10:11 AM

>>>>>I don't know how you folks have time to read any books<<<<
----let alone write any!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 10:12 AM

I'll be offline for a few days after tonight but should be back to respond Mondayish.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 10:56 AM

Many thanks to Jon Dudley for that thorough account of the meeting between James and Tom Copper and Kate Lee – who, it’s clear, did not carry the title ‘Lady’ as some would have had us believe. We can now safely lay to rest the fiction that the brothers were ‘uncomfortable’ during this meeting, that they were ‘held captive’ in any literal sense (I hadn’t realised they made three visits), or that the fictional discomfort had any ‘decisive role’ in their choice of songs. As I suggested in the first place, the account given in Ross Cole’s article, far from reporting impartially the discrepancies between Kate Lee’s account and that of the family, actually misrepresents (mediates?) Bob Copper’s words, even as the author mourns that the Coppers’ stratum of society was 'denied its own voice'.

This is directly relevant to the topic of the thread, since it is my repeated experience that cultural theorists with axes to grind often misrepresent the data, and are less interested in the voices of actual people (as opposed to anonymous and stereotypical ‘workers’) than were the folk song collectors whose work they attempt to undermine. But perhaps we can move on now, and back to ‘Fakesong’ itself.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 11:41 AM

> cultural theorists with axes to grind often misrepresent the data

My experience too, and in other fields as well.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 01:32 PM

Four quick responses to the very interesting comments made by Jack Campin on his reactions to the passage of mine that he quotes: -

This raises some difficult questions that may have parallels in music.
If you are talking about recordings songs/tunes compared with asking about a life story, then I would say that this is spot on.

Some of the Romany use what appears to be traditional belief as a tool for earning money from the outside community - fortune telling, selling talismans and the like. But do they seriously believe it themselves?
Yes and no. The fortune tellers are adept at gaining information and telling people what they want to hear though I have been told facts about myself by Scottish travellers who had no way as far as I could see of gaining these. The camping life made them very fearful of malign supernatural forces and a fear of "Burkers" who were going to kill them and then sell their bodies for science was very common.

What I suspect happens is that they mediate their own reporting of what they believe to select what they think their audience is interested in.
Again I concur totally with this and it is why I wrote in the paragraph before the one you quote that "An interviewer should say as little as possible and give the informant his or her head about what is important in their view." If you start out by asking, "Tell me about your belief in the supernatural " then you might as well give up. If I was to analyse my approach to interviewing, I think that I would say that it is instinctive rather than intellectualised and that I try to show that I am interested in the interviewee as a person - which is why I want to interview them anyway.

I'd guess Vic has had to deal with that many times and I'm not telling him anything new....
.... which must be why I find myself agreeing with what you say.

I can only think of one practical tip about interviewing that I ever adopted. The BBC Radio Sussex folk music programme that I introduced came on the air a couple of months before the first BBC national programme Folk On Friday introduced by Jim Lloyd. He asked if he could be interviewed on our programmme as a promotion for his. In the pub afterwards, Jim said, "When you ask a question, you will often get a bland prepared answer. Listen to that then smile and nod as if you want them to go on. Because no-one like the idea of a long gap, whether it a live radio or a recording, they will say something like 'Besides....' and then tell you what they really think."
This was in the early 1970s and I have tried it many times since then and 9 out of 10 times it works.

Now it really is time to get back to 'Fakesong' as has aleady been suggested and as I haven't read the book, I'll shut up for a while.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Jan 20 - 03:49 PM

"We can now safely lay to rest the fiction that the brothers were ‘uncomfortable’ during this meeting, that they were ‘held captive’ in any literal sense (I hadn’t realised they made three visits), or that the fictional discomfort had any ‘decisive role’ in their choice of songs."

Three points here: on the first, I disagree, on the second, I didn't realise that anybody had suggested this, (have they?), and the 3 visits thing just shows how much information is incomplete/potentially misleading), and on the third, again, I am not sure of its relevance to the points being made or that it has been established at all.

Vic agreed with the following from Jack Campin: "What I suspect happens is that they mediate their own reporting of what they believe to select what they think their audience is interested in."

I absolutely agree with it too, and I think I called this 'self-mediation', though I would see self-mediation as potentially going beyond this. Nice to hear it coming from Vic and Jack because if I raise this idea I get called names and people express feeling 'disturbed' (present company excepted of course).

Let's be fair to Cole: he quotes from and cites Copper's book (and the ODNB on the family) as well as Kate Lee's lecture to the Folk Song Society. (The fact that there were three evenings is stated by Cole, based on Lee's lecture. Copper's account says 'several more such evenings'.) Just prior to citing a passage from Copper's book he says it is 'a rare view of the perspective of the singers themselves.' So he is making a point that many of us, including Harker, would agree with.

Cole goes on to say 'Rather than showing interest in the brother's environment, Lee viewed the Coppers ... not for their intrinsic worth but for the content they conveyed'.

Kate Lee, of course, was not a cultural theorist or a sociologist, she was a song collector. So not an example of the following:

"cultural theorists with axes to grind often misrepresent the data, and are less interested in the voices of actual people (as opposed to anonymous and stereotypical ‘workers’) than were the folk song collectors whose work they attempt to undermine."

It seems to me that if the Coppers stood on equal social status terms with the gentry they would not have been received in the scullery, this being of course the part of a large gentry house where the servants got on with their work.

We have not established as far as I can see whether the Coppers knew songs that they chose not to sing in front of a woman (especially one of higher social status?). This is I think they key point Cole is making, and he cites Lucy Broadwood as an authority for the view that some singers would not sing in front of female collectors songs that they thought were unsuitable.

In addition to the material on their own website, there are Copper family videos on YouTube and quite a lot of work on Spotify.

Some people almost define 'folk' and 'folk authenticity' in opposition to the commercial and industrial world. I found a recent comment to this effect on a Mudcat thread. It would be nice if 'modern' folk were free from the influence of and from engagement with the modern commercial and industrial world.

But it isn't so I guess one 'agenda' is that I find it a bit odd that some people regard as 'traditional' practices which may have some links with practices and contexts of the past but which are deeply entwined with modernity and more to the point sometimes get hot under the collar when these links are pointed out to them. There is not much that is 'traditional' about a pair of brothers singing songs to a visiting professional singer in the scullery of a local big house while she writes down what they are singing, selections of which she later performs (as Cole describes).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Jan 20 - 04:01 PM

Haven't got a lot further with Harker, though his chapter on 'balladry' i.e. some of those who came after Child contradicts (as far as I can see) vehement assertions I have read to the effect that Child and all who came in his wake firmly believed that 'the folk' created beautiful songs which have been smoothed like pebbles in the sea whereas in fact a lot of them seem to think that once ordinary people got their hands on the songs they got corrupted. It does this by quoting from the people concerned. Even if you don't agree with Harker, his list of references and sources gives you lots of places to find out more and make up your mind for yourself; as a survey you might not like his bias or his polemics (and they annoy me) but you could use him as a resource, and I think that is perhaps why Vic Gammon thought it would be an indispensable reference book for the future.

Another thing that seems to me to come across (and this has been gone over time and time again) is that having decided it made sense to categorise a variety of songs as 'ballads' people had no clear idea where they came from and seem to more or less have guessed, while writing as if conveying decided facts. This is the impression I get from Harker and it chimes with the impression you get on Mudcat, to be honest.

There have also been problems defining what these 'ballads' were: there is a quote where Child writes to Grundtvig asking for a definition.

On 'trolling': given the vehemence with which opposing views are debated on Mudcat it seems unfair to tag one person who endeavours to enter into the debates as a 'troll'. There are it seems to me competing ideologies on these threads (none of which might be happy at being described as an ideology - though in the broad sense that is the right word).

I'm not sure that 'the truth' is ever pure and simple, or objective and ideology free, come to that, when it comes to matters cultural, but if I have an agenda it is that I tend, in vain perhaps, to distinguish 'ideological commitment' or 'theory' from 'fact' or 'history'.

    Let's not talk about "trolling" at all, please. To my mind, the people who are labeled "trolls" are still human beings, and both the US and the UK are led by those who are less than human - people who are far inferior to your typical Mudcat troll. A "troll" could also be viewed as a "devil's advocate." This is a music forum, so talk about music. And whatever the case, this has been a very interesting thread.
    -Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 03:07 AM

Pseud says this:

"It seems to me that if the Coppers stood on equal social status terms with the gentry they would not have been received in the scullery, this being of course the part of a large gentry house where the servants got on with their work."

I hope I made it clear (if not, apologies) that the Copper brothers at that time, whilst not 'upsides of the gentry' as they would have put it, in other words, not friends or close acquaintances, were nevertheless respected and valued employees. As such, they would have met their employer in their daily work to discuss farming and land management matters as well as offering intelligence (if that's the right word) as to the whereabouts of game on the Downs when they were off hunting. There was one exception when Copper family members were admitted specifically to the drawing room (rather than the scullery), and that was when after a day in the field, Steyning Beard, the local squire would invite them in to sing their hunting songs and drink hot punch. Otherwsie, most farm business was conducted through the bailiff's office, whilst milk and produce would've been delivered to the 'back door' of 'Challoner's' farm house.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 05:01 AM

@ Jon Dudley
Thank you for interesting and constructive contributions. They add a different perspective. However, for me, they don't nullify the point Jon quoted. I doubt, for example, that visiting gentry would have been received in the scullery. Hunting songs and their context their social and personal functions are something discussed in a study of a Yorkshire farmer called Jack Beeforth. The occasion Jon mentions sounds to have been 'traditional' in a sense that a lot of 'revival' singing is not. This is not to decry revival singing or singers, of course.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 05:27 AM

In fact, I do have quite a lot of sympathy with Harker when he says that the voices of ordinary people are often absent from accounts of folk. I suppose if you're only interest is the songs/tunes/lyrics you may not be interested in the people who sang them and passed them down.

But if you are interested in something of a bigger picture, then I can see at least two angles:

1 Try to see the music in its social context: how did it further social relationships and interaction, the economic and social life and structure of the community (if at all) etc. So the section on Beeforth and his hunting songs sung after a hunting trip by Dave Hillery (I read this) attempts to do this, as did, say MacColl's work on Scottish Travellers (Which I know about but have not read). I have to say I oppose fox hunting, nasty stuff and potentially ruinous to the poor sods over whose fiends they galloped, so I find the area a 'turn off' but there you go that's 'just me'

2 To focus on individual singers and try to find out and record for posterity their views, feelings, ideas, thoughts both about individual songs and about 'folksong'. I'd include here 'self-mediation' and/or 'autoethnography' (saw a piece about Cumbria written in this way, it was mentioned on Mudcat).

As Vic Smith's contributions have shown, even at a more lay and non 'academic' level, there is awareness of possible difficulties in getting at 'the truth' about these things. I believe that academics would call these 'methodological problems'. Whose account do you believe? How much is the singer doing what we all do and editing what he or she says to suit the audience. Could the singer possibly be spinning a yarn because he or she likes the attention/is a natural story teller (and in some cases mentioned on Mudcat is getting paid). How objective (if this is possible) is the reporting of the 'data'?

A third way is the Lloydian one, especially as in his first history of English folk song, the long historical view, which in Lloyd's case was a very Marxist view of English history, based mostly on the history by
A L Morton (which I have browsed in having got it cheap online after seeing it referenced via MUSTRAD or Mudcat or both). Harker attempts something similar I think in his overview of the folklorists, he attempts to set them in the historical context as he sees it.

So many different perspectives!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 05:29 AM

dear dear I put 'you're' instead of 'your'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM

You also had huntsmen galloping over people's "fiends"!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 05:56 AM

I'm a fool. Regarding fiends been watching too much 'Good Omens' on Catch-up TV obviously! Tenant and Sheen both brilliant.

By the way, as so often there is a very readable piece by Vic Gammon which covers areas we (ok I) have been groping my way through.

https://www.academia.edu/5385241/The_Early_Recordings_of_The_Copper_Family_of_Rottingdean_Commentary

And he also has a piece on the actual music so full marks from me for him.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 06:32 AM

Kate Lee was staying in the house of Sir Edward Carson. I just found out who he is. Not only was he the prosecutor of Oscar Wilde but he also was an Ulster Unionist who helped to create Northern Ireland. Lee herself was 'Anglo Irish'. So interesting in terms of the general social background of the early Folk Song Society and no doubt people will have written articles about it.

Harker explains in his introduction why he does not deal with the work of Kate Lee.

He refers to the Copper family just once (p236), when stating that A L Lloyd used a short article about them

"to challenge discretely some of the more old-fashioned notions about the influence of print on folk-song, the incidence of choral singing, and the issue of musical literacy amongst singers."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 06:53 AM

If you are interested to see things in something of a bigger picture I don't think scholarly works like that of Harker are the place to go. You need contemporary descriptions and accounts. Scholarly works may include pointers to them in the references they give but that is not what the scholars or their publishers are about.

The bigger picture is going to be spread out over a vast amoiunt of writing elsewhere, much by amateur experts who are interested in digging out details and writing for people who are interested in them.

We used to have about 15-years worth of Folk Music Journal in the house. I now only have four numbers that had been mis-shelved at the time we gave them away. Those include an interesting 1988 article by Vic Gammon, which starts "Reading through nineteenth-century copies of the Sussex Agricultural Express as part of my research project on ...", a 1992 article by Dave Harker that has a lot of 17 century detail, and a short 1989 note by M G Myer quoting extracts from a correspondance with Bob Copper about why the Copper family repertoire didn't include Jack Tar/The Saucy Sailer though his grandfather sung it (which has parallels with things Walter Pardon is quoted as saying).

As can be seen in his extensive references to Alfred Williams, Harker does dig into the historical context of the songs and singers. That's not what 'Fakesong' is about. That is maybe why this discussion keeps going off topic in interesting ways.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 09:02 AM

That was a response to Pseudonymous


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 09:12 AM

Always interested to read what Jag has to say.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 11:53 AM

Pseudonymous wrote:-
As Vic Smith's contributions have shown, even at a more lay and non 'academic' level, there is awareness of possible difficulties in getting at 'the truth' about these things. I believe that academics would call these 'methodological problems'. Whose account do you believe? How much is the singer doing what we all do and editing what he or she says to suit the audience. Could the singer possibly be spinning a yarn because he or she likes the attention/is a natural story teller (and in some cases mentioned on Mudcat is getting paid). How objective (if this is possible) is the reporting of the 'data'?

That really depends on what we regard as 'the truth' because 'the truth' is so clearly bound up with 'the significance' and 'the interpretation' of an event or a series of happenings.
On the 31st January an event of monumental importance will happen in the UK. The facts of the matter are quite stark and few. The significance of the event is huge. I wouldn't mind betting that in fifty years time there will still be opinions expressed that say the what happened that day was:-
* The best thing that ever happened in the UK
and
* The worst thing that ever happened in the UK
... with every shade of opinion in between with the reasons strongly reflecting everything about the person who said it.

I have just returned from spending a long time in the delightful company of Jon Dudley. The problem is that I now have more than two hours of Jon's speech to transcribe. The conversation was all about his position in the family came about, how it developed and the effects that it had on him. Much of what Jon had to say was not new to me but to hear Jon's take on it was very important to me because it gave me a different triangulating point, a locus to broaden my knowledge of the family's story. I already know 'the truth' about the year when a book or an album were published, when the first trip to the USA took place but to have a different opinion/viewpoint of the significance of each landmark in the development of the Coppers' place in the folk music community - all of which assist us in getting the facts of the matter.

Another quotation from a different post:-
We have not established as far as I can see whether the Coppers knew songs that they chose not to sing in front of a woman (especially one of higher social status?). This is I think they key point Cole is making, and he cites Lucy Broadwood as an authority for the view that some singers would not sing in front of female collectors songs that they thought were unsuitable.
The Jim Copper generation knew and sung risque songs.
Somewhere in the mass of books, articles, radio and TV programmes that I have read or written or contributed to, I remember Bob saying something like (and here I paraphrase):-
Granny Copper said, "No no no. I don't want to hear songs like that in the cottage. If you want to sing songs like that you can sing them down the pub; not here."

.... and that was that. Jon Dudley may be able to remember the context of this though thinking about it, that story probably crops up in several places.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 01:16 PM

Not my area of expertise, but I'm following this thread with great interest.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 01:23 PM

@Vic Smith

The 1989 FMJ (Vol5, No5) note by MG Myer that I mentioned just above about Jack Tar/The Saucy Sailor quotes a 1986 letter from Bob Copper saying "...my Granny used to say of it, apparently, 'I don't want your dirty old tap-room songs in here, thank you!' "


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 01:31 PM

Since the page is open.

The quote from Bob Copper goes on "I only remember Dad singing snatches of it, I don't think he knew all the words. He certainly didn't write it in The Book and that's why it has not been included in any published book or records - and it is for that reason that we never sing it. I do however, remember the tune."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 02:47 PM

The Saucy Sailor, a dirty old tap-room song? My god, have things changed. I've had it sung to me by very prim old ladies. There's no hint of bawdry or sex in it. The girl won't have a tarry sailor for a husband until she sees his money then he turns the tables on her and rejects her. Are we definitely talking about Roud 531 here? The other one, Roud 530 is even more innocuous, a dialogue between mother and daughter, mother persuading daughter not to marry a sailor.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 03:17 PM

> The girl won't have a tarry sailor for a husband until she sees his money

A strict Victorian moralist might have found the theme offensive, and "dirty" may have meant no more than "despicable" or (colloquially) "lousy."

The OED cites, for example, Byron in 1819: "'Twas for his dirty fee, And not from any love to you."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM

In brief M G Myer had commented in a review that "the most a Copper-song ploughboy will get up to is to 'take a winsome lass for to sit on his knee'" and Bob Copper wrote to him saying " your theory that the songs were 'bowdlerised' in their transition from taproom to parlour is absolutely correct. Dad told me that his mother was most strict about such matters and would not even allow Grand-dad to sing 'Jack Tar becuase of the line 'Oh, you're dirty love and your flirty love and you smell so of tar'. - There's puritan for you! (as they say)". (FMJ v5 n5 p623)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 03:25 PM

Crossed - so Lighter's suggestion seems spot on.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 04:39 PM

Pseudonymous said (among much else) "It seems to me that if the Coppers stood on equal social status terms with the gentry they would not have been received in the scullery, this being of course the part of a large gentry house where the servants got on with their work."

Of course the Coppers did not stand on equal social status terms with the gentry. No-one has suggested that they did, only that they did have regular dealings with them.

Pseudonymous also referred to "vehement assertions I have read to the effect that Child and all who came in his wake firmly believed that 'the folk' created beautiful songs which have been smoothed like pebbles in the sea". That was indeed what Sharp chose to believe, but how many other collectors or scholars have subscribed to that belief? Surely Child for one did not?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Jan 20 - 05:26 PM

We simply don't know what Child thought of their creation. He didn't give us his final thoughts in any detail. It's fairly obvious his attitudes to the ballads and their provenance were changing gradually during his last 10 years, and as a sophisticated professor his attitude to the broadside ballad was only to be expected. If we lesser mortals have spent many hours grubbing among the dunghills to find the few jewels, he would have enjoyed this even less than we do.

Whilst he must have contemplated their origins from time to time, he was absolutely engrossed in their more recent manifestations. Those with their earliest versions on broadsides he happily included, and where this was the case and he had access they are generally his A and B versions, but not in every case. Similarly Percy's Folio Manuscript.

One thing that demonstrates his lack of interest in investigating the earliest versions, and also his unwillingness to revisit a ballad once published, is when The Cruel Mother broadside was available to him he simply included it in the Additions and Corrections with no comment.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 28 Jan 20 - 05:14 AM

Vic Smith wrote : "That really depends on what we regard as 'the truth' because 'the truth' is so clearly bound up with 'the significance' and 'the interpretation' of an event or a series of happenings."

Well said!

This, perhaps, is partly why there are so many 'heated arguments' - as opposed to 'discussions' - on Mudcat?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 28 Jan 20 - 05:46 AM

Hello Steve:

You wrote this:

"It's fairly obvious his attitudes to the ballads and their provenance were changing gradually during his last 10 years, and as a sophisticated professor his attitude to the broadside ballad was only to be expected. If we lesser mortals have spent many hours grubbing among the dunghills to find the few jewels, he would have enjoyed this even less than we do."

I briefly wondered whether you were dangling bait for what I know would be an interesting discussion to which you - as an expert on broadsides - could contribute a great deal? I am sure you are aware of far more of the various discussions about this 'dunghill' reference and of Child's criteria for selecting or rejecting ballads than I am.

Trying to stick with Harker (thinking Child would merit a thread of his own and surprised that there isn't one) where you have put 'sophisticated professor' Harker or somebody might put something like 'North American bourgeois white male with a Protestant background". Harker certainly thinks that Child's selection reflects his bourgeois tastes. I think Harker's view, as we have seen is that as a representation of working class/lower status taste through the centuries Child's selection (along with a lot of other stuff) is not representative. I cannot find a reference to dunghills or dunghill in Harker.

Harker refers to differing 'editions' of ballads produced by Child. Is it worth listing these with dates and checking that Harker got it right? I think I read something where somebody challenged Harker's use of the term 'editions' is why I am asking. Also trying to start at the beginning ..


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Jan 20 - 06:46 PM

I prefer my 'sophisticated professor'. It is a great pity that all the effort expended on the very learned headnotes detailing the various continental equivalents has been so little used. I am particularly interested in the Scandinavian ones as I think many of the English language Child ballads are to some extent translations of these by sophisticated people, seemingly mainly in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Not quite sure what you mean by 'editions'. Child published The English and Scottish Ballads (taken from published collections) as part of his Poets Anthology, in the 1860s. There are probably various editions of this but I have none of them except for a few extracts. It is quite different from the ESPB. As far as I know there are not different editions of ESPB, reprintings yes, and the Loomis House recent reprint puts the additions and corrections in with the main body, which I suppose constitutes a new edition. >>>>Harker refers to differing 'editions' of ballads produced by Child<<<<< Confused!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Jan 20 - 06:53 PM

Child rarely expressed opinions on individual versions of ballads, but where he did I agree whole-heartedly with most of them. I dearly wish he had done more of this, but when you're dealing with that volume of material, mostly as a hobby, you rarely have time for many opinions.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 05:43 AM

I got the 'editions' thing sorted out: there were Harker says two slightly different versions of the ESB, and I think Harker refers to the big collection as a third edition, and that somebody picked him up on this, no doubt on the basis that it was quite different so not really a 'third edition'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 05:52 AM

Wikipedia confirms my understanding that there were two editions of the Child Ballads. The first was the 8-volume collection titled English and Scottish Ballads (1860), which generally presented just one variant of each ballad. Child published The English and Scottish Popular Ballads in five volumes, 1882-1898 (but sometimes it's counted as ten volumes, and I don't quite understand why).

Nobody ever talks about Child's narratives in his work, but I find them fascinating - especially when he ties the English-language songs to songs and stories in other languages. It's fun to just sit down and read Child, and the Loomis Press edition is especially readable.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 03:10 PM

This is all from memory so don't take it as read, but I seem to remember they first came out separately in 10 PARTS, paper copies, typical of the Victorian era, and it's conceivable that some people had these bound as was. When they started being published as books they were put into 5 volumes, and I have a vague recollection of even a 2 volume set.

I think the ESB did go into 2 editions. I never had a copy, making do with just a list of contents. It might well be online somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 06:03 PM

Harker (p102-103) states that the early 1857-59 ESB had a slightly revised 2nd edition in 1861. He quotes from this in the following pages, citing comments on ballad style and content and then in the section on sources, giving some of Child's comments on these.

Harker says that Scott and Percy provide 25 % of the texts, 70% came from seven mediators: Scott, Percy, Ritson, Buchan, Motherwell, Jamieson and Kinloch. He says that Child quoted at length from Motherwell's notes and provides example comments on the material the mediators provided for him. 115 texts from the 1st edition were left out of the final one.

He says that once all of Percy's misdeeds came to light Child had to 'reconsider his trust in all the song-book makers on whom he had relied'. Grundtvig helped in this, providing advice and encouragement.

Harker quotes from the letters (in Hustvedt) showing that the two men discussed matters of taste and interpretation. So Child had called the Buchan texts 'prolix and vulgar' (among other things) but Grundtvig thought their vulgarity was proof of authenticity. Child's reply to this was that it was an 'artificial vulgarity' which made him fear that it came from "a man and not from a class of people", 'the vulgarity that I mean consists in a tame, mean, unreal style of expression, far from volksmassig'.

In the end Harker says Buchan's texts were used over three times as often in the third edition (ie the ESPB) as in the 2nd (ie the one of 1861) so Child Harker thinks gave way

I wish Child did not have so much German in him: I know this is because he got his doctorate from studying German philology in Germany but I cannot read or interpret the words.

But it interests me that Child at this point seems to want songs that come from a class of people and not from a man.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Jan 20 - 01:38 PM

'Percy's misdeeds' were surely already well known before Child was born. Child certainly was desperate to have the Percy Folio Manuscript before setting out on ESPB and indeed thanks to Furnivall he got that.

Child did bow to Grundtvig when it came to including most of Buchan's mediated material, but that would have complied with his initial stated intention anyway, which was to include all ballad material that MIGHT contain traditionary material, i.e., anything that looked like it contained the genuine ballad style. Buchan's 'eked out' contributions certainly did contain mostly pretty good ballad style, as he was mixing and matching from one ballad to another and putting in a good old sprinkling of commonplaces. Even his own pieces that Child included are much better imitations than those of the literati.

I don't think Grundtvig had any sway on Child over his sudden ceasing of criticising suspect versions, as Grundtvig was already dead by the time this happened.

Not sure I've noted any German I needed to understand.

Child's overriding desire was to get at the manuscripts as opposed to the published versions he used in ESB, and he was indeed very successful with this. Very little in the way of appropriate manuscripts has appeared since ESPB. He didn't get to see the later Buchan ms which was bought for the library after he died, but he didn't miss anything. He had been told by various correspondents in Scotland that there was nothing of any worth to add to what he had seen and copied in the BL ms. None of the Buchan mss contain anything like what we would call field notes as can be found in Motherwell's and Kinloch's Mss. The BL one is actually just a proof for the 2 volumes of 1828.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 30 Jan 20 - 03:51 PM

OK thanks, Steve, so Harker seems to have got the Percy detail wrong then.

What Harker has to say on Motherwell is interesting: he dislikes his high church Tory politics, and doesn't seem impressed that he was secretary of an Orange order, but he seems to respect his more scholarly approach, and thinks this approach might be why Child used so much of his work. Harker also thinks that Ritson was more scholarly.

Both Percy and Motherwell seem to have been aware of 'Viking' stuff, Percy translated Iceland Edda (from Latin) and Motherwell wrote poetry based on sagas. Which leads me to the question why you think translations of ballads Danish to English was taking place 18th and early 19th century. I'm not doubting that this happened just wondering what the context was.

I seem to remember finding Hustvedt. 'Ballad Books and Ballad Men' online but now I cannot find it, but I seem to recall something about translation in that.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Jan 20 - 05:31 PM

We have no direct proof that during the 18th century the antiquarian editors were translating directly from the Scandinavian, but by about 1800 Jamieson certainly was. Most of these ballads are no older than the 16th/17th century, some even later. Of those that have equivalents out of Britain those that match up with Scandinavian ballads are much more common than from other parts of Europe. In order to make a British version one only needed the bare bones of the story. Some of them could have been translated more than once, Tvo Seostre (Child 10) for instance. What little evidence we have points towards direct translation by relatively sophisticated hands. Of course in the 19th century the likes of Borrow, Prior and Grey were translating and publishing Scandinavian ballads. If they were doing it in the 19th, why not the 18th?

In my own neck of the woods there was frequent dialogue between Denmark and the locals (As a fishing port we have long had a Danish church) but I think direct translation by ballad editors is far more likely. A lot of this is just my opinion, but I challenge anyone to try and disprove it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Jan 20 - 05:42 PM

I think the editors' politics are pretty much irrelevant. Motherwell had his own publishing business in Perth and by all accounts was a bit of a lad in his youth. His 'scholarly approach' so lauded by Child and others only came in later on as an afterthought. There is some evidence to suggest he was 'mediating' just as much as the rest, well perhaps not as much as Buchan. His later approach is certainly the beginnings of a proper scientific approach in line with Ritson, but I can't help thinking there was at least some hypocrisy in there. When he was younger he is on record as having bragged about his mediations to his mates in the pub. There is also some evidence of the people he paid to go out and collect doing their own mediating. This has some similarity with Scott as some of those who were sending Scott material were also mediating before it got to him.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 02:50 AM

Hello Steve

I don't think Harker regarded Motherwell as perfectly scholarly, but I thought it worth noting that at least in this case Harker appears willing to give some credit where it is due. Harker asserts that Motherwell came up against/discovered the extent to which print and oral cultures were intermingled.

I think there was something in Hustvedt about the possibility of translations from Latin, so that is twice it cropped up recently. Latin as a medium for the spread of yarns seems obvious given that it was a lingua franca.

I think I might disagree with you about the politics of collectors. I say this with my Eng Lit head on. (But I suppose I should ask 'irrelevant to what?' For example, when we read a novel by Hogg (you will know who I mean) his connection with Scott and his political project and affiliations was just one way we tried to make sense of it. Motherwell was another pro union Scott. This particular bunch of Scotsmen was described as 'anti enlightenment' by a historian in our reading group, and Motherwell's objection to ordinary people getting learning and knowledge instead of the old more superstitious ways seemed part of this, though he was of a lower social class. Their 'romanticism' is part and parcel of their interest in old stuff, and it isn't just an objection to the ugliness of industrialisation as it came out partly through the more leftist views of the Romantics (as in Blake, early Wordsworth etc) but in the case of the right wing as opposition to enlightenment per so. This is how the argument goes, at any rate.

The problem it seems to me with Child Ballads is that it all gets circular: Child had his own ideas about what did and did not count, but little idea about what a 'ballad' actually was or where they came from. Then as Harker says, Child's collection became a sort of practical definition of 'ballad'. Which later US students of 'the ballad' used to make all sorts of wild guesses about the people who had produced such a body of literature. Needless to say they drew a picture of a very odd 'race'. And Harker jumps up and down getting cross about it. With some justification I sometimes feel.

Gerould, for example. I read some of him and Harker quotes some.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 03:42 AM

According to Hustvedt, Thomas Gray translated some material from Old Norse in the 1760s. Interestingly, Hustvedt says that the work of Percy was influential in a Scandinavian revival, so it did go both ways!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe G
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 04:50 AM

By strange coincidence I'm listening to Deborah Orr's biography 'Motherwell' as I browse this

As you were.....


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 04:51 AM

What chance some of the people putting effort into it were doing so simply because they were interested, or liked a puzzle, or enjoyed the songs, or simply liked 'collecting'? I don't recall much theorising on romanticism or politics over contemporaneous butterfly or fossil collections.

Why do people today dig through old documents and broadsheets looking for songs? Why do they write articles for FMJ or mustrad.org?

Will people write scholarly papers about them?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 05:45 AM

Hello Jag

I don't have any simple answers to your questions? But the answer to the last one will probably be 'yes'.

Interesting comparison with butterfly collecting etc. I had thought of dinky cars as a comparison with song collection. Similar liking for the 'rare' has struck me in both hobbies. Also a certain focus in number: the more you 'collect' the prouder you can be of your collection. I'd better not mention 'packaging' since though this definitely improves the value of a dinky car it won't be a metaphor people approve of when applied to folk.

But even with dinky cars, some people might ask the interesting question why dinky cars, what is the fascination and so on, what is culturally interesting about the 'car' and why were children given them to play with, especially in the coming post-oil world … (?)

Just in passing, I looked again at a piece by Beaman, arch critic of Harker. He is political from the outset. Referring to the revival of Sharp's day he says and I quote: '... for a brief moment it looked as if a genuine, indigenous and unifying national culture might have been discovered. This however was a false dawn.'

This is from Beaman's 'Who Were the Folk' article, in which he has one or two criticisms of Sharp as well as more or less open contempt for Harker and little time for Lloyd.

He criticises those who try to portray 'folk' as belonging to the working class. In what seems to me to be rhetorical rather than scholarly comment he says that the approach leads to a kind of inverted snobbery and that it leads to a situation where there is an insistence that the only proper mode for the performance of folk music is "an informal, amateurish and 'amateurish' one which faithfully reflects its supposed social origins and leads to displays of suspicion, resentment and restrictiveness when the material is used outside this 'working class' role." He goes on to dis Georgina Boyes' critique of something Vaughan Williams produced.

I'm sure there is quite a lot of 'theorising' about fossils, if not 'fossil collections' by the way and some controversy too (evolution v creationism). One of my grandma's believed that fossils etc were traps set by the devil. (We didn't get on too well).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 05:48 AM

apologies for 'Scott' in a post above. Should have been 'Scot'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 06:17 AM

Does Harker have anything to say about John Leyden? He was around at the same time as Scott and Motherwell, impressed the heck out of everyone who knew him, but left only a small paper trail. I put a couple of anonymous songs on my website which I think must have been his work (who else could possibly have reworked Hafiz into a topical Scottish song?). What he published under his own name tended to be overblown (like that vast ballad about the demoniac aristo who ended up getting boiled in lead) but maybe he could do better when he wasn't trying so hard?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 06:28 AM

Hi Psuedonymous. I picked butterflies and fossils (rather than dinky toys or stamps) because collecting them could, but needn't be, related to theorising (about natural science or religion). Also the drive to 'get a full set' probably doesn't apply to songs.

I think for some people who collect enjoyment of the social interaction with people having similar interests is part of the attraction.

I raise it in the connection to Harker because everything he decribes people as doing is given a political interpretation. Collectors who had money and leisure time (a wealthy country parson for example) could simply have done it as a hobby.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 06:42 AM

Hello Jag
I take your point. And I think you are right about Harker, it is part of his 'Marxist' analysis?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 06:56 AM

John Leyden: Harker p 40, 59, 60. L Knew Walter Scott, obtained the Glenriddell manuscript from a Carlisle bookseller. That's about it from Harker.

More info on the Glenriddell manuscript in question here:

https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1819&context=ssl


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 07:29 AM

"What chance some of the people putting effort into it were doing so simply because they were interested, or liked a puzzle, or enjoyed the songs, or simply liked 'collecting'? I don't recall much theorising on romanticism or politics over contemporaneous butterfly or fossil collections."

I made a very similar point relating to Cecil Sharp on Jan 20.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 09:24 AM

> Child had his own ideas about what did and did not count, but little idea about what a 'ballad' actually was or where they came from. Then as Harker says, Child's collection became a sort of practical definition of 'ballad'. Which later US students of 'the ballad' used to make all sorts of wild guesses about the people who had produced such a body of literature. Needless to say they drew a picture of a very odd 'race'.

I don't believe Harker was the first to discover this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 10:26 AM

Hello Brian

It seems to me that Sharp himself did think he was 'theorising'. I refer, for example, to the introduction to his "Folk Song in England", which refers to 'statements and theories'. He states that the folk tune provides many problems for a musical theorist, etc etc.

Not only that but in the same introduction he lists a few of the perspectives which might be shone on folk-song (ethnology, history, social reformist), saying basically, room for all without 'rivalries'.

So while fully agreeing that he enjoyed what he collected, I don't think I can agree that he did it 'just because' he enjoyed it, and it also seems to me (without necessarily sharing Harker's sense of outrage about appropriation of worker's culture) that at least in part he made a living out of it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 10:27 AM

Not of course that anybody is necessarily trying to state that his sole motive/interest was pleasure in the material!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 10:53 AM

I don't see that thinking about the material collected and pondering over its nature and origins, and sometimes getting some money for something related to it it, is inconsistant with doing it because it's interesting. Did Sharp cover his costs?

Did Sharp present sociological or political theories related to his material?

In the parts I have read Harker doesn't do any theorising. His theories are presented ready made.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 11:09 AM

"I don't believe Harker was the first to discover this."

As Vic Gammon stated in his 1986 review of 'Fakesong': "There is a sense in which Harker's cut-off from the folk revival gives him
a very odd and undifferentiated view of the movement. What is most
significant is that many of the criticisms which Harker produces in a theoretical mode have been current within the revival for years..."

I don't see that thinking about the material collected and pondering over its nature and origins, and sometimes getting some money for something related to it it, is inconsistant with doing it because it's interesting. Did Sharp cover his costs?

In the USA, which is the period I know most about, Sharp's fieldwork expenses were largely underwritten by his benefactor Helen Storrow in Boston. He made his income (over-estimated by Harker in his letter to FMJ as described earlier) through lecturing and consultancy work. I can't tell you how much money he made from his publications - maybe someone out there can help? I agree with your general point.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 12:56 PM

I would hazard a guess that the collecting instinct was/is present in at least most of the 'collectors'. Why do we use that word particularly to describe them/us? Prior to becoming interested in folk song I was an avid collector of just about everything that didn't cost a fortune. Many of the earlier collectors were antiquarian collectors before they started on ballads. I possibly have the most comprehensive collection of tradition related broadsides in the country. (Mostly copies I might add).

Pseu. That Thomas Gray mention was particularly interesting. When I wrote 'Gray' I meant Alexander Gray. If you can find out anything about which ballads TG translated and where they can be found it could prove very enlightening. All the examples I gave you were 19th century.

Yes of course Percy's work was influential throughout the continent, but there is no evidence I've seen of any of Percy's published ballads turning up in Danish oral tradition.

When Grundtvig published Engelske og Skotiske Folkevisor in 1840 at least one ballad from this has turned up in later oral tradition in Denmark, but only one, The Cruel Mother, that I know of. G took his versions from Scott, Kinloch, Motherwell and Buchan.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 03:08 PM

I think we can dismiss Gray as having any influence on ballads. The 2 odes he translated 'The Fatal Sisters' and 'The Descent of Odin' bear little resemblance to traditional balladry, though they do use ballad metre.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 05:26 PM

@ Steve, sure you are right, but the detail is interesting and perhaps broadly relevant as it shows interest in Scandi culture at the time of Gray.

So many interesting points from this thread.

On Beaman, it amused me that he pulled Harker up for using a 'sexist' definition of 'peasant'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 02:34 AM

"I don't believe Harker was the first to discover this."

Nor would I believe it.

I would be interested to know who had made the same point before.

I seem to end up looking as if I am justifying Harker, which isn't my intention, and I certainly don't want to seem to have a go at Gammon, as I have read and enjoyed a whole book and several articles he wrote, but to be fair (which seems reasonable) I will point out that Harker cites two pieces of Gammon, both on collecting in Surrey, with approval.

I think Brian is referring to the Gammon piece called 'Two for the Show'. I found this interesting and have quoted from it before. It can be downloaded free using JSTOR and may be available elsewhere online. Worth mentioning again though, as Gammon writes well and for me is always interesting. On a trivial point, I agree with Gammon that Harker's paragraphs are too long.

Gammon finds Harker's view of the revival too undifferentiated because his main focus is on A L Lloyd and Gammon thinks that Lloyd was not as influential in that as Harker suggests. Interesting, since I had been almost getting the impression from some Mudcat posts that MacColl and Lloyd were more or less single-handedly responsible for it all (with a bit of help from Lomax and the US 'left' as embodied in Peggy Seeger, and the only people whose views were worth quoting.

Regarding Beaman, a detail I got from Sharp from him interested me: hope I've go this right: Sharp produced dance steps based on 'trad' for a production of Midsummer Night's Dream (wonder what he made of Bottom's comments on ballads) and wrote a 'classical' piece incorporating tunes, ie he was in effect trying to create national classical stuff incorporating bits of what he say as 'folk' rather like people did on the continent. Beaman seems to approve, being rather opposed to the 'authentic' renderings he is sarcastic about. So maybe a desire to do this with folk was part of the motivation for Sharp's collecting (we were discussing motivations for collecting before) and this would link with the comment Atkinson made about Sharp being influenced by Wagner.

On the other hand, Beaman's research into Sharp's informants was interesting and show just what you can do with the census (which I used to trace some of Walter Pardon's family history). His piece made me curious about 19th century Somerset.

On the other hand, Beaman can be just as irritating as Harker and in similar ways.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 06:12 AM

I really wasn't going to bother with this - I have always believed that everything that was worth saying about this book was said three decades ago when it was more-or-less rejected by a still healthy folk song scene
However, as this discussion appears to be lacking the same two most important features as did ‘Fakesong’, perhaps it is worth mentioning them here

As with Harker, there has been no attempt to examine ‘the forgeries’ in question – the songs that were collected and presented as ‘the voice of the people’ by Sharp and his colleagues and later on by those who accepted (more or less, with reservations), those who followed them into the field – the Lomaxs and the Library of Congress researchers, the BBC team, Goldstein, Mike Yates, Hamish Henderson, Peter Hall, David Buchan, Hugh Shields, Tom Munnelly…… (all taken in by the big con)
   
Harker chose to denigrate the earlier collectors systematically, personally and by questioning their competence and veracity, rather than present their ‘forgeries’ as evidence.
This discussion has more or less followed the same pattern – no examination of the songs, just the characters and abilities of people who, up to now, have been regarded with a degree of respect and in some case reverence

Harker was totally ignorant of the genre of songs he was dismissing as “fakes” – he relied on the assistance of others to produce his book and, in doing so, aroused a great deal of anger and resentment in the way he treated the help he had been given
He said on a number of occasions that his appearance at conferences had been curtailed because of the hostile reception he received
I see little that has happened since to alter that position – on the contrary, the confusion and often hostility that now exists surrounding the term “folk” seems to indicate that that effect of ‘Fakesong’ has been to add to the mess that is now ‘folk’

The second stunning omission has been the singers themselves – no reference to them in the book and the only ones here has been to present the most respected family of source singers in England as self-promoting showmen

The main evidence we have of the cultural importance of folk song lies in the songs themselves and how they were regarded by the singers and communities they served – without them all that is left is personal opinion and (not very well-informed) guesswork

In my opinion, if any sense is to be made of the enigma that is folksong, it lies in gathering together all the research from as far back as possible and examining that as a whole
Harker adopted the Pol Pot ‘return to the year zero’ approach of throwing everything out, yet he presented no suggestions on who we should remove the scales from our eyes and start again – classic ‘baby out with the bathwater’.
It obviously has achieved nothing but harm to date
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 07:59 AM

Jim's eloquence speaks for itself.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 08:18 AM

It seem to have stunned you to silence Pseud
I suppose it's out of the question that you should addreass the points made - perish the thought
If not, it stands unchallenged - that's how debate works
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM

By blanket criticising Harker's book you are doing exactly what you are accusing others of doing, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 10:11 AM

'addreass the points made'. A pointless exercise as we have found to our cost in the past.

By the the way, Pseu, it's BEARMAN with an R if you are referring to Chris.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 10:25 AM

I am reporting the general response to the book at the time and the previous lack of experience and knowledge of the writer
Of course, if the neo-researchers ever got around to a full assessment of all the research on folk song that has been carried out, Harker's points would have to be taken into consideration, but the denigrating manner in which he dealt with his fellow researchers makes that nigh impossible
He did what he did regarding the 'baby and bathwater' approach, so it rings a little hollow to demand he be treated fairer than he treated others

I would find it far more preferable that, rather defending the indefensible, some of the points I have been made be answered, but as they haven't been so far, I see no reason that they should be now

Divorcing the singers and musicians from the opinions (only) of a theorist might be a good start
How can you possibly come to any conclusion on the place and authenticity of folk-song in society without examining the songs themselves and the opinions of the singers (what little we have) ?
That's folk with the songs and singers removed from the equation
What makes Bert Lloyd's ' Folk Song in England' vastly superior in every way to Steve Roud's 'Son of....' is that Bert put his arguments alongside the songs and singers, while Roud chose to make them notable by their absence... in my opinion, of course

How the hell can so many of us have been so taken in for so long and why has it taken a 'folk-ignoramous' to put us all right ?

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 11:29 AM

"A pointless exercise as we have found to our cost in the past."
You appear to have caught a nasty dose of Harkeritis
I have never attempted to describe anyone as "starry-eyed or naive
Nor have I offered lists of people who agree with me rather than argument
You have my arguments - there's nothing wrong with debunking them even if you don't manage to convince me - this is a public debate, not an attempt to change each other's minds
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 12:52 PM

@ Steve: sorry grey matter falters again; you are of course right to correct my spelling of Bearman. I only have one of his pieces, by the way, the 2000 piece called 'Who were the folk...'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 12:52 PM

Checkmate, I think
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 01:19 PM

Jim's eloquence speaks for itself.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: RTim
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 01:23 PM

Question - Is Harker still alive? If so - what is he doing today ?

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 01:25 PM

"Jim's eloquence speaks for itself."
So does your inability to challenge these extremely fundamental points, I'm afraid
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 01:32 PM

THIS SEEMS TO BE IT
SOM INTERESTING POINTS MADE HERE
Particularly:
"Your article also talks of "a controlling manipulator who presented a false idyll of rural England by excluding anything that didn't fit his agenda" – clearly based on David Harker's research in the 1970s and 1980s. But later research showed that Harker's statistical methods were based on false assumptions."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 01:56 PM

"But later research showed that Harker's statistical methods were based on false assumptions."

My, I am surprised to hear this! Out of the blue, as it were.

I would be grateful for a reference, and also for an explanation of which of Harker's statistical methods the piece in question deals with. Descriptive or analytic? On what page of Harker does this statistical analysis appear?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 02:09 PM

"I would be grateful for a reference,"
The work of most field workers, before and after Harker have contradicted his claims with what they found
Yoy problem has always been that you reject out of hand anything they doesn't fit your precoonceptions
Scolarship throughout the twntieth century has been solidly based on what was found by Sharp, even though it has always been admitted that those finding needed adapting
No-one up to Harker, claimed that he and his colleges faked anything - that is a new nastiness introduced to the scene
Nor did anybody attempt to play down the role of the singers, as you have consistently
As witj any dispute on something that has been agreed as long as has folk song - it is the job of the challengers to proved evidence, not the rest of us to defend a century plus worth of research
You refuse even to put Harkers claims to the acid test of putting it up against the songs and the views of the singers
As the song goes:
"So bing your witness luv and I'll never deny you"
Jim Varroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 02:14 PM

Jim's logic and clarity are models to us all.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 02:57 PM

Ducking and diving again
I order to be effective sarcasm requires something you apparently don't possess - wit
I've answered your points fairly clearly, even for somebody as new to all this as you obviously are - have the courtesy to answer mine
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 03:29 PM

> No-one up to Harker, claimed that he and his colleges faked anything

Not quite correct, Jim, though it is certainly true that "fake" is often used invidiously.

The poet James Reeves didn't use it when he published "Idiom of the People "in 1958, which presented the unbowdlerized texts of songs collected by Sharp in England which the publishing constraints of the time forced him to alter, soften, or partially rewrite.

In "The Everlasting Circle" (1960) Reeves did the same for texts collected by Baring-Gould, Hammon, and Gardiner. Though Baring-Gould seems to have been more of a prude than Sharp, he too had to rewrite songs (sometimes extensively) to get them published at all.

Allegedly Child too very occasionally suppressed (rather than alter) a line or a stanza.

And we all know about Stan Hugill's chanteys

All American collectors suppressed or bowdlerized even mildly erotic texts. Few even noted them down, Robert Gordon and Vance Randolph being the outstanding exceptions.

G. Legman, later the editor of Randolph's large collection of bawdy songs - all from the Ozarks - complained in the early '60s of what he *did* call "fakery" in connection with the early collectors. He was talking solely about the bowdlerization and suppression of texts.

Legman wondered strenuously why Child had not included the Percy manuscript's text of "The Lobster" in his collection of ballads. He called Percy the "first" and B-G the "worst" of the "fakers."

One wonders if Harker was influenced by Legman's largely accurate, if hyperbolic and intemperate attacks, then decided to "show" in the face of the evidence that "fakery" was rampant, cynical, and pervasive.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 03:59 PM

Hi Jon
Are you referring to Legman's The Horn Book? If so I have my reading for tonight. Unfortunately, I've got 'Blow the candle out' but not the first volume. Which of them do you recommend for the fakery info?

Yes 'The Crabfish' would have fulfilled all of his criteria and filled many pages with its antecedents, much better than many of the ballads he did include.

I really wish we could get to grips with different types of mediation rather than lumping them all together. Percy and B-G were both highly acclaimed in their own times for their bowdlerisations which were done for very valid reasons. B-G did actually fake a few ballads that he sent to Child, but this pales into insignificance when held up against someone like Peter Buchan who maintained until he died that all of his material came straight from oral tradition unmediated when even his most ardent apologists accepted he 'eked them out', and of course Scott regretted his mediations publicly.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 04:11 PM

Yes, Steve, I believe I'm thinking of "The Bawdy Song in Fact and Print" in The Horn Book (1964).

A much shorter version of the article appeared, I think, in a journal a couple of years earlier.

I also seem to recall that Legman accused Child of suppressing a stanza of "Trooper and Maid" in the Addenda to Volume 5.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 04:17 PM

@ Lighter: re your last paragraph:

a) Harker does indeed mention Legman, and mostly in the narrow context you indicated earlier in the post in terms of bowdlerization and suppression of erotic texts. See eg p 118. This by the way refers to the 1861 "2nd edition" of ESB, not to the ESPB. Harker has a comment on the values of Child's world in which sadism, murder, butchery and any amount of violence are silently condoned whereas a bit of harmless eroticism has to be hidden away in a Motherwell type reference in the Index.

b) For me, the idea that Harker's book is one in which he attempts to show that 'fakery' of songs was "rampant, cynical and pervasive" misrepresents the book and its aims. I think this point was touched upon earlier in the book. I suppose some people (present company excluded) may get this idea from the title, imagining it to refer to fake songs, when Harker's idea is broader than that.

c) Further, as previously discussed, Harker singles out some antiquarians/researchers, including Motherwell and Ritson, as having a more scholarly approach than others.

So I don't personally feel there is much in the book 'Fakesong' to support the supposition in your last paragraph.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 04:22 PM

My point a is a little garbled, but people can easily turn up the original via Harker's book. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 05:25 PM

Pseudonymous > Harker has a comment on the values of Child's world in which sadism, murder, butchery and any amount of violence are silently condoned whereas a bit of harmless eroticism has to be hidden away in a Motherwell type reference in the Index.

Didn't Child himself comment somewhere about the irrationality of being able to publish all that nasty stuff but unable to publish anything about normal healthy sex?

Jim > As with Harker, there has been no attempt to examine ‘the forgeries’ in question – the songs that were collected and presented as ‘the voice of the people’ by Sharp and his colleagues and later on by those who accepted (more or less, with reservations), those who followed them into the field – the Lomaxs and the Library of Congress researchers, the BBC team, Goldstein, Mike Yates, Hamish Henderson, Peter Hall, David Buchan, Hugh Shields, Tom Munnelly…… (all taken in by the big con)

There has been discussion on this thread and elsewhere. As Steve G points out, there have been various kinds of mediation. Certainly some collectors "improved" their texts to a greater or lesser degree, but there have not been very many total "forgeries", and most of those were from some of the earliest collectors two-hundred-odd years ago, not from the more recent collectors, though Bert seems to have been guilty of a few. Wasn't Harker's beef more about the nature of the collecting process rather than anyone faking the actual songs.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 06:05 PM

This is precisely what I'm trying to differentiate, Richard, and what Pseu is saying as well. The mediation can refer to individual ballads, or to only collecting/publishing certain portions of the material, or to misrepresenting a whole genre. In extreme cases, Buchan being the strongest suspect, but Scott stood accused over Kinmont Willie and others, the creation of whole new ballads being passed off as from tradition.

My own personal interest is not with the bowdlerisation which was natural and a necessary evil, but with the deception, and my biggest beef is that we know it happened but we can never know completely the extent of it. I think I share this worry with poor old Ritson.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 06:54 PM

Interesting that "Bowdler" was a man who took the rude bits out of Shakespeare, of which there are very many. It isn't just 'folklore' that got the Victorian prude treatment.

@ Steve, yes, Ritson, and as I keep saying Harker praises Ritson. I think I am as aware of anybody of Harker's weaknesses, but it does frustrate me when I feel that people are damning Harker on the basis of false ideas about what he was attempting.

@ Richard: "Wasn't Harker's beef more about the nature of the collecting process rather than anyone faking the actual songs."

This is closer to my interpretation. For me, though, it isn't just the 'collecting process' that Harker has a beef with, it's the consequent representations about working class/lower class culture and attitudes that he takes issue with.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 07:05 PM

"Checkmate, I think" ?????????????????


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 08:25 PM

> Didn't Child himself comment somewhere about the irrationality of being able to publish all that nasty stuff but unable to publish anything about normal healthy sex?

It have been more than exceptional had Child done so in the 1890s, or at any time during the Victoria era. And it's difficult for me to imagine him even thinking it.   

Consider his headnote to "The Keach in the Creel," a humorous ballad which he somehow forced himself to include, despite its including a passage that was "brutal and shameless almost beyond description."

Nowadays Mudcatters have argued over what the hell passage he could have meant!

No, the statement you allude to was made by the above-mentioned Legman in the early '60s - and frequently thereafter.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: RTim
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 09:40 PM

So no one cares or knows if Harker is still alive....??

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 03:17 AM

"Not quite correct, Jim, though it is certainly true that "fake" is often used invidiously."
It's beyond question that people have always questioned what was published in the early days, but most people were intelligent enough to put that editing into the context of the times rather than the maliciousness of "fake" or even "mediation" (just as malicious in its way)
That implies a personal action based on personal taste and prejudice
These people were working in the post-Victorian period and had be careful what they published - probably the most popular target for the critics of 'cleaning up' was Baring Gould
They tried to get the songs accepted into schools and there was no way that, say, 'Strawberry Fair'. with it's "locks and keys" was going to make it into the classroom
The most visionary among them kept unedited texts and published the cleaned-up stuff, which was fair enough
I was always intrigued by the tune and reference to the song 'The Girl from Loestoft' (or 'The Hole in the Wall' which was published in the Journal as a tune only with the note that the words were unfit for polite eyes
I was delighted to find that Lomax recorded it from Harry Cox some time in the 1950s but to date it has never been widely distributed

Legman probably over-emphasised the sex bit with some of his statements, but he certainly acted as a breath of fresh air to song scholarship (and was frowned on in his native America for doing so)
We wrote to him when we found we were unable to get hold of volume two of 'The Rational of the Dirty Joke' (entitled No Laughing Matter') - I still have a his reply telling us that we could get a copy from a seedy publisher in Soho - the same firm that published the soft porn 'Rude Food'
Even in the seventies, bawdy material was difficult to obtain - Britain was still stinging from the Lady Chatterley trial

There is nothing whatever wrong with criticising these people as long as it is done fairly - Harker brought an end to all that with his career-enhancing spitefulness - and now, it seems, his disciples have taken up the cudgels
Some of these postings give me the impression of toy poodles snapping at the heels of giants - these people opened a door to a wonderful world for many of us - there's little sign of gratitude from some quarters
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 03:49 AM

Jim
As most of your post is accurate and thoughtful I am responding.

Once again though I urge you to think carefully about what you are condemning. By blanket criticising you are being at least as unfair as Harker.

>>>>>>"mediation" (just as malicious in its way)<<<<<< Really? Do rethink what you are saying here, or perhaps look up the word in a dictionary.

You are way off the mark with your last statement. You obviously have not read the thread or have ignored it. Everyone here has heavily criticised Harker, including me. However you are beginning to look as if you think there is not a single word of truth in Harker's book.

Until you get away from this 'coffin kicking' belief, you can make no sense here. Harker has no disciples here, least of all me.

'Little sign of gratitude'. Absolute poppycock and it is your blinkered approach that lets you believe this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 04:33 AM

"As most of your post is accurate and thoughtful I am responding."
It would be helpful if you didn't patronise Steve - we know as much as each other about these things, and each of us has knowledhe that the other doesn't, so I suggest we take that as read
You have yet to respond to any of my points - you are one who has taken your hatchet to some of our giants indiscriminately so - once again, your advice on 'blanket criticism' rings somewhat hollow
Some of what Harker said said had been said by many before him - the one thing you can't accuse him of is 'originality'
What he cornered the market on was ham-fisted brutality in his handling of pioneers who were knew to the field - this spoiled a unique chance to examine the weakness and strengths of their work by forcing us into corners
I can think of a similar occurrence when Fred McCormick did a deplorable hatchet job on the Elizabeth Cronin book
I've followed the thread carefully and have put it into context of what has gone before with other arguments - the 'who made our folksong' one being foremost
We don't know the answers to many of these questions and probably never will so the dishonest 'done deal' approach that you tend towards presents a hurdle we have to clamber over before we can even start to discuss things
It is not uncritical to describe the attributes of these collectors, but suggestions of 'lies' and incompetence get in the way of fruitful discussion
So far we haven't got around to discussing what Harker had to say properly because were still clambering over your first hurdle

Harker fucked up - his sledgehammer approach probably destroyed any chance of a decent analysis of folk song until our generation clears the stage for an untainted new crowd
I believe much of what Harker started still hangs like a miasma over today's folk scene - that's why we have less and less researchers and singers of real folk songs
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 05:10 AM

Incidentally
'Little sign of gratitude'. Absolute poppycock"
I am not the only one to have noticed this
Mike Yates commented on it several times before he stopped posting and I detect more than a little more of the same in Brian Peters's postings - though both are far gentler souls than I am
A bit of self-analysis wouldn't go amiss Steve
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 05:13 AM

The latest work by Harker I can find reference to is his book on Robert Tressell and "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists", 2003 (I haven't seen it but that would have been well worth doing). So I'd guess he is no longer working.

I don't have "Fakesong" but I do have Harker's earlier "One for the Money" which contains a chapter titled "Fakesong" which is a precis of the later book. As he says, he isn't attacking Sharp himself, but the followers who refused to examine where he was coming from. Which seems fair enough to me. The rest of the chapter is a history of the English second revival, and seems to me to be as good as you could get in the space, though as usual in Anglocentric accounts, Scotland hardly exists and continental Europe really, really doesn't exist.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 05:58 AM

Tim …
Dave Harker is indeed still alive and attended a meeting of the Traditional Song Forum when it met in Newcastle a year or two ago. He lives back up in the north-east again after many years in Manchester.
He has recently published a series of books on north-east singers and song writers:
Billy Purvis: The first professional Geordie
Cat-Gut Jim the Fiddler: Ned Corvan's Life & Songs
The Gallowgate Lad: Joe Wilson' Life and Songs

All three were reviewed in Folk Music Journal.

Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 06:37 AM

I enjoyed this thread, but the moment Jim came along I thought it was doomed. Especially when he started lecturing us on how to have a debate and the rules of discussion and then imagined that the skill of his input had stunned me into silence. I have learned a lot from the contributions of all, and would have liked to continue to discuss Sharp's theoretical work and Harker's section on Lloyd, which does have some delightful bits of sarcasm in it, and they are spot on. But can you imagine trying to discuss a critique of Lloyd with Jim? We've been there: it'll be insults all round, first name 'Bert, anecdotes about Jim being the chauffeur for Bert and bizarre denials that Bert ever did anything political... .

Oh well, all good things must end.

Thank you everybody.

Maybe one day Jim will work out why Harker did not include Tom Munnelly in his book. But I think the challenge may be beyond him. It onvolved switiching the brain on


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 06:38 AM

As far as I can out from this thread, the article from 2003 by Mike Yates on the Musical Traditions website has not been referenced here. It is called Jumping to Conclusions with a subtitle of Mike Yates examines a row that is bubbling away beneath the surface of British folksong scholarship.
As we might expect from Mike, it is well researched and argued and cogently written and totally relevant to this thread. However, despite being highly critical of Harker, it does not attempt to be the final word; it is an examination rather than a definitive conclusion. It seems to seek responses from Harker and perhaps those who support him to answer charges made and points raised by him. After all this is a discussion an as John Moulden has already stated in this thread (and I have already quoted):-

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.


This makes a triumphalist claim that a game has been won sound rather ludicrous.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 07:11 AM

Hello Vic
I had read Yates' piece. Harker thanks Yates in his book, but clearly the relationship between the two has not been smooth. Yates links to Bearman, which I have been studying, and who has some rebuke for Sharp as well as for Harker. I had been thinking of seeing if people wanted to discuss Bearman in detail, but I think I have burned my boats as far as this thread is concerned.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 07:12 AM

Sorry, should have thanked Vic for the ref. MUDSTRAD is an excellent source of reading materials.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 07:19 AM

I'm going to read "One for the Money" right through. As well as the section on the revival it has a chapter on pitmen's songs, disentangling the present understanding of them (which Lloyd had a large part in) from the historical facts (which are substantial). It isn't an all-out debunking of Lloyd but does build up a much more (believably) detailed story. I suspect the real snarky stuff will be where he discusses Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 07:20 AM

"Scotland hardly exists and continental Europe really, really doesn't exist."
I think this an excellent point - it's far too often forgotten that with folk song, particularly the ballads, we are dealing with an international phenomenon which has drawn its influences from way beyond Britain
Both Scotland and Ireland hold many clues as to how the oral traditions worked and the fact that they survived longer in these places (particularly among the Travellers) than they did in England makes the information more accessible
Ireland's massive song-making tradition is a strong argument in the "who made our folksong" battle, in my opinion

I've just finished digitising several sets of albums we purchased abroad - a six vol. Hungarian set, a magnificent 10 vol. set we brought in Crete, and recently a 4 vol, set of 'The songs of Smyrna' - great examples of how it can be done, given the will
Anybody who would like copies.... of course

"it'll be insults all round,"
I would remind you that you hold the honour of being the only person on this forum to open a thread specifically to attack a fellow poster - as for your comments on my work being "unreliable" when you haven't even seen it.....
I think Macbeth had the right of it when he said " Stand not upon the order of your going,. But go"
Jim Carroll
    NOTE TO JIM CARROLL AND PSEUDONYMOUS: I had to delete a number of your messages. I will not tolerate combative posts from either one of you. Stick to the facts of the discussion, and quit attacking each other.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 08:14 AM

MUDSTRAD is an excellent source of reading materials.
Ahem! I think that you meant MUSTRAD (diminuation of MUSical TRADitions)
No, there is nothing muddy about Mustrad whereas.....


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 09:47 AM

@ Vic: thanks for the correction. :)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 12:00 PM

So are we getting a list of the articles you have published in journals then?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 03:15 PM

Vic
Many thanks for that reference to Mike's article. An excellent appraisal of the then situation. His statement of his realisation that Sharp was a giant in the field and very influential, no-one could possibly argue with. No-one I know is seeking to undermine Sharp's physical legacy.

I personally also have no quibbles over how he and others published the material when the originals were faithfully set down to the best of their ability and available technology.

My only misgivings lie in what I and others perceive to be a misrepresentation of how the material was created and evolved.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 03:21 PM

Oh, and I really think Mike and Brian are well capable of speaking for themselves.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 06:07 PM

Whilst it's relatively quiet I'll add a little info to my 3rd line above but leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Sharp had a smallish collection of broadsides but most were of the mid 19th century. However he must have been at least aware of some of the larger collections at the BL, Oxford and Cambridge.

Baring Gould and Kidson had already been in the field for 10 years before he came along. Baring Gould had spent many hours in the BL looking at street lit collections and his notes to Songs of the West show a very good knowledge of the evolution of many of the songs. Kidson was already a musical historian before he even got interested in folk song and his first FS book 'Traditional Tunes' shows a good knowledge of the relationship between print and oral tradition and indeed popular song.

However both Baring Gould and Kidson were 200 miles away from London when it all kicked off when Sharp arrived. Sharp soon established his authority.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:01 AM

If I may go back a step to fill out what I understand Steve to be saying in his 'third line above' and his last post:

For the benefit of those who have not read Harker, his section on Sharp has five sections. He draws on a range of materials for it, including Sharp's diaries, his writings, and works about Sharp. He cautions against using later editions edited by Maud Karpeles as, he says, these are themselves interesting objects as examples of 'mediation': in other words she took out bits Harker would rather she had left in etc.

Harker's 5 sections are:

1 Early life 2) The 'discovery of 'folksong' (inverted commas as used by Harker) 3 English Folksong: Some Conclusions (this is an examination of Sharp's theoretical statement, which is available free online and which I have read only some of as yet) 4) Song Collecting (this goes up to about 1907) 5 Song Publishing.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:03 AM

Pleased that the nastiness has been deleted - for my part, I will have nothing more to do with such mud-slinging and I suggest everybody else does the same - now maybe we can get down to the real discussion
I put up what I believe to be the real omission here has still to be answered
A long discussion about the how we understand folk song without any reference to either the songs or the singers is utterly ridiculous
If these songs are fakes - discuss them and expose their fakery

The collectors have been far more efficiently covered than in Harker's axe-ginding 'Fakelore'
Works like Dorson's 'The British Folklorist' and 'Peasant Customs and Savage Myths' give excellent accounts of the earliest collectors
D K Wilgus's 'Anglo American Folksong Scholarship since 1898' puts Harker's efforts in the shade - an indispensable 'bible' for anybody wishing to learn how our folksongs were gathered
The collectors themselves wrote their own handbooks to collecting, all containing the techniques they used laid bare - Sandy Ives, Ken Goldstein and Bruce Jackson - and Sean O'Sullivan's 'Handbook of Folklore' stands over all these as a magnificent and extremely detailed search-list
Written accounts of the projects themselves - Henry Glassie's 'Passing the Time' and, 'Stars of Ballymenone' and more recently. Len Graham's 'Joe Holmes' show the collectors in action and the results of their work
Bob Copper's, Songs and Southerner Breezes' says more about English collecting in a few paragraphs than does Harker's entire book
The now sadly defunct 'Tocher' and many of the articles carried in 'Scottish Studies' contain masses of information on how the Scots collectors worked
- I was delighted to obtain a copy of Marin Graeb's book on Baring Gould recently - a detailed account of how the BBC collectors 'Roved Out' is long overdue

Instead of Harker's back-biting begudgery, which has long been rejected by most folk-song lovers, these are the works that need to be visited and re-visited if we are to make an honest judgement on what has been passed on to us
Child, Motherwell, Buchan, Burns, Sharp, Grainger and the rest, laid the foundation for all this as collectors and anthologists - to debunk their work as Harker did is to destroy the foundations that our folksong, music and lore stand on

Wilgus wrote in his introduction to '1898';
"This is a critical history of folksong study not only because any history must be critical, but because the writer's in no sense 'above criticism' - For the battle continues. The current folk-music revival is a product of many factors, but it is not causing a renaissance of scholarship. Folksong scholarship never died"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:05 AM

"Oh, and I really think Mike and Brian are well capable of speaking for themselves."
They have
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:19 AM

I haven't read "Fakesong" for a while, but from where I've got with "One for the Money", it's really an appendix to that earlier book (an expansion of one chapter in it) rather than a self-contained work. And the scope of Harker's project is impressive. The bibliography of OftM alone is a colossal piece of work.

So please lay off the glib sniping. This guy deserves to be taken seriously.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:54 AM

Harker states that Child’s theory was influenced by three main people: Sir Hubert Parry, Carl Engel, and Francis Barton Gummere.

1 Parry taught at the Royal College of Music and wrote a choral used at Coronations, and the music for Blake’s ‘And did those feet in ancient times’, though I don’t think he understood Blake’s bitter irony and I’m certain he would not have liked Blake’s politics. Sharp had ambitions to be an art musician and did use ‘folk’ music he had collected in his ‘art music’ as did others of his time of course.

2 Gummere is lit focused, not a musicologist. He had ideas about the origins of music and dance.
Examples of his style and of what for me is somewhat evidence-free theorising are here:
https://www.bartleby.com/library/prose/2028.html

Harker says Sharp took his three-part account of ‘folk’ from Gummere, the three elements being a) continuity b) variation and c) selection. Harker regards Sharp’s theory as social Darwinist; presumably Harker would prefer a more Marxist account of this history of song, such as in A L Lloyd but less ‘vulgar’ to use Harker’s expression.

3 Carl Engel is the only one of the three I had never heard of before reading Harker so yet again I learn something. One of his specialities was ‘national musics’, and we know that producing ‘national music’ of a sort that could be taught to children for example was something Sharp was especially interested in.

For more on Engel, see here:
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo1.ark:/13960/t3223gm0x&view=1up&seq=19

I thought this background was interesting, but would be interested to hear whether other posters feel that Harker is right in highlighting these three and so on.

Put together they would help explain why Sharp went looking for folk song in bits of Somerset that he regarded as full of ‘peasantry’, (to anticipate a discussion of Bearman which may or may not take place here). For as Harker points out, he did not go to Bath, Shepton Mallet, Taunton, Bristol, Yeovil etc etc. And while it is true that Sharp’s notes incude much that he did not publish, and that this material has been useful to people coming after, I think that Harker is claiming that Sharp might have/did ignore stuff that people were singing that he, Sharp, decided was not folk. In that Harker includes as a possibility songs in the modern minor (melodic presumably) as opposed to the modal material that I personally know Sharp was fond of noting and remarking upon. I think Harker is keener on accounts that are more fully representative of actual ‘working class’ culture as a whole as it existed.

So this is my attempt at seeing the background against which to think about what Steve said in his last couple of posts. Happy to be corrected if wrong. Hoping this is a constructive if long contribution to the thread.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 05:09 AM

Parry was a socialist, pacifist and feminist and most certainly DID understand what Blake was about. "Jerusalem" was written as a Suffragette anthem.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 05:16 AM

I put up what I believe to be the real omission here has still to be answered ????????????


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 06:25 AM

Jim's comment about Bob Copper's 'Songs and Southern Breezes' is particularly apposite. Out of print for many years we have reprinted it - I think it's a great book and illustrates perfectly how well suited Bob was to the task of 'collecting' songs, stories and dialect. I guess from a countryman's point of view it 'takes one to know one' which is why he was so successful. It also took the foresight of an Irishman, Brian George, to put the whole BBC collecting scheme into operation and to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 06:33 AM

I fact checked what Harker said about Sharp's 'dubbing the negros as of an inferior race' against the VWML original and transcript, and what Harker said is fully accurate and represents Sharp's own account of what he said. See p 202 of Harker.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 06:34 AM

Bob Copper's, Songs and Southerner Breezes' says more about English collecting in a few paragraphs than does Harker's entire book
Two letters too many - it should be "Southern" but otherwise could I also help to bring attention to the reprint of this totally admirable and underrated book? A notice in the current Living Tradition brings attention to this as well as on the homepage of the magazine's website and The Copper Family website suggests that you buy it from Amazon.
The man behind this reprint s the utterly admirable man (an a good friend for 50 years now) Jon Dudley.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 06:36 AM

I seem to have cross-posted with Jon!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 06:48 AM

Jon
Delighted to hear it's being reprinted
The BBC collection is the most neglected folk asset Britain has - still basically unused, largely thanks to Kennedy's claim of ownership, but mainly thanks to disinterest by both the BBC and EFDSS
Up to my transferring the EFDSS recordings onto tape for the V.W.M. Library, they existed outside the Beeb only on very fragile discs which were constantly being played unsupervised on crude equipment by anybody who requested them - many were damaged and some were stolen
Anybody attempting to issue them publicly had to fight Kennedy for their use and usually had to pay him
I believe Bob Copper had a great deal of difficulty issuing his 'Songs and Southern Breezes' album on Topic
Many of them still remain woefully unused and it is sad to think that so little interest has survived in them that that will probably remain the case
Some time in the 90s we attended a library lecture at C#Sharp House given by a young American, Craig Fees, who had researched the project and had come up with masses of information - it would be interesting to know if he had done anything further with his researches
It would also be interesting to know if the recording team had interviewed any of the singers and if those recordings survived

My strongest memory of the project is a conversation we one had with Seamus Ennis, one of the main collectors, in a bar here in Miltown Malbay
I said to him, "I believe you worked with Peter Kennedy"
After a very pregnant silence he spat out, "That man's a thief"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 07:00 AM

Thanks for the recommendation Vic. I'll put it on my ever-expanding list. Jon Dudley made some valued contributions to this thread.

I've just ordered a book/author Steve suggested further up this thread (not the first time I've taken up one of Steve's suggestions, may I add) by David C Fowler.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 08:09 AM

Life is full of funny coincidences. I have just discovered this minute that the reprint of Songs & Southern Breezes has been sent out for review by LT magazine and that they are sending it out to a reviewer.

Now you have to guess who the reviewer is!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 08:12 AM

Bob Copper's A Song For Every Season contains the words and music of forty-seven songs from the Copper Family repertoire - the 'Jim Copper Song Book' - with Bob's stories of his family and of rural life in Sussex, month by month, with illustrations, photographs and reflections. It won the Robert Pitman literature prize in the year of its first publication.

Only £2 on ABE books. Cheaper than Amazon.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 08:29 AM

Cheaper than Amazon but not the book we were talking about.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 08:34 AM

@ Vic ha ha! Not that there is an 'industry' related to the Copper family of course ….

Other publications from the same stable available on Abe Books include

Bob Copper's Sussex
Early to Rise
Watercolours of Sussex past
Across Sussex with Belloc
Songs of Southern Breezez (SIC) (foreword by John Arlott)

Obviously a talented person with a variety of interests.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 08:38 AM

AddALL dynamic search link


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 09:36 AM

And now we've had an ad break (joke joke) perhaps we could return to the topic of the thread, namely a book by Dave Harker called 'Fakesong'?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 09:43 AM

Yes, I can speak for myself, and have indeed done so in the past!

I’ve been meaning for a couple of days to respond to Richard Mellish’s point:
“...there have been various kinds of mediation. Certainly some collectors "improved" their texts to a greater or lesser degree, but there have not been very many total "forgeries"... Wasn't Harker's beef more about the nature of the collecting process rather than anyone faking the actual songs?”

One of the problems of ‘Fakesong’ is precisely its title: the obvious wordplay on ‘folk’ and ‘fake’ was an open goal for any sceptical author in the field with a book to sell, and it’s hardly surprising that Harker chose to use it. However, it does create in the mind of the reader an initial impression that what is to be discussed is the forgery of repertoire, whereas what we get is an attack on an entire concept. In order to pursue that attack, Harker goes for everything he can lay his hands on: outright forgeries, ‘improved’ texts, bowdlerization for publication, selectivity in field collections, dismissal of the influence of print, supposedly cynical and grasping practices by collectors, incorrect class consciousness, the lot (well, all except Bert Lloyd’s emendations, which get off lightly). Then he lumps it all together under the pejorative term, ‘fake’. It’s no wonder quite a lot of readers have been confused and/or annoyed, and that’s before we get to the flaws in the scholarship and the endless appearance of words like ‘bourgeois’ and ‘reactionary’ at every turn, which are off-putting to say the least.

Personally I don’t have a problem with scholars unravelling the editorial and collecting practices of the last three centuries, if it helps us to discover what people actually sang, and if it’s conducted in a spirit of honest curiosity rather than a determination to tear down the temple, and to bend the evidence around one particular narrative. Steve G’s interrogation of Scott, Motherwell and co. as sources is something I look on with interest, not horror, while unpicking Bert Lloyd’s song editing is simply a fascinating puzzle to resolve. Seems to me this kind of work is true to the spirit of Child himself, who strove so hard to drill through the published material to the most authentic texts available.

I agree with Jim that ‘Fakesong’ is not the place to go to find out about songs or singers.   Concluding the chapter on Child, we find: “About the lives, interest and culture of the people who made, re-made and used [these] songs, Child like his predecessors can tell us almost nothing.” But 'Fakesong' tells us almost nothing about them either, except as non-speaking, walk-on parts in a theoretical narrative.

Derek Schofield has already answered Tim’s query regarding Dave Harker’s present whereabouts and activity and, although I haven’t yet read those three books on Tyneside song (published between 2017 and 2019), they look interesting, were favourably reviewed in the FMJ, and represent the author on his home, and perhaps strongest, ground.

2017 was also the year in which Dave Harker had his article ‘Dr Bearman’s “Meticulous Scholarship”’ published in the Folk Music Journal (as ‘correspondence’, and hence not subject to peer review), directly in response to FMJ editor David Atkinson’s comment following Bearman’s death that: “any fair-minded person is bound to admire his meticulous scholarship” and an obituary by Christopher Heppa which alluded to his ‘demolition’ of Harker. It’s worth noting that no serious scholar in the field has disputed Bearman’s statistical critique of Harker’s work – even Vic Gammon, who retains more respect for Harker than most, nonetheless finds Bearman’s work “at it’s best... very good indeed”, though CJB was “not beyond making some myths of his own.” Heppa’s not uncritical obituary is worth reading if you want to get an idea of Bearman’s controversial personality.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM

@Pseudonymous.

Comment in the discussion on Sharp's 'dubbing the negros as of an inferior race' must have been a long way up above and I am not sure what the context was. Harker says that his liberal hosts maintained that it was 'a mere lack of education etc!"

I read your post as I start to read the parts of "Some Conclusions" that I skipped before (because I was mainly interested in the tunes). Sharp is explicit on the first two paragraphs of the first chapter that (at that time) he regarded the characteristics of a nations music as deriving from qualities that are "natural and inborn" in its people and that "those special gifts for which a nation is renowned will usually be conspicious in its lower and unlettered classes" because they are "least affected by extraneous and educational influences".

Harker (on the page, 202, that you point out) says that by 1918 "... the racist residue of his mid Victorian childhood had burst through.... The ranking amongst races may be part of that upbringing but it looks to me like his belief that the nations of Europe were inherently different was more of a contemporary application of Darwinism that he though fundamental enough to be on page 1. In writing about Sharp Harker tends to use the word 'culture' where Sharp seems to have been thinking of something inherent.

I wonder what angle Sharp would have taken on "can white man sing the blues".


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 10:09 AM

Concluding the chapter on Child, we find: “About the lives, interest and culture of the people who made, re-made and used [these] songs, Child like his predecessors can tell us almost nothing.” But 'Fakesong' tells us almost nothing about them either, except as non-speaking, walk-on parts in a theoretical narrative.

See the chapter on pitmen's songs in "One for the Money". The whole point of his discussion is to show how understanding the culture of the mineworkers better gives you a deeper understanding of the songs. (He singles out Ritson as being in some ways more clued up than any of his successors, Lloyd included).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 10:10 AM

"... that he thought fundamental enough..."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 10:12 AM

Jack Campin wrote:
"the scope of Harker's project is impressive. The bibliography of OftM alone is a colossal piece of work. So please lay off the glib sniping."

As I stated before, Harker had clearly done his research, covered a lot of ground and processed a lot of information. My problem is that the copious quotes from his sources (at least as regards B-G, Sharp, etc) are very carefully selected and edited, and often misleading.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 10:22 AM

"See the chapter on pitmen's songs in "One for the Money". The whole point of his discussion is to show how understanding the culture of the mineworkers better gives you a deeper understanding of the songs."

I don't have 'One For The Money', but 'Fakesong' does challenge Lloyd's view of NE miners' culture, albeit without having any miners speak for themselves, which is what I was talking about. I accept that Harker is a specialist in that field and, incidentally, his chapter on Lloyd is one of the better ones - if only it didn't give the impression of having been motivated principally by a sectarian objection to the Communist Party of Great Britain.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 11:09 AM

"the racist residue of his mid Victorian childhood had burst through.... "
This is typical of Harker's taking the work of these collectors out of context
Racism, far from being "mid Victorian" was rife when these people were working - and long afterwards
Shortly before the Irish fleeing the Famine were depicted as sub-human apes in the popular press - Children's author, Rev. Charles Kingsley described them as "white chimpanzees
The Empire thrived on the concept of the superiority of the white race - even when I was in primary school in the 1940s we were still singing hymns which painted being foreign as being "in error's chain - from Greenland's icy mountains to India's coral strand"
When Mark Twain wrote his pamphlet, 'King Leopold's Soliloquy', describing how 'Gallant Little Belgium' was had slaughtered up to 2 million Congolese tribesmen in the pursuit of rubber in 1905, his demands for action fell largely on deaf ears internationally
Even revolutionaries like Jack London championed white supremacy
Over a century later racism is still a major problem
It would have been extremely surprising if Sharp had not gone with the flow of the times and not been a racist
Sharp was a Fabian Socialist which suggested he was a humanitarian, which put him streets ahead of most from his background
Jim Carroll


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

"Shortly before the Irish fleeing the Famine"
Missed out the comma - sould read:
"Shortly before, the Irish fleeing the Famine...."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM

Jag wrote:-
I wonder what angle Sharp would have taken on "can white man sing the blues".
.... or how would Sharp have answered an even more intruiging question - Can Blue Men Sing The Whites?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 11:32 AM

Whoops agai - not my day
Sould read
" 'Gallant Little Belgium' had slaughtered up to 10 MILLION Congolese tribes


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong