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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Jack Campin 11 Feb 20 - 07:57 AM
GUEST 11 Feb 20 - 08:10 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 20 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Feb 20 - 10:40 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 20 - 10:59 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 20 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 12 Feb 20 - 03:51 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 04:39 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 05:58 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 06:40 AM
Jack Campin 12 Feb 20 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 07:44 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 08:20 AM
Jack Campin 12 Feb 20 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 08:51 AM
GUEST 12 Feb 20 - 09:03 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Feb 20 - 09:40 AM
Jack Campin 12 Feb 20 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Feb 20 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 10:49 AM
GUEST 12 Feb 20 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 11:04 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 11:08 AM
Brian Peters 12 Feb 20 - 12:06 PM
Brian Peters 12 Feb 20 - 12:11 PM
Brian Peters 12 Feb 20 - 12:13 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 12:40 PM
Brian Peters 12 Feb 20 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Feb 20 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Feb 20 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Feb 20 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Feb 20 - 02:10 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Feb 20 - 06:56 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Feb 20 - 02:28 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Feb 20 - 02:34 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Feb 20 - 02:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Feb 20 - 06:45 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Feb 20 - 07:06 AM
GUEST 13 Feb 20 - 07:10 AM
GUEST 13 Feb 20 - 07:11 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Feb 20 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Feb 20 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Feb 20 - 07:51 AM
Jack Campin 13 Feb 20 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Feb 20 - 08:12 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Feb 20 - 08:14 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 07:57 AM

MY POINT STILL STANDS HE WAS NOT AN ORGANISER OR DOER HE NEVER RAN A FOLK CLUB OR FESTIVAL AND I DOUBT IF HE EVER RAN A FOLK CLUB

I've never stood for election as a UKIP candidate. I don't regard that as a failing.

The evaluation he gives in "One for the Money" (c.1980) is that folk clubs were a movement that was going nowhere except to provide a modest income to performers with low aspirations.   Was he wrong?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 08:10 AM

I have to say I find Bearman's tone irritating at times, but the comments he makes on the way people read Sharp seem reasonable in content. I shall therefore follow Brian in referring to what Bearman says:

'the issue is that Sharp's work ought to be judged on the evidence … and not on the basis of a farrago of false statements, misconceptions, misunderstandings … with its faults compounded by violent political prejudice'

This is simplified but the gist of it seems applicable to the uses some people make of their own mediations of Sharp's work. Anybody who imagines that Sharp saw the words of folk song as representing the working class or the lowest ranks in society seems plain wrong to me.

Bearman is quite scathing about the 2nd revival, seeing it as American-led . He also thinks it misrepresents Sharp. He points out that a substantial number of Sharp's informants were by no means 'working class'. He blames A L Lloyd for what he sees as a false view that folk songs were the voice of the working class/lower orders and that folk song was the cultural property of or the expression of the voice of the 'lower orders', as these constituted a class in Marxist terms.

I'm not saying I agree with Bearman, just pointing out that if you are looking for potentially harmed bathing babies then Bearman might be a good place to look.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 08:43 AM

"but you'll get the sense of it."
Not much sense to make of it, as usual

"not least at the hands of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger."
For someone banging on about misrepresentation that takes the top prize
MacColl and Seeger never "trained anybody" - far from it
When MacColl was approached to teach by a number of established singers he refused
Instead, he set up a self-help group based on sharing skills and opinions - that was how the Critics Group worked for nearly ten years
You may add that little gem to the rapidly growing pile of things on which you have no knowledge whatever

You have no grounds for judging how reliable my statements are - you have never examined our work and you have no nowledge of the people we recorded
That lack of understanding never stopped Harker mind you
Jim Carroll
No - Harker did not have to be a collector to write about them, but if you were going to do that you needed to know how they worked and what they did
His book contains no discussion on how they got the songs nor what they did when they got them - neither the songs nor the source singers put in an appearance to any degree in his nasty little hit-list
Nor did he deal in any way with the later collectors, such as Lomax, Henderson, Delargy, Ennis, Fowke, Flanders..... and all the others who continued where Sharp and the rest left off

"Was he wrong?"
Absolutely Jack - the reviaval up to them was a grass-roots, cub-based affair almost entirely relying on voluntary effort by people who recieved nothing for the 'labours of love' they put in   
There were a few who made an extremely frugal living on bookings, but they were largely to give the regulars an occasional break
The only club I can remember in those days that relied on paid guests was the MSG in Manchester (I never bothered too much with the snigger snogwriter ones so I can't comment on them
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 10:40 AM

I am sorry, but Peggy Seeger is on record as stating that what she and MacColl were trying to do in the critics group was to train teachers. When discussing the break-up of that group she said that maybe the people were ready to got out, ready to be teachers themselves, but she and Ewan had not appreciated that. This was in a recently broadcast BBC TV interview. I have to choose whether to credit Seeger or you. I am afraid that on balance I feel Seeger is more likely to be correct regarding the intentions she and Ewan had.

Regarding the rest of your post, I don't have the time or the inclination to respond. You are welcome to the last word, and people will make of it what they will. It isn't really an issue.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 10:59 AM

"“Eighteenth-century Scotland, there is no doubt at all, was a nation of ballad singers and ballad lovers."
By working as a group to work on each other's singing so ther vcould go back home and set up similar groups to do the same
Neither she or Ean trained anybody to do anything
I was in the Critics group for two years - Pat was a member for five
At the present time I am I am working on two hundred tapes of recordings of the meetings in order to deposit them with the National Sound Archive
Yo implied that there would have ben something wrong with being taught by either of them
Paggy, now in her mid eighties, is still one of the best instrumentalists in the field of folk song and Ewan's singing is still in great demand thirty years after hsi death
There were many people who would happily have queued up to be taught by either of them, but that's not what they did.
If you were around when we were discussing the Critics Group, you must have missed the script of a talk I gave at MacColl's 70th birthday symposium describing how the group worked
Ewan, Peggy and many of the group members were at that talk (as was Dave Harker, btw) - not one in attendance contradicted what I had to say
The script is still available for examination on Mucdcat's archive

That group did not "break up" - it ceased to work on song and some ex members set up similar groups
You don't have to "credit either of us - you just have to listen to what
has been said properly - that's the secret of learning things - something apparently way beyond you capabilities

"Regarding the rest of your post, I don't have the time or the inclination to respond. "
Nor the intelligence, obviously - that's why I wasn't aiming it at you
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 12:42 PM

jack no one is taking about failing, harker comes across to me as a negative , deliberately controversuial self seeking publicist what i am talking about is that there are doers like shar, people that achieved something popitive [clooected a vast amount of songs] and people like harker who are negative find fault in sharp et have never done anything as regards collecting songs or running events which give people pleasure.
some people refer to it as half full half empty syndrome


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 03:51 AM

I believe that Maureen, as in the person Dave Harker dedicated the book, was his wife at the time.
Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 04:39 AM

I thought it was nice the way that at the end he gives a biography of himself in the same format as those for his mediators. I actually enjoyed the book from Lloyd onwards and found it thought provoking in a more postive way. A sense of humour comes through and the rather snide comments about Sharp his peers were replaced by something more in the style of a sarcastic review, such as you get in the liberal media.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 05:34 AM

"a sarcastic review, such as you get in the liberal media."
Do you think that's the way the founders of a revival that gave us so much interest and pleasure should be presented in a supposedly serious work on a subject as important as folk song Jag ?
I'm afraid I don't but I do agree with your comparison (though I might be inclined to choose the term 'tabloid'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 05:57 AM

In the Appendix Harker describes himself at on point as "being a cheerful new middle-class traitor". I think some commments aimed at Lloyd, who was not really a collector, are in similar vein. I found many of his criticisms of Lloyd worth thinking about and probably valid. Despite the factional political differences Harker at time seems to show respect for Lloyd, and for McColl when he gets a mention.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 05:58 AM

By "in a similar vein" I mean not being as vicious as they could be read.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 06:40 AM

"Harker at time seems to show respect for Lloyd, and for McColl when he gets a mention."
Not sure I'd take that as a compliment
I had a run-in with him over my criticising his snide analysis of The Critics Group in my talk at the MacColl symposium
He very grudgingly accepted that he's based his opinion on hostile folkie hearsay rather than approaching MacColl or the Group (nothing new there)
That's the feeling I was left with having read 'Fakesong' and the folk bits of 'One For the Money'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 06:55 AM

Is there anybody Harker shows actual dislike or disrespect for, rather than saying they had limitations that need to be recognized?

In "One for the Money" the closest he gets to really losing it is over Johnny Handle's "Farewell to the Monty" - which he regards as reactionary nostalgic shite. But the reasoning is that he has a great deal of respect for Handle's talents and for the people he came from, he just thinks he could have done much better than he did in that song.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 07:44 AM

I think comments like "By January 1905, Sharp had used the Folk Song Society Journal in order to get more tunes into print" are disrespectful. Butit's difficult, to be sure if it is personal or aimed at him as a member of bourgoise expropriators as a class and at their vehicle for publication. He drops that sort of snide tone later in the book.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 08:20 AM

Surely this has to rise above the personalities of the cloole cotrs and 'like and dislike' and be decided on what the collectors atually brought back and ae being accused of doing to them?

Until any discussion moves to where the songs fit (or don't fit) into the people's culture, this will be little more than shadow boxing
For me, a great piece of evidence in the Buchan controversy lies in the number of Buchan's versions that were found in the field long after Buchan departed the scene (according to Greig)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 08:29 AM

I think comments like "By January 1905, Sharp had used the Folk Song Society Journal in order to get more tunes into print" are disrespectful.

Why? It's no different from what the editors of all specialist journals do. He's not saying the tunes or editing were inferior, was he?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 08:51 AM

@Jim Carroll. I don't think "Fakesong" is about what the collectors brought back but about how they theorised about it.

There are many context where people have to theorise. Collectors who just collect and describe can only go so far. A butterfly collector who just collects and describes will never be regarded as a scientist. Sharp, to discuss things with his middle class pals, give lectures and promote the songs into schools has to have theories to talk about. Similarly Harker, writing a book published by an academic publisher, can't just give us all the ordered results of his reading - he has to have a theory. Bearman was doing it as part of a research training that would prepare him for the academic world.

There are places where theorising is optional so long as the research is good and readers are interested - many articles in Folk Music Journal are like that.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 09:03 AM

" It's no different from what the editors of all specialist journals do."

I think "By January 1905, Sharp had published more tunes in the Folk Song Society Journal" would be adequate for many editors. However, I keep forgetting that Harker's was using the device of treating Marxist theories as objective fact and writing as if for readers who believed that. So sneaking in the implication of exploitation (of the singers, not the journal I think) is consistant.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 09:40 AM

!There are places where theorising is optional "
Only if you do it in the context of the songs
It's is pointless to claim the songs ere fakes unless you produce the faked songs
Harker seems to have worked on the basis that they musi be fakes because of the characters of the collector - you have to produce you evidence before you can establish a motive
I agree entirely about 'butterfly collecting'
Sharp's argument was that the songs had to be gathered as soon as possible before they disappeared - a pretty valid one as far as I'm concerned
Tom Munnelly described his own position in Ireland as 'a race with the undertaker' in the second half of the 20th century - he was right , of course
WE worked in tandem with Tom - he suggested many of the singers we met, we concentrated on interviewing them rather than headhunting
It meant we got far less songs than we could have but masses of information that would otherwise have been lost - especially from the Travellers
I would guess that less of than half the recordings we made wer of songs with Walter Pardon and with the Travellers
We were a little more hurried with the Clare singers as we were limited to only annual visits to Ireland, but we still managed to glean a fir amount of information
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 09:40 AM

"Until any discussion moves to where the songs fit (or don't fit) into the people's culture,"

We have explained several times that one of the comments Harker makes about the mediators is precisely that discussion of the 'people's culture' is not a feature of their work. And Jag has just explained this point again.

Harker does not mention the Critics Group in the book we are discussing. Does he mention it in One For the Money?

And if so, can anybody who has read that give a view on whether Harker's view is 'snide'?

NB OED

* Counterfeit, sham, bogus. Also (more widely): inferior, worthless

* Insinuating, sneering, slyly derogatory.

If not, I'm interested to know where and when this view was expressed.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 10:18 AM

Harker does not mention the Critics Group in the book we are discussing. Does he mention it in One For the Money?
And if so, can anybody who has read that give a view on whether Harker's view is 'snide'?


Not that I noticed. He covers MacColl's entire career in a few pages, interwoven with biographical material on other figures of the time. He doesn't rate the results they achieved very highly but he doesn't fault them for trying what they did. And his account of the Communist Party's general influence on the folk scene shows no sign of snideness either.

I think he could have given us more on Charles Parker, who doesn't get much more than a namecheck, and on Paul Graney, who he obviously had a lot of respect for. Perhaps he was hoping to say more on Graney in another book.

The one figure who comes out of "One for the Money" presented in an unqualified glistening halo is Alex Glasgow. That bit of the book reads rather oddly. It's rather like the last chapter of Suetonius's "The Twelve Caesars", where after depicting the first 11 as a sordid gang of thugs and perverts, the last one (who was still alive and could have had Suetonius thrown to the lions) is given a full-on heroic apotheosis.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 10:21 AM

I'm also curious about why Dave Harker was at a symposium relating to MacColl, leave alone getting involved in a 'set-to' about him?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 10:49 AM

It may be that the collectors did not discuss the culture of the people who they collected from because they thought general knowledge amongst their peers and any of their readership who were interested was adequate.

Sons of the minor gentry in the job of country parson 'spotting' the singers may have been socially isolated from their flock. However, they may have tended it, and years of filling in the occupations in the parish register, and flipping back through it to learn who was who, would have given them a good idea of the social structure.

When pointing out that Sharp's singers were not all illiterate peasants, and also towards the end of the book, Harker slips from his strict bourgoisie-proliatariat view of society. As the son of a small builder he would have known full well that village and small town society included many workers who were not simply wage-earners. Research into the workers history and culture is one of the things he calls for in his conclusions.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 10:51 AM

I'm ordering One For the Money. It sounds good. Some of my family were involved with popular music/variety, having learned their music skills in the army. But I don't think they made songs.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 11:04 AM

From the snippets searches into it on Google books throw up it looks more interesting than Fakesong. Songs get a mention!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 11:08 AM

"We have explained several times "
Somewhat reminiscent of teachers who used the royl "we" to establish their authority
The tem "Fakesong" undermines the whole concept of a people's creative culture so if it's an omission of his and yours it's not going to be one of mine
We have spoken !

The Critics were referred to in 'One For the Money' when Harker claimed (incorrectly) that MacColl "trained singers" (p 155)
He went on to say (also incorrectly) that MacColl made no theoretical contribution to the folk scene, which was wildly inaccurate (again)
MacColl hasdn't learned the secret handshake`nor rolled his trouser leg up, but many of the seminars he and Peggy gave at festivals, and particularly to groups of teachers, dealt with the function of songs, to the singers and the communities, and their relationship to formal literature
His talks on the Ballads in particular were among the most popular ones he did
The work of the Critics Group was largely an examine of the voice and how it was used by source singers   
Harker chose to target MacColl and the Critics at a conference he spole at in Sheffield, which is what I took him up on, but he wrote about them in dismissive terms elsewhere
If possible, he knew even less of our work that our Pseud does, but that apparently isn't a barrier for some people apparently
In fairness, they aren't alone, Martin Carthy's efforts were wildly inaccurate too

Almost everybody who was anybody on the scene was at that symosium, friends and enemies alike
Lomax flew in from the States, Hamish Henderson came from Scotland and spoke about dirty songs, and a whole bunch of Theatre Workshop people attended and spoke, some of the 'Manchester mas trespass protesters came to pay their respects, a bunch of Travellers turned up out of the blue from several London sites..... even Arthur Scargill was there-.... a fabulous two days of talks and singing
We apparently missed one of the best sessions because we stayed in the bar all night and talked about Miners songs with Dave Douglas
Good days
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 12:06 PM

Fakesong:
"For all the world like a new-fangled anthropologist, or an Indian Trader with beads, Baring-Gould wrang all he could out of his privileged contact with country people, exploiting them and the curiosity-value they engendered in the book-buying bourgeois public, and talking up his worth..."

I don't think that's even-handed. 'Insinuating, sneering, slyly derogatory.' might begin to describe it.

See also the derogatory comments about Cecil Sharp that I posted on 04 Feb 20 at 11:13 AM.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 12:11 PM

"one of the comments Harker makes about the mediators is precisely that discussion of the 'people's culture' is not a feature of their work."

The kind of in-depth interviews that Jim Carroll and other collectors carried out later in the 20th century were specifically aimed at filling that lacuna, and are surely deserving of praise.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 12:13 PM

Interesting comment by Jack Campin about Paul Graney, who was more a collector of culture than purely of songs. His autobiography 'One Bloke' is a book I'd recommend.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 12:40 PM

"who was more a collector of culture than purely of songs"
Very true
He was a fascinating man
He had been promising my mate, Terry Whelan "somthing that might interest you" for several year
I was staying with Terry when it arrived in the post
Eagerly, Terry put it on the tape recorded
Paul's voice came on, "I know you'll love this Terry" followed by recordings of the howling of a pack of Siberian wolves
Paul had overheard Terry expressing his love of Hammer Films
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 12:58 PM

Good tale, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 01:35 PM

I guess I'll have to wait until I have a copy of Harker's other book and make my own mind up about what it says about the Critics Group and the tone in which it was said.

@ Brian: I don't think anybody is saying that they like Harker's tone in 'Fakesong': my question was specifically about comments relating to The Critics Group and a 'set-to' at a symposium. But thank you for an example of a less than ideal tone! Harker is I suppose making the point that Baring Gould was an outsider, and that he published writing about other people's culture in a commercial context with a middle class market in mind, all of which seem factual points. But the tone does seem intended to mock.

Bearman is full of much the same mocking tone when he speaks of Harker and Lloyd, and some Mudcat posters go above and beyond!

@ Jag: Bearman goes even further than Harker, and is particularly scathing about 'class' analyses.

I think this word 'common' as in 'common people' is worth another look. Sharp defines this in some Romanticised manner, and links it to illiteracy and lack of formal training or contact with the educated as we have seen. This is all too like Child's fantasy about the ballads originating with some ancient classless society where everybody had one culture. One sense of the word 'common people' was and still is in some contexts to differentiate 'commoners' from royalty and the nobility and the church. What's left when you take away the royals and the nobles is the common people. To suggest that there ever was one shared culture, untouched by literacy, or by contact with the educated, even among those whose livelihoods were most closely linked with the countryside seems to me to be unrealistic on various grounds.

Therefore, in so far as Harker might tend to suggest that it is a fallacy to imagine that one can identify some sort of unitary 'a people's culture' stretching back over centuries, then surely we have to agree with him, and I think, with Bearman also.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 01:38 PM

On those matters, I think I am more with A L Lloyd, who thought many songs had been originally written by minstrels and that literate people (including himself, as far as I can see) produced better songs than illiterate people.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 01:59 PM

Did anybody pick up on Bearman's definition of a 'traditional song'? It seem to go something like 'a song that has been in circulation time out of mind'?

Sorry on Lloyd I only got part of the story: he doesn't think that once you have literacy you can have a 'purely oral' tradition, that is part of his point of view.

It may be that Ewan MacColl did make a significant theoretical contribution to the folk movement, but perhaps this should eventually be discussed on another thread?

Have a nice evening everybody.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 02:10 PM

Bearman conducted his own analysis of Sharp's editing practices, looking for example at Series 4 of Folk Songs From Somerset.

He found 11 songs with only minor alterations of the text printed as collected, one of which was wholly as collected. He found 8 songs where the text had been augmented either by material from other singers or from printed texts. He found 4 cases of major alteration. He found 2 examples of 'compilations'. He then examines examples of Sharp's best and worst practices.

See page 173.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 03:02 PM

The first reported singing of rural workers having an oral tradition was when The Venerable Bede (died 735) complained about cattlemen interrupting one of his sermons by passing a harp around and singing disreputable secular songs
The first named folk son 'The wedding of The Frog and the Mouse' was identified as having been sung by 'shepherds' in Wedderburn's Complaynt of Scotland in 1549
It was still being collected in unique versions right into the sedecod half of the 20th century (from virtuoso fiddle player Martin Hayes's elderly father in Clare and from Annie McKenzie in Boho, Fermanagh
The Ballad, 'Hind Horn' which shares its plot with Homer's tale of the return of Odysseus, left Ireland with famine refugees and was recorded still being sung in New England in the 1930s
The non-Child ballad, 'The Bramble Briar' was used as a plot for one of Boccaccio's tales in The Decameron (latter half of the 14 century - it was still doing the rounds in Ireland as 'The Constant Farmer's Son' when we started recording in Clare - (we also got it from Travellers)
Local dancer Mikey Kelleher gave us versions of 'The mouse in the matchbox' story as joke - it was part of Rojas's 'The Spanish Bawd' (1499)
He also gave us a cante-fal version of The Sea captain and the Fiddler's Wife which appeared as a song in D'Urfey's 'Pills to Purge Melancholy' (1707) and a tale version of 'The Bishop of Canterbury' (dating back at least to the 16th century)   
I never get tired of telling of non'literate Traveller telling us the cante-fable 'The Silence Wager' whic has appeared as the song John Blunt (Dorset) and 'Get up and Bar the Door' (Scotland) over the centuries, but has existed as a tale all over the world for seveal millenia, the oldest reported being told as a tale of two Egyptian tomb robbers arguing about who should close the tomb door for fear they would be discovered by the Pharaoh's tomb guards....

These examples can be found one-hundred -fold in our folk song repertoires as oral tales and songs which have existed long before print and mass literacy

It is utterly stupid to deny there is no continuum to our oral traditions when the existence of such examples are as numeous as they are
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 06:56 PM

* "It is utterly stupid to deny there is no continuum to our oral traditions "

What does this even mean?

* Somebody posted the following about Harker:

"I had a run-in with him over my criticising his snide analysis of The Critics Group in my talk at the MacColl symposium"

After asking for more information on this I concluded:

"I guess I'll have to wait until I have a copy of Harker's other book and make my own mind up about what it says about the Critics Group and the tone in which it was said."

And I shall. For though I asked, politely, no evidence has been provided to me that Harker was 'snide' in this, as defined by Brian a few posts ago. I don't think I have been provided with any evidence of an 'analysis' by Harker: a couple of factual statements don't really seem to me to amount to an 'analysis'. What I got instead was … well, it speaks for itself.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 02:28 AM

"it is a fallacy to imagine that one can identify some sort of unitary 'a people's culture' stretching back over centuries"
That is exactly what Harker denied and what our ignorant friend put up - "fakesong" puts that stupid philosophy in one borrowed term (those who used it before Harker stole it meant something entirely different)
Questioning the term 'folksong' by calling it fake dismisses the idea that the people even had a culture
The same is implied by those who suggest that 'the folk' didn't make their songs but contacted the job out to incompetent writers to do the ob for them
The same people have also suggested that our folk tales originated from literary sources (if my memory serves me right Steve)
Which more or less reduces the cultural creativity of the English people to scrimshaw and knitting patterns (and who knows, maybe there were long forgotten businesses producing them)
Our folk song traditions died as their exponents turned from being active creators and re-creators to passive recipients, if that had always been the case we woldn't have any folk songs, as someone once argued argued on this forum, they would be no different than the output from the music industry
I think I may still have the quote somewhere Steve - I considered it important to save it at the time
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 02:34 AM

"no evidence has been provided to me that Harker was 'snide' in this, as defined by Brian a few posts ago."
Brian listed some of that in one of his best posts some time ago
The fact that you have chosen to ignore them is your problem
You don't listen to what you are told which is why you know so little about folk song
One of the first things I learned when starting when starting out on all this is 'If you lock an empty room that's what you end up with - an empty room
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 02:34 AM

"no evidence has been provided to me that Harker was 'snide' in this, as defined by Brian a few posts ago."
Brian listed some of that in one of his best posts some time ago
The fact that you have chosen to ignore them is your problem
You don't listen to what you are told which is why you know so little about folk song
One of the first things I learned when starting when starting out on all this is 'If you lock an empty room that's what you end up with - an empty room
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 06:45 AM

I am afraid I cannot agree with what Jim is saying. This is partly, again, because I do not think he has fully taken in what has been said and what has not been said. Just to correct one factual error, at no point has Brian ever provided evidence to support Jim's assertion that Harker made 'snide' remarks about people in his book 'One For the Money'. Neither has Jim. I think Jim's term for the way his posts are going on this topic would be 'ducking and diving'.

"Questioning the term 'folksong' by calling it fake dismisses the idea that the people even had a culture". This misrepresents the nature of Harker's arguments. My understanding is that the book 'One For the Money' is precisely about the culture of 'the people', and that is one good reason for reading it. Some of my family were musicians in local theatres/variety venues, which is another reason I am interested to read it.

For me, starting an argument that there was a long-standing oral culture by referring to two *written* texts in foreign languages, both of which have been translated into English multiple times, isn't a very good beginning. The key here is the fact that they were written.

There is, of course, a discussion to be had about the way in which narratives and narrative elements crop up in different cultures, and I have encountered various ways of analysing these elements in order to trace lineages, though even this is fraught with theoretical difficulties. But I have yet to see Jim engaging with these issues. I believe this is an area where Steve Gardham knows a lot. I have been dipping into some work by Atkinson which touches upon it.

Just to be clear, I have read an adult translation of Odyssey, and had books telling its stories when I was a child. I have also read various 20th century novels whose themes are taken from it. I have a copy of Boccaccio's Decameron. Jim is not 'telling me' anything by mentioning these writers.

Jim's accusations that I am 'stupid' and lacking intelligence and so on are a tad tedious, and I rather wish he would refrain from this sort of post.

I suspect that when Jim posts that I won't listen to what I am told, he means that I won't take what he says on a topic discussed within the world of folk as gospel. I don't see why I should. To given an example, I have read a lot of what Jim said about Roud's book Folk Song in England. My views on this differ from Jim's. I think it is a fine book.

I believe there are some areas in which my understanding and knowledge, while not by any means 'expert' are better than Jim's. The musical side of it would be one. I do recall having to point out to Jim an example of a singer using ornamentation when Jim had denied that the singer in question ever did any such thing.

Otherwise, thank you for sharing, Jim. I hope you have a nice day and that the weather is better where you are than it is here.

(Going out on the porch to ponder John Moulden's thoughts on how to carry out a discussion)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 07:06 AM

"I am afraid I cannot agree with what Jim is saying."
Nothing new there

"Harker made 'snide' remarks about people in his book 'One For the Money'."
I've pointed out how much work MacColl and the critics into researching the voice and passing it on to others to the extent that a dozen or so similar groups using that research, including the one I ran in Manchester, and mor notably, the Birmingham Group which eventually became 'Banner Theatre'
Harker was aware of that work and those groups yet he claimed that MacColl never MacColl made no theoretical contribution to the folk scene
MacColl was noted for this theoretical work - it was as "snide" as it gets to pretend it never happened
You've been told this, now you are ignoring it - what Harker had must be contagious
Your own habit of rejecting what people say and announcing you will go off and read harker to find out if what has been said was true it pretty snide - as is claiming work you have not even read is "unreliable" - such as that Pat and I did,
" This misrepresents the nature of Harker's arguments. "
No it dousn't
The music you are describing is not what Harker concentrates on - it is @Folk Song' - 'The Voice of the People' as it is widely referred to - not "variety theatre" work

If you disagree with what I say about Roud or anything - fine - that's what we're here for
Just stating that you do without counter- argument means squat

I would read, mark and inwardly digest what John wrote - he's a wise man - I spoke to him yesterday and he confirmed his wisdom
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 07:10 AM

1 "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"

Jim Carroll, further up this thread.

2 "I had a run-in with him over my criticising his snide analysis of The Critics Group in my talk at the MacColl symposium"

So,if I listen to 'what I am told', it looks as if Jim was twice involved in somewhat fractious interactions with Harker at this symposium, once at a talk Harker himself gave, and another at a talk Jim gave in which he referred to Harker's book 'One for the Money', criticising the comments Harker made in that book about the Critics Group? It looks as if folk symposiums might be things to stay well away from if you like a quiet life!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 07:11 AM

? symposia ?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 07:23 AM

"Jim was twice involved in somewhat fractious interactions with Harker"
I met him several times
At the last meeting we met he announced that he was refusing to take questions and had cut down on the number of public talks he gave because of the hostility his book had stirred up
Most fokk symposia I attended were pretty friendly gatherings - they still are   

I received this on line this morning from Academia
A Database of British and Irish Labouring-class Poets Tyson Betz

It looks a superb piece of work - anybody who believes England working people weren't poetically inclined should grab a copy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 07:45 AM

Delighted to see that, of course, Betz includes Dave Harker as a source.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 07:51 AM

As it happens, I have taught poetry (and guitar) to lots of working class kids. I recall one almost non-literate pupil whose guitar work knocked spots off a lot of stuff you see in clubs. I think she could recognise melodic ornamentation when she saw it. She could produce it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 07:52 AM

I guess I'll have to wait until I have a copy of Harker's other book and make my own mind up about what it says about the Critics Group and the tone in which it was said.

And I shall. For though I asked, politely, no evidence has been provided to me that Harker was 'snide' in this[...


This is all Harker says about the Critics in the earlier book; he's referring to the late 60s. Doesn't look snide to me.

MacColl, meanwhile, spent a considerable amount of time training singers, both at the Singers Club, and at more select gatherings of people (including the embryo Critics group), so as to carry on his methods and techniques. In public, MacColl made no serious theoretical contribution; but, fortunately, some of his training sessions were surreptitiously recorded.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 08:12 AM

Thank you Jack.

And for that, it was felt worthwhile to slag him off in public?

It speaks volumes.

As Jim might say 'I think we're done here'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 20 - 08:14 AM

"but, fortunately, some of his training sessions were surreptitiously recorded."
That was what kicked off our argument at the symposium
"Some of the meetings" were not "surreptitiously recorded" - most of them were recorded openly by Charles Parker who was asked to do so by the Group
When Charles died they were deposited in Birmingham Central Library and eventually became part of the Charles Parker Archive, but Ewan and Peg Kept copies of most of them at Beckenham for people like me to come and make copies of them
Making the Critics sound like a secretive sect, as Harker set out to do is as snide as it gets
"I have taught poetry (and guitar) to lots of working class kids."
That's very commendable, but it still has nothing to do with this discussion
We are talking about the existence of a specific form of song which represented a specific section of society - it is this which Harker shrouds in fog by suggesting it to be "fake"

"Betz includes Dave Harker as a source."
Why wouldn't he ?
Jim Carroll


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