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Dave Harker, Fakesong

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
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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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