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Dave Harker, Fakesong

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
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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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