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New Book: Folk Song in England

Jim Carroll 12 Aug 18 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Aug 18 - 08:04 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Aug 18 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Aug 18 - 07:00 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Aug 18 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,jag 11 Aug 18 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Aug 18 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Aug 18 - 08:35 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Aug 18 - 06:24 AM
Jack Campin 11 Aug 18 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Aug 18 - 05:44 AM
Jack Campin 11 Aug 18 - 05:36 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Aug 18 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,jag 11 Aug 18 - 05:00 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Aug 18 - 04:50 AM
GUEST 11 Aug 18 - 04:37 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Aug 18 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Aug 18 - 08:22 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 18 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,jag 10 Aug 18 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Aug 18 - 12:08 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 18 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,jag 10 Aug 18 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Aug 18 - 10:18 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 18 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,jag 10 Aug 18 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,jag 10 Aug 18 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Aug 18 - 09:14 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 18 - 09:04 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 18 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,jag 10 Aug 18 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Aug 18 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Aug 18 - 06:49 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 18 - 06:10 AM
Will Fly 10 Aug 18 - 04:22 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 18 - 04:04 AM
Richard Mellish 10 Aug 18 - 02:56 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Aug 18 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Aug 18 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Aug 18 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Aug 18 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Aug 18 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Aug 18 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Aug 18 - 06:54 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Aug 18 - 05:42 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Aug 18 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,1594 03 Aug 18 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Bert Fan 03 Aug 18 - 09:54 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Aug 18 - 04:40 AM
Will Fly 03 Aug 18 - 04:12 AM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Aug 18 - 08:18 AM

"Insider knowledge about an elfin knight? Somebody's 'away with the fairies' t"
The Elfin Knight is a centuries old ballad, but even so, it contains elements of folklore that supercede the the study of the subject - they are part of 'folk' heritage, as are many other motifs contained in the ballads
When it comes to sea songs and songs about the effects of the enclosures, broken token songs eyc. - pure folk - as is the language
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Aug 18 - 08:04 AM

Sorry Jim,

Insider knowledge about an elfin knight? Somebody's 'away with the fairies' then! Sorry, could not resist that.

Tzu


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Aug 18 - 07:39 AM

"Some early recordings are sung with a local accent but that is about it. "
Sorry - I don't understand that at all
The last major collecting project in Britain was carried out in the first half of 1950s by the BBC and it covered the entire British Isles - everything that was recorded during the five years was in local accents
The greatest indication for me that these songs were 'of the people' wa their displays of accent, vernacular and insider knowledge
This is why I believe that, rather than paper chases, it is essential to examine the songs in these terms - aurally if possible
The earliest recordings we have of English traditional singing were made by Percy Grainger in 1906, all in that gentle Lincolnshire accent
How the collectors transcribed the songs for print is a different matter altogether
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Aug 18 - 07:00 AM

Going back to dialect poetry:

The subject of accents is interesting, not least because the 'folk songs' we have are so seldom in them or in the dialects of the past, in which old songs by 'the people' would have been sung. Some early recordings are sung with a local accent but that is about it.

For anyone from abroad interested in hearing English accents, here are some sites where examples have been collected:

https://sounds.bl.uk/Accents-and-dialects/BBC-Voices

https://sounds.bl.uk/Accents-and-dialects/Survey-of-English-dialects

On song in social history: Roud cites sources to show that non-literate people did own broadsides, they stuck or pinned them up on their walls, in the expectation that somebody who could read would call in and decipher them. (There is also evidence that musicians who could not read music would buy sheet music and get somebody who could read it to decipher that. But I'm not sure that this is mentioned in Roud).

The argument about ballad broadsheets being unsingable would appear to be undermined by the fact that such a high proportion of the songs collected by Victorian and Edwardian collectors appeared on ballad broadsheets.

'Localisation' appears to have been in existence for some time: nowadys we have 'glocalisation' as a term. What I have read about Lady Isabel and the Elfin Knight seems to show that. The fact that people put local contexts to songs isn't necessarily here or there in terms of their actual origins.

To say more would be to go back round a circle again.

Interesting discussion.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 09:44 AM

Our literature never questioned that the people created the folk songs
Child never dealt with folk song in general and was working from printed copies, some of which, he conceded might have been literary creations
Collectors warned against interfering with what 'the peasantry' had passed on
Folk songs contain chunks of social history, as you say - what makes them important is that much of the history they contain is not available elsewhere
You can go to military records to found out how The Battle of the Nile was fought, but you have to go to the songs to find out how it felt for a ploughman to be ripped out of his roots and sent off to fight in Africa

The difference between broadside compositions and the folksongs is not similar to that of an assembly line worker helping churn of cheap ornaments for the tourists and a whalerman carving a piece of scrimshaw - one leaves a piece of himself in his creation, the other doesn't
The pressure to produce the broadsides is, I have no doubt, the reason why so many of then were unsingable
An unsingable song is simply that - unsingable - that is certainly not and aesthetic judgement; in my case if is the view of a singer who has searched the collections searching for songs
I have no idea if you are a singer - I don't even know who you are or what your involvement is
I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve

"Using the mid twentieth-century term 'pop song' in this context is, for me, an unhelpful anachronism. "
I din't introduce it into this argument - one of the leading 'print origin' advocates did when he said these songs were made for money - somewhat gleefully, I seem to remember

If I have spent thirty years placing these songs into a social context and treating them as unique and am suddenly told that they were the products of desk-bound urban hacks producing them at a rate of knots I have been wasting my time - I can take comfort from the fact that so were the rest of my generation of folk song enthusiasts
I can also take comfort from the fact that this claim doesn't hold water

A semi- literate (if that) cottage dweller buying songs and carrying them home to his ill-lit cottage to learn, adapt and lovingly remake so he or she can then turn them into the gems they are - I don't think so really
It neither makes practical nor cultural sense
If we've found out anything in the last four decades it has been that people did make songs and they could make songs, my the many hundreds
THe singers called their songs their own, they identified with them socially, personally and geographically
They may have sung all different genres of songs but they discriminate between the different genres
The actually visualised their folk songs and placed them in familiar surroundings

All this, for me, identifies these songs as being what they have always been regarded as (up to now) - "the songs" or "the voice of the people"
It will take me a lot more than earliest printed dates to show me otherwise
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 09:27 AM

From Roud's Introduction: ""... instead of asking "What folk songs did people sing?, we are more concerned with the question "What songs did the folk sing?".

Roud stopped at about 1950. In times to come Jack's woman on the bus leading Caledonia, with a smartphone as a prompt, will be part of what the folk sang. Part of the social history of non-for-money singing by 'the folk'.

I think there is an argument that my childhood experience of people on a works outing singing (probably) Music Hall and WW1 favourites on the back of a bus is closer to the folk's music than a folk club on guest night.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 08:48 AM

I see I missed out the part after 'secondly', so

and secondly, no song has 'content' to be neatly decoded in some sort of uncontroversial right/wrong manner; all we can offer are interpretations which will always reflect our own social contexts. Vic Gammon is quite good on all this. "In that I fashion something out of these materials, I do that in terms of my own cultural and historical
perspectives. Future writers with different perspectives might find different things to write about in these same materials. We cannot escape being historically constituted subjects. " (From his book on drink, death and desire).


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 08:35 AM

Hello Jim

As usual, your post covers a range of issues.

I am afraid I do not agree with the comment in the post above and elsewhere to the effect that for over a century people believed that the working person wrote 'folk songs'. I have quoted what Child said on this a number of times. The picture is more complicated than this, something Roud helps us to understand.

Songs are not 'social history'; history is basically the study of the past. Songs may be 'historical sources'. As such, they may be reliable or unreliable, biased in various ways and so on. For example, one would be unlikely to come to a full understanding of the cotton famine's causes and effects by reading the dialect poems about it that have survived.

I also agree with those who have pointed out that writing ballads is 'work' and was therefore done by 'working people'. I see no reason, in fact, why ballad sheets should not be used by social historians, and I know that they often are. Once again, there is much of interest in Roud.

It seems to me that arguments about the literary merits or demerits or the 'singability' of broadsheet balladry, especially when contrasted with the merits of 'our' folk songs, are aesthetic judgments, not historical ones. They seem difficult to maintain and prove, especially when the earliest known versions are broadsheet ones. You'd end up saying 'The people can't have written that, it's unsingable rubbish.' or 'I don't have an early version uncontaminated by print, but I'm sure it would have been much better than this.'

You write: It also meand, of course, that working people have always been recipients of (even customers for) our oral and musical cultures and not participants in their making.

I don't think it does, though in the sense that the Christian religion, for example, which influenced working people immensely, took off because a Roman Emperor was converted to it, and then there were centuries of political influence wielded by the Christian Church across the whole of Europe, then, yes, plainly the working people of this country have to a significant extent been 'recipients' of culture rather than making it.

Using the mid twentieth-century term 'pop song' in this context is, for me, an unhelpful anachronism. I am interested in the history of what ordinary people heard and sang, and since this plainly included a lot of the commercial or popular music of the day, than that is part of social history and it is worth writing about.

I would rather read Roud's account, based on written evidence from the times in question, than vague waffle about 'shamanistic duels' of the sort one encounters in connection with Lady Isabel and the Elfin Knight (there has recently been an interesting thread on that song here). Or stuff from Lloyd trying to argue that the song has its origins in one of the communist countries whose regimes so admired.

I don't think anything I have said invalidates the collecting work done by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie or renders their lives 'wasted'. I think it might be just a tad over-dramatic to see it this way.

I found a Henry Boardman song on Spotify. He plays that old traditional English instrument - the banjo! And not particularly well.

To Guest (4.37) The "why" is tricky. The Americans devised the term 'the intentional fallacy' to describe problems in this area; the French pronounced that the author was dead not long afterwards. There are two points here, I think. First one can never know for sure what a person 'intended' and secondly,

To Jack: I agree with a lot of what you have said.

And I have now promised myself not to go round this particular circle again.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 06:24 AM

"And if they then wanted to publish it and get paid, why not, "
No reason at all
It has never been a question of them appearing on broadsides - that has always been accepted
It is a question whether the orinateded there
Much of the argument suggests that they did and the reasons given for that (when they have been given) I find unconvincing
If it is true than i means our scolars have been barking up the wrong tree from day one and people like me who have been approaching our folk songs as social history have wasted our lives.
It also meand, of course, that working people have always been recipients of (even customers for) our oral and musical cultures and not participants in their making.
Doew 'Duncan Campbell' sound as if it was made for money - of course it doesn't
Do the Beethoven Quartets sound as if they have ?
Money or sponsorship certainly played a part in the circulation of both but that is no indication of the motive behind their creation.

What do sound as if they were created for money are the many thousands of badly written and largely unsingable broadsides which, it is claimed, share their authorship with our ballads and folk songs
"It's a much more interesting book "
"Interesting" doesn't really come into the equation - I love John Griham anc C J Sansom, but I go to them for something else
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 05:44 AM

Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 02:51 AM

I think we seem to be walking up the old blind alley here once again
Instead of askin who made our folk songs we should be asking why they were made
The 'print origins' people have provided their answer - for money

Then as now, people with something they wanted to say wrote a song to say it. And if they then wanted to publish it and get paid, why not, be it now or 400 years ago? Does "Duncan Campbell" read like money was the only thing in the broadside writer's mind?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 05:44 AM

It was stated above that the hand loom weaver's lament was by Bamford.

I'm not sure this is right. a) can't find it in online collections of Bamford's work b) found a book dated 188ish online saying it was taken from someone else.

Bamford was a special constable during Chartist times, some of his work seems to reflect a dislike of the movement.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 05:36 AM

It's a much more interesting book than the one you want him to have written.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 05:33 AM

"It does what it says on the tin"
Actually it doesn't - it claims to be about folk song but it is in fact a history of but it is fact a history of pop song down the ages
The earliest reaction to it I read was "oo - look, the folk didn't make folk song"
A very damaging reaction if ever there was one
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 05:00 AM

Getting back to the book. Roud sets out clearly early in the introducion what the book is about and then goes on to do that. If people want something with song texts then they know by a few pages in that they are not going to get them and why.

It does what it says on the tin*. If you want baked beans with little sausages don't by a tin that just says 'Baked Beans'.

*OK, so it may not be specific from the label but you can read a few pages of the Introduction standing in a book shop or get the whole Introduction for free from Amazon.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 04:50 AM

My thoughts exactly guest (not sure about you valuation - all songs are "shite" to those who don't like or understand them)
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 04:37 AM

"Instead of askin who made our folk songs we should be asking why they were made"

They were made for exactly the same reasons people write songs today:

To express an emotion;
To express a grievance;
To entertain;
To make people laugh;
To make people cry;
To win the heart of a potential lover;
To make a living (either money, shelter, food, or drink).

And sometimes, for the sheer hell of it.

etc, etc, etc.

A few people would have been good at at it; the majority shite.

Those few that were lucky enough to be able to live by their art would have either been inspired or have 'borrowed' their ideas from extant sources.

Plus ça change . . . . .

It's archaeology (not history) and, in the absence of supporting documentary sources, the artifact (the song!) will sometimes help one to discover the "when", "where", "what" and "how"; but very rarely can one identify the "why".


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Aug 18 - 02:51 AM

I think we seem to be walking up the old blind alley here once again
Instead of askin who made our folk songs we should be asking why they were made
The 'print origins' people have provided their answer - for money - after half a centuries experience in folk song, that is the very last conclusion I would have reached
I think the answers to the origins and the functions of our folk songs lie in the songs themselves, not their manifestations on paper
For me, the greatest omission in Roud's book is his failure to include song-texts leaving us unable to place his arguments next to the subject of his eponymously chosen title a work on folk songs with the subject matter removed.

I firmly believe that our songs are an important part of our social history - you can't deal with them in this manner if you believe them to be commercial commodities; you can't even do that if you believe them to me merely 'entertainments'

They were made to entertain in part and they were taken up and sold, but once you start to examine them in their social context you have to realise thay are something much more than that.

I flicked through Bamford's thumbnail autobiography last night - his only reference to his songs (pooms) was the effect one of them had on his fellow-radicals - they were part of his life as a worker and a radical, not a way of putting a crust on the table.
This made them a voice of working-people's experience and struggle.
These industrial songs are only a tiny part of the equation.

WE were privileged enough to be able to look at two major traditions - one still living (for a time), and one moribund but still warm.
Apart from the repertoires the common feature of the two was the obvious desire, even need to make songs in order to capture the experiences and feelings of the communities.
That, for me, has to be a major clue of who made our folk songs.

Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 08:22 PM

I know I heard a radio programme about dialect poets a short while ago, and here is a relevant link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4xDyV5CQKLMDPcrnyWMBLj8/an-ear-for-an-aye-listening-to-englands-dialect-poetry

I also foundsomething about the cotton famine poets on the BBC web site, and here is a link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-37836654

These people were mostly poets not song writers, though.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 01:15 PM

"Do you know any more about the pirating in Cork, by any chance? "
I know little about the broadside trade in Ireland, beyond the influence that O'Loughlin's street ballads and James Healey's publications had on the oral tradition I'm afraid
I do know that most of the 'big' traditional singers and storytellers mistrusted the published songs and would only use them to supplement their own oral texts
The broadside influences appeared to be largely urban
I was once told by Hugh Shields that very little is known about the trural 'ballad' trade apart from reports of it having happened
It was fascinating to interview a ballad seller
I intend re-reding Bamford’s Passages in the Life of a Radical’ tonight to see if he mentiones songmaking – it’s decades since I read it
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 12:47 PM

I agree with Jim about Laycock. I have just been dipping in at random. I find it mainly descriptive and mainly in the present rather than appealing to nostalgia. Description of things with emotional interest of course.

"Bowton' Yard" is well know but not typical.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 12:08 PM

Hi Jim

Thanks, I knew the Irish ballad trade wasn't quite as simple as I thought you had suggested. Do you know any more about the pirating in Cork, by any chance?

Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 11:14 AM

"I think Laycock does 'romanticise'; it is one of the ways he tries to create sympathy, "
I disagree totally
My understanding of romanticising is producing a roseate pastiche picture of the characters and their backgrounds - far from what these writers were - and a thousand miles from the output of the broadside presses
In some cases, their stly may have been borrowed thus their subject matter is nearer to Engles 'Conditions of the Working Class in England' than it was to Harrison Ainsworth
Jag mentioned Harvey Kershaw - a romantic poet, even though he was writing from his own background
I remember seeing him and Harry Boardman perform on numerous occasions and comparing the 'Reet Lancashire' songs with some of Harry's traditional songs - Harry was as much as chalk and cheese as to be two different singers   
Some of these poets were political activists, Bampton being a prime example - it was their activism that inspired their writing, noth their need to put food o the table

It's interesting to compare this song making tradition with that of the Irish over the same period
Both were making songs, the difference being that the Irish had rich and thriving oral tradition to draw from whereas industrial Lancashire appeared not to have.
This is certainly reflected in the songmaking
Rather than basing these arguments on the printed word you really need to judge the songs as sung.

"but I don't think it is accurate to assert that the whole trade in Ireland went like that"
The rural trade did - the towns of course were influenced by the bad poetry of the broadsides
The rural 'ballad selling trade' has been very much neglected and lumped in with the urban one - they really were very diifferent repretoires
Ironically, the ballad trade was almost exclusively the domain of non-literate Travellers, who were also the saviours of some of our best examples of Traditional ballads and folk takes - an almost pure oral tradition
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 10:32 AM

Jim. Back in January, something I quoted something that Roud quotes from Charlotte Burne in the last part of the 19th century:

"One such song-maker, commonly called 'the Muxton carter' ... ... used to think the verses over in his mind when he was going with the horses... ... It was doubtless such unlettered poets as these who supplied the matter for the broadsides which emanated in great numbers from Waidson's press at Shrewsbury during the earlier years of the present century"

Laycock was an urban writer and Burne thought that the rural Muxon carter was supplying the broadside presses.

I don't know, but the Waidson of Waidson's press could just have been a small town tradesman putting food on his family's table by providing a service for which there was a demand just like the blacksmiths, coal merchants, publicans, tailers, tinkers and candlestick makers.

If you want to get into politico-economics the question would be whether or not the broadside printers were adding value commensurate with their income after expenses. You seem the regard them like 'rent seekers'. What is your evidence for that?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 10:18 AM

Hello again Jim

I know that one of your tradition bearers sold his songs direct to ballad makers, but I don't think it is accurate to assert that the whole trade in Ireland went like that. I have read that Cork was a centre for pirate broadsheet song making to sell to the colonies at a time when Irish copyright laws were not like English ones.

Also, I'm not sure that the point stands in relation to Laycock who made songs and sold them to printers to make money because he needed the money during the cotton famine, more or less the same as your tradition bearer except that your tradition bearer may have had to sing it rather than writing it down.

I think Laycock does 'romanticise'; it is one of the ways he tries to create sympathy, and it seems to me to be in line with Victorian ideas of the 'deserving poor'. Note the 'modesty meek' description. Of course this is just my view.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 09:52 AM

He was a mill worker
The point I was trying to make was that most of them had their roots in the communities they wrote about and a great number of them did not romanticise those communities or patronise them with pastiche
The fact that some of their compositions appeared on broadsides was incidental - the broadside trade was a predatory one that took its songs from wherever they appeared
Many, in my opinion, remade them to sell to urban customers and in doing so took the reality from them
It's interesting to compare this practice with the 'ballad-selling trade' in Ireland, wheer the songs were taken directly from the mouths of the singers, printed and sold as heard
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 09:47 AM

Thanks for the link Pseu'.

Jim. Before universal primary education kids were employed, or doing something practical and useful around the house or farm, from an early age. They would grow up knowing the technical terms for the work they and their family members did. Layock's life illustrates how someone writing songs can know the technical terms for a trade without being employed in it for more than few years. Like him, those who learned to read and write might get a 'lift in the world'. We don't know how many of the folk who wrote songs really were illiterate.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 09:31 AM

Samuel Laycock (woolen weaver)

He was a cotton power-loom operative for 17 years, then got a "lift in the world" and became a 'cloth looker'. When the 'Cotton Famine' struck and he wrote work that appeared on broadsides. Then he was librarian and hall-keeper at Stalybridge Mechanics Institute for six years. Acted as curator to the Addison Literary Club. Later failed as a book-stall holder on Oldham Market and then had a successful small business (type not given) in Blackpool.

I gave a link to the book with a biography.

'Woolen weaver' is romantic and wrong.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 09:14 AM

Jag

You may be right. Thanks.

I wasn't sure if Jim was trying to state that the 'weaver poets' were not very used to writing things down, and that deviations from standard English in their work reflected this rather than dialect. This was what he put:

"an attempt to phonetically reproduce the words by people unfamiliar with putting pen to paper ... "

This suggests that the writers had some grasp of how to represent things 'phonetically', which seems to refer to pronunciation, which is one aspect of dialect, yet Jim is saying he did not feel that the poems were like dialect. The examples of writers he gives confused me more. But maybe Jim himself can clarify this.

I agree with you about the introduction to the piece on the Exeter web site, and also with their comment about the variety of dialects in the poem that follows.

I think I can get a feel for Laycock, though you have to read it through a couple of times, and some of his dialect words are somewhat familiar to me eg 'yead' for 'head', but I feel he uses a lot more of the letter h than was probably pronounced. His biography says he learned a 'free-flowing' hand at school, and he was involved in literary circles all his life. I am thinking he would have been bi-dialectical. And not a drinker it would appear.

Jim

Hello

I agree that poets never exist in a vacuum and will be influenced by one or more of the styles around at the time. That, I think, is partly what enables people like Roud to date 'traditional' songs to specific periods. Thanks for the additional examples of the same sort of 19th century thing. Very little dialect in these examples, though.

It would appear that Laycock's poems sometimes appeared as broadsheets. He needed the money. I just found one online, price 1d, printed in Blackpool, where, like many Lancashire folk before him, he retired. So maybe he isn't the best choice of contrast between 'good' stuff and the product of 'hacks'.

There is a lot of stuff about Laycock here:

http://www.gerald-massey.org.uk/laycock/b_broadsheets.htm

He seems to have been an interesting chap.

Tzu


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 09:04 AM

For me, this is the most interesting song/poem to come out of that period
Jim Carroll

The Surat Weavers   Samuel Laycock (woolen weaver)

Confound it! aw ne’er wur so woven afore,
Mi back’s welly bracken, mi fingers are sore;
Aw’ve bin starin’ an’ rootin’ amung this Shurat,
Till aw’m very near getten as bloint as a bat.

Every toime aw go in wi’ mi cuts to owd Joe,
He gies mi a cursin’, an’ bates mi an’ o ;           keeps         back         part of payment
Aw’ve a warp i’ one loom wi’ booath selvedges marr’d
An’ th’ other’s as bad, for he’s dressed it to’ hard.

Aw wish aw wur fur enough off, eawt o’ th’ road,
For o’ weavin’ this rubbitch aw’m gettin’ reet stow’d;        fed up
Aw’ve nowt i' this world to lie deawn on but straw,
For aw’ve nobbut eight shillin’ this fortn’t to draw.

Neaw aw haven’t mi family under mi hat,
Aw’ve a woife an’ six childer to keep eawt o’ that;
So aw’m rayther amung it at present, yo’ see,
Iv ever a fellow wur puzzl’t, it’s me!

Iv one turns eawt to stale, folk’ll co me a thief,              steal
An’ aw conno’ put th’ cheek on to ax for relief;
As aw said i’ eawr heawse t’other neet to mi woife,
I niver di nowt o’ this sort in me loif

One doesn’t like everyone t’ know heaw they are,
But we’n suffered so lung thro’ this ’Merica war,
’At ther’s lots o’ poor factory folk getten t’ fur end,
An’ they’ll soon be knocked o’er iv th’ toimes dunno mend.

Oh, dear! iv yon Yankees could only just see
Heaw they’re clemmin’ an starvin’ poor weavers loike me,
Aw think they’d soon setde the’r bother, an’ strive
To send us some cotton to keep us alive.

Ther’s theawsands o’ folk just i’ th’ best o’ the’r days,
Wi’ traces o’ want plainly seen i’ the’r face;
An’ a future afore ’em as dreary an’ dark,
For when th’ cotton gets done we shall o’ be beawt wark.   all be without work

We’n bin patient an’ quiet as lung as we con;
Th’ bits o’ things we had by us are welly o gone;    almost all gone
Aw’ve bin trampin’ so lung, mi owd shoon are worn eawt,
An’ mi halliday clooas are o on ’em “up th’ speawt.”    pawned

It wur nobbut last Monday aw sowd a good bed—
Nay, very near gan it—to get us some bread; gave
Afore these bad toimes come aw used to be fat,
But neaw, bless yo’r loife, aw’m as thin as a lat!

Mony a toime i’ mi loife aw’v seen things lookin’ feaw,   ugly
But never as awk’ard as what they are neaw;
Iv ther’ isn’t some help for us factory folk soon,
Aw’m sure we shall o be knocked reet eawt o’ tune.

Come, give us a lift, yo’ ’at han owt to give,
An’ help yo’r poor brothers an’ sisters to live;
Be kind, an’ be tender to th’ needy an’ poor,
An’ we'll promise when th’ toimes mend we’ll ax yo’ no moor.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 08:29 AM

" Fairly typical 19th century stuff. "
Where the traditions isn't thriving, poets borrowed styles from elsewhere
That was the case everywhere
Jim

Bamford
The Hand-loom Weavers’ Lament
You gentlemen and tradesmen, that ride about at will,
Look down on these poor people, it s enough to make you crill;
Look down on these poor people, as you ride up and down,
I think there is a God above will bring your pride quite down.

Chorus
You tyrants of England, your race may soon be run,
You may be brought unto account for what you’ve sorely done

You pull down our wages, shamefully to tell;
You go into the markets, and say you cannot sell;
And when that we do ask you when these bad times will mend
You quickly give an answer, "When the wars are at an end."

When we look on our poor children, it grieves our hearts full sore,
Their clothing it is worn to rags, while we can get no more,
With little in their bellies, they to work must go,
Whilst yours do dress as manky as monkeys in a show.

You go to church on Sundays, I'm sure it's nought but pride,
There can be no religion where humanity's thrown aside,
If there be a place in heaven, as there is in the Exchange,
Our poor souls must not come near there, like lost sheep they must range.

With the choicest of strong dainties your tables overspread,
With good ale and strong brandy, to make your faces red;
You call d a set of visitors—it is your whole delight—
And you lay your heads together to make our faces white.

You say that Bonyparty he's been the spoil of all,
And that we have got reason to pray for his downfall;
Now Bonyparty’s dead and gone, and it is plainly shown
That we have bigger tyrants in Boneys of our own.

And now, my lads, for to conclude, it’s time to make an end;
Let s see if we can form a plan that these bad times may mend;
Then give us our old prices, as we have had before,
And we can live in happiness, and rub off the old score.

Attributed to Bamford
HOW TO LIVE ON THREE SHILLINGS A WEEK, OR THE POOR SURAT WEAVER’S LAMENT.
Hungry, weary and wan,
Useless the kettle and pan;
I applied for a pass,
To the sewing class,
To a kindly reputed man.
“What have you in earnings, now?”
Asked he, with a clouded brow.
I, with modesty meek,
Said, “Three shillings per week;”
He said “There’s no stitching for you.”
I replied, whereupon,
“My chemise are done;
My underclothes all worn to rags;
The dress I now wear,
You see is threadbare,
And the soles of my feet on the flags.
“Three muffins per day,
But no coffee or tea;
A penny for ‘tatoes at noon;
Three farthings for fuel,
A farthing for gruel,
Leaves nothing to pay for my room.
“My three shillings are gone,
I’ve no light but the sun;
Not a candle to see me to bed;
Not a penny for clothes,
Not a farthing for shoes,
No bonnet or cap for my head.
“No mutton or beef,
From such scale of relief,
Can th’ poor Surat weaver e’er taste;
No butter or grease,
Can e’er have a place,
On the table where she has to feast.
“This little support
Is to encourage work!
Good gracious how shuttles will fly!
What ribbons and lace
Will adorn my pale face,
Made rosy with pudding and pie!”


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 08:13 AM

I think I understand Jim to be saying that much of the material is not dialect but people trying to render the language as people spoke in the street and mill.

I used have a Lancashire accent (but fairly close to Saddleworth which was Yorkshire then). I had, and still have, great difficulty reading Laycock and getting any feel that it sounds as intended. I have no problem with the dialogue in the introduction to the poem from the Exeter database that I linked:

“Come Jim, sit down, and I’ll sing thee a song of my own composin’; th’ knows I’ve a good vice, and they told me last club neet, after I had sung ‘Spencer, the rover,’ that I had a bit o’ music in me, some said ‘there’s life i’th’ owd dog yet.’ I’ve made this song to th’ tune of ‘O Susannah,’ becose I thowt everybody ud know that. Join chorus, and give it bant.”

That is presumably intended to be how people spoke, with a few dialect words. The poem itself is mainly in standard English.

So I wonder if the dialect of the dialect poets was archaic even then.The mid 20th century dialect poet Harvey Kershaw seems to be somewhere in between and is fairly straight forward to read aloud with a Lancashire accent.

What do people make of "they told me last club neet, after I had sung ‘Spencer, the rover,’" ? I wonder when the mill social clubs, still going strong in the 1950s, started. (assuming it's not a modern spoof that has crept in...)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 07:11 AM

Hello Jim

'Alongside the poems of Waugh, Axon, Bamford and the other weaver poets...'

Just to clarify, Waugh seems not to have been a 'weaver poet'.

If the Axon referred to is William Axon, this person was a journalist.

Bamford attended Manchester Grammar School for a while, presumably at a time when it still had more of its original charitable intentions, so he was by no means a naive uneducated 'poet', unused to setting material down on paper.

Your point on what is accent and what is 'dialect' is interesting, though I don't quite follow it. There is a fine line between the two. Dialect is, as you suggest, often seen more a matter of grammar and vocabulary then just pronunciation. I agree that some of this material attempts to convey pronunciation, but then I lose you.


Some of the quotations given by Waugh seem to include examples of vocabulary varying according to dialect, including 'hond' for 'hand', 'yo' for 'you' 'co'de' for 'called' (pronounced a bit like code) and so on.

I'm guessing that some of these writers might have been to some extent 'bi-dialectical' as a result of their education and other factors.


Here's some Bamford. He was a fan of Byron, it appears. Fairly typical 19th century stuff.


God help the poor, who in this wintry morn,
Come forth of alleys dim and courts obscure;
God help yon poor, pale girl, who droops forlorn,
And meekly her affliction doth endure!
God help the outcast lamb! she trembling stands,
All wan her lips, and frozen red her hands;
Her mournful eyes are modestly down cast,
Her night-black hair streams on the fitful blast;
Her bosom, passing fair, is half reveal'd,
And oh! so cold the snow lies there congeal'd;
Her feet benumb'd, her shoes all rent and worn; ?
God help thee, outcast lamb, who stand'st forlorn!
                                           God help the poor!

Interesting rhyming scheme. Iambic pentameter with some variation. Some biblical references and lexical choices eg 'thee', 'lamb', 'doth'.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 06:49 AM

'Waugh, Axon, Bamford and the other weaver poets',

Waugh was not a weaver, though he may have been a poet. He worked in printing and publishing.

Here's a bit of Bamford:

God help the poor, who in this wintry morn,
Come forth of alleys dim and courts obscure;
God help yon poor, pale girl, who droops forlorn,
And meekly her affliction doth endure!
God help the outcast lamb! she trembling stands,
All wan her lips, and frozen red her hands;
Her mournful eyes are modestly down cast,
Her night-black hair streams on the fitful blast;
Her bosom, passing fair, is half reveal'd,
And oh! so cold the snow lies there congeal'd;
Her feet benumb'd, her shoes all rent and worn; ?
God help thee, outcast lamb, who stand'st forlorn!
                                           God help the poor!

To me, this is fairly standard 19th century 'literary' stuff. Basically iambic pentameter, with some variation for interest. Interesting rhyming scheme. Christian symbolism with mention of 'lambs' and of course 'God!'. Repetition and replacement. Some archaic language choice, reminiscent of bible 'doth' and 'thee'.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 06:10 AM

Thanks Will - I never cease to admire the generosity (and initiative) of members of this forum
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 04:22 AM

Jim - you can get to the programme (my copy) by clicking this link:

https://1drv.ms/u/s!Ah5KuRT6IqVhgdln4yV8XKWpxjNieg

Will


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 04:04 AM

Whenn I lived there Manchester Central Library used to have a large number of newspapers and other publications from the Cotton Famine and Chartist period, many of them carrying columns of songs and poems from textile workers, describing their work (or lack of it) and the conditions brought aabout by slave-like work, poor pay and harsh treatment
Alongside the poems of Waugh, Axon, Bamford and the other weaver poets, they proved an interesting contrast in style to the smaller collection of broadsides also carried by the library
These are proof positive of the creative skills of working people and the desire to put them down on paper.
I got the impression that the langage used in the songs sent in were not so much dialect, but an attempt to phonetically reproduce the words by people unfamiliar with putting pen to paper - the difference between genuine compositions and the pastiche of Dibden and the hacks

"who the "folk"
The BBC aren't generous enough to allow us ex-pats to listen to their programmes
I wonder if anybody records this, would they let me have a copy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 02:56 AM

Just linked by FreddyHeadey (thank you Freddy) on the "Folk on BBC tonight & this week" thread, a BBC programme germane to the discussions here of what is folk song, who made it, who the "folk" are, etc, including some words from Steve Roud himself.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Aug 18 - 05:58 PM

50s, Tzu
I don't remember much about it but I definitely attended. Will ask me mam tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Aug 18 - 08:38 AM

Hello Jag

I checked and Roud does in fact refer to a couple of Waugh's works. Didn't check for Laycock, but I don't suppose Roud will have missed that.

Re blacksmiths: another set of my ancestors were blacksmiths generation after generation, across Cheshire, then comes the mid-to-late 18th century and you find a descendent putting a cross on a certificate! So literacy definitely came and went. Agree on families and children going up and down (within limits of course!)

Another lot were publicans and at the same time coal merchants in Lancashire at about the time of the famine. I must look back over the records in the light of the famine. Because I don't suppose pubs or coal merchants did too well then.

Agree with Laycock's biographer on Sunday schools too, and not just Lancashire. It was partly about reading the bible, and yes, some people could read but not write or just write their names but not always even that. One of my Lancashire ancestors appears to have ended up at some sort of charity day school after being partially crippled as a child, and ended up working in printing and publishing(of anti-alcohol tracts as I understand it). So literacy came to him as a result of a combination of bad luck and charity.   

My father in law (long since passed away) used to go to Sunday Schools because they fed him: he ended up with the Methodists, so he told me, because they had the best dinners! This would be the thirties, I guess. So the role of Sunday Schools lasted into the 20th century.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Aug 18 - 08:17 AM

Thanks for Waugh link. The Laycock volume is here: https://archive.org/details/collectedwriting00layc


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Aug 18 - 08:03 AM

Crossed with Pseudonymous


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Aug 18 - 08:02 AM

Both my grandfathers worked in the Lancashire cotton mills. From one I have the Laycock volume I quoted from earlier, from the other several books given as Sunday school attendance prizes in the 1890's

Back to the Laycock volume in which his (sympathetic) biographer says

"At six years of age Laycock was fortunate in being sent for a short time to a day school. This implies some self-denial on the part of his parents, for it was not uncommon for children to begin work at the early age of six. Then, as usual, there came the Sunday School. Only those who are familiar with the days of which we are writing will know the immense influence of the Sunday Schools in Lancashire had upon the lives of the working people, not only in regard to religious training, but also in reference to their education ... ... At the Sunday school which Laycock attended writing was taught as well as reading ...

Laycock was born in 1826. His father was a handloom weaver, his grandfather a hill farmer. Neither of those are the lowest in society but Laycock started work in a woollen mill at the of nine.

I think that 'the collectors' give a more 'bimodal' view of society than my reading (and limited personal geneologic research) suggest. We have the middle class collectors showing interested in what the peasantry were doing and in the next wave were socialists highlighting the creative skills of the farm labourers and urban wage slaves.

I don't think it was like that, there were a lot of people in between many of whome were literate. Most villages would have had a blacksmith, some of whom left detailed day-books, all towns had tradespeople. Some of their children did well in life financially or in terms of time in which to be creative, others went down in the world. Where does being a pleasure garden or music hall performer put someone in society?

I suspect it was every thus.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Aug 18 - 07:39 AM

From Edwin Waugh's book about the time:

"Any one well acquainted with Lancashire, will know how widespread the study of music is among its working population. Even the inhabitants of our large towns know something more about this now than they knew a few months ago. I believe there is no part of England in which the practice of sacred music is so widely and lovingly pursued amongst the working people as in the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. There is no part of England where, until lately, there have been so many poor men's pianos, which have been purchased by a long course of careful savings from the workman's wages. These, of course, have mostly been sold during the hard times to keep life in the owner and his family."

"Even in great manufacturing towns, it is very common, when passing cotton mills at work, to hear some fine psalm tune streaming in chorus from female voices, and mingling with the spoom of thousands of spindles. "


"Now, when fortune has laid such a load of sorrow upon the working people of Lancashire, it is a sad thing to see so many workless minstrels of humble life "chanting their artless notes in simple guise" upon the streets of great towns, amongst a kind of life they are little used to. There is something very touching, too, in their manner and appearance. They may be ill-shod and footsore; they may be hungry, and sick at heart, and forlorn in countenance, but they are almost always clean and wholesome-looking in person. They come singing in twos and threes, and sometimes in more numerous bands, as if to keep one another in countenance. Sometimes they come in a large family all together, the females with their hymn-books, and the men with their different musical instruments, ? bits of pet salvage from the wrecks of cottage homes. The women have sometimes children in their arms, or led by the hand; and they sometimes carry music-books for the men."

"Their faces are sad, and their manners very often singularly shame-faced and awkward; and any careful observer would see at a glance that these people were altogether unused to the craft of the trained minstrel of the streets."

You can read more here:

http://gerald-massey.org.uk/waugh/c_cotton_famine_(4).htm#XXIII.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Aug 18 - 06:54 AM

I saw this article too. Interesting, though some of this work has been published early in the 20th century too, so it isn't quite the new discovery the Guardian article seems to suggest.

Thanks for posting it, Jag.

I have ancestors who worked in Lancashire mills in the early 19th century. I didn't think this line were non-literate (which seems to be a requirement for some definitions of folk) in the 19th century. Some were tee-totallers and involved with Chartism, albeit it tangentially as far as I know, and this collection seems to support my views on their literacy. They had moved to Lancashire from the Dales of Yorkshire, for the work presumably, several members of the same family at about the same time. So who knows what 'dialect' they and their children would have used.

One poet cited, Samuel Laycock, was born, like my ancestors, in Yorkshire and worked in a cotton mill in Stalybridge. So they may call it 'The Lancashire' cotton famine, but a lot of it wasn't in Lancashire, but in Cheshire. Put simply, a lot of Manchester was once in Cheshire.

There isn't just one Lancashire accent nowadays and I don't suppose there was just one Lancashire dialect then. Complicated also by moving county boundaries and vanishing counties. I recognise some dialect words used (eg clammed) and I'm not from Lancashire. So they are right to comment how difficult it must be to speak these poems as their writers would have.

The poet quoted in Jag's link bemoans the fact he cannot send his kids to school, and I was trying to remember whether you had to pay a penny at this time. This was written before Forster's 1870 education act, certainly. This seems to show that literacy was important to many in the working class at that time.

My understanding had been that there was a lot of support for abolition in Lancashire despite the cotton famine. I accept that you can't interpret the choice of tune one way or another.

The tune choice is presumably the sort of evidence drawn upon by Roud in commenting about how much American music, including minstrelsy, had influenced what ordinary people in England were singing and how early.

As the web-site states, this poetry is evidence of 'a thriving literary culture'. It also points out that the 'voices' in the poems are fictional, and not necessarily those of the authors.

Edwin Waugh (one of the authors cited) wrote a book about the cotton famine which is on line. He seems to have been a collector.

There was a programme on Radio 4 recently about poets writing in dialect in which some of the names on the Exeter web-site were mentioned.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Aug 18 - 05:42 AM

I'm sorry, but in the end I felt this touched on too many aspects of the discussion not to post the link.

http://cottonfaminepoetry.exeter.ac.uk/database/poem.html?id=as_1862-11-08_unkno

Tum's opening words made me smile. Note also the comment about the tune.

I came across it via https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/aug/09/mill-workers-poems-about-1860s-cot


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 11:14 AM

The alternative to deciding by committee is either not to have a definition or to allow a 'superior' power to decide what it means
George Orwell had a very good take on the latter - he called it 'Newspeak'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,1594
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 10:42 AM

1954 Definition made by a Committee?
"We always carry out by committee anything in which any one of us alone would be too reasonable to persist."


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Bert Fan
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 09:54 AM

How about calling it" A Bert in a Day"


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 04:40 AM

Publishing folk material in Ireland is just as problematical in a way but as the Traditional arts is quite well represented on the Arts circuit it is still possible to get grants for research and publishing, though not as easy as before the bankers naused up the economy
We were helped enormously by two very generous grants from the Arts Council of Ireland in the transcribing of texts and music fo out Traveller collection.
If we ever get round to producing a book the main work has been done and Limerick Uni will possibly be interested
Clare County Library's taking up our Clare Collection was a dream realised - this is what we were hoping to acheive in the U.K. when we had given up hope on E.F.D.S.S.
I hope things haven't deteriorated so far there for than not to be a possibility.

I hope you enjoy The Italian Comedy and much as I did - (that's not a bad price for a book of that quality and importance)
If you haven't already, you might try 'The Commedia Dell' Arte by Giacomo Oregalis (Methuen University Paperback 196)
It concentrated more on the scenarios of the plays rather than its history - I found the two complimented each other perfectly
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Aug 18 - 04:12 AM

sympathies for your plight, Jim. Publishing in a limited market is always a problem. I produced a book of photographs of my village last year - stuff I'd taken over the past 30 years or so - with descriptive text. 78 landscape, A4 pages containing 300 photographs, perfect bound with a flexible thicker paper cover. I paid for the total production.

My initial run of 100 cost me £760 - £7.60 each, and I sold them for £10 each. A profit of £2.40 for most of them. (I say "most" because some were sold by the village museum, and I donated £1 per copy sold by them to the museum funds).

I managed to get a better price for the next 100 - £680 - which means I make a little more when they get sold. The first 100 sold out very quickly; the second run is selling, but more slowly. So - £10 for an A4 78pp paperback... value for money? Anyone's guess!

No real comparison with proper publishing, I know, but unless you can get reasonable quality bulk publishing at a reasonable price, print costs can seem ridiculously high. I suspect the Roud book has a limited marketplace in terms of subject matter.

My s/h copy of "The Italian comedy" (£12, reasonable condition) came through the door the other day, by the way - just starting to have a good read of it. Thanks again for the heads-up.


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