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New Book: Folk Song in England

Brian Peters 19 Aug 17 - 05:02 AM
Lighter 19 Aug 17 - 10:35 AM
JHW 19 Aug 17 - 04:40 PM
Joe Offer 19 Aug 17 - 07:02 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Aug 17 - 04:28 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Aug 17 - 07:57 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Aug 17 - 08:25 AM
Brian Peters 20 Aug 17 - 08:38 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Aug 17 - 08:57 AM
Elmore 21 Aug 17 - 03:39 PM
Anglo 22 Aug 17 - 12:04 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Aug 17 - 01:57 AM
Brian Peters 26 Aug 17 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 26 Aug 17 - 10:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Aug 17 - 04:20 PM
Richard Mellish 26 Aug 17 - 05:29 PM
GUEST 27 Aug 17 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 27 Aug 17 - 08:23 AM
Steve Gardham 27 Aug 17 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Harry 30 Aug 17 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,CJ 30 Aug 17 - 04:07 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Aug 17 - 04:18 AM
GUEST 30 Aug 17 - 06:51 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Aug 17 - 07:14 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Aug 17 - 09:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Aug 17 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,Wm 30 Aug 17 - 11:54 AM
GeoffLawes 30 Aug 17 - 12:51 PM
Elmore 30 Aug 17 - 02:45 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Aug 17 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Harry 30 Aug 17 - 04:07 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Aug 17 - 06:08 PM
Richard Bridge 30 Aug 17 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,Harry 31 Aug 17 - 02:32 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Aug 17 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Harry 31 Aug 17 - 06:11 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Aug 17 - 06:41 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Aug 17 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,matt milton 31 Aug 17 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,matt milton 31 Aug 17 - 07:33 AM
Jack Campin 31 Aug 17 - 09:04 PM
Brian Peters 01 Sep 17 - 04:28 PM
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Steve Gardham 01 Sep 17 - 06:28 PM
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r.padgett 06 Sep 17 - 10:30 AM
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nickp 07 Sep 17 - 04:09 AM
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Jim Carroll 07 Sep 17 - 11:46 AM
Vic Smith 07 Sep 17 - 01:00 PM
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BobL 26 Sep 17 - 03:42 AM
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GUEST,cookieless Billy Weeks 28 Sep 17 - 11:17 AM
Vic Smith 28 Sep 17 - 11:54 AM
Brian Peters 28 Sep 17 - 01:28 PM
Richard Mellish 28 Sep 17 - 07:21 PM
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Brian Peters 29 Sep 17 - 08:25 AM
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Lighter 29 Sep 17 - 10:09 AM
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r.padgett 30 Sep 17 - 04:12 AM
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Brian Peters 30 Sep 17 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,matt milton 30 Sep 17 - 10:01 AM
Brian Peters 30 Sep 17 - 10:48 AM
Vic Smith 30 Sep 17 - 12:21 PM
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r.padgett 30 Sep 17 - 03:09 PM
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Jim Carroll 30 Sep 17 - 03:38 PM
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Jim Carroll 01 Oct 17 - 04:39 AM
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Jim Carroll 01 Oct 17 - 08:46 AM
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Steve Gardham 01 Oct 17 - 09:26 AM
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Jim Carroll 01 Oct 17 - 11:28 AM
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Steve Gardham 01 Oct 17 - 12:26 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Oct 17 - 12:33 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 17 - 01:24 PM
Lighter 01 Oct 17 - 01:28 PM
r.padgett 01 Oct 17 - 01:44 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Oct 17 - 02:12 PM
Brian Peters 01 Oct 17 - 02:23 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 17 - 02:49 PM
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Brian Peters 01 Oct 17 - 03:21 PM
Vic Smith 01 Oct 17 - 05:04 PM
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Jim Carroll 01 Oct 17 - 07:41 PM
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Brian Peters 02 Oct 17 - 05:48 AM
Brian Peters 02 Oct 17 - 05:50 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Oct 17 - 07:49 AM
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Jim Carroll 02 Oct 17 - 08:22 AM
GUEST 02 Oct 17 - 10:18 AM
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Brian Peters 02 Oct 17 - 11:12 AM
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Jim Carroll 03 Oct 17 - 03:38 AM
Brian Peters 03 Oct 17 - 04:25 AM
Vic Smith 03 Oct 17 - 06:01 AM
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Vic Smith 03 Oct 17 - 07:07 AM
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Vic Smith 03 Oct 17 - 11:31 AM
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GUEST,Ed 03 Oct 17 - 01:51 PM
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Steve Gardham 03 Oct 17 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,Ed 03 Oct 17 - 05:04 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Oct 17 - 05:24 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Oct 17 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 03 Oct 17 - 07:41 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Oct 17 - 03:53 AM
r.padgett 04 Oct 17 - 04:18 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 17 - 04:18 AM
Richard Mellish 04 Oct 17 - 06:58 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 17 - 07:12 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Oct 17 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 04 Oct 17 - 10:45 AM
Jack Campin 04 Oct 17 - 11:13 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 17 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Oct 17 - 11:37 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 17 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 04 Oct 17 - 12:12 PM
Brian Peters 04 Oct 17 - 01:07 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 17 - 01:20 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 17 - 01:38 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Oct 17 - 04:40 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Oct 17 - 05:09 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 17 - 07:37 PM
RTim 04 Oct 17 - 07:45 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 17 - 08:03 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 17 - 08:14 PM
RTim 04 Oct 17 - 10:32 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Oct 17 - 02:23 AM
GUEST,matt milton 05 Oct 17 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 05 Oct 17 - 06:07 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Oct 17 - 06:38 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Oct 17 - 06:40 AM
Brian Peters 05 Oct 17 - 12:13 PM
Lighter 05 Oct 17 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,matt milton 05 Oct 17 - 12:53 PM
RTim 05 Oct 17 - 01:13 PM
Brian Peters 05 Oct 17 - 02:34 PM
RTim 05 Oct 17 - 02:53 PM
Vic Smith 05 Oct 17 - 03:11 PM
Brian Peters 05 Oct 17 - 03:14 PM
Brian Peters 05 Oct 17 - 03:16 PM
Vic Smith 05 Oct 17 - 03:30 PM
Brian Peters 05 Oct 17 - 03:37 PM
Marje 05 Oct 17 - 05:33 PM
GUEST 05 Oct 17 - 05:56 PM
Richard Mellish 05 Oct 17 - 06:46 PM
JHW 05 Oct 17 - 07:02 PM
Lighter 05 Oct 17 - 08:57 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Oct 17 - 04:38 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Oct 17 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,matt milton 06 Oct 17 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 06 Oct 17 - 05:26 AM
Brian Peters 06 Oct 17 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,matt milton 06 Oct 17 - 07:51 AM
Brian Peters 06 Oct 17 - 08:18 AM
RTim 06 Oct 17 - 10:54 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Oct 17 - 10:56 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Oct 17 - 12:15 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Oct 17 - 12:29 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Oct 17 - 01:15 PM
Richard Mellish 06 Oct 17 - 06:32 PM
RTim 06 Oct 17 - 07:17 PM
GUEST,matt milton 07 Oct 17 - 05:26 AM
Richard Mellish 08 Oct 17 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,matt milton 08 Oct 17 - 06:27 AM
Richard Mellish 08 Oct 17 - 11:36 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Oct 17 - 04:15 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Oct 17 - 04:50 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Oct 17 - 05:30 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Oct 17 - 05:33 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Oct 17 - 05:35 PM
RTim 08 Oct 17 - 05:54 PM
RTim 08 Oct 17 - 06:07 PM
RTim 09 Oct 17 - 11:08 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Oct 17 - 03:06 PM
Vic Smith 10 Oct 17 - 07:07 AM
Steve Gardham 10 Oct 17 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 10 Oct 17 - 11:54 AM
Steve Gardham 10 Oct 17 - 12:21 PM
Vic Smith 10 Oct 17 - 03:39 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Oct 17 - 03:58 PM
Vic Smith 10 Oct 17 - 04:37 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Oct 17 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Christopher Thomas 15 Oct 17 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Christopher Thomas 15 Oct 17 - 10:50 AM
Steve Gardham 15 Oct 17 - 11:51 AM
Richard Mellish 16 Oct 17 - 03:52 AM
GUEST,Christopher Thomas 16 Oct 17 - 05:34 AM
GUEST 16 Oct 17 - 09:15 AM
GUEST 16 Oct 17 - 10:31 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Oct 17 - 11:12 AM
GUEST 16 Oct 17 - 12:12 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Oct 17 - 01:16 PM
Jack Campin 16 Oct 17 - 01:28 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Oct 17 - 02:21 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Oct 17 - 02:31 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 05:52 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Oct 17 - 04:55 AM
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Subject: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Aug 17 - 05:02 AM

On Thursday I attended the British Library launch for the new book 'Folk Song in England', by Steve Roud and Julia Bishop, which has just been published by Faber. It runs to 764 pages, and is the nearest thing we're ever likely to get to a definitive study. I must confess I've nowhere near finished it yet, but I dipped in to several sections on the train back to Stockport, and it's certainly fascinating and well-researched, and should be of interest to a lot of people on here. In the light of some fairly familiar arguments that have just resurfaced on the current 'EFDSS' thread, I should mention that the introductory chapter, 'Is there such a thing as folk song, anyway?' includes a pretty firm endorsement of our old friend, the 1954 definition. And that comes from a scholar who has looked at all the evidence, not just taken Cecil Sharp's word for it.

I don't think the choice of title is an accident. What we have here is solid research that supersedes the romantic fantasies of Bert Lloyd - although to be fair, Bert's book does get a fair hearing. I also have to say that the 'Fakesong' school gets pretty short shrift. You should read this!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Aug 17 - 10:35 AM

A must-read and a great companion to "The New Penguin Book of English Folksongs." Or any other!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: JHW
Date: 19 Aug 17 - 04:40 PM

Must have one. Faber shop


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Aug 17 - 07:02 PM

Oh, gee. Another book I can't do without. Good thing I just got a huge bookcase for my birthday this week. I got my copy at amazon.mudcat.org for $29.95 U.S. U.S. release date isn't until Sept 5, but they gave me a Kindle advance copy of the first chapter or so.
Thanks for the tip, Brian.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Aug 17 - 04:28 AM

Introductions read. Very accessible from the man who knows most what it's all about. More anon. Brilliant so far!!!!!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Aug 17 - 07:57 AM

Just ordered min from The Book Depository at a pretty good discount price - and post free (important for books of this size)
Thought I'd pass that on
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Aug 17 - 08:25 AM

That should be "mine" not "min" - who was, of course, a character in The Goon Show!
Have I missed something - are there any of the Hammond Gardner collections available yet?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Aug 17 - 08:38 AM

Jim, all of Purslow's selections from Hammond & Gardiner are now available. 'Marrow Bones' and 'The Wanton Seed' came out some time ago, and the final two volumes have just been republished as
Southern Harvest, with a lot of additional information thanks to Steve Gardham.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Aug 17 - 08:57 AM

Thanks Brian
Damn - just too late for my birthday
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Elmore
Date: 21 Aug 17 - 03:39 PM

Was going to order it on Kindle, but changed my mind. I may want it for reference and Kindle wouldn't be useful in that case. Thanks to Brian for making us aware of this book which sounds both interesting and useful.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Anglo
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 12:04 AM

Patiently waiting for the US release (pre-ordered). Maybe you'll have your copy with you at TradMad, Brian. In any event, I look forward to seeing you there - there wouldn't be time to read it, anyway !


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 01:57 AM

Okay ! Spill the beans!

Bert Lloyd proved wrong! Shock horror!

Do you ever feel like your part of the Tooting Popular Front?

Composite 4 Subsection 3a! I move!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Aug 17 - 09:41 AM

Hi Anglo: I would have brought my copy to the US for reading material on the plane, but it was too big to fit in my hand luggage. Seriously.

Al, you'll just have to read it to find out. But I can safely say that the notion folk songs were composed by disconsolate ploughboys who sang their newly-minted laments for lost love to their mates in the pub, who then proceeded to spread them through the countryside, is one casualty of Steve Roud's evidence-based approach. Perhaps when I've read it all I'll attempt a precis on here.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 26 Aug 17 - 10:19 AM

Have just started reading the book. It certainly looks impressive. One thing that I note, though, is that there is no discography. Some readers, I suspect, who read names such as Harry Cox, Sam Larner or Walter Pardon and don't know that these great artists can be heard on CDs, would have been helped with some listings. But , at 764 fact-filled pages, I suppose that there just wasn't room!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Aug 17 - 04:20 PM

folksingers needed - only well adjusted ploughboys need apply


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 26 Aug 17 - 05:29 PM

Only just saw this thread, though I was at the launch and am now about a third of the way through the book. I wish Brian luck in trying to precis it: there's so much information of all kinds and I'm not yet perceiving a clear overview.

One point that Steve made at the launch is that the essential difference between his book and Bert's is that his is based on firm evidence. The chapters that I have read so far mostly set out the evidence rather than draw conclusions, but maybe those come later.

One point that Steve doesn't make explicitly in what I've read so far, though perhaps later, is that the songs that were being sung at any given time were of various ages but a lot of them fairly recent, at least in their current forms. Of all the songs that are being sung at date X, by a later date Y some will have fallen by the wayside and a some new ones will have entered circulation. Some have lasted for several centuries, but not really very many.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Aug 17 - 04:19 AM

Oh wow, can I wait till Christmas? My daughters never know what to get me ....

Thanks for the heads-up, Brian.

Marje


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 27 Aug 17 - 08:23 AM

I wish they wouldn't keep repeating false info in books on English folk music.
For example, William Bolton was never a shantyman ( he was in the Royal Navy not the merchant navy ).


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Aug 17 - 09:05 AM

Mike, re discography
I can't imagine anyone buying FSE who hasn't already got a copy of New Penguin which has a perfectly good discography.

Despite the length of this weighty tome in almost every chapter Steve goes to great pains to stress that evidence is very thin for previous centuries as you would expect with a subject that deals with the history of the common people. However he has obviously searched diligently for what evidence does exist and personally I can't see this amount of evidence ever being greatly added to or contradicted.

The evidence is clearly stated and leaves us largely to draw our own conclusions.

Re Bert Lloyd, I'm absolutely certain Steve wasn't motivated to write his book by Bert's fairy tales. There can't be many people left on the scene who don't take anything Bert wrote with a pinch of salt. This is not Bert bashing time. He was wonderfully gifted and left us a wealth of well-crafted material.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Harry
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 03:19 AM

I'm about a third of the way through and, although I don't agree with everything here, you can't fault the research and scholarship.

What can be faulted is Faber giving us this paperback masquerading as a hardback. No wonder it's so cheap to buy; every corner has been cut in its production.

This is a serious contribution to knowledge and should be published as a proper hardback book: sewn sections; acid-free paper; and properly bound.

I fear it will fall apart if used frequently.

Harry


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 04:07 AM

My copy was £25 and certainly feels like a hard back.

I can't imagine criticising a publisher for putting out such a well presented book on a niche subject. How many of these will actually be sold? Into four figures, perhaps, if they are lucky.

Tell you what, Harry, you should contact Faber and tell them you'd like to do a "proper hardback" edition. See how many thousands upon thousands you'll lose.

I'm Too early in the reading to comment on the writing other than to say, all good so far.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 04:18 AM

"This is not Bert bashing time."
Then why do it Steve - whatever Bert's motives for working the way he did, I'm sure he didn't set out to write "fairy tales"
I only got 'Folk Song in England' when we returned home on Monday, so I haven't had time to start it yet, but I did look up some of the subjects I am familiar with - I was rather disturbed to read the inaccurate speculation on MacColl's name change and the tiresome revival gossip about his Scots 'reinvention'.
I was also disappointed to see no reference to 'The Song Carriers' surely the first and best intelligent attempt to discuss the British singing tradition intelligently - 14 half-hour programmes made in 1965 attempting to examine the singing styles of these islands seems a bit of an oversight to me - but that's me!
It seems to me that, while the serious side of the revival made a number of mistakes in how they presented the music they thought important enough to devote their lives to, their work is often severely misjudged because of the back-biting and petty rivalries that were part of the early revival.
This may be prejudging a book I have not yet read - we'll see!
Our own failure to get Walter Pardon's interviews out to a larger audience was underlined when I saw the only reference to him being his name on a list of other source singers that caught the wider attention of the folk scene.
One of the greatest holes in our knowledge of folk song is a total failure to ask our informants (in depth) what they thought about their songs
Walter had a great deal to say about what was and was not a folk song - and why - often in detail.
It's often struck me that discussing folk song without taking the view of our source singers into consideration is somewhat like putting a patient onto the operating table without asking them what's wrong with him/her
It's when I see people like Sharp and MacColl and Lloyd being pilloried for not getting it right first time around that I realise that folk song scholarship is still in its infancy as a serious art form study - pioneers make mistakes and their work needs to be regarded,font color=red>dispassionately and in full in context of their time and what they were setting out to achieve.
As it is, it is a virtual minefield to attempt to discuss MacColl (beyond the "Jimmy Miller - 'finger-in-ear stage), and as for "what is a folk song?".... !!!!
Unbelievable on a forum purporting to be devoted to folk song!
Can't wait to see how the authors have dealt with 'the broadside origin of folk song'
Jim Carroll
I wonder if anybody can throw any light on the reference to MacColl's name change to 'James Henry' as stated in F S in England?
I know his mother's name was 'Hendry' but I've never come across it and writings.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 06:51 AM

This may be prejudging a book I have not yet read - we'll see.
Do you think it possible that your prejudiced comments might carry more weight if you had waited until after you had read it before making them?
Would you consider that people reading this might be of the opinion that you come to come to the subject of English Folk Song with pre-formed, blinkered views rather than approaching it with an open mind?
Those of us who have had the opportunity of working extensively with Steve Roud are in awe of his extensive knowledge of the English tradition which he seems to have at his finger tips. He is also open minded and fair in his discussions and willing to give credence to the experience and opinions of others. He avoids speculation and bases his claiams only when he has well-researched backing for his statements.

I can think of no better qualified person to write a book on this subject. However, I will not venture an opinion on something that I have not read.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 07:14 AM

"Do you think it possible that your prejudiced comments might carry more weight if you had waited until after you had read it before making them?"
No - I most certainly hope not
I read in full all the subjects I mentioned and found some of them inaccurate
My doing so was prompted by a comment earlier which I responded to
Yes - Of course I do come to English Folk Song with preformed views - fifty years worth of research and collecting and involvement as a singer.
I have no argument with Steve - I am grateful for his work in numbering many of our own collection - his numbering system has simplified our own work enormously.
I have far too much respect for him to sychophantically accepting everything he has to say withoutt comment when I disagree with it - I believe him to be a far better individual than to expect that of anybody
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 09:15 AM

i suppose Jim's bound to look up the bits that interest him. its a human thing , we all do that.

and i guess if we find stuff that doesn't gel with our knowledge...we're bound to state our misgivings.

the important thing is that we maintain respect for each other, and not call each other predjudiced.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 11:48 AM

quite a lot of my friends call themselves shantymen and they have never been aboard any ship - royal navy, merchant navy, isle of wight ferry, nothing....


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 11:54 AM

I really look forward to reading this. Going to go order my copy . . .

Our own failure to get Walter Pardon's interviews out to a larger audience was underlined when I saw the only reference to him being his name on a list of other source singers that caught the wider attention of the folk scene.

Walter had a great deal to say about what was and was not a folk song - and why - often in detail.


Jim, are these available anywhere?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 12:51 PM

The cheapest that I found it on offer was via Amazon UK £13.20
+ £2.80 UK delivery from BOOKS etc https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0571309712/ref=tmm_hrd_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=&sr=


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Elmore
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 02:45 PM

Planned to buy this book, but Jim threw cold water on my enthusiasm. I may buy it anyway.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 03:23 PM

"Jim, are these available anywhere?"
Some of it is deposited in The British Library and has been since the 1980s, but they've never got around to putting it up on line
We live in hope!
If we can find a home for our Singers Workshop archive (a lot of it) our own collection will go with it
I've quoted some of it oftwn enough on Muccat
We contributed an article on Walter entitled 'A Simple Countryman!" (note the exclamation) to a Festschrift in honour of our friend, the late Tom Munnelly
If anybody would like a copy e-mail me - I'm sure Joe Offer will pass on our address to non-members
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Harry
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 04:07 PM

GuestCJ,

Take hold of your copy of "Folksong in England" in two hands and open the book - BUT, not too far. You should find the spine opens up and you have a hollow. Look down the hollow and you will see a thin layer of white glue. This is all that is holding the pages of your book together.

You might want to get a paperback and compare the two. There is more to a hardback book than the stiffness of the boards.

Has anyone ever bought a Victorian gutta percha- or caoutchouc-bound book?

Now, modern glues are very good and much better than their Victorian equivalents, but, before long, if you fully open your new book more than a few times, and certainly if you open it flat on a desk, the spine will break and the pages will start to fall out. This will not happen with a properly bound book.

How do I know this? I've been selling out-of-print books for 35 years and bookbinding for almost 30.

It could be argued (although I wouldn't) that this kind of cheap book production is fine for popular, ephemeral fiction when most books are read once or twice then consigned to the shelf before being donated to the local charity shop.

But a real book, a proper book, is a way of preserving knowledge not a disposable commodity. They should be made to last.

Well done to Steve Roud for getting it published; I know it isn't easy! I just wish one of the university presses had recognised its importance to the corpus.

Best wishes CJ,

Harry


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 06:08 PM

you can get it for ten quid on kindle, no delivery cost and no worries about it falling to bits.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 06:09 PM

I want one.

What would be VERY valuable however would be yes - a DISCOGRAPHY.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Harry
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 02:32 AM

Big Al,

A few worries about being able to read it though when you wake to find Bezos has deleted it from your machine while you weren't looking; or your battery is flat.

A real book can be yours forever, until you lend it to your best friend.

Harry


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 05:14 AM

if you hold the on/off switch for a minute, the kindle automatically reloads with all your stuff.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Harry
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 06:11 AM

Not if Amazon choose to delete your books, as they did with two of George Orwell's in 2009(?).

Amazon will always have control of your library stored on Kindle and can, essentially, delete anything they choose without notice.

At least they'd have to get a warrant to enter my library and take my books.

Anyway, thread drift . . . . my final words: the 'hardback' produced by Faber is crap; the book written by Roud is bloody marvellous. My opinion and I'm keeping it.

Harry


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 06:41 AM

" a DISCOGRAPHY."
One of the most useful books I have for our researches is the fairly rare ' Irish Emigration Ballads and Songs' by Robert L Wight; absolutely indispensable if you are interested in the subject, but with probably the worst index of any serious book I have ever encountered
When I inherited my copy from the late Tom Munnelly, in desperation, I set about indexing it for my own use.
It should not be beyond the realms of possibility to share the task with friends and create a usable discography.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 06:47 AM

also you can make the writing very big so you don't need reading glasses.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 07:28 AM

"Re Bert Lloyd, I'm absolutely certain Steve wasn't motivated to write his book by Bert's fairy tales. There can't be many people left on the scene who don't take anything Bert wrote with a pinch of salt. This is not Bert bashing time. He was wonderfully gifted and left us a wealth of well-crafted material."

On that note, I do think it's a shame that it has the identical title as Bert Lloyd's book. I've no doubt that Steve wasn't motivated to write his book by Bert's book ? to write a big book like that, your prime motivation will be overwhelming love for your subject ? but giving it the same title will inevitably make it seem like it is 'Bert bashing'.

It's been many years since I read Bert's Folk Song in England, but I don't remember it being as naive as some as the adumbrations/caricatures described in this thread. I remember a strain of romanticism, sometimes a quite unpalatable one (when it came to dealings with women and sex, in particular). But for the most part I remember it being an inspirational, magical, poetical book. I enjoyed Bert's book for very similar reasons that I enjoyed Ciaron Carson's 'Last Night Fun'.

More importantly, I don't remember the speculative parts of it being presented as anything other than speculation. Perhaps this is a false memory: perhaps if I were to re-read it now I would indeed find that Bert Lloyd presents it all as unequivocal FACT and incontrovertible scholarship. But I doubt it; it wasn't that sort of book. I think criticisms of Bert Lloyd's writing are often unfair, because they seem to be criticising it for what is is NOT, rather than what it IS.

I'm looking forward to reading the Roud book - I've read about 20 pages ? but I'm expecting it to be satisfying in a very different way.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 07:33 AM

A part of me wants to submit a book proposal to Faber for a new book called 'Folk Song in England'


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 09:04 PM

Faber have been publishing books with wonderful content, terrific design, typesetting and printing, first-rate paper, and shitty glue holding it all together since the 1960s. The second-hand market is littered with Fabers falling apart.

The only publisher I know of who beat them at that combination was Allen and Unwin - theirs were usually splitting apart within a year, try to find a copy of Arthur Waley's "170 Chinese Poems" in one piece.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Sep 17 - 04:28 PM

"On that note, I do think it's a shame that it has the identical title as Bert Lloyd's book. I've no doubt that Steve wasn't motivated to write his book by Bert's book ? to write a big book like that, your prime motivation will be overwhelming love for your subject ? but giving it the same title will inevitably make it seem like it is 'Bert bashing'."

I certainly wasn't suggesting in my previous comments that Steve Roud's prime motive was to discredit Bert Lloyd, but neither do I believe that the choice of title was an accident. Other potential titles are available.

Lloyd's book is indeed inspirational, and it inspired me for many years until I began to look a bit more closely at some of the details. It was, however, a general interest book so, although folk song specialists may have known exactly how big a pinch of salt to take with it, much of its readership would not have done. What we have now is something much more evidence-based - although I suspect it still won't put an end to the arguments.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Sep 17 - 04:52 PM

Not into Bert or Ewan bashing. Bert's book is eminently readable and his rolling prose has influenced me no end. Take a look at my intro to Southern Harvest and you'll see what I mean. I have issues with Mcoll but the song carriers turned me into a much better singer. Mcoll was an exemplary teacher. I believe the Song Carriers are available on CD
Is the new Folk song in England as readable and well written as Bert's? It's on my to buy list.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Sep 17 - 06:28 PM

Readable and well written, yes, but some readers might want to skip chapters that don't fall within their interest band. I read all of it but found some of the music stuff by Julia above my head. My loss! It certainly pointed me at some other books I haven't yet read and desire to.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 01 Sep 17 - 07:58 PM

I've got it on order and can hardly wait to read it. (It comes out next week on this side of the pond.) After his New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs I put Roud on my list of interesting persons with whom I'd like to down a beer or two or three.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 03 Sep 17 - 07:43 AM

Message for Tunesmith, 27 August.
William Bolton was in both the Royal Navy and the merchant navy, and he certainly sang shanties to Anne Gilchrist.
Derek


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 03 Sep 17 - 08:10 AM

It's fair to say that "Folk Song in England" was not Steve's choice of title, it was the publisher's decision.
And sorry to disappoint Jerome Clark .... Steve is teetotal!
Derek


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Sep 17 - 11:04 AM

"I believe the Song Carriers are available on CD"
If they still exist, nobody seems to know where the key is - that goes for some of the best programmes on folksong from the Golden Age of Radio
I went to the showing of an un-shown ilm made by Phillip Donnellon earlier this year and was horrified to learn what had happened to his work - even while he was living
" Bert's book is eminently readable "
I agree absolutely - of-its-time as it may be.
I look on such works as introductions to something that still interests and entertains me after half a century of involvement
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 03 Sep 17 - 11:25 AM

If they still exist...

You can download mp3s of 'The Song Carriers' programmes from a link posted in an earlier Mudcat thread:

Ewan MacColl - The Song Carriers


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Sep 17 - 02:44 PM

Bob Blair was selling CDr copies of the MacColl The Song Carriers radio programmes at Whitby Folk Week some years ago and I bought a complete set from him; not for what Ewan had to say but because of the opportunity to hear recordings of many of Britain's finest traditional singers. Generally these were not available at that time.
When I started to tell other people about the purchases, I was questioned about whether Bob was entitled to make and sell these and I didn't (and still don't) have the answer.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Sep 17 - 12:07 PM

I have just seen a reference to the first review of this book that I am aware of and it is printed in, of all places, The Economist! It is a factual account and a precis of the contents rather than any statement about the value of the book or a comparison with anything that has been published in the past.
I thought the first paragraph of the review was arresting -
ENGLAND, the Germans used to jeer, was "the land without music". They were wrong, as Steve Roud robustly demonstrates in "Folk Song in England". Surveying English musical life from the time of Henry VIII?a keen musician and composer?to the mid-20th century, when folk song lost its roots, he shows what an intensely musical land England has been.


You can read the review on-line at by clicking here.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: r.padgett
Date: 06 Sep 17 - 10:30 AM

Yes quite a heavy book all ways round and will take a while to read through ~ unless you use more as a reference book using index of course!

50 years since Bert's book the original Folk song in England and therefore has different perspective and angle ~ lot happened in the intervening years of course

Ray


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Sep 17 - 03:56 PM

As you say, Vic, a fair precis, but no critique. Part of the problem we face is there are not many people about who are truly qualified to criticise what it has to say.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Sep 17 - 05:36 PM

"Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 04:18 AM

"This is not Bert bashing time."
Then why do it Steve - whatever Bert's motives for working the way he did, I'm sure he didn't set out to write "fairy tales"
Well said, Jim.
    I wont waste my time reading this book.
I prefer to spend my time playing, singing and most importantly listening to all kinds of music, but particularly tradtional singers and musicians.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Sep 17 - 06:14 PM

No problem, Dick. Some of us have time to do all of this. Variety.....and all that.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 03:54 AM

"I was questioned about whether Bob was entitled to make and sell these and I didn't (and still don't) have the answer."
Bob had the copies all of us involved with Ewan and Charles were given way, way back - neither had any objection to their being circulated - they were delighted it was being circulated and, as far as we could make out, the BBC had totally lost interest in them (the programmes didn't even appear to have appealed the entrepreneurial efforts of Peter Kennedy), so we all passed copies on to whoever could use them
Our singers workshop ran ten meetings playing and discussing them - unlike Vic, we did so to examine Ewan's ideas to see if they held water - we could get most of the examples on LPs.
For me personally, it was like lifting the corner of folk -song to see if there was anything underneath - they were basically the reason I am still involved in folk song as actively as I am after half a century and many of the ideas propounded by MacColl stood up well when we started working with traditional singers, particularly with the Travellers who, back then, had a living tradition which was still producing songs that were becoming traditional (until the advent of portable television destroyed it, virtually overnight)
This was also true of the twenty years work we did with Walter Pardon who, in his way, could be described as a researching traditional singer rather than a source for songs (there were a few of those about once)
When they were "sold" it was for less than the cost it took to produce them - a great deal of time and thought went into their production and the work was for free - it was purely a labour of love on the part of the people who passed them on.
I have no idea what happened to the original programmes, nor any of the other wonderful productions by Bert and Deben Battacharia and Charles Parker and John Levy.... and all those other dedicated people - if the films of Phillip Donnellan are anything to go by, they were probably junked (did anybody here 'Folk Music Virtuoso', or 'Voice of the People' - life-changers all, in their way?)
The BBC project of the 1950s heralded a renaissance for British and Irish folk song - the BBC and other attitudes made it a missed bus - 'the one that got away' as far as establishing folk song as a peoples' art form - Ewan, Bert and others tried their best but the Music Industries steamroller did damage during the boom which, I believe, we never really recovered from
Nowadays we can't even discuss what we mean by folk music without shouting at one another - a no-go area strewn with regularly exploding mines.
I know MacColl spent a decade with less experienced singers, examine the songs and singing - I was lucky enough to be a recipient of his generosity for a short time
Mention his name (nearly three decades after his death) and you are treated as if you'd farted in church.
As for the exercises and techniques he devised for singers, and the methods he used for making songs your own.... forget it!
Mind you - we do have the BBC Folk Awards!!!
Sorry folks - a sore point
Back to indexing our collection in the hope that some future generation might be interested in what Walter Pardon and Mary Delaney and Mikeen McCarthy, and Tom Lenihan and Ewan and all the others we interviewed had to say about folk song
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: nickp
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 04:09 AM

My copy started at page 21 so has had to go back for replacement! I shall have to wait a little longer.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 05:55 AM

I've only just seen this thread - ordering this book now. Thanks so much to Brian for starting it, and to Jim Carroll for the heads-up about The Book Depository. Please note:

Free delivery WORLDWIDE:

https://www.bookdepository.com/Folk-Song-in-England-Steve-Roud/9780571309719?ref


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 06:50 AM

"Free delivery WORLDWIDE:"
And pretty good discount, considering the publication date
We have managed to get a few rarities from the BD, including the long-sought-after 'Peter Buchan Paprs by William Walker, and Stephen Wade's 'The Beautiful Music All Around Us' - all discounted and post free
It's well worth trying your wants list on their site (even managed to get most of the unread Nigel Tranter at good prices)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 06:52 AM

Not forgetting David Gregory's work of Victorian collectors and broadsides
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 09:02 AM

I wrote
"I was questioned about whether Bob was entitled to make and sell these and I didn't (and still don't) have the answer."
Jim replied
Bob had the copies all of us involved with Ewan and Charles were given way, way back - neither had any objection to their being circulated - they were delighted it was being circulated and, as far as we could make out, the BBC had totally lost interest in them (the programmes didn't even appear to have appealed the entrepreneurial efforts of Peter Kennedy), so we all passed copies on to whoever could use them.

*********************
So I still don't have the answer. The key word in my sentence was entitled. The fact that those involved in the production "neither had any objection to their being circulated" doesn't come into it. I have hundreds of hours of recordings of of the weekly programme that I introduced for the BBC for 27 years. That does not mean that I have the right to duplicate from from reel-to-reel tape to CDr and sell them. The question that I intended is "Where does the copyright for BBC programme lie and for that matter, how long does it last?"
I ought to give my reasons for seeking an answer to this; when Jim states that "unlike Vic, we did so to examine Ewan's ideas to see if they held water." it makes me assume (though I maybe wrong) that he thinks I am attacking the central core of his beliefs which we read so often on Mudcat. I am not. The reason that I am asking this, Jim, is because at the moment I am amassing a huge number of recordings for Sussex Traditions and much of the material is recorded off air. At the management committee meetings, we devised a "permission form" and I simply can't get a satisfactory consistent answer about the right for us to put this in our rapidly growing archive (at present over 5,400 items) I could equally have asked, for example, the question about the programmes that Peter Kennedy recorded off-air and then released as FolkTrax cassettes and CDrs. It was the thread drift to the mention of The Song Carriers that brought it to my mind.
********************
Oh! and Steve Gardham writes
As you say, Vic, a fair precis, but no critique. Part of the problem we face is there are not many people about who are truly qualified to criticise what it has to say.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 09:18 AM

Sure wish the MGM Lion was still roaring around. I'd be interested to know Michael's views.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 11:46 AM

"that he thinks I am attacking the central core of his beliefs"
I don't Vic - I just made my own position clear
I raised the point when you mentioned "selling" to dispel any idea that anybody was profiting from circulating the programmes.
We did/still do so because we feel they are worth it
They were programmes that could be improved, given hindsight, but since nobody has ever really tried, it's academic.
I have little doubt that legally they still belong to the Beeb (if they still exist) - and that goes for anything they ever produced
Morally is a different matter
The singers were paid pittances, if at all, and the minute the material was collected the sharks began to circle - copyright claims, marketed recordings paid for by the licence fee, "arrangements".... and above all, disinterest has led to the most important collection of recorded British traditional song being neglected and made virtually inaccessible until it was too late to assist in helping elevate folk music to the position it deserves.
When the Critics Group broke up a few of us continued to meet (in an already established workshop set up for raw beginners)
We threw in any material we had, including Ewan and Peggy's generously shared collection of field recordings
This also included recordings of some of the albums some of us had
This gradually formed itself into an archive of several thousand tapes
That archive has now been digitised, listed and partly annotated and is up for grabs for any club or organisation that is prepared to treat it with respect and not lock it up in a cupboard somewhere
It also includes our own field recordings - with the same stipulation
So far, it's been an uphill struggle to find a home for it other than academic institutions which will lock it up fro posterity - not what we want.
I have always though EFDSS might be a natural home, but looking at their present output - maybe not!
Our collection (as it was then), was the first to expand the interests of the then British Institute of Recorded Sound (later National Sound Archive and later still The National Sound Archive at the British Library) from an almost solely musicological group to one encompassing British Traditional music - back in the early eighties
Thirty years later Walter Pardon and his companions still stare through the bars of the prison he was locked in, inaccessible to the world at large all those years ago - somewhat disolusioning
Never mind - Ireland might make better use of it while we're still above ground - the signs are promising!
It's always seemed to me that, despite the decline, there are enough people around taking the music seriously enough to get together and make a a serious attempt to put 'The Voice of the People' back on the map without faffing around over whether Elvis was a folk singer because somebody once sang 'Red Suede Shoes'
Our music needs taking seriously if it is to survive, and nobody will do that unless we take it seriously ourselves
Bonny
I sorely miss Mike too, but he really wasn't the last word in folk-song - nobody was or is
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 01:00 PM

Jim wrote -
I have little doubt that legally they still belong to the Beeb.
.... and this would be my understanding as well. Can anyone give an indication of the length a broadcast's copyright? At the moment Sussex Traditions are following the line suggested by Steve Roud, another management committee member, of an "aggressive take-down policy" for anything on the database that anyone expresses concern about whether it be copyright ownership or anything else. There are also concerns that some material collected in Sussex is "of its time" and would be far from acceptable in these more politically correct times; one of our target audiences is local teachers preparing local studies topics.

Something else that Jim wrote allows me to bring the thread back to its title. He expresses concern about the EFDSS and his field recordings. That organisation's quarterly magazine, the autumn edition of English Dance & Song, dropped through my letterbox this morning. I did a quick scan-read of the 48 pages which suggests that this may be the best edition since the new editor took over. However, there is not one mention of this book Folk Song in England in this edition.
Brian Peters' first sentence (on 19 Aug 17) in this thread reads:-
On Thursday I attended the British Library launch for the new book 'Folk Song in England', by Steve Roud and Julia Bishop,
That there is no coverage in ED&S of this centrally important event or the book, I find very surprising.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 01:16 PM

Library Lectures Go To Manchester

These popular lectures are now venturing beyond the walls of Cecil Sharp House for the first time, taking place this autumn at the magnificent Chetham's Library in Manchester.

Street Literature and the Folk by Steve Roud
Thursday 28 September, 7?8.30pm

Folk song is often defined as being an aural tradition, with the words and tunes undergoing variation and evolution over time and place. However broadsides, chapbooks, and other ephemeral material with the printed lyrics of many folk songs were incredibly popular between the 16th and 20th centuries at all levels of society. This talk is an introduction to that material ? the types, the sellers, the songs, and the singers.

Steve Roud is creator of the Roud Folk Song and Broadside Index, and has written and edited numerous books, including The New Penguin Book of English Folksongs, and the newly released, Folk Song In England.

Barbara Allen: Broadside Ballad, Theatre Song, Traditional Song by Vic Gammon
Friday 27 October, 7?8.30pm

Drink, Song and Politics in Early Modern England by Angela McShane
Thursday 30 November, 7?8.30pm


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 02:01 PM

Mike had style, to be insulted by him was almost a pleasure, generally, because of his wonderful choice and careful selection of words, I miss him too


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 07 Sep 17 - 02:12 PM

An Introduction to Folk Song in England
Sunday 19 November, 10:30am - 4:30pm
Cecil Sharp House, London

Internationally published folklorist Steve Roud presents with Laura Smyth, EFDSS' Library and Archive Director, this popular introductory level day exploring the history of English folk song.

Topics will include: the many possible definitions of 'folk', the songs themselves, the singers, the places and times for singing, the music, cheap printed broadsides and other sources from which people learned songs, the folksong collectors, the scholars and the beginnings of the post-War revival. The course is aimed at beginners and will not presume any previous experience or knowledge.

Promoted by EFDSS.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 25 Sep 17 - 12:26 PM

Like Elmore, earlier, I dithered between the Kindle and the not-so-hardback versions. Finally plumped for the Kindle and have not regretted it yet! Excellent, lucid writing and eminently readable. The portability of the Kindle version is a real incentive to dip in and out as the opportunity arises.

Regards


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Sep 17 - 07:10 PM

My copy of Folk Song in England arrived last week. Gee, it sure is a BIG book - 764 pages! The binding quality leaves something to be desired, but the contents look like they'll be very interesting. The price is now $23.73 at Amazon.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Sep 17 - 07:21 PM

You can also get it in electronic form from Rakuten Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/folk-song-in-england

They aren't such arseholes as Amazon and I think their books are supplied in formats (ePub or PDF) that they can't get back from you.

For such a thick book with such a dodgy binding, and no hard-to-display colour pictures, that has to be the way to go.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: BobL
Date: 26 Sep 17 - 03:42 AM

It occurs to me that Faber may produce a "Library Edition" which isn't advertised through the usual channels, and which won't fall apart in a hurry. If so it will cost a lot more than £25.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 28 Sep 17 - 09:41 AM

I've only got another week until I have to submit a review of the book to a magazine, and I'm only one page 170! I think it's a shame that debates in folk, about folk, and about folk scholarship went the way they did, and were so convoluted, from the Victorian age to the present... because it occurred to me that, normally in a work of non-fiction, you can get through the preliminaries in a 30-page introduction (i.e. in answering questions like: what is folk? who were the collectors? how reliable was their scholarship? etc) In this one, I'm almost 200 pages in and I still feel like I haven't got to the proper start of the book yet!

I don't dispute it's all necessary and it's not Steve Roud's fault that the combined efforts of several previous generations of folksong scholars have left us with so many methodological knots to unpick... but it is a bit exhausting. I think I need to jump ahead, it's slightly feeling like a never-ending introduction thus far.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Sep 17 - 10:15 AM

Tonight! Library Lectures Go To Manchester

These popular lectures are now venturing beyond the walls of Cecil Sharp House for the first time, taking place this autumn at the magnificent Chetham's Library in Manchester.

1/3 Street Literature and the Folk by Steve Roud
Thursday 28 September, 7?8.30pm

Folk song is often defined as being an aural tradition, with the words and tunes undergoing variation and evolution over time and place. However broadsides, chapbooks, and other ephemeral material with the printed lyrics of many folk songs were incredibly popular between the 16th and 20th centuries at all levels of society. This talk is an introduction to that material ? the types, the sellers, the songs, and the singers.

Steve Roud is creator of the Roud Folk Song and Broadside Index, and has written and edited numerous books, including The New Penguin Book of English Folksongs, and the newly released, Folk Song In England.

THE BALLAD OF CHETHAM'S LIBRARY: MUSIC AND PRINTING WORKSHOP
FRIDAY 27 OCTOBER 2017, 4.30PM - 6.30PM FREE

Come and listen to ballad singer Jennifer Reid talk about her recent research trip to Bangladesh, where she explored Manchester and Lancashire song traditions, and how they relate to Bangladeshi songs of the same type. Jennifer will also perform a couple of folksongs from the Lancashire area similar to "Barbara Allen", whose long and fascinating history will be described in depth during Vic Gammon's Library Lecture later on in the day.

Again as an introduction to Vic Gammon's talk, participants will be able to get a free letterpress version of "Barbara Allen" as produced by local printer Graham Moss from Incline Press in Oldham. There will be a chance to finish these copies with your own choice of illustrations by the hand of artist Desdemona McMannon and printer Stephen Fowler, who will provide a number of specially commissioned rubberstamps for this workshop.

2/3 Barbara Allen: Broadside Ballad, Theatre Song, Traditional Song by Vic Gammon
Friday 27 October, 7?8.30pm

3/3 Drink, Song and Politics in Early Modern England by Angela McShane
Thursday 30 November, 7?8.30pm


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,cookieless Billy Weeks
Date: 28 Sep 17 - 11:17 AM

Guest Matt: I think I understand your problem reviewing this book - it is a monumental - even daunting - work of scholarship. But the idea that you might have to 'jump ahead' to get the job done is a bit troubling. Such a review may say more about the reviewer than about the book.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 28 Sep 17 - 11:54 AM

I have just this morning finished reading:-
BILLY BRAGG - "Roots, Radicals And Rockers"
Faber & Faber ISBN 978-0-571-32774-4

and now I have the review to write. The sub-title is How Skiffle Changed The World and it is an excellent piece of work in my opinion.

Next I have to read:-
AS I WALKED OUT
Martin Graebe
Signal, Oxford. ISBN 978-1-909930-53-7

That one has the sub-title SABINE-BARING-GOULD AND THE SEARCH FOR THE FOLK SONGS OF DEVON AND CORNWALL and then I have to write a review on that one (Different publication - different approach needed).

Then if nothing else with a publication deadline comes through I will settle down to Steve Roud and Folk Song In England. I am hoping to be able to interview Steve about the book on my radio programme in late October/early November and I may have to conduct that without finishing the book, but Steve does not need much prompting to get him going on radio interviews as I know from experience so I should get away with it.

After that, I should be able to comment on FSIE here - so keep the thread going!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Sep 17 - 01:28 PM

I've only got another week until I have to submit a review of the book to a magazine, and I'm only one page 170!

Been there! I remember eagerly volunteering to review the first Voice of the People CD set and quickly realising that I had to find time to listen carefully to 20 CDs and then compose something comprehensive and coherent. I'm actually quite glad not to be reviewing FSE - it would take me the week you have remaining to write the thing, never mind finish reading it.

I take your point, Matt, about the long introductory section, but it's hard to see how it could have been avoided, given past controversies and subjective definitions. What's interesting to me - given that I'm about as far into it as you are - is that there seems to be far less interest (compared with Lloyd's book) in defining and describing the nature of particular song types, than in looking at 300 years' worth of historical evidence for vernacular singing in a broad sense, and how all kinds of popular music impinged on it. I wonder how the conclusions will square with the selection of songs in the same authors' New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, most of which would have been approved of by Cecil Sharp.

However, as Vic says, let's not start jumping to conclusions before actually finishing the book...


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 28 Sep 17 - 07:21 PM

I finished it a few days ago and felt a need to start again at the beginning. There's just too much information, from so many perspectives, to take in in one go.

Unlike Sharp, who very early on published "some conclusions" that were based as much on what he wanted to believe as on actual hard evidence that he had gathered in his collecting work, Steve has gone somewhat the other way, presenting a great deal of evidence but (it seems to me) largely leaving his readers to form our own conclusions.

The main (tentative) conclusion that I have drawn so far is that, in the various more-or-less informal / non-commercial settings in which people have sung songs, those songs have typically included some very recent ones and some older ones, but at any given time not very many that were more than a century or so old. That in turn implies that many of the songs passed through a fairly small number of persons (whether aurally or in print/writing) between their original authors and the singers from whom they were collected. Yes there was continuity, variation and selection, but typically only through a limited number of steps, as least insofar as the words are concerned.

The tunes may have benefitted from more stages of transmission by the "folk", thus becoming truly reflective of some ideal folk character as Sharp and his contemporaries liked to believe, but there's not a lot of real evidence for or against that notion.

Anyone feel free to shoot me down if the above is a load of cobblers.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 03:54 AM

I am really sad to say that I gave up somewhere around page 450.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 08:25 AM

Perhaps it works better as a dipping-in book than if you try to plough your way through the lot, Mike?

Richard Mellish wrote:
The main (tentative) conclusion that I have drawn so far is that, in the various more-or-less informal / non-commercial settings in which people have sung songs, those songs have typically included some very recent ones and some older ones, but at any given time not very many that were more than a century or so old.

I think your summation is pretty good, Richard. However, it looks to me as though the book is not going to give us a decisive answer to what is 'folk' and what is not. For instance, on p 23 we read: "A singer may take a song from the printed page, or in school, a church, or a theatre, but as soon as he or she starts to sing it, and others take it up, it becomes 'folk'." But that's ambiguous: is it 'folk' the moment the first singer takes it up, or only when it's passed on? Two pages later it looks like it's not just passing it on to your mate in the pub that's important, but that it needs to have been around for about two generations.

But those music hall songs and parlour songs that Sharp and others are criticised for ignoring when they went out with their notebooks in the 1900s were probably composed during the lifetimes of the singers they met (who were predominantly elderly). So had they become 'folk' by that time or not?

On p. 322 we have Flora Thompson describing village pub singing in the 1880s and telling us that the most popular songs 'would have arrived complete with tune from the outer world'. Were these less 'folk' than 'The Outlandish Knight' when it was sung in the same session?

Then on p. 390, Roud quotes farm labourer Fred Kitchen describing the music hall / parlour songs sung by his companions on their way to Martlemass Fair in Doncaster around 1905. At the time these were modern popular songs, but Roud suggests that, by the time American collectors started to note down the same songs in the 1920s / 30s, 'they had had time to bed down as 'folk'.

I know there will be people reading this who will see no point whatsoever in the debate, but since this book is probably the most complete statement we'll ever get on English folk song, it's interesting that there still seem to be quite a few loose ends.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 08:51 AM

"What's interesting to me - given that I'm about as far into it as you are - is that there seems to be far less interest (compared with Lloyd's book) in defining and describing the nature of particular song types, than in looking at 300 years' worth of historical evidence for vernacular singing in a broad sense, and how all kinds of popular music impinged on it."

Yes, I'm getting a similar sort of impression.

One day I'm hoping to read a book on English folk song that really gets to grips with the WORDS. (Martin Carthy and Shirley Collins could probably write brilliant ones, given the sort of things they've said when I've heard them speak of them) I say that as an English Literature graduate, and as a lover of poetry and novels and folk tales and stories and, of course, songs. One of the reasons I felt obliged to speak up for the value of Bert Lloyd's book, in posts above, is that the parts of his book where he talks about the content of specific songs (and song types) is, for me, where his writing is really valuable.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 10:09 AM

> it's interesting that there still seem to be quite a few loose ends.

Seriously, folks...is there a definition of "poetry" that definitively covers all the alleged examples of a poem to the exclusion of all non-poetry? And that everyone will agree on?

I don't think so.

Regardless of your definition of "folksong," you'll find a song to fit it and others that don't.

The best way out of the definition trap, as far as I can see, is to ignore the entire folk/non-folk dichotomy entirely and just discuss the song.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 03:00 PM

I don't have any of these problems. The '54' descriptors are plenty to outline what folk song is. I'm completely with Jon, very few genres if any require a hard boundaries definition. Having said that I doubt very much if any of the contributors to this thread would differ on what constitutes a traditional folk song. Steve sets his stall out in the intro and does a very comprehensive job in the following chapters. He has no real agenda other than supplying genuine information, unlike Bert and Cecil who definitely did have agendas.

Matt, what WORDS do you want to get to grips with? Perhaps the rest of us here can help.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 04:15 PM

Steve G said "I doubt very much if any of the contributors to this thread would differ on what constitutes a traditional folk song". That's probably correct for a central core of material, but we may well differ considerably about some of the layers further out: see the examples cited by Brian Peters at 08:25 AM Mudcat time today. Steve R himself sets out on pages 24 and 25 many criteria for something being "folk" or not, with particular instances meeting more or fewer of them to varying degrees. And a bit later he suggests that no specimen will ever score 10 out of 10.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 06:20 PM

Aaaaaaaargh! Lost it again! Grrrr!

The last singer I recorded about 10 years ago had songs from his farming community, songs he had learnt at school and songs he had written about his own life in farming. To me they were all folk songs.

No modern scholar has tried to put a time limit on when a song becomes folk. Obviously the longer a song remains in a folk community the more of the characteristics it picks up, but at what point a song becomes folk has not been established. IMO it doesn't need to be.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: r.padgett
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 04:12 AM

O dear ~could run a while yet

Ray


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 05:13 AM

I'm sure we're not trying to agree a definition of "folk" or "traditional". The "1954" definition isn't too far wrong, but many very long threads here have made quite clear that we'd be lucky even to agree to disagree about that. What we are doing is exploring the implications of the mass of information in Steve Roud's book, one of which is indeed that the boundaries of "folk" or "traditional" are very wooly.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 06:21 AM

The best way out of the definition trap, as far as I can see, is to ignore the entire folk/non-folk dichotomy entirely and just discuss the song.

If we react to the mass of evidence so well researched and presented by Steve Roud by closing down the debate, then his time will have been wasted. The whole point of this book is to open up the question of what is 'folk'. Roud himself describes that question in his 'Afterword' (yes, I've been dipping again) as 'the elephant in the room'.

What I (and I suspect a lot of us on this thread) have always understood as 'traditional folk song' has been based broadly on the concept as erected by Victorian / Edwardian collectors. Roud has compiled evidence that a wide range of additional songs were on the lips of the working classes of the day. If Sharp et al were justified in rejecting contemporary pop songs, then the edifice still stands. If not, then the body of material labelled 'folk song' is - not 'fake', certainly - but an unrepresentative sample. That's a bigger philosophical question than whether Steve G's farmer's original compositions should be called 'folk' or not. Without addressing it, how could one even attempt to compile a collection of 'English Folk Songs' when a publisher like, say, Penguin Books, came calling?

Roud's concluding sentence affirms his view that traditional process is of prime importance in his view of this music. With that, Cecil Sharp would agree. But don't let's all throw up our hands and cry "Oh no, another Mudcat 'what is folk?' food fight!" when this is a distinctly different debate from the one about Dylan / Mumfords etc etc.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 10:01 AM

Steve: "Matt, what WORDS do you want to get to grips with? Perhaps the rest of us here can help."

I capitalised the word WORDS simply because there seems to plenty of writing and scholarship about the definition of a folk song; who sang them; who collected them; who published them; how they were disseminated etc etc. But very little discussion about what's in the songs themselves. The stories, the themes, the imagery, the similes and metaphors, the narrative tricks, the filmic elements, the structure, the switches in perspective of the teller, the tropes ("come all ye", "as I went out..."), the repetition etc etc. I find this a little bizarre, because it's this stuff that makes me want to sing a song, and I'm sure that's the case for most singers. Yet it seems it's not what writers interested in folk song want to write about.

Of course, maybe now everyone will recommend me loads of books about precisely this that I simply didn't know exist! Any embarassment about revealing my ignorance will have been worth it, though.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 10:48 AM

One of the reasons I felt obliged to speak up for the value of Bert Lloyd's book, in posts above, is that the parts of his book where he talks about the content of specific songs (and song types) is, for me, where his writing is really valuable.

I was prompted by Matt's comment to pull down the Lloyd book from the shelves and leaf through it again. While with the benefit of hindsight it's easy to raise a sceptical eyebrow at many of the more romantic suggestions regarding the age and antecedents of the ballads (amongst other things), it did remind me how exciting I found this book when I first read it as a teenager, and how it helped to convince me that these were songs I needed to sing.

You're right that the Roud book doesn't concern itself too much with 'what's in the songs themselves' - that seems to be taken as read. Lloyd of course had plenty to say on the matter. I don't know offhand of many scholarly overviews of that kind of thing - maybe Evelyn Wells' 'The Ballad Tree'? - but things like imagery, metaphor, narrative devices and the other things you mention are always coming up in ballad workshops and have been the stuff of many a Mudcat discussion over the years.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 12:21 PM

Steve Roud once said to me - and I think that he was only partly joking -
A traditional folk song is a song sung by a folk singer.
What a folk singer sings is traditional songs.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 01:05 PM

He wasn't joking! That's certainly one valid way of looking at the question.

Brian, my own experience of Bert's FSE exactly matches yours.

In answer to Matt, many of these topics have been studied in academic works (mostly US or continental) and perhaps it would be useful to start making a comprehensive bibliography of these.

As the vast majority of the ballads we now call folk songs were shaped by those who wrote the broadsides we should look more closely at the characteristics of these.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 02:51 PM

"What a folk singer sings is traditional songs."
I'm disappointed that Steve subscribes to this superficial nonsense, particularly as it contradicts his own method of work - you don't find many 'Lily of Laguna's' with Roud numbers.
It's a little like saying that Wouldn't it be Luvvrly' becomes 'Opera' when Kiri Ti Kanawa sings it   
Those source singer we questioned all discriminated between the different types of song in their repertoire
Walter Pardon filled tape after tape explaining what was a folk song and what wasn't and then described the difference between Parlour Songs, Music Hall and early pop songs, even to the point of identifying the age of the tune by whether it finihed on the accordion with the bellow open or closed.
Blind Travelling woman, Mary Delaney knew around 150 traditional songs - she could have doubled that number with her C and W songs but she refused because she said that weren't the same as the old ones.
She referred to her traditional songs as "Me daddies songs" though her father only had around half da dozen - she was referring to a type rather than a source.
Traveller Mikeen McCarthy divides his repertoire into Street songs, Come-all ye's and fireside songs.
He saw pictures when he sang traditional songs, he didn't when he sang more modern ones
I'm convinced that much of the misinformation about how the older singers was dow to the fact that they were never, or only superficially asked what they thought of their songs
It also depended on the respective states of the oral tradition when the songs were first recorded.
I haven't had time to read Steve's book properly yet, but I hope he goes deeper into the subject than this - maybe over the next few weeks while I'm laid up acting as host to a new hip
Sorry if I've entered the forbidden territory of 'what is a folk song'., but there really is a difference between one and the other and if Walter, Mikeen, Mary, Tom Lenihan? and the old crowd know what it is, it's about time we did, or at least, were able to discuss"What a folk singer sings is traditional songs."
I'm disappointed that Steve subscribes to this superficial nonsense, particularly as it contradicts his own method of work - you don't find many 'Lily of Laguna's' with Roud numbers.
It's a little like saying that Wouldn't it be Luvvrly' becomes 'Opera' when Kiri Ti Kanawa sings it   
Those source singer we questioned all discriminated between the different types of song in their repertoire
Walter Pardon filled tape after tape explaining what was a folk song and what wasn't and then described the difference between Parlour Songs, Music Hall and early pop songs, even to the point of identifying the age of the tune by whether it finihed on the accordion with the bellow open or closed.
Blind Travelling woman, Mary Delaney knew around 150 traditional songs - she could have doubled that number with her C and W songs but she refused because she said that weren't the same as the old ones.
She referred to her traditional songs as "Me daddies songs" though her father only had around half da dozen - she was referring to a type rather than a source.
Traveller Mikeen McCarthy divides his repertoire into Street songs, Come-all ye's and fireside songs.
He saw pictures when he sang traditional songs, he didn't when he sang more modern ones
I'm convinced that much of the misinformation about how the older singers was dow to the fact that they were never, or only superficially asked what they thought of their songs
It also depended on the respective states of the oral tradition when the songs were first recorded.
I haven't had time to read Steve's book properly yet, but I hope he goes deeper into the subject than this - maybe over the next few weeks while I'm laid up acting as host to a new hip
Jim Carroll it without acrimony
"As the vast majority of the ballads we now call folk songs were shaped by those who wrote the broadsides"
Nonsense again Steve - you can't possibly know that
The ballads are finely constructed works of art relying lergely on well established vernacular and commonplaces - the broadsides were largely unsingable doggerel
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 03:06 PM

Sorry about the double cock-up of that post - in a hurry to catch Casualty!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: r.padgett
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 03:09 PM

"What a folk singer sings is traditional songs." no not exclusively


Traditional songs are/were sung by folk singers ~ some could be or are

classified as being traditional folk singers ~ I think there is or

should be a definition of "traditional folk singer" although the wording escapes me at the moment!

Folk singers who are not deemed to be "traditional singers" but who sing

traditional songs (ok define again) are often referred to be

"revivalist" folk singers ~ Martin Carthy, Nick Jones, Tony Rose for example and of course Brian Peters and many many others
Ray


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 03:12 PM

I think we're at cross purposes again, Jim.
You seem to be referring to the big ballads in your last statement. We were discussing folk song in general most of which are ballads. However, since you refer to commonplaces, these are also extremely common on broadsides.

'the broadsides were largely unsingable doggerel' I don't know about 'unsingable' but you are right, the vast majority of it most of us would consider extremely unfashionable today. But to those of us who have trawled through mountains of this stuff in order to track down earlier versions of 'folk ballads' we have managed to arrive at some reasonable conclusions about their origins and reworking. If you read your Mayhew and similar you will know that in previous centuries recycling was a massive industry unlike today's throwaway society.

Matt, if you want I can't point you at some academic works that are very useful on some of the points that you mention, but I don't have a comprehensive list as I'm not an academic.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 03:38 PM

You seem to be referring to the big ballads in your last statement.
Nope - I'm referring to our finely crafted traditional songs
As our knowledge of the oral tradition onLy dates as far as the beginning of the twentieth century - anything before that is a guess and way out of the reach of definitive statements
A "broadside hack" was a derogatory term for a bad poet ? not a reference to the language of the time
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 03:39 PM


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 03:45 PM

Ne'ertheless 'broadside hacks' definitely wrote many of what we now call folk ballads. Mayhew again. He describes a conversation with the writer of The Bonny Bunch of Roses. Mayhew himself wrote Villikins as a burlesque on William and Dinah and we also know who wrote William and Dinah. What about that wonderful Child Ballad 'The Daemon Lover'? But I'll let Brian tell you who wrote that.

I think it best if we continue this discussion after you've read Steve's book. We spent many months sifting through that 'unsingable doggerel'.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 03:59 PM

Matt, 3.12 for 'can't' read 'can'.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 04:39 AM

"Ne'ertheless 'broadside hacks' definitely wrote many of what we now call folk ballads. "
Again Steve, we can't be certain of anything - Mayhew may well have well met the writer of Bonny Bunch; he equally might have met somebody who claimed he wrote it - the same goes for any song
Can you say for certain there were no preceding versions of Demon Lover - there are enough traditional commonplaces and general human experiences within the song to suggest there might have been
When we began recording source singers we more or less decided from the start that our work would have no meaning unless we recorded what we could of the context in which the songs were sung in an attempt, not to find who made them, but to get some idea why they might have been made and what purpose they served in the communities in which theey circulated
Probably the most important discovery we made was that a significant number had been made within the lifetime of the singers
A 90 odd year old singer told us a couple of years ago that "In those days, if a man farted in church, somebody made a song about it"
You've written this off as what happened in this part of rural Ireland, but we know that Travellers made their own songs, English Scots and Irish
Walter Pardon talked about the Union songs his Uncles sang which were made at the time Georhe Edwards was reforming the Agricultural Workers Union
These are all later songs, but there is no reason to believe that most of our traditional songs started in the same way - or if there is, it escapes me.
It seems that working men and women were natural songmaker with a desire to record their lives and opinions in verse; there is no reason to believe that they always have been
The Travellers we recorded still had a living, functioning tradition in the first three years of the 1970s (put a sudden stop to with the advent of portable televisions) - they were still making songs
The song traditions in rural Ireland still functioned as living entities into the 1950s though they had faded somewhat thanks to the conscious destruction of music and dance by the Church, with the aid of the State a few decades earlier
Both the rural and urban Irish continued to make songs because the political and cultural situation demanded them.
Walter Pardon sang songs he had assiduously gathered from his family memories, so his repertoire and his opinions represented his two uncles' experiences rather than his own - dating back to the late 19th, early 20th centuries.
Sharp and his colleagues always claimed that the traditions they were collecting from were on the wane - the English song traditions almost certainly began to die when the Industrial Revolution smashed up the rural communities and drove the people into the towns and the demands of the new society began to change the lives of the remaining rural dwellers radically
Irish collector Tom Munnelly described his work as "a race with the undertaker"
Claiming we still have a living tradition is a revival fantasy - modern technology has made us passive recipients of our culture rather than part of it.   
Basing opinions and making definitive statements about something that stretches back centuries, possibly millennia, on something that is on its last legs is crazy
Our classic ballads have been dated to the 17th and 18th centuries, but we know they contain motifs and references that date back as far as Boccachio, Homer and maybe beyond, giving rise to the possibility that some may have been around a lot longer than we think.
You suggest we all go and read Steve' book as if it is somehow going to suddenly cause the scales to fall from our eyes and we will all be enlightened
I suggest we have enough collective knowledge between us here to slug it out whenever the fancy takes us
Personally, I'm tired of putting these serious debates "on the long finger" (a local folk saying btw)
Personally I need to put our findings and opinions together as soon as possible - I'm far too old to risk doing otherwise
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 04:50 AM

The sorts of songs that originally captured our interest and that were the main subject of Lloyd's book covered more or less the same range as those that the collectors in the late 1800s and early 1900s regarded as folk songs; but those were already not all of a single sort.

The big ballads tell stories that are often many centuries old. Many of them deal with the affairs of kings, queens, lords and ladies. Some involve magic. The earliest known versions as ballads typically date from the 1600s or 1700s.

The songs about shepherds, sailors, lovers separated by class-conscious parents, etc first appeared (as far as anyone can tell, pace Jim) in stage plays or in the pleasure gardens in the late 1700s or early 1800s and then on broadsides, or else originally on broadsides having been written specifically for that market.

Those two genres are fairly distinct, although there is some overlap. But both met the collectors' ill-defined criteria, both appeal to us nowadays, and both would presumably have qualified for Walter Pardon etc as proper folk songs.

What they have in common is that, by the time they were collected, they had knocked around for long enough to benefit from some continuity and selection, and generally from some variation. Continuity is implicit in the fact that they survived to be collected. Selection caused huge numbers of other broadside ballads to fall by the wayside. Variation is a mixed blessing. With some songs it has given us numerous delightfully different versions, but it has also caused some of them to be manifestly incomplete or not to make sense.

Nowadays we delight in singing and listening to these songs (as well as studying them); but in the same performance situations we also sing and hear songs from the music halls and songs written in modern times. The music hall songs were too new to be of interest to the early collectors but by now they have at least been subject to continuity and selection, if not to much variation. The same is already happening with some of the songs written by such people as Ewan MacColl and Cyril Tawney (and Woody Guthrie over the Pond). We are already selecting those that have sufficient appeal. And variation is happening: I have heard small changes in some of Cyril Tawney's songs as now being sung.

As I observed above, however, there have often been few steps of continuity and variation. Joe Rae's (Gutcher on here) present-day version of the Daemon Lover is almost word for word as printed by Scott, even including the four verses due to Laidlaw that Child saw fit to exclude.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 08:13 AM

Very eloquently expressed, Richard. The only thing I could add to that currently is that much of the more drastic variation is down to rewriting by the broadside ballad writers, which is what I was referring to in my recycling comment earlier, and what will be one of the main thrusts of my next paper at the Sheffield broadside day on the 25th November.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 08:36 AM

Jim,
I can find very little to disagree with in what you have written here. The fact remains that current academic and scholarly study puts the published corpus of traditional English folk song down to commercial origins of some sort. However, ultimately the origins of any creation cannot be proven and that includes Shakespeare's plays and many other works of art. Sometimes you have to simply take the word of those who have studied the material in great detail and come to these conclusions of origin.

Double standards. The agricultural union short-lived songs are folk songs but not my farm hand who wrote songs about his farming experiences?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 08:39 AM

>>>>>>You suggest we all go and read Steve's book as if it is somehow going to suddenly cause the scales to fall from our eyes and we will all be enlightened<<<<<<< Jim

Not at all, Jim. Steve asks more questions than provides answers. I suggested it simply because that is the purpose of this thread and I'm sure he would be delighted if we used it as a stimulus to discussion.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 08:46 AM

"Very eloquently expressed, "
Seconded, but I'm not sure it alters or even challenges anything I've said so far
Liking or singing music hall or MacColl songs does not make them 'folk', which is a process, not a preference or type of song
Some of MacColl's best songs teeterd on the edge of becoming traditional in the communities that still retained a living Tradition, but they will always be MacColl's songs because they bore his name and his copyright, no matter what changes take place - change isn't tradition either
Unfortunately, one of the aspects introduced by the revival is that of personal ownership - many come with the stamp "arranged by" - this includes traditional songs
Unlike the old compositions, song are coming into the world still-born - communities can no longer take ownership of them as the traditional communities did
It still irks me that one of the greatest finds of the twentieth century, The Maid and the Palmer', given by a travelling man who lived in a derelict house and died of the effects of malnutrition, can be copyrighted
If that is the case with a centuries old ballad, what chance does a newly composed song have of becoming 'ours'?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 08:54 AM

> The "1954" definition isn't too far wrong

Actually, it isn't "wrong" at all (or "right" for that matter), because songs empirically exist that fit it to a T.

It's a definition that says, "this what we specialists who agree on this definition mean by "folksong" and what you should mean too." It *isn't* the kind that tells what the word means in general usage: as we know, there are many such meanings - sad, perhaps, but certainly true. It's also true that there's no way to enforce this definition - also sad, perhaps, but true.

The point of dispute is whether songs included in the 1954 def. are the *only* ones that "deserve" the name of "folksong."

A related, possibly more interesting question, is why certain songs are *called* folksongs - and by whom.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 08:59 AM

"Steve asks more questions than provides answers."
I hope so, but Steve is only one of many writers who have gone to great lengths to understand folk song and if we waited for all the new ideas to come forth we's be standing around like Estragon and Vladimir, forever waiting for Godot.
I don't believe one Messiah exists who is going to produce all the answers
I find myself getting more and more depressed when I read some of the academic kite-flying that takes place (I'm not suggesting for one minute that Steve is doing this - personally, I would have been totally lost in working on our own collection if it hadn't been for his groundbreaking contribution)
Understanding our song tradition has to be as fluid and ongoing as was the tradition itself - a communal pool of ideas.
Jim Carroll
Luckily, I posted this and it didn't take, so I was able to read Lighter's fascinating contribution
See what I mean about pooling ideas?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 09:26 AM

Must remember not to post on a weekend. Just lost a whole lot of posting because the server keeps going down for maintenance.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 09:27 AM

Try again.

I'm assuming we are all 100% in agreement on what Jim says here.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 09:29 AM

Regarding academics they often get it wrong. Their agendas are restricted by their superiors and they have schedules, agendas and time limits which other scholars don't have to bow to. A noted exception for me is Vic Gammon.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 10:00 AM

much of the more drastic variation is down to rewriting by the broadside ballad writers

A few years ago I researched the history of'The Wild Rover', helped along the way by both Jim and Steve G amongst others. Like a lot of older broadside pieces it began life as a very wordy, moralistic, thirteen-verse text written in the late seventeenth century by a known author (and yes, I do think this copy is most likely the origin). From there it went through various print incarnations over two centuries, getting shorter, more concise and telling a more effective story with each new edit. However, during the later history of the song it was also changed through what I could only conclude was oral traditional processing as well (the two are not of course incompatible), and acquired at least three distinct tunes, including a particularly attractive one in Ireland (as sung by Pat Usher) that made its way to Australia - where the song must have arrived independently several times. The well-known version is definitely a 1960s concoction, though.

That's just one example of how different kinds of process can affect the evolution of one song. It doesn't have to be 'one or the other', and we don't need to take to the barricades about it.

Steve Roud's book mentions the nice example of a rather arty song, 'The Shepard Adonis' becoming the localized 'Shepherd of the Downs' in the repertoire of the Copper Family. We don't know how or when the change took place but, since it appears there isn't a broadside copy of the 'Downs' text, and oral versions are vanishingly scarce, perhaps it was indeed a Sussex countryman who amended it?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 11:28 AM

"I do think this copy is most likely the origin"
Can I just make clear that I am not denying the probable broadside origins of some of our folksongs - some of them still bear the heavy handprint of the broadside hack - it's Steve G's percentages I dispute.
One of the problems I have is the question of literacy as evidence
Many of our singers, although able to read, still had difficulty with English - it was a second language when they were growing up and it showed when they wrote something out for you.
Some learned songs from "the Ballads" - song sheets sold at the fairs, but a number said they couldn't be trusted
Travellers were in an odd position, they were largely non-literate, but greatly responsible for putting songs into print
Mien McCarthy, from Kerry, described going to the printers in Tralee and reciting his father's songs over the counter to be printed out and sold
He also described putting songs into print by request "do you have any of your daddy's songs for sale?"
Length of "Wild Rover"
One of the most popular songs we recorded from Travellers was 'The Blind Beggar'
When I researched this I traced it as far as one of the longest broadsides I have ever come across (Percy, I think)
It was over sixty verses long and in two parts
The Travellers has it in the streamlined 8 or 9 verse version
Apropos of nothing, when Mikeen first sang it for us he was camped at the back of the Mile End Road in London, within five minutes walk of The Blind Beggar Pub
He was fascinated when he found out is was the hang-out of the notorious Kray Twins and permanently displayed a "No Travellers served here" sign
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 11:30 AM

Mikeen McCarthy, of course - bleedin' keyboard
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 12:26 PM

Just to clarify Jim's comment at 11.28.

Fact: Of published English traditional folk songs 89% had their first extant manifestation on some form of commercial production in urban areas.

My opinion, take or leave, 95% of this corpus came from the same source. Many ephemeral printed pieces did not survive. We know this from the many catalogues that do survive.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 12:33 PM

As no-one else has yet offered the author of The Demon Lover, if you go to the current Barbara Allen thread and read the late great Bruce Olsen's posting of 19th Feb 98, 11.41 pm you'll get his say on the matter.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 01:24 PM

"had their first extant manifestation on some form of commercial production in urban areas."
Sorry Steve - can you explain that
Are you still claiming they originated in print - sure;y not?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 01:28 PM

>The well-known version is definitely a 1960s concoction, though.

When a friend returned from a year in Cork, ca1984, he said the version that he heard a good deal had the chorus slightly revised into

"So it's no, nay, never,
(Right up yer arse!)
No, never no more...."

Otherwise, the "well-known version."


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: r.padgett
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 01:44 PM

Er the living tradition then Lighter?

Ray

A folk song is a folk song ~ what else can you can them?

Ray


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 02:12 PM

Really, Jim? We know the songs came from a wide variety of sources, mostly straight from the urban ballad writers but many first appeared in the theatre, pleasure gardens, supper rooms, music cellars, glee clubs, Music Hall, sheet music, songsters, etc., all commercial, in other words somebody was getting paid for their production, albeit only a shilling a go in the case of the broadside writers. The further you go back the more actually originated in London, for obvious reasons. Your 'Blind Beggar' for instance.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 02:23 PM

As no-one else has yet offered the author of The Demon Lover

Oops, that quiz question was addressed to me and I missed my chance of glory. Laurence Price, 1657, is the answer you're looking for. I did wonder for some time whether LP might have based it on an existing ballad (erecting his verbose and moralistic scaffolding around a traditional core), but it looks as though what happened there was a similar story to 'The Wild Rover'. I hadn't seen that Bruce O post before, actually.

And yes, I've heard the 'right up yer arse' chorus as well. Saves the sore hands.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 02:49 PM

Don't believe a word of it Steve - I'm afraid you're going to have to prove it - otherwise, we are stuck with the fact that we have nog got th faintest idea where they originated
We know that Mikeen to his father's songs and gave them to a printer which at the very least, shows that printing traditional songs for sale was a two way street
I don't believe for one minute that the hacks whose doggerel fills half a dozen of our shelves were anywhere capable of producing Sam Larner's or Harry Cox's or Walter's or Phil Tanner's gems with their obvious familiarity with the vernacular, trade names, work practices, folk-lore - and the hundred and one personal experiences recounted in the songs, often in intimate detail
It would take a hundred social historians a hundred years to fe that familiar with them
So far, all you can offer is the earliest date they went into print.
Are you really this certain that working people were incapable of expressing themselves poetically?
Not my experience - but maybe the Irish are more creative than the English!!
You are returning our people back to the old image of a creatively cultureless class
Shame on you
Even Child recognised who the songs belonged to when he called his ballads "Popular" - of the people, not how far they reached in the nineteenth century charts
Pitts referred to his output as "country songs" an did Issac Walton.
THe term "folk" was devised by Thom to identify it's home-made common origins rather than stall-bought artifacts
As I said - don't believe a word of it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 02:53 PM

I think you need to explain that last comment for the benefit of the uninitiated, Brian.

Price and Martin Parker occasionally parodied each other's work and I have evidence that they sometimes borrowed stanzas from tradition and from earlier ballads, but the vast majority of their output appears to have been original.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 03:06 PM

Jim, we've been through all of this before and you have deliberately misunderstood my comments exactly the same way numerous times. I have plenty of evidence as you well know, some of it mentioned above, that working people were often very creative, by way of song writing. It just so happens that the vast majority of them for one reason or another didn't get their songs into print and therefore they weren't spread abroad like the urban ballads. John Clare is an excellent example. Apart from his poetry and writing down the trad songs he came across he also rewrote quite a few songs in Burns' fashion, but none of them were ever collected in oral tradition. We are sometimes lucky to find them in old manuscripts but unfortunately very few made it into oral tradition to be collected and published.

>>>>don't believe a word of it<<<< Your prerogative, Jim.

'origins' as you well know have no bearing whatsoever on the oral tradition.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 03:21 PM

I think you need to explain that last comment for the benefit of the uninitiated, Brian.

Er... yes, could be misunderstood...

No need to clap four times!

Interesting comment re Parker & Price.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 05:04 PM

Working with Steve Roud on the "Sussex Traditions" project, he makes it clear that any statements that we make on our website and database should be based on evidence that we can back up, whatever our presumptions or what we would like to believe or any statements by personal contacts or socio-political agenda that we bring with us. As I said above, I have not read this book yet but it is here waiting for a less busy time. However, I have read quite a number of his articles and know his approach pretty well.
The person who brings an evidential approach to the exchanges above is Steve Gardham. Interesting and well-argued thread, though, and 100+ posts without descending to insults is encouraging for Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 05:59 PM

"THE LITTLE SHIRT MY MOTHER MADE FOR ME"
This song was written by Harry Wincott. It was recorded by music hall singers not long after it was written. Wincott was born in London on New Year's Day 1867. He wrote a number of songs that have had an enduring popularity including "The Old Dun Cow", "Mademoiselle from Armentières" and the one I give above. My dad (born in rural Oxfordshire in 1914) used to sing it frequently around the house and as a youngster it drove me mad, but he sang it so frequently that I learned it word for word by osmosis. When I started encouraging the old singers of Sussex to come to our folk club, I started to hear it again. George Belton might sing it next to "The Bold Fisherman". George Spicer might sing it next to "The Barley Mow" Spicer's tune was substantially the same as my dad's but he had an extra verse that Wincott did not write. Belton's tune and rhythm was noticeably different from the way my dad sang it. The words all three sang were different from the way it was written. Belton had an extra verse that Wincott did not write. Bradley Kincaid's version (recorded 1933) and Wilf Carter's (1942) brought it into circulation again but not as much as Marty Robbins' from 1983. For a while it became a Country music standard.
In sense that we know who wrote it this is not a folk song. However, it behaves like a folk song; it has entered the oral tradition; it changes and develops; in the Sussex versions it becomes localised in Brighton; the people who sing it have no idea who wrote it or where it came from.
Steve Roud has included the various changed versions of The Little Shirt Me Mother Made For Me that were collected by prominent and well-respected song collectors from highly regarded traditional singers in Sussex.
Some here will right that this is right; others will say that it is wrong. I wonder how much it matters.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 07:41 PM

"Jim, we've been through all of this before and you have deliberately misunderstood my comments exactly the same way numerous times"
We have been though this and I haven't deliberately misunderstood you Steve
After fifty off years involved with folk son I would have to be pretty stupid to deliberately misunderstand anything and I find it extremely insulting that you should suggest such a thing
You passede off the Irish songmakers as retired people scribbling down poems, broadside hacks as revolutionaries making songs for the people, seagiong and farmeroking hacks which enabled them to come to terms with the vernacular and the work practices, English workers having no time to make songs because of pressure of work...... a series of off the top of the head excuses to explain the anomalies.... not a single shred of evidence beyond earliest
I have no intention of getting into a slanging match with you, but please don't insult me by saying I deliberately did anything
Pat and I have carried out thirty years of work with English and Irish singers, some of them still part of a living tradition.
I have presented our findings as best I can - that is what our singers told us - the Clare singers, the Travellers Walter and others.
I have not attempted to link origins with the oral tradition, so why bring it up unless you wish to throw up another smokescreen?
If you make such a groundbreaking statement which contradicts all previous opinions and knowledge, you really do need to back it up with more than insults and dismissal - anybody who claims a love of the songs and those who gave them to us owe them at least that.
Where is your evidence that our songs were made by hacks " all commercial, in other words somebody was getting paid for their production,"
You once said our folksongs were no different than those put out by music industry - now that's what I call insulting
"I wonder how much it matters."
Quite a lot to those of us who wish to understand it Vic
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 03:49 AM

I don't wish to extend this - I have made my position quite clear on the idea that our folk songs originated in print for money
I'll add a couple of points and leave it there for perhaps less acrimonious discussion
Steve mentioned Burns, who was collecting songs from unlettered Scots country people which he gave to James Johnson for publication in his 'Scots Musical Museum', the title of which declares the songs to be old
I dug out Mary Ellen Brown's 'Burns and the Tradition last night - this is her quote on Burns.

In a famous biographical letter to Dr Moore written after he had received acclaim as a poet, Burns described the influences he had come under when he was a boy and specifically mentions his mother and an old woman, loosely connected with the family, who provided him with an early stock of songs, tales, legends, beliefs, proverbs, and customs:

"In my infant and boyish days too, I owed much to an old Maid of my Mother's, remarkable for her ignorance, credulity and superstition. - She had, I suppose, the largest collection in the county of tales and songs concerning devils, ghosts, fairies, brownies, witches, warlocks, spunkies, kelpies, elf-candles, dead-lights, wraiths, apparitions, cantraips, giants, inchanted towers, dragons and other trumpery."

The oral artistic creations, cumulatively built and recreated, passed on from generation to generation, stable in general form but varied in individual performance, were his birthright and a natural and universal part of the general society in which he lived - where traditional custom, belief, and practice dominated and overt creativity and innovation were not sought. This traditionally oriented way of life and the oral artistic communications it supported and sustained played a far more signifi¬cant role in shaping and determining the directions of Burns' artistry than has been recognised.
Like all writers or creative artists, Burns was not an isolate; and he cannot be realistically divorced from the milieu in which he lived. He was a product of what had gone before and what was and his artistry often lay in uniquely blending, juxtaposing, or representing this. He was a part of a long tradition.

Steve had already conceded that the Bothie worker made songs by the hundreds unaided by printed versions - if them, why not other agricultural workers
I also dug out 'I have a Yong Suster', popular song and the Middle English Lyric, (Karin Boklund Lagopoulou, which examines song-making as far back as the 1300s and discusses at length oral composition in pre-literate Early England, comparing it to that common in Eastern Europe,.
My first clash with Steve was when he asked me disparagingly "do you believe that romantic rubbish" - not a good start to a sharing of ideas and experiences.
THere are a lot of us "romantics" about.
Time to mend fences perhaps
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 05:48 AM

Jim wrote:
As our knowledge of the oral tradition onLy dates as far as the beginning of the twentieth century - anything before that is a guess and way out of the reach of definitive statements

This gap in our knowledge is one that Roud's book sets out to fill, using sources like John Clare - who, in a happy coincidence as far as this thread is concerned, wrote down a full version of The Demon Lover, as sung by his mother in the first half of the 18th century.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 05:50 AM

Reposting for clarity with italics corrected:

Jim wrote:
As our knowledge of the oral tradition onLy dates as far as the beginning of the twentieth century - anything before that is a guess and way out of the reach of definitive statements

This gap in our knowledge is one that Roud's book sets out to fill, using sources like John Clare - who, in a happy coincidence as far as this thread is concerned, wrote down a full version of The Demon Lover, as sung by his mother in the first half of the 18th century.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 07:49 AM

>>>>>I have not attempted to link origins with the oral tradition,<<<<
>>>>>>THe term "folk" was devised by Thom to identify it's home-made common origins rather than stall-bought artifacts<<<<<<
>>>>>>he also rewrote quite a few songs in Burns' fashion<<<<<

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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 07:51 AM

Oh dear, that's nothing like what I posted. I give up!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 08:22 AM

Clare is one man talking about one song - you are talking about the entire repertoire
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 10:18 AM

I have ordered this book.am looking forward to it. I have learned a lot on this thread and have enjoyed it until it became an argument..why DOES that happen ?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 10:23 AM

Contention


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 11:12 AM

Clare is one man talking about one song - you are talking about the entire repertoire

There's more than one song in Clare's MSS if you care to sift through his poetic 'improvements'. But my point was that, although 18th / 19th C oral evidence is pretty scarce, at least Roud is trying to find it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 12:55 PM

"There's more than one song in Clare's MSS i"
I know that Brian, I was referring to Steve's 'Demon Lover'
I also know evidence is difficult to fing so we must make do with common sense and the little information we have
Burns was on the sport and described a creative oral tradition.
Karin Boklund Lagopoulou describes similar dating back as far as the 1300s - presumably she has done her research
Throughout my time in folksong, there has never been any question that "the folk" made their own sons - Steve's in a new one on me and all he offers are earliest publication dates
Child in the mis 19th century describes the songs as "popular and the broadsides as dunghills and he was on the spot at the time - I'll buy that
Even Catnach described them as country songs
The general level of broadside poeetry has always been described as 'Doggerel' - we have a large number, from Roxborough to Ashton and HollowaY AND Black, none of which hold a candle to our folk songs
If there's nothing else, the poof of the pudding will do for now
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 01:11 PM

Child assumed that most of the songs he anthologised had come directly from oral tradition and that is why he used the word 'popular'. However a large chunk of them came from broadsides either directly or indirectly. He included those he selected on stylistic grounds mainly. Of course no one disputes that the bulk of the material on street literature could be described as dunghills.

>>>The general level of broadside poetry has always been described as 'doggerel'<<< Mainly by literary people I would add. When you have studied hundreds of thousands of examples of street literature you will realise that the level of poetry , idiom and language are pretty much the same as folksong.....As I rode out...Come all ye....far more common on broadsides than in folk song. The only difference is that those that entered oral tradition were the ones of value to the people that have become shaped by the people.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 02:08 PM

And in Roxburghe, Ashton and Holloway and Black you will find versions of many folk songs, but unless you already know the folk songs they evolved into you would have great trouble picking them out from the rest.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 02:28 PM

"And in Roxburghe, Ashton and Holloway and Black you will find versions of many folk songs"
You'll find some Steve, but they all are invariably broadside-type versions as unsingable as the rest, leaving me with the conclusion (everything else being taken into consideration) that theay are as likely as not to have ben taken from source singers rather than the other way round
If thye had been capable of making good songs there would be far more than there are
Child recognieed the ballad genre as "popular" (from the people) whether they appeared on broadside or not - print was all he had.
Bronso ices a far more overall view of the repertoire because he had access to field recordings - he always said he had enough for an additional volume
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Oct 17 - 02:37 PM

>>>>> but they all are invariably broadside-type versions as unsingable as the rest, leaving me with the conclusion (everything else being taken into consideration) that they are as likely as not to have been taken from source singers rather than the other way round<<<<< Am I reading this wrong or is it a contradiction?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 03:38 AM

Sorry Steve I had that the wrong way round, not you
I thumbed through Holloway and Black last night and found there to be very few songs that have entrered the tradition - a few that could have had they not been so ham-fisted
Ironically, the few that I know to have been sung around the revival were the ones taken up by singers usually disapproved of by academics - Bert had a couple and I spotted two sung bt Critics Group members
I'm off to hospital for a hip operation of Thursday so I'm only going to be able to take tis so far, so I'm going to cover some of the important bits of our findings - ignore me or indulge me
THe Irish Travellers were the first group we recorded in 1973 - they had a living tradition, a fairly large spread repertoire of native rural Irish, political, own-made songs with English and Scottish ones thrown in
It turns out from ours and Tom Munnelly's experiences that they were major players in singing and passing on Child ballads and they were the most important group to distribute songs by selling them at the fairs - almost exclusively a Traveller occupation
The first man we recorded was "Pop's" Johnny Connors, from Wexford
He came from a singing and musical family and was related to the piper, Johnny Doran
He was a Traveller activist, fighting for sites in England alongside Gratton Puxon - he had been imprisoned in Birmingham for his activities in the late sixties and it was there he first learned to read - he wrote an autobiographical piece that was included in Jeremy Sandford's 'Gypsies'
He had leeaned his songs largely from family members - his Uncle made songs about his trade of catching and skinning rabbits and selling them for their fur
His brother-in-law, Little Bill Cassidy, was one of the most stylish singers we ever recorded (I'm pretty sure Brian has heard Bill)
One of the earliest songs he sang for us was the Traveller version of Edward - 'What Put the Blood' - he called it 'Cain and Abel'
He introduced it with this remarkable statement:
"I'd say the song, myself, goes back to.... depicts Cain and Abel in the Bible and where Our Lord said to Cain.... I think this is where the Travellers Curse come from too, because Our Lord says to Cain, "Cain", says Our Lord, "you have slain your brother, and for this", says Our Lord, says he, "and for this, be a wanderer and a fugitive on the earth".
"Not so Lord" says he, "this punishment is too severe, and whoever finds me", says he, "will slay me, "says he "or harass me".
"Not so", says Our Lord, says he, "whoever finds Cain and punishes or slains (sic) Cain, I will punish them sevenfold".
And I think this is where the Travellers curse come from.
Anyway, the song depicts this, this er....
1 call it Cain and Abel anyway; there never was a name for the song, but that what I call it, you know, the depiction of Cain and Abel."

He described Travellers singing style at length, which he referred to as 'the Yawn':

(tune sung) That's the 'yawn' in the voice, dragged away, the yawn in the voice.
The 'yawn' is in the pipes, the uilleann pipes, which is among te oldest instruments among Travelling people, or among the world, is the pipes.
The breeding generation belonging to me, the Dorans, the Cashes, its all traditional musicians, this is in history.
Denis Turner Can you give us an example?
P J C. I gave you an example a few minutes ago, but I'll give it again.


The song he refers to he called 'The Green Shades of Yann' - an English language version of the Irish language The Brown Thorn An Droighneán Donn, which has been completely 'Travellerised' and set among the caravans and ponies rather than the usual rural setting.
Johnny was typical of the singers we questioned about their songs, knowledgeable, articulate and with strong opinions about them - not the passive "song birds" who learned songs from print and parroted what they'd heard uncritically - his main difference was that, up to a few yeears earlier ha=e was totally unable to read a word.
He also made songs, as did many Travellers na put stories to sme of them, like the description of a feud between two families, 'Poor Old Man' which can be heard on our CD 'From Puck ot Appleby'
His best song was a pride-filled evocation of the Travellers, Gum Shellac - here with note

Gum Shellac
(Roud 2508) 'Pop's' Johnny Connors, Wexford Traveller


We are the travelling people
Like the Picts or Beaker Folk,
The men in Whitehall thinks we're parasites
But tinker is the word.
With our gum shellac alay ra lo,
Move us on you boyoes.

All the jobs in the world we have done,
From making Pharaoh's coffins
To building Birmingham.
With our gum shellac ala lay sha la,
Wallop it out you heroes.

We have mended pots and kettles
And buckets for Lord Cornwall,
But before we'd leave his house me lads,
We would mind his woman and all.
With our gum shellac alay ra la,
Wallop it out me hero.

Well I have a little woman
And a mother she is to be,
She gets her basket on her arm,
And mooches the hills for me.
With our gum shellac alay ra la,
Wallop it out me hero.

Dowdled verse.

We fought the Romans,
The Spanish and the Danes,
We fought against the dirty Black and Tans
And knocked Cromwell to his knees.
With our gum shellac alay ra la,
Wallop it out me heroes.

Well, we're married these twenty years,
Nineteen children we have got.
Ah sure, one is hardly walking
When there's another one in the cot.
Over our gum shellac alay ra lo,
Get out of that you boyoes.

We have made cannon guns in Hungary,
Bronze cannons in the years BC
We have fought and died for Ireland
To make sure that she was free.
With a gum shellac ala lay sha la,
Wallop it out me heroes.

We can sing a song or dance a reel
No matter where we roam,
We have learned the Emperor Nero
How to play the pipes
Way back in the days of Rome.
With our gum shellac ala lay sha la,
Whack it if you can me boyoes.

Dowdled verse.

Note
'Pop's' Johnny Connors, the singer of this song, is also the composer. He was an activist in the movement for better conditions for Travellers in the 1960s and was a partici¬pant in the Brownhills eviction, about which he made the song, The Battle of Brownhills, which tells of an unofficial eviction in the Birmingham area which led to the death of two Traveller children. An account of part of his experiences on the road is to be found in Jeremy Sandford's book Gypsies under the heading, Seven Weeks of Childhood. This was written while Johnny was serving a prison sentence in Winson Green Prison in the English Midlands. He said that further chapters of an intended biography were confiscated by the prison authorities and never returned to him on his release.
Gum shellac is a paste formed by chewing bread, a technique used by unscrupulous tinsmiths to supposedly repair leaks in pots and pans. When polished, it gives the ap¬pearance of a proper repair but, if the vessel is filled with water, the paste quickly disintegrates, giving the perpetrator of the trick just enough time to escape with his payment.

I've taken too long over this, but I think it important in the context of how I believe a living tradition worked - gathering, singing, passing on old songs and making new ones
I know this happened in Ireland, but she is our nearest neighbour and has been influenced by us for 8 centuries ? I see no reason why we can't take what happened here as a guide for what could well have happened in the English countryside
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 04:25 AM

His brother-in-law, Little Bill Cassidy, was one of the most stylish singers we ever recorded (I'm pretty sure Brian has heard Bill)

Indeed I have (recordings, anyway), and indeed he was!

Fascinating account, Jim.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 06:01 AM

I have been reading and thoroughly enjoying Martin Graebe's book on Rev, Sabine Baring-Gould, As I Roved Out [Signal, Oxford. ISBN 978-1-909930-53-7]. It is clearly the work of long meticulous research and is well written, based on evidence and devoid of speculation. If Martin has not found evidence for what aspects of what he has uncovered in his study of letters, manuscripts by and about this pivotal figure of the beginnings of the first revival then he states these clearly.
Just now, on page 165, I came across this paragraph that really stood out for me and I had to read it several times. It has direct relevance to the exchanges on this thread about the origins of folk song. Martin quotes a letter that Baring-Gould wrote to Lucy Broadwood from Lew Trenchard on 21st May 1891. He writes:-


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 06:24 AM

(Continued from previous post sent in error)

I have no great opinion about the words of many of our Folk Songs. I find most of them (not all) are to be detected in Broadsides. Of these I have 5 thick vols. and I have gone through all the vols. in the Brit. Mus. They are coarse, vulgar things and void of poetry, but I find that the traditional versions are almost invariably better than the broadside versions.


Baring-Gould writing this 120 years ago seems to accord with modern evidence-based research findings that most of our songs started off in the broadsides but it was the ones that were taken up by the singers and entered into the oral tradition that they became shaped and rounded and became more expressive and voiced in the common tongue. Songs were altered consciously or unconsciously and most regularly improved from the printed broadside version. Additions were made to and parodies made of the original. Sets of words were sung to different melodies that suited the voice and taste of the singer. The huge creativity of the traditional singers found much more expression in the adaptation, development & improvement of existing pieces rather than the making of new pieces. Not that this did not happen as Jim has eloquently given an example above,


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 06:38 AM

C'mon Vic - it's like waiting for the other shoe to drop
Wail I'm waiting, perhaps I might proffer a possible scenario for traditional songs on broadsided
I Writer bases himself in a pub that is frequented by countrymen in for the markets, or Merchant seamen, or fishermen, or soldiers and either sits in on singing sessions, roughly scribbling down plots, some words, a verse to give a form - enough to make a full song - then takes what he has off and makes a song of it to suit the tastes of his customers
Only a guess, but so is everything else so far
I've always been fascinated with David Buchan's theory of their being bo set ballad texts, just plots and commonplaces - I don't think he presented his case too well, but I think it possible
I watched MacColl as he grew old and began to forget words, but I never once saw him dry up - he was so familiar with the stories of his songs as to make up the memory gaps as he went along
As a MacColl buff I was familiar enough to notce when he did this - a coupple of times either he or Peggy caught my eye and acknowledged that I'd noticed
This is what many singers did
If I get time later, I'll describe the two examples we have of how songs were made, along with the songs   
"Fascinating account, Jim"
Thank's Brian, there really plenty mor where that came from
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 06:50 AM

" adaptation, development & improvement"
I totally disagree with this Vic -at least until it is backed up with documented evidence rather than opinions
Baring Gould, Sharp, et al were working when the tradition was in sharp decline and there in so record whatever of them treating collecting songs as artifacts, the way a butterfly collector regards his trophies.
Sharp came the nearest with 'Conclusions' and there are a couple of nice quotes in Fox-Strangways to suggest that he felt a warmth for some of his informants, but one of the greatest holes in our knowledge is the lack of an input by the singers.
I'm afraid thisis beginning to feel like a return to the 'free as Bird Song era'
This is one of the most offensive statements I have ever come across from someone who really should have known better, a note to Lake of Col Fin from "the Vermont collection, New Green Mountain Songster by Phillips Barry in 1939:

"Popular tradition, however, does not mean popular origin. In the case of our ballad, the underlying folklore is Irish de facto, but not de-jure: the ballad is of Oriental and literary origin, and has sunk to the level of the folk which has the keeping of folklore. To put it in a single phrase, memory not invention is the function of the folk".   
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 07:07 AM

I totally disagree with this Vic -at least until it is backed up with documented evidence rather than opinions.

Then we will have to leave it, Jim. You are surrounded, here and in many books and articles, by massive amounts of evidence that, as you quote, "Popular tradition, however, does not mean popular origin" but you won't be moved, so further discussion would be pointless.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 08:51 AM

There is no "massive evidence" - only academic argument - we don't now how the songs were made or who made them, but personal experience has proved to me that 'the folk' - even those from the lowest regarded section of society, were well capable of making songs
These songs were made and sung as entertainment, just as Barbara Cartland and Charles Dickens wrote their books to entertain - two ends of a literary spectrum - at one end masses of social history and insight into the human condition, at the other, pink froth
One of the things that has been largely ignored about our folksongs is the social history they carry
If I want to know about the nuts and bolts of the Battle of the Nile, I go to the military records and scholarly studies of the subject
If I want to know how it felt for a ploughboy or weaver or land labourer to be conned into the army, stuck in a uniform, given a gun and thrust into the midst of a bloody battle, I go to the songs
Why on earth should a hack concern himself on such matters - it's not as if he was writing for a revolutionary anti-war rural or urban population who were lapping up such tragedies?
Same with all those social misalliance songs - what profit was there writing about some girl whining because her old man wouldn't let her marry the hired help?
These songs carry a feel of knowledge and emotion that reflects personal experience, expressed in a vernacular that rings of reality
I find it very easy to separate a genuine Irish song from an 'Oirish' one created by a hack
Harry Cox once sang 'Betsy the Serving Maid for MacColl and Lomax - when he finished he spat out "and that's how they thought of us" - that's what I call involvement in your art
When he sang Van Diemans Land he launched into a diatribe about the land seizures and Enclosures - again, identification that goes way beyond entertainment.
These songs became "ours" wherever they were sung - very few writers or poets have ever achieved that level of communication
If there is "masses amounts of evidence" - where is it - so far we have only the opinions of researchers and academics - outsiders all
Apart from everything else, these songs were circulated and being referred to centuries before we had universal literacy
People tend to forget that first performances of Hamlet and King Lear were being performed to the sweepings of the London streets - as late as the early twentieth century the 'Fit Ups and Travelling theatres were taking the same plays around to Irish villages in the areshole of nowhere for the delectation of small farmers and land labourers - the dumbing down of our society has a lot to answer for
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 09:35 AM

Jim says
Harry Cox once sang 'Betsy the Serving Maid for MacColl and Lomax - when he finished he spat out "and that's how they thought of us" - that's what I call involvement in your art.

... and Vic reminds Jim that on his own admission, Harry learned nearly all of his songs from broadsides which were kept in a box on top of the wardrobe in his bedroom and that the songs were changed in his handling of them (which might be a fact that is more relevant to the discussion).

I'm afraid that I feel that Jim's long posts do not serve to clarify anything about the facts of the origins of the songs and his unwillingness to concede a single point that others have made here makes these interactions futile. I respect Jim's great knowledge and his huge contribution but cannot abide his dogmatism. It makes me feel that discussions with him are of the order of What Came First - the chicken or the egg? where looking into the faults inherent in the question are not addressed.
So, no more from me on this one.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 10:06 AM

Bob THomson interviewed Harrry Cox extensively and pasted up all his broadsides in the late sixties
Harry collected them but told Bob he learned very few of his songs from them - I have no evidence of the varacity of that claim
It's not true that he learned all his songs from them anyway - Harry and his brother both learned songs locally and from family members
Even if he doid, it takes us no nearer to where the songs originated
in the end it boil;s down to one single fact Vic - if rural workers were capable of making songs they most certainly did - there is no reason to believe the traditional repertoire didn't come from that source and every reason to believe that it didn't
That is not dogmatic,0 but I'm afraid a continual insistence on something on which you have and can have no evidence is
"Bring your witness luv and I'll never deny you"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 11:10 AM

Don't know how much longer I'm going to be able to continue this - off to hospital on Thursday for a new hip and I'll be out of your hair for a week - so I'll put my important bits up now.
There is an over-riding feature of all this
Since I first came into folk-song, the full accepted idea was that 'The Folk' made their songs (some argument about the ballads, but little else)
My friend, Bob Thomson introduced me to the idea that many of them had appeared on broadsides, but he never made claims of authorship to my recollection.
My view of folk song was summed up perfectly by MacColl's extremely moving final statement in the Song Carriers series:

"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island.
We are indebted to the Harry Coxes and Phil Tanners, to Colm Keane and Maggie MaccDonagh, to Belle Stewart and Jessie Murray and to all the sweet and raucous unknown singers who have helped to carry our people's songs across the centuries"


When I put this up in a discussion, Steve G's response was "do you believe that romantic rubbish?" - well, yes I did, and still do and will continue to until contrary evidence is produced - the songs are to me, 'The Voice of the People'
Working people have always been regarded as having no creative culture of their own part from their songs, music and tales - Steve's "broadside creations" theory is very much a new kid on the block
The consequences for his claim are socially and culturally enormous - for people like me, catastrophic.
If we are going to take away the claim of ownership of working people and leave them totally devoid of cultural creation we're are going to have to be damn sure we have got it right
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 11:31 AM

Jim wrote:-
Don't know how much longer I'm going to be able to continue this - off to hospital on Thursday for a new hip

I hope the operation is a great success, Jim and that you recover greater mobility and freedom for pain. Tina has had both her hips replaced in recent years and after following a subsequent rigid exercise routine, the quality of her life has been greatly improved. I hope it is the same for you.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 12:06 PM

I'm sure it will be Vic - thanks - it's my second, the other one was a new life
I'll be happier if they remember the headphones this time - I'm not sure I can handle, "hand me that nail nurse" again!!
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 12:16 PM

Jim,
My very best wishes for you and your new hip.

I have told you on many occasions how much great respect I have for you and your work. We are I am sure all of us united in our love for traditional music. The origins are pretty much irrelevant to this. The ownership comes from adoption and re-creation. Let us dwell on this.

BTW Johnny Doran is one of my favourite all-time pipers.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 01:13 PM

"Let us dwell on this."
Sory Steve - to important to avoid this
Are you seriously suggesting we should let the only creative activity attributable to working people slip away from us without a debate
You made the statement ? - back it up with facts or withdraw it
Johnny was wonderful - we once had to pull his large extremely brother (appropriately nicknamed "Thump") down into his chair in a pub to stop him weighing into a bunch of local yobs who were pissing through a pub window and giving the very young barmaid a hard time
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 01:51 PM

Jim,

Whilst I don't have the knowledge and experience in this field that you and other recent contributors to this thread have, I find the comment in your last post quite perplexing.

Unless I'm completely missing the point, you appear to be suggesting that: 'folk song' is the only creative activity attributable to working people. That is patently absurd. What did you mean?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 02:16 PM

>>>>>- back it up with facts or withdraw it.<<<<<

That's absurd, Jim, and you must know it. Your own standpoint that the songs were created by ploughboys and dairymaids, nymphs and shepherds, can you back this up with one shred of evidence when applied to published English traditional song? The last time you attempted this one of them turned out to be an American whaling song adapted by Bert!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 03:02 PM

"can you back this up with one shred of evidence when applied to published English traditional song?"
Of course I can't, and your "ploughboys and dairymaids, nymphs and shepherds" is somewhat disingenuous - I never mantioned any of those - try, Travellers rural workers and village carpenters and you might be neareer
the mark - you've never really dropped your "romantic nonsense" insult, have you?
my point was, is, and will remain that it is highly likely that these songs were possibly made by the rural working class - I've produced evidence that backs up that likelihood - where's yours?
My mistake regarding Bert's adaptation was down to the fact that I was taken in by a skilful folkie - That's not going to happen again, certainly not here.

This is a song we recorded from aan elderly Clare man livinbg in Deptford, South East London, he came from a mile or so from here in West Clare but had lived in England singe 1946
Mikey was essentially a dancer - one of the best in the area; he as also a repository of short tales, including a 'yarn' version of The Bishop of Canterbury and a tale called 'The Merchant and the Fiddler's Wife' which appeared in Durfey' Pills as a song which I have never found another version of anywhere else - certainly not in the oral tradition - the si=ung verse is almost identical to Durfey's
I think the not gives most of the background except that the four men who made the song stood at the crossroads a few days after the incident and threw verses at one another until they came up with the full song
We've traved relaatives to everybody mentioned in the song
Jim Carroll

The Quilty Burning.

Mikey Kelleher (originally from Quilty)

Oh the burning of Quilty, you all know it well;
When the barrack took fire where the peelers did dwell.
The flames bursted out, sure it was a great sight;
There were women and children out there all night.

Michael Dwyer, sure, he got a great fright.
He called on his wife for to rescue his life.
His daughter ran out and she roaring, "ovoe,
Blessed light, blessed light, keep away from our door".

Then Micho Kenny, looked out through the glass,
And he saw Patsy Scully outside at the Cross.
"Oh Patsy, Oh Patsy, take out the poor ass,
For the whole blessed place it is all in a mass".

Michael Dwyer, he came down on the scene;
He ran down to the cross and called up Jack Cuneen.
"My house will be burned before 'twill be seen,
And my fool of a son is above in Rineen".

Then Paddy Shannon thrown out his old rags;
He stuck his poor missus into the bag.
"The burning, the burning, it started too soon;
'Twill be burning all night until next afternoon".

Then Paddy Healy came out in the flames;
He could see nobody there but the peelers he'll blame.
He went into Tom Clancy and told him the same.
"By damned", said Tom Clancy, "'tis now we want rain".

Father McGannon came down to the gate;
He says to the boys, "there's an awful disgrace;
For this old barracks is an awful state;
It's no harm to be banished and gone out the place".

Now to conclude and to finish my song;
I hope you'll all tell me my verses is wrong,
For this old barracks is no harm to be gone,
For many the poor fellow was shoved in there wrong.

(Spoken) "I suppose there was an' all".

The incident, that gave rise to this song, now apparently forgotten, took place around 1920, when the Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks at Quilty, a fishing village a few miles south of Miltown Malbay, was set alight by Republicans. Mikey appears to be the only person to remember the song and told us that he recalls it being made by a group of local men shortly after the event.
We have been able to get only very little information about either the song or the incident, apart from the fact that the 'Father McGannon' in the 7th verse was not a priest, but was the nickname of a local man.
We once played this to a friend, the late John Joe Healy, a fiddle player from Quilty, who said of the Paddy Healy in verse 6; "that's my father he's singing about".

The Quilty Burning.
Mikey Kelleher (originally from Quilty)

Oh the burning of Quilty, you all know it well;
When the barrack took fire where the peelers did dwell.
The flames bursted out, sure it was a great sight;
There were women and children out there all night.

Michael Dwyer, sure, he got a great fright.
He called on his wife for to rescue his life.
His daughter ran out and she roaring, "ovoe,
Blessed light, blessed light, keep away from our door".

Then Micho Kenny, looked out through the glass,
And he saw Patsy Scully outside at the Cross.
"Oh Patsy, Oh Patsy, take out the poor ass,
For the whole blessed place it is all in a mass".

Michael Dwyer, he came down on the scene;
He ran down to the cross and called up Jack Cuneen.
"My house will be burned before 'twill be seen,
And my fool of a son is above in Rineen".

Then Paddy Shannon thrown out his old rags;
He stuck his poor missus into the bag.
"The burning, the burning, it started too soon;
'Twill be burning all night until next afternoon".

Then Paddy Healy came out in the flames;
He could see nobody there but the peelers he'll blame.
He went into Tom Clancy and told him the same.
"By damned", said Tom Clancy, "'tis now we want rain".

Father McGannon came down to the gate;
He says to the boys, "there's an awful disgrace;
For this old barracks is an awful state;
It's no harm to be banished and gone out the place".

Now to conclude and to finish my song;
I hope you'll all tell me my verses is wrong,
For this old barracks is no harm to be gone,
For many the poor fellow was shoved in there wrong.

(Spoken) "I suppose there was an' all".

The incident, that gave rise to this song, now apparently forgotten, took place around 1920, when the Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks at Quilty, a fishing village a few miles south of Miltown Malbay, was set alight by Republicans. Mikey appears to be the only person to remember the song and told us that he recalls it being made by a group of local men shortly after the event.
We have been able to get only very little information about either the song or the incident, apart from the fact that the 'Father McGannon' in the 7th verse was not a priest, but was the nickname of a local man.
We once played this to a friend, the late John Joe Healy, a fiddle player from Quilty, who said of the Paddy Healy in verse 6; "that's my father he's singing about".


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 03:15 PM

I'm sorry, Jim, but none of this has any relevance to the published corpus of English folk song, interesting though it is.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 05:04 PM

Any answer to my question, Jim?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 05:24 PM

" the only creative activity attributable to working people."
THat has always been the point of view of teh establishment - maybe I should have said 'artistic creative activity representing their own lives and experiences)
What did you have in mind?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 05:27 PM

Sorry Ed - should have apologised - didn't see your message earlier
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 07:41 PM

I just want to add some of my own experiences to this debate, with the greatest respect to the scholars above. To do this I am going to have to write about myself, so I'll make it quick and try not to be too dramatic.
The point I want to make is very simple. I do not know what a Folk Song is, but I certainly know what it isn't. There has been a lot of talk about evidence and the only evidence I have is the life I have lived. I left home at 17 and for the most part have been living on my wits ever since. At one time I was playing music in the street to survive, I have travelled round the West country, sleeping under hedges, busking to get enough for food for the next day. Yes of course I make money from Folk Songs but I don't think that demeans the art in any way. I fell in with the Gypsies decades ago learning their Art, songs and lifestyle first hand, and was taught how to earn a living with the streangth in my hands and what ever is between my ears, living half in a house and a trailer, and I married a Romany Gypsy lass.
When it comes to songs and singing the relevance of a song has to be measured against the life of the singers who hear it. If it passes that test, weather it be printed on a Broadsheet 250 years ago or composed last week, it will be sung as an expression of that experience. It doesn't mean it's somehow better or worse for that, but it does mean it may be viewed as relevant to that huge mass of musical excellence we call Folk Song. My best freinds wife (a Romany) sat me down and taught me 'The Tanyard side' face to face as she was taught by her Mother. My singing teacher and freind the late Bill House taught me how to sit, how to breath and how to project a song as he taught me 'One night as I lay on my bed' as his father taught him when Bill was six years old in 1906, the same year as his father sang it to the Hammond Brothers.
So yes-I know a folksong when I hear it, whatever it's background. It's a simple emotional recognition, that will capture your attention, make you smile in appreciation, or shake your head in sympathy. That, I believe is where in begins and ends, and it matters not how many arguments are raised for and against any academic point. Folk Song differs from other music as night does to day wrote Bert Lloyd, but when does day become or night become day? The answer is when ever you decide.
That said I still intend buying and reading the book.
kind regards
Nick


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 03:53 AM

Thanks for that contribution, Nick. I feel very honoured to have worked with you and hope our paths cross again.

I think both Jim and I and others on this forum would agree completely with your viewpoint.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: r.padgett
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 04:18 AM

Yes Folk song is the expression of life and life experience in all its glory and the feelings expressed by the singer in its singing

I have heard many singers who know all the words and many, some of the younger singer too who have all the musical accompaniment but simply in my mind lack the true empathy in the song

That is the essence of folk song: ~ the words sung more often than not unaccompanied ~ and I read somewhere that songs become part of the singer they are carried by the singer and performance will and can change in "how" the singer is able to carry the empathy on that occasion ~ many factors will of course influence that (beer, age of singer, state of health etc

Yes slightly off topic ~ but the original song composition and its worth in the "society" it was created (no idea when or by whom) even if it were a Broadside, Music hall song or newly created at the time has no relevance ~ if the singer understands the underlying empathy then his performance is paramount

Ray


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 04:18 AM

"I'm sorry, Jim, but none of this has any relevance to the published corpus of English folk song, interesting though it is."
And the folk songs that appeared on broadsides have no relevance to the origin of our folk song in m opinion, interesting though they are

Nick Dow
Thanks for your fascinating contribution ? a couple of things you wrote should be framed and hung up on the wall of everybody with a serious interest in and love of folk song
The problem with folk song academic research is that it goes in fashions and is discarded for new models like old shoes
In 1909, American researcher Francis Gummere (The Popular Ballad) came up with the idea of 'communal composition', that some of our folk songs were made by groups rather than individuals.
That fell out of fashion and is now pooh-poohed by the in crowd
Taking definitive stances, which I think is what we are arguing about here, will guarantee our remaining ignorant about probably one of the most neglected and rejected aspects of our culture 'The songs of the People'
The song I put up above, 'The Quilty Burning' was composed by four anonymous men; the one below was made on the morning of a wedding by a group of Traveller lads sitting on a grassy bank outside the church on the day of the wedding humourously predicting how the marriage taking place would end up
We recorded about half dozen versions of this, each time we were told to be careful who we played it to, which is why we have never used it.
The couple were still living back then and the singers didn't wish to embarrass them ? blind singer, Mary Delaney told us laughing, "Paddy's my cousin and he'd murder me if he found I'd sung it to you"
The song deals with 'made matches' a marriage done through a matchmaker ? such songs are to be found throughout the oral tradition ? some about willing marriages, but most about enforced ones
The woman in the song was chosen because of her skill at one of the traditional Traveller trades, buying, cleaning and re-selling old feather matresses
We got the background of the song from our friend, Kerry Traveller, Mikeen McCarthy, who was at the wedding. And witnessed the song being made
All the singers and the couple are now dead
Tom Munnelly recorded a version sung by John Reilly (of Well Below the Valley fame); it can be heard on Topic Album, 'Bonny Green Tree' - John called the groom, Bold William Delaney', possibly to save him embarrassment

Paddy McInerney
My name is young Paddy McInerney,
And a brave County Down lad I been,
In the search of a wife I came travelling,
Till I came to old Butterfin (sic) Town.

Now the first man I met was Red Danny,
And then he start talking to me,
He invited me up to the waggon,
And 'twas brandy he ordered for me.

The first thing he drew down was the dealing
And the next was Doll Julia to me,
He was bragging and boasting what a hawker,
Round the green hills of old Cahermee

The first month I married her, 'twas lovely,
And the second, we could not agree,
And the third one she wore on the trousers
And she then came the boss over me.

Now all ye young men and fair maidens,
A warning let ye take by me,
Be never bought by a piebald or a waggon,
Just like I was in old Cahermee.

I have more to say about 'The Quilty Burning' and the significance of such songs to the folk song repertoire ? I included it in this posting at some length but lost the ******* posting
On second thoughts, perhaps it's just as well as it was far too long anyway
Im Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 06:58 AM

I'm disappointed that a lot of the recent additions to this thread have been yet another re-run of the argument about origins.

Setting aside for a moment songs of more recent origin, such as in the music halls, and focussing on the songs that the early collectors accepted as being proper "folk" songs, Baring-Gould (thank you Vic 03 Oct 17 - 06:24 AM and Martin) already observed that most of them existed in broadsides. Another hundred-odd years of evidence confirm that the earliest known versions of most of them are in broadsides or other print.

Steve G and others believe that in most cases those printed version were the originals, although some may have been taken from already existing oral versions. Jim believes it's the other way round, basing his belief partly on internal evidence in the songs that the people who made them had first hand experience of their subjects, and partly on documented instances of song writing by "the folk" in recent times.

Isn't it time to agree to disagree about that (at least in this particular thread) and focus our attention on the songs' subsequent propagation and evolution?

Steve Roud maintains that what makes a song a folk song is not where it started but what people do with it. Vic's 01 Oct 17 - 05:59 PM post about "The Little Shirt My Mother Made For Me" is a beautiful illustration of that. (Opinions about the aesthetic worth of that particular song are a separate matter entirely. The same processes have been at work on all sorts of songs, from dirty doggerel to big ballads.)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 07:12 AM

"Isn't it time to agree to disagree about that"
Steve's claim on makes that totally impossible Richard - it would make the singers of these claims of composition totally out of the question if virtually all had originated in print
To Understand the importance of these songs to our history and culture it is essential to work out who made them and why they were made - hack made songs for money cast an entirely different light on that understanding
The common acceptance has been that they were mostly made by the people they were about - Steve still passes that off as romantic nonsense
It may not be important to a singer, but the importance of these song transcends that
I'l continue with this until it's settled one way or the other - sorry - too much of an issue for me
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM

Can I jus say here that throughout my time on Mudcat I have regarded it as ludicrous that it is virtually impossible to discuss vital subject such as folk song definitions and MacColl without them ending in acrimony and name calling
Please don't make this yet another no-go area
We are all adults and if we are not capable of behaving as such with serious, if contentious subjects we may as well settle down comfortably in our armchairs with The Readers Digest
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 08:44 AM

I've now jumped ahead, in reading the book, to 'Folk Song In Its Natural Habitat', the book's Part 3. (I promise to go back and read Part 2 later!) I'm finding part 3 a much speedier read, partly because it is more unequivocally folk-song related, rather than shading off into folk's porous boundaries with other music.

I do feel, overall, that Roud's book is (at least) two books rather than one. And that an analogous specialist writing in another discipline (say, a history of World War II, or a history of European painting, or a history of French jazz) would not have needed an equivalent to the 219 pages that make up Part 1: these can be loosely summarised as 'what is a folk song?'; and 'who collected the folk songs and how?'. Roud does have a habit of saying things like "of course, a history of folk song collection is not a history of folk song" (I'm paraphrasing from memory here), before giving us a near-book-length history of folk song collection. Or stating, that the Revival is beyond the book's remit, but then giving us a 17-page history of the Revival. I think if I'd started the book with Part 2, read onto Part 3, and then regarded Part 1 as a kind of appendix, I'd probably have finished reading it by now and found it a smoother read. Everything in the book is interesting, but I'm not sure it all needs to be in the same book.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 10:45 AM

Why is folk song definition so VITAL?

If I hear a song and enjoy it I will probably want to learn it and sing it no matter what it's origin. I am interested to know where it came from if that is known yes, but if it's origins are lost in the annals of time so what. I will still enjoy it.

Songs are to be sung,waffling on incessantly about their possible origin
is time wasted.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 11:13 AM

an analogous specialist writing in another discipline (say, a history of World War II, or a history of European painting, or a history of French jazz) would not have needed an equivalent to the 219 pages that make up Part 1: these can be loosely summarised as 'what is a folk song?'; and 'who collected the folk songs and how?'.

Sometimes they do. Books on the Crusades have a problem that they were mostly fought by people, on all sides, who had no label for what was going on - the modern idea of a "crusade" came along after it was all over. And books on the wars of the 20th century could certainly do with a recognition that both WW1 and WW2 started before they were declared and continued long after they officially finished, involving people who weren't recognized as combatants by any diplomatic protocol.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 11:24 AM

"Songs are to be sung,waffling on incessantly about their possible origin"
Only to those who can't see beyond their own personal interests Hoot
Go count how many books there are on Shakespeare, despite the fact that his plays were only there to be acted - take every aspect of music, literature, art... throughout our entire history and come back and tell me that this doen't apply equally - even pop music
It's good to reminded of why MacColl broke with Ballads and Blues and formed a club for the genuine lovers of The Songs of the People in all its aspects
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 11:37 AM

"books on the wars of the 20th century could certainly do with a recognition that both WW1 and WW2 started before they were declared and continued long after they officially finished, involving people who weren't recognized as combatants by any diplomatic protocol"

Yes, but that's not really the equivalent. Have you ever read a book on World War II that dedicated a chapter to asking the question "what is a war?", before going on to provide 200 pages of potted history of other historians who've written about World War II?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 12:09 PM

I've only got the rest of today before I drop out of this for a week or so, so I'll make the point I tried to this morning
'The Quilty Burning' represents an important period of Irish history, the period between the Easter rising and the signing of the Treaty, 1916 to 1922
Those six years produced thousands of Irish folk songs on the War of Independence, some made as deliberate propaganda pieces, but the majority were the reactions of 'ordinary' people to the events that were taking place
These latter sprang up in every County in Ireland, made by locals, accepted for a time and mainly disappearing when the events that inspired them faded from memory.
They are proof positive that farm workers, labourers, trades men and women, fishermen, even children, were capable of making songs on any subject that took their interest.
The only differences between Ireland and Britain was firstly, that Ireland still had a thriving singing tradition at the time providing a suitable matrix for making songs, also Irish history, especially since the Famine, provided a mass of subjects to inspire, even demand new songs.
Terry Moylan's huge book, 'The Indignant Muse', contains many of these locally made songs and his researches uncovered many more he was unable to use.
Politics wasn't the only subject of course ? I put up a Travellers song on 'made matches' that has never seen the light of day.
This is a Clare song on a similar theme made well about ten miles from the singer, Matin Long's home ? this one never made it into print either and the author is also unknown.

That Cold Man by Night.   Martin Long, Tooreen, Inagh, Recorded July 1975
I am a handsome comely maid; my age is scarce eighteen,
I am the only daughter of a farmer near Crusheen,
'Tis married I intend to be before its winning daylight,
Oh, my father wants me to get wed to a cold man by night.

This man being old, as I am told, his years are sixty-four,
I really mean to slight him, for he being wed before,
His common shoes are always loose, and his clothes don't fit him right,
Oh I don't intend the wife to be of that cold man by night.

The very next day without delay they all rode into town,
To a learned man they quickly ran the contract to pin down;
Into an inn they did call in to whet their whistles nigh,
In hope that I would live and die with that cold man by night.

My father came, I did him blame and thus to him did say,
"Oh father dear, you acted queer in what you done today,
In the Shannon deep I'll go and sleep, before the mornings light,
Before I'll agree the wife to be of that cold man by night".

"Oh daughter dear, don't say no more, or be a foolish lass,
For he has a house and four good cows, and a sporting fine black ass,
He has a handsome feather bed where ye may rest by night,
So change your life and be the wife of that cold man by night".

"Oh father dear, don't say no more, for I'll tell you the reason why,
Before I'll agree the wife to be, I'd first lay down and die,
In the Shannon deep I'll go and sleep before the mornings light,
Before I'll consent to be content with that cold man by night.

My match is broke, without a joke, I'll marry if I can,
Before (???) is over I'll have a nice young man,
That will take me in his arms in a cold and frosty night,
And some other dame might do the same with that cold man by night.

The practice of young women being pressurised or even forced into arranged marriages of convenience to older men has inspired many songs throughout these islands; sometimes depicting the tragedy or resigned bitterness of the situation the woman finds herself in, but occasionally, as with this one, open defiance, with a touch of humour.
This appears to be a locally-made song; we have been unable to find another example of it outside Clare.
Particularly interesting is the description of the visit to the matchmaker (the "learned man") and the celebratory ceremony to seal the 'made match'.

And another on the equally popular subject of changing fashions, from Tom Lenihan of Miltown Malbay, which must have been made when Tom was in his twenties
The action of the song takes place a few miles from where the 'Cold Man by Night originated

The Bobbed Hair (Roud 3077)
Tom Lenihan Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay Recorded 1976
Carroll Mackenzie Collection

I feel depressed and sad tonight, my heart is filled with woe,
Since I met my Biddy darling when we parted long ago.
I remember when we parted how the sun came shining down
On that fair and handsome creature and her lovely locks of brown.

When I met her I was horrified, I could not understand
What made her locks so ugly now that once was sweet and grand.
I gazed in silent wonder, yes, I looked and looked again;
My heart near burst asunder when I found she had bobbed her hair.

I said: 'Biddy dear, what happened you, that you looked so neat and trim
The night we kissed and parted in the road near Corofin?'
I asked why she had shorn her locks, she smiled and made a bow,
And the answer that she made was: 'Tis all the fashion now.'

Ah, to see my darling's hair, too, it was a lovely sight,
And although 'tis hard to make me cry, I shed some tears that night.
Before we left I asked her how this bobbing first began,
'Some years ago,' she said, 'you know, 'twas done by Black and Tans!'

Farewell, dear Bid, I'm clear fed up, there is no bobbed hair for me.
Our partnership we must dissolve, I'm horrified to see,
The locks that nature gave to thee, oh, just for fashion's sake
Clipped off, and now you neck is bare, like Paddy McGinty's drake.

Of course I know the times have changed, but I'll allow for that,
And shingled hair looks horrible beneath a nice new hat.
And why don't fashions doff the shawl our grannys used to wear?
Some has done it still and always will but they have not bobbed their hair.

The ass brays in a strong protest and swears he will not move
And goats upon the mountains bleat that fashions may improve
The swallows are about to leave, no more we'll see the hare
And stalks are burned with the blight since the women bobbed their hair.

Conversation between Tom Lehihan and Jim Carroll after the song:
Jim: Who do you reckon made that song?
Tom: Well, it was supposed that 'twas Paddy Jordan that composed it, but when he was asked about it, he said that he never composed it. That song is over sixty years.
Jim: Paddy Jordan was a Miltown man, was he?
Tom: He was a Miltown man.

Note
Bobbed Hair ? Tom Lenihan
Styles and fashions have long been a subject for humour in song.
Tom's song on a lover lamenting an early 20th century hairstyle is one of the best we have come across.
The locating of the song in Corofin appears to indicate that it was locally made; Tom said it was a great favourite there, and the reference to 'Black and Tans puts it some time after independence.
The latter refers to a punishment meted out by the Tans to women in households harbouring Republicans, as dramatized in the film, 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
It was also used by the Resistance in Europe during world War Two to those who consorted with German soldiers.
'The Bobbed Hair' is echoed by an American Ozark song of the late 1920s which pleads;

"Why do you bob your hair girls?
It is an awful shame
To rob the head God gave you,
To bear the flapper's name."

I really do believe that anybody claiming that our folk songs originated from the pens of professional song makers need to face the fact that country people from all over these islands were perfectly capable of making them themselves without help
If the were capable of it, why didn't they do it?
There are plenty more examples to choose from on every subject under the sun
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 12:12 PM

Jim,

I asked why folk song definition is vital.

"genuine lovers of The Songs of the People in all it's aspects" ????

I don't know who you mean by that. Presumably only those who agree with your own personal views and interests. The fact that some of us do not see the point in endlessly looking for something which cannot be defined to everyone's satisfaction does not mean that we do not enjoy some of the end product as much as you.

It seems My ignorance of Shakespeare is greater than I thought. I was under the impression that he or Bacon or whoever wrote plays to entertain an audience and earn a living. Obviously you know better.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 01:07 PM

Songs are to be sung,waffling on incessantly about their possible origin is time wasted.

I'd been waiting for that one to come up!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 01:20 PM

Why on earth should the fact that people (very much like myself) enjoy Shakespeare's plays stop anybody enquiring further into his art?
I, like Nock Dow, have no problem whatever recognising or defining a folk song when I hear one - there are libraries of literature to assist if I ever have the slightest problem in doing so
Personally, I spent thirty years asking source singers what it was and had no problem with what they told me.
What makes me laugh about you people is that if I or anybody else ever suggested that you have it have the same interest as you do, yo're the first up on your chairs screaming "folk police", but you have no hesitation it screaming the odds when our interests part from yours
"Songs are to be sung,waffling on incessantly about their possible origin" is about as 'kick in the door and burn the books" as it gets
Kindly mind your own business and let me decide for myself what my interests are
"I don't know who you mean by that. "
You really have no concept that folk songs might have more to offer than to be sung - you astound me?
Long live education eh!
Jim Carroll
Your "folk police" might have I point if I behaved like you
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 01:38 PM

"I'd been waiting for that one to come up!"
Me too
I always wonder what these people have to hide
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 04:40 PM

Richard
Fully agree.
Jim has given his twopennorth. I've given mine. Others have contributed. No doubt some people will sit in the middle. If Jim is the only one I need to convince then I know that's never gonna happen! I'll still be interested to know what he has to say when he's read the book.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 05:09 PM

Jim
Methinks ye hev been trolled!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 07:37 PM

" If Jim is the only one I need to convince then I know that's never gonna happen! I'll still be interested to know what he has to say when he's read the book."
Sorry Steve - you have given no evidence to back your claim, which flies in the face of every scrap of scholarship I have ever come across and is totally at odds by my own experiences and conclusions
Kite flying theories without evidence and without a single rational response only convinces me that your claims have no foundation in reality
You originally attempted to dismiss all the examples I put up as 'retired people scribbling poems in their spare time' - your refusal to even acknowledge the examples, the implication that song making was commonplace within the the tradition and the possible extent of them makes you somewhat dishonest (I really don't say that lightly, nor do I say it to insult you - it upsets me deeply that I have reached that conclusion about a fellow folk song enthusiast I once respected, even though I didn't agree with him)
My idea of genuine research is to take every piece of evidence offered, examine it, accept it if it works and explain why it doesn't if it doesn't convince me
I have done my level best here to do exactly that - you have not had the courtesy to do that.
You have responded with evasion, dishonesty and at time insults "ploughboys and dairymaids, nymphs and shepherds" - not the thing I have come to expect from serious people
You started off offering me character references of people who supported you, now we have come full circle "If Jim is the only one I need to convince"
Shame on you
Are you really so arrogant as to believe everybody but me accepts your unproven theory?
I find this last posting at best patronising, but rather, hurtful and nasty towards a fellow researcher - if there was nothing else, I would accept that as an indication that you are not able to defend your theory.
Personally, I don't gve a toss how many people believe something if it doesn't hold water
You theory doesn't and your behaviour here is an indication that you are aware of that and are not prepared to talk it through.
Fine by me
I'm giving a talk on our work at Galway University in November - you've just managed to add a whole new section to it.
I can handle trolls - they are easy
I realluy can't handle this level of discussion
Yours sadly
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 07:45 PM

It seems that Jim needs to read Steve's book if he really wants evidence - but somehow I doubt that he will........Sadly.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 08:03 PM

For your interest, here are a list of unpublished songs local to West Clare from our collection, all with no named author and all made within the lifetimes of the singers

Around the hills_of_clare
Bad Year sung by John Lyons
Beautiful Town of Kilrush sung by Michael Falsey
Blessed Christmas Day sung by Martin Junior Crehan
Bobbed Hair sung by Tom Lenihan
Broadford Prisoners sung by John Lyons
Cahermurphy sung by Josie Baker
Cattle Drivers sung by Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan
Clare election songs
Clare To The Front sung by Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan
Devalera_election_song
Donkey sung by Paddy Flanagan
Down By Mount Callan Side
Drunken Bear
Dudley Lee The Blackleg sung by Martin Howley
East Clare Election sung by Martin Howley
Fair At Doonbeg sung by Vincie Boyle
Fair Of Sixmilebridge sung by John Lyons
Farewell To Belharbour sung by Katie Droney
Farewell to Lissycasey sung by Vincie Boyle
Farewell to Miltown Malbay
Five Pilots of Kilbaha
Fourth Battalion of Mid-Clare
Francie Hynes sung by Michael Falsey
Girl from_clahandine
Gleesons Of Coore sung by Martin Junior Crehan
Grazier's Song
Green_flag_of_erin
Hills of Shanaway sung by Winifred Walsh
Hillside of Beenavane
John From Kilkee sung by Pat MacNamara
Johnny Boland
Kilkee Drowning sung by Martin Reidy
Kilrush Josie Baker
Lament for Willie Clancy sung by Marty Malley
Leon 1.
Leon 2
(three more songs on The Leon unrecorded but handwritten)
Heroes of Quilty
Lone Shanakyle sung by Michael Straighty Flanagan
Lovely Old Miltown sung by Peggy McMahon
Mac and Shanahan sung by Tom Lenihan
Mac and Shanahan (different song on same subject)
Memories of Clare
Men of County Clare sung by Tom Lenihan
Miltown Malbay Fair
Misses Limerick Kerry and Clare sung by Tom Lenihan
Murder of Mrs O'Mara sung by Martin Howley
My Eileen
My Native County Clare sung by Nora Cleary
Nora Daly sung by Tom Lenihan
Old Grey mare 2 versions
Pride of Kilkee sung by Tom Lenihan
Pub Down in Coore sung by Martin Junior Crehan
Querrin Bay Drowning sung by Michael Falsey
Quilty Burning
Quilty Song sung by Martin Junior Crehan
Another Quilty Song sung by Martin Junior Crehan
Rineen Ambush Five songs under this title)
Shannon Scheme Shannon Scheme
St. Brigid's Well sung by Jamesie McCarthy
That Cold Man by Night
There Is A Hero sung by Pat McNamara
St. Brigid's Well sung by Jamesie McCarthy
That Cold Man by Night
The Drovers Song (cattle rustling songs from the Land Wars)
There Is A Hero sung by Pat McNamara
Tirmanagh Hill sung by Peggy McMahon
Tobins of Kilmaley Nora Cleary
Vale of Fermoyle sung by Martin Howley
Village of Quilty
West Clare Railway (three complete songs and two fragments)


Apart from these there are over one hundred songs published for the first time in 1970 under the title ?Ballads of Clare? ? all made in the first half of the twentieth century and all from East Clare   
If that isn?t proof that rural people are not natural songmakers, I don?t know what is
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 08:14 PM

"It seems that Jim needs to read Steve's book if he really wants evidence - but somehow I doubt that he will........Sadly."
Perhaps you can give a summary Tim - Steve hasn't so far
I have dipped into the relevant sections of the book carefully and am half way through it page for page and have not found a shred so far
Can you please explain to me how there can possibly be evidence when even Steve has admitted that our knowledge of the oral tradition does not go back further than the beginning of the 20th century?
You join Steve G in his insults when you suggest that I won't read it - how dare you make such an assumption
Sorry folks - all this unpleasantness is proof positive that no proof either way exists and thos who believe there is substitute nastiness for honest argument
Why will none of you respond to the points I have put up honestly and decently?
THey really are there to be knocked down, but it takes more than denials, evasion and character references
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 10:32 PM

Jim - you have a wonderful record of collecting songs - all in the later 20th century. Must - if not all - of Steve's theories relate to the collections made in the early 20th century, IMHO a significantly different period.
I have actually not read Steve's book - but I have been to one of his presentations of the contains - that was very specific (however I don't have notes), and I found it very appealing.
I too have been studying the same period and I too have found examples of the existence of broadside versions of songs collected by Gardiner in particular.
Personally - I am interested in singing the songs and who sang them - not their origins - but if I find a connection to a broadside, I have to assume something......

I wish you well with your op, and I am sorry if you thought my comments insulting - but I hope you do glean something from Steve's book - it is 700 pages long, and he has been working on it for a very long time and has significant knowledge - so there is probably some truth between the covers.....

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 02:23 AM

"you have a wonderful record of collecting songs -"
Please don't patonise me Tim - if you think that all I've done is collect songs and learned nothing from them, you insult me as much as Richard and Steve does
Steve's comments may relate to the early twentieth century collections, but his definitive statement covers the entire reperoire, including the ballads - his contemptuous reference to "shepherds and swains" romanticism is at least a seventeenth century one.
To make such a definitive statement based on the condition of the song tradition in the early twentieth century is academic madness - kile trying to assess the general health of a human being by examining a corpse.
Our song traditions began to disappear when the Industrial Revolution wrought massive changes both in the town and the countryside, breaking up the communities and putting massive pressure on the workers.
Sharp and his colleagues stressed over and over again that they were dealing with the pale shadow of a song tradition - as Tommy Munnely put it "a race with the undertaker"
By the time the BBC mounted their mopping up campaign, in England they were dealing with singers who were remembering songs that had been remembered from parents who had might or might not have been part of a living oral tradition - second or third hand rather than direct from the horse's mouth - a moribund or dead tradition.
Ireland was different in that rural agriculture and the lifestyle that came with it still had a living song tradition right through to the 40s and fifties - the non-literate Travellers had one up to the 1970s
Both these latter were not only still carrying the old songs, largely untainted, but in both cases, were still producing a rich repertoire of newly made songs.
If Steve is referring to the early twentieth century state of things, when the tradition had deteriorated beyond repetition, he needs to make that clear - so far he has either poured scorn or refused to comment on the fact that working people made their songs "romantic nonsense2
I wen to bed extremely depressed last night - I am still seething, so I got up at this gaud-awful hour and dug out a several 'character references
Steve attaches such importance to - the end result is somewhat long because I have left it intact - I apologise for the length of the piece - both to those still interested and to the site administrators for taking up so much space
The first two writers lived and worked at a time when the broadside industry was thriving and both were totally familiar with its output and spent a great deal of time comparing it with the oraol repertoir
I confess I haven't read the second for around forty years, so it came as a shaft of sunlight through all this mirk.
The third seems to have concentrated primarily on broadsides and has done stirling work in dating them
Might look in before I head for Galway - thanks for your best wishes

"The immense collections of Broadside ballads, the Roxburghe and Pepys ... doubtless contain some ballads which we should at once declare to possess the popular character, and yet on the whole they are veritable dung-hills, in which, only after a great deal of sickening grubbing, one finds a very moderate jewel."
Francis James Child letter sent by Child to Svend Grundtvig in Copenhagen, August 25th 1872.

Before concluding this very incomplete summary, something must needs be said about the broadside or ballet, which has had so marked, and in many ways so detri¬mental an influence upon the- words of the folk-ballad and song. The ballad broad¬side, which sprang into life very soon after the invention of printing, consisted of a single sheet of paper, upon one side of which were printed the words only of the ballad, or song. These broadsheets were hawked about the country by packmen, who frequented fairs, village festivals, and public gatherings of all sorts, and who advertised their wares by singing them in market-places, on village greens, in the streets of the towns, and wherever they could attract an audience. In this way bal¬lads and songs were disseminated all over the land. In later days the broadside would have two or more ballads printed upon it, and sometimes several ballads were bound together and distributed in small books of three or four pages, called ? gar¬lands ?.
Many of these broadside ballads were the productions of the literary hacks of the towns, the Fleet Street scribblers of the day; occasionally they were written by ballad-mongers of literary repute, like Martin Parker. Some of them were learned by the hawkers during their country excursions, and were afterwards recited by them, for a consideration, to their employers. In this manner the traditional ballad found its way on to the broadside, but, usually, in a very garbled form, and after many editings. Consequently, the ballad-sheet, while it aided the popularization of the ballad, also tended to vulgarize it. It was only very rarely that a genuine tra¬ditional ballad found its way on to a broadside without suffering corruption. A broadside version of a ballad is usually, therefore, a very indifferent one, and vastly inferior to the genuine peasant song.
With very rare exceptions, and for obvious reasons, the broadside contained the words only of the songs, not the music to which they were sung. The music of the folk-song did not, therefore, suffer corruption through the agency of the ballad-sheet, as was the case with the words. We must remember also that the folk-singer would often learn modern and very indifferent sets of words from the broadside, and sing them to old tunes, after the manner of the ? execution songs,? already mentioned.
These, no doubt, are the chief reasons why the music of the folk-song of to-day has been more faithfully preserved than its text. For it must be confessed that the words of the folk-song often come to the collector of to-day in a very corrupt and incomplete state. The truth is that the twentieth century collector is a hundred years too late. The English ballad is moribund ; its account is well-nigh closed.
This conclusion corroborates that which was reached by 4 4 The Society of Anti¬quaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne ?, when, in 1855, they set about the collection of the Northumbrian ballads. In their first report they recorded that, so far as the words were concerned, they were ? half-a-century too late ?.
And yet, although page after page of the collector?s note-books are filled with scraps of imperfectly-remembered broadside versions, here and there will be found, sometimes a whole ballad, more often a verse or two, or, perhaps, a phrase only of genuine folk-made poetry. It is only from scraps of this kind that an estimate can be formed, and that a speculative one, of what the English ballad was in its prime. It has been pointed out that the Scottish ballad is immeasurably finer and more poetical than the English. But the comparison is scarcely a fair one. For the songs of Lowland Scotland were collected more than a hundred years ago, when ballad- singing was still a living art; whereas we in England have so neglected our oppor¬tunities that we are only now making a belated attempt to gather up the crumbs. Such ballads as ? The Unquiet Grave ? etc., which have survived in more or less in¬corrupt form, are there to remind us of the loss that we have suffered from the un¬worthy neglect of past opportunities.
Over and above this question of word-corruption, there are some folk-songs, which, for other reasons, can only be published after extensive alteration or excision. Some of these, happily only a few, are gross and coarse in sentiment and objectionable in every way. I am convinced, however, that the majority of these are individual and not communal productions, and cannot therefore be classed as genuine folk-songs. At any rate, I know that they offend against the communal sense of propriety, that the verdict of the community is expressly against them, and that those who sing them do so fully understanding that they are bad, vicious and indefensible.
But there are also a large number of folk-songs, which transgress the accepted conventions of the present age, and which would shock the susceptibilities of those who rank reticence and reserve amongst the noblest of the virtues. These are not, strictly speaking, bad songs ; they contain nothing that is really wrong or unwhole¬some. And they do not violate the communal sense of what is right and proper. They are sung freely and openly by peasant singers, in entire innocence of heart, and without the shadow of a thought that they contain anything that is objectionable, or that they themselves are committing any offence against propriety in singing them.
This is a phenomenon which opens up a large question. The key-note of folk- poetry, as we have already shown, is simplicity and directness without subtlety?as in the Bible narratives and Shakespeare. This characteristic might be mistaken for
a want of refinement by those who live in an age where subtlety and circumlocution are extensively practised, This question comes especially to the fore when the most universal and elemental of all subjects is treated, that of love and the relations of man to woman. Its very intimacy and mystery cause many minds to shrink from expressing themselves openly on the subject, as they would shrink from desecrating a shrine. The ballad-maker has no such feeling. He has none of that delicacy, which, as often as not, degenerates into pruriency. Consequently, he treats ? the way of a man with a maid ? simply and directly, just as he treats every other sub¬ject. Those, therefore, who would study ballad-literature, must realize that they will find in it none of those feelings and unuttered thoughts, which are characteristic of a more self-conscious but by no means more pure-minded age. Nevertheless, however much we may admire the simplicity and the straightforward diction of the ballad- maker, we have to realize that other times and other people are not so simple- minded and downright, and that what is deemed fit and proper for one period is not necessarily so for others. The folk-song editor, therefore, has perforce to undertake the distasteful task of modifying noble and beautiful sentiments in order that they may suit the minds and conform to the conventions of another age, where such things would not be understood in the primitive, direct and healthy sense.
These songs, however, in that they throw a searching light upon the character of the peasant, possess* great scientific value. For this reason alone, it is obviously the duty of the collector to note them down conscientiously and accurately, and to take care that his transcriptions are placed in libraries and museums, where they may be examined by students and those who will not misunderstand them.
Songs of the type that we have been discussing, as well as those whose words are incomplete or corrupt, present a knotty problem to the collector who would publish them for popular use. Only those who have tried their hands at editing a folk-song can realize the immense difficulty of the task. To be successful the editor must be in close sympathy with the aims of the folk-poet. He must divest himself of all acquired literary tricks, be alert to avoid anachronisms, and contrive to speak in the simple and direct language of the peasant. The high estimation, in which the best Scottish traditional poetry is deservedly held, is due in no small measure to the genius and sympathetic insight of those who edited it. Amongst these Burns was, of course, pre-eminent. But he was a peasant as well as a poet, and represented the peasant element in song. He was, moreover, an enthusiastic collector of the folk- tunes of his own country, of which he possessed an intimate, if not a technical knowledge. Yet, it cannot truthfully be said that even Burns was uniformly suc¬cessful in his revisions, although in such songs as ? John Anderson, my Jo ?, or ? O ! my luve?s like a red, red rose ?, he approached perfection. It must be remembered, too, that he confined his attention to the songs, and that he scarcely touched the ballads, which were left to Sir Walter Scott and others to recover and to edit. Who will do for our English ballads and songs what Scott and Burns did for the Scottish ?
Cecil J Sharp, , ?Folk Poetry? from English Folk Songs - Some Conclusions

At least a third of the 305 ballads canonised in his great work owe their continuance in oral tradition to having been printed as street literature, and many of those that don't are tainted by the interference of a series of literary hands, some having been totally fabricated by such. Indeed, this literary interference has been, and is, a lively and thriving tradition all of its own.
Dunghill? (Steve Gardham)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 05:00 AM

For what it's worth, I've now read about two thirds of Roud's book, and I don't recall having read any statements in the book suggesting that the vast majority of the English folk song repertoire of today originated in broadside ballads, written by professional or semi-professional broadside hacks. I could be wrong, but if he does say this definitively I don't remember it.

My overwhelming impression is that Roud's conclusions are overall of the "it's a bit of everything" type. I do recall Roud stating that claims of truly ancient antiquity for any given folk song are unlikely (and, more to the point, unprovable) but most of the time Roud seems to be pretty sanguine and philosophical about origins and proof. He is certainly sceptical about unequivocal claims to antiquity: for example, he challenges Bert Lloyd's unsupported claim that "we know" the Cutty Wren song to have been sung as part of a pagan winter ritual. But Roud is a very documentation-based researcher so he is just as scrupulous regarding any statements from the opposite end of the spectrum: as I said, I can't remember Roud endorsing any definitive statements regarding the polar opposite standpoint. Most of the time, it's a case of "there isn't proof of this" and, for Roud, what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 06:07 AM

"What makes me laugh about you people is that if I or anybody else ever suggested that you have it have the same interest as you do, yo're the first up on your chairs screaming "folk police", but you have no hesitation it screaming the odds when our interests part from yours
"Songs are to be sung,waffling on incessantly about their possible origin" is about as 'kick in the door and burn the books" as it gets
Kindly mind your own business and let me decide for myself what my interests are"

Having read the above Jim, I have no idea what you are trying to say.

I can only guess that "you people" again means anybody that doesn't agree with your point of view.

I suggest you calm down and try not to lose any more sleep.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 06:38 AM

"Having read the above Jim, I have no idea what you are trying to say."
Didn't think you would for a minute - it was aimed at folk song lovers
I'VE SHOWN YOU MY CREDENTIALS - YOU SHOW ME YOURS
Back to reality
I strongly fear that what happened to the revival is now happening to sections of research
When the clubs ran out of new old songs they began to look elsewhere - Victorian parlour ballads, Music Hall, early pop songs - ending up with the 'horse music' definition - anything goes, from Dan Leno to Dylan - anything that would justify performing anything they fancied wherever it came from and whoever's culture it represented
That's why many thousands left the scene in the seventies and eighties.
Now we have a situation in research were some believe everything to be said on folk song has been said so "let's re-define it and keep ourselves busy"
That is why folk song will never be taken seriously outside the tiny number of folk-Masonic Lodges of rapidly ageing folkies - not unless we gat a grip and try to do something about it - like taking ourselves seriously so that others will
It's happened in spades among Ireland's your with instrumental music - go check
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 06:40 AM

"Ireland's young people" - I should have said
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 12:13 PM

I don't recall having read any statements in the book suggesting that the vast majority of the English folk song repertoire of today originated in broadside ballads, written by professional or semi-professional broadside hacks.

In the chapter on 'Back-street printers, ballad sellers and buskers', the '90-95%' figure for the number of folk songs appearing in street literature is on p 442, and although SR does enter the caveat that this is not in itself evidence of a direct link, other evidence suggests to him that there is. In the 'New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs', the same author states that 'some, perhaps most' of them 'started life as songs written for broadside production.... probably written by... broadside hacks'


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 12:24 PM

And a good hack might have written several good songs.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 12:53 PM

"In the chapter on 'Back-street printers, ballad sellers and buskers', the '90-95%' figure for the number of folk songs appearing in street literature is on p 442, and although SR does enter the caveat that this is not in itself evidence of a direct link, other evidence suggests to him that there is."

OK, that's the chapter I'm currently reading. I'll look out for that. But I did use the word "originated" - not "appeared". Just because a song appears in a broadside, doesn't mean it was written for that broadside. I mean, I know that 'The Streams of Lovely Nancy' was printed on a broadside, but it seems hard to imagine that a broadside writer would have consciously sat down and penned so many non-sequiturs.

So I'd be interested in the evidence behind: "probably written by ... broadside hacks" too ? as I can't really imagine what that evidence would look like. (Given how, as Roud points out, broadside printers nicked each others' material.) I wonder what percentage of broadside songs have known authors?

Just to clear, by "folk songs" here, is Roud referring to songs he's given a Roud Index Number to ? all the folk songs he's ever come across? Is he saying 90?95% of the folk songs he's ever encountered have appeared in street literature?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 01:13 PM

Regarding "Streams of Lovely Nancy" - Roud 688 - there is an Irish version of the song - The Strands of Magilligan - I am not 100% sure of how old it is, but it was collected in 1933 and published in Huntington, Songs of the People (1990) p.259 (according to Roud) from the singer Sam Henry.
Several years ago in heard Dave MacLurg sing it at Mystic and it made me revive my singing of Streams (as collected from William & Turp Brown in Hampshire)
This "Strands" version is NOT in the Bodleian Ballads - but may "Streams" are with dates as early as 1813.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 02:34 PM

Just to clear, by "folk songs" here, is Roud referring to songs he's given a Roud Index Number to ? all the folk songs he's ever come across? Is he saying 90?95% of the folk songs he's ever encountered have appeared in street literature?

He means 'folk songs' as notated by collectors in late 19th / early 20th century England.

As to the other evidence, I'll let you finish the chapter rather than try to paraphrase. However I don't think SR would dispute that broadside writers were quite capable of plagiarising traditional songs as well as other people's broadsides.

'Streams of Lovely Nancy' is an interesting one. As my old friend Roy Harris once wrote: "One of the loveliest jumbles in English folk song. Impossible (so far) to know what it's all about." But then, the song as sung in the revival didn't always include all available verses.

I had a quick look at the Bodleian site, where there are loads of SOLN broadsides, with at least two different versions of the story (such as it is). One follows the standard opening with verses about a woman parting from her sailor lover, while in another the opening is the same, but he seems to be a soldier judging by the reference to 'marching away'. The place names change as well. What that tells me is that at least one and possibly both of these are rewrites of another text, but that the writer wasn't particularly worried that the opening verses didn't make much sense or have anything to do with the tale of the parted lovers. Here are two examples:

'Streams of Lovely Nancy' (1)

'Streams of Lovely Nancy' (2)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 02:53 PM

I am afraid - Brian - neither of your "Streams" links work...But I think I know what you have in mind.

Best - Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 03:11 PM

I suspect that these are the correct links -

http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/20000/17810.gif

http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/10000/07200.gif

I am recording an interview with Brian on Saturday morning, I now have an extra subject to talk to him about. I'm sure that Making links on Mudcat will be fascinating listening when it it broadcast.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 03:14 PM

I'm sure that Making links on Mudcat will be fascinating listening when it it broadcast.

But they work fine for me! Internet down everywhere but Glossop, it seems?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 03:16 PM

... however, Vic's second one doesn't work. I'm looking forward to that discussion, Vic.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 03:30 PM

Neither of Brian's links work in Lewes
Both of my links work in Lewes.

Good. A contentious interview on radio can make interesting listening, whereas long contentious threads on folk music forums.......


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 03:37 PM

Lewes is a strange place, Vic, you must admit.

I think we need some independent evidence about whose links work the best.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Marje
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 05:33 PM

Well, I can report that none of the four links work in Devon on a Kindle Fire tablet.
Hope this helps!
Marje


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 05:56 PM

I'm sorry Marje, but your doubtlessly well meaning observation doesn't help the intriguing argument move forward at all. Sorry


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 06:46 PM

For me neither link works if I just click on it. But right-click, copy link location, and paste into the address bar works for both of them. Make sense of that if you can. (As it happens, I've also today had an HTML part of an email that opens perfectly in two browsers and displays a totally blank page in two others.)

I'm glad that The Streams of Lovely Nancy has come up. That song on its own could make an interesting case study of the folk process. Wherever, whenever and however it originated, it was widely propagated both orally and through print, implying that singers liked it and broadside printers saw a market, but none of the extant versions makes much sense. More coherent than most is the version collected from Carrie Grover across the Pond, which has a castle decked (plausibly) with ivy rather than ivory, and "limestone so bright" rather than diamonds as the beacon for sailors.

I am very sorry that Jim should feel insulted by anything that I have written. Jim has good reasons for believing what he does and I am in no position to say he is wrong. And origins do indeed matter if one's purpose is to take a song as evidence of social history and what people thought and believed at some past time. But unless we can be sure who wrote a song, we can't be sure whose beliefs it reflects, if indeed it reflects anyone's. Broadside hacks could and did write pieces of total fiction.

Steve Roud's book is concerned with the phenomenon of folk song defined by various criteria but more by who sang the songs in what circumstances than by where they originated.

It's getting late at night and if I add any more to this post it will probably make less sense rather than more.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: JHW
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 07:02 PM

Sorry but I don't have time to read these posts and the book. I've read the Introduction up to now but it's very heavy to hold up.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 08:57 PM

> I know that 'The Streams of Lovely Nancy' was printed on a broadside, but it seems hard to imagine that a broadside writer would have consciously sat down and penned so many non-sequiturs.

Semi-seriously, what if he was drunk?

More seriously, why would a rural singer be more likely to have done so?

Someone, hack or otherwise, who was vaguely familiar with the convoluted diction of some 17th and 18th century poetry might conceivably have thought that this was how a lyric was supposed to sound.

Just my 2 cents.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 04:38 AM

I have carried out a pretty comprehensive study of Streams/Strands which is in the Dungbeetle articles on the Mustrad website. The Strands of Magilligan did indeed have its origins in northern Ireland and its progress through the hands of various printers and oral tradition can be traced in ever changing forms from Liverpool to Manchester to Birmingham and then to the southern counties by when it had become a rather garbled 'Streams of Lovely Nancy'. Eventually once scholars started studying the song they came up with a whole load of weird and wonderful theories as to what it meant.

This is one of the few where I wouldn't hazard a guess as to whether it first surfaced in print or was written by some hedge poet, perhaps both.

Matt, try rereading p13.
Jim, avoid this page at all costs.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 04:54 AM

Matt, see my posting, 1st of Oct. 12.26.

These figures are mine, but Steve and I worked together on much of this angle.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 05:03 AM

"try rereading p13"

You mean sentences such as: "Most songs which were later recorded as folk songs were not written by the singing and dancing throng, or by ploughboys, milkmaids, miners or weavers, but by professional or semi-professional urban songwriters or poets"

Well, personally I don't have any particular vested interest (ideological or otherwise) in whether this is true or false, likely or unlikely. Even from a class perspective, the professional or semi-professional urban songwriters are hardly likely to have been aristocrats; there was money to be made, but I doubt there was a huge amount of it (especially given how much broadside printers nicked each others material) ? Roud describes broadside sellers as one step above beggars, so presumably the writers were essentially the urban working class (albeit perhaps more literate than most?).

But I'd point out that p.13 doesn't cite evidence, it makes statements. It sounds like there might be more back-up to such statements in the parts of the book I've not yet got to. I need to finish reading the book to see how much evidence of specific authorship there is. Evidence that moves beyond pointing out that a song appeared as street literature to evidence that that appearance was originary; evidence that the appearance on a broadside of, say, a Cutty Wren song or a pace egging song, or Six Dukes Went a Fishing means that Fred Bloggs, professional broadside writer, wrote it more or less around the same date it was printed.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 05:26 AM

Congratulations Jim you are a legend in your own lunch time.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 07:36 AM

...evidence that the appearance on a broadside... means that Fred Bloggs, professional broadside writer, wrote it more or less around the same date it was printed.

It's always going to be very difficult to provide a smoking gun for a lot of these songs, since most broadsides were anonymous, and in any case there's always the possibility that another version existed before the oldest known copy.

However, in the specific case of the 'Wild Rover' I was talking about earlier, we have a known composer (Thomas Lanfiere) of the 17th century 'Good-fellow's Resolution' broadside - which is very clearly a 'Wild Rover' precursor - and we know that this author specialised in writing moralistic 'Bad Husband' ballads of this type. That suggests that his is the original copy. It is exactly the kind of turgid doggerel that people have been talking about above, but following on from Lanfiere's original over the next two centuries you can trace a number of edits, in which bits of his ballad have been cherry-picked, rearranged and eventually assembled into something resembling a folk song.

That's one well-documented example, and I daresay it won't be possible to do that for all the 90%.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 07:51 AM

"It's always going to be very difficult to provide a smoking gun for a lot of these songs, since most broadsides were anonymous, and in any case there's always the possibility that another version existed before the oldest known copy."

Of course - that's why I'm interested in the assertion that most of them were probably written by professional urban writers or poets. If most of them are anonymous, and we don't have bookkeeping records of broadside printers and their scribes, where does this "probably..." evidence come from? Is is just simple assumption: that the earliest broadside printing of a given song "probably" means that was when it was written? That's an eminently reasonable presumption, but it's still a presumption.

I'm interested in these "probablies" and that 90?95%, not because I'm unwilling to be disabused of any romantic notions, but because I'm genuinely curious as to why there are so many odd folk songs in the canon. If, as Roud's own research suggests, broadsheets about scurillous murders were the biggest sellers, how have we ended up with so many pastoral folk songs with often quite arcane words and practices?

Sure, I can see why all those songs about lads and lasses rolling in the meadows could have come about, but what would have been the motivation/inspiration for an urban professional writer in writing a song that facilitated seasonally-based begging at the Big House with opaque lyrics about wrens and/or sprigs of May? (And not just one, of course, but whole schools of them?)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 08:18 AM

what would have been the motivation/inspiration for an urban professional writer in writing a song that facilitated seasonally-based begging at the Big House with opaque lyrics about wrens and/or sprigs of May?

A quick look at the Roud index doesn't show any broadside copies of either 'Pace-Egg' or 'Cutty Wren'. Maybe Steve G will know that such things exist somewhere. Or maybe these are part of the 5-10% that never appeared as street literature.

I don't have any agenda here either, just trying to respond as best I can.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 10:54 AM

Steve Gardham says earlier -
"I have carried out a pretty comprehensive study of Streams/Strands which is in the Dungbeetle articles on the Mustrad website."

I can see the song mentioned in No. 17 on your Dungheap list - is this what you mean? Because it is not mentioned much? Or am I missing a more complete look at the song from somewhere else???

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 10:56 AM

Pace-egging songs indeed appeared in chapbooks along with the texts of the plays. There are as you know lots of different mumming plays and not all of them appeared in chapbooks. They vary considerably and with these oral tradition is the major factor. However the Pace Egg specifically owes much of its spread to print.

The Cutty Wren can be traced back to 1744. I haven't seen a street lit version. See the ODNR no.447. As part of an annual custom in past centuries it does indeed appear to be part of the 11%.

The seasonallly based begging included carols, Poor Old Horse, Six Jolly Miners, Deby Ram many of which were printed on broadsides.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 12:15 PM

Profuse apologies, Tim.
I remember writing the article and just assumed that's where it ended up as with most of my studies. With wrist slapped I will try to find where it ended up. I know John Moulden has also studied the progress of the ballad.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 12:29 PM

I found a very long study and correspondence in my notes dating back to 2005. Having assembled as many versions as possible of 'Streams' and 2 related songs 'Come all ye little streamers' and 'The Green Mountain(US)' I started corresponding with Stephen Reynolds of Oregon and with John Moulden in which I found that Stephen was already well down the line in preparing a long article for the FM Journal, so instead of publishing myself I assisted Stephen with his work. One outcome was that the 3 songs were eventually given separate Roud numbers having all been lumped together prior to that.

I still have all the notes, maps of Magilligan and Loch Foyle where I believe it originated. John who had researched Irish broadsides more than anyone else had never seen an Irish broadside of the song. It is quite flowery and descriptive in keeping with other ballads from that part of Ireland. (IMO) If anyone wants to see versions of The Strands of Magilligan there are 2 in Hugh Shields' Shamrock, Rose & Thistle and one in the Sam Henry collection. I don't remember seeing an article. Is Stephen Reynolds still around?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 01:15 PM

Matt.
The 'probably'.

Both Steve and I, sometimes together sometimes independently, have spent the last 30 years and more studying in great depth not only the broadside ballads that became folk songs but others pretty similar that may have become folk songs but didn't make it to be collected as folk songs. We have found some that have named authors but by the very nature of the beast the great majority don't have information on the author.

We found a fair amount of evidence that some of them had indeed most likely been taken from oral tradition, but when we traced them back to the earliest extant version this was overwhelmingly a printed or commercial source. I say commercial, one notable example is the theatre and pleasure gardens. These are often easily noted on stylistic grounds as being somewhat flowery in their language and subject.

The fact that printers all lived in urban areas adds to the fact that their suppliers, the ballad writers were close at hand. I have presented above plenty of evidence that rural working people sometimes wrote ballads but generally speaking they had not got ready access to printers and so those creatively inclined did not very often see their work spread to other areas like our folk songs and printed ballads did. In close-knit communities these songs no doubt will have had some currency but for one reason or another the majority didn't last or were not spread any further than that. There is a good example in Southern Harvest, a local song that survived in 3 versions in villages around Winchester, but these songs are very few and far between in published collections.

I have made it very clear on numerous occasions that our figures apply only to published traditional songs from England. Elsewhere different dynamics produced different statistics as Jim keeps telling us quite rightly. (Hence the title of this thread!)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 06:32 PM

Did Stephen Reynolds's work (with Steve's input) eventually get published in the Folk Music Journal? I don't recall seeing it.

I note that "One outcome was that the 3 songs were eventually given separate Roud numbers having all been lumped together prior to that." I therefore need to correct my reference above to the Carrie Grover version, which I now see doesn't count as a version of "Streams" (Roud 688) but of "Green Mountain" (Roud 18820, index S217728).

However these songs do have a lot of shared content, and not just typical floaters.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 07:17 PM

Steve Gardham - I am also intrigued by your note -
"a local song that survived in 3 versions in villages around Winchester" - which song do you have in mind???

This is totally highjacking this thread - but while Jim is having is Hip done - what else is worth talking about (Good luck Jim....)

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 07 Oct 17 - 05:26 AM

"We found a fair amount of evidence that some of them had indeed most likely been taken from oral tradition, but when we traced them back to the earliest extant version this was overwhelmingly a printed or commercial source."

"The fact that printers all lived in urban areas adds to the fact that their suppliers, the ballad writers were close at hand."

I apologise for being a bit of a stuck record on this, but what generally have you considered evidence for composition? ie evidence that a broadside was actually composed by a broadside writer, rather than just supplied?

It does indeed stand to reason that a supplier to a printer would have lived nearby, but, if 90% of those songs were indeed actually composed (rather than just supplied) by broadside writers, it rather begs the question of where they got such gifted talents and broad general knowledge from - being able to knock out so many songs with geographical and technical details about often arcane rural customs and seafaring practices. I don't suppose they had that many research resources, or much time on their hands.

There's also the question of audience demand; what I've read in Roud's book so far corresponds with what I'd expect about the topics popular in broadsides, and no mention has been made (so far, don't want to prejudge!) about often arcane rural customs and seafaring practices in public tastes. If they did indeed compose all those songs, then it seems strange to me that no scholar yet has remarked on what literary titans these writers were, where they acquired their knowledge, and why their subjects so often appear to be out of step with what you'd expect to be commercial. Where did their knowledge and interest in seasonal rural customs spring from? Where did the commercial demand for a song like 'Herrings Heads' spring from?

"generally speaking they had not got ready access to printers and so those creatively inclined did not very often see their work spread to other areas like our folk songs and printed ballads did."

See, it also seems to me that if we allow "ready access to printers" to be a consideration, surely we have to bear in mind that, de facto, a printed version of any given song is more likely to be the earliest extant discoverable version simply because, well, if I write a song down in my diary, that's not as likely to still be findable 100 years later than if it had been printed 300 or more times.

If the earliest printed or written iteration of a song being from a printed ballad is considered to be best evidence of a song's authorship by a professional ballad writer then, de facto, a not-especially-literate populace, with no access to print, cannot have written them ? by default. There's an element of circularity to that logic.

Roud suggests himself that broadside publishers would merrily pillage all sorts of sources: it seems therefore odd to me that they would be pillaging all sources APART from oral traditions, especially considered music is ultimately an auditory one. It is surely far more likely that the existence of songs anomalous to urban tastes and experiences are evidence of pillaging from oral traditions; the alternative would be that London's broadside writers were singular literary titans, creative visionaries with a remarkable general knowledge, and that we should be using the word "genius", not "hack" to describe them.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 04:46 AM

There can hardly be any doubt that some songs were originally made by people who had been there to see the events described, some were made for the stage or pleasure gardens, some were made by known authors such as Laurence Price, and some by anonymous hacks. We're in danger of focussing on a few examples that clearly fall into one of these categories and generalising to conclude that this category covers a large proportion of the whole corpus.

For example GUEST,matt milton refers to "often arcane rural customs and seafaring practices". How many songs describe such things? Versus how many tell idealised bucolic stories of Colins and Phoebes, ploughboys, love at first sight on a May morning, etc? Or songs that reflect a landsman's ideas of life at sea rather than the experience of real sailors?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 06:27 AM

I am perhaps in danger of projecting my own predilections outwards here I've never bothered to learn those Colin and Phoebe type songs.

But one frustrating aspect of Roud's book is that I feel he doesn't involve himself in the repercussions of some of his findings. If a wassail song or May song or a seasonal songs relating to winter mendicant traditions was probably written by an urban broadsheet writer, that to me gives rise to all sorts of questions. Did much that we take for granted about the content of those traditions never actually exist in practice? Were broadsheet writers actively intervening/shaping the content of those traditions? Given that such songs are a significant part of what many folk singers today would regard as canonical, it seems odd to me that this wouldn't be explored in a large social history of folk music.

Another omission that I find odd in the book is that, given Roud's scholarship, he's uniquely placed to provide informative demonstrations of the folk process at work: while he mentions the fact that, just because working people did not write the songs, they liked them enough to learn them and shape them, it seems bizarre that he doesn't present any examples of how transformative (or not) this was.

I say bizarre because this is pretty much the key element of folk song. I had generally adumbrated broadsides as flowery, laborious and over-written, as compared to a folk-processed poetic, streamlined economy in a folk song as I have learned it. I mentioned the Streams of Lovely Nancy earlier because it was the most dramatic example I could think of of the folk process at work: a song that common sense suggests probably wasn't first written the way it has come down to most of us. But there are much more lucid examples I can think of off the top of my head: Six Dukes Went A Fishing for example, or the version of 'Brisk Young Sailor' collected in the Vaughn Williams 'Bushes and Briars' book. Or the genuinely weird song 'The Pelican' (collected by Gardiner, I think).

It seems odd to me that someone writing such a mammoth project, entitled 'Folk Song in England' wouldn't want to discuss the folk process more, and provide examples from his considerable research showing it at work. Those conclusions might be "actually, songs don't change that much"; or they might be "it's interesting to note what the song loses in unnecessary detail from this broadside of 1860 to the version collected by Cecil Sharp in..." There's none of that (so far as I've read) in Roud's book. Which is one of many reasons I'm finding it quite a frustrating read.

Another thing that's just occurred to me is there's not much discussion of the Child ballads, which are a pretty canonical part of folk singing today. But I guess Roud would point me to the bit in his introduction where he states that the book is about what folk music was, rather than what it is. I'm increasingly feeling that Roud's own priorities about what's important to discuss, to expand on, to go into detail on, or to include or exclude, are very different from my own interests in folk music. I think I was expecting a very different book to this one.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 11:36 AM

Fair comment from GUEST,matt milton Date: 08 Oct 17 - 06:27 AM! It seems there's plenty of scope for another book. But still I remain grateful for what Steve and Julia have put into this one.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 04:15 PM

Despite it's great breadth, Steve's book is only an overview of the subject. Just think how long the book would have been if at every touch and turn he had included examples. And if he had included even one example it could easily have gone to 50 pages on its own demonstrating the evolution of the song through say theatre, print, oral tradition. If you want chapter and verse on individual songs might I suggest Steve's other recent book The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, or even the Marrow Bones series edited by myself and Malcolm Douglas. Or my Dungbeetle articles on Mustrad.

Matt>>>>it rather begs the question of where they got such gifted talents and broad general knowledge from - being able to knock out so many songs with geographical and technical details about often arcane rural customs and seafaring practices<<<<<<

As Richard writes, these songs only actually form a small percentage of the corpus of material under discussion. The vast majority of the corpus is songs of a generic nature. The writers were obviously literate but generally at the bottom end of the poets scale, sometimes poets trying to turn a quick buck (bob). Writing poetry/songs has always been a precarious existence even at best. Many of the naval engagements were common knowledge and the taverns had plenty of seamen who wished to impart their knowledge of the battle. We have evidence they used newspaper reports occasionally. Of course they recycled older ballads, but as I said, as a rule even these can be traced back to what appears to be an original. Most of the songs attached to customs we have no idea how and where they originated and these form a major part of the 5%. However even some of these have their earliest extant versions in cheap print.

Here's a challenge for you, Matt. Give me a song that is part of the corpus that includes information that would be exclusive to rural dwellers. (Apart from which, we know there was a massive drift of country people into towns and cities to find work at the time when cheap broadsides were at their height. Some of these may have been literate enough to have become broadside writers.)

Tim, will find that song for you shortly.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 04:50 PM

Matt [Another thing that's just occurred to me is there's not much discussion of the Child ballads, which are a pretty canonical part of folk singing today]
Not that many of the Child Ballads actually were found in oral tradition in England in the late 19th/early 20th century. In fact if you look at the Child Ballads, the 305, not many of these seem to have existed in oral tradition in the British Isles for very long. There are obvious exceptions of course. Many of them were revived by the likes of MacColl, but their claim to substantial oral tradition is very slim. Quite a large portion have only been found in print, most of the Robin Hood ballads for instance.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 05:30 PM

Tim, struggling. The nearest I can get at the moment is either Avington Pond (but seemingly only 1 version) and Three Hearty Young Poachers (2 versions, perhaps that's the one I was thinking of). I'll have another try. I thought I had plotted the 3 versions of the song I referred to as coming from within a 20-mile radius of Winchester but it might have been just the 2. I've just turned 70 so I'm allowed a little senility.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 05:33 PM

04.50 posting.
It would appear the forum is struggling with my use of <<>>>. I will use some other method of quoting from previous posts in future.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 05:35 PM

*** I will use some other method of quoting from previous posts in future*** Just testing.


The text was retrieved and displayed in a simple set of brackets. ---mudelf


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 05:54 PM

Steve - Thanks - I thought you might be thinking of Avington Pond (obviously local) - but as you say on one version. You certainly had me searching in both Southern Harvest and the Manuscripts.
I will be looking into Young Henry the Poacher.........3 versions spread over a widish area.....

Best - Tim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 06:07 PM

Ah - I see it now - Three Hearty Young Poachers - Roud 1690 - and I see what you mean about it appearing local - and both versions from close to Winchester.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: RTim
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 11:08 AM

Here is a link to an Interview with Steve on Grizzly Folk.......

https://www.grizzlyfolk.com/2017/08/30/what-is-folk-music-an-interview-with-steve-roud/


Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 03:06 PM

Thanks, Tim
Great interview!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 07:07 AM

This morning, I finished reading the book about Sabine Baring-Gould by Martin Graebe. It is a mighty read in more senses that one. By the time that I got to page 339 of tiny print, I came to the penultimate paragraph which I reproduce below. I knew that in honesty and fairness that I had to give it here as a counterweight to my post of 03 Oct 17 - 06:01 AM where I quoted that S-B was firmly of the opinion that the majority of the songs that he has collected as a young man were derived from broadsides. In this paragraph Martin writes -
One of Baring-Gould?s characteristics was that he had some mental flexibility and could change his mind if the evidence showed that his hypothesis was wrong. In respect of folk song his mind changed on several topics over the years. Having initially neglected the words of songs in favour of tunes he came to believe that the words were also important and deserved as good treatment as the tunes. Part of the reason for not having valued the words was his initial assumption that most traditional songs were derived from broadsides and other printer sources. He came to understand that this was not always the case and that many of the songs were older than the broadsides and better in many respects than the printed versions. He also realised that some, particularly the younger singers like John Woodridge and Sam Fone, had learned their songs from broadsides and he recognised that not only could singers fit broadside words to tunes that they knew, but that some could compose tunes themselves. He also realise hat some singers were capable of creating songs from scratch ? to record a local event, for example. The flexibility of understanding on Baring-Gould?s part was not a characteristic of other folk song collectors and theorists of the time demonstrated.

I think that the key words are flexibility of understanding rather than approaching this (or any) subject with a rigidity of thinking.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 11:47 AM

***He came to understand that this was not always the case and that many of the songs were older than the broadsides***

To pinch one of Jim's most often used arguments: How could he possibly have known that? If he was referring to the late 18thc/early 19thc broadsides, yes there's plenty of evidence but mainly from older printed sources. Those in manuscripts are few and far between.

There is also the fact that although SBG spent some time in the BL and had his own collection of 19thc broadsides he did not have access to anything like the resources we have today. This also applies to Frank Kidson who was also very clued up on song origins and histories. These are not criticisms by the way, just observations.

I've just started on the new book, Vic, and looking forward to it immensely. We perhaps need a new thread. I'll start one.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 11:54 AM

I couldn't help thinking of a part of this discussion when watching this 1981 documentary about Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. I know, an Irish context but the part where the Muscrai songmakers get mention underlines Jim Carroll's point made earlier. I would find it very hard to believe nothing of the sort would have happened elsewhere.

That aside, it is a lovely fillum to watch.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 12:21 PM

You are absolutely right, Peter, that it is a lovely fillum to watch and listen to and songmaking something like what occurs here undoubtedly went on in other places.

Unfortunately by the time the collectors came along to record this in England any local songs were completely swamped by the printed songs that were being spread around the whole country. I can think of something similar in the Hunt supper gatherings that can still be found in the north. For some of them the repertoire is being constantly added to in this way, but the folk scene has passed it by and is unaware of it. One area where this was very lively was the West Pennine area near Sheffield, but here the local interest has died out and the singers are now part of the folk scene. The carols in the same area is another example of a lively scene still flourishing.

If you look at the wonderful film of the singers in the Blaxhall Ship in East Anglia from the 50s there are no local songs being sung. They are all songs from the general English repertoire. I have given examples of rural songwriters in my local area but none of their songs have survived to become part of oral tradition.

It may well be that 250 years ago England had something like what is shown in Diarmuid's film but if it did precious little has survived.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 03:39 PM

When I read Martin's comment that I quoted above where he writes:-
He also realised that some singers were capable of creating songs from scratch ? to record a local event, for example.

I couldn't help thinking of Jim's long list from his post on 04 Oct 17 - 08:03 PM. I don't recognise any of these songs from their titles but the content they suggest - elections, fairs, drownings etc. seem to put them in the category that Martin was describing; and well worthy of a song collector's attention.

Yes, Steve, I will contribute to the thread that you have started, but first I have somehow to give an impression of this fascinating, wide-reaching book in a 400 word review.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 03:58 PM

Yes, well worthy of a song collector's attention. As far as publishing goes the likes of Sharp would have wanted the songs to have a universal appeal in order to sell books which would exclude many songs with a local flavour. Perhaps they also had something of this in the back of their minds whilst they were collecting. However songs like 'Lakes of Colephin' reached a universal audience in print and oral tradition. Only a small percentage of both printed and local songs made it into the national corpus and dispersed print certainly had a lot to do with this. Maybe simple chance accounts for a lot of what survived.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 04:37 PM

Steve wrote:-
...the likes of Sharp would have wanted the songs to have a universal appeal in order to sell books which would exclude many songs with a local flavour.

Interestingly, The broadside printers seemed to have the opposite approach; they seemed to want place names to relate to their particular area to increase their local appeal.

In the various Van Diemans Land printings, how many different towns did "Poor Tom Brown" come from?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:47 PM

Yes, localisation was one of their tricks, but it wasn't that common. The printers were generally in too much of a hurry to worry about the finer points. The type setting of the ballads was often left to an apprentice. Perhaps this was down to the writers.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Christopher Thomas
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 10:44 AM

There's a few interesting hares in this thread. You might like to look at the review in my blog at


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Christopher Thomas
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 10:50 AM

That should be : www.broadsidestories.net/blog/folk song in england
But I can't seem to make the blue clicky work!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 11:51 AM

Very fair and well-written review, Christopher. I'll have a closer look at your site later.

While searching for this review I found another very different at www.caughtbytheriver.net written by Cally ...... which comes more from the angle of a music historian.

Both reviews I think Steve would be very happy with.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 03:52 AM

> That should be : www.broadsidestories.net/blog/folk song in england
But I can't seem to make the blue clicky work! <

That URL gives me a "404", though with a link to the home page http://www.broadsidestories.net/

From the home page, clicking on the "Broadside Stories" tab at the top takes me to a page which says "Click on the Broadside Stories bar above for the full index". But that's what I've already done to get that far. I can't get any further.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Christopher Thomas
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 05:34 AM

Going to the Blog page from the Home page should work! but thanks for your interest


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 09:15 AM

Hi all
Good to be back
It's amazing what goes through your mind while you're lying on your back with nothing to think about, as I was once told by a female friend
We seem to have moved on somewhat since Steve and I went head-to-head all those centuries ago.
This beautiful statement by the MacColl at the end of the Song Carriers series is what started it all

"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island.
We are indebted to the Harry Coxes and Phil Tanners, to Colm Keane and Maggie MaccDonagh, to Belle Stewart and Jessie Murray and to all the sweet and raucous unknown singers who have helped to carry our people's songs across the centuries."

The Song Carriers covered the whole gamut from the song referenced in Wedderburn's Complaynt of Scotland to the WW2 song, 'My Darling Sleeps in England so your sweeping condemnation covers the lot and not just Sharp and his gang
I posted it and Steve asked "do you believe that romantic rubbish?"
I confess - I confess - yes I did, and I still still do, and nothing that has been said since has made me doubt it - for me, it dot's all the folk i's and crosses the t's, for me at least.
Had Steve confined his percentages to what "appeared in print", rather than originated, and addressed those figures to what was collected by Sharp my response would have been "I know that, my mate, Bob Thomson told me that there were a lot back in 1970"
"Origination" is a different ball game altogether.
I believe quite firmly that rural working people not only were capable of having made our folk songs, but our own researches indicate that there is no reason whatever to doubt that they did - but I have always emphasised that we can't possibly know because our working knowledge of the oral tradition goes back no further back than the beginning of the 20th century
I have given an indication of the number of anonymous local songs made in the lifetimes of our singers - they can be heard on the Clare County Library website under 'The Carroll/Mackenzie Collection'
Clare people made songs by the hundreds and, as Peter Laban pointed out, it was almost certainly the same throughout Ireland
Our friend, Maurice Leyden up in Ulster is at present compiling a collection of songs made by textile workers
If they made songs in that number, why shouldn't our known folk songs be numbered among them
We found the same was the case with the non-literate Travellers - songmakers using their skills to express aspects of their lives
Steve offered the excuse that (to paraphrase) English workers were too busy earning a living to make songs
My old friend Harry Boardman compiled an impressive number of similarly made songs when I lived in Manchester in the sixties
AS a singer looking for songs, I walked into Manchester Central Library in 1968 and asked if they had any local songs and was handed a few books of broadsides - I found one singable song
AS I handed them back the nice lady asked me, "have you seen the newspapers we have on microfilm
I spent the next few months peering at editions of 'Black Dwarf' and other political publications, all containing song columns of material (mostly anonymous) composed by cotton workers, spinners, land labourers, teachers, political activists - not all deathless verse by any means, but often a damn signt better than the conveyor belt stuff spewed out by the hacks
Some of the Lancashire weaver poets published, most did not -
I seem to remember Roy Palmer did some similar research in the Midlands; I know people around The Grey Cock Folk Club in Birmingham did.
We know that Bothy workers made songs independent of print Maire Ruadh, or Red-headed Mary was making songs and leading protesters in defiance of those clearing out the crofters, - the BBC even has recordings of waulking songs being composed on the spot
The mining communities produced their own songs and their own stars - Joe Corrie and Tommy Armstrong spring to mind.
Many of these songs were ignored by the collectors because they did not fir the mould - but they certainly fitted the definition of "folk" I choose to work by.
Working people were once natural songmakers - it seems ludicrous to ignore that fact and put the making of our folksongs down to largely ham-fisted hacks churning out largely dross to make money - Child's "dunghill" sums that side of song making perfectly - that man was a star (did you know he actually made a song himself, but I can't imagine him ever singing it?)
It occurred to me while I was incapacitated that what is desperately needed is a forum where thase arguments can take place without acrimony or agenda-driving - a place where we can simply exchange ideas on subjects such as this.
Hugh Shields one established a paper-based 'Irish Folk Music Federation' - we have many of their cheaply produced booklets - invaluable stuff
I see no reason why an on-line site cannot bring people from all over together to thrash out these subjects
Of course, we might be forced to get our act together and come to some understanding as to what we mean by folk song (I'll go and get me tin hat!!)
By the way - the song being discussed above
"Matt, try rereading p13. Jim, avoid this page at all costs."
Insulting as ever Steve
I have now read a large section of Roud's book and so far have found little to seriously disagree with
I don't "avoid" reading anything because I might disagree with it
Try answering some of my points instead of hiding behind referees who agree with you
Hopefully, if we ever get to exchanging ideas we can lose this unpleasantnessd
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 10:31 AM

Why don't you learn to split long posts into paragraphs, Jim?

Two or three lines, then a blank line. It makes on-screen reading so much easier.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 11:12 AM

Welcome back, Jim!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 12:12 PM

Thanks Steve - it really is good to be back - you can tolerate beautiful nurses for so long
"Why don't you learn to split long posts into paragraphs, Jim?"
Dunno guest - put it down to my crappy Secondary Modern education
I tend to go with the flow
Will make an effort
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 01:16 PM

Jim, You need to reset your cookie. You're guesting at the moment.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 01:28 PM

many of the songs were older than the broadsides
To pinch one of Jim's most often used arguments: How could he possibly have known that?


Two Scottish examples: "Parcel of Rogues" and "The Braes of Balquhidder". For both, a tune of that name was printed decades before any words we know of.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 02:21 PM

Stenhouse: 'This song, beginning "Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame," is likewise an unclaimed production of Burns.It is adapted to the old air, entitled "A Parcel of Rogues in the Nation" which appears both in M'Gibbon and Oswald's collections. Dr. Blacklock had also written a song to the same melody; for Burns, in a note subjoined to his verses, says, 'I inclose what I think the best set of the tune. Dr. B's words, inclosed may follow the same tune. Johnson, however, omitted the Dr's verses, as he had no room on the plate.

Are you claiming this as a folk song, Jack? I think Jim's definition might exclude it.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 02:31 PM

Is there any evidence that the several strathspeys with the 'Braes' title ever had any words at all prior to Tannahill's which though rarely are found in oral tradition quite widely?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 05:52 PM

Bah. I have the book for my birthday thanks to my lovely girlfriend, and I am very grateful to Brian Peters for his comments above - and I am now going to have to read the whole book.

Based on the few bits of the above that I have read I have three comments so far.

1. Nobody seems to give credit for the input of Barry Walker on Lloyd.

2. I wish Malcolm Douglas were still here.

3. Although my blood pressure is but 130 over 80 (not bad at the age of 69) I am going to have to source relevant tablets and some worry beads before reading the whole of this thread. Have the pseuds already appeared? I see some horse definitioners (or close thereto) have.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Oct 17 - 04:55 AM

I thought I'd catch this before it sank entirely out of sight
I still haven't read the book right through - mainly through having to prepare a talk Im due to give in a couple of weeks, so I decided to read through the chapters that interest me most an return to the whole thing later
So far, I find it an indispensable gathering together of facts that I'll find immensely useful in future
I do find myself dipping into Lloyd's book of the same name quite often as I miss his warmth and enthusiasm for the song even when his facts are somewhat questionable
Bert was a singer who never quite made up his mind which side of the fence he was on, but he did love the songs with the passion of a performer, which was obvious to anybody who ever saw him perform live - I have to say I miss that side of things in Roud's book though I may not have come to it yet
I disagree with some of Steve's comments "a folk song is a song sung by a folk singer" being one that sticks out like a sore thumb, though it is qualified somewhat
I can see this statement being used in future as serious an argument as the old "horse" joke to justify putting anything under the "folk umbrella"
Both statements are utter nonsense when taken seriously.
One thing the book has confirmed for me is that there are no messiahs carrying the folk word - there are no conclusive answers to many of the questions and there never will be
THere is some information scattered around out there which, if we are going to fill in some of the blanks, need to be brought together - that requires co-operation, not the type of conflict and evasion that this subject has generated so far
I came to research through MacColl's suggestion that in order to become a better singer we needed to examine and understand the songs
The first suggestion made to a new member of the Critics group was to listen to as many field singers as were available and work out what they were doing - this set Pat and I off on a journey that has never really ended
At the Group meetings, we would embark on a night of practical work, at the end of which, Ewan would flop back in his chair, tell us he had had enough and was going to bed, then, more often than not, embark on an hour-long plus soliloquy on something that had been raised during the work we had done.
They were off the cuff and generated by sheer passion for the songs Ewan loved - they would invariably send me home walking a foot above the pavement
I have recordings of many of those sessions - I still get a buzz and a lump in the throat listening to them - after all this time.
It struck me that a perfect springboard to reinvigourating our music would be a combination of Roud's detail, Bet's fond love and MacColl's informed passion for the songs that have become part of our lives.
Incidentally, Steve Gardham said somewhat insultingly "Jim, avoid this page at all costs."
I read page 13 without being struck down by lightening, I disagree with some of it as it does not all conform with much we learned from our own field work (but am happy to debbate this with Steve Roud or anybody at any time (as long as I am treated as an equal).
Perhaps Steve G and others should read the end of that chapter where Roud says about the '54 definition "apart from a quibble with "oral" in the fist sentence, if I had been at the conference, I would have happily voted in favour of the resolution"
Roud seems not to have the problem of whether Bob Geldof counts as "folk" that many people seem to have
But there again, there are no messiahs
Jim Carroll


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