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New Book: Folk Song in England

The Sandman 19 Jan 18 - 03:38 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 18 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 19 Jan 18 - 07:56 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 18 - 06:24 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 18 - 06:20 AM
GUEST,just another guest 19 Jan 18 - 04:50 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 18 - 03:56 AM
GUEST,Jerome Clark 18 Jan 18 - 08:04 PM
The Sandman 18 Jan 18 - 04:18 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 18 - 03:17 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jan 18 - 03:06 PM
The Sandman 18 Jan 18 - 03:00 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 18 - 02:03 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 18 - 12:59 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 18 - 12:38 PM
Sue Allan 18 Jan 18 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,just another guest 18 Jan 18 - 11:54 AM
Vic Smith 18 Jan 18 - 11:52 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 18 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,just another guest 18 Jan 18 - 11:29 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 18 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,just another guest 18 Jan 18 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,just another guest 18 Jan 18 - 10:24 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 18 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,just another guest 18 Jan 18 - 09:53 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 18 - 08:38 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 18 - 11:30 AM
Jack Campin 17 Jan 18 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,just another guest 17 Jan 18 - 10:55 AM
Lighter 17 Jan 18 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,just another guest 17 Jan 18 - 06:57 AM
Jack Campin 17 Jan 18 - 06:09 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 18 - 06:04 AM
Jack Campin 17 Jan 18 - 05:41 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 18 - 03:54 AM
The Sandman 16 Jan 18 - 02:31 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 18 - 02:29 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 18 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,just another guest 16 Jan 18 - 01:19 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 18 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,just another guest 16 Jan 18 - 10:35 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 18 - 10:18 AM
Richard Mellish 16 Jan 18 - 09:54 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 18 - 08:46 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 18 - 08:45 AM
Richard Mellish 16 Jan 18 - 07:56 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 18 - 04:36 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 18 - 04:33 AM
The Sandman 16 Jan 18 - 03:57 AM
Lighter 15 Jan 18 - 07:52 PM
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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 18 - 03:38 PM

correction, folk clubs are social clubs where people go to participate in folk music as well as listen and socialise , anyone that claims they are not does not understand the meaning of socialising


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 18 - 03:01 PM

folk clubs are social clubs, they are places where we people socialise whilst listening to folk music, mo people do not go there to be patronised ov lectured at, they got to listen to folk music and socialise, so FolkClubs are a form pof social club just as jazz clubs are


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 19 Jan 18 - 07:56 AM

Jim wrote: "I hope this subject will run and run until the issues raised in the book are thrashed out honestly and in detail, if not here, than elsewhere."

Can we suggest somewhere else then?

Perhaps a well-written, evidence-based refuting of the aspect of Steve's book that you object to most, placed in an academic journal.

I know you don't want to write a book ... you expressed in no uncertain, and rather rude, terms my suggestion that you could write a book as "Elitist, Ivory tower crap" ... though I'm not so sure why. I know you own lots of books written by other people.

It's all very well saying that you will run and run with the argument, but is there anyone on this thread that agrees with you, or who has changed their views because of your arguments?

These are genuine questions.

Derek
Sue Allan's post was good ... evidence-based information. And she is the same Sue who has a PhD.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 18 - 06:24 AM

Bty the way
The dangers of not presenting what you claim to are evident by the current state of the clubs compared to the time when you could go to a folk club in the full knowledge you would go home having heard some rather than an evening of poorly rendered Beatles numbers
You want to run a social club - call it a 'Social Club', you want to run an 'anything goes' evening- call it that.
Not to do so is sharp practice
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 18 - 06:20 AM

I too found Sue's contribution interesting and said so - it's the bit about this thread ending on agreeing to disagree was what I took exception to
"Draw your lines about 'Folk Song' if you like, keep 'popular music' out of your Folk Clubs,"
I don't know if it's me putting my case badly or you being obtuse, but this has nothing to do with what happens in folk clubs - it is an attempt to identify a musica/poetic/historical phenomenon in order to understand it.
I was a regular singer but am, and have been for four decades a researcher gathering information on the type of songs I sang
I have laid out as clearly as I can what I believe to have discovered.
If you are going to respond, please do so to what I have said and not to agendas you believe I have
If you believe there to be no difference between folk song (as we have come to recognise it) and all the othere genres that have been added by Roud, let's go there, but please to attribute opinions or motives to me that I don't subscribe to
Folk song, as far as I am concerned, is a unique and important cultural phenomenon made mor important by it's social origins.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 19 Jan 18 - 04:50 AM

I thought Sue Allan's post was very measured. It led me to do a little web searching and I am now enjoying reading her thesis (at least I assume it is the same Sue Allan).

I found this thread because I was interested in the book, but my interest is mainly in social history, particularly of the 'ordinary people' who did not write history books about themselves and their forebears. Roud makes a lot of material very accessible.

I am not really a member of the community that comes here. My interaction with the 'second revival' is as a consumer (since about 1960) not a participant. However, I do like to spend my time in environments were people 'make their own amusement' and that includes playing tunes, singing songs, reciting doggerel and if I am lucky people reading out their own made up ditties. If someone wants to contribute some nice Lennon & Mccartney or Rogers & Hammerstein that's just fine by me. It's as social occassion.

What I find in the book is lot of detail about 'people doing what people do'. Draw your lines about 'Folk Song' if you like, keep 'popular music' out of your Folk Clubs, don't let people hold a sheet in their hand to help. But the book suggests that what the 'ordinary folk' were doing wasn't like that. If someone came back from market with a broadside that took their fancy and sung it out before they had learned it, or fancied singing the one pasted to the pub wall, or got a shilling from a printer for their song, were they cast out?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 18 - 03:56 AM

"Am I the only one here who's going to commend Sue on her sane and measured contribution to the discussion?"
And the arbitrary re-definition of folk song by a single academic....?
And the dismissal and denigration of some of our greatest researchers....?
And the refusal ro respond to a single significant point of argument...?
I most certainly hope you are Jerome
If I have anything to do with it, I hope this subject will run and run until the issues raised in the book are thrashed out honestly and in detail, if not here, than elsewhere
I have invested far too much time, thought and energy in the subject of the decades I have been involved in it to walk away from being told I am a dewy-eyed romantic
The future of our understanding of folk song rests on a genuine sharing of knowledge and experience, not the back-biting nastiness (down to the level of the use of typos) that has taken place here.
Incidentally, I responded to Dick's question on 'Sunday Well' by using Donal Maguire's sleeve notes of his album of that name
Maguire is a very talented revival singer who is heavily involved in researching the life of Land League activist, Michael Davitt, using the songs of the time
Maguire's work is typical of the information gathering that is invaluable of our understanding of folk songs      
The Folk Song revival is peppered with such examples, in sleeve notes, in researched articles for magazines and journals.... all there for the researching
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 08:04 PM

"I do hope this thread can be laid to rest now - if people could just agree to disagree on proportions of songs from the broadside presses."

Am I the only one here who's going to commend Sue on her sane and measured contribution to the discussion?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 04:18 PM

thankyou


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 03:17 PM

"Jim Carroll, can you kinmdly answer my question about the star of sundays well, thank you in anticipation"
I've told you what I know Dick, which is confirmed on "p258 of O Lochlainn's More Irish Street Ballads."
No indication that it appeared on a broadside, let alone originated on one
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 03:06 PM

Dick,
Seemingly what you require is on p258 of O Lochlainn's More Irish Street Ballads.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 03:00 PM

Jim Carroll, can you kinmdly answer my question about the star of sundays well, thankyou in anticipation


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 02:03 PM

"not everyone was a ploughman or a milkmaid. "
Sorry - missed a bit
The only people to have mentioned "not everyone was a ploughmen or milkmaids (or "swains and shepherdesses" are those ridiculing the suggestion that working people made these songs - it has long been established ploy to 'romanticise' the opposition
Our work was with small farmers, agricultural labourers, roadwokers... et al.
WE even recorded fishermen and a village carpenter!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 12:59 PM

Sorry Sue
I intended to respond to your interesting post
Steve Round has written an interesting book - on popular song
It is my opinion that he has entitled it incorrectly
As ha has taken it upon himself to re-fefine folk song in the way he has and turn a century or so's scholarship on its head, surely he can expect adverse response from those who disagree with him, especially from those of us who have been at it as long as he has?
This redefinition is so fundamental as to cause us all to question what we have been doing for the last half century
I was part of a singing revival which fell apart when the foundations were destroyed by people who wished to turn our clubs into cultural dustbins by using them as convenient platforms to perfiorm any type of song they wished
I'm not suggesting for one minute that this is Steve's intention, but this could well be the effect these claims have.
Already we have seen the "Oooh look - the folk didn't make folk songs" responses from the establishment art critics.
Our own researches, in Britain and Ireland, suggest the opposite to be the case
Is it "unseemly" to argue on the basis of those researches.
One of the main proponents of this argument, someone who has co-operated with Roud on his book, has reduced these discussions to personal slanging matches - I have insulted nobody and have sought to avoid doing so.
No these arguments are being reduced to using errant Spellcheck correctors to snipe from the sidelines
Not particularly "seemly" either
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 12:38 PM

"but that one deserves a prize!"
As do your hit and run interventions Vic


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Sue Allan
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 12:26 PM

From my researches into the broadside and chapbook ballad trade and ballad singers and sellers in Cumbria (I know, a very limited field: but nonetheless presumably not untypical of some other areas in the country), where there were small-town printers and stationers aplenty in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century not only re-publishing material from presses elswhere, but also actively collecting songs for chapbook collections - from, for example, dialect poet and musician Robert Anderson - as well as distributing broadsides and chapbooks from elsewhere.
Later in the nineteenth century printers were often commissioned to print ballads written by local ballad singers/hawkers (notably Jimmy Dyer) in order for them to make a few pennies by hawing them around country fairs and markets.
I think we need to remember that we are not always talking of city v. country, but a whole range of small country towns and villages where books,songs, elections sheets and playbills were printed and where ballad singers wrote and sang printed ballads - and many people bought them.
Admittedly there was a very high literacy rate in nineteenth century Cumberland (as in Scotland), which might explain the plethora of small printers, but on the other hand you actually do only need one person in a pub to be able to read a ballad and others can learn it from them. We need to remember too that almost all the tunes were passed on orally.
The countryside was also home to a much more diverse society of artisans and tradesmen - hand weavers, tailors, cobblers, smiths, carpenters, masons, shop-keepers, dancing teachers, fiddlers etc - than we often think of today: not everyone was a ploughman or a milkmaid. This heterogeneity, and a notable degree of interaction between towns and countryside, is, to my mind, celebrated in the wide range of folk songs we have. Some come from commercial sources, some written by people in the community - including some they endeavoured to printed locally, or which were learned by ballad singers and sellers in order to provide new material to broadside printers. It's a wonderfully heterogeneous, lively scene!
Money certainly did change hands at times - Anderson and Dyer were always broke and on the look-out for more ways to make some cash through their words and music. There are so many shades of grey ...
I do hope this thread can be laid to rest now - if people could just agree to disagree on proportions of songs from the broadside presses.
(Sorry if the above is rather incoherent: it's a bit of a stream of consciousness, born out of frustration that this thread, which should have been a celebration of Steve Roud's book, has instead has become a somewhat ungainly, and at times unseemly, argument.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 11:54 AM

I wasn't being facetious. You were with your "Were the English so unimaginative ..."

Then as now some people with a day job got paid for their writings.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 11:52 AM

Veritable Bede
There are typos and typos - but that one deserves a prize!


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 11:42 AM

"Maybe their imagination stretched to getting someone to pay them for it,"
People have been making songs since the time of the Veritable Bede
Facetiousness is the lowest form of argument
Jm Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 11:29 AM

Were the English so unimaginative and talentless as to have to pay somebody to do the job for them?

Maybe their imagination stretched to getting someone to pay them for it, and so not be regarded by you as writers of 'folk songs'.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 10:57 AM

"So they made a living by distributing something that people wanted? "
Commerce isn't as democratic as that - they produced something they wanted people to want
Everybody is still shuffling around the idea that these songs were made by the people who felt the need to make songs as a reaction to what was going on around them and - unless anybody can show otherwise were well capable of doing so
That has now been established as having happened in Ireland and was common among agricultural workers in Scotland
Were the English so unimaginative and talentless as to have to pay somebody to do the job for them?
It seems that if somebody writes a big book everybody feels the need to bow down to it
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 10:31 AM

Or, to pick up a theme in the book, whether they are of any use to you and your peers should not distort the opportunity for others to appreciate the songs that ordinary people sang.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 10:24 AM

So they made a living by distributing something that people wanted? If people had a choice of what or whether to buy then selling songs that more people liked would help pay the bills and put food on the table.

Whether, 150 years later, you were going to like the songs and want to sing them was irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 10:02 AM

"Do we? All of those small-town printers?"
The last remnants of the broadside trade, the balld sellers in Ireland, paid the printer for their work and hoped to sell enough to make a profit on what they's laid out
None of these people did it as an act of charity
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 09:53 AM

"We know that the broadside trade was based on making a profit"
Do we? All of those small-town printers?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 08:38 AM

"
It seems to me that the question of artistic merit (as subjective as the broader question of taste) is being subordinated to the test of whether the "artist" has been paid or not."
Not by me, it hasn't
I have consistently made the comparison between the superior quality of the songs made for money (under pressure) and the superior quality of the traditional songs
Steve Gardham examples of broadsides from the Holloway and Black collection and his hasty departure seem be an acknowledgement on his part that there is no doubt on that question, but of course, anybody is free to take the point up again
Money in itself is an incidental - but the motivation of payment for making songs most certainly is not

Laycock, and especially Bamford (author of 'Passages in the Life of a Radical') may have put out songs on broadsides, but their compositions were created to illustrate the conditions of the times, that was why the songs were created - money was an addition.
"when we don't know (except in rare cases) who was paid for what and who wasn't or under what circumstances?"
We know that the broadside trade was based on making a profit
"We have no right to airbrush hunting songs even when we disapprove of hunting,"
Nobody is suggesting this Dick
That these songs exited and were sung makes them part of the repertoire
If songs in praise of hanging, drawing and quartering existed, they would be part of the reperoire
THat doesn't mean they have an automatic place in today's repertoire
As far as I know, opposition to hunting is a relatively modern phenomenon anyway and would in no way effect the collecting of such songs.

Many of the collectors and anthologists, the Rev Sabine Baring Gould including, may not have published bawdy and erotic songs, but they kept them in manuscript form (Bishop Percy's 'Loose and Humorous Songs' being a prime example of such)
Occasionally, if you thumb through the Folk Song Journals you will find examples of songs not being documented, such as 'The Girl from Lowestoft (The Hole in the Wall)', but many survived Victorian prudery
Sharp and his crowd aimed to get songs into schools as a way to preserve them; under these circumstances censorship was inevitable
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 11:30 AM

We have no right to airbrush hunting songs even when we disapprove of hunting, that is no better than those collectors who cleaned up sexual content in songs of a sexual nature.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 11:18 AM

most collectors of the 'First Revival' wouldn't have got too worked up about hunting songs

They were. Most of them have never been printed, even now.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 10:55 AM

I think whether or not someone was paid is part of the social history, part of understanding the genesis of the songs.

I don't see that present day judgements of taste or artistic merit are much help because they are ephemeral.

Sharp and his contemporaries filtered out the bawdy element, but that was alive and well amongst 'ordinary people' during WW2 and afterwards. Indeed, activities of the sort recounted in those songs seem to have been acceptable in Hollywood until recently.

I guess most collectors of the 'First Revival' wouldn't have got too worked up about hunting songs and neither did many of people of the 1950s an 1960s. Taset has moved on and voices in this discussion seem to want them classified (airbrushed?) out of folk song.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 09:33 AM

It seems to me that the question of artistic merit (as subjective as the broader question of taste) is being subordinated to the test of whether the "artist" has been paid or not.

Is that really a valid criterion, especially when we don't know (except in rare cases) who was paid for what and who wasn't or under what circumstances?

Most great artists have been paid for their work, even if inadequately, and even if payment was not on their minds while they were working.

And, of course, it almost always was, whether they were trying to please a patron or an audience, or simply expressing themselves.

Is it true that a pop song or an "art song" that has been written for money is necessarily an inferior work of art, or necessarily insincere? If so, on what basis?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 06:57 AM

Newspapers carried locally made poems and didn't pay for them

The Introduction to Samuel Laycock's Collected Writings says "Deeply moved by the acute suffering which surounded him on every side, the spirit was kindled within him, and he began to write his Famine Songs. Week by week they were published in the local papers, and large numbers were issued as broad-sheet ballads. Many of these were learnt by heart and sung by lads and lasses in the streets of the town.

It dosn't say if he was paid or not but the Wikipedia page on him says "Laycock was one of the thousands unemployed and tried to earn a meagre living by writing verses which the unemployed could set to music and sing in the streets for pennies."


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 06:09 AM

Sure, but that didn't mean there was any other difference. I have seen a lot of Scottish newspaper songs and poems - they are just as variable in quality as the broadside-published stuff from the same period. Broadside publishers often printed stuff without paying the authors, too.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 06:04 AM

Money and function
Newspapers carried locally made poems and didn't pay for them
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 05:41 AM

Is there any significant distinction in genre or quality between songs/poems written for newspapers and those written for broadside publication?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 03:54 AM

"Jim ,do you know the origins of the star of sundays well? was it a broadside?"
Almost certainly not Dick - that is, it didn't originate on a broadside and wasn't written especially to be sold
It was the work of a local poet.
There were dozens of poets and songmakers writing in that style in the 19th century - the 'Hedge School influence was certainly there and still lingers in the songs of Con 'Fada' O'Dirisceol
The hedge schools were rural institutions which arose as a reaction to the Penal Laws and largely disappeared in the 1830s
This is Donal Maguire's note to it from his album of the same name
"6. The Star of Sunday's Well
This song adequately thumbs its nose at the purveyors of all those stories which portray the Irish as a race of semi-literate inarticulate numb-skulls. Undoubtedly written with tongue in cheek by W. B. Guiney, it appeared in the Cork Examiner in 1871. It is a masterpiece of rhetoric and abounds with flowery language, a legacy of the penal law period of 'Hedge schools' where not only the 'three R's' were dealt with but the classics as well.
The action takes place in Cork city and this surely is the most eloquent put-down of amorous aspirations you are likely to hear"

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 02:31 PM

Jim ,do you know the origns of the star of sundays well? was it a broadside?


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 02:29 PM

Poe was an incredibly 'popular' writer, by the way
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 02:27 PM

"Is use of 'lucubrate' indicative of something being written by an ordinary working person for an audience of ordinary working people?"
Nobody is claiming that all of these songs came from ordinary people by any means, but this type of poetic verse is to be found in many Dublin street songs
One of the best of these songs, 'Mullingar', was written by a Civil Engineer designing bridges.
Irish language traditional song from 'The Peasantry' has strong roots in Bardic Poetry
It's often forgotten that premier performances of Shakespeare's plays were for the delectation of 'the sweepings of the London streets and Londoners were queuing up for the next instalment of 'Great Expectations' and Nicholas Nicholas Nickleby
Similarly, Synge, Yeats and especially O'Casey were writing for the 'ordinary' people of Ireland - they were 'popular' playwrights
There's a sound basis for the story about the navvie being interviwed for a job with McAlpine   
He was asked what the difference wwas between a joist and a girder
He replied. Joist wrote Ulysses and Girder wrote Faust
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 01:19 PM

Is use of 'lucubrate' indicative of something being written by an ordinary working person for an audience of ordinary working people?

A Google search gives nine pages of results from dictionaries and other word lists before the first usage in a sentence - by Edgar Allen Poe.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 12:58 PM

"Even usage of individual words may tell us something.
The point I have been making all along
The use of vernacular, the familiarity with terms, work practices, etc.
My argument is that any way forward has to include the song texts themselves and possibly the analysis already done for articles, sleeve notes, etc.
The Critics Group as singers, spent nearly ten years studying and analysing texts of traditional songs   
Throughout the sixties, seventies and into the eighties Folk magazines and journals carried thoughtful articles on the make up and significance of the songs, by scholars and singers alike
So much of this work has already been done, largely by the more thoughtful side of the folk song revival.
A quick foray into the forty-odd songs from broadsides Steve Gardham put up before his departure was more than enough to show that frodsides and folk songs almost certainly cale from different stables - I suspect that is why he left the discussion.
"Is that typical of the vocabulary of "somebody educated in a hedge school"?"
Not really Hedge School, which tends to be more based on classical literature
Rather a popular poetic form in Ireland based on the humourous use of internal rhyming and ludicrous geographic comparisons
A similat song is

The Traveller All Over the World

Come all you fellow travelling men of every rank and station
And hear this short oration which as yet remains untold
You might have been an Austrian, a German or a Bulgarian
But sit ye sios-in-aice-liom, and the truth I will unfold
You'll hear of great disunity unveiled to the community
So take this opportunity of listening to me
You'll hear of foreign nations and of youthful expectations
And of a few relations in that beauty spot Glenlea

I went to see the world's rage, being only sixteen years of age
A steerage passage I engaged on a ship called the Iron Duke
I went on board at Dublin's wall, being southward bound for the Transvaal
I had a friend from Annascaul, and one from Donnybrook
Our noble ship had scarcely steamed when in my mind sad memories gleamed
I thought of my dear neighbours and their loving company
I though about my brothers and our love for one another
And of my grey haired mother there at home in Sweet Glenlea

We landed safe but suddenly in that British spot Cape Colony
In search of manual labour I travelled near and far
I crossed the Orange River, among Hottentots and Kaffirs
And I was made Grand Master on the Isle of Zanzibar
A Dutchman high who admired me ways took me to see the Himalays
And Boys o Boys was I amazed, their awful heights to see
We wandered on through Hindustan, along the River Ganges
And though it was a grand place, still the fairest was Glenlea

This Dutchman suffered health's decline, he heard of cures in Palestine
Persuaded me with him combine and along with him to go
We landed safe at Jaffa and we journeyed to Jerusalem
Thee ancient city of Hebron and the ruins of Jericho
The surrounding mountains highest peaks, just like McGillicuddy's Reeks
And from their summit you could see the Lake of Gallilee
Likewise the River Jordan and the province of Samaria
But though it sounds contrary - the fairest was Glenlea

These doleful times soon drifted by till this faithful Dutchman friend and I
"Even usage of individual words may tell us something.
The point I have been making all along
The use of vernacular, the familiarity with terms, work practices, etc.
My argument is that any way forward has to include the song texts themselves and possibly the analysis already done for articles, sleeve notes, etc.
The Critics Group as singers, spent nearly ten years studying and analysing texts of traditional songs   
Throughout the sixties, seventies and into the eighties Folk magazines and journals carried thoughtful articles on the make up and significance of the songs, by scholars and singers alike
So much of this work has already been done, largely by the more thoughtful side of the folk song revival.
A quick foray into the forty-odd songs from broadsides Steve Gardham put up before his departure was more than enough to show that frodsides and folk songs almost certainly cale from different stables - I suspect that is why he left the discussion.
"Is that typical of the vocabulary of "somebody educated in a hedge school"?"
Not really Hedge School, which tends to be more based on classical literature
Rather a popular poetic form in Ireland based on the humourous use of internal rhyming and ludicrous geographic comparisons
A similat song is

The Traveller All Over the World

Come all you fellow travelling men of every rank and station
And hear this short oration which as yet remains untold
You might have been an Austrian, a German or a Bulgarian
But sit ye sios-in-aice-liom, and the truth I will unfold
You'll hear of great disunity unveiled to the community
So take this opportunity of listening to me
You'll hear of foreign nations and of youthful expectations
And of a few relations in that beauty spot Glenlea

I went to see the world's rage, being only sixteen years of age
A steerage passage I engaged on a ship called the Iron Duke
I went on board at Dublin's wall, being southward bound for the Transvaal
I had a friend from Annascaul, and one from Donnybrook
Our noble ship had scarcely steamed when in my mind sad memories gleamed
I thought of my dear neighbours and their loving company
I though about my brothers and our love for one another
And of my grey haired mother there at home in Sweet Glenlea

We landed safe but suddenly in that British spot Cape Colony
In search of manual labour I travelled near and far
I crossed the Orange River, among Hottentots and Kaffirs
And I was made Grand Master on the Isle of Zanzibar
A Dutchman high who admired me ways took me to see the Himalays
And Boys o Boys was I amazed, their awful heights to see
We wandered on through Hindustan, along the River Ganges
And though it was a grand place, still the fairest was Glenlea

This Dutchman suffered health's decline, he heard of cures in Palestine
Persuaded me with him combine and along with him to go
We landed safe at Jaffa and we journeyed to Jerusalem
Thee ancient city of Hebron and the ruins of Jericho
The surrounding mountains highest peaks, just like McGillicuddy's Reeks
And from their summit you could see the Lake of Gallilee
Likewise the River Jordan and the province of Samaria
But though it sounds contrary - the fairest was Glenlea

These doleful times soon drifted by till this faithful Dutchman friend and I
Were for
I stood forlorn upon the quay as the ship that bore him sailed away
His memory in my mind will stay till life's long days are o'er
Still Providence had willed its way and therefore conscience must obey
I went on board and sailed away when my friend did me forsake
But often meditation made me turn for recreation
And go home in contemplation to that beauty spot Glenlea

In Palestine I made some coin, I heard of San Francisco's mine
For to invest me capital I thought a good idee
I landed safe in Frisco when the trees were blooming beautiful
It was on that same evening that there was a great earthquake
I was in my bed and sleeping sound, I woke to find things moving round
But after that I heard no sound, no pain affected me
And on the following morning when I?d recovered consciousness
I wrote of all the consequence to my home in sweet Glenlea

I told them in the letter how I lost the situation
It was my earthly station and I wanted to go home
And I hoped their generosity would aid my transportation
And I went o
I got the cash to pay my way without disaster or delay
And landed safe at Queenstown Quay, on board the Chimpanzee
And after an excursion of some five long hours duration
I reached the little station on the road to sweet Glenlea

As we approached the terminus I viewed with consternation
The awful congregation there assembled in the rain
And I hoped some other personage of worldly estimation
To heed their expectation was coming on by train
As I scanned each individual's face, friends and neighbours, old time mates
Assembled in their hundreds with a welcome home for me
Oh they shouted with elation and they shook with great vibration
The surrounding elevation on the road to sweet Glenlea

And now I live contentedly among these friends and neighbours
Endowed with all the favours of good fortune and delight
And I've found among the multitude a charming little creature
She's full of admiration, she's my lovely Irish wife
And when we meet at Sunday's noon, at that cozy spot called top-of-Coom
Where songs and storie
Among that grand old company of lovely friends and neighbours
We're never tired of praising that beauty spot Glenlea.

Or Sweet Omag Town

If you look up the songs of Con 'Fada' O'Driscíoll or Adam McNaughton, you will find some of the best modern use of this technique on every subject from Hamlet to Ben Hur
Jim Carroll


I stood forlorn upon the quay as the ship that bore him sailed away
His memory in my mind will stay till life's long days are o'er
Still Providence had willed its way and therefore conscience must obey
I went on board and sailed away when my friend did me forsake
But often meditation made me turn for recreation
And go home in contemplation to that beauty spot Glenlea

In Palestine I made some coin, I heard of San Francisco's mine
For to invest me capital I thought a good idee
I landed safe in Frisco when the trees were blooming beautiful
It was on that same evening that there was a great earthquake
I was in my bed and sleeping sound, I woke to find things moving round
But after that I heard no sound, no pain affected me
And on the following morning when I'd recovered consciousness
I wrote of all the consequence to my home in sweet Glenlea

I told them in the letter how I lost the situation
It was my earthly station and I wanted to go home
And I hoped their generosity would aid my transportation
And I went o
I got the cash to pay my way without disaster or delay
And landed safe at Queenstown Quay, on board the Chimpanzee
And after an excursion of some five long hours duration
I reached the little station on the road to sweet Glenlea

As we approached the terminus I viewed with consternation
The awful congregation there assembled in the rain
And I hoped some other personage of worldly estimation
To heed their expectation was coming on by train
As I scanned each individual's face, friends and neighbours, old time mates
Assembled in their hundreds with a welcome home for me
Oh they shouted with elation and they shook with great vibration
The surrounding elevation on the road to sweet Glenlea

And now I live contentedly among these friends and neighbours
Endowed with all the favours of good fortune and delight
And I've found among the multitude a charming little creature
She's full of admiration, she's my lovely Irish wife
And when we meet at Sunday's noon, at that cozy spot called top-of-Coom
Where songs and storie
Among that grand old company of lovely friends and neighbours
We're never tired of praising that beauty spot Glenlea.

If you look up the songs of Con 'Fada' O'Driscíoll or Adam McNaughton, you will find some of the best modern use of this technique on every subject from Hamlet to Ben Hur
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: GUEST,just another guest
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 10:35 AM

In the absence of hard evidence I can't see us getting beyond informed guesswork for most songs, based on subjective assessments of their wording.

If someone went to the considerable effort making all the texts computer readable then modern techniques of text analysis would probably help go beyond the subjective.

Even usage of individual words may tell us something. How often so words like 'lucubrate' and 'viands' (from The Sandman's last post) appear. Is that typical of the vocabulary of "somebody educated in a hedge school" ? (or am I missing some irony in that post)


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 10:18 AM

"No-one has claimed 100%."
From Steve Gardham
"Date: 19 Apr 11 - 05:14 PM
"You're now changing my 95% into 100%, Jim."

This needs to be taken in context with Steve Gardham's other claims on Folklore, folk music and dance

"Date: 23 Apr 12 - 02:46 PM
From Steve Gardham
'The same goes for 'folk' tales, customs, beliefs, dances, music, lore, painting.... it is their common origin which identifies them all as "folk art" '
Sorry, Jim, this is just not true, except one would presume with folk painting, much of the rest originated in high art! Or certainly higher than the common folk, sophisticated sources in other words. Dances in particular."

Leavinbg working people onl;y ever havoing prodi=uced cave paintings and scrimshaw

"All right, take them as families instead"
I've given you two so far Richard - feel free

"I note that Steve has given up on this thread for the last few days and I think I'll join him until someone contributes something new."
Sorry Richard - it's not for the want of trying on my part - you and everybody else have masses to respond to, yet everybody appears too reluctant to do so
The situation is simple - you accept that working people were capable of making their songs, you need to say why they didn't and why it is more likely that these were Urban products
Not to do so is an indication that you are unable to present an alternative and that any amount of argument you are given will produce the same result
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 09:54 AM

No-one has claimed 100%. That figure has only ever been mentioned by Jim or by someone else quoting Jim.

> "Let's take each one on its individual merits"
You really don't have to do this Richard
periods in history gave rise to entire families of song <

All right, take them as families instead. The same considerations apply. Make your own judgements as to who wrote them, how true to life or otherwise they are and what they tell us about what people thought and felt. Taking them as families you can also assess how far each song was a new composition in its own right and how far it was a recycling of a previous song.

I note that Steve has given up on this thread for the last few days and I think I'll join him until someone controbutes something new.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 08:46 AM

"86 to 100%"
Sorry - that should reas 96 to 100%
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 08:45 AM

"The disagreement is only about how many of the songs in the classic "
For the umpteenth time Richard the argument is that it is overwhelming number - 86 to 100%
If that is the figure you accept, your acknowledgement that workers made some of the songs is little more than lip service
Even the two Steves have accepted that workers may have made some
The fact that inter-class marriages was an important enough issue to have inspired songs indicates that they were coming from a grass-roots level - the beneficiaries of the state of affairs weren't too concerned about it
Anyway - it's not just a matter of upper-class families - the practice of marrying off daughters 'for land' or even selling off pretty daughters to wealthy clients was common to all classes
The Lord Leitrim assassination, where Clements was said to have claimed the right of 'Droit du seigneur' (first night with the bride of his underlings) gave rise to a dozen songs.
"Let's take each one on its individual merits"
You really don't have to do this Richard
periods in history gave rise to entire families of song
I've already covered the 'Broken Token' group
The 'Banks of the Nile', 'Manchester Angel', 'Lisbon' songs refer to the prectice of 'Camp Following' - often referred to soldiers wives, but also included large numbers of barbers, doctors, barbers, dealers, publicans,   prostitutes.... anybody who would serve the soldiers needs while on combat
The women were used to pass ammunition to the troops during the battles   
THis is my note for 'The Banks of the Nile on the Clare County Library website:

EBanks of the Nile (Roud 950 Laws N9)
Pat MacNamara
The theme of this song; a woman asking her soldier or sailor lover to be allowed to accompany him to battle or to sea, is not so unbelievable as it might first appear.
Armies once trudged their way around the world accompanied by 'camp-followers', mobile settlements of women, children and tradesmen all running risks not too different of those taken by active soldiers.
Following the defeat of the rebels at Vinegar Hill in 1798, British troops rounded up and massacres the camp-followers who has assisted the rebels during the fighting.
Camp following lasted into the nineteenth century and continued to be a common part of army life into the 19th century.
The same went for seamen; in 1822 an anonymous pamphlet suggested that members of the Royal Navy were taking as many as two women apiece aboard the ships. These women also proved useful in that they fought alongside their lovers at the Nile and Trafalgar during the Napoleonic wars.
The well-known saying "show a leg" is said to have originated from the practice of officers in the Royal Navy clearing the crew from their hammocks and bunks by demanding that the occupant sticks their leg out to show whether they were male or female.
'Banks of the Nile' is probably the best known song of women accompanying their lovers into battle or on board ship.
Though this version refers to the practice happening among the Irish military forces, the song is just as popular in England and probably originated there"

In the case of some of these songs, the woman is often pregnant
I'll happily go on to the poaching songs if you wish.
If this doesn't add social or historical significance to the songs, then nothing will

We really have tried to examine individual songs - at Steve Gardahm's insistence, but when it didn't go his way he did a runner
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 07:56 AM

Small correction to my 15 Jan 18 - 06:46 PM post:
I omitted a few words when I re-typed my lost post. I meant to say
"I have loved folk songs for most of my life ..."

Jim
> people can't even bring themselves around to considering the possibility that working people produced songs about their lives, and have gone for the commercial theory with the enthusiasm that a terrier goes for a rat

For the umpteenth time; all of us agree that working people did produce songs about their lives. The disagreement is only about how many of the songs in the classic Victorian and Edwardian collections originated in that way rather than from commercial song writers. In the absence of hard evidence I can't see us getting beyond informed guesswork for most songs, based on subjective assessments of their wording.

Anyway there is a continuum, from strictly factual accounts from eye witnesses to total fiction. In between there are many, such as the ballads of inter-class marriages being prevented, that may or may not be true accounts concerning real individuals (Tiftie's Annie clearly is a true account, at least in outline if not in detail) but anyway do accurately reflect the state of affairs in society in those times (whoever wrote them!). The tales of inter-class marriages being achieved despite parental opposition are more likely to be fantasies, but who's to say for certain for any specific instance?

I said yesterday
"Let's take each one on its individual merits
a) as a song that we enjoy singing or hearing for its own sake, and
b) as possible evidence of how things really were for certain people at a certain time in the past."

Lighter commented
"But not very good evidence because the songs are often heavily stylized, and post-1900 historians have unearthed far better sources, which they cite extensively in their publications."

Indeed often not very good evidence but there will be exceptions.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 04:36 AM

Five Church
Fyvie of course - sorry
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 04:33 AM

"Why is it so important to distinguish the workaday "broadside hacks" from other working people as creators of song texts?"
For the same reason you attempt to distinguish the work of craftsmen from that turned out on the conveyor belt - one is produced for profit, the other because the maker brings something else to his or her creation
It is the case with all art
The iporance of who produced the songs lies in the possible reason they were made in the first place - the Steves go for money and simple entertainment, I have come to the conclusion that it is far deeper than that
The lives of people are reproduced in microcosm in whole genres of our folk repertoire

Take the social misalliance songs or those of arranged or forced marriage
At the time many of them were made, society was shifting, the old order of gentry was being replaced by the successful tradesmen who sought land and power
A presentable daughter was not just a 'joy to behold', but she was 'money in the bank' for an ambitious family - a step up the social ladder.
The human effects were reproduced in many songs.
One of the most remark examples of this is the ballad 'Tiftie's Annie'(Child 233)
On the surface, it is a family tragedy, a young woman associates with a servant to a local lord, the family disapprove the liaison and o to extremes to prevent it, and eventually beat her to death to prevent it
A powerful plot, worthy of the greatest writers anyway
Start digging into the ballad and it becomes even greater
THere are whole layers in the ballad - at first it's fine to fancy the servant, even the mother does, but, once it goes beyond that things get sertious
First they take the piss on the match, then they lock her away and when they realise the girl is serious, the father writes to Lord Fivie accusing him of witchcraft:

And Tiftie's penned a long letter ands sent it off to Fivie
To say his daughter was bewitched by the servant, Andrew Lammie

Andrew is forced to answer the charges in Edinburgh and while he is away the girl is systematically beaten by all the members of the family in turn until her back is broken - they would rather see her dead than risk the rise of the family fortune with a disgraceful match
The added importance of the ballad is that it is based on traceable historical characters
We visited Five Church - there is a large stone tablet on the wall in a very prominent position honouring local miller, William Tifitie.
WE couldn't find the daughter's grave, but some time later local folk enthusiasts located it and cleaned it up.
The mill is marked on local maps
Making a ballad on this incident would require local knowledge not available to a town songmaker and the subtle skill that went in to its making is way beyond that of a townie hack

THe folk repertoire throughout Britain and Ireland abounds with such creations, mostly on a smaller scale, because the situation that prevailed was common to all
When Harry Cox sang 'Betsy the Serving Maid' to Lomax and spat out; "and that's what they think of us", he made it quite clear that he was aware of the social significance of the song - it puzzles me why people here can't grasp that significance.

"but of changing tastes."
I believe the greatest mistake made in trying to understand folk songs is to take them out of context and treat them out of context
Great art is multi-layered - ranging from simple titillation to historical and social information -
Dickens is probably one of the finest examples of this, from the death of Little Nell through the upheaval caused by the Industrial changes taking place, Revolutionary Europe, squabbles over inheritance of property, the mechanics of the Law, the Gordon Riots... to surviving on the London streets
All a magnificent artistic dip into 19th century Britain presented in magnificent prose
His mate, Wilkie Collins, with his obsession of a woman's right to inherit property, produced highly enjoyable early feminist novels - and one of England's early detectives.

I believe our folk songs did the same on a smaller scale, but in a way, a far more important one
They are small histories of a people who has been largely ignored by historians, made by the people who experienced the events the songs deal with.
THese are all only possibilities of course - even the two Steves have admitted that, but if it is a possibility, it's surely worth consideration
Little sign of that so far - people can't even bring themselves around to considering the possibility that workig people produced songs about their lives, and have gone for the commercial theory with the enthusiasm that a terrier goes for a rat
Beyond me, I'm afraid
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 03:57 AM

here is an example of a song that i imagine was written by somebody educated in a hedge school, but is a fine piece of writing

   

[Ye damsels of Castalia Melpomene and Thalia
Extenuate an alien that languishes in woe]
Dan Cupid has surprised me waylaid and pauperised me
Why thus he martyrises me is what I wish to know
Exiled in this fair city a paragon of pity
I lucubrate my ditty and I catalogue to tell?
Of the beauties of that matron my connoisseur and patron
That consort fit for Satan the star of Sunday's well.

Expressly fabricated for to be venerated?
Her weight is estimated at fully fifteen stone
The undulating ocean recalls her vagrant motion
Magnanimous devotion I render her alone
She's blooming and she's bonny with real estate and money
A flowerlet filled with honey in a soft suburban dell
And I the bee go soaring around her bower adoring?
The beauty and the store of the star of Sunday's well.

This matron subsidises both Beamish's and Wise's
The viands that she prizes provide most comely fare
Yet I wish I could administer a modicum of Guinness t'her
For there is nothing sinister or medieval there
Her heart I would allure it but that a grocer's curate?
Is planning to secure it by artifices fell
But I've dropped hints abundant to that obscure incumbent?
To flutter less redundant round the star of Sunday's well.

All through the summer weather two lovers linked together
Patrolled Marina's heather or strolled along the Dyke
The blackbirds and the thrushes established in the bushes?
Their elegies in gushes propelled to Kerry Pike
I heard their jocund royster and yearned all for his cloister?
The quaint but fulsome oyster like a hermit in his cell
But I lacked reciprocation in this matron's cognition
For I got a harsh negation from the star of Sunday's well.


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Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Jan 18 - 07:52 PM

Why is it so important to distinguish the workaday "broadside hacks" from other working people as creators of song texts?

Is it because the hack-work is unfaithful to the lives of non-hacks?

Evidently the non-hacks didn't think so, since, whatever the proportion, they sang whatever broadside ballads appealed to them.

I.e., had the "ring of truth," or at least the virtue of humor.

Isn't the penchant of some singers for the flowery neo-classical lyrics that we disdain an indication not of origin, but of changing tastes.


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