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Folk song and history

Richard Mellish 21 Mar 19 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 21 Mar 19 - 06:44 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Mar 19 - 02:11 AM
Manitas_at_home 22 Mar 19 - 05:33 AM
Jack Campin 22 Mar 19 - 05:41 AM
Vic Smith 22 Mar 19 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 22 Mar 19 - 06:02 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Mar 19 - 06:21 AM
Jack Campin 22 Mar 19 - 06:26 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Mar 19 - 07:08 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Mar 19 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,Brimbacombe 22 Mar 19 - 07:34 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Mar 19 - 07:45 AM
Snuffy 22 Mar 19 - 08:52 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Mar 19 - 10:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Mar 19 - 11:36 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Mar 19 - 03:20 AM
r.padgett 23 Mar 19 - 03:25 AM
r.padgett 23 Mar 19 - 03:35 AM
Will Fly 23 Mar 19 - 04:00 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Mar 19 - 06:35 AM
GUEST 23 Mar 19 - 06:54 AM
Jack Campin 23 Mar 19 - 07:45 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Mar 19 - 08:21 AM
Jack Campin 23 Mar 19 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 23 Mar 19 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 23 Mar 19 - 01:39 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Mar 19 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 23 Mar 19 - 05:12 PM
Stringsinger 26 Mar 19 - 01:34 PM
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Subject: Folk song and history
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 05:51 PM

I hesitate to mention a subject that has been a bone of contention between some of the regulars on here, but I feel I should draw attention to an "in-conversation" this Monday, 25th March, between Steve Roud and Professor Joad Raymond, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London, about "what you can learn about music from history, and what you can learn about history from music".

Details here.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 06:44 PM

Excellent!

Thanks for the link


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 02:11 AM

It might be interesting to have one on 'what you can learn of history from music' using folk song - no better source
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 05:33 AM

It does say they will be using field recordings. I don't think these will be of orchestral or jazz music, do you?


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 05:41 AM

no better source

Good luck figuring out what happened at the Haughs of Cromdale or the Battle of New Orleans from the songs.

It's one source among many. It's often better at documenting the way events were mythicized rather than the events themselves.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 05:57 AM

no better source
Can I add to Jack's list the many Napoleonic songs, many of which contain blatant historical errors?


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 06:02 AM

Will they be inviting Lucy Worsley?


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 06:21 AM

"Good luck figuring out what happened at the Haughs of Cromdale or the Battle of New Orleans from the songs."
What better sources to go to to learn how historical incidents were historically manipulated to win wars ?
Nobody said you need to treat the songs as gospel - they are records of aspirations more than they are accurate records
Much of formal history is just that as they are finding out in Ireland as anniversaries and centenarys hit the fan - The Great Famine being the most revealing to date
Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 06:26 AM

And some songs don't simply reflect myths, they are created to promote them. "Lilliburlero" is probably the most politically effective song in British history and its backstory is something Breitbart would have been proud of.

There are a few anti-mythicization songs. A rewrite of "Come Buggering Oates, Prepare Thy Neck" for the Brexiteers would be timely.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 07:08 AM

"And some songs don't simply reflect myths, they are created to promote them."
That's what I have just said Jack
A part of our understanding of how things were
Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 07:26 AM

Haughs O' Cromdale Myth
Jim Carroll

The Haughs of Cromdale.
When Claverhouse fell the command was taken by Colonel Alexander Cannon of Galloway, who had been sent over by James with the Irish troops. Instead of pursuing Mackay, Cannon allowed him to withdraw safely to Stirling. The clan chiefs then wished to appoint the Earl of Dunfermline as their leader but, on referring the matter to James, inevitably he made the wrong choice and Cannon was confirmed in the post.
Determined to show his mettle, Cannon detached his horse, 500 strong, to take Perth and the rich stores there, but, meeting Mackay instead, they were effectively annihilated. Meanwhile Cannon attacked Dunkeld, where he had learned there was a small force of 900 Cameronians under their celebrated leader, the poet Colonel William Cleland. Unfortunately Cannon led his men so badly and the Cameronians fought so desperately despite the death of their Colonel that his much larger force was soundly beaten in a running battle lasting for several hours. The Highlanders drew off disgusted with his leadership.
After this disastrous battle the Highlanders told Cannon to his face that he was a fool and unfit for command. They then broke open his strongbox and helped themselves to the contents, leaving him to return to Ireland while they appointed Lochiel in his place. However, James, with his ability to compound an error several times over, sent Cannon back in the spring to take command over the Highlanders once more. Few things could more clearly have demonstrated their loyalty to the Stuarts than the fact that they accepted Cannon again as their commander.
With 1,500 picked men Cannon marched into Strathspey and encamped on the Haughs of Cromdale, his men lodging in hamlets all over the valley, except for a hundred posted near the church. The laird of Grant finding his lands harried, promptly sent for help to Sir Thomas Livingstone, who arrived on 28 April, 1690, with seventeen troops of dragoons and three regiments of foot, to which the laird of Grant added some 800 of his clan. On ~30 April this force marched through the night guided by the Grants and attacked the Jacobite army while it was still asleep just before dawn. Cannon was captured in his nightshirt and despite sporadic attempts at resistance the bulk of the army was forced to take flight. Four hundred of the clans were killed, but the remainder escaped in the mist which had concealed their attackers and their resistance had been such that Livingstone’s men were content to let them go. For the moment at least the fighting was at an end.

The ballad of ‘The Haughs of Cromdale’ is taken from Hogg’s Jacobite Relics. It was originally produced to describe this battle and as it has catchy tune was soon being sung all over the Highlands. This seems to have been too much for some unknown bard and, in an effort to redeem the description of this defeat of the clans in 1690, he added on a somewhat high-flown description of Montrose’s victory at Auldearn over the Covenanter army in 1645. Thus the two battles, forty-five years and a considerable number of miles apart, were unceremoniously joined together. The gallant Montrose, who had been dead for over forty years, was brought to life in verse to win another battle. The result is horribly muddled ballad, but one which has been immensely popular. To the strains of the pipes playing this tune the Highlanders have charged and won battles all round the world.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: GUEST,Brimbacombe
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 07:34 AM

So did Hitler only have one ball?


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 07:45 AM

So rumour has it
Goebbels had no balls at all
Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Snuffy
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 08:52 AM

We used to sing "The other is in the Free Trade Hall", but since they demolished the FTH, there's no telling where it may be now.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 10:58 AM

Has the Free Trade Hall Really Gone ?
How bout Tommy Duck's ?
Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 11:36 AM

The front of the Free Trade Hall remains as a facade to a posh hotel and an insult to those hacked down at Peterloo. Manchester council ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Tommy Ducks went many years ago in a very underhand manner. No idea what became of all the knickers!


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 03:20 AM

"No idea what became of all the knickers!"
They sent mine back to me :-)
Oh dear - how sad
Did you know the Topic Felix Doran album was recorded in the downstairs gents toilet of The Free Trade Hall ?
Not a lot of people know that
I bought my copy of Bert Lloyd's 'Folk Song in England at a jumble sale there (in the hall - not in the jacks)
As for Tommy Ducks - that's where I practiced some of most artistic, persuasive and fruitful chatting up lines before we headed off to the cinema in Deansgate
All a little off-topic but very much a part of Manchester's history - and mine
Sorry for the interruption
Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: r.padgett
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 03:25 AM

It might be interesting to have one on 'what you can learn of history from music' using folk song - no better source
Jim Carrol

If flawed ~ as a number of historical researchers have found ~ of course the song makers (whoever they were) did not have modern IT and      communications we enjoy ~ and poetic license to make a good song

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: r.padgett
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 03:35 AM

what you can learn about music from history,

That is probably too difficult for me!

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 04:00 AM

I would cite Bob Copper's "A Song For Every Season" as an example of history/biography informing us about music. Running through his account of his family's life in the Sussex village of Rottingdean, and stories of the village and its doings, are the songs which were communally sung throughout the year - and the reasons for singing them at particular points in the year. Very informative about the music - with all of them written down in the book.

It's a wonderful book, and I read it regularly to remind myself of what an oral tradition is, and how it flourished (and still flourishes) in Bob's family even though he's no longer with us.

There are also interesting accounts of musical scenes in Thomas Hardy's writings - and his tune book is, I believe, housed in the Dorchester Museum. The tune book might be seen as a snapshot of what was in vogue in his younger lifetime.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 06:35 AM

"If flawed "
Dealt with that already Ray
Song is a far better guide of how people felt about historical events than any other existing record
Winners of war write history, don't get me started about the rights and wrongs of World War one and Two... the establishment continues to hide their on crimes by destroying ans suppressing information, no history is totally reliable
The people's history remains only partially documented - oral historians are now digging up what was ignored in the recent past - the rest remains only a vague outline
We only have the ballads and songs to get us that much closer to what the people wanted and experienced
Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 06:54 AM

If it's the winners that write the history, it's the losers that write the songs. Both views are gross over-simplifications and like all such generalisations are totally wrong.

History if studied and researched as it should be is normally extremely reliable. As to what people felt - your best indicator of that is what they did.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 07:45 AM

The Thomas Hardy tune book was compiled by Thomas Hardy the novelist's father, also Thomas.

John Clare also collected tunes, and his work is a marvellous continuum from instrumental music and folksong to his own commentaries on the society and natural world of his time. Ecological history is one of folksong's strongest points: how many of Clare's birds have you ever seen? (Gaelic song is perhaps even stronger at this).


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 08:21 AM

"If it's the winners that write the history, it's the losers that write the songs."
Didn't say that
Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 08:49 AM

Nobody did. GUEST was presenting a strawman position. It isn't all about you.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 09:16 AM

I always enjoyed reading Roy Palmer's book 'The Sound Of History', Oxford University Press, 1988. Entertaining and educational.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 01:39 PM

A few on here pointing out that historical accuracy cannot be ascertained from the words of song.

Quite.

That makes it all the more historically useful and relevant. Otherwise, we might think that propaganda, jingoism and revision were modern phenomena.

If the exercise includes getting into the heads of people around at the time, then future historians won’t use The Da*ly Ma*l for accuracy but to see what many people thought was accuracy. Hence such rags will be of interest.

Similarly, many versions of the same song from the Napoleonic era portray different battle outcomes and statistics. It would be base ignorance to judge them against demonstrable evidence of outcomes. They are what some wished others to think, what some thought and what some felt others thought. All are a window into the minds of those at the time.

I was a miner on strike in 1984. It seems to be popular these days to write songs about it. I’ve yet to hear one that I’d be comfortable with in terms of accuracy and that was only 35 years ago...


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 02:40 PM

Respect, Sb.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 05:12 PM

The idea of the Haughs of Cromdale simply describing two separate battles is oft cited but doesn't make sense either. In the song Montrose is fighting Cromwell's English troops. Didn't happen. Montrose was executed by the Scottish gvt several years before Cromwell's forces ever entered Scotland. Historically the lyrics are nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Folk song and history
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Mar 19 - 01:34 PM

I believe that history attempts to show facts as to what people do.

The songs are an index as to what people feel.

Both songs and history can contain inaccuracies but I don't see how you can
really be interested in folk music without an interest in history.


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