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Sharp in Appalachia

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Steve Gardham 06 Dec 20 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 06 Dec 20 - 05:19 PM
The Sandman 06 Dec 20 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Peter 06 Dec 20 - 05:41 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Dec 20 - 05:48 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Dec 20 - 05:54 PM
RTim 06 Dec 20 - 09:12 PM
GUEST,paperback 07 Dec 20 - 03:09 AM
GUEST,jag 07 Dec 20 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 07 Dec 20 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 07 Dec 20 - 05:18 AM
The Sandman 07 Dec 20 - 06:21 AM
The Sandman 07 Dec 20 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 07 Dec 20 - 06:57 AM
The Sandman 07 Dec 20 - 07:54 AM
Steve Gardham 07 Dec 20 - 10:44 AM
The Sandman 07 Dec 20 - 04:48 PM
meself 07 Dec 20 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,henryp 08 Dec 20 - 12:20 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 20 - 02:56 AM
punkfolkrocker 08 Dec 20 - 03:54 AM
BobL 08 Dec 20 - 03:58 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 08 Dec 20 - 04:16 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 20 - 04:48 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 20 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 08 Dec 20 - 05:08 AM
Brian Peters 08 Dec 20 - 06:16 AM
Brian Peters 08 Dec 20 - 08:10 AM
punkfolkrocker 08 Dec 20 - 08:35 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Dec 20 - 08:39 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 20 - 09:11 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Dec 20 - 09:15 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Dec 20 - 09:18 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 20 - 09:30 AM
Brian Peters 08 Dec 20 - 10:00 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Dec 20 - 10:10 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 20 - 10:38 AM
Brian Peters 08 Dec 20 - 10:46 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 20 - 10:54 AM
Brian Peters 08 Dec 20 - 11:18 AM
Manitas_at_home 08 Dec 20 - 11:19 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 20 - 12:39 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Dec 20 - 01:16 PM
The Sandman 08 Dec 20 - 01:58 PM
Brian Peters 08 Dec 20 - 02:06 PM
punkfolkrocker 08 Dec 20 - 02:35 PM
The Sandman 08 Dec 20 - 02:46 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Dec 20 - 03:12 PM
punkfolkrocker 08 Dec 20 - 03:15 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Dec 20 - 03:27 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Dec 20 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,jag 08 Dec 20 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 08 Dec 20 - 06:08 PM
The Sandman 09 Dec 20 - 03:02 AM
The Sandman 09 Dec 20 - 03:22 AM
The Sandman 09 Dec 20 - 03:48 AM
The Sandman 09 Dec 20 - 03:56 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 09 Dec 20 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 09 Dec 20 - 06:20 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 09 Dec 20 - 06:27 AM
Brian Peters 09 Dec 20 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 09 Dec 20 - 06:49 AM
The Sandman 09 Dec 20 - 07:05 AM
The Sandman 09 Dec 20 - 07:34 AM
The Sandman 09 Dec 20 - 07:45 AM
Brian Peters 09 Dec 20 - 07:58 AM
The Sandman 09 Dec 20 - 08:31 AM
Brian Peters 09 Dec 20 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 09 Dec 20 - 08:46 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Dec 20 - 01:51 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Dec 20 - 01:52 PM
RTim 09 Dec 20 - 01:56 PM
Brian Peters 09 Dec 20 - 02:27 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Dec 20 - 03:18 PM
The Sandman 09 Dec 20 - 03:24 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Dec 20 - 03:54 PM
MartinNail 09 Dec 20 - 06:33 PM
Brian Peters 09 Dec 20 - 06:40 PM
The Sandman 11 Dec 20 - 12:35 PM
The Sandman 11 Dec 20 - 02:21 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Dec 20 - 02:46 PM
The Sandman 11 Dec 20 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,henryp 11 Dec 20 - 04:58 PM
Brian Peters 12 Dec 20 - 05:30 AM
Brian Peters 12 Dec 20 - 05:33 AM
Brian Peters 12 Dec 20 - 05:46 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 20 - 06:36 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 20 - 06:44 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 20 - 06:45 AM
Brian Peters 12 Dec 20 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 12 Dec 20 - 09:53 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 20 - 10:11 AM
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Subject: Sharp in Appalchia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 02:20 PM

I have little personal knowledge on what Sharp did and didn't collect in Appalachia. I have read what some others have said and I'm aware of some controversy, particularly in America, so I'm interested in different views. I have reread Sharp's and Karpeles's lengthy intros and find a lot to commend in there regarding Sharp's personality and relationships with his informants.

On the Sharp/Wales thread it was suggested that Sharp was only interested in English song and ignored other genres such as songs of Irish or Scottish origin. The very title of his volumes 'English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians' would seem to back that opinion up, but is that the full reality? I have my own theories here, but would be interested to hear from those who have studied the material and facts more closely.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 05:19 PM

You need to read Mike Yates book(s) on Sharp which should still be available from the EFDSS at Cecil Sharp House.

Mike had access to Sharp's diaries and photographs and also followed in Sharps footsteps on more than one occasion.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 05:29 PM

i have been reading the The Oak and the Acorn
Music and Political Values in the Work of Cecil Sharp

by Sharif Gemie, published in musical traditions. quote
In this instance, Sharp was arguing for the export of English material to the USA. However, when collecting folk songs in the Appalachians he needed to construct an argument in the other direction: that the Appalachian material was relevant to the British of the 1910s. Sharp's writing shows that he felt no uncertainty at all: the Appalachians he met were English. He referred to 'race' to support this argument:

    [the Appalachians] have one and all entered at birth into the full enjoyment of their racial heritage. Their language, wisdom, manners, and the many graces of life that are theirs, are merely racial attributes which have been gradually acquired and accumulated in past centuries and handed down generation by generation, each generation adding its quotum to that which it received. [100. Southern Appalachians, p.xxiv.] 100

He also used racial concepts when considering which people were most likely to possess usable versions of folk songs. Sharp made an initial decision not to collect songs from black people. To my knowledge, he never produced an articulate argument concerning why black people's versions of older folk songs were irrelevant to his collecting: Sharp seems to have simply assumed that, of course, white people would possess the truest version of the English folk heritage.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 05:41 PM

"Sharp seems to have simply assumed that, of course, white people would possess the truest version of the English folk heritage. "

Or did he simply assume that there wouldn't be a significant cross over of material into the black community?


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 05:48 PM

Here are some questions that could be debated.

Was Sharp encountering largely people he perceived to be of English ancestry?

Were those of Irish or Scottish ancestry so anglicised by then that he presumed them to be of English ancestry?

Was he to some extent using the word 'English' in the title of EFSSA in the same way that many others have to actually mean 'English language'? After all he did include in those volumes many native American songs.

The singers would have known at least some art songs so he must have been filtering these out in the same way they filtered out art and commercial songs in English collecting. Did he at the same time filter out any obviously Scottish or Irish songs he came across?

I seem to remember there being a thread on the ethnicity of the mountain dwellers, that many had come south west from New England quite early on and were mainly of English ancestry.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 05:54 PM

My keybord seems to be hving problems with....Could mudelf plese fill in the missing letter in the title?
    Guess you c*n't kick *ss *nymore...
    M*ybe we should take * collection *nd buy *n extr* *
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: RTim
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 09:12 PM

This could be a disaster for an editor like you......

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 03:09 AM

Cringe warning...I've been thinking...



Cecil Sharp may not have sought out these Appalachian English mountain folk but vise versa. British folks may not realise it but many Americans have a family coat of arms proudly hung on their wall. Seems to have been a real thing when I was growing up, at least, and probably held true in the past too, even moreso. So, doesn't it only stand to reason that when a bookish English gentleman came to town looking for folk music...well use your imagination.

On a side note: I recently read that the Indians (American) have an interesting opinion on this subject - being these English will never really be righteously received back into the Bosom of Mother Earth because they are not connected here, but there.

I've wondered lately about the Romans too...

Hmmm, how would the Brits feel about a few million Yanks returning home to straighten a few things out:)


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 04:35 AM

In that quote given by The Sandman

"have one and all entered at birth into the full enjoyment of their racial heritage. Their language, wisdom, manners, and the many graces of life that are theirs, are merely racial attributes which have been gradually acquired and accumulated in past centuries and handed down generation by generation, each generation adding its quotum to that which it received. "

I read the emphasis as being on the 'heritage'. I think the second sentence makes it clear that he was looking for culture that was handed down rather than suggesting that it was in the genes (or 'in the blood' as they would have said in his day). So tending not to collect from people with non-English surnames, or dark skin, may have made sense.

Multiple generations later society is more cosmopolitan and there has been over 100 years of access to recorded music, so that doesn't apply. It is far more possible for individuals to have grown up with, or absorbed, cultures that would have been foreign to their ancestors. And we use 'racial' in a different way.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 05:13 AM

Cecil Sharp was well aware that some of the people that he was meeting in the Appalachians were of Scottish and Irish stock. He also says that many of the ballads that he was collecting in the mountains - ballads that he had not previously collected in England - were known to him from Scottish ballad books. I think that Sharp saw a connection between the songs that he had collected in England and with the fact that many of these songs were also being found by Scottish collectors. This does not explain why he used the word 'English' for the title of his Appalachian song book. For some curious reason, it seems that many Victorian and    Edwardian people in England used the term 'England' when referring to 'Britain'. Please don't ask me why, because I don't know why this should have been the case. Jeremy Paxman mentions this in his 1998 book 'The English: A Portrait of a People'. I go onto this in further detail in my 2004 book 'Dear Companion. Appalachian Traditional Songs and Singers from the Cecil Sharp Collection' p. 24. I also mention Maud Karpeles' comment that about one third of Sharp's Appalachian collection was Scottish in origin. Sharp also believed that there was a melodic connection between his collected Appalachian tunes and some of the gapped scales that had once been found in the north of England.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 05:18 AM

I forgot to comment on paperback's comment about Appalachian families proudly displaying coats of arms on their walls. One fiddle player that I met had a printed family genealogy on his living room wall. And he was very proud to show it to me. He had paid $50 to a mail order company to have this made up. His name was at the bottom, his father and grandfather above. There were then a few meaningless names above them before the name 'Bonny Prince Charley' was sitting at the top of the list. It was, of course, a scam. Yet more confusion to Appalachian heritage.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 06:21 AM

Sharps attitude was not much diiferent from Bascam Lunsford was it
Bascam only collected from white people , correct me if i am wrong Apparantly Sharp did refer to black people as niggers, in the context of the times does that make him a racist?


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 06:26 AM

I am sure he was more comfortable having lunch with the owners of Bentley pianos[ and dancing with fat middle aged women on the lawn of their house, as was described to me by my stepfather who described him to me as a very boring man]Than he would have been interviwing leadbelly as the lomaxes did, but i dont think he had the same extrem racist views as Bascam Lunsford, apparantly he generally voted liberal. I dont think anyone would describe Lunsford as a liberal


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 06:57 AM

Mention of Bascom Lamar Lunsford's racist views reminds me of a story told to me, one of many, by the folklorist Kenny Goldstein. It was in the 1950's when Kenny had been recording Lunsford and some of his musical friends. One night Kenny was invited to a party 'where there would be music'. So he went along. It turned out that it was a KKK party. There were lots of comments about the kind of people that they hated, including 'northerners' ('It's OK Kenny, We like you. You're an honorary Southerner.) and also Jews. Kenny guessed that they had never actually met a Jew and that they had no idea that his name, Goldstein, might be a give-away! I asked how Kenny had felt that night, and he just replied that the sweat was running down the back of his shirt all night long. Whoever said that collecting was a boring occupation?


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 07:54 AM

well Sharp seems to have forgotten about the welsh. shame he could not have got a sponsor to PAY FOR A visit Patagonia


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 10:44 AM

>>>>>I am sure he was more comfortable having lunch with the owners of Bentley pianos[ and dancing with fat middle aged women on the lawn of their house<<<<<<.
Dick, I thought you had read the preface and introduction to EFSSA. Having reread them a couple of times now they very much give the impression that C# was very comfortable in the company of the mountain people and that they were very comfortable with him. This fits in with what I've read about his relationships with his Somerset singers. He seems to have mainly fallen out with other middle-class folkies. Perhaps he didn't like competition, or perhaps he was prone to schizophrenia. Maud Karpeles, though, seems to have nothing but praise for him. I will have to dig out my copy of Strangways.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 04:48 PM

Steve i was referring to the fact that he might have felt uncomfortable in the presence of Leadbelly,
Leadbelly, was not a white mountain appalachian ,but a Black ex convict. Sharp fell out with a lot of people, most of them were not folkies. but some were his employers quote from MusicalTraditions
the oak and the corn
While Sharp frequently gained the respect of pupils and parents, he often quarrelled with employers and benefactors. In 1897 he argued with Hubert Parry, a well-known composer, scholar and Director of the Royal College of Music. The issue which divided them was relatively trivial: a disagreement over the participation of one of his pupils at a concert in the Albert Hall, which was probably caused by a misunderstanding. A compromise was proposed, but refused by Sharp, who then resigned from the Finsbury Choral Association. In 1904 - 05 he argued with the owner of the Hampstead Conservatoire, who employed him as Principal. The issue here was Sharp's salary. Once again, Sharp resigned. [11. Fox Strangways, Cecil Sharp, pp.17 and 24.] 11


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: meself
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 06:34 PM

Hard to see how that would relate to how he might or might not have gotten on with Leadbelly, who was hardly employer or benefactor - unless I'm missing something ... ?


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalchia
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 12:20 AM

Cecil Sharp - and Maud Karpeles - suffered enormous personal discomfort on the Appalachian trip of 1916. Local travel was usually on foot over rough mountain roads, and the weather could be hot. Sharp liked to photograph his singers, so he must have taken his camera on many excursions too.

Food and accommodation - and sanitation - were often elementary. Vegetarian food for Sharp was often unavailable, except in some particularly poor places. And Sharp, suffering from toothache, had all his teeth extracted! And yet the rewards were sufficient for them to go back to collect more songs in 1917, and again in 1918. They must have been determined, dedicated and perhaps obsessed.

Quoted by Mike Yates http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/sharp.htm
Sunday, August 13, 1916; I stay at missionary settlements, usually in a log cabin, where I fend for myself - make my own bed and do all sorts of things I am quite unaccustomed to do - and have my meals in the settlement house. It is the Presbyterians who run these places, and some of the women I have met are very nice and broad-minded. But I don't think any of them realize that the people they are here to improve are in many respects far more cultivated than their would-be instructors, even if they cannot read or write. Take music, for example. Their own is pure and lovely. The hymns that these Presbyterian missionaries teach them are musical and literary garbage. In manners they are far superior to the school-mistresses I have met here, all of whom are of the genteel type, and feel very superior.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 02:56 AM

MESELF
Sharp was focused with an agenda, here are a couple of reasons he would not have got on with leadbelly
lEADBELLY did not fit into his agenda. Sharp would not have bothered with him,1because he was not of the right racial heritage,he would have comsidered LEADBELLYS MUSIC music generally did not fit into his agenda[ Sharp missed something such as leadbellys version of the prickly bush]
2
since he[sharp] refers several times to niggers, his attitude apperas to have been one of imperial condescension QUOTE THE OAK AND THE ACORN MUSICAL TRADITIONSHe also used racial concepts when considering which people were most likely to possess usable versions of folk songs. Sharp made an initial decision not to collect songs from black people. To my knowledge, he never produced an articulate argument concerning why black people's versions of older folk songs were irrelevant to his collecting: Sharp seems to have simply assumed that, of course, white people would possess the truest version of the English folk heritage.

Sharp referred to black people as 'niggers' several times. While this is an offensive term, it could be argued that Sharp had simply picked up the term from white Americans he met, and used it unthinkingly. But, in his private writing, Sharp also used the word 'nigger' in an explicitly derogatory manner:


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 03:54 AM

Viewed from 2020, Victorian/Edwardian 'English' Gentlemen explorers
were an odd bunch of sorts..

Back when I was a militant lefty student at the height of Rock Against Racism,
I decided to write my dissertation on H Rider Haggard..

A casual reading of King Solomon's Mines,
just for the perverse fun of it [to have a laugh at the horrible Victorian Imperialists],
turned out to be the most enjoyable addictive read of my entire degree...

So I worked in a clever dick smartarse angle exploring colonial ideology,
just to convince my lecturer to let me do it..
Then spent the rest of the year immersed in Haggard's stories and biographies..

My conclusions were that he was actually quite progressive and less racist than expected,
as his early life as a colonial administrator
gave him a real respect for the idealised 'noble savage'..

I can't remember if he privately used derogatory language regarding Africans,
but it would be understandable if he did, living in his class in that era..

We have to make allowances that those Victorian gents could be a weird mess of both good and bad contradictions..

Ok, I'm amusing myself taking the piss out of Cecil's adventures amongst my ancestors in Scrumpyshire,
but I can never-the-less take his legacy seriously...

It's still funnier in my mind, visualizing Michal Palin or Hugh Grant
portraying him in a satirical farce.
But that don't mean I might not get to like Cecil
if I could be bothered studying him...???


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: BobL
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 03:58 AM

May I just mention that in Sharp's day, the word "nigger" was not considered particularly offensive, at least not in England (the U.S. was another matter). Even in the 1950's of my boyhood, it was at worst rather impolite.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 04:16 AM

We cannot know how Cecil Sharp would have reacted to Leadbelly, because they never met. But had Leadbelly sung his version of 'The Maid Freed from the Gallows'(The Gallis Pole) to Sharp, then I am sure that Sharp would have been delighted.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 04:48 AM

Mike, Sharp maid a conscious decision to collect from a limited group, he decided not to collect from black people, and undoubtedly missed material because of his attitude.
I quoted that Sharp made derogatory comment about niggers, that is more extreme than how it was used in common parlance at the time, my quote was from an article in musical traditions, so i have to accept there is truth in the article


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 05:01 AM

My impression is that Sharp was a [ me myself]mé féin.
a variation on the vicar of bray, a man who believed in the end justified the means.
granted his results and end aim was a lot better than Stalin or Mao,

however in my opinion he missed opportunities to collect partly because he was financially constrained and partly because of his agenda
if he is compared to Alfred Williams, Williams collections are important from a socially historc angle because he collected everything he heard.
Sharp would have probably dismissed the Singing Postman[ a master songwriter of the comic genre]although Smethurst was chronicling Norfolk in the 1960s


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 05:08 AM

Sandman. You will also see in the same article that Sharp collected songs from at least two black people.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 06:16 AM

Here’s my take on Cecil Sharp in Appalachia (it’s quite long!). To give a bit of background, between 2011 and 2018 I undertook a major research project on the subject, directed originally towards the concert / audio-visual performance ‘Sharp’s Appalachian Harvest’, which I presented jointly with my American friend and colleague Jeff Davis. We toured for several years in the UK and US, culminating in a performance at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. At that point I decided that the topic merited a proper academic analysis, and went deeper into the research, going through all of Sharp’s diaries for the period 1915-1918 (the only years in which he kept them), available online at the VWML archive, his music manuscripts recording well over 2,000 songs from the trips (way more than were published), the boxes of paper correspondence regarding the Appalachian period stored at the VWML, and the archives of John C. and Olive Dame Campbell held at the University of North Carolina. I published the research as a 15,000-word article in the Folk Music Journal in 2018, which will answer many of the questions Steve and others have posed.

Having gone deeply into the subject, it irritates me a lot to read poorly-researched, biased and blatantly inaccurate writing concerning Sharp in the mountains. A shining exception is provided by the excellent articles by Mike Yates mentioned above, which provided a starting point for my own work. David Whisnant’s ‘All that is Native and Fine’ – a fascinating book essentially about the construction of the myth of White Appalachia – is very good too, fairer to Sharp than most though not always entirely accurate. The article ‘The Oak and the Acorn’ referenced by Sandman, is the opposite: based on the flimsiest research, agenda-driven, and flat wrong in several of its claims.

The first thing to realise is that most authors who have written on the subject have not looked in any depth at the actual material collected – many of them have little interest in folk song at all, and base their opinions on Sharp’s introduction to ‘English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians’, which was written after his first trip and is specific to a particularly remote area of North Carolina. It is regularly claimed that Sharp ignored everything that wasn’t an English / British ballad. This is nonsense. He and Karpeles noted many songs that were clearly of American origin – ‘Pretty Saro’, ‘Omie Wise’, ‘Wild Bill Jones’, ‘John Hardy’, ‘Old Joe Clark’ – you don’t even have to go into the manuscripts to find them, since they are right there in the book. Sharp disliked hymns, both as an atheist and because people sang them from books – but nonetheless collected quite a few – ‘O Sinner Man’ and ‘Pharoah’s Army’ amongst them – that he knew had African-American origins, even though they were sung to him by white singers. The collection includes a number of songs from the Civil War – not old enough to be proper Sharpian ‘folk songs’ but noted down nonetheless – homiletic and parlour songs (mostly unpublished) and a number of what Sharp called ‘jigs’, songs for dancing which were mostly of minstrel origin. There is, it’s true, a disproportionate focus on British songs, especially Child Ballads, which were the things that got Sharp really excited, especially those virtually extinct in Britain, but the accusation that he collected nothing else could only be made by someone who hadn’t bothered to look.

Steve is quite correct about his relationships with the singers. He was often highly complimentary about their musical abilities, he spent a lot of time in their homes simply chatting about matters in general (the opposite of claims that he was uninterested in anything but their songs), he presented gifts (as well as quite generous cash payments) including clothing, toys for children, singers’ photographs, books for a keen reader, an ear trumpet for a deaf woman, and, for a man interested in world geography, a subscription to the American Geographical Society. He developed close friendships and maintained correspondence with several of them. The idea that he would have preferred to go dancing with middle-class ladies is utter garbage. He wrote that the time spent roughing it in the mountains (and they really did rough it!) in the mountains was the happiest of his life.

Regarding black singers. Sharp was persuaded to mount the Appalachian expeditions by the ballad collection of Olive Dame Campbell, a middle-class woman living in North Carolina who had taken down many songs in the backcountry.   On his first trip with Karpeles to NC, her hsuband John C. Campbell directed him to exactly the area where Olive had found the old British ballads, the Shelton Laurel, Madison Co., NC, which was at the time quite isolated and populated almost exclusively by white people of British (mostly English) extraction. This is the area where Dellie Norton, Dillard Chandler, Sheila Kay Adams and other prominent Appalachian ballad singers grew up after Sharp’s time, so not surprisingly it proved a goldmine for him. Many of the subsequent trips were also facilitated by Campbell, who always directed Sharp and Karpeles to areas known to have mainly ‘English’ or ‘Scots-Irish’ populations. When they began to plan collecting trips for themselves in the subsequent years, in Kentucky, Virginia and other areas of NC, they stuck to the same approach. They deliberately avoided areas known for predominantly German populations and, on at least one occasion, a black settlement. We might prefer they had done otherwise, but their primary focus was on British songs, not on the entire range of material to be found in the Southern states, and both time and money were limited. In all of this it’s important to remember that Sharp was an Englishman, the prime expert in English folk song, and had been tipped off that the mountains were resounding to ‘English’ folk songs, so that was his focus. However, as Mike says, he and Karpeles did take ballads from two black singers living in white communities, and Sharp spoke highly of the abilities of both.

Since the ‘n-word’ has been raised, it’s worth pointing out that Sharp’s default word to describe black people was ‘negro’. There are three uses of the offensive term in the diaries, and a few in the music manuscripts – in the sense of ‘N---- Song’ (which is likely how the white singer described it) and no evidence of him using it in public. The horribly distasteful remark in the diary quoted in Mike’s and my own articles concerning Winston Salem also sounds like something he’d picked up from someone local, and for balance it’s worth pointing out that he also described ‘negroes’ as ‘wonderful people’. He had never met a black person before visiting the South, had formed his impressions from the blackface minstrel shows he’d seen in England but, when he actually met black singers, he treated them with respect (I agree with Mike that he would have been excited to hear Leadbelly’s ‘Gallus Pole’). That is not to deny that Sharp shared the racial views pretty much universal amongst people in England at the time, i.e. a belief in the inferiority of dark-skinned races as a given. Guest ‘jag’ is also correct in concluding that, when Sharp writes about ‘race’, he is generally referring to what we would call either ‘nation’ or ‘culture’.

Politically, Sharp was on the left. He was a member of the Fabian Society, (still affiliated to Labour) and joined first the Liberal, then the Labour party. He wished to see capitalism dismantled, but by gradualist, democratic means, and did not sympathise with the Russian revolution (he preferred the Mensheviks).

As far as calling the songs ‘English’ went, Mike has already covered some of that ground. Sharp regarded the song traditions in England and Lowland Scotland as overlapping to a high degree, as some Scots scholars would agree. Although the migration to Appalachia is popularly framed in terms of the Ulster Scots, there was also an extremely large migration direct from England, and many other mountain people with a repository of ballads (such as the Sheltons and the Hicks’s) claimed ancestry from English settlers who had moved up from lowland Virginia. If you look at the actual material, a majority of the Child ballads most popular in Appalachia have their earliest known sources (as Steve will know well) in 17th or 18th century English broadsides: ‘The Housecarpenter’, ‘Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender’, ‘Barbara Allen’, ‘Little Musgrave’, and the same goes for the most popular non-Child songs: ‘Pretty Polly’ (Gosport Tragedy), ‘In Seaport Town’ (‘Bruton Town’), ‘The True Lover’s Farewell’, etc. So Sharp turned out to be right about many of the ballads having been English anyway, even though when he used the term he was well aware that there were many American-origin songs in the collection – I think keeping ‘English’ as part of his brand was important too.

I think I’ve covered a lot of the questions, but there may be more to come…


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 08:10 AM

I knew I'd have more to add...

"Did he at the same time filter out any obviously Scottish or Irish songs he came across?"

There's no evidence of that at all. As I've said, he spread his net much more widely than purely English material, and he wrote that many of the ballads were often to be found in Scots collections like Kinloch's. One thing to bear in mind is that many of the ballads we associate with Scotland, like 'The Dowie Dens of Yarrow', 'Andrew Lammie' or the ballads of Border skirmishes, seem not have spread much to the Appalachians at all - perhaps some of them post-date the migration? And, where Sharp and other collectors in the mountains found ballads popular in both England and Scotland ('Two Sisters', 'Geordie', etc) the variants looked more like the English versions: 'Binnorie' variants of 'Two Sisters' are virtually unknown in the mountains, and most of them don't include magical harps or fiddles.

As to the singers themselves, Sharp wrote that the people in one area he visited were supposed to be 'Scotch-Irish', but that he couldn't discern any specifically Scots or Irish characteristics. He did however refer to one singer in another place as 'a tall Scotchman', and noted that a woman singer he and Maud became friendly with was 'Irish cum French cum Indian'. So he wasn't rigid in insisting they were all pure-bred English, although he did generalise in those terms in his introduction to EFSSA.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 08:35 AM

..It's not too hard to imagine he could have felt obliged to doctor the real life complexity of his findings,
to suit the narrower expectations and preconceptions of 'English' establishment publishers and readers...???

I'm sure a lot of us have had to submit to similar reluctant compromises
at times in our lives,
making difficult progress earning a living...

.. see.. I've already started giving Cecil benefit of the doubt...


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 08:39 AM

Brian, many many thanks for this summary, and to Mike too. Obviously I have, and have read, your excellent work in the past but having it summarised like this is very appropriate to the discussion. As you know my work lies mainly in the songs themselves and their histories, but I am still very interested in the personalities.

I am looking closely at Grainger currently who is very much a minor player compared with the others, but one wonders if he would have gone on to do much more with the right encouragement. Instead he simply lost interest.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 09:11 AM

on a slightly different point, no one has mentioned whether he collected any Welsh songs.In either the english ior welsh language.
It would appear that he did not collect in Wales although Karpeles did. So, Brian you are saying that THE OAK AND THE ACORN and the article in Musical Tradtions is inaccurate and poorly researched.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 09:15 AM

Dick, none of the other collectors at that time went into Wales. They should all have been hung, drawn and quartered!


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 09:18 AM

>>>>>So, Brian you are saying that THE OAK AND THE ACORN and the article in Musical Tradtions is inaccurate and poorly researched.<<<<< I think that's a fair interpretation, Dick!


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 09:30 AM

That society did its own collecting in Wales and the article suggests that they didn't think too much of Mr Sharp!

A brief extract:

"There was a paternalistic slant to the English vision, according to which, folk song was a product of ‘unsophisticated humanity’ with the power to remedy ‘the sordid vulgarity of our great city-populations’ as Parry put it or, in Sharp’s terms, while it might be appreciated by ‘cultivated people’, it also had the merit of appealing to and educating ‘the uncritical’, and ‘will do incalculable good in civilizing the masses’. Sharp also saw folk song as a means of ‘stimulating the feeling of patriotism’, and by this he meant very specifically English patriotism. English education was, he said, ‘too cosmopolitan’ and bred ‘citizens of the world rather than Englishmen. And it is Englishmen, English citizens, that we want’.

Seen in this light, it is perhaps not surprising that the Welsh had certain reservations about Cecil Sharp. The working relationships of the folk song collectors of the four British nations were generally close and collaborative, as the mutual contributions to their various journals reveal, but Lloyd Williams thought Sharp proprietorial and domineering in his attitude to the study of folk song, and noted in his journal for 24 October 1909:

Mrs D [Mary Davies, then secretary of the Welsh Folk-Song Society and a noted singer] interviewed C. Sharp. (No one likes him – he is dictatorial and headlong.) Dictated to her – told her that if she wanted to know about Welsh ballads to go to Wynne Jones Carnarvon [!] His astonishment when Mrs D had gone to discover she was ‘the singer’. "


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 10:00 AM

Hang on, I thought we had a separate thread for Wales...?

I think I've made my feelings about 'The Oak and the Acorn' clear. I don't have the time to offer a full rebuttal here, but here's just one example from the article:

"The old, frail, crippled singers that Sharp seems to delight in are only present as anonymous shadows in his work: not once are we given a pen-portrait of a singer that can be remembered."

This is grossly untrue. I gathered together and quoted in full article a substantial number of Sharp's pen-pictures of singers from the Appalachian trips, which are all freely available online for those who care to look. There are also some vivid descriptions in the Karpeles / Fox Strangways biography of a gypsy camp at which he met Betsy Holland, who sang while breast-feeding her baby: 'Talk of folk-singing! It was the finest and most characteristic bit of singing I had ever heard! ... it was one of the most wonderful adventures I have ever had.' This and other quotes telling the opposite story from that presented in 'The Oak and the Acorn' can easily be found in a book that the author reference several times. Either his reading or his quotations are (to put it mildly) very selective.

Sharp didn't 'delight' in old and frail singers. Rather he bemoaned the fact that so many of the people that remembered the old songs in England were elderly. He was delighted, on the other hand, when he came across younger singers like Betsy Holland, or the many he met in Appalachia.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 10:10 AM

All this demonstrates, Dick, is that he was of his time and had a multi-faceted personality. We are all aware of the difficulty he had with some relationships. Endlessly stressing that he didn't collect in Wales is looking rather silly though!


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 10:38 AM

N0,Steve,
it brings in to focus that there is some truth in the asertion here
Sharp also saw folk song as a means of ‘stimulating the feeling of patriotism’, and by this he meant very specifically English patriotism. English education was, he said, ‘too cosmopolitan’ and bred ‘citizens of the world rather than Englishmen. And it is Englishmen, English citizens, that we want’.
we now have two seperate and unconnected [people asserting that he had an English agenda.
the above and the article in Musical Tradtions
are they both wrong .


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 10:46 AM

"anonymous shadows"

One more go. Far from Sharp's singers being anonymous, every single item in his manuscripts is given a date, place and singer's name. In many cases he took photographs of the singers - go on, scroll down and take a look, these are the kind of people Sharp admired and got on with, much better than with some of his peers in the music establishment. And this was at a time when many collectors in the US (e.g. Frank C. Brown) were not naming singers at all, but referring to sources as 'mountain whites', etc.

Here's the aforementioned Betsy Holland.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 10:54 AM

Brian is there any SUBSTANTIAL evidence that Sharp showed any interest in the singers as people in England or Appalachia, as apparantly Baring Gould did in England, or was he just concerned with the songs, Did Sharp ever pay for any of the songs?
I believe that another collector, Kidson did
this information regarding kidson came from relatives of the collector. My info about Sharp, which came from someone who met him.
I know Sharp was briefly a member of the fabians, but i would be interested to see evidence of any later Socialism,
The idea of him being socialist does not tie in with two other articles which mention english song and patriotism


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 11:18 AM

"is there any SUBSTANTIAL evidence that Sharp showed any interest in the singers as people in England or Appalachia, as apparantly Baring Gould did in England, or was he just concerned with the songs, Did Sharp ever pay for any of the songs?"

I have answered all of these points at length and in the affirmative in my previous posts, Dick. Read my paper in the FMJ, and Mike Yates' article on Mustrad, for more detail.

He was certainly interested in the role of folk song in promoting patriotism (and, consequently, of sealing the importance of folk song in the national narrative), but in his day there was no contradiction between patriotism and Fabian socialism. His political views are described in his biography, and in letters I've read in the VWML. In many ways his ideas were in the spirit of William Morris (who he heard lecture at Cambridge) or John Ruskin.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 11:19 AM

Surely the substantial evidence would be his own notes and letters? Who would bother to describe people they're not interested in?


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 12:39 PM

i disagree i think there were differences then between patriotism and   socialism .
oh yes fabian socilism Ramsay macdonald type socialism
Ramsay did use the excuse of patriotism for his forming a national government and his general selling out to the establishment
the fabians were attacked by none other than H G WELLS QUOTE "They permeate English society with their reputed Socialism about as much as a mouse may be said to permeate a cat".
the fabians such as Ramsay Macdonald were very pale pink socilists
Wiki has this top say about his political views
Political views

While at Cambridge, Sharp heard the lectures of William Morris and became a Fabian Socialist and lifelong vegetarian. He was cautious in his public statements, however, feeling that he had much to lose, since, unlike Morris, he was not independently wealthy but dependent on outside funding for his researches. Respectability was important to him, increasingly so as he got older. According to his biographer, Maud Karpeles: "Any display of singularity was displeasing to him; and he followed the convention in behaviour as well as in appearance unless there was a very good reason for departing from them. 'It saves so much trouble,' he would say."[11] During the post World War II "second" British folk revival of the 1950s and 60s, Sharp was occasionally chided for this by leftist critics such as Bert Lloyd. C. J. Bearman writes that "Lloyd was effectively the first to offer public criticism of Sharp and of the first revival generally. This critique was from a Marxist perspective: Lloyd (1908–82) had associated himself with the Communist Party since the 1930s. ... However, he was always more pragmatic than doctrinaire, and he combined criticism of Sharp's philosophy and methods with high and unreserved praise for his motivation and the epic scale of his achievement."

Sharp was against the women's suffrage movement. His sister, Helen Sharp, was an avid Suffragist who risked arrest and violence for her views. Sharp leveraged sexism throughout his career to undermine female leaders in the first folk revival movement in order to advance his own relative standing and commercial value.[12]


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 01:16 PM

Sharp's relationship with his informants is, taking into account the era in which it happened, well documented and exemplary, both in England and in the Appalachians. With perhaps the exception of Alfred Williams all of the collectors were way above their informants in social standing. However, unlike some of the other collectors Sharp needed to make a living from his music, and whilst he can be criticised for some of the things he did, I don't think he can be criticised for this, especially by someone else who makes his living from his music.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 01:58 PM

So Steve, Sharp is no longer an Amatuer, as you previously asserted.
but a professional , who was constrained financially.
I can criticise who i like if its reasonable to criticise Kennedy for not paying singers how is it illogical not to criticise Sharp for not paying singers
however have I not criticised him yet.I asked a question


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 02:06 PM

Actually Sharp's main source of income during the years in the US was from lecturing. He secured grants from Helen Storrow and other benefactors to pursue his collecting expeditions, and cover expenses in accommodation and transport.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 02:35 PM

Dick 100 years from now [pray humanity survives that long..]

Your biographers, and students of your legacy,
will have a right old confusing time
if they rely on your mudcat posts as a primary source...

Imagine the academic fights as they try, from a 22nd Century perspective,
to retrospectively construct an agreed conception of the real Dick...!!!???

==================

Btw.. do you have a more up to date youtube channel.
How about uploading some of your long unavailable LPs
for us to have a listen to...

I wish you'd spend more of your spare time on that sort of project...


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 02:46 PM

Brian did he get a thousand pounds from an american philanthropist?I believe i mentioned this earlier as how he was able to finace such a long distance trip, prior to that he had been limited by cost to coolectin the west country of england is that correct
I am not sure what your comment is in relation to.
i have never talked specifically about how Sharp earned a living in USA.
I made a comment earlier about how Sharp made money from piano arrangements of folk songs which were published for schools at no time did i SAY that this took place while he was in the USA.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 03:12 PM

Dick, sigh, what I said was that all of the collectors at that time were amateurs, not in the monetary sense, but in the academic sense, i.e., no training or qualification in folklore. Sharp had musical qualifications but all of the collectors were self-taught in that they were pioneers. There were no qualifications in folk-song collecting, so in that sense they were all amateurs, even Baring Gould and Kidson who were the most knowledgeable.

As for paying the singers, none of the collectors I have known have ever paid singers. Apart from the impracticalities you'd have to have very deep pockets, and someone like Sharp would have soon run out of funds. If there was some moral obligation to do this many many songs would have disappeared completely. Nobody ever got rich from collecting folk-songs. Even people like Scott struggled at times. Having said that Sharp was very generous to his singers in many other ways which are documented in the preface and intro to EFSSA.

Get off your high horse, Dick.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 03:15 PM

Here's some fun Victorian cultural context...

It's nearly 4 decades since I last read any Haggard,
so my memories of my diseration research are mostly long gone..

But I can contribute a heavily redacted for spoilers
still favourite quotation from one of his best novels published in the 1880s..

[well.. someone might still want to read it for their first time...???]

Haggard was an ex colonial administrator turned prolific hack writer.
A good 10,000 words a day to pay his bills.
His popular adventure stories were big sellers,
but he had aspirations to be a serious writer.
Sadly his more arty work was a bit too rubbish..

Anyway,...

"I hope I may be able to bring him up to become what an English gentleman should be,
and generally is—which is to my mind even a prouder and a finer thing
than being born heir apparent to the great House of ... ........,
and, indeed, the highest rank that a man can reach upon this earth.
"

That's the prevailing god given nationalist dogma Sharp was also an obvious product of...

pfr - English Gentleman...


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 03:27 PM

Whilst Sharp's personality and behaviour in the early 19th century is interesting, controversial and a good discussion topic, at least for me what is far more important is his legacy. The songs themselves were recorded in the best way available to him at the time (with the possible exception of the use of the phonograph) and even his campaign to put folksongs into schools was very successful. Those songs I sang in school at least partially inspired me to follow the course I have done. The first question we need to ask when criticising (and I have done as much of this as anyone) is would his legacy have been as great without the methods he used and the aspects we criticise.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 04:42 PM

Thanks, Joe!


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 05:59 PM

I don't see why being of a higher social standing would prevent someone striking up a rapport with the 'common man'

It would be a useful skill in many middle and upper classes jobs. Being able to get on with and be liked by the servants would for most be better that the opposite. Many of those younger sons of the minor gentry who became parsons would have been able to empathize with parishioners undergoing the trials and tribulations of live.

I guess they could have feigned interest in the common folks customs, but Sharp clearly had an aesthetic appreciation of the songs and the way they were sung.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 06:08 PM

Always good to hear from knowledgeable people ... thanks Brian, Mike and Steve.
At 12.39, Dick (The Sandman) wrote this: "Sharp was against the women's suffrage movement. His sister, Helen Sharp, was an avid Suffragist who risked arrest and violence for her views."
Not sure if this is a quote from elsewhere.
Whatever, it needs correcting.
Sharp's sister was Evelyn, who was a suffragette not a suffragist. She served time in prison for her actions. Cecil did not agree with her tactics, but nevertheless invited her to the Stratford summer school in 1913 just after her release from prison. She declined, but they decided not to quarrel about suffragette actions. Evelyn wrote in a letter to him that she was yet to be convinced that he was a confirmed "Anti". At the time of her campaigning, he was teaching the royal princes and distanced himself from her actions. He was 10 years older than her, had been away at school and then in Australia when she was growing up, so they weren't particularly close. In the 1920s, and then after his death, Evelyn became more active in folk dancing and served on various committees of the EFDS. For more see Angela John, Evelyn Sharp: Rebel Woman, 1869-1955 MUP 2009.
Derek Schofield


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 03:02 AM

Derek, I stated it was from wiki. please read
Wiki has this top say about his political views
Political views

While at Cambridge, Sharp heard the lectures of William Morris and became a Fabian Socialist and lifelong vegetarian. He was cautious in his public statements, however, feeling that he had much to lose, since, unlike Morris, he was not independently wealthy but dependent on outside funding for his researches. Respectability was important to him, increasingly so as he got older. According to his biographer, Maud Karpeles: "Any display of singularity was displeasing to him; and he followed the convention in behaviour as well as in appearance unless there was a very good reason for departing from them. 'It saves so much trouble,' he would say."[11] During the post World War II "second" British folk revival of the 1950s and 60s, Sharp was occasionally chided for this by leftist critics such as Bert Lloyd. C. J. Bearman writes that "Lloyd was effectively the first to offer public criticism of Sharp and of the first revival generally. This critique was from a Marxist perspective: Lloyd (1908–82) had associated himself with the Communist Party since the 1930s. ... However, he was always more pragmatic than doctrinaire, and he combined criticism of Sharp's philosophy and methods with high and unreserved praise for his motivation and the epic scale of his achievement."

Sharp was against the women's suffrage movement. His sister, Helen Sharp, was an avid Suffragist who risked arrest and violence for her views. Sharp leveraged sexism throughout his career to undermine female leaders in the first folk revival movement in order to advance his own relative standing and commercial value.[12]


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 03:22 AM

Peter Kennedy was a collector who it is alleged, exploited his singers   

I am now going to quote wiki   QUOTE WIKI QUOTE WIKI QUOTE WIKI

Peter's father, Douglas Kennedy (1893–1988), was EFDSS director after Cecil Sharp, and his mother Helen, was founding secretary of EFDSS and the sister of Cecil Sharp's amanuensis Maud Karpeles.[1][2] His great-aunt was Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser, folk song collector and author, his aunt was Maud Karpeles.END OF WIKI QUOTE
I ask myself where did Kennedy get his attitudes from,his close relatives were allrelated or in verey cklose associoation with Cecil Sharp and Cecil Sharp House, were Kennedys attitudes handed down to him from his close relatives?
please note this is a question.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 03:48 AM

like A L Lloyd.
i appreciate the volume of Sharps collecting, I also appreciate the volume of Kennedys collections.
Like Lloyd my critique of Sharp is from a Marxist perspective.
I am to some extent suspicious that Kennedys attitudes were not handed down from his Father and relatives, and that makes me question as they were [particularly Karpeles] very close to Sharp, whether OR NOT this originally emenated from Cecil Sharp., there is probably no proof
It is possible that Peter Kennedy did not pick up his attitudes from his close relatives, but my experience of life has proven to me time and again that environment and childhood upbringing mould attitudes.
   The idea later proclaimed by the Jesuits is very old – give us a child till he’s seven and we’ll have him for life.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 03:56 AM

Sharp died when Peter Kennedy was 2 years old , did you not know that?
however despite that rubbish about toast for breakfast
there was a close family connection between Karpeles[ kennedys Aunt] and Peter Kennedy


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 06:13 AM

Sandman. You seem to be throwing out questions which have already been answered elsewhere. For example, Sharp and an American friend tried in vain to obtain funding for his collecting trips from various American foundations, but without success. So Mrs Storrow, an American philanthropist, gave him $1000 in 1916. Sharp kept meticulous accounts of this money and was able to tell her that by the end of that year's collecting he had spent $650, adding 'and have now 350 in hand, which I am leaving in the bank here as a nest-egg for my next campaign. I used it very freely chiefly in order to save time e.g. by hiring a motor when I could possibly have done without one, or by giving a generous gratuity to a singer to stimulate the memory. Maud, of course, as she always does, insisted in paying her-own expenses.' At one point Mrs Storrow offered to pay to have Sharp and his family move to America.
Then you talk about his lack of interest in the Appalachian singers. Not true. He gave copies of his photographic portraits to the singers and paid for the daughter of a singing family to go to school. His notebooks are full of comments about the singers, such as the following, 'The Mitchells are a wonderful clan, living in a small narrow creek about a mile from the hotel. They are considered a very low-down lot by the richer people here who wonder why we like them & go there so often.'
There is so much that has now been written about Cecil Sharp and his Appalachian collection that it seems odd that some people cannot take the time to actually read this, rather than continually trying to set out their own ideas of what might have happened, rather than what actually happened. I should have thought that during the various lock-downs people would have spent the time actually reading this available literature.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 06:20 AM

Sandman, you say:

'I am to some extent suspicious that Kennedys attitudes were not handed down from his Father and relatives, and that makes me question as they were [particularly Karpeles] very close to Sharp, whether OR NOT this originally emenated from Cecil Sharp.,'

This sounds like 'guilt by association' and is almost certainly untrue. Mind you, both men lived in London, though at different times, so there could be an association there...


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 06:27 AM

Sandman ... you don't need to SHOUT .... if you want to quote from somewhere else, just use the stablished practice of putting quote marks before and after ... and anyway, if you had read my message you will have seen that whether it was a quote or not, it needed correcting ...
Derek (that's my real name)


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 06:32 AM

To add to what Mike Yates just explained:

I stated in my first post that Sharp did pay singers cash, at least during the first Appalachian trip, which is the only one for which I was able to find figures. The amounts ranged up to $5 (the online calculator I used at the time estimated that at $100 in today's values), and seem to be have been graded to some extent according to the number of songs Sharp collected - so Mary Sands, his first seriously good informant, got the full $5. Surprisingly, he paid the same amount to the locally-famous ballad singer William Riley Shelton ('Frizzly Bill'), despite rating him a poor singer who couldn't stay in tune or remember his words. All became clear when I found a letter in the Campbell archives explaining that Frizzly had later confessed to having drunk an entire bottle of moonshine on his way to meeting Sharp!

In addition to those payments and the other gifts I listed, there was the well-documented assistance to the Hensley family to pay their daughter's expenses on starting school at 13 (some of which came out of Maud Karpeles' own pocket). When Maud returned to the mountains 32 years later, the daughter, Emma, greeted her like a long-lost bosom friend, and asked could she please have another copy of Sharp's song book, as the community had worn out the old one.

I don't know whether he paid any singers in England, though the gift of a concertina to Louie Hooper is well-known. It was in the museum at Taunton. last time I looked.

Thanks Derek for that clarification regarding Evelyn Sharp. I'd trust Derek over Wiki every time.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 06:49 AM

Further to the above. Here is Sharp's comment about the Virginian singer Adolphus 'Dol' Small and his family:

'Went with Dol Smalls, a most delightful family, Dol and his wife and 12 children, all smiling! They sang to us and then adjourned to the next house where there was a new and quite good piano upon which I operated greatly to the delight of the family who smiled more than ever! They are really a delightful and happy lot and it was a great pleasure to be able to return them something.'

This, of course, says as much about Sharp as it does about the Small family.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 07:05 AM

Guest. Mike Yates, thankyou for your posts, since you ask, i am busy insulating my house and do not have as much time as some people, when i am not doing that i am playing and singing trad songs and tunes,some of them were collected by Sharp, this would probably meet with his approval that was his idea, that the songs should be sung.
Derek Schofield if you read posts carefully, you would see my post said
Wiki has this top say about his political views
Political views

While at Cambridge, Sharp heard the lectures of William Morris and became a Fabian Socialist and lifelong vegetarian. He was cautious in his public statements, however, feeling that he had much to lose, since, unlike Morris, he was not independently wealthy but dependent on outside funding for his researches. Respectability was important to him, increasingly so as he got older. According to his biographer, Maud Karpeles: "Any display of singularity was displeasing to him; and he followed the convention in behaviour as well as in appearance unless there was a very good reason for departing from them. 'It saves so much trouble,' he would say."[11] During the post World War II "second" British folk revival of the 1950s and 60s, Sharp was occasionally chided for this by leftist critics such as Bert Lloyd. C. J. Bearman writes that "Lloyd was effectively the first to offer public criticism of Sharp and of the first revival generally. This critique was from a Marxist perspective: Lloyd (1908–82) had associated himself with the Communist Party since the 1930s. ... However, he was always more pragmatic than doctrinaire, and he combined criticism of Sharp's philosophy and methods with high and unreserved praise for his motivation and the epic scale of his achievement."

Sharp was against the women's suffrage movement. His sister, Helen Sharp, was an avid Suffragist who risked arrest and violence for her views. Sharp leveraged sexism throughout his career to undermine female leaders in the first folk revival movement in order to advance his own relative standing and commercial value.[12]
That is quite clear it is a post from wiki. not my own opinion or something i made up.
Derek Schofield. you know my real name too, you used my christian name, so what is the meaning of that? you think it needs correcting go to wiki and correct the article.
I am interested in trad music and the background of the songs and the singers and particularly singing the songs, you are interested in correcting scholastic mistakes. i have no problem, with that each to their own, but the place to effectively correct WIKI is wiki itself.
Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 07:34 AM

Mike Yates, that does not convince me, you cannot seriously believe that in a household so closely related to Sharp, that the ethics and morality of song collecting was not discussed.
To be fair to Sharp he died when Peter Kennedy was 2 years old, Maud Karpeles however lived until 1976, and was his aunt and lived until Peter Kennedy was in his fifties and Peter.Kennedy his collecting in the 50 60 and 70s.
I encounterd Peter Kennedys attitude first hand he believed he owned the songs, that song was mine, he said in refernce to The Bald Headed End of The Broom. The fact that i got it from a book that i had bought from him, cut no ice.
his behaviour took place over years when Karpeles was alive and was common knowledge. Lou Killen gave me a fifteen minute lecture about him, and what a bollocks he was.
I believe he was protected because of his relatives, so naturally i ask the question where did he get these collecting attitudes from Douglas Kennedy?Maud Karpeles?Cecil Sharp.
would Maud Karpeles and Douglas Kennedy and CecilSharp have vastly differing opinions on how to treat song informants, these are questions not statements


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 07:45 AM

Brian, thankyou for the information regarding Sharp and payment.
I had not read your post and had cross posted.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 07:58 AM

I've been through my old notes, and found a few of those pen-pictures of Appalachian singers. As with the passage about the Small family quoted above, they tell you a lot about Sharp's and Karpeles' attitudes to, and relationships with, the mountain singers.

On Julie Boone, Micaville, NC [Fair copy notebook, 03/10/1918]:
Mrs. Boone is 49 years old. Her neighbours call her ‘Quar’, i.e. crazy, but this is an exaggeration. She has plenty of brain and talks well and intelligently. But she is very reserved and rarely talks to anyone except when someone talks to her. She lives with her father and a brother, i.e. nominally, for she is rarely at home, wandering all round the country bare-footed and staying wherever she happens to be when it is dark. Her neighbours and kinsfolk like her and she is always welcome in their houses. She was quite ready to sing and evidently enjoyed it. Many of her songs she learned from her father. We had some difficulty in finding her, but eventually traced her at Micaville where she was lodging with a relative, Mr. Tom Chrison (accent on 2nd syllable). Chrison is said to be an Indian name."

Also on Ms. Boone:
[MS Fair copy, 25/9/1918] "[She] evidently had a great deal to do with negroes sometime in her life… she sings many of their spirituals."

On Frances (Mrs. Ebenezer) Richards [Diary, 16.8.1918]
"Then went on a half-mile to a Mrs Ebe Richards, who to our joy proved to be a first-rate singer, the first we have struck this trip. She sang me a dozen and then it was time to get back — nearly 3 p.m! I found our hostess rather sniffy as the two singers we had tapped and were now praising were not on the "approved" list. We were told bloodcurdling stories of the escapades of their fathers & near relations, their rascality & low mentality etc. O these missionaries. Their whole life seems set upon nosing out what is objectionable in anybody — except themselves of course — and ignoring the good."

Maud Karpeles added something even more telling regarding Ms. Richards in her unpublished autobiography (p. 87):
"The last mission school at which we stayed was St. Peter in Franklin County and one of our best singers was Mrs. Ebe Richards with whom we became very friendly. I heard later from Mr. Winston Wilkinson, a collector of folk songs, that he had called at her house to enquire about songs. She was not there, so he explained his mission to her little daughter who offered to fetch her mother from the cornfields. Mrs. Richards came running hot-foot to the house, but when she saw Mr. Wilkinson her face fell and almost weeping she exclaimed: 'But it's not Mr Sharp; and over and over she repeated; 'But he said he would come back.'"

On Aunt Maria Tombs, Nellysford, VA, one of two black singers Sharp met [Fair copy notebook, 22.05.1918]:
"Aunt Maria is an old coloured woman, aged 85, who was a slave belonging to Mrs Coleman who freed her after the war and gave her the log cabin in which she now lives, which used to be the overseer's home. I found her sitting in front of the cabin smoking a pipe. We sang (to) her ... which delighted her beyond anything and made her dub me 'A soldier of Christ'. She sang very beautifully in a wonderfully musical way and with clear and perfect intonation."


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 08:31 AM

Thanks Derek for that clarification regarding Evelyn Sharp. I'd trust Derek over Wiki every time.
quote from Brian Peters
It is very simple, Derek Schofield can correct the article in wiki. Thankyou for the further information about Sharp


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 08:45 AM

Following on from my previous post, I seem to remember that what Cecil and Maud sang to Aunt Maria, that made her dub him 'a soldier of Christ' was the spiritual 'O Sinner Man', that they'd collected recently. However, I can't double-check this since the VWML online archive keeps giving me a 'Error(503) Maintenance' message. I've been getting this intermittently for days now. Is anyone else having the same problem?


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 08:46 AM

Peter Kennedy got many of his ideas about collecting (and how to make money from it) from meeting Alan Lomax, especially when the latter was in the UK in the 1950's.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 01:51 PM

Hi Brian
I've been using the VWML online intensively for the past couple of weeks to download all of Grainger's material, and I haven't encountered a single problem.

Dick,
Peter was very much his own man and whatever failings he had were all his own. His mother and father were very much into dance and I've seen no evidence that they had any interest in song at all. They were friends of a friend but I never met them. He would certainly have gained a lot of kudos from his family connections and as part of the EFDSS hierarchy, but unless you have any sort of evidence that his failings were a family trait then I would leave this line alone. Please let Mike's response answer your question.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 01:52 PM

Joe, or whoever, thanks for correcting my typo!



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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: RTim
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 01:56 PM

Regarding Error Messages when using the EDSS Archive...I have been in touch with them directly and they are trying to sort it out. Tiffany and Malcolm have it in hand.
It only seems to happen when doing Advanced searches on the Archive - I have been getting constant errors.....

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 02:27 PM

Thanks Steve and Tim. The key point, as Tim says, is the use of the Advanced Search facility, which is what I was doing. Using the ordinary Search box worked OK (though obviously you can't refine it very much.

And, as a result of that information, I can confirm that Sharp and Karpeles did indeed sing 'The Sinner Man' for Aunt Maria Tomes.

You may be interested in what Sharp had to say about his first encounter with 'The Sinner Man', in a letter to Olive Dame Campbell [for context, 'holiness people' were Holy Roller Christian converts, usually forbidden by their preachers from singing old ballads - which were known in the mountains as 'love songs']:

“I got one very interesting song from some delightful ‘holiness’ people. I heard a woman singing and tracked her by the sound and found it was a holiness hymn... The form is that of the ballad and the tune is a very beautiful one – the singer said it didn’t come from a book, but I am wondering whether it is one of the modern hymns, of folk origins as so many of them are. The tune is a variant of ‘What shall we do with the Drunken Sailor’. The woman who sang it Mrs Samples is such a nice woman and she calls me the Sinner Man and has a fine sense of humour. Her mother sings and also her grandmother, not by any means an old woman… They are all holiness people but the grandmother doesn’t mind singing love-songs. She has known Lamkin and the Drowned Sailor if she could but recall them. I got a fine tune to some modern words The Lonesome Prairie wh[ich] I expect you know, from a Mrs Polly Patrick..."

This single extract dispels any notion that Sharp completely ignored hymns and modern songs - which has been asserted repeatedly by American writers.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 03:18 PM

I'm sorry, whilst there is plenty to criticise in what the earlier collectors did and didn't do, you can't have it both ways. You either set out to collect as a folklorist and record every last nuance, lifestyle and word of a small number of people in one small area, or you choose a specialism and try to collect as much as you can of your chosen genre. Both actions are creditable and necessary, but in one lifetime you can't do both and live a normal life at the same time.

Of those who were reasonably successful at collecting almost everything without financial backing probably Vance Randolph comes the nearest.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 03:24 PM

Steve, I saw Mikes response shortly after he posted, hours ago, it is interesting, why should i not accept it.
However i would appreciate it if you did not try to tell me what to do


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 03:54 PM

Will do, Dick!


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: MartinNail
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 06:33 PM

Re the problems with the VWML Advanced search, as Tim says, Tiffany and Malcolm are aware of the problem and are seeking to resolve it.

In my experience the problem only occurs if (a) you select the Archive catalogues filter and (b) you search on a single term. Searching on two terms (whether in the same field or not) doesn't seem to be a problem.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 06:40 PM

You're right, Martin - thanks for the advice.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Dec 20 - 12:35 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Dec 20 - 02:21 PM

but now i find Colin Irwin says this "It was Herring who picked up on the fact that at a time when 13% of the population in the Appalachians was black, Sharp wilfully ignored them. He collected only two songs from black singers, one of them being Barbara Allen, learned from "Aunt" Maria Tomes, an 85-year-old former slave he found smoking a pipe in a log cabin in Nellysford, Virginia in 1918. " 66 and 99 quote marks particularly for Derek Schofield... Derek please note this is a quote from a longer article by Colin Irwin. here is the rest of the article
Colin Irwin
Thu 24 Mar 2011 22.30 GMT

5
4

It sounds like some hideous TV reality show dreamed up by Simon Cowell and Andrew Lloyd Webber during a night on the lash. Dump eight folk-music celebrities in a secluded house in Shropshire and give them six days to create from scratch a suite of songs to be performed in front of paying audiences in Shrewsbury and London and then recorded for a live album. Careers have been destroyed on less whimsical ideas.

The subject of their mission is Cecil Sharp, the great song collector whose work in the early years of the 20th century helped lay the foundations of the modern folk revival.

Visiting them on day three at their remote hideaway – a rambling farmhouse near Church Stretton – you anticipate plenty of carnage: frayed tempers, blood on the carpet, egos splattered on walls, creativity-devouring levels of tension in the air.

But no, instead, they are ... dancing. Part of their brief is to incorporate Sharp's collecting trips to the Appalachian mountains, and Leonard Podolak, an extrovert, shaggy-haired Canadian taking time out from his band the Duhks, is using this as an excuse to lighten the mood and teach the others some audience-rousing step-dance moves.

"It's going pretty well," says Steve Knightley, frontman with Show of Hands and unofficial father of the house. "We came in on Friday, had a Chinese takeaway, listened to a talk about Sharp, got drunk and started work."

It sounds as if Knightley almost cracked it on that first night. "The women all went to bed and the rest of us sat in the kitchen strumming and talking, and in the space of that time Steve wrote three songs one after another," says singer, writer and multi-instrumentalist Jim Moray in wonder. "He'd play a chord and off the top of his head sing something, anything, and say: 'I'll just record that on my phone.' Some of the words are nonsense and don't gel, but he goes back and develops it. I can't do that. I can't sit there free-associating nonsense, because I feel so self-conscious about it. But Steve has that confidence in his own ability to do that."

Operating under the umbrella of the Shrewsbury folk festival, where the Cecil Sharp Project will be staged at the end of August, project director Neil Pearson's choice of artists reflects personal taste as much as any scientific assessment of personalities. "I had a long list of about 40 artists who I thought could make it work. I approached 10 of them first of all, and the eight who said yes are the eight we have here."

"I'm not getting involved in the creative process at all," says Pearson, who masterminded a similar project to mark the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth, two years ago. "The only thing I've said is that I'd like them to start and end with ensemble pieces. The rest is entirely up to them. I'm very confident the musicians we have will come up with something special."

Considering the time strictures, they do all seem remarkably laidback, gathering in little clutches around the house. Fuelled by a constant flow of iced coffee, Leonard Podolak is a loud and relentless force of nature, carrying his laptop around to treat housemates to his favourite YouTube clips, banjo glued to his arm, shouting, "I'm a Cheatham County chitlin-cooking lover ..." at the top of his voice to anyone within earshot. Chitlins are a dish made from pig's intestines, and he's trying out a song that confronts the dietary limitations encountered by the vegetarian Sharp on his journey into the Appalachians.

In the kitchen, meanwhile, some more genteel interaction involves Jackie Oates and Kathryn Roberts practising glorious harmonies on Seeds of Love, the first traditional song collected by Sharp. He heard it sung by a gardener, John England, while taking tea with his friend, the Rev Charles Marson in Hambridge, Somerset in 1903. In another room, Moray fleshes out a guitar arrangement as Knightley toys with darker images of Sharp on his deathbed, haunted by the ghosts of the singers from whom he's collected music demanding the return of their songs.

The subject of Cecil Sharp has long divided folk-song scholars. The popular image is of a charming eccentric cycling around Somerset knocking on people's doors persuading old ladies to sing him their lovely old songs so he could save them from extinction, and preserve them through his books and lectures to provide a formidable harvest for future generations to enjoy and plunder. The conflicting modernist view is of a controlling manipulator who presented a false idyll of rural England by excluding anything that didn't fit his agenda, moulding himself as an untouchable icon of the folk-song movement in the process.

Either way it's a compelling story. At a time when other folk song collectors such as George Butterworth were dying in the trenches during the first world war, Sharp was on a mission in the US, battling ill-health exacerbated by the oppressive climate as he obsessively attempted to unravel the heart of the old world in the purity of folk songs he found in the new. "It is strenuous work," he wrote. "There are no roads in our sense of the word ... I go about in a blue shirt, a pair of flannel trousers with a belt, a Panama hat and an umbrella. The heat is very trying ..."

And that's about as much as he reveals about himself, frustrating the songwriter in Knightley, who considers Sharp a far tougher nut to crack than Charles Darwin. "With Darwin you had world-changing views, with all the reaction to that from the religious side, plus the geography, the travel, the exotic flora and fauna ... and no music to distract you. With Sharp there's this great body of work, and nothing about the man."

This may in no small part be due to Maud Karpeles, Sharp's faithful assistant on those epic expeditions into the Appalachians, who fiercely protected his legacy following his death in 1924, writing an anodyne biography that depicted him as a saint. "What we all really want to know is: did Cecil shag Maud?' says Knightley to nervous hilarity in the house, with enough secretive giggling over hastily written lyrics and nascent choruses to suggest such lascivious suggestions are indeed being considered as an irreverent song topic.

"Sharp was definitely all about the work," says Moray. "His diaries are informative, but they just say things like '2pm: dinner with Miss Hamer. 6pm: theatre.' If he had ulterior motives – whether political or whatever – they weren't mentioned or documented. Most people have arrived at this idea of him being a controlling, sanitising man, but I don't think it was malicious or sinister. I just think he was very driven. I don't believe he was rewriting history the way some people imagine."

Hailing from Canton, Mississippi, Caroline Herring knows all about Sharp's US collecting trips. "The ballads I've heard since childhood, like Fair and Tender Ladies, Barbara Allen, Knoxville Girl, make up the standard bluegrass tunes I first played. I jumped at the chance to come here. A folk music career in the US is not always showy and sexy, so it was a dream to come over here and work with these musicians. I go online at night and read about how they're all stars and come back down and have pancakes with them in the morning."

It was Herring who picked up on the fact that at a time when 13% of the population in the Appalachians was black, Sharp wilfully ignored them. He collected only two songs from black singers, one of them being Barbara Allen, learned from "Aunt" Maria Tomes, an 85-year-old former slave he found smoking a pipe in a log cabin in Nellysford, Virginia in 1918. Suitably inspired by this footnote, Herring and Knightley start working up a vehement blues telling Aunt Maria's story.

Exhausted, they all gradually drift off to bed, half-written songs and scraps of tunes spinning round their heads. Yet deep into the early hours, the group's two main mischief makers, Podolak and Cutting, are still swapping tunes, jokes and video clips before deciding to make a pancake mix for breakfast. When he surfaces a couple of hours later next morning, Podolak says he still couldn't sleep. "When I went to bed I wrote this brilliant three-part tune entirely in my head, but I was too tired to get up and now I can't remember any of it. I wish I had one of those frickin' iPhones."

You wonder if Cecil Sharp might have thought the same.

The Cecil Sharp Project performs at Cecil Sharp House, London, on Saturday and Sunday.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Dec 20 - 02:46 PM

I just hope none of their vivid imaginations ever get recorded as facts! Which is what sometimes happens.

I have looked at the material recorded in America from African Americans in the period from c1900 to c1920 and although there are a few fragments of ballads there is very little else in the way of ballads. One presumes Sharp was either aware of this or had actually experienced it early in his travels. The fact that he did record some songs from them surely shows that he wasn't actively avoiding them.
He perceived that people he met who had the best ballad repertoires were of English extraction. I very much doubt that any of the African Americans he would meet were of English extraction.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Dec 20 - 02:58 PM

it is very confusing
sharif says one thing ,irwin says 16 per cent of appachians were black, but he only collects two songs,Which seems to agree withS harif
Brian Peters says "it irritates me a lot to read poorly-researched, biased and blatantly inaccurate writing concerning Sharp in the mountains"
Derek please note that is a quote from Peters Irwin is also a quote


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 11 Dec 20 - 04:58 PM

The Cecil Sharp Project; The song writers had an introductory talk from Roy Palmer.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Dec 20 - 05:30 AM

Sandman, you're scraping the barrel now. I know Michael Gove said we've all had enough of experts, and that there are always 'alternative facts' available to suit your argument, so if you want to take newspaper journalism over peer-reviewed research, that's up to you. Others may take a different view, however.

'What we all really want to know is: did Cecil shag Maud?'

This is not what 'we all want to know', because anyone who knows anything about the people concerned knows it's utter nonsense: grubby prurience that shows scant respect for Maud Karpeles, never mind Sharp. Heads should be hung in shame for printing that. Only Jim Moray comes out of this article with credit.

'irwin says 16 per cent of appachians were black

The figure quoted in the article is actually 13%, but the figure for Madison County, where Sharp spent much of the first trip, for instance, was considerably lower. I've already explained that Sharp and Karpeles were directed to areas where the population was overwhelmingly English / Scots-Irish, because their priority was to find British folk songs. I've gone over my notes and will post some figures about the origin of the songs they collected when I have more time.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Dec 20 - 05:33 AM

'The Cecil Sharp Project; The song writers had an introductory talk from Roy Palmer.'

Henry, while I have enormous respect for Roy Palmer as a researcher, he was not an expert on Sharp in Appalachia. One wonders why someone with real knowledge of the field, like Mike Yates, wasn't called on to brief the musicians.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Dec 20 - 05:46 AM

Steve, regarding British ballads collected from black singers:

Sharp and Karpeles noted down 'Barbara Allen' from Aunt Maria Tomes / Tombs, also 'Lord Thomas & Fair Ellender' and 'Sweet William & Lady Margaret' from Sinda Walker, who according to Sharp was probably of mixed race and 'sang very beautifully'.

'Our Goodman' / 'Three Nights Drunk' was in the repertoire of several black singers including Coley Jones, and was the basis for Blind Lemon Jefferson's 'Cat Man Blues':

'When I come home last night I heard a noise, asked my wife, "What was that?"
She said, "Don't be so suspicious, that wasn't a thing but a cat"
I've been all through the world, I've taken all kinds of chance
I haven't seen a cat come home in a pair of pants'

Not only did Leadbelly have 'Gallis Pole' in his repertoire; versions of 'The Maid Freed from the Gallows' were noted in several African-American communities according to Alphonso Smith, who reported one instance of the song's action being acted out.

I've an idea 'Sir Hugh' was sung by African-Americans as well.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 20 - 06:36 AM

Brian I am only interested in getting the confusion sorted out. i dislike poorly researched information as much as you do.
I certainly am not scraping the barrel as you put it., you see you seem to be mistakenly saying that i am suggesting irwin and sharif are right. i am pointing out the confusing material, is available about Sharp, there is no need to be defensive, think about it poisitively it gives you a chance to publicise your own research
t
I am well aware of Leadbellys repertoire and his singing of the the gallus pole, i mentioned it on this thread way back, before anybody else


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 20 - 06:44 AM

The sad thing as far as i am concerned is that there are a good proportion people in the uk folk revival who are not interested in Sharp or traditional songs, or the singers he collected from.and who might briefly glance at material from reputable magazines and journalists on the subject and end up as i did,with certain impressions of Sharp on the google ratings sharif and irwins material appeared early


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 20 - 06:45 AM

then we have derek schofield complaining about wiki but making no attempt to rectify the information, that is the point about wiki it can be corrected


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Dec 20 - 07:01 AM

'The sad thing as far as i am concerned is that there are a good proportion people in the uk folk revival who are not interested in Sharp or traditional songs, or the singers he collected from.and who might briefly glance at material from reputable magazines and journalists on the subject and end up as i did,with certain impressions of Sharp'

We can certainly agree on that, Dick. I set out on my research with the impression that Sharp was a rather nasty piece of work, or at best a fusty old snob. That impression didn't last when I read his writings. Mike Yates has said something similar about altering his impressions.

Re wiki, I thought you had to be an approved editor to alter it?


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 12 Dec 20 - 09:53 AM

Brian, I was invited to talk to the Cecil Sharp Project Team, but there was just something about it that I did not like. And I am glad that I wasn't involve, especially hearing their song 'Maud & Cecil'.


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Subject: RE: Sharp in Appalachia
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 20 - 10:11 AM

Who writes the entries? Anyone can - it's open to all and can be modified and edited by anyone. However, Wikipedia's administrators protect some pages from direct editing if they believe they are regularly subjected to "vandalism" - the addition of abusive language or falsehoods
How do I correct a Wikipedia entry?
Just hit the "edit" button on the top right of the page, make the correction, and hit "Publish changes". If you want to learn more about editing, try our help pages. If you can't or don't want to fix an error, your best approach is to leave a note at the talk page of the article explaining the problem.


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