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Robin Hood ballads

DigiTrad:
BOLD ROBIN HOOD AND THE PEDLAR
BOLD ROBIN HOOD AND THE THREE SQUIRES
ROBIN HOOD AND ALAN A DALE
ROBIN HOOD AND GUY OF GISBORNE
ROBIN HOOD AND LITTLE JOHN
ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARION
ROBIN HOOD AND THE BUTCHER (A)
ROBIN HOOD AND THE PEDLARS
ROBIN HOOD AND THE SHEPHERD
ROBIN HOOD AND THE TINKER
ROBIN HOOD RESCUING WILL STUTLY
ROBIN HOOD'S BIRTH & BREEDING...
ROBIN HOOD'S DEATH
ROBIN HOOD'S DEATH (2)
ROBIN HOOD'S DELIGHT
ROBIN REDBRIEST'S TESTAMENT


Related threads:
New book on Robin Hood by John Matthews (5)
Lyr Req: parody on the story of Robin Hood (9)
Lyr Req: Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters (21)
Tune Req: Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford (13)
Lyr Req: Robin Hood song (25)
Robin Hood in the Crusades? (69)
Accents: Russel Crowe and Robin Hood? (76)
Songs combining christmas and Robin Hood (14)
Lyr Req: 'Robin Hood ' 1950s TV Theme (15)
Lyr Req: Robin Hood Rescuing the Three Squires (6)
(origins) Origins: Since Robin Hood (Thomas Weelkes) (3)
Lyr Req: Modern Day Robin Hood (2)
Corrections on 'The Death of Robin Hood' (20)
Lyr Req: Robin Head the Pusher (Fred Wedlock) (8)
Robin Hood songs on albums? (16)
Songs about Robin Hood (21)
Lyr Req: A good song for Little John please (38)
Tune Req: Robin Hood and the Pedlar #132 (8)
Lyr Add: In Sherwood Lived Stout Robin (7)
Penguin: Robin Hood And The Pedlar (5)
Folklore: Robin Hood group in Toronto, Nov. 2003 (4)
Lyr Req: a pusher called robin hood (9)
Robin Hood/Jesse James (17)
(origins) Robin Hood ballads - in Canada (9)
Lyr Req: 'Adventures of Robin Hood' theme (15)
Tune Req: Robin Hood Marian (1)
Lyr/Tune Add: The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood (3)


Hester 08 Apr 03 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,Lighter 08 Apr 03 - 04:55 PM
Harry Basnett 08 Apr 03 - 05:01 PM
Anglo 08 Apr 03 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Q 08 Apr 03 - 05:42 PM
Blackcatter 08 Apr 03 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,Q 08 Apr 03 - 06:29 PM
Stewie 08 Apr 03 - 06:53 PM
Leadfingers 08 Apr 03 - 07:03 PM
Little Robyn 08 Apr 03 - 07:20 PM
Hester 08 Apr 03 - 07:51 PM
Susan of DT 08 Apr 03 - 08:24 PM
masato sakurai 08 Apr 03 - 10:47 PM
Rick Fielding 09 Apr 03 - 12:13 AM
Art Thieme 09 Apr 03 - 12:38 AM
Warsaw Ed 09 Apr 03 - 01:38 AM
Trevor 09 Apr 03 - 04:49 AM
alanabit 09 Apr 03 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 09 Apr 03 - 07:31 AM
mandomad 09 Apr 03 - 07:35 AM
alanabit 09 Apr 03 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,Dan In Nova Scotia 09 Apr 03 - 09:10 AM
Hester 09 Apr 03 - 11:47 AM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Apr 03 - 12:53 PM
nutty 09 Apr 03 - 12:59 PM
nutty 09 Apr 03 - 01:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Apr 03 - 01:41 PM
Hester 09 Apr 03 - 03:39 PM
Harry Basnett 09 Apr 03 - 04:37 PM
nutty 09 Apr 03 - 05:58 PM
Hester 09 Apr 03 - 06:49 PM
BUTTERFLY 22 Apr 03 - 05:24 AM
masato sakurai 22 Apr 03 - 06:51 AM
GUEST 05 Jun 04 - 07:23 PM
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GUEST,raymond greenoaken 29 Oct 11 - 09:42 AM
kendall 29 Oct 11 - 10:37 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 11 - 12:06 PM
DrugCrazed 30 Oct 11 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 30 Oct 11 - 05:01 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 11 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 30 Oct 11 - 07:04 AM
Dave Hanson 30 Oct 11 - 07:17 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 11 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 30 Oct 11 - 01:49 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 11 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 30 Oct 11 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Guest, Friar Tuck 30 Oct 11 - 03:45 PM
GUEST 31 Oct 11 - 03:16 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 31 Oct 11 - 04:12 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 11 - 04:47 AM
MGM·Lion 31 Oct 11 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 31 Oct 11 - 04:54 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 11 - 05:26 AM
MGM·Lion 31 Oct 11 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 31 Oct 11 - 06:15 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 11 - 06:28 AM
MGM·Lion 31 Oct 11 - 06:47 AM
kendall 31 Oct 11 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 31 Oct 11 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 31 Oct 11 - 02:53 PM
Brian Peters 31 Oct 11 - 03:09 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 11 - 04:01 PM
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xrisxroz 31 Oct 11 - 07:50 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 11 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,Steveg 01 Nov 11 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 01 Nov 11 - 05:25 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 01 Nov 11 - 06:40 AM
Brian Peters 01 Nov 11 - 07:08 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Nov 11 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 01 Nov 11 - 08:30 AM
Brian Peters 01 Nov 11 - 09:05 AM
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Subject: Robin Hood ballads
From: Hester
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 04:23 PM

I know that the earliest extant medieval Robin Hood ballads (i.e., the Potter, the Monk, & the Gest) were probably spoken-word pieces, rather than songs. However, I wonder if some of the later ballads associated with tunes, (e.g Arthur a Bland, etc), have been recorded in a collection by anyone?

I'm aware of Bob Franks' modern "talking blues" of "A Little Gest of Robin Hood".

Also, I have the Estampie CD "Under the Greenwood Tree"; however I find the arrangement of the ballads there to be far too influenced by classical music conventions. In the same vein, I also have The Sherwood Consort's performance of "Le Jeu de Robin et Marion".

I'm looking for earthier, folkier performances of the traditional Robin Hood ballads -- something in the style of Anne Briggs' version of Thorneymoor Woods:

A poacher's life is the life for me,
A poacher I will always be
Fol de rol, tu ra la, dae!

Can anyone suggest particular recordings?

Oh, and while we're on the topic, Raggytash (who has a much different view of Robin than I) is looking for another Robin Hood song:

>>>A more recent song which is possibly quite accurate had the line
"the dirty robbin' bastard that he was" possible a good deal more accurate than him fishing out of Scarborough!
Sorry I cannot recall more of the song perhaps a separate thread might bring it to light. I heard it in folk club in manchester in the 70's<<<

Cheers, Hester


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 04:55 PM

Steeleye Span does a folk-rock version of "Robin Hood and the Pedlar" on the album All Around My Hat. Fun for all.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Harry Basnett
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 05:01 PM

Tim Laycock and Tony Rose have both recorded cracking versions of 'Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford'.

Good luck with your search, Hester...I'm quite fond of the little green-clad scamp...I mean Robin not Raggytash!!

All the best.........Harry Basnett.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Anglo
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 05:22 PM

Ed McCurdy recorded an LP (produced by Kenny Goldstein, Riverside RLP 12-810, 1957) with his sung versions of ballads alternating with ballads that were narrated by Michael Kane. Guitar accompaniment by Mudcatter Frank Hamilton. The ballads are:
        1.        Robin Hood's Birth
        2.        Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters
        3.        Robin Hood and Little John
        4.        Robin Hood Rescues Will Stutly
        5.        Robin Hood and Maid Marion
        6.        Robin Hood and the Butcher
        7.        Robin Hood's Golden Prize
        8.        Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon
        9.        Robin Hood and the Pedlar
        10.        Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow
        11.        Robin Hood's Death


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 05:42 PM

A lot of good old Robin Hood songs, 17th-19th century, in the Bodleian Ballads. One, from 1893, is called "Robin Hood Up to Date." Enter robin hood in search.
Robin Hood


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Blackcatter
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 05:55 PM

Hello,

Can't help too much with old lyrics, but one of my favorite songs is the theme to the Adventures of Robin Hood that was brodcast on BBC & CBS in the U.K. & U.S.


Chorus
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men
Feared by the bad, loved by the good
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood

He called the greatest archers to a tavern on the green
They vowed to help the people of the king
They handled all the troubles on the English country scene
And still found plenty of time to sing
Chorus

He came to Sherwood Forest with a feather in his cap
A fighter never looking for a fight
His bow was always ready, and he kept his arrows sharp.
He used them to fight for what was right.
Chorus

With Friar Tuck and Little John they had a roguish look,
They did the deed the others wouldn't dare.
He captured all the money that the evil sheriff took,
And rescued many a lady fair.
Chorus

He came to Sherwood Forest with a feather in his cap
A fighter never looking for a fight
His bow was always ready and he kept his arrows sharp
He used them to fight for what was right
Chorus


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 06:29 PM

Blackcatter- old memories- you bring a tear to my eye! (Actually I was adult when the series came on, but with the children listening, I couldn't avoid humming the tune).


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Stewie
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 06:53 PM

John Kirkpatrick does an 8-minute 'Robin Hood Rescuing The Squires' on Various Artists 'Ballads' Fellside FECD110. This is based on a version sung to Vaughan Williams by Mrs Goodyear of Axford, Hampshire, in 1909 conflated with verses from versions in Child 140 and some remembered by Northhamptonshire poet, John Clare.

Tony Rose did a fine rendition of 'Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford' on his 'Young Hunting' LP Trailer LER 2013 - unfortunately one of those 'folk revival' albums in the clutches of the dreaded Bulmer and unlikely to see reissue. The music and words for Rose's version came from Chappell's 'Popular Music of Olden Time'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 07:03 PM

The 'Dirty Robbing Bastard that he was' is sung by Fred Wedlock I think-But dont quote me.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Little Robyn
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 07:20 PM

Allan Taylor recorded a good one on his Sometimes LP -
"those that sing of good Robin Hood
Know little where he was born."
I've always been interested in Robin Hood - I wonder why?
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Hester
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 07:51 PM

Wow! Thanks for all those suggestions. Anglo, I'm heart-broken to see that the Ed McCurdy album is not in print. I guess from what Stewie said about the Tony Rose album, it's a common problem with folk music recordings.

Oh, and I almost forgot to invite all of you to my Robin Hood discussion group, called "The Greenwood" , where we explore every aspect of the legend, from the ballads and the May Games to movies and comic books.

Cheers, Hester


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Susan of DT
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 08:24 PM

There are over 50 Robin Hood ballads in the digital tradition. 7 of them have tunes attached. (I ran the DOS search that shows whether there are tunes)


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: masato sakurai
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 10:47 PM

Wallace House recorded some 10 songs on Robin Hood Ballads (Folkways 10" LP) in the 1950s(or 60s?).

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 12:13 AM

Hester, I love your site. Checked in a number of times. I recorded "The Birth of Robin Hood" on my Folk-Legacy album "Lifeline". Still one of my favourite songs.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Art Thieme
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 12:38 AM

Hester,

The actor, Anthony Quayle, had an entire LP of Robin Hood Ballads on Caedmon Records---mostly recitations with lute by Desmond Dupree(?spelling). There is a GREAT "Birth Of Robin Hood" on that album.

I recorded "ROBIN HOOD'S DEATH" on two albums. The first was on my second LP for Kicking Mule Records called Songs Of The Heartland. That album is way out of print.------- I also put it on my 1998 CD called The Older I Get, The Better I Was on Waterbug Records. Go to

www.waterbug.com

and click on my name---Art Thieme. That'll get you to my part of the Waterbug site. It can be purchased there.

I will now send you a personal message. I have the McCurdy ROBIN HOOD BALLADS on tape.

All the best,

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Warsaw Ed
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 01:38 AM

For anyone interested in Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas, there is a somewhat unheralded collaboration of Sullivan and Alfred Lord Tennyson called "The Foresters - Robin Hood and Maid Marian". The site is complete with a history of the composition, full lyrics and spoken dialog, music scores, and MIDI song audio. Search the Gilbert and Sullivan Archives or "http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/foresters/operhome.html".
It is not [admitedly] one of Sullivan's best efforts, but interesting!

Ed


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Trevor
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 04:49 AM

I first heard this sung by Malcolm Stent, who we'd booked because £30 was more than we could afford for Jasper Carrot. I subsequently heard it on a Fred Wedlock album. I don't know who wrote it, but it's saved my life a few times when I've been in one of those sessions where you can't think of what to sing next!

Robin Hood was a bloke who robbed across the land
Shooting arrows far and near
He fired at the rich and mowed down the poor
And now and then he hit a passing deer

Maid Marion was his missus and she had two lovely eyes,
Feet as big as boats.
He let her hang around 'cos she was the only girl in town
What could fetch him out his Nottingham Evening Post

Ch: Oh Robin was a bloke and he owned many bows,
Kept 'em all nice and clean
He died in his prime at the age of eighty nine
Of a nasty case of eyeball gan-ger-ine

He had a fight upon a log with a bloke called Little Jog (sic)
Made poor Robin look a proper twit.
He upped with his pole and he scored a perfect goal
And he knocked poor Robin flying in the water

When it came to singing songs, well, they could not go wrong
Their minstrel's name was Allan a'Dale
He minstrelled through the day and he minstrelled through the night
So they drowned him in a keg of Watney's pale

Ch

While walking through the wood, this randy Robin Hood,
With most of his merry men
To make this song real crude, past by them dashed a nude
And he never saw his merry men again

A bloke was being hung, and Robin said 'Thats wrong!'
'I'll stop his exe-cut-i-on' he said.
He loaded up his bow and let an arrow go
And shot the poor bugger through the head.

Now the friar's name was Tuck, he didn't give a damn,
He wouldn't ever help them in a fight.
He wouldn't help them hunt, the rotten lazy friar,
He just sat around and stuffed himself all night.

Ch.

As long as birds are here, as long as blokes drink beer,
As long as two and two make five,
As long as clipper ships keep on peddling cannabis pips
Then the name of Robin Hood will stay alive

It will spread throughout the land, it will pass from hand to hand,
His deeds exaggerated by the gross
They'll glorify his name and cover up with fame
The thieving robbin' bastard that he was.

Ch.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: alanabit
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 06:43 AM

You beat me to it Trevor, so I didn't have to type it up! It was written by Dave Turner, a native of Nottingham I believe. I saw him once in 1976 and he was very funny - although what the Irish call "a bit scruffy". He did long monologues accompanied by his guitar - a little bit in the style of the talking blues/rag of Woody or Arlo Guthrie. I wonder what happened to him.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 07:31 AM

It was so long ago but the lyrics posted by Trevor (a valiant contribution of typing by the way)don't set my memory jogging along.
The version I vaguely recall had "the thievin' robbin' bastard that he was" as part of the chorus.
I attended The Duke of York Folk Club in Eccles Manchester at the time (early 70's) and was only young, underage in fact for drinking but I was the protege of Ted Edwards and was overlooked by the management.
This has got me thinking now .........................


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: mandomad
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 07:35 AM

And this one, ROBIN HEAD. (try that in Google)
       Sorry, still can't do Blue Blickerties
                   mandomad


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: alanabit
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 08:44 AM

I also posted it to the Keith Christmas thread a few weeks back. It's a gem, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Dan In Nova Scotia
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 09:10 AM

If you are looking for some printed versions or variants you can also find many in the Helen Creighton collection here in Nova Scotia. The one problem is I'm not sure in which book she has the lyrics printed.

I believe she might also have some of them recorded from the field whilst collecting old folk songs and folklore around Nova Scotia. If this is so the recordings could be accessed through the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. Although that would mean you would most likely have to travel here to access them.

Cheers,

Dan


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Hester
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 11:47 AM

Art Thieme wrote:

>>>I recorded "ROBIN HOOD'S DEATH" on two albums.<<<

Art, that's one of my favourite ballads too! I've even written a little cyber-essay about it, using a structuralist analysis to compare it to the crucifixion gospels and several other stories/rhymes/songs:

The Dying Hero

And Rick Fielding wrote:

>>>Hester, I love your site. Checked in a number of times. I recorded "The Birth of Robin Hood" on my Folk-Legacy album "Lifeline". Still one of my favourite songs.<<<

Wow, Rick, I listened to a sample at Barnes & Noble, and what a lovely voice you have: a cross between Stan Rogers and Gordon Lightfoot. Glad you enjoyed visiting "The Greenwood". I've posted a link to your album and Art's album on the message board there:

"The Greenwood"

And I have one more Robin Hood web page, this one exploring the concept of pagan survivals in the legend. Some of it needs revision, as I've lost some of my naive Gravesian perspective with further research, but any Frazerians out there, reformed or not, might get a kick out of it:

The Legend of Robin Hood: An Exploration of Pagan Themes

Oh, and Dan: As a Canadian, I'm very interested in the idea of a Nova Scotian tradition of Robin Hood ballads. The archive will give me more incentive to take a much-dreamed-about trip to the east coast.

And Ed: You're right, the Tennyson/Sullivan operetta was not, sadly, the best work from either artist, but that "web-opera" site is such a nifty concept that I think it deserves its own blue clicky:

The Foresters - Robin Hood and Maid Marian

Really enjoying the thread! Thanks everyone for your suggestions

Cheers, Hester


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 12:53 PM

Re. Helen Creighton: the Roud Folk Song Index lists the following Robin Hood ballads found in tradition in Canada:

The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood: Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia pp.12-14. Ben Hennebury, Devil's Island, c.1929. Text and tune.

The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood: Creighton & Senior, Traditional Songs of Nova Scotia pp.67-69. Mrs Edward Gallagher, Chebucto Head. Text and tune.

Robin Hood and Little John: Creighton, Maritime Folk Songs pp.19-29. Mrs Gilbert Flemming, Ketch Harbour, 1950. Text and tune.

Robin Hood and Little John: Creighton & Senior, Traditional Songs of Nova Scotia p.67. Vernon G. Crosby, Gardner's Mills. Fragment of text only.

Robin Hood's Progress to Nottingham: Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia pp.15-16. Ben Hennebury, Devil's Island, c.1929. Text and tune.

Robin Hood's Progress to Nottingham: Creighton & Senior, Traditional Songs of Nova Scotia pp.69-70. Mrs Annie C. Wallace, Halifax. Text and tune.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: nutty
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 12:59 PM

A goodly number of the Robin Hood Ballads are in the Bodleian Library, having been printed by F. GROVE of LONDON between 1623 and 1661

Robin Hood and the Bishop

Robin Hood and the Beggar

Robin Hood rescueing Will Stutley

Robin Hood's Golden Prize

Renowned Robin Hood

Robin Hood's Progresse to Nottingham

Robin Hood and the Jovial Tinker

Robin Hood and the Butcher

Robin Hood's Preferment

Does anyone know exactly how many Robin Hood Ballads there are?


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: nutty
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 01:16 PM

also ...........................

Little John and the Four Beggers

Robin Hood and the Shepheard

Robin Hood's Delight

Robin Hood Newly Reviv'd

Robin Hood and the Curtall Fryar

I'm sure that I would find more given a more dilligent search


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 01:41 PM

Location references for Creighton's sound recordings can be seen at  Nova Scotia Archives: Helen Creighton:

Robin Hood


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Hester
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 03:39 PM

Malcolm:

Thanks for the Creighton link!

Nutty:

Wait! Before you get too diligent in your search: it's very kind of you, but I'm actually quite familiar with the various on-line sources for Robin Hood ballad texts, including the Bodleian.

At the moment, however, I'm specifically interested in finding sound recordings of the songs (preferably available for purchase by the public on CD).

I don't know how many Robin Hood ballads there are (rather difficult to know how to count, given all the later variants), but the major ballads in their earliest known forms (and plays & some novels) have been collected on the University of Rochester's excellent "Robin Hood Project" site, many with commentary by academics Thomas Ohlgren and Stephen Knight.

Cheers, Hester


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Harry Basnett
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 04:37 PM

"Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford" is available on Tim Laycock's current CD 'Fine Colours'. A stonking good version too!!


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: nutty
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 05:58 PM

Hester - I'm sorry that my search results were not considered relevant .... however, if you had looked at the Broadsides you would have seen that tunes are quoted, which should (hopefully) make the originals easier to trace. I shall keep on looking.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Hester
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 06:49 PM

Hi, Nutty:

I really DO appreciate your kind efforts, but please, please, don't keep looking (unless for your own enjoyment). I'm not trying to "trace" the origins of those ballads. The task has already been ably done by various scholars (most notably Ritson in the late 18th century and Child in the 19th). And a very comprehensive collection of the earliest versions is available on the "Robin Hood Project" website that I posted a link to.

The Bodleian certainly has a lovely on-line collection of broadside ballads, and I've enjoyed looking at them many times in the past. Currently, however, I'm really just looking for modern RECORDINGS of the Robin Hood ballads to listen to.

Sorry for the confusion.

Cheers, Hester


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: BUTTERFLY
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 05:24 AM

My 1973 Fred Wedlock LP "Frollicks" (sic!) has both "Robin Hood" and "Robin Head" on it; in the former the last line is "The thieving robbing ratbag that he was". The former is credited to and the latter to Dave Turner and the latter to Keith Christmas.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: masato sakurai
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 06:51 AM

Some recordings:

1. Robin Hood Ballads, sung by Wallace House with lute (Folkways FW 6839, 1953, 1962) [10" LP]
    Contains "True Tale of Robin Hood," "Robin Hood and Little John," "Robin Hood and the Curtall Fryer," "Robin Hood and the Tanner," "Robin Hood and Maid Marian," "Robin Hood's Morris," "Robin Hood and the Three Squires," "The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield," " Robin Hood and the Ranger," and "Robin Hood's Death and Burial."

2. St George's Canzona, A Tapestry of Music for Robin Hood and His King (ASV/Crown [Japan] ASV-70, 1989) [formerly released as LP]
    Contains "Robin Hood and the Tanner," and other Robin-related songs and music.

3. Estampie/Graham Derrick, Under the Greenwood Tree (Naxos 8.553442, 1997)
    Contains "Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar," "Robin Hood & the Tanner," and "Robin Hood & Maid Marian."

4. Paul O'Dette (lute, orpharion & cittern), Robin Hood: Elizabethan Ballad Settings (harmonia mundi [France] HUM 907265, 2001)
    Nos. 4 & 5 are instrumental.

5. Paul O'Dette (lute), Robin Is To The Greenwood Gone: Elizabethan Lute Music (Elektra/Nonesuch 9 79123-2, 1987)

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 04 - 07:23 PM

One of my favorite songs.
As kids we would parody the lyrics.

Robin Hood, Robin Hood riding through the grass,
Little John, Little John shot him in the ...

I'll stop there...kids!


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 04:45 AM

Note that "RH's Progress to Nottingham" is, for some reason, a title given by broadside printers (& by Child) to the one folksingers usually call "RH & The 15 Foresters".

I sing it on my Youtube channel

http://www.youtube.com/user/mgmyer

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 05:11 AM

I worked an a Robin Hood ballad project many years ago and got pretty mired in their general awfulness (with a hey down down a down down...). There some nice ones (like Michael's 15 Foresters) but the one that really stands out is Child #102 - The Birth of Robin Hood, AKA Willie and Early Richard's Daughter, which (being without a traditional tune) I set to one of Adam de la Halle's (d. 1288) melodies from his very wonderful Jeu de Robin et Marion. We still do it & have a versions (and a remix!) featured on the 1st & 3rd volumes of John Barleycorn Reborn. Volume 3 coming soon, featuring our Lily Flower Remix, but here's the basic vocal track:

The Birth of Robin Hood - Child #102

The concluding verse is one of the most beautiful things in the ballad tradition.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 06:06 AM

Thank you, Sean. That is beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 07:26 AM

Don't forget the recordings listed here. The only ones I've managed to get my hands on are Sherwood Rise's recordings of Robin Hood & The Tanner and Robin Hood And Allen A Dale on their album From the Wood.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 09:42 AM

The Birth of Robin Hood - Child #102

>Thank you, Sean. That is beautiful.<

Seconded. Any man or woman with a heart in their breast should hear this.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: kendall
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 10:37 AM

The best Robin Hood song I have ever heard is Lonesome Robin by Bob Coltman.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 12:06 PM

Sorry Sean,
I vowed I wasn't going to comment on your singing again after our last head-to-head, but since you've put this up I can only assume you have no objection to comments, even if they are not necessarily in line with your own opinion.
For me, you emphasise what went wrong with traditional songs and especially ballad singing in the hands of groups like Steeleye/The Watersons/YT/et al by transforming them from pieces of narrative into pleasant sounds.
As the old blues singer in 'Round Midnight' said, "Your notes are fine, but where's your story?"
Not the worst example; I think that honour firmly rests with Steeleye Span's assassination of the ballad 'Lambkin' where even they appear to get bored with what they are doing with it and break into an Irish reel half way through!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 04:47 AM

I sang Jon Boden's version of Birth Of Robin Hood, and someone said "Hang on, that was a Robin Hood that was nice. Where'd you get it from?"

Didn't realise how much dislike there was for them.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 05:01 AM

One day, Jim we'll have nice long a chat about the use of narrative dynamic in ballad singing and why the idiom has been ill-served by the folk revival as a whole, and why there in an widespread aversion to such things, and why our version here dervives entirely from the dramatic tensions of the story, but maybe this isn't the place.

Thanks otherwise for the kindnesses, likewise Michael & Raymond...


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 06:52 AM

I sincerely hope we do Sean, but in the meantime, once you exorcise the narrative qualities out of ballads they become something else - not better or worse, just different - sort of like George Butterworth's exquisite Banks of Green Willow stands for what it has become, or Bee Bumble and The Stingers', Hall of the Mountain King is no longer as Greig intended.
If you are asking to be judged as presenting something else, fine, but meanwhile, back at the ranch, good ballad singing it is not.
The problem for me was your interprtation projected no tension whatever, just a pleasant sound which swamped the story.
Here is as good a place as any to discuss ballad singing.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:04 AM

Okay. I think your position here is way too subjective to be of any worth other than as 'an opinion' - which I respect. I am a ballad singer AND a storyteller; this is how I work with traditional material - in terms of pure narrative which goes hand in hand with the musical setting which is part and parcel of that (as oppose to mere accompaniment). It might not be to your tastes, or folky tastes in general, but to say that it is not good ballad singing is as way off as it is generally off-putting.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:17 AM

May or may not be a Robin Hood song, but it's very old, The Keeper,

The Keeper did a hunting go,
And under his cloak he carried a bow,
All for to shoot at the merry little doe,
Among the leaves so green o

Jacky boy.........etc

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 09:06 AM

"Okay. I think your position here is way too subjective to be of any worth other than as 'an opinion' "
Is that what is being offered here by everybody - "opinions"
You seem quite happy to consider only those "opinions" that uncritically favour your own performance - without discussion, which is the ultimate in subjectivity.
I have always had great difficulty in taking your snideswipes at the revival seriously, not because I wish to defend the fact that much of todays revival couldn't find its folk arse with both hands - I don't; but simply because your own singing represents some of the most idiosyncratic aspects of revial singing from the time it was beginning to lose its grip. Apart from anything else, it is so old fashioned; rather like the bunch of punks that used to (and maybe still do) hang around Chelsea Square on the Kings Road.
We are prepering a talk on Travellers that we at due to give at next month's West Clare Traditional Singing Festival, and one thing that is hammered home each time we listen to some of our old recordings - we owe a huge vote of thanks to Travellers (Irish and Scots) for having kept some of our rarest ballads alive for so long (in the case of Ireland - Young Hunting, The Maid and The Palmer, Lamkin, Edward, Lord Randall, Lord Gregory......) The reason for this - Travellers love of a good story.
Our ballads are stories with tunes; your singing does not reflect this.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 01:49 PM

Doesn't sound like an opinion to me, Jim - once again you're browbeating a very tired old revival myth, no doubt hungover from the various effectations & pretensions of the critics group. Thankfully, I'm way too young for any o' that; I'm post-revival & even post-folk and as such think the revival approach to ballad is okay as far as it goes (or went) but it's not for me as a singer. Ballads, however, are for me as a singer, as is traditional song as whole, just I don't believe in right and wrong ways of doing it, much less of policing it with the sort of authority advocated by your erstwhile mentors who were barely qualified anyway. For one thing, I just do what I do - I would never dare tell anyone they are wrong for singing them in a particular way, much less advocate the myth that there is a right way or wrong way of approaching them. If ballads survived in traveller communities, theb all well and good; but we all like a good story, that's by dint of our humanity & not some inverted racial stereotyping or cultural blood purity which the folk revival has been hung up about since its inception. I find different approaches fascinating; the stuff of life indeed, whereas your ill-informed dementoring runs contrary to the very nature of music, let alone balladry.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 02:34 PM

Nope,
Just repeating what we were told by traditional singers like Walter Pardon - all open to access at the British Library if you ever care to come out of your folkie greenhouse and listen - but we've been here before, haven't we?
I have not told anybody what is right or wrong (I know it is a waste of time asking you to point out where I have - we've been here before as well) I have said if it loses an essential part of its identity it becomes something else.
I do find your folkie-bashing somewhat bizarre - a sort of public self flagellation, but whatever turns you on!!
As I said, You seem quite happy to consider only those "opinions" that uncritically favour your own performance - which remains to my ears as folkie as it gets, albeit about thirty years behind the times.
No change there.
Yours as ever
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 03:12 PM

I'm not folkie bashing, Jim - I'm just coming from somewhere different that's all. I acknowledge the revival, just as I'll criticise it, but I'm not really a part of it - at 50 I'm way too young. Behind the times, eh? What times are those, I wonder? I'm in my own time, as are we all; the rest is down to a wider zeitgeist which isn't really for me to say. Nor you if it comes to that, even though you seem to have it all sewn up quite tidily, as long as you can keep on petitioning to exclude anyone who doesn't fit in with your inverted criteria on who, or who can not, be a ballad singer. My criteria is simple - as ballad singer can be anyone with the passion, dedication & inspiration to research, learn, set and sing ballads. How they sing them is not an issue; what is an issue is that they don't tell anyone else they're doing it wrong.

I have not told anybody what is right or wrong (I know it is a waste of time asking you to point out where I have - we've been here before as well)

Here's a few...

you emphasise what went wrong with traditional songs and especially ballad singing in the hands of groups like Steeleye/The Watersons/YT/et al by transforming them from pieces of narrative into pleasant sounds.

As the old blues singer in 'Round Midnight' said, "Your notes are fine, but where's your story?"

good ballad singing it is not.

Our ballads are stories with tunes; your singing does not reflect this.


Enough said.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Guest, Friar Tuck
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 03:45 PM

...and then there's 'Robin Hood and the Chiropodist of Acaster Malbis'...


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 03:16 AM

If a performer of folk songs puts of a piece of singing and is only prepared to accept anodyne this makes him/her not only a revivalist singer but also a rather self-obsessed prima dona.
If you don't want discussion of your work - sing in the bath.
Discussion of people's work is not telling them what to do, it's part of the to-and-fro of the learning process - which is apparently why you have learned nothing.
As critical as you are of the revival, you are a revivalist - live with it.
As you said - nuff said
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 04:12 AM

Suibhne old-fashioned, Jim? Your own perspective seems positively antediluvian. Your description of a performance setting in which every element of a song needs to be ruthlessly subordinated to the telling of a story harks back to something that barely exists anymore. Like it or no, we live in a world of CDs, tapes, Youtube and Soundcloud, where we have the luxury of hearing a performance as often as we want. This opens up the pleasant possibility of a much richer aesthetic experience, in which the texture of words interknits with the contours of the melody, which is further enriched by the sound of voices and instruments engaging creatively with melody and text. And we can take as long as we like to explore those elements in re-listening. Now why shouldn't performers take advantage of that? All the above sucked me into The Birth Of Robin Hood and have held me there ever since the Soundcloud recording came up. As Michael said earlier: beautiful. Or as you might say: decadent. But I'm not putting words into your mouth, of course.

So if Suibhne and Rachel are thirty years off the pace, would you care to tell us who you regard as cutting-edge these days?

And why is responding robustly to someone's criticism somehow self-obsessed? Just wondered.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 04:47 AM

"every element of a song needs to be ruthlessly subordinated to the telling of a story harks back to something that barely exists anymore"
That's what ballads are Raymond - narratives. Nothing wrong with doing them in any way you choose - full orchestra if that's what turns you on, but then they lose their identity as ballads.
Steeleye et al did it all twenty odd years ago and move on.
"But I'm not putting words into your mouth, of course."
That's exactly what you are doing - Sean is entitled to perform in any way he wishes, just as, if he puts his performance up for general consumption, I am entitled to pass an opinion on them - anything else and we really would have 'folk policing' - not a term I'm fond of but I'm sure it's not hovering too far from your typing finger.
"And why is responding robustly to someone's criticism somehow self-obsessed?"
Sean has made it clear (once again) that he is only interested in complementary input - therein lies his self obsession.
"Cutting edge"
We'll be at a singing weekend here in a few weeks time which will be attended by a number of excellent singers from all over these islands, - Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, Elizabeth Stewart, Kitty Cassidy, Tom McCarthy, Antione O'Farachain, Len Graham.... and a whole load of 'non-name' English and Irish language singers, all superb and who don't bother too much about "cutting edges".
Jim Caroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 04:54 AM

That's what ballads are Raymond - narratives. Nothing wrong with doing them in any way you choose - full orchestra if that's what turns you on, but then they lose their identity as ballads.

Sez who? On what authority?


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 04:54 AM

Off to work –

will respond on my return.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 05:26 AM

"Sez who? On what authority? "
Funk and Wagnall, Oxford English DIctionary..just about every dictionary, encyclopeadia or piece of research - all, without fail open wih the defining factor as "narrative" - that's who
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 06:11 AM

No intrinsic need for the narrative to be lost in any form of rendition. Individual performances with any kind of delivery or accompaniment may vary as to effectiveness of their narrative-provision; but that is not quite the same question, is it?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 06:15 AM

but then they lose their identity as ballads.

What is the identity of a ballad? Or indeed a Folk Song? I would argue that that identity must always be entirely subjective. In the present case it came from The Rymes of Robyn Hood - An Introduction to the English Outlaw by RB Dobson and J Taylor (Sutton 1989) that turned up remaindered in the old SPCK in Durham circa 1991 when Thor Ewing & I were working on a project of Robin Hood songs and ballads. I read them all, but the only one that really moved me was The Birth of Robin Hood from Jamieson's Popular Ballads and Songs 1806. As no traditional tune was extant, I set it to the medieval Adam de la Halle melody from his Play of Robin and Marion (which doesn't concern Robin Hood as such) and so the song came alive - for us at least, because that meant we could sing it. Rachel and I revisited it in 2002 when we were doing a wee tour with Julie Tippets & Martin Archer and it evolved to more or less the way we do it now; which is to say Rachel added a harmony and the whole flow of thing then hung on the dynamic of the narrative with respect of that harmony, and how we sing together anyway.

Note here, Jim - this ballad does not exist as part of anything you would think of (or recognise) as a Tradition. There are no field recordings of anyone singing it, much less any record of what the tune might have been, nor, indeed, how it was sung. I had heard no revival reconstructions nor anything else that was in any way Folk with respect of it. All I had was an unsullied text from 1806 which I set to a melody from the 13th century, thus the Identity of this particular ballad is 50% creative process & discovery and 50% the joy that comes in singing the thing afresh each time we do it. Living with a ballad for 20 years it becomes part of your creative soul; it becomes a vehicle for all sorts of interpretations, not one of them is ever definitive; it lives, it breathes, in all sorts of ways. That is the identity of the ballad. And nothing is lost.

*

Discussion of people's work is not telling them what to do, it's part of the to-and-fro of the learning process

Absolutely; I agree with this 100%, and strive to facilitate such discussion as a broader part of the learning process, both personally and generally. However, comments like:

which is apparently why you have learned nothing.

contradict that learning process and reveal a more reactionary & reactive agenda on your part. You are not qualified to be a Folk Policeman, Jim - nor even a Folk CSO - rather you are the mindless bouncer on the door of your ideal fantasy folk club, refusing entry to anyone who fails to meet with your highly selective & ill-informed criteria.

As I have always said, I'm not bothered about being cutting edge, much less breathing new-life into old songs. For me it's the other way round - the New Life is already in the Old Songs - it's part seance, part communion - and whatever happens, happens. With this in mind, and on this the 31st of October, I give you my latest Post-Folk solo take on this old chestnut which is all about the narrative:

The Wife of Ushers Well (Child #79)


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 06:28 AM

"No intrinsic need for the narrative to be lost in any form of rendition"
No there isn't but in this case the narrative is lost in my opinion - as it was in the days of mini folk choirs and electric balladeers.
While it pleasant (beautiful, in your own words) enough to listen to, I believe it has moved too far from the narrtive to make it anything like good, or even mediocre ballad singing - again, in my opinion.
Don't know if you ever heard Maddy Prior's programme 'In Praise of Ballads' (probably the worst analysis of the genre of all times - insult to injury was the potted on-the-spot psychoanalysis applied to each ballad), but her choice was indicative that this is what had happened to ballads in the hands of the revival; probably the nearest I come to agreeing with Sean.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 06:47 AM

Well ~~ opinions do vary, natch. To my mind, diction, articulation, whichever term one favours, is the vital ingredient. Not the only one: imponderables like integrity of approach, oneness with the genre, also come into it; which is why I personally don't take to Britten/Pears folk arrangements ~~ for all his excellence as a composer, I don't think Britten ever really worked out what made the folk genre tick, or he wouldn't have used those grossly over-elaborate piano flourishes. And even then, as in the Lykewake Dirge in Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings, I think they bring it off for once.

But, I repeat, start with your articulation & work outwards from there, whether in narrative or any other sort of song.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: kendall
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 08:08 AM

If everyone liked the same thing we would run out of chocolate ice cream in 5 minutes.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 08:38 AM

I've a deep fondness for Britten & Pears - much as I have for Alfred Deller and Jack Langstaff. What they did was just as crucial as anything that happened in Revival II; just as artificial and authentic anyway - perhaps even a little less so in terms of the self-conscious folkier-than-thou aesthetic than typifies many Revival II singers even to this day. Of course, orthodoxies are inevitable, but in the end it all comes down how people approach these things & are moved by them without bolstering their efforts with reference to some wholly non-existent Tradition - much less the correctness thereof. The Tradition in that sense is perhaps too convenient a construct, and way too narrow a confine even for the Traditional Singers themselves, for that identity was bestowed upon them by on high, just as their music was defined by an ideology they had little or no understanding of. My main citicism of the revival is, therefore, that it both assumes & insists upon ideological concensus whilst the whole thing is predicated on a class condecension which is further compounded by a reciprocal class deference that results in (among other things) folk's romantic chapter & verse religiosity.

All part of the appeal? Well, I know it is for me, just as I know the results continue to ingrigue and yield great results, but I do wince at the pure-blood implications of the Genuine and the Authentic, thus must I insist that the only true criteria for a Ballad Singer is someone who enjoys singing Ballads. In my experience no one does this lightly, and whatever their abilities as a singer / musician, the quality of their performance is underwritten by a deeper passion which I, for one, am invariably grateful to be in the presence of. There will, of course, always be the nutter who instists on singing along to an inner backing track of Steeleye Span's Thomas the Rhymer whilst reading the lyric sheet, or else passing off a small eternity with Jack Orion as being somehow traditional or else insist that their plagerised rendering of Martin Carthy's masterful Famous Flower is somehow folk in the very strictest sense of the word... But, for the most part, people care very deeply about these things and use them as a means to a deeper communion & creative expression which is what this thing called music is all about.

Me, I tend to love it all anyway.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 02:53 PM

I guess this discussion has moved on since I dipped my toe in last night, but here's my riposte to Jim.


>"every element of a song needs to be ruthlessly subordinated to the telling of a story harks back to something that barely exists anymore"
That's what ballads are Raymond - narratives. Nothing wrong with doing them in any way you choose - full orchestra if that's what turns you on, but then they lose their identity as ballads.
Steeleye et al did it all twenty odd years ago and move on.<

Several people have already addressed this, and I tend to agree with them that your ex cathedra pronouncement of how and why a ballad loses its identity merely reflects your rather reductive view of what constitutes a ballad. Steeleye developed a way of dramatising the narrative by various means familiar to the world of popular (and classical) music. Their idea was to draw non-traddy listeners into the heart of the narrative using techniques those listeners already understood. It may seem quaintly old fashioned now, but I can't see how those narratives lost their identity (ceased to be stories?) in the process.

Incidentally, it's not the first time you've dragged in the old canard about Steeleye breaking into an Irish reel in the middle of their desecration of Long Lankin. Well, suck it for yourself –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSUH6YPM9oI
and see that they do no such thing. Perhaps you were thinking of the fiddle reel at the end of Orfeo (different ballad, different album).

>"But I'm not putting words into your mouth, of course."
That's exactly what you are doing - Sean is entitled to perform in any way he wishes, just as, if he puts his performance up for general consumption, I am entitled to pass an opinion on them - anything else and we really would have 'folk policing' - not a term I'm fond of but I'm sure it's not hovering too far from your typing finger.<

It's a phrase I've never used, even in jest.

>"And why is responding robustly to someone's criticism somehow self-obsessed?"
Sean has made it clear (once again) that he is only interested in complementary input - therein lies his self obsession.<

So he has to meekly acquiesce to your criticisms in order to rebut the charge of self-obsession. Yes, I understand...

>We'll be at a singing weekend here in a few weeks time which will be attended by a number of excellent singers from all over these islands, - Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, Elizabeth Stewart, Kitty Cassidy, Tom McCarthy, Antione O'Farachain, Len Graham.... and a whole load of 'non-name' English and Irish language singers, all superb and who don't bother too much about "cutting edges".<

Or about being thirty years behind the times? Good for them.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Brian Peters
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 03:09 PM

"Incidentally, it's not the first time you've dragged in the old canard about Steeleye breaking into an Irish reel in the middle of their desecration of Long Lankin. Well, suck it for yourself –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSUH6YPM9oI - and see that they do no such thing."

Well, they do go rather abruptly into a 6:8 section (albeit using a melody with no obvious Irish connection) at 3'18". Too jolly by half. Not their finest hour, if you ask me (that was of course 'King Henry').


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 04:01 PM

"Or about being thirty years behind the times? Good for them. "
Sorry - really am up against the clock at the moment - just got to make sure the bonfire of my Jeannie Robertson, Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Joe Heaney The Stewarts of Blair, Walter Pardon, John Strachan.....
albums isn't getting out of hand
Oh for ***** sake
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 04:31 PM

Don't burn 'em, Jim. I'll take them off your hands.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: xrisxroz
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 07:50 PM

Not strictly Robin Hood but Frank Sutton wrote a smashin' ballad about Little John's Grave. Spine tingling. I have faded lyrics somewhere if anyone can supply chords or melody?


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 04:23 AM

"Don't burn 'em, Jim. I'll take them off your hands."
Why Raymond - they're older in style than even Len Graham and Kevin and Ellen Mitchell - what will you do with them; make plant pots?
What's your point - that folk music has a shelf-life and has to be replaced every so often by something that demonstrably has a far shorter shelf-life than the real thing, (as has been proved with the 'electric-soup' and the mini-choirs experimenters).
Sean, Jim Moray.... whoever have all the right in the world to do what they wish with traditional song, but if they move away from the elements that has made it what it is, it becomes something else - would you argue that Butterworth's 'Banks of Green Willow' is still folk music when played by the London Phil, or is it music that has been newly created using a traditional song?
What's your point?
Giving music, theatre, literature.... a sell-by date is giving it a death sentence.
I don't know how many people will come to The West Clare Singing Festival - but I do know that next year this town will be holding its annual 40th Willie Clancy Summer School, where people from all over the world will fill the town to listen to, play, sing and learn about traditional song and music - the town has become quite wealthy on it and nationally traditional music (played and sung traditionally) is a major feature of Ireland's tourist industry.
Last night I watches a TV programme (1 of around a dozen) where a sean nos (old style) singer sang and discussed her songs - I can listen to or watch such programmes most nights of the week on national and local TV and radio.
There are sessions in this one street town 4/5 nights a week, depending on the mood and the commitments of the musicians and singers. We have 70 or 80 school age and upward young people playing the music traditionally, some to an extremely high standard - some are now teaching the music, which is guaranteed to survive for at least another generation.
A couple of years ago we applied for a 10k grant for having our "behind the times" collection of songs and music transcribed textually and musically - we were told that we had underestimated our application (we got what we asked for btw).
How did we manage to go so wrong????
MacColl once said that the greatest threat to folk music was that it should fall into the hands of people who neither like nor understand it - I can see what he means?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Steveg
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 04:41 AM

Excellent thread!
Been following with interest. As someone who appreciates both source singer performance of ballads and what various revivalists have done with them I find the banter amusing but a little sad as well. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with performing a ballad in any way. Audiences will sort out whether it works or not.

Some of the Child ballads barely tell a story but he includes them on stylistic grounds. Jim and Suibhne, you like different approaches, but I'm sure most of us are much happier enjoying both approaches. They don't have to be in any sort of conflict.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 05:25 AM

>What's your point - that folk music has a shelf-life and has to be replaced every so often by something that demonstrably has a far shorter shelf-life than the real thing>

Er, no. It was you, I recall, you who started up the "out-of-date" hare. My point, I think, is that there are different ways of telling a story in ballad form, whereas you seem to hold that there is only one – one that was designed for a social milieu that hardly exists any more.

You make two parallel assertions that are not really parallel:
1. that when Jim Moray or George Butterworth gets a folk song between their teeth, it becomes something other than a folk song;
2. that when Steeleye or Suibhne tricks out a ballad in pretty feathers, it's no longer a ballad

I wouldn't be rash enough to lock horns with you on 1., but a ballad, as you said yourself, is simply a narrative song, a song that tells a story. In their differing ways, Steeleye tell the story of Long Lankin and Rapunzel & Sedayne tell the story of Earl Richard. In each case I have no problem following the story. So at what point did they cease to be ballads and become merely a "pleasant sound"?

As for turning your albums into plant pots, you're just being naughty. "Old fashioned" ballad singing goes straight to my g-spot too. If I knew where you lived, I'd be tempted to break into your house and steal them. It's just that...there are other ways to tell a story.

>MacColl once said that the greatest threat to folk music was that it should fall into the hands of people who neither like nor understand it - I can see what he means?<

The whole idea of folk music "falling into" the wrong hands bewrays a "chosen few" mentality, it seems to me. Would Ewan have seen it differently if he's been around in 2011?


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 06:40 AM

Jeannie Robertson, Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Joe Heaney The Stewarts of Blair, Walter Pardon, John Strachan.....

These are the people I listen to & revere - and more. May I point you in the direction of Ollie Gilbert and Mrs Pearl Brewer over at the Max Hunter archive? However, I wouldn't say Traditional Singing starts with them any more than I would say it ends with them. And whilst they inspire me - and whilst I rave about them endlessly to my various folk friends - I mostly acknowledge their idiosyncracy, individuality and the fluidity of their respective styles and repertoires. I regard them as individual artists rather than evidences of some mythical Tradition - the notion of which was invented by early revivalists to bypass very real issues of indivual creativity. People are, first and foremost individuals; I'm drawn to Folk as an eccentricity; I listen to Davie Stewart and I hear a creative artist who uses Tradition Song as his medium much as Picasso used paint - in this respect he's on a par with Captain Beefheart or John Coltrane. That is the nature of Musical Tradition as an essential cultural process - it is dependent on individual human creativity without which it wouldn't exist, much less have survived some 50,000 years down the line in the myriad ever changing genres, styles and idioms it does today. That's all down to individuals doing what's right for them to do & I very much doubt it was ever any different.

Although maybe it's different in Ireland; I don't live in Ireland; I have never been, although I have an Irish name and Irish ethnic and familial roots. I do have a small smattering of Irish Songs in my ready repertoir (Denny the Piper, Blue Eyed Mountain Queen, An Bunnan Bui (in English from Paddy Tunney), Turfman from Ardee, Katie Kay etc.) which I regard as very essential to my personal ID. Likewise my Northumbrian songs, though my status as an ex-pat Geordie is more crucial somehow, but even so certain individuals look at me askance when I do my version of The Colliers Rant because it doesn't suit their received notions of Orthodox Folk Style, which I suspect is half the problem here really (even though what those people have actually said is that it's too traditional for their tastes). Fact is, as with Child 102, there is no traditional precedent for the song, much less its performance. My source is Bell's Rhymes of the Northern Bards from almost 200 years ago and I've no doubt the song was very old then. So sing it how the hell you want to sing it. Myself, I sing it by way of Holy Communion with the lost landscapes of my childhood spent in the South-East Nortumbrian Coal-field; it's a bitter lament for a lost world, and lost potential.

I live in England, where Folk is very different from the state-funded TV-evangelised All Singing All Dancing All Traditional Emerald Idyll Jim describes as existing in Ireland; where Musical Traditions are alive and well and a constantly cropping new Pure Blood Genuine 100% guaranteed Travelling Traditional Singers to ensure the music remains unchanged and untainted for another few millenia yet; where every school kid is playing pipes, fiddles, bodgrans, penny whistles and singing Sean Nos with the best of them. In England, there is no state funded concensus on how 'it' must be; we are a multi-cultural country where people are free to do pretty much what they like in the name of creative expression and musical experience. In spite of this, Engish Popular Culture continues apace, and the English Population (unlike their State-Funded Cousins over there in Folk Utopia) really have better things to worry about than Traditional Music, which is the reserve of a dwindling bunch of grizzled old Folkies on one hand, and a sprightly bunch of university educated BYTs on the other. There's not much middle-ground - like me - aged 50, I'm both too young & too old because Folk skipped a couple of generations so in my Folk Life I'm talking to people 10-20 years my senior (and older), or 20-30 years my junior (and younger). Either way, it's minority stuff, a rare sort of specialism very much on the wane despite the enthusiasm of its various and diverse protagonists, amatuer, professional, semi-pro or whatever. It exists because of the passions of individuals, maybe individuals like Jim Carroll, who really ought to curb their enthusiasms when it comes to musical possibility.

I must say that I LOVE the various and diverse aspect of this. Whilst we had fey-folky teachers in their braless early 70s Laura Ashley clad glory slipping us the occasional ballad at school, we also had sythn-obsessed wild-eyed experimentalists and crumhorn weilding medievalists to put another spin on things. To me it was all part of the same Folk Zeitgeist that had gangs of skinheads terrorising local pensioners by chanting Gaudete out of dark bus-shelters on dark December nights in 1973 when I was 12. Mostly, we listened to each others record collections, and learned that Music is very much a matter of Doing What Thy Wilt - even Folk Music, because that's what the old guys were doing.

When I think of my own cultural history and how that diversity of experience informs my cultural creativity, then I really balk at some state-funded Folk-Fascist thug telling me I'm somehow doing it wrong. There is no wrong, even if people don't like it, they are free to listen to something else, just as they're free to do it as it suits them. As musicians & singers we are charged to be true unto ourselves, not to some state-funded fantasy off-the-shelf identikit nationalism which (thank God) doesn't exist over here - and certainly not in this house. As a kid I sought out records by Willie Scott, Billy Pigg and Phil Tanner with the same enthusiasm as I did those by Neu! Sun Ra and Daevid Allen. These are my cultural and musical roots & traditions; and it's as common as it is unique to each and every one of us, just as it was common to Walter Pardon and Sam Larner; it isn't PURE, but sure as hell it's REAL - and long may that reality continue.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 07:08 AM

"I regard them as individual artists rather than evidences of some mythical Tradition - the notion of which was invented by early revivalists to bypass very real issues of indivual creativity. People are, first and foremost individuals; I'm drawn to Folk as an eccentricity; I listen to Davie Stewart and I hear a creative artist"

No doubt that Davie Stewart was a creative artist, a wonderfully idosyncratic musician and interpreter of ballads. However you seem to be making the logical error of assuming that, because Stewart himself was a highly individual singer and musican, the practice of singing as communal entertainment in pre-technological society was the preserve of a few gifted or even eccentric individuals, whereas all the evidence suggests that it was very widespread. If you're accepting that most people sang, but that every one of them should be respected as an individual, I'm right with you - but that's exactly what I call a singing tradition, a concept you don't accept.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 07:24 AM

"... grizzled" yourself, you young saucebox!

Loved your Colliers Rant, mind. Have bookmarked it to play over & over...

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 08:30 AM

but that's exactly what I call a singing tradition, a concept you don't accept.

Any tradition is but the consequence of the individuals involved with it; The Tradition is consequent on the creativity of those individuals in making and changing the music and songs. As far as it can be said to have existed it all, it did so in a fluid state consequent on the people who did it - same with any music. The bit I don't accept is the Folklore thing, which has people as a passive medium for something they have no undertstanding of simply because it was subjected to a xeno-methodology by way of taxidermy and taxonomy. It is is this secondary stage that not only defines and perceives The Tradition, but later insists upon both it, and it's purity. We can see any artist as an indivual or part of a causal tradition, be it in terms of their roots, or the effect they had, if any, on later artists. Take John Coltrane, from his early work through to the wunderkind of the first classic Miles Davis quintet, through to the classic quartet and his later explorations with Rashied Ali and Pharoah Sanders - none of that came of nowhere, and yet he rewrote the book for every saxophonist that came after him. A few of us might mutter that he ripped most of it from John Gilmore, who was mostly content to stay in the ranks of the Sun Ra Arkstra - and then we go on to subject Gilmore's art to a similar analysis. Piece by piece, we build up a comprehensive picture of The Jazz Tradition, even though in doing so we end up with an archive so vast we'll never get through it it in a lifetime, much less reach any sort of concensus on what really happened and why - or any sort of understanding of what it must have been like to be there!

The Folk Tradition is likewise vast and complex; we access it through songs and singers and sources, but its nebulosity defies absolute understanding without serious affecting its true worth. The closer we get to it, so the bigger and more wondrous it gets, but that closeness is only in terms of individual human beings who are so much more than just a part of it, but, as I say, creative artists on a par with any. I'm not suggesting they were all far-out restructuralists, but the evidence would suggest that they weren't content to leave things alone. No one controls the movement of any given song from one singer to a next, much less how that singer then chooses to make the song their own, or then change it with each subsequent performance. As I suggested elsewhere, even if we had a crack team of time-travelling musicologists to record every single utterance of every single song sung by every single singer and then subjected the data to a programme of high powered meta-analysis I'm sure we'd still be missing something - the pure joy of thing probably!

I love cultural process, just times you can't see the trees for the wood, but there is a beauty in a swarm too, and in ever-changing organic fractals. My main problem with The Traditional Hypothesis is when it becomes the basis for pure-blood correctness, elitism and exclusion which, I think, is a complete anathema to the nature of The Folk Beast which has always been about individuals doing things as it suited them. If it wasn't, then I'm sure there'd only be the one version of Barbara Allan, and so-called Folk Art would look bland and mass produced.

*

Loved your Colliers Rant, mind.

Cheers. It's odd that we only have one set of words for it, although there are other verses that would fit. Some years ago my mate Clive Powell set Ca the Horse, Me Marra to an old pipe tune, but those would fit Colliers too - and could well be contemporary. I sing Ca' the Horse to Clive's tune, but think nothing of altering the odd line here and there (I've lately started to sing he digs his coals thick, me lads - and drives the lasses wild; the original is drives the boards wide; I'm sure you can see how I got there!). With Collier's, I wouldn't consciously change a word of it; it comes from my grandfather's old copy of Crawhall's Newcassel Sangs, 1888, which reprints Bell from 1818. Is that the earliest?? I take heart that coal was the main export of the Tyne right back in the late middle-ages, so The Colliers Rant becomes a seance with a potent non-corporeal something or other which these days you might find rusting away in some old ditch-back or other, but even in my recently young day defined the steaming long-vanished landscapes which were once my home.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsqsWmNqWYU

Sair fyeld, hinny!


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 09:05 AM

"people as a passive medium for something they have no undertstanding of..."

An idea that died a hundred years ago.

"Take John Coltrane..."

An outstanding member of a self-selected musical high caste. Nothing to do with folk music, as practiced right across the population by untutored musicians in their own homes, workplaces and social spaces.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 09:16 AM

I've lately started to sing ...he digs his coals
.,,.
Is 'dig' the sword a collier would use, or would 'cut'or 'hew' be a more likely usage.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 09:18 AM

I meant, of course 'the word' ~~ tho 'the sword' might make a crazy sort of sense in this context!...


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 09:38 AM

"Er, no. It was you, I recall, you who started up the "out-of-date" hare. "
My Out-of-date referred to a revivalist (as much as he might despise the species) using revival techniques long abandoned by the revival
Your 'out of date' was a rejection of revival and traditional singers using traditional techniques which - apparently are past their sell-by date.
I repeat - what is your point of describing them as out-of-date and if they are, why on earth should you bother your arse about t
records of singers singing exactly in the way that you have have described as "out-of-date"?
"chosen few"
Please do not misrepresent my argument - I saidfall into the hands of people who neither like nor understand it" - different argument altogether
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 10:20 AM

An idea that died a hundred years ago.

Well, it certainly underwrote a lot of the revival since that time, and subsequent assumptions in both Folk and folklore. And it lingers here too when people speak of The Tradition as some sort of tangible phenomenon that exists quite separate from the singers who are 'merely' part of it, rather than the whole of the case. It also exists in Jim's notion of Traditional Correctness, which I dispute ever existed because the evidence suggests something a good deal more fluid & feral than that. It's interesting how Outsider Art / Folk Art / Art Brut will coalesce into an identifiable aesthetic, but remain quite disparate at its root where it's invariably the work of very exceptional individuals. The Imperial tendancy to patronise the lower classes as a faceless mass - or at best a Proletrariat with revolutionary potential - is born out by the Traditional Hypothesis. I'm not immune to it though; neither have I quite written it off, just, like The Folk Process, I think we have to not only get to grips with the mechanism of the thing, but recognise that, as with biology, all music is determined by exact same processes. This doesn't negate Folk, just places the emphasis on a more musicological appreciation of creative idiom & species rather than a patronising ideal hatched across the gulf of class / cultural condescension and delivered from on high.   

member of a self-selected musical high caste. Nothing to do with folk music, as practiced right across the population by untutored musicians in their own homes, workplaces and social spaces.

That's a cosy view of things that returns us to a romantic notion of the sorts of people who just dabbled for the hell of it. From the collected evidence I deduce the work of master craftspersons on top of their art - like domestic knitters and gardeners to time-served coopers, ploughmen, brickies, wheelwrights, field surveyors, engineers, poachers... The tutoring was part of the time-served process of the thing, much as allowing for the genius of gifted individuals as we have today in any given musical community. Some people are just blessed and are high-caste artists by default - be they storytellers, fiddlers, pipers or singers; the canon is full of such people, and accounts of them and the supernatural accounts of how they came to be supernaturally gifted. I'm not proposing a selective guild any more than you see in untutored kids who routinely peel off heavy-metal pyrotechnics in the music shops of Manchester of a weekend. Music insists on mastery, and listening to Phil Tanner, Harry Cox, Ollie Gilbert, et al, that's pretty much what I hear & relate to with the same humble awe, quivering respect & reverence as I do when listening to John Coltrane. Coltrane was just one saxophonist of countless others who made it to top of his pyramid by drawing on the work of those before and around him; uniquely gifted, his work still resonates with us today in terms of its Tradition - much as Davie Stewart, or Seamus Ennis, or countless other untutored Folk Musicians who live on in Folk Memory alone.

*

Is 'dig' the sword a collier would use, or would 'cut'or 'hew' be a more likely usage.

You're right - I sing hews not digs; needs must I swallow my swords. Another line is Hewin and putting and keepin i' th' sticks - I ne'ver so laboured sin aa took up me picks. My favourite verse echoes the devil of TCR & some of the finest imagery in Northumbrian folksong:

The rope and the rowl and the lang ower tree,
The de'il's flown ower the pit wi them; he's away wi them a' three.
The rowl hangs above the shaft, de'il but it fall;
Twenty four horned owl run awa wi' the mill


Contracting the second line would fit it to the melody of TCR. I'm tempted to put it up on YouTube, but as I'm presenty wanting a front tooth (dentist tomorrow!) I'm a tad camera shy...


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 10:55 AM

"It also exists in Jim's notion of Traditional Correctness.
Again, do not have a notion of Traditional Correctness," - have asked you once before do define a distortion of what I believe - you ignored it than and I have no doubt you will ignore it now, but what is my "notion of Traditional Correctness."?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 12:05 PM

>"Er, no. It was you, I recall, you who started up the "out-of-date" hare. "
My Out-of-date referred to a revivalist (as much as he might despise the species) using revival techniques long abandoned by the revival
Your 'out of date' was a rejection of revival and traditional singers using traditional techniques which - apparently are past their sell-by date.
I repeat - what is your point of describing them as out-of-date and if they are, why on earth should you bother your arse about t
records of singers singing exactly in the way that you have have described as "out-of-date"?>

I think you've misinterpreted my flippant flipping of your own words back at you. I've never mastered this "joke" thing that people are so good at.
To make it clear: I'm not the least bit hung up on notions of "old-fashioned" or "out of date". All the singers you mention, so far as they're known to me, sound pretty good to my ears, and I can quite accept they're masters of their craft. But as I said before, there's more than one way of telling a story. I like their way, and I like other ways too. It's even possible I like them for the same reasons you like them. "Sell-by date" is not an expression I introduced into the debate.

>"chosen few"
Please do not misrepresent my argument - I saidfall into the hands of people who neither like nor understand it" - different argument altogether<

It's just the secret society sound of letting things "fall into the hands" of those who are unworthy of ownership. But they're just words. We all use 'em.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 12:23 PM

but what is my "notion of Traditional Correctness."?

I can't say what your criteria for traditional correctness is, Jim - just that your dismissal of everyone from Steeleye Span to the Young Tradition as falling short of the mark implies that you at least have a mark by which to measure the shortfall. If it's simply a matter of not liking them, then fine (I'm not a great fan of either myself to be honest) but you seem to be implying somehing more here - even to the point of saying that I neither like nor understand it or that I employ revival techniques long abandoned by the revival and have move(d) away from the elements that has made it what it is so it becomes something else. Creepy stuff.

I don't know what these elements are, Jim - so it's only fair to assume that you have some occult knowledge of Traditional Correctness only known to initiates of your particular hermetic cult. I wonder, was the Critics Group such a cult? Were you a skyclad coven with access to Da Vinci Ciphers and Hidden Sacred Lore presided over by He Who Must Not Be Named At Least Not By His Real Name - the Dark Lord Manacle Cowl himself? I'm not into cults, nor indeed correctness, unless in medical procedure, but certainly not in music where, as in art and language, correctness is a mark of serious anal retentive pedantry which runs contrary to the nature of the beast. I love the beast; long may it roam wild and free in its natural habitat. To that end, I will dedicate every note I play, and live only to facilitate that in others. You see, that's what I hear when I listen to old songs and the singers who sang them; I also heard it loud and clear from those traditional singers I have been honoured to talk to and work with; storytellers likewise, whose genius lay in their creative mastery of the craft, a mastery that was entirely their own. I can still feel Duncan Williamson's hearty handshake cracking every bone in my paw after I free-styled The Wee Wee Man one late night ceilidh to an entirely improvised melody circa 1994. For those of us without religion, things like that are a blessing from on high...


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 01:25 PM

....."implies that you at least have a mark"
Don't we all - it's called judgment guided by what we know, think we know and what we've done - in our case, thirty odd years of talking to and recording traditional singers.
Perhaps you might tell us what you base your outright dismissal of Sharp, Greig, Hendedrson, Buchan, Lomax, Lloyd.......... and anybody who has ever been stupid or agenda driven enough to use the terms "folk" and "tradition" (not to mention Walter Pardon, Tom Lenihan, Duncan Williamson, The Stewarts, Jeannie Robertson - all of whom have at one time or another attempted to distinguish their songs and stories from the factory manufactured variety.
If you are so confident your ideas are right, why to you insist on using such unpleasantly distorted terms as "Traditional Correctness" and "The Dark Lord Manacle Cowl" - it makes you look a bigger prat than you obviously are.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 01:57 PM

"...people speak of The Tradition as some sort of tangible phenomenon that exists quite separate from the singers who are 'merely' part of it..."

Who are these "people"? Notwithstanding that 'tradition' is an abstract noun, everyone I've ever discussed the concept with would regard the singers themselves as absolutely central to it.

" ...a romantic notion of the sorts of people who just dabbled for the hell of it. From the collected evidence I deduce the work of master craftspersons on top of their art..."

The collected evidence tells us nothing of the sort, merely that the people who made recordings of singers generally favoured the better ones. "People just dabbling for the hell of it" is a probably a more accurate description of many of those who once sang - not to mention many who still choose to sing within the folk revival - and why not? It was one of the things that always attracted me to folk music in the first place: you didn't need to be a 'master craftsperson' to perform it (though some would argue that folk clubs took this attitude too far).

Let me quote to you again some apt words from Carrie Grover, writing about her early 20th-century Nova Scotia community in which singing was a part of life. That's right, the account that you dismissed last time around as "mawkish and voyeuristic" (always a good idea to favour your own prejudices over eye-witness testimony, eh?).

"many people tried to sing who could not even carry a tune, or as one old fellow expressed it, 'carried it a ways but dropped it before he got very far'... It was rare to find a really good singer of folk songs..."

The point is, the Davie Stewarts and Phil Tanners may well have been the 'master craftspersons' of their day, and we can all think of traditional singers whose style, technique and committment we revere - but they were the tip of the iceberg. Phil Tanner had six brothers, who all sang. We know little about them, but perhaps they didn't all have Phil's talent for entertaining a pub tap room. Percy Grainger recorded several singers at Brigg, but none was the equal of 'master craftsperson' (and chorister) Joseph Taylor.

That's what folk music is, when it comes down to it - music for everyone. That's not a romantic bourgeois fantasy, just the way it was. Not for nothing was a concert at CSH earlier this year, featuring the Coppers, Will Noble & John Cocking, the Moor Music gang and others, entitled: "It's just what we do!"


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 02:23 PM

Don't we all - it's called judgment guided by what we know, think we know and what we've done

Subjective opinion in other words, to which you're entitled.

- in our case, thirty odd years of talking to and recording traditional singers.

From which you arrive at your own conclusion. So what? Keep up the good work but keep your ill-informed criticisms and negative absolutisms to yourself. Either that or just ditch them altogether.

Perhaps you might tell us what you base your outright dismissal of Sharp, Greig, Hendedrson, Buchan, Lomax, Lloyd.......... and anybody who has ever been stupid or agenda driven enough to use the terms "folk" and "tradition"

I'm wary of certain of their methods and assumptions, but I do not dismiss any of them outright. I avidly read, collect & study their works - and I sing many songs associated with them, collected or written by them. I love my country, Jim - I don't have to agree with each successive MP or other fellow countryman. Same with Folk. I am wary, and not without good reason. But I too use the words Folk and Tradition...

not to mention Walter Pardon, Tom Lenihan, Duncan Williamson, The Stewarts, Jeannie Robertson - all of whom have at one time or another attempted to distinguish their songs and stories from the factory manufactured variety.

I love all these people very dearly and I'm honoured to have worked, laughed and drank with one of them. Not sure what you mean by Factory Manufactured though - is that TV evagelised Celtic Woman Sean Nos stuff you were raving on about earlier? You see, I don't have a problem with that either, just a matter of taste surely? Again you seem to be implying some darker occult hierarchy available only to select initiates. It's not the case. I've got a lot of Duncan Williamson books and Lomax records (etc.) and I'm sure they might just be Factory Manufactured too.

If you are so confident your ideas are right

Only right for me, Jim - if other people agree, then fair enough; if they don't then I'm not about to assault them or dismiss them. I am but one person, and the last time I looked free speech was still a highly prized human right.

why to you insist on using such unpleasantly distorted terms as "Traditional Correctness" and "The Dark Lord Manacle Cowl"

I'm reacting against your unrelenting negativity, Jim. You have standards of absolutism by which you feel qualified to dismiss anything you do not like as being somehow 'wrong', and your allegiance to Manacle Cowl is well known & oft stated. So - I can't help but feel the two things might be related. I only have a passing acqaintance with The Dark Lord myself, but remain as respectful as I am skeptical, especially of his methods, myth, assumptions, and righteous political brow-beating. But his legend fascinates, as legends do, and he was a damn fine singer, but not in the same league as Davie Stweart or Captain Beefheart. You call these things unpleasant, however I would never openly insult someone by saying   

it makes you look a bigger prat than you obviously are

if only because I've more respect for both myself and for other people - even you - than to stoop so low.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 02:35 PM

Jim,
I have also had a lifetime of listening to, talking to and recording traditional singers, and I still love doing this given half a chance, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying the ways all of this music has evolved in a multiplicity of ways over the last century. Traditions can become moribund museum pieces if they don't continue to evolve.

As for the use of the word 'folk' we've been over this one many times before. Nowadays it HAS a multiplicity of meanings to the MAJORITY of people. 'Tradition' has a more singular definition, but each tradition is made up of of lots of smaller traditions and each of these overlaps with other traditions, None of the source singers you mention are part of exactly the same tradition. Some, though not all, source singers do attempt 'to distinguish their songs and stories from the manufactured variety' but they still sing/sang and enjoy(ed) listening to the latter. the first name on your list is a prime example.

I think Suibhne's colourful language is somewhat OTT, but it can be amusing.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 03:51 PM

everyone I've ever discussed the concept with would regard the singers themselves as absolutely central to it.

I would hope that's true any genre or tradition, but one can't help be but be wary of the subject /object inter-relationship of the collector and the collected, much less the motivations of either, in gaining any sort of true picture. Jim himself despairs that his precious traditions died out once people discovered TV, but doesn't seem to take into account his own impact as a collector on the expectations of his singers. This is elementary anthrolopology. A L Loyd falsified evidence, as did Manacle Cowl; as did Disney by having his cameramen employ sheepdogs to drive lemmings off the cliff to prove that's what lemmings did.

The collected evidence tells us nothing of the sort, merely that the people who made recordings of singers generally favoured the better ones.

Look at any craft or trade and you find little evidence of "People just dabbling for the hell of it" - much less the mastery of the evidence that has come down to us. If the majority of people did just 'dabble' in it then fair enough but they weren't the ones making the songs, any more than a unskilled bodger would have been responsible for the mastery of brickwork even in evidence on our humble Victorian sea-side terrace. The songs are the product of something greater than that. I've no doubt lesser talents sang them too, but that's just in the way of things. I hear my post-man dabbling in snatches of popuar song today, doesn't mean he played any part in its creation. I can sing most of Mekanik Destrictiw Kommandoh but I sure as hell couldn't have wrote it.

not to mention many who still choose to sing within the folk revival - and why not?

Absolutely. I'm strictly a come-all-ye man in practise, but I also recognise that when it comes to serious music making you've got to take a few steps up from that. It's not an elitist thing - it's just doing what you do, which is what we all do.

It was one of the things that always attracted me to folk music in the first place: you didn't need to be a 'master craftsperson' to perform it (though some would argue that folk clubs took this attitude too far).

Me too. But you do have to be a master to make it. I don't think the ballad tradition is evidence of casual dabbling any more than the wood-carvings on medieval misericords, ort the slip-ware of Toft.

Let me quote to you again some apt words from Carrie Grover, writing about her early 20th-century Nova Scotia community in which singing was a part of life. That's right, the account that you dismissed last time around as "mawkish and voyeuristic" (always a good idea to favour your own prejudices over eye-witness testimony, eh?).

If you're going to quote me, at least give me a source so I can see in what context I said it - I can't even remember what thread it was!

"many people tried to sing who could not even carry a tune, or as one old fellow expressed it, 'carried it a ways but dropped it before he got very far'... It was rare to find a really good singer of folk songs..."

See my earlier comment about my post-man - or any amount of casual dabblers today who'll quite happily sing you snatches of a song, or take part quite happikly in a Karoake night, but don't write songs. Dabblers are still there; some even make money out of it.

The point is, the Davie Stewarts and Phil Tanners may well have been the 'master craftspersons' of their day, and we can all think of traditional singers whose style, technique and committment we revere - but they were the tip of the iceberg.

You say iceberg; I say pyramid. See my earlier comment regarding Coltrane. As in any musical community & tradition we will have plenty of dabblers, and very competant musicians, and masters, and all points in between. I can't think of a single one where that wouldn't be the case.

Phil Tanner had six brothers, who all sang. We know little about them, but perhaps they didn't all have Phil's talent for entertaining a pub tap room. Percy Grainger recorded several singers at Brigg, but none was the equal of 'master craftsperson' (and chorister) Joseph Taylor.

Sounds about right.

That's what folk music is when it comes down to it - music for everyone.

That's what ALL music is.

That's not a romantic bourgeois fantasy, just the way it was.

The fantasy is assuming that it's any different elsewhere and fantasing over collectivism as oppose to the creativity of working class musical masters. Seeing the songs as a product of a 'process' rather than the same sort of genius that we find in all music, no matter who might be moved to dabble in it.

Not for nothing was a concert at CSH earlier this year, featuring the Coppers, Will Noble & John Cocking, the Moor Music gang and others, entitled: "It's just what we do!"

And not a single dabbler amongst them! Ask any musician though - Jazz, Classical, Gamelan, Metal - and they'll tell you the same thing; It's just what we do. It's the bottom line of all music. We all sat it. We're what Derek Bailey once called the 'I just play, man! men' - or women - regardless of what style or idiom we happen to play in.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 07:29 PM

"If the majority of people did just 'dabble' in it then fair enough but they weren't the ones making the songs..."

Anyone spot the goalposts just moving? I thought we were talking about passing songs on - i.e. what 'tradition' consists of - not arguing over compositional credits.

"fantasing over collectivism as oppose to the creativity of working class musical masters. Seeing the songs as a product of a 'process' rather than the same sort of genius that we find in all music"

Look at the scope and range of the melodic and rhythmic variants to some well-known folk songs. The result of many individual interventions? Yes. Genius, every one? Stretching it. But all part of a process (not a 'process'), undoubtedly.

["That's what folk music is when it comes down to it - music for everyone."]
"That's what ALL music is."


No, most music is performed by 'musicians'.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 07:32 PM

"I can sing most of Mekanik Destrictiw Kommandoh"

I feel a duet coming on...


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 05:03 AM

"Subjective opinion in other words, to which you're entitled."
As ever, you appear to deal only in dismissive cliches - "subjective is dismissing out-of-hand over a century's research and experience to justify your own approach to singing and lack of research - you have never at any time put forward and argument for why everybody else got it wrong and your pontifications (no great argument put forward for those either) are right.
Like your approach to ballads - that's been done before; Dave Harker fell at the first fence thirty years ago with a similar approach - his out-with-the-baby and-the-bathwater technique and, as with you, his refusal to discuss his pronouncements tripped him up somewhat.
If anything confirms your 'folkie' pedigree, it's your wonderful "TV evagelised Celtic Woman Sean Nos" - straight out of the American "Oirish" scene.
Sean nos is a term applied, not entirely satisfactorily, to such "evagelised Celtic Woman" as Joe Heaney, Sean McDonagh, Nicholas Tobin and Darach O'Cathain - don't know what incursions into the subject you have made so far but try 'Bright Star of the West' (discussion of Joe Heaney's singing), 'On a Rock in the Middle of the Ocean' (songs and singers of Tory Island) or the superb 'Hidden Ulster' (Six counties Irish Language singing).
Steve
"but it doesn't stop me from enjoying the ways all of this music has evolved in a multiplicity of ways over the last century."
Doesn't stop me enjoying it either, but nor does it stop me from saying why regurgitated styles of singing (that have long been rejected by the revival that once gave it an audience) don't work on ballads for me.
"Nowadays it HAS a multiplicity of meanings to the MAJORITY of people "
NO IT HAS NOT - "the majority of people" don't give a toss - 'folk' has totally failed to connect with them. The only time the word "folk" passes the lips of the "majority" of Britons is when it is prefixed by "an everyday story of country...."It is only within the revival that the definition/non definition discussion takes place.
This is what makes these arguments so crass - there has been a level of success in Ireland by a return to the source - especially important is the fact that the youngsters are playing it enthusiastically, well and in great numbers.
Whereas, back in the UK.......... !!!! a hand-to-mouth existence seems to be the best description in most cases - largely due to the fact you no longer get to choose your music when you go to a folk club, but have to accept which particular (non) 'brand' is favoured by each individual club.
Until that situation changes it will continue to be the researched and documented consensus definition which survives - not a great deal of disagreement there.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 05:38 AM

Anyone spot the goalposts just moving? I thought we were talking about passing songs on - i.e. what 'tradition' consists of - not arguing over compositional credits.

Can you seperate the two things? The flux and fuidity of Traditional Song from one singer to the next is part of its nature; be it the re-making of songs to suit, or the way a singer might sing a different version of a song each time - as Mrs Pearl Brewer did on the two occasions Max Hunter recorded her singing The Cruel Mother. Theorectically - and philosophically (depending on your parameters) - any given song exists in a different variant each time it's sung, any one of which can be passed on...

Look at the scope and range of the melodic and rhythmic variants to some well-known folk songs. The result of many individual interventions? Yes. Genius, every one? Stretching it. But all part of a process (not a 'process'), undoubtedly.

I don't think it's unreasonable to think of these variants as the product of a singers whim, or mastery of their craft, or even examples of it. If people are conversant with that 'tradition' then they'll be able to extemporise at will, for better or worse, as in The Legend of Knockgrafton, or people who will readily approximate a melody to suit. My grandmother could out-whistle Ronnie Ronalde and regularly amazed us by improvising in this way on any number of melodies. But only in the kitchen, mind.

No, most music is performed by 'musicians'.

Anyone who even dabbles is a musician; some dabblers will even become great musicians, but it all starts with the dabbling, or being moved to dabble in the first place. Like on that fateful day in June 1976 when the Sex Pistols played at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, thus moving many audience members, to go forth and dabble. Within three years many of them had rewritten the book, like Peter Hook, a non-musician hitherto, and now hailed as a crucial stylist on the bass guitar. He's still not a great musician - I saw him playing solo last year at The Lowry and it was pretty dire to be honest, despite being bigged up by Howard Marks as the greatest bassist of all time, which is quite beside the point because he made great music as part of his particular tradition.

*

I feel a duet coming on...

I'm reminded of this which I'm sure no one else on Mudcat will find amusing in the slightest; it might even mave relevance to the discussion with respect of mondegreens & mishearings...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWsFWdqLmNM


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 08:09 AM

As ever, you appear to deal only in dismissive cliches - "subjective is dismissing out-of-hand over a century's research and experience to justify your own approach to singing and lack of research

I'm defending my position against your relentless onslaught, Jim - I'm just a singer who sings things as he sees fit to sing them; in this I'm not different from any other singer. Like I say, if you don't like it, fine - but to use a barrage of Occult Revival Law in order to justify why your opinion is the correct one seems a little OTT. As for research, I'm researching all the time, it goes with the territory; one can't just sing Traditioonal Songs without researching them or being aware of their provenance. That's part of the fun, and thus can I say that (AFAIK) Child #102 has never been recorded by a traditional singer.

you have never at any time put forward and argument for why everybody else got it wrong and your pontifications (no great argument put forward for those either) are right.

I feel the revival is predicated on the myth that Folk Music is instrinically different from other music - as outlined in the 1954 Definition. As I've suggested elsewhere, there is nothing in the 1954 Defnition that can't be applied to any other genre of music, all of which are based on community and tradition. People are people; Music is music; Language is Language. I'm not suggesting that all music is, therefore, Folk Music*; rather that Folk Music is an idiomatic genre best understood musicologically as we would any other genre, and not in terms of a defination which tells us a much as the Horse Definition. That is what I believe to be true. I also believe that the Folk Myth, like the revival itself, is a manifestation of Imperialistic Class Condescension and reciprocal deference. Folk was defined from on high - not by the people who did it; its archives, methodology and infrastructure are entirely alien to the nature of the beast itself. You are a collector; you not part of the Tradition you claim to represent, though your perception of that tradition is a crucial factor in its existence. I believe there are still billions of species of marine life awaiting their correct name and status in the taxonomical scheme of things; until such a time, they just get on with it regardless.   

Like your approach to ballads - that's been done before

Isn't that in the nature of balladry though? To do things that have been done before? Like I say, I'm not trying to do anything new, rather seeing the ballads in terms of their own intrinsic freshness and how a more improvisatory approach works in practise. I can't think of anyone who's done anything quite like that in the revival, but I can think of plenty of Traditional Singers, from whom I take my cue. Each to their own though - where you see concensus and rules, I see idiosyncratic quirkiness and eccentricity. You're a Death Eater, Jim - still in service to the Dark Lord Manacle Cowl whose mission was the abolition of Joy on Earth. At least it was on the two or three occasions I saw him - I was depressed for days and one occasion was even moved to write a letter to Folk Roots under the name of Ralph Harris. It was published as 'Ewan Whose Army?' though sadly I no longer have a copy myself... I am a Fun Guy, not a Tyrant; I hate Tyrants and I hate Tyranny.

Dave Harker fell at the first fence thirty years ago with a similar approach - his out-with-the-baby and-the-bathwater technique and, as with you, his refusal to discuss his pronouncements tripped him up somewhat.

Well, I've got a copy of Harker's fabled Fakesong in the pile awaiting my attention (maybe once I'm done with Mike Barnes' examplary biography of Captain Beefheart which is costing me a small fortune in CDs as most of my vinyl got lost years ago, but then I've got Jeanette Leech's Seasons they Change and Drumbo's own book on Beefheart awaiting my attention too). I've skimmed it though, and found it remarkably uncontroversial given the reactions on here on Mudcat whenever it's mentioned. I found Georgina Boyes' Imagined Village far more harrowing as an account of the revival, confirming all my very worst fears, but most people don't seem to have an issue with this wholesale misappropriation, manipulation and reivention of working-class culture as being something it never was. It brought me out in hives; hence my Steamfolk idea, which was a personal salve to the issue really. Folk is a Myth; once you collect it, you only confirm that myth. Folk is also what people love; what people do; it's the creative work of thousands of singers and musicians who do it for JOY not occult correctness. They are Wizards and Witches - not Death Eaters.

If anything confirms your 'folkie' pedigree, it's your wonderful "TV evagelised Celtic Woman Sean Nos" - straight out of the American "Oirish" scene.

That was yours, Jim - which you confirm with your assesment of the Purity, Correctness and Authenticity of State Funded Irish Folk as oppose to bastardised versions we must suffer over here in the Third World multi-cultural UK. Personally, I know where I'd rather be if your churlish mutterings are anything to go by. As a cultural pragmatist I KNOW that Popular Culture Is What Popular Culture Does; you can't box it, preserve it, collect it, revive it, define it, or tell it what to do. You can observe it though, abd revel in the mutable beauty of the thing. It's like language and art, it's a living thriving TRADITION consequent on living thriving Human Individuals and the Communities to which they belong - be it Amy Winehouse, Davie Stewart, Eminem, Peter Bellamy, Robert Wyatt, Joe Heaney, Seamus Ennis, Bob Copper or Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

Taking you back up to that earlier asterisk (*), I think you can say the same of The Folk Scene, which celebrates FOLK in similar terms, but rarely with the sort of Hermetical Correctness you might insist upon. The trick is to just love what you love, do what you do, and let others do likewise without calling them prats for doing it. If you can do this then... yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, and - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 09:03 AM

"Anyone who even dabbles is a musician"

On reflection, I was mistaken in embracing your term 'dabbling'. A dabbler is one who makes a self-conscious decision to dip a toe in the water of a particular musical style. Folk song, on the other hand, was perpetuated for generations by individuals who had simply grown up with the stuff and to whom it was as much a part of life as eating and breathing.

There's a difference in kind between the kid bashing out the chords to 'Wonderwall' on a cheap guitar, and the parent singing to their child a song that they learned by osmosis from their own parent or grandparent (not something that happens too much these days, I would guess).

Your cart is before your horse. The concept of folk song was devised, according to your amusing parody of Dave Spart, in a spirit of 'Imperialistic Class Condescension' (never mind that several of those you've criticized specifically celebrated it as working-class culture). You don't approve; therefore the very essence of the thing must be denied, regardless of all supportive evidence.

That said, I did enjoy the Magma clip.

For a precis of the 'Fakesong' controversy, go here - but surely it's about time somebody said something about Robin Hood Ballads?


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 09:52 AM

There's a difference in kind between the kid bashing out the chords to 'Wonderwall' on a cheap guitar, and the parent singing to their child a song that they learned by osmosis from their own parent or grandparent (not something that happens too much these days, I would guess).

I honestly don't think there is; it's traditional process, albeit compounded by other factors, but in essence it's exactly the same thing, no matter how cheap the guitar. You can imagine how things would turn out as the kid got better at it and used the lesson of Wonderwall as a basis for their own understanding of what is essentially a creative idiom, which is probably how Wonderwall came about in the first place as one out other of the Gallagher brothers put their Rutles / Beatles chops to work for them as songmakers, just as Lennon did before them on his own cheap guitar. These things still happen; they're intregral to the way music works as a process, just these days if we want music, we don't necessarily have to do it ourselves. Maybe that's the key here? But even in that context many would deny that much pre-tecnological domestic music making consisted of anything which we might call idiomatic Folk.

I've got the horse before the cart; even those who celebrated it as Working Class culture did it from on high and romanticised a very selective view of that culture in which Idiomatic Folk was the exception rather than the rule even to the point of falsifying the evidence (Blackleg Miner). Other music was very much in evidence, and still is, alive and well from brass bands to rock bands to hip hop crews and fluffy morris dancers. In context, and by definition of the 1954 Definition, Folk Music (and Folklore, Folkdance and Folktale) are all thriving concerns of Popular Culture, just none of it would be of any interest to Folkies, who would regard it as debased, factory manufactured and otherwise unworthy of romanticisation or Steamfolk reinvention, just as romanticised Steamfolk isn't generally associated with, or consumed by, the working classes.

Then we have Tommy Armstrong; a song writer of Folk Song and Ballad in the Traditional Idiom and revered by his community for his mastery of his craft.

Forgive my rambling; am presently very anxious about impending appointment at the dentists having lost one of my front teeth the other week....

*

Back on Thread. Has any of the various Robin Hood Ballads known from Child etc. ever been sound-recorded from a living traditional singer? And what of their melodies & sources thereof?


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 09:54 AM

Going back to 'Robin Hood' ballads! Can any learned folk explain to me whilst, if 'Robin' ever existed at all, it would seem to be in Edward II's reign, and not Richard I's, that all the tales/stories/ballads/ fils/plays etc.. all place him 100 + years out of time?


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 01:42 PM

Don't have time to plouter through your undergrowth of verbiage, now, will try later.
"relentless onslaught"
Once again you resort to dismissive and distorting cliches.
This started because I said I didn't think you are a good singer of ballads - I said why; you have not addressed the reasons I gave for believing what I said.
"Relentless onslaught" my arse, you're a folkie egotist who puts up your own singing expecting the world to fall at your feet and when it doesn't happen you throw a wobbler.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 05:23 AM

Sean:
Read through your offering, got nothing out of it – as usual, even after hacking my way though the superfluous and pontificating verbiage.
Last word, then I'll leave you to your armchair musings.
As long as I have argued with you, your attitude has been one of total, out-of –hand dismissal of the work of collectors, researchers, ballad and folk song scholars – never argument - that would have necessitated your having taken the trouble to examine their efforts – no sign of that ever having happened.
".... awaiting my attention"
Somewhat pompously put I thought.
Harker's 'Fakesong' was published half-a-century   ago; I found it a superficially nasty attack on easy (dead) targets, but at least he made the effort of reading their ideas, writing a book and having it published rather than making snide attacks from his armchair, and at least I took the trouble to read it (twenty five years ago).
You have persistently dismiss the work of collectors, despite the fact that you have never sung nor listened a single traditional song that has not passed through the hands of a collector.
You have written of the song tradition as a figment of the imagination, or even the deliberate invention of collectors; Greig and Duncan's magnificent 8 volume collection of songs made in one single Aberdeenshire parish; Tom Munnelly's 22,000 songs recorded from Irish traditional singers, Sharp's huge harvest from the south of England and the Southern Appalachians, Mike Yates, Hugh Shield, Seamus Ennis, Hamish Henderson, James M Carpenter..... charlatans or idiots or both.
And in return you offer – what? No debate, no argument, not even an indication that you have examined their work, beyond plundering it for songs; just out-of-hand dismissal with enough insulting clichés to fill a sizeable dictionary.
"I'm researching all the time,"
It doesn't show.
"Tradition you claim to represent"
Waste of time again I know but where have I (or any collector) ever claimed to "represent the tradition" - I've reported back on what we found and put our work up for public scrutiny, nothing more.
You continue to deal in shallow, facile and insulting cliches aimed at the work of others, but when it comes to discussion of the use you make of that work.....
When I have the temerity to criticise singing that you put up for public scrutiny it becomes a "relentless onslaught" - you leap on the nearest table and scream "mouse".
Give us a break.
Like all egotists you have proved yourself more than willing and able to dish it out, but when it comes to taking it.......
If you can't take criticism, stay at home and sing in the bath; I'm sure the rubber duck will be highly entertained.
As far as I'm concerned your singing indicates you to be a somewhat hackneyed folkie – nothing more.
"Hermetical Correctness" " Imperialistic Class Condescension" "Death Eater"
Yet more nasty and misleadingly dishonest cliches to add to the dictionary
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 06:57 AM

Read through your offering, got nothing out of it – as usual, even after hacking my way though the superfluous and pontificating verbiage.

I'm hardly surprised, Jim - though, as ever, I'll leave the superfluous pontificating up to you.

Last word, then I'll leave you to your armchair musings.

Is that a promise? I'm just about done in here.

As long as I have argued with you, your attitude has been one of total, out-of –hand dismissal of the work of collectors, researchers, ballad and folk song scholars – never argument - that would have necessitated your having taken the trouble to examine their efforts – no sign of that ever having happened.

I've never dismissed their work, just questioned their methods - the grounds, assumptions and consequent dilemmas arising. I have examined their efforts in great detail. The main dilemma is on one hand you have an uneducated class of Traditional Singers, and one the other an highly educated class of scholars who study them. There's the issue right there. If you find no problem with that, then fine. Obviously it's never occurred to you.

".... awaiting my attention"
Somewhat pompously put I thought.


I rarely get a chance to read these days, so I have a small pile of books awaiting my attention. What's pompous about that? Everything I say you insist on subjecting to a negative spin. It took forever tracking down a copy of Harker's book anyway, but after reading Georgina Boyes' The Imagined Village I just didn't have the heart to pursue it further. See above, you know? God knows the dilemma of social class / subject & object / myth & reality / wholesale reinvention, fantasy & agenda is writ large in The Revival so as to be integral to the thing.

Harker's 'Fakesong' was published half-a-century   ago; I found it a superficially nasty attack on easy (dead) targets, but at least he made the effort of reading their ideas, writing a book and having it published rather than making snide attacks from his armchair, and at least I took the trouble to read it (twenty five years ago).

I've skimmed it, and it seems pretty unremarkable to me, especially after Georgina Boyes' assessments which only serve to confirm the worst of it and yet no one has a problem with that whatsoever.

You have persistently dismiss the work of collectors, despite the fact that you have never sung nor listened a single traditional song that has not passed through the hands of a collector.

Like I say, I do not dismiss their work, just insist that we remain aware of the problems of The Collectors and The Collected, and how their findings are then interpreted according to a xeno-methodology that is contrary to the nature of the songs themselves. Taxidermy and Taxonomy are the order of the scholarly mind;, whereas the songs belong to another system entirely, if, indeed, they belong to a system at all. I agree that my familiarity with Folk Song is entirely due to collectors - I regularly celebrate the work of Max Hunter for example, and am deeply indebted to University of Missouri for making his archives so readily accessible (would that were the case over here) BUT that doesn't mean I have to agree with their assumptions, methods or conclusions. There will always be issues, but data is data, and often it's all too easy to overlook the fact. Generally, however, I take it in good faith, and in listening to a song, I do so as an artist, not a scholar.

You have written of the song tradition as a figment of the imagination, or even the deliberate invention of collectors

The songs, of course, aren't a figment, but much of what I have read about the nature of The Tradition is a figment - a theory - like the very notion of Folk itself, or the 1954 Definition, or The Folk Process. I would question if we might think of a Tradition at all given the fragmentary nature of even the best of it when all that results is an ossified version of the fluid culture that's being preserved. For me that's quite a huge contradiction. Why do we feel the need to preserve stuff? To collect it? To lament the loss of Traditional Culture when the people themselves are quite happy to see it go? These are important questions (not rhetorical ones!) especially as Folk them becomes a reactive aspect of post-modern bourgeois romanticism, however so smug in its inner-radicalism, wherein the sort of correctness you espouse serves as a hermetic seal on the sunshine-jar. What was once the pure JOY of common creative cultural expression is reduced to the dead weight of pseudo-religion.

Greig and Duncan's magnificent 8 volume collection of songs made in one single Aberdeenshire parish; Tom Munnelly's 22,000 songs recorded from Irish traditional singers, Sharp's huge harvest from the south of England and the Southern Appalachians, Mike Yates, Hugh Shield, Seamus Ennis, Hamish Henderson, James M Carpenter..... charlatans or idiots or both.

I could add to that list, but it doesn't change the basic dilemmas here - they are intrinsic to the nature of the beast and nothing is going to change that. I would have thought that it would be better to OWN these issues and dilemmas rather than reject them outright with yet another litany of well-intentioned scholars and idealists. I applaud these people, I really do, many of them of great heroes of mine, but it's always going to be an issue that specific Traditions were preserved by outsiders, and turned into something else entirely.

And in return you offer – what? No debate, no argument, not even an indication that you have examined their work, beyond plundering it for songs; just out-of-hand dismissal with enough insulting clichés to fill a sizeable dictionary.

Jim, I think I've been more than generous with my time in debating these issues with you over the years, much less over the last few days. I'm not given to insults either - those I leave to you, i.e.

"I'm researching all the time,"
It doesn't show.


Which is typical enough of your put-downs.

"Tradition you claim to represent"
Waste of time again I know but where have I (or any collector) ever claimed to "represent the tradition" -


So what the hell else are you doing it for?

I've reported back on what we found and put our work up for public scrutiny, nothing more.

So why these constant tirades and dismissals of the creative work of others?

You continue to deal in shallow, facile and insulting cliches aimed at the work of others, but when it comes to discussion of the use you make of that work.....

....I invariably rise to the occasion with good grace, as I feel I have done quite admirably throughout this present exchange.

When I have the temerity to criticise singing that you put up for public scrutiny it becomes a "relentless onslaught" - you leap on the nearest table and scream "mouse".

You don't criticise it, you subject it to received absolutes. There's a crucial difference here. If you don't like it then fair enough (truth to tell I'd be more worried if you did) but what baffles me is the implication of a secret school of critical correctness which has been the issue here all along. Folk is as Folk Does, like anything else.

Like all egotists you have proved yourself more than willing and able to dish it out, but when it comes to taking it.......
If you can't take criticism, stay at home and sing in the bath; I'm sure the rubber duck will be highly entertained.


The criticism doesn't bother me, Jim - what bothers me is when the critic resorts to ill-informed value judgements to justify their knee-jerks, to bolster their own lack of understanding by somehow being 'in the know'. Thus do you resort to limp little put-downs such as:

As far as I'm concerned your singing indicates you to be a somewhat hackneyed folkie – nothing more.

Which typifies your critical currency. Very poor, if I may say so.

"Hermetical Correctness" " Imperialistic Class Condescension" "Death Eater"
Yet more nasty and misleadingly dishonest cliches to add to the dictionary


Hardly dishonest. You constantly imply you are privy to secret knowledge of how to sing folk songs correctly, thus I assume you abide by a system of Hermetical Correctness. As for Imperialistic Class Condescension, I would have thought that much was obvious enough to even to most casual observer of The Folk Revival of the last 100 years and more - read Georgina Boyes' account. Death Eater is from J K Rowling's Harry Potter Books - the Death-Eaters are a fascistic elite devoted to a dictatorial tyrant intent on ridding the Magic World of liberalism and the influence of non-magical outsiders. The term for these outsiders in the books is Muggles, and I note (to my despair) that this term is now common in Folk circles in referring to non-Folkies, but that's by the by I'm sure.

Like I say, keep up the good work.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 07:07 AM

100


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 07:18 AM

With my 'legendary pedantry, accuracy matters' hat on ~~

Harker: Fakesong 1984.

Scarcely ½-century; barely ¼

~M~


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 07:40 AM

Oh dear. I get very annoyed when having to fight through the thickets of Sweeney's gratuitous and sesquipedalian philological exhibitionism which demonstrates a far more condescending (as well as obfuscatory) approach than ever displayed by Victorian collectors or revivalists.

It does however seem to me curious that while he rejects the entire tenet of folk music, denigrating a very sensible definition (the 1954 definition) without offering any coherent other options, he sees himself as able to define which of his offerings are folk and which are not.

On the other hand, it also seems to me that while a ballad may well be a narrative (and may or may not be a folk song) if it is a narrative folk song then no way of presenting the narrative deprives it of that status, given that folk is not defined by form. Indeed I could go further and say that even if it were to be deprived of its ballad status by removal of all coherent narrative, it might well still remain a folk song. For example so much of "Avram Bailey" appears to have been lost that what we have left makes very little sense.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 09:00 AM

he rejects the entire tenet of folk music

Not so, I just reject the Horse Definition (and, by association, the 1954 Definition too) as telling us nothing that isn't true of any other music. Simply put I refuse to accept that all music is Folk Music because Folk Song is largely a matter of Form(s) and largely a matter of Context. That said, All music can be Folk Music, but only in very specific contexts. This is all about Pragmatics; a Butcher is a Butcher, but whilst pigs may well fear a Pork Butcher, families need not fear a Family Butcher in quite the same way. Beyond that I'd say the whole thing is too vast, nebulous, wonderful and mutuable a thing to define with any degree of accuracy, or indeed certainty, without reducing it to the sort of idiotic pedantry that isn't entirely untypical in Folk Circles. Thus do I say: Folk Is as Folk Does, which suffices as a sort-of non-definition for me.

he sees himself as able to define which of his offerings are folk and which are not.

Awkward one really because my passion for Folk is dependent on a very wide cultural Zeitgeist that existed in my childhood and therefore includes a vast amount of (seemingly) disparate influences and inspirations including (off the top of my head) The Penguin Book of English Folk Song (just landed a pristine First Edition paperback in Southport the other week; collecting them is a sort of sub-hobby of mine); The Leaping Hare; The Pattern Under the Plough (etc. any of George Ewart Evans' books will do); A Song for Every Season; The Collected Ghost Stories of M R James (and their TV adaptations): The Singing Molecatcher of Morayshire; The Green Man by Kathleen Basford; The Green Man by William Anderson; The Faber Book of Popular Verse; Engolish Folk Heroes by Christina Hole; The Martyrdom of Saint Magnus; Eight Songs for a Mad King; Shirley & Dolly Collins; the Battle of the Field; Among the Many Attractions at the Show Will Be a High Class Band; the Third Ear Band; David Munrow; The Clemencic Consort; Saint George's Canzona; Rene Zosso; Times and Traditions for Dulcimer; Billy Pigg; Martin Carthy; June Tabor; Peter Bellamy; Music from the Morning of the World; Javanese Court Gamelan Volume 3; The Nonsuch Explorer Series As a Whole; Seamus Ennis; Davie Stewart; A Beuk of Newcassel Sangs; The Northumbrian Minstrelsy; Rhymes of the Northern Bards; The Bay Hotel Folk Club; Ray Fisher; Jane Turriff; Duncan Wiliamson; Robin Williamson; Michael Hurley; The Northumbrian Gathering; Badger in the Bag; Raymond Greenoaken; The Watersons; The Elliots of Birtley; Ewan MacColl; The Bagpipe Museum in Newcastle (nor in Morpeth); The Bridge Folk Club; Strawhead; The Amazing Blondell; the Strawbs; Jean Ritchie; Peggy Seeger; Gentle Giant; Jordi Savall; Willie Scott; Children of the Stones; Aubrey Burl; Janet and Colin Bord; The Readers Digest Book of Folklore and Legends of Britain; Bob Pegg; Mr Fox; Rolf Harris; The Singing Ringing Tree &c. &c.

I think we each carry around our own subjective inner-aesthetic of what Folk is, or means to us, and sometimes we might find someone who is of a similar mind, but I would be wary of anything approaching a concensus. Just look along the thread titles of Mudcat and try to divine the Common Factor.

I agree about ballads, though I might dispute their primary purpose is simply to 'tell a story'; or that 'telling a story' is ever so simple a thing anyway. Stained glass windows might be said to tell a story, but like a ballad, that story will be well known to the listener. Last night I watched Planet of the Apes (1968) for what must have been the 345th time in my life and yet each time it comes out different for me, as stories invariably do as they catch the listener in different ways whatever the agenda (or otherwise) of the original, or the intentions of the teller or the singer. Ballads, like films, move in terms of image and archetype and all manner of occult levels which even the singer won't be aware of. The receptive mind is not passive; the cultural process whirls in ways we might never fully understand, and so stories will mean things we'll never dream of in a million years. So, like all storytelling, it is never so simple a thing as telling a story, even culturally. Every Easter I attend the Catholic Triduum to hear a very old story indeed, one that defines much of what I am despite being an Atheist; likewise at Christmas. I hear ballads in much the same way, but always afresh, so it makes perfect sense to sing them in as fluid a way as possible without labouring 'the story' as such, allowing for the fact that there is always going to be more to it than meets the eye, or ear, or the brain, so correctness is a complete anathema to the nature of the thing, however so entrenched the revival orthodoxy might be, largely thanks to the creative genius of Martin Carthy. That said, though aware of the orthdoxy, I'm not reacting against it; I just do things as they feel right for me to do them, and I really hope that's true of everyone, even those for whom the orthodox way is right.

Do what Thou Wilt - but for God's sake make sure you encourage others in their efforts to do likewise, then we might have something to go on.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 10:41 AM

Sorry Mike - slip of the typing finger (tough I did say I'd read it 25 years ago
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 10:56 AM

Sorry, that's one mistake I can't allow : it should be Among the Many Attractions at the Show Will Be a Really High Class Band, which was bought from J&SK at a gig in a Northumbrian public house back in 1976 and remains one of my all time favourite folk albums. Does it exist on CD I wonder? I still play my old vinyl copy at least once a year But chiefly when the wind blows high, in a night of February


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 11:28 AM

There you go again. Zeitgeist indeed.

NO. It's not about an aesthetic. If it was, Jim would be right that what you do is not folk balladry.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 12:17 PM

Richard - don't dare to presume to tell anyone that they're wrong, much less insist that you might be right, whatever sort of absolutist logic you might insist upon. Folk is all about the Zeitgeist; it is all about subjective perception (as if there was any other sort) and aesthetics pure and simple. Folk is the beauty in the eye of beholder; it is the mutable wave of collective fashion that we each see very differently indeed. There are no rights and wrongs, only personal opinions. Jim is only right in saying what he does because that's the way he sees it; it's certainly not the way I see it, but then again my Atheism is more inclusive than that, but that's just me, even though we both love the same things.

How do I see it? I've already accounted for Child 102, but generally the term Folk Balladry can mean pretty much what you want it too. This isn't a case of the Humpty Dumpties, just a more pragmatic acknowledgement that in music there are no correct procedures, much less terminology on which we might agree upon with severe qualification. For sure, any given A might equal 440, but as to what the relative Major Third then equals very much depends on your temperament. So if I sing a Traditional Ballad then it's Folk by default, like the recording I did last week of The Wife of Ushers Well in which I freely intone Childs's A text (from memory) whilst freely improvising on my 5-string violin (AKA The Accursed Viol - you can add Lovecraft to that list too). Whilst the whole thing is anchored to a drone, it is is otherwise completely atonal, though I think of this as amodality rather than atonality per se. And just as the performance is essentially non-rhythmic, I've added a xenochronous rhythm track on a frame drum which randomly and organically aligns with the voice / viol / drone track. Whilst I'd never attempt anything like this in a Folk Club, or any other Designated Folk Context, I nevertheless think of it as being Folk for reasons of Zeitgeist and resultant aesthetic sensibilities which are as much the consequence of collective cultural circumstance as they are the individual experience of those circumstances. Folk and Free Improvisation were the Chamber Musics of my childhood and adolescence, and it seems only right to bring them together from time to time, for whilst I'd never do anything like this in a Folk Gig, I'd certainly do it in a Free Improv gig. That said, even in my more orthodox folk ventures, there will always be a significant amount of improvisation going on purely because my personal understanding of The Tradition of English Speaking Folk Song is of a phenomenon that was highly fluid and infinitely mutable, in which songs were constantly being remade and changed even from one singing to the next - not out of sloppy dabbling or failing memory, but because such a fluidity is integral to the mastery oral culture and the genre which Folk Song. That one may only stay on top of such improvisation through rehearsing your tits off is one of the supreme ironies of the craft; use it or lose it, as they say. In the collected & recorded annals of Folk Song, I see little evidence to suggest that it was ever any other way.

Again, I'm rambling again; I'm actually in the middle of a review I'm doing of the new HUX edition of Heavy Petting which already runs to over 1,300 words and I still haven't mentioned the music. Instead of getting down to editing, I procrastinate over here on Mudcat...

Word count: 621 (before editing).


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: theleveller
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 12:52 PM

"you can add Lovecraft to that list too"

Now I'd have had you down as a Machen man - Hill of Dreams and The Great God Pan.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 01:04 PM

I didn't. And there you go again.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 01:10 PM

Machen, Rolt, La Fanu, Baring-Gould, Poe, Blackwood, Edward Gorey, Mark E Smith; so many great writers, so little time. And I love Phil Rickman too - his Merrily Watkins mysteries are Pure Folk, genuinely creep and beautifully written from the heart of darkest Herefordshire...


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 02:18 PM

Just discovered a 17th century RH ballad that Child missed out. It has 27 more verses than the Gest. It's called ''Robin Hood goes Astray.




I'll get me hat.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 05:26 AM

I didn't. And there you go again.

So what else is your rather declamatory NO. It's not about an aesthetic. if not such a presumption? At least have the decency to explain yourself instead of hurling out cryptic one liners.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 06:50 AM

The broadside below is from the Luddite period. "The movement was named after General Ned Ludd or King Ludd, a mythical figure who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest... The movement began in Nottingham in 1811 and spread rapidly throughout England in 1811 and 1812." wiki

--General Ludd's Triumph
Tune "Poor Jack"
Chant no more your old rhymes about bold Robin Hood,
His feats I but little admire
I will sing the Atchievements of General Ludd
Now the Hero of Nottinghamshire--

Does this not suggest that Robin Hood ballads were known, & being sung, at the time ~ 2nd decade of C19?

As I understand, though I canot recollect the source of this, the movement's name came from a somewhat mentally defective youth called Ned Lud, from Leicestershire not Notts, who destroyed his master's stocking-frames due to some grievance about his working hours{?}, & was transported; all some 30 years before the Luddites chose his name for their mythical leader. Anyone know more of this story, or can offer any explanation why his name should have been so adopted? Wiki has nothing to say on the subject in its article on the Luddites I quote above.

~M~

I know this is a bit of a drift; but seems to me relevant here, as the Robin Hood ballads, topic of this thread, are explicitly mentioned at the very beginning of that Broadside ~ IIRC sung by Roy Harris on one of his albums, and quoted in full by Teribus in a thread called 'Lyr Req: Songs of the industrial Revoloution [sic]' seven years ago, which qv if interested.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 07:30 AM

Ah, Sweeney, I thought you were referring to a different remark of mine. But you are still caught between a rock and a hard place. If (which it isn't) "folk" is defined by "an aesthetic" (what the rest of us call, more plainly, style) then your versions under discussion are not folk - because they have changed the style.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 08:40 AM

The devil's in the details, because Style (if you insist, although I night think more of Cool, Groove or Swagger), like The Tradition, is an illusion caused by a myriad of smaller reactions and interactions which are in a state of constant organic flux and never once repeat themselves - assuming it is possible to do so anyway, which is open to debate: as Sun Ra said Nature never repeats itself. If we can reduce Folk Style to so simple a formula then it would be easier, but in insisting upon a more musicological understanding of Folk, I'm resisting the Transferable Imperialistic thrust of the term in favour of a more enthnomusicological appreciation of things, such as we find over at the International Council for Traditional Music, which, as we all know, was once the International Folk Music Council who gave us the 1954 Definition in the first place. As I've pointed out in the past, their remit is pretty wide, but they nevertheless distinquished Folk from a muliplicity of other musics which are just as Traditional.

Implicit in any Style is its capacity for change. The overall Folk aesthetic changes from artist to artist, just as a song changes from singer to singer. It's not a catch-all comfort blanket, rather it changes its parameters with every change it becomes subjected to, so much so that any definition must be as mutuable as the thing itself, which, arguably, the 1954 Definition is. But because it was hatched in a hermetic vacuum jar it missed a trick that whilst not all music is Folk Music, all music is, nevertheless Human Music and born of self same traditional process it seeks to enshrine. The class gulf is, therefore, the rather patronising notion of the Individual over the Collective; the Artist over the faceless Community; the rather noxious assumption that The Folk are a different species as that the laws that apply to Them don't apply to Us, and vice versa. So Folk Music is different because the Folk themselves are different; they are lower, nobler; they are ill-educated savages unaware of the significance of their Folkart, which can only be understood by a scholastic elite. As Jean Ritchie said of the time Maud Karpeles denounced her crdentials as a Folk Musician because she'd had an education as was, therefore, all too aware of her craft. This results in the sort pure-blood seeking for the Real and Authentic that I find particularly awkward in European Traditional Music these days, not only because of the Nationalism (and, by implication, Racism) that invariably attends it, but also because even Jim's highly prized Sean-Nos is as much a post-modern invention as the Bodhran or the Celtic Harp.

Yes, yes, there I go again. Enough already - or too much! Now back to that Heavy Petting review...


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 09:46 AM

SOB, thanks for the reminder about The Leaping Hare - it was on my list to read after T H White's The Goshawk but I forgot about it - and that was about 8 years ago. Like you say, so many books.......


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 09:51 AM

"You constantly imply you are privy to secret knowledge of how to sing folk songs correctly"
You are probably the most vindictively dishonest person I have ever debated with
I can't stop you from lying and misrepresenting my opnions but I will continue to point out when you do so.
Please indicate where I have ever claimed.... "privy to secret knowledge of how to sing folk songs correctly" - I realise this to be another waste of time as you don't do explanations, (even if you did, am not sure I am qualified to cut my way through your pretentious verbiage).
JimCarroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 12:48 PM

Jim - when someone mutters words to the effect of 'this is not good ballad singing' then that seems to suggest they're privy to some sort of insider info. of what is good ballad singing. Myself, I don't have those sorts of criteria, but I don't believe in competitions either, something you get a lot of over there I believe, so maybe the judges are more in-the-know with respect of said secret wisdom. If it's simply a matter of expressing an opinion, then fair enough, but whether you like it or not I work very hard on my ballad singing, and regularly put it to the test before appreciative (but hardly uncritical) audiences of all ages & inclinations. So if it's more than just a matter o' taste, which I suspect it is or you wouldn't have expounded so much time & energy telling me how off the map you think I am, then what's the underlying problem here I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 01:04 PM

"....this is not good ballad singing"
Sorry Sean - always believed you to be a rotten ballad singer and have said so in the past - I don't have any "secret knowledge" - that's just another of your unpleasant cliches.
It really doesn't need special understanding or knowledge to recognise a poor interpretation - or are you an elitist as well as a pratt?
You may work very hard on your ballad singing, but it just doesn't reach me in any way at all.
Anybody who walks into a folk club has a right to express an opinion - (I've qualified mine and am prepared to do so even further, except you don't appear to be able to handle criticism unless it's yourself dishing it out).
You've never hesitated in expressing your contempt for collectors and researchers and your disinterest in what traditional singer have to say) - if you can't stand the heat....
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 01:57 PM

Sorry Sean - always believed you to be a rotten ballad singer and have said so in the past

Just stumbled across this, which seems a more considered an altogether fair minded appraisal to the way you go on it public anyway.

Have been thinking about what you said and you are quite right - I had no right to go for you or anybody's singing the way I did - kneejerking seems to be a tendency I have developed with advancing years.
I apologise, and am quite prepareed to do so publicly if you wish.
It's certainly not the way I or any Critics Group member would have behaved - half a lifetime ago.
Should I have been asked to do a crit on what I heard on the clip I would prbably have said:

You have a good strong musical voice;
No pitch or breathing problems;
Confident, competent singing.
Instrumentally skilled.

I would not have agreed with the way you approached the ballad (seem to remember it was King Henry); but that is a personal thing; your decision entirely.
The problem for me is I don't believe that ballads lend themselves to experimentation - far to word/narrative intense - if you take the attention away from them, even for the length of half a line, you can lose the whole thing.
But that's a discussion for another place.
Sorry again.


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Subject: RE: Robin Hood ballads
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 04:04 PM

If my memory serves me right, I had criticised an example of your singing which somebody had put up for my opinion, along with two other singers - I had no idea who the singer was and I gave my honest view in that ignorance. Perhaps I should not have - I apologised to you for having done so uninvited.
Here you have put up a piece of your own singing, presumably for opinions; I gave mine, quite mildly, by my standards, and as honestly and as positively as I could. I had no reason to believe that you were only interested in favourable comments - my mistake.
I think you will find that if you sing in public you throw yourself open to the opinions of others, whether they give them to your face or not.
I strongly believe that one of the main failures of todays revival is the lack of honest discussion on the singing presented at clubs - it seems that Alex Campbell's "near enough for folk song" has become a reality.
You have blown this into an incredibly nasty issue with your deliberate distortions of what I am supposed to believe and said.
As I said - if you can't stand the heat...
You have never been backward in coming forward with your own, often devastatingly sweeping, unpleasant and often hurtful pronouncements (that is what they often are).
Take it like a man my son!!
Jim Carroll


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