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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Marje Nineteenth-Century Folk Songs (42) RE: Nineteenth-Century Folk Songs 16 Aug 15

But Jim, are these two things not compatible? Many songs have been written in England in what is broadly called the "folk tradition" in the last 50 years or so. I'm thinking of people like Ewan MacColl, John Tams, Keith Marsden, Dave Webber, Graham Miles, John Kirkpatrick, etc. They (or their heirs) may or may not claim royalties and PRS dues on their compositions, but in most cases they'd be flattered and delighted to think of their songs being taken on by others and passed on both orally and otherwise; there are instances of some such songs being mistakenly claimed as traditional in the presence of the composer, who may well find the whole thing quite amusing.

Can't a song belong to the "folk" even while the composer or his estate continues to earn a modest income from it? It's not a new phenomenon - e.g.the producers of ballad sheets made money, and may well have composed or adapted some of the songs they printed. This is simply the way songwriting works nowadays, and the fact that money changes hands doesn't prevent the "folk" from taking a song into their repertoire and giving it a life of its own, often with the blessing of the original writer.

I am aware that this is getting perilously close to another "What is folk?" thread, and if anyone mentions singing horses, I'm outa here!

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