Mudcat Café message #2148843 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #104731   Message #2148843
Posted By: GUEST
14-Sep-07 - 03:22 AM
Thread Name: how important is the label traditional singer?
Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
A collector recording traditional singers is doing just that - recording tradititional singers.
The decide for themselves why they are collecting (unless they work for a department - in which case they have a set agenda to follow) based on their particular interest and their resources. Vance Randolph, Alan Lomax, Peter Kennedy, Hamish Henderson, Ken Goldstein et al were professional folklorists paid to do a job. In recent times there has been only one professional collector in the British Isles and he died last week - now there are none.
At the height of our collecting Pat and I were doing a days work, having a meal, then going out to record singers (or planning our holidays deliberately in order that we could spend time with them). In those circumstances we had to plan our work carefully. We started collecting when we realised how little we knew about the music we had been involved in for a decade and a half and our aim was to fill in the gaps in our knowledge, not to head-hunt songs. A by-product of our work has been that we have been able to pass on some of the songs in the hope that they will be taken up and sung half decently; it was never our intention to record songs in order that they might be turned into dirges by singers such as June Tabor and other folkie stars (as is the case with at least one song we recorded).
In the circumstances we found ourselves in it was neither arrogant nor dim to make a decision about singers, it was essential that we did so otherwise we would have lost much of what we now know to be important.
Of course we made mistakes, that is a calculated risk; but I believe we made far less mistakes than if we had just left the machine running then found we were out of tape or money or time, or our singers had moved on or died (all of these have happened at one time or another).
Santa was quite right to say we have to apply a filter to what we do - it would be great if we hadn't - in an ideal world.........
I had no respect whatever for Peter Kennedy, but I would uphold his right to decide not to record any singer, just as I would uphold Mike Yates' right to do the opposite.
I've lost count of how many times you have started or been involved in threads questioning (and in my opinion sometimes undermining) the value of traditional singers and their contribution (or even their existence), stating your preferences between traditional and revival singers, whether we've done more for them than they have for us, whether they've learned 'performance techniques in the clubs, whether they should be grateful for our giving them the opportunity to sing at our clubs.... et al. At no time during our discussions have I detected that you have grasped the simple fact that without their contribution we would not be here discussing or singing or playing traditional songs or music.
If your judgment is based on their "ability" as you state it is - you've missed the point.
Jim Carroll