Mudcat Café message #2265150 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2224   Message #2265150
Posted By: Jim Carroll
18-Feb-08 - 03:57 AM
Thread Name: What is a Folk Song?
Subject: RE: What is a Folk Song?
"If it's accepted in any discussion, though, you have to come up with a new classification for the music of Woody Guthrie, Martin Carthy, Pete Seeger"
No I don't - I don't have a problem with the old one. It is the job of those who have problems to re-define.
To my knowledge, MacColl at no time attempted to re-define the word, and my understanding of Lomax's work on Cantrometrics makes my think that neither did he. MacColl was always at pains to point out that his own compositions were not 'folk songs' (we have recordings of him saying as much. He referred to the singing tradition in the early stages of the revival as 'moribund', and later as having died (ie; ceasing to function for communities). Our own field-work among Travellers, in rural England and in the West of Ireland would pretty much bear this out.
MacColl and Lloyd did attempt to include industrial songs in the definition, with limited success.
If we agree that there is an identifiable group of songs which we label 'folk' what are the defining and uniting characteristics? Surely that is the crux of all these discussions. If the old one doesn't work-provide a new one - simple as that.
In the relatively recent past I purchased the last volume of 'The Greig Duncan Folk Song Collection', four years ago I got 'Folk Song: Tradition, Revival and Re-creation', I'm now onto my fifth copy of 'The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs' - (need I go on?). Do you envisage a dual (or even multi - the revivalists don't seem to have arrived at a single one) definition of the term; one for the collectors, anthologists, researchers, writers and lexicographers, and one for the clubs?
We appear not to be discussing the re-labeling of the product, but rather, the ripping off of all the labels.
I've been using planes for as long as you've been listening to folk music, even longer, and have managed without understanding the laws of aerodynamics, but I know they are available to me should I wish to research them.
If we're keeping you awake - please feel free to go back to sleep.
Jim Carroll