Mudcat Café message #2577616 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7711   Message #2577616
Posted By: GUEST,JohnD
27-Feb-09 - 10:54 PM
Thread Name: Voice of the People - four new volumes April 2012
Subject: RE: Voice of the People
I've been re-listening to several VotP discs recently, and it remains an exemplary collection in most respects, but one particular thing bothers me about Reg Hall's booklet notes.

Since the majority of them were indeed dead at the time of release, why does he not include the year of death in the bios of the performers (where it was available)? I can only assume this was for either sentimental or, less likely, superstitious reasons, i.e. "Well, let's counter the idea that these are just dusty forgotten figures by presenting them as eternally present, emphasising their activities while alive and avoiding all mention of death."

While I can understand this logic to a degree, it still strikes me as ridiculous. Since Hall acknowledges that the particular rural oral tradition the series documents is effectively dead or dying out, why not add to the historical evidence by noting the points in the 20th C. when the singers died? If this is intended to be a future historical document, surely the information would have been relevant? If he omitted it as some sort of pseudo-traditional taboo, that would seem ironic given the saturation of the folk song canon with tales of death.