Mudcat Café message #3183006 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138735   Message #3183006
Posted By: Phil Edwards
07-Jul-11 - 07:34 AM
Thread Name: Do purists really exist?
Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
banning the word "I"

Who's going to do all the roving out and eavesdropping on heartbroken young maids? Even the big ballads have passages in direct speech -
Oft have I ridden through Carlisle town in the wind both and the rain
But I never rode through Carlisle town never to return again

I think banning the word 'you' would be more to the point. One of the low points of my time at folk clubs was the headlining act who told a long story about how she'd had a row with her (now ex-)boyfriend, walked out & snapped the wing mirror off his car; this was by way of introducing a song, addressed to the ex-bf, about how she'd snapped the wing mirror off his car and she wasn't sorry.

Seriously, I'm not sure it's possible to define what "new songs in the tradition" would sound like. Apart from anything else, which tradition? Is the model "Little Musgrave", "Searching for lambs", "The Grand Conversation on Napoleon", "the Greenland Whale Fisheries" or "Glorious Ale" - or do we actually mean "new songs like other new songs which we've already accepted"?

I don't think we should close the door on new songs, mainly because I think deciding to shut anything out completely is the wrong approach - but also because some new songs do fit into a singaround, to put it no more objectively than that. I sang nothing but traditional songs for a long time, but recently I've been doing quite a few songs by MacColl, Lal Waterson & Peter Bellamy, not to mention Kipling/Bellamy. But I think the idea that revival & post-revival singers are keeping traditional song alive, or that the tradition is still being added to, is a bit of a mirage.