Mudcat Café message #3335333 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90963   Message #3335333
Posted By: GUEST,Lighter
08-Apr-12 - 08:59 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Fakenham Fair
Subject: RE: Origins: Fakenham Fair
The point I was making was about the general nature of "fakesong," not this song in particular.

As I understand it from the discussion, "Fakenham Fair" has been presented as a truly traditional song, yet there is no evidence that it ever was in "tradition," if tradition means many singers making many changes and adjustments. The text we have appears to be the sole text, and a very modern one too.

What makes one kind of "fakesong" a fake (like Dorson's term "fakelore") isn't the song itself but the false claim, made for a popular audience, that the song is sung traditionally or that it authentically represents the attitudes of a particular folk group. For example, if Rodgers & Hammerstein had told the public that "Oklahoma!" was a genuine song of Western settlers, it would have been a fakesong. Of course, it would still have been the same song for people to sing and enjoy, but the false claim would have invested it with an historical "authenticity" that it simply doesn't have.

This seems to be the case with "Fakenham Fair," at least from the evidence so far presented.

If an amateur songwriter made it to express himself and a collector picked it up and recorded it, fine. But that doesn't make it "traditional" except by special pleading. And its style, I believe, is far from "folk."

People who enjoy singing or listening to "Fakenham Fair" should keep right on. If they want to believe that it's an ancient artifact, however, straight from the days of Thomas Hardy (or even Shakespeare) the evidence suggests they're mistaken.