Mudcat Café message #3372202 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #120890   Message #3372202
Posted By: Jim Carroll
05-Jul-12 - 04:00 AM
Thread Name: New Penguin Book of English Folk Song
Subject: RE: New Penguin Book of English Folk Song
"WE were all referring to attitudes of some singers in the revival"
Sorry if I have misunderstood Steve - YOU may have been referring to the revival, Sweeney was not, rather he was doing his old usual of dismissing all past scholarship other than that of the 'baby-out-with-the -bathwater' mob, without either evidence nor alternative.
In the past YOU have dismissed the work we have done with traditional singers with terms not a million miles away from "idyllic romanticism"; I thought you were at it again - if not, apologies.
One of the important aspects of traditional songs for me is their being (as I firmly believe they are) carriers of social information of a people who have largely been excluded from our written history.
If, as you have suggested, our folk songs are no more than commercial products no different than the outpourings of the present day popular music industry, that aspect is completely undermined - but I would need far more evidence than has been presented by you so far to even consider such an idea.
I take it from his tone that Sweeney disapproves of the choice of the editors of 'The New Penguin Book' because the material presented fits fairly neatly into the '54' definition and, as I said, includes no "Victorian tear-jerkers, music hall material, 20th century pop songs, snigger-snogwriter compositions" - and no heavy metal.
It's a little difficult to grasp what particular windmill he is tilting at with his 'smoke and mirrors' style of debate, however his sneering at the work of people who have bothered to raise their bums out of the armchair and make an effort to find out for themselves remains both obvious and unchanged.
For me, at the very least the New Penguin Book is an affirmation of what many of us understand as folk song - a great piece of work, beautifully presented (despite the somewhat "romantic" 'son of the soil' cover illustration!!)
Jim Carroll