Mudcat Café message #3991216 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166098   Message #3991216
Posted By: Jim Carroll
07-May-19 - 05:27 AM
Thread Name: If you don't like ballads......
Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
"This may come as a shock to you, but these are valid positions. "
Of course they are - if you've tried Shakespeare and Dickens in full - few people I've met have read or watched either
I'm not suggesting for one minute that you have to like either, but I do suggest that you have to have read or watched enough of them to dismiss them all out of hand
Ballads are the same there are good and (nearly wrote bad, but I probably mean not-so-good)
Their longevity and popularity within the oral tradition puts them head and shoulders over most song forms
That society is changing in a manner that people are no longer able to appreciate ballads (or Shakespeare or Dickens) doesn't devalue them in the slightest - that is a more a comment on what's happening to us.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but an appreciation of literature and the fine arts is an indication of a literary and cultured person
It may not resonate with you personally but an acknowledgement of its importance in the development in human society goes without saying
I don't like football and I detest rubby, but I don't hesitate to regard them as an essential part of people's culture

"Steeleye Span's" approach to ballads it the antithesis to ballad singing
Wrapping a ballad in loud, intrusive accompaniment totally gets in the way of following the stories of the ballad an the tensions and emotions they promote
Steeleye turned intricate stories into loud music
I feel the same way about intrusive instrumental accompaniment where the listener could go for a pee and a pint during the long, totally unnecessary guitar breaks
Accompaniment should accompany - not dominate

I know quite few ballads, though I don't sing them as often as I would like to
They were easy to learn and easy to remember - if you learn to make them part of yourself, they are quite easy to sing - but like all singing, that depends on how much work you are prepared to put in

If people would like to hear singing at its very best (in my opinion, of course) try Sheila Stewart's 'Tiftie's Annie' (easy enough to come by) ot Martin McDonagh's 'Lady Margaret - Young Hunting (only available of 'Songs of the Irish Travellers)
Both are examples of folk creation at it's very best
Jim Carroll
I'm not going to be able to continue this - off to enjoy the tree-lined beauty of Easy Clare for a few days - we don't have trees in West Clare, as Cromwell pointed out.