Mudcat Café message #3991755 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166098   Message #3991755
Posted By: Jim Carroll
11-May-19 - 03:14 AM
Thread Name: If you don't like ballads......
Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
"they were no longer 'being given' it. Interesting choice of words."
You miss the point -
The clubs were grass-roots based - many of the people who left had been part of building up the scene that produced and ran the clubs and they relied on others with the same love and enthusiasm taking part in the running and becoming singers themselves
Im my case, and others like me, we visited several, sometimes many clubs, but as those clubs disappeared we confined ourselves to those that did what it said on the tin - we went to the folk clubs that dealt in folk and folk-based songs - they became less and less
The Singers Club lasted from the early sixties till MacColl died at the end of the 80s - doing what it promised the audiences what it would do
The other clubs were were involved in did the same (I understand one died the death a few years ago when two of the stalwarts gave up for health reasons)
The change of direction generally on the scene - the non-folk, folk clubs, are the ones that have killed off the scene

Back to the ballads
The age of mobile phones and television bleepers appears to have produced a generation with the attention span of mayflies
The ballads have been around for many, many centuries; 'Barbara Allan' was "an old Scotch lady" in 1666, when the Great Fire was destroying London
The ballad of 'Hind Horn' telling of the travelling husband returning from his travels to find his wife about to remarry, has its roots in Homer's tale of Ulysses returning from Troy to find his wife, Penelope about to do the same thing.
'Lord Gregory' is linked to Chaucer's tale of the White Queen's sea voyages.
Lord Bateman is associated with the commercial voyages of the father of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket in the 12th century
The story of 'The Keach in the Creel' was told as a fabuleux concerning an Italian renaissance painter in the 1500s
The ballad Child overlooked, 'Bruton Town', was told as one of Boccaccio's 100 tales in the 1300s
We recorded a cante-fable entitled 'Go For the Water' from a non-literate Irish Traveller in the 1970s - it is a tale version of the ballad, 'Get Up and Bar the Door' which in it's turn is a ballad version of a tale which is related to one being told in Ancient Egypt about two tomb robbers eating stolen figs - Pre Christian         
If ballads no longer have a place in 21st century society, it has nothing to do with their value as pieces of art - it is us, with our memory span of may-flies who has dropped the ball

"whatever Jim's on, remind me not to take any of it!"
And yes - Mr ill-manner poster who chooses to hurl his insulting remarks from the safety of anonymity, our ballads and folk songs have survived and over-ridden social trends and popular fads for many centuries - even millennia in some cases

"I would say that it takes a really good singer to deliver one properly."
Not sure I entirely agree
Good singing certainly helps, but as long as a singer can handle the tune and remember the words, quite often the stories of the ballads are gripping enough for the listener to follow without a high level of skill
I love Niamh Parsons singing (I don't recall her singing too many ballads)
A few years ago, a Wexford couple, Michael Fortune and Aileen Lambert, mounted a project entitled, 'Man, Woman and Child' where they assembled a number of singers and, with the co-operation of the Irish National Library, put on a series of lunchtime concerts of Child ballads in various parts of Ireland (Niamh was one of the singers)
It worked like a charm, in next to no time you started to hear ballads being sung in places were previously there had been hardly any
Ireland has played a very important part in the survival of international ballads (particularly among the Travellers)
Collector, Tom Munnelly, listed fifty Child Ballads still being sung by source singers right into the 1970s
I have recently taken up Tom's original list and added to it considerably, particularly from Irish Emigrants who took some extremely rare ballads to America and Canada when they left Ireland during and after the Famine
Jim