Mudcat Café message #3991876 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166098   Message #3991876
Posted By: Jim Carroll
12-May-19 - 02:57 AM
Thread Name: If you don't like ballads......
Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
" having allowed himself to be influenced by others. "
A little dismissive of a great and highly respected scholar, I think
Child was not 'influenced' by others any more than anybody who co-operates with fellow scholars is
He didn't define his criteria, but they seem pretty obvious - he called his ballads 'Popular' - "of the people", and he drew them largely from collections assembled by others working in the same area
To undermine his conclusions is to undermine those of all of them - something nobody has ever been able to do, in my opinion
No work on the 'Popular' ballads has been carried out to challenge his choice and he remains unchallenged, head and shoulders above the rest
Child, like Sharp and his colleagues, was a pioneer breaking new ground - all need to be respected and treated as such
For me, the highest compliment he ever received was to be placed on Dave Harker's hit list - praise doesn't come any higher than that.

The term 'ballad' has a further definition in Ireland - mention it to the older generation and they immediately associate it with the ballad sheets sold around the fairs and markets of rural Ireland right up to the 1950s   
These consisted of random songs gathered and sold by unlettered Travellers - we recorded descriptions of these being printed and sold.
A Traveller friend described how he took his father's songs to a local printer, recited them over the counter and negotiated a number to be printed and a price
He would then sing them on the streets or around the pubs on market day - a perfect example of the oral tradition being put into print
There is an hilarious description of the singer, Mikeen McCarthy trying to teach the air of a song to a well-paying customer on the double CD of Traveller songs, 'From Puck to Appleby'
Mikeen described how he would put his father's songs on 'the ballads' when requested to by local people - "Why don't you put 'The Blind Beggar' on them - I'd love that one?"