Mudcat Café message #4017394 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166876   Message #4017394
Posted By: Howard Jones
05-Nov-19 - 07:54 PM
Thread Name: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
1) The "Bulmerisation" of Leader's records is a whole can of worms. The Mustrad comment simply refers to Topic being unable to use the tracks they wanted because the copyright was now in the hands of Bulmer, but I don't see what that has to do with any evaluation of Walter Pardon's singing or his role.

2) All these terms can be loaded. By "song carrier" I meant someone who was a source of songs, most if not all of which he had learned orally. By "traditional" I meant someone in an environment where the songs are passed on within a community over a period of time. Is there any question that these don't apply to him?

3) It's not questioned that a great deal of his material came from music hall and other sources. He also sang actual folk songs. Jim has insisted in various threads all over Mudcat that WP made a distinction between them.

4) The collectors have mostly been amateur enthusiasts, not professional ethnolomusicologists. They had no training and learned on the job. No doubt errors were made in the way they conducted their interviews, but that is the material we have, and it's better than nothing.

None of the old singers described their repertoire as "folk songs". That is a term which was applied by the collectors and folk revival enthusiasts

5) If he did "go native" as you put it, so what? In what way are you suggesting this somehow devalues him or his music?

I took the word "polluted" from your original post, albeit in a slightly different context, hence the question mark.

6) Depends what you mean by "commercial". If you want to make money from selling records then issuing recordings of traditional singers is not the way to go about it. These do not have a large market, even among people with an interest in folk. Producing a record costs money and that has to be recovered somehow through sales. These were produced in order to preserve the music and make it more widely available I suggest you read this Living Tradition article about Bill Leader and Topic. I doubt they made anyone very much money.

7) I am sorry you think this is unfair but you give the impression that you think that WP's exposure to 20th century culture somehow devalues him as a traditional singer in some way.

9) Perhaps academic was not the best word. My point, as made above, is that traditional singers did not use this term which was what the collectors called it. WP apparently regarded this as referring to songs he had learned at school rather than his own songs, but I am not sure what point you are making out of this.

10) Jim is probably the best person to respond to this

11) This is quite a small number of people we are talking about and their biases are probably fairly well known even when they are not made expressly clear

12) Again, this is for Jim to answer but I would refer to my answer to point 4.

I am still not sure just what you are trying to find out. On the other thread you seemed to say you were not impressed by his singing. Many who have listened to a lot of traditional singers would not agree with you, but that is a matter of taste. So what is it that you think needs re-evaluating? I still get the sense that you question whether he was really "traditional" or that you feel that the presence of so many songs in his repertoire which a not folk somehow disqualifies him as a traditional folk singer. Or is it that he did not exist in an isolated bubble but had contact with wider musical culture and eventually the folk scene?