Mudcat Café message #4031885 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4031885
Posted By: Jim Carroll
03-Feb-20 - 04:03 AM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Pleased that the nastiness has been deleted - for my part, I will have nothing more to do with such mud-slinging and I suggest everybody else does the same - now maybe we can get down to the real discussion
I put up what I believe to be the real omission here has still to be answered
A long discussion about the how we understand folk song without any reference to either the songs or the singers is utterly ridiculous
If these songs are fakes - discuss them and expose their fakery

The collectors have been far more efficiently covered than in Harker's axe-ginding 'Fakelore'
Works like Dorson's 'The British Folklorist' and 'Peasant Customs and Savage Myths' give excellent accounts of the earliest collectors
D K Wilgus's 'Anglo American Folksong Scholarship since 1898' puts Harker's efforts in the shade - an indispensable 'bible' for anybody wishing to learn how our folksongs were gathered
The collectors themselves wrote their own handbooks to collecting, all containing the techniques they used laid bare - Sandy Ives, Ken Goldstein and Bruce Jackson - and Sean O'Sullivan's 'Handbook of Folklore' stands over all these as a magnificent and extremely detailed search-list
Written accounts of the projects themselves - Henry Glassie's 'Passing the Time' and, 'Stars of Ballymenone' and more recently. Len Graham's 'Joe Holmes' show the collectors in action and the results of their work
Bob Copper's, Songs and Southerner Breezes' says more about English collecting in a few paragraphs than does Harker's entire book
The now sadly defunct 'Tocher' and many of the articles carried in 'Scottish Studies' contain masses of information on how the Scots collectors worked
- I was delighted to obtain a copy of Marin Graeb's book on Baring Gould recently - a detailed account of how the BBC collectors 'Roved Out' is long overdue

Instead of Harker's back-biting begudgery, which has long been rejected by most folk-song lovers, these are the works that need to be visited and re-visited if we are to make an honest judgement on what has been passed on to us
Child, Motherwell, Buchan, Burns, Sharp, Grainger and the rest, laid the foundation for all this as collectors and anthologists - to debunk their work as Harker did is to destroy the foundations that our folksong, music and lore stand on

Wilgus wrote in his introduction to '1898';
"This is a critical history of folksong study not only because any history must be critical, but because the writer's in no sense 'above criticism' - For the battle continues. The current folk-music revival is a product of many factors, but it is not causing a renaissance of scholarship. Folksong scholarship never died"
Jim Carroll