Mudcat Café message #4034069 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4034069
Posted By: Brian Peters
13-Feb-20 - 02:39 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
"Did Sharp change his collecting practices - ask more of his singers where they learned their songs or about their own backgrounds for example - as his theories developed?"

I argued exactly this about the Appalachian collection (the last serious song collecting he did) in my article in FMJ 2018. With each successive visit he noted down more 'non folk' material - i.e. recently composed songs etc - and more detailed pen-pictures of at least some of the singers. Whether this had anything to do with his modifying his theories I don't know, since he didn't write about it at the time, though I haven't checked the post-Appalachia correspondence so can't be sure. He did write in 1918, "I would that I had visited America twenty years ago before my character and habits had been so fixed," but it's difficult to know exactly what he meant.

Revisiting my research on Sharp in Appalachia has reminded me of a quote that might interest those critical of Sharp's allegedly conservative politics, regarding a miners' strike in Wales in 1920:
"I feel that the organization of industry... has to be radically changed. Men won't any longer work like slaves with he fear of unemployment constantly before their eyes... the economic principle on which he world is run at the moment is fundamentally unsound."