Mudcat Café message #4034204 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4034204
Posted By: Jim Carroll
14-Feb-20 - 11:00 AM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Thank yo Brian

"It seems that for 200 years the old songs were about to die out and only collectable from the old people. An exagerration I know, but a recurrent theme."
It appeared to be pretty true in England , but not necessarily in Ireland, where an active tradition had disappeared within living memory and amon travellers, where a tradiition was still alive in the seventies, if failing
When we started with Travellers the oldest wer recorded was still in his forties
One thing we noticed with both of these was, when you went looking for singers within an area you were often told "***** knows a few songs" or "Tom Lenihan or..... is the local singer - the good singers still had a status
In England, it was the case of working with people who had never been part of a living tradition but had remembered usually what grandparents had taught them
Maccoll used the term 'song carriers' rather than traditional singers to describe those the BBC recorded, which was a good-enough carch--all phrase

Harkers poing about not including everything is crassness in the extreme - it totally ingnores the uniqueness both in form and function, of folk songs
It also arrogantly assues that because the oldder singers may have sung a wide range of songs, they couldn't tell the difference between one genre and another
I've described how bling songer, Mary Ded=elaney refused to sing her C and W songs and why - Walter was sightly embarrassed when you asked him to sing "that old rubbish"
If someone went looking for songs in say South Wales, they would quite likely have Verdi or Bizet sung at them because of the popularity of miners' operatic groups   
I would suggest that including them as 'folk songs' because 'the people' sang them would totally distort 'people's culture'
It has never been about what people sang; it's about how they regarded the songs and what they did with them
If that wasn't the case, the tradition would never have died and 'Viva Es[pania' and 'The Birdie Song' would have ben given Roud numbers (maybe they have - I'm have a little difficulty catching up with the pencil-pushers)
Jim Carroll