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publication does a doubtful service to folksongs

GUEST 16 Oct 13 - 07:12 PM
Jeri 16 Oct 13 - 06:31 PM
GUEST 16 Oct 13 - 06:21 PM
The Sandman 16 Oct 13 - 04:03 PM
Stringsinger 16 Oct 13 - 12:05 PM
GUEST 16 Oct 13 - 11:59 AM
Tootler 16 Oct 13 - 11:44 AM
Reinhard 15 Oct 13 - 11:50 PM
Airymouse 15 Oct 13 - 10:48 PM
dick greenhaus 15 Oct 13 - 09:48 PM
Airymouse 15 Oct 13 - 08:44 PM
The Sandman 15 Oct 13 - 04:01 PM
The Sandman 15 Oct 13 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,SteveG 20 Sep 11 - 12:52 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Sep 11 - 10:15 PM
The Sandman 19 Sep 11 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,SteveG 19 Sep 11 - 02:16 PM
The Sandman 19 Sep 11 - 08:30 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 09 - 01:28 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 09 - 12:44 PM
Paul Davenport 15 Oct 09 - 12:20 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 09 - 12:07 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 09 - 12:04 PM
Goose Gander 15 Oct 09 - 11:50 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 09 - 11:22 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 09 - 08:21 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 09 - 05:59 AM
The Sandman 14 Oct 09 - 10:01 AM
Folkiedave 13 Oct 09 - 06:28 PM
Sue Allan 13 Oct 09 - 06:21 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Oct 09 - 05:48 PM
The Sandman 13 Oct 09 - 01:04 PM
Goose Gander 13 Oct 09 - 12:05 PM
The Sandman 13 Oct 09 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,synbyn no cookie 13 Oct 09 - 06:09 AM
Folkiedave 13 Oct 09 - 04:55 AM
Goose Gander 12 Oct 09 - 11:29 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 09 - 07:19 PM
Folkiedave 12 Oct 09 - 07:13 PM
Jon Bartlett 12 Oct 09 - 06:46 PM
Goose Gander 12 Oct 09 - 05:37 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 09 - 03:57 PM
Goose Gander 12 Oct 09 - 02:18 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Oct 09 - 02:05 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 09 - 01:48 PM
Folkiedave 12 Oct 09 - 01:46 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 09 - 01:46 PM
Goose Gander 12 Oct 09 - 01:29 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 09 - 01:02 PM
Folkiedave 12 Oct 09 - 12:40 PM
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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 07:12 PM

If music needed sheep tenders it would wear wool.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 06:31 PM

I think people who worry about what "we" should or shouldn't do have an unwarranted belief in the ability of people to direct the course of folk music. It happens the way it does in spite of attempts to control it.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 06:21 PM

Please publish everything.

I have sung 'folk songs' in private, in solitude, in company, in concert, in desparation, and in defiance of supression by those for whom the truth would bring embarrassment beyond belief.

I shall sing until I die.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 04:03 PM

indeed , Tootler, I am


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 12:05 PM

In early England, many traditional songs were learned from printed "ballets" or handed out sheets of paper. Over the course of years they were changed. Barbara Allen would not have lasted unless someone printed the song out to be learned first.

There is an interaction between songs in print and songs in aural transmission.

Many songs started as poems such as "Home on the Range" or "Spanish is a Loving Tongue". Many came from the popular stage shows. Much of the dance music of Southern Appalachia stem from the songs of the Minstrel Shows and Uncle Tom's Cabin.

The main difference is that folk music extends beyond copyright laws and can be changed by people at their pleasure.

Schubert Lieder became Germany's folk music. Stephen Foster's song also went into aural transmission. Dick is right about the songs from American Songbag. I've changed a few of them, myself, sometimes unwittingly.

I'm reminded of Sam Hinton's famous analogy, "Folk songs in print are like a photograph of a bird in flight." The real deal goes on jumping off the printed page.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 11:59 AM

Who cares?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 11:44 AM

I think GSS may have been referring to the "Where are we going wrong" thread where they are currently slugging it out along with one or two others.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Reinhard
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 11:50 PM

jimcarroll and blandiver are still slugging out ??

Their last postings in this thread were four years ago. Since blandivers last post you have posted 17 comments in this thread. Now who is goading things on?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Airymouse
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 10:48 PM

People who learn songs solely aurally are not mythical creatures. I learned the Peapod Song from my father; my wife learned Jack Munro from her father; the man who taught me The Cutty Wren said that it had been handed down for 5 generations in his family in Pennsylvania. Was he illiterate? Of course not, he taught art at Duke University. What is a myth is that the people who have learned folk songs in an aural tradition are all poor, or all illiterate, or all rural. Nellie Galt sang for The Library of Congress a version of the song we sing as Old Crump's Dead, which she called Mulberry Hill. But Nellie Galt lived in Louisville Kentucky and took both piano lessons and voice lessons. Nellie was rich, literate and urban. Can I prove that I learned Old Crump, Jack Munro, and The Cutty Wren aurally and not from some book of songs or some recording? Yes. Just listen to those songs on the CD I sent you, and then try to find some other place where any one of them is written down or recorded.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 09:48 PM

Folksong collectors,in general, collect only what they're looking for. In many cases, that brings a peculiar bias to the collection. I really prefer the "collect 'em all and let God sort them out" exemplified by Randolph and Hunter.
   I clearly agree about the worth of "The Mary Lomax Ballad Book" ( I should, I published it.) It presents a vivid picture of a traditional singer and her family, self-penned pieces, songs learned originally (by her father) from recordings and all.
   I strongly suspect that the idea of the illiterate singer, learning songs solely aurally, is a rarity, if not an outright myth.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Airymouse
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 08:44 PM

I must admit that I am irked by the idea that publishing folk songs is a doubtful service. For me, one recent astounding publication of old songs is "The Mary Lomax Ballad Book". I gather the argument that this publication is a dubious service is that without the publication people would have sat at Mary's feet and learned all her songs with complete accuracy firsthand. I think it far more likely that without the publication some of her 59 songs would have been lost irretrievably. I heard Hortie Barker sing old songs unaccompanied many times and you can buy a recording of him singing this way from Folkways. The last time I heard Hortie sing old songs was in a nursing home in Marion Virginia and he accompanied himself on the piano. I would love to have a recording of that afternoon's singing; unfortunately no one did the world the disservice of recording and publishing it.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 04:01 PM

oh and jimcarroll and blandiver are still slugging out in one of the longest boxing matches ever


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 03:57 PM

reading through these posts, it makes me realise little changes here on mudcat, someone tries to start an interesting discussion, and along come nit pickers and pedants like folkie dave.
folkie dave, appears to have gone the same way as the owl of the remove, dear old billy bunter, perhaps like bunter he is preoccupied with where the next postal order will come from.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 12:52 PM

Nice one, Al.

Dick, I wasn't being patronising, I was being sarcastic. And yes I know sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but it was late.

On second thoughts, my attitude to advertisers using folk song and folk tunes is ambivalent. My initial response is mild annoyance, but actually when you sit down and think about it imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. What these very clever people have latched onto is that these songs/tunes/ditties are already widely diffused in society and it's their familiarty that they are latching on to. it's a natural progression really.

Besides life's too short to let this get to me.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 10:15 PM

I've always dreamed of writing a folksong that was good enough for a toothpaste advert

How many tubes of Macleans must you use before your smile is pearly white?
And how many times must you scrub your teeth - morning, dinner time and night?
Yes and how many times must we do oral sex, before you learn not to bite?
The answer is brief, the best thing for your teeth
Is a bottle of green Listerine.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 07:02 PM

you have missed my point, it is nothing to do with money.
my objection is an aesthetic one,I don't particularly like a song that I envisage in a particular way being cheapened by its association for a tooth paste advert.
Steve Gardham, I still disagree, furthermore I dislike your patronising comment "Hopefully what they had to say has now sunk in


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 02:16 PM

Only just spotted this thread again. PaulD asks why I haven't contributed. Simply because Jim and others were doing such an excellent job and didn't need any help. Hopefully what they had to say has now sunk in.

Dick, you seem determined to continue this thread in some form. Whilst I get mildly irritated that advertisers can make millions out of folk songs, I'm afraid that's a fact we have to accept if these songs and tunes are to stay in the public domain. This means they are available to all. If some dictator like PRS starts putting restrictions on them you might be one of the losers. They've already started charging festivals for including them (effectively).


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 08:30 AM

Not between toothpaste advertisements on radio or television.
I can understand Manifolds point here, by association a song can have its overall point ruined, if a few lines are taken out of context and used to advertise some consumer product.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 01:28 PM

Has 'Fiddler's Green' been "orally processed" - how many significantly differing variants of it do you know? In my experience, it hasn't moved very far from its original conception.Quote.
interesting,how far do things have to change?does the essence /meaning of the song have to change,or do a few words suffice for it be processed,and who is the arbiter of the judgement.
as far as I am concerned Orally processed,blankets instead of jumpers is sufficent,or jodhpurs instead of jumpers,the first one was the result of a printing error,the second a mishearing.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 12:44 PM

Paul,
One of the greatest influences on the oral tradition in Ireland has been 'the ballads' - the song sheets sold around the fairs and markets up to the mid-fifties, (almost exclusively by non-literate Travellers).
Back in the 60s in the UK, Bob Thomson made a study of the effect on the repertoire of the sale of broadsides, tracing the routes taken by sellers and assessing their influence (in Bob's native Cambridgeshire). Though he never published it, Bob's thesis is housed at C# House.
John Moulden has recently completed similar research in Northern Ireland.
A large part of our own work with Irish Travellers was with Mikeen McCarthy, a Kerry Traveller who, in the forties, participated in the ballad selling trade along with his mother.
As I said earlier, the relationship between the oral tradition and literacy is a significant, but complex one.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 12:20 PM

Now, somewhere else on this forum I got into a discussion which wandered a bit off thread but the gist of Steve Gardham's argument at that time, was that all folk songs can be found on broadsides. By implication therefore, Steve (and he is not alone on this) maintains that the broadside was a significant means of dissemination of the songs contained therein. Thus, it would seem that writing it down was considered, and according to some, proven to be a very effective means of preserving, spreading and encouraging participation in folk song. This would make the original statement on this thread simply untrue.
Significantly? I can't find any participation on this thread from Steve.
Paul


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 12:07 PM

Sorry Mike - cross posted with you, hence repeated some of what you had to say
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 12:04 PM

"NO NO NO NO NO,"
YES, YES, YES, YES.
Folk song research - in any form - is not (just) about collecting orally transmitted songs - it is about understanding our song tradition. In order to do this you have to take into consideration the singers' approach to songs that are not necessarily part of the oral tradition; (music-hall, Victorian parlour ballads, pop-songs of a given era......) they are all part of the singer's experience, therefore are part of our understanding of the tradition. No collector worth his/her salt would ever refuse a song from a traditional singer because it doesn't fit into their definition of 'folk'.
The question of the place of literacy in the oral tradition is very much in need of discussion - it is an extremely complex subject, too often approached on a far too simplistic level.
Has 'Fiddler's Green' been "orally processed" - how many significantly differing variants of it do you know? In my experience, it hasn't moved very far from its original conception.
Why didn't Sharp collect industrial songs - a whole bunch of reasons, nothing to do with personal taste. For a start, he chose to work in rural areas because he believed these to be the richest sources of what he was looking for.
There is no reason to believe that he was even aware of their existence.
Our knowledge of the urban repertoire, such as it is, is largely down to the work of MacColl (Shuttle and Cage/Second Shift, The Big Hewer...) and Lloyd (The Industrial Muse/Come All You Bold Miners... et al).
Self composed songs by traditional singers, and non-folk material in their repertoire is more about understanding the singer and his/her place in the culture rather than the repertoire itself. Revival singers play no more part in this particular body of research than do - say: Delius (Unto Brigg Fair), Vaughan Williams (Tallis/Greensleeves) or Butterworth (Banks of Green Willow) do - they were, as we are, borrowers/users/sometimes abusers of the tradition rather than participants in it - as I have said, a subject worthy of study in itself, but not part of our knowledge of the tradition.
Our understanding of our tradition must be based on our traditional singers - god knows, we're swimming in muddy enough water as it is, thanks to the revival largekly having divorced itself from its source music, without fouling up the picture even further!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Goose Gander
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 11:50 AM

"the silence is deafening.
there appears to be no logic to the criteria collectors use for collecting songs at all."

Myself and others have attempted to explain the logic to the criteria collectors use for collecting songs. You seem bound and determined not to understand. So after a while, it does seem pointless to respond.

That being so, I will reiterate a few final points:

You have argued that folklorists refused to record original compositions from traditional singers - pointedly false, and easily refuted. American folklorists have recorded such songs extensively, and posts above demonstrate that UK folklorists have also recorded original compositions from traditional singers (perhaps not to the degree that Americans have, but that is only my impression based upon limited information).

You seem outraged that a folklorist would prefer to collect a particular song from a traditional singer over a 'better' version sung by a revivalist. Again - feeling like a broken record - a folklorist with the opportunity to record someone who learned ballads, songs or tunes from family, co-workers, friends, etc. within an oral tradition will certainly prefer to record said musician/singer over someone such as myself, who learned 98% of his repertoire from recordings, printed sources, etc. I can always learn new songs, new styles, etc. and I'm relatively young, but died-in-the-wool traditional singers are a far rarer breed.   Please refer to my chamomile reference above.

You seem to see no difference between an original song composed by a traditional singer and an original song composed by a revivalist. As Jim suggested above, the first will reflect the tradition within which the singer learned and developed his craft, and is a manifestation of that tradition. It is an animal of a different sort than the second. That being said, posts above demonstrate that folklorists have collected original songs from revivalists, so what are you grousing about?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 11:22 AM

.
Your point appears to be based on a misconception of what folk song collecting is about.
NO NO NO NO NO,
folksong collecting is about collecting from tradtional singers,songs that have been orally transmitted ,do you agree?
then why collect songs from traditional singers that have not been orally transmitted,and if you do ,and dont use the above criteria,how do you logically justify not collecting self composed songs that are not from the pen of a traditional singer.
or: why do collectors not collect songs that have been orally processed,such as Fiddlers Green,but are from the pen of a revivalist,
it is completely illogical,and seems purely whimsical.
[For a start - no self-respecting collector I know would ever have based their work on anything as subjective as good and bad; they/we collect songs in order to get an insight into the folk traditions, through its material and (hopefully), through discussions with the traditional singers]quote.
I know you didnt know Sharp personally,but Sharp did just that,he did not collect industrial folk songs, do we know why?
but he made a conscious decision to concentrate on rural folk song,it may have been because subjectively he preferred the ideal of rural folk song,or he considered it better,he exhibited a preference.,or it may have been lack of time.
if the collectors role is to get an insight into folk traditions[as you state] why collect self composed songs.,how will that give an insight into folk traditions?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 08:21 AM

"no one has yet justified why its acceptable for collectors to collect self penned songs from traditional singers but not from revival singers,"
Sorry Cap'n - must have dozed off.
Your point appears to be based on a misconception of what folk song collecting is about.
For a start - no self-respecting collector I know would ever have based their work on anything as subjective as good and bad; they/we collect songs in order to get an insight into the folk traditions, through its material and (hopefully), through discussions with the traditional singers. A song made by, say, Harry Cox (I may be mistaken, but I seem to remember he made a couple of songs) tells us much about the tradition and how it influenced the creative faculties of the singer. On the other hand, a song by MacColl (whose writing I much admire), does not fall into that category and therefore does not come within my terms of reference as a folk song collector.
This isn't to say that we don't record songs from revival singers - we do/did - at events based on traditional singing, such as The Willie Clancy Summer School, Forkhill and Ballyliffin.
I know the late Tom Munnelly's collection of 20,000 songs includes numerous self-penned revival singer compositions, but these would be made in similar circumstances to those I have described. If we were writing or talking about our collection, as we occasionally do, we would make a clear distiction between revival and traditional material - as far as we are concerned they come from a different stable and have a different (not better or worse) pedigree and significance.
Wearing a different hat altogether, my personal interest in the folk song revival has led me to gather in recordings from revival singers - but that's something else entirely.
There is a great deal to be said (not here) of the locally made songs we have recorded (in the UK and in Ireland) some of which have become traditional, while others haven't, but not here.
Just to make a point on the whole revival/tradition thing; in my opinion, one of the greatest contributions made to our access to and understanding of our song tradition over the last 30-40 years has been the Roud Index, and much of the importance of that is down to Steve's decision (and ability) to distinguish between revival and tradition.
There is, I believe, a great need for a study of new writings, as distinct from the older songs sung in the revival (and all too often passed off as folk), but that is up to those who are interested in the subject, for me, life is too short as it is.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 05:59 AM

the silence is deafening.
there appears to be no logic to the criteria collectors use for collecting songs at all.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 10:01 AM

Folkie Dave,you have scored some points I hope that makes you happy,ever since you came on this thread 2 years ago,your attitude has been aggressive firstly nit npicking about my incompetence with the computer key board[pretending you couldnt understand the original post].
so we have had a few examples of recent collection of self penned songs from traditional singers,no one has yet justified why its acceptable for collectors to collect self penned songs from traditional singers but not from revival singers,and why collectors dont collect traditional songs from revival singers or self composed songs from revival singers.
the whole criteria of collecting songs needs to be examined.
its a nonsense to collect self penned songs from traditional singers but not from revival singers,the self penned songs of the traditional singer have not been orally transmitted so what justification is there.
which brings me back to my point,its a load of bollocks because you are not taking into account the quality of the singer or the songs,but collecting self penned songs because they are from a traditional singer,even though the songs have not been processed or orally transmitted[which seems to be the criteria for collecting traditional songs from traditional singers rather than revival singers]
Does anyone go out and collect Fiddlers Green[written by a revival songwriter],from a singer who has processed it?
do collectors collect other modern composed songs ,just because a traditional singer has them in his repertoire?.
what I see here is double standards and boundaries that are ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:28 PM

So there you are Dick another set of recent examples of traditional singers with self-penned songs.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Sue Allan
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:21 PM

How are we defining a traditional singer here?
I've collected songs written by a local (Cumbrian) singer, who used to sing his own self-penned to someone else's guitar accompaniments as well as perform 'traditional' ballads.

Also in Cumbria Vaughan Williams, Frank Kidson and Cecil Sharp all collected versions of songs which had been written by 'The Cumberland Bard' Robert Anderson (1770-1833) but passed into 'the tradition' (sorry, but I seem incapable of writing traditional without adding inverted commas!)

Peter Kennedy also collected hunting songs in Cumbria which were written if not by the singers themselves then by people of just the generation before. Many hunting songs which are regarded as 'traditional' have known composers.

Incidentally Kennedy was contracted by the BBC to do this (I've seen a copy of the contract) and given a budget to pay singers with, if necessary. However the money was not used for singers, nor repaid as far as I can see, AND Kennedy subsequently released these recordings comercially under his Folk Tracks/Folk Trax label - but that is a whole other can of (fairly well-known) worms ...


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 05:48 PM

Self-penned stuff from traditional singers. I recently had the great privilege to record one of our local retired farm workers before he died. His repertoire consisted of versions of local traditional farming songs, songs he learnt at school (inc. Jolly Waggoner) and at least as many he had written himself ( inc. one about the local supermarket and one about his wartime experiences in the LDV). Needless to say I recorded the lot and value all of them equally.

As for revivalists being recorded, we are just about to add 50 tracks of recently written Yorkshire songs to our Yorkshire Garland website to join the 88 tracks of traditional Yorkshire songs. We will value them all equally.

Someone has already given excellent reasons for the early collectors being selective. They simply didn't have time to record everything so they stuck to what was not readily available elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 01:04 PM

I was only interested in English ones, anyway,but apologise for not stating it.now some examples
no, I dont get it,its a load of bollocks,and has nothing to do with musicianship.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Goose Gander
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 12:05 PM

I gave you some examples, now it seems you are only interested in ENGLISH examples.

I've tried to explain why folklorists are/were much more interested in traditional singers than revivalists - sorry if you just don't get it.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:53 AM

but I don't believe Jim Carroll is the only one in the UK to value original material.[quote]Ididnt say he was,I mentioned J Brune.,they were unusual however.
of the more modern ENGLISH collectors;can we have examples.
and if so why collect self composed songs from traditional singers but not from revival singers?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: GUEST,synbyn no cookie
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:09 AM

well said a while ago)Jon! Publication is about the only way to get through to the wider community, surely. We can sing to ourselves until we drop off, but I'm reminded of the Stevie Smith poem about the monk who buries his life's work... we've got to reach people who don't know of folksong's virtues. It may inevitably lead to some rather stilted versions of songs performed by those trained in conventional performance of the written note- who among us actually sings what the score suggests every time?
Re worksongs- the Sing London site has 8 songbooks from across the country in which 12 songs per area can be found. Some well known, some not. Downloadable pdfs and teachers notes too. For teachers an acessible resource, along with the new EFDSS websites.
Half the battle is encouraging adults to sing, and not just repeat stadium anthems!imho...


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 04:55 AM

please give me details of collectors who collected self composed songs from traditional singers

I was listening to a traditional singer and his mother on this Saturday evening in London.

There is no doubt that songs that both of them sang were self-penned.

Their songs are currently being noted.

Since Sharp and B-G were only interested in what they thought of as traditional songs- they would have ignored (I guess) songs that people said were self-penned.

There was a local singer in my wife's s home village who had some traditional songs but he wrote a song virtually every day, including one for our wedding.

Dick - you keep banging on about Bob Blake. Any other examples?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 11:29 PM

The Warners collected original songs from Frank Proffitt and other singers, as did Sandy Paton; Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin collected original songs from Okies in Southern California; Alan Lomax collected original songs from bluesmen in the American South; Mark Wilson collected original songs, ballads and fiddle tunes from traditional artists in the Midwest and Southern highlands; Max Hunter collected what in many cases likely were original compositions from singers and musicians in the Ozarks; John Cohen collected original songs from Roscoe Holcomb; Mike Seeger collected original songs from Nimrod Workman. Quite a few folklorists have collected self-composed songs from traditional musicians. Maybe American folklorists have been more willing to do so, but I don't believe Jim Carroll is the only one in the UK to value original material.

Bert Lloyd passed off his own songs as folk songs because he had an agenda. If he had been able to collect more real industrial songs from traditional singers perhaps he wouldn't have needed to lie about his own songs.

A folklorist choosing not to record a book-learned song from a revivalist reflects an entirely different reality: limited resources and a limited number of living singers who learned their repertoire in a time and place where music could not be gotten from the store or the radio or downloaded. Suppose you were collecting wild medicinal plants - would you buy camomile from a local herbalist because it was of 'better quality' than something lurking undiscovered in a nearby field?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 07:19 PM

good point jon,
michael, please give me details of collectors who collected self composed songs from traditional singers,apart from Jim Carroll,I cant think of many.
which brings me on to the next point;why did Bert Lloyd pass off his own compositions as being songs collected from traditional singers?
I think it encapsulates an attitude that was typical of the folklorists ,academics and collectors of the mid 20th century,a prejudice against self composed songs that had not been processed[altered orally].
plus a prejudice against collecting songs from revival singers[as illustrated by the Bob Blake incident].
if Bert thought it was necessary to hoodwink the folk world in the manner he did,it seems unlikely to me that people at that time would be collecting self composed songs from traditional singers.
please name collectors who did collect original songs from traditional singers.
cecilsharp?baring gould? john howson? Frank Kidson? PeterKennedy?
no, they are few and far between, John Brune was one he collected Loch Dhui[words BelleStewart]I cant think of any others.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 07:13 PM


however a good traditional singer like Phil Tanner who learned his songs and repertoire orally is worth recording,but not if he sings Humpty Dumpty.

I am not sure you know how and where Phil Tanner learnt his songs, Dick. Do tell.

But a problem with the early collectors is they made value judgments about what people sang, Instead of recording everything. Whose value judgments would you use? Apart from yours of course............


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 06:46 PM

This thread has been a series of thoughtful exchanges between many people. I'd hate to see it turn into a slagging match. We all have different points of view and the point of the thread (and all the other threads) is to exchange and reflect on them, not to vilify others' opinions.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 05:37 PM

" . . . nonsensical artificial boundaries which allow colectors to collect tin pan alley rubbish because it has been learned orally,but reject a song that the traditional singer may have written himself because it has not been learned orally or not been folk processed,regardless of the quality of the song."

Don't know where you get these ideas. Point of fact, many folklorists chose not to record the 'tin pan ally' type stuff sung by many traditional singers, but I can't think of many collectors who rejected original songs from the same singers.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 03:57 PM

What kind of berk do you think I am, anyway?[quote]
like The Skibbereen Eagle, watching the Tsar,I am at present observing and watching your posts,to decide on the magnitude of berkdom,do you come from Berkshire?
But all the Martin Carthy's in the world would have precious little to draw upon if not for the traditional singers you and others continually disparage and the folklorists who have collected their work.[QUOTE]
I am not disparaging anyone,I appreciate for example many of the songs Kennedy collected.,he also collected some dross,with which he padded his book up.
but how many songs have been missed because of the prejudices of folk song collectors , for starters lets look at the great man himself,Cecil J Sharp,can you explain why he collected precious little in the way of industrial folk songs,
Mike Yates would never have collected or recoreded the fine singing of Bob Blake if he had heeded KENNEDY and we would have been the poorer for it,
and so it goes on,priceless BERKDOM,prejudices.,and nonsensical artificial boundaries which allow colectors to collect tin pan alley rubbish because it has been learned orally,but reject a song that the traditional singer may have written himself because it has not been learned orally or not been folk processed,regardless of the quality of the song.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:18 PM

"Because they are not using quality as a guideline . . ."

'Quality' is a matter of taste, and it is subjective. But all the Martin Carthy's in the world would have precious little to draw upon if not for the traditional singers you and others continually disparage and the folklorists who have collected their work. Without them, you might well be singing 'Humpty Dumpty' or 'Hotel California' and be satisfied that you are singing traditional English folk songs.

". . . if you dont understand that you are a bigger berk than I previously thought."

What kind of berk do you think I am, anyway?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:05 PM

Wouldn't it depend which VERSION of Humpty Dumpty Phil Tanner sang, Dick?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:48 PM

ha ha ha FD,you live in cloud cuckoo land?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:46 PM

Interesting if that is the case,why do folk song collectors differentiate between revival singers and singers who have learned their songs orally,their guideline are completely artificial and phoney.

I really don't know if they did in fact. Apart from that one case - who you have quoted incessantly elsewhere - who else is there?


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:46 PM

MM,Because they are not using quality as a guideline.
I would rather listen to Martin Carthy singing Thornymoor Woods,than a traditional singer singing CArOLINA MOON,and if you dont understand that you are a bigger berk than I previously thought.
however a good traditional singer like Phil Tanner who learned his songs and repertoire orally is worth recording,but not if he sings Humpty Dumpty.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:29 PM

Good Soldier, if you can't understand why a folklorist with limited resources would prefer to record a singer who learned a particular song from an oral tradition over someone who learned a set from a published book, then I doubt that I or anyone else here could explain it you.


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folksongs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 01:02 PM

I will question anyones credentials,nobody questioned Berts credentials, or his intellectual honesty and look at the problems it caused.
[It rather gives the lie to the suggestion that printing destroys the oral tradition if the so-called oral tradition was a print one anyway.]quote FD.
Interesting if that is the case,why do folk song collectors differentiate between revival singers and singers who have learned their songs orally,their guideline are completely artificial and phoney.
Mike Yates was right when he collected Bob Blake[by mistake],he was a good singer singing in the accepted style it didnt matter a fiddlers fart that he learned the songs from the printed source,yet collectors like Peter Kennedy would prefer to collect anything providing it had been learned orally[regardless of quality].
the logical conclusion of this is that collectors could end up collecting the white cliffs of dover because its been learned orally
its not just football thats afunny old game,yours disgusted of Ballydehob .


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Subject: RE: publication does a doubtful service to folkson
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 12:40 PM

This last weekend (October 10th) the Tradsong Forum had it's quarterly meeting with discussion papers around the influence of the printed word on what we call folk song.

Those who led the discussion included Steve Roud, Steve Gardham and Roy Palmer. I can't imagine people questioning their credentials, though no doubt someone will try.

Steve Gardham in particular who has spent a lifetime gathering together and studying printed material is convinced that most songs we regard as "traditional" have a printed origin. Of course it won't be the version that you now hear sung and sometimes the songs have altered beyond instant recognition.

It rather gives the lie to the suggestion that printing destroys the oral tradition if the so-called oral tradition was a print one anyway.


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