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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 09:25 AM
Vic Smith 21 Jan 20 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 08:52 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 07:51 AM
Vic Smith 21 Jan 20 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 07:16 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 06:58 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 06:50 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 06:28 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 21 Jan 20 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 05:50 AM
GUEST,kenny 21 Jan 20 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 05:24 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 05:16 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 04:43 AM
Lighter 20 Jan 20 - 07:05 PM
Lighter 20 Jan 20 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 06:28 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 04:50 PM
Richard Mellish 20 Jan 20 - 02:59 PM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 02:47 PM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 02:01 PM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 11:47 AM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 11:36 AM
Lighter 20 Jan 20 - 10:32 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 10:23 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 09:57 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:31 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 09:25 AM

>>>>>>What is not a middle-class construct, though, is that people sang songs for their own entertainment, and that in many cases these were passed down orally through one or more generations.<<<<<
Absolutely. But can we just take as read that everybody we know is eternally grateful to all of the collectors for what they did?

Perhaps in hindsight, they could have made a comment that their singers also sang other material than what they collected. Were these other items (parlour songs, Music Hall etc.) also folk if they were sung and valued by the same singers? I know you are aware of this but their collections do include quite a few songs that were definitely Music Hall and parlour songs. And what of those of us who were collecting in the 60s? Should we have ignored Music Hall songs? All of the songs in John Howson's 'Songs Sung in Suffolk' have Roud Numbers. John may have avoided using the word 'folk' to avoid any contention, but to me they are all folk songs.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 09:12 AM

Pseudonymous wrote:-
Assuming the whole interview is verbatim, including the questions
It is.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 08:52 AM

I too like Vic's piece. Assuming the whole interview is verbatim, including the questions, then it seems that Bob Copper was a highly articulate and confident person who did not need much 'prodding' or 'leading' to hold forth. I suppose that the fact he had just written a book means he had lots of ideas fresh in his head.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 08:07 AM

Many thanks, Vic. I apologise for not having recommended (nor, I suspect, having read) this fascinating piece. It's weird how this stuff can hide in plain sight - but one of the reasons for having discussions like this one is that people share good things.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 08:05 AM

I think Steve Gardham suggested Cole as a comparison with Harker, so one is Trotskyist, the other 'postmodern'? And similarities...

Has anybody seen the Big Red Songbook co-edited by Harker and published by Pluto Press (1981), or a song list from it. It might throw light on what Harker thought it worth singing? Can't find a Mudcat thread on it, did look.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:51 AM

I think the drift started with Cole, not that he isn't relevant.

When I started reading the link you gave to him I decided I would get round to reading "The Imagined Village" (have read lots of the reviews and discussion) rather than read more of Harker. Then the discussion swung to 'The Folk'


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:49 AM

I have been following the investigation of the Coppers/Kate Lee meeting with considerable interest. I know the story well from fairly close and regular contact with the family over 50 years. Of course, I know the story as told by Bob and latterly by John from the Family's point of view but without giving much thought to the mediation, interpretation or even the linguistics and grammar of the story which participants of this thread are attempting to analyse.
I feel that I am playing an on-going part in this from my many TV and radio broadcasts and articles that I involved in with them. Here is the earliest example before Bob's first book was published.

This morning I was sorting out some photos of 2008 interview that I conducted with five of Bob's grandchildren to load on Facebook - Brian and Derek and possibly others are likely to see these.

Next week, I will be going over there again to interview Jon Dudley for an article I am planning on his important role in family. Before then, I will ask Jon to read the relevant section of this thread. It will be interesting to hear his views on it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:42 AM

"What is not a middle-class construct, though, is that people sang songs for their own entertainment, and that in many cases these were passed down orally through one or more generations."

Hello Brian. I'm not sure that anybody here is denying this. (Does the first generation have to have died for Steve's number of generations rule to apply? I have a (living) friend with great, great grandchildren!)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:28 AM

OK Jag. Interesting - and fair point for discussion. I was trying to get the general idea across though, if that excuses my oversimplification. There is a lot about this concept and its origins on Wikipedia. Lighter mentioned Foucault, who comes in under the Wiki section on 'othering' under the heading 'cultural representations' and is indeed mentioned in Cole. I used the term simply because Cole does. But this thread is drifting further and further.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:17 AM

Well said, Brian!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 07:16 AM

@Pseudonymous. I don't find your use of the sociological term 'other' outside an academic context helpful. Your brief explanation doesn't make sense to me - for elderly people are regarded intrinsically different from, presumably, non-elderly people then 'intrinsic' must have a meaning diferent from the one in the dictionary. See a longer discussion of usage https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/other-as-a-verb

In non-specialist usage you get daft things like people resenting being 'othered' and then forming campaign groups for their particular concerns.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:58 AM

"would be happy to disagree or for Brian to have the very last word on this."

'...might...'


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:50 AM

"how would Mrs Lee have coped in the pub or their kitchen? That's a situation more common in most of the collecting."

An interesting question. To Derek's reply I can add that Sharp and Karpeles in the Appalachians collected a lot of his songs in family homes, often eating with the family and very occasionally staying overnight. These occasions were cordial, and Sharp seems to have felt no discomfort either materially (in the local hotels it was a very different matter!) or socially.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:40 AM

So your suggestion is that he folk revival was institutionally antisemitic?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:28 AM

and by Joseph Jacobs:

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5764-england

and this is interesting, with links to Vic Gammon, who almost always has something interesting and sensible to say.

https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/sirhugh.html


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:27 AM

Steve G wrote:

"I don't completely disagree that 'folk' is a middle class construct..."

Nor do I completely disagree with it, especially in the drawing-room piano arrangements that Lee, Broadwood and Sharp applied to some of their material - though overall they published a greater proportion unembellished, and recorded in their notebooks as faithfully as they could the raw material.

What is not a middle-class construct, though, is that people sang songs for their own entertainment, and that in many cases these were passed down orally through one or more generations. You can of course argue about the selectivity of the Edwardian collectors in terms of material and geography, but even in this area there was a logic at work: to qualify as 'folk' a song had to have been passed on generationally (even today Steve Roud cites two generations' transmission as being a desirable qualification) which meant that songs composed during the lifetime of an informant - which would include a lot of the music hall stuff - wouldn't pass muster. Aesthetic preference was no doubt an element as well. It's a fact acknowledged surprisingly infrequently that music hall or minstrel songs generally used language (musical and/or textual) and subject matter different to those of the older songs the collectors defined as 'folk', and a field worker would be able to distinguish the two with some degree of accuracy. So, while a modern ethnomusicologist would disapprove of Sharp's having spurned all those versions of 'My Grandfather's Clock' he so despised, there was a rationale behind the selectivity.

Naming the phenomenon 'folk' is arguably a middle-class construct - since no singer predating the revival would have used the term - but no more so, I suggest, than calling it 'vernacular singing' or 'workers' culture'. Observers studying something generally need to find a name for it.

"It seems clear, at least to me, that any nationalist, imperialist, racialist, reactionary, elitist, or similarly unsavory motives the collectors may have had were no greater than the average person's of their day, and far less consequential than those of some."

I agree with that, Lighter. And regarding your point about the possible anger of the Copper Family a he mediation of heir songs, of course Bob was delighted to find out about Kate Lee: "Don’t think that Ron and me as kids were brought up thinking our grandfathers were this or that. We existed!"


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 06:18 AM

@ Brian. To clarify my point, if you had time you could look at the first paragraph at least of this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_England

and the whole of this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Expulsion

And a short definition of 'to other': VERB
othering (present participle)
view or treat (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself. eg "a critique of the ways in which the elderly are othered by society"



Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:59 AM

Leech and co are also quite good on the subjunctive, as is David Crystal's 'Rediscover Grammar'. The superordinate/main clause we are discussing is declarative:'The .. embarrassment .. *was* soon dispelled. What Copper is saying is that no matter *how* embarrassed they were by this unusual situation the whisky would have relaxed them. But I don't want to digress from thread topic more, and would be happy to disagree or for Brian to have the very last word on this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:55 AM

jag writes:
"how would Mrs Lee have coped in the pub or their kitchen? That's a situation more common in most of the collecting."

I wonder how much pre-1914 folk song collecting was done in pubs? I know of one story of Sharp (but can't recall the name of the pub), and one story of RVW and George Butterworth. There may be a few more, but most of the collecting was done (certainly by Sharp) in people's homes, by the side of the road, or the workhouse. Sometimes the singers went to the home of the local gentry such the Coppers in the references above, the gatherings of singers at Marson's home / vicarage in Hambridge. Grainger did this in Lincolnshire, because he wanted to record the singing on a phonograph - putting it in the basket of a bicycle and trundling it along country lanes isn't conducive to keeping the machine in working order. Grainger found his singers in the villages and then brought them to the local 'big' house for the recordings.

Ah, the old story of Fred in his Sunday best. I don't think Fred had what people would think of as Sunday best. His first "folk" performance was 1954 at a barn dance in Birmingham Town Hall. Details of what he wore on that occasion have not emerged. See the booklet accompanying the double CD on Veteran, A Shropshire Lad.

By the way, it's Ross Cole not John Cole (unless he has two given names!).

Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:50 AM

@Pseudonymous. Do we know what grammar textbook Bob Copper used?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:38 AM

A story to follow on from the above :
The late Jim Reid, that great singer from Arbroath told us this at Blairgowrie Folk Club in the early 1970s. Jim was in a trio at the time whose name escapes me, but they were driving north on the A9 to do a gig in Aviemore, when they spotted some travellers camped beside the road. They stopped the car, went over and explained that they were interested in traditional Scottish songs, did they, the travellers, know any ? One of them sang a few songs for Jim and the lads, who then asked where he got the songs from.
"Och, I got them off a couple of "Corries" albums" :)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM

I should have put above: The two theorists I have mentioned are interesting choices because (and this is just my take) Judaism and Roman Catholicism have of course had a lot of influence on the history of England via among other things the Roman Catholic faith, the first part of whose religious book is also a religious text for Judaism. Yet the voices of neither seems to come through to any extent in the 'folksong' canon that has been passed down to us.

Brian. I do love a good grammatical argument. You wrote

" 'The determiner 'any' usually means 'some' or 'a bit' or some such.'"

I'm sorry, but this is incorrect "

With respect, it isn't. I refer you to the discussion of 'some and any' in An A - Z of English Grammar and Usage by Leech, Cruikshank and Ivanic.

Cole gives quite a long quotation from Copper. The uncomfortable nature of the situation shines through the details: the place, the power situation (they could not go until allowed to); the clothing being unlike their usual singing clothes. And this comes from Copper, not from Cole. Cole points out that Lady Lee then went on the perform at least some of the songs she had noted down.

Cole is writing about a performance by Lady Lee when he says: The audience was thus granted access to the Copper brothers’ songs only via a chain of mediations in which the songs were filtered, notated, arranged, and restaged by a group of metropolitan folk-song devotees."
I cannot argue with this. However, in line with his postmodern approach Cole gives the view of Copper, the 'lower other' to use Cole's term.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:24 AM

I think what Brian Peters says about the Copper's trip to the big house relates to something that for me is the elephant in the room for many discussions of song collecting. Harker's political standpoint leads to his characters being largely regarded as of the bougoisie or of the folk.

The real world is made up of multitudes of subcultures related to type of work, geography, place of work, who people chose to hang out with etc. Some people interact awkwardly when even a little out of their comfort zone, others seem to me able to talk easily to anyone anywhere.

Never mind how comfortable to Coppers were in the drawing room, how would Mrs Lee have coped in the pub or their kitchen? That's a situation more common in most of the collecting. The source singers may have had more idea of life in a big house (from being related to the staff perhaps) than the posh folk did of life in the village. But then a concientious long-serving country parson might have a very good idea of what made his parishoners tick. Reading part 1 of Harkers book I was left with no idea of how good the collectors where at talking to the folk. Some might have been quite good, others a visitor from a different world.

This continues into the latest revival - stories of Fred Jordan wearing his Sunday best for first visits to folk clubs (why wouldn't he put on decent clothes for a trip out?) and the way Walter Pardon was described in that short film. Only few years ago at tunes session an oldish guy mentioning that some Irish travellers had set up in a layb-by just out of town resulted in some sucking in of air through teeth - followed by embarrased silence when he went on to say he was going to walk down to see if they had any tunes.

[was typing this during todays first posts]


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:16 AM

"Cole makes us think when he starts his piece with by introducing an eminent late 19th-century Jewish historian, Joseph Jacobs, and by referring to a paper he gave to the London's Folklore Society, of which he was a member, in 1893. What an interesting beginning to a piece on English Folkloristics!"

It's not so surprising when you recall that the quote Cole pulls from Jacobs - “the Folk is simply a name for our ignorance" - was previously quoted in 'Fakesong' and is also used in 'The Imagined Village' for the title of the first chapter. As I said, Cole is rereading some familiar territory.

"a well-travelled and highly educated Jewish person (ie precisely one of the groups often 'othered' or treated as 'alterior' to use the language of the piece)..."

Could you perhaps explain what you're getting at here?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 04:54 AM

Back for a moment to the Coppers and Kate Lee...

"The determiner 'any' usually means 'some' or 'a bit' or some such."

I'm sorry, but this is incorrect. The word 'might' in the sentence makes the sense subjunctive.

Bob Copper was a remarkable, generous and delightful man, blessed with great intelligence, articulacy and powers of observation. In this context, however, he is a 'mediator', for those that like the term. Brasser and Tom Copper met Kate Lee in 1897, 18 years before Bob was born, and when his father Jim was 17. Bob stated in an interview in the 1980s that the meeting had never been mentioned within the family until 1950, when Francis Collinson - who was collecting songs from them - brought it up. At which point Jim broke in with [to quote Bob] “Oh yes, I remember my old dad and uncle Tom going to old Teddy Carson’s house, and there was some woman up there that put a bottle of scotch on the table, a decanter of water and two glasses, and she wouldn’t let ’em go until they’d finished the scotch.”

There's no mention of embarrassment or discomfort here, in fact the reference to "old Teddy Carson's house" conveys the opposite impression. However, when Bob wrote up the story in 'A Song for Every Season', he clearly used his mastery of story-telling to embroider the tale with some speculation of his own about how his forebears might have felt, guessing that if they'd felt any embarrassment, this would soon have been dispelled by the prospect of alcohol - which, it has to be said, features prominently in much Copper Family lore.

Does this matter? Well, I raised it because it seemed important to Dr Cole's argument in one of three real-life examples he chose to illustrate his theoretical position, and his interpretation of the story looks a lot like bending the facts. There is simply no evidence in the above that the two Copper brothers were 'uncomfortable' during their meeting with Kate Lee, or that this affected what they sang.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM

"What might we have now if poststructuralists, deconstructionists, post-colonialists, sociopolitical historicists, and others had been around in Scott's day, for example, to do the job of collecting, disseminating, and commenting "right," while trying to keep the likes of the Folk Song Society at bay?"

Excellent question, and who knows? Perhaps a little more of the voice of the people? Scottish Independence? Who knows?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 04:43 AM

If you have a tendency to get a dry throat either skip this or take it with a glass of water. I expect and would be glad if Lighter would feedback on any misrepresentations in terms of 'literary theory' because in one sense this is what Cope is applying, especially the 'postmodern' variety/ies. Having started with a theorist from one context, Cole relies on a theorist from a very different context for the rest, a Jesuit academic called Michael de Certeau. Chalk and cheese? If so, then perhaps an example of the 'bricolage' mentioned by Cole himself in the piece. Put simply, and I have not studied de Certeau beyond Cole (which I have only skimmed) and Wikipedia, which is often rubbish, de Certeau's framework offers a way for people at the bottom of the power struggle to struggle, this comes via his 'strategy' -'tactics' ideas. So Jesuit, Roman Catholic, another group perhaps 'othered' within fin de siècle nationalistic imperialistic ethnocentric folklorist thinking? (And of course historically not above a bit of 'othering'? I'm think Galileo will often have had the Jesuits in his mind a lot more often than the Babylonians).

I would say to sum up that you can read Cole's piece as 'postmodern'. This line of thinking gives me a migraine (as mentioned above) a) because a lot of it is difficult to the point of being stylistic rather than rational in its arguments (eg Derrydown) b) because it means something like a distrust of overarching narratives - while as far as I can see being one itself - but ignore that for now.

The overarching narrative he seeks to critique is a complex one in which the history of what he calls something like the 'low other' (aka the working class/ordinary people/peasants delete as appropriate) is subsumed together with romanticism about the past and a dollop of oral origins theory within an overarching nationalistic etc narrative.

The two theorists I have mentioned are interesting choices because (and this is just my take) Judaism and Roman Catholicism have of course had a lot of influence on the history of England via among other things the Roman Catholic faith, the first part of whose religious book is also a religious text for Judaism.

It is in line with this postmodernist distrust of overarching narratives that he says we should try to listen to the voices of 'the folk' to use a loaded term, which are not overarching narratives. So he says that the Coppers have produced some well-written books.

I am sorry if this doesn't make sense. Maybe Lighter can help me out here!

Changing tack: as long-term lovers and singers of old songs, both Brian Peters and Steve Gardham will have their own personal relationships with the material, and a unique perspective as performers. This is to be respected of course.

Have a nice day everybody.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 07:05 PM

Wikipedia has (what appears to be) a fine article on Joseph Jacobs.

In college I read Jacobs's four-volume collection of "English Fairy Tales" and "Celtic Fairy Tales" (edited for children but with endnotes for adults).

They are drawn from "mediated" sources and rewritten further for their intended audience, but they are quite delightful nonetheless.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 06:47 PM

Hi, Brian,

> "The audience was thus granted access to the Copper brothers’ songs only via a chain of mediations in which the songs were filtered, notated, arranged, and restaged by a group of metropolitan folk-song devotees."

Seems to imply that somebody (including the Coppers and the audience) should be angry about this.

> according to an agenda of nationalism or imperialism

This sounds sinister but isn't. As Brian says, the collectors obviously loved the songs they were collecting. Otherwise, why bother? Did Sharp & Karpeles travel to the remote Southern Appalachians, or publish what they found, because they were driven by a nationalist or imperialist agenda? (A suggestion/ accusation that makes them seem more like jingo politicians stirring up trouble than mere folksong collectors.)

(Cole and Harker might argue there's no such thing as a "mere" collector, because, as is often said, "everything is political" and "everybody has an agenda.")

It seems clear, at least to me, that any nationalist, imperialist, racialist, reactionary, elitist, or similarly unsavory motives the collectors may have had were no greater than the average person's of their day, and far less consequential than those of some.

But suppose the collectors were just as self-deluding, condescending, sanitizing, and generally falsifying as Harker and Cole suggest. Without their "agendas" (sounds calculating, doesn't it?), the folklore, "mediated," edited, and arbitrarily chosen as it may have been, presumably would have gone forever uncollected.

Fortunately that didn't happen. What might we have now if poststructuralists, deconstructionists, post-colonialists, sociopolitical historicists, and others had been around in Scott's day, for example, to do the job of collecting, disseminating, and commenting "right," while trying to keep the likes of the Folk Song Society at bay?

One wonders.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 06:37 PM

Forgot to say that I have looked at some videos of the Copper Family, as a result of reading about them on MUDCAT and that I enjoyed these!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 06:28 PM

Hello All

@ Brian: "Any embarrassment they might have felt at being asked to sing in front of a lady in an elegantly furnished drawing-room instead of at home in the cottage or in the tap room of the “Black ’un” was soon dispelled …" Had there been no embarrassment, then for me it would have said 'would soon have been dispelled'. The determiner 'any' usually means 'some' or 'a bit' or some such. The fact that a large amount of whisky was required suggests that the discomfort was not insignificant. Yes, I am showing a pedantic streak here. For me Cole is trying to put across the view of the Coppers. These words are from their own account. Lady Lee's account does not even mention the whisky. The account continues that the brothers were not allowed to leave until the bottle was empty and the Lady's note book was full.

Did I dream making a post about Cole?

Somebody (Lighter?) said that this sort of work was supposed to make you think. Cole does make you think at the outset by setting out a challenging scenario: an eminent Jewish scholar and 'polymath', Joseph Jacobs, addressing the English Folklore Society in and advancing a view that a) too often discussions of 'the folk' as people spoke as if the folk was one whereas 'the folk' would have been 'many-minded' b) communities are never entirely hermetic c) therefore you cannot draw a hard and fast line between 'folk' and 'art' d) a focus on sorting out what is old and what new interferes with a full 'folkloric' description of what the folk now are doing (if I have this right).

I think I said before that Cole makes you think by starting an article about fin de siècle English folklorists by referring to a lecture given in the England to a Folklore Society by a well-travelled and highly educated Jewish person (ie precisely one of the groups often 'othered' or treated as 'alterior' to use the language of the piece) - a process he discusses later in his piece when he discusses the tendency within folklore to look for nationally innate differences in music).

For me it is as if he is sort of making you see the development of English 'folklore' from the outside, from another perspective. He has an outsider sort of 'telling it like it is' but people on the inside of the folklorist world not listening. I think he is also showing how there were other views on folklore way back in time: he says how strikingly modern Jacob's views sound.

I probably haven't expressed my thoughts clearly enough here: but there you go. But this is my first attempt to answer the interesting question of why Cole starts his piece in such an unusual way.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 04:50 PM

Richard, VicS has managed to acquire a thumbs up symbol on here. He'll have to tell us how to do it.

Hmmmm! I can see where Cole is coming from and I don't completely disagree that 'folk' is a middle class construct when only applied to certain levels of the community, the 'peasantry' for instance. However distorted it is, that construct has specific descriptors, and whilst we now allow for plenty of overlap with other constructs, it is surely quite valid to study that construct and how it has evolved and relates to other aspects of social history.

What I'm trying to say somewhat clumsily is, whether I agree with him or not, it certainly won't put me off to any extent doing what I do.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:59 PM

I like Pseudonymous's "I agree with those who have said that some of Harker's more sweeping summings-up aren't fully justified from his evidence": in other words, Harker did much the same as many of the collectors stand accused of doing.

Sometimes I regret that Mudcat lacks the "like" facility that some other online fora have. A lot of sense has been written in this thread in the last few days, and very little nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:47 PM

Damn, dodgy letter 'T' on my keyboard.... Should have read 'drier in TONE...'


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:45 PM

"it seems to me that Copper does say that his grandfather was 'embarrassed'..."

No he doesn't - see my italicization of the words 'any' and might'. Meaning, if they had felt any embarrassment, it was soon dispelled.

"I wonder which of his writings Brian could recommend for insight into his enjoyment of the musical side, something I myself sometimes think is ignored due to a focus on the words/text."

Sharp is usually criticized for the opposite failing, i.e. that he was interested only in the tunes, but although tunes were his first focus, he valued good texts too. He waxes especially lyrical about the songs he's hearing in Appalachia in letters home to his wife, but you'd need to go to the library as I did to read those. Online you could try his diaries and fair copy notebooks, which are available on the VWML site, though they take a lot of wading through, and are drier in one than the letters. The FOx Strangways / Karpeles biography has a vivid account of he gypsy singer Betsy Holland, then there's the introduction to EFSSA, and you might look at the account of Henry Larcombe's singing in 'Some Conclusions', though again that's a bit more technical than the boyish enthusiasm shown in the letters. A couple of samples below - not necessarily the best examples but the first ones I found in a quick trawl.

“I got some wonderful tunes and words this week, including a rare variant of The Cruel Mother, even more beautiful than my Somerset version.”

"I have had many long walks, doing 16 or 17 miles each day, and that very rough walking. But I am gradually getting used to it… I have got some very good songs – a wonderful version of Wraggle Taggle Gypsies much older than any I have found in England, and one called the False Knight on the road wh. I expect is one of the oldest songs I have ever collected. It is mentioned in Child who gives but one version – words only – wh. was collected in Scotland by Motherwell about 120 years ago. And now I have found another, tune and all – a great prize."

I'm preparing a piece for Musical Traditions which will go over a lot of this ground.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:35 PM

Yet another resolution down the pan.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:33 PM

Sorry the MacColl discussions analogy was intended to convey a sense of how divisive the topic Derrida has been. Maybe a tad overstated but …

Personally, I am trying to get through Harker without too many side-tracks, fascinating though they are! I've got to take him back to the library soon, and then I'll be left with the onscreen version. I much prefer 'real books'!

Cole makes us think when he starts his piece with by introducing an eminent late 19th-century Jewish historian, Joseph Jacobs, and by referring to a paper he gave to the London's Folklore Society, of which he was a member, in 1893. What an interesting beginning to a piece on English Folkloristics!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 02:01 PM

I found Brian's piece interesting. However, just on a very minor point, it seems to me that Copper does say that his grandfather was 'embarrassed', and the explanation of the context and audience that follows provide a reason for it. And being embarrassed is uncomfortable, more or less?

On the point about enjoying the music: I had always understood it that Sharp's main interest was in the tunes. I wonder which of his writings Brian could recommend for insight into his enjoyment of the musical side, something I myself sometimes think is ignored due to a focus on the words/text.   

I don't claim to know very much at all about Derrida, but I do know that within academia he is a controversial subject: differing Mudcat views on Ewan MacColl might give a sense of this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 11:47 AM

"Folk traditions...do not exist outside the discursive edifice of revivalism."

One is bound to ask: is there any such thing as a tradition at all, then, or does it cease to exist the moment a folklorist identifies it as such?

Enjoyed your last post, Lighter.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 11:36 AM

I've had a look at Cole now. A lot of familiar ideas - the author himself tells us he's "extending ideas sketched out in 'The Imagined Village'", and there's a section on broadsides that won't be news to most of us. Lighter's precis above is pretty accurate. I was interested to read about Hubert Parry's links with William Morris and 'Romantic Socialism', not least because I've long felt that Cecil Sharp's thinking followed many similar lines - the detestation for capitalism and modernity and the harking back to simplicity and cultural purity, for instance.

In the account of Kate Lee and the Coppers, though, Cole is guilty of precisely the kind of speculative leap that led me to mention the mote in the eye of those flinging around accusations of bias and selectivity. He quotes Bob Copper, describing the first visit of 'Brasser' Copper and his brother Tom to Sir Edward Carson's house to meet Kate Lee:

"Any embarrassment they might have felt at being asked to sing in front of a lady in an elegantly furnished drawing-room instead of at home in the cottage or in the tap room of the “Black ’un” was soon dispelled by generous helpings from a full bottle of whisky standing in the middle of the table with two cut-glass tumblers and a decanter of water. They sang, they drank and sang again and all the time Mrs Lee was noting down the words and music of their efforts."

Now - bearing in mind that the event occurred before Bob was born, and that here he is paraphrasing in his usual colourful style his father's teenage memories - this sounds like quite a convivial meeting. Any embarrassment they might have felt was soon dispelled. But here is Cole's interpretation of BC's words:

"Uprooted from both pub and cottage and held captive in a country house by an unfamiliar woman of higher social status, the Coppers were requested to sing in a manner wholly foreign to their quotidian experience while wearing clothes ordinarily reserved for church... The uncomfortable environment, moreover, played a decisive role in James and Thomas’s choice concerning which songs to offer."

A little later, he writes: "the very social settings that made [...] the Coppers feel so uncomfortable."

But nowhere does Bob Copper say that his grandfather and great-uncle actually felt uncomfortable - rather the opposite, in fact. He does not say that they were requested to sing in any particular manner, nor does the quoted passage mention that they chose their songs according to the surroundings. Cole is giving an account tailored to fit his thesis. I'm reminded of Harker's account that James Parsons "trembled with fright" on his first visit to Baring-Gould's grand house, and his strange omission to mention that before long Parsons was forcefully correcting mistakes in the Reverend's notations.

Cole writes subsequently about Kate Lee's performance of Copper songs: "The audience was thus granted access to the Copper brothers’ songs only via a chain of mediations in which the songs were filtered, notated, arranged, and restaged by a group of metropolitan folk-song devotees." This may well be true of the evening in question, but where is the mention that the family sang their songs themselves in the Royal Albert Hall in 1952, and on national radio in the same period, never mind the innumerable and continuing performances in folk song environments ever since - i.e. some acknowledgement that the priorities of folk song devotees might have changed since 1897? When I read, "Increased attention should hence be paid to singers such as [...] the Copper brothers of Rottingdean in order to rescue their histories from the conceptual apparatus of folk song", I wonder how much the writer actually knows about the Coppers, even if he is clever enough to use the word 'quotidian' instead of 'everyday'.

The other thing that strikes me when I read these critiques of collectors carrying out their work according to an agenda of nationalism or imperialism or whatever else, is that the writers never consider for an instant that the collectors might have been motivated also by the aesthetic qualities of what they were hearing. This comes over again and again in Sharp's writings - he's simply thrilled by the songs, and cheerfully acknowledges his own 'butterfly collector' tendencies. I acknowledge my own bias in having sung and loved these songs for 40 years, but it's pretty clear that critics like Harker and, I suspect, Cole, feel no such affection for them and are simply unable to comprehend the feelings that Sharp, B-G et al experienced.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 10:32 AM

> has referenced Derrida

Always a bad sign. Surely Foucault is in there somewhere.

There's a postructuralist point of view (they would say "stance") that exceptionally dense, even nearly incomprehensible prose is the best for some topics because (wait for it!) . . .



It makes the reader think for himself! What the writer may have meant is secondary to what the reader persuades himself is true.

When intelligent readers on two continents with many years among them of studying a subject have a hard time deciphering exactly what a writer on that subject means, something's wrong somewhere.

(PS: I've seen worse than this.)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 10:23 AM

Going back to Percy, I don't want to labour the point, but just a few selections from his Preface might make it.

xxxviii 'many of these reliques of antiquity'.
...those of our ancient English Minstrels; and the artless productions of these old rhapsodists....Yet perhaps the palm will be frequently due to the old strolling Minstrels, who composed their rhymes to be sung to their harps'

He then goes on to describe his sources the vast majority from the 17th century. Were there still minstrels playing on their harps then. The masques organised by the nobility certainly revived them in a theatrical way, but all the books I've read seem to say the minstrels were already disappearing in the 16th century, and that they are something associated with the medieval period.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 10:04 AM

Oops.
4 ballady stuff


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 09:57 AM

The list of 'essential reading' is rapidly looking as if I may not have enough life span left to get through it! But Steve's reply (for which thank you) shows Harker had at least one 'essential' work on his list and in his references.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 09:38 AM

Is it anything like DerryDown?

Hustvedt. 'Ballad Books and Ballad Men' essential reading for all to do with Child.

Chapter 1 should be a good comparison with Cole.
2. Scott
3. Scott's ballad clan.
4. English baldly stuff
5. 70 years of British Varia
6 The Scandinavians
7.Grundtvig
8. Child
Appendix A The Grundtvig-Child Correspondence. Very enlightening. essential.
Appendix B, a useful listing of all Child Ballads and their published variants+sources.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 06:21 AM

Cole has referenced Derrida: I feel a migraine coming on!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 05:52 AM

Hustvedt: mentioned by Cole and Harker. Any quick info on him?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 05:44 AM

Where Cole has 'discursive edifice' I might have put 'ideology'. But Cole's metaphor expresses it well, says more probably. I'll see how far I can get with him later on! Here's a link, hope it works. Thanks for the reference.

https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1810/277116/73.full.pdf?sequence=6&isAllowed=y


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 05:37 AM

… on the other hand, I agree with those who have said that some of Harker's more sweeping summings-up aren't fully justified from his evidence and that he tends to move between the more precise and carefully thought about assertion to less sustainable broader generalisations. I also agree with Vic Gammon that Harker's paragraphing detracts from the readability of his text. It's a bit of a curate's egg book.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 05:31 AM

Hello Lighter: 1) Louise Pound is mentioned in Harker (eg p109). 2) Dictionaries do have their uses, don't they? And the history of the usage of the word 'ballad' is itself interesting; to some extent it is a contested word 3) this is I think only the 2nd time I have read the words 'othering' and 'alterity' used in the context of folk discussions, but that might merely reflect my limited background reading of course 4) what Cole seems to be saying might be, albeit not in the same ideological framework, to some extent (hedging like mad here!) similar to some points made by Harker?

Hello Joe G: Hope you are well?

Hello Steve: thanks for the ref I'll add it to the list. For a horrible moment I read one of your posts as 'with child', but of course it was 'with Child'. :)

I'm not much of a singer, and rarely do it in company, but I make music (of sorts) almost every day of my life. I think my lifelong love of it is maybe why I am so interested in it.

Have a nice day everybody!


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