mudcat.org: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]


Dave Harker, Fakesong

GUEST,Nick Dow 12 Jan 20 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,jag 12 Jan 20 - 05:41 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 05:47 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 12 Jan 20 - 08:11 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,jag 13 Jan 20 - 07:09 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,jag 13 Jan 20 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,jag 13 Jan 20 - 07:56 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 08:26 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 08:50 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 08:57 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 10:51 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 10:58 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 01:47 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 02:05 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 20 - 02:50 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 04:06 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 04:26 PM
Richard Mellish 13 Jan 20 - 05:02 PM
Jack Campin 13 Jan 20 - 05:15 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 05:21 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 20 - 05:45 PM
Richard Mellish 13 Jan 20 - 06:22 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 04:14 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 04:32 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 04:54 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 09:49 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 10:09 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 10:32 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 11:14 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 11:43 AM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 20 - 11:45 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 12:20 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 12:25 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,jag 14 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM
Lighter 14 Jan 20 - 01:34 PM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 20 - 02:31 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 02:54 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 02:58 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 03:09 PM
Richard Mellish 14 Jan 20 - 04:47 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 04:48 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,jag 14 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 05:53 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 20 - 03:55 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:35 PM

Thanks for those detailed responses Steve. I will take a back seat for a bit and give them some thought.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:41 PM

Possibly through ignorance on my part I am not convinced about the concept of a source singer. If in the past a song could skip generations, possibly with the help of something written down ‘first hand’, or skip families if it was a neighbour not a family member who picked up thread, or at greater distance was picked up from the pub in the next town or a traveller family who passed through then I am not convinced that you singers of the last revival will not be seen as just another step in the songs’ journeys in 100 years time. And thats without the possibility that their may have been a diversion into a broadside or chapbook somewhere along the way.



in 100 years time


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:44 PM

A polite request. Can we distinguish please clearly between 'Fakesong' the book and 'fakesong' the phenomenon? Otherwise things could get confusing.

As far as I'm concerned fakesong implies deliberate deceit on the part of the faker so this isn't a general discussion of how songs are passed on.

Apart from a very few examples none of the first revival collectors claimed their published songs were not bowdlerised and all of them left us with the corpus of material as taken down to best of their ability. Any deception came in the form of how and where the songs originated and in that sense there was definitely an agenda well documented.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:47 PM

Jag: Thanks for your comment. I read the into and then moved to the bit on Lloyd. Lloyd does spin a narrative, in his book on Folk Song in England. You may well be right about the early chapters, I'll see when I go back and read them, but Harker does criticise Lloyd's account, on various grounds, lack of evidence being one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:53 PM

Hi jag
I don't think anyone is saying all of this is cut and dried. There are many overlaps and grey areas. However most of the academic pieces I am avidly soaking up seem to suggest (and Jim is also saying it if I read him right) that what went on in families and communities when the songs were passed on orally/aurally can no longer take place in anything like the same way as it did prior to say 1920 (arbitrary). There is no cut off point as it was gradual process. Nearly all of those survivals are gone or will be gone in a few years. (We can argue about a very few possible exceptions) but this is the general situation. One thing that has replaced this (and it is just one thing) is that thing set up and known as The Folk Scene, or the second revival, which ought to be considered as perhaps a new tradition with new methods of transmission.

Apart from that who knows what researchers in a century's time will make of it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 08:11 PM

Thanks Steve, Deliberate deceit on the part of the Faker, in the light of that definition do you or anybody else have any views about C.J Bearman and Mike Yates opinion of Harker?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 06:31 AM

Can't be "passed on orally"
I am saying no such thing Steve- of course they can
To reduce the tradition to the passing on of songs is to superficialise it - it is far for complicated than that and involves identifying taking ownership, localising and adapting the songs by communities rather than individual adaptation
The tradition ceased to exist when people stopped making songs or when print made significant adaptation unlikely
The songs were repeated rather than owned and they lost much of their social significance - the listeners became bums-on-seats rater than active participants and re-creators - then the media and 'popular' (in the 'pop' sence replaced the tradition
One of the most significant things we discovered in our work in the West of Ireland was the existence of a massive repertoire of locally made songs. largely anonymous, created to cover almost every aspect of human existence   
One local man described them - "If a man farted in church in those days someone made a song about it"
We thought this was limited to Count Clare, but it transpires that every County in Ireland had similar
Those songs drew from and fed into the older traditions - when they died, so did the song-making (a few local song-makers carried on) but their songs are always identified with the maker and not claimed for the 'folk'
This is only a small part of what constitutes the tradition

I have no doubbt that the British people wwere just as capable songmakers as the Irish - the bothy songs, or the radical 19th century pieces to express grievences, or the improvised shanties, or teh miners songs from the pit areas... all are examples of the "common man's" ability and desire to make songs expressing their lives and feelings

"Usuasl suspects" is a term of abuse used by "usual suspects"
We all know how each other is going to respond in certain arguments - I certainly know how you are as you know how I am
Such terms of abuse will, at the very least, foul the atmosphere of any discussion (at the very least)
Leave it out please Steve
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 07:09 AM

Thanks for your response Steve (and sorry about the typos in my post)

Jim - how does the 'ownership' of songs differ from common courtesy appropriate in situations where people get together to share songs, tunes and stories? It's bad manners to come out with someone elses 'party piece' or start the tune that someone else always starts.

I think the question is on topic because it relates to 'mediation' in the way Harker uses the term. I meant to ask on the Walter Pardon thread, where it struck me that though it was important in the context of him recording his recollections it wasn't special in the context of a boy learning to fit in with the behaviour of his elders.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 07:30 AM

Are you suggesting the clubs, based on songs once made and owned by communities of the past are communities in themselves
Usually nowadays the songs sung there are either oned with a little (c) attached to them or have been copyrighted as arrangements
I gat tired of someone standing up ans saying "I'll sing a Martin Carthy song" and blasting out a three-hundred year old ballad
What goes on in clubs is 'revival' of old forms (or is supposed to be but quite often isn't
"Folk" and "tradition are two sides of the sem coin - one denoting who the songs belonged to, the other, the journey they had made to become what they were
That's gone now - it's hard enough to get the songs recognised as "the songs of the people" nowadays - (although Topic have done their best with their magnificent series)
Make no mistake, the older singers differentiated between the folk songs and those they picked up from the music halls and popular performers
The eternal Big Lie was that they didn't
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 07:52 AM

I am not suggesting anything of the sort.

From my experience of non-club social occassions where people 'make their own entertainment', and I include pub sessions in that, the idea of not 'singing other peoples songs' is so normal as to be not worth mentioning except to crass newcomers.

So I am left thinking that the collectors who make much of 'ownership' of particular songs (in the way Walter Pardon describes first-hand) are describing something else that I need explaining to me.

Either that or the collectors who make a fuss of it are standing outside of an alien culture looking in. Most of the 'source singers' grew up in a time when people started work at 14 or earlier and so were adolescents working alongside adults. Very different from most, but not all, of the collectors.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 07:56 AM

Sorry, missed the Preview box.

... the collectors who make a fuss of it are standing outside of an alien culture looking in and describing it to others on the outside - 'mediating' in Harker's terms.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 08:26 AM

"'mediating' in Harker's terms."
"Reporting" in common parlance
the losdaed term "mediating" automatically assumes censorship and bias - not proven by anybody to date - certainly not Harker
"that I need explaining to me."
I'm more than happy to do that - I have done so on other threads
I would have liked to do so in relation to Walter but we've been forbidden to talk about him for a month
Most of us - collectors and singers of folk songs - are from a different (alien's a funny word) culture which is why we need to discuss and understand it
Folk songs are certainly entertainment, but the cultural baggage they carry makes them so much more - unwritten history being only part of this
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 08:50 AM

>>>>>>The eternal Big Lie was that they didn't<<<<<

Can't let this one go as the truth is almost exactly the opposite of what is being claimed. WP was very much an exception in his compartmentalising of songs.

I'll tell you what, Jim, you give me a list of all those English source singers who compartmentalised like this and I'll give you a list of those that definitely didn't and we'll see who gets the furthest.

It was largely the collectors who were compartmentalising and the singers only did it to please the collectors.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 08:57 AM

jag
These are just as much 'communities' as anything that went on in the nineteenth century, different of course, but still communities.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 10:51 AM

"WP was very much an exception in his compartmentalising of songs."
There is no evidence whatever that this is the case      - the singers were never asked at the time there were living traditions and, (at the risk of being accused of repetition) the little we did, both with the Travellers and in the West of Ireland, points to the contrary being the case - like they say in QI - "Nobody Knows"
It shows a degree of contempt for the traditional singer to suggest that they didn't differentiate between the different genres in their repertoire - folk song is unique in both its form and its function - if I can spot that, why can't a rural singer
Again, at the risk of being accused of repetition, I never get tired of quoting jEan Richie's account of her collecting in Ireland in the 50s

"“I used the song Barbara Allen as a collecting tool because everybody knew it.
When I would ask people to sing me some of their old songs they would sometimes sing ‘Does Your Mother Come from Ireland?’ or something about shamrocks.
But if I asked if they knew Barbara Allen, immediately they knew exactly what kind of song I was talking about and they would bring out beautiful old things that matched mine, and were variants of the songs I knew in Kentucky. It was like coming home.”

That was our experience exactly - they knew the difference and were well able to describe them when asked
One of the greatest gaps in our knowledge of folksong is the view of the singers, which has lefr the field wide open to adopt the "simple countryman who didn't know any better" to our view of singing
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 10:58 AM

>>>>>>"simple countryman who didn't know any better"<<<< That statement must have come from the first revival middle-class collectors. None of the collectors I know ever said anything like that.

Jim, I'm sure you'll soon put me right, but the impression I'm getting is that you only have any amount of knowledge of one English country singer, the number of times you mention Ireland.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 01:47 PM

None of the collectors I know ever said anything like that.
Amen too that Steve – it was said to us by a well, known folkie (initials T. F.) (brother-in-law of Tom Munnelly), in response to our description of Walter expressing his opinions on different songs
Full quote “How could he think that, he’s a simple countryman – he must have been got at”
It is repeated every time someone suggests that the old singers didn’t discriminate between their different genres of songs, albeit in different words, as you did above Steve
“WP was very much an exception in his compartmentalising of songs.”

In our experience, singers were very aware of the differences though you had to approach them with a little thought, as Jean Richie did in my example

I would have replied to this earlier but we’ve been out of electricity for a couple of hours thanks to Storm Maggie Thatcher (we name our storms differently on the West Coast of Ireland
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 02:05 PM

Beware of Storm Boris, it'll be a lot worse!

Jim,
This is a genuine suggestion and you may already have done it. Dave Hillery's thesis is readily available online. Just Google 'Dave Hillery Thesis'. It's a longish read but well worth it. And contrary to what I said elsewhere it is very academic, very knowledgeable and very well researched, BUT accessible to the likes of thee and me. He compares the lives and repertoires of Jack Beeforth (N Yorks), Walter, Frank Hinchliffe (West Yorkshire) and Joseph Taylor (N Lincs). It even mentions the contributions of one Jim Carroll.

I would be very pleased to read your thoughts on it.

Non-compartmentalisation or compartmentalisation of repertoire have got sod all to do with a singer's intelligence or worldliness. it is affected by a whole set of factors.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 02:50 PM

Don't you think it a little to academic for me Steve -- after all !!!!
I communicated with Dave at length before he wrote it

I confess I find most academic-speak extremely pretentious and impenetrable
I once attended a lecture by Mike Pickering at a Sheffield Conferencem along with my friends, Barry Taylor and Terry Whelan - none of us understood a word of what he said (Terry has recently done a course in social Anthropology at Salford University)
I wrote a review of the lecture for Dance and Song and mentioned our difficulty
Mike took up my review in the next edition of D and S - all three of us didn't a word of his response
His book is one of the few that lies unread on our bookshelves

I once made it a rule that I wouldn't spend too much time reading stuff I wouldn't give to people like Tom Lenihan and and Walter to read - I understand far more easily what they had to say than I do those who write in "the language that the stranger does not know (to quote a mushy Irish song)
I'll think about it if I think I'm going to live that long
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 04:06 PM

There are 344 pages in the thesis bit. I can empathise with the language barrier. However, I think like me you would be able to follow his thrust. There is some technical musical stuff in there but you can always skim over this like I did.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 04:26 PM

On the subject of academic works being impenetrable to us plebs:
I must have joined a website called Academia at some point and they keep sending me emails of attached copies of theses and published papers. Whilst most of them are indeed very heavy-going for the likes of us, they can contain a goldmine of info, and we mustn't forget these people have been going into this from the far end of a fart so they leave no stone unturned.

The latest one was on the works of Ravenscroft. What I could follow was fascinating. All the evidence displayed which went into detail on his life story would suggest that all of the material in the 4 books came from other printed and manuscript collections and from contemporary plays. Whilst he was an anthologist like Child the material was largely London-based and was intended for the use of the well-to-do there. Of course that doesn't affect the half dozen or so pieces that eventually were recovered from oral tradition in later centuries.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 05:02 PM

I haven't read Fakesong and, having regard to the damning criticisms of it, I am little inclined to read it. Therefore it is from a position of ignorance that I enquire: is Harker's notion of fakesong to do with the collectors misrepresenting the content of the songs (by bowdlerising or other distortions) or misrepresenting the status of the songs as products of the peasantry? Or what?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 05:15 PM

What.

It's not reproducing the cliches you're imagining. And it isn't hard to read - far easier than Jim Carroll's unformatted rants despite being many times bigger.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 05:21 PM

I think that's part of the problem with it, Richard, I think he tries to cover all of these. It's a while since I read it but I do have an exercise book full of notes on it as it's a subject I've researched myself. Much of what he has to say about the mediators is fairly well-known in academic circles anyway. For me it's his dogged determination to put political spin on all of this, when in reality their mediation was done in different ways and for a variety of reasons, some of them quite reasonable for their time and station.

Let's look at Percy for instance, the man who it is accepted sparked off all this middle-class interest in balladry after it had almost disappeared. If he had simply reproduced the 17th century manuscript and given whatever other fragments he was sent he would have been laughed out of the literati. As it happened he rewrote most of it and only selected what he thought would go down well with the literati. Result, a burgeoning interest in balladry all over the continent. He inspired nearly all that followed him, particularly Scott, lots of German poets, the Grimms. Unfortunately for us today most of them followed his methods, though they also had similar reasons for their mediation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 05:45 PM

Part of the claim by Dave Harker which is certainly what academia believes is not so much that the editors mediated the material, but that they stated or implied heavily that the material they published was not mediated at all. Part of the problem was also that the correspondents sending material to the likes of Scott had already mediated it themselves. There is proof for some of this but the even bigger problem for us now is that we have no way of discerning exactly how much and to what extent the majority of the material, say in Child, was mediated by sophisticated editors. Child gives his opinions but in my opinion he was grossly understated. But again he had good reasons. Just like Scott and Percy he had to shift books. No-one wants to buy a book full of fakes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 06:22 PM

Steve, thanks for those clear explanations.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:14 AM

"Far easier than Jim Carroll's unformatted rants"
For Chrst's sake Jack give your vendetta a rest
I haven't insulted you - please have the decency to do the same
You find wahat I have to say boring - I'm sure I and others would find the vies of a self-admitted ignoramus on tradition music equally interesting - the difference being that twe would probably be too polite to say so

"Whilst most of them are indeed very heavy-going"
I get regular Academia postings and find the ones that interest me comparatively easy to read
I was referring to the impenetrable neo-folkese language which has appeared on the scene and seems to be designed to confine the discussions to a Folk-Freemasonry - I suspect there might be a secret handshake involved somewhere
I never found theoretical works easy - my Secondary Modern Education didn't prepare me for that, but I gradually learned to cope with most
Now I find myself having to plough with some stuff with a dictionary at hand
- sometimes that doesn't help as words appear that aren't included in standard dictionaries

I'll give you an example
A while ago our local history group produced a festschrift in honour of a well-know folklorist
Articles poured in from Britain, Ireland and the US and Canada - a wonderful set of essays on mainly song
One, from a highly respected and skillful academic was chosen as the first article - an excellent contribution - but difficult to read
Had it been placed otherwise theer wouldn't have been a problem
Unfortunately, local people, mainly farmers, saw the book in the shop with the photo of the researcher being honoured "I know him" - turned to the first article and put it back on the shelf
You probably know the book in question

If you are writing about 'The Music of the People' it's good manners (and common sense) to write in a form 'The People' can understand (unless your aim is to set up exclusive private clubs)
Mine is to make folk music as accessible to as many people as possible again
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:32 AM

"No-one wants to buy a book full of fakes."
I find this a scandalous thing to suggest Steve
The idea that these people were writing to "shift books" is abhorrent - first time I've ever come across it
I have little doubt that they did what they did because they were caught by the subject and wanted to oppress on their love and interest
I'm sure many would be offended if I suggested that many researchers today were trying to overturn the work of over century folk song deveotees to gain a reputation for themselves
Harker and hsi acolytes were writing as if there was a strict set of rules concerning what you were and were no allowed to do with folk song and ballads when you came across it - there wasn't
Many of them genuinely believed that they were improving them by re-writing them - not "fakery" or "dishonesty" - a genuine attempt to ppass them on in an "improved" form and a noble, if misguided one
A few, like Motherwell, had the insight to recognise the beauty of the vernacular language and warn against tampering with it, but most didn't
I find it ludicrous that many who participated in the Peter Buchan kicking match were doing exactly the same thing, to one degree or another
The irony, of course, is that Buchan produced some of the best and most singable ballads - as well as some of the worst gluggers
I find today's 'Jason Bourne' approach to the work of past giants is largely based on smug hindsignt
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:54 AM

"wanted to oppress"
Whhops
"express and pass on" of course
Something for Jack Campion to pick up on
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 09:49 AM

Jim, you're doing it again! kneejerk reaction with response totally out of context.

Nobody would be foolish enough to suggest Child's only motive was to sell books. However he has a publisher, Houghton & Mifflin, who won't publish his work unless it conforms to certain standards. If he's constantly slagging off the works he's including (which he did quite a lot in the first few volumes) they're going to pull the plug. Don't forget like many nineteenth century works like this it was published in parts over a long period (10 to be precise) If you look very carefully at all of his comments the critique suddenly disappears about half way through. I don't think it is unreasonable to suggest that H&M were putting on pressure for him to do this, especially as many copies were being sold in the places the mss came from.

I was obviously exaggerating for effect to make the point. The works aren't full of fakes, and that's the point; we know some are because he told us so, but as I said earlier the big one is we don't know the extent of it. Can I ask that you reread Vol 5 p182 for his parting shot just before he died. Tell us what you think he is trying to say there.

Would you like me to flag up all of the pages where he makes comment on the veracity of various versions? Mainly Buchan, but there are others.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 10:09 AM

>>>>>I find today's 'Jason Bourne' approach to the work of past giants is largely based on smug hindsignt<<<<<<

You are of course welcome to your opinion, Jim, but all of the researchers I correspond with are simply trying to seek the truth, as am I. The alternative is to sit back and take everything they wrote as gospel. Too much of that going on in the world and in my opinion that's why the planet is in the current state it is.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 10:32 AM

Jim, I'm asking a big favour here. Please would you when someone criticises something from the past, be it MacColl, Sharp, Child, Peter Buchan, could you think about it a little before reacting....could they be right to some degree, or at least give a response that actually presents some proof that this isn't the case, or at least respond with a calm reasoned opinion.

I know you think we are sometimes patronising when we praise you (but we're not intending that and it's insulting when you praise someone and they throw it back at you.)

I am not trying to wind you up!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 11:14 AM

"Jim, but all of the researchers I correspond with are simply trying to seek the truth, "
Express an opinion, don't you mean
Do you have any evidence to prove that these people were concerned with selling their books
I think Harker, and his hit-mens made the point quite strongly that these people were of a class that didn't have to worry too much about the little that would have been forcoming from such sales
Is there any evidence that DChild doctored hi texts to please his publisher ?- first time I've ebver heard of it

Are you aawre of the implications of that accusatyopn ?
Every ballad scholar sing the clollection was published treated it with the utmost respect, Geould, Gummere, WWmberly, Pound.... right through to Broson and beyond
All os a sudden we learn that they have been reliing on doctored texts
I have no idea what Hortin and MIfflin's standards were - were they really low enough to demand tampered texts?
If they were, why should someone who spent as long as chald did bow to such pressure
Why has it taken so long for this to hit the fan ?
Whare can I find reference to this shock-horror scandal
Frankly - I think it is utter nonsense
Buchan is a different issue - we've been there before
This is about money
I most certainly "don't tak everything (or anything as gospel"
I question everything - but when something has been around for as long as ESPB has, I'm happy to accept that they are worthy of trust
This really is a case of modern desk-jockeys smearing the giants
Distasteful, to say the least

As for "all of the researchers I correspond with" we've been here before, haven't we ?
I remember early arguments on your astronomical claims of how many folk songs originated on the hack presses
You presented your claims as definitive and were scathing when I questioned it
When I asked for evidence, you offered me a list of people who agreed with you
It took a long time to establish that there was not an shred of evidence and your claims were merely your opinion (or wishful thinking)
I've had experience of Harkerists in the past
Pat was onvce told by one of them that what we reported to have found out from Travellers was wrong because "I did a course on them at Uni"
Must get my annyual anti-academic vaccination in case I catch Deskjockeyitis
This really is undermining everything we thought we knew about folk song - bigtime
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 11:43 AM

As for thinking before I react
This is the second time yous tarted a major discussion (which this is) without evidence, but have told me I'm gullible if I don't immediately accept what you say
It's wearing somewhat thin
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 11:45 AM

A polite discussion on Child and his sources is certainly worth having, but back to the actual book for a moment...

‘Fakesong’ is certainly essential reading to anyone interested in our subject, but it should be approached with a sceptical eye, a familiarity with alternative accounts, and the foreknowledge that this is a polemic, not an impartial work of scholarship. Personally I found it useful in summarizing the work of certain collectors pre-Child, and of Alfred Williams, but even at first reading certain logical non sequiturs leapt off the page. Harker’s confidence in his own notion that the mother of Sharp’s singers Louie Hooper and Lucy White was a broadside seller, increases from ‘may have been...’ to ‘was almost certainly...’, within the space of ten pages, for example, without any evidence being presented for the proposition beyond the fact that she knew a lot of good songs.

Lighter’s excellent post of 10 Aug 2015 alludes to “alleged fudging and factual errors” but, having examined the evidence, I’d put it stronger than ‘alleged’. C. J. Bearman’s right-wing politics and irascible personality were off-putting to many, but I’ve checked some of the critique of Harker in his Ph.D. thesis (available online here) and, on the specific issues of the demographics of Sharp’s Somerset singers, and his editorial practice, he makes a compelling case. The point about demographics was that Harker offered a statistical analysis of the singers and their places of residence to show that Sharp’s categorization of them as rural agricultural workers was inaccurate; Bearman, however, found many questionable assumptions and arithmetical errors in the Harker’s figures. Harker has since conceded that he got some of his figures ‘jumbled’ but, as Bearman remarked, “it is a very interesting variety of mistake which so consistently produces errors in favour of the argument being presented.”

On the matter of text reworking and bowdlerization, Bearman was able to show that at least some of the examples cited by Harker were false, and provided his own analysis of 25 published songs to show the degree of textual editing was minimal in many cases, and simple augmentation from other singers’ versions in others.

Bearman died in 2013, and in 2017 (17 years after CJB’s first publication) Dave Harker finally responded to his analysis with an extraordinary 4 page letter published in the Folk Music Journal, including 39 bullet points of rebuttal – which did not, to my mind, address Bearman’s most serious points. There then followed a lengthy series of claims based on Cecil Sharp’s American diaries, with quotes apparently selected to show him in an unfavourable light. I carried out my own analysis of these (see my paper on Sharp’s Appalachian collection published in the FMJ in 2018), and found, for instance, that Harker had over-estimated Sharp’s US earnings by a factor of more than three in one instance, and that even the expensive pair of pyjamas Sharp purchased in the US (a fact of doubtful relevance in the first place) had somehow doubled in price. Those pesky mistakes again.

The reason some previous contributors to this thread have told us that reading ‘Fakesong’ wasn’t a pleasant experience is, I’m sure, because of the relentless negativity in tone, particularly about the character of the collectors. It includes plenty of quotes from their manuscripts, letters and publications – Harker had clearly done his research – but they are selectively edited to portray them as grasping cynics who had no regard for the singers they met, while anything that might give a favourable impression is rigorously excluded. On p. 159 we find a quote from Baring-Gould beginning “I had in old Hard...” Just those five words are sufficient to convince Harker that Baring-Gould regarded Robert Hard the ex-stone-breaker (who died shortly afterwards) as “rather like a dumb animal”, from whom the Reverend could “extract all that was left of Hard's cultural property, and then let the forces of nature do their worst.” You have to turn to Martin Graebe’s excellent biography of Baring-Gould to learn that the clergyman collector presented Hard with takings from a concert exceeding Hard’s annual income, and then took pains to ensure that the gift didn’t result in the man’s dole being stopped.

Likewise in ‘Fakesong’s chapter on Cecil Sharp you’ll find several references to Louie Hooper, but none to her own testimony of a friendship with the collector that extended to shared excursions and gifts including a concertina. You will, however, find plenty about Sharp’s greed, in statements like “He was still trying to pump Rockefeller and Yale University for cash in 1917” – which, when the cited reference is followed up, turns out to refer to what most people would call a ‘grant application’ for funds to continue the research (which was, incidentally, unsuccessful). In the field of Sharp’s politics, his reference to ‘the Arian race’ is (of course) quoted, but without the context that clarifies the Sharp’s meaning as ‘Indo-European culture’, and nothing resembling Hitler’s fantasy. When Harker quotes Sharp in 1917 as admitting to “taking the taking 'the conservative view in politics'", a check of the actual passage in his diary reveals that Sharp took “the conservative line” in a particular argument on a social occasion - probably for the sake of Devil’s advocacy; it does pay to check the original quote!

There are many, many more instances like this. My attitude is that, while I can of course forgive the occasional error, as soon as I see one piece of dodgy scholarship, or a blatant agenda, I begin to distrust everything. There may indeed be much useful and accurate information in ‘Fakesong’, but I can take little of it at face value. One of the things I’ve learned in my work on Cecil Sharp (and this is by no means confined to Dave Harker’s writings) is that the very people who shout the loudest about ‘bias’ and ‘selectivity’ are very often carrying a mountain-sized burden of both around with them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 12:20 PM

Okay, Jim. I've tried. That's me out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 12:25 PM

Excellent post, Brian
With a bit more meat on it it would make a great article for FMJ!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 12:48 PM

"Okay, Jim. I've tried. That's me out."
Well actually, you haven't Steve
You made a definitive statement about Child and others
I asked you to provide evedence, and a lsit of other questions, You called me gullible (again) for not believing you
You have yet to provide a single shred of evidence for your somewhat spectacular claims
You haven't begun to try
I await ansers to thos questions with eager anticipation

I wan't aware of Bearman's politics and I did find his outbursts at the time somewhat over the top, but as Brian says, he was positive and more prepared to set the work of the collectors in contest than Harker ever tried to be
Given this, his views on Hreker, coincided with those of a great deal of others at the time who calimed that Haerker had betrayed their trust by misusing the help they had given
I also found David Gregory's account of them far more approachable as a balanced work
I attended a talk Harker gabe at MacColl's 70th birthday sypmposium, where some of his descriptions of the work of the Critics Group were so off beam that a number of the Group in the audience shouted out corrections from the floor - this was after the break-up

There have always been questions surrounding - there are similar reservations about all work carried out by pioneers breaking new ground for the first time
This "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" approach is as destructive as it gets
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM

I am not following this. Steve Gardham didn't start this discussion and he didn't revive it. The last post in it's previous life in 2015 was by Steve and in that he was recommending Child's work.

Worth hanging round for posts like that from Brian Peter's though


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 01:34 PM

Outstanding discussion, Brian.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 02:31 PM

Thanks for the comments - I did take a bit of time over that post. But another FMJ paper, Steve?? Don't know if I've got it in me...

Going back to an earlier post of Steve G's, I'm interested in the following and would like to know more (although it might warrant a separate thread):

"There are some excellent academic books and theses not so well-known that go into the fakery that was taking place in the eighteenth century. David C Fowler is excellent in this respect, and I've come across several academics who imply that many of the ballads in the Child canon were deliberately fabricated by sophisticated hands in the eighteenth century, and this continued through into the early-nineteenth. Chambers may have been wrong when he attributed many of them to one writer, but his thesis may have been correct if applied to several writers, all possibly co-operating or being tutored."

I would probably have regarded this as heresy a few years ago, but my work on Appalachian variants (many of which derived from ballads taken to North America by 18th-century migrants) makes me wonder. For instance, all the numerous Appalachian versions I've seen of Child 68 'Young Hunting', end with the conversation between the murderess and the talking bird, whereas just about all of the texts in Child from Herd and Kinloch onwards proceed considerably further with the story, often to such supernatural elements as the corpse-candles on the water, the bleeding cadaver, and the fireproof maidservant. This at least suggests the question of whether there was an as-yet undiscovered version of 68 doing the rounds in the 18th century lacking all the supernatural stuff and, if so, at what point the embellishments to the story were added. I don't think there's any early print version to help us out.

I see that Fowler is available online for a fiver, so it looks like I need to read that one, but I'd love to know who the other academics are and what' if anything, they've published on the matter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 02:54 PM

No worries, Brian.
They are certainly relevant here. I'll give you chance to read Fowler (incidentally and rather oddly recommended to me by someone on this very thread. ta very much) and then I'll flag up some of the others. Worth finding Chambers' accusations in the middle of the 19thc but it often is referred to and quite rightly shot down as it is somewhat far-fetched. I tend to print off a lot of the academic stuff so I can easily have a skim through these for relevant papers. One of the main general claims by some of the academics is the bulk of the ballads were manufactured or rewritten during the 18thc using Scandinavian versions, English broadsides and well-known stories. Others cobbled together by bits and pieces from other ballads. T.F Henderson's edition of Scott also has some info but I haven't seen a copy of that.


Off hand I can't remember the pair who shot to pieces some of David Buchan's claims, but will have a look.

Worth a close look, a comparison between Earl Brand and the Douglas Tragedy. Both based on Scandi ballads but I maintain TDT is a rewrite of EB.

Also the most suspect ones have got to be those that occur in single versions only, and guess who contributes most of these.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 02:58 PM

Of course the other very important resource is your magnificent pristine set of Bronson. Those ballads either not in Bronson or only there in a couple of versions speak volumes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 03:09 PM

Another great resource is the published correspondence between the editors, by the likes of Mary Ellen Brown. There are only useful snippets here and there but they build up to a general picture.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:47 PM

> David C Fowler is excellent in this respect

Would that be "A Literary History of the Popular Ballad"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:48 PM

That's the one, Richard.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 04:54 PM

Unfortunately I can't find any other work of his that relates to ballads. He finished his book with a hint that he might go beyond the year 1800 but I haven't seen anything. He would have done a much better job than I could. In order to expand on what Child did you would have to have the time and access to Scott's, MacMath's manuscripts and whatever Aberdeen have got.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM

Do we know why the forgeries were done? Say for financial gain through fraud, or out of mischief, or by someone who fancied their hand at what would now be called 'fantasy' writing?

There are 'new' songs around now that might 'pass for trad' that were written to sing for fun or to earn some money.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 05:53 PM

Hi jag,
I wouldn't exactly call it financial gain although it plays a secondary part in that people like Scott wanted to make a name for themselves and needed to sell books to maintain their status in society. Patronage also came into it. Certainly Scott and Buchan had the patronage of powerful people. It is pretty obvious that Buchan was trying to emulate Scott and he went to great lengths to try and sell his manuscripts, but he was suffering financially at the time as was Scott occasionally in trying to keep Abbotsford running, quite a substantial country residence. In Scott's case I don't think you can use the word fraud or even mischief. He was following in the footsteps of Percy. unfortunately those that came after Scott and Jamieson were competing for sales with already well-established ballad editors and Buchan went way over the top in what he claimed. The biggest motivation especially in the 18th century was linked to the need of literary Scots to establish their separate identity from their southern powerful neighbours.

There are certainly new songs around now that pass for trad but as far as I know none of their authors have tried to pass them off as trad. If anyone took one of my songs for trad I would take that as a massive compliment. 'Bring us a Barrel', 'Shoals of Herring' and 'Fiddlers Green' spring to mind.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 03:55 AM

I intend this to be my last contribution to this topic and to this forum - I consider being unable to discuss this important issue to its full conclusion so significant that I have decided that this forum no longer holds an interest for me - on the contrary - it disturbs me greatly

Francis James Child remains one of the most respected figures in the field of balladry throughout the world, inside and outside of folk song - certainly outside the bubble created for themselves by a handful of neo--rearchers who have taken up the cudgels of Dave Harker and decided to target some of of the greatest names in folk research by accusing them of "fraud", "greed" and "dishonesty" - all without offering solid evidence for such serious accusation - accusing Child of dealing in doctored texts in order to sell books is about the limit for me
It not only displays disrespect and ingratitude for the centuries of pleasure and information these people have passed on - it is, I believe, severely damaging any chances of survival for our folk songs as a viable performing art - who wants to "sing fake songs doctored into existence by elitist charlatans?"   

If to attampt to discuss this to its necessary conclusion is to be accused of as "picking a fight" and threatened with thread closure, then I'm off
I don't know how much Jeri knows about Child and Sharp - judging by her outburst some time ago when she told people who were criticising Bob Zimmermann (Dylan) that we "should get a life", I suspect not very much

The direction this forum has taken has been of growing concern to me for some time - in my opinion its effects are beginning to show, particularly in the fact that this thread is the only one I can see of any interest to the serious 'real folksong' lover - I can praise "my favourite folksinger" in a hundred places on the internet.
People I once debated with no longer post, some have died but others simply don't bother posting regularly, or at all, for various reasons

Recent events have cause great anger among some of my old folkie friends - one veteran in particular
I found the treatment of .... the singer whose name we are forbidden to mention.... totally so unacceptable I have decided to take that subject and how he has been dealt with here, elsewhere - to a sympathetic on line folk magazine, in order to indicate was is happening here
I would have done so yesterday, but have decided to add the treatment that Child, Lloyd and others have been given to my correspondence
I do this, not in order to target this forum but to indicate the dangerous downhill slide in the fortunes of English folk-song these discussions indicate   

I've enjoyed my nearly fifteen years here and am very grateful for the knowledge I have gained and the friendship I have been shown - even by people people I have strongly disagreed with and occasionally upset (never deliberately)
I am now approaching 80 and not suffering from "dementia", as one moderator has publicly suggested - far from it - I have never been so active as I researcher and public speaker as am at present.
I really can't do with the distress and the sleepless nights that have begun to invade my usually peaceful and friendly life.
To quote Douglas Adams - "So Long and thanks for the fish"
Jim
I don't expect this message to survive too long in the sunlight, but I will do my best to ascertain that it gets to those I wish it to


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...


This Thread Is Closed.


Mudcat time: 5 April 10:43 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.