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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Lighter 18 Jan 20 - 06:17 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 01:00 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 02:55 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 04:04 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,jag 19 Jan 20 - 11:53 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 19 Jan 20 - 03:09 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 20 - 03:25 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 20 - 03:43 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 20 - 03:50 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 04:02 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 20 - 04:06 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 04:13 PM
Lighter 19 Jan 20 - 04:16 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM
Joe G 19 Jan 20 - 06:14 PM
Joe G 19 Jan 20 - 06:23 PM
Lighter 19 Jan 20 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 06:21 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 09:57 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 10:04 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 10:23 AM
Lighter 20 Jan 20 - 10:32 AM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 11:36 AM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 02:35 PM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 02:45 PM
Brian Peters 20 Jan 20 - 02:47 PM
Richard Mellish 20 Jan 20 - 02:59 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 20 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 20 Jan 20 - 06:37 PM
Lighter 20 Jan 20 - 06:47 PM
Lighter 20 Jan 20 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 04:54 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 06:17 PM

Brian, I 've searched again for "Child ballads" (plural) with no additional results that I can see.

You're right, though, that "Child ballad" (singular) appears in several early articles by Barry and one by Belden.

In any event, no tripartite structure before Halpert in 1939, though Mellinger Henry's "More Songs from the Southern Highlands," XLIV (1931), 61-115, begins with four numbered Child ballads, without (apparently) using the phrase "Child ballad(s)."

Much earlier articles print Child ballads identified by "Child No." (without using the phrase "Child ballad(s)."

Moral: Not all search engines will find singular and plural at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 01:00 AM

Hello Brian
For me, it figures that Philips Barry would use Child numbers because he was Harvard-based or educated. As was Kittredge. As you will know, Sharp knew Kittredge and met him when in the USA. I think I am right here.
Child was president of the society that produced American Journal of Folklore. I learned this from a review of one of the parts of his opus at the back of the first every issue. It says it won't be a eulogy, but plainly is! His position explains, I think, why ballads are mentioned in the opening piece in the journal. The introduction to the first volume I have quoted before as showing the 'racialist' thinking of the early folklorists, as do some of the pieces in it.
Not sure how we got here from Harker, but finding the discussion interesting!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 02:55 AM

@ Steve

Thanks for your explanation of how Harker set things back: I had guessed that this might be what you meant. Ironic, since, as Harker shows, people had been having similar thoughts for a long time!

I have found and been reading (tricky to get hold of but I managed it via googling etc) a review of two of Harker's works, including this one, by Vic Gammon.

It is 'Two for the Show': David Harker, Politics and Popular Song
Author(s): Vic Gammon. Source: History Workshop, No. 21 (Spring, 1986), pp. 147-156

Gammon says that Harker's book will win a place as a very important work of reference, while being quite critical of various aspects of Harker's 'preaching'.

Sharing the reference in case any other Mudcatter would like to see a reasoned response from a relatively 'left' position.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:04 AM

When VicG says 'will win a place as a very important work of reference,' is he referring to Fakesong or the other book?

Earlier upthread you mention Fowler's writings. Can you please flag up any for me that relate to ballads other than 'Literary History'?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:05 AM

I think Vic could make a very strong contribution to this thread. I think I'll ask him.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 08:47 AM

@ Steve; Gammon is referring to Fakesong, believe it or not. Page 153. As you can imagine, he has plenty to say on its shortcomings!

Sorry Steve, on Fowler, I cannot find the comment you mean: I got as far as (following the suggestions on this thread) looking for him on AbeBooks and Amazon), and, perhaps JSTOR. Can you give me a date and time for the post? He seems to have produced a lot of Piers Ploughman and something on Chretian de Troyes. SO the short answer to your question is sorry but no.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 09:34 AM

Drawing links between texts: Harker gives an account of some of the findings of Williams, who almost seems to have been an early ethnomusicologist (i.e. a person who studies music in its context). Or maybe 'historical ethnomusicologist'? He describes musical families, playing music in church, with bands featuring all sorts of instruments, and says that within some villages there might be musical families down through time. I think he comments on how many people could read music. I thought of the Cook-Gee family in Walter Pardon's background when I read this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 10:14 AM

And I also thought of 'Under the Greenwood Tree', the Hardy novel. Roger Dixon mentions this in connection with the Cook Gee family in an article somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 10:45 AM

Sorry! Ignore previous 2 posts. Thread drift. Apologies. (Kicking self).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 11:53 AM

Maybe the drift indicates that, on Williams, Harker's book has some interesting points. Though we could read Williams' own writings, listed by Harker, to avoid any 'mediating' done by Harker.

I knew there were more mentions of 'forgery' than 'fraud' because I searched for 'forge' to find a paragraph in the Williams section. On the politics what caught my eye was " ...Williams was trapped, ideologically as well as materially, in his job, between what he knew of managerial pettiness and what he characterised as working-class selfishness and ignorance" .

For someone in that position at the lower end of the supervisory ranks between the bosses and the workers and I don't find his politics surprising. One of my forbears about 10 years younger that Williams rose to be an 'overlooker' in a factory (and stayed as one till he got his 50 years faithfull service certificate). A Tory voter, lived with the workforce (the bosses didn't), respected 'good workers' even if some of them were non too bright, didn't like slackers and thought that union activists tended to be amongst the worst workers. However, he did apparently think the improvements in safety over his working life were mainly down to the unions. I think my copy Samuel Laycock came from him.

Harker seems to have respected Williams' work, and Williams' himself, as if it wasn't his fault that he was 'trapped ideologically'. Come Harker's revolution where will the Williams of this world and the other Tory voting workers be? They clearly still provide a challenge for the gradualists of the left ...)

I'm dipping into Harker now, I doubt I'll read it all. I skipped on to Williams because I recalled a lot of what Steve Roud wrote about him. I'll refresh my memory of Lloyd's book before I read the section on him.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 02:51 PM

Hi Pseu
I've been back over the thread re Fowler. I must have misread something somewhere along the line. I occasionally get Fowler and Gregory's names mixed up so that could have been it. Sorry about that.

Regarding fakesong, I think largely the editors edited, and their published works were mediated for genuine reasons, so that is not fakery. However their introductions and book titles are where the fakery comes in. To go back to Percy, for instance, 'Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, consisting of Old Heroic Ballads, Songs and other pieces of our earlier poets, together with some few of Later Date. Percy published in 1767; the Folio Manuscript is said to date from about 1650 using some of the items in it with known dates. Much of the rest is from 17th century broadsides and fairly contemporary stuff sent to him by correspondents so most of the material could only be traced as far back as the 17th century, say a century before it was published, hardly 'ancient'.

At the other end of the scale Peter Buchan went to great lengths to declare all of his material unmediated direct from oral tradition. Having got copies of all of his manuscripts and the published works I am solidly with Child.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 03:01 PM

@ Steve: I used to muddle up Weatherstones and Waterspoons, with general confusion as a result b...


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 03:09 PM

Actually, I think Harker makes few accusations of 'fakery'; maybe his target is 'inaccurate' or 'politically incorrect' or 'selective' (in his view) representations of working class culture/ He also seems to me to be sparing in suggesting 'appropriation' of working class culture, something else that people say is a theme of his. I expected a lot more on this subject. But this sparsity maybe because in many cases he doubts whether the material that people were printing actually did originate with the working class/lower strata of society/peasants. You cannot appropriate from the working class culture which wasn't working class to start with. A few times I found him saying, in effect, 'X printed these songs, some of which may have come from working class culture'. So a person who took a strong 'all these brilliant songs were definitely written by the working class' view would get pretty annoyed with Harker? Is what I am saying the ideas others are getting from reading him?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 03:25 PM

in my opinion Williams and his collection will be remembered long after dave harker has gone to kick up daisies.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 03:43 PM

it io my opinion that time is better spent on singing the songs than concerning myself with pipsqueaks like dave harker


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 03:50 PM

Williams left us a fine collection of songs , i do not know what Harker has left us with apart from the sad deprture of jim carroll, all this bickering over scholastic opinions, i inconsequential in comparison with the importance of apprecioating the beauty of some of our traditional songs, i wish harker would go away and caUse trostykite devaitionISM amomgst the SWP WANKERS


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:02 PM

Well it was nice while it lasted!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:06 PM

the Tradtional songs that williams collected will last much longer than harkers inconsequential pathetic scholastic codswallop, steve have you thought of spending more time on music performance insted of this dung beetle drivel


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:13 PM

I spend lots of time playing and singing, Dick, but studying the songs and their history is something I also like to do. Nobody's telling you how to spend your time. Please reciprocate!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 04:16 PM

Steve, in defense of Percy, a hundred years back or so could well have been for him "ancient."

OED, def. 1a: "Of or belonging to time past, former, earlier, bygone. "

Initial date is 1490; end date, 1793 (Thomas Jefferson).

The editors mark this sense as "archaic." Our familiar sense is 2: "Which existed in, or belonged to, times *long* [OED's emphasis] past, or early in the world's history."

Initial date, 1366. So both senses existed simultaneously for centuries.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM

Yes I suppose that makes me also guilty of imposing modern meanings on older words that could have a different meaning. Perhaps I need to look more closely at his introduction.

Pseu
Just printed off a very interesting article from Academia by John Cole of Cambridge Uni. 'Vernacular Song and the Folkloric Imagination at the Fin de Siecle.' It is very technical in places but I can mostly follow it and the main thrust is obvious. I think you'll like it. It certainly puts the early collectors in perspective, and folklore in general.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe G
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 06:14 PM

'Well it was nice while it lasted!'

Indeed it was Steve. I am not particularly engaged with this thread as I don't know the work referred to and my interests lie more with contemporary folk but I have been dipping in and was thinking how nice it was to see people having a friendly discussion without rancour or insults. Hey hi I suppose it couldn't last. Best to carry on and ignore the negativity. :-)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe G
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 06:23 PM

Hey ho that was supposed to be!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Jan 20 - 06:45 PM

This sentence, buried deep, seems to sum up much of Cole's argument:

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

If my doctorate in English literature and linguistics is of any use here, he appears to be speaking not about real traditions but about the "idea" of traditions that was cobbled together by fin-de-siecle enthusiasts deluded by both a fear of and a fascination with perceived Otherness (or "alterity").

More especially, their fear of the modern world's "corruption" led them to seek cultural purity, personal comfort, and occasionally profit, in songs and lore taken from "simple" (i.e., supposedly ignorant, ingenuous, and pretty much interchangeable) country people. The collectors wanted to believe that what they arbitrarily denoted "folklore" and "folk song" contained precious holdovers from the racial past - if only they could be teased out.

But I could be wrong, and I'm sure I'm leaving some things out.

If only Joseph Jacobs, Henry Burstow, or the "overlooked" Louise Pound could have edited this article.


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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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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 - 05:44 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 - 05:52 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 - 06:21 AM

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


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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 - 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 - 10:04 AM

Oops.
4 ballady stuff


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 02:35 PM

Yet another resolution down the pan.


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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