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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Steve Gardham 03 Feb 20 - 04:48 PM
Jack Campin 03 Feb 20 - 03:49 PM
GUEST 03 Feb 20 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 03:24 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 02:53 PM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 20 - 01:46 PM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 20 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Feb 20 - 01:13 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 01:10 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 12:32 PM
Steve Gardham 03 Feb 20 - 12:05 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 11:39 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 11:32 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 11:11 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 11:09 AM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 20 - 10:22 AM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 20 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,jag 03 Feb 20 - 10:10 AM
Jack Campin 03 Feb 20 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,jag 03 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM
Brian Peters 03 Feb 20 - 09:43 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 09:36 AM
Jack Campin 03 Feb 20 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 08:34 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 20 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 08:12 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 20 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 07:00 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 06:48 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 20 - 06:36 AM
Vic Smith 03 Feb 20 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 03 Feb 20 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 05:16 AM
Jack Campin 03 Feb 20 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 04:54 AM
Jack Campin 03 Feb 20 - 04:19 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 04:05 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 20 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Feb 20 - 04:01 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Feb 20 - 06:07 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Feb 20 - 03:21 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Feb 20 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Feb 20 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Feb 20 - 09:47 AM
Vic Smith 02 Feb 20 - 08:14 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 20 - 07:20 AM
Jack Campin 02 Feb 20 - 07:19 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:48 PM

>>>>>>>Harker states that Child’s theory<<<<<<
What theory? I'm confused. How can Child have been influenced by Gummere?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 03:49 PM

Pseudo-Darwinian ("Whig") models of music history were the orthodoxy for art music in Sharp's lifetime. They weren't really discredited until the middle of the 20th century (Zuckerkandl's "Sound and Symbol" being the definitive hatchet job) and still haven't really died. Someone coming from art music background, as Sharp did, would be hard put to avoid the same crappy model when constructing a theoretical model of folk music.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 03:40 PM

@ Jack, yes, Harker does seem to have found the work of Ritson better than the work of some others.

"I agree with Jim that ‘Fakesong’ is not the place to go to find out about songs or singers.   Concluding the chapter on Child, we find: “About the lives, interest and culture of the people who made, re-made and used [these] songs, Child like his predecessors can tell us almost nothing.” But 'Fakesong' tells us almost nothing about them either, except as non-speaking, walk-on parts in a theoretical narrative."

While I can see where Brian is coming from, I don't think this is quite fair in terms of Harker accounts of what ordinary people were doing. For example, Harker mentions Chartism, which ordinary people were involved with. He takes a broad historical perspective. This really did exist; some of my (Lancs at the time) ancestors were signed up to it. But even if it were fair, Harker has not set out to write a book about songs or their singers. He set out to write a book about selected mediators. We might wish that he had set out to write a different sort of book, but he didn't.

For me, I think Sharp was probably racist and also that he uses the word 'race' in a broader sense to mean something like 'national'. See page 12.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 03:24 PM

If you read Sharp he seems more and more 'social Darwinist'. After a brief description of Aboriginal music he states - using the word 'savage' in passing - that folk music represents a later stage in development. He gives a summary of some views on the origins of folk and then says (p10) he is largely indebted for what he has put to a book by Gummere.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 02:54 PM

"Sounds like Sharp held the "lower and unlettered classes" in some admiration, possibly before he even began collecting."
According to a fascinating long article I read on the Musical Traditions site, (can't remember the author - he had an Asian name) he held them in high respect
He did attribute 'instinct' rather than conscious creativity to their singing, but that's still a common misconception today (and has shown up on this forum)
I get the impression that a number of the collectors were quite taken aback at what they heard from the singers
I have to say that much of what we got from Travellers in the early days set us back on our heels
We had the luxury of working at our own pace rather than 'headhunt' in a "race with the undertaker" (as Tom Munnelly described it
WE were forced to taake the decision of working with each singer for as long as we thought there was songs and information to be had, so we cut our list of possibles from twenty to half a dozen within six weeks
We recorded sever singers for over a year - we were still recording Kery Traveller Mikeen Mccarthy thirty years after we first met him - and still getting fresh information
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 02:53 PM

@ Steve Re the post of 4.54 am

I know that Gummere was one of Child's students. Sorry I cannot see where you think I went wrong (though as usual glad to be corrected where wrong). Sharp does indeed quote Gummere in his theoretical bit on folk songs, and Harker does regard the view as social Darwinist.

I did give Jim credit where I felt it was due but Joe Offer deleted it.
    If you wish to re-post your message and omit the personal attacks, you are welcome to do so. You and Jim are both on a short leash until you decide to comply with our "no combat" rule.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 01:46 PM

"Sounds like Sharp held the "lower and unlettered classes" in some admiration, possibly before he even began collecting.
Remember how thrilled he was by a chance encounter with the singing of John England - which started him on his new avocation."


I agree enirely with the first sentence, and Sharp's admiration certainly shines through in his accounts of meeting singers of a different social status from himself.

The meeting with John England probably wasn't the 'chance event' of Sharpian mythology, though, as Derek Schofield's paper referenced above explains in some detail.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 01:43 PM

"In writing about Sharp Harker tends to use the word 'culture' where Sharp seems to have been thinking of something inherent."

Sharp regularly used the word 'race', but in context it often carried more of a sense of 'nation'. He certainly wrote of 'the English race' as distinct from, say, the German, so the kind of pan-European Aryan fantasy that is sometimes laid at Sharp's door is clearly not what he intended.

As for the remark about the racial inferiority of the 'negro' - the authenticity of which no-one is disputing - as Lighter commented earlier, this was "the nearly universal European intellectual assumption at the time." Sharp admitted at one point that until he visited the USA, the only black people he'd ever come across were touring blackface minstrels, with their gross parodies of African-American life. His ignorance on the subject was profound, but whether he deserves to be judged more harshly than others of his time with similar or worse opinions is something I'd question. Jim has quoted variou examples from the period, to which I could add some questionable utterances by Keir Hardie, and an attack on black sailors led by Manny Shinwell shortly before the Red Clydeside unrest in 1919. The sad fact is that during this period even socialists were quite capable of holding racist attitudes.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 01:13 PM

> those special gifts for which a nation is renowned will usually be conspicious in its lower and unlettered classes" because they are "least affected by extraneous and educational influences".

Sounds like Sharp held the "lower and unlettered classes" in some admiration, possibly before he even began collecting.

Remember how thrilled he was by a chance encounter with the singing of John England - which started him on his new avocation.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 01:10 PM

"I would be happy to start a discussion of individual faked ballads as suggested by Jim,"
You know as well as I do (or should) that the only thing we achieved by discussing individual folk sons was to force you drop your "starry-eyed naivete" line and accept that what you were claiming as fact was merely your personal and unsubstantiated (and unsbstantiatable) opinion, which is why I've never suggested a discussion on individual faked ballads
Sut discussions are bound to end in tears
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 12:32 PM

"I would be happy to start a discussion of individual faked ballads as suggested by Jim,"
I'm sure you would Steve - seems tearing down the work of others is what you excel in
"Fake" implies that there was a rule book which suggests that the collectors deliberately set out to con the public
You know as well as I do that "improving the ballads aesthetically" was done with the best of intentions and that they were all at it to one degree or another
The importance of the ballads as part of a social study is very much a new kid on the block
Singers themselves not only probably made the ballads but were constantly improving them and altering then from stories into verse throughout their history
Some of the ballad plots date back as far as Boccacio, Chaucer, Homer and even Early Egypt
Broadside printers fairly obviously took ballads from whoever they could and adapted them to   
It's chasing rainbows to attempt to pin down most of the ballads to their origins, let alone seeking 'Ur' versions
What we know for certain , that in the mouths of the folk they became artistic creations which, at their best, challenged the best of high art
Only a churl with a class agenda would deny that fact
Jim Caarroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 12:05 PM

Pseu 4.54 a.m.
Should you have put 'Sharp'? Gummere was one of Child's students!
Perhaps Joe could alter it for you.

I would be happy to start a discussion of individual faked ballads as suggested by Jim, but they should perhaps have their own threads as this one looks as though it is going to run for a while without that.

Are we on the brink of a new era perhaps?

BTW, it was Jim who suggested Fowler to me. Credit where it's due!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 11:39 AM

**** this multi-tasking !
Should read
"'Gallant Little Belgium' had slaughtered up to 10 MILLION Congolese tribesmen
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 11:32 AM

Whoops agai - not my day
Sould read
" 'Gallant Little Belgium' had slaughtered up to 10 MILLION Congolese tribes


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM

Jag wrote:-
I wonder what angle Sharp would have taken on "can white man sing the blues".
.... or how would Sharp have answered an even more intruiging question - Can Blue Men Sing The Whites?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 11:11 AM

"Shortly before the Irish fleeing the Famine"
Missed out the comma - sould read:
"Shortly before, the Irish fleeing the Famine...."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 11:09 AM

"the racist residue of his mid Victorian childhood had burst through.... "
This is typical of Harker's taking the work of these collectors out of context
Racism, far from being "mid Victorian" was rife when these people were working - and long afterwards
Shortly before the Irish fleeing the Famine were depicted as sub-human apes in the popular press - Children's author, Rev. Charles Kingsley described them as "white chimpanzees
The Empire thrived on the concept of the superiority of the white race - even when I was in primary school in the 1940s we were still singing hymns which painted being foreign as being "in error's chain - from Greenland's icy mountains to India's coral strand"
When Mark Twain wrote his pamphlet, 'King Leopold's Soliloquy', describing how 'Gallant Little Belgium' was had slaughtered up to 2 million Congolese tribesmen in the pursuit of rubber in 1905, his demands for action fell largely on deaf ears internationally
Even revolutionaries like Jack London championed white supremacy
Over a century later racism is still a major problem
It would have been extremely surprising if Sharp had not gone with the flow of the times and not been a racist
Sharp was a Fabian Socialist which suggested he was a humanitarian, which put him streets ahead of most from his background
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 10:22 AM

"See the chapter on pitmen's songs in "One for the Money". The whole point of his discussion is to show how understanding the culture of the mineworkers better gives you a deeper understanding of the songs."

I don't have 'One For The Money', but 'Fakesong' does challenge Lloyd's view of NE miners' culture, albeit without having any miners speak for themselves, which is what I was talking about. I accept that Harker is a specialist in that field and, incidentally, his chapter on Lloyd is one of the better ones - if only it didn't give the impression of having been motivated principally by a sectarian objection to the Communist Party of Great Britain.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 10:12 AM

Jack Campin wrote:
"the scope of Harker's project is impressive. The bibliography of OftM alone is a colossal piece of work. So please lay off the glib sniping."

As I stated before, Harker had clearly done his research, covered a lot of ground and processed a lot of information. My problem is that the copious quotes from his sources (at least as regards B-G, Sharp, etc) are very carefully selected and edited, and often misleading.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 10:10 AM

"... that he thought fundamental enough..."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 10:09 AM

Concluding the chapter on Child, we find: “About the lives, interest and culture of the people who made, re-made and used [these] songs, Child like his predecessors can tell us almost nothing.” But 'Fakesong' tells us almost nothing about them either, except as non-speaking, walk-on parts in a theoretical narrative.

See the chapter on pitmen's songs in "One for the Money". The whole point of his discussion is to show how understanding the culture of the mineworkers better gives you a deeper understanding of the songs. (He singles out Ritson as being in some ways more clued up than any of his successors, Lloyd included).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM

@Pseudonymous.

Comment in the discussion on Sharp's 'dubbing the negros as of an inferior race' must have been a long way up above and I am not sure what the context was. Harker says that his liberal hosts maintained that it was 'a mere lack of education etc!"

I read your post as I start to read the parts of "Some Conclusions" that I skipped before (because I was mainly interested in the tunes). Sharp is explicit on the first two paragraphs of the first chapter that (at that time) he regarded the characteristics of a nations music as deriving from qualities that are "natural and inborn" in its people and that "those special gifts for which a nation is renowned will usually be conspicious in its lower and unlettered classes" because they are "least affected by extraneous and educational influences".

Harker (on the page, 202, that you point out) says that by 1918 "... the racist residue of his mid Victorian childhood had burst through.... The ranking amongst races may be part of that upbringing but it looks to me like his belief that the nations of Europe were inherently different was more of a contemporary application of Darwinism that he though fundamental enough to be on page 1. In writing about Sharp Harker tends to use the word 'culture' where Sharp seems to have been thinking of something inherent.

I wonder what angle Sharp would have taken on "can white man sing the blues".


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 09:43 AM

Yes, I can speak for myself, and have indeed done so in the past!

I’ve been meaning for a couple of days to respond to Richard Mellish’s point:
“...there have been various kinds of mediation. Certainly some collectors "improved" their texts to a greater or lesser degree, but there have not been very many total "forgeries"... Wasn't Harker's beef more about the nature of the collecting process rather than anyone faking the actual songs?”

One of the problems of ‘Fakesong’ is precisely its title: the obvious wordplay on ‘folk’ and ‘fake’ was an open goal for any sceptical author in the field with a book to sell, and it’s hardly surprising that Harker chose to use it. However, it does create in the mind of the reader an initial impression that what is to be discussed is the forgery of repertoire, whereas what we get is an attack on an entire concept. In order to pursue that attack, Harker goes for everything he can lay his hands on: outright forgeries, ‘improved’ texts, bowdlerization for publication, selectivity in field collections, dismissal of the influence of print, supposedly cynical and grasping practices by collectors, incorrect class consciousness, the lot (well, all except Bert Lloyd’s emendations, which get off lightly). Then he lumps it all together under the pejorative term, ‘fake’. It’s no wonder quite a lot of readers have been confused and/or annoyed, and that’s before we get to the flaws in the scholarship and the endless appearance of words like ‘bourgeois’ and ‘reactionary’ at every turn, which are off-putting to say the least.

Personally I don’t have a problem with scholars unravelling the editorial and collecting practices of the last three centuries, if it helps us to discover what people actually sang, and if it’s conducted in a spirit of honest curiosity rather than a determination to tear down the temple, and to bend the evidence around one particular narrative. Steve G’s interrogation of Scott, Motherwell and co. as sources is something I look on with interest, not horror, while unpicking Bert Lloyd’s song editing is simply a fascinating puzzle to resolve. Seems to me this kind of work is true to the spirit of Child himself, who strove so hard to drill through the published material to the most authentic texts available.

I agree with Jim that ‘Fakesong’ is not the place to go to find out about songs or singers.   Concluding the chapter on Child, we find: “About the lives, interest and culture of the people who made, re-made and used [these] songs, Child like his predecessors can tell us almost nothing.” But 'Fakesong' tells us almost nothing about them either, except as non-speaking, walk-on parts in a theoretical narrative.

Derek Schofield has already answered Tim’s query regarding Dave Harker’s present whereabouts and activity and, although I haven’t yet read those three books on Tyneside song (published between 2017 and 2019), they look interesting, were favourably reviewed in the FMJ, and represent the author on his home, and perhaps strongest, ground.

2017 was also the year in which Dave Harker had his article ‘Dr Bearman’s “Meticulous Scholarship”’ published in the Folk Music Journal (as ‘correspondence’, and hence not subject to peer review), directly in response to FMJ editor David Atkinson’s comment following Bearman’s death that: “any fair-minded person is bound to admire his meticulous scholarship” and an obituary by Christopher Heppa which alluded to his ‘demolition’ of Harker. It’s worth noting that no serious scholar in the field has disputed Bearman’s statistical critique of Harker’s work – even Vic Gammon, who retains more respect for Harker than most, nonetheless finds Bearman’s work “at it’s best... very good indeed”, though CJB was “not beyond making some myths of his own.” Heppa’s not uncritical obituary is worth reading if you want to get an idea of Bearman’s controversial personality.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 09:36 AM

And now we've had an ad break (joke joke) perhaps we could return to the topic of the thread, namely a book by Dave Harker called 'Fakesong'?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 08:38 AM

AddALL dynamic search link


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 08:34 AM

@ Vic ha ha! Not that there is an 'industry' related to the Copper family of course ….

Other publications from the same stable available on Abe Books include

Bob Copper's Sussex
Early to Rise
Watercolours of Sussex past
Across Sussex with Belloc
Songs of Southern Breezez (SIC) (foreword by John Arlott)

Obviously a talented person with a variety of interests.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 08:29 AM

Cheaper than Amazon but not the book we were talking about.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 08:12 AM

Bob Copper's A Song For Every Season contains the words and music of forty-seven songs from the Copper Family repertoire - the 'Jim Copper Song Book' - with Bob's stories of his family and of rural life in Sussex, month by month, with illustrations, photographs and reflections. It won the Robert Pitman literature prize in the year of its first publication.

Only £2 on ABE books. Cheaper than Amazon.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 08:09 AM

Life is full of funny coincidences. I have just discovered this minute that the reprint of Songs & Southern Breezes has been sent out for review by LT magazine and that they are sending it out to a reviewer.

Now you have to guess who the reviewer is!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 07:00 AM

Thanks for the recommendation Vic. I'll put it on my ever-expanding list. Jon Dudley made some valued contributions to this thread.

I've just ordered a book/author Steve suggested further up this thread (not the first time I've taken up one of Steve's suggestions, may I add) by David C Fowler.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 06:48 AM

Jon
Delighted to hear it's being reprinted
The BBC collection is the most neglected folk asset Britain has - still basically unused, largely thanks to Kennedy's claim of ownership, but mainly thanks to disinterest by both the BBC and EFDSS
Up to my transferring the EFDSS recordings onto tape for the V.W.M. Library, they existed outside the Beeb only on very fragile discs which were constantly being played unsupervised on crude equipment by anybody who requested them - many were damaged and some were stolen
Anybody attempting to issue them publicly had to fight Kennedy for their use and usually had to pay him
I believe Bob Copper had a great deal of difficulty issuing his 'Songs and Southern Breezes' album on Topic
Many of them still remain woefully unused and it is sad to think that so little interest has survived in them that that will probably remain the case
Some time in the 90s we attended a library lecture at C#Sharp House given by a young American, Craig Fees, who had researched the project and had come up with masses of information - it would be interesting to know if he had done anything further with his researches
It would also be interesting to know if the recording team had interviewed any of the singers and if those recordings survived

My strongest memory of the project is a conversation we one had with Seamus Ennis, one of the main collectors, in a bar here in Miltown Malbay
I said to him, "I believe you worked with Peter Kennedy"
After a very pregnant silence he spat out, "That man's a thief"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 06:36 AM

I seem to have cross-posted with Jon!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 06:34 AM

Bob Copper's, Songs and Southerner Breezes' says more about English collecting in a few paragraphs than does Harker's entire book
Two letters too many - it should be "Southern" but otherwise could I also help to bring attention to the reprint of this totally admirable and underrated book? A notice in the current Living Tradition brings attention to this as well as on the homepage of the magazine's website and The Copper Family website suggests that you buy it from Amazon.
The man behind this reprint s the utterly admirable man (an a good friend for 50 years now) Jon Dudley.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 06:33 AM

I fact checked what Harker said about Sharp's 'dubbing the negros as of an inferior race' against the VWML original and transcript, and what Harker said is fully accurate and represents Sharp's own account of what he said. See p 202 of Harker.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 06:25 AM

Jim's comment about Bob Copper's 'Songs and Southern Breezes' is particularly apposite. Out of print for many years we have reprinted it - I think it's a great book and illustrates perfectly how well suited Bob was to the task of 'collecting' songs, stories and dialect. I guess from a countryman's point of view it 'takes one to know one' which is why he was so successful. It also took the foresight of an Irishman, Brian George, to put the whole BBC collecting scheme into operation and to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 05:16 AM

I put up what I believe to be the real omission here has still to be answered ????????????


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 05:09 AM

Parry was a socialist, pacifist and feminist and most certainly DID understand what Blake was about. "Jerusalem" was written as a Suffragette anthem.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:54 AM

Harker states that Child’s theory was influenced by three main people: Sir Hubert Parry, Carl Engel, and Francis Barton Gummere.

1 Parry taught at the Royal College of Music and wrote a choral used at Coronations, and the music for Blake’s ‘And did those feet in ancient times’, though I don’t think he understood Blake’s bitter irony and I’m certain he would not have liked Blake’s politics. Sharp had ambitions to be an art musician and did use ‘folk’ music he had collected in his ‘art music’ as did others of his time of course.

2 Gummere is lit focused, not a musicologist. He had ideas about the origins of music and dance.
Examples of his style and of what for me is somewhat evidence-free theorising are here:
https://www.bartleby.com/library/prose/2028.html

Harker says Sharp took his three-part account of ‘folk’ from Gummere, the three elements being a) continuity b) variation and c) selection. Harker regards Sharp’s theory as social Darwinist; presumably Harker would prefer a more Marxist account of this history of song, such as in A L Lloyd but less ‘vulgar’ to use Harker’s expression.

3 Carl Engel is the only one of the three I had never heard of before reading Harker so yet again I learn something. One of his specialities was ‘national musics’, and we know that producing ‘national music’ of a sort that could be taught to children for example was something Sharp was especially interested in.

For more on Engel, see here:
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo1.ark:/13960/t3223gm0x&view=1up&seq=19

I thought this background was interesting, but would be interested to hear whether other posters feel that Harker is right in highlighting these three and so on.

Put together they would help explain why Sharp went looking for folk song in bits of Somerset that he regarded as full of ‘peasantry’, (to anticipate a discussion of Bearman which may or may not take place here). For as Harker points out, he did not go to Bath, Shepton Mallet, Taunton, Bristol, Yeovil etc etc. And while it is true that Sharp’s notes incude much that he did not publish, and that this material has been useful to people coming after, I think that Harker is claiming that Sharp might have/did ignore stuff that people were singing that he, Sharp, decided was not folk. In that Harker includes as a possibility songs in the modern minor (melodic presumably) as opposed to the modal material that I personally know Sharp was fond of noting and remarking upon. I think Harker is keener on accounts that are more fully representative of actual ‘working class’ culture as a whole as it existed.

So this is my attempt at seeing the background against which to think about what Steve said in his last couple of posts. Happy to be corrected if wrong. Hoping this is a constructive if long contribution to the thread.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:19 AM

I haven't read "Fakesong" for a while, but from where I've got with "One for the Money", it's really an appendix to that earlier book (an expansion of one chapter in it) rather than a self-contained work. And the scope of Harker's project is impressive. The bibliography of OftM alone is a colossal piece of work.

So please lay off the glib sniping. This guy deserves to be taken seriously.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:05 AM

"Oh, and I really think Mike and Brian are well capable of speaking for themselves."
They have
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:03 AM

Pleased that the nastiness has been deleted - for my part, I will have nothing more to do with such mud-slinging and I suggest everybody else does the same - now maybe we can get down to the real discussion
I put up what I believe to be the real omission here has still to be answered
A long discussion about the how we understand folk song without any reference to either the songs or the singers is utterly ridiculous
If these songs are fakes - discuss them and expose their fakery

The collectors have been far more efficiently covered than in Harker's axe-ginding 'Fakelore'
Works like Dorson's 'The British Folklorist' and 'Peasant Customs and Savage Myths' give excellent accounts of the earliest collectors
D K Wilgus's 'Anglo American Folksong Scholarship since 1898' puts Harker's efforts in the shade - an indispensable 'bible' for anybody wishing to learn how our folksongs were gathered
The collectors themselves wrote their own handbooks to collecting, all containing the techniques they used laid bare - Sandy Ives, Ken Goldstein and Bruce Jackson - and Sean O'Sullivan's 'Handbook of Folklore' stands over all these as a magnificent and extremely detailed search-list
Written accounts of the projects themselves - Henry Glassie's 'Passing the Time' and, 'Stars of Ballymenone' and more recently. Len Graham's 'Joe Holmes' show the collectors in action and the results of their work
Bob Copper's, Songs and Southerner Breezes' says more about English collecting in a few paragraphs than does Harker's entire book
The now sadly defunct 'Tocher' and many of the articles carried in 'Scottish Studies' contain masses of information on how the Scots collectors worked
- I was delighted to obtain a copy of Marin Graeb's book on Baring Gould recently - a detailed account of how the BBC collectors 'Roved Out' is long overdue

Instead of Harker's back-biting begudgery, which has long been rejected by most folk-song lovers, these are the works that need to be visited and re-visited if we are to make an honest judgement on what has been passed on to us
Child, Motherwell, Buchan, Burns, Sharp, Grainger and the rest, laid the foundation for all this as collectors and anthologists - to debunk their work as Harker did is to destroy the foundations that our folksong, music and lore stand on

Wilgus wrote in his introduction to '1898';
"This is a critical history of folksong study not only because any history must be critical, but because the writer's in no sense 'above criticism' - For the battle continues. The current folk-music revival is a product of many factors, but it is not causing a renaissance of scholarship. Folksong scholarship never died"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 04:01 AM

If I may go back a step to fill out what I understand Steve to be saying in his 'third line above' and his last post:

For the benefit of those who have not read Harker, his section on Sharp has five sections. He draws on a range of materials for it, including Sharp's diaries, his writings, and works about Sharp. He cautions against using later editions edited by Maud Karpeles as, he says, these are themselves interesting objects as examples of 'mediation': in other words she took out bits Harker would rather she had left in etc.

Harker's 5 sections are:

1 Early life 2) The 'discovery of 'folksong' (inverted commas as used by Harker) 3 English Folksong: Some Conclusions (this is an examination of Sharp's theoretical statement, which is available free online and which I have read only some of as yet) 4) Song Collecting (this goes up to about 1907) 5 Song Publishing.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 06:07 PM

Whilst it's relatively quiet I'll add a little info to my 3rd line above but leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Sharp had a smallish collection of broadsides but most were of the mid 19th century. However he must have been at least aware of some of the larger collections at the BL, Oxford and Cambridge.

Baring Gould and Kidson had already been in the field for 10 years before he came along. Baring Gould had spent many hours in the BL looking at street lit collections and his notes to Songs of the West show a very good knowledge of the evolution of many of the songs. Kidson was already a musical historian before he even got interested in folk song and his first FS book 'Traditional Tunes' shows a good knowledge of the relationship between print and oral tradition and indeed popular song.

However both Baring Gould and Kidson were 200 miles away from London when it all kicked off when Sharp arrived. Sharp soon established his authority.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 03:21 PM

Oh, and I really think Mike and Brian are well capable of speaking for themselves.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 03:15 PM

Vic
Many thanks for that reference to Mike's article. An excellent appraisal of the then situation. His statement of his realisation that Sharp was a giant in the field and very influential, no-one could possibly argue with. No-one I know is seeking to undermine Sharp's physical legacy.

I personally also have no quibbles over how he and others published the material when the originals were faithfully set down to the best of their ability and available technology.

My only misgivings lie in what I and others perceive to be a misrepresentation of how the material was created and evolved.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 12:00 PM

So are we getting a list of the articles you have published in journals then?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 09:47 AM

@ Vic: thanks for the correction. :)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 08:14 AM

MUDSTRAD is an excellent source of reading materials.
Ahem! I think that you meant MUSTRAD (diminuation of MUSical TRADitions)
No, there is nothing muddy about Mustrad whereas.....


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 07:20 AM

"Scotland hardly exists and continental Europe really, really doesn't exist."
I think this an excellent point - it's far too often forgotten that with folk song, particularly the ballads, we are dealing with an international phenomenon which has drawn its influences from way beyond Britain
Both Scotland and Ireland hold many clues as to how the oral traditions worked and the fact that they survived longer in these places (particularly among the Travellers) than they did in England makes the information more accessible
Ireland's massive song-making tradition is a strong argument in the "who made our folksong" battle, in my opinion

I've just finished digitising several sets of albums we purchased abroad - a six vol. Hungarian set, a magnificent 10 vol. set we brought in Crete, and recently a 4 vol, set of 'The songs of Smyrna' - great examples of how it can be done, given the will
Anybody who would like copies.... of course

"it'll be insults all round,"
I would remind you that you hold the honour of being the only person on this forum to open a thread specifically to attack a fellow poster - as for your comments on my work being "unreliable" when you haven't even seen it.....
I think Macbeth had the right of it when he said " Stand not upon the order of your going,. But go"
Jim Carroll
    NOTE TO JIM CARROLL AND PSEUDONYMOUS: I had to delete a number of your messages. I will not tolerate combative posts from either one of you. Stick to the facts of the discussion, and quit attacking each other.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 07:19 AM

I'm going to read "One for the Money" right through. As well as the section on the revival it has a chapter on pitmen's songs, disentangling the present understanding of them (which Lloyd had a large part in) from the historical facts (which are substantial). It isn't an all-out debunking of Lloyd but does build up a much more (believably) detailed story. I suspect the real snarky stuff will be where he discusses Dylan.


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