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Dave Harker, Fakesong

GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Feb 20 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Feb 20 - 07:11 AM
Vic Smith 02 Feb 20 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 02 Feb 20 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 02 Feb 20 - 05:58 AM
Jack Campin 02 Feb 20 - 05:13 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 20 - 05:10 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 20 - 04:33 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Feb 20 - 03:49 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 20 - 03:17 AM
RTim 01 Feb 20 - 09:40 PM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Feb 20 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 06:54 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Feb 20 - 06:05 PM
Richard Mellish 01 Feb 20 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 04:17 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 04:11 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Feb 20 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Feb 20 - 03:29 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 02:14 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 01:56 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 01:32 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 01:25 PM
RTim 01 Feb 20 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 01:19 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 12:52 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 11:29 AM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 10:25 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Feb 20 - 10:11 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM
GUEST 01 Feb 20 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 07:59 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Feb 20 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 01 Feb 20 - 02:34 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 05:26 PM
Steve Gardham 31 Jan 20 - 03:08 PM
Steve Gardham 31 Jan 20 - 12:56 PM
Brian Peters 31 Jan 20 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,jag 31 Jan 20 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 10:26 AM
Lighter 31 Jan 20 - 09:24 AM
Brian Peters 31 Jan 20 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 31 Jan 20 - 06:42 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 07:12 AM

Sorry, should have thanked Vic for the ref. MUDSTRAD is an excellent source of reading materials.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 07:11 AM

Hello Vic
I had read Yates' piece. Harker thanks Yates in his book, but clearly the relationship between the two has not been smooth. Yates links to Bearman, which I have been studying, and who has some rebuke for Sharp as well as for Harker. I had been thinking of seeing if people wanted to discuss Bearman in detail, but I think I have burned my boats as far as this thread is concerned.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 06:38 AM

As far as I can out from this thread, the article from 2003 by Mike Yates on the Musical Traditions website has not been referenced here. It is called Jumping to Conclusions with a subtitle of Mike Yates examines a row that is bubbling away beneath the surface of British folksong scholarship.
As we might expect from Mike, it is well researched and argued and cogently written and totally relevant to this thread. However, despite being highly critical of Harker, it does not attempt to be the final word; it is an examination rather than a definitive conclusion. It seems to seek responses from Harker and perhaps those who support him to answer charges made and points raised by him. After all this is a discussion an as John Moulden has already stated in this thread (and I have already quoted):-

I wish it could be understood that the point of discussion is not to win an argument but to reach understanding and to be grateful to all those who contribute.


This makes a triumphalist claim that a game has been won sound rather ludicrous.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 06:37 AM

I enjoyed this thread, but the moment Jim came along I thought it was doomed. Especially when he started lecturing us on how to have a debate and the rules of discussion and then imagined that the skill of his input had stunned me into silence. I have learned a lot from the contributions of all, and would have liked to continue to discuss Sharp's theoretical work and Harker's section on Lloyd, which does have some delightful bits of sarcasm in it, and they are spot on. But can you imagine trying to discuss a critique of Lloyd with Jim? We've been there: it'll be insults all round, first name 'Bert, anecdotes about Jim being the chauffeur for Bert and bizarre denials that Bert ever did anything political... .

Oh well, all good things must end.

Thank you everybody.

Maybe one day Jim will work out why Harker did not include Tom Munnelly in his book. But I think the challenge may be beyond him. It onvolved switiching the brain on


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 05:58 AM

Tim …
Dave Harker is indeed still alive and attended a meeting of the Traditional Song Forum when it met in Newcastle a year or two ago. He lives back up in the north-east again after many years in Manchester.
He has recently published a series of books on north-east singers and song writers:
Billy Purvis: The first professional Geordie
Cat-Gut Jim the Fiddler: Ned Corvan's Life & Songs
The Gallowgate Lad: Joe Wilson' Life and Songs

All three were reviewed in Folk Music Journal.

Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 05:13 AM

The latest work by Harker I can find reference to is his book on Robert Tressell and "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists", 2003 (I haven't seen it but that would have been well worth doing). So I'd guess he is no longer working.

I don't have "Fakesong" but I do have Harker's earlier "One for the Money" which contains a chapter titled "Fakesong" which is a precis of the later book. As he says, he isn't attacking Sharp himself, but the followers who refused to examine where he was coming from. Which seems fair enough to me. The rest of the chapter is a history of the English second revival, and seems to me to be as good as you could get in the space, though as usual in Anglocentric accounts, Scotland hardly exists and continental Europe really, really doesn't exist.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 05:10 AM

Incidentally
'Little sign of gratitude'. Absolute poppycock"
I am not the only one to have noticed this
Mike Yates commented on it several times before he stopped posting and I detect more than a little more of the same in Brian Peters's postings - though both are far gentler souls than I am
A bit of self-analysis wouldn't go amiss Steve
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 04:33 AM

"As most of your post is accurate and thoughtful I am responding."
It would be helpful if you didn't patronise Steve - we know as much as each other about these things, and each of us has knowledhe that the other doesn't, so I suggest we take that as read
You have yet to respond to any of my points - you are one who has taken your hatchet to some of our giants indiscriminately so - once again, your advice on 'blanket criticism' rings somewhat hollow
Some of what Harker said said had been said by many before him - the one thing you can't accuse him of is 'originality'
What he cornered the market on was ham-fisted brutality in his handling of pioneers who were knew to the field - this spoiled a unique chance to examine the weakness and strengths of their work by forcing us into corners
I can think of a similar occurrence when Fred McCormick did a deplorable hatchet job on the Elizabeth Cronin book
I've followed the thread carefully and have put it into context of what has gone before with other arguments - the 'who made our folksong' one being foremost
We don't know the answers to many of these questions and probably never will so the dishonest 'done deal' approach that you tend towards presents a hurdle we have to clamber over before we can even start to discuss things
It is not uncritical to describe the attributes of these collectors, but suggestions of 'lies' and incompetence get in the way of fruitful discussion
So far we haven't got around to discussing what Harker had to say properly because were still clambering over your first hurdle

Harker fucked up - his sledgehammer approach probably destroyed any chance of a decent analysis of folk song until our generation clears the stage for an untainted new crowd
I believe much of what Harker started still hangs like a miasma over today's folk scene - that's why we have less and less researchers and singers of real folk songs
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 03:49 AM

Jim
As most of your post is accurate and thoughtful I am responding.

Once again though I urge you to think carefully about what you are condemning. By blanket criticising you are being at least as unfair as Harker.

>>>>>>"mediation" (just as malicious in its way)<<<<<< Really? Do rethink what you are saying here, or perhaps look up the word in a dictionary.

You are way off the mark with your last statement. You obviously have not read the thread or have ignored it. Everyone here has heavily criticised Harker, including me. However you are beginning to look as if you think there is not a single word of truth in Harker's book.

Until you get away from this 'coffin kicking' belief, you can make no sense here. Harker has no disciples here, least of all me.

'Little sign of gratitude'. Absolute poppycock and it is your blinkered approach that lets you believe this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 03:17 AM

"Not quite correct, Jim, though it is certainly true that "fake" is often used invidiously."
It's beyond question that people have always questioned what was published in the early days, but most people were intelligent enough to put that editing into the context of the times rather than the maliciousness of "fake" or even "mediation" (just as malicious in its way)
That implies a personal action based on personal taste and prejudice
These people were working in the post-Victorian period and had be careful what they published - probably the most popular target for the critics of 'cleaning up' was Baring Gould
They tried to get the songs accepted into schools and there was no way that, say, 'Strawberry Fair'. with it's "locks and keys" was going to make it into the classroom
The most visionary among them kept unedited texts and published the cleaned-up stuff, which was fair enough
I was always intrigued by the tune and reference to the song 'The Girl from Loestoft' (or 'The Hole in the Wall' which was published in the Journal as a tune only with the note that the words were unfit for polite eyes
I was delighted to find that Lomax recorded it from Harry Cox some time in the 1950s but to date it has never been widely distributed

Legman probably over-emphasised the sex bit with some of his statements, but he certainly acted as a breath of fresh air to song scholarship (and was frowned on in his native America for doing so)
We wrote to him when we found we were unable to get hold of volume two of 'The Rational of the Dirty Joke' (entitled No Laughing Matter') - I still have a his reply telling us that we could get a copy from a seedy publisher in Soho - the same firm that published the soft porn 'Rude Food'
Even in the seventies, bawdy material was difficult to obtain - Britain was still stinging from the Lady Chatterley trial

There is nothing whatever wrong with criticising these people as long as it is done fairly - Harker brought an end to all that with his career-enhancing spitefulness - and now, it seems, his disciples have taken up the cudgels
Some of these postings give me the impression of toy poodles snapping at the heels of giants - these people opened a door to a wonderful world for many of us - there's little sign of gratitude from some quarters
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: RTim
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 09:40 PM

So no one cares or knows if Harker is still alive....??

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 08:25 PM

> Didn't Child himself comment somewhere about the irrationality of being able to publish all that nasty stuff but unable to publish anything about normal healthy sex?

It have been more than exceptional had Child done so in the 1890s, or at any time during the Victoria era. And it's difficult for me to imagine him even thinking it.   

Consider his headnote to "The Keach in the Creel," a humorous ballad which he somehow forced himself to include, despite its including a passage that was "brutal and shameless almost beyond description."

Nowadays Mudcatters have argued over what the hell passage he could have meant!

No, the statement you allude to was made by the above-mentioned Legman in the early '60s - and frequently thereafter.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 07:05 PM

"Checkmate, I think" ?????????????????


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 06:54 PM

Interesting that "Bowdler" was a man who took the rude bits out of Shakespeare, of which there are very many. It isn't just 'folklore' that got the Victorian prude treatment.

@ Steve, yes, Ritson, and as I keep saying Harker praises Ritson. I think I am as aware of anybody of Harker's weaknesses, but it does frustrate me when I feel that people are damning Harker on the basis of false ideas about what he was attempting.

@ Richard: "Wasn't Harker's beef more about the nature of the collecting process rather than anyone faking the actual songs."

This is closer to my interpretation. For me, though, it isn't just the 'collecting process' that Harker has a beef with, it's the consequent representations about working class/lower class culture and attitudes that he takes issue with.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 06:05 PM

This is precisely what I'm trying to differentiate, Richard, and what Pseu is saying as well. The mediation can refer to individual ballads, or to only collecting/publishing certain portions of the material, or to misrepresenting a whole genre. In extreme cases, Buchan being the strongest suspect, but Scott stood accused over Kinmont Willie and others, the creation of whole new ballads being passed off as from tradition.

My own personal interest is not with the bowdlerisation which was natural and a necessary evil, but with the deception, and my biggest beef is that we know it happened but we can never know completely the extent of it. I think I share this worry with poor old Ritson.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 05:25 PM

Pseudonymous > Harker has a comment on the values of Child's world in which sadism, murder, butchery and any amount of violence are silently condoned whereas a bit of harmless eroticism has to be hidden away in a Motherwell type reference in the Index.

Didn't Child himself comment somewhere about the irrationality of being able to publish all that nasty stuff but unable to publish anything about normal healthy sex?

Jim > As with Harker, there has been no attempt to examine ‘the forgeries’ in question – the songs that were collected and presented as ‘the voice of the people’ by Sharp and his colleagues and later on by those who accepted (more or less, with reservations), those who followed them into the field – the Lomaxs and the Library of Congress researchers, the BBC team, Goldstein, Mike Yates, Hamish Henderson, Peter Hall, David Buchan, Hugh Shields, Tom Munnelly…… (all taken in by the big con)

There has been discussion on this thread and elsewhere. As Steve G points out, 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", and most of those were from some of the earliest collectors two-hundred-odd years ago, not from the more recent collectors, though Bert seems to have been guilty of a few. Wasn't Harker's beef more about the nature of the collecting process rather than anyone faking the actual songs.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 04:22 PM

My point a is a little garbled, but people can easily turn up the original via Harker's book. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 04:17 PM

@ Lighter: re your last paragraph:

a) Harker does indeed mention Legman, and mostly in the narrow context you indicated earlier in the post in terms of bowdlerization and suppression of erotic texts. See eg p 118. This by the way refers to the 1861 "2nd edition" of ESB, not to the ESPB. Harker has a comment on the values of Child's world in which sadism, murder, butchery and any amount of violence are silently condoned whereas a bit of harmless eroticism has to be hidden away in a Motherwell type reference in the Index.

b) For me, the idea that Harker's book is one in which he attempts to show that 'fakery' of songs was "rampant, cynical and pervasive" misrepresents the book and its aims. I think this point was touched upon earlier in the book. I suppose some people (present company excluded) may get this idea from the title, imagining it to refer to fake songs, when Harker's idea is broader than that.

c) Further, as previously discussed, Harker singles out some antiquarians/researchers, including Motherwell and Ritson, as having a more scholarly approach than others.

So I don't personally feel there is much in the book 'Fakesong' to support the supposition in your last paragraph.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 04:11 PM

Yes, Steve, I believe I'm thinking of "The Bawdy Song in Fact and Print" in The Horn Book (1964).

A much shorter version of the article appeared, I think, in a journal a couple of years earlier.

I also seem to recall that Legman accused Child of suppressing a stanza of "Trooper and Maid" in the Addenda to Volume 5.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 03:59 PM

Hi Jon
Are you referring to Legman's The Horn Book? If so I have my reading for tonight. Unfortunately, I've got 'Blow the candle out' but not the first volume. Which of them do you recommend for the fakery info?

Yes 'The Crabfish' would have fulfilled all of his criteria and filled many pages with its antecedents, much better than many of the ballads he did include.

I really wish we could get to grips with different types of mediation rather than lumping them all together. Percy and B-G were both highly acclaimed in their own times for their bowdlerisations which were done for very valid reasons. B-G did actually fake a few ballads that he sent to Child, but this pales into insignificance when held up against someone like Peter Buchan who maintained until he died that all of his material came straight from oral tradition unmediated when even his most ardent apologists accepted he 'eked them out', and of course Scott regretted his mediations publicly.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 03:29 PM

> No-one up to Harker, claimed that he and his colleges faked anything

Not quite correct, Jim, though it is certainly true that "fake" is often used invidiously.

The poet James Reeves didn't use it when he published "Idiom of the People "in 1958, which presented the unbowdlerized texts of songs collected by Sharp in England which the publishing constraints of the time forced him to alter, soften, or partially rewrite.

In "The Everlasting Circle" (1960) Reeves did the same for texts collected by Baring-Gould, Hammon, and Gardiner. Though Baring-Gould seems to have been more of a prude than Sharp, he too had to rewrite songs (sometimes extensively) to get them published at all.

Allegedly Child too very occasionally suppressed (rather than alter) a line or a stanza.

And we all know about Stan Hugill's chanteys

All American collectors suppressed or bowdlerized even mildly erotic texts. Few even noted them down, Robert Gordon and Vance Randolph being the outstanding exceptions.

G. Legman, later the editor of Randolph's large collection of bawdy songs - all from the Ozarks - complained in the early '60s of what he *did* call "fakery" in connection with the early collectors. He was talking solely about the bowdlerization and suppression of texts.

Legman wondered strenuously why Child had not included the Percy manuscript's text of "The Lobster" in his collection of ballads. He called Percy the "first" and B-G the "worst" of the "fakers."

One wonders if Harker was influenced by Legman's largely accurate, if hyperbolic and intemperate attacks, then decided to "show" in the face of the evidence that "fakery" was rampant, cynical, and pervasive.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 02:57 PM

Ducking and diving again
I order to be effective sarcasm requires something you apparently don't possess - wit
I've answered your points fairly clearly, even for somebody as new to all this as you obviously are - have the courtesy to answer mine
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 02:14 PM

Jim's logic and clarity are models to us all.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 02:09 PM

"I would be grateful for a reference,"
The work of most field workers, before and after Harker have contradicted his claims with what they found
Yoy problem has always been that you reject out of hand anything they doesn't fit your precoonceptions
Scolarship throughout the twntieth century has been solidly based on what was found by Sharp, even though it has always been admitted that those finding needed adapting
No-one up to Harker, claimed that he and his colleges faked anything - that is a new nastiness introduced to the scene
Nor did anybody attempt to play down the role of the singers, as you have consistently
As witj any dispute on something that has been agreed as long as has folk song - it is the job of the challengers to proved evidence, not the rest of us to defend a century plus worth of research
You refuse even to put Harkers claims to the acid test of putting it up against the songs and the views of the singers
As the song goes:
"So bing your witness luv and I'll never deny you"
Jim Varroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 01:56 PM

"But later research showed that Harker's statistical methods were based on false assumptions."

My, I am surprised to hear this! Out of the blue, as it were.

I would be grateful for a reference, and also for an explanation of which of Harker's statistical methods the piece in question deals with. Descriptive or analytic? On what page of Harker does this statistical analysis appear?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 01:32 PM

THIS SEEMS TO BE IT
SOM INTERESTING POINTS MADE HERE
Particularly:
"Your article also talks of "a controlling manipulator who presented a false idyll of rural England by excluding anything that didn't fit his agenda" – clearly based on David Harker's research in the 1970s and 1980s. But later research showed that Harker's statistical methods were based on false assumptions."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 01:25 PM

"Jim's eloquence speaks for itself."
So does your inability to challenge these extremely fundamental points, I'm afraid
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: RTim
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 01:23 PM

Question - Is Harker still alive? If so - what is he doing today ?

Tim Radford


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

Jim's eloquence speaks for itself.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 12:52 PM

Checkmate, I think
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 12:52 PM

@ Steve: sorry grey matter falters again; you are of course right to correct my spelling of Bearman. I only have one of his pieces, by the way, the 2000 piece called 'Who were the folk...'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 11:29 AM

"A pointless exercise as we have found to our cost in the past."
You appear to have caught a nasty dose of Harkeritis
I have never attempted to describe anyone as "starry-eyed or naive
Nor have I offered lists of people who agree with me rather than argument
You have my arguments - there's nothing wrong with debunking them even if you don't manage to convince me - this is a public debate, not an attempt to change each other's minds
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 10:25 AM

I am reporting the general response to the book at the time and the previous lack of experience and knowledge of the writer
Of course, if the neo-researchers ever got around to a full assessment of all the research on folk song that has been carried out, Harker's points would have to be taken into consideration, but the denigrating manner in which he dealt with his fellow researchers makes that nigh impossible
He did what he did regarding the 'baby and bathwater' approach, so it rings a little hollow to demand he be treated fairer than he treated others

I would find it far more preferable that, rather defending the indefensible, some of the points I have been made be answered, but as they haven't been so far, I see no reason that they should be now

Divorcing the singers and musicians from the opinions (only) of a theorist might be a good start
How can you possibly come to any conclusion on the place and authenticity of folk-song in society without examining the songs themselves and the opinions of the singers (what little we have) ?
That's folk with the songs and singers removed from the equation
What makes Bert Lloyd's ' Folk Song in England' vastly superior in every way to Steve Roud's 'Son of....' is that Bert put his arguments alongside the songs and singers, while Roud chose to make them notable by their absence... in my opinion, of course

How the hell can so many of us have been so taken in for so long and why has it taken a 'folk-ignoramous' to put us all right ?

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 10:11 AM

'addreass the points made'. A pointless exercise as we have found to our cost in the past.

By the the way, Pseu, it's BEARMAN with an R if you are referring to Chris.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM

By blanket criticising Harker's book you are doing exactly what you are accusing others of doing, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 08:18 AM

It seem to have stunned you to silence Pseud
I suppose it's out of the question that you should addreass the points made - perish the thought
If not, it stands unchallenged - that's how debate works
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 07:59 AM

Jim's eloquence speaks for itself.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 06:12 AM

I really wasn't going to bother with this - I have always believed that everything that was worth saying about this book was said three decades ago when it was more-or-less rejected by a still healthy folk song scene
However, as this discussion appears to be lacking the same two most important features as did ‘Fakesong’, perhaps it is worth mentioning them here

As with Harker, there has been no attempt to examine ‘the forgeries’ in question – the songs that were collected and presented as ‘the voice of the people’ by Sharp and his colleagues and later on by those who accepted (more or less, with reservations), those who followed them into the field – the Lomaxs and the Library of Congress researchers, the BBC team, Goldstein, Mike Yates, Hamish Henderson, Peter Hall, David Buchan, Hugh Shields, Tom Munnelly…… (all taken in by the big con)
   
Harker chose to denigrate the earlier collectors systematically, personally and by questioning their competence and veracity, rather than present their ‘forgeries’ as evidence.
This discussion has more or less followed the same pattern – no examination of the songs, just the characters and abilities of people who, up to now, have been regarded with a degree of respect and in some case reverence

Harker was totally ignorant of the genre of songs he was dismissing as “fakes” – he relied on the assistance of others to produce his book and, in doing so, aroused a great deal of anger and resentment in the way he treated the help he had been given
He said on a number of occasions that his appearance at conferences had been curtailed because of the hostile reception he received
I see little that has happened since to alter that position – on the contrary, the confusion and often hostility that now exists surrounding the term “folk” seems to indicate that that effect of ‘Fakesong’ has been to add to the mess that is now ‘folk’

The second stunning omission has been the singers themselves – no reference to them in the book and the only ones here has been to present the most respected family of source singers in England as self-promoting showmen

The main evidence we have of the cultural importance of folk song lies in the songs themselves and how they were regarded by the singers and communities they served – without them all that is left is personal opinion and (not very well-informed) guesswork

In my opinion, if any sense is to be made of the enigma that is folksong, it lies in gathering together all the research from as far back as possible and examining that as a whole
Harker adopted the Pol Pot ‘return to the year zero’ approach of throwing everything out, yet he presented no suggestions on who we should remove the scales from our eyes and start again – classic ‘baby out with the bathwater’.
It obviously has achieved nothing but harm to date
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 01 Feb 20 - 02:34 AM

"I don't believe Harker was the first to discover this."

Nor would I believe it.

I would be interested to know who had made the same point before.

I seem to end up looking as if I am justifying Harker, which isn't my intention, and I certainly don't want to seem to have a go at Gammon, as I have read and enjoyed a whole book and several articles he wrote, but to be fair (which seems reasonable) I will point out that Harker cites two pieces of Gammon, both on collecting in Surrey, with approval.

I think Brian is referring to the Gammon piece called 'Two for the Show'. I found this interesting and have quoted from it before. It can be downloaded free using JSTOR and may be available elsewhere online. Worth mentioning again though, as Gammon writes well and for me is always interesting. On a trivial point, I agree with Gammon that Harker's paragraphs are too long.

Gammon finds Harker's view of the revival too undifferentiated because his main focus is on A L Lloyd and Gammon thinks that Lloyd was not as influential in that as Harker suggests. Interesting, since I had been almost getting the impression from some Mudcat posts that MacColl and Lloyd were more or less single-handedly responsible for it all (with a bit of help from Lomax and the US 'left' as embodied in Peggy Seeger, and the only people whose views were worth quoting.

Regarding Beaman, a detail I got from Sharp from him interested me: hope I've go this right: Sharp produced dance steps based on 'trad' for a production of Midsummer Night's Dream (wonder what he made of Bottom's comments on ballads) and wrote a 'classical' piece incorporating tunes, ie he was in effect trying to create national classical stuff incorporating bits of what he say as 'folk' rather like people did on the continent. Beaman seems to approve, being rather opposed to the 'authentic' renderings he is sarcastic about. So maybe a desire to do this with folk was part of the motivation for Sharp's collecting (we were discussing motivations for collecting before) and this would link with the comment Atkinson made about Sharp being influenced by Wagner.

On the other hand, Beaman's research into Sharp's informants was interesting and show just what you can do with the census (which I used to trace some of Walter Pardon's family history). His piece made me curious about 19th century Somerset.

On the other hand, Beaman can be just as irritating as Harker and in similar ways.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 05:26 PM

@ Steve, sure you are right, but the detail is interesting and perhaps broadly relevant as it shows interest in Scandi culture at the time of Gray.

So many interesting points from this thread.

On Beaman, it amused me that he pulled Harker up for using a 'sexist' definition of 'peasant'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 03:08 PM

I think we can dismiss Gray as having any influence on ballads. The 2 odes he translated 'The Fatal Sisters' and 'The Descent of Odin' bear little resemblance to traditional balladry, though they do use ballad metre.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 12:56 PM

I would hazard a guess that the collecting instinct was/is present in at least most of the 'collectors'. Why do we use that word particularly to describe them/us? Prior to becoming interested in folk song I was an avid collector of just about everything that didn't cost a fortune. Many of the earlier collectors were antiquarian collectors before they started on ballads. I possibly have the most comprehensive collection of tradition related broadsides in the country. (Mostly copies I might add).

Pseu. That Thomas Gray mention was particularly interesting. When I wrote 'Gray' I meant Alexander Gray. If you can find out anything about which ballads TG translated and where they can be found it could prove very enlightening. All the examples I gave you were 19th century.

Yes of course Percy's work was influential throughout the continent, but there is no evidence I've seen of any of Percy's published ballads turning up in Danish oral tradition.

When Grundtvig published Engelske og Skotiske Folkevisor in 1840 at least one ballad from this has turned up in later oral tradition in Denmark, but only one, The Cruel Mother, that I know of. G took his versions from Scott, Kinloch, Motherwell and Buchan.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 11:09 AM

"I don't believe Harker was the first to discover this."

As Vic Gammon stated in his 1986 review of 'Fakesong': "There is a sense in which Harker's cut-off from the folk revival gives him
a very odd and undifferentiated view of the movement. What is most
significant is that many of the criticisms which Harker produces in a theoretical mode have been current within the revival for years..."

I don't see that thinking about the material collected and pondering over its nature and origins, and sometimes getting some money for something related to it it, is inconsistant with doing it because it's interesting. Did Sharp cover his costs?

In the USA, which is the period I know most about, Sharp's fieldwork expenses were largely underwritten by his benefactor Helen Storrow in Boston. He made his income (over-estimated by Harker in his letter to FMJ as described earlier) through lecturing and consultancy work. I can't tell you how much money he made from his publications - maybe someone out there can help? I agree with your general point.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 10:53 AM

I don't see that thinking about the material collected and pondering over its nature and origins, and sometimes getting some money for something related to it it, is inconsistant with doing it because it's interesting. Did Sharp cover his costs?

Did Sharp present sociological or political theories related to his material?

In the parts I have read Harker doesn't do any theorising. His theories are presented ready made.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 10:27 AM

Not of course that anybody is necessarily trying to state that his sole motive/interest was pleasure in the material!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 10:26 AM

Hello Brian

It seems to me that Sharp himself did think he was 'theorising'. I refer, for example, to the introduction to his "Folk Song in England", which refers to 'statements and theories'. He states that the folk tune provides many problems for a musical theorist, etc etc.

Not only that but in the same introduction he lists a few of the perspectives which might be shone on folk-song (ethnology, history, social reformist), saying basically, room for all without 'rivalries'.

So while fully agreeing that he enjoyed what he collected, I don't think I can agree that he did it 'just because' he enjoyed it, and it also seems to me (without necessarily sharing Harker's sense of outrage about appropriation of worker's culture) that at least in part he made a living out of it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 09:24 AM

> Child had his own ideas about what did and did not count, but little idea about what a 'ballad' actually was or where they came from. Then as Harker says, Child's collection became a sort of practical definition of 'ballad'. Which later US students of 'the ballad' used to make all sorts of wild guesses about the people who had produced such a body of literature. Needless to say they drew a picture of a very odd 'race'.

I don't believe Harker was the first to discover this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 07:29 AM

"What chance some of the people putting effort into it were doing so simply because they were interested, or liked a puzzle, or enjoyed the songs, or simply liked 'collecting'? I don't recall much theorising on romanticism or politics over contemporaneous butterfly or fossil collections."

I made a very similar point relating to Cecil Sharp on Jan 20.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 06:56 AM

John Leyden: Harker p 40, 59, 60. L Knew Walter Scott, obtained the Glenriddell manuscript from a Carlisle bookseller. That's about it from Harker.

More info on the Glenriddell manuscript in question here:

https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1819&context=ssl


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 31 Jan 20 - 06:42 AM

Hello Jag
I take your point. And I think you are right about Harker, it is part of his 'Marxist' analysis?


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