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Dave Harker, Fakesong

GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 06:29 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jan 20 - 06:26 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jan 20 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 05:43 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Jan 20 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 01:26 PM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 20 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,jag 15 Jan 20 - 12:53 PM
Lighter 15 Jan 20 - 12:28 PM
Jeri 15 Jan 20 - 12:18 PM
Jack Campin 15 Jan 20 - 12:18 PM
Lighter 15 Jan 20 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 09:22 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 20 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 08:58 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 20 - 07:52 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 20 - 07:41 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 20 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Jan 20 - 05:40 AM
Jack Campin 15 Jan 20 - 05:32 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Jan 20 - 05:17 AM
Richard Mellish 15 Jan 20 - 05:12 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Jan 20 - 05:04 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 20 - 04:18 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Jan 20 - 04:17 AM
The Sandman 15 Jan 20 - 04:08 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 20 - 03:55 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,jag 14 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 04:54 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 04:48 PM
Richard Mellish 14 Jan 20 - 04:47 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 03:09 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 02:58 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 02:54 PM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 20 - 02:31 PM
Lighter 14 Jan 20 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,jag 14 Jan 20 - 01:09 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 12:48 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 12:25 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 12:20 PM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 20 - 11:45 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 11:43 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 20 - 11:14 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 20 - 10:32 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 06:29 PM

Steve
Having read about Walter Scott (mentioned above) in a more specifically 'Eng Lit' context, I agree to some extent, though Highland Clearances are just one part of the story, as I am sure you know.
I've had my own house daubed with far right stickers so this is something I am quite hot on.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 06:26 PM

Without touching on Georgina's and Dave's books there is plenty of other evidence on Sharp in other people's biographies. He was an authoritarian and difficult to get on with. He liked things doing his own way and fell out with anyone who opposed him. I think also he was to some degree like Child an obsessive but obviously that's not a criticism. A latecomer to the scene he soon asserted his dominance and the 2 most knowledgeable people who could have perhaps tempered/balanced him were a long way from London, Kidson and Baring Gould.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 06:14 PM

Folklore has certainly been used for nationalistic and patriotic ends and one would be surprised if it hadn't. Why, quite recently we were presented with the National Front trying to utilise folk music and it reared its ugly head on this very Forum.

I'm certainly convinced as I've already said that the burgeoning of interest in making, mediating and publishing Scottish ballads was part of the national need to emphasise Scottish identity as separate from the rest of Britain, along with the appropriation of the Highland bagpipe and the kilt, following the Highland clearances.

Tzu, I was a member of the EFDSS in the 60s but I certainly did not agree with all they stood for then.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:43 PM

I did look up the statement in Vol 5, and noted the preference for Anna Gordon and as far as I know what Steve Gardham says here is correct. If I did not thank Steve for the ref I do so now. Steve is one person on MUDCAT who has pointed me in the direction of a lot of interesting wider reading. Once again, I do not think I have said that Child's work on ballads shows evidence of 'racial preference' but that the context in which he worked, and some of the broader work with which he was connected eg early 'folklore' does have racist/racialist overtones.

I agree with Brian Peters on Sharp, as another thing I found on archive.org was the big Sharp work on English folksong. Sharp cites Wagner at one point. Atkinson somewhere surmises that Sharp would have been more likely to have been influenced by Wagner than by Child, I read that just before coming across Sharp referring to him, showing Atkinson at least had some sort of back up for his point, as you would expect. I'm thinking Harker had something to say about folklore and nationalism, and interested to hear people's views on this aspect of Harker's critique.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 04:40 PM

Child: I have read and reread many times ESPB and what of his correspondence is generally available plus the work of his pupils, Gummere, Kittredge. I haven't read ESB cover to cover. I have read what biographies exist. To me apart from his obvious godlike qualities he lived in an academic bubble surrounded by a loving family and his beloved roses, and worked himself to death. I strongly believe by about half way through his life's work he was exhausted and was beginning to lose heart, but as a single-minded obsessive (as most of us here are to some degree) he had to finish what he started, and by and large he did. His statement (I flagged up in Vol 5) just before he died speaks 10,000 words. I cannot remember every word he wrote but the only slight prejudice I can detect is that, as a Professor of Eng Lit, he favoured Anna Gordon's versions of ballads. She was far from being any sort of peasant and came from a very literate well-off musical background and her ballads show evidence of mediation by her own family if not herself. There is no evidence I can remember of any racial preference. He was not a collector. There is no reason for him to have come into contact with American ballads of any type. The titles of the books say it all and it's ridiculous to accuse him of neglecting anything other than this.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 03:29 PM

I hope the above answers Jag's point as well. Referring back to my post of 15th Jan 9.37, I mentioned historical critiques of folkloristic studies. I hope the relevance and the point (a contrasting example, a different approach from that of Harker) is now clear. Sorry if it wasn't first time around.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 01:26 PM

Hello Lighter

I did not say that Child's treatment of the ballads was so affected.

Part of Harker's intention is to give a picture of how folkloric work changed over time (albeit not, he hopes, a 'vulgar' Marxist one). My point was that other researchers have taken different approaches to that topic. I agree with most of what you say, as it happens.

When the American Society started up, it claimed in its journal to be 'scientific', but rather looks anything but, being as you say imbued with 'ideology'. And yes the date is pre 20th century, Vol 1 is dated 1888.

By the way, I'm guessing that the arguments about the size of 'villages' will be linked to arguments about whether Sharp was discovering rural people whose song culture had been untouched by literacy or industrial culture and who could be said to represent some sort of unsullied oral tradition, an idea that Lloyd, for example, strongly criticises.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 01:12 PM

"The nearly universal European intellectual assumption at the time... In other words, the collectors may have been racists, but they were not seemingly vicious racists. They simply accepted the prevailing unscientific ideology."

I think this is true of Sharp as well. He did however - despite his Anglocentric search preferences - manage to collect versions of 'John Hardy', 'Frankie and Johnnie', 'Nine Pound Hammer', 'Pharoah's Army' and many other songs of African-American origin.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 12:53 PM

Child > American Folklore Society > Hagstrom Miller > Pseudonymus is rather tenuous. Is there anything specific about Child in Hagstrom Miller, or anything that Child wrote to indicate a) is views on race and b) that they were relevant to his work on the ballads ?

(@Steve Gardham - thanks for your response to my question)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 12:28 PM

Hi, Jack. My point is simply that it's hard for me to see how racism could have affected Child's treatment of the ballads.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 12:18 PM

FJC
Born 1 Feb 1825
Died 11 Sept 1896
Anybody want a gravestone rubbing? (It's large)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 12:18 PM

Frazer's "The Golden Bough" came out at the same time as Child's collection and doesn't share that racist-Darwinist ideology. For that matter Morgan, Hobson and Engels were all working at the same time, with ideas of social evolution that didn't include race as an essential ingredient; none of them was obscure or isolated. So, there were alternatives Child should have known about.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 11:22 AM

> some sort of 'Darwinist' view that some 'races' are more evolved than others.

The nearly universal European intellectual assumption at the time.

In other words, the collectors may have been racists, but they were not seemingly vicious racists. They simply accepted the prevailing unscientific ideology.

Since Child's interest was in "English and Scottish Popular Ballads," it's hard to see how any putative racial bias might have affected his choices or methods.

If he'd known more about "American Native Ballads," he might have included a (very ) few American items like "John Hardy" and "John Henry":   Anglo-American in form, if largely African-American otherwise.

But I believe Child died before texts of either song - not to mention "Frankie and Johnny" and "Stagolee" - could have been available to him.)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 09:37 AM

One of the best historical critiques I have read of early 20th century academic folklorists in the USA is contained within a book by Karl Hagstrom Miller called 'Segregating Sound. Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow'. He discusses the very early days of the American Folklore Society of which Child was a member. I went back and read some of the early papers, including the first. I share Hagstrom Miller's view that it is very racist, touched it seems with some sort of 'Darwinist' view that some 'races' are more evolved than others.

While in no way seeking to deny Child credit for his achievements, I think it is fair and possibly morally important to identify that there were not only some flaws in the 'raw data' he had to work with, but also, possibly in the intellectual zeitgeist of the time (think Jim Crow etc).

Hagstrom Miller's work makes for interesting comparison with that of Harker.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 09:22 AM

Brian: I'm not by any means attempting to defend Harker, I just think it helps when discussing a book to try to get a clear idea about what it says!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 09:15 AM

I happen to know a former member of the Gorton branch of the SWP and had a long conversation with him about his former comrade. Suffice to say that 'Fakesong' is not his favourite book!

I thought it was mainly middle-class youth who were fans of Dylan and Donovan, but I shouldn't generalise.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 09:03 AM

Students learning to write are often told to consider their audience and to tailor what they say accordingly. Harker says at the outset his main audience is his local party branch. On that basis, some of the more polemical passages in his work could be seen as apt for that audience even though they annoy/distract readers expecting a more neutral tone in an academic piece.

One thing that seems to annoy Harker is when folklorists pour scorn on material that the working class like: two examples he gives if I remember aright are Bob Dylan and Donovan. It's as if Harker is saying who are you to criticise working class taste'. Is this a fair comment?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 08:58 AM

Regarding the last few posts here: maybe I can help? Put simply, there are many different kinds of Marxism and Marxist. Harker was/is a member of the SWP which as I understand it identifies as a Trotskyist group.

Again, put simply, and from background/general knowledge:

After the Russian revolution, Trotsky was actively involved in the Government, and was a successful military strategist. Lenin evolved a new 'version' of Marxism, called Marxist-Leninism or some such. The need to do this was partly because according to Marx the workers' revolution would be carried out by the urban proletariat. They could not claim that this had happened in Russia. Trotsky disagreed with Lenin and was ousted, and eventually murdered with an ice pick in Mexico.

The British Communist Party was closely linked to, and possibly partly funded, by the Soviet Union. It tended to take its line from Moscow. Lloyd, one of the mediators discussed by Harker, was a member of the CPGB. So Harker, no let's speak generally: a Trotskyist would be likely to view the work of a CPGB member as to be crude 'ideologically suspect'. Similarly, they might see the Fabians as mere bourgeois liberals or some such.

There is another aspect, raised by Harker himself. Some people use the term 'vulgar Marxist' to refer to those who apply simplistic class analysis to culture as if culture could be fully explained in terms of class. Harker raises this challenge in his book.

This is a rough and ready account. Maybe the link supplied by Brian Peters says all this and more better.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 07:52 AM

Jack, there's some interesting comment on your point about Marxist critiques in James Porter's chapter in 'Comparative Musicology and Anthropology of Music', eds. Nettl & Bohlman. According to Porter, the Fabian sympathies of Sharp, RVW, etc, were a significant part of the reason for Harker's antipathy: "the traditional contempt of revolutionary socialists to gradualism", as Porter puts it. Certianly DH was determined to discredit Sharp's socialism.

This link should get you there.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 07:41 AM

"I haven't got through Harker on Sharp yet. Why was he discussing the population or size of Sharp's villages? And why is it so important if these 'statistics' are inaccurate, apart from the inaccuracy generally casting doubt on the quality of Harker's work?"

I think you'll understand more when you've finished reading Harker, and also Bearman's critique (linked in my post). How significant the argument was is a matter of opinion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 07:38 AM

Jim, as you know I shared your frustration over the Walter Pardon thread. However, on the present thread I've seen no disrespect shown to Child, nor accusations of fraud, greed or whatever. As you've said many times, folk song is a subject into which digging deeper can be very rewarding - although much as I value the research element in Mudcat I realise that it isn't the raison d'etre of the site, and I accept happily the different interests of others. But, if we're interested in research, we have to be prepared to lift stones as well as study with respect the work of those who went before us.

Child himself was a scourge of fakery, which is of course why his quest for the Percy manuscript was so important to him. As I think you'd agree, he knew that other sources were suspect too. To delve deeper into that is not to become a 'Harkerist', or to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Similarly, in the case of Bert Lloyd, he did edit songs (very skilfully), and the highly informative discussion on 'Bertsongs' a few years back set out merely to unpick those alterations, not to trash his entire reputation.

Over my many years involvement with folk song I've experienced several episodes of reappraisal amidst the many pleasures. It was shock at the time to realise that Steeleye Span's magnificent version of 'King Henry' wasn't actually representative of what common folk had sung for 400 years, or that the Copper Family's delightfully localized 'Shepherd of the Downs' began life as a flowery poetic piece called 'The Shepherd Adonis', or that 'Bold Lovell' - which I'd sung for years and believed to be English - was something Bert Lloyd had plucked from a Vermont songster, Anglicized, and furnished with a chorus. But I got over all those jolts, and others, because none of them affected my enjoyment of the actual music. It was a very romantic notion to my 20-year-old self to believe that the ballads I was becoming fascinated by were the communal creations of medieval peasants, but I didn't like them any less when they turned out not to be.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:40 AM

I haven't got through Harker on Sharp yet. Why was he discussing the population or size of Sharp's villages? And why is it so important if these 'statistics' are inaccurate, apart from the inaccuracy generally casting doubt on the quality of Harker's work?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:32 AM

I found Harker's "relentless negativity" (as Brian characterized it) hard to take as well.

I wondered where it was coming from, as other Marxist critics I've read could be quite generous towards creators whose roles in the class system were anything but revolutionary - Lukacs and Eagleton, for two. But those folks were writing about creative work itself, not about the work of others in curating and interpreting it. So I couldn't think of an obvious parallel with anyone taking a Marxist approach to a similar task. Though radical left critiques of art gallery and museum management are about as aggressive as Harker - and knowing some of those critics personally I know it isn't just a rhetorical pose. Maybe there's something about second-order criticism that makes people lose their cool.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:17 AM

I'll run a sweep on when your next post will be, Jim. I was miles out before but I'll go for around the 8 day mark this time.

Are you recovering well from the sense of humour by-pass?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:12 AM

Jim, you are taking umbrage at what you imagine people to be saying, not what they are actually saying.

Harker (I understand, having not actually read him) claimed that numerous collectors were fraudulent.

No-one here is claiming that for Sharp and his contemporaries, nor for Child. We are agreeing with Child that some earlier editors were fraudulent.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM

Maiou Dave
ThAnk you for your support and helping me to make up my mind whether to stay or go
I responded out of politeness to Joe as I am now doing in disappointment to you
I'll leave you to get on with it
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 05:04 AM

I said a few days but there was only 48 minutes between a "never posting here again" message and the next post. Is that a record?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM

I want no part in a forum that makes Walter Pardon a no-go area until a moderator decides otherwise
I see no value in having done so in the first place and I see it completly unacceptable that it has continued
I will take my arguments elsewhere
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 04:18 AM

Jim, I think that most of us posting in this thread would agree with you in questioning Dave Harker. Some may have ideas that conflict with ours, and they also have the right to speak. It is not a matter of comments being right or wrong. If we disagree with a comment, it gives us the opportunity to present a rational response. It is not deplorable for somebody to post something that I disagree with. If the only way I can respond is to condemn the other person as deplorable, I add nothing to the discussion. If I can offer a rational response, then the discussion can move forward.
While Harker has been severely ctiticized in this thread, and rightly so, he has given us the opportunity for a good discussion and I have learned a lot from it.
All the best to you.
Joe


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 04:17 AM

See you in a few days, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 04:08 AM

Thankyou Jim.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

That's the one, Richard.


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

> David C Fowler is excellent in this respect

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Outstanding discussion, Brian.


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

I am not trying to wind you up!


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