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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Iains 07 Feb 20 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 10:07 AM
Richard Mellish 07 Feb 20 - 09:57 AM
Brian Peters 07 Feb 20 - 08:00 AM
Brian Peters 07 Feb 20 - 07:52 AM
Brian Peters 07 Feb 20 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,jag 07 Feb 20 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,jag 07 Feb 20 - 05:37 AM
GUEST 07 Feb 20 - 05:36 AM
Brian Peters 07 Feb 20 - 05:06 AM
Brian Peters 07 Feb 20 - 04:58 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 20 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 04:25 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 20 - 04:10 AM
GUEST 07 Feb 20 - 04:09 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 03:59 AM
Jack Campin 07 Feb 20 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Feb 20 - 03:47 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 20 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 06:42 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Feb 20 - 06:29 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Feb 20 - 06:22 PM
Joe Offer 06 Feb 20 - 06:05 PM
Richard Mellish 06 Feb 20 - 05:57 PM
The Sandman 06 Feb 20 - 04:24 PM
Joe Offer 06 Feb 20 - 04:07 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Feb 20 - 03:11 PM
Brian Peters 06 Feb 20 - 02:14 PM
Brian Peters 06 Feb 20 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,jag 06 Feb 20 - 01:29 PM
Brian Peters 06 Feb 20 - 01:24 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Feb 20 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 01:15 PM
Jack Campin 06 Feb 20 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,jag 06 Feb 20 - 12:00 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Feb 20 - 11:55 AM
Vic Smith 06 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM
Vic Smith 06 Feb 20 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 11:18 AM
Dave Hanson 06 Feb 20 - 11:03 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Feb 20 - 07:47 AM
Lighter 06 Feb 20 - 07:45 AM
Jack Campin 06 Feb 20 - 06:06 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Iains
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 10:08 AM

A peripheral thread from 2009 has a discussion of broadsides



Subject: RE: Early Broadsides (was-Music o t People)
(I do not know how to link to previous threads)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 10:07 AM

Hello again:

I said I would leave the last word to Brian and that is what I shall do.

Thanks for an interesting discussion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 09:57 AM

In response to my questions 06 Feb 20 - 05:57 PM, Steve said "I've more or less said the same as this further up the thread."

Indeed. I was trying to find out whether any of the contributors to this thread disagree about the extent of fakery of songs, because it's sometimes unclear to me what is being argued. (Jim is one whose points aren't always clear to me, but he's not the only one.)

And I acknowledge that Harker was not claiming wholesale fakery of songs but rather fakery of the whole edifice.

On a point somewhat peripheral to this thread, but much discussed elsewhere, I understand one of Jim's arguments to be that, because the broadsides are mostly a dunghill, therefore the excellent songs that were collected can't have started life there but must have been made by "the folk". If that is the argument, then it neglects two points: a) that there were other possible commercial origins besides the broadside press, notably the stage and the pleasure gardens, and b) that the songs that were collected were ones that at least one generation of singers, if not more, had considered worth learning and singing. That was Sharp's "selection" in operation (and it can be seen still in operation right up to the present).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 08:00 AM

Fakesong:
"Sharp's star singer, Henry Larcombe, felt that a broadside text was good enough for him - his version of Lord Bateman is almost identical with one printed by Keys of Devonport- but such matters were passed over by Sharp in silence, or written off in a sour aside on the many 'imperfectly remembered broadside versions' he claimed to have recognized."

Some Conclusions
"...a blind man, one Mr. Henry Larcombe, also from Haselbury-Plucknett, sang me a Robin Hood Ballad (F.S.F.S., No. 43). The words consisted of eleven verses. These proved to be almost word for word the same as the corresponding stanzas of a much longer black-letter broadside, preserved in the Bodleian Library."


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

Agree with you there, jag.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 07:49 AM

I've no intention of getting into a semantic argument. I've laid out my thoughts regarding some of the misrepresentations in 'Fakesong', but if others choose to defend it to the last ditch, that's their business - readers can make their own minds up. It would have been useful to have seen a little more critical analysis of 'Fakesong' in this thread, rather than reiterations of its content, but I've tried to do my bit.

The 'peasant' controversy has been pretty much put to bed by Gammon and Knevett (FMJ, 2016), in an article that's worth reading.

'Intellectual rubble' is, of course, how Harker described the concepts 'folk song' and 'ballad'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 07:44 AM

"Sharp's complaints that English culture is too 'cosmopolitan' and that we need something more purely national do have a ring of the hard right"(Pseudonymous)

That's what I asked about a couple of days ago. I am still not convinced that it's not just a case of appreciating what is on your doorstep and promoting it as an alternative to other things that were fashionable in middle-class art music circles of the time. Proselytizing maybe, but being jingoistic?

Not much different, say, than a bunch of musicians in the 1970's revitalising English traditional dance music at a time when Irish and Amercan forms made up most of what we were hearing in the revival.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 05:59 AM

Hello Brian

I read your post with some interest.

What Harker said was that Sharp did not consider the idea that broadsides and mummers were 'essential'. This is the key word. And at no point does Sharp consider this idea. He does discuss broadsides but this particular idea is not one that he discusses.

The Kidson-Sharp thing is interesting. Sharp had various difference of approach/opinion with Kidson, it appears. But on the point at issue, once again, I feel that quotations may have been taken out of context.

If a reader of Harker came to the conclusion that Harker claimed that Sharp did not know anything about broadsides or had not seen one, then we have to conclude that they had not read Harker carefully enough.

The point Harker is making is not that Sharp did not know anything about broadsides. It is not true to say that you could read Harker and come away with the idea that Sharp knew nothing about broadsides. See for example p193! Harker is making a point about broadside production in Somerset at a particular point in time, and stating that Sharp does not appear to have known about that because he does not use this information in his account of the possible provenance of songs he collected. Harker provides a list of broadside publishers active at the time in question.

Harker makes this point: 'It seems never to have occurred to Sharp that to ask for old songs from old people in the early 1900s would inevitably result in the collection of items widely popular in a commercial context before 1850.' Harker cannot understand why Sharp persists in viewing people who knew songs about the Napoleonic wars as 'peasants' cut off from outside influences etc etc.

Before I end, some people have indicated a belief that Bearman finished off Harker once and for all. Of course, while doing this, Bearman also finishes off many of the beliefs of Sharp and of revival singers, including the idea that 'folk song' relates to ag lab lower class types. Bearman does not like folk song, he likes Vaughan Williams etc.

Bearman disputes with Harker over definitions of 'peasant' relying on what was in effect the first ever multi-volume OED which came out during Sharp's time. Its definition of peasant has two parts. Bearman uses the 2nd part which he sees as relating broadly to a 'countryman' or 'rustic'. Had he looked at the examples of 'usage' (and the present OED has more or less identical definition and usage examples) he would have seen that the sense he chose to go with was more like an insult than the pre-Raphaelite medievalist nationalistic sentimentalism intended by Sharp.

I am sorry but Sharp's complaints that English culture is too 'cosmopolitan' and that we need something more purely national do have a ring of the hard right, and for me they should not be skimmed over but acknowledged as part of our national heritage, and not a part we should be proud of, in my opinion.

I did not set out to defend Harker but to describe this scholarly book as 'intellectual rubble' seems 'begrudgery'!

Thank you. I leave you to have any last words.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 05:37 AM

Last post was me


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 05:36 AM

"I think what Harker might be trying to chip away at here is that thread of folkloric thinking that sees 'folk' as being outside or untouched by the world of trade, professionalism, commerce etc? " (Pseudonymous, my emphasis)

Sorry to keep harping back to the first page of "Some Conclusions". In the second paragraph of the book Sharp says "we must look to the musical utterances of those who were least affected by extraneous educational influences" (my emphasis).

I accept that "untouched by" and "least affected by" apply to different things in these quotes but the former is typical of how Sharp's views have been described and the latter typical of how careful he was in his use of words. He was trying to be ‘scientific’ (as he put it) and we may think he was wrong about some things, but I don’t see a need for “setting up of straw men” in order to criticise him. I think Brian Peter's recent posts also show that Harker was indeed setting up a straw man in the way his mis-represents Sharp's account.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 05:06 AM

>>>>>even before he met Sharp.<<<<<. I would like to see the evidence for that one. I was aware that BG changed his mind several times of how influential the broadsides were, but I thought his 'turning' came after he met Sharp and started collaborating with him.

Steve, I found that information in Martin Graebe's biography of SBG who, in the 'Plymouth Manuscript' (dated 1892, completed 1900) wrote: "...when I first started collecting in 1888... I was under the impression they were all taken from broadsides. Later I came to a different opinion & I now hold that in a good many cases the traditional forms are earlier and sometimes more correct."

I am not, of course, judging the accuracy of this opinion, just pointing out that it coincided with Sharps's and preceded it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 04:58 AM

Returning to Sharp, printed sources, and the treatment of the topic in ‘Fakesong’, here's what Sharp wrote:

“The ballad broadside, which sprang into life very soon after the invention of printing, consisted of a single sheet of paper, upon one side of which were printed the words only of the ballad, or song. These broadsheets were hawked about the country by packmen, who frequented fairs, village festivals, and public gatherings of all sorts, and who advertised their wares by singing them in market-places, on village greens, in the streets of the towns, and wherever they could attract an audience. In this way ballads and songs were disseminated all over the land. In later days the broadside would have two or more ballads printed upon it, and sometimes several ballads were bound together and distributed in small books of three or four pages, called ‘garlands’...”

On p 193 of ‘Fakesong’, however, we find:
“Kidson's reasonable advice, that a collector must know printed songs before he can pronounce on songs which appear to be 'folksongs', and his Journal article of 1905, were ignored by Sharp.”

But Sharp obviously did “know printed songs”, as evidenced not only by the quote above, but by the numerous references to specific print examples in his song annotations. To claim that Sharp gave “no consideration” to the idea of broadside dissemination, and “discounted” commercial song-culture, is a clear misrepresentation of what Sharp wrote and, since ‘Fakesong’ devotes several pages to ‘Some Conclusions’ and quotes copiously from it, it’s hard to see how this could have been simple oversight.

This issue is important because, as Steve Roud has said, ‘Fakesong’ became the basis for a new consensus.   It’s become received wisdom that, for instance, Sharp knew and said nothing about the broadside trade - just as all kinds of other erroneous assumptions are entertained because ‘Fakesong’ is taken as the last word on the subject while primary sources are overlooked. This has led us to a situation where people who ought to know better have felt at liberty to say pretty much what they like about Sharp, without doing basic checking. One US academic wrote recently in relation to Sharp’s Appalachian collection that “he was interested only in English music and dances” and “ignored the rest” (i.e. American-made songs), a claim that can be refuted simply by reading through he contents of ‘English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians’ and observing titles like ‘Old Joe Clark’, ‘John Hardy’, Omie Wise’ and ‘Swanannoa Town’. The authors of a mainstream reference work on popular music, titled (probably not coincidentally) ‘Faking It’, felt able to assert that Sharp was advancing “proto-fascist theories of a pan-European Aryan race”.

As Roud commented in‘The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs’ (he didn’t name ‘Fakesong’, but it’s quite clear what he’s talking about), “the polemic that was produced [...] with a strong political agenda” has “warped the debate ever since”. If I may borrow one of Dave Harker’s many colourful phrases, perhaps it’s time to recognize ‘Fakesong’ as “intellectual rubble which needs to be shifted so that building can begin again.”


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 04:45 AM

THese are important points which need to be argued to the full
Many of us have spent most of our lifetimes being 'misled and gullible' if hherker is to be believed
That's a thought not to be taken lying down
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 04:39 AM

"That means nothing Steve, not even to you"

"It is about time you argued on your own behalf instead of hiding behind the expertise of others who you select from or reject whenever it suits"

I'm off. I think we're done here.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 04:25 AM

Sorry, what I was trying to say above (and probably failed) was we know there are different points of view; I can relate more closely to some than others, maybe we are all in this position. But please can we at least try to discuss the topic without personalised attacks on those who disagree with us and without treating it as a court case/battle/competition? I am vowing to try again on this. We'll have to see how it goes on.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 04:10 AM

It seems that nobody is posting evidence of fakery because someone might argue against it
Interesting logic !!!
Case dismissed
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 04:09 AM

But I was right about the excremental imagery: it was being typed at the same time I composed my post, and now we know who started it all!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 04:06 AM

Why anybody should treat a piece of opinionated hyperbole coming from the mouth of a philologist with 'reverence' I do not know.

Bawdy songs must have been part of lower class culture, there are periods when we know for sure they were part of upper class culture and there is plenty of that sort of thing in Chaucer and Shakespeare and Boccaccio. Which reminds me to try to find out did Child include the late 17th century poet John Wilmot the Earl of Rochester in his collection of Eng Lit or was that left out?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 03:59 AM

What will happen when somebody posts some examples of 'fakery' - of whatever sort - will be probably some thoughtful discussion, a larger amount of heated discussion, and very probably some metaphorical invective relating to onanism and excrement. Excuses will be made in terms of 'context' for some of the 'bowdlerisations' in published materials, I suppose.

Some examples will be said to be improvements upon the 'folk' originals (Lloyd's as we have already seen).

The defence that altering things is part of the folk process may be offered in respect of some examples.

Another defence may be that the parties altering the material were just trying to produce singable songs (but then the question is what they produced 'folk' arises, and in the case where they were operating before modern concepts of 'the folk' and 'the process' had been developed, perhaps with some validity, depending on the degree of honesty with which the new creations were originally represented.

There may be disputes about the facts: I know little about 'Buchan' but already the question about whether he is 'done and dusted' has been raised.

This has all already been happening.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 03:53 AM

Even worse fakery is to publish something that one has written oneself and claim some other genesis for it.
That's clearly the case with John Jacob Niles, but I don't know of others who so clearly "faked" folk songs.


James Hogg with "Donald Macgillivry". Lady John Scott with "Loch Lomond".


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 03:47 AM

With respect, it seems to me that there are several overlapping and interesting and reasonable ideas in some of the more recent threads, and some *possible* sources of confusion:

1 An interest in 'fakery' or 'fake songs' ie songs that have been written by a person who does not count as 'folk' in the eyes of the poster/by certain definitions and passed off as genuine 'folk'. This did happen.

2 The question of what is and is not 'fakery'.

3 The question of what can and cannot be done with a song considered to be 'folk' or 'traditional', which is linked with 2. Much seems to depend upon the claims that are made. The social class of the person doing the alteration seems important to some people. This is why some people try to claim Bert Lloyd ( a well-known tinkerer) as 'working class' however middle class his life style and profession(s). But I don't think this is the end of the matter??

4 The possible confusion relating to the title of Harker's book, which, as Brian pointed out, can be interpreted as suggesting that it is about 'fake songs' when in fact it is about the whole *concept* of 'folk song' especially as it emerged from a) the Romantic era (Scott etc), Percy's Reliques b) in the US Child's work and in England from the work of Victorians followed by Sharp and those coming just after him followed later in the 20th century by Lloyd.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 03:29 AM

"Re Buchan, a good start would be to flag up Child's comments and then take it from there. "
That means nothing Steve, not even to you
How about what Child had to say about the "veritable dunghills" that you claim were the origins of 90%+ of our folk songs - do you treat his expertise on those with the same veneration?
It is about time you argued on your own behalf instead of hiding behind the expertise of others who you select from or reject whenever it suits
Buchan is and will remain an open argument in our lifetime and far beyond
The arguments are contradictory - he produced bad poetry and at the same time superb and highly singable versions of ballads that survived in the oral tradition long after he published them.
He did nothing that other anthologists hadn't done before and after him
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 06:42 PM

Regarding Brian's discussion (1.54; 2.14), he makes a great many sensible points.

May I provide the context and the full quotation from Harker?

Harker is taking Sharp up on his discussion of 'continuity', one of his three principles relating to the 'evolution' of the folk song. Sharp argues that a song could remain the same i.e. continuous, against potential arguments that it would get altered because people did not have very good memories. Harker says Sharp provides only 2 examples, one of which involves 2 women who lived in different places, but both of whom sang note by note a tune learned from mummers 30 years earlier. Harker thinks that probably the two women had heard the same group of mummers. He argues that the mummers (whom he regards as 'professional' therefore had a part in the dissemination of that piece of culture. I think his point stands whether or not they did hear the same troupe. He is arguing against Sharp's romantic picture of isolated, self sufficient villages and 'amateur' untrained folk-singers as well as the logic of Sharp's argument, I think.

Harker actually says: 'No consideration is given to the idea that it was the mummers and the broadsides which were the essential elements of cultural continuity and dissemination. Professionalism and commercial song-culture were, evidently, to be discounted'.

So taking up the idea of this being somehow 'opposite' to what Sharp wrote, we have to ask whether Sharp considered the idea whether mummers and broadsides were *essential* elements of cultural continuity and dissemination. If Sharp did consider this idea, then it is fair to say that Harker got it wrong. With respect, I'm not sure that Sharp did. How far this matters is another question, of course!

I think what Harker might be trying to chip away at here is that thread of folkloric thinking that sees 'folk' as being outside or untouched by the world of trade, professionalism, commerce etc?

Brian is right that Sharp doesn't seem to have admired ballad writers in general; but I cannot rate his literary judgement as he says ballads are simple and direct without subtlety: 'like Shakespeare'. Hmm. Interesting view of Shakespeare.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 06:29 PM

Richard
I've more or less said the same as this further up the thread.

Re Buchan, a good start would be to flag up Child's comments and then take it from there. Or perhaps even a better start to post Child's dying comments from Vol 5.

I think Bert's contributions are probably well flagged up on other threads.

>>>>>After studying lyrics for a few years, it becomes easy to sort out what's traditional and what's commercial.<<<<<<....Joe, unless you're severely blinkered.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 06:22 PM

Brian
I will have to reread 'Conclusions' I can see.' >>>>>even before he met Sharp.<<<<<. I would like to see the evidence for that one. I was aware that BG changed his mind several times of how influential the broadsides were, but I thought his 'turning' came after he met Sharp and started collaborating with him.
I didn't say Kidson offered a specific theory. He had a pretty big collection of broadsides early on and used broadsides a lot and referred to them in TT so he obviously had the knowledge. He was also very aware of the links to the stage and more highbrow origins of some of the songs that were sung at the likes of Vauxhall...Sweet Nightingale, Colin & Phoebe etc.

>>>>Of course he also believed that broadsides were derived ultimately from oral tradition<<<<<. Have we any evidence that Kidson/BG thought this? My own view here is well-known. Of course as I've said many times there was significant interaction between print and oral tradition but when you trace any of them back to the earliest manifestation it is commercial urban, and the evidence within the texts themselves is this is how they originated. However this is not what we're discussing here and it is threaddrift.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 06:05 PM

Richard Mellish says: Even worse fakery is to publish something that one has written oneself and claim some other genesis for it.

That's clearly the case with John Jacob Niles, but I don't know of others who so clearly "faked" folk songs.

At a song circle a month or two ago, I was talking about Niles and his fakery. A couple of songs later, a woman said "here's a John Jacob Niles" song that certainly isn't a fake. The flowery language and perfect grammar of the lyrics made it clear that the song was indeed another Niles fake.

After studying lyrics for a few years, it becomes easy to sort out what's traditional and what's commercial.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 05:57 PM

I'm still having trouble following some of the arguments here, but as far as I can see all agree that many (most?) collectors/publishers altered songs for publication, for one reason or another. That isn't fakery. What is fakery is to alter a song and pass it off as an authentic collected specimen.

Even worse fakery is to publish something that one has written oneself and claim some other genesis for it. Received wisdom is that most of the collectors didn't go that far but that a few of them did.

Are we all agreed on that much, or is someone going to disagree?

If we are agreed on that much, is it useful to cite cases (such as Peter Buchan or Bert Lloyd)?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 04:24 PM

joe , i doubt if you will hear of any.Harker is someone who masturbates intellectually.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 04:07 PM

I'm still waiting for somebody to post specific information about particular songs that have been "faked."
In the US, I can refer you to any number of songs from John Jacob Niles, but I was hoping someone would post specific examples here of the "fakesongs" that Harker refers to.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 03:11 PM

"I read Jim's point as being that they were not intending to document the society that the singers lived in."
I meant exactly that Jag
Jack is right that they were antiquarians, but rather than put what they collected into a social context they treated them as curious artifacts
I have numerous books of examples of these - Timbs, Tooms, Chambers, Hone. 'Notes and Queries', the Gentleman's Magazine.... fascinating stuff to dip into for hours on end and packed full of useful information, but with no overall objective

I think the earliest publication of this sort we have that includes songs is the four bound volumes of 'The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend (1888- 1891 which has columns of ballads and songs (with tunes) submitted by Stokoe and Reay
One of the most treasured book we ever bought was a slim, calf-bound soft-back with 'Jacobite Songs embossed on the cover (it cost us 7 shilling and sixpence
It turned out to be a lined exercise book with around 160 Jacobite songs beautifully written in almost copper-plate handwriting with tunes precisely laid out in tonic-solfa
There's no name on it, just a leaflet advertising a lantern-slide lecture on 'The McGregor Country' dated 1916 - you can see the handwriting getting old as the book proceeds - obviously a life's work for some unnamed hero

I think the most worrying thing that has upset e during these arguments is the attempt to offer bullshit as facts instead of honest findings
Earlier on I was told firmly that the "Buchan controversy was done and dusted" when in fact it is no such thing
I was told that Buchan's greatest supporter was a businessman who knew nothing of ballads
I'd forgotten we have a 2 volume copy of Ford's Vagabond Songs that had once been part of Walker's library and which are full of his learned comments on the songs contained
I found a published collection of Walkers letters and essays on ballads and discovered that, far from being an ignoramus on the subject he was a man well aware of the importance of the people's songs
It seems to me that many of these theories are being pushed forward by suppressing facts
I believe Harker has done much to set this ball rolling
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 02:14 PM

And, since we are supposed to be dicsussing 'Fakesong', here is Harker's take on Sharp's attitude:

"No consideration is given to the idea that it was [...] the broadside[s] which were the essential elements of cultural continuity and dissemination. Professionalism and commercial song-culture were, evidently, to be discounted."

This is pretty close to the exact opposite of what Sharp wrote in he passage I've described.


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

I agree with Steve G that this thread is shooting off at all kinds of tangents, and that we could probably do with discussing some of the issues separately, but I've no intention of starting a thread about Cecil Sharp any time soon, and there was something concerning Sharp that I wanted to go back to.

Steve suggested earlier that Sharp, although sound in many respects, was guilty of a "misrepresentation of how the material was created and evolved", contrasting CS's approach with that of Baring-Gould in 'Songs of the West', and Kidson in 'Traditional Tunes', and stating that TT "shows a good knowledge of the relationship between print and oral tradition and indeed popular song." Steve also thinks that Sharp must have known about the large collections of street literature in the Bodleian and elsewhere.

I've had a look at the song notes to Sharp's '100 English Folk Songs' (published 1916) and, like B-G and FK before him, he adopts the practice of listing as many examples of the same song type as he can, drawing on Percy, Ramsay, the other Scots collectors, Child, and the Folk Song Journal. He also specifically mentions examples from print for nearly a third of the songs, referring to Roxburghe, broadsides from Such, Catnach etc, and garlands. So it seems to me that Sharp did know quite a bit about street literature, and wasn't afraid to highlight examples when he knew about them. In fact, he makes much play in 'Some Conclusions' of his observation that Henry Larcombe had sung him 'Robin Hood and the Tanner' with a text "almost word for word the same as the corresponding stanzas of a much longer black-letter broadside, preserved in the Bodleian Library."

Sharp devotes three paragraphs of his chapter on ‘Folk-Poetry’ in ‘Some Conclusions’ to the relationship of broadsides to folk songs, explaining the long history of the trade, the role of ballad-sellers in disseminating the songs, and the existence of known ballad authors such as Martin Parker. Of course he also believed that broadsides were derived ultimately from oral tradition, and had become corrupted in the editing process (although he conceded that some broadsides contained uncorrupted text), and many of us will disagree with him there. His views on the origin of the folk song were hazy - he preferred to present both sides of the 'authored vs communal' debate, and resorted ultimately to the get-out clause that the important thing wasn't the origin but the process.

He also wrote: “We must remember also that the folk-singer would often learn modern and very indifferent sets of words from the broadside, and sing them to old tunes, after the manner of the execution songs...”

Again it seems to me that Sharp was quite prepared to discuss the relationship of print to folk song, and his belief that broadsides represented corrupt copies of songs developed by oral tradition is no different from that of Baring-Gould, who thought initially that the texts had originated on broadsides (and were therefore of little significance) but then came round to the alternative view, even before he met Sharp. Kidson, as far as I can see in TT, offers no theory about the origin of 'folk' songs - but do correct me if I'm wrong, Steve.

I don’t see a significant difference between Sharp’s published views on the role of print and those of Baring-Gould and Kidson.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 01:29 PM

"They were mostly antiquarians documenting local culture" Contemporary culture or, for want of a better word 'folklore' (I have seen the term 'historical gleanings' in such people's writings)?

I read Jim's point as being that they were not intending to document the society that the singers lived in.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 01:24 PM

"The competitive incentives to "improve" your local song harvest by cheating were much like those of a Stalinist farm manager weighing spuds."


Wasn't a lot of it aesthetic? Poets believing they could improve on the raw material?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 01:19 PM

"Perhaps Jim could clarify the date at which he thinks it was first 'realised' that the songs in question had a social importance?"
It still hasn't dawned on some people, who consider it no different from any other form of 'entertaining' pop music
In fact, folk song's uniqueness is based on the history which brought many of the songs into existence
Delighted that some of the bickering has been deleted but it was unnecessary to remove
THIS
or
THIS
Social History and enjoyment all rolled into one
Dig out the songs dealing with Land Disputes or the Broken Token songs or those about the Camp Followers or arranged marriages......
All history in the raw
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 01:15 PM

Jack: amusing post!

And I was just wondering whether some framework other than copyright or 'rules to what you did with songs' might or ought to have guided Biship Percy towards a full and honest account of the provenance of his stuff. One that came in some time before an awareness that ballads were socially important!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 12:57 PM

It's not true that the early collectors/anthologists of folksong were practical musicians interested in singable material. Essentially none of them were, either in the British Isles or in mainland Europe. They were mostly antiquarians documenting local culture, or in some cases landlords documenting their tenants' music in much the same way they went about cataloguing the monuments on their land or measuring crop yields. The competitive incentives to "improve" your local song harvest by cheating were much like those of a Stalinist farm manager weighing spuds.

Scott did an effective job as consultant-antiquarian-for-hire to the Scottish gentry, but was totally tone-deaf and couldn't have any useful opinion about practical singability. Any sightings of Percy leading a pub singalong?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 12:00 PM

"they were song collectors gathering songs they thought worth singing, not social historians." (Jim Carrol)

I think that's a really important point.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 11:55 AM

"I'm very happy to discuss individual ballads or whole collections,"
You start by producing the evidence that they have been deliberately faked first Steve
Apart from Harkers claims, what do you have on that
I have told you why I believe there were no rules to what you did with songs that were collected why back - tell me why that was not the case
We have always known songs were edited for publication right up to Frank Purslow's doctoring an important body of songs in order to publish them in four little books
Did he do that for greed, because he was a con-man or because he was a "starry-eyed naivete" ?
I have no argument with the fact that they were changed - it's the unpleasant implications
You have involved giants like Child in your accusations - produce your evidence


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 11:23 AM

Dave H you're not the Messiah ….

No, he's a very naughty boy (and not the only one here!)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 11:20 AM

No, this room is for contradictions. Next door you will find arguments and discussions is in a different building.

You will have to be British and a certain age to understand what Dave and I are on about


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 11:18 AM

The sort of thing Jim could post would be stuff scattered on Mudcat but valuable and interesting including lecture notes, transcriptions of interviews, lists of material he and Pat have collected available and where, a list of his published journal and magazine articles, perhaps a brief chronology of his involvement with folk, positions held, etc etc.

Dave H you're not the Messiah ….


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 11:03 AM

Is this the right room for an argument ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 10:05 AM

>>>>>If these songs are fakes - discuss them and expose their fakery<<<<
>>>>>>I've never suggested a discussion on individual faked ballads<<<< Jim on same day at 1.10 p.m.

I'm very happy to discuss individual ballads or whole collections, once we've had an explanation for the apparent contradiction between these 2 statements and a decision one way or the other.

Perhaps we could start with Professor Child's evidence/opinions, or Joseph Ritson's, or some bits from Fowler, or my own researches into Buchan, or Mary Ellen Brown's findings, or my own researches on Baring Gould. Where shall we start? Oops, left out Scott!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 08:14 AM

Ah, Jim's latest post *seems^ to clarify what he meant: he seems to be doing what I thought: defending the early collectors whose tinkering has been discussed.

It was in no way dishonest to adapt songs in order to 'improve' them before it even drealised that these songs had a social importance

Perhaps Jim could clarify the date at which he thinks it was first 'realised' that the songs in question had a social importance?

I'm sure Jim is an expert on pissing in the wind. (I'll get me coat as Steve Shaw would say)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 07:57 AM

Reading back up this thread, as I do from time to time, I came across a post including the term 'desk jockey' and felt, rightly or wrongly that it referred to me and was intended to be pejorative. People can draw what conclusions they like, of course.

I will just say that we have had our version of a trad ballad 'collected' and that some of our arrangements have been copied. I don't mind people copying the arrangements except when they do our 'version' before we get a chance to and even then no big deal.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 07:51 AM

@ Lighter
Thanks a million. You know, I'm not sure it was 'polygenetic', so maybe there is more than one such term but that one will do very nicely. Much appreciated. Repeats to self 'polygenetic', 'polygenetic'....


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 07:47 AM

Hello Jack

Thanks for your feedback and comment. I had hoped the 7.52 correction made it clear that I was the author of the 7.38 post. I apologise for not being clear. I’ll try to be brief in re-stating my point.
I knew in general terms about cases of ‘tinkerings’ being passed off as originals/authentic before I read Harker. Some cases e.g. Bishop Percy are notorious. Child himself knew about the problem, as Steve Gardham has patiently pointed out several times on this thread. Harker isn’t, as far as I can see, saying anything new here.
Nor do I see any point in rehearsing these examples on this thread when they have been discussed elsewhere on Mudcat, with those of Lloyd being a prime example.

My own belief is that most of those posting here are aware of those examples, and of Child’s awareness of those examples. I include Jim Carroll in this.

My own view is that Nick Dow was right when he commented, on the problem with fakes generally, ‘The best that can be achieved is pointing out alterations and deceptions and giving the reader a choice.’

I will also explain once again that Harker’s book is not only about these examples of tinkering, or even perhaps mainly about them. I'm not sure that everybody has quite taken this point on board, and agree with Brian that the title doesn't help. I would of course be happy to hear about any specific examples where Harker falsely states that it took place when it did not. My intention here is not to defend Harker, though as I said before, it seems reasonable to try and get straight what he does and does not say, rather than attack him on the basis of stuff he did not say.

At 7.38 I was responding to a reasonable comment made by Steve Gardham a few moments earlier. Steve game the same quotation, so I suppose I guessed people that would know where it came from. This section seems to have stemmed from a reasonable comment made by Jag at 5.57 suggesting something to the effect that there appears to be some lack of clarity about what sort of modifications can be made to old songs and when. (please refer to Jag’s post for the original in context).
The context was, therefore, a discussion that fully accepted that some people modified songs.

Here it is again:

'I really think it to be more than a little begrudging to accuse many of the early collectors of "fakery" and dishonesty - they were song collectors gathering songs they thought worth singing, not social historians.'

Looking at it again, perhaps what it means is that some or many early collectors have been falsely accused of ‘fakery and dishonesty’. (it says ‘think it to be’ rather than ‘think it would be’) But I read it in the context as a comment on the work of Harker and as a response to Steve’s patient provision of well-known examples, especially in the light of repeated demands made to Steve to discuss examples.

Sorry for being unclear. And thank you for the polite rejoinder.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 07:45 AM

Pseud, is the word "polygenetic"?

Polygenesis means independent origins at different times from more than one source.

An unanswered question in linguistics is whether human language is polygenetic or monogenetic


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Feb 20 - 06:06 AM

That post made at 7.38PM might have made sense if GUEST had indicated which text was quotation, and how many levels deep (I think there are at least two levels).

Without quotation labelling it just looks like you're repeating or contradicting yourself. I can't get anything out of that post.


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