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Dave Harker, Fakesong

GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 09:27 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Feb 20 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,jag 09 Feb 20 - 10:59 AM
Brian Peters 09 Feb 20 - 11:11 AM
Brian Peters 09 Feb 20 - 11:55 AM
Brian Peters 09 Feb 20 - 11:57 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Feb 20 - 12:48 PM
Lighter 09 Feb 20 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 02:23 PM
Brian Peters 09 Feb 20 - 02:56 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Feb 20 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,jag 09 Feb 20 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,jag 09 Feb 20 - 03:25 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 20 - 03:47 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Feb 20 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 05:42 PM
Brian Peters 09 Feb 20 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 09 Feb 20 - 06:17 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Feb 20 - 03:04 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Feb 20 - 06:22 AM
Vic Smith 10 Feb 20 - 06:23 AM
Brian Peters 10 Feb 20 - 06:29 AM
Brian Peters 10 Feb 20 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Feb 20 - 07:20 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Feb 20 - 07:29 AM
Brian Peters 10 Feb 20 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Feb 20 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Feb 20 - 08:32 AM
Vic Smith 10 Feb 20 - 08:39 AM
Brian Peters 10 Feb 20 - 08:48 AM
Brian Peters 10 Feb 20 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,jag 10 Feb 20 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,jag 10 Feb 20 - 08:58 AM
Jack Campin 10 Feb 20 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Feb 20 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 10 Feb 20 - 10:25 AM
Steve Gardham 10 Feb 20 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 10 Feb 20 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Feb 20 - 12:36 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 20 - 03:21 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 20 - 05:29 AM
Jack Campin 11 Feb 20 - 05:59 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 20 - 06:42 AM
Brian Peters 11 Feb 20 - 06:50 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 20 - 07:08 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 20 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Feb 20 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Feb 20 - 07:56 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 09:20 AM

Harker does cite Murray and also on Buchan it would appear James M'Conechy (1881) in Motherwell, (1881). As I said, I didn't find the referencing wholly useful here, though compared with A L Loyd for example, it's a dream. To the point where I would have to look in Motherwell to be sure what if anything about Buchan Harker found there!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 09:27 AM

sorry obvs we stand on shoulders not tread … grey cells batteries low again.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 10:07 AM

"and 'fakery' or 'dishonesty'."
I was addressing my question to Steve Gardham who has been using both terms as if they were going out of fashion from quite early on
As a singer, I used Purslow extensively - he did exartly what Steve's "fakers" did before him so why not apply the same insults to him ?
I have said from the beginning that 'mediation' was common and acknowledged, my point regarding Buchan has always been that he was doing nothing all the others were doing - there was no rule-book to say that shouldn't, which is why suggesting that they were dishonest is totally wrong

Dragging Bert Lloyd into this is as ridiculous as it comes - basically Bert was a singer looking for songs who wrote in order to inspire others to do the same
For me, the most inspirational expert on ballads by far was MacColl, not because he had the Freemason's handshake or had studied them minutely from behind his desk, but because as a singer, he approached them analytically in order to bring them back to life again as what they are - stories with tunes which had strong roots into the society that produced them
He breathed fresh life into 175 of them and made them work for 20th century audiences over and over again   
One of the greatest problems I have at present is indexing and annotating Ewan's work on the ballads - once you start listening to his talks it becomes impossible not to become totally engrossed.

The best analysis I have read on Motherwall's work is William B McCarthy's 'William Motherwell as Field Collector' published in The Folk Music Journal 1987 (Vol. 5, No 3)
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 10:59 AM

If the collectors Harker covers had not collected and mediated what would we have?

Nearly finished the book. Moving onto Lloyd was a relief.


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

"If the collectors Harker covers had not collected and mediated what would we have?"

An immeasurably poorer body of documented songs. But this would be of no significance to someone who didn't like folk song, nor considered it a valid concept.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 11:55 AM

Meanwhile, in the parallel universe where we consider Fakesong's treatment of Sharp and Marson, Pseudonymous wrote:

"Giving kids songs with lyrics largely by Marson and letting them think or teaching them that these were folk songs passed down through the ages strikes me as intellectually dishonest.

I wonder what evidence you have for the preposterous claim that lyrics were "largely written by Marson"? At a guess, the 'evidence' will consist of "Harker says...", but even Harker goes nowhere near saying such a thing. Besides, the analysis presented in Fakesong of Sharp's and Marson's editing in Folk Songs in Somerset (not BTW a publication aimed at 'kids' as far as I'm aware) is very thin. Bearman has conclusively debunked the specific claims regarding Geordie and Wraggle-Taggle Gypsies – I’ve checked, and he is absolutely correct – and, while I was at it, I took a look at the other examples.

Harker comes down hard on the published text of The Unquiet Grave, of which he writes: “whole verses are evidently composed, and others are strangely jumbled... Ironically, the new verses are laced with sensationalism and bourgeois sentimentality of the most vulgar kind.” He could, of course, have checked Sharp’s notes to the song, which state: ”Mrs Ree’s words have been supplemented from other versions.” Sure enough, if you check Sharp’s and Baring-Gould’s manuscripts, you can find all four of the added verses, pretty well word-for word, in alternative variants of the song . Neither Sharp nor Marson made up any of them.

Then there’s the complaint that “The mildly erotic implications of what had been the sixth verse of Sign of the Bonny Blue Bell are enough to ensure its excision.” Verse 6 reads:
‘On Tuesday night when I go to bed
With my precious jewel that I lately wed
Farewell and adieu to my maidenhead...’
‘Mildly erotic’ by modern standards, maybe, but quite explicit in meaning and not publishable in a mainstream songbook in 1905.

Of Sweet Kitty, Harker writes that it “seems to have been patched up with bits of Mrs Overd's version.” No shit, Sherlock! The song notes are open in stating that Mrs Overd’s words were fragmentary and that Marson had “endeavoured to reconstruct the song.” So no subterfuge there, then, although the notes don’t mention that the song has had a verse cut in which Kitty offers her lover ‘kisses and comforts’ before creeping from his bedroom. The bowdlerization is again perfectly understandable, though I will admit that Marson’s rewritten lines are pretty execrable..

More follows shortly...


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 11:57 AM

[Harker v Sharp & Marson continued]

To deal quickly with the other cited examples of editorial tampering:

Fakesong “the direct confrontation in As I walked through the Meadows is taken back into a passively-recorded verbal exchange, defusing the live conflict.”
What actually happened: In verse 1, “I says” is changed to “I said”, and “said she” to “she answered.” Hardly altering the sense of the exchange!

Fakesong “In The Trees they do grow high, the girl is deprived of her active part in putting an end to the boy's growing.”
What actually happened: The line “she put an end to his growing” is altered to “she saw an end to his growing.” It’s true this does alter the sense, but Sharp and Marson were no doubt aware from other versions of the song that any idea of the young male protagonist having been killed by his wife ran contrary to the standard plot (“cruel death put an end...” is the broadside text). Similarly, where Harry Richards sang “his grief was growing grief” (sic), Marson changed it to the more conventional “his grave was growing green”. Again Marson’s intervention is mentioned in the song notes.

Fakesong “the fulfilled relationship in the original text of Foggy Dew is scrupulously removed into a dream-world of adolescent wish fulfilment; and mawkish sentimentality replaces active physical love wherever necessary.
What actually happened:The claim is correct. But could anyone seriously imagine lines like “come into my bed, my fair pretty maid”, or “there they laid all that long night” getting past the publishers? It’s true that Marson’s rewrite is pretty awful – but again it is explicitly acknowledged in the notes.

Fakesong: Marson's penchant for fairy-stories erupts gratuitously into The Bank of Green Willow - 'For the ship was pixy-held...'
What actually happened: The song notes explain that, as collected in England, variants of this song have a hole in the narrative where an explanation of the ship’s becalming ought to be. It is explained clearly that Marson (while leaving the collected verses intact) has written an additional verse inspired by Kinloch’s text, which mentions an intervention by ‘fey folk’. Nothing to do with fairy stories.

It would be tempting to ask, “Is that the best you can do?” Out of 27 songs, Fakesong is able to identify just seven examples to justify the claim of a widespread ‘doctoring’ of texts: three instances of bowdlerization (two directly acknowledged by he authors), one filled plot hole, one correction to a more standard narrative, one collation incorrectly claimed as Marson’s composition, one trivial amendment, and two apparently fabricated examples. It is also clearly untrue to claim that Marson “only occasionally acknowledged what he was actually doing” and that it was his practice to “extract [...] parts of the texts [from] the song-culture.” Most of the texts were preserved in a form very close to the original.

Well, that occupied a wet and windy afternoon!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 12:48 PM

Thanks for that, Brian
I enjoyed reading it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 01:50 PM

Me too.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 01:56 PM

Me too. Thank you.

I now fully accept that all the lyrics in the books Sharp produced for schools were bona fide as made by an illiterate peasant without any formal training whose mind was formed solely by the ups and downs of life. :)

Plainly Wikipedia is woefully wrong when it speaks of Sharp bowdlerising materials for schools.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 02:23 PM

Should have put Baring-Gould, of course!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 02:56 PM

Thanks folks, it was fun to do.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 03:02 PM

If you want a good insight into Sharp's politics and leanings the Marson biography is very good.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 03:03 PM

Me too. Especially as I had just read that section of "Fakesong" and recognised that some rebuttal of what is said required detailed knowledge.

Some sticks with which Harker beats Sharp rely on Sharp's own writings. It seems a fair point that many who sang for Sharp were not peasants by any definition. Similarly it seems to be Sharp's own accounts that indicate that some songs may have come from early 19C 'commercial' sources. All credit to Sharp for recording information that went against his own theories. Transparency rather than fakery. I wonder if Sharp's story for the lecture circuit and lobbying for folk song in education avoided some of the loose ends in his actual collecting (and recording for posterity).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 03:25 PM

About the lobbying. I found Harker's take on the early years of the FSS interesting. I haven't tracked down Hubert Parry's Inaugural Address yet but am intrigued by Harker's quotes. In searching for it I was amused to see that the first few issues of the Journal used close to a black-letter font on the title page but changed before long to something less Germanic. I wonder how the meeting about that went.

Harker makes his big political point, presaged in the quote from Marx and Engels at the start of the section, about the middle classes telling the common folk what was good for them. OK, yes, but they couldn't help being middle-class and as such had a chance of getting the ear of the other middle-class people who were setting up the curriculum. Promoting the music of the common folk over the 'commercial music-hall rubbish' is a bit like the current 'political elite' thinking salty and sugary foods pushed by commercial firms should be taxed so that we eat more fruit and vegatables. Or, better, the move from the 1960's on to get fiction into schools that wasn't all by middle-class writers about the things that middle-class kids do.

I for one am happy that what we sung at primary school in the 1950's was influenced by that movement rather than having justr posh songs aimed at posh kids. (plus Hymns Ancient & Modern ...)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 03:47 PM

I still hear many songs that learned as a kid, but I notice now that they have lyrics that I'd never sing to a ten-year-old. So, I wonder if the versions I heard as a kid of "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and "Little Brown Jug" and many others were bowdlerized, or if I just didn't notice the naughty parts. And are the cleaned-up versions inauthentic, or did songs have cleaned-up versions for the kids from their very beginnings?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 05:37 PM

'I for one am happy that what we sung at primary school in the 1950's was influenced by that movement rather than having justr posh songs aimed at posh kids. (plus Hymns Ancient & Modern ...)'

Me too, jag.
The first song I ever sang in a folk club was the version of Sally Brown I'd learnt at school. Wraggle-taggle Gypsies, Jolly Wagoner, the Keeper and all the rest must have contributed to my early love of folk song.

I also had no qualms at recording the versions sung by farm labourers who had learnt them at school, along with those they had learnt in their communities.

Sharp didn't alter much of The Keeper though we kids had no idea of the real meaning. I sometimes wonder if Sharp did.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 05:42 PM

Actually, as I think I said already, just about the first thing I ever learned about Cecil Sharp was that he took the rude bits out of folk songs and since I must have been about 13 at the time this idea definitely did not come out of Harker.

Also, folk discussions being what they are, there are disputes about whether some sexual interpretations (eg some made by Vic Gammon) reflect how the original singers (whoever they may have been) or perhaps just subsequent ones (….) would have put on the song. Once again a grey areas with differing opinions.

But I think mostly we have managed to discuss, not fall out. And that is a good thing.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 06:12 PM

I'm pretty sure I remember some research about songs having alternative rude and clean versions depending on which members of the community (eg mixed company vs all female) were present. Barre Toelken, maybe?


In 'Sweet Kitty' (a song of seduction) Kitty smiles and says of her outwitted lover, "there goes my beau." When the singer, Emma Overd, first met Cecil Sharp she twirled him around in an impromptu dance in the street while calling to onlookers, "Here's my beau, come at last!". I wonder whether she enjoyed an internal giggle when she sang 'Sweet Kitty' for him...


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 09 Feb 20 - 06:17 PM

QUINCE
Well, we will have such a prologue; and it shall be written in eight and six.

BOTTOM
No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.

I don't know where I read the idea, but the above representation of a couple of 'peasants' seems to me to potentially contradict Sharp's view of the unlettered folksong creator, with no means of discussing his art, though to be fair they are discussing a prologue not a ballad and Shakespeare is making fun of them. And to be fair this is perhaps not quite as early as Sharp imagines folk songs go back? Not sure about this. But look at the metre they choose.

The focus on meter interested me because it links words and tunes. The one fits the other (and if it doesn't, Sharp will alter it to make published versions more usable).

It was published in 1600. Many ideas in the play the extract is from came from Ovid's Metamorphoses, which had been translated into English. But a host of other sources are involved. This shows one way that relatively themes from 'classics' got disseminated in those times. Because if you could afford a penny to get in, you could go to the theatre in Shakespeare's time, and lots of people did.

If you have not seen this before it might interest you.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 03:04 AM

"I enjoyed reading it."
I would like to add my thanks to Brian's posts - they have helped to finally put to bed everything I found offensive about 'Fakesong' when I first read it - it took me several goes when I first tried it
I had to put it aside for considerably lengths of time on several occasions because of the anger and frustration it evoked.
It reminds me of a number of occasions we have been approached by University or College students seeking advice on folk song
Most were genuinely interested in the subject, but some obviously wished to impress their examiners and chose to do so by trying to say something 'different'
Harker seems to have done this by choosing to largely ignore the advice he was given and by distorting or exaggerating the known facts to an often outrageous degree.
Brian's step-by-step placing his claims beside what actually happened puts this approach in a nutshell

At the time, Fakesong was more or less rejected by the committed folk enthusiasts - unfortunately, now that the survival of Folk Song as a seriously regarded art form depends on clarity and a clear understanding of the uniqueness and social importance of the genre, a few seem to clung on to Harker's distortions and, in doing so, have added to the "nobody knows what folk song is any more" fog that hangs over the folk scene like an old London Pea-souper.
I'm afraid I would put Steve Roud's otherwise admirable, 'Folk Song in England' and his (and other's) redefining of the term 'folk' to include "everything the folk sang", very much a part of that 'foggy' problem.

As the founders of the 'Irish Tradition Music Archive' appear to have decided when they were setting up their invaluable organisation, the best way to guarantee a future for your music was to make sure that you yourselves understood it in ll its significance and uniqueness
That is why they have helped create a situation where Irish traditional music has been more-or-less guaranteed an at least two generation future

I would like to make clear that I am referring only to what appears to be happening in England; the magnificent 'Kist o' Riches' site seems to indicate that Scotland doesn't have the same miasma hanging over its traditional music
The mammoth Carpenter Collection can only help add to that clarity (as did the magnificent 8 volume Greig/Duncan collection before it) though it would be interesting to imagine what kind of 'jobbie' Harker would have deposited on them had he got his hands on them !
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 06:22 AM

I predicted excremental comment.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 06:23 AM

I would like to make clear that I am referring only to what appears to be happening in England; the magnificent 'Kist o' Riches' site seems to indicate that Scotland doesn't have the same miasma hanging over its traditional music
True, but at the same time, there are some pretty dubious characters represented in that worthy collection. Try, for example, searching that database for the words "Vic Smith".


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 06:29 AM

Well, didn't you say earlier in the thread that you're now laying claim to 'traditional singer' status, Vic? ?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 06:29 AM

Second question mark should have been a smiley! What went wrong??


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

What Brian has, of course, demonstrated is, in some detail, that "Fakesong. The Manufacture of Folksong 1700 to the Present Day" by Dave Harker is not a book about fakes and forgeries, despite a widespread 'idee fausse' that it is.

I have made this point several times.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 07:29 AM

"I predicted excremental comment."

"Try, for example, searching that database for the words "Vic Smith"."
You'd forgive a site as good as that a few errors :-)

"What Brian has, of course, demonstrated is, in some detail, that "Fakesong. The Manufacture of Folksong 1700 to the Present Day" by Dave Harker is not a book about fakes and forgeries, despite a widespread 'idee fausse' that it is."
And there it is
You must tell fortunes
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 07:38 AM

"Fakesong" is not a book about fakes and forgeries, despite a widespread 'idee fausse' that it is."

The alleged 'fakes and forgeries' were a key part of Harker's attack on the concept of folk song. What I've tried to demonstrate was that, in this respect at least, the scholarship was extremely poor and agenda-driven.

One of Vic Gammon's complaints is of having "barely digested Harker fed back" to him by academics who wish to invalidate the whole field of folk music studies. Steve Roud's work is in a different league of scholarship.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 08:09 AM

1 In fact it almost seems fair to describe the belief that "Fakesong" is a book about fakes and forgeries as an "idee fixe".

2 To the best of my knowledge nobody on this site can claim to be either a peasant/member of the common folk *as Sharp defined them* or a 'remnant' of such peasantry, though as Sharp was not really clear about what he meant by 'remnant', it is difficult to be clear here. I am aware of shifting definitions and emphases through time (and you don't need Harker's historical survey to be aware of this, though it certainly brings the changes into focus) and that within certain definitions of 'traditional' present parties may be able to lay claim to be 'traditional' or 'revival' singers. But they are not Sharp's 'folk'.

3 It might be worth reading what Brian wrote with some care: in many cases he admits that Sharp tinkered, and offers excuses for it or attempts to offer pleas in mitigation (hate courtroom metaphors - but too lazy to think of another). In some cases he agrees with Harker. This shows commendable open-mindedness.

4 Nobody as yet as considered what Sharp and/or his various collaborators did with the **music**. He *harmonised* it. He set the songs down with clear and unvarying metres. Referring to Sharpe's own field observations, he does not change key mid way through a song (or more subtly in the course of a song as has been commented on in the work of some 20th century 'traditional' singers). He does not change the tune in the course of a song or from iteration to iteration. He selected one tune for each song.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 08:32 AM

Hello Brian,

Interesting comment as usual. I absolutely share Gammon's impatience with 'barely digested Harker'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 08:39 AM

Second question mark should have been a smiley! What went wrong??


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 08:48 AM

"present parties may be able to lay claim to be 'traditional' or 'revival' singers. But they are not Sharp's 'folk'."

We didn't say we were. Vic had his tongue slightly in cheek, I think, and there are people who could be said to straddle the divide, but most of us retain a distinction between 'Revival' and 'Tradition'.

"in many cases he admits that Sharp tinkered, and offers excuses for it or attempts to offer pleas in mitigation"

Just about everybody who has ever published collections of songs for singing has been obliged to 'tinker', with the exception of Roud & Bishop who purposely chose not to. Even the best material collected in the field is often flawed in some way that might make it an unattractive prospect for the singer. I use a lot of original field-collected songs, but I change just about all of them in ways from superficial to significant, where possible using other collected versions as Sharp did. Variation is built in to the subject matter, so there is no definitive version. To explain that material once considered obscene had to be bowdlerized is not an 'excuse'.

"He *harmonised* it. He set the songs down with clear and unvarying metres. He does not change the tune in the course of a song or from iteration to iteration. He selected one tune for each song."

This is true of the books of songs arranged for piano. Not the case with his Appalachian collection, which prints multiple melodic variants of most of the titles, rhythmic irregularities, and individual singers' variations. His field notes (now easily accessible) transcribe all of these as well. Most singers then and (with some exceptions) now would find that kind of information distracting.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 08:49 AM

Come on Vic, what's the secret?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 08:52 AM

"He does not change the tune in the course of a song or from iteration to iteration. He selected one tune for each song.

He discusses all that in "Some Conclusions". Have a look at his transcription of Henry Lancombe's variations (pages 21 and 22) which I asked about a couple of days ago.

I may have got the wrong impression, but that one I get from reading about Sharp is that so far as transcriptions made at the time, by ear, go he was better than most in the pre-phonograph days.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 08:58 AM

Crossed with Brian Peters. My impression seems to be on the right lines.

"... I change just about all of them in ways from superficial to significant ..." The pebble polishing goes on.

(I copied the smiley from the page source of Vic Smith's post)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 09:25 AM

Re Pseud's last post:

Point 1: the "Fakesong" chapter in "One for the Money" may make it clearer what the title was intended to imply - that "folk song" as generally perceived in Anglo-America is not, and can't become, an expression of class consciousness with revolutionary potential. He sometimes says folkie leftists were deluding themselves about this, sometimes he seems to imply deliberate self-promotion because the political facts were stark staring obvious. But the question of whether the raw material was sometimes bogus is very secondary.

Point 4: Roud and Bishop are helpful on this, with their comparison of Sharp with Grainger. Like Bartok, Grainger used a sound recorder and notated what it told him. Which meant irregular rhythms, variation from verse to verse and microtonality (to the point of modal modulation). And in the last point, Grainger was far in advance of his successors - try persuading anyone who sings with a guitar or in front of a band with keyboards and a sax to do it. (More - no revival singer I know of has ever tried to get inside the idiom and understand what the microtonality is doing. Here, the idioms of the Middle East and Mediterranean have 2000 years of fully conscious understanding to draw on).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 09:39 AM

Regarding Joe's question about whether stuff was written for kids:

Bearman points out that Sharp's publications (not school-aimed ones) were aimed at consumers who had pianos, which were relatively cheap at that time. So they were aimed at family audiences. He also says that Sharp and Marson had to underwrite the costs themselves and get pre-publication sponsorship so they were taking the risk personally. One feels Bearman admires the capitalist risk-taking involved.

Jack: as always yr post is interesting and thought provoking. Tks.


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

Two examples of songs that have had some form of mediation, collected from Dorset.
The first is an obvious re-write of George Roper's traditional 'Harvest Song' better known to us as 'All of a row'. The Hammonds collected a second version from Henry Dickenson Gundry of Cerne Abbas, that appears to have come straight out of the drawing room, after a serious re-write. However there is no evidence that Parson Gundry was responsible.
Secondly I collected two versions of the 'Nutting girl' one with the usual 'Nutting we will go' chorus complete with sexual imagery, and the second from a retired ploughman called Lewis Downton of Stratton Dorset, who had a version that had no sexual connotations, and even the chorus had been changed to 'To-ran-a-Nanty Nan' refrain.
He had learned the song from his family.
In the light of the theme of this thread, where does the collector stand, when he is under the spotlight of his fieldwork? Objective? Subjective? Judgmental? Non Judgmental? or in my case completely mental! Could it be that the Folklorist can't do right for doing wrong? Where is the working class to be found, when we hear of a road sweeper being sacked for dealing in stocks and shares on his mobile, when he should have been cleaning the road. Not easy is it? I suppose the old saying comes to mind. 'If you don't know where you're going you are very unlikely to arrive.' Genuine question. Did Dave Harker ever collect any Folk Songs?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 10:39 AM

He was a collector in the same sense that Child was a collector. (In other words an editor.) The John Bell Song Collection.

Where does the collector stand? I suppose you do your best and don't attempt to deceive anybody. Unfortunately some of 'em didn't do that.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 11:02 AM

Where is the working class to be found, when we hear of a road sweeper being sacked for dealing in stocks and shares on his mobile, when he should have been cleaning the road?

Now there's a song challenge.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Feb 20 - 12:36 PM

A song challenge:

QUINCE: … it shall be written in eight and six.

BOTTOM
No, make it two more; let it be written in eight and eight.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 03:21 AM

"To the best of my knowledge nobody on this site can claim to be either a peasant/member of the common folk"
Can't speak for anybody here, but though the terminology might have changed somewhat down the years, I doubt if there are many here who woudn't be happy to hold their hands up to coming from "common" origins - some of us wear our background as a badge

For all Sharp's problems in coming from the age he did, one of the things that distinguishes him from Harker and his disciples is the respect he had the older generation of singers, and for the songs they sang, or that's the impression I get from reading 'Some Conclusions' or that highly respectful but analytical biography by Fox-Strangeways

We chose the title for our article on Walter Pardon from a conversation we had with a well-known folkie who insisted Walter Pardon and other source singers couldn't tell the difference between 'Broomfield Hill' and 'When the Fields are White With Daisies" - "why should they, they were simple countrymen"
That attitude persists, and while it does we will never begin to understand the uniqueness of folk songs and how they resonated among the people who sang them
That is the point that Harker overlooked or ignored when he embarked on his crusade to prove 'folk song' was 'Fake News'   

From an interview with Walter:

J.C.         If you had the choice Walter... if somebody said to you one night they were going to ask you to sing say half-a-dozen or a dozen songs even, of all your songs, what would be the choice, can you think offhand what you would choose to sing?

W.P.         The Pretty Ploughboy' would be one, that's one; 'Rambling Blade' would be another one, 'The Rambling Blade' would be two, 'Van Dieman's Land' three, 'Let The Wind Blow High or Low', that'd be four, 'Broomfield Hill', that's five, 'Trees The Do Grow High', six, that'd be six.

Despite claims to the contrary, in our over thirty years experience of collecting, Walter appeared to be the rule rather than the exception
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 05:29 AM

Did Dave Harker ever collect any Folk Songs?
I very much doubt it.
there are people involved with folk music who are doers and others who are trying to make a reputation for themselves by being negative or controversial. i doubt if Harker has ever collected any folk song or run a festival or run a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 05:59 AM

The Big Red Songbook is a song collection, some of which you'd have been hard put to find anywhere else when it came it. He's published a LOT about folk music, particularly from the North-East of England.

Given the low opinion of guest-booking folk clubs he expresses in "one for the Money" (an opinion I largely share) I can't imagine him ever running one.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 06:42 AM

The Big Red Song Book (Protest songs) includes quite a few newly composed songs (including for some unfathomable reason, 'First Time Ever), not of which the were approached for permission for their use
Harker was the editor, the authors were Geoff White and Mal Collins
I don't think his involvement in that publication indicates much of an interest in folk song, neither do his comments in 'One For the Money'
The only song I have ever known him to write in at length was one I am totally unfamiliar with, 'The Real Arthur O'Bradley O' (I do know of 'Arthur O'Bradley's Grey Mare' but have no idea what makes the other 'real')

When Harker was writing I understood the North Easter folk clubs were doing pretty well for guests and residents, but 'good and bad' always has been a matter of taste as long as you stuck to the label on the tin, as far as I'm concerned
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 06:50 AM

Fakesong is actually dedicated to 'Maureen, ex-sectretary, Cutty Wren Folk Club, Redcar, Yorkshire'.

As Jack says, The Big Red Song Book demonstrates Harker's interest in active singing, but there's not much traditional stuff in there. I would hazard a guess that he regarded Sharpian folk song with disdain - you'll be hard put to find a word of praise for Sharp or any of the other collectors in noting down all that material, whereas people like me regard that as a huge achievement in itself.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 07:08 AM

Harker dedicated it to Maureen, Redcar folk club was run by John Taylor.
MY POINT STILL STANDS HE WAS NOT AN ORGANISER OR DOER HE NEVER RAN A FOLK CLUB OR FESTIVAL AND I DOUBT IF HE EVER RAN A FOLK CLUB,I doubt if he ever collected any folk songs
However he does appear to be controversial and possibly thought that this would help sell his book.as far as i am concerned he is just another wanker


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 07:18 AM

i should have said somebody who likes to intellectually masturbate .Cecil Sharp was a doer , he got on his bike and collected a vast amount of songs, and i am indebted to him.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 07:52 AM

Well, I think it's time to go out on the porch and consider John Moulden's suggestions about being politer than polite. That and the policies of this web site.

For me, the questions of whether or not Dave Harker ever collected any songs or ran a folk club or produced a book of songs are immaterial to the value or otherwise of his book.

Speaking hypothetically, a poster who had repeatedly misrepresented other posters, and who continued to do this despite being asked not to do it would lack credibility as a mediator of what anybody said.

Undated quotations from recorded conversations between folksong activists and their close friends do not for me carry much weight in providing to our knowledge of the past.

"the terminology might have changed somewhat down the years". I wonder whether this might be interpreted as not registering the fact that it isn't the 'terminology' has changed: the definitions have changed. Harker is just one in a long line of commentators who have pointed this out. For some A L Lloyd played a crucial part in this.

Just a reminder that when Sharp referred to the peasants, he meant illiterate people. So if people here wanted to claim in writing on an internet site that they do fall within Sharp's repeated and firmly stated definition of peasantry, on the basis that they are 'common', that would be up to them. Such a claim would strike a person with even a passing acquaintance of Sharp's writing as the complete absurdity that it is. Especially were such a person from a large urban conurbation and had undergone various sorts of training, not least at the hands of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 07:56 AM

Above post garbled: but you'll get the sense of it.


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