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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Steve Gardham 23 Jan 20 - 09:42 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 20 - 09:36 AM
Vic Smith 23 Jan 20 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Jan 20 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Jan 20 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 23 Jan 20 - 05:25 AM
GUEST,jag 23 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 20 - 03:45 AM
The Sandman 23 Jan 20 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Jan 20 - 03:01 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 23 Jan 20 - 02:57 AM
Joe Offer 22 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM
The Sandman 22 Jan 20 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 22 Jan 20 - 04:48 PM
Vic Smith 22 Jan 20 - 04:27 PM
Vic Smith 22 Jan 20 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM
The Sandman 22 Jan 20 - 12:30 PM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 20 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 11:14 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 20 - 09:06 AM
Vic Smith 22 Jan 20 - 07:23 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 20 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 06:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 22 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM
Joe Offer 22 Jan 20 - 05:30 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 20 - 05:15 AM
Joe Offer 22 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jan 20 - 04:56 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 01:17 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 08:50 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 03:08 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 01:38 PM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 01:28 PM
Vic Smith 21 Jan 20 - 01:22 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 01:00 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jan 20 - 01:00 PM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 12:57 PM
Brian Peters 21 Jan 20 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,jag 21 Jan 20 - 11:28 AM
Lighter 21 Jan 20 - 10:58 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 09:42 AM

Having already translated some of the E&S ballads in 1840 (Engelsk og Skotiske Folkevisor), including some of Buchan's specials, G tried to influence Child to stop criticising the Scottish ballads in his headnotes, his opinion being they were all genuine, contrary to literary opinion of the time and earlier. This may have had a bearing on Child ceasing to critique the ballads half way through publishing.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 09:36 AM

Child-Grundtvig.
I think Grundtvig is best described as Child's mentor. Child actually paid him quite a lot for his information on European ballads (not all of it of course, Child was a multi-linguist). Hustvedt is probably the most accessible source on their relationship.

As for influence, in many ways, and in the earlier days, Child was very influenced by G but he was also his own man and would not be dictated to. It was Grundtvig who suggested the pattern of publishing, romantic, historical etc, based on his own Mammoth work nearly twice the size of Child's.

Not risking any more till this gets posted.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 08:57 AM

Pseudonymous wrote: -
I am sorry that Vic Smith is upset
He isn't. However he is interested in the motives of a person who chooses to use terms like a "cottage industry" in response to a traditional singing family's willingness to share their background, history and songs with a folk revival that is anxious to hear about them.
The same person wanted to describe them as "consummate performers" despite apparently never having seen them and when it is pointed out the Coppers behave in a way that is no different whether they are singing in a public performance or in wide variety of other business and social settings (which I firmly believe to be the case) then alters the view to suggest that "For me appearing to be 'endearingly shambolic' would be a feat of consummate showmanship." That, of course, is based on my casual comment rather than any factual study of a range of observations.
It is puzzling and I do not understand the motives. One suggestion that has been posted above is that is trolling. I am prepared to accept that this is not the case but it would be helpful to see the reasoning behind the comments.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 08:39 AM

Returning to Harker, Child and Balladry.

Does anybody who has read the book have a view on how far Harker is fair in calling Child Gruntvig's student?

How much of an impact did Gruntvig have on the final selection?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 06:32 AM

jag
Good point in that last paragraph, thank you for the post (and I mean that)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 05:25 AM

I don't know how you folks have time to read any books … you always seem to be posting comments here...
Thanks to Brian Peters for reminding me of that quote from an article I wrote 17 years ago!
Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM

A really interesting post from Jon Dudley, thanks.

Sorry, it was me who accidently introduced the idea of Mrs Lee going to the pub into the discussion. I was just making the point that not feeling comfortable in an unfamiliar environment worked both ways, and pub and cottage where the ones that were mentioned.

Jon Dudley's comments on both the Coppers' clothing and likelyhood of them not neccessarily being unused to engaging with 'the gentry' are more in line with my readings on the social history of the period (and first hand accounts from a generation later). In fact I have a elderly neighbour who's wardrobe was much as Jon Dudley suggests for the Coppers (and maybe Fred Jordan) until we coaxed him towards the clothing rack in a charity shop (note for non Brits - charity by the givers, not to the buyers).

Bearing in mind the bimodal bourgois-worker view of things behind Harker's philosophy I would speculate on a practical aspect of Jon's "It would have been normal for farm workers, tradesmen or indeed anyone of the ‘working class’ to attend the back rather than the front door - historic and social convention. I suspect in those days anyone who came off the street rather than stepping down from a carriage or having servants ready with clean footware would probably come to the back door rather than mess up the doormat and hall carpet with mud and horse-shit.

@Psuedonymous - you are slacking. You missed commenting on the discrepancy between the scullery (I guess from Mrs Lee's account) or the drawing room (the Coppers). I have have no problem with details drifting in transmission especially if it helps tell the story (it's the folk process ...) . I could go on about the interview process for oral history accounts (on the basis of limited personal experience that doesn't fit with some assumptions made in this thread. One point is - if the intervier of the Coppers already knew about the account of the meeting with Mrs Lee not being in the drawing room, should they have sought confirmation ("So do I understand this properly, it was in the drawing room?") or let it pass. However, as a scholar I think Cole is at fault in not having fully researched the situation before making a sociological interpretation and misleading his readers.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 03:45 AM

Thanks, Joe
I'm happy to ignore any negative posts.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 03:25 AM

I too have aright to an opinion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 03:01 AM

Sorry I put "the key word here being 'shambolic". The key word, of course, was "endearing". That was the phrase Vic used in his original post, he did not just say 'shambolic'. For me appearing to be 'endearingly shambolic' would be a feat of consummate showmanship.

Once again, a good weekend to all.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 23 Jan 20 - 02:57 AM

Jon Dudley's post was interesting in more than one way and corrected some errors at least one of which I had noted myself. I'm glad he posted it: thank you.

It also illustrated several of my points: a) there is more than one way to tell the same story b) each way of telling, each selection of what to put in and what to leave out, reflects the teller as much as the facts of the matter.

I am sorry that Vic Smith is upset. His last post sketches in some useful and additional background, but for me nothing in it detracts from or contradicts the points I have made about the fascinating Copper family. Vic is of course entitled to interpret my posts however he sees fit. He writes of his 'discomfort at the way Bob's intention and motives are portrayed by Pseudonymous here'. I am left to guess what interpretation of what I put he came up with that left him so discomforted. But I hope he will accept that I intended no insult either to him or to the Coppers.

I admit that I did get a bit annoyed when I was given an incorrect grammatical analysis of the modal verb 'might' as used in the verb phrase 'might have felt' (an example of epistemic modality in the verb phrase; in this case occurring in a noun phrase functioning as the subject of the main clause whose verb was the declarative 'was') but I just let Brian have the last word on the matter to avoid getting into an argument. NB When Jim Carroll tells me I don't understand Shakespeare because I haven't been paying attention, I just laugh aloud. Such is the world of Mudcat.

As far as I am concerned (and Ord wrote a good PhD on similar topics relating to folk) and appearance of being shambolic would be apt for the folk genre, giving an authentic feel, in line with folk's tendency to see itself as being in opposition to the rest of popular, slick, commercial music and therefore appearing 'endearingly shambolic' - the key word here being 'shambolic' would be a feat of consummate showmanship. A lesser showman would just appear shambolic.

So this is sort of an apology, sort of not.

Returning to Harker, the thread could go on for ever. What he has to say on Child and balladry (ie post-Child 'research' arising from Child, Gerould etc) could be discussed in another thread, as could his comments on Lloyd. 'Breathtaking arrogance' was one phrase he used in connection with Lloyd, though at the end of his section on Child he sort of teams up with Lloyd by quoting a less than 100% admiring paragraph Lloyd wrote on Child's selection.

So for me, since this thread has got very long, I wouldn't mind if it did close. It has been interesting to discuss Harker's book, and I have got some more ideas for stuff to read, and have also had some pleasure listening to the Copper family singing again.

Thanks all. Have a good weekend.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:19 PM

    OK, that's enough.

    Pseudonymous can be annoying. All of us can be, at times. It's time to get on with this discussion and to stop being annoyed.

    I'm here to exchange ideas about music, to learn from other people, and to have a good time. There is no room here for doing battle, and it is my job to ensure that the music forum does not become a battleground of bickering.

    We've discussed closing threads at 250 posts, because so many of our threads seem to go nasty once they get beyond that size. Maybe we should. But this has been a very interesting discussion. Let's keep it that way. I'll reopen it for a while and see what happens.

    -Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:10 PM

joe offer, i do not like your choice of words , you appear to know very little about english tradtional singing,very little about nic jones and very little about walter pardon, you in your own words consider yourself a showman.
i would choose other words
    OK, that's enough. I think I own most of the Copper Family recordings, and I have listened to them over and over. I've read Bob Copper's A Song for Every Season and Songs and Southern Breezes. In both books, Bob Copper shows himself to be a very good storyteller. I have not attended a Copper Family performance and I've seen only a few YouTube videos. But whatever the case, my experience of them is very positive - and what I have said about him is a valid and honest opinion from my perspective. Your results may vary. And that's OK.
    But I have a right to my opinion, and there is no reason for you to make an issue of it.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 04:48 PM

Well, this is all very interesting. As one who very occasionally puts his head above the parapet, and if you don’t mind me returning rather late to the observations being made of the ‘collecting’ of the Copper Family, might I offer a few thoughts?...
Much of what has been written is in a language unfamiliar to me, of ‘socio’ this and ‘postconstructionalist’ that, so I’ve spent more time flying to the OED than is necessarily good for me. However, I think I see at least some of the points being made. The background of the situation surrrounding Mrs Kate Lee’s collecting from the two Copper brothers James and Tom is documented in the family exactly as Vic and Brian have indicated , that is through the prompting of Jim Copper’s memory by Francis Collinson. Quite simply it was an event that had occurred some 50+ years previously, but had not been of continuing significance to the family. Naturally, once Frank had pointed out the fact, Bob was fascinated and asked his father what he knew. Bearing in mind the social niceties of that time (the late 1890’s), attitudes were very different. The Rottingdean ‘squirearchy’ was predominantly Quaker and therefore of a more liberal persuasion than might have been encountered elsewhere, nonetheless, it was most unusual for women to use the local pubs which would have precluded any such musical interviews there by Mrs (not ‘Lady’ by the way) Lee. Apparently Kate Lee, already a noted singer and musicologist, had asked staff at Sir Edward Carson’s house where she was staying on a seaside holiday, if they knew of anyone who might be able to sing her the type of songs in which she was interested. The two Copper brothers were recommended and invited to attend the house at a given time. It would have been normal for farm workers, tradesmen or indeed anyone of the ‘working class’ to attend the back rather than the front door - historic and social convention. We know that they didn’t go in their working clothes, and they wouldn’t have had a vast wardrobe, so they would have donned their Sunday’ suits, worn and old as they were. Again, as others have noted, Mrs Lee had already placed a bottle of whisky, a jug of water and two glasses on the kitchen table, for this was all conducted in the scullery. The intention was clear, to put them at their ease. Whilst they were not the type of men to be easily discomfited, this would not have been a normal situation, and something for which they would have been unprepared. Being asked to sing to order in itself was unusual, unless it was in the realms of the pub, a sheep fair, or even at work, when a ‘gives us Shepherd of The Downs’ might have been shouted out in a busy bar. To ‘perform’ was the unusual bit, and not only that but to sings songs repeatedly in order that Kate Lee could gather both words and tune. The process was fairly time consuming so it was conducted over the course of three evenings with a bottle of whisky placed on the table each time!

Kate Lee obtained the songs by the simple stratagem of saying ‘do you have a love song’ or ‘do you have a song of the plough’ ‘a sea song’ or whatever - she wrote this in her account of her visit to Rottingdean which appeared in the first journal of The Folk Song Society. Because of their relatively elevated positions in the farm labouring community the Copper brothers would have mixed with the ‘gentry’ and indeed have been consulted on agricultural and sporting (hunting) matters so they were not cowed or inexperienced in their dealings. To say that they would have been surprised at anyone being quite so interested in their songs would I think be closer to the truth, but it didn’t alter the course of their lives! Incidentally, family lore tells us that the brothers were made honorary founder members of the FSS whereas in fact we now believe that Kate Lee paid their subscriptions - no matter, they were recognised for their contribution.

Coming late to Vic’s comments re. ‘consummate performers’, he has it right when he uses the term ‘shambolic’ - it’s sincere though and done with love!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 04:27 PM

I get to feeling very uncomfortable with the post by Pseudonymous at 22 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM. In particular I feel that motives and extra-musical considerations are being ascribed to the Copper family which are simply not there

Personally, the Copper family do appear to me to be consummate performers.
Can I ask you if you have seen a live performance by The Copper Family? If you could give time and place it would be a help. I must have seen them at least ten times a year over the last fifty-odd years and the words "consummate performers" do not come to mind; "endearingly shambolic" would be nearer the mark.

Not least because I like to hear harmonies sung and you don't often find it in English folk music.
Well, you do (or did) in their part of East Sussex; the Hills of East Dean and the Townsends of East Chiltington would be just two examples with family repertoires that had lots of cross-overs with that of the Coppers. Alternate sections and harmonies with "glee"-style harmonies were far from uncommon in both secular and church singing. The Coppers are unique in maintaining this today throughout the five generations of this family that I have heard sing.

Moreover, I think it is fair to say that they do run a sort of 'cottage industry' relating to their own heritage and skills. I think that people with such skills have probably used them in this way from time to time through the ages. And good luck to them: they are talented!
I can only think that the return of the 'cottage industry' phrase is designed to irritate as it did successfully in the Walter Pardon research thread. Indeed in his long post explaining why he closed that post, Joe Offer wrote: -
as soon as they settle down a bit, Pseudonymous or some other troll will come in and wind them up again. If I do away with Pseudonymous, some other troll will come in, so what's the use in doing away with Pseudonymous?

I think this shows what the moderators think of the role of Pseudonymous here.

Indeed, Vic Smith in his article said that with hindsight the interview with him might have been good practice for Copper who was about to engage in media interviews in connection with his book.
A subsequent impression of mine when I was transcribing the interview some 35 years after it took place.
I need to point out that the reason for the interview was for us to investigate the family story because Bob had asked us to help in running the folk club that he was planning to start. Perhaps I ought to have stuck to saying in the introduction - "However, we felt that we did not know enough about the family and we asked if we could come and record an interview so that we could get some background. (This was before Bob's first book was published and details of the family were not as well known as they are now) It was a fortuitous time to record him as he had just written his first book and had all the information fresh in his mind." This is the reason that in the transcription, I report Bob as saying this is the sort of thing that you want to know, isn't it? My motive in asking to interview Bob was that it would provide background for me to make sure that I didn't make any mistakes as the prospective compere of the Coppersongs Folk Club.
I feel it needs to be pointed out that when Bob, in his mid-50s started to write out various personal memories and had dug out his dad, Jim's writing it was for the benefit of John & Jill and for Jill's three songs (John's offspring were not born until later). Bob's first memories would have been during the 1st World War; Rottingdean/Peacehaven was very diferent by 1970 and the changes were what Bob wanted to explain. It was not until Peter Bellamy had read a rough draft and talked to Bob into considering publication that anything came of it and Bob started to rework things.

And the book, as Copper explains, was to come out earlier but was delayed to hit the Xmas market. I seem to remember that there was some sort of local connection, which Copper explains, to the publishing firm?
By the time of this interview - between writing and publication of A Man For All Seasons Bob had to work with Heinnemans on editing and had been asked to prepare himself for media interest as the publishers were starting to think that they had a potential top seller. They were right. However, publication was far from his initial thoughts when writing.

This post is to explain my discomfort at the way Bob's intention and motives are portrayed by Pseudonymous here. I have quoted what Joe Offer thinks, perhaps Pseudonymous could explain the purpose more clearly.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 02:34 PM

Pseudonymous 21 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM
However, in line with his postmodern approach Cole gives the view of Copper, the 'lower other' to use Cole's term.

Pseudonymous 22 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM
Vic's Cole's point is that the voices of the 'lower other' (presumably including the Coppers) has too often been missing from discussions of folklore.

Could I ask how "Vic" comes into it?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 02:09 PM

Vic's Cole's should have read Cole's.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM

It is a shame that Brian feels the way he does; I for one do respect his love for and knowledge of his subject and I have said so. I hope he will continue to share his views and experience. I do agree that perhaps 'hooey' was too strong a word, though I won't back down on my view that Copper is presenting himself and his family and is likely to leave out stuff that for various reasons he might not want people to know or which might not suit the impression he seeks to make, or which might not be what he thinks the interviewer wants. Indeed, at one point in the interview with Vic Smith he says something like 'I suppose this is the sort of thing you want'.

Personally, the Copper family do appear to me to be consummate performers. Not least because I like to hear harmonies sung and you don't often find it in English folk music. Moreover, I think it is fair to say that they do run a sort of 'cottage industry' relating to their own heritage and skills. I think that people with such skills have probably used them in this way from time to time through the ages. And good luck to them: they are talented!

Indeed, Vic Smith in his article said that with hindsight the interview with him might have been good practice for Copper who was about to engage in media interviews in connection with his book. And the book, as Copper explains, was to come out earlier but was delayed to hit the Xmas market. I seem to remember that there was some sort of local connection, which Copper explains, to the publishing firm?

I take Vic Smith's interesting point about 'oral history', which is part of an interesting post. This area is sort of linked to the themes raised by Harker and Cole about mediation. But it isn't, I suggest, quite as simple as could be assumed. When faced with historical sources, even at GCSE pupils are asked to evaluate these sources, analysing potential sources of bias. In pointing this out, I don't think I am being 'contrarian'.

Here is a web site about 'oral history' which makes exactly this sort of point. See the section on narrative and memory.

https://archives.history.ac.uk/makinghistory/resources/articles/oral_history.html

My point isn't 'contrarian'; it is mainstream.

Finally, I come back to Cole, which is where Copper comes into the discussion. Cole offers us two different perspectives on the same incident, one from the lady and one from Copper and invites us to consider how they differ. In one there is no mention of whisky; in the other Copper states that the brothers were not 'allowed' to leave until the bottle was empty and the lady's note book is full. Vic's Cole's point is that the voices of the 'lower other' (presumably including the Coppers) has too often been missing from discussions of folklore. What I am saying is that this still leaves those looking at the differing accounts in future years the problem of evaluating the evidence that they have from the past.

Have a nice evening everybody.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 12:30 PM

I dunno, Brian. It seems to me that Bob Copper was a consummate showman. joe offer.
for god sake, Bob Copper was just himself, to describe him as a consummate showman, is in my opinion inaccurate, its the same sort of inaccuracy as saying there was a walter pardon industry, or much worse that nic jones stole the guitar arrangement of canadeeio. these sort of statements, show the worst aspect of this forum.
consummate showman imo implies a flamboyant extrovert, a sort of modern day, harry lauder or derek brimstone
    I said what I said as a compliment. Don't try to divert this discussion into a battle because you don't like my choice of words.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 11:35 AM

Definitions of 'hooey': 'foolish', 'wrong', 'nonsense'.

"I seem to have misunderstood why Brian was making this point, and as it seems he is not claiming that the book includes well-documented research"

As you very well know, despite the leaden sarcasm, I discount entirely the notion that 'A Song for Every Season' contains 'hooey' (and am disappointed that Joe Offer first brought up the term).

I try not to fly off the handle or get personally affronted when people dangle wilfully contrarian and ill-informed comments on subjects I know and care about, but I've found some of the stuff written about Bob Copper above tasteless and trying. Assuming the rattle of hooves I hear in the distance is indeed the Three Billy Goats Gruff arriving to take over my shift, I'll abstain from further response for now.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 11:18 AM

Still reading Harker on Child and on 'balladry'. Some of those mentioned I have encountered before, eg Gerould, so I can make an attempt to see how far I think Harker represents their views fairly.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 11:14 AM

I think I might have misread something Brian put. When he wrote that Copper 'had a tremendous grasp of detail, and ample dedication to carry out thorough research and documentation' I took him to mean that I would find examples of these qualities in his book. This is why, taking Brian's word for it, I suggested that we might agree that the book included both hooey and well-documented research.

As I seem to have misunderstood why Brian was making this point, and as it seems he is not claiming that the book includes well-documented research, then obviously there can be no agreement of the sort I proposed.

Brian uses the word 'allegation' to refer to my point that what Copper says will be potentially biased. For me, it isn't the right word for the point I was making, and for me it wouldn't be the right word even if I put plain 'biased'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 09:06 AM

”Brian … I can't remember writing anything about Grandfather's Clock. You'd have to remind me where it might have been.”

Derek, I refer you to:
Schofield, D. (2004) Sowing the Seeds: Cecil Sharp and Charles Marson in Somerset in 1903. Folk Music Journal 8 (6), p 497

This includes the following quote from Cecil Sharp’s Hampstead lecture in1903:

“I could easily have filled my notebook with Music Hall songs, [Minstrel] songs, or with the popular songs of fifty years ago and less, such as ‘Grandfather’s Clock’, ‘A Life on the Ocean Wave’, ‘Woodman Spare That Tree’, ‘Wait Till the Clouds Roll By’ and drivel of that sort. Gradually however we worked through that stratum and eventually struck a rich vein of Real Folk Song, of the kind we were searching for...”

It’s an excellent article, and I commend it to you and others.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 07:23 AM

Pseudonymous wrote:-
Please don't tell me I am calling people 'liars': this isn't what I mean at all.
Certainly I would not call you a liar for what you are saying about Bob Copper but I would say that you are exhibiting a profound lack of empathy for the way that Bob expressed himself as well a complete misunderstanding of the way that we should regard Bob's statements, musings, reflections and stories. They are not academic attempts to get to the factual roots of past occurrences; they are Oral History and as such they are very important for informing us not only about events, but also about attitudes, opinions and a recognition of the things the go towards defining the spoken cultural heritage of a community. They are vital.

An interviewer should say as little as possible and give the informant his or her head about what is important in their view - and nearly always they are right. There are many points in the interviews that I have conducted where I have not realised the significance of what I have recorded until some time afterwards.

The interviewer should never express disbelief, never contradict, never challenge. This is not a media situation where a politician is being grilled on behalf of the public. It is much more intimate and eventually much more revealing than that. This became even more important when I interviewed some of the greatest tradition bearers amongst the Scots travellers - a severely marginalised group for whom the supernatural was part of their everyday lives. If I had said anything like, "That's not true - that didn't actually happen - I don't believe you." etc. then they would have dried up on me straight away and I would have failed to uncover the attitudes that led to their view of the world and that was what I was after.

I suppose what I have written reveals as much about myself as anything else; I have always been much more interested in people than raw information.

Coming back to Bob - and to his singing contemporaries in Sussex - the likes of Johnny Doughty, Gordon Hall, Bob Blake, Ron Spicer, Louie Fuller, George Belton, Scan Tester - all of whom I interviewed (probably others, I don't keep lists), usually but not always for the weekly BBC Radio Sussex folk music programme "Minstrels Gallery" which I introduced for 17 years, I can only thank them belatedly for the hours of enormous pleasure that I spent in their company and the huge insights that I gained from talking to them.

But particularly Bob Copper.... We used him on our programme many, many times during those years and he was such a great natural broadcaster and could speak knowledgeably on a wide range of subjects. I remember saying to him on one occasion after again being really impressed with his performance in front of a microphone, "You know, Bob, you could have been the BBC's countryman, another Franklin Engelmann, another John Arlott." But I knew that in those days on his wife's illness that he did not want to be away from home for more than a short while; so the trip over to our studios in Brighton would be about right. His reply was brief but firm - "Family first! Always family first." - and, as always, he was right.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 07:06 AM

"Perhaps we can agree that we find a mixture of 'hooey' and well-documented research in the work of Copper? Nothing to say that people cannot or do not produce both."

I suggest you wait until you've actually read the work of 'Copper' (ugh) before making a pronouncement like this, and expecting anyone to agree to it.

"When I read the Vic Smith interview, I was reminded in part of those TV programmes where a guest has a product just on the market and this inevitably is mentioned during the programme. Nothing wrong with this, and it doesn't not imply that the product is poor quality."

We're not talking about quality here. You've brought up an allegation of 'bias', which suggests you believe that Bob Copper's account of life and singing culture in Rottingdean may be unreliable. I'd like to know how you can justify this, on the basis apparently of a single interview, albeit one which includes a wealth of extremely important detail.

"A lot of modern folk singers and musicians are professional or semi-professional, as indeed is Brian himself. The Coppers seem to fall into this category."

The Coppers run a very attractive website these days, not surprisingly since certain family members are professional graphic designers. Of course the family has been paid for their guest appearances, but again I don't see how this bears on the accuracy of Bob Copper's testimony in 1971, which is what we are talking about.


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

As usual, Brian makes an interesting contribution to the discussion.

Perhaps we can agree that we find a mixture of 'hooey' and well-documented research in the work of Copper? Nothing to say that people cannot or do not produce both.

When I read the Vic Smith interview, I was reminded in part of those TV programmes where a guest has a product just on the market and this inevitably is mentioned during the programme. Nothing wrong with this, and it doesn't not imply that the product is poor quality.

A lot of modern folk singers and musicians are professional or semi-professional, as indeed is Brian himself. The Coppers seem to fall into this category.

This is a source of tension for some in the folk world, I think, who have in the past tended to define themselves in opposition to the world of commercialism, or in the case of others, to capitalism. We have discussed this already in connection with Harker, William Morris etc.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 06:07 AM

I made my admiration for the Copper family explicit a few posts back.

Like Brian, Cole praised Copper's book, so it's on my list, which is very long. In addition the Copper family have a web site offering a discography and a range of print-based products, including song-books. It 'links' section leads to various interviews and articles. They also have a facebook page. As I have said before, I don't see anything wrong with people embracing, to whatever extent, commercial possibilities for their work. If all this isn't promotional (and therefore potentially biased i.e. showing a preference one way or another) …

I like Joe's word 'showman' even though perhaps it isn't the word an English person would use in this context.

The last paragraph in my post on 1.17 am (as recorded here) was a general one, not one aimed at the Copper family. And I think it is a point worth making in general.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:36 AM

Brian … I can't remember writing anything about Grandfather's Clock. You'd have to remind me where it might have been.

Regarding Sharp and music hall songs. Of course he didn't collect them, unless by accident. He wrote in the introduction to The Country Dance Book part 1 in 1909:
"In the village of today the polka, waltz and quadrille are steadily displacing the old-time country dances and jigs, just as the tawdry ballads and strident street-songs of the towns are no less surely exterminating the folk-songs" P. 7. No doubt there are similar quotes in other publications, such as "poverty-stricken tunes of the music-hall … superficial attractiveness" … "coarse music-hall songs" English Folk Song: Some Conclusions, pages 135 and 137.

I only look at Mudcat once or twice a day, so I'm inevitably way behind on the discussion.

Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:30 AM

Hi, Brian, I think we're observing the same thing, but it may be a bifference between US and UK perception.
Whatever the case, my perception is that Bob Copper was absolutely delightful and absolutely credible. I myself have been accused at times of being a showman, so I think this is cool.
Joe


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:15 AM

Joe, I can assure you that Bob Copper was just as entertaining, fascinating and generous in private as in public. He regularly amazed me with his depth of knowledge. It really wasn't 'hooey'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:10 AM

I dunno, Brian. It seems to me that Bob Copper was a consummate showman, and I mean that as a compliment (and I think Pseudonymous does, too). But showmen always have a bit of "hooey" to them, and that's why we love them. I've never met Bob Copper in person, but his recordings and his books hold me in thrall.
Nobody can be as good as Bob Copper seems to be, but he had whatever magic it takes to make me a True Believer.
Joe


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 04:56 AM

"a person with a mastery of story-telling, with a tendency to embroider a tale"

I spent quite a bit of time with Bob Copper, though I didn't know him as well as Vic, to whose judgement I would defer. However, what I can tell you about him is that, apart from his undoubted skills as a raconteur and writer, he had a tremendous grasp of detail, and ample dedication to carry out thorough research and documentation. Just read the interview with Vic, and the depth of knowledge that Bob displays. It doesn't rest on romantic imagination, and reads nothing like a 'promo puff' of the kind you're implying. That's just daft.

The phrase I described as 'embroidered' was carefully worded by Bob and it's clear which bit is speculative. I suggest you read 'A Song for Every Season' - it really is a wonderful book - before making claims of 'bias' - whatever you think that might mean in the present context.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 01:17 AM

I was reviewing the thread and found this in one of Brian's interesting posts on discussion of the Copper family in Cole:

"However, when Bob wrote up the story in 'A Song for Every Season', he clearly used his mastery of story-telling to embroider the tale with some speculation of his own about how his forebears might have felt … "

I cannot remember where but I have come across the phrase 'self mediation'; I think the example was early 20th century informants holding back stuff they did not want to sing to collectors or did not think collectors would want. But it might apply to a person with a mastery of story-telling, with a tendency to embroider a tale.'

Without any disrespect to the Copper family, they do have a talent for self-presentation, and this will be partly linked to broader projects such as a book launch (in the example from Vic Smith) or CD releases etc. So this is a source of potential 'bias' in their accounts. In saying this I am just taking a step back and trying to see how their words and written prose may be viewed in later times by music historians trying to get to grips with it. I am not criticising: as I have said, I like what I know of them.

It seems that some people who sing folk and are collected from, and who are asked about what songs mean to them, are also good story tellers; this in itself casts doubt on how far one can rely on their accounts of the origins of songs, family lore, does it not? Please don't tell me I am calling people 'liars': this isn't what I mean at all.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 08:50 PM

SG
"I don't think [Ilka Moor] would stand up to the variation factor.."

Well, wiki has this: 'Some singers add the responses "without thy trousers on" after the fourth line of each verse, and "where the ducks play football" after the seventh. Other variations include "where the nuns play rugby", "where the sheep fly backwards", "where the ducks fly backwards", "where the ducks wear trousers", "an' they've all got spots", and "where they've all got clogs on".

I've also heard: "...and they've all got tits on", "...where the ducks play rugby", and "...where Sir Geoff plays cricket". Sufficient variation there, surely?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 03:58 PM

response disappeared! Oh, well that's gone. haven't got time to keep typing out the same stuff over and over.
    Steve, Highlight [CTRL-A] and Copy [CTRL-C] long posts to your computer's clipboard before posting, just in case your post doesn't "take." Then you can Paste [CTRL-V] it into a new message box or into a word processing document to save for later posting. Of course, I rarely remember to do this.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 03:21 PM

I think we made some minor changes to Ilkley Moor and these relate to differences between regional characteristics in English. Basically, we didn't do the 't' thing where I grew up, and we don't sing it except in the chorus line. We sing 'then ducks will come and eat up worms' etc. Probably not significant variance.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 03:08 PM

I am amazed at the knowledge and work on folksong and the dedication that some posters on this thread demonstrate. It is honestly humbling! And so nice not to get into overheated repetitions of the same engrained points of view.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 02:08 PM

Me too. Also Tradsong Yahoo forum got a message from one of EFDSS giving info on the Roy Palmer lectures and the attachment gave the same message.
Steve Roud's on it so hopefully it will be fixed quickly.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:38 PM

@Vic Smith. I get the same. It looks like their web site is not working properly. It's been working within the recent life of this discussion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:37 PM

OK Jag, we're in agreement then.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:28 PM

@Brian Peters. Sorry, I wasn't clear. I was taking Lighter's point and going further to say that not only is more required to understand "working class life" but more is required to understand even the more restricted "musical life of the working class".

I wasn't faulting the collectors from not representing the wider musical life (and some such as Alfred Williams did), I was faulting the sociologists and anthropologists for either going too with something that is so incomplete or claiming that the 'mediators' went too far.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:22 PM

I thought that I would check this song for Pseudonymous so I clicked on my much-used link to the Roud index - last used successfully to get the Roud numbers that I posted earlier today but when I did I got this message: -

That page is not recognised

Apologies for the inconvenience, but the page you have requested has not been recognised.

You are probably trying to look at a deleted or out-of-date page.

To find the page or event listing you were after, please go to either The English Folk Dance and Song Society site, The Cecil Sharp House site, or The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library site and either search for the page, or browse through the menus.

If you still can't find what you're after please feel free to email us for help.

Could anyone tell me what is happening (and if they are encountering a similar problem?)
All the sites in the "To find the page...." sentence were provided with links and can't get any of them to work.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:14 PM

I think there's a thread on it somewhere. There is actually a full book on it by I think Arthur Kellett. Apparently it dates from the 1920s among ramblers from the big cities. I've known it practically all my life, being a Yorkshireman, but I don't think it would stand up to the variation factor. It certainly started off in a specific community and then was taken up as some sort of Yorkshire anthem, so then a wider community; much like the broadside ballads actually.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:05 PM

Has On Ilkley Moor bar t'at got a Roud number yet? Because I know a family where two generations learned it orally, though with what variations I don't know as I never saw or heard an original? We sing this when making an appropriate journey and with our tongues in our cheeks and a due respect for regional varieties of the English language I hope.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:00 PM

Thank you Jag and Lighter for showing me what I should have put.

I am thinking of partly something MacColl said about studying music in context. A recent discussion shows that his attempt to do this with Scottish Travellers has met with a mixed reception. I think he probably was attempting some sort of ethnomusicology.

Just a point: while I am trying to get clear (in my own head as much as anywhere else, this is one point of discussion, to learn) what Harker does and does not say, this does not necessarily mean that I agree with his points!

For example, though I can see why he does it, I wish he wouldn't use the phrase 'social-Darwinist' quite so often (maybe I've just read the same passages several times?)

By the way, one thing I liked about Vic Smith's Copper article was that the date and the context were both clear. One can find 'in your own words' pieces made up of quotations from various interviews at various times, with no background and context. If an interviewee has been spoken with over a reasonably long period in time, it may be that their views have altered. This is ok as journalism, but if people later come along (say 50 years later) and want to draw serious information and so on it is less than helpful.

Interesting thread, hoping to focus myself on what Harker has to say about Child - and Grundtwig - especially the latter's contribution.

Of course, not all the 'collectors' Harker discusses were song collectors, or even collectors from the oral tradition; a lot of them seem to have collected mainly antiquarian manuscripts especially those in earlier chapters.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:00 PM

Henry Mayhew??
>>>>>isn't that a good deal better than nothing<<<<
>>>>>>everybody we know is eternally grateful to all of the collectors for what they did?<<<<<< Steve 9.25 am (3.25 BSTish)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 12:57 PM

SG:
"Perhaps in hindsight, they could have made a comment that their singers also sang other material than what they collected. Were these other items (parlour songs, Music Hall etc.)..? I know you are aware of this but their collections do include quite a few songs that were definitely Music Hall and parlour songs. And what of those of us who were collecting in the 60s? Should we have ignored Music Hall songs?"

I know that Sharp did in the case of 'Grandfather's Clock' a piece of info I got from one of Derek's publications. There may be more examples of exclusions (*Derek?), though even Harker concedes that he noted 'Down in a Coal Mine' from Louie Hooper, and there may have been others. Certainly in the Appalachians he made value judgements about the material he heard and admitted excluding items, but he also collected and sometimes published American songs including some relatively recent ones (civil war, etc), minstrel songs, hymns and sentimental parlour pieces. My case in the FMJ paper was that he opened the gates a bit wider with each successive year.

Of course you shouldn't have excluded Music Hall songs, Steve. Quite apart from the changing focus to reflect a complete repertoire, by the time you were in the field those songs had been around a lot longer with (a least potentially) more time to be assimilated. Of course that doesn't rule out the possibility that some were learned from the radio, but that wouldn't rule them out to a later C20 collector, especially given the American experience.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 12:45 PM

"Yes, though an understanding of the musical life of working class people should rely on more than just some of the songs."

But they weren't trying to do that either. If the work of the collectors happened in passing to shed at least some light on he musical culture of the rural working class, isn't that a good deal better than nothing. Who else was studying working class culture at he time (genuine question).


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 11:28 AM

I'd expect that an understanding of working-class life must rely far more heavily on other sources than tunes and songs.

Yes, though an understanding of the musical life of working class people should rely on more than just some of the songs.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 10:58 AM

> some mediators run the risk of/have misrepresented working-class life as lived.

Few (if any) song mediators have been sociologists or anthropologists , or even thought of their work in those terms, so this is a bit like criticizing novelists, perhaps, for not being academic postmodern theorists.

I'd expect that an understanding of working-class life must rely far more heavily on other sources than tunes and songs - though those sources would obviously include non-musical lore.


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