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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Vic Smith 13 Aug 15 - 09:12 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Aug 15 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Jan 20 - 05:02 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Jan 20 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Jan 20 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Jan 20 - 07:05 PM
Joe Offer 10 Jan 20 - 07:10 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 20 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Jan 20 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Jan 20 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 11 Jan 20 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Jan 20 - 12:43 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 20 - 02:02 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 20 - 02:13 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 20 - 02:29 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jan 20 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Jan 20 - 07:24 PM
RTim 11 Jan 20 - 09:59 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 03:48 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:13 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 06:12 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 06:31 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 06:36 AM
Richard Mellish 12 Jan 20 - 06:51 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 07:19 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 08:12 AM
Howard Jones 12 Jan 20 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 10:15 AM
The Sandman 12 Jan 20 - 10:52 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 12 Jan 20 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Jan 20 - 11:35 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 20 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 12 Jan 20 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Hi Lo 12 Jan 20 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 12 Jan 20 - 01:31 PM
Richard Mellish 12 Jan 20 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Jan 20 - 04:24 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,jag 12 Jan 20 - 04:44 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:47 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:50 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:57 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:57 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,jag 12 Jan 20 - 05:06 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Jan 20 - 05:18 PM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 09:12 AM

Phil Edwards wrote -
"Is there a ballad-by-ballad commentary on Child anywhere? I'm thinking of something that would go through each ballad printed by Child & document.... where Child got it from (as far as we know)


There is none that I know of but might not Bertrand Harris Bronson's 4-volume The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads or even his abridged 1 volume The Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads be the sort of thing that you are seeking.

Both are available from Pete Shepheard's website by clicking here. Of course, you may have to re-mortage your house to get them for as Pete points out - "second hand copies of the four volumes have been fetching well over £1000."


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 09:46 AM

Phil,
The ESPB itself is still the prevailing commentary on each of the 305 ballads. Yes, further versions have surfaced since his time and he was largely blissfully unaware that some of these ballads existed on his own doorstep. The first stopping point for all scholars is still usually what Child had to say about the ballad in his headnotes to each ballad. The next point might be Bronson or finding out if anything further has been done on a particular ballad. There are some glaring errors but these are simply because he didn't have the necessary information at that time. For instance, many of his notes to Child 20 actually apply to 21 but from the info he had he wasn't to know that.

Matt, yes most came from existing collections. Child was a scholar and editor, not a collector. Some came solely from broadsides (e.g. most of Robin Hood ballads) but not that many.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Jan 20 - 05:02 PM

I've read a lot about this book, including this thread, but only just begun to read it. Just after the library says it will get hold of a copy for me, I discover it is online at the archive.org web site. I discovered this by chance when googling. So I'm sharing the knowledge, since 2nd hand copies are expensive.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jan 20 - 06:12 PM

Pseu,
When you've finished reading it, if you are interested, I can give you some concrete examples of fakery by some of those accused, but as we've said earlier for the majority of those accused, we simply have no way of knowing the actual extent of it. There are some excellent academic books and theses not so well-known that go into the fakery that was taking place in the eighteenth century. David C Fowler is excellent in this respect, and I've come across several academics who imply that many of the ballads in the Child canon were deliberately fabricated by sophisticated hands in the eighteenth century, and this continued through into the early-nineteenth. Chambers may have been wrong when he attributed many of them to one writer, but his thesis may have been correct if applied to several writers, all possibly co-operating or being tutored.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Jan 20 - 07:03 PM

Hello Steve

This is a very kind offer; I really do appreciate it.

I read some of your comments on this book already, and would indeed be interested.

I know something about Lloyd's 'tinkering', having read some material on this eg the work of Gregory. I know there was some 'tinkering' with one of the singers covered by Hillery, the collector had to give him word sheets as he could not remember the words to the songs. (Did I read this in Atkinson somewhere?). Having been suspected of actually being Dave Harker (on the MacColl thread) I am interested to read his book at long last.

Thank you again
Tzu


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 Jan 20 - 07:05 PM

I also agreed with some of the points Lighter makes in this thread.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jan 20 - 07:10 PM

Here is the URL for the book. I'll change it to a link when I get home.


https://archive.org/details/FakesongD.Harker/page/n2


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 03:41 AM

Not going to be around long enough to participate in this, but for a ballad by ballad analysis, you might try 'The British Traditional Ballad in North America by Tristam P Coffin - by no means complete, but some excellent commentaries and excellent

Harker's 'Fakesong' is one of the most damaging work sever to hve been written o folksong in my opinion
Harker relied on the support and generosity of people who knew ald loved folkson far more than he did - I believe he betrayed that trust - I actually heard some of those who helped him say as much
At the time he said publicly (at a Sheffield conference, I think) that the hostile reception he was being given forced him into refuse talking questions when he spoke
Unforunately he has now become the darling of some researchers who wish to debunk the work of the pioneers

Child may have been "only an editor" - his strength was his reliance on te work of collectors
He expressed his contempt for and mistrust of broadsides as clearly as anybody else ever has
It is to his credit that he had the integrity to use when he had no alternative them, rather than ignore them
They are largely pretty awful
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 05:20 AM

@ Steve: by the way, I know that I am not so well-informed as some on this site, but my interest is genuine and I do have some knowledge of the literature. I know about the discussions on Percy, for example, one of the people Child drew on. In fact Child worked very hard to get hold of Percy, did he not? By the way, my educational background in case this is of interest is that I 'majored' as they say in the US in English and Psychology (hence the interest in social science research methods, which overlap with those of ethnomusicology to some degree). I know some theory of music, play piano and guitar (badly) and used to play melodeon for traditional clog dancing. I am also interested in politics: I once read a book with a lot about Trotsky in it, by a US sociologist called C Wright Mills, but have forgotten almost everything about it, it was about four decades ago, and I know some current SWP members, (very good on anti-racism they are too) so I have a rough idea where Harker is coming from viz a viz the CPGB.Ů


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 05:31 AM

@ Steve: re the comment above on Child not being a 'Colector.This is right. I also think I have a handle on Child. He was a philologist (who also taught history and maths). In his day English Literature as we know it today did not really exist as a subject. As you will know, Atkinson at some point describes/discusses what Child did with texts. I also have a selected bibliography and discography on Child somewhere by Atkinson. Child was not a 'literary critic' as this might be understood today. So his main contribution on Chaucer related to the grammar not to character or poetry analysis. Haven't read Harker on Child yet, started with the intro and went to the Chapter on Lloyd, having already read two long bits by Lloyd including the Penguin on folk song, and the biography by Arthur.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 08:38 AM

I have yet to hear a definition of a 'Fakesong' that I could understand, or with which I could agree.
I have sat in front of singers of the old songs from all walks of life, and watched them point out the alterations they have made to the songs they learned from their father, who in his turn learned it in the pub from a singer who was not a blood relative. (Traditional??)
I watched an old singer from Dorset, look at a set of words, suggest a tune, (The Manchester Angel) and then tell me the tune was used in the village for the Lincolnshire Poacher. Yes I collected all of the songs. Anyone able to tell me which is the Fake? Simply retreating into a quibble about definition, or suggesting the whole concept of Folk song is a lie, will only result in the attachment of yet another label to the same musical medium. I suggest we allow ourselves some guilt free subjectivity, and put Harker back on the dusty shelf where he belongs, allowing Fakesong the footnote it deserves.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 12:43 PM

I have been trying to summarise what Harker says he is doing, the account he gives in the introduction of what the argument of the book will be. His concept of 'mediation' is important. I started by looking at that because he calls the people whose work he discusses 'mediators'. Two examples of mediators are Child and A L Lloyd. The former compiled a famous selection of ballads and the latter was, among other things, the writer of an influential book purporting to set out a history of 'folk song' in England, 'Folk Song in England' as well as an earlier shorter piece on the same topic.

Harker says that 'mediation' refers not just to the fact that people (the ones he discusses) passed on songs they had taken from other sources but also to the fact that what they passed on may have reflected their own 'assumptions, attitudes, likes and dislikes' in that these determined what they looked for and what they accepted and rejected. In addition, Harker points out that what he calls 'material' factors were involved, such as the fact that some people had the time and resources to engage in their mediating activities at all. He says that the class position of those doing the work and their ideologies will have been connected in complex ways. The latter is a classic Marxist point, I suppose.

The term and concept 'mediation' seems to have been useful: Dave Hillery makes use of it in his comparative thesis related to Jack Beechforth and three other singers. It is on page 24, 69, 95, 152, 157, 320. The thesis is here: https://theses.ncl.ac.uk/jspui/handle/10443/158

Hillery suggests that some singers themselves engaged in 'mediation' with Joseph Taylor offered as an example. He also suggests that collecting a song shorn of its customary context is another form of 'mediation'.

So it might be interesting to discuss whether this concept of mediation is valid and useful? Just a suggestion.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 02:02 PM

Hi Nick
Not sure if you're referring to the book title or just the concept in your final sentence. Personally as you would expect from my previous comments it matters a great deal to researchers into the history of individual songs. My own thought on the examples that you give is that any mediation by source/vernacular singers is simply part of the vernacular tradition, call it what you will.

However, sophisticated editors mediating material and then trying to pass it off as directly from tradition, is not just deception (whichever way you look at it) but causes a great deal of misinformation in research.

Whether there is a grey area between the two is something I have not yet looked into.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 02:13 PM

Although I have read recently some lengthy academic papers That go into the history of how the word 'folk' was evolved to be attached to lore/tales/music/dance/song, and they try to claim with some success the terminology is heavily flawed, I think everyone here knows that whatever their limitations are they are real and can and are applied to a specific body of material. My only get out clause is that I don't accept that the boundaries are as rigid as some would have it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 02:29 PM

A decent but lengthy start to reading about fakesong is the ESPB itself. Reading, as I have frequently, Child's headnotes to each ballad, you can't escape from the fact that Child heavily criticised, occasionally with sacrcasm, many of the versions, particularly in the first 3 volumes. (For some reason after that he suddenly went silent...I have my suspicions why), particularly the overegged versions of Peter Buchan.

If you want a very short summary, just before he died, see p182 in vol.5, his parting shot.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 02:31 PM

Tzu
It matters to me 'Jacky Beeforth'. I never met him as far as I know, but his neighbour is a good friend of mine.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 07:24 PM

@ Steve. I apologise profusely. Grey cells faltering ? - as previously discussed. Thank you for pointing out my error with your usual courtesy. I appreciate that.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: RTim
Date: 11 Jan 20 - 09:59 PM

I guess I should read the copy that has been in my bookshelf for at least 20 years sometime...but is it really worth it??

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 03:48 AM

"but is it really worth it??"
It should have been the most important work to have come out of the latter years of the the 20th century but turned out to be an exercise in book-burning, based on the old building trade adage that "it's far easier to tear down something somebody else has built that to put up something yourself"
I'm afraid that philosophy seems to have caught on with some when you read some of the comments on the work of pioneers like Child and Sharp
Unless the folk scene learns to incorporate the work of all instead of hastily sweeping it aside to make room fo the latest craze, fols song scholarship will become like putting on clean socks every morning
These pioneers may have made mistakes, but many of them actually met the people whose songs they wrote about and listened to what they had to say
There are very few of today's desk-jockeys who can make that claim

I found 'Fakesong' and 'The Imagined Village' to ahve the most negative and depressingly difficult works on folk song I ever forced myself to read

Jack Beeforth
We were given recordings of this singer by a late friend, Dave Howes - interesting stuff
Unfortnately the rerecordings were made in difficult circumstances - Jack was very ill at the time - bedridden - and the recording set their machine onto 'automatic', so they are not of the best quality

Dave Hillary had a holiday home in Whitby, last tine I met him
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:13 AM

Tim
Any controversial book is always worth reading. The fact that it is so controversial means, if you can avoid the obvious political agenda, you can find some very useful information. It brings together much of the past very real concerns we have over the mediation of the editors from Ramsay right up to Bert. Whilst this information has very little interest to most of the people on Mudcat who are happy with what is set in front of them, serious researchers want to know the truth, or at least the greater likelihoods based on their own detailed research.

Here's a valid analogy: Do we accept the version of history presented to us by the elite, and what happens when new research shows some of this to be plain lies, or heavily biased?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:24 AM

"Do we accept the version of history presented to us by the elite,"
"Elite " is an unbelievably loaded accusation
These people did the work - we didn't because the tradition was dead by the time we got to it
Our understanding must be based on what they found and our own common sense
Smearing the pioneers by branding them as "elite" is the last thing we need
This is getting as bad as the attacks on Walter Pardon
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:08 AM

@ Steve I can't really claim to be a 'serious researcher' in this instance. But I think your reasoning applies just as well to, say, an enquiring reader taking a serious interest.

In Harker's favour, he is explicit about his political/theoretical stance and his intended authorship. Some would argue that all researchers should do this.

Harker's book came out before Arthur's biography of Lloyd. I've read that. Because of Harker's political slant, I think he is quite good on Lloyd's pro USSR, CPGB-related slant, and the effect of this on Folk Song in England that I had thought myself. He is also quite good on how Lloyd used his party connections to get work and forge a career, though I felt he could have pointed out that Lloyd must have had and is reported to have had, good social skills to do this. I know and can see to some extent why so many people regard Lloyd's history as a bible, and as inspirational, but I think Harker is quite good on its contradictions and on the extent to which (and here I use my own words) Lloyd just wrote stuff for which he did not (and possibly could not) provide either reference or evidence. Again, this reflects my own thoughts on Lloyd.

It is an interesting read, though I agree that at times, not being one of Harker's intended audience, I find the tone a bit off-putting.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:12 AM

Grey cells again, I should have put 'intended readership'. In Harker's case the members of his local party branch, of course.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:22 AM

When is this witch-hunting of people whose political views conflict with that of our pet troll going to end
Sharp was a Fabian socialsi hmanitarian so that excludes his opinions, it would appear
Loy'd, macColl Gerry Sharp Alan Bush and many hundreds of those who launched the present folk revival can play no part in ur considerations
As for all those leftiess like Eric Bogle and Leon Rossleson, who used the tradition to prodice some of the best left-humanitariian songs
I wonder if Mrsh Thatcher or Norman Tebbitt had anything to say on folk song - now that might put us on the right path to understanding folk song....
Please let this stop now before someone exorcises the spitit of senetor Jowe and demands we sell our friends out
Politics should never play a apart in these discussions
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:31 AM

I was interested to see that Harker cited Terry Eagleton as one of his influences. I have several books by Eagleton, including one on Shakespeare. He argues, delightfully, that the three witches are the heroines of Macbeth (though, he says, Shakespeare did not realise this himself) because they expose a reverence for hierarchical social order, the 'pious self-deception of a society based on routine oppression and incessant warfare'. Linking, perhaps, to Steve's point on the opinions of elites?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:36 AM

DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT HIS MAN HAD TO SAY - HE'S BIASED
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 06:51 AM

Steve Gardham
> Here's a valid analogy: Do we accept the version of history presented to us by the elite, and what happens when new research shows some of this to be plain lies, or heavily biased?

Jim Carroll
> "Elite " is an unbelievably loaded accusation
These people did the work - we didn't because the tradition was dead by the time we got to it.

Jim, Steve may care to clarify, but surely he was suggesting an analogy with history in general, most of which was indeed written by a more-or-less elite. I don't think he was commenting on the social status of the collectors. FWIW most of them were middle class, but not all of them.

And BTW, you yourself have written about your own collecting from a tradition that may have been past its prime but was certainly not dead.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 07:19 AM

Then we write off history, literature, science.... and virtual every other achievement made by humanity that was aarrived at by a educated elite, do we?
Of course we don't
Dave Harker is of the higher educated elite in Britan as things stand at present, which makes him suspect by those rules
The significance of Sharp et al is that they recognised as being of the people
Of cours the tradition as a whole as dead, all but a few survivals among the Travellers
The Irish settled singers had participated in a living tradition but they all insisted it was of the distant past
The situation changed when the people became passive recipients rather nan active participants of their creative cultures - that is getting more and more the case, even in the revival
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 08:12 AM

Thanks for that simple explanation, Richard. You are of course correct.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Howard Jones
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 08:45 AM

For those of the Harker/Boyes persuasion it appears that their only interest in folk song is that it represents working-class culture. They don't seem to be very interested in its artistic merits.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 10:15 AM

I have an essay by Atkinson in which he discusses the points of view of Child and Sharp which gives me a well argued and reasonable alternative to Harker, while having some degree of broad overlap. It's called The Ballad and Its Paradoxes. I think I found it on JSTOR. It was a Katherine Briggs Memorial Lecture in 2012.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 10:52 AM

not every controversial book is worth reading, eg mein kampf


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 11:05 AM

Yes, Dick, to be clearer, what I would have put if it wasn't already obvious was, any controversial book in your particular field is always worth reading as I would assume 'Mein Kampf' would be to anyone interested in WWII history or the rise of the Nazis.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 11:27 AM

I'm still waiting for the definition of a Fakesong. Is it a song re-written for whatever reason by a collector? What if the 'new' version is absorbed into the tradition,and sung a couple of decades later, then collected again with still more alterations? Is it still Fake? Is it Fake because of the 'class' of the collector, but OK if the alterations were made by a retired country ploughman of factory worker?
How many collectors working in the field have been presented with a gem of a song, but then discovered that the singer learned it at school from C#'s book. Do we switch off the tape recorder, or is that elitist?
By the way Caroline Hughes descendants and friends learned her songs from Kennedy's cassette tape after her death, I know I was there and discussed it with them. Are they traditional singers? None of it adds up really for me. The best that can be achieved is pointing out alterations and deceptions and giving the reader a choice. I remember Roy Palmer commenting on one of Bert Lloyd's re-writes- 'Would you rather have that or not?' The good manners of owning up to a rewrite was notably missing in Bert's case, but it does not warrant the mauling that Harker gave him (or anybody else who got the same treatment). Grind your own axe by all means, but don't chop anybody up with it, it might end up on your own head.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 11:35 AM

Thanks for the heads up about it being online Pseudonymous. I've read Part 1. For now that is enough for me to accept the opinions of most reviewers. I may come back to it when I read about one of the later 'mediators'

It's a curious work of scholarship that, right from the start, presents all the 'data' in the context of its conclusions (or initial prejudicies?), the way one would setting out a conspiracy theory - "and then there is this.."

His treatment of John Broadwood (pages 84-85) is interesting. I don't think he found any 'mud that will stick'. From Harker's description Broadwood seems to have 'packaged' what he took the trouble to collect (adding harmonies but keeping the tune) rather 'mediated' it. Is 'Peasantry' condescending when it comes from a 19th century toff but not when 20th century Marxists are forming 'Peasants Associations'?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 11:36 AM

Richard, The combative tone in which Steve stated his alternatives indicated that somehow the status (whatever that meand) made Sharp and his collegues either biased or downright dishonest

Do we accept the version of history presented to us by the elite, and what happens when new research shows some of this to be plain lies, or heavily biased?
There is no "new evidence" that they were either
Certainly they were of their time as were all pioneers, and they made mistakes, but to denigrate their work, although now fashionable among the Neo researchers, I find unacceptable and openly offensive (especially remembering the lifelong pleasure their work has given me)
I have to say that when I first stated my reservations on the theory that over 90% of our folksongs originated on the broadside presses I was met with the same insulting responses
All Steve can offer is his own opinion - nobody knows for certain the answer to any of these questions and probably never shall
Unless we can conduct these discussions with respect for each other and thos who came before us we stand to lose everything we have got so far - and the songs with it, if they lose their uniqueness (a serious possibility as things are going)
Our own researches among source singers indicates that while the old crowd seem to have got some things wrong, that got far more right than they are being given credit for

Incidentally, at the same time as I was being accused of being a "starrty-eyed naivete for beiliving that the folk created their own folk songs I was also told that the Peter Buchan controversy had been long done-and-dusted
That is far from the case as well
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 12:01 PM

Howard Jones must obviously have read the many popular and academic articles, album notes and radio and live performance scripts I've written over the years to be able to comment so knowingly that my sole interest in folk song "is that it represents working-class culture" and that I'm uninterested in the "artistic merits" of traditional song. Will he give specific quotes from my writing to demonstrate this?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Hi Lo
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 12:42 PM

To me it is the "controversial" books that ARE worth reading, including Mien Kampf. If we only read those things that raise no questions or set off alarms, we will never understand both sides of a story.
As for "elites"..I hate that word, it is always used as a pejorative, as if having attained expertise through hard work amounts to an unfair advantage.
I would like very much to read the book in question because it IS controversial.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 01:31 PM

OK I'll have a go then..
Fakesong a term used for a Traditional Folk Song that has been altered or censored by an individual without the approval of Dave Harker.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 02:30 PM

Jim: >Richard, The combative tone in which Steve stated his alternatives indicated that somehow the status (whatever that meand) made Sharp and his collegues either biased or downright dishonest

Some of the earliest collectors were certainly dishonest: messing about with what they collected and passing it off as authentic. And it seems pretty clear that Bert went so far as to invent sources for a few songs that he cobbled together. But I don't think any of us are claiming dishonesty for Sharp and the other collectors of that period, except maybe an occasional exception like Baring Gould's practical joke on Child about The Brown Girl.

As for being biased: yes they certainly were, at least in how they chose what to collect and what to ignore. They collected the sorts of songs that they had gone out looking for. One can agree or disagree with their bias but one can hardly deny it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:24 PM

On the basis of my reading so far:

Harker's central topic isn't which songs are and are not folk songs, it's as much or more about the historical narratives that the mediators told about these songs and about the subjectivities and cultural attitudes and activities of people in the past. For example Lloyd's book on folk song in England.

So one thing he criticises about Lloyd is his assumption that he knows what people in the olden days would have been thinking and feeling, about what Harker calls their 'psychology'. He gives examples of statements about such things that he finds lacking in evidence. I think this is probably a fair point.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:34 PM

Nick, your post presents a multiplicity of scenarios, all of which deserve individual responses, most of which I can only answer with a personal opinion. Before I answer them, what is your opinion on the mediations made by Percy, Scott, Buchan, Jamieson, and notoriously the one mentioned by Richard for which there is undeniable proof.

Despite what one usual suspect is writing no-one I know is blanket criticising anyone. We all appreciate the enormous beneficial work done by those who have gone before us, but we should not treat them as gods. It is useful at least to researchers to be able to point out their errors if only for better understanding of the subject.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:44 PM

On the basis of my reading so far, which isní t as far as yours Pseudonymous Harker says nothing about the historical narratives that the mediators told and is unconvincing about the subjectivities and cultural attitudes of the mediators. Its as if their position in his Marxist scheme of things leaves nothing to say.

In Part 1 the folk donít seem to exist.

Maybe this discussion will convince me to read on.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:47 PM

>>>>>What if the 'new' version is absorbed into the tradition,and sung a couple of decades later, then collected again with still more alterations? <<<<<
I think I have come across probable examples of this. The simple answer is if they have gone back into the tradition then they are traditional but any researcher worth their salt would want to know about the mediation. Your Sharp example fits in with this. I can only answer personally, I have just read DaveH's thesis and he gives an example from Frank Hinchliffe's repertoire. I also have come across examples. Personally I record everything and present everything so it doesn't affect me. However, I must confess that having recorded as much of a singer's repertoire as possible I would personally value those songs that had more likely been much longer in tradition. I can't speak for others. What about you?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:50 PM

>>>>>>I remember Roy Palmer commenting on one of Bert Lloyd's re-writes- 'Would you rather have that or not?'<<<<
deja vu here. I've said on many threads I don't know anybody who didn't admire Bert's mediations. It's what he said and didn't say about them that worries researches. To the singing community, and I'm part of that, they are diamonds.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:57 PM

This idea of offspring learning the songs of their parent traditional singers from tapes has occurred before. Roger Hinchliffe had little interest in his dad's songs until Frank passed on. Ian Russell then persuaded him to take on his dad's repertoire, and he now performs this repertoire at song gatherings etc. Personally I can't see anything but positives in this. There is certainly no deception so we are out of the realms of 'fakesong' here, obviously. There are 2 points perhaps to make which I don't think will be controversial. Future researchers will be able to come along and compare the versions sung by the parents and their offspring, and anyone wishing to go direct to the source can easily do so. Of course to anyone just interested in singing this is all irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:57 PM

100


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 04:58 PM

Joe
if that juvenile last post upsets any of your mods just delete it.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:06 PM

So far as Ďhanding oní is concerned is learning from a tape all that different to writing down grandadís old song and then later becoming known for singing it?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jan 20 - 05:18 PM

Interesting question which also leads to how we treat any learning of a song using modern technology. We've had similar questions before such as the validity of learning songs from YouTube. To the vast majority of people none of this is any sort of issue.

The only perspective I can give you is that all of my family songs I now sing I learnt after I became a folksong collector. I don't consider myself in any way to be a source singer, but that's just my opinion.


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