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Dave Harker, Fakesong

GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Feb 20 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Feb 20 - 11:14 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Feb 20 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Feb 20 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Feb 20 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Feb 20 - 10:51 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Feb 20 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Feb 20 - 10:32 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Feb 20 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Feb 20 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,jag 17 Feb 20 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Feb 20 - 09:15 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Feb 20 - 09:03 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Feb 20 - 09:03 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Feb 20 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,Rob Mad Jock Wright 17 Feb 20 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 17 Feb 20 - 07:58 AM
Brian Peters 15 Feb 20 - 02:13 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 20 - 12:48 PM
Brian Peters 15 Feb 20 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Feb 20 - 09:57 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 20 - 09:21 AM
Brian Peters 15 Feb 20 - 08:49 AM
Brian Peters 15 Feb 20 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,jag 15 Feb 20 - 08:28 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 20 - 08:24 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 20 - 03:01 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 20 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,jag 14 Feb 20 - 12:38 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 20 - 12:29 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 20 - 12:23 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 20 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Feb 20 - 11:59 AM
Jack Campin 14 Feb 20 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Feb 20 - 11:49 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 20 - 11:00 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 20 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Feb 20 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Feb 20 - 08:49 AM
Brian Peters 14 Feb 20 - 08:46 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 20 - 08:31 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Feb 20 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Feb 20 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Feb 20 - 07:26 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 20 - 06:00 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 20 - 05:33 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 20 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,jag 14 Feb 20 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,jag 14 Feb 20 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Feb 20 - 04:49 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 11:19 AM

"It looks to me as if nobody knows where 'The Wild Rover' came from"

It still looks to me as if nobody knows where 'The Wild Rover' came from.

And I stand by my comment that if people have a theory about this they should not claim that it is anything but a theory. Without getting too far into epistemological discussion, I think it fair to say that a theory backed up by arguments is still a theory.

It is so odd when one gets attacked by Jim for agreeing with his that 'nobody knows'.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 11:14 AM

And somewhere I've got a list of the songs Jim Carroll said that WP put together based on fragments he recalled using broadsheets etc supplied by Jim and Pat, but I'm sure these interventions will have been fully flagged up at the time on any releases.

To be honest, I have never felt that all people who post here grasp what Harker was saying. He did not write a book about 'fake songs'. So I cannot see why people are posting songs and demanding others to say that these are 'fakes'.

It also strikes me as odd that it can be claimed that 'source singers' have an innate unlearned - and presumably accurate - ability to distinguish 'folk songs' from other genres when this thread itself demonstrates that this is by no means a straightforward thing to do.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 11:02 AM

We've discussed a lot and so far you have convinced nobody other than a former Harker disciple
A couple of simple question - how was Walter "mediated" and how did Sharp's et al's "mediation" effect what they collected ?
In your own time now, but this week would be good
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 11:01 AM

Walter is probably the most interviewed of any of our source singers

My point exactly, or a good part of it at least.

Multiply mediated.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 10:55 AM

We have discussed various uses of the term 'mediate' on this thread.
We have established that Harker was not the first to use it in the context of folkloristics. We have looked at the way Harker uses it himself (see for example, p xiii.)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 10:51 AM

I do apologise: I thought I had read a great many posts by Jim Carroll on Mudcat about Walter Pardon. If I imagined this, I apologise.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 10:36 AM

Dave Harker never produced a single shred of evidence to prove texts were "mediated" - the songs don't get a mention in his book
You are behaving as he did in claiming Walter was "mediated" without producing evidence that he was
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 10:32 AM

"how much truth there was in what Harker said." Harker discusses the way that 'working class' culture had been 'mediated' by a series of individuals over the centuries.

And the evidence presented on this thread to 'disprove' his ideas was precisely a selection of mediated accounts, one of which seems to have been a review of a commercially available product, a free copy of which was supplied to the reviewer.

Another piece posted was a lengthy quotation from a source that was not clearly identified that spoke at length about Belle Stuart which contained a mere five words in her own voice. Not only was this mediation, it referred to other, previous mediation, putting layer on layer.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 10:20 AM

"It looks to me as if nobody knows where 'The Wild Rover' came from"
I suggest you read Brian's article on the song - he puts up an excellent argument for his claims on the source
My argument was that the theme is timeless and it was one of many
"Don't present your theory as if it were fact"
I should mention that to Steve Gardham - and to Dave Harker, come to think of it
THere ay be no definiive answers to any of these questions, but there are plenty of 'most likelys'
None of what we know about Walter is 'Mediated' and it is scurrilous to suggest it is

Walter is probably the most interviewed of any of our source singers, and certainly the most articulate
Walter bagan to list his family's songs in notebooks in the 1940s, before either collectors or folkies got near him - his discrimination is plain from the songs he chose to write down (and later, personally record') and what he didn't
When Walter was asked by a family member to record his songs, from that original fit tape, this is what he chose from over well over 100 songs

British Man Of War
Rambling Blade
The Irish Girl
Caroline And Her Young Sailor Bold
Generals All
Pretty Ploughboy
Van Dieman's Land
Jack Tar On Shore
I Wish, I Wish
Dark Eyed Sailor
The Deserter
Lads of High Renown
Broomfield Hill
Bush of Australia
Bonny Bunch of Roses
Lord Lovell
Peggy Bawn
Mowing The Barley
Seventeen Come Sunday
Jolly Waggoners
Cock a Doodle Doo
Bold Fisherman
Poor Smugglers Boy
Wraggle Taggle Gypsies
The Green Bushes
Help One Another
Rambling Blade    (accordeon)
Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold
Bush of Australia
The Huntsman
The Transports (Van Dieman’s Land)
Jack Tar
Lads of High Renown

We have his notebooks, which indicate the same inclination towards real folk songs

What the hell do you insist on slandering people - friends and researchers of Walter - as you do ?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 09:58 AM

@Jag

Being doing some revision since then, Jag. Some people are now questioning whether modes are the best way to think about the songs.

As it happens, I read a selection of Sharp journal pieces some time ago: he would find different tunes in different modes for different songs. He is aware of different tune 'types' by which he seems to be referring to how far melodic components are patterned within the 'verse'. So there is a 'Henry Martin' type for example.

Bishop and Roud' big book of English folk songs is tantalising on this. Steve Gardham says a lot of work is being done, but it seems expensive to access.

It looks to me as if nobody knows where 'The Wild Rover' came from and for me the right thing to do is to make it clear if you prefer a particular theory that it is a theory. Don't present your theory as if it were fact. Oh, did I just use a subjunctive?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 09:30 AM

@Pseudonymous. On 7 Feb you asked "Does anybody know whether Sharp found much in the major scale/ionian mode by the way?"


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 09:15 AM

As a former melodeon player I found WP's claim to be able to tell the ages of songs by whether they ended on a draw interesting/dubious. This is quite apart from questions such as whether he was correct (probably not) and whether the tunes he had were the same age as the songs (another question).

On his melodeon he had basically the notes for G major and D major. By definition he also has the notes for the relative 'natural minor' keys (E minor and B minor). He has basically one octave in each major key and a few added notes either end.

Modes found by Sharp included mixolydian, aeolian and dorian and some tunes he found to be a mixture of/undecided between both. To play in E or B mixo Pardon would need but not have a major third (g# in Em; d# in B minor). This is does not have. Attempt to play in aeolian would founder on the lack of a major 6th (c in Em; G# in Bm)

Of course, he didn't have to limit himself to those keys: he might have attempted to play a modal tune with its 'tonal centre' on a different note, not G E B or D. He might have tried to play tunes using fewer than 7 notes. I don't know whether he did this. None of his mediators appear to have interested themselves in such things. In any case, the attempts would be problematic.

I'll leave it to somebody else to explain which modes and which sorts of melody in terms of the way the tune goes above and below the tonic centre in each mode you can and cannot get on a GD melodeon.

The problem with WP is that what we know about him is so very heavily mediated that it is impossible to know what ideas got into his head through his long and close association with revivalist enthusiasts, some of whom had/have clear ideological agendas.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 09:03 AM

"Angie Wright"
Angela wright is a 'snigger-snog-writer' psuedo Folk Singer - as "fake" as they come
Not to say she won't appeal to some, but it has nothing whatever to do with the 'folk-song' either Harker was or we are discussing
Unless she is American, she sings in that strange mid-Atlantic-ese which is also pretty "fake"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 09:03 AM

"Angie Wright"
Angela wright is a 'snigger-snog-writer' psuedo Folk Singer - as "fake" as they come
Not to say she won't appeal to some, but it has nothing whatever to do with the 'folk-song' either Harker was or we are discussing
Unless she is American, she sings in that strange mid-Atlantic-ese which is also pretty "fake"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 08:52 AM

" how much truth there was in what Harker said."
As you have shown over and over again by exposing all the fakes
He was bound to be proven right to those who never wanted there to be a people's music, of course

"It was written by Thomas Lanfiere"
I don't doubt that fro one minute Brian - the point I have always made is that our folk songs have cover most aspects of human experience for probably as far back in time as you care to go, the problems of drink being only one of these
There are many songs on the same theme as 'Rover' - we recorded one similar to 'Rover' made by travellers, probably in the 1960s - that than "moralising" they were describing a major problem among Travellers, and among the settled rural and urban poor
The use the state made of cheap gin in keeping the urbal poor in their place made the names of artists like Hogarth and Gustave Dore
That poet and proselytizers took up the themes only illustrates the difficulty of pinning these songs down to a time, place and composer
The somewhat moving and diverse treatment of this particular song by the Usher Family just underlines how they often strike home as 'real'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Rob Mad Jock Wright
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 08:18 AM

As a good support to fakesong take a listen to 'Facebook' by Angie Wright

1zYh1T2PYUo is the link where she sang it at the Falkirk Songwriting Competition and it won.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 17 Feb 20 - 07:58 AM

This thread has turned delightful as it seems to me to have become a neat illustration of just how much truth there was in what Harker said.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Feb 20 - 02:13 PM

It was written by Thomas Lanfiere, who churned out a lot of moralizing 'alehouse ballads', allegedly inspired by his own familiarity with such places. I found it easier to see how the song we know might have descended from 'The Good Fellow's Resolution' blackletter broadside, than to imagine Lanfiere having dressed up a simpler song already in existence.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 20 - 12:48 PM

"it had its origins in a lengthy 17th-century English temperance ballad,"
Never convinced by 'origins' claims Brian
I'm aware of the 'temperance, connection thanks to your article, but the popularity of the theme and some of the motifs suggest to me that it might have existed before that in one form or another and has been elaborated on by a hack - I suspect that the same is possible of the 'Blind Beggar', but "nobody knows", as they are fond of saying on my favourite trivia programme
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Feb 20 - 11:16 AM

Thanks for the reminder, Jim. Reviewing CDs was always a good way of getting them for nothing, of course. John Howson always used to make sure Veteran releases came my way, and I managed to blag an entire set of the original 20 'Voice of the People' CDs having turned up quite by chance to the launch event at Cecil Sharp House in the hope of free wine. Mind you, working my way through all that music was a daunting, if pleasurable, task!

As for 'The Wild Rover', it had its origins in a lengthy 17th-century English temperance ballad, went through several edits and printings, and was common in oral tradition in England, Scotland and Australia. Not so much of a footprint in Ireland until Luke Kelly got hold of it from Lou Killen (who'd learned it off a version of uncertain origin - possibly Nova Scotia - used in BBC Radio's 'Country Magazine') but then collated Lou's version with a set of words from Australia, possibly accessed through Burl Ives recording. I reckon Banjo Patterson wrote the line about "returning with gold in great store" but never managed to confirm that definitely. I also found a version from Australia strikingly similar to the wonderful recording by Pat Usher of Co. Louth that Jim was kind enough to send me. I should also add that both Steve Gardham and Jack Campin helped me out with the broadside versions, and it was a Mudcat discussion that inspired my research. The power of The 'Cat, eh?

jag: "There is a tendency for the modal tunes to get talked about more (including by Sharp) because they are uncommon in art music and for them to be favoured by players because they are cool and different from a lot of what we hear. In the few dozen dance tunes from mainland Europe that I play (because others locally do) there is a suspicious predominance of those in a minor key."

Indeed - there was a period when everyone in my melodeon tutorial group wanted to learn nothing but French tunes in E minor (more correctly, Dorian). Modal tunes are over-represented in my own song repertoire, and when I had to write tunes for four Peterloo ballads I ended up - not through any conscious choice - with one major, one mixolydian, one Dorian and one Hexatonic Dorian/Aeolian. As my American friends say, go figure.

Sorry, that whole post was miles off-topic.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Feb 20 - 09:57 AM

Thanks for all that Brian.

I tend to think about 'sampling bias' because I have had to in other contexts. So far as rescuing a repertoire 'for use' is concerned it probably isn't too important if a tune or text from popular music of previous times gets included (and it might fall within the 1954 definition). Missing local compositions that sounded like earlier popular music could be a loss. Also I am not sure if some collectors also had a 'quality' criteria - I often enjoy a bit of doggerel in the right context.

As for the tunes, my suspicions are often raised. Walter Pardon recognising old tunes because they end on the draw caught my attention because I knew Sharp's figure of about 2/3 major. There is a tendency for the modal tunes to get talked about more (including by Sharp) because they are uncommon in art music and for them to be favoured by players because they are cool and different from a lot of what we hear. In the few dozen dance tunes from mainland Europe that I play (because others locally do) there is a suspicious predominance of those in a minor key.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 20 - 09:21 AM

"Did I really write that review of Sam Larner, Jim?"
YOU DID INDEED BRIAN
You said so much in that that seems to have been forgotten
I can't remember the detaiils of Wild Rover, but I know you did an excellent study of that fascinating song
Luke Kelly and Ewan mutually admired each other throughout their lives, though Ewan thaough that Luke had ruined an excellent voice by overusing and ove-straining it - he was an early member of The Critics Group, as you know
We were packing up in the Singers Club late one night when The Dubliners came in - it was like a family reunion with Ewan and Luke
The only time they fell out was when the Group attempted to copyright several traditional songs Ewan had given Luke they had made extremely popular, can't remember if B.V.B was one of them - not sure of how it was resolved

There's a wonderful story of Luke staying with friends in Grimsby and practicing the voice exercises he had learned in the C Group
When his hosts heard strange noises coming from the bathroom they thought he was having a fit (both were doctors) - ran upstairs and, unable to gain Luke's attention, broke down the door, only to find him buck naked in the shower, belting out vowel-sounds
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Feb 20 - 08:49 AM

[Continued - message divided because Mudcat inserts weird spacing when my posts get too long]

jag: ”How about that at any one time it was nostalgic old curmudgeons who couldn't stand the modern stuff that the young people liked and prefered the songs their parents and grandparents sang. How about that the collectors were much less familiar with the popular music of the time of their subjects grandparents and so were more likely to let it slip through their filter.”

The first point chimes with the account of pub singing in the 1880s provided by Flora Thompson in Lark Rise, which is analysed in some detail by Steve Roud in Folk Song in England. The gatherings were stratified according to age, with each group having its own repertoire: the young men singing the latest hits from the music hall and from ‘penny song-books’, middle-aged men performing older songs with a proportion of recognizably ‘folk’ material, and finally the octogenarian ‘Old David’ finishing every evening with ‘The Outlandish Knight’, allowed apparently as an indulgence to his old age. But all of it went on under the same roof.

On the second point, I think that the filter that was being applied was stylistic. Although Roud makes the good point that the new songs from the music halls worked perfectly well as unaccompanied pieces in the pub setting, I’d question his assertion that there was a ‘fundamental similarity’ between these and the older songs. I think the early collectors were quite capable of distinguishing the approximate age (and therefore the ‘folk’ status) of the songs they were hearing by the subject matter (rural settings, lost love, unwanted pregnancies, naval engagements, highway robbery, etc) and the nature of the melodies. Harker makes fun of the ‘I know it when I hear it’ definition, but people who’ve listened to a lot of traditional singing can make that distinction with a reasonable degree of accuracy. That’s how Walter Pardon was able to distinguish between his ‘folk’ and ‘non folk’ songs without a collector having to tell him which was which – they just sounded different.

Did I really write that review of Sam Larner, Jim? I didn’t remember it and don’t have a copy on my computer, but it does sound like the kind of thing I’d have said. It must have been a long time ago if I was under the impression that the Dubliners got ‘The Wild Rover’ from MacColl!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Feb 20 - 08:47 AM

‘jag’ asked a number of interesting questions yesterday. For a start:

”I asked about Sharp's collecting practice because I was thinking about his theorising as to why "we must look to the musical utterances of those of the community who are least affected by extraneous educational influences". That the material he was after was best found amongst the peasants could simply be an empirical observation made during his early years of seeking out what he was enthusiastic about - just as a butterfly collector may learn from experience the best hunting grounds for interesting specimens.”

Quite correct. Sharp had no desire to waste his time, and his observations of the best people from whom to collect the kind of songs he was looking for were obviously based on his own experience. One of his American critics complained that he’d avoided more affluent and commercially-active settlements because of bias and preconceptions – I was able to show that and Karpeles had spent days prospecting in such places but had eventually given up after being told at home after home that “no-one around here sings those old songs any more.”

jag: ”So from what we know (or theorise) now why were the songs so often collected from people down at the bottom of the social scale, often very old ones?”

At a guess, those people would have grown up in the period when Sharpian folk songs were popular, would be less likely to have received formal education, would have been less mobile, and less likely to be exposed to art music, parlour songs and the music hall.

jag: ”Has anyone tried to do a 'quantitative' study of the musical life of a village or town? Somewhere way up the thread that I can't find Jack Campin commented that on a Sunday someone in English village could have been ringing the church bells, singing in the choir and then doing something secular that I can't remember. For a lot of this stuff discussions on the web often fall back on fiction, or fictionalised accounts, from writers such as Thomas Hardy.”

There were also church bands in many villages in the early 19th century (as documented by Hardy but also confirmed through research), and those same musicians would have played for local dances (Cecil Sharp did, of course, note instrumental music as well as songs). Somewhere I read an account of a village performance of ‘Messiah’. Many of the musicians would have been former military bandsmen.

jag: ”Even if someone is only interested in 'folk song' how can they theorise about it without knowing what else the folk sang, played, and heard?”

Sharp did speculate about the possible influence of singing in church on rural folk singers:
“On the other hand, the congregations of village churches will take to Plain Song much more readily, and to the manner born. For the Gregorian tones are their own scales, in which for generations past their forbears have been accustomed to sing. The flattened seventh possesses no terrors for the country singer.” And on instrumentalists: “The old men, who used to play stringed or wood instruments in church, may, perhaps, have developed some sense of harmony. But then, they do not sing in the modes—at least, none of them that I have come across.”


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 15 Feb 20 - 08:28 AM

@Pseudonymous. Jim is possibly of the belief that "Major attention should rather be focused on the rich materials revivers' work has reclaimed, not how or why the task was undertaken" rather than that it is "of considerable importance that the values and ideological complexes associated with the Folk Revival should be examined"

I think you might enjoy the book that I have now moved on to.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 20 - 08:24 AM

"This thread is now the Jim Carroll show. "
You've already said this despite the fact that, up to now you have regularly made between three to six postings at a time
You can hardly object to how many I have made
So far you have defended what Harker has said and refused to discuss the implications of what he has claimed if he is right - most people here feel his isn't and have argued pretty strongly why they believe that - to date you have ignored what they have said
It's about time we got the other side of this book rather than your being allowed to make it the "Dave Harker/whatever your name is show", don't you think ?
You have the arguments, if you don't want to discuss them, stand aside and let those who do, do so

Simply put, if folk song is a fake, as Harker claims it is, what the **** is that stuff Walter Pardon, The Stewarts, Jeannie Roberson, and many thousands of us who have been part of the folk scene..... have been singing and listening to over the last fifty-odd years
Was the FAKESONG ?
Jim Carroll (showman supreme !!)


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 20 - 03:01 AM

Can I suggest that we stop this like of bickering and get on

I put up the Brian's review and the article on The Stewarts to make the point that despite Harker's "fake" claim, singers and storytellers were still around as part o an oral tradition
In the end, it doesn't matter what Harker wrote - he produced no evidence that the tradition had been "faked" and until someone does, they can quote him till the cows come home but the position remains as we have always believed it to be, songs and stories embraced, constantly re-adapted and probably made by 'ordinary' people, as both entertainment and as expressions of their lives and experiences.
That is what needs discussing in my opinion - it really is time that people stopped hiding behind 'We don't know what folk song is any more' and get down to saying what they believe it has become, and why
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 01:15 PM

"Yes, the thread is now the Jim Carroll show"
Jim Carroll
No it isn't lady - it belongs to those who have more right to be her than all of us rolled together - the source singers
They are the ones who have us the songs and and any estimation of folk song should star and finish with them

And another
Belle StewartBelle McGregor was born on the banks of the River Tay at Caputh, near Blairgowrie, into a family of Highland Scottish Travellers, who lived in bow-tents. As a result of their life-style, the whole family received much insult and abuse. Belle´s father died when she was only 9 months old. Afraid that the authorities might take her children from her, her mother stopped travelling and settled in Perthshire. So Belle grew up in a house, and it was only when she was a young woman and married her second cousin Alec Stewart that she travelled periodically with him in Ireland.

Belle´s childhood was a mixture of the bitter and the sweet. "School was pure hell" because traveller children were despised and bullied, and she only had about two years of schooling all told, but was nevertheless quite literate. She was surrounded by love in her family and much of her time was spent accompanying her mother on hawking trips up the Perthshire glens, carried on the top of her pack.

Belle first went to Ireland with her two brothers in the 1920s, at the invitation of Alec´s family, who were already over there and finding the pearlfishing very much to their liking. She had known Alec as a child, but now they were in their late teens, and very much attracted to each other. They fell in love and were married in Ballymoney in 1925. Alec´s family were all pipers, dancers, singers and storytellers and his father was among the best champion pipers in Scotland. Belle, whose family were not pleased about her getting married in Ireland, returned to Blairgowrie for the birth of her first son, John, and tended to go back and forward between the two countries, as her family increased, with a daughter, Cathy, a son, Andy, a daughter Sheila, and an adopted daughter, Rena. Eventually Alec agreed to settle down in Blairgowrie, one of the great fruit-growing areas of Scotland, where they were later to own a berryfield, and thereafter, they were together for a lifetime. One thing Belle did love about Ireland was its songs, many of which found a place in her repertoire.

Belle first came to the notice of the folk world when Hamish Henderson asked local journalist, Maurice Fleming, to look for the composer of a song called ´The Berryfields of Blair´, which he had heard sung by a North East singer. Maurice very quickly found Belle and her family, and recorded them for the School of Scottish Studies sound archive. Belle´s songwriting originated in her family´s tradition of always composing songs or poems for occasions like Hogmanay or family weddings. While many of her songs were comic, she also wrote a very moving lament for her two brothers, who tragically died within a week of each other, leaving her utterly bereft.

Maurice and Hamish soon discovered that she had inherited many of her father´s ballads and songs, through her brothers, Donald and Andy, and that she had the travellers´ wonderfully emotive Highland way of singing - a quality she called ´the coniach´, a word of Gaelic origin translated by Dr John MacInnes as ´an intensity of melody´. After that, she and her family became popular on the folk scene, invited everywhere, their fame spreading across the sea to Europe and America.

Belle´s importance as a source singer led to her becoming known, not only in Scotland, through Hamish Henderson and the Traditional Music and Song Association, founded by a group of enthusiasts led by Pete Shepheard, who ran their first festival significantly in Blairgowrie, but also in England, where the family was introduced to the folk scene by the late Ewan MacColl, who also involved them in the Radio Ballad on the travellers. Ewan was later to produce a book that dealt with her song repertoire, shared with her daughters, in the context of the family´s history, and also included stories riddles, proverbs and cures.

In the sleeve notes to the Topic record of ´The Stewarts of Blair´ made in 1965, Hamish Henderson wrote, ´collecting on the berryfields was like holding a tin can under the Niagrara Falls. However, when we got back to Auld Reekie and began sizing up what we had collected, it was clear that the really fabulous contribution had been made not so much by the nomadic travellers among whom we had camped as by the Stewart family of Berrybank, the aiders and abettors of the whole operation


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 12:38 PM

"to release commercially. It was argued that songs not judged to be folk songs should not have been issued" (my emphasis)

So a commercial, rather than musicological, decision?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 12:29 PM

This seems a good place to start
Jim Carroll

Brian Peters    Walter Pardon / Sam Larner
Sam Larner was a fisherman from Winterton, on the East Coast of England. He was recorded by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger for a Folkways LP released in 1961, reproduced right down to the original cover notes for this CD. Some might have preferred a definitive compilation to match that of Pardon, but you have to admit that this collection hangs together well as a unit. Containing several interview excerpts, including accounts of life on the herring-grounds, tall tales, and delightful rhymes concerning weather and sea-lore, it provides a fuller picture of a man who was clearly a larger-than-life character. Bear in mind that this is the voice speaking throughout the Singing The Fishing Radio Ballad, and that MacColl's original songs for that record drew heavily on Larner's narratives. Sam Larner's song repertoire includes material relating to his work ("Up Jumped The Herring," "The Dogger Bank") but plenty of English country songs too, with an obvious liking for the bawdy. In the spoken passages he tells with cackling relish of his track record as a ladies' man, and the sexual shennanigens of "Butter And Cheese And All," or the saucy wordplay of "No Sir, No," obviously appeal to his earthy instincts.

To the lighter songs he adds spoken asides or guffaws of laughter, but although he revels in knockabout fun and uses a style far more declamatory than Walter Pardon's, as you'd expect from one practised in holding the attention of a noisy pub, he achieves undoubted grandeur on the more serious songs, like "The Ghost Ship" or his excellent variant of "Henry Martin." He also sings a version of "The Wild Rover" that (or so I've heard from a usually reliable source) was passed by MacColl to the Dubliners and evolved into the tub-thumper we all know today - certainly the song's English credentials are strong. Larner's relationship with his songs is less intimate and intense than Walter Pardon's, but his enthusiasm for them is no less (I hope I can muster such energy and lust for life when I'm eighty!) and he puts them over more accessibly. I've no intention of ranking the two, though. These singers are jostling for position at the very top of the tree and, if you want to know about real English folk-singing, you have to hear them both. -


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 12:23 PM

Can I suggest that we now discuss Harker's hatchet-job in the light of th songs and singers - how can any discussion of folk song possibly exclude them
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 12:21 PM

"I shall not be commenting on how valid these findings are !
Good - you don't have the knowledge to do so as you have porven with your lack of understanding of Walter Pardon , Bob Copper and everything else folk
Your postings are becoming more and more self-important and pompous
"Are we all happy now?"
We will be when you stop
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 11:59 AM

OK Brian

We now have a post from Jim which outlines what he appears to be claiming are 'research findings'. I shall not be commenting on how valid these findings are in the light of his raw data, or on the question of how far he may have mediated what his subjects said as a result of his plain pre-conceptions about the songs, or comment on the somewhat astonishing information that WP described old songs as 'rubbish' when asked to sing them. Because that would be 'off topic'

Are we all happy now?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 11:51 AM

He would say that leaving out everything else that 'the folk' were doing musically misrepresents the culture of 'the folk'. To give an example, I read a discussion about which songs by a singer to release commercially. It was argued that songs not judged to be folk songs should not have been issued, though the singer knew and plainly liked singing lots of them. Would Harker argue that this would misrepresent the musical culture of that singer? And leaving Harker aside, would it?

One of my favourite tune collections is Kerr's "Merry Melodies", a set of four volumes of fiddle tunes published in Glasgow in the 1880s (and probably never out of print since). It was intended as a practical resource for working musicians, and as such it had every damn thing they might ever be asked for: Scottish and Irish tines grouped as usable dance sets, operatic hits, tunes from the minstrel shows, Continental waltzes and polkas, military marches for brass or bagpipes - the only major popular genre it leaves out is church music. (Vic Gammon's "Early Scottish Ragtime" mines some of its odder corners, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops found some gems that had been forgotten back where they came from).

This was letting the market decide what was worth presenting, not filtering by the choices of a single performer or collector. And it remains as a historical document of popular taste - what you might have heard at a knees-up in the northern half of Britain any time before WW1. Song collectors like Sharp (or Bartok, for that matter) mostly leave you guessing about what their subjects' everyday sound world really was.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 11:49 AM

@ Brian. Thank you for sharing your point of view. I appreciate it. You have your point of view; I have mine. I completely agree with your last sentence.
Have a nice day.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 11:00 AM

Thank yo Brian

"It seems that for 200 years the old songs were about to die out and only collectable from the old people. An exagerration I know, but a recurrent theme."
It appeared to be pretty true in England , but not necessarily in Ireland, where an active tradition had disappeared within living memory and amon travellers, where a tradiition was still alive in the seventies, if failing
When we started with Travellers the oldest wer recorded was still in his forties
One thing we noticed with both of these was, when you went looking for singers within an area you were often told "***** knows a few songs" or "Tom Lenihan or..... is the local singer - the good singers still had a status
In England, it was the case of working with people who had never been part of a living tradition but had remembered usually what grandparents had taught them
Maccoll used the term 'song carriers' rather than traditional singers to describe those the BBC recorded, which was a good-enough carch--all phrase

Harkers poing about not including everything is crassness in the extreme - it totally ingnores the uniqueness both in form and function, of folk songs
It also arrogantly assues that because the oldder singers may have sung a wide range of songs, they couldn't tell the difference between one genre and another
I've described how bling songer, Mary Ded=elaney refused to sing her C and W songs and why - Walter was sightly embarrassed when you asked him to sing "that old rubbish"
If someone went looking for songs in say South Wales, they would quite likely have Verdi or Bizet sung at them because of the popularity of miners' operatic groups   
I would suggest that including them as 'folk songs' because 'the people' sang them would totally distort 'people's culture'
It has never been about what people sang; it's about how they regarded the songs and what they did with them
If that wasn't the case, the tradition would never have died and 'Viva Es[pania' and 'The Birdie Song' would have ben given Roud numbers (maybe they have - I'm have a little difficulty catching up with the pencil-pushers)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 09:32 AM

2For me, your last post was disproportionate and inappropriate on several counts."
No contradiction there
You really are a true disciple of Dave Harker in yourt attempts to take down the work of others while have=ing done none yourself
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 08:56 AM

@ Jag

Even if someone is only interested in 'folk song' how can they theorise about it without knowing what else the folk sang, played, and heard?

I think this is interesting. I think this is one of Harker's points. He would say that leaving out everything else that 'the folk' were doing musically misrepresents the culture of 'the folk'. To give an example, I read a discussion about which songs by a singer to release commercially. It was argued that songs not judged to be folk songs should not have been issued, though the singer knew and plainly liked singing lots of them. Would Harker argue that this would misrepresent the musical culture of that singer? And leaving Harker aside, would it?

A lot of other points in your last post were interesting. To give one example of the sort of discussion you might be looking for, there is a piece Vic Gammon did on Rottingdean.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 08:49 AM

@ Jim

For me, your last post was disproportionate and inappropriate on several counts.

"Between us we have written many dozens of reviews, record notes, small bits for local papers."
"I have written very few articles - the main ones being our Walter Pardon one and 'Mikeen McCarthy, Traveller Ballad seller', both of which have been put up on this forum and are too long to repeat"

Thank you for clearing that up. I appreciate it.

Have a lovely day.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 08:46 AM

I have to say that I'm finding the constant sniping at Jim Carroll's research credentials extremely tiresome and petty, as well as off-topic. Jim and Pat Mackenzie's collecting work - and their enthusiasm for giving singers the opportunity to speak about their lives - is highly respected by just about everyone here, including those who have crossed swords with Jim on the forum. A list of academic publications is not a requirement for posting on Mudcat, nor for collecting songs.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 08:31 AM

"I suspect that the article might be incorrect on the 'numerous articles' bit"
Why should you think that (nasty mind maybe?)
Between us we have written many dozens of reviews, record notes, small bits for local papers....

Your arronace in demanding such information is beyond belief when it comes from your own position of total anonymity and refusal to reveal anything about yourself
How long have you worked for the Stasi !
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 07:30 AM

Sorry not the same web site, just one with a similar photo on it.

http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/songs/cmc/about_mackenzie_carroll.htm

The bit I quoted about publications is near the bottom of the page.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 07:28 AM

Also not sure about the 'innate' bit. But do we drift too far off topic here: this should be on a research methodology thread if anywhere?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 07:26 AM

Thank you very much for this link Jim. I have seen this and have posted the link before.

I asked about your work because on the same web site it is asserted that you and Pat have "written numerous articles on their work and interests for traditional music journals, magazines and other publications." I had been trying to find it.

On the basis of the information you have just provided I suspect that the article might be incorrect on the 'numerous articles' bit, or maybe it's just the ambiguous wording that suggested to me that you have written numerous articles for journals as well as for magazines and other publications.

The lecture in question interested me because about nine minutes in a claim is made that you have discovered an inborn ability in singers to differentiate what you would call 'traditional songs' from other songs. "We found what seemed to be an innate feeling, an understanding, about the songs which has no bearing on intellectual ability or learning."

This research finding links with the question about why isolated rural singers were sought by collectors, I suggest. For then the collectors might be more likely to find singers about whom it was possible to state that they had never learned anything. Not sure about the 'intellectual ability' point, though. Not sure how you assessed this, for a start.

Thank you very much. As it happens, I downloaded some of your Mudcat posts with the intention of adding them to a bibliography on another thread.

Your objections to 'aggressive' posts made me chuckle. I think you will see why! I try hard not to be 'aggressive', and apologise if I sometimes fail.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 06:00 AM

TRY THIS
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 05:33 AM

Did that last in a hurry - should have read
"This might explain why Bearman got a doctorate; "
See what I mean - I didn't say that because academic work was automatically bad because of the way it is marked - we judge that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 05:13 AM

"Perhaps you could refer us to some of your journal articles? "
I have written very few articles - the main ones being our Walter Pardon one and 'Mikeen McCarthy, Traveller Ballad seller', both of which have been put up on this forum and are too long to repeat
Pat and I dave documented our work in talks we have given (around 50 in all)
As we, as a duo, found it necessary to work from scripts each one was archived and will be deposited in the National Sound Archive with the rest of our collection
Every talk was illustrated with recorded examples and often photographs - they will be included in our collection
We will also put up the dozen or so radio programmes on our work
Your aggressive attitude to our work to date makes me wonder why you shoud be interested - why not sust buy a dartboard as this is how you treat everybody's opinions that don't fit your ignorant preconception

"Perhaps you could refer us to some of your journal articles? "
See what I mean - I didn't say that because academic work was automatically bad because of the way it is marked - we judge that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 05:13 AM

About the apparent predominance of old source singers. It seems that for 200 years the old songs were about to die out and only collectable from the old people. An exagerration I know, but a recurrent theme.

How about that at any one time it was nostalgic old curmudgeons who couldn't stand the modern stuff that the young people liked and prefered the songs their parents and grandparents sang. How about that the collectors were much less familiar with the popular music of the time of their subjects grandparents and so were more likely to let it slip through their filter.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 04:58 AM

@Pseudonymous

In using 'social scale' I was trying to avoid terms that may have a formal meaning. If we had the occupations of all the collector's subjects we would still need a statistical breakdown of occupations in a village or small town to make much sense of them. To interpret that in terms of musical influences we would also need a description of the musical life of the communities as a whole.

Census records and parish registers (and a lot of work) should give an idea of the spread of occupations and mobility. Surely someone has done that? It may be something that is quietly being crowd sourced on the various ancestry web sites - following my own family tree (done mainly by a relative I don't know) back gives a fascinating snapshot of the movement of people from the country to industrial towns.

Has anyone tried to do a 'quantitative' study of the musical life of a village or town? Somewhere way up the thread that I can't find Jack Campin commented that on a Sunday someone in English village could have been ringing the church bells, singing in the choir and then doing something secular that I can't remember. How many people in the parish, how many bells in the church tower, how many in the choir or before that the church band, how many pubs, did the nearest market town have a band, a music hall, annual fair etc? How many in both the choir/band also ringing the bells. I'm told that the 'five minute bell' in many churches was so that some of the bellringers could scramble down the steps and put their togs on for the choir. I guess the same happened if one had to sort out his serpent or clarionet. For a lot of this stuff discussions on the web often fall back on fiction, or fictionalised accounts, from writers such as Thomas Hardy.

How many free-reed instruments were sold in England in a decade and where did they go?

Even if someone is only interested in 'folk song' how can they theorise about it without knowing what else the folk sang, played, and heard?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Feb 20 - 04:49 AM

My comment on Vic Gammon was of course light-hearted. He was more than qualified to examine a thesis like Bearman's.


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