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Dave Harker, Fakesong

Brian Peters 12 Feb 20 - 12:58 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 12:40 PM
Brian Peters 12 Feb 20 - 12:13 PM
Brian Peters 12 Feb 20 - 12:11 PM
Brian Peters 12 Feb 20 - 12:06 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 11:04 AM
GUEST 12 Feb 20 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Feb 20 - 10:21 AM
Jack Campin 12 Feb 20 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 12 Feb 20 - 09:40 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 09:40 AM
GUEST 12 Feb 20 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 08:51 AM
Jack Campin 12 Feb 20 - 08:29 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 07:44 AM
Jack Campin 12 Feb 20 - 06:55 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 05:58 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 05:57 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 20 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,jag 12 Feb 20 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 12 Feb 20 - 03:51 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 20 - 12:42 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 20 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Feb 20 - 10:40 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 20 - 08:43 AM
GUEST 11 Feb 20 - 08:10 AM
Jack Campin 11 Feb 20 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Feb 20 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 11 Feb 20 - 07:52 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 20 - 07:18 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 20 - 07:08 AM
Brian Peters 11 Feb 20 - 06:50 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 20 - 06:42 AM
Jack Campin 11 Feb 20 - 05:59 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 20 - 05:29 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 20 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Feb 20 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 10 Feb 20 - 11:02 AM
Steve Gardham 10 Feb 20 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 10 Feb 20 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 Feb 20 - 09:39 AM
Jack Campin 10 Feb 20 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,jag 10 Feb 20 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,jag 10 Feb 20 - 08:52 AM
Brian Peters 10 Feb 20 - 08:49 AM
Brian Peters 10 Feb 20 - 08:48 AM
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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 12:58 PM

Good tale, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 12:40 PM

"who was more a collector of culture than purely of songs"
Very true
He was a fascinating man
He had been promising my mate, Terry Whelan "somthing that might interest you" for several year
I was staying with Terry when it arrived in the post
Eagerly, Terry put it on the tape recorded
Paul's voice came on, "I know you'll love this Terry" followed by recordings of the howling of a pack of Siberian wolves
Paul had overheard Terry expressing his love of Hammer Films
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 12:13 PM

Interesting comment by Jack Campin about Paul Graney, who was more a collector of culture than purely of songs. His autobiography 'One Bloke' is a book I'd recommend.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 12:11 PM

"one of the comments Harker makes about the mediators is precisely that discussion of the 'people's culture' is not a feature of their work."

The kind of in-depth interviews that Jim Carroll and other collectors carried out later in the 20th century were specifically aimed at filling that lacuna, and are surely deserving of praise.


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

Fakesong:
"For all the world like a new-fangled anthropologist, or an Indian Trader with beads, Baring-Gould wrang all he could out of his privileged contact with country people, exploiting them and the curiosity-value they engendered in the book-buying bourgeois public, and talking up his worth..."

I don't think that's even-handed. 'Insinuating, sneering, slyly derogatory.' might begin to describe it.

See also the derogatory comments about Cecil Sharp that I posted on 04 Feb 20 at 11:13 AM.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 11:08 AM

"We have explained several times "
Somewhat reminiscent of teachers who used the royl "we" to establish their authority
The tem "Fakesong" undermines the whole concept of a people's creative culture so if it's an omission of his and yours it's not going to be one of mine
We have spoken !

The Critics were referred to in 'One For the Money' when Harker claimed (incorrectly) that MacColl "trained singers" (p 155)
He went on to say (also incorrectly) that MacColl made no theoretical contribution to the folk scene, which was wildly inaccurate (again)
MacColl hasdn't learned the secret handshake`nor rolled his trouser leg up, but many of the seminars he and Peggy gave at festivals, and particularly to groups of teachers, dealt with the function of songs, to the singers and the communities, and their relationship to formal literature
His talks on the Ballads in particular were among the most popular ones he did
The work of the Critics Group was largely an examine of the voice and how it was used by source singers   
Harker chose to target MacColl and the Critics at a conference he spole at in Sheffield, which is what I took him up on, but he wrote about them in dismissive terms elsewhere
If possible, he knew even less of our work that our Pseud does, but that apparently isn't a barrier for some people apparently
In fairness, they aren't alone, Martin Carthy's efforts were wildly inaccurate too

Almost everybody who was anybody on the scene was at that symosium, friends and enemies alike
Lomax flew in from the States, Hamish Henderson came from Scotland and spoke about dirty songs, and a whole bunch of Theatre Workshop people attended and spoke, some of the 'Manchester mas trespass protesters came to pay their respects, a bunch of Travellers turned up out of the blue from several London sites..... even Arthur Scargill was there-.... a fabulous two days of talks and singing
We apparently missed one of the best sessions because we stayed in the bar all night and talked about Miners songs with Dave Douglas
Good days
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 11:04 AM

From the snippets searches into it on Google books throw up it looks more interesting than Fakesong. Songs get a mention!


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 10:51 AM

I'm ordering One For the Money. It sounds good. Some of my family were involved with popular music/variety, having learned their music skills in the army. But I don't think they made songs.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 10:49 AM

It may be that the collectors did not discuss the culture of the people who they collected from because they thought general knowledge amongst their peers and any of their readership who were interested was adequate.

Sons of the minor gentry in the job of country parson 'spotting' the singers may have been socially isolated from their flock. However, they may have tended it, and years of filling in the occupations in the parish register, and flipping back through it to learn who was who, would have given them a good idea of the social structure.

When pointing out that Sharp's singers were not all illiterate peasants, and also towards the end of the book, Harker slips from his strict bourgoisie-proliatariat view of society. As the son of a small builder he would have known full well that village and small town society included many workers who were not simply wage-earners. Research into the workers history and culture is one of the things he calls for in his conclusions.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 10:21 AM

I'm also curious about why Dave Harker was at a symposium relating to MacColl, leave alone getting involved in a 'set-to' about him?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 10:18 AM

Harker does not mention the Critics Group in the book we are discussing. Does he mention it in One For the Money?
And if so, can anybody who has read that give a view on whether Harker's view is 'snide'?


Not that I noticed. He covers MacColl's entire career in a few pages, interwoven with biographical material on other figures of the time. He doesn't rate the results they achieved very highly but he doesn't fault them for trying what they did. And his account of the Communist Party's general influence on the folk scene shows no sign of snideness either.

I think he could have given us more on Charles Parker, who doesn't get much more than a namecheck, and on Paul Graney, who he obviously had a lot of respect for. Perhaps he was hoping to say more on Graney in another book.

The one figure who comes out of "One for the Money" presented in an unqualified glistening halo is Alex Glasgow. That bit of the book reads rather oddly. It's rather like the last chapter of Suetonius's "The Twelve Caesars", where after depicting the first 11 as a sordid gang of thugs and perverts, the last one (who was still alive and could have had Suetonius thrown to the lions) is given a full-on heroic apotheosis.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 09:40 AM

"Until any discussion moves to where the songs fit (or don't fit) into the people's culture,"

We have explained several times that one of the comments Harker makes about the mediators is precisely that discussion of the 'people's culture' is not a feature of their work. And Jag has just explained this point again.

Harker does not mention the Critics Group in the book we are discussing. Does he mention it in One For the Money?

And if so, can anybody who has read that give a view on whether Harker's view is 'snide'?

NB OED

* Counterfeit, sham, bogus. Also (more widely): inferior, worthless

* Insinuating, sneering, slyly derogatory.

If not, I'm interested to know where and when this view was expressed.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 09:40 AM

!There are places where theorising is optional "
Only if you do it in the context of the songs
It's is pointless to claim the songs ere fakes unless you produce the faked songs
Harker seems to have worked on the basis that they musi be fakes because of the characters of the collector - you have to produce you evidence before you can establish a motive
I agree entirely about 'butterfly collecting'
Sharp's argument was that the songs had to be gathered as soon as possible before they disappeared - a pretty valid one as far as I'm concerned
Tom Munnelly described his own position in Ireland as 'a race with the undertaker' in the second half of the 20th century - he was right , of course
WE worked in tandem with Tom - he suggested many of the singers we met, we concentrated on interviewing them rather than headhunting
It meant we got far less songs than we could have but masses of information that would otherwise have been lost - especially from the Travellers
I would guess that less of than half the recordings we made wer of songs with Walter Pardon and with the Travellers
We were a little more hurried with the Clare singers as we were limited to only annual visits to Ireland, but we still managed to glean a fir amount of information
Jim


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 09:03 AM

" It's no different from what the editors of all specialist journals do."

I think "By January 1905, Sharp had published more tunes in the Folk Song Society Journal" would be adequate for many editors. However, I keep forgetting that Harker's was using the device of treating Marxist theories as objective fact and writing as if for readers who believed that. So sneaking in the implication of exploitation (of the singers, not the journal I think) is consistant.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 08:51 AM

@Jim Carroll. I don't think "Fakesong" is about what the collectors brought back but about how they theorised about it.

There are many context where people have to theorise. Collectors who just collect and describe can only go so far. A butterfly collector who just collects and describes will never be regarded as a scientist. Sharp, to discuss things with his middle class pals, give lectures and promote the songs into schools has to have theories to talk about. Similarly Harker, writing a book published by an academic publisher, can't just give us all the ordered results of his reading - he has to have a theory. Bearman was doing it as part of a research training that would prepare him for the academic world.

There are places where theorising is optional so long as the research is good and readers are interested - many articles in Folk Music Journal are like that.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 08:29 AM

I think comments like "By January 1905, Sharp had used the Folk Song Society Journal in order to get more tunes into print" are disrespectful.

Why? It's no different from what the editors of all specialist journals do. He's not saying the tunes or editing were inferior, was he?


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 08:20 AM

Surely this has to rise above the personalities of the cloole cotrs and 'like and dislike' and be decided on what the collectors atually brought back and ae being accused of doing to them?

Until any discussion moves to where the songs fit (or don't fit) into the people's culture, this will be little more than shadow boxing
For me, a great piece of evidence in the Buchan controversy lies in the number of Buchan's versions that were found in the field long after Buchan departed the scene (according to Greig)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 07:44 AM

I think comments like "By January 1905, Sharp had used the Folk Song Society Journal in order to get more tunes into print" are disrespectful. Butit's difficult, to be sure if it is personal or aimed at him as a member of bourgoise expropriators as a class and at their vehicle for publication. He drops that sort of snide tone later in the book.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 06:55 AM

Is there anybody Harker shows actual dislike or disrespect for, rather than saying they had limitations that need to be recognized?

In "One for the Money" the closest he gets to really losing it is over Johnny Handle's "Farewell to the Monty" - which he regards as reactionary nostalgic shite. But the reasoning is that he has a great deal of respect for Handle's talents and for the people he came from, he just thinks he could have done much better than he did in that song.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 06:40 AM

"Harker at time seems to show respect for Lloyd, and for McColl when he gets a mention."
Not sure I'd take that as a compliment
I had a run-in with him over my criticising his snide analysis of The Critics Group in my talk at the MacColl symposium
He very grudgingly accepted that he's based his opinion on hostile folkie hearsay rather than approaching MacColl or the Group (nothing new there)
That's the feeling I was left with having read 'Fakesong' and the folk bits of 'One For the Money'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 05:58 AM

By "in a similar vein" I mean not being as vicious as they could be read.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 05:57 AM

In the Appendix Harker describes himself at on point as "being a cheerful new middle-class traitor". I think some commments aimed at Lloyd, who was not really a collector, are in similar vein. I found many of his criticisms of Lloyd worth thinking about and probably valid. Despite the factional political differences Harker at time seems to show respect for Lloyd, and for McColl when he gets a mention.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 05:34 AM

"a sarcastic review, such as you get in the liberal media."
Do you think that's the way the founders of a revival that gave us so much interest and pleasure should be presented in a supposedly serious work on a subject as important as folk song Jag ?
I'm afraid I don't but I do agree with your comparison (though I might be inclined to choose the term 'tabloid'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 04:39 AM

I thought it was nice the way that at the end he gives a biography of himself in the same format as those for his mediators. I actually enjoyed the book from Lloyd onwards and found it thought provoking in a more postive way. A sense of humour comes through and the rather snide comments about Sharp his peers were replaced by something more in the style of a sarcastic review, such as you get in the liberal media.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 12 Feb 20 - 03:51 AM

I believe that Maureen, as in the person Dave Harker dedicated the book, was his wife at the time.
Derek


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 12:42 PM

jack no one is taking about failing, harker comes across to me as a negative , deliberately controversuial self seeking publicist what i am talking about is that there are doers like shar, people that achieved something popitive [clooected a vast amount of songs] and people like harker who are negative find fault in sharp et have never done anything as regards collecting songs or running events which give people pleasure.
some people refer to it as half full half empty syndrome


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 10:59 AM

"“Eighteenth-century Scotland, there is no doubt at all, was a nation of ballad singers and ballad lovers."
By working as a group to work on each other's singing so ther vcould go back home and set up similar groups to do the same
Neither she or Ean trained anybody to do anything
I was in the Critics group for two years - Pat was a member for five
At the present time I am I am working on two hundred tapes of recordings of the meetings in order to deposit them with the National Sound Archive
Yo implied that there would have ben something wrong with being taught by either of them
Paggy, now in her mid eighties, is still one of the best instrumentalists in the field of folk song and Ewan's singing is still in great demand thirty years after hsi death
There were many people who would happily have queued up to be taught by either of them, but that's not what they did.
If you were around when we were discussing the Critics Group, you must have missed the script of a talk I gave at MacColl's 70th birthday symposium describing how the group worked
Ewan, Peggy and many of the group members were at that talk (as was Dave Harker, btw) - not one in attendance contradicted what I had to say
The script is still available for examination on Mucdcat's archive

That group did not "break up" - it ceased to work on song and some ex members set up similar groups
You don't have to "credit either of us - you just have to listen to what
has been said properly - that's the secret of learning things - something apparently way beyond you capabilities

"Regarding the rest of your post, I don't have the time or the inclination to respond. "
Nor the intelligence, obviously - that's why I wasn't aiming it at you
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 10:40 AM

I am sorry, but Peggy Seeger is on record as stating that what she and MacColl were trying to do in the critics group was to train teachers. When discussing the break-up of that group she said that maybe the people were ready to got out, ready to be teachers themselves, but she and Ewan had not appreciated that. This was in a recently broadcast BBC TV interview. I have to choose whether to credit Seeger or you. I am afraid that on balance I feel Seeger is more likely to be correct regarding the intentions she and Ewan had.

Regarding the rest of your post, I don't have the time or the inclination to respond. You are welcome to the last word, and people will make of it what they will. It isn't really an issue.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 08:43 AM

"but you'll get the sense of it."
Not much sense to make of it, as usual

"not least at the hands of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger."
For someone banging on about misrepresentation that takes the top prize
MacColl and Seeger never "trained anybody" - far from it
When MacColl was approached to teach by a number of established singers he refused
Instead, he set up a self-help group based on sharing skills and opinions - that was how the Critics Group worked for nearly ten years
You may add that little gem to the rapidly growing pile of things on which you have no knowledge whatever

You have no grounds for judging how reliable my statements are - you have never examined our work and you have no nowledge of the people we recorded
That lack of understanding never stopped Harker mind you
Jim Carroll
No - Harker did not have to be a collector to write about them, but if you were going to do that you needed to know how they worked and what they did
His book contains no discussion on how they got the songs nor what they did when they got them - neither the songs nor the source singers put in an appearance to any degree in his nasty little hit-list
Nor did he deal in any way with the later collectors, such as Lomax, Henderson, Delargy, Ennis, Fowke, Flanders..... and all the others who continued where Sharp and the rest left off

"Was he wrong?"
Absolutely Jack - the reviaval up to them was a grass-roots, cub-based affair almost entirely relying on voluntary effort by people who recieved nothing for the 'labours of love' they put in   
There were a few who made an extremely frugal living on bookings, but they were largely to give the regulars an occasional break
The only club I can remember in those days that relied on paid guests was the MSG in Manchester (I never bothered too much with the snigger snogwriter ones so I can't comment on them
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 08:10 AM

I have to say I find Bearman's tone irritating at times, but the comments he makes on the way people read Sharp seem reasonable in content. I shall therefore follow Brian in referring to what Bearman says:

'the issue is that Sharp's work ought to be judged on the evidence … and not on the basis of a farrago of false statements, misconceptions, misunderstandings … with its faults compounded by violent political prejudice'

This is simplified but the gist of it seems applicable to the uses some people make of their own mediations of Sharp's work. Anybody who imagines that Sharp saw the words of folk song as representing the working class or the lowest ranks in society seems plain wrong to me.

Bearman is quite scathing about the 2nd revival, seeing it as American-led . He also thinks it misrepresents Sharp. He points out that a substantial number of Sharp's informants were by no means 'working class'. He blames A L Lloyd for what he sees as a false view that folk songs were the voice of the working class/lower orders and that folk song was the cultural property of or the expression of the voice of the 'lower orders', as these constituted a class in Marxist terms.

I'm not saying I agree with Bearman, just pointing out that if you are looking for potentially harmed bathing babies then Bearman might be a good place to look.


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Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Feb 20 - 07:57 AM

MY POINT STILL STANDS HE WAS NOT AN ORGANISER OR DOER HE NEVER RAN A FOLK CLUB OR FESTIVAL AND I DOUBT IF HE EVER RAN A FOLK CLUB

I've never stood for election as a UKIP candidate. I don't regard that as a failing.

The evaluation he gives in "One for the Money" (c.1980) is that folk clubs were a movement that was going nowhere except to provide a modest income to performers with low aspirations.   Was he wrong?


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

From an interview with Walter:

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

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

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


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

A song challenge:

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

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


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

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

Now there's a song challenge.


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Re Pseud's last post:

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Come on Vic, what's the secret?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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