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Important new article on Cecil Sharp

DigiTrad:
SEEDS OF LOVE


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GUEST,Guest 02 May 19 - 05:31 PM
Rigby 02 May 19 - 05:28 PM
Brian Peters 02 May 19 - 04:42 PM
The Sandman 02 May 19 - 04:13 PM
meself 02 May 19 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 02 May 19 - 11:50 AM
meself 02 May 19 - 11:14 AM
Brian Peters 02 May 19 - 06:45 AM
Vic Smith 02 May 19 - 06:26 AM
Brian Peters 02 May 19 - 04:55 AM
The Sandman 02 May 19 - 03:02 AM
Jack Campin 02 May 19 - 02:20 AM
Jim Carroll 02 May 19 - 02:00 AM
GUEST,dangyankee 01 May 19 - 09:54 PM
meself 01 May 19 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 01 May 19 - 05:22 PM
GUEST 01 May 19 - 05:21 PM
Steve Gardham 01 May 19 - 04:34 PM
Brian Peters 01 May 19 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,BP 01 May 19 - 04:03 PM
Brian Peters 01 May 19 - 03:55 PM
Brian Peters 01 May 19 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 30 Apr 19 - 04:01 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 19 - 03:03 PM
Brian Peters 30 Apr 19 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 30 Apr 19 - 10:47 AM
Brian Peters 30 Apr 19 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,Rigby 29 Apr 19 - 03:42 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 19 - 02:54 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 19 - 02:50 PM
Vic Smith 29 Apr 19 - 02:37 PM
The Sandman 29 Apr 19 - 02:36 PM
Jack Campin 29 Apr 19 - 02:19 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 19 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Rigby 29 Apr 19 - 12:20 PM
Richard Mellish 29 Apr 19 - 10:07 AM
Jack Campin 29 Apr 19 - 08:04 AM
The Sandman 29 Apr 19 - 07:00 AM
Stilly River Sage 28 Apr 19 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,Rigby 28 Apr 19 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,SB 22 Apr 19 - 01:13 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Apr 19 - 12:15 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 19 - 11:12 AM
Jack Campin 21 Apr 19 - 10:38 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Apr 19 - 09:16 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 19 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 21 Apr 19 - 05:58 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 19 - 02:19 AM
The Sandman 20 Apr 19 - 04:40 PM
The Sandman 20 Apr 19 - 04:36 PM
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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:31 PM

There's something on the terminology on Wiki. It says the terms 'Scotch-Irish' and 'Scots-Irish' are used in the US to refer to certain groups of immigrants.

It also says:

Although referenced by Merriam-Webster dictionaries as having first appeared in 1744, the American term Scotch-Irish is undoubtedly older.

I know wiki doesn't always get things right, but for those interested in following up the thought it is a start.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Rigby
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:28 PM

Jim -- I am now a junior training-wheels Mudcatter so should be PMable directly, I hope.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:42 PM

"didn't the Appalachian people concerned refer to themselves - and don't they continue to refer to themselves - as "Scotch-Irish"?

Actually they did in Sharp's day. I was following their modern preference, which is not to be called after a whisky.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:13 PM

I would have liked to meet Sharp,i was very disappointed with the description my stepfather gave of him.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: meself
Date: 02 May 19 - 01:14 PM

I'm starting a new thread on the 'Scotch-Irish' question, in order to avoid hi-jacking this one.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 02 May 19 - 11:50 AM

Not until the late 19th century. More recently the label has mainly been used by racial fantasists and Protestant bigots.

I tried a number of different ways to search for "Scotch-Irish" on the Google Ngram Viewer - there is no obvious best form to use, and the results you get depend on details of spaces, dashes and quotes. Not much sign of the phrase before 1860 however you slice it, and it only takes off after WW1.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: meself
Date: 02 May 19 - 11:14 AM

Minor quibble: didn't the Appalachian people concerned refer to themselves - and don't they continue to refer to themselves - as "Scotch-Irish"?


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 May 19 - 06:45 AM

That's interesting, Vic. If you put Townsley into one of these surname mapping sites you find the biggest concentration in Argyll / Strathclyde, with numbers also in Dundee, Lancashire and Yorkshire (I remember there was a Townsley at my school).

I did a fair bit of surname research with one of those sites, and found a lot of English names amongst Sharp's singers as well.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 May 19 - 06:26 AM

Years ago when I was looking at the names of the Sharp's Appalachian informants, I was struck by the number that had common surnames amongst the Aberdeenshire and Perthshire travellers that I have always taken an interest in and who were famed as song carriers. Townsley for instance is a surname that I have only encountered amongst these travellers.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:55 AM

That's true, Mr Sandman. Sharp knew that some of the people he visited were referred to as 'Scots-Irish' (i.e. Ulster Scots), and that several of the ballads he collected were common in Scots collections such as those of Kinloch. Although he called his collection 'English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians' he stated that the British diaspora was most likely of Northern English and Lowland Scottish stock. However, he believed (at least partly correctly) that the ballad repertoire was common to both sides of the border and, like a number of writers of his day (and one or two even now!), used 'English' as a synonym for 'British'.

I also don't think it was the case, as dangyankee assumes from the Gemie article, that Sharp was interested - at least initially - in bringing American folk songs back to the UK. What he set out to do was collect songs of the kind he knew from his work in England. But, when he got there, he found himself picking up all kinds of other material of American origin (which Gemie doesn't acknowledge in his article), and that he did bring back, either in the published work or in his (much larger) manuscript collection.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 May 19 - 03:02 AM

Iwas under the impression sharp thought the music was not just english but from the geographical british isles, there is a difference


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 May 19 - 02:20 AM

Yet another weird evidence-free comment from an aninymous poster which will doubtless be followed by something grossly offensive.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 19 - 02:00 AM

"Jim, is Grainger's collection available anywhere in an accessible form?"
If you were a member I'd ask you to PM me - Joe Offer might be preppared to give yo my e-mail address - happy if he does
As far as Academia is concerned - I really can't see the grouse - I signed up some time ago (cost-free) and have accumulated a large number of fascinating articles - I am allowed so many free per month; could get many more should I wish to pay for doings so.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,dangyankee
Date: 01 May 19 - 09:54 PM

"In this instance, Sharp was arguing for the export of English material to the USA. However, when collecting folk songs in the Appalachians he needed to construct an argument in the other direction: that the Appalachian material was relevant to the British of the 1910s. Sharp's writing shows that he felt no uncertainty at all: the Appalachians he met were English. "

That was quite an interesting bit I had noticed in the article, as it would seem that Sharp had an attitude that is very much unlike the attitude of modern England towards early American folk music. Many English tend to shy away from singing American folk songs (and all the while no one bats an eye at someone when they sing an Irish song) simply because they are American; not because they are bad songs or because they are vulgar or crass, but simply because they are American! It is a beautiful thing to see this attitude of Anglo-American amity. I very much like this article, thank you kindly for linking it, good sir.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: meself
Date: 01 May 19 - 08:55 PM

Enjoyed your article - thanks!


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 01 May 19 - 05:22 PM

Above Guest was me.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 19 - 05:21 PM

Also available free on line is the article I linked above.

And that's a very good point about peer review, SG.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 19 - 04:34 PM

BP2
I am not an academic but I am a member of the EFDSS and pay my subscription, for which I get to support the valuable work done by the EFDSS, the EDS magazine and the annual journal. This is how the system works. Not everything in life is free no matter how much we would wish it. However, there are many places online where similar articles are freely available, Musical Traditions being one of them. Articles in the FMJ are peer reviewed. those on Mustrad are not. I write for both.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 May 19 - 04:22 PM

A I said before, 'Guest with the same initials as mine', the Folk Music Journal is a publication produced by the EFDSS for the benefit of members who pay a subscription.

Why do you think I should undermine that members' benefit by making it available to everyone?

And why do you feel the need to adopt such an aggressive and offensive tone?


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,BP
Date: 01 May 19 - 04:03 PM

Re: FMJ is it available freely on line at all?

Don't you love the arrogance of bl**dy Academia in deeming plebs not worthy of accessing interesting research and publications? If I had the skills I'd hack and copy the said publication(s) and upload the text for all to read for free. But frankly I can't be ar$ed.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 May 19 - 03:55 PM

Guest wrote:

"I don't think it's a good idea to dismiss anyone's contribution to any work of art including collecting based on their character flaws or behavioral mannerisms."

This is quite true, but it's even truer when some of the supposed character flaws have been exaggerated or invented by people with an axe to grind. That's not to say that Sharp was a flawless character, but many of the claims made about him have little or no basis in fact.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 May 19 - 03:52 PM

You're welcome, Pseudonymous.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 04:01 PM

Thanks Brian, looked at your piece, enjoyed it, by coincidence it addressed one or two points I had wondered about, so even more worth a look. Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 03:03 PM

I don't think it's a good idea to dismiss anyone's contribution to any work of art including collecting based on their character flaws or behavioral mannerisms. This is a kind of censorship and criticism that doesn't serve anyone.

I would propose that most of the elegant artists, performers, composers, painters, authors, collectors et. al. are people that many of us would find ideologically or socially intolerable and that goes for many of the contemporary folk idols extant.

Give Sharp his due. No one else did what he did at the time he lived and I am a grateful recipient of his work.

Many of the musicians that I admire for their efforts are not what I would call "good people".
But to evaluate their contributions on the basis of their idiosyncrasies is fallacious.

Being part of the human family I reserve the right to say that I've done some pretty stupid and ugly things in my life that were not premeditated but out of ignorance.

Let's be charitable to Sharp and pat him on the back for his contributions.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 10:56 AM

I'm afraid not - it's one of the benefits of being a member. Big City and University libraries (e.g. Manchester where I live) might take the Journal.

There's an article I wrote for fRoots online, though I should stress this is a general readership piece, not an academic paper.

Appalachian Gold


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 10:47 AM

Sorry to be dim/cheeky but the paper for FMJ is it available freely on line at all?


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 09:47 AM

Just caught up with this thread, though sadly not before it had drifted off topic.

The article on the Musical Traditions site by Sharif Gemie, as Nic Dow wrote above, ploughs some very well-tilled territory. It also ignores a body of recent published material on the subject, as well as the considerable volume of Sharp's writings online, a knowledge of which might have led to obvious errors having been avoided.

It's particularly inaccurate on the topic of Sharp's relationship with singers, which I've dealt with in some detail, both in the recent presentation that Nic mentions, and in my paper for the FMJ: 'Myths of Merry Olde England: Cecil Sharp's Collecting Practice in the Southern Appalachians'. It is very clear (to reference another comment above) that the relationship in many cases was actually 'friendship' - often sustained over several years - rather than 'friendliness'.

I heartily concur with the comment by 'meself' that:
"The thing to remember is that these people collected what they collected - what they didn't collect was available for anyone else to collect; they can hardly be faulted if no one else was willing and able." Pseudonymous has made some telling points as well.

I've already contacted Rod Stradling, who has agreed to give me the space to post a response that will, I hope, correct some of the more egregious inaccuracies in Dr Gemie's piece, and dispel one or two myths that still cling to Sharp. I won't say any more for now, but will link my article when it appears.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 03:42 PM

Jim, is Grainger's collection available anywhere in an accessible form?

I suspect Grainger had quite a complex relationship with Britishness and the empire. As an Australian he was patronised and made to feel provincial in England; and after studying in Germany he came to loathe all things German, but then emigrated to the USA in the first world war so as not to have to fight. He seems to have greatly admired the aboriginal peoples he had contact with, albeit in some sort of 'noble savage' way.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 02:54 PM

Whoops
Ms O'Brien's detailed account of his collecting work (can't lay my hands on it to check her fore-name) and I can't be bothered to dig out the Folk Song Journals containing his extensive writings on Lincolnshire singing styles
You really were hiding behind the door wen they were handing out good manners, weren't you ?

Thank you Vic
Jim


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 02:50 PM

"You know nothing about Grainger. Shut the fuck up."
Good mannered as ever I see
I have a recording of the lecture John Bird gave on him at C#House and I've read up on him extensively to annotate his collection which nestles in our recording archive
I would highly recommend Ms O'Brien's


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 02:37 PM

Vic Smith (opening post):-
I post this with some trepidation because I can see that the subject has the potential of becoming one of those dreary exchanges of dogged opinions from entrenched positions that are the curse of Mudcat. I hope sincerely that does not happen here...

Jack Campin:-
You know nothing about Grainger. Shut the fuck up.

Your opinion on why Jim knows little about Grainger would be more welcome and more useful.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 02:36 PM

Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Richard Mellish - PM
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 10:07 AM

The Sandman 29 Apr 19 - 07:00 AM
> well according to wiki,grainger was anti semitic and a racist

Possibly, and we may now deplore that, but (a) it was hardly unusual in his day and (b) it seems of minimal relevance to his song collecting. I posted as a balance to the following post
He was also an internationalist who collected in Denmark and New Zealand as well as in England


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 02:19 PM

You know nothing about Grainger. Shut the fuck up.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 01:22 PM

Grainger, Sharp, et al, were part of the British Empire philosophy that to be foreign was to be "in errors chain" (to quote the Imperial hymn)
His views were very much a reflection of the times he lived in
If people were aware of Charles Kingsley's views of the 'animal-like Irish' they wouldn't let their children anywhere near 'The Water Babies', if they adopted this critical view across the board
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 12:20 PM

Like many people at the time Grainger attached huge importance to race and nationality in a way that seems alien and a bit repugnant today. It is quite the over-simplification to say that he was straightforwardly a 'racist', though. His opinions were very individual and bizarre, and caused him to make some strange life choices.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 10:07 AM

The Sandman 29 Apr 19 - 07:00 AM
> well according to wiki,grainger was anti semitic and a racist

Possibly, and we may now deplore that, but (a) it was hardly unusual in his day and (b) it seems of minimal relevance to his song collecting.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 08:04 AM

I am currently reading John Blacking's "'A common sense view of all music' - reflections on Percy Grainger's contribution to ethnomusicology and music education" [OUP 1987/1990] which rambles more than a bit, but puts a good case for Grainger as a radical pioneer in many different directions at once. At the very least he makes it very clear that there were a lot of things Sharp had no reasonable excuse for ignoring, except that there were a lot of damn silly ideas in circulation at the time.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 07:00 AM

well according to wiki,grainger was anti semitic and a racist,


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 01:46 PM

Grainger produced some very difficult-to-play music, as I recall from my piano-student days. (And Country Gardens was a favorite.)


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 11:44 AM

I'm reading John Bird's biography of Percy Grainger at the moment. Grainger was a deeply odd person but his approach to folksong collecting seems a lot more in tune with modern attitudes than Sharp's. Grainger emphasised the use of the phonograph as a collecting tool and insisted that performances should be notated in detail all the way through, rather than being distilled into a representative melody and perhaps a few variations. He was also an internationalist who collected in Denmark and New Zealand as well as in England.

Grainger clearly admired Sharp for his zeal as a collector but thought his arrangements terrible. Interestingly, he offered Sharp half of the royalties for his arrangement of Country Gardens, which was based on a tune that Sharp had collected, and Sharp turned him down.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,SB
Date: 22 Apr 19 - 01:13 PM

'bulmerize' what a legacy ...


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Apr 19 - 12:15 PM

I think generally speaking its not a good idea to take people to court who are richer than you and can afford better lawyers.
As Robert maxwell's career proved. he had a whole floor of lawyers working for him.

I resent the fact that one of the companies who had used some of my songs went bankrupt the day before they had to pay any royalties. it was the '80's and regarded as good business practice at the time.

Similarly I had a guitar whose electrics stopped working onstage - three months after the year guarantee was up. This was a Yamaha AC3R - witha n RRP of about a grand. yamaha refused to replace the guitar. i approached the MU and asked them to take action on my behalf, and they refused point blank.

these big corporations are untouchable, and the law is their servant.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 19 - 11:12 AM

"I know Rod Stewart recorded it."
The McPeake's took Stewart to court and lost the case because it was proved that it was a traditional song; the 'Braes of Balquidder'
Francie McPeake was still bitter about it when he spoke at the Willie Clancy Summer School a few years ago.

I believe the first court case involving the ownership of a traditional song was over the claimed composition of 'The Wreck of the Old '97'
Jim


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Apr 19 - 10:38 AM

Court cases in the folk/trad scene are rare - pop is where the rich pickings are for lawyers. The few cases there have been don't constitute a trend you can infer anything meaningful from.

An ongoing irritation is ownership of unpublished manuscripts, where copyright stays with the owner. There's one I'd like to do something with which was completed in 1710-ish - not a note of it has ever entered the public sphere. John Clare's unpublished manuscripts (probably including a bunch of folk material) have been in private ownership since his death - you can see them at a British library but can't copy or publish anything from them, on the say-so of an American academic who bought the rights decades ago and bulmerized them.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Apr 19 - 09:16 AM

What sort of legal squabbles?
I know Rod Stewart recorded it.
And most people credit to its modern forn to the McPeake family.

But I didn't realise it had got as far as a court case.


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 19 - 06:30 AM

I was referring to the cottage industries set up by Kennedy - crossed lines, sorry
I'm nort sure h=why the Lomax's did it or whether i was done on their behalf, but the pracice has now got beyond a joke with legal squabbles like that surrounding 'Will Ye Go Lassie Go'
Jim


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 21 Apr 19 - 05:58 AM

I only mentioned the "arrangements" by the Lomaxes because I got the impression from your words:

"We joined the folk scene to get away from the commercial aspects of entertainment, now some people seem to be setting up their own cottage industry"

seem to imply that it is only now that people are copyrighting folk material.

Re "Love Me Tender" I was not defending a bloody syrupy pop song but I do enjoy the up-tempo fiddle version of the tune "Ora Lee".


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 19 - 02:19 AM

"They were collecting for the Library of Congress and being funded."
I know hoot, but they had the same problem as any collector
I've never been convinced that the "arrangements" done by the Lomaxs were anything more than those did by Sharp, Baring Gould.... or any of the earlier collectors in order to make the raw songs more 'presentable' - not I practice I particularly approve of, but a common one
As I understand it from my friendship with Tom Munnelly, who worked for the Irish Folklore Department, collectors for institutions were paid a wage and anything they collected belonged to their employers
Getting material from such organisations is like trying to get the Pope's autograph
'Love Me Tender' is as vacuous as it ever was, I should imagine with any tune
I loved it when I was a youth, "ut when I became a man, I put away childish things..." (a personal view, of course

I do wish we could get back to learning from the past work of others instead of the very distasteful 'Harkerist' practice of tearing it down
They may have made all the mistakes, bu at least they were there while we still had a living (if ailing) tradition, so they were far more qualified to judge than those reaching into the urn to sift through the ashes of one
Jim


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 19 - 04:40 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw-Wxt4FVyM


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Subject: RE: Important new article on Cecil Sharp
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 19 - 04:36 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQaXA2wUVNU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoriFtRVGQs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw-Wxt4FVyM
its not the tune but the way you play them


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