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Review: Walter Pardon; Research

Related thread:
Walter Pardon - which song first? (45)


GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Nov 19 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Nov 19 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Nov 19 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Nov 19 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Nov 19 - 05:04 AM
GUEST 14 Nov 19 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Nov 19 - 04:53 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Nov 19 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Nov 19 - 04:51 AM
GUEST 14 Nov 19 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 14 Nov 19 - 04:17 AM
GUEST 14 Nov 19 - 04:13 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 01:53 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 01:38 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Nov 19 - 12:23 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 12:08 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Guest 13 Nov 19 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 13 Nov 19 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 09:19 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,jag 13 Nov 19 - 06:51 AM
GUEST 13 Nov 19 - 06:40 AM
punkfolkrocker 13 Nov 19 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 13 Nov 19 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 06:28 AM
punkfolkrocker 13 Nov 19 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,jag 13 Nov 19 - 06:10 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 05:52 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 05:51 AM
punkfolkrocker 13 Nov 19 - 05:49 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,jag 13 Nov 19 - 05:32 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,jag 13 Nov 19 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,CJ 13 Nov 19 - 04:43 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 04:15 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 03:58 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 03:50 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Nov 19 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 13 Nov 19 - 03:37 AM
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Dave the Gnome 12 Nov 19 - 03:26 PM
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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 05:33 AM

Actually, such trolling does play into my hands in that it goes to support a feeling that to some extent support for Pardon has been based on ideologies and beliefs rather than on a considered view of his strengths and weakness as a singer/musician and of the various claims that aspects of his story demonstrate 'the traditional'. Knee jerk might be too strong a word for it, but it comes somewhere close.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 05:30 AM

But in effect, and quite possible spurred on by Carroll himself, Carroll's friends appear to me to be trolling this thread. This is a pity because there has been some interesting discussion, especially before Carroll appeared on it, when people began to have a sinking feeling.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 05:19 AM

I would like to thank Jim Carroll for providing more information about the Pardon 'industry'. I have noted the date and place of the talk.

Troll: somebody who deliberately pisses somebody off online to get a reaction. Sorry, no. I started this thread despite a sinking feeling that Jim Carroll might a) spoil it as so many posters have complained over a period of decades he spoils other threads b) react in a 'pissed off' manner.

If we adopted the approach on Mudcat of not doing stuff that might piss off Jim Carroll there would be very little discussion of anything British at all.

You are entitled to your thoughts. Mr Carroll is lucky to have such loyal friends. No doubt their loyalty is part of what keeps him on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 05:12 AM

Thank you unknown guest for this post.

'Highly amused to see that among the sources cited by Ord is one Mike Yates. This discusses some weaknesses of the phonograph as a recording tool.... '

Even funnier is the fact that Yates was talking about the Phonograph - an early recording machine that was prone to distortion - and not about modern tape and digital recorders. Pseud's implied argument is invalid.

I should have made the argument more explicit rather than leave people to imply it. Obviously I am aware of the difference between the phonograph and later recording devices. But the piece by Yates and Ord's discussion goes into other aspects of recording, including not only the way it can be used to give an effect of 'authenticity' but also the potential effect on the way the singer/s may deliver their songs, and then of course, the fact that the results are 'texts' which are then 'read' by those who encounter them.

The joke for me was that Yates lacks the naivete about recording 'traditional' stuff sometimes shown by Mudcatters. And that is before we get on to interview techniques.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 05:04 AM

Sorry above thread drift was me.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 05:04 AM

Thread drift: the melodeon is something invented from a mouth organ in the 19th century, which limits the extent of how traditional it is.

It is cumbersome to play, and to get a really good one you need to pay a great deal of money. Pardon had a middling range Hohner in some pictures, not a cheap thing.

Arguably, Walter would have been better of noodling on a keyboard or piano.

The thing melodeons are best for is outside dance music, when the built in awkwardness on some note changes isn't so limiting and it can provide what it does best, very loud stuff for unamplified music, done rhythmically for dancing. For that they are ideal.

Sorry for thread drift.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 04:53 AM

Used to have and play melodeon myself, so took particular notice of that and of the discussions about modes. Clear now, right?

Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 04:52 AM

You do understand that the aim of the OP was to sort fact from myth from conjecture/gossip, right?

Good. Thank you for your contribution, right?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 04:51 AM

"Regarding the relationship between Pardon's melodeon playing and the tunes he used for songs: I would be interested to see any data on this originating with Pardon himself. What I can find appears to be conjectural."

It was a direct quote from Walter himself. What's conjectural about that? You do understand that he used to play the tunes of his songs on the melodeon, right?

And you do understand what I mean by 'data on this originating with Pardon himself', but obviously not. Or you might have given a reference to that data. Too much trouble?

The conjectural stuff, as a moment's thought on this might have shown, is the discussions on whether the tunes were distorted by his habit of playing them or trying to play them on the melodeon. Right?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 04:45 AM

OK A bit of schoolboy history.

The long post from the festival is (if we accept it to be 'verbatim') primary evidence of what Carroll and Mackenzie (video evidence suggests they did a sort of double act) said at that festival

As evidence relating to Pardon it has to be evaluated in terms of the biases and selectivity of those who created it (again assuming it was some sort of joint effort).

The enthusiasm of these people to be in on the Pardon phenomenon is illustrated by a story I was told that they called on him unannounced and uninvited. I am not sure if this was their own idea or if this was part of a co-ordinated strategy. It looks to me as if they had made their minds up before meeting him about his importance.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 04:17 AM

Sorry that last post was me.

I found one song with a clear assertion it was filled out using printed books, there is another song mentioned on Mustrad where a writer suspects or perhaps guesses would be a better word that a particular book was used.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 04:13 AM

Another example of potentially conflicting information about Pardon:

1) people in the folk revival helped him remember words to songs that he had forgotten, in some cases he remembered only scraps

2) friends in the revival brought printed song books and the songs he didn't remember were filled out using these books. This was done tastefully resulting in some good end results.

It may be that both are true. Not sure how the first was done, no information.

As so often the information is anecdotal, and imprecise. So there is not claim that he had forgotten the majority, or that the majority were put together.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 01:53 PM

Can I just say in contrast, when Clare singer, Tom Lenihan, who we also became very friendly with, first sang for us and gave us one of his most beautiful songs, 'Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow', which we said we'd been told about, he took the verse out which is a diatribe about the fickleness of women, because he thought it might offend Pat
When we realised he had, we went back to him and he sang it in full without hesitation
Iim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 01:38 PM

As far as I know, he never bowdlerized any song
He was reluctant to sing 'Maid of Australia' when we first met him because Pat was there but he agreed to after a couple of minutes discussion
He wouldn't sing his early Topman and the Afterguard ever, but he liked the form of the song so h found another version

We have the the family songs he wrote in his notebooks ain teh 1940s - he never altered anyof them as far as I am aware
What he did was to search out verses that he knew were missing, but he told us which ones he did that with - he was very careful not to mislead anybody
The 'Dark Arches' story summed up his approach
Whenwe got him the text from Mike, we first recorded what he knew and asked hi that if he gave the full version to anyone else he told them where it came from - he always did, as far as we know

There is a strange attitude that traditional singers learned their song and then locked themselves away waiting for a collector to turn up
It really wasn't like that
Every singer we ever met learned the si=ongs because they liked them and they liked singing
That never left them - while they continued singing they continued to learn song
In Walter's case, the only new song Walter ever learned wa 'The Trampwoman's Tragedy' - a poem he turned into a song
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 12:23 PM

"Welter learned a few songs in the Army but said that most he heard were “rubbish - outright rude”. In fact the version of ‘The Topman and the Afterguard’ he heard in the Army was “obscene’, so he had to learn a new text for that."

Jim - that's something I was wondering but got distracted from asking...

If anyone listens to Walter's recordings to learn songs,
are they now in 2019 considered 'best' available full lyrics,
or did he sing bowdlerized versions
more acceptable to the Mary Whitehouse brigade of half a century ago.....???

If I for example were to study his recordings as a starting point,
would I need to seek out more robust and earthier earlier versions
that were locked from public ears back then...???


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 12:08 PM

I'll cnace my arm again in the hope I'm not overloading the forum
Feel free to tell me I am
Jim

Walter Pardon.

Given at Eyam Festival, Derbyshire and at Cecil Sharp House 1996.

Today we’d like to talk to you about our good friend, Walter Pardon, the man we knew and recorded for 20 years, singing and talking about his life and music. Walter died last year at the age of 82 and we are assuming that you know a certain amount about him: his 4 LPS, recorded by Bill Leader and Mike Yates, his TV and radio interviews, his part in a John Cohen film, his trip to the States for the Bi-centenary celebrations, his EFDSS Gold Badge, and all the critical acclaim he received during the 15 years or so he was performing. (If you don’t, the display boards put together by Doc Rowe will certainly help)
We would just point out that the recordings we will be playing of Walter singing and talking about his singing were not made for publication purposes and you will find certain amount of background noise, particularly a clock! And Walter sometimes speaks with his pipe clamped in his teeth which doesn’t help with clarity.

WALTER PARDON was probably the last of a long line of fine Norfolk singers. In the earlier years of this century, collectors like Ralph Vaughan Williams and E.J. Moeran were finding the county a rich source of traditional song: particularly noteworthy was Moeran’s work in the l920 with Harry Cox, the farm worker from Catfield. The BBC’s mopping up campaign in the1950s was still unearthing singers with a wealth of material despite the fact that, by that time, of course, the singing tradition had entered a steep decline and, indeed, had virtually died out, leaving us with a handful of traditional singers and a somewhat larger number of what Ewan MacColl aptly described as ‘song carriers’ people who had not necessarily been part of the singing tradition but, for one reason or another, had clung on to the old songs and music. However, Norfolk gave us three of this country’s most important singers: Harry Cox, fisherman Sam Lamer from Winterton and, lastly, Walter Pardon of Knapton.
Let’s start with Walter’s version of a song collected quite often towards the South West of England and which also appeared on broadsides. Vaughan Williams noted a version in Essex in 1904 but only quotes the first verse in the Folk Song Journal, stating: “The rest of the words are not suitable for publication and have little interest, except, perhaps, in giving a modern example of the kind of rough fun which we find in Chaucer’s Clerke of Oxenforde.” Thank goodness Chaucer idea of humour was more appreciated by the working folk of rural Norfolk. In fact, Walter himself made the same connection with Chaucer. So here is:
THE CUNNING COBBLER
Walter was born in 1914 into a family of mainly agricultural workers employed on local farms and also as gardeners and groundsmen at Mundesley Golf Links. He was born and lived all his life in Knapton, a small rural village a couple of miles from the sea at Mundesley and the same distance from the market town of North Walsham.
Knapton has no pub and the only small shop closed years back. When Walter was growing up, the roads were unmade so it meant travelling by donkey cart or bicycle through mud in winter and dust in summer, for shopping for instance. There were travelling salesmen who called with bread, fish, meat, etc. even ice cream Also peddlers with household items and Walter once saw a travelling musician but was told there had been more before his time. As a boy, Walter, along with ether children, helped on the land in the evening and weekends: pulling beet, pitching corn up on to the stacks, etc. At that time, the children’s summer holidays were determined by the dates of the harvest; the farmers told the schools when they were going to start so the holidays then coincided. They worked from dawn to dusk 6 days a week.

Both sides of Walter’s immediate family were born in Knapton: 12 Gees (his mother’s family) and 6 Pardons. Walter was an only child so became the focus of attention not: only of his parents but also the two bachelor uncles (his mother’s brothers) who lived with them. Most of the family lived close by but one uncle emigrated to the United States. Walter told of his great grandfather who was sacked by a farmer, he thought for answering back, which meant instant dismissal in those days, and so was blacklisted locally and forced to go to sea and his family into the workhouse.
Walter was apprenticed as a carpenter in the neighbouring village of Paston when he left school at 14 and he worked mainly locally, probably within a radius of 20 miles, cycling to work each day. He never lived away from Knapton except for his four years in the Army but he didn’t go overseas then, being employed as a carpenter on various Army camps about the country. It was the Army ruined his poor feet: square bashing in boots that were too small for him!

The Gees, his mother’s family, were musical - singers and instrumentalists. In the past, they had played fiddles, concertinas and accordeons/melodeons - Walter didn’t differentiate between them - but Walter had only heard his Uncle Walter who played melodeon and Jews Harp. Walter learned songs from his
family; his mother, his Aunt Alice and principally his Uncle Billy. Billy had got a lot of songs from his
father, Tom Gee, who was well known as a singer with a very large repertoire. They obviously learned
songs from anyone and anywhere; Walter knew several Irish songs and he said they learned their songs
because they liked them. The singing was done at Harvest frolics, which died out while Walter was young and at Christmas parties. - Apparently so many people came to the cottage then that they had to have meals in two sittings -. There would be conversation, music, singing and dancing at these parties but always perfect quiet for the songs. The living room had an exposed beam running across the ceiling called the baulk and the shout. would go up, “Our side of the baulk” when someone had sung from one side of the room and they would take turns across the room. They each had their own particular songs for these occasions. For instance: ‘Generals All’ from Billy, his favourite; ‘Jones’s Ale from Uncle Bob, ‘Bonny Bunch of Roses’ from Uncle Tom and so on. Apparently no-one wanted ‘The Dark Eyed Sailor’ so that was Walter’s song or sometimes ‘When the Fields Were White with Daisies’. They all knew the tunes but everybody was very protective of their own songs and did not want others to learn them. Walter, the favourite youngster, was the only one Billy Gee would give his songs to but none of Walters contemporaries wanted them anyway; they would only learn new songs as they came out. Walter had to write the songs out to learn them but they were all in Billy’s head; Walter never saw him write any out.

WALTER TALKING ABOUT OWNERSHIP OF SONGS, etc.

There was no pub singing in Walter’s time but he knew there had been in the past which Billy had taken
part in; the Mitre Tavern in North Walsham in particular at the end of the last century. (Billy was born
in 1863) Walter only heard him sing once in a pub, after an Agricultural Workers’ Union meeting at the
Crown in Trunch, the next village, when he was asked to sing the song about “smoke and fire”. Billy did
not recognise this description but Walter prompted him: it was ‘Generals All’. Here’s Walter singing it:

GENERALS ALL.

Walter was very proud of his family’s association with the early Agricultural Union movement; When George Edwards restarted the Agricultural Workers Union in Norfolk in 1907, the first one started by Joseph Arch in the late 19th century having folded, Walter’s father had the second Union card issued, No.1 going to a man from Gimminqham, a nearby village. 40 years later, both men were awarded silver medals for their services to the Union. Walter learned a number of songs, parodies and rhymes connected with the Union; here is one such:

OLD MAN’S ADVICE

Influenced by his family’s love of song and music, Walter developed a deep interest in the songs – he
said he supposed he’d inherited it - and he used to write down the words on scraps of paper and in
exercise books. One book we got from him is dated 1948, six years after his Uncle Billy’s death. He was
aided in putting together the songs - which he had never sung - by his prodigious memory. He could
remember local lore and events not only from his own experience but which had been recounted to him by his elders. It was sometimes not until later that you realised you had been listening to a tale of something that had happened before Walter was born. He could recall long vanished field names, dialect words and names of animals, farm implements, etc. He related some family toasts: here are two of Tom Gee’s:

“Here’s a toast to Malcolm. May God bless him, the devil miss 'im, the wife kiss 'im and the child piss ‘im”
And:

“Here’s to those who love us and those who don’t love us. To those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts. If he don’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankle bones so we know the buggers when they walk”.

Walter had always read a lot and probably even more so after his father died in 1957 leaving Walter living alone for nearly 40 years. Dickens, Hardy, H.E. Bates, Zane Grey - he had quite catholic tastes, probably with a preference for the Victorian writers but mainly just for a good story and he remembered the stories with amazing clarity. He could quote from a book that he hadn’t read for perhaps 20 years or more. And he got so involved with them. Thomas Hardy was a favourite but -“They shouldn't have done that to Tess - terrible”.

Walter’s cousins’ nephew, Roger Dixon, had been interested in the songs from a boy and endeavoured to persuade him to put some on tape.

Eventually, having bought a tape recorder Walter set about it in the autumn of 1972 and later described to us his efforts at recording himself:

“I WAS DRUNK”; AND HIS IDEA OF FOLK CLUBS.

Here is a part that first tape:        -

BRITISH MAN 0’ WAR

Roger Dixon passed these tapes to Peter Bellamy, a former pupil of his when he had been teaching and, recognising Walter for the superb singer that he was, Peter introduced him to the world that, as he said, he had no idea existed. Without Roger’s persuasion and involvement, we might never have heard that unique singer, Walter Pardon.

It is perhaps surprising that the collectors working in Norfolk missed such a family of singers like the Gees but it was certainly quite phenomenal that, out of the blue, appeared a singer of such ability with such a large, rich and varied repertoire and such splendid tunes. For Walter Pardon was very special. The ease and conviction with which he handled his material, ,either classic ballads, bawdy songs, Victorian parlour ballads, union or Music Hall songs was striking, as was the informed, intelligent and emotional response to his songs, particularly the depth of emotional involvement with ALL his songs. It has been said that his style was impersonal but this was far from the case. His understanding of and feeling for the songs was highly personal and it showed.
While he did not necessarily place a greater value on any category, he was articulate in defining the different types of songs. This ability to differentiate was once scoffed at by a noted folklorist in conversation with us: “How could he do that - a simple countryman?”
When asked to choose 6 songs to sing, it is interesting to note Walter’s selection:

WALTER CHOOSING SIX SONGS.

Walter maintained that a good imagination was essential to the singer; just listen to this - an artist describing his art:

TALK OF EXPRESSION AND PICTURES etc.

Walter’s always thoughtful evaluation of songs was interesting. He said that, if he performed before a big crowd (which he did at a Fairfield Hall concert), he liked to sing The Pretty Ploughboy because it ends happily; so many ended with being transported or shot or something going wrong. Like Van Dieman’s Land - a SAD old song. He also said it “was a LONG old song but it was a long old journey - a marvelous analysis of it.
Walter had only fragments and tunes of several songs so he put them together from books and broadsheets, for example ‘Rakish Young Fellow’ and ‘Down by the Dark Arches’. He had two verses, chorus and tune for ‘Dark Arches’ and he asked us to try and get him a text. Mike Yates kindly supplied a broadsheet copy but this had no chorus, and the words of the verses he had did not match. He virtually reconstructed the song to fit his tune and chorus. He said he had to “cut the words to fit his tune; he “liked the words to go out with the nice flow of the tune”. This is a recording made by Sam Richards at the Torquay Folk Club in 1982.

THE DARK ARCHES

Welter learned a few songs in the Army but said that most he heard were “rubbish - outright rude”. In fact the version of ‘The Topman and the Afterguard’ he heard in the Army was “obscene’, so he had to learn a new text for that. This next song is one of the parodies he learned at that time. The 39/45 Star was a medal awarded to everyone who served in the War and was apparently treated with a degree of contempt by its recipients. It was known as the NAAFI or SPAM medal; Walter wasn’t sure which.

THE 39/45 STAR

The only song which, to our knowledge, was completely new to Walter was, in fact, a poem. He had done a World Service interview with the Music broadcaster, John Amis, who subsequently sent him a book of Thomas Hardy’s poems. Walter made a tune for The Trampwoman’s Tragedy, which is written in ballad form, and sang it to us - from the book so we don’t think he ever learned the words. Here is a sample of it:

THE TRAMPWOMAN’S TRAGEDY

Walter did learn some songs from gramophone records, 78s, for example, ‘When The Fields were White with Daisies’ and ‘The Old Rustic Bridge By the Mill’. Some Music Hall material he learned from a family friend, Harry Sexton, who was quite a character. A local Jack of All Trades, Harry went north to work at one period and often visited Middlesborough Music Hall. This is song ‘The Steam Arm’ that Walter got from Harry who, in turn got it from a local man, which Walter sang to us with a description of the performance at a Christmas gathering, complete with the necessary gestures, like this:

THE STEAM ARM


Here he is parodying the way Harry Sexton sang:

GENEVIEVE

Including fragments, we recorded from Walter Pardon some 200 odd songs. With a solid base of some 100 songs, largely traditional, it is interesting to study Walter’s tunes which are often similar to familiar versions but subtly different. It is difficult to say that this is exactly how he learned them, although Walter thought so; or have they been ‘Walterised”? During the long period of not hearing them - at least 20 years, as Walter went into the Army in 1942 which was the, year his Uncle Billy died and the last Christmas party was 1952 when his mother died - he kept the songs alive for himself by playing the tunes on the melodeon. Did they perhaps get changed then? Were certain phrases easier for him to play on the Melodeon? Or was it simply his own creativity? That he preferred certain musical phrases to others? We’ll never know, of course, but certainly Walter’s tunes are that bit different and very recognisable. And he did say he could tell the age of songs by the tunes; listen to this:

AGE OF TUNES

Walter gave a lot of thought to his singing as you have heard and, although he always stressed the importance of singing NATURALLY, as you spoke, - this was a carefully thought out response, quite the opposite to commonly held views – aired at some length in Dance and Song on one occasion - that singing is as natural to the “peasantry” as to the birds; you just open your mouth and this beautiful music flows forth all by itself.
Walter had his own positive ideas about singing and he did get very disturbed at the way in which a lot of audiences would completely ignore, for instance, the speed at which he was singing and would draw out the choruses painfully slowly so that Walter was way ahead and trying to adapt to the audience.        He considered, quite rightly, that this was very discourteous if nothing else. He actually dropped one song from his working repertoire for that reason. He        told us that his
Uncle Billy, his greatest influence, sang quite steady and straightforwardly and, although Walter did not think he sang as fast, he must have been affected by Billy’s style to a degree. Listen to
the way he paces ‘The Trees They Do Grow High’; he always resisted the temptation to drag out ballads.

THE TREES THEY DO GROW HIGH

Walter always showed a natural professionalism on stage. To him it was a job to be done properly and for which he prepared so that he did not forget words, or pitch wrongly in performance, and he only ever drank shandies,- slowly. And this was a man who became a public performer in his sixties after living a fairly sheltered or insular life, probably never having seen many live performances; suddenly propelled into this strange new world, which he took calmly and modestly in his stride. However, he did find performance quite draining so, at the age of 75, he felt it was getting rather too much for him and difficult for him to keep to the high standards he set himself so he decided to stop singing in public. Walter was always very definite about his decisions; no umming or ahhing - just a straightforward Yes or No.

We first met Walter in 1975 or 76; can’t remember exactly but we became very close over the following 20 years. He was a wonderful companion - a real delight. A very humourous, gentle, kind man, incredible generous with his material and his time. The first time we called on him as complete strangers, we had only been chatting for a short while when he asked, “Have you a tape recorder with you”?

He really wanted to share his material. He couldn’t understand when he heard two singers arguing about who should sing one of his songs; “they’re not my songs” he said, “They belong to everybody.” A rather different attitude to his forebears.
We gave him an exercise book once and asked him, if he had time, would he write down some of the local sayings, proverbs, stories, dialect words, etc. Well, he filled that with close writing - no gaps -filled every page completely; then went out and bought a couple more and filled them in the same way. He had his pride but he was not above laughing at himself. He was getting quite irate once at the media taking the mickey out of country people, you know, Mummerset accents, and he said they always make out country people say “oo aar” to everything. Well, I said to him, gently as possible, “But you say oo aar sometimes, Walter”. He just looked at me, thought for a moment and quite seriously said “oo aar”. Then realising what he had said, he just burst into laughter. That was Walter pardon for you.

We are in the process of putting together a double CD of recordings of Walter, singing and talking, which Topic will be producing next year. It will probably be called THE RIGHT STROOK. S-t-r-o-o-k, which according to Walter is an old Norfolk expression. It is not easy to explain completely but pace certainly comes into it. Walter said the old singers “always sang fairly steady”. “A lot of them now is in too much of a hurry to get through a song”. He said it was the same with playing music - too fast nowadays, no-one can keep up. Must play the right strook or step dancers, for example, couldn’t get all their steps in. But it’s more than just pace. We recorded an Irish singer, Tom Lenihan, in Co. Clare and he said you had to “Put the Blas on it”. He also equated it with speed, not too fast but not drag it out either. He always maintained that the story was the most important aspect of a song; like Walter saying you must have imagination. It’s putting yourself in the song, believing in it, getting involved in it and therefore you tell the story at the right pace to communicate it.

RAMBLING BLADE


Texas Gladden quote:

Texas Gladden spoke of having an image in her mind for every one of these old stories. “I have a perfect mental picture of every song I sing. I have a perfect picture of every person I learned it from, very few people I don’t remember. When I sing a song, a person pops up, and it's a very beautiful story. I can see Mary Hamilton, l can see where the old Queen came down to the kitchen, can see them all gathered around, and I can hear her tell Mary Hamilton to get ready. I can see the whole story, I can see them as they pass through the gate, I can see the ladies looking over their casements, I can see her as she goes up the parliament steps, and I can see her when she goes to the gallows. I can hear her last words, and I can see all just the most beautiful picture.”

Some of the images conveyed so vividly through the ballads have been passed on in this way for more than five hundred years. Today we have Texas Gladden's mental images, which were transmitted via the acetate discs recorded by Alan Lomax in I942, now entering a new millennium on digital CD.

Lomax quote:
Alan Lomax makes some stunning characterisations of Gladden's singing, reflecting his long concern with traditional singing styles. In the notes to the I948 Disc album Texas Gladden Sings Blue Ridge Mountain Ballads, he wrote “Texas sings her antique ballads in the fashion of ballad singers from time immemorial. The emotions are held in reserve: the singer does not colour the story with heavy vocal under-scoring; she allows the story to tell itself and the members of her audience to receive and interpret it in accordance with their own emotions.”


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 11:03 AM

Nice story told about Grainger usin the phonograph in Lincolnshire (apocryphal maybe
One of his singers (George Wray ?) asked fro a recording of Lord Bateman to be played back to him
When Grainger obliged the singer sai "That bugger learned it a damn sight quicker than me"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 10:27 AM

'Highly amused to see that among the sources cited by Ord is one Mike Yates. This discusses some weaknesses of the phonograph as a recording tool.... '

Even funnier is the fact that Yates was talking about the Phonograph - an early recording machine that was prone to distortion - and not about modern tape and digital recorders. Pseud's implied argument is invalid.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 09:53 AM

I have not read all of this but it certainly appears to contain criticism and some ridicule - from various contributors - of(a) traditional singer(s)and researcher(s)and to be conducted in a vituperative, not to say angry, style. Personally, I have disagreements with many of the ideas and personalities I get from others - as, no doubt, some have issues with me and my ideas, but I see no point in muddying argument and confusing the results of years of research and thought with forms of speech that border on nastiness. Research and debate should be carried on in a spirit that allows differences to be sorted out, to contribute - not to put someone down - even between the lines of discussion. If this thread is to produce a worthwhile c.ontribution to understanding any or all traditional singers it needs not to be expressed so poisonously. Show a bit of respect, whether you think it's due or not; otherwise all you contribute is a nasty taste.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 09:19 AM

Highly amused to see that among the sources cited by Ord is one Mike Yates. This discusses some weaknesses of the phonograph as a recording tool....


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 08:23 AM

'But they might want to term it 'research'.
Thanks for that guest (but I'd be more comfortable if you could pit in the forenames)
Out troll has been using names as a term of abuse
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 06:51 AM

They were, collecting, documenting and cross-referencing to other sources something that they thought to be of worth. Ask them if they considered it to be research.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 06:40 AM

I might or might not agree with whoever described the material on Pardon that is available online as 'scraps'. This includes, of course, work by Yates, Stradling, Carroll etc. But they might want to term it 'research'.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 06:34 AM

Pseud - we couldn't give a toss about academic research conventions..
This is an informal internet forum for ordinary intelligent folks
to enjoy sharing information and ideas.
not a structured University campus where impressionable young adults
are brainwashed into talking elitist academicese...

Cut out your condescending bollocks..
Or have you forgotten how to relate to ordinary folks outside academia...!!!???

I know I did for a few years after post grad..
So I can understand if you are finding it difficult...

Even if only half of mudcatters have degrees or higher,
that's enough folks to see what a dick you are making of yourself
adopting such an inapropriate overtly academic persona in our forum...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 06:29 AM

"There has been very little decent 'research' on Pardon, the thesis comparing his style with some other singers is about the only thing I have found."

Abject nonsense. Field research is of prime importance here - comparisons can come later.

"The Pardon industry"

Bizarre and quite delusional.

"Carroll"

Beyond pathetic.

Pseudonymous, you do realise you've lost the room, don't you? Your attempt to troll Jim has ironically given him the opportunity to share some interesting information and get a decent discussion going, while you throw rocks from the sidelines. Stop digging would be my advice.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 06:28 AM

pfr

At least somebody, unlike Carroll, bothered to find out about Ord before delivering themselves of a judgement from on high that he would never have sung a song - and, on that basis was excluded from the elect who are destined for heaven (or something like that.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 06:13 AM

"My research applies a cultural-historical approach to the intersection of ideology and musical practice in British folk and popular music. In 2017 I completed my AHRC-funded PhD thesis which combined ethnographic and desk-based research to explore the cultural significance of sound recording in the British post-war folk revival. I am interested in the role of recording and other media technologies in folk music cultures, and have published chapters on the role of recording within the British folk-rock movement, and on the media activism of the songwriter Ewan MacColl. In December 2017 I was appointed postdoctoral fellow on an AHRC Creative Engagement project on the development of music tourism in Scotland. I am currently preparing articles on contemporary English folk field recordings, and on theories of cultural transmission in folk music historiography. In addition to my research activities, I remain an active musician with significant professional experience as a singer and guitarist in a range of folk and popular styles."

Matthew Ord
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

On my PC desktop, I have two folders..

"Obnoxious Pricks" and "Good Guys"..

I suppose I ought to consider opening a third folder for the less easily definable spectrum inbetween...

Now.. what to title it...?????


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 06:11 AM

Another point, and I think this is in Ord, but if not no matter since I think it's quite well known, is that many in the 'Revival' saw themselves as somehow 'authentic' in a sense of not being part of capitalistic society, and presumably this may be why objection was made to the use of the phrase 'Pardon Industry'. However, the term is apt, to use a phrase favoured by Carroll 'Go read a book', in this case a dictionary.

The use of surnames in referring to the work of 'researchers' is conventional and I don't have a problem with it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 06:10 AM

Not being old enough to know many people of the last 'left school at 14 and got a job' generation, who could have been Walter if they had his interests, explains a lot.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:52 AM

Sorry - should have finished
I have asked that he be boycotted on the Traveller thread - can the same be done here
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:52 AM

I'm young enough to see the Stalinist milieu in which Carroll, Lloyd and MacColl operated as 'history'; for youngsters like Ord it must seem very much like a 'foreign country'.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:51 AM

I poke too soon
He ha=is now turning his tender attentions to the Traveller thread
Can some Mod please put a stop to this Troll wrecker ?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:49 AM

Pseud - I gave you benefit of the doubt..
Now I'm even more inclined to think the worst of who/what you are,
and the dubious agenda you may be pursuing...

You have lost the trust of mudcatters,
We are not prepared to indulge your elitist academic pretentions'
You have rendered yourself no longer welcome here.

If, however, you are a genuine academic seeking information and feedback,
then the onus is on you to make a positive effort to fit in better,
and communicate with us in 'plain English' style that is more apropriate for this kind of forum...

http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:45 AM

" I have been of the opinion since the opening post that you started this thread to troll Jim."
Don't think so Jag - people like him need to create their own stage in order to be noticed
A twenty-odd year dead old singer is as easy a platform as any - he's not here to answer for himself
He didn't know Walter, he doesm't want to know Walter - it was either him or Travellers
Can we leave him to stew in his own bile please otherwise he will have succeeded in closing yet another thread with his hate-filled ignorance
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:32 AM

Psuedonymous, I have been of the opinion since the opening post that you started this thread to troll Jim.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:31 AM

One to more pleasant things

"Packie Russell?"
We recorded Packie once - not only was he one of the finest concertina players I have heard, but he also had a number of songs which he never sang
He gave us a dirty - almost obscene version of 'The Gaberlunzie Man' aptly named 'Tom Tadger'
Clare Library refused to put it up on our website - quite rightly
Packie was an example of what go wrong if you don't cherish your tradition bearers
He and his two brothers, Micho and Gussie played regularly in O'Connors's Bar in Doolin when we first viited Clare - we met our friend, John Lyons at one of their sessions for the first time
Dookin became the target for tourists, mainly Yanks with twelve-string guitars and gradually the Russels (with the exeption of Micho) were edged out so the visitors could listen to each other rather than good music
The would give Packie a pint and sit him in the corner, out of harm's way and top him up regularly
Packie became unable to play and just sat in the corner and drank
Luckily, a couple of devotees, particularly our friend, Donal Maguire, recorded enough of his playing to lave record of what wonderful musician Packie was
Here in Miltown, whenever someone arrives with a bodhran, we send them up to Doolin where they will be welcomed with open arms
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:29 AM

"Ord points out that in many ways the practices of the Revival, including sing arounds in clubs were designed to give a feel of authenticity and tradition, but were in fact highly artificial happenings." We know that. Academic works often need include statements of what most people thinks are obvious.

"there is nothing traditional about a person singing into a microphone in the company of the sound technicians." We know that as well. If Jim was a sound technician (I am not doubting that he is competent with equipment) aiming at a recording that could be published, rather than capturing something that would pass, then I think he would have had the clocks moved out.

Academic works often need to include statements of what most people thinks are obvious.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:26 AM

Of course, the fact is that I started this thread and Jim came along and trolled it just when it was going quite nicely. In fact I deliberately started it when he had said he would not be posting, as it seemed unlikely to get anywhere much after he came back, and that proved to be the case. Even his pals were telling him to back off, and they got their heads snapped off!

But thank you all for your contributions.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:23 AM

But it is Jim's reputation in future years he sullies by these outbursts. They may live on long after all of us are gone. So really it is his problem, not mine.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:22 AM

And my point precisely is that the Pardon Industry made great use of anecdotal scraps of gossip, selected and published to meet its agenda.

If some people on here are within a little 'bubble' and cannot or will not see them, then that would be their problem.

I say it like I see it.

And it also seems to me you cannot have it both ways. If you hold out a claim to be a 'researcher' then part and parcel of this is that your research methods will be subjected to analysis, evaluation and comment. You should be able to explain and justify them. You should be able to engage in such discussion in a reasonable manner.

Poking a microphone at somebody and asking them leading questions is not I would suggest a way to produce 'decent' note that word research.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:16 AM

I dare say it because it is true. There is a difference between 'decent research' and making tape recordings.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 05:15 AM

CJ

Thank you for your input. I guess different people have different ideas about things.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 04:43 AM

Pseud, anyone who saw your thread about Jim (that was rightly deleted) will know fine well that you are nothing but a troll. Anything previous that you posted is now seen in a completely different light - coloured by your ridiculous agenda.

Why on earth you choose to spend your time on earth trolling an old man I have no idea, but perhaps you should reconsider your life choices.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 04:15 AM

"If you cannot discuss a topic without resorting to this sort of emotional nastiness, "
Anybody who denigrated singers like Walter Pardon deserves all the nastiness they get
You didn't know water - you hadn't even heard of him before you came here - you don;t like or understand his singing and you are relying on scraps and Chinese Whispers you can gig up from the internet#
How dare yyou calim thare has been no decent research on Walter - Pat and I spent twenty years recording what he had to say and have archived it so it won't be lost
Mike Yates recorded Walter at lenghth and has proiduced a number of tremendous articles on his researches
Roy Palmer recorded Walter and pased on what he found
When Walter was 'discovered' Bill Leader, Dave Bland and Karl Dallas recorded him and his songs at length (we have all those recordings)
Sam Richards an Tish Stubbs recorded him and produced a cassette of his performance at Totnes
Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson formed a huge admitation for Walter and spoke of him in glowing terms wherever he sang
You get to hear of him and withing five minutes you are attempting to rip his reputation to shreds and you refuse even to identify yourself
Ho dare you

You represent everything that iw wrong in modern folksong scholarship - an obsession to tear down the work of everybody else to make room for your own (except, in your case, you haven't done any work
Please go away - your be=haviour towrds this gentle, talented, intelligent, generous (and very dead old man it totally unacceptable at all levelts - on both an academic and human level
My name is Jim Carroll, by the waqy, were you never taught the social graces
JIM CARROLL


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 03:58 AM

Carroll

If you cannot discuss a topic without resorting to this sort of emotional nastiness, then perhaps it might be better not to bother? For me, it does your credibility as a wanna be researcher no good at all. Who in the future is going to believe or credit as reliable or 'scholarly' the output of a person who conducts themselves like this on threads about research.

There has been very little decent 'research' on Pardon, the thesis comparing his style with some other singers is about the only thing I have found. Calling people who turn on their brains when reading the output of the Revival Pardon industry names does nothing to advance their case.

It is worth looking up some old exchances between The Sandman and Carroll on the topic of the sort of broad generalising claim that Carroll makes on the basis of his assertions about Pardon. The Sandman had some good points, but these were largely met with invective.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 03:50 AM

Hello Jag

Thank you for your contribution. I'll try to explain why Ord's piece is relavant again. He is discussing how to interpret sound recordings, and how within the Revival and afterwards, sound was used to convey messages. What we can take about it is general ideas, his description of the Revival thinking (which we all know about if we have read about Lloyd and MacColl). Nobody is suggesting that Ord's piece is specifically about MacColl.

There is no mention of my house in my book of household do it yourself. This does not mean that the ideas in it are not relevant to my house!

I had not seen the posts about the clocks in recent threads before posting. But here is an example of something on some Pardon tapes - as well as in relation to the whole 'Revival' (interesting word-choice in itself) which we can use ideas from Ord to think about.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 03:41 AM

"Packie Russell?"
No, Packie Murrihy, a local man with hour-long stories
His father was reputed to have started a story on Monday night, broken it off after an hour and taken it up again it every night, through to Friday
The wonder tales in Clare are episodic and allow a teller to do that

"Pardon 'industry"
Your hate campaign against Walter is becoming as offensive as your thread
Perhaps a 'Pikey's Out' type bonfire like that in Lewes would be to your taste
Could you please sop this attack on one of England's finest singers please or - if you don't, could people please ignore it in the hope he/she goes away
This is getting very disturbing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 03:37 AM

On tape recording, and sound recording generally, Ord has some useful points. The original is worth reading, what follows is my version, along the same lines of thinking.

First, there is nothing traditional about a person singing into a microphone in the company of the sound technicians.

Ord points out that in many ways the practices of the Revival, including sing arounds in clubs were designed to give a feel of authenticity and tradition, but were in fact highly artificial happenings. Background noises on tapes (such as Pardon's clock ticking) on one level give the impression that what is being recorded is 'real life' - as opposed to artificial, but this does not affect the non-traditional situation.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 03:30 AM

The information about Roger Dixon illustrates another point about the Pardon 'industry' to use a metaphor. He was not a farm labourer. Nor was his father. Yet it is possible to read that Pardon's family had been farm labourers since the year dot. So in effect, once again, the information selected by Revivalists, many of whom were on the very far left, and had an exp0licit political agenda around folk music, gives us a slanted or biased view of the reality, if, that is, we take it for granted and fail to subject it to some thoughtful scrutiny.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 03:26 PM

Packie Russell?


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