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Review: Walter Pardon - Research

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


Steve Shaw 07 Jan 20 - 05:28 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 20 - 04:15 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Jan 20 - 02:57 AM
Joe Offer 06 Jan 20 - 09:22 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 20 - 08:40 PM
Jeri 06 Jan 20 - 08:00 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 07:22 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 20 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 06:57 PM
The Sandman 06 Jan 20 - 04:55 PM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 20 - 04:53 PM
Raggytash 06 Jan 20 - 03:33 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 20 - 03:11 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Jan 20 - 02:50 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jan 20 - 02:45 PM
The Sandman 06 Jan 20 - 02:34 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jan 20 - 02:02 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jan 20 - 01:59 PM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 20 - 01:52 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 20 - 01:51 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Jan 20 - 01:41 PM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 20 - 01:29 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jan 20 - 01:14 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jan 20 - 01:07 PM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 20 - 01:03 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Jan 20 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 06 Jan 20 - 09:58 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Jan 20 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 09:26 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 20 - 08:52 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 20 - 07:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 20 - 07:34 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 20 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 06 Jan 20 - 07:06 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 20 - 06:49 AM
Vic Smith 06 Jan 20 - 06:32 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jan 20 - 06:19 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 20 - 05:51 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jan 20 - 05:45 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 20 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 05:38 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Jan 20 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Jan 20 - 04:46 AM
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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 20 - 05:28 AM

"Made fun...?" Presumably, you're referring to the exchanges that began on 05 Jan at 0827 PM. This is folk music, it isn't music that was ever spawned by trained musicians and that was the point really. I don't diss trained musicians (I listen to them playing Bach, Mozart and Beethoven all the time) but I reiterate that in my experience musicians with lots of formal training have some stuff they need to leave at the door if they want to get their feet under the table in traditional music (they could start with music stands and printed scores...). I didn't make fun of anyone but in that exchange and in subsequent posts I made my opinion clear about that particular facet of folk music. You chose to respond by gratuitously calling me a pretty stupid name. Bad move for a moderator I'd have thought. Move on. And please note that before you hit the delete button again this post is mainly here to address the substantive.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 20 - 04:15 AM

"Well it is twelfth night, Jim..."
Actually it's Nollaig na mBan Steve (Woman's - or Small Christmas) when the women of the house can put their feet up and leave the men to do all the work

For the record, Walter developed his interest from having spent years of his youth sitting in the de-wheeled shepherd's hut in his garden with his uncles, particularly his Uncle Billy, listening to their singing
He possibly recognised some of the songs as being the same as those being taught from Sharp's 'Folk Songs for Schools', which is where he possibly picked up the term 'folk songs', but his quiet, personal interpretation was entirely his own
He once compared his uncle Billy's singing to that of Joseph Taylor when somebody played him the 'Brigg Fair' record

It is dubious to use the term 'style' when discussing singers singing outside a living tradition - what they did tended to be very personal - Water's uncles probably had a style - Walter didn't
I also believe that "good" and "bad" are too subjective terms to apply to our older generation of singers - that's what turns you on personally, which is not how you should judge the importance of people like Walter
For me, it boils down to what you remember after listening to a singer - if you remember the performance you know you have been listening to a competent to good singer
If you remember the songs and the stories they carried, then you have been listening to sa successful re-creative artist who has managed to capture your attention and imagination - the sign of a great artist
For me, our older singers are streets ahead of most revivalists - streets ahead
It is this that all singers should be aspiring to achieve

"utter boor who has no concept of UK folk music today."
We've been here before a hundred times Rag
A folk scene that has rejected folk songs and is unable to describe accurately what they have replaced them with is finished as a folk scene
Even if they had increased their audienes tenfold, that would be the case - the fact that the clubs have fallen from thousands to the low hundreds speaks volumes
This was put in a nutshell around twenty-five years ago when a club organiser refused to book Walter saying "We don't do that sort of thing- we're a folk club"
If anything, things have got far worse since then
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Jan 20 - 02:57 AM

Maybe it is authenicity, Joe?

I've started a thread on types of folk music we like or dislike. Perhaps the reasons why we like or dislke them can be brought up on there rather than sidetrack Walter's thread?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 09:22 PM

I brought up the "trained musician" comment in an attempt to find out the difference between source singers and money-making folksingers, and Steve Shaw chose to make fun of my serious question and attempted to waylay the discussion with a put-down. As did Dick Miles.

And I still don't have my question answered, and I think it is a very legitimate question that warrants exploration. What is it about a source singer that's different? I find it hard work to listen to source singers, and it demands my full attention. They're not good background music for doing other things, but I can go back to them again and again and learn new things. I don't have to think when I listen to most of the "folk revival" singers, and I find them unsatisfying when I go back to them again.

So, what is it about source singers? What makes them different? Why is it such hard work to listen to them, but so satisfying when I make the effort? Brian Peters has said some things in recent messages that come close to answering my question, but I'm wondering of the nature of the singing of source singers itself. There's something different about it, and I haven't been able to define it.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 08:40 PM

It didn't take long to send a six-letter post, Jeri... :-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 08:00 PM

Steve, you can't fix crazy.
You can spend your time trying to, but it's a waste.
With that said, I'll stop and go back to lurking.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 07:23 PM

@ Steve Shaw. You called?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 07:22 PM

Hoot, yes I know quite a lot about Ralph Peer, and I was not trying to 'educate' you, just to answer your question. I know you were involved in the Ballads and Blues club so it figures you would know a lot about blues.

Brian Peters: you have said several times that you cannot think what other sorts of questions the interviewers should have asked Pardon. But maybe this is putting the cart before the horse. The first thing is, what are the interviewers trying to find out?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 06:59 PM

Ye gods.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 06:57 PM

Ok Brian and thanks for your views. It is correct that at no point does Hillery suggest that Pardon was taught that technique at school. It is also correct that neither I nor anybody else says that Hillery suggests it.

I distinctly remember being told at junior school to breath when singing at pauses such as commas and full stops. This isn't esoteric or else they would not teach it in primary schools. We were taught it as a school when we had 'hymn practice' - and it wasn't even a church school.

I was I think referring to page 291 where is says how Pardon breaths at pauses in the story. There is another example on p 292.

Did you agree with what Hillery says about Pardon's avoidance of melisma by use of variation in rhythm and stress?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 04:55 PM

so if you do not likr the roots of the music you prefer a more commercialised form of the music, no one is stopping anyone from liking anything , however to dismiss and say i do not listen to source singers for pleasure is as silly as saying i do not like listening to more commercial aspects of the music for pleasure. for exampole i like istening to the singing postman as well as walter pardon i also like listenin to john kirkpatrick, but umlike some i do not make generalisations. but then the controller has a direct word with the almighty ,so i must be wrong


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 04:53 PM

Thanks Brian. Just as I was reading the last few posts there was an advert for Intuit tax returns on TV. Just saying... :-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Raggytash
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 03:33 PM

"Like or dislike has never had anything to do with these discussions, but it has a great deal to do with the deplorable and confused state of today's folk scene"

Utter bullshit Jim, you haven't been in a folk club in the UK for decades, you have no idea what happens in folk clubs in the UK.

You pointedly ignore all that is said and written about folk clubs in the UK "I know best" seems to be your attitude.

Once again.

Rule 1. Jim Carroll is right.
Rule 2. If Jim Carroll is wrong rule 1 applies.

I reiterate what I have posted before you are a complete and utter boor who has no concept of UK folk music today.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 03:11 PM

Well it is twelfth night, Jim...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 02:50 PM

Like or dislike has never had anything to do with these discussions, but it has a great deal to do with the deplorable and confused state of today's folk scene
Whenever these discussions take place inevitably end up with the suggestion that those attempting to establish a meaning for folk is criticising all other types
You can't 'like' a definition into existence - a thing is what it is, whether it is to your taste or not
When we interviewed Ewan at great length, one of the last things he said was "I used to believe folk song would last forever, but now I have come to the conclusion that the only think that will kill it is is it falls into the hands of those who neither like it or understand it".
Prophetic words - this is exactly what is taking place here

Must go - a night of crap on television calls (unless I can find a copy of "All Is True" on our new film - system ( tat sounds interesting for those struggling to understand Shakespeare Steve)
G'night all
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 02:45 PM

One more response before I go back to my tax return:

”Hillery comments how carefully Pardon breaths at the ends of lines and at suitable pauses in his songs, and I too noticed this and thought somebody has taught him when singing to take a breath at the pauses. I think one of the online interviews with Pardon he mentions doing folk singing at school so this theory holds up... Indeed, nobody seems to have realised that he went to a Methodist Sunday School.”

What Dave Hillery says is that WP deliberately broke up the rhythms of his songs, sometimes by inserting a pause / breath in the middle of a line. Nowhere does he suggest that this technique might have been taught him at school. I was taught folk songs at school too, but this consisted of the class singing them in unison without any advice on such esoteric matters as breathing, and I’d be highly surprised if any such specialist tuition was going on in folk song classes at WP’s school. Taking a breath at a pause point is simply the natural thing to do. FWIW, I also attended a Methodist Sunday School, and the hymns we sang there were almost martial in their metre, so it’s counter-intuitive to suppose that a singing style characterised by broken rhythms would have been greatly influenced by hymn-singing. The most likely influences on WP’s style in singing traditional songs are the people he heard singing those same songs, but it’s possible – as Dave Hillery suggests – that he developed certain aspects of his style, such as the arhythmicity, deliberately to interpret the songs as he felt appropriate.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 02:34 PM

The point about source singers in any genre[ blues or trad] is that you get to the roots of the music


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 02:06 PM

To clarify an ambiguous response - yes, Dave, you are allowed not to like everything WP did, as far as I'm concerned!


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 02:02 PM

Jim, that is fascinating about John Amis - I take it all back!!


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 01:59 PM

Dave the Gnome:
"what of us who simply don't like everything that Walter did? Are we not allowed to say so for fear of offending someone?"

Not as far as I'm concerned, Dave. What I wrote was: "Even within the ranks of folk music lovers there are many who would prefer a revival performance every time and... I don’t object to their choice."

I would guess that, for the majority of listeners and participants in the folk music scene, revival performance is what they like to hear, and may in many cases be all they've ever heard. The reason I play recordings of traditional singers to lecture and workshop groups is precisely because they may have heard nothing like that before, and I want to at least give them the chance. That certainly doesn't mean I don't like revival performance - it's what got me into this in the first place, I still enjoy many modern performers, and as you say, that's what I do.

What I was trying to suggest is that, if you want to go deeper into the music, particularly the research aspect that animates a few of us on Mudcat but is very much a minority sport, then you need to put the work in to understand it. But that's not for everyone.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 01:52 PM

If they're not interested in folk song

Many people, such as me, are very interested in folk song, Jim. Just not as enthusiastic about source singers as you and some others. On that note I realise I should not be discussing Walter Pardon if I am not overly interested. I shall leave you to talk about Walter with other such aficionados and see if I can start a thread on non-source folk song without it becoming a battleground :-)

Enjoy yourselves


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 01:51 PM

I fully agree with your latest post, Brian. You said more articulately, and with more knowledge, what I was trying to say when I said you had to dip your toe in. Maybe a whole foot is what I should have said...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 01:41 PM

"where should they go?"
If they're not interested in folk song as long established and re unable to get an agreement of what constitutes a new kind of folk song, why should I be the slightest interested in where they go /
What concerns me is where they have already gone and what has happened to the former folk clubs
This concerns me on two counts - I and thousands like me have nowhere to go any more to listen to and sing the songs we dedicated our lives to - selfish, I know
As a researcher. I came to understand that folk song carried an enormous amount of baggage as a carrier of information, social history - the more you dig, the more you find
All that baggage stands to be lost because there's no-one to pass it on
Brian's description of how the establishment treated our folk songs with contempt - as objects of ridicule
Now, when we ask for the present folk scene to take the songs seriously we get similar responses to Muir's and Nordon's from todays folkies, when you can hear them above the chanting of "'54" and the like
Ot f interest, on of the treasures on our bookshelves is a se of Hardy's Complete Poem signed by a sometimes 'My Music' broadcaster
It reads
"For Walter Pardon, Comrade in song - We may never meet againbut I hope I can call you friend
I'll not forget meeting you on March 10th 1884 - best wishes, John Amis
Walter was extremely proud of it, but insited that Pat took it and enjoyed it as much as he had.

One of the common things we got from all our singers was the desire that their songs should live on - we let them down, but it wasn't for the want of trying on our part
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 01:29 PM

It may, Brian, but what of us who simply don't like everything that Walter did? Are we not allowed to say so for fear of offending someone? You know full well I like traditional folk music. I have booked you on more than one occasion. I have booked Nick Dow and many others. When we could afford it we booked artists ranging from Martin Carthy to the Wilsons. But it feels like I am now being told that if I don't like some stuff by source singers, I can go away.

Sorry to go off topic and if it seems I am targeting anyone unfairly. I'm not. I just want to explain that not everyone has to like Walter to respect what he did.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 01:14 PM

On appreciating traditional singers

Yes, traditional singing has been an acquired taste for many of us. My first exposure was to the Copper Family, who of course had vocal harmony going for them and were thus an easy entry point – it was only years later that I came to appreciate Bob’s skill as a solo singer. For me the easiest solo singers to get into were Phil Tanner and Sam Larner, different in their styles but both experienced public performers who knew exactly how to use dramatics to draw in an audience. I found Harry Cox’s much more intimate style difficult at first, but got there eventually. When I play recordings of these and other traditional singers in public lectures (and I make a point of doing it), reactions can range from enthusiasm, through bafflement, to outright distaste. Even within the ranks of folk music lovers there are many who would prefer a revival performance every time and – since there are so few traditional singers left anyway – I don’t object to their choice. Traditional singing is a niche taste.

On the other hand, if the aim is to get to the heart of our singing tradition, then as far as I’m concerned you need to put the work in. If you want to pontificate on Walter Pardon’s singing, then – since his music doesn’t exist in a vacuum - a knowledge of other singers in the same musical category, like the ones I’ve mentioned above, or the participants at the Blaxhall Ship or the Eel’s Foot, for instance, is pretty important. One great strength of Dave Hillery’s Ph.D. thesis (which I’ve now had a good look at and thank the OP for bringing to my attention) is the comparative approach that uses recordings of four singers with interesting differences in repertoire and style; it’s clear that the author understands and enjoys this stuff (and, BTW, he routinely refers to singers by their given names).

Reading some of the comments here has reminded of an edition of the old Radio 4 panel game ‘My Music’, in which two classical music stuffed shirts and the highbrow comedians Frank Muir and Dennis Norden were played some recordings of traditional singing – I can’t remember who the singers were, though one might have been Sam Larner. “It sounds like some drunk bawling on the tube at midnight!” chortled one of the ‘musical experts’, to much guffawing. Apart from showing this person’s arrogance, it also showed his lack of qualification to judge that kind of music. If we wish to discuss Walter Pardon’s singing, then a decent knowledge of the width of his repertoire, and preferably some actual enthusiasm for it, would be a good starting point..... wouldn’t it?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 01:07 PM

So many posts in the last 24 hours, so much to respond to....

First, many thanks to Vic for taking the trouble to share the article from Folk News – I know what a bugger it is to scan indistinct text then to have to correct it!

Obviously there’s quite a lot of crossover with the various other interviews out there – Uncle Billy, the ‘baulk’, etc., but it’s fascinating to find other details such as WP’s view of revival singers and their use of accompaniment – which didn’t make it into the partial transcript of this interview that appeared in the booklet for the ‘Put a Bit of Powder...’ CD. Another thing I find interesting is that Billy Gee taught Walter a significant number of songs that don’t appear to have been in his own regular repertoire; one thought arising from this is that the contrast between WP’s intimate singing style and Uncle Billy’s declamatory pub performances may be less of a factor if Billy actually taught him the songs in a relaxed home setting – on his knee according to WP’s account elsewhere.

It would be interesting to see the questions that were posed to WP in these two interviews, which brought forth this particular set of responses. The interview posted earlier in which Jim Carroll and Pat McKenzie talk to WP is much more transparent, in that both questions and answers are (apparently) noted verbatim. However, excerpts from this latter interview have been posted above to illustrate examples of alleged “leading questions” designed to elicit “the answer that the interlocutors want”. I’ve re-read this text, and I can’t agree. The fact that WP sees mental pictures of the songs as he sings, that the characters appear in period dress, and that ‘The Pretty Ploughboy’ is imagined working in a neighbouring field, all originate from the singer. JC follows up this last with a question about ‘Van Diemen’s Land’, but he is merely following the precedent set by WP in describing the mental picture for a specific song. The opening question asking what WP – who was previously unused to performing for audiences – sees when standing in front of a crowd, seems entirely reasonable. One wonders in what way these answers are the ones “the interlocutors want[ed]” and, if so, why they wanted them. Unless an interviewer is simply going to press ‘Record’, say “off you go, Walter,” and leave the tape running uninterrupted for the afternoon, it’s difficult to see how any potential questions on the theme of singing could avoid interpretation by our OP as ‘loaded’.

After the attacks by Dave Harker on the concept of folk song and the work of the people who collected it, it became almost the default academic position to mistrust the work of collectors, to accuse them of ’bias’, and of allowing their ‘ideology’ to come before an honest appraisal of their material. To paraphrase Jeremy Paxman, the question “why is this lying bastard lying to me?” became more interesting to many scholars than the actual songs and singers (in which many of them seemed uninterested), and their main efforts were devoted to discrediting previous work than contributing anything useful of their own. In the words of Steve Roud, “this essentially negative perspective became... the new orthodoxy”. We’ve had forty years of that orthodoxy now, and it’s really time we all moved on.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 01:03 PM

Nothing to do with what I asked, Jim. The only point you have made that I am addressing is, if anyone needs to "go elsewhere for their fix" (fix of folk music I guess you mean but who knows), where should they go? It was you who told us to go elsewhere. All the rest is an irrelevance to that question.

Nothing to do with Walter Pardon pardon of course and I would be happy to drop it but it is you that have said if we don't like source singers, such as Walter, we should "go elsewhere". I still don't understand what you mean by that.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 12:44 PM

"Where do you suggest I go?"
Nuffin to do with me
Wopould you walk nto a concert hall and and the same question if you couldn't find a Neil Young soundalike ?
It might help if you gave me an agreed on meaning of "other folk music"
Once again, you've dodgeal all the points I've made and questions I've raised by asking an unanswerable question
"people-s music" "damage" for interest
England is faced with losing what peple like Walter, Harry and Sam Gave us (or, at the very least - confining them to cupboards until some future generation sees what valuable pieces of British culture they are)
Does this not disturb you ?
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 09:58 AM

Pseud,

Please don't waste your time researching on my behalf trying to educate about me about blues as I do have a little knowledge of the subject.

You are correct about music publishing being a money earner BUT that was for the publisher not the performer.
Research Ralph Peer if you wish to know more.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 09:55 AM

Sue:<<<<<'If the same applies to the ballad sellers in Norfolk, this might explain where Pardon's grandfather got the tunes when these were roughly the same as those traditionally used for those songs?

Maybe this is something Steve Gardham might have a view on?'>>>>>>

Whilst accepting that written evidence is somewhat slim, what description there is of such activities is that those who went about selling the broadsheets at markets and on the streets of towns did actually sing the songs, often to fairly standard tunes, or where the songs had come from the theatre they were being sung in the taverns and gatherings by those who had been to see the performances. Think 'Lord Lovel, Bushes and Briars, Green Bushes'

Let us choose a suitable period for the dissemination of the tunes, say 1800 to 1850, which is when most of those who sang for the likes of Sharp learnt their songs. Prior to mass entertainment that the Music Hall era brought these printed ballads were extremely popular, some being printed and sold all over the country in their hundreds of thousands, so it is not hard to imagine a large portion of the population being party to the dissemination and singing of them. The more popular they were amongst the people on the street the more were printed, supply and demand, just like today's pop music.

Now to the fact that some of the ballads, generally those most widely sung, in the form they were collected from oral tradition there is very little variation in the tune from version to version, e'g., Seeds of Love, All Jolly fellows, Sweet Primroses.

Conversely, by and large, those that were printed in small numbers and only collected from oral tradition fairly infrequently tend to have been set to different tunes. This may have been because the handful of chaunters who went to different parts of the country singing them were unaware of the original tune and had not heard each other sing it.

Reasons why you can come across several different ballads using the same tune is that the writers often set their ballads to existing tunes, and also the chaunters often had a stock of say 20 tunes that they tended to put to what they were selling, whichever fitted best.

I can recommend Henry Mayhew's books for contemporary descriptions of the processes, the writers, the printers, and the sellers. Yes, the same chap who wrote 'Villikins' albeit adapted from an earlier song.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 09:40 AM

Hoot, okay, there is stuff on this in Abbot and Seroff but it is vaudeville rather than tent shows. Again from memory they had 'shills' in the audience demanding a particular tune which they then planned to sell outside. But at the moment I'm just googling and looking at extracts. This really should be on another thread. Sorry, to all. But bringing it back to the discussion might the idea solve the problem about where Pardon's grandfather got the tunes if he got the words from broadsheets?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 09:26 AM

Regarding the parish clerk Pardon, by coincidence one of Granddad Tom's great granfathers turned out to be just that. These comparisons help me to understand more of Pardon's origins I think. I could not believe this, unlike his kids and their kids he was not a miner, but a garden labourer on a commercial plant labourer, so not quite ag lab like Pardon's family, but close. Moreover they were all Methodists as far as I knew. When I enquired, I was told by somebody that in all probability his parish clerk duties, this being a small place, would have consisted of digging graves. That figures, given his day job. So maybe this is what Brown Pardon did in Knapton?

Mike Yates mentions Methodism in his MUSTRAD piece on the political songs etc known by Pardon, the one headed by a Marx quotation, so I am not the only one to think it necessary. My own people were Methodist in the generation after the Parish Clerk, as were many working people, and also Labour when that came in, but I doubt all Mudcatters would approve of that .

Interestingly, the Methodists in Knapton were originally Primitive Methodists, a branch of Methodism that arose in the UK because of
American influences and was taken up by Hugh Bourne and others. A key bit of this was revivalist type camp meetings and lots of singing. These details help us to imagine the sort of soundscape one might have encountered in early Knapton.


I hope I have given some interesting background on Knapton in a non combative manner.

Hootenanny: I'll have to get back to you with a ref on that. I thought initially Abbot and Seroff but if it is (and it may well be) I cannot locate a precise ref. I hesitate to go down a blues track as I know that is another area where tempers can flare and definitions are controversial. But I know that music publishing was for a long time after they started issuing records a bigger money maker than the discs. There is even a story, which I believed when I read it, about Leadbelly (again from memory) buying some sheet music for the lyrics and then asking a woman who could play piano to give him the tune. I know I am right, I didn't make it up, but for a ref... that may take longer.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 08:52 AM

I think I can liken it to something I know more about than feet - beer :-)

I like it all but some a lot more than others

You have your source sauce such as Holts. Not to everyone tastes but where modern brewers got their blueprints and should be respected.

There are new breweries like Copper Dragon who are revival beers

You have craft ales, like Brewdog, who brew in the style of source. The contemporary singer songwriters

And then there is Carling Black Label. The pop in more ways than one ;-)

If you like them all, the world is your mollusc. If you only drink of one type you are restricting yourself. If you only like Carling, don't go to real ale pubs. If you like real ale, don't expect them all to be to your liking.

Nowt to do with Walter. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 07:47 AM

Exactement! But you still have to look at them every now and then...

We could spend all day on this, Dave...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 07:34 AM

Yebbut, Steve, you don't have to like your feet to be able to walk.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 07:29 AM

But you don't have to get to grips with all of it. You should at least know that it exists, dip your toe in and then realise that, unlike sexual intercourse, it didn't all start in 1963. You do wonder at times how much some of the young-buck speed kings and breathy little-girl voices of today know about their heritage... Knowing a bit of the past gives a much deeper appreciation of what happens today. And, as a bonus, it allows you to tut-tut in the club, muttering "That's not how Walter would've done it...". ;-)

Brahms adored Beethoven, Beethoven and Bach adored Palestrina, Palestrina adored Josquin, Josquin adored Ockeghem... Sir George Grove, he of the dictionary, called it a Golden Chain. Your feet may be knobbly and unattractive to you, but you can't walk without 'em.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 07:16 AM

Somebody said Walter Pardon had an ancestor called 'Brown Pardon'.

I was looking at an old directory of Knapton, one of what are called 'Kelly's Guides'. These are interesting places to find information about villages in the 19th century. I looked at the one for 1875 and the entry for Knapton.

Guess who the Parish Clerk in Knapton was in 1875? Yes, one Brown Pardon!


People in Knapton got letters via North Walsham; at this date they had no post office. There was a shopkeeper (so not isolated from outside products), and a grocer, a blacksmith and a bricklayer.

The population was 331.

I can find at least two people in Knapton called Brown Pardon, one married to Anne, the other to Sarah.

I am sorry if I appear 'combative', but I am trying to express myself without being so. I appreciate what Vic Smith has contributed.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 07:06 AM

Pseud:
Re:

"I know that often ballad sellers sang the songs (certainly in Ireland and also this applied to people selling sheet music with blues on in the US, often at the tent shows where the songs were sung)".

May I ask where you obtained the information regarding selling sheet music by blues singers at Tent shows.

I am intrigued.

Apologies if this is considered Thread Drift


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 06:49 AM

Don't read things I haven't said into my words - that's not what I meant

I'm relieved to hear that, Jim. Just what did you mean by "If you don't like or understand these singers, then you don't like or understand our song traditions and you're better off coming to terms with it and going elsewhere for your fix", then? Particularly "going elsewhere for your fix". As I have said, I can't get to grips with some of the work of source singers but I like other folk music. Where do you suggest I go?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Vic Smith
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 06:32 AM

Pseudonomous wrote: -
For example, he refers to a book given to him by Bill Leader. Now I would love to know what book it was and what ideas Pardon took from it.

Neither do I know what the book was, but an informed guess from the date of the Dallas interview and of the books that were recently available and popular at that time and from the context of that interview that it was likely to have been Bob Copper's A Song For Every Season published in the second half of 1971. My own copy, a signed gift from Bob as soon as it was published is one of my proudest possessions on the wall full of folk music related books.
A wonderful night on Saturday at the Lewes Saturday folk club with nine current singing members of the Copper Family brought back many memories of Bob with the singing of 1 son, 1 daughter, 1 son-in-law, 5 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson. What a wonderful heritage to leave behind! Facebook members may like to see 30 photos of the evening at
The Copper Family in Lewes 04/01/2000

There are quite a number of points that have been made in this thread since the new year that I would like to challenge but, sadly, I have come to the conclusion that discussion cannot be conducted on Mudcat without a combatative element creeping in often tinged with unneeded perjorative elements. Whenever I can, I will stick to being - if possible - helpful and informative.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 06:19 AM

"Agreed. And I'm still struggling with the Bard even now..."
I was lucky enough to be brought up in a family that doted on Shakespeare - we even had a Shakespeare theatre in the centre of Liverpool when I was young
Getting the best of difficult things comes in stages - first you work to understand them then you lay back and enjoy the pleasure of them becoming part of your life
It's all too often forgotten that Shakespeare was writing for "the sweepings of the London streets" - if he is unattainable to 21st century Britain, it says more about us than it does about Hamlet or King Lear
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 05:51 AM

Ok,, Jim.

"I have yet to meet anybody who fell in love with Shakespeare on their first meeting - the same goes for folk song
Most good things often take work before you get the best out of them - why not give it a try..."

Agreed. And I'm still struggling with the Bard even now...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 05:45 AM

"If you don't like source singers then get out of folk music".
Don't read things I haven't said into my words - that's not what I meant
I do believe that clubs that refuse to include folk songas in their itinerary (or are are unable to justify why they call something entirely different as "folk") should not caim to be running folk clubs - that's a different argument

If people started turning up at the Roya Festival Hall to hear Mozart being played by a heavy metal band - would they be entitled to complain - would it still be Mozart as the world knows it ?
Why should people who don't even like folk song have the right to take over the people's music and send it into obscurity ?
Or don't you think "folk" means what it says and we've been misled since the 1830s ?

I have yet to meet anybody who fell in love with Shakespeare on their first meeting - the same goes for folk song
Most good hings often take work before you get the best out of them - why not give it a try

Pseud seems to have gone back on Speed again, having been asked by a moderator to clean up her act
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 05:44 AM

I must confess that "go elsewhere for your fix" comes across as harsh. You could say that if you eschew the delving back just because you're not keen on portamento, or you find the singing to be a bit raw by modern polished standards, or because you don't like scratchy recordings, or because you've only got time to listen to Steeleye or Fairport albums (good, some of 'em...) you will end up with a skewed view of what folk music is. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy what you enjoy, but it may mean that it's better if you don't anoint yourself as any sort of folk expert...

I would say that if you don't go back to those source singers (an ugly expression but we seem to be stuck with it and at least we sort of know what we mean), you could be missing out. See it as an interesting exercise that will inform your understanding of traditional music. You don't have to collect it all or listen to it hair-shirt fashion all the time. But you will learn something. That's me anyway. And I still like Irish tunes more!


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 05:40 AM

sorry not from a family of trained musicians, I was thinking about the band and assuming it might have contained more than one trained musician.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 05:38 AM

Turning to a conundrum that emerges from the MUSTRAD material on the origins of Pardon's songs: he thought his grandfather got the tunes from the broadsheets whereas these often did not include an indication of tune. So people think Pardon cannot be right about the source of the tunes. I know that often ballad sellers sang the songs (certainly in Ireland and also this applied to people selling sheet music with blues on in the US, often at the tent shows where the songs were sung). I think Munnelly says they would sing them over and over. If the same applies to the ballad sellers in Norfolk, this might explain where Pardon's grandfather got the tunes when these were roughly the same as those traditionally used for those songs?

Maybe this is something Steve Gardham might have a view on?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 05:18 AM

Jim, your point "If you don't like or understand these singers, then you don't like or understand our song traditions and you're better off coming to terms with it and going elsewhere for your fix" comes across as "If you don't like source singers then get out of folk music".

Surely that is not what you mean is it? There are more revival and contemporary performers who perform traditional style material than there are source singers. Can we not like one aspect of folk music more than another?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 05:04 AM

IF we accept that 'traditional music is caught not taught' then this calls into question some of the stuff I was looking at about people regarded as 'traditional' teaching others to sing correctly down to getting the ornamentation right. I think this was either Irish or Traveller 'trad' singers. It also calls into question a lot of what Seeger and MacColl set out to do, as described for example by Jim Carroll and Martin Carthy and others. There are so many differing attitudes.

But this thread is about Pardon, and one thing that seems clear is that the grandfather from whom he believed that many of his songs came was a trained musician, from a family of trained musicians and that he could read music. Another thing is that Pardon did have some degree of 'training' in singing, definitely via his school experiences of folk music (in his own account) and almost certainly via his experiences of Methodism. Jst to add to that were not some of the trade union songs done to hymn tunes?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 04:50 AM

I admit to liking Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. There. I said it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Jan 20 - 04:46 AM

To ideological bias in the account of Knapton I will add a dollop of romanticism.


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