mudcat.org: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]


Review: Walter Pardon - Research

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


Jim Carroll 03 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 20 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Jan 20 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Jan 20 - 06:48 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Jan 20 - 06:50 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 20 - 06:58 AM
Howard Jones 03 Jan 20 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Jan 20 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Jan 20 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Jan 20 - 07:39 AM
Jeri 03 Jan 20 - 08:56 AM
Vic Smith 03 Jan 20 - 09:03 AM
Brian Peters 03 Jan 20 - 09:39 AM
Stanron 03 Jan 20 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 03 Jan 20 - 09:49 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 20 - 10:05 AM
Brian Peters 03 Jan 20 - 10:16 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 20 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 03 Jan 20 - 11:22 AM
Vic Smith 03 Jan 20 - 11:23 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 20 - 11:40 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 20 - 12:10 PM
The Sandman 03 Jan 20 - 12:14 PM
Joe Offer 03 Jan 20 - 09:06 PM
Joe G 04 Jan 20 - 02:07 AM
The Sandman 04 Jan 20 - 02:50 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Jan 20 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 04 Jan 20 - 03:29 AM
The Sandman 04 Jan 20 - 03:30 AM
The Sandman 04 Jan 20 - 03:39 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Jan 20 - 03:47 AM
The Sandman 04 Jan 20 - 04:04 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 04 Jan 20 - 04:53 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Jan 20 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 04 Jan 20 - 05:37 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Jan 20 - 05:41 AM
Brian Peters 04 Jan 20 - 05:45 AM
Brian Peters 04 Jan 20 - 07:14 AM
The Sandman 04 Jan 20 - 07:19 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Jan 20 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 04 Jan 20 - 04:59 PM
The Sandman 04 Jan 20 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 04 Jan 20 - 05:40 PM
The Sandman 04 Jan 20 - 06:07 PM
The Sandman 04 Jan 20 - 06:26 PM
Brian Peters 04 Jan 20 - 06:34 PM
Brian Peters 04 Jan 20 - 07:33 PM
The Sandman 04 Jan 20 - 10:29 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 05 Jan 20 - 02:12 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Jan 20 - 02:59 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 04:47 AM

You might start by referring to him was Walter, or, if you insist, Walter Pardon - that is how those of us who knew and respected him knew him
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 05:38 AM

Can we assume from your comments that you have listened to the interviews carried out by Pat and I, Mike Yates, Bill Leader, Karl Dallas, Roy Palmer.... and all those who took the tie and trouble to travel to remote East Anglia to visit and share his company
If not, on what grounds to you base..... "The methods used by some of those investigating Pardon did not seem to me to be rigorous" ?
Such aggressive statements do not auger well for this discussion
Some of your other questions imply that Walter was a liar as they are based on what he said

I strongly suggest that you re-thing your combative approach to this subject before another thread on Walter is closed
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 06:38 AM

You might start by referring to him was Walter, or, if you insist, Walter Pardon - that is how those of us who knew and respected him knew him

Yes, indeed I might, but I choose to use the bare surname, a convention which certainly does not imply any lack of respect.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 06:48 AM

I am asked the following question:

Can we assume from your comments that you have listened to the interviews carried out by Pat and I, Mike Yates, Bill Leader, Karl Dallas, Roy Palmer.... and all those who took the tie and trouble to travel to remote East Anglia to visit and share his company
If not, on what grounds to you base..... "The methods used by some of those investigating Pardon did not seem to me to be rigorous" ?

The 'grounds' (to use the questioner's word) I have for more my honest statement of a reasonable assessment are, as stated in the quoted piece, 'the methods used by some of those investigating'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 06:50 AM

I would be interested to hear my interlocutor's views on the pros and cons of the interview as a research method, and ways in which well-known flaws such as interviewer bias can be avoided.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 06:58 AM

I take it from that evasion that the answer to my question is a resounding "NO" in which case, you have no grounds for your accusations
I will not respond you aggression such as yours and strongly suggest that nobody else will
That way we might, just might be able to manage to treat one of our most important traditional singers with the decency and respect he deserves
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 07:08 AM

It is usual practice when writing about someone in such a context to refer to them initially by their full name and then by their surname only, and I agree that it should not be seen as disrespectful. I faced a similar dilemma when contributing much earlier in this thread. I never met him, and I saw him perform only once. For me to call him "Walter" would feel disrespectful, it would seem presumptuous and over-familiar. To write "Walter Pardon" every time would be long-winded, while "Mr Pardon" seems too formal.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 07:11 AM

Just out of curiosity, does anybody know which Union, if any, was Pardon a member of? I ask because I have seen his 'trade unionism' lauded, yet Hillery describes him as a self-employed small businessman, or words to that effect, and suggests that this is why his parents put him to an apprenticeship, so that he would not be an employee.

@ Jim Carroll: I answered your question precisely. You may of course make whatever inferences you like from my response.

But for me, you have no basis for your conclusion that I have no grounds for my comment. The reason for this is that you have not asked the right question, which would be one about methods, not one asking for a list of pieces that I had heard about. I commented that I found some research methods dubious. What is your understanding of the phrase 'research methods'?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 07:36 AM

Regarding getting threads closed, I refer to the comments posted by Joe Offer above.

I don't intend to discuss further until I am sure that the thread I intended to start, focussing on research methods, ideology and lack of clear factual information, etc.is considered a legitimate topic for the 'knowledge' section of Mudcat. I don't see why it should not be: comment on linked ideas has been part of a PhD cited on this thread. It is or should be possible to discuss such matters without it being said one is making 'accusations' or being 'combative' and 'aggressive'.

Relating to material on Pardon: I have found a couple of references to magazine articles which I cannot locate. One is by Peter Bellamy (published in Folk Review, August 1974, pp.10-15) and the other by Karl Dallas (published in Folk News, August 1977, pp.14-15). I have searched Jstor in vain.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 07:39 AM

I agree with Howard Jones about calling somebody you have not met by their given name. The bare surname seems to me more respectful and it is conventional and usual.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 08:56 AM

If "vexatious pain in the neck" means "obsessive", I agree. Eight posts between 4:40 and 7:48 is a little psycho. Please learn to edit.

I'd love to hear about Walter Pardon, and don't care much for a discussion of how to properly address people, or accusations of aggressiveness. You know - meta stuff.

I suspect if this keeps being about the individuals involved in the discussion rather than the actual subject, it won't last.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 09:03 AM

Pseudonymous wrote:-
Relating to material on Pardon: I have found a couple of references to magazine articles which I cannot locate. One is by Peter Bellamy (published in Folk Review, August 1974, pp.10-15) and the other by Karl Dallas (published in Folk News, August 1977, pp.14-15). I have searched Jstor in vain.
Glad to be able to help because I have both. I have text scanned the article that you refer to in Folk Review I also wrote for that magazine in those days and have all the copies.
Pages 10 and 11 have the transcripted interview. Most of page 10 is taken up by an excellent line drawing of Walter Pardon by Dave Carless.
WALTER PARDON, a fifty-nine year old carpenter living in a small North Norfolk village, has recently emerged as the most important English source-singer since Harry Cox. Of the forty-odd songs he has so far transmitted, the majority are unique variants and many are previously uncollected in any form. His singing is that of a remarkably accomplished and original stylist, and will be put on record by Bill Leader later this year. He recently talked to PETER BELLAMY about his songs and the family and village from which they sprang.
I was the only one of the family who went in for carpentry, all the rest were farm hands - on the farm all day, and when they weren't, they were talking about it. That's why they used to like those songs like 'The pretty ploughboy' and 'All jolly fellows that follow the plough' — they was in great demand. These songs were sung at Christmas by the whole family; I never sang them in pubs myself. There was a lot of pub singing around here in the past, but not so much in my time. My uncle Billy used to sing — this all came from my Mother's side of the family, you see. My grandfather was Tom Gee. That photograph, that's of my uncle Billy Gee. He was an outstanding fellow. He was born here in this house. 1 learned nearly all my songs off him; he was born in 1863. Most of the songs he got fr.om my grandfather. My uncle Tom, at Bacton, he knew a lot, but they were different from what Billy's were. Most of them come from the one man: he knew a hundred, my grandfather did, but in them days there was no collecting whatsoever, no tape-recorders or anything like that. When he died, he took a lot with him; my uncle sang a lot to me, but he never learned them all. My other uncle, at Bacton, he sang different ones. He used to come at Christmas time, when we had the old family party. There'd be nearly twenty in here; (this room was bigger then), there was so many here, we used to have the tea in two goes. My mother's sister, Ruth, she used to be a fine singer, but my Mother's brothers' and sisters' children, they never learned any of the songs; 1 was the only one who knew any. The last one. But I only sang 'em for myself and for the family, never in pubs. They used to be ridiculed here. They used to say: "Why don't you learn some new songs? We don't want to hear them old things!" They were termed antiquated. That is so! Now. Harry Cox, he used to sing up the Catfield Crown, I believe, but I never did meet him. I heard him on the sound radio, and I did see him on television when they gave him a badge or something. I know Sam Lamer was singing well, too, but 1 never did meet him either. They were the only two I knew about; I don't think there was a great lot in my time, not in this area. My grandfather got the songs from broadsheets, apparently: that's how they were brought round, so they always told me. He could read music, you see; that was unusual. The reason was, he was born so long ago (surprisingly enough, he was born when George IV was king, and he died in 1830). In his young time, Knapton church had a gallery; the choir sat in the gallery - there was no organ or anything like that -- they supplied the music with clarinets and string instruments. He learned to play the clarinet, so you see he could take the music off these broadsheets. As he could read music, he got the tune, whereas a lot of these poor old men around here - you never had to go very many mile 'til you hear these tunes altered all out of proportion, because they had'em just by word-of-mouth, and I think that's why his tunes were so good. The playing in the churches, that finished very early around here, about 1850 I think, when my grandfather would've been a young man in his twenties. My uncle Billy, he said he remembered when a man-o'-war sunk off Ireland, and someone composed a song about it, and two men come along here with one of those broadsheets and sung the song over to my grandfather. I don't know if he bought it, but I was told the words and music, was ruled on it, and they charged a penny. That was how they got them into the villages. I asked Uncle Billy how it was that my grandfather managed to learn a hundred, ' cause that was very seldom he went out of the village — perhaps one day in the year to Norwich, or occasionally to North Walsham,
and he said that was how they got round: by
broadsheets. None of 'em got saved in the family; there was only one old song that I ever did find. 'The transports', wrote out by hand. I never did see any of the broadsheets; they must have got destroyed somehow or other. A lot of the things that were my grandfather's have survived in this house, though - that chair, and the grandfather clock, and that old Queen Anne table....
I was born in this house, and my mother was too. 1 haven't been out of the village much myself, except during the war. when I got sent all over the country, but I was lucky - they never sent me out of England 'cause I was working my trade. I was apprenticed in the next village here - Paston. You've heard of the Paston Letters, have you? There's a very famous old barn there, too, a tithe barn, 1581.
The church in this village here, it's got the finest roof in the county, double-hammer beam, with about 140 huge angels in, with their wings outspread, all holding something in their hands - one's got a hammer and nippers, and another one is playing an old-fashioned lute, all that sort of thing. Some of them, their faces look- as if they've been tarred, and they say Cromwell's soldiers done it. That's one thing this village is noted for, and the other is that it was the headquarters of the smugglers hereabouts. There's a garden here in the old times was always dug, never cropped. That's where the contraband was put in. Apparently there was a tunnel ran under the shop, 'cause not long ago some builders was here making a soak-away, and they broke into the tunnel. No doubt they pushed some of their stuff in there, but that was a long time ago. Yes, this was the headquarters of the smuggling, that's about the only thing the parish was noted for! My uncle told me that when he was young there was old men around here who knew all about this smuggling; I reckon it must have died out about 1830. Of course they never would own that they'd done any themselves - they was still afraid, you see, even then. I think that was done on a large scale - so was poaching. My uncle Billy, what had the songs, he was a good man with a gun. His old double-barrelled twelve-bore, that's still here in the shed, and also his equipment for making his own cartridges: powder-flask, shot-flask, wad-cutters, everything what he used to use. He told me years ago they had these muzzle-loaders; he showed me how to set a snare. There was also another instrument here that he used to make bee-skeps with out of brambles. There was a lot of old things here, but my uncle sold them. There was an old wheat-dibbler, shaped like an egg on the bottom, they used to push it in the ground and then drop the wheat in. I've still got a lot of the equipment my mother used to brew beer with — big wooden funnels, and that sort of thing. I've still got the big stone jars she used to put the beer in; some of them came from a brewery at Trunch, they've got primroses on them. The brewing, that was done just before the harvest started. The beer was brewed for the harvest, and a lot of it was drank, too!
Uncle Billy worked on a farm most of the time, and then on the Mundesley golf-links, cutting greens, that sort of thing. His hands were drawn down with rheumatism so he could only move a thumb and finger on each hand. He was taken away from school, you see, and sent to work on the farm when he was seven or eight year old, and his hands used to get so wet. He reckoned that's what caused it; at one time he used to play the fiddle, but by the time I was born his hands got locked like that, and he couldn't move his fingers about on the strings. But he was a very fine singer, had a powerful tenor voice, far away in front of anyone else whatever he sung. No-one approached him. He used to do" a lot of singing in the pubs in his young-time. I don't know where he got 'Old brown's daughter' from; he most probably learned that in a pub in North Walsham called the Mitre Tavern (that's been finished with long ago) where they had a room specially for dancing and singing. There'd been men bringing violins for that.
I haven't sung these songs much over the years, just to myself, you know. That took me all winter' to put them down on that tape for you, 'cause so many of them have lain dormant, and it took me a long time to remember them. Some them are terrifically long in length, as you know! I never thought anyone'd ever want to hear them again. No-one else had bothered to learn them, only me.
This accordion, I bought it in Norwich ten year ago this Summer; sixteen pound ten. My uncle Walter, he paid ten shilling for his, and that's just about equal in value, 'cause that's what his week's wages were.
My favourite of the songs is 'The rambling blade'. I've heard other versions of it on the wireless, but I like this tune the best. I learnt that song sitting on my uncle's knee. That's the truth, that's how I used to learn 'em. He used to lift me up, and I'd sit looking up at him while he sung. He used to sing 'Caroline' a lot, and 'Bonny bunch of roses', and 'Generals all' ('Marlborough'. as you call it). 'The transports' he never did sing much — that took too long, I suppose! 'Cock-a-doodle-doo' he didn't sing at all; that came from my uncle at Bacton — that's the sort of song he used to like, and 'The cobbler' - a bit ribald, you know!
I used to play fiddle, years ago, but that was only amateur playing, all on top of the strings. Do you get a professional, he'd draw his hand right down to the bridge, but I could only play up there. I always liked the accordions the best.
There were hundreds of songs sung in here, 1 never did get to learn all of them - everything from 'The cobbler' and 'Lord Lovel' right down to 'The long long trail a-winding.' That was popular during the First World War, and a lot of others you couldn't properly call folk songs: 'The ship that never returned', 'Miner's dream of home', Tn the shade of the old apple tree' and so on. It'd all depend who used to sing, you see. They were the new songs at that time.
Some of the songs we had were very well-known, I think, like 'The dark eyed sailor', 'Jack Tar', 'The banks of the sweet Dundee', I think that's fairly common. Some of them are fairly well stretched about the country. I've heard that Bob Copper on the wireless sing different versions of the songs. My uncle Bob saag 'Jones ale was new'. That was Bob Gee's copyright, you might say. No-one'd sing that but him, and he sung that just like he talked: there was no English in it hardly! We knew what it was, but anywhere else they'd very near want an interpreter! That originated from my grandfather, so did 'The huntsman' and 'Rat-cliffe highway* they were his songs, and I think the bulk of the others were too. It's a pity the lot haven't survived; some of them I never did learn, 'cause they more or less had a copyright on them; they'd never infringe each others' copyright" to a particular song. After a song there'd be applause, and they'd shout 'Ar soide th'bork!', or 'Our side of the baulk! (or beam)' meaning appreciation for the song from the people sitting that side of the room.
We used to have a Harvest Frolic, too; that's another thing what was done. There'd be singing and dancing there; that was held in the barn that the small-holders hired. That'd be cleared completely out, all the implements'd be put outside, and Uncle Walter used to do all the accordion playing. That all finished when I was a schoolboy. I had an uncle who was a good step-dancer, and they used to do these old 'swing-dances', more-or-less Victorian style, you know. They'd be singing and dancing in there till after twelve. Lots of beer drank, same as there was in here. Christmas night; lots of noise; but there's only me here now. My father was the last one to die, and when I was left here on my own that was melancholy; that's why I had it all changed in here, to make a different atmosphere. Yes, I do miss those good old times.

WALTER PARDON'S SONGS TRANSMITTED UP TO 10.2.1974
Cupid the Ploughboy
The Rambling Blade
Let the Wind Blow High or Low
Caroline and her young Sailor
You Generals All (Brave Marlborough)
The Pretty Ploughboy
The Transports (Van Dieman's Land)
Jack Tar (J.T. Ashore)
I Wish, I Wish
The Dark-Eyed Sailor
Ratcliffe Highway (The Deserter)
Lads of High Renown (Poacher's Fate)
The Broomfield Wager
Trees They Do Grow High
A Ship to England came
The Huntsman
The female cabin-boy
Banks of the Sweet Dundee
I'll Hang my Harp on a Willow-tree
Old Brown's daughter
The old miser
The British Man of War
Jones' Ale
The Bush of Australia
The Bonny Bunch of Roses
Lord Lovel
Peggy Bawn
Mowing the Barley
Seventeen come Sunday
Jolly waggoners
Cock-a-doodle-doo
The bold fisherman
The poor Smuggler's Boy
The Raggle-Taggie Gypsies
The Green Rushes
Help One-another, Boys
The Ship That Never Returned
The Cunning Cobbler

Dave Carless has a second drawing which is reproduced at the top of each of the next four pages which are given over to transcriptions of the tune and words of four of the songs:-
pg.12 Peggy Bawn
pg.13 The British Man of War
pg.14 Old Brown's Daughter
pg.16 A Ship to England came

I will also text scan and post the Peter Bellamy article in Folk News (both Peter and I wrote for that one as well) when I have time but I will be busy in the next few days - deadlines for two articles approaching and some songs and tunes to learn and rehearse for upcoming gigs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 09:39 AM

Many thanks, Vic, for that contribution, and I look forward to reading the Bellamy piece. One interesting snippet I've found on a very brief perusal is WP's account of his grandfather's having learned his songs from broadsides:

My grandfather got the songs from broadsheets, apparently: that's how they were brought round, so they always told me. He could read music, you see; that was unusual...
He learned to play the clarinet, so you see he could take the music off these broadsheets. As he could read music, he got the tune, whereas a lot of these poor old men around here - you never had to go very many mile 'til you hear these tunes altered all out of proportion, because they had'em just by word-of-mouth, and I think that's why his tunes were so good.


It's pretty clear from this that WP had never actually seen a broadside, since the vast majority never included the music. So the reason for the quality of the tunes must lie elsewhere.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Stanron
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 09:44 AM

I'll echo the thanks Vic. The information that there were working men who could read music and play instruments is also interesting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 09:49 AM

Brian, you are right about music and broadsides, this point was also made on the MUDCAT site.

Another snippet of interest for me is that Pardon was engaging with folk music on the radio at this time, if I have read his reference to Bob Copper accurately. Because one thing I am interested in is trying to build up a picture of what you might call 'influences' or at least the soundscape Pardon had lived in/through, as he might not have been 'influenced' by what he heard on the radio. Another snippet I picked up from wider reading was that he attended the Methodists as a child: that would have been a source of musical and singing experience if my own Methodist childhood is anything to go by.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 10:05 AM

"I suspect if this keeps being about the individuals involved in the discussion "
When postings directly denigrating those who worked with Walter (with the poster having no knowledge pf that work) it becomes obvious that the intention is to make the discussion about something else other than Walter
While this continues (this is not the first time it has happened since this individual descended on us) your team will continue to close discussions, chalking up yet another no-go area

Walter is a magnificent subject for discussion - Mike Yates's current project of releasing previously unheard recordings and the British Library's plans to put our recordings of him on line present people with an excellent opportunity to learn more about this important source singer
It would be a crying shame to allow anything to mar that opportunity
Jim Carroll

Walter's views on singing - in his own words
Q.         Do you think that when you started singing in the clubs and festivals, do you think you are singing any different than you were singing when you were younger?
W.P            Dash, yes, I think so.
Q Do you know in what way?
A.         Oh, I don't know, put more expression in probably; I think so. Well, but you see, you take these, what we call the old type... the old folk song, they're not like the music hall song, are they, or a stage song, there's a lot of difference in them, I mean a lot of these... some ... it all depend what and how you're singing. Some of them go to nice lively, quick tunes, and others are... you don't do 'Van Dieman's Land'... If there's a sad old song you don't go through that very quick. Like 'Up to the Rigs' is the opposite way about.
I mean, we must put expression in, you can't sing them all alike. Well most of the stage songs you could, if you understand what I mean. According to what the song is you put the expression in or that's not worth hearing; well that's what I think anyhow. And as I never did sing them, you see, there was no expression I could put in."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 10:16 AM

Seeing this thread reopened represents something of a mixed blessing, since on past form a lot of firefihting is going to be required again.

The OP's post at 04.40 on January 3rd contains several highly questionable statements:

The material tended to say as much about the ideological perspectives of those writing it as it did about Pardon himself. This applies to Mike Yates' use of a Marxist approach for one essay... Put briefly and simplistically, and following Hillery, the ideology in question could be described as that of the 2nd UK folk revival.

For a start, the ideology of the 2nd folk revival - at least in it's approach to traditional song - owed more to Cecil Sharp than Karl Marx, so it's not valid to skate between the two as though they were one and the same. At no point has it been shown that research into WP's singing owes anything to Marxism, other than a couple of references to a Mike Yates article not actually quoted, and the fact that MacColl and Lloyd were Marxists, so well... it's obvious, innit?

There were contradictory or unclear ideas about, for example, the sources of his songs and about whether he 'preserved' the tunes by playing them on his melodeon or whether, due to the musical limitations of that instrument, he changed them, this explaining how come his tunes were different at times from those traditionally used for the songs in question.

A melodeon is limited in not being fully chromatic, and in its limited range of keys. Neither of these would prevent me from picking out the melody of pretty well any song from, say, Sharp's collection, or 'The Voice of he People' on the instrument, since folksong melodies characteristically use simple scales. It's also not valid to compare WP's tunes with those 'traditionally used', since one of the defining characteristics of traditional song is melodic variation: there is no single 'traditional tune', and most of WP's are recognisable as variants, albeit often particularly interesting ones. WP may of course have mis-remembered these melodies, but the same could apply to any singer of orally-learned material.

The methods used by some of those investigating Pardon did not seem to me to be rigorous: there was use of leading questions, for example.

This claim has been made repeatedly over the course of this thread, but no examples have been quoted, and no appropriate analysis made of the reasons why the research is unsatisfactory. It's not academically acceptable merely to make a statement on the basis of a vague impression gained from unquoted material. Elsewhere the OP expresses dissatisfaction with interviewing as a valid technique, without suggesting an alternative method for finding out the singer's background, motivation method of learning songs, etc. What would be preferable - a Rorschach Test?

he is said to have learned his songs 'the traditional way', though how far even that is true seems questionable, given his own assertions that he did not sing them at the time.

Apart from the fact that he did sing 'The Dark-Eyed Sailor' at the time (and was certainly not unique as a traditional singer in having one song that was his recognised property for public occasions), whether he sang them or not in the period between learning them from family members, and performing them many years later, has no bearing on the the question of whether he learned them 'in the traditional way'. Some of the best-known recorded traditional singers were regular performers in pubs, singing competitions, etc, but many others were racking their brains for half-remembered fragments from their youth, at the behest of a collector.

One last question I can help with:

Just out of curiosity, does anybody know which Union, if any, was Pardon a member of? I ask because I have seen his 'trade unionism' lauded, yet Hillery describes him as a self-employed small businessman

On November 9th, Jim Carroll posted:

"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 Tom had the second Union card issued, Nos.1 and 3 going to men from nearby villages. Forty years later, all three men were awarded silver medals for their services to the Union. Walter learnt a number of songs, parodies and rhymes connected with the Union..."

Happy to be of assistance.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 11:15 AM

Walter heard all the songs he sang at family gatherings - he only sang 'Dark Eyed Sailor because "nobody else wanted it" - he was too young to be accepted as a serious singer by the gathering, but he absorbed what was sung and later, when he decided to write them down, he scored the survivors of the family to fill in his memory gaps

It's worth remembering that most of the English Folk repertoire of the twentieth century was taken from singers who had hardly experienced a living tradition - Sharp and co worked on the basis of gathering the songs before those who had them died as the tradition was very much in decline at the beginning of the 20th century
The situation was a little different in Ireland as the singing traditions survived much longer, but even so, Tom Munnelly constantly referred to his collecting work as "a race with the undertaker" (Tom was mainly working with English language singers)
The only thriving oral Tradition to be collected from was that of the Travellers - the Irish and Scots particularly
Their 'non literacy' and their 'social pariah' status makes what was collected from them the nearest examples we have of a purely oral tradition
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 11:22 AM

Firstly, Jim you misread what I said about a new CD. I did not say that the whole CD would be devoted to Walter. I am actually researching the large number of American songs which have been collected from people like Walter, who, for example, had quite a few such songs in his repertoire.
Secondly, the sad saga of this thread. The thread was opened by an unknown person hiding behind an alias. It was soon apparent that the thread was actually opened in the knowledge that it would annoy at least one reader - and this seems to have been successful. I doubt that Pseud is actually interested in Walter Pardon, he just seems to want to stir things up. The there is the fact that, whoever he is, he clearly does not know me. If he did, then he would not have called me a Marxist. I have tried to figure out why he should have said this. Perhaps it was because I quote one sentence from Karl Marx in an article about Walter. I have also quoted the Bible in other writings, but that does not necessarily make me a Christian! Or perhaps it is to do with the fact that at one time I was associated with Topic Records, when several of the people there were members of the CPGB. If the first case, then I think it odd that a person should base his beliefs and assumptions on one sentence. If the second, then surely this is a case of 'guilt by association' and we know where that led to in America.
Then there is the matter of how Jim has been treated by the moderator. Surely Jim is the victim here. As such he should have been treated far better than he was.
Over the years I have always tried to help people who are interested in folk music. It doesn't matter if it is a three-chord newcomer looking to find a song or two, or else a PhD student working on his dissertation. However I really have no wish to help Pseud with his toxic ideas. If you wish to tell us who you are, or what you really want. Then maybe you will get help. Somehow, though, I doubt that you will have the guts to tell us.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 11:23 AM

Brian wrote
many others were racking their brains for half-remembered fragments from their youth, at the behest of a collector.

I would imagine that was the norm after a singer has established a relationship with a song collector. They wanted to please them. I can think of several examples from the old singers that I have talked to. In an interview with Johnny Doughty after he had been visited by Mike Yates a couple of times, he talked about sitting in his net shed trying to bring back more of a half-remembered song to record for Mike - often with some success. Of course, he also "remembered" a good old sea song after he had heard it on a Spinners' LP but by the time he got it the way he wanted it, it fitted perfectly into his repertoire.
George Belton and his wife often came to our club in Lewes and sometimes I would catch his eyes lighting up when a song was going on, followed by an intense whispered conversation with wife. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later he would be back with his own remembered/reconstructed version. I also remember him chuckling his way through Sydney Carter singing his composition Mixed Up Old Man. He must have got the words from somewhere and that became part of his repertoire sung to a tune that was closer of Villikins & his Dinah than the original.

I was at the funeral and then a very well attended Memorial event for a very popular local singer in November; over 100 people there. One of her daughters came up to me and said, "Vic, can you sing Binnorie? It was one of mum's favourites." I asked her to give me time to think about it and I would. I had never learned the song but when you have been around folk songs and ballads for 60 years, you actually know far more songs than you realise. I sang the song and managed to get through a version that I realised afterwards was partly from Lucy Stewart and and partly from her neice Elizabeth.
It would be easy for me to imagine a source singer being able to produce a song for a collector in that way.
Some of the songs that Caroline Hughes recorded for Peter Kennedy sound like a combination of floating verses and some that she made up on the spot, but Peter was paying her 50p per song, so she wasn't going to say that she didn't know any more, was she?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 11:40 AM

Thanks Mike
Good luck with the CD - sorry about the misunderstanding
By the way, did you know Walter set Hardy's poem 'Trampwoman's Tragedy' to a tune ?
He never learned it, but sang a text of it for us
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 12:10 PM

"Walter’s father Tom had the second Union card issued, Nos.1 and 3 going to men from nearby villages."
I recall that this was a mistake on our part - Mike put me right at the time
Walter was a carpenter, not an agricultural worker, but I'm sure most of you are aware of that
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 12:14 PM

good to hear someone got the better of Peter Kennedy[he always reminded me of the saying you need a long spoon to sup with aman from fife] nevertheless i am grateful to have his book, even though he[kennedy] was a bounder, apologies for the thread drift and hope holy joe doesnt close the thread because i mentioned, Kennedy
    Talk about the topic of discussion and the thread won't get closed. If you and Mr. Carroll can't do that, you'll find yourselves both suspended.
    -Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Jan 20 - 09:06 PM

Well, thread drift is ordinarily not a problem. It's combat. It was bad enough when the Usual Suspects wanted to do battle in the BS section, but lately they've moved their combat over to the music section. It's a small, bullying "in crowd" that scares other people away from Mudcat because they find themselves unable to carry on a decent discussion of any serious subject.

I reopened this thread so that people could discuss Walter Pardon. Unfortunately, only the person named as a troll wants to discuss Walter Pardon, and she has posted some very valuable information about Walter Pardon - the Usual Suspects just want to do their usual dog-and-pony act. Jim Carroll even wants to do battle with her about her referring to Walter Pardon by his last name, a common journalistic practice. If I don't see substantive discussion of Walter Pardon in the next few hours, I'll close the thread for good.

I get too many complaints from people who say Mudcat has been taken over by a small, bullying group of British males. On top of that, this group always seems to pick a pariah they want to drum out of Mudcat - the first one I recall is Lizzie Cornish, and that was years ago.

I think it's time to put this bullshit to a stop. This is a music forum, and people ought to be free to discuss music here without being bullied away. So, get back to the business of talking about music. In Walter Pardon threads, talk about Walter Pardon. In Ewan MacColl threads, talk about Ewan MacColl. If you can't do that, I'll do my best to stop you.


-Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Joe G
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 02:07 AM

Well said Joe. The pettiness, aggressiveness and closed minded attitudes on Mudcat sometimes appalls me. When people approach discussion in a friendly open minded way - as they did for a while on the 'Current state' thread there is much to learn and discover.

Anyway back to WP!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 02:50 AM

if we Talk about Walter Pardon we should call him Walter Pardon, not Pardon or Wally or Walt.
I have asked pseudonymous a question .to let us know precisely the research that he/ she wants,.. no answer. So far we have learned that he was a carpenter , that he lived alone, that he kept a vast repertoire of old songs alive ,that unlike sam larner he was not a pub singer[ he sang mostly for his own pleasure at home] that he also played melodeon. that Peter Bellamy and others brought him to the attention of the uk folk revival


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 03:19 AM

There has been no comabt from me on this thread Joe and that fact that you single us out for your accusations makes you one of the problems
This thread was re-opened aggressively by someone whose attitude has been openly aggressive since her arrival, up to the point where she opened a thread 'digging the personal dirt" on me and my wife - you choses to leave tat thread open for three days, despite my immediately asking for it to be closed - several other people protested about it
You really can't have favourites as a moderator' - you deal with all problems or you let us slog them out ourselves as the adults we are - that's what used to happen
If Max had not been as busy as he appears to be, I would have raised hour behaviour with him a long time ago
You forbid us to discuss how we are moderated on this forum yet you have made it a major problem
I am most certainly not the only one who feels thios way

If this thread is closed - again - it will have been you that has closed it
Please may we continue ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 03:29 AM

Joe Offer, I love you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 03:30 AM

is it correct that Walter Pardon did not know Harry Cox personally?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 03:39 AM

,Pseudonymous , i have asked you a question at least twice what particular research of walter pardon are you interested in?are you interested in his songs, his personal life , his carpentry skills?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 03:47 AM

The three great Norfolk singers, Harry Cox, Sam Larner and Walter Pardon never met
Harry and Sam appeared on a film together in a beautiful little film, 'The Singer and the Song' but they were filmed separately

Walter constantly expressed his admiration for Sam and shared some of his songs
It was Walter who linked Sam's song, Butter and Cheese and All' with the local practice of men hiding up the chimneys to avoid the Press Gangs which raided the Norfolk villages during wartime looking for unwilling recruits

Walter shared the ability of a number of singers we recorded to 'see his songs' as he sang them
He provided descriptions of the characters in his songs and mentally dressed them in period costume
When he'd fininsed singin 'The Pretty Ploughboy' for us once, he pointed out of the window and said "He used to work in that field"
That appeared to be fairly common among singers from traditional singing backgrounds
Kerry Traveller, Mikeen McCarthy told us that singing a song was like sitting in a cinema watching a film"
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 04:04 AM

Was Walter Prdon familiar with any traveller singers, did he know of the existence of the uk folk revival before Peter Bellamy met him? had he heard of the comic song writer Alan Smethurst, had he heard Fred Jordan, my apologies for bombarding you with questions Jim, i quite understand if you do not know the answers, but psud who tries to give the impression of wanting to research , has remained mute and might possibly want to know., and like the corncrake appears to be shy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 04:53 AM

I hope that this thread will remain open until Vic Smith has posted the second of the two pieces on Pardon, since I am interested in reading all the 'research' on him that is available.

I found one other reference on JSTOR, an obituary written by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie. I don't think it added anything new, though it expressed their admiration in appropriate terms. It does acknowledge that some of Pardon's repertoire came via records played on a wind up gramophone, not necessarily contradicting the assertion heard all the songs he sang at family gatherings, of course. (Hillery lists the songs in the repertoire that Pardon also had on old 75 RPM records.) I won't say more about the review except to say it was Folk Music Journal Vol 7 No 2

I raised and Brian Peters (rightly, albeit with a tad of sarcasm) followed up on aspects of the use of interviews as a research technique. I'll discuss this, and try, bearing Jeri's instruction to 'edit', to be brief.

'Interviews' can be more or less formal. They range from those intended to result in an amusing piece for a popular magazine to those intended to produce a searching inspection of the point of view of a politician, as well as being a research method used in fields ranging from marketing through to social sciences such as Marketing, Psychology and Social Science. They are a less structured way of getting information than, for example, a questionnaire. But their use presents some of the same risks and pitfalls.

There are plenty of beginner's guides to the use of interview techniques on line, setting out the pros and cons of the method as a way of obtaining accurate information (leaving aside the question of how far a person's opinions and ideas may change from time to time).

One well-known phenomenon is a tendency for people doing interviews to try to be helpful to the interviewer by telling them what they want to hear. Therefore, those training interviewers tend to emphasise the need to appear neutral to avoid biasing the outcome. I think this is probably the main point I would make in connection with research carried out by amateurs seeking to investigate people like Pardon.

To point out how subtle and complex these effects can be, the best example I can come up with is a finding I read about some time ago that when IQ tests were given to Black Americans by other Black Americans the people being tested scored higher than when they were given the same IQ test by white Americans. I think it is worth giving this example, because suggesting that an interviewee may be in some sense tailoring their comments as a result of their perceptions conscious or unconscious about the interviewer is not the same as accusing them of lying.

When it comes to looking at the output from interviews, it is only natural to consider how far the approaches and ideology of the interviewer may have affected the final output, whether this is an article (which may be an edited version) or a tape recording (though these too can be edited).

This is before we even begin to think about issues of bias and selectivity in the way the findings are reported.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 04:58 AM

We have a description of his concept of a folk club "in a big house"
His nephew Roger was Bellamy's tutor - Roger was the one who encouraged him to put his songs on tape in the first place

I would suggest you leave Pseud to her won devices if yo want to keep this thread open
Jim


RECORDING HIMSELF
Anyhow, I set it up once and plugged in, I tell you, that was a good job; I was right nervous doing it.
I thought myself, I used to think I could manage to sing the old ‘Rambling Blade’; I put it on and it sound so blooming horrible I wiped it right out, oh, that did sound dreadful; I don’t think that was as bad perhaps as I thought it was, but that was a long while, I trying different things until, you know, I thought that was better as I kept hearing it, you see.
And I know that was about October, 1972 when I started it; Oh, I don’t know, it took about up to Christmas time to fill one side; I used to forget there was verses in the songs, you see, I used to keep wiping it out and putting them on again. That took a long time to get them up into the pitch I could sing them in, not having sung the things.
Well I got one side done somewhere from the October up to the Christmas 1972 this was. And I know when it come over to the following New Year I was in here one Saturday night and that was bitterly cold; oh, that was a wind frost, wind coming everywhere. I was that cold I had a big fire going one side and that little stove the other.
So I thought then I’d do some more taping. Anyhow, so I got warmed up, I had a strong dose of rum and milk, and I had another one. And so I got the tape recorder going, I can remember well enough; that was Caroline And Her Young Sailor, and when I finished it was the best I ever did do.
Well, I found out I drank more than I should, I had to keep right still. Well, I switched it off; that was true, in fact I was drunk, and then of course I went to bed, I never did have any more, and the next morning when I got up and tried it I knew I was, how that was coming out with all then words all slurred, so I wiped it all out.
Well I found then as I kept going, that it wouldn’t pay to drink anything.
Anyhow, eventually that was filled up in the March, that was March 1973.


FOLK CLUBS
I had a vague idea they had folk clubs of some description, all these doctors, solicitors etcetera would go and sing in someone’s big house. I never realised you see, working people done that, never knew a single thing about it.

PICTURES WHILE SINGING
J C   Can I ask you something else then Walter. When you’re singing in a club or at a festival, who do you look at, what do you see when you’re singing?
W P   Well, I don’t see anything.
J C   You don’t look at the audience.
W P   No, that’s why I like a microphone; I’d rather stand up in front of a microphone and that sort of thing ‘cause it’s something to look at, that’s what I like, this sort of thing in front so you can shut the audience out, ‘cause I can shut the audience right away from everywhere.
J C   So what do you see then, when you’re…..?
W P   Well actually what I’m singing about, like reading a book; you always imagine you can see what is happening there, you might as well not read it.
P Mc   So you see what you’re singing about?
W P   Hmm
P Mc   And how do you see it; as a moving thing, as a still thing?
W P   That’s right.
P Mc   Moving?
W P   That’s right. The Pretty Ploughboy was always ploughing in the field over there, that’s where that was supposed to be.
J C    Over there?
W P Hmm.
J C    So it’s that field just across the way?
W P   That’s right.
J C    How about van Dieman’s Land?
W P   Well, that was sort of imagination what that was really like, in Warwickshire, going across, you know, to Australia; seeing them chained to the harrow and plough and that sort of thing; chained hand-to-hand, all that.
You must have imagination to see; I think so, that’s the same as reading a book, you must have imagination to see where that is, I think so, well I do anyhow.
P Mc   But you never shut your eyes when you’re singing, do you?
W P    No, no.
P Mc   But if you haven’t got a microphone to concentrate on, if you’re singing in front of an audience, where do you look?
W P   Down my nose, like that.
P Mc   Yes, you do, yeah.
W P   That is so. Have you noticed that?
P Mc   Yeah.
J C   Do the people in the songs that you sing, do they have their own identity or are they people you know or have known in the past?
W P   No, their own identity, I imagine what they look like.
J C   You imagine what they look like?
W P   That’s right, yeah.
J C   And when you sing the song they’re the same people every time, they look the same every time?
W P That’s right, yes, yes, that’s right. All depending what it’s about or the period, that’s right.
J C   And they were dressed in the period…?
W P   That’s right yeah, yeah.
J C   So where would you put The Pretty Ploughboy, what sort of period?
W P   Lord Nelson’s time.
J C   So they’d be wearing……?
W P   That’s right; the beginning of the last century.
P Mc   What about the song like The Trees They Do Grow High or Broomfield Hill?
W P    Oh, that’d go back really as far as…. Buckled shoes, that sort of thing. Well no, they wore buckled, but anyone ploughing would never wear buckled shoes but I mean they dressed in, you know, fairly smart clothes and a ring on their thumb sort of thing.
J C   And how about Dark Arches, what would be the type of…?
W P   Oh, myself; if you’re singing about yourself that must come in it (laughter).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 05:37 AM

Sorry last post has a number of 'typos'.

I shall now post a transcript, copied from Mudcat, of an interview with Walter Pardon. I don't know the date of it, which would be helpful. Nor do I have any information about the context, such as how far the contents had or had not been rehearsed formally or informally. My interpretation of this text is that it demonstrates leading questions, the use of somewhat limiting 'either or' questions, and that there is a clear sense of the answer that the interlocutors want.

J C When you're singing at a club or a festival, who do you look at, what do you see when you're singing?

W.P   I don't see anything

J C You don't look at the audience?

W P No, that's why I like a microphone: I'd rather stand up in front of a microphone, than anything, 'cause that's something to look at. That's what I like, this sort of thing in front; you can shut the audience out.

J C   So what do you see when you're….?

W P   Actually what I'm singing about, like reading a book.
You always imaging you can see what's happening there, you might as well not read it.      

`P Mac   So you see what you're singing about.

W P   Hmm.

P Mac   How do you see it; as a moving thing, as a still thing, or… moving?

W P   That's right.
'Pretty Ploughboy' was always ploughing in the field over there, that's were that was supposed to be.

J C So it's that field, just across the way?

W P That's right?

J C   How about 'Van Dieman's Land' then?

W P   Well, that's sort of imagination, what that was really like, in Warwickshire, going across to Australia, seeing them chained to a harrow and plough, that sort of thing, chained hand to hand, all that.
You must have imagination to see it all, I think so, that's the same as reading a book, you must have imagination to see where that is, I think so, well I do anyhow.

P Mac   But you never shut your eyes when you're singing, do you?

W P   No, no.

P Mac   So if you haven't got a microphone to concentrate on, if you are singing in front of an audience, where do you look?

W P   Down my nose, like that (squints).

P Mac   Yes, you do, yes, that's right, you do (laughter)

W P   That is so, have you noticed that?

P Mac   Yes

J C   Do the people in the songs that you sing, do they have their own identity, or are they people you know, or have known in the past?

W P   Their own identity, imagine what they look like

J C   You imagine what they look like?

W P   That's right, yeah.

J C   And when you sing the song, they're the same people every time; they look the same every time?

W P   That's right, yeah, that's right.
All depend what it's about, or the period.

J C   And they would dress in the period…?

W P   That's right, yeah.

J C   So where would you put 'The Pretty Ploughboy', what sort of period would you….?

W P   Lord Nelson's time.

J C   So they'd be wearing….?

W P   Yeah, in the last century.

P Mac Then what about a song like 'The Trees They do Grow High' or 'Broomfield Hill'?

W P   Oh, that'd go back, really, farther still, buckled shoes, that sort of thing (laughs).
That is right though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 05:41 AM

The suggestion that any collector allows his/her "bias" to effect their results without having examined their work in detail is both extremely arrogant and also deeply issulting
It allows any academic carer seeking academic to make a name for themselves without making the slightest effort
If such accusations or even implications are made they need to be presented with examples and irrefutable proof, otherwise t stands to undermibne everything we have done
To a degree, this has what has gone radically wrong with our understanding of folk song, following Dave Harker's taking contacts out on some of our most important researchers
It needs to be nipped in the bud in these discussions otherwise any subject this lady chooses to target with go crashing in flames
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 05:45 AM

Our moderator believes that the OP "has posted some very valuable information about Walter Pardon". I'd have said that the most valuable offerings on this thread have been those contributed by persons who have deep personal knowledge of traditional singers, their styles and backstories and, in two cases, personal knowledge of the subject of the thread: Jim Carroll, Mike Yates and Vic Smith.

The OP has, it's true, copied and pasted an article from Musical Traditions which was useful here, but unfortunately right from the outset he or she has presented an agenda questioning WP's status as a traditional singer, raising irrelevant issues regarding his sources, style, etc. S/he has attempted to convince us of the existence of a 'Pardon industry' devoted to 'lionising' a singer who (apparently) deserves no such respect, and which was allegedly animated by Marxist beliefs.

Let's not forget that the OP posted on the 'State of British Folk' thread that "some of [Walter Pardon's] offerings on Spotify are so embarrassingly bad I would be cringing if hearing them live", and on the present thread that "my granddad was a better singer".

The fact is that, by any objective criteria, Walter Pardon was an accomplished and highly significant traditional singer. He had a large repertoire learned principally from members of his family, including many songs with full, coherent texts and interesting melodies. His voice had a pleasingly warm timbre, his pitching was accurate (if sometimes prone to drifting sharp over the course of several verses), his attention to the lyric was exemplary, and as a performer he was modest yet authoritative. He came to the attention to the folk revival at a time when it was widely believed that singers of his quality were no longer to be found, so it's hardly surprising that people were excited.

In the light of the OP's obvious and stated disdain for Walter Pardon as a singer, and the plethora of spurious and unsupported claims that have been made, it's hardly surprising that several contributors have felt the need to respond robustly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 07:14 AM

Re interviewing:
"research carried out by amateurs seeking to investigate people like Pardon"

The 'amateurs' referred to here are some of the most experienced and respected folk song collectors around, and the fact that they haven't been paid for their labours doesn't make them any less expert. The interview material available on Walter Pardon is some of the most extensive and valuable collected from any traditional singer. 'A questionnaire'? Are you being serious?

One of the sadder developments in folk song research over recent decades has been the tendency of agenda-driven, stay-at-home researchers to pick holes in the efforts of people who actually did stuff, collected songs, met singers, etc. Give me the 'amateurs' every time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 07:19 AM

Anyway, i believe that psudonymous wishes to remain anonymous for a particular reason,but i would echo and support Brians comments,
Jim was WalterPardon aware of the songs of the singing postman, did you ever ask him about his opinion of Alan Smethurst, after all Alan Smethurst was a chronicler in song of the norfolk of the fifties and sixties, as well as being a good songwriter in the comic genre, who had influences of people like jimmie rogers[the yodeling brakeman] but who reflected accurately norfolk country life post second world war


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 03:33 PM

Happy New Year, Brian
'experienced and respected folk song collectors' we might well be described as, and whilst that is very complimentary the fact is that very few of the collectors in this country has received any training of any sort and that goes back to the days of Bishop Percy. The nearest we have come is the Leeds University Folk Life course in the 70s probably came the closest, but having looked through some of the dissertations and collections even then the students seemed to have received little or no training in relevant interview techniques. Like the rest of us they went off to do their own thing. NatCect/Cectal did provide some training in the 80s/90s but most of their collectors were interested in folklore. I'll certainly check with my old mate Ruairidh Greig but if they did they were few and far between.

I'm afraid I can't agree with your last statement 'agenda'driven stay-at-home researchers'. Who might these be? All of the researchers I know have been and still are very active in the field.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 04:59 PM

No objection to 'robust' responses, so long as these are relevant constructive and avoid personal abuse. They are useful in fact.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 05:21 PM

Alan Smethurst, was as important a chronicler of norfolk post second world war life as indeed was Walter Pardon-pre second world war , Alan had a hit in the sixties ,Walter must have been aware of his existence, it is a pity if walter [who on occasions also sang older comic songs] was never asked his opinion of somebody who could arguably called a song carrier reflecting norfolk life post Walter.
after all most of walter pardons songs were pre second world war norfolk, smethurst continued reflecting and chronicling norfolk post second world war, arguably more of a continous link as regards norfolk life than Peter Bellamy, who sang songs such as fakenham fair and fiddlers hill [both peter bellamy composotions


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 05:40 PM

Dick,

Are you really serious about Smethurst? if so I expect you next to be asking if he was influenced by The Kippers or perhaps Rambling Sid Rumpole?

One thing I do remember about the times that I met Walter is that he appeared to be the keeper of the one time village band's instruments. He had a bass drum and a flute or fife that he showed us. I expect Jim or Mike Yates could throw a bit more light on it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 06:07 PM

Hoot , you show a lack of understanding of the genre , the kippers and syd rumpole were piss takers ,
alan smethurst[was not a satirist] he was a fine songwriter of comic folk style songs, check out mind your head bor. nicotine girl. my miss from diss, was the bottom dropped out and a chronicler of post war norfolk in song, follwing the binder round , the cricket match, etc


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 06:26 PM

apologies for thread drift,Hoot the difference was they were popular in East Anglia itself, an indication that Smethurst's compatriots identified with this affectionate portrait of their idiosyncrasies.
the kipper family were only populasr as pisstakers of the copper family
inside the folk revival
ramblin syd rumpo enjoyed a very brief appearance as one of kenneth williams poorer efforst , but none of those two were popular in East Anglia itself, among non uk folk trvival audiences, he was a true folk singer


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 06:34 PM

'agenda'driven stay-at-home researchers'. Who might these be?

Hi Steve, and a Happy New Year to you too.    I should probably have been clearer: I was referring particularly to Dave Harker and various other self-styled researchers I've come across in the course of my work on Cecil Sharp. It's very easy to sit in front of a word processor and find grounds to criticize field workers without whose contributions we would have nothing at all to go on. Obviously I'm aware that field work is not the only way to research folk song, not least because of the availability of online resources of the kind I've used a lot in my own work.

Regarding interview techniques, I have little to no confidence that formal training would actually have achieved better results in the case of Walter Pardon, or indeed MacColl / Larner and other such interactions. I'd be interested to know what questions critics of these interviews would prefer to have been put to the singers concerned.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 07:33 PM

To develop the point I was trying to make, here is Mark Wilson, distinguished collector of North American folk music, writing to Musical Traditions a number of years ago:

"...direct folk music scholarship of the sort required has fallen to negligible levels here, at the same time as the literature of righteous critique has abundantly flourished. Plainly, the latter exerts a profoundly chilling effect upon the former. In future years, when interested parties look back on our era, they will no doubt ask, "How is it, at a time when important tradition bearers were still active, that academic folklorists wasted their time in such relatively insignificant veins of criticism?"'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 20 - 10:29 PM

Peter Kennedy was criticised by some for asking Scan Tester whether he thought there was a man in the moon. However Kennedy was the only person able to collect tunes from the fiddler N Boyle[ the composer of the moving cloud],Kennedy collected a vast quantity of material.
As regards Walter Pardon, I would have like to have heard his opinions on Allan Smethurst, Allan fitted all MacColls requirements of singing songs from or about his own area in his own accent, yet i suspect that Jim AND Pat did not think about asking such a question because Allan would have been looked down upon by some people in the uk folk revival in my opinion that is a shame because we rarely hear from trad singers what their opinion is of people like Smethurst who were novelty hit makers, but who in fact were folk singers and chroniclers of their area.
          I am sure if Alfred Williams had been collecting in Norfolk in the 1960s he would have collected both Walter Pardon and Allan Smethurst.
I would like to thank all the collectors who collected songs from Walter Pardon including Jim and Pat, A JOB WELL DONE


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 05 Jan 20 - 02:12 PM

Just an aside:

'Kennedy was the only person able to collect tunes from the fiddler N Boyle[ the composer of the moving cloud]'

Séamus Ennis was the first to collect extensively from Boyle. Ennis also recorded Boyle with Alan Lomax. I would assume he also introduced Kennedy to Boyle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jan 20 - 02:59 PM

"and avoid personal abuse."
Are you serious !!!!!!!!!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...


This Thread Is Closed.


Mudcat time: 29 March 3:06 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.