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Review: Walter Pardon; Research

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


Jim Carroll 06 Nov 19 - 06:50 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 06 Nov 19 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Nov 19 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 06 Nov 19 - 08:42 PM
punkfolkrocker 06 Nov 19 - 09:49 PM
punkfolkrocker 06 Nov 19 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 07 Nov 19 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Nov 19 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Nov 19 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Nov 19 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Nov 19 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Nov 19 - 11:22 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 19 - 12:02 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Nov 19 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 07 Nov 19 - 12:25 PM
r.padgett 07 Nov 19 - 12:28 PM
RTim 07 Nov 19 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 07 Nov 19 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Nov 19 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Nov 19 - 12:58 PM
The Sandman 07 Nov 19 - 01:14 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 19 - 01:43 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Nov 19 - 01:47 PM
Vic Smith 07 Nov 19 - 02:02 PM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 19 - 02:34 PM
The Sandman 07 Nov 19 - 02:41 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 19 - 02:43 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 19 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 07 Nov 19 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 07 Nov 19 - 02:49 PM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 19 - 02:53 PM
Howard Jones 07 Nov 19 - 02:57 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Nov 19 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 07 Nov 19 - 03:54 PM
The Sandman 07 Nov 19 - 04:10 PM
The Sandman 07 Nov 19 - 04:22 PM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 19 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Nov 19 - 05:16 PM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 19 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Nov 19 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 07 Nov 19 - 06:01 PM
The Sandman 07 Nov 19 - 06:18 PM
Howard Jones 07 Nov 19 - 06:23 PM
Dave the Gnome 07 Nov 19 - 06:26 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Nov 19 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 Nov 19 - 06:49 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Nov 19 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 07 Nov 19 - 07:07 PM
GUEST,Joe G 07 Nov 19 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Joe G 07 Nov 19 - 07:55 PM
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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 06:50 PM

And not one of you have had the good grace to even comment
You all out to be ashamed of yourselves
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 07:39 PM

I actually recorded the night Walter Came to Dingles. Guess who lent the recording out and never got it back? (I think the person in question actually taped over it) Now in retrospect it would have made a valuable addition to the Nick and Mally Dow collection at the BL sound archive.
In those days I did not think anybody was interested. I fully intend to listen to all recordings at the BL however I was quite surprised how many are restricted. Roy Palmer is not by the way, and neither are mine. It would be a help if they were available for download. Why? well you could listen in the car for a start. Hands up how many people tend to listen there rather than competing with the TV at home. Back to Walter Pardon, I've been listening to him since the first LP, and still feel I have plenty to learn from him.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 07:48 PM

Hello Nick

I noted that not all the BL stuff can be heard. I found an explanation in terms of copyright here: https://sounds.bl.uk/Information/About/

Also, as a library one has to be a member, which may affect things.

HE students seem to get greater access, so if you knew somebody maybe you could get better access.

The BL has more or less the only copy of various songs, poems and plays written by a direct ancestor of mine, but as it would cost me hundreds of pounds to get copies and even being a visiting reader is hedged about with difficulties I'll probably never read it.

Do you think it is worth mentioning your lost recording (was Dingles a particular place?) in my amended OP or not?

I don't have a car, so not sure about that!


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 08:42 PM

Howard, I hear and respect your comments. I am grateful for them as the are interesting and reasonably phrased.

I fully admit to being less than one hundred percent a fan of the work of Walter Pardon. I think that it's sort of all right. Nothing much to write home about whichever way you look at it. This does not equate to having an intention to mount a veiled attack on him. I don't intend to 'veil' anything, and hope I have been quite clear, in, for example, responding to your questions as fully as I can.

So here are some tentative thoughts in response again to what you have put.

I have said that he was 'lionised'. I believe that this is the case, and coming across him late in life, it is very striking. By 'lionised', I mean something like treated out or made into a celebrity. Glorified, honoured, acclaimed.

The very language in which he is spoken of demonstrates this. Meaning no disrespect to those who use it and who are quoted below:

'I have plenty to learn from him'
'determined to keep the songs alive'
'his pacing is a lesson in restraint'
'still regarded as an important figure in British folk song and that will continue to be the case while the subject is remembered.'
'important source singer'
'one of the few outstanding folksingers left in England today'
'traditional singer'
'one of the important traditional singers whom Norfolk produced during the 20th century.'

and more overtly political (though much of the language and thinking of the post-war folk boom was implicitly political):

'confirmation of the fact that the world-view of 19th century rural agricultural workers was enlarged directly as a result of the dialectical effects brought about by the processes of capitalism.'

These are value statements with which I don't necessarily agree, but what strikes me more than anything is that they seem to be imbued with a particular set of assumptions, beliefs, values, an ideology in other words, as in .

Well that isn't true because there is more than one set here of values here: some are overtly Marxist, as for example Mike Yates, who in one article on Pardon goes on to suggest that Sharp's view of 'folk' won't do and a new one is needed (maybe he has been reading the end of Lloyd's book or influenced by the work and political programme of MacColl). I refer to Yates in the OP.


Regarding other comments that have been made. I had not until just now read anybody suggesting that Pardon actually learned songs from a recording, and had not made that precise suggestion myself (though I can't see why people should be so alarmed at the idea), but I have just found precisely such a suggestion in yet another Mustrad article, this time by Mike Yates (2003)

Sorry, cutting off short. You chose the word 'debunk' and I think felt that I wanted to dismantle Pardon's reputation as a great traditional singer and so on. Debunk isn't a word I would choose. What interests me is getting a handle on how it came about that so many people are convinced that things that seem to me to have been sort of thought up mid to late 20th century are historical facts.

For example, take the phrase 'traditional singer'. As far as I am aware, nobody knows much about what traditional singing might have sounded like. There are discussions about this on Mustrad too. There are no recordings of it, obviously.

I think on one level, changing tack for a moment, 'reading' a performance of a song is like 'reading' a poem: it isn't a matter of getting the information from the poem, it is always a matter of interpreting what is there. So I am sure that people like Nick will take inspiration from Pardon's style; what I am less sure of is that in so doing they are in any particularly meaningful sense tapping into any great stylistic tradition. Indeed, I have seen it argued that the relatively unadorned style popular with many male 'revival' singers came into fashion post WW II.

This may strike you as heresy, and the emotional response of some people is strikingly clear, but they are reasonable views to take.

I really don't feel that there is anything 'veiled' here: I had hoped that the OP made the sort of approach clear!

Thank you for reading if you did.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 09:49 PM

"You all out to be ashamed of yourselves"

Jim's back then...

Jim - your over reactions to what you misread of other peoples intentions,
don't achieve anything positive for anybody...

I've been in real life situations where me and mates in a pub are having a good lively conversations,
when someone eavesdropping over on another table, picks up on a few words misheard out of context,
then goes off on one berating us for something they misunderstood...

Folkies listening to Walter Pardon, or any old source singer, with fresh ears, for the first time in their lives in 2019,
will decide for themselve's if they like what they hear...

If they do like it, and are curious to discover more about these singers,
they might ask some questions which could seem discourteous to real experts like yourself,
but the questions are not laced with malice...
However, your cranky far too over protective response can be counter-productive,
discouraging new listeners from making the effort to find out more from folks like you...

We know you and how you can respond sometimes, but newcomers don't...
I say in all sincerity as a mudcatter who likes and respects you,
that when you work yourself up into moods like this,
you more likely do more harm than good..
It is not a positive effective way to promote your passion for traditinal singers to potential newcomers to folk music...

[btw, just read your over the top outburst in the 2019 thread while I was proof reading this post..]


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 10:03 PM

"It seems it's sufficient to just undermine the fact that he was England's Tradional singers by suggesting that ........
he learned what he knew about folk from albums
?"

Jim - Btw.. it is the most natural thing in the world for music fans and musicians
to be inquisitive about each others record collections..

It is a friendship making sharing activity, where we learn about each other's favourites and influences.
Taking pleasure in our personal tastes, and finding out what we have in common;
suggesting others have a listen to something we think they might enjoy...

It is one of the first automatic things to do when first in a new aquaintances home - an ice breaker...

IT IS NOT AND NEVER HAS BEEN A BAD THING...

There is no shame if Walter had 78s or LPs he liked, and took inspiration from..
We all do it...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 03:48 AM

It is very simple. The songs and singing style come first. Respect for the man usually follows, and genealogical and academic research follows on from that.
I would suggest that anybody who is in doubt about 'Traditional singing style' should listen and learn from McColl's unsurpassed Song Carrier programmes. Nit picking arguments about value judgments etc, are of no interest when placed against the simple value placed on the songs by most Traditional singers. 'I want you to love the songs as much as me.'
Most academic arguments are usually self serving and end in silence, from an ever decreasing circle.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 10:47 AM

Nick

Thank you for your contribution. However, to me it seems contradictory. On the one hand, you appears to object to 'academic arguments', on the other you refer to McColl, whose work within what they call/called 'the revival' was most certainly based upon theoretical/academic thinking.

There are I believe a number of accounts of the Song Carrier project. It was shot through with theory.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 11:00 AM

I'm in agreement with a lot of what pfr says about Pardon: my thinking is that some people may object to the idea that he may have been influenced by 78s because they are ideologically committed to a particular view of Pardon and get agitated when faced with ideas that conflict with or cast doubt on it.

'It's simple'. People can take a simple view or a more nuanced one. For me, people are entitled to take whichever view they like. With respect, I don't buy the idea that 'academic arguments' are self-serving, or see why if this sort of point is valid it doesn't also apply to simple arguments.

It also seems to me fairly plain that when Pardon was discovered, this marketing and lionisation did not go from first liking his songs and singing and then following on. I was looking at something today that said the writer took a long time to get to like his work. But that person had been involved in all the surrounding 'stuff'. Can't just think who it was now


Supporting the same view of the history of the discovery and 'marketing' of Pardon within the left wing world of the folk revival, is something else I read recently, by a person who said that the early recordings of Pardon weren't very good because it had been decades since he had sung.

As I see it, whatever genuine friendships may have sprung up, Pardon was taken up because he ticked boxes on the McColl etc ticklist of what counted as traditional/folk. This seems to me to be as close as a 'factual' account, if simple, of what happened.

This is my view, that's all.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 11:06 AM

Martin Carthy is quoted on film as saying Pardon was very exciting indeed when he had only heard about him second hand from Peter Bellamy. That is another piece of evidence in support of a view that the initial enthusiasm for Pardon had little to do with the quality of his singing or the style he sang in. This is from the EDGE TV film, the same one in which a neighbour describes what she fed to Pardon when he came for a meal, which he seemed to do frequently. She seemed to like him, said his friends in the village tried to ensure he did not suffer as a result of all the attention he was getting from the folklorists.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 11:13 AM

Is this you Nick? Nice song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=48&v=7OxsaeBBCs4

Off topic I know. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 11:22 AM

And on it being 'simple', well take a 'simple' phrase like 'folk song'. Can anybody who has followed the multiple, often acrimonious discussions on this thread, and MUSTRAD, and, it appears other fora, believe that deciding what is and is not a 'folk song' is a simple matter. And, and this is my interest, which you don't have to share, my interest is in how these different ideas and views inform/shape/bias what people have had to say about Pardon. I got thinking about it because the stuff I found about him was far from 'simple'; it was, as I say, often contradictory and the answer to the contradictions often seems to be that they reflect the differing ideologies and perspectives of the people whose comments I was reading. Sometimes, as in the case of Mike Yates (whose work I speak well of in my opening piece) the theoretical approach is discussed and open. Often, and I think this is a rather typical old left strategy the ideology is kept behind, under wraps.

Did anybody ever say to Pardon, I've been a card carrying communist and I am really happy because you support my view that folk music represents the superstructure in my class based dialectical view of history? I should be surprised to hear it if they did.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 12:02 PM

That is Nick, Pseudonymous. Not just talented but an all round good bloke.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 12:15 PM

It is not an unreasonable question for somebody new to this subject
to ask if Walter had a radio or a telly...
Providing regular contact with the modern age, current affairs, Pop culture,
even specialist folk music programmes...???

My working class ancestors were technologically savvy enough
to enthusiastically equip themselveswith the modern marvel of crystal radio...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 12:25 PM

I don't object to academic arguments at all, but for the most part academics write, agree with, disagree with other academics.
Not a crime of course but all of them for me seem to miss the point.
Which is, it's about singing for the sake of singing. You choose your medium and the parameters of that medium and work within it, if you wish to stay true to any tradition, or reinterpret it if you don't. Which incidentally is what McColl said in the song Carriers. Not better or worse just different, were his exact words.
If you don't like a particular singer fine leave it at that, there is no need for academic justification. I'm not wildly keen on Phoebe Smith, which for a man who has been with Gypsies for over 30 years is quite an admission, however I love Caroline Hughes and have met her family and friends. End of story for me.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: r.padgett
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 12:28 PM

My view like I suspect many other singers interested in the old and traditional songs is to pick up songs of interest and that have social historical and perhaps good choruses to learn and entertain people at song and music sessions

I have over the years learnt some of Walter's songs from aforesaid Vinyl and CD sources

This interest led me to research the background to the songs themselves ~ I have to admit that I only looked at Walter Pardon the man to a small degree ~ I as I say only ever saw and heard him live once ~ I was certainly impressed an the sleeve notes were and are a good source of information on all matters as far as I care!

Ray


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: RTim
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 12:29 PM

GUEST,Pseudonymous - Yes - it is Nick Dow singing the Cyril Tawney song "Sammy's Bar" - again off topic.
In relation to thread - this is NOT a Trad. song....but is one that will likely end up in the Tradition.....like several of Cyril's....

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 12:47 PM

Let's hope so!


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 12:49 PM

These words again: 'trad', 'the tradition'. Theoretical concepts.

MacColl seems to have had great leadership qualities: he laid down a particular aesthetic, which perhaps is best understood in terms of the context in which he worked, and it seems from these threads that he acquired a set of devoted 'acolytes', as well carving out a career and a decent livelihood for himself.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 12:58 PM

Relevance of MacColl to thread: links between his teachings and the approaches of some of those who marketed and lionised Walter Pardon.

I think MacColl wrote some nice songs. It's not a topic I would want to get into too much here as there is enough about him on Mudcat and it quickly gets heated. Which seems to prove my thinking but …

On sleeve notes, I found out that these have mixed worth quite a long time ago in a different context, and that folklorists do not always do their research properly or interrogate those whose writing they take bits from as if they were gospel. If I remember correctly, this is one area relating to Pardon - and generally - where there have been lively and at times acrimonious discussion- as evidenced on the Mustrad site. One mans' carefully researched notes are another man's set of semi-literate notes so full of mistakes that it is impossible to list them all. Another cite of contested viewpoints within the folklore world.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 01:14 PM

Why should i be ashamed of mentioning walters fondness for bananas, the human touch, it makes no difference to my respect for his repertoire. Harry Cox was an animal lover,they were people not just singers


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 01:43 PM

"Why should i be ashamed of mentioning walters fondness for bananas"
Why the **** should anyone be so ***** rude to comment on his eating habits especially ion these terms
"I'm told Walter's favourite tea was a fried egg Brown bread and butter and vinegar. Brings tears to the stomach."
Christ knows where that came from anyway - it's pure nasty invention and totally unnecessary - and you know it
I wonder how Nick would react to travellers being described in such a degrading way - or do I !!
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 01:47 PM

Dick They were probably all people existing in a wider social context,
not isolated in lives that fit a folk theorists idealised view of who and how they should be...???

However, back in the 1960s I did have older family
who were so deeply rural and detached from the modern world,
that they could have been living in a previous century
where piped water, gas supplies, and electricity had yet to be invented...

As far as I know they were not singers or custodians of other folklore...
Just ordinary folks cut off from the modern world, scratching a living off the river and fields...
Of no interest to song collectors...

But, then again, neither had they been discovered,
and had their lives documented by big city social anthropologists...

But if they had, they'd have made sure they made as much cash as they could
off gullible city slickers...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 02:02 PM

Nick Dow -
I'm not wildly keen on Phoebe Smith, which for a man who has been with Gypsies for over 30 years is quite an admission, however I love Caroline Hughes and have met her family and friends. End of story for me.
I agree totally with this statement, Nick. To my ears, Caroline is the most moving of all the English gypsy singers. Yet I reckon that if you played recordings of Phoebe & Caroline to 100 people with an interest in traditional song, then the vast majority would favour Phoebe because, palpably, Phoebe has the better voice. It is s combination of several subtle factors that she has in her treatment of songs that make Caroline's nicotine-riddled voice and makes her, for me, such an exciting singer.

Oh... and whilst I am addressing you, those tracks of Gypsy singers that you copied on to my laptop in Tenterden are exquisite. Mary Lee and Bartley Wilson - both superb.

Whoops! Serious thread drift. Perhaps we need yet another new thead to deal with this.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 02:34 PM

Oh FFS, get a grip, Jim. The documentary linked above mentions that Walter liked brown bread and butter with a fried egg and vinegar. It also mentions that he used to cycle to the local ironmongers on a Saturday, had a green gate and popped in to his neighbours for a cup of tea regularly. Are you going to take offence at all of these? These facts just add to what is known and give people a feel for who Walter was, not just what he did.

We understand. He meant a lot to you and did a lot for traditional folk music. But he was, after all, just human. The documentary pointed out on a couple of occasions that he was down to earth and told it as it was. Which is exactly what Nick did when he mentioned Walter's favourite food. I doubt very much Walter would have taken offense at much. You have made it an art form.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 02:41 PM

jim, you are being ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 02:43 PM

"Oh FFS, get a grip, Jim."
No Dave - you get a grip - I came to discuss folk song not witness the abuse of old singers
Yes - he was a human being - is that how you treat your fellow human beings
I don't know where Nick got his information but what he described was as far from his favourite food as you can get
Walter was a very plain and frugal eater - an old bachelor who fended fot himself - not the figure of fun you have chosen to make him
You really have no shame - have you
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 02:43 PM

"Oh FFS, get a grip, Jim."
No Dave - you get a grip - I came to discuss folk song not witness the abuse of old singers
Yes - he was a human being - is that how you treat your fellow human beings
I don't know where Nick got his information but what he described was as far from his favourite food as you can get
Walter was a very plain and frugal eater - an old bachelor who fended fot himself - not the figure of fun you have chosen to make him
You really have no shame - have you
Jim


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 02:47 PM

Jim

"Christ knows where that came from anyway - it's pure nasty invention and totally unnecessary - and you know it

With your expertise on all things Walter Pardon I am surprised(?) at your ignorance as to the source of this 'pure nasty invention'.

It is from a short film readily available on You Tube and was related by a neighbour I believe from the same village who it seems sometimes invited Walter to stay for a meal and this was one of his favourites.
I suspect she knew Walter even more than you did.

Why do you stay permanently in attack mode? Try lightening up a little.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 02:49 PM

Thanks Vic you're welcome.
I suppose I had better explain the Walter Pardons tea comment in terms that even Jim Carroll can understand, for the sake of the integrity of this thread. It was a quote from the documentary available on YouTube, my comment afterwards was supposed to be light hearted. The guest who commented afterwards seemed to get it.
I just can not be bothered to get into another fruitless argument with the above mentioned. There is an old saying 'Never argue with a fool' so I think I'll take heed. So maybe when the squealing has subsided after the inevitable comeback to this post we can return to an interesting subject.
Back on thread then...
I still feel that it is unwise to over complicate our reaction to any singer. I had a conversation with Roy Palmer on that very subject, and there's the rub as he said. How subjective can we safely be as Folklorists. I still have not worked that one out.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 02:53 PM

I suggest you take it up with the lady that made the comment about his favourite tea on the documentary then, Jim. Either she is mistaken or you are. Either way, it is not an offensive comment.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Howard Jones
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 02:57 PM

"As far as I am aware, nobody knows much about what traditional singing might have sounded like. There are discussions about this on Mustrad too. There are no recordings of it, obviously."

I find that an extraordinary statement. Obviously, we only have recordings from the time recording technology became available, but that takes us back to at least 1908 when Grainger recorded Joseph Taylor. Taylor was then in his mid-70s so he is an example of a singer from the second half of the 19th century. Grainger recorded a number of different singers and musicians at around that time and the British Library has 340 of his recordings.

Percy Grainger collection

We have all the volumes of VoTP, as well as other recordings by Topic, Leader, Veteran, Mustrad and other labels which cover the 20th century and right up to the present day. These are just examples which are commercially available, it doesn't include those in private collections or libraries. If you don't regard them as "traditional singers" you obviously have a very different idea of what that means than I, and I believe most others, do.

If we are to have a meaningful discussion, will you please explain what you take "traditional singer" to mean, and why the recordings I have mentioned are not of traditional singers?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 03:08 PM

SHOCK HORROR - Folk singer eats banana...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Freddie Starr munching a hamster pales in comparison...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 03:54 PM

LOL well posted Punk.

Just another thought. I never saw a traditional singer perform in the way that Walter did. Harry Cox had that 'far away' look in his eyes as he sang and so did Bob Scarce.(That was on film though) Johnny Doughty was the epitome of the showman singer when I saw him, most of the travellers take their turn seated round the fire. Walter Pardon stood erect but relaxed with his hands behind his back, and seemed totally in control of everything and everyone around him. Quite an experience for me as a young singer.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 04:10 PM

Jim, Pauline Godbold did not make any denigrating comment but stated a fact.
Jim you visited and befriendec Walter after PETERBELLAMY discovered him as I understand it Cliff and Pauline Godbold [ woman intervoiewd in film], knew him for years before this. Jim would you kindly desist.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 04:22 PM

I take exception to bein accused of denigrating Walter because I said he used to like a banana .


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 04:49 PM

Time flies like an arrow

Fruit flies like a banana


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 05:16 PM

Thanks Howard,

Not sure why you are finding stuff so 'extraordinary' when up to the point when you get theoretical (which I think you do) I agree. We are looking back to the early days of recording, turn century. So nothing extraordinary there.

The discussion I referred to interested me because some people found the singing very high, and this did not fit what they expected to hear and some started to find reasons why the recording did not fit what they thought that the facts should be.

The piece by Matthew Ord helps us to see that a tape recorder is not quite the 'pure' record of what was there one might assume, any more than 'the camera never lies'. This was one of the interesting parts of the package. Indeed, one thing MacColl did in the radio shows was apply techniques from film to sound recordings, a sort of montage technique. Yet it gives a sense of being 'real life', the nitty gritty..... I do think he was a clever person and very good at using modern technologies. Maybe today he would be a film maker?

For me the questions about what you put as I understand it might include:

1 What makes people label those whose singing was recorded at the turn of the 20th century 'traditional' instead of just people whose singing was recorded?

2 How when we listen to a recording made of an elderly person at the turn of the 20th century might we somehow be back in the early 19th, for this is how I have read your comment? (please correct me if this is not the way you intended it to be read)

Regarding 2, it seems to me that the backward jump in time is an inference. It would be an inference to say that a singing style recorded at the later time enabled us to peer back into earlier singing styles. This is perhaps a good example of the sort of problem indicated in the heading to my original piece, it's about fact, inference, theory, ideology.

I could say it was 'extraordinary' that people made leaps like this, but it seems to be the way it sometimes goes...

Tonight I had fried egg, brown bread and butter, vinegar and an orange afterwards. Then a banana and some tinned custard. Love to say there are no flies on me but maybe this would be a step too far (swats the air).

Thanks to everybody for the discussion.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 05:25 PM

What does the vinegar go on?

My Dad used to eat raw bacon rind and bits of bread with salt on. He was Polish though. Or is that racist and abusive?


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 05:50 PM

raw bacon rind, tick.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 06:01 PM

Just to help out Pseudo. Traditional refers to an accident of birth. A singer is a Traditional singer if he or she has been born into a family who sing songs and a member of that family passes them on to you. So I learned a number of music Hall songs Traditionally. The next qualification is Folk Singer. I have met numerous Traditional Folk Singers and learned songs face to face, but it does not mean that I am one. I am a revivalist, and about as close to the tradition as any one can get without being born to it. The third unwritten qualification is style. There are Traditional singers who have lost their family style of singing, and sing with a style gleaned from country music or art music.
Walter Pardon was born to the music, had a vast repertoire and an exemplary Traditional singing style. That's why he's important.
It's as easy as that imho.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 06:18 PM

what does the vinegar go on, well apparantly its a tradtional use for piles, you pile on the vinegar on the piles, its similar to a yorkshire tradtional remedy for whhoping cough in which it was the custom to eat a dead mouse, but themouse was better with some vinegar


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Howard Jones
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 06:23 PM

Pseudonymous, I find your claim that there are no recordings of traditional singers to be "extraordinary" because there are very clearly plenty of recordings (albeit not enough). The difference between us seems to be that you do not regard these singers as "traditional". So what do you mean by that term? When you say there are no recordings of traditional singers, what sort of singers do you have in mind? Or are you saying the entire concept of a tradition is a myth, fuelled by ideology?

1 What makes people label those whose singing was recorded at the turn of the 20th century 'traditional' instead of just people whose singing was recorded?

Because they were part of a culture where singing was part of the life of a community, and where songs were passed around between singers, usually orally. We know this because that is what the singers themselves told the collectors. That is what I, and I believe most people with an interest in the subject, understand by "tradition". What do you understand by it?

2 How when we listen to a recording made of an elderly person at the turn of the 20th century might we somehow be back in the early 19th

I think you have misread me. I was saying that although Joseph Taylor was recorded in 1908 he was then in his mid-70s, so his singing can be regarded as an example of a singer from the second half of the 19th century.

Regarding 2, it seems to me that the backward jump in time is an inference. It would be an inference to say that a singing style recorded at the later time enabled us to peer back into earlier singing styles.

I agree. As a young man Joseph Taylor would have learned his singing from earlier generations so we can surmise that his style was influenced by early 19th century singers, but that can only be speculation. We can't know what those previous generations sounded like.

You appear to be challenging what we mean by "tradition" and "traditional singer". Nothing wrong with that, but please explain what you understand them to mean, or at least what is wrong with the current understanding of them.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 06:26 PM

Vinegar on a mouse in Yorkshire? Never. Yorkshire relish surely.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 06:28 PM

"you pile on the vinegar on the piles"

Our local chip shop would definitely throw you out
for trying to do that at the counter...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 06:49 PM

Sorry Howard, I see what you mean now. By 'traditional' in this case, I will have meant older than the turn of the 20th century. So in the case where a tradition is seen as something that has duration through time, earlier examples. Hoping you find the point less extraordinary now, and apols for any misunderstanding attributable to my too hasty and ill=formed posts. Thanks again for the discussion. No time to think about other points you make now: all interesting.

By the way it was a fib about the egg. That was yesterday, today was a chippy tea and in future I shall put the sugar on the banana and the vinegar on the chips.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 06:57 PM

..As long as nobody gets the wrong end of the stick
and is offended thinking we shamefully suggested Walter ate mice...


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 07:07 PM

Or maybe gets the wrong stick altogether. It's gone pleasantly quiet! Maybe that nobody has hit himself over the head with the wrong stick. We can but hope.


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 07:49 PM

I've just dipped into the last page of this discussion out of interest.

Judging by that brief impression it appears that people are having a civilised discussion - arguing generally politely, contesting each other's statements, raising interesting points. Then Jim arrives all bluster and antagonism (maybe there was some exchanges earlier that led to this?).

I find this sad as Jim obviously has lots of information to impart and is doing a great job at preserving the tradition. Please Jim realise we are all on the same side - your interjections sometimes bear the mark of a troll - deliberately trying to provoke dissent which others rise to - I very much hope that is not what you are trying to do but you seem to continually wish to stir up trouble - surely of no benefit to anyone. Accept that others have different views to your own but discuss them rationally. We would all get a lot more out of any discussion if you did rather than continually fly off the handle. My comment is meant kindly - please don't fly off the handle with me


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Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 07:55 PM

Ah I've read the previous page now and see that pfr has made a similar comment. Well that's probably 100


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