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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Howard Jones UK 60s Folk Club Boom? (1167* d) RE: UK 60s Folk Club Boom? 18 Feb 19

Jim says, "As far as I am concerned the definition of a folk song lies in the two inseperable terms Folk and Traditional". The problem here is that, as we have discussed many times, these terms have come become separated. "Folk" has come to mean much more than "traditional". Much as you may deplore it, it cannot be denied or avoided.

In the context of what you might expect to hear in a folk club, this has always been far wider than traditional music. My experience of clubs began at the very end of the 60s, but my experience during the 70s and 80s was that as well as traditional songs you could expect to hear music hall, poetry, comedy, singer-songwriters in both contemporary and traditional styles, and much more. And yes, even "pop", particularly in the sense of Donovan, Simon and Garfunkel and of course Dylan.

We have also gone over many times how to define "folk" in this broader sense, and all I can say is that it is easier to recognise than define. Tt comes down to what would be tolerated in a folk club, but that would depend on the tastes and policies of individual clubs' organisers and preferences of their audiences. Fortunately in those days there were so many clubs that it was usually possible to find at least one whose musical tastes matched your own.

As clubs, and club audiences, have become fewer they have had to broaden their musical policy. We have also seen the rise of the "open-mic", which imitate the folk-club format with no limitations on genre. Perhaps some of these describe themselves, incorrectly, as folk clubs, perhaps some folk clubs have evolved into these in order to survive.

My experience of clubs these days is far more limited and infrequent, but I seem to have had a better experience than Jim in that I still hear mainly traditional songs performed. I think he may have been unlucky in his recent experience of folk clubs if this was not the case for him.

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