Mudcat Café message #2158464 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #104731   Message #2158464
Posted By: GUEST,Brian Peters
27-Sep-07 - 08:59 AM
Thread Name: how important is the label traditional singer?
Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
Jim, I don't remember the Captain denigrating traditional singers either generally or specifically on this or the other related threads. I know for a fact he has a great respect for them. What he's arguing, I think (and here I disagree with him) is that the category "traditional singer" is so fuzzy about the edges that it has little or no value, and that since traditional singing as once defined has now been so eroded by urbanisation and mass entertainment that it now exists only in isolated pockets, we should now regard singers from the 'folk revival' as the only contenders for the title "traditional". Personally I'm certain we still need some linguistic means of differentiating between Kate Rusby and Lizzie Higgins, or Jim Moray and Sam Larner - singers who (whatever their respective merits) are qualitatively different in character.

As for Bob Lewis, there is certainly a reluctance in some circles not unknown to this forum about using the term "traditional singer" to describe him. Personally I think he's one of the best we have left. But if indeed he's been frowned upon for having once worn a smock and done the occasional 'turn', the powers that be in EFDSS at least seem to have modified their stance. The most recent issue of the Folk Music Journal - an academic publication devoted to the tradition - bears on its cover a photo of Albert Richardson, the 'Singing Sexton of Burwash', who not only wore a smock and kerchief and was known for 'doing a turn' but also made commercial recordings in 1928. None of this seems to have disqualified him.