Mudcat Café message #2553530 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116964   Message #2553530
Posted By: Phil Edwards
31-Jan-09 - 05:47 AM
Thread Name: Why folk clubs are dying
Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
I do feel some sort of kinship when I hear a jazz band play Running Wild, or a fifty something year old struggling with the chord of a Buddy Holly Song.

Yes and no. Illustrative anectode #94. When I was just getting started on floor spots I used to have a bit of a complex about arranging stuff so that it worked unaccompanied. Lots of the stuff I was learning had been arranged (or written) to be sung with a guitar or a band, so if you stripped that out you were left with loads of rests at the end of lines -

One morning in the month of May, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3,
When all the birds were singing, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, and
I spied a lonely lady stray... and so on

It's not usually that bad, but end-of-line rests do tend to sound wrong - as well as giving you, the singer, plenty of opportunities to get nervous, look at the audience, forget the next line etc.

One of the first songs I did in front of people was Lord Franklin, which I learned from the Pentangle album where Bert Jansch sings it. He does some great things with the timing - it's not an umpah-dumpah 4/4 by any means - but you're still left with a bunch of end-of-line rests. So I worked on it for a bit, and ended up doing it in 3/4. It worked much better.

A few weeks later a guy came to the club and did Lord Franklin, unaccompanied, in 4/4, with a lot of rests at the ends of lines which sounded wrong and gave him opportunities to get nervous, etc. Call me an elitist, but I didn't feel very much fellow-feeling with that guy - I just thought, you could do it better than that.

I'm not in any kind of in crowd - I only do floor spots. But I like to work on stuff, and I like to hear people who have worked on stuff. OK, people getting up and having a bash is fun, but a whole evening of people having a bash wears thin quite quickly.