Mudcat Café message #2554537 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116964   Message #2554537
Posted By: Jack Blandiver
01-Feb-09 - 12:39 PM
Thread Name: Why folk clubs are dying
Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
I'm not a big fan of Jim Eldon, but I'd much rather listen to him than to some of the polished, professional, bland and meaningless stuff I've heard at folk clubs - no matter how well rehearsed it was.

They don't come any more polished or professional than Jim Eldon, Pip - as a look through Corona Smith's recent videos on YouTube will testify. There are, of course, detractors, but they tend to exist at the more muso end of folkery, more concerned with playing notes than playing music.

I got into folk music (rather than folk notes) because it allowed people to sing material that seemed to me possessed of an appropriately feral charm in a context that was entirely fitting; an outsider aesthetic that was as much about the collectivity of a given tradition (however so perceived) as it was about the idiosyncrasy of the people who represented it - traditional, revival, neo-revival or otherwise. The so-called source-singers have always been of great significance to me, as are the rank & file folkies who sing this stuff week in week out at folk clubs & singarounds with precious little reward for their life-long efforts & endeavours.

Folk celebrity hasn't born any great fruits musically, I fear, IMHO - unless one might think of Jim Eldon as a folk celebrity, or Peter Bellamy, who could barely scrape a living in his own country despite his extraordinary genius. When PB died, something died inside of me as well, and I really had to get to grips with just what it was about folk music that I loved - and despised. I think I'm more or less on top of that now, just about, but in the end it's always down to a handful of people who make this music real for me, otherwise I'd just as soon not bother at all.