Mudcat Café message #2601033 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119211   Message #2601033
Posted By: The Borchester Echo
31-Mar-09 - 03:48 AM
Thread Name: Tom Bliss Article -So long and thanks
Subject: RE: Tom Bliss's article in TLT (UK)
First, define this "tradition".

It hasn't actually existed for a century, if it ever really did. Poncy, middle-class "collectors" weeded out what they thought was fit for parlour consumption, bowdlerised the lyrics, ironed out a few tunes and ignored or lost christ knows how much in the course of their meddling and muddling.

Then after 50 or so years, along came "the revival", and the "f*lk club".
Rewriting (often "in the tradition", though not always declared) continued apace.
Tom Bliss, to give him his due, always acknowledges his sources when he produces self-written material which continue the spirit of that nebulous monster which we call "the tradition".
He (and many comparable artists) is very, very good but he quite simply cannot make a living in the current messy, disorganised set-up.

This is because too many "f*lk club organisers" think (or wish) it's still 1963 and performers will come out for a tenner because fuel for their transport drops like manna from heaven and they don't have the living costs of "normal" people. These "organisers" also know what their audiences want (or imagine they do) and so impose the same old same old who shuffle on with arms visibly twisted, to perform for (not much more than) a tenner.

To far too many blinkered souls in the "f*lk club" mafia, any sniff of "professionalism" is, curiously, anathema. They won't face that in this crumbling, late-capitalist, madly competitive economy, music is a business like any other. Of course, the tradarts ought to be treasured and heavily subsidised as, for instance, just across the Channel, but no, this is England and we still have the hopelessly shambolic "f*lk clubs". Just.

Is it really going to take 20 years for them to collapse entirely? Meanwhile, out in the real world, trad music plays on and on and on.