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Collapse of the Folk Clubs

Big Al Whittle 04 Jun 17 - 03:36 PM
GUEST 04 Jun 17 - 12:49 PM
Leadfingers 07 Jul 07 - 09:59 AM
SINSULL 07 Jul 07 - 09:48 AM
Backwoodsman 07 Jul 07 - 09:17 AM
jacqui.c 07 Jul 07 - 07:35 AM
Backwoodsman 07 Jul 07 - 02:27 AM
SINSULL 06 Jul 07 - 05:26 PM
Waddon Pete 06 Jul 07 - 11:09 AM
SINSULL 06 Jul 07 - 10:27 AM
Georgiansilver 06 Jul 07 - 09:18 AM
Nick 06 Jul 07 - 09:10 AM
GUEST 27 Jun 07 - 06:41 AM
stallion 11 Jun 07 - 04:26 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jun 07 - 06:36 PM
Dave Earl 10 Jun 07 - 06:27 PM
Tootler 10 Jun 07 - 06:21 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jun 07 - 09:09 AM
Waddon Pete 09 Jun 07 - 04:45 PM
stallion 09 Jun 07 - 04:14 PM
Les in Chorlton 09 Jun 07 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,Mad Jock 08 Jun 07 - 06:15 AM
stallion 08 Jun 07 - 04:41 AM
GUEST 07 Jun 07 - 03:01 PM
Backwoodsman 07 Jun 07 - 11:33 AM
The Villan 07 Jun 07 - 11:11 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Jun 07 - 11:10 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 07 Jun 07 - 10:45 AM
stallion 07 Jun 07 - 10:38 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Jun 07 - 10:26 AM
TheSnail 07 Jun 07 - 10:08 AM
Backwoodsman 07 Jun 07 - 10:01 AM
TheSnail 07 Jun 07 - 09:25 AM
Tootler 07 Jun 07 - 09:18 AM
stallion 07 Jun 07 - 09:07 AM
TheSnail 07 Jun 07 - 08:50 AM
TheSnail 07 Jun 07 - 08:41 AM
Backwoodsman 07 Jun 07 - 08:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Jun 07 - 07:44 AM
TheSnail 07 Jun 07 - 07:28 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Jun 07 - 07:22 AM
stallion 07 Jun 07 - 06:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Jun 07 - 06:42 AM
Dave Sutherland 07 Jun 07 - 06:28 AM
The Sandman 07 Jun 07 - 06:00 AM
TheSnail 07 Jun 07 - 05:57 AM
TheSnail 07 Jun 07 - 05:42 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 07 Jun 07 - 05:10 AM
Folkiedave 07 Jun 07 - 04:51 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Jun 07 - 04:22 AM
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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Jun 17 - 03:36 PM

bloody hell!

ten years ago! you've stored that memory up....did you not meet any folk club MC's who were pleasant and welcoming in the interim period?


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jun 17 - 12:49 PM

are folk club MCs often arrogant & insulting- I remember one I came across at the South Shields folk club about ten years age- he was insulting to almost every performer- to be fair I think it was misplaced humour but not very helpful to unpaid, but quite adequate performers- he was a solicitor, I learned afterwards


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 09:59 AM

Sadly there are always Clots who think that what THEY do and know is all that matters ! Regardless what any one else thinks or does !


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: SINSULL
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 09:48 AM

Last night I took Alaska Mike's daughter to a pub in Portland to hear the local singer-songwriter group try out new material. Not my sort of thing - I knew it when I saw the stand along bongo being tuned and retuned and retuned. Why the hell would you tune a bongo drum?
Anyway, the host sang a couple of songs and got everyone's attention before he strated. Then he introduced the next few acts. Each time he walked to the bar back to the performer and chatted loudly with a woman there. O couldn't believe it.
The acoustics were bad and the singers were fighting a losing battle but the guy in charge droned on at the bar.
Rude! Unkind! ARGHHHH!


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 09:17 AM

I know you have jacqui, I'm one of the 'perverts' you've met - on more than one occasion! Not only that, you bought my CD - thank'ee Ma'am!!

Following the abusive stuff that went on earlier in this thread I changed my name to Backwoodsman, as an declaration of the pride I have in Lincolnshire, the county of my birth and where I still live, and in the fine people of that county.

It's nice to hear we're not all bad!

Looking forward to your next visit - hope you bring 'im indoors with you next time! :-) :-)

S:0)


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: jacqui.c
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 07:35 AM

Backwoodsman - unlike some of the posters to this thread I am in the enviable position of having experienced a number of UK and American song circles and folk sessions. I go regularly to SINSULL's events, indeed, we hatched the idea of these sessions together, and, when in the UK, get to at least one in Lincolnshire as well as others wherever in the country I can make it. Sooz at Gainsborough has been good enough to class me as a regular, albeit an occasional one!

I can confirm that the tenor of sessions in both places is very similar. It is a group of people, who become friends, getting together to share the music that they love and to entertain themselves, mostly, rather than sitting back and being entertained. Here in Maine we try to encourage new singers and have fulfilled the ambition of one of our group to be able to sing in public for the first ime in her life.

I am lucky in that I have only once come across a session in which the regulars took themselves very seriously and it was clear that, unless you were known to be knowleable about folk and could sing well, you were not going to be allowed to sing at all. At that time I was still learning a lot about the art and my voice was not very good. I didn't go back to that venue again and now, although I am a little more steeped in the tradition and my voice has improved somewhat I really would not want to go back to such an exclusive group. I like the buzz that comes from hearing the improvement in the performance from one of our number month by month and the opportunity to hear new material which, if asked, is generously shared.

By the way, I've met the 'perverts' in Lincolnshire and as nice a group of fellas I have never seen.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 02:27 AM

Nice posts Sinsull and WP.
Most UK folkies are very nice people, who do what they do for love of the music, not because it's an opportunity to demonstrate their own (in some cases, imagined) intellectual superiority. Unfortunately, as in all walks of life, there seem to be a few argumentative, gobby know-it-alls who give the rest of us a bad name on threads like this one - slagging people off whom they've never heard or heard of, and nay-saying everyone who have a different view.
Here in Lincolnshire (described by one imbecile as 'The Backwoods', and its male inhabitants as 'Perverts' and 'Backwoodsmen', but actually a delightful and civilised county full of kind and generous
people) we have a number of clubs which operate very much as your circles seem to do, where people of widely-differing experience and ability are encouraged to 'give of their best' in a friendly and all-embracing atmosphere.   
Best of luck with your song-circles - keep music live!
S:0)


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: SINSULL
Date: 06 Jul 07 - 05:26 PM

I was mostly joking, Pete. Most of the Brits who have visited here have returned or are planning returns.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 06 Jul 07 - 11:09 AM

Hello SINSULL,

I don't think I have ever heard a folkie snicker at at missed notes and forgotten lyrics. Not a *real* folkie at any rate. Most feel for any singer who gets in a muddle or forgets words....however there are some, especially in England, who have very fixed ideas about what folk music is, ought to be and shall be ever afterwards. This is a shame really, as the folk process goes on around them un-noticed and steadily evolves.

Folk music is personal to the singer who sings it. Every song has a reason to be sung and memories that are evoked. There is a history and a tradition, but it is not sacred.

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: SINSULL
Date: 06 Jul 07 - 10:27 AM

RE: Andrew Rose.
Barry Finn does a riveting version of this brutal song. In his, Rose survives, complains to the courts and the captain is hung for his crime. If Barry ever gets his CD in order, that song alone will be worth the price.

In Maine we have a few coffee houses where singer-songwriters try out their material but folk exists mainly as house concerts, song circles and private parties. I have low tolerance for the semi-rock stuff performed in the coffee houses or the painful ditties celebrating the birth of someone's children or death of an uncle.

I host song circles and welcome anyone to sing or play. Few of us are professionals. We meet because we enjoy the music and each others company. After reading this thread, I have to wonder if the Brits who have joined us went off snickering at missed notes and forgotten lyrics.

There is an opera house in NYC - the Amato Opera. It is a training ground for new singers and they put on full scale operas on a stage the size of a postage stamp. The performers are sometimes brilliant, usually good and occasionally awful. The sets often malfunction and love scenes are interrupted by misfiring flames from hell or whatever.
But you will always see the top stars sitting in the audience enjoying the love of the music. Many of them got their start with Tony Amato. These dyed in the wool traditionalists are there to support encourage newcomers to opera. Perfection without passion, technical expertise without love does not make for great music.

Maybe I am missing the point and if so I apologize but what exactly is this sacred musical tradition that excludes the common folk?


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 06 Jul 07 - 09:18 AM

Good post Nick...we agree with you in our 'backwoods'(someone suggested) area.
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Nick
Date: 06 Jul 07 - 09:10 AM

As a bit of an antidote to this huge thread about collapse and doom and gloom I thought I'd pass this on.

When I arrived on Wednesday for our weekly gathering at just after 8.30 the place was full of people. Overall there were the best part of 50 people there in the evening (of whom about 25 got involved in one way or another) which for a place with no advertising, no acts, situated in a tiny village is amazing. When I left around midnight it was still merrily going.

I got an email from two of the people who had visited for the first time the next morning and quote a bit below. The first is from a really good performer who has sung and played solo and in bands since the 60's who could play and get paid at any folk club I've ever been to.

"Thanks for a great night, my friend and myself really enjoyed the evening, it was like going back 30 years or more to the folk club days of the late 60s early 70s... I know that sounds nostalgic, but it was so good to feel free to join in with everyone and just have a good time. I'll be coming back to sample more of the atmosphere...
All the best"

The other is from a mudcatter who I hope won't mind me quoting him.

"Just emailing to say thanks for a brilliant evening, enjoyed it immensely, friendly & welcoming but no messing. Just what I needed!
I'll be back, for certain – and stay longer. All the best and thanks again"

It's not all collapsing!


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Subject: RE: Woolpack Beverley session moves to Tiger
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 06:41 AM


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: stallion
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 04:26 AM

The floor, trying negotiating the staircase at the Black Swan folk club in York when you have had a few sherbets!


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 06:36 PM

And one man's ........


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Dave Earl
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 06:27 PM

"At one folk club I go to there are some worries about the floor."

I know several where the floorboards creak too.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 06:21 PM

At one folk club I go to there are some worries about the floor.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 09:09 AM

My original contention was that a collapse occured sometime in the 80s. Prehaps the current situation is diversity, some growth and much good music to be enjoyed


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 04:45 PM

If, after all this time, the folk clubs are still collapsing, we must be experiencing perpetual motion!


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: stallion
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 04:14 PM

bet it does


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 01:36 PM

Although I have completely lost the plot with this one I feel it contains much experience and wisdom and out of childishness would like to see it reach 800.

But I bet it doesn't.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mad Jock
Date: 08 Jun 07 - 06:15 AM

Well we started a new folk club in Blairgowrie just two months ago. Our First concert was a great success with about 60 in the audience. There were 6 acts who performed for 15/20 mins plus a few floor singers.
The second concert was last night and we had a turn out of just short of 40.to listen to 4 acts who each did a short set in each half plus a couple of floor singers, two of whom had never sang in public before but both had beautiful voices. What was really good was we had a youngster turn out who played two short sets and is keen to come back again.
We have a pool of about 7 or 8 who are willing to turn out every now and then and play for free for 15 mins. "Residents" or whatever you want to call them while we establish a regular audience and can afford to pay for an act.
The concerts are on the first Thursday of the month so the next one is on THURSDAY JULY 5TH. Anyone passing pop in.
Every Thursday night there is a session in the bar, we have had good nights great nights and poor nights but we are hopeful of it continuing.

The Royal Hotel on Allan Street , Blairgowrie .


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: stallion
Date: 08 Jun 07 - 04:41 AM

Must be true then!   er , erm , Guest?


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 03:01 PM

Stallion,
Your story about making up songs for free drinks was a cartoon in Folk Review, circa 1980
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 11:33 AM

Snail, Don, Villan - you all talk my language! Good on yer.

wld - LOL! You're a pillock. But a nice one and a great singer/player.   :-) :-)
That's TWO pints you owe me next time we meet up at a Jack Hudson gig!

John


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: The Villan
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 11:11 AM

>>your local lad Connolly is a national treasure, and should be treated as such<<
I would agree with that.
John Conolly (there isn't two n's) is IMHO one of the best.Total respect for that man. He has played at my music venue on many an occasion and has always done me proud. He lives about 30 minutes drive north of my venue. In fact he holds the record together with Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher (also from Lincolnshire) for the most amount of people I have had in the village hall for an evening. The record is 89.
Lincolnshire has quality written all over it for performers, and I am proud to have been involved with most of them at my venue.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 11:10 AM

OK - No probs, Bryan. You run a sucessful folk club. So do I (and a festival btw - No bragging, just to complete the picture). You would let anyone up to sing at your folk club. So would I. You would let a poor performer sing to an audience expecting better. I wouldn't. You see no difference between collecting important source work and recording a pub singer murdering 'my way'. I do.

I make it that we are in full accord on 50% of the points. I also feel that the points we agree on are the more important ones - Ie we run clubs that promote live music and we encourage people to get involved. The third point is one that I will stick to my guns on - There are some people, albeit a very tiny number, that I would not inflict on an audience who have come to my club to see a concert artist. The last point I am happy to be convinced on but at the moment can't see how:-)

Rather than keep agreeing on points 1 and 2 and disagreeing on point 3 I am going to take point 4 out of this thread and start another called 'Source singers - definitions?'. This thread is, after all about the (non) collapse of folk clubs rather than how we define what we should collect.

Cheers and keep up the good work in the deep sarrf:-)

Dave.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 10:45 AM

Backwoodsman, your local lad Connolly is a national treasure, and should be treated as such.

I am a long time devotee of his songs and I agree that he has written many better than the one for which he is best known, and I would like to point out to those who denigrate singer/songwriters that he is one of those they belittle with their snide, and largely uninformed comment.

Points to ponder:-

Most of the music we know and love has been created by singer/ songwriters. Is there any traditionalist out there so dumb as to believe that the tradition sprang from commercial composers writing for other singers?

I thought not!

It is not the tradition that has alienated audiences, it is the hidebound fundamentalist who can see no merit in any music created after 1900.

Having said that, I do not believe that the folk club scene is collapsing. It is evolving, AND SO IT SHOULD, despite those who would embalm it and fix it in the past.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: stallion
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 10:38 AM

so backswoodsman is a grimsby man then, do you remember Martin Bartlett?


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 10:26 AM

no its just a fair description of that part of Lincolnshire!


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 10:08 AM

Backwoodsman
Our local lad Connolly's being one of them, I guess (although he's written a number that are far better, IMHO).

One of the ones I was thinking of and, er, yes. Maybe a bit over exposed. I also found Jez Lowe's Back in Durham Jail classed as Irish Trad. on an American website. Don't they know Durham is in North Carolina?

You mean Backwoodsman is your real name!?


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 10:01 AM

"Wouldn't disagree with a word. Some of today's songs will become classics and pass into the tradition. (Some have already done so in the writer's lifetime"

Precisely, The Snail (ooh, I don't 'arf feel daft calling you that!!). Our local lad Connolly's being one of them, I guess (although he's written a number that are far better, IMHO).

We're starting to agree, time to close the thread!!


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 09:25 AM

Did your singer sing it unaccompanied?

Of course. We're talking about traditional singing here.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Tootler
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 09:18 AM

I was once at a deeply traditional session where someone who was not part of the scene sang Hotel California. WE ALL JOINED IN THE CHORUS.

LOL. I love it. Sad thing is I once knew all the words to Hotel California, though I'm d****d if I can remember them just now, though I suspect I could resurrect them if need be.

Did your singer sing it unaccompanied?


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: stallion
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 09:07 AM

I heard a great one last night, I conversation with my mate Locky, it was about a friend who had bought a Fishing boat in Cornwall and sailed it up to Scarborough, in the dim and distant past this friend had taken Locky to see his folks in Cornwall when L. was at Uni in London, this friends Grandpa, on hearing that locky was a folk singer, told a tale of someone bringing in a tape recorder to the pub and was buying free drinks for anyone who would sing a song, word got around and he said that even he crooned words that he made up on the spot to get his free drink, he reckoned they were all it, making songs, or snippets of songs, up to get their free drink!


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 08:50 AM

Backwoodsman

And of course the guy singing at home was singing about things that were relevant to his life and times. What's wrong with us singing about things that are relevant to ours?

The only difference is that the 'old' songs have had time to be honed and shaped by the 'tradition' - i.e. by being sung many times by many different people, some good, some not-so-good. Who's to say for sure that, in maybe a couple of centuries' time, people won't be singing one of Ralph's or Harvey's, and describing them as 'traditional'?

All things are relative.

Just an opinion, anyone who dun't like it can bite me.


Wouldn't disagree with a word. Some of today's songs will become classics and pass into the tradition. (Some have already done so in the writer's lifetime. They usually get labelled Irish Trad.) Many will fall by the wayside.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 08:41 AM

Oh dear, I really have got to disentangle from this. I've got practice to do.

Dave Polshaw

I think that your comparison of 'source singers' to todays floor singers is stretching things a bit far.

Why? They are just ordinary people singing for the love of the songs and the companionship of their family and friends.

Jim replied that he would have not turned down recording a source - That is far from saying that he would record old Jimmy Blogg's drunken rendition of "The leaving of Liverpool" with 3 forgotten verses.

So Jim has just recorded Gladys Bloggs's rendition of a previously unknown ballad (she was pissed as well, by the way) but then turns to her brother and says "Sorry Jimmy, you're just not good enough and nor is your song."? The Bloggs family have been famous for generations as singers and drunkards and have always supplemented their repertoire from the popular songs of the day. I'm sure Jim wouldn't presume to tell them what they should or shoudn't sing?

Are you suggesting that he should treat the Sussex farm labourer with a book full of songs that no-one has ever heard the same as the people who get up and give poor renditions of todays pop songs to an out of tune piano in a pub vault?

Well, that's about collecting not folk clubs and is more hypothetical than rhetorical. You'd better ask Jim. I would have thought that Rugby songs, back of the bus songs, drunken pub singing and such should be a matter of record. I was once at a deeply traditional session where someone who was not part of the scene sang Hotel California. WE ALL JOINED IN THE CHORUS. Shows our age I suppose.

Struggling back to the point, I didn't think this was about Drunken Jimmy or pop songs or Dave and the Goths. I thought it was about the not-always-perfectly-in-tune and the occasionally-forgetting-their-words singers, or, at least, their toleration by folkclub MCs, who were considered to be responsible for the Collapse of the Folk Clubs.

My position is that, at the Lewes Arms, we are happy to have them and we seem to be thriving.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 08:15 AM

And of course the guy singing at home was singing about things that were relevant to his life and times. What's wrong with us singing about things that are relevant to ours?

The only difference is that the 'old' songs have had time to be honed and shaped by the 'tradition' - i.e. by being sung many times by many different people, some good, some not-so-good. Who's to say for sure that, in maybe a couple of centuries' time, people won't be singing one of Ralph's or Harvey's, and describing them as 'traditional'?

All things are relative.

Just an opinion, anyone who dun't like it can bite me.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 07:44 AM

yeh you're right sometime I bore myself shitless.

However I think what I was saying about the performer having to develop some sort of inner mental strength is just common sense that every performer knows. I bet when one of these guys Jim Carrol is talking about was singing at home, the whole family didn't sit in rapt attention. Doubtless his Mum started talking about the price of margarine while he was halfway through a dazzling account of a pit explosion or the battle of Watreloo.

Noisy, ignorant audiences really upset Django Rheinhardt - as far as I'm concerned the greatest guitarist ever. His biographer said - its never really the audience's fault: most musicians know that's not the case!


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 07:28 AM

weelittledrummer
However when the traddy/contemporary split got bitter and bloody...

in 1970's, the folk scene was already factionalised and fractured beyond repair.


Where was I when this was happening? From the late sixties until the early eighties, I could go to clubs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings varying from largely trad to contemporary songwriters and there was a lot of exchange and communication between the clubs.
At one, the landlord converted the room to a boxing ring, another became a nightclub and the Lewes Arms carried on until landlord troubles sent it off via a variety of venues to end up at the Royal Oak run by Vic and Tina Smith, Will Duke and Dan Quinn. The current Lewes Arms club was started twenty years ago under new management.

if you had anything to say about your own life, no bugger was interested. the brave lads in Suvla Bay, or Dublin 1916, or the four loom weaver and you were away with a career.

Your life may be interesting to you and, with good presentation, you might be able to make it interesting to someone else but that's what the teenage diary singers think. Middle-aged diaries are even worse. (I once heard a woman sing a very long song about writers block.) Traditional songs have gone through the "folk process"; the good ones have been polished by loving hands (or voices) and the duff ones have vanished into well deserved obscurity. With contemporary songs, you have to take the rough with the smooth.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 07:22 AM

Bryan - I think that your comparison of 'source singers' to todays floor singers is stretching things a bit far. Jim replied that he would have not turned down recording a source - That is far from saying that he would record old Jimmy Blogg's drunken rendition of "The leaving of Liverpool" with 3 forgotten verses. Are you suggesting that he should treat the Sussex farm labourer with a book full of songs that no-one has ever heard the same as the people who get up and give poor renditions of todays pop songs to an out of tune piano in a pub vault? Oh - And of that is another one of them there rhetorical thingummies.

Stallion - I love it. "lets face it, everyone is so much better now and I mean everyone, to stand out you have to be really special, I sometimes find myself wondering why pay for something that is no better than that which I hear at the local sessions"

So it's not so much the poor quality that caused the 'collapse' but the good! :-) I must admit that there is a certain good logic in there that I think we had all overlooked! I can see what you mean as well:-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: stallion
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 06:59 AM

There are a range of cultural differences in folk clubs countrywide, for instance in some places when the MC indicates, by elevating digits, after the first song, the digits represent the number of songs you have left to do, in some it is the number in total, can be embarrassing. As to whether Northern Audiences are harder or not, they are different. I myself find southern audiences difficult but then I am a Northerner, I can only think that it is a nurture thing and maybe a tad tribal, if one reads most of the posts, on just about any subject, the thing that strikes one is how similar it all is, the differences are quite small yet seem to be a yawning chasm, a bit like bird flu I suppose. Maybe we should consider whether Folk Clubs are catching the HN15 strain, I think folk music is healthy and surviving, whether there is a living to be made from it is another issue and rather than the demise of folk clubs are we seeing the shrinking demand for professional folk performers, and, lets face it, everyone is so much better now and I mean everyone, to stand out you have to be really special, I sometimes find myself wondering why pay for something that is no better than that which I hear at the local sessions. So it is not only the really dreadful floor spot but the ordinary performers playing to handfuls of people for a fee that are contributing to the demise. Don't get me wrong, I love performing/singing to new audiences and sharing the music with them but we all have day jobs and we certainly don't do it for the money and we have been known to donate the door money back to struggling clubs (euphemism for not many people turning up!)


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 06:42 AM

I think we're talking at cross purposes. The noisy audiences I was talking about weren't really folk club audiences, who are genuinely attentive - if not always appreciative. When I first started performing in 1970's, the folk scene was already factionalised and fractured beyond repair.

the choices were stark, you were either a traddy, or you were a comedian. if you had anything to say about your own life, no bugger was interested. the brave lads in Suvla Bay, or Dublin 1916, or the four loom weaver and you were away with a career.

So when personal circumstances made me turn to music as a career - the folk clubs were out of the question. i worked the social clubs, pubs, restaurants, country and western clubs, in later year -old peoples homes - anything. and I wrote my songs for whoever and wherever, but mainly for myself. and so it has remained.

probably I missed out by not being immersed in 'the tradition'. But I think the tradition missed out a fair bit on not being interested in my generation of songwriters - and for not having much to do with the generality of people who gave me my living as a musician.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 06:28 AM

Just to illustrate the point that not all source singers are necessarilly good performance artists, I can remember back in 1968 or so Paddy Tunney doing a tour of the North East where he literally emptied each club that he sang at during the course of a week. These clubs included The Royal Turf, Felling and The Marsden Inn, South Shields both of which were strongly traditionally based and between them had boasted excellent nights with Fred Jordan, Scan Tester, Davie Stewart and Willie Scott. However on his one night off he was taken by some friends of mine to meet Bill Pigg the Northumbrian Piper at his home and, away from audience, drink etc.,my friends reported that there ensued the most wonderful night of music and song.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 06:00 AM

jim carroll.
you give two examples of traditional musicians being poorly treated by folk clubs,to get a balance,here are examples that contradict your point,John and Julia Clifford ,booked three times by myself at Bury ST edmunds folk club,treated with the respect they deserved[in other words very well].
Willie Scott[whitby festival many times] Fred Jordan, Farningham folk club,treated and enjoyed by many.Oscar Woods[part of Howsons old hat party].Freda Palmer[Oxford traditional singer]booked at Stratford folkclub[I was an organiser again]received very well.
you clearly have an axe to grind.
I have played northern audiences many times and never had a problem .


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 05:57 AM

And another thing....

When I write -
Would Jim Carroll have told source singers "That's not good enough. I'm not going to record you until you've done a bit more practice."?
Jim correctly relied -
What a daft question; of course I wouldn't

It was meant to be a daft rhetorical question assuming that answer. The unspoken question was "So why would you apply different standards to people performing in clubs now?" That's why I was so knocked back when I took Jim to be saying that he considered some of the people he recorded not good enough to go on in clubs (or capable of deciding for themselves whether they wanted to). Seems that wasn't what he meant so all is well.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 05:42 AM

Jim Carroll

Thamks Jim. That's much more what I wanted to hear. I'll just say that Ultimately, the decision to sing or not to sing always lay with the singers we met would have been better if it hadn't been followed by , but.
I wonder what you would have done in our situation! I'd have passed the information on to Walter and respected his decision. What else would I have had the right to do?

We were present one night at a London club, when an Irish flute player who had been recorded by the BBC, but was by then past his best, was totally humiliated by the residents
In 40 years, I have never been to a club where anything like that would be imaginable. Maybe we're just a bit more laid back here on the sunny Sussex coast. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the Joe Heaney incident or, to be honest, his performances but it sounds like bad programming. A bad move to put something subtle in front of a concert audience expecting rip-roaring whack-fol-di-riddle-o.

Bryan (The Snail)


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 05:10 AM

"My father in law once said you need the hide of a rhinoceros to get a living as a singer in the tough northern pubs and clubs, like you do. And in truth he was right. I know I found folk club performers rather precious (no names - most of them are my dear friends) in their inability to work through and attempt (at least) to assert themselves in periods when the audience isn't giving a hundred per cent attention."

Not just oop nawth WLD, it's much the same south of Watford Gap. Those spells of being musical wallpaper either make or break you as a performer.

One thing I have learned, though, you can't win over an audience by competing with them. The louder you get, the louder...well you know the outcome of that. You lose your voice, or you give up.

I just sing a very quiet song and keep going, and it nearly always ends with someone out there saying "Shhh! I'm trying to hear this".

Of course that's only the start, and you have to keep hold of them as they quiet down.

Mostly it works, sometimes not, but if it doesn't I just keep on keeping on, and collar the money at the end.

Just one other comment. I've heard such a lot about tough northern audiences, but on the occasions that I've performed in places from north of Brum up to Newcastle, I've always found them welcoming and appreciative, if somewhat more likely to rib and heckle if you make the odd mistake. I LIKE northern audiences. Maybe that's why they seem to like me.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 04:51 AM

I wonder who you consider to blame for the night Joe Heaney was booed off the stage by an audience when he appeared at a Clancy Brothers concert; the concert organiser, the audience or Joe for agreeing to sing in the first place!

Hi Jim,

Just a slight correction, it was a Dubliner's concert and of course Joe was very friendly with them through O'Donohues. Maybe they were giving him some work (about 1963/4 at a guess), though I am not blaming them and I must emphasise I certainly don't know. At the risk of thread drift the same night gave me one of the still most magical experiences in folk I have known - when the curtains opened at the start of the second-half the stage was empty and after a few seconds Luke Kelly appeared at the back of the audience singing "Blackwaterside" and walked through the audience and onto the stage singing without a mike!!

Part of the time Joe was great - and then he did a couple of long ballads and the audience went. I can still hear the bloke who shouted "Jazz it up Joe".


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Subject: RE: Collapse of the Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Jun 07 - 04:22 AM

My father in law once said you need the hide of a rhinoceros to get a living as a singer in the tough northern pubs and clubs, like you do. And in truth he was right. I know I found folk club performers rather precious (no names - most of them are my dear friends) in their inability to work through and attempt (at least) to assert themselves in periods when the audience isn't giving a hundred per cent attention.

I was a bit surprised when several of the Irish singers who delivered uproarious folk club nights, didn't go on to make a fortune in the brief period of the Irish theme bar explosion. Entertaining those noisy audiences is a definite skill. Its not a skill that is universally respected - some radio programmes won't feature artistes that demean the sacred cause of folk music by doing pub work.

The folk club audiences generally were initially very tolerant. However when the traddy/contemporary split got bitter and bloody there were some very uncomfortable scenes.

Singers who had grown up in the gentler times of the 1950's and 60's found places like high octane showbiz places like the Boggery in Solihull were still booking them for their name and fame, but they were a noisy audience and not automatically respectful.

Similarly I can remember when I started out, not being made specially welcome in the singaround traddy clubs of the 70's and being banned from the Grey Cock in Brum, because they'd asked me my influences and when I said Ralph McTell, they said - well we've got to draw the line somewhere.

the truth is if you want to perform - you work it out as best you can; you make your own space - even if its only in your own head. no one can do it for you. When I started teaching, my first headmaster said, its up to every teacher to work out his own salvation on the floor of the classroom - theres no earthly reason why a roomful of people should work for you, just because you call yourself teacher. Singings a bit like that.


In the Penguin book, poets of the Thirties the introduction said - the real achievement of these poets was that they fantasised an audience - they carried on debates in little magazines (read by only a handful of people) with all the intensity as if they were debating before a packed Wembley Stadium.

As the Paul Brady song says - 'these things we do to keep the flame burning.'


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