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Worst Folk Song Ever?

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GUEST,Brain Peters 04 Jul 07 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Windmills of your mind 04 Jul 07 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,Eleanor Roosevelt's Knickers 02 Jul 07 - 07:22 AM
EuGene 01 Jul 07 - 11:00 PM
Dan Schatz 01 Jul 07 - 10:37 PM
EuGene 01 Jul 07 - 10:32 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 01 Jul 07 - 08:52 PM
Don Firth 01 Jul 07 - 03:54 PM
Bill S from Adelaide 01 Jul 07 - 04:50 AM
EuGene 30 Jun 07 - 09:36 PM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Jun 07 - 04:58 PM
Peace 30 Jun 07 - 03:55 PM
Bert 30 Jun 07 - 03:26 PM
weerover 30 Jun 07 - 02:19 PM
Bert 30 Jun 07 - 02:15 PM
Gulliver 30 Jun 07 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Wayne 30 Jun 07 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Downgirl 29 Jun 07 - 08:38 PM
The Sandman 29 Jun 07 - 05:56 PM
Peace 29 Jun 07 - 05:37 PM
Peace 29 Jun 07 - 05:26 PM
lefthanded guitar 29 Jun 07 - 05:24 PM
EuGene 29 Jun 07 - 04:38 PM
Old Grizzly 29 Jun 07 - 03:16 PM
HouseCat 29 Jun 07 - 02:27 PM
john f weldon 29 Jun 07 - 02:17 PM
DADGBE 29 Jun 07 - 01:22 PM
john f weldon 29 Jun 07 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,Eleanor Roosevelt's Knickers 29 Jun 07 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Mike Rogers 29 Jun 07 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 28 Jun 07 - 11:37 AM
goatfell 28 Jun 07 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,HiLo 28 Jun 07 - 09:12 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Jun 07 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 27 Jun 07 - 01:04 PM
Dave Hanson 27 Jun 07 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,Young Hunting 27 Jun 07 - 04:06 AM
Dave Hanson 27 Jun 07 - 03:54 AM
dholland 27 Jun 07 - 12:09 AM
dholland 27 Jun 07 - 12:08 AM
GUEST,Young Buchan 06 Jun 07 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,wordy 06 Jun 07 - 08:49 AM
Ythanside 06 Jun 07 - 08:23 AM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 06 Jun 07 - 05:24 AM
Mark H. 06 Jun 07 - 04:28 AM
Rusty Dobro 06 Jun 07 - 04:19 AM
Doug Chadwick 06 Jun 07 - 02:56 AM
GUEST,meself 05 Jun 07 - 09:42 PM
Woods 05 Jun 07 - 09:07 PM
Gulliver 05 Jun 07 - 03:40 PM
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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,Brain Peters
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 10:33 AM

"sloop john b,benjamin bowmaneer,lord randall,cadgewith/cadgeforth] anthem.,polly wolly doodle."

Dammit, Captain, I love all those - with the possible exception of the last one.

I once heard a floor singer do a number about the hallucinogenic effects of certain fungi, which boasted the chorus: "Walking in the rain, mushrooms in my brain". The 'tune' seemed to have been composed while under the influence of said substances, as well.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,Windmills of your mind
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 07:47 AM

Based soley on last night's experience, I'd like to nominate "The Concertina Man".


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,Eleanor Roosevelt's Knickers
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 07:22 AM

Dan, that's the Steve Knightley song I was trying to think of. MInd you, I don't like 'Roots' either. I know they're saying something important but I'm sick of them being rammed down my throat.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: EuGene
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 11:00 PM

But, Dan, if folks had any sense of good taste, we would have no pop or folk culture at all! Then we would have no entertainment left except to play Chinese Checkers with "Fur Elise" (on an endless loop tape) as background music, interrupted every few minutes by a computer voice saying "We value your call - please stay on the line and wait for the next available representative". Hell, come on back, Van! Eu


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 10:37 PM

I've hesitated to post anything to this thread, because the song that immediately comes to mind is one that I know a lot of people love very much. But I've now seen enough songs _I_ love get denigrated that I feel it's okay, and all a matter of taste.

The song I can't stand is "Country Life"

I like to rise when the sun she rises,
early in the morning
And I like to hear them small birds singing,
Merrily upon their layland
And hurrah for the life of a country boy,
And to ramble in the new mowed hay.

Now part of it may be that I really don't like to rise when the sun she rises. I like to rise several hours after that. But that isn't it, really, because there are lots of other morning songs I like just fine. Part of it may be the tune, which is VERY repetitive melodically and even more so rhythmically.

But mostly it's the words. Surely there's a better way to express love for the singing of small birds then to say "I like to hear them small birds singing!" As my sixth grade teacher used to say, "Show, don't tell!" I love the Watersons, and have been singing English folksongs all my life - but this one just makes me want to run screaming every time I hear it. It amazes me that it survived the oral tradition - usually the folk process improves upon imagery like this.

But other people, including many I respect deeply, love it - so who can judge?

Dan Schatz


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: EuGene
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 10:32 PM

Then along comes Van Morrison (who seems to have done ok on his previous recordings) singing "Moon Dance" . . . don't know whether or not that is supposed to be a folk song, but he "sings" it with the most god awful bunch of caterwauling I have ever heard. Ya gotta give him credit for a big set of gonads, as he dared to release it to the unsuspecting public with HIS NAME ON IT!! That's BOLD!! Eu


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 08:52 PM

What about when they're not even funny - or interesting - the first time? Like The Rattling Bog (which I don't think actually has a verb in it, which sort of sums up the situation): The leaf on the branch and the branch on the tree and the tree in the... oh, you get the idea...

Re Fields of Athenry as a club anthem, whatever about the sectarian overtones, it's the out-of-tune, turgid, multi-voiced roaring that has finally done me in (lowwwwwwwwwww LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE...) It's actually a fine song, but it has suffered the fate of other fine songs, i.e. that people like them so they become popular and end up getting sung to dismal death. And THEN comes the inevitable parody, which is OK - once or twice - if it's clever, but they're so often second rate.

Kilkelly Ireland has decent words but it's too long and suffers from a horribly repetitive melody with about a four-note range. Boring even when performed by a talented singer.

On the non-folk front, I totally agree with the person above who nominated MacArthur Park (way too long, tedious, silly & meaningless) and also Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, which seems to consist of two whole notes. HOW did either of those ever get beyond the demo stage??


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:54 PM

Songs like the "hole in the bucket" and "in the bottom of the sea" are a sort of format. "The House that Jack Built." Each new verse builds on the previous verse. A well-known example is "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

The first time around, they can be pretty funny, but they can get awfully tedious awfully quickly.

There is a group of guys who get together once a year to sing at a local Christmas pageant, and the highlight of their program is "The Twelve Days of Christmas," which they rewrite every year, changing "lords a-leaping" and "swans a-swimming" to topical stuff. New every year. And always hilarious!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 04:50 AM

Back in the 70's the Morris Side had a booking at the Mechelen Folklore Festival. We were billeted with a family, the son of which was the lead singer of a folk-rock band specialising in electric versins of long ballads in Flemish. His stage name, and the name of the band, was, and I kid you not, Joe Prik (I still have his card if you want a scan, apprently Prik was a brand of lemonade that he drank).
The band started up the backing and he arrived on a pushbike smoking a fag in a long holder. He launched into this interminable ballad with a pretentius air to an audience devoid of Flemish speakers in a manner which inspired much grumbling in the audience. The stage manageer said something presumably in Flemish and the two actually started fighting, with JP pushing the manager around as the PA was turned off and JP was dragged off. I was sitting next to his sister who asked "apart from that, what did you think of them?". I still haven't thought of an answer (Apart from that, Mrs Kennedy, how did you enjoy Dallas?)

Another nomination would be someone at a Manchester Club who advised that "on the way here, it started raining so I waited in a doorway, so while I was there I wrote this song". You know the ilk.

A lot of nominations are victims of their own success, good songs being sung to death. Here in Perth I can sing Farmer's Boy to a folk club full of people who don't know it.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: EuGene
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 09:36 PM

Ohmygawd! Leeneia, that "Hole in the bucket" song sounds like it is from the same genre as "Hole in the bottom of the sea" which finally gets down to:

There's a hole in the wing on the fly on the wart on the leg on the frog on the bump on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea.

As school kids we would sometimes sing that one to see just how fast we could sing it . . . like a musical tongue twister.

Eu


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 04:58 PM

I thought nobody else would know this one, but I seem to be wrong.

When she was about 9 years old, my little sister learned an interminable song with a dreary, dreary tune. It started, "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza." About 18 verses later it clunked to a halt because the repair for the hole required a bucket of something, and of course, there was a hole in the bucket.

I just Googled "There's a hole in the bucket, dear..." and got 796 hits. Obviously some misguided souls are keeping that darn song alive.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Peace
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 03:55 PM

Opposite of asleep = awake?


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Bert
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 03:26 PM

Thanks, my brain is asleep at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: weerover
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 02:19 PM

opposite of preference = aversion?

wr.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Bert
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 02:15 PM

Bile Dem Cabbage Down exists because it's a hoedown tune. It's great for beginner callers because the unobtrusive melody doesn't distract the caller.

One song that I really don't like is "Turn, turn, turn" by Pete Seeger. That's just personal preference though (is there a word that means the opposite of preference?).


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Gulliver
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 01:42 PM

Re Fields of Athenry. A good song and I loved it when I first heard it in the late '80s. Unfortunately now hijacked by Glasgow Celtic Football Club so unsingable in Scotland or N. Ireland now because of sectarian overtones.

Still, I've heard this being sung in the North and also by Ulster Rugby supporters in Dublin. I've gotten a bit tired of it, but it is wildly popular at singing sessions, singarounds, etc. (along Raglan Road, Black is the Colour, Peggy Gordon, etc.) here in the South so it's good to have it in the repertoire.

Don


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,Wayne
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 06:22 AM

Coming Round the Mountain? Surely not. It's fantastic, and seems to get filthier every time Roger does it down the Abbey (fnar, fnar).

I'd second the Jim Moray coment though. Good songs, shite performance.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,Downgirl
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 08:38 PM

Anything by Jim Moray!

Re Fields of Athenry. A good song and I loved it when I first heard it in the late '80s. Unfortunately now hijacked by Glasgow Celtic Football Club so unsingable in Scotland or N. Ireland now because of sectarian overtones.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 05:56 PM

sloop john b,benjamin bowmaneer,lord randall,cadgewith/cadgeforth] anthem.,polly wolly doodle.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Peace
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 05:37 PM

Here's the proof.

Convoy

By Bill Fries & Chip Davis

Uh, Breaker One-Nine, this here's the Rubber Duck
You got a copy on me Pig-Pen? C'mon

Uh, yeah 10-4 Pig Pen, fer sure, fer sure
By golly it's clean clear to Flag-Town, C'mon

Uh, yeah, that's a big 10-4 Pig-Pen,
Yeah, we definitely got us the front door good buddy,
Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy

Was the dark of the moon, on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth, pullin' logs
Cabover Pete with a reefer on
And a Jimmy haulin' hogs
We 'as headin' fer bear on I-One-Oh
'Bout a mile outta Shaky-Town
I sez Pig-Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck
An' I'm about to put the hammer on down

Cause we gotta little ol' convoy, rockin' through the night
Yeah we gotta little ol' convoy, ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on an' join our convoy, ain't nothin' gonna git in our way
We're gonna roll this truckin' convoy, cross the USA
Convoy... Convoy...

Uh, breaker Pig-Pen, this here's The Duck
Uh, you wanna back off them hogs
10-4, 'bout five mile or so, 10-roger
Them hogs is gittin' in-tense up here

By the time we got into Tulsa-Town
We had eighty-five trucks in all
But they's a road block up on the clover leaf
An' them bears 'as wall to wall
Yeah them smokies 'as thick as bugs on a bumper
They even had a bear-in-the-air
I sez callin' all trucks, this here's The Duck
We about to go a huntin' bear

Cause we gotta great big convoy, rockin' through the night
Yeah we gotta great big convoy, ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on an' join our convoy, ain't nothin' gonna git in our way
We're gonna roll this truckin' convoy, cross the USA
Convoy... Convoy...

Uh, you wanna give me a 10-9 on that Pig-Pen?
Uh, negatory Pig-Pen, yer still too close
Yeah, them hogs is startin' close up my sinuses
Mercy sakes, you better back off another ten

Well we rolled up interstate fourty-four
Like a rocket sled on rails
We tore up all a our swindle sheets
An' left 'em settin' on the scales
By the time we hit that Chi-Town
Them bears was a gittin' smart
They'd brought up some reinforcements
From the Illinois National Guard
There 'as armored cars, and tanks, and Jeeps
An' rigs of every size
Yeah them chicken coops 'as full a bears
An' choppers filled the skies
Well we shot the line, an' we went for broke
With a thousand screamin' trucks
And eleven long-haired friends of Jesus
In a chartreusse microbus

Hey Sod Buster, listen
You wanna put that microbus in behind the suicide jockey?
Yeah, he's haulin dynamite
He needs all the help he can git

Well we laid a strip fer the Jersey Shore
An' prepared to cross the line
I could see the bridge 'as lined with bears
But I didn't have a doggone dime
I sez Pig-Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck
We just ain't a gonna pay no toll
So we crashed the gate doin' ninety-eight
I sez, let them truckers roll, 10-4

Cause we gotta mighty convoy, rockin' through the night
Yeah we gotta mighty convoy, ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on an' join our convoy, ain't nothin' gonna git in our way
We're gonna roll this truckin' convoy, cross the USA
Convoy... Convoy...

Uh, 10-4 Pig-Pen, what's yer 20?
Omaha?!
Well they oughta know what to do with them hogs out there fer sure
Well mercy sakes alive good buddy
We gonna back on outta here
So keep the bugs off yer glass
An' the bears off yer... tail
We gonna catch ya on the flip-flop
This here's the Rubber Duck on the side
We gone
Bye, Bye...


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Peace
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 05:26 PM

"Convoy" from the C and W persuasion.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 05:24 PM

I'd give it to Goober Peas. End of discussion


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: EuGene
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 04:38 PM

". . . when a hearse goes by,
'cause you may be the next to die." (don't know the song name)

"On Top of Old Smokey"

"Quick, Quack, Quantie, Ahntie,
Montie, Montie, Doshnik" (tune ok, but stupid nonsense words - don't even know how they are spelled as I have never seen them written. The words were probably lifted from a background sign in a "Smokey Stover" comic strip)

Any song seems to glorify dangerous criminals who didn't die soon enough, like "Mack, The Knife", "Bonnie and Clyde", "The Ballad of Billy the Kid", etc.

"She'll Be Commin' 'Round the Mountain"

"99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"

"Goober Peas"

"The Mitch Mitchell rewrite of "The Yellow Rose of Texas"

Eu


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Old Grizzly
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 03:16 PM

Absolutely any blues song performed by anyone OTHER than a half cut, 40 stone, 3 bellied blind, one legged, three fingered African American Nonogenarian, sitting in a rocker on a rotting verandah somewhere in the deep south.

So shoot me!!

D


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: HouseCat
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 02:27 PM

Dead Skunk is the official anthem of my church (folk) choir, sung with much enthusiasm at every party, bus trip, etc. We are a fun bunch, lemme tell ya. We just have very questionable tastes.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: john f weldon
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 02:17 PM

DADGBE...
wasn't that Neil Young? Blasphemy!
(tho I agree it sucks...)

Once a few yrs ago, there was a poll conducted in the US & Britain to pick worst song of all time & both came up with the same song, MacArthur Park. Not a Folk song, tho.

The trouble with folk songs; often the worse they are, the better they are, or at least they're kinda fun; like S-A-V-E-D, or (from Hi-Tone Gal):

Adam & Eve were down in the garden, hoein' a field of tomaters...
Eve run around a mulberry bush and hit him in the eye with a tater...

...a kind of Zen perfection to that...


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: DADGBE
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 01:22 PM

Let's see now, it was Pete Seeger who said something to the effect of - We don't need so many new songs, just the courage to sing the old ones again.

To be truely awful, a song must have a useless tune and stupid words. How about:

I've been to the desert on a horse with no name,
In the desert you can remember your name,
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain...

Yech!


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: john f weldon
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 09:08 AM

Hey dholland...
The Dead Skunk Song was a Huge pop hit around 1970-ish, and was written by Louden Wainwright, a truly minimalist songwriter. (father to Rufus & Martha among other things).

You can make big bucks writing songs like Dead Skunk. There may be a lesson here for all of us.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,Eleanor Roosevelt's Knickers
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 08:08 AM

1 The Wild Rover.

2 That song by Steve Knightley. Roots? I'm sick of it.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,Mike Rogers
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 04:45 AM

The worst song ever is undoubtedly 'Brennan On The Moor' which I had the misfortune to hear many years ago performed by a guy in the stereotypical garb of Arran sweater, pint pot in hand (actually one of the very few people I've seen so attired), with much enthusiasm and little talent. This geezer was so delighted with his own performance that he repeated the damn song.
It seemed like poetic justice when, many years later, Father Ted kicked Bishop Brennan up the arse.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:37 AM

I once found myself falling quite madly for a winsome young lady who DID know all the words to "Mary Hamilton" and who performed the song beautifully. However, that WAS 45 years ago. I don't have any idea whether she still sings it.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: goatfell
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 10:07 AM

back home in Derry


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:12 AM

I would have to say that my get up and go cue comes with the first notes of "Marie's Wedding". Same for "Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream" and "The Wild Rover". But one of my worst nightmares is to be trapped in Pub with someone who knows ALL the words to "Mary Hamilton".


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 03:16 PM

What rotten taste I must have. I think I have enjoyed most of the songs mentioned here at some time or other.

I hate it when someone tries to do something they should have stayed home and practised. Things with tricky rhythms like Martin Carthy uses so well. Things where guitarists play all the chords instead of a passing note, like the C Em Am rundown, and you get this horrible jumpy effect. Another pet hate is when the PA man goes out for a wee or a drink, and leaves the guitar, or the voice at the wrong volume.

part of the joy of folk clubs is seeing new singers start to put together their technique, and drink deep from what to us old hands are the empties and dregs of the repertoire.

Also sometimes a singer can do a song that you think you don't like and completely re-invent it. John Kelly did just that for me a couple of weeks ago at Mansfield Folk Club. What a wonderful singer!


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 01:04 PM

I can think of a lot of songs that might fit. But, in reality, it has a lot more to do with repetition and quality of performance than any other factor. "Kumbaya" gets nominated a lot simply because it's been done to death, and by some horrifically bad performers. The same can be said for some other pretty good, and historically interesting and significant material. It's the "dead horse" syndrome. Also, most performers are likely to be a lot more critical than ordinary audiences when it comes to overused songs. I don't know how it is elsewherein the world, but it was once said, possibly by H.L. Mencken, that "no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 06:50 AM

Quite right, no-one would ever use that phrase in real life but Leon Rosselson used it in his song as an expression of contempt.

eric


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,Young Hunting
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 04:06 AM

The songs that annoy me most are those that have really forced lines/rhymes in, and those do indeed tend to be contemporary because the folk process generally digests and evacuates the bad bits.

I genuinely believe that the worst line of the lot is 'Judge's fine and private daughter' in Palaces of Gold. Noone would ever use that as a phrase. There again I've never heard anyone describe Mr Logie Baird's invention as a Telly V - but it didn't stop Ron Angel using it in his song about the decline of Christmas.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 03:54 AM

All the really shite songs are contemporary songs, not trad ones.

Stan Rogers should be dug up and feckin shot for inflicting us with ' The Lockeeper ' what a pretentious load of crap, the last time I was at Whitby Folk Week I must have heard it twenty times every day, in fact just thinking about it I've lost the will to live.

But the dreariest song of all is ' Killkelly Ireland ' we could use this song instead of our nuclear deterrent.

eric


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: dholland
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 12:09 AM

Hey Nick! Interesting thread.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: dholland
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 12:08 AM

It had something to do with a dead skunk in the middle of the road....song stunk!


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,Young Buchan
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 10:00 AM

A confession.
There is a 19th century broadside ballad called Fanny Adams. Sample verse:
When the neighbours came home without my Fanny
The neighbours searched the country all aroud
They found the head with both the eyes out
And the left arm cut off upon the ground.
In my callow youth I once sang this, hammed it up for all it wa worth and got a barrel of laughs for it. Shortly afterwards I went back and listened to the recording of the old gypsy singer Vashti Vincent singing it - and singing it without a trace of parody or detachment, but a total commitment to a song about a paedophilic murder which clearly deeply affected her. I have often since sung songs which are parodies of other songs, but I have never again parioded a song by taking the piss out of the original, however bad. The old singers thought they were worth passing on to us. If we don't like them we should leave them alone, not make fun of them.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 08:49 AM

Anything like "The grey funnel Line" with a chorusy tag on the end of each verse that gets slower, and longer and more drawn out everytime it comes along and the room joins in with corny harmony notes held endlessly.
Wrist slittingly awful.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Ythanside
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 08:23 AM

Irish,   '...especially sung by out of tune Jocks.'??????

Come outside an' say that, Paddy!

LOL


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 05:24 AM

That's two anti John Barleycorn posts in this thread now. You only have to listen to the magnificent version opening Tim Van Eyken's last album to hear there's still plenty of life in the song yet...

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Mark H.
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 04:28 AM

John Barleycorn is tedious, so rather than complain I re-wrote it, leaving out the metaphors:
"They planted some barley, and when it grew
It was harvested, malted and brewed."
That saves a lot of time, so some wet blanket can sing Coal 'ole Cavalry or Fields of Athenry while you go to the bar.


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 04:19 AM

Back in touch with my cousin after a 40-year gap, I eagerly asked him what he remembered about growing up in a well-known Suffolk singing pub in the 1950's and 1960's. His one abiding memory was at chucking-out time, when the old boys reeled down the road singing the first line of 'Distant Drums', then repeating it over and over again as they couldn't remember any more. The context surely makes it an honorary folk song, and therefore it must be a contender in this forum.......


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 06 Jun 07 - 02:56 AM

Nobody's Child is a folk song? In that case, I don't like folk music.


My own nomination - Auld Lang Syne.


DC


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 09:42 PM

Nobody's Child ... yeah ... except that any time I hear it, I find myself singing along with gusto. (That's my friend - Gusto. He's Italian. Maybe he's the same guy Bee sings along with.)


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Woods
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 09:07 PM

Of course this is all very subjective, and there probably is a difference between over-used songs (that probably got that way because they are good) and those that you wonder how they ever made it out their first door, but somehow survived (and shouldn't?).

My personal peeve is Bile Dem Cabbage Down (or one of many other varieties of spellings). Don't know why this one ever existed, let alone why it still does.
Woods


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Subject: RE: Worst Folk Song Ever?
From: Gulliver
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 03:40 PM

I agree with Don above. Most of the songs mentioned here are good songs--they've stood the test of time--and many are requested at sessions and parties where we are paid to play, so it's good to know them. It's just a matter of personal preference.

We don't know what the worst folk songs were, because they were quickly forgotten and consigned to the dustbin of history.

So I tried to think of some song I don't like--the Grey Funnel Line comes to mind.


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