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how important is the label traditional singer?

The Sandman 13 Sep 07 - 05:50 AM
Folkiedave 13 Sep 07 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 13 Sep 07 - 07:12 AM
Folkiedave 13 Sep 07 - 07:17 AM
GUEST 13 Sep 07 - 08:10 AM
The Sandman 13 Sep 07 - 08:48 AM
The Sandman 13 Sep 07 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 13 Sep 07 - 09:07 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Sep 07 - 09:08 AM
Santa 13 Sep 07 - 09:15 AM
Folkiedave 13 Sep 07 - 10:02 AM
IanC 13 Sep 07 - 10:24 AM
The Sandman 13 Sep 07 - 10:30 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Sep 07 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 13 Sep 07 - 05:12 PM
Folkiedave 13 Sep 07 - 05:26 PM
The Sandman 13 Sep 07 - 08:39 PM
dick greenhaus 13 Sep 07 - 09:59 PM
Uncle_DaveO 13 Sep 07 - 10:07 PM
Seamus Kennedy 13 Sep 07 - 10:19 PM
GUEST,booklyn rose 13 Sep 07 - 11:03 PM
Art Thieme 14 Sep 07 - 12:20 AM
GUEST 14 Sep 07 - 03:22 AM
Folkiedave 14 Sep 07 - 04:44 AM
The Sandman 14 Sep 07 - 08:43 AM
The Sandman 14 Sep 07 - 08:45 AM
Folkiedave 14 Sep 07 - 09:19 AM
Folkiedave 14 Sep 07 - 09:27 AM
The Sandman 14 Sep 07 - 10:37 AM
Folkiedave 14 Sep 07 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,guest - mark d 14 Sep 07 - 12:58 PM
The Sandman 14 Sep 07 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 14 Sep 07 - 01:39 PM
The Sandman 14 Sep 07 - 05:29 PM
Folkiedave 14 Sep 07 - 06:51 PM
stallion 14 Sep 07 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Martin Ellison 14 Sep 07 - 08:59 PM
Uncle_DaveO 14 Sep 07 - 09:52 PM
GUEST 15 Sep 07 - 02:48 AM
Bonzo3legs 15 Sep 07 - 03:56 AM
Folkiedave 15 Sep 07 - 04:41 AM
The Sandman 15 Sep 07 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 15 Sep 07 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,martin ellison 15 Sep 07 - 09:30 AM
The Sandman 15 Sep 07 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,martin ellison 15 Sep 07 - 11:31 AM
dick greenhaus 15 Sep 07 - 04:12 PM
Art Thieme 15 Sep 07 - 08:27 PM
The Sandman 15 Sep 07 - 10:30 PM
Peace 16 Sep 07 - 04:47 PM
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Subject: how important is the label traditional s
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 05:50 AM

At the end of the day it doesn't really matter whether or not Bob Blake was a 'traditional singer'. Bob, I'm sure, was true to himself, and if a young, inexperienced song collector (i.e. me) was willing to impute a label onto Bob that, with hindsight, was probably inaccurate, then the egg is surely on my face! What really matters is the fact that Bob was a fine singer and luckily we did manage to record him singing some of the songs that he knew. Also, many people today want a world of certainties, a world where our every thought and desire can be seen in terms of black and white. But, of course, life is not like that and, kicking against this, we so often find ourselves suffering from the unsatisfactory nature of things. Bob Blake gave pleasure to many people by singing his songs. Singers like the Coppers, Bob Lewis and George Belton became his friends and accepted him as their equal. I'm glad that I met him and heard him sing, and, at the end of the day, that's what really matters to me.

Mike Yates - 8.8.06 [article in musical traditions]
I agree with Mike Yates,and think judgements should be made on merit of the singer,rather than concern about whether the singer is a revivalist or a traditional singer.Peter Kennedy appears to have thought otherwise.
what do you think.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 06:47 AM

I know (or it is not difficult to find out) whom he recorded - and I can think of people he didn't record. I am sure many of those he didn't record were because he hadn't come across them. Some I would think were bot recorded because they weren't even singing at that time he was working in the field.

But I have no idea who he made value judgements about and didn't record because he thought they weren't "traditional singers".

So let's have a list of them Dick - the people he didn't record because he thought they weren't traditional. Oh yes, and tell us how you know.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 07:12 AM

I think that your first paragraph should have been in quotes, Cap'n. I read it through and thought, 'I've read this somewhere before - the Cap'n's not guilty of plagiarism now, is he?' Then I read the attribution and all was well ... Well, relatively well!

I recognised the quote because it is from a wise and brave article by Mike Yates - but I suspect that you're misusing it because you desperately want to 'prove' a point. The terms 'traditional' and 'revival' as applied to singers are necessarily fuzzy. I'm sure that if you dig deep enough you can find a few more exceptions. But exceptions don't 'prove' anything - they are just that - exceptions!
On the other hand it is possible to point to many more examples of people who fit the categories exactly. I, and many of my friends and acquaintances, for example, are 'revival' singers; Harry Cox, Sam Larner, George Maynard et. al. were 'traditional' singers.

A couple of things from the article by Mr Yates which I urge you to re-read and to think about:

(i) "At the end of the day it doesn't really matter whether or not Bob Blake was a 'traditional singer'."

I'd agree with that - at least it probably doesn't matter in an aesthetic sense - but distinguishing between the two types of singer is still useful (if not essential)in an interpretative sense.

(ii) "Also, many people today want a world of certainties, a world where our every thought and desire can be seen in terms of black and white."

Forgive me, but that passage could have been written for YOU, Cap'n! You seem to want to abolish the useful categories, 'revival' and 'traditional' because of the existence of exceptions (well, in this case, one exception). Some of us are more ready to put up with the "unsatisfactory nature of things" rather than to recklessy discard useful categories.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 07:17 AM

How about the expression "tradition bearers"?


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 08:10 AM

What on earth are you trying to prove Cap'n?
You have been extremely selective in your quotation of Mike.
I replied to his conclusions on the enthusiasms page of MT in a piece entitled 'By Any Other Name' quoting a number of traditional singers.
You are being extremely misleading in comparing only Peter Kennedy. Virtually the whole of our folk literature is based on there being a group that has always been referred to as 'Traditional singers'; if you choose to reject the term, you then have to reject the whole body of literature from 'Some Conclusions onward.
Read and digest;
The Ballad And The Folk, The Ballad And The Plough, Old Songs From Skye, Songs And Southern Breezes, Fellowship of Song, Village Song Culture, The Mount Callan Garland, The Stone Fiddle, The Ballad Tree, Two biographies of Sharp, The Stone Fiddle, The Land Were The Blues Began, The Adventures of a Ballad Hunter..........
You Might start nearer your present home with Tomás O Crohan's 'The Islandman, where he describes learning songs on the Blaskets.
It seems to me you are once again aspiring to being a traditional singer.
You have two choices
A. You deny entirely the existence of traditional singers.
B. You agree they exist and prove to us you come from the same background.
You really need to read a few books (or record sleeves).
Jim Carroll
Folkiedave,
"How about the expression "tradition bearers"?
Please don't humour him, it only encourages him!


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 08:48 AM

I agree Shimrod it is unsatisfactory,That is why I try to make judgements on merit.
Like both yourself and Jim Carroll I like unaccompanied singing,but it matters not whether I am listening to a revivalist like LouKillen singing The Flying Cloud,or Harry Cox singing The Foggy Dew,What I hear is two fine exponents of the art of unaccompanied singing.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 08:58 AM

FolkieDave,if you read the whole article Peter Kennedy appears to have ,known of Bob Blakes existence and had some inkling he was not a traditional singer,so his judgement and his decision not to record him was not made on merit.
Thankfully Mike Yates recorded him,
How many other fine singers have been lost,through the application of categories, by collectors, as a definition whether to record someone, rather than using the definition of merit.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 09:07 AM

"...but it matters not whether I am listening to a revivalist like LouKillen singing The Flying Cloud,or Harry Cox singing The Foggy Dew,What I hear is two fine exponents of the art of unaccompanied singing."

No, it probably doesn't matter aesthetically (especially with regard to your two examples). But imagine what might be the response (not least from Louie Killen!) if you 'collected' songs from Louie Killen and attempted to publish them in some learned journal as 'traditional in origin'!

Having said that nothing would surprise me. I once heard a singer in a folk club announce, quite seriously, "I collected this song from June Tabor". Be careful, Cap'n, you might find yourself facing the same gales of derisive laughter that that particular remark attracted!


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 09:08 AM

The singers will always be lost. The songs may survive.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: Santa
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 09:15 AM

No-one has all the time needed to record everything available. Some kind of filter is required to avoid wasting time on material that differs from that desired. No doubt good singers were missed because of "mislabelling", no doubt some were included that "shouldn't" have been. Recorder A missed singer B for reason C - that may be sad but is not the end of the world. Other recorders will have missed other singers for other reasons.

The labels helped reduce the amount of wasted time and tape. They act as useful filters, but cannot be expected to be perfect, and neither should individuals.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 10:02 AM

On one occasion I mentioned to Peter Kennedy that I knew Bob and was surprised to find that Peter did not share my enthusiasm for Bob's singing. It never entered my mind that Peter may have known something about Bob that was unknown to me.

There's the quote you refer to Dick. It is the only time that Peter Kennedy is referred to in the article.

I once sat alone in a bar when the Copper Family were on in the next room. Gradually the bar filled up and each time another person came in the conversation went "What are you doing in here? I thought you would be in listening to the Coppers". And each time the answer came "Not a great fan of the Coppers".

It doesn't occur to me either that Peter knew something about Bob's singing that Bob didn't, it does occur to me that Peter did not share Mike's enthusiasm for Bob's singing.

But let's assume you are correct. Let's assume that Peter Kennedy knew that Bob had learnt his songs from manuscripts rather than orally and thus dismissed him as a traditional singer. Which is emphatically not what Mike Yates said but let's not have the facts spoil a good story.

How many others were there?

Who else did Peter make judgements about rather than go on the merits of the singer? And what was the basis of his judgement? Do you know?


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: IanC
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 10:24 AM

The real fly in the ointment, of course, is that people say they collected songs from traditional singers who were often engaged in singing them in the public domain anyway.

Loads of the recordings of Harry Cox in the British Library, for example, were made in the local pub. Sure enough, recording the songs has some considerable value in allowing people to hear them more generally (though not too many of us end up in the BL listening) but just who was collecting them exactly and what for?

Thoughts of birds eggs and butterflies on pins spring to mind.

;-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 10:30 AM

Dave,
whatever reason Peter Kennedy had for not being enthusistic about collecting Bob Blakes singing,hindsight shows Mike Yates did the right thing and Peter Kennedy did not,Bob Blake was a fine singer.
How many other singers were lost,we shall never know.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 05:08 PM

I got lost on the Manchester ring road one night.....


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 05:12 PM

Collectors do not collect 'fine singers'; I cannot imagine myself reaching for the button in the presence of - say Pavarotti or Maria Callas, as much as I admired them both. Santa is spot on - we select carefully what we spend our time, energy and money collecting.
Those who do it (rather than pontificate about it), pick the people who we believe, for one reason or another, have the most important material and information to be captured and passed on. We base our judgement on our experience and our knowledge of the subject we are working in.
We may not always get it right, but we are far more likely to than somebody who makes no distinction between traditional and revival.
You have spent a fair amount of time attempting to persuade us that (a) there is no difference, and (b) If there is it is not important.
Many fine singers were lost because people like you placed no value on them.
Personally, the collectors I respect are those who choose their subjects carefully and record everything they have to offer, especially the information that puts the songs into context.
IanC
Some of us have put a great deal of time trying to make our material available; when we have put out albums of our field recordings, in the main the sales for the best of them are pitifully small, so we put them into an archive and allow public access - not ideal, but apart from posting copies to everybody who might be interested - what do you suggest?
One day we hope our collections will be available on the internet, but that is really up to those interested in accessing the material - not us - we've done our bit (and so have the singers). Unfortunately most folkies adopt the Cap'n's disregard (verging on contempt) for traditional singers, but at least the recordings will be there for posterity, where they might-just might get more consideration than they have to date.
Cap'n,
I wish you would get out of the arrogant habit of telling us who is good and who is not; that is for us to decide - not you.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 05:26 PM

How many other singers were lost, we shall never know.

You are correct in that Captain, we shall never know but it would help us to know about some of them if you gave us that list of singers that you know Peter Kennedy made value-judgements about. Then we could - along with you - be able to judge the rights and wrongs of the matter.

But without that list I can't make my mind up.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 08:39 PM

Jim Carroll, Mike Yates called Bob Blake a fine singer[does that make him arrogant as well]I am agreeing with his sentiments.
Why are you far more likely to get it right,than somebody who makes no distinction between traditional and revival.
you say, many fine singers were lost because people like myself placed no value on them,please explain how I am responsible,for singers being lost.[just another example of the rubbish you spout].
which singers dont I value?

you say I have a disregard[verging on contempt for traditional singers].,again this is absolute rubbish,I do not have a disregard for them,neither do I have contempt for them ,I like greatly the singing of many traditional singers,I also like the singing of many revivalist singers,I judge traditional singers and singers of traditional songs,on their ability as singers,.for that reason I rate very highly
Harry Cox,FredJordan,SamLarner,PhilTanner,Jeannie Robertson[traditional singers].you yourself must have traditional singers that you prefer to others.
you dont seem to like many revival singers other than Ewan Maccoll,I have seen you criticise Louis Killen,Tony Rose,MartinCarthy.
your first paragraph is typical nonsense,at no point have I mentioned classical singers,as you well know, I was talking about singers of folk songs,whether they have learned their songs by the process that makes them a traditional singer or like Bob Blake a revivalist or a singer of traditional songs,and I was saying that within this category decisions to record should be made on the singers ability rather than the process he learned the song by.
The only exception I would make to this would be if the singer was a poor singer[who had an exceptionally rare and good song]in which case I would record it rather than risk it being lost.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 09:59 PM

"Personally, the collectors I respect are those who choose their subjects carefully and record everything they have to offer, especially the information that puts the songs into context."
I beg to differ. Vehemently. Randolph, probably the collector I'm most impressed with, recorded everything he encountered, and sorted it oiut afterwards. I think it's arrogant (and not to bright) to assume that you know, at the moment you're collecting something, whether you'll find it valuable in a year or so.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 10:07 PM

Captain Birdseye told us, in part:

if you read the whole article Peter Kennedy appears to have ,known of Bob Blakes existence and had some inkling he was not a traditional singer,so his judgement and his decision not to record him was not made on merit.

Captain, you've taken two "appears" thoughts and arrived at a conclusion that would not be justified even if the "appears" are facts.

"Known of his existence", if true, and "had some inkling he was not a traditional singer", if true, don't at all require (or even strongly suggest) the conclusion that "his decision not to record him was not made on merit."

The most that could be said is that "Peter Kennedy appears to have known of Bob Blake's existence and had some inkling he was not a traditional singer, so it is possible that his judgment and his decision not to record him was not made on merit" which is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional s
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 10:19 PM

The revival singers get their songs from traditional singers.
From whom did the traditional. or source singers, get their songs?
I assume they weren't born with them in their heads.

When a traditional or source singer dies,do the revivalists in turn become source singers?

Just curious.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,booklyn rose
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 11:03 PM

I love traditional songs,but the value of the label "traditional singer" depends on how it is used. I find some people seem to resent "big city" people like me who want to sing "their" songs. That makes me feel very uncomfortable. If only the families of the source singers can sing "their" songs, the music world is impoverished. Someone at Eisteddod-NY, a festival of traditional music, described many of the singers as "steeped in the tradition." That is good enough for me. If a singer has learned songs well, learned about the context the songs came from, and sings them well, we get to hear good music.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 12:20 AM


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 03:22 AM

A collector recording traditional singers is doing just that - recording tradititional singers.
The decide for themselves why they are collecting (unless they work for a department - in which case they have a set agenda to follow) based on their particular interest and their resources. Vance Randolph, Alan Lomax, Peter Kennedy, Hamish Henderson, Ken Goldstein et al were professional folklorists paid to do a job. In recent times there has been only one professional collector in the British Isles and he died last week - now there are none.
At the height of our collecting Pat and I were doing a days work, having a meal, then going out to record singers (or planning our holidays deliberately in order that we could spend time with them). In those circumstances we had to plan our work carefully. We started collecting when we realised how little we knew about the music we had been involved in for a decade and a half and our aim was to fill in the gaps in our knowledge, not to head-hunt songs. A by-product of our work has been that we have been able to pass on some of the songs in the hope that they will be taken up and sung half decently; it was never our intention to record songs in order that they might be turned into dirges by singers such as June Tabor and other folkie stars (as is the case with at least one song we recorded).
In the circumstances we found ourselves in it was neither arrogant nor dim to make a decision about singers, it was essential that we did so otherwise we would have lost much of what we now know to be important.
Of course we made mistakes, that is a calculated risk; but I believe we made far less mistakes than if we had just left the machine running then found we were out of tape or money or time, or our singers had moved on or died (all of these have happened at one time or another).
Santa was quite right to say we have to apply a filter to what we do - it would be great if we hadn't - in an ideal world.........
I had no respect whatever for Peter Kennedy, but I would uphold his right to decide not to record any singer, just as I would uphold Mike Yates' right to do the opposite.
Cap'n,
I've lost count of how many times you have started or been involved in threads questioning (and in my opinion sometimes undermining) the value of traditional singers and their contribution (or even their existence), stating your preferences between traditional and revival singers, whether we've done more for them than they have for us, whether they've learned 'performance techniques in the clubs, whether they should be grateful for our giving them the opportunity to sing at our clubs.... et al. At no time during our discussions have I detected that you have grasped the simple fact that without their contribution we would not be here discussing or singing or playing traditional songs or music.
If your judgment is based on their "ability" as you state it is - you've missed the point.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 04:44 AM

Like Jim, I believe this is not a thread to argue the merits of Peter Kennedy - but you started it (as has been pointed out by a false assumption)by saying he made value judgements about traditional singers BEFORE recording them or in Bob Blake's case not recording them.

But as far as I am aware there is very little controversy about Peter Kennedy's own field work - virtually all the condemnations of PK have been what he did with the material after he recorded it, and how he treated his informants.

So whether you knew it or not, by suggesting he made value-judgements about singers before recording them or of course not recording them, you are raising an interesting question. So if you could provide some examples where he did this I am sure those interested in the history of field-work in the 1950's by Peter and those with whom he worked would be grateful to hear the results of your researches.

Alternatively of course you could admit you are talking twaddle.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 08:43 AM

Dick Greenhaus,I agree with you.
As far as I know he only recorded two revivalist singers/groups Shirley Collins ,and the Mcewan brothers,He recorded a vast amount of traditional singers[hundreds],he clearly made a value judgement that traditional singers, were more important than revival singers,when he decided who should be recorded.
no Jim I have not missed the point,as far as I am concerned I judge traditional singers and singers of traditional songs,on their ability as singers.
Let us look at the irish traditional instrumental scene.Padraig O Keefe held in high regard Sean Maguire,Sean Maguire was not a completely typical traditional player[someone who by definition learns by the oral process] ,he also played classical music and could read music,as could Seamus Ennis,So they learned music, both by the oral process and by reading music.
Okeefe like most musicians made his value judgement,on the players ability not on the process of how they learned the song.,why should collectors not make the same value judgements about singers of songs.
Dick Greenhaus[record everything and sort it out afterwards]makes an excellent point.
Ian C,made a good point when he likened folksong collectors to butterfly collectors.meanwhile the singers and musicians keep the songs alive,while the collectors are busy making selective judgements according to categorys.
Folkie Dave you are an expert on talking twaddle,I am still waiting for an apology on the subject OF Glor NaGael, organising music competitions,as I said, I have judged two such competitions,you accused me of talking nonsense,and that they didnt run music competitons,come over to Ireland and see for yourself.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 08:45 AM

Should read[on the process of how they learned the tune]


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 09:19 AM

First of all Dick and Jim are both right in context. Josiah Combs wrote in 1924 that you should collect everything.

I am told that Tom Munnelly nearly missed a Child Ballad from singer because the singer called it "The Old Armchair" and Tom thought the singer was talking about "Grannies Old Armchair. The singer wasn't!!

At the same time Dick G. has to remember that modern day collectors do have restrictions, and sometimes have to make judgements.

So here we go again Cap'n.

Peter Kennedy did the vast bulk of his field work between 1953 and 1958 when he was working as a field worker for the BBC. Which people did he make judgements about whether they were "traditional" or "revival" singers? You wrongly named Bob Blake as one of them, now name some more.

That is what the thread is about Captain - you should know - you started it.....


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 09:27 AM

Sorry - there was no reason to italicise that.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 10:37 AM

Peter Kennedy collected 99 .9 per cent from traditional singers not revivalists,was that a coincidence.,
The very fact that he decided to collect from them and not revivalists was a value judgement.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 11:26 AM

Captain - he was employed to record traditional singers. That's what he did. To say he was making value judgements is simply round sherical objects.

OK, name the revival singers he ought to have recorded between 1953 and 1958 and whom he decided not to record.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,guest - mark d
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 12:58 PM

er, I'm a bit confused what this thread is about, is it about song collectors in general (including people like Sharp, Hammond, etc.), or is it restricted to audio recording collectors, or is it just about Peter Kennedy collecting? If it's about what the thread title says ("how important is the label traditional singer?"), then it could relate to a much wider context than just song collecting, and begs the question, "how important in what context?"

As I say, I'm a bit confused, especially as the thread seems to begin in mid sentence with "at the end of the day" as if it's following on from something else... have I missed something here?

If the point of "song collecting" was to make a permanent record of traditional music so that if the song dies out in the oral tradition it is not lost completely (as seems to have happened with so many songs collected by Sharp etc. by the time collectors went out with tape recorders 50-odd years later), then there's no point collecting from a "revivalist" singer who has learned songs from manuscript or recordings, because the songs have already been collected previously. In this sense, it doesn't matter how "good" the singer is, as long as you "collect" the song.

If, however, the point of recording (and now I'm not talking about "collecting" specifically) a song, or songs, is to make available recordings of traditional songs for people to listen to, and thus in some sense to keep them going, then it doesn't seem to matter if the singer is termed "traditionalist" or "revivalist" and whether they are "good" or not becomes more important.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 01:27 PM

There have been some interesting points made in this thread,which is about the importance of the label, traditional singer.
In this particular case/Kennedy,it was his employers who made the value judgements.
however collectors do make value judgements as to what they should or should not collect,and the fact that none of them apart from MikeYates[by mistake]collected a revival singer,proves that they thought it [the traditional label]important.
As there are fewer and fewer traditional singers collected,and the process of passing on material changes with technology.I believe these labels will become less important,.
If for example I learned a tune/song from Roscoe Holcomb from you tube,and I learned it orally via the computer, does that make me a traditional musician /singer ,as far as I am concerned I dont care ,all I want to do is sing the song/or play the tune.
That is what is important, playing and singing the music,Keeping the music alive.
SeamusKennedy,raised an interesting point,when a source singer dies do the revivalists in turn become source singers.
In my opinion they do,if a person teaches someone a traditional or any other song, orally ,that person whether they are a revivalist or whatever has become the source singer,not that I would care two figs about the label,because my concern is passing on and sharing music not categorisation.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 01:39 PM

"no Jim I have not missed the point,as far as I am concerned I judge traditional singers and singers of traditional songs,on their ability as
singers
Cap'n
Many (most) of the traditional singers who were recorded were elderly. Most of them were past their best as singers, had difficulty holding tunes, forgot words, lacked breath control or simply had not sung for many years (a couple of singers we met had not sung for 50 years).
One of the singers here in Clare had a stunning repertoire, but sang his songs through a throat cancer.
Would you care to rethink your answer?
I repeat, you've missed the point.
Mark d,
You haven't missed the point, but have summed it up rather succinctly
Most collectors collect for archiving - some (Mike Yates for example) collect to make records, though he has concentrated on traditional singers.
I think you'll find that many revival singers would object to their singing being passed around generally (see bloggers thread).
The term 'collecting' in my experience in connection with folk song is used to refer to recording traditional singers, not revivalists.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 05:29 PM

Jim,
Traditional singers such as Bob Lewis,FredJordan[30 years old],Jeff Wesley,Bob and Ron Copper, George Spicer,Gordon Hall,Harry Cox[ 47 Years old] ,Geoff Ling 57 years old,CyrilPoacher 63,Packie Byrne[47] Jack Elliot [birtley]62 years old,Bob Roberts[50yearsold]Sarah Makem 55 years old, Margaret Barry 35 yearsold , were not elderly when first recorded,none of these were past their best,lacked breath control or simply had not sung for years,In fact Jeff Wesley,and Bob Lewis are still singing very well.,
So I am not prepared to rethink my answer.
FolkieDave, Peter Kennedy was busy recording before 1953,he recorded Margaret Barry and FredJordan in 1952 and the Coppers in 1951.
Jim many revival singers object to their own Compositions being used without their permission[see bloggers thread],this has absoloutely nothing to do with traditional songs,and is another one of your Red herrings,designed to muddy the waters,and add confusion to the debate.
your last line sums up my point,collectors go out and collect traditional singers not revivalists,because they make a value judgement,revivalists are not worth collecting,not because they are not good enough,but because they dont have the right label.
Bob Blake [revivalist] was only collected because the collector Mike Yates,made a mistake.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 06:51 PM

Dick - your original point was that Peter Kennedy made value judgements about singers, refusing to record revival singers. That is the first item on the thread. Since then you have consistently refused to tell us whom he made judgements about.

Who did he refuse to record? Name one. And then tell us how you know. Clearly, as you tell us he recorded Maggie Barry and the Coppers - so you know all about his recording in those days. So you must know who he didn't record because they weren't traditional singers otherwise you would not have started this thread - would you?

Who were they?


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: stallion
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 08:09 PM

fffffff blow me, I can't believe this thread has legs, I really couldn't give two ffffff hoots, a singer is a singer is a singer and all are individual, maybe, are we saying that "traditional" is some sort of label for a tribute band and if you didn't sound like so and so it's not traditional? I think that is, in the words of my father, huey, for fffff pity's sake stop being so precious. It's the words and melodies wot count and the folk will make of it what they will. This isn't a pop at CB, I think perhaps we have the same point of vie. Oh and yes I am too bone idle to read the rest of the threads, had a bad night with my precious and I am full of beer which makes me either sleepy or belligerent, oh who gives a fffffig
night night


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Martin Ellison
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 08:59 PM

This forum bans (some) female protagonists for being overtly contentious. Please ban this silly captain person. He seems to bring out the worst in everyone with his obvious need for self-important confrontations. And his English/grammar/typing skills/coherence/argument diminishes as the whisky bottle empties.
Leave him alone - he might go away.
    This forum bans messages like this for being overtly contentious. By rights, I should have deleted this one; but the discussion has gone on, and deleting this message would leave too glaring a gap. Consider yourself cautioned, Martin Ellison.
    -Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 09:52 PM

Stallion, I think you've missed the point.

This discussion is not really about a singer who is a singer who is a singer (with apologies to Gertrude Stein). This is about recording and documentation of songs that exist "in the wild", so to speak, in the culture, passed along in tradition.

"Traditional singer" for this purpose really is not seen as an entertainer or an artist, the creator of a performance. "Traditional singer" here is someone who has, out of his experience in his traditional culture, the knowledge of a song (or variant) that otherwise may not be known, and which may be lost if not collected.

The recording of such a traditional singer may be good, bad, or indifferent as a performance. If it's good, well and good. But the point is to document the song, regardless of how well or badly done, in its native habitat, so that we know more about the flow of tradition, more about the songs in a culture, and so that the collected song is available in context for later singers rather than being lost.

Personally, I like the term "source singer" better than "traditional singer", even though that singer clearly isn't the ultimate source who originated the song but only the point through whom the song's path through the culture comes to the surface, as it were.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 02:48 AM

Cap'n,
There was a time when your postings were interesting , even stimulating, now they don't even provide enough interest to fill the gap between the Simpsons and The Bill.
You obviously have neither knowledge nor interest in the tradition and are happy in that state, so I'll leave you to get on with it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 03:56 AM

"Traditional singers such as Bob Lewis,FredJordan[30 years old],Jeff Wesley,Bob and Ron Copper, George Spicer,Gordon Hall,Harry Cox[ 47 Years old] ,Geoff Ling 57 years old,CyrilPoacher 63,Packie Byrne[47] Jack Elliot [birtley]62 years old,Bob Roberts[50yearsold]Sarah Makem 55 years old, Margaret Barry 35 yearsold , were not elderly when first recorded"

........and what do you regard as "elderly" may I ask??? Frankly many of the posters here sound elderly although may be no more than 40!!


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 04:41 AM

Captain,

I am going to follow Martin Ellison's advice.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 08:32 AM

I am very interested in the tradition,I have been singing traditional songs for over thirty years,on a professional basis.
I believe traditional music is not something that is preserved in aspic,but it is a form that is changing,I believe that revival singers have played an important part in promoting this music,as have traditional singers ,many of whom have benefited from the revival.
The revival has also benefited hugely from Traditional singers.
I personally just find labelling unecessary,I can for example listen to Roscoe Holcomb,or Jeannie Robertson or Martin Carthy and enjoy their music purely on its merit.
we are all entitled to different opinions,Martin Ellison has a different opinion to me,thats ok.Dick Mileshttp://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 09:17 AM

Dave,
Seconded,
Stallion,
Now listen carefully - stand still, take a deep breath and tell us slowly in your own words what you don't understand and we'll try and explain it to you - otherwise you are just going to have to go out into the garden and play with the other children.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,martin ellison
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 09:30 AM

Hi Dick
I'm OK with different opinions. What I don't like about threads of this sort is that it seems to bring out the worst in some people and develops into a slanging match and sometimes gets personal (probably guilty of this myself so I'll ban myself forthwith).

I'd love to see you and Jim Carroll in a boxing ring together.
Martin


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 11:01 AM

ok ,Martin,apology accepted.
I would like to make it clear to everyone,that I never make posts when I am under the influence of alcohol.
I hope that if this thread has not achieved anything other than people visiting the musical traditions website,and learning about English/Scottish/ Irish/ Welsh dance and song,and singers like Bob Blake,it will have achieved something positive.
Those people that know me personally, know that I am a dedicated musician /singer,that I have a knowledge and love of traditional music,that like many other professional revivalist singers,I regard singing traditional material as a privilege,and as a labour of love .
Ewan Maccoll once said to me, I admire you,I couldnt do what you do,gigging on your own and coping with the loneliness of life on the road,Ewans words mean more to me,than any of the crap that gets thrown at me on this site.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,martin ellison
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 11:31 AM

Sorry Dick the whisky thing was a bad joke, made even worse by the fact that I'd just got in from the pub . . . shame on me.
I know your commitment and respect your views and opinions - I'm just exasperated when these discussions turn into playground fights.
Serves me right, I'm just a lurker on this site, maybe I ought to join and have my opinions shot down in flames.
Martin


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 04:12 PM

I'm a bit confused. Peter Kennedy certainly did record revival singers and musicians. He also usually (but not always)identified whether the performer was revival or not.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 08:27 PM

As you've probably noticed above, I chose, for once, not to post in one of these threads. After all that's been inferred, I'm glad, and a bit proud, I've come down on the better side of valor.

Art


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Sep 07 - 10:30 PM

Yes, I said Peter Kennedy recorded revival singers,I gave two examples,I also said He collected 99.9percent from traditional singers,if I am wrong and Peter Kennedy collected from lots of revival singers ,I do not mind being corrected.
The collector Jim Carroll has said that in his own experience,,collecting folksongs refers to the recording of traditional singers not revivalists.
In retrospect I should have used the phrase most collectors instead of Peter Kennedy[I got the impression from the article that Kennedy had twigged Blake was a revivalist ]if Peter Kennedy decided NOT to record him on merit,I dont think much of his judgement,of course none of us know his reasons.
Collectors decide to record on the basis of whether a musician /Singer has a certain label, they clearly think that is important.I think that this approach in the future will need close examination.,
Does a collector stop collecting when there are no more Traditional singers?The Traditional songs will survive longer than the traditional singers,they will almost certainly change, and gain or lose verses,if these changes are to be recorded, do the collectors refuse to collect them because they are not being sung by traditional singers.


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Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Sep 07 - 04:47 PM

New songs will enter the tradition. That's a given.


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