mudcat.org: how important is the label traditional singer?
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


how important is the label traditional singer?

greg stephens 16 Sep 07 - 05:16 PM
Peace 16 Sep 07 - 05:21 PM
Uncle_DaveO 16 Sep 07 - 08:00 PM
Uncle_DaveO 16 Sep 07 - 08:09 PM
Peace 16 Sep 07 - 08:44 PM
Uncle_DaveO 16 Sep 07 - 10:02 PM
Barry Finn 17 Sep 07 - 01:26 AM
The Sandman 17 Sep 07 - 11:04 AM
Peace 17 Sep 07 - 11:06 AM
Barry Finn 17 Sep 07 - 12:04 PM
Arkie 17 Sep 07 - 01:02 PM
The Sandman 18 Sep 07 - 04:19 AM
The Sandman 18 Sep 07 - 04:26 AM
Uncle_DaveO 18 Sep 07 - 02:20 PM
Tootler 18 Sep 07 - 07:30 PM
Bryn Pugh 19 Sep 07 - 04:34 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Sep 07 - 05:09 AM
The Sandman 19 Sep 07 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Sep 07 - 11:52 AM
Folkiedave 19 Sep 07 - 01:01 PM
The Sandman 19 Sep 07 - 01:55 PM
Folkiedave 23 Sep 07 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 24 Sep 07 - 03:59 PM
The Sandman 24 Sep 07 - 04:51 PM
The Sandman 24 Sep 07 - 05:00 PM
Folkiedave 24 Sep 07 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 24 Sep 07 - 07:34 PM
dick greenhaus 24 Sep 07 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 25 Sep 07 - 02:58 AM
The Sandman 25 Sep 07 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 25 Sep 07 - 02:44 PM
The Sandman 25 Sep 07 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 25 Sep 07 - 05:15 PM
GUEST 26 Sep 07 - 03:10 AM
The Sandman 26 Sep 07 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 27 Sep 07 - 01:30 AM
The Sandman 27 Sep 07 - 06:11 AM
The Sandman 27 Sep 07 - 06:38 AM
Bryn Pugh 27 Sep 07 - 08:45 AM
Bryn Pugh 27 Sep 07 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,Wendy 27 Sep 07 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 27 Sep 07 - 08:59 AM
The Sandman 27 Sep 07 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 27 Sep 07 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 27 Sep 07 - 03:22 PM
The Sandman 27 Sep 07 - 04:30 PM
The Sandman 27 Sep 07 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 27 Sep 07 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 28 Sep 07 - 03:45 AM
Folkiedave 28 Sep 07 - 06:15 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Sep 07 - 05:16 PM

That statement, of course, makes the assumption that "the tradition" still exists.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Sep 07 - 05:21 PM

Of course.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Sep 07 - 08:00 PM

"Whether 'the tradition' still exists"?

Well, I suppose in a sense I am part of "the tradition", and a traditional singer, and if so the tradition exists, for whatever it may be worth.

The foregoing paragraph, if you look at it, is pretty weak (as you'll see below), but still true as far as it goes.

I am 76, and I know and sometimes sing a song I learned from my stepfather as a kid, before I got snared by Burl Ives in my teens and I suppose became a revivalist from then on. My stepfather didn't seem to know where the song came from ("learned it from somebody, years ago"), and I certainly don't. It's a comic song, to the tune of "The Wearin' of the Green." It doesn't SEEM a commercial type song, so I consider it, at least, to be a part of the folk tradition.

No one has "collected" it from me, as far as I'm aware, so I'm a traditional singer, or a potential source singer, to the extent of one song. So "the tradition" lives on, Greg!

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Sep 07 - 08:09 PM

I realized just now that the foregoing is not QUITE true in all details. While no one has "collected" it from me, or recorded my singing of it, I posted in in the DT, words to be found here

But that, of course, doesn't change the basic argument of my prior post.

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Sep 07 - 08:44 PM

"No one has "collected" it from me, as far as I'm aware, so I'm a traditional singer, or a potential source singer, to the extent of one song."

You are an infinity more than that, Dave.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Sep 07 - 10:02 PM

No, Peace, as to all the other songs I sing I'm either a revivalist or a singer-songwriter. I either learned them from records (remember records?) or LPs (remember LPs?) or CDs, or from people who learned them from those sources. Or I've written a few along the way. "I Was Born in Cincinnati" is the only one I know and sing that came to me in a real, honest-to-God aural traditional way, with the indications that it "lived" in the "folk" and was passed down.

Unless you want to count such folk songs as Rock-a-Bye Baby and its ilk. If you want to count those, then there's no question that "the tradition" still exists, making Greg Stephens' assumption no assumption at all.

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 01:26 AM

I've learned (collected) a few sea songs from an old Cape Horner, we traded tapes back & forth after first getting to know each other in the late 70's on the island of Maui. He's dead, been dead for a while now & I'm left here singing his songs. I'm not sure what I am now, help!

Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 11:04 AM

Barry,you are someone who enjoys singing,if you are a traditional singer or a singer of traditional songs,and you get pleasure and give other people pleasure,surely that is what is important.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 11:06 AM

So does a songwriter have to be dead to be considered traditional?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 12:04 PM

Thank goodness


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Arkie
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 01:02 PM

This seems to be a never ending argument but the main question is whether musical categories are important.   For the singer or musician what is important is the song or tune.   They hear something they like, they learn it, they play it, other people enjoy it, may also learn it, etc. and the music has served its purpose. It has been enjoyed, has inspired, has helped people think, has helped people forget, has made them laugh and fulfilled a need in people as music can do so well.   For the historian or cultural interpreter certain categories such as "traditional singer' become more important. Categories help to put cultural history in perspective. Sometimes the singer is also an interpreter who has formal, informal, or no credentials at all as a folklorist or historical interpreter. And there are those who have used these categories as marketing tools, but that was not the scholarly intent.   When a person's primary interest is music, the merit of the singer is a matter of importance.   If the person is a cultural interpreter, the material being transmitted is important, but so is the source and the cultural envirionment of the singer and the song.

As for the music it changes, moves from one generation to another by whatever means is currently accessable and anyone who sings the song is a carrier and it does not matter whether the carrier is traditional, revivalist, or whatever. What is important that the song is passed along. The cultural interpreter helps us to remember those who carried the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:19 AM

Mike Yates using a different perspective, to the one most collectors use ,the one some singers like myself might use.
BobLewis, TheCoppers and GeorgeBelton,all regarded Bob Blake as their equal.
There is an article on Bob Lewis at The Musical Traditions Site where he touches on this subject of the term Traditional singer.,The Article is by Vic Smith.
It is a pity that a collector has to wait till they have committed a mistake[the collecting of revivalist singer Bob Blake],before they can admit publicly,that other traditional singers dont necessarily take the same viewpoint as do some collectors on the above mentioned subject.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:26 AM

hereis the quote from Bob Lewis,Please read the whole article which is at the musical traditions site,the article is by Vic Smith
There's a sort of artificial idea, to my mind, whether it's come about from the BBC or from the EFDSS or whatever it was; that was this very rigid idea of who was and who wasn't a traditional singer. Well, if you come to it through their interpretation of it, then I'm not a traditional singer. And anybody that sung professionally or for any sort of money would be considered so. Or anybody that dressed up and did any sort of turn as a music hall or entertainment would have ever fitted into that category. Why on earth they got themselves into this straightjacket sort of thinking, I don't know. As a result, I suspect that they wrote off or dismissed quite a lot of really good singers, who they didn't bother to get to know when they weren't doing their turn.
Dick Miles


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 02:20 PM

That idea in the quote in the Cap'ns last post sounds to me very like the attitude the International Olympic Committee and other sports organizations used to take, as to who was to be considered an amateur athlete.

Thus a wonderful athlete would be denied the right to participate in high level athletics, like the Olympics, because he played some semipro baseball one summer when he was in college, years ago.

Sound familiar?

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 07:30 PM

Here is a link to the article referred to by the Cap'n.

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/b_lewis.htm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 04:34 AM

Thread-creep or not, I am with Martin Ellison and FolkieDave.

I hold myself a friend of Jim Carroll, albeit at a 40-year remove. Which is not the same as saying that I agree or empathise with everything he says, or every view he holds - I don't.

That said - I have reached the stage where, if I enter a thread which by its title looks marginally interesting ; and the first poster is Captain Birdseye (whom I have never met, as far as I am aware) - I'm out.

Life's too short.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 05:09 AM

"As a result, I suspect that they wrote off or dismissed quite a lot of really good singers,..."

Yep! The BBC really blew it in the 50s, didn't they? After all they failed to collect from such "really good singers" as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Louie Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald etc., etc. It's a damned good job that several major record labels did the job for them, isn't it?

If you don't have boundaries or categories, Cap'n, life has a tendency to become as absurd as this thread!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 07:44 AM

Shimrod,
I dont think that is what Bob Lewis meant at all.
Boundaries will always have grey areas.
In the world of folk song,for some people this includes music hallsong.
I think Bob was referring to music hall songs,not to your examples.
I do accept that sometimes categorisation is unavoidable,but the cateogory referred to here,has in the opinion of Bob Lewis
meant that fine singers have been missed.I agree with him.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 11:52 AM

Cap'n,

I am merely extrapolating your argument that singers should only be judged on merit, and not be subject to categorisation, to its logical (and rather silly) conclusion.

The converse of your argument is that if the BBC collectors had only concentrated on "really good singers" they would also have missed a lot of "really good" songs. This is because, with the best will in the world, several of the singers that they collected from were not "really good singers" but sometimes had "really good" songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 01:01 PM

You are wasting your time Shimrod - this has been pointed out to Dick on a number of occasions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 01:55 PM

You have a good point there, Shinrod.
However we do know definitely that Bob Blake would not have been recorded, had it been known that he was not a traditional singer,and a fine singer, would have been missed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 05:20 PM

However we do know definitely that Bob Blake would not have been recorded, had it been known that he was not a traditional singer,and a fine singer, would have been missed.

How do we know that Dick? Please explain.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 03:59 PM

Nice quote here from the notes to the Caedmon/Topic Folksongs of Britain series which sums up my attitude to traditional singers nicely
"Here then are the ancient ballads of Britain, recorded from the lips of traditional singers in all parts of the islands, singing in the ways of their forefathers. Some of the performers have fine voices; others have voices that are old or hoarse. But all possess the true ballad art in some respect - the way of spinning the story and the poem together, not with the crude drama of the concert singer, but with the subtle nuance and under¬statement that is fitting to ballad art. The past speaks through their lips, but if you listen with attention you will discover fantasy patterns important to the present as well."
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 04:51 PM

Some would argue that Revival singers like Ewan MacColl and Tony Rose had that ability too.
The Revival singer Louis Killen also possesses the true ballad art,so in my opinion does the Revival singer Martin Carthy.
It is in my opinion something that is not a prerogative to traditional singers,but something the above mentioned Revival singers possess as well.Dick Miles


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 05:00 PM

Folkie Dave.
Jim Carroll,a collector has stated elsewhere,that collectors collect and record songs from traditional singers.
Bob Blake was recorded because MikeYates,thought he was a traditional singer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 07:01 PM

SDo let me get this right Dick. You say:

Bob Blake was recorded because MikeYates,thought he was a traditional singer.

So why was Tony Rose recorded? So why was Louis Killen recorded?

Did someone think they were all traditional singers and so recorded them? The logic of what you say escapes me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 07:34 PM

Everyone that I now know (100% of who I know) are now INDEPENDENTS.

They look with disdain on those who have signed with labels.

They WANT the profits....they can promote, and have a following not equal to some of the 1960's big names but they can record, play, organize tours.....and NO ONE is telling them what to do.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 07:56 PM

Rereading these postings, I'm struck by the implicit assumption that there's a single, universally-shared motive for collecting. I'd like to suggest that that's simply not the case. I know of several collectors who are trying to find and record music as a means of helping to understand a community's sub-culture--and trad, pop, musichall etc. are all part of this. Others are seeking good singers in some genre or another. And others are just recording what they like to listen to later.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 02:58 AM

Dick Greenhaus's summation is spot-on.
Pat and I record traditional singers because we wish to try and understand the tradition, therefore we go to those who we believe to have the information we require. There are a whole raft of reasons to collect and it is up to the individual collector (and not a professional singer making a living out of the music) to judge where we should work and who we should record.
Incidentally Cap'n, if you are going to quote me, please try to do so in context - I know it's difficult, but it would be appreciated.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 08:10 AM

Yes, Jim and like Bob Lewis,or anybody else, I am allowed to make criticism .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 02:44 PM

Cap'n,
I've decided to take a leaf or so from your book on your insistence that:
a. Only singers had the right to discuss singing.
b. You judged the significance of traditional singers by their ability.
In future, perhaps you should tell us your own personal experience in such activities as collecting before you venture an opinion.
Maybe you should audition before we give any credence to your views on singing.
Your irritating habit of hauling in (usually mediocre) revival singers whenever source singers are being discussed automatically rules you out of having a say in that topic.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 03:47 PM

Jim Carroll,are you saying that Ewan Maccoll,TonyRose,MartinCarthy are Mediocre,I beg to differ,.Dick Miles


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 05:15 PM

No, not all of them (two maybe).
I am saying they have nothing to do with a discussion on traditional singers - unless you are saying that's what they are, in which case, I beg to differ.
Now about that audition......
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 03:10 AM

If anybody with any knowledge of traditional singers is still the slightest bit interested in this Alice in Wonderland thread, I have a somewhat off-topic question.
I am working on the notes of the 'Folksongs of Britain' set of recordings released in the early 1960s (Lomax, Kennedy, Bob Copper, Sean O'Boyle etc.) and have come across a reference to a proposed parallel series of American albums.
Does anybody know if they were ever made?
I have some Lib. of Cong. albums of field recordings: (Charles Seeger's Barbara Allen, Korson's Mining Songs, Bronson's Ballads, Botkin, Lomax, etc.) but nothing as comprehensive as the F.S.B. series.
Any info. would be much appreciated.
Thanks,
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 06:40 AM

Jim, what I am saying is that the description of traditional singers you like so much could ,be used to describe certain revival singers.
would it in your opinion, be suitable to describe Ewan Maccoll?
Personally I think it would,I also think[though you clearly think differently]that it would aptly describe Tony Rose, Louis Killen ,Martin Carthy.
Dick Miles.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 01:30 AM

Cap'n,
(Promised myself I wouldn't do this....)
From the time I have been involved with this forum I couldn't help but notice that you have never lost an opportunity to have a pop at traditional singers.
Way back it was claims that you were entitled to call yourself a traditional singer – you seem to have retreated from that stance.
Later it was how beholden traditional singers were to us revivalists for giving them a place to sing. When it was pointed out that the vast majority of traditional singers had never seen the inside of a folk club you (reluctantly) back-pedalled from that one.
At one time you were claiming that traditional singers should be open to the same level of criticism as revival singers are.
Then it was how well they were treated at the clubs.
Then again, it was how we should only judge their contribution if they were good singers.
Now it's how important is the description 'traditional singer'.
On a number of occasions, when traditional singers have been mentioned, you have blundered in with your own list of your own revival favourites in order, apparently, to diminish their contribution.
I quoted Lomax's summation of traditional singers as follows (this time in full):
"Here then are the ancient ballads of Britain, recorded from the lips of traditional singers in all parts of the islands, singing in the ways of their forefathers. Some of the performers have fine voices; others have voices that are old or hoarse. But all possess the true ballad art in some respect - the way of spinning the story and the poem together, not with the crude drama of the concert singer, but with the subtle nuance and understatement that is fitting to ballad art. The past speaks through their lips, but if you listen with attention you will discover fantasy patterns important to the present as well".
Your reaction – to compare them with seasoned revival performers well used to singing before an audience of strangers.
As well as your constant sniping at our source singers, you have persistently attempted to rubbish the definition of folk song (without, I couldn't help noticing, offering your own alternative).
Is it me being over-sensitive or do I detect a pattern here? I think I take your point – you don't like traditional singers, or, at the very least, you don't recognise the fact that the folk-song revival has been built on the material they have been generous enough to pass on to us. You appear not to have the faintest clue as to what the tradition is and how it works, yet you go on endlessly repeating the same arguments again and again (somewhat like your near-namesake Cap'n Flint – Long John Silver's Parrot).
It has been my experience that nearly all the revival singers I have met who sing traditional songs have been fulsome in their praise of source singers and more than happy to recognise their contribution to our pleasure and our knowledge; this includes all the singers you mentioned. Whatever I might think of his singing, I have to take my hat off to Martin Carthy's constantly referring to his sources and telling his audiences to go and listen to them (I assume you are aware that he was a friend and great admirer of Walter Pardon).
To my recollection you are the only singer I know of who consistently knocks traditional singers and who is apparently incapable of acknowledging the debt you owe to the people who have provided you with much of the raw material by which you make your living.
It seems to me that if you don't like, them the very least and decent thing you can do is to leave them alone to rest in peace.
As far as I'm concerned, these are the people who have filled most of my life with songs to sing and to listen to – and I hope that will continue to be the case to the end of it.
Never having heard you sing, I don't know how good a singer you are; I strongly suspect from your abysmal, oft-displayed ignorance of the tradition and its carriers, that you won't ring too many of my bells. However, should the opportunity come my way, taking a leaf from your own book, I will feel totally at liberty to give as free and honest and open an opinion of you as a performer as I am capable of.
In the meantime, I leave you with MacColl's summing up of the tradition at the end of what I regard to have been the best series of programmes on folk song ever - The Song Carriers:
"Well, there they are; the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making; some were undoubtedly born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvelous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement; others are as brash as a cup-final crowd.
They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets of the plough-stilts and the hand-loom.
They are tender, harsh, passionate, ironical, simple, profound; as varied indeed as the landscape of this island.
We are all indebted to the Harry Coxs and Phil Tanners, to Colm Keane and Maggie McDonagh, to Belle Stewart and Jessie Murray and all the sweet and raucous unknown singers who have helped to carry our peoples' songs across the centuries".
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 06:11 AM

You havent answerd my question re MacColl.
The rest of your diatribe is laughable and simply not true and not worth wasting any time on.
Please answer my question about MacColl.
In my opinion he was a good singer,a good interpreter of traditional songs and fits the description of the Caedmon/Topic quote.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 06:38 AM

You have libelled me,
To my recollection you are the only singer I know of who consistently knocks traditional singers and who is apparently incapable of acknowledging the debt you owe to the people who have provided you with much of the raw material by which you make your living.
please provide evidence,that I have knocked traditional singers.
I have not.
I do acknowledge the debt,reread my posts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 08:45 AM

Cap'n -

Fair Comment on a matter of Public Interest is an absolute defence to defamation (the alleged Libel on you)

The authority is Lyon - v - Daily Telegraph [1943] 1 KB 746, per Scott LJ at 753.

This defence applies to expressions of opinion, not ststements of fact.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 08:46 AM

or even statements of fact.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Wendy
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 08:53 AM

Jim, Cap'n ... please stop! The thread asked 'how important is the label 'traditional singer', not 'Are source singers more important than revival ones'. I am a person who came to folk music through folk rock initially (Steeleye, Fairport etc) then, when my imagination had been fired and I wanted to learn more, I sought out the clubs and revival singers, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Maddy Prior etc. As the years have progressed, so has my understanding of the legacy of the music and so I have become far more interested in the 'source' singers and the work of collectors. As with many complex and wonderful things in life, folk music is a subject which is revealed to be more immense and unfathomable the more you discover about it in my experience!

For someone like me, the label 'Traditional' IS important, but not suffiently specific. 'Source singer' and 'Singer of traditional songs' may do the job better - for me, at least, it is important to know whether a person's repertoire has been handed down in the old fashioned way or learned for the purpose of entertainment in the revival. But the real trouble is that the edges are too blurred to make the distinction in every case (which I think is what Dick is trying to suggest). Many of our 'source singers' had songs in their repertoire which were the equivalent of the chart hits of their day. I am sure they knew the difference between the songs that had been in their family for generations and the song they heard at the local musical hall, but they were happy to sing both if the song itself appealed. Similarly, many of our revival singers have songs that their parents or grandparents sung, passed down in the old fashioned way, but because modern society makes more exacting demands in therms of the entertainment factor of performance, we can be guilty of dismissing these contributions to the tradition, assuming them to be made for commercial reasons.

If I see the word 'traditional' in the publicity of a performer utherwise unknown to me, I am far more likely to attend the event than if the contemporary aspects of a persons repertoire are stressed. Many revival singers are wonderful to listen to. They have great respect for the tradition, have extensive knowledge of the history of the songs they sing and are able to express the story behind the song in an absorbing and enlightening way. In addition they are usually competant to hold the tune and remember the words, which makes the listening pleasurable as well as enlightening. The same can be said of many of the performances & recordings of source singers of course. I am not prepared to say which is better. I can listen to someone like Sheila Stewart describing how she learned her mother's songs - the demands that were made on her, the attention to detail, the almost reverant way the songs were handled - and feel that I have no right to sing because I can never have that history. But then I can also listen to some mediocre folk/rock ensemble murdering a ballad and think 'thank god for the revival singers who are doing their best to look after our legacy'. But at least if the word 'traditional' is there, then there is a good chance that there will some merit in the performance.

I can't help but wonder ... if the source singers that are so respected were born into today's world, would they not be learning and singing songs in the same way as our revival singers? We are (sadly) unable to stop modern progress and I'm not sure we can establish how Walter Pardon or Harry Cox etc would seem if they were young men now.

For my money Dick makes a damn good job of singing traditional songs and is always careful to acknowledge his sources and the history of the songs. Many people do worse. And Jim's work over the last few decades is invalulable and unique and I greatly respect his knowledge of the tradition. You are both fighting the corner for our great legacy of traditional music. You have a common enemy in this throwaway modern world of lowest common denominator entertainment and five second attention spans. Fight that, not each other. please!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 08:59 AM

Jim, I don't remember the Captain denigrating traditional singers either generally or specifically on this or the other related threads. I know for a fact he has a great respect for them. What he's arguing, I think (and here I disagree with him) is that the category "traditional singer" is so fuzzy about the edges that it has little or no value, and that since traditional singing as once defined has now been so eroded by urbanisation and mass entertainment that it now exists only in isolated pockets, we should now regard singers from the 'folk revival' as the only contenders for the title "traditional". Personally I'm certain we still need some linguistic means of differentiating between Kate Rusby and Lizzie Higgins, or Jim Moray and Sam Larner - singers who (whatever their respective merits) are qualitatively different in character.

As for Bob Lewis, there is certainly a reluctance in some circles not unknown to this forum about using the term "traditional singer" to describe him. Personally I think he's one of the best we have left. But if indeed he's been frowned upon for having once worn a smock and done the occasional 'turn', the powers that be in EFDSS at least seem to have modified their stance. The most recent issue of the Folk Music Journal - an academic publication devoted to the tradition - bears on its cover a photo of Albert Richardson, the 'Singing Sexton of Burwash', who not only wore a smock and kerchief and was known for 'doing a turn' but also made commercial recordings in 1928. None of this seems to have disqualified him.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 10:21 AM

Bob Blake sang unaccompanied,and stylistically was not different from his contemporary Sussex traditional singers.
I take BrianPeters,and guest Wendys comments on board,and to some extent agree with them[reKate Rusby],but Bob Blake is an example of a grey areas,that to me exposes the unsatisfactory nature of the label traditional singer.
Kate Rusby,Does bring young people into traditional music, a small percentage of whom ,go on to discover source singers,as some of the people did, who were introduced by Fairport.
In Ireland Comhaltas [amongst others] does this.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 03:08 PM

Wendy/Brian,
Please accept my apologies - I really didn't want this.
I have come to the conclusion that Dick and I have nothing to say to each other; I said so at the beginning of this thread and have made efforts throughout to avoid any direct response to him. This does not mean I am not going to participate in a subject which interests me.
Re-reading past relevant threads, I see no reason to withdraw anything in my last (somewhat overheated) posting; my impression of the Cap'n's attitude remains as described.
I suggest we agree to differ and leave it at that.
Cap'n:
last answer to your request:
The Caedmon quote opens:
"Here then are the ancient ballads of Britain, recorded from the lips of traditional singers in all parts of the islands, singing in the ways of their forefathers".
This did not apply to MacColl, nor to any of the others mentioned.
One of the comments persistently made about MacColl's singing was that he did not sound like any known traditional singer, nor do any of the others mentioned by you. As far as MacColl's singing is concerned this is a fact, he ever tried to. His aim was to make the traditional repertoire acceptable to a modern audience. Whether he succeeded or not is a matter of discussion - it worked for me.
The quote goes on:
"But all possess the true ballad art in some respect - the way of spinning the story and the poem together, not with the crude drama of the concert singer, but with the subtle nuance and understatement that is fitting to ballad art."
This bit, as far as I'm concerned, certainly can be applied to MacColl's singing, but not to the other singers cited by you, (Martin Carthy's nor Tony Rose's) (a matter of opinion).
The quote describes perfectly the unique role of the traditional singer; MacColl, Carthy and Rose are/were all revivalists and, to my knowledge, never claimed otherwise.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 03:22 PM

"...Bob Blake is an example of a grey areas,that to me exposes the unsatisfactory nature of the label traditional singer."

Years ago a mate of mine 'discovered' religion and became a bit obsessed by it. He invited a religious fundamentalist type, who claimed to be able to 'disprove' the Theory of Evolution, to address the members of our social circle (well, we were all a bit young and stupid at the time!). This bloke then proceeded to list a handful of anomalies and exceptions in the 'scientific literature' and then claimed that the existence of said anomalies and exceptions 'proved' that the Theory of Evolution must be false and hence the Biblical account of Creation must be true (the fact that the anomalies and exceptions appeared to have been uncovered by the 'University of Hicksville Dept. of Biblical Studies' was, in this particular case, a bit of a give-away...)!

Cap'n, the existence of a few anomalies and exceptions doesn't 'prove' or 'disprove' anything. And remember Mr Yate's wise words, which you yourself quoted at the beginning of this thread:

"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."

Could have been written for you, that, Cap'n!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 04:30 PM

Shimrod,
Because I find it unsatisfactory,it does not follow that I want a world where every thought and desire can be seen in terms of black and white.
Jim Carroll,you have consistently insulted me on this forum, you have accused me of denigrating traditional singers,which I have not,.
Furthermore you dont even have the good manners to apologise.
It appears I am not the first person to receive the unpleasant side of your tongue, for daring to have a different opinion to you.
I have read extensively many of the articles at Musical Traditions,[an excellent site]including the review of Around the Hills of Clare,and I have read your subsequent hostile letters[enthusiasms no 46].
We should be able to discuss matters on this forum,and have differences of opinion, without you calling me a Philistine,comparing me to a dozy wasp,and being a pain in the arse,Denigrating traditional singers [etc].


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 04:41 PM

So at last you agree,that arevivalist singer[ Maccoll] can share some of the same attributes as a traditional singer.
quote from your last post
[[But all possess the true ballad art in some respect - the way of spinning the story and the poem together, not with the crude drama of the concert singer, but with the subtle nuance and understatement that is fitting to ballad art."
This bit, as far as I'm concerned, certainly can be applied to MacColl's singing.]]
Dick Miles


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 06:32 PM

Any chance of you considering the bit in my last post about anomalies and exceptions not 'proving' anything, Cap'n?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 03:45 AM

To my mind, one of the finest revival singers in Ireland today is Len Graham of Antrim.
I believe he gained this position through his contact with traditional singers, his collecting work and his teaming up, first with Joe Holmes, then with singer/storyteller John Campbell.
More often than not traditional singers, no matter what stage in life they have reached, will have retained the nuances of singing, the ability to climb inside a song and make it their own, to re-live it every time they sing it. Listen to Sam Larner or Phil Tanner to hear this at its best. For me, each time they perform (on disc) it is like hearing the song for the first time. What comes across is the complete and utter commitment to the song and the singer's belief in it.
This also can happen for me with singers who are not as skillful as those above. I am re-listening to the Folk Songs of Britain series at present and again and again I am impressed with the singers' ability to move me, to make me become emotionally involved in the song. This can happen when the singers breath control has gone, when the voice is cracked, when much of the technique is reduced.
It is, more often than not, (except in a handful of cases) what I miss from revival singers.
Quite often I am impressed by a revival singer's technical ability, skill at decoration, breath control, but I come away without knowing what they FEEL about the song. This, for me, is the essence of traditional song - take that away and you have musical wallpaper.
There's a wonderful example of this aspect of music in the jazz film 'Round Midnight' when the young musician tries to impress the veteran with his ability and is told "Your notes are fine, but where's your story?"
It was this aspect that was central to the work MacColl did with The Critics group - the primary question at the workshops was always "did the song move you".
MacColl's whole approach to his singing was based on this. His ability to move his audience wasn't "handed down from his ancestors", but was worked for; as I said, it worked for me in his singing.
Jim Carroll
PS For those interested in the 'Around The Hills of Clare' dispute, I am more than happy that people should go back to the Musical Traditions correspondence which, for me, is a prime example of the abuse and denigration of a group of traditional singers, but please read all of it, including the relevant threads on Mudcat, and remember that the editor chose to censor the discussion when his reviewers were coming off worst.
Bring it up in this thread was, I thought, a somewhat nasty way of tryng to score points, but it takes all sorts......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:15 AM

Phil Tanner is still one of the best singers I have heard.

Sometimes you can get this feeling of a singer being "inside" a song when they are singing in a different language, I remember hearing a Scots Gaelic singer enthralling an audience not one of whom spoke gaelic as far as I knew. And then there was Joe Heaney. And one I have quoted elsewhere on Mudcat - being privileged to hear (and stood next to) four quite old Bulgarian women singing harmonies in quarter tones (at least I think that was what they were doing) which was totally spine tingling. We were waiting for lunch and they were passing the time away.

And that's a hundred.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 26 May 3:38 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.