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Why folk clubs are dying

Jim Carroll 18 Jan 09 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Jan 09 - 06:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 09 - 11:06 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 09 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Jan 09 - 12:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 09 - 12:18 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 12:28 PM
wyrdolafr 18 Jan 09 - 12:34 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 09 - 12:43 PM
VirginiaTam 18 Jan 09 - 12:52 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 01:07 PM
Will Fly 18 Jan 09 - 01:45 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Jan 09 - 02:43 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 09 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Jan 09 - 03:37 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Jan 09 - 03:44 PM
Aeola 18 Jan 09 - 04:24 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 04:55 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jan 09 - 05:31 PM
Jack Blandiver 18 Jan 09 - 06:00 PM
TheSnail 18 Jan 09 - 06:05 PM
Ian Fyvie 18 Jan 09 - 08:56 PM
Ian Fyvie 18 Jan 09 - 09:14 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 04:18 AM
Backwoodsman 19 Jan 09 - 04:25 AM
Will Fly 19 Jan 09 - 04:29 AM
Howard Jones 19 Jan 09 - 04:45 AM
Banjiman 19 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM
melodeonboy 19 Jan 09 - 04:55 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 05:09 AM
melodeonboy 19 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 09 - 05:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 09 - 07:02 AM
Sleepy Rosie 19 Jan 09 - 07:07 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Jan 09 - 07:14 AM
Will Fly 19 Jan 09 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge 19 Jan 09 - 09:24 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 09:43 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 09 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,John E. 19 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Somebody else wearing a wig 19 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 09 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 09 - 03:07 PM
Aeola 19 Jan 09 - 04:22 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Jan 09 - 05:03 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 09:59 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 10:01 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 09 - 10:20 AM
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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:25 AM

"I know that i can't sing unaccompanied"
Probably explains why you don't like folk music.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:46 AM

WLD! Have you heard the news!

Apparently all the 'great and the good' of English Trad. singing (Martin, Norma et.al.) were at a big folk festival last week when ... it's very sketchy ... lights were seen in the sky ... and well ... they all seem to have disappeared. Reports of "alien abduction" are, of course, absurd ... but what other explanation is there?
If that weren't bad enough several of the traddies on here ('Insane Beard', Richard Bridge etc.)have simultaneously decided to take up alternative interests (apparently 'Beard' has decided to become a Buddhidst monk in Bhutan) and even one of our newest recruits, 'Sleepy Rosie' has seen the error of her ways and is taking up crocheting. And then the Government is widening and deepening its attack on civil liberties by banning anything that doesn't make 'acceptable' levels of profit. All police stations are to be provided with special bins where you will be required to hand in all copies of Topic's 'Voice of the People', and other trad. CDs, along with books like 'Folk Song in England', Child's 'English and Scottish Popular Ballads' etc.

But every cloud has a silver lining, WLD! Now the way is clear for you to start your great Folk revolution! At last you can nurture a folk music which appeals to the " ... generality of the English population - which ALWAYS has a folk music relecting the people on the street."

Go to it, WLD! No more pesky traddies to stifle your noble ambitions! I look forward to you publishing your manifesto on here in the next few weeks!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 11:06 AM

Don't need a manifesto.

the clarity of the situation is there for all to see it.

I started writng folksongs because I realised I came from a class that would not be published any other way. I could take my song to a folk club and publish in an evening to more people than could follow the abstruse shite poetry published in The Listener and Encounter.

Similarly all the folksongs come from the great underclass.

You have tried to change it into chamber music soothing to the middle classes. It was ever thus. Your class have always one more territorial ambition, and you have got your mitts on folkmusic - but by its very nature - it will break free.

The motherlode lies with the proles. Not the old travellers in caravans and rural traditions that no one remembers.

All the proles - who wouldn't get a look in at the Radio 2 awards for musically moribund - its blowing in the wind, man!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 11:41 AM

Anyway - you'll all be dumbfounded when my latest work 'Witchfinder General - the musical' gets an Emmy and a Radio 2 Folk record of the Century Award.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:03 PM

What do you mean, "your class"?!

I'll have you know that my Dad was a sheet-metalworker. He made sacrifices so that me and my brothers could get further education after we left our shite secondary modern school. I ended up working in a lab., in Industry. Perhaps that makes me 'middle class' - but I've never felt like it - I just got some modest breaks at a time of maximum social mobility (mid to late 60s) that's all. I eventually got 'thrown on the scrapheap' at 57 - bit I survive OK.

it's a strange thing, 'class' in Britain, isn't it? When I was growing up, in a city in Eastern England, it was made very plain to me that I was from the 'wrong-side-of-the-tracks' (quote from one of my teachers: "I get fed up with you kids from secondary modern schools getting a few 'O' levels and getting big ideas about going to university"). Then when I moved to a Northern city I found myself being 'accused' of being 'middle class' - usually by the school teachers who packed my local Labour Party branch!
Nowadays some of those teachers are on the City Council - where they're still claiming to be 'prolier-than-thou' whilst doing dodgy deals with property developers behind the scenes.

To me Folk Music is not primarily about class (shocking as that admission might be to some people). It's about an interesting medium with a rich heritage which I find to be a lot more exciting and entertaining than much of the 'post-music noise' that passes for popular music today.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:18 PM

Shimrod - if you've never felt excluded maybe its cos you have nothing to say that they would want to exclude.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:28 PM

You're clearly a smart and astute man WLD. But I also find something somewhat patronising in the assumption that trad song and suchlike can't speak for 'me' or 'my class'. There seems the teeniest presumption amongst some postings (not necessarily yours specifically I add) I've seen on the 'Cat, that a working class person somehow isn't capable of appreciating or enjoying something which is somehow supposed to belong to the wealthy and highly educated? I'm still perplexed as to how come I've managed to completely miss English trad-arts all my life until now (another thread). Wish there was a higher profile out there for it, for other possible curious working-class parties like myself. I know I'm wading into a long laboriously wrung out debate, about which I know virtually nothing. And yet, I am working class, and I don't see why trad music and song can't (or isn't supposed to) appeal to other people like me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: wyrdolafr
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:34 PM

Weelittledrummer, not everyone. Some of us will be saying: "it's the first time I've felt music's really spoken to me. At last, someone truly understands me and why I killed those people".


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:43 PM

Rosie

try this

Put a martin carthy album on the cd player. Wait til your Mum comes round, or the girl who does your hair, or your best mate who you used to work with.

Turn on the cd.

Wait how long before good manners gives way to impatience and they say - turn this shit off!

Not that martin is shit. On the contrary. he's a musician of genius. However he performs in a style which confronts - and frankly to many seems perverse.

He doesn't communicate with working class people because he doesn't want to all that much. anyway - its not top of his agenda. Preserving a vision of english folk music is. you pays your money - you takes your choice.

he's made his - his constituencey are happy. i never found my constituency - but at least I tried.

that makes me ridiculous to Shimrod. i'd rather be ridiculous and know i tried to kick down some of the doors leading to rooms full of smug bastards.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:52 PM

le sigh.

Hands up, I am guilty too. I am from US a lower mid working class boring background with little exposure to American folk much less English tradtional.

I was really introduced to Trad English music by my daughter when she was 15(some 13 years ago) and I (as she did) fell head over heels in love.   I only discovered the political folk music of my native land recently as a result of trawling through Mudcat. Yes I sang Guthrie's This Land is Your Land in elementary school but we were not taught what it meant.

Don't think it is fair to deny anyone's feeling for any type of music. If the song and the story moves you, they move you. If one can perform them so that they move someone else... where's the harm?

I can't believe I have been sucked into the vortex of this thread again.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 01:07 PM

OK WLD, I get your point.

My Mum would probably say, 'What's this?' and be interested when I told her (I learned a lot from my Mum who left school at fourteen, lived her life working low-paid jobs and teaching herself everything she ever came to know anything about). My Dad, would pull a horrible face and say 'It's not the bloody Beatles is it?' and I probably would have to turn it off for him! I do my own hair. But the girl who used to do my hair might prefer it to some of the Drum n Bass, or Old Skool Rap I listen to... And the same is true of both my Mum and Dad, who while both working class, absolutely despise that stuff (though 'the mate I used to work with' would like it plenty, and indeed utterly hate the trad).

A class issue, a cutural issue, a generational issue?
I can't know. But I think I'd have liked to learned something about English Traditional Arts before now.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 01:45 PM

This discussion - like many before it - has mutated from the issue of whether folk cubs are dying or not (the OP's initial proposition) to the wider question of whether "folk" has any relevance or not. And - yet again - it is almost (but not quite) entirely focussed on song rather than the more inclusive song & melody aspect of folk.

I attend a monthly acoustic session at a pub a few miles away. This, in turn, has spawned a monthly session - which I run - in my local pub. In both cases, the music us held in the bar, not in a private room. We have guitars, mandolins, fiddles, whistles, free reeds, saxes - a variable mixture from month to month. The non-playing drinkers in both venues nearly always come up to us at the end of the sessions, saying how much they've enjoyed it, and ask when are we playing again. We play a mixture of music with a big emphasis on traditional tunes - which gets feet tapping and sometimes stamping.

We're not trying to put a message across, or to reach out to a "class", or to do anything other than just play great music and enjoy ourselves. No political, moral or social agenda. No breaking down of doors or slamming of doors. The problem with all these discussions of "folk music" is that they constantly emphasise the stereotype of the guitar-slinging folkie. There's more to the music than that. I saw John Kirkpatrick and Chris Parkinson (the Sultans of Squeeze) at a club recently. What did I get? Bloody good music, great tunes and songs, superb performances and stacks of belly laughs. I guarantee I could have taken my Mum, windowcleaner, hairdresser, mates from down the pub - virtually anyone - to this event, and they would have loved it.

The argument is grey, not black and white - and there are too many shades and sides to traditional music to make overall pronouncements. We should just get on and do it - as best and as passionately as we can - and bugger the carpers.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 02:43 PM

WMD I thnk you perhaps ought to wait until Martin Carthy is around and then say to him "Of course all you middle class ponces live off teh backs of teh workers and never dun them no good nohow" and then duck. You may be bigger than him in terms of height of weight, but I'd really, really, like to be a fly on the wall.

And I thnk I'd quite like to be there when you're giving it the "Romanies, don't give me that crap about traditions, you're really just a bunch of pikies innit?" to Romanyman.

And I thnk it's quite extraordinary that you assume that the current working lass, MacJobsclass, adn underclass have no connection to thier roots. Around here, the one song I can count on the travelling boys to ask for is "The Innocent Hare".


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 02:53 PM

"and they say - turn this shit off!"
As they would possibly say about classical music, jazz, blues....... or any other music that didn't appeal to them - what's your point Al?
You're pretty keen on insisting that because folk music says nothing to you, then it can't possibly be relevant to anybody else.
I find myself pretty much in agreement with Will Fly - up to a point.
I came into folk music because it pushed the right buttons with me - as a listener, and eventually a singer, it gave me a huge amount of pleasure and it still does - above any other form of music.
At one point I decided to lift the corner to see what was underneath, and guess what - that gave me pleasure too - and still does. My concern for the clubs is based on the fact that I would like to pass on that pleasure to others as the people who introduced me to folk music did for me.
Unlike Al, I am not going to try and legislate that anybody should be interested in the same things I am, and I expect the same courtesy from others.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 03:37 PM

"Shimrod - if you've never felt excluded maybe its cos you have nothing to say that they would want to exclude."

-I felt excluded at school and college because I came from a working class family.

- I felt excluded during my brief stint in the Labour Party (c.1980) because I couldn't do the 'prolier-than-thou' thing with a straight face - or master the jargon.

- I have been excluded twice from workplaces (ie. made redundant).

- But I have never felt excluded from folk clubs. Possibly because I sing English trad. songs (presumably well enough to exclude the possibility people throwing stuff at me). In fact I have been invited to become a resident singer in three different clubs over the years. I have met a lot of my very best friends through folk clubs - people who, I know, are always there for me if I ever need them - and that is, surely, the complete opposite of exclusion.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 03:44 PM

At one point I decided to lift the corner to see what was underneath

This to me is key. There's a Radiohead track I'm particularly fond of called Fifteen Steps. The thing is, when you've heard Fifteen Steps by Radiohead, you've heard Fifteen Steps by Radiohead; it's been recorded, it's there, it's those notes & beats and no others.

Contemporary songs in the tradition are different, but perhaps not all that different. When you've heard three different versions of the Moving On song, you've heard three different versions of a song by Ewan MacColl; different people can make it their own in different ways, but it's those words and that melody and no others.

When you've heard three different versions of Lord Bateman, you've opened a door on a huge range of variants, and just as huge a range of possible interpretations. It's endless. Traditional songs are asking to be sung, and they're asking to be reinterpreted and rearranged. Speaking as a singer (floor-level), that fascinates me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Aeola
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 04:24 PM

Why do people generalize, ' middle class', 'working class' etc., and assume that they all either like this or that? We are all individuals and happily what one likes another dislikes and so on ,, this results in a diverse universe of genres where there is something for everyone. As for being excluded, surely there will always be someone who isn't liked by somebody but at the end of the day we all get along, sort of!!( religion and politics are different!!)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM

Agreed Aeolea. It's one of the things that really bugs me - and ironically moreso from working-classes than middle-classes. The assumption that because I come from a low-income blue-collar (and indeed classically defined working-class) background (as I do), that somehow my cultural interests must therefore be defined and delimited by my socio-economic conditions... This IMHO is utter bollox and buying into thee olde class game, which keeps us all in our safely defined little box. Fuck the poxy British class system up it's tight arsehole, and all that it *still* stands for.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 04:55 PM

I was kinda stunned to find no Tubeys of Stand Up, Nigel Barton


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 05:31 PM

Put a martin carthy album on the cd player. Wait til your Mum comes round, or the girl who does your hair, or your best mate who you used to work with.

Turn on the cd.

Wait how long before good manners gives way to impatience and they say - turn this shit off!


I'm intigued by the message behind this! Does it mean that if it is folk music it is shit? Or does it mean that your Mum or the girl who does your hair or your best mate who you used to work with think that Martin Carthy is shit? Is being able to play any CD that aforementioned army of proles think it is OK a measure of good music? In which case does this mean that Britney Spears, Sloop Dog and the Archies are 'better' than Martin Carthy, Miles Davies and the Manchester Halle?

Maybe popularity and 'listenability' is a measure of good - I don't know but I am willing to accept that it is. I for one am more than happy to walk out of a room when there is something on that I do not like. Either my own living room or a folk club! What I will not do though is brand things I do not like as 'shit' and try to justify my views by pretending that 'my music' holds some sort of wonderful poilitical message.

I am happy for other people to do so though. Jus don't expect me to take them seriously:-D

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:00 PM

Alarming stuff.

The worrying thing it just why the working-class have this proclivity to lap up such common-minded shite by the rancid gutterful? I knew that much early in my (working class) childhood when I began to find meaning in things that my peers looked upon with complete and utter bafflement. When I was twelve I was creating abstract electronic experimental landscapes using tape loops and synthesisers at an arts centre in Whitley Bay, and whilst prog was tolerated and to a certain extent indulged, it was when I began to pick up records of free improvisation and field-recorded ethnomusicology that one by one old friends fell away as I broadened my cultural horizons to such an extent that might be regarded as enriching my very soul, yeah, even unto biting into the Trad. Jugular of Ceremonial Song & Balladry at folk clubs, there to transfuse my watered down proletarian blood with what I still regard as the pure drop. This is not a Folk Epiphany - Folk is simply part of the glorious equation; neither is it a case of embourgeoisement, rather an idiosyncratic seeking after that which in whose presence, as Camus once said (and famously quoted by Scott Walker on the cover of Scott 4), my heart first opened.

Three chords and the truth? Bollocks. The medium will always be the message - thus might I do something like This or even This in faith that the only truth that matters is that which you accord to yourself.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:05 PM

the working-class have this proclivity to lap up such common-minded shite by the rancid gutterful

I think I might do that up in cross stitch.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 08:56 PM

Dropped into mudact for the first time this year. Lots to catch up on. Must say this has been a brilliant thread over the months and some good new debates have emenrged in the last 20 days.

Immediate point: A new singer has been coming along to Cellarfolk since moving to our area for University. He's the youngest by some years on a normal night but his style is very similar to that of Tony, a collegue I co-host another singaround with.

Mentioned this to Tony at tonight's singaround. This led on to a discussion about what new generations might like about folk, musical stylewise, and what might be turnoffs. We concluded that the main style of the last 30 years (prissy clawhammer stuff ) might actually seem dated - therefore unattractive. New generations are more likely to want the more rhythmic - but nevertheless intricate - playing.

True, I'm really unimpressed with the clawhammer stuff - it seems to represent all that I thought was bad about the folk scene I remember from the days I did the trendy formal clubs. But its worth considering that the stuff I simply dislike could be the actual turnoff for young entrants to the folk scene - simply because it's a dated style. A new thread?

Ian Fyvie    PS - I'm working class WITH BA.(Hons) from a leading University.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 09:14 PM

Re - Fingerpicking comment last posting - Created the new thread as mentioned!

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:18 AM

Jim - I would never deny anyone's right to lift the corner, find a new style of music attractive - worthy of a lifetime's devotion, like you have done yourself.

Its just that i feel the folk music of today must be out there somewhere - out there on the housing estates, in the workplaces, in the hearts of the people.

this old stuff is your desmesne - fair enough. it makes you happy.

But think - did Brennan on the moor, and stuff like that come from teachers and social workers, and retired executives and librarians. Did Just as the Tide was Flowing come from an ardent lover who could have published his verse in a little magazine. No these songs came from the unlettered - who had no other way to express themselves than to SING.

And you know life is like that for a lot of people nowadays. Send your demo in - and if you're not one of the boys, or one of their offspring - in the bin it goes, unlistened to. the sounds of silence.

where are the songs about how we live? life in some shitty comprehensive, doing some mind numbing insult to your intelligence job, the insincerity of all commercial relationships - the have a nice day ethos..... I can think of maybe Jarvis cocker's Common People that has that texture - but that was ten years ago, and the world changes every time you turn on the tv.

yes you lot have won. i suppose the middle class always do. Check out the festival line ups and yup! surprise surprise - the traddies have cornered the market.

But its my 60th birthday today. Go on give me a present. tell me about a song that has something to do with the eras, i have lived through.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:25 AM

Happy Birthday Al.
JB


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:29 AM

But think - did Brennan on the moor, and stuff like that come from teachers and social workers, and retired executives and librarians.

Well Al - I might be one of these - but you don't know a thing about me, so what does it matter? And if I was, why stereotype me with attitudes I might not actually have?

Anyway - try this for size: What A Waste - Happy Birthday!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Howard Jones
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:45 AM

WLD: the middle class didn't steal folk music from the working class. The "proles" (to use your phrase) long ago abandoned their traditional music and became mostly passive consumers of commercial entertainment - along with most of the rest of society. If you want the authentic voice of the working class you'll have to look elsewhere. For a while it was punk, now perhaps its rap or hip-hop, but it's certainly not folk in any form.

No one pretends that traditional folk music is the voice of the working class today. Some find it significant that it once was, but others are simply interested in it as an art form for its own sake. Folk songs address the human condition - love and loss, loyalty and betrayal, trying to find an identity in a changing world - matters which affect all classes.

Some Mudcatters apparently know your real identity but I don't so I can only go on what I read here. I find it surprising that you chose to take your songs into the folk clubs, filled with the middle classes you seem to despise, rather than find some other medium which would speak direct to the working class.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM

Happy Birthday WLD!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:55 AM

"tell me about a song that has something to do with the eras, i have lived through."

Well, just off the top of my head:

Another quiet night in England - Oysterband

Perfumes of Arabia - Martin Carthy

A beggin' I will go - Martin Carthy

A place called England - Maggie Holland

City of Angels - Vin Garbutt

Coal not Dole - Oysterband

There are countless others, but then some people would rather have a chip on their shoulder about not being able to find something rather than actually go out and look for it!

Less axe-grinding and more common sense, please!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 05:09 AM

proles - george orwell , not me - an old etonian - you should approve Howard!

round here in ex-mining country Nottinghamshire. there are lots of folk clubs, mainly working class people, mainly into Americana. Merle travis's dark as a Dungeon was always bigger with miners than Ewan's Big Hewer.

By an large these are the folk clubs that aren't approved of by local folk toffs.

i didn't say middle class stole folk music - just locked it away in the past.

they made it so that it bears roughly the same relationship to proper folk music as shortbread tins with Bonny prince charlie does to Scottish nationalism.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM

........cont. on p. 94


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 05:43 AM

Happy Birthday, WLD!

I have to agree with the posting from Howard Jones. The working class, and most members of every other class for that matter, have turned into passive consumers of commercial entertainment.
As for your endless ranting about 'middle class' traddies hi-jacking folk music and denying the working class the opportunity of creating their own 'contemporary' folk music - it just doesn't ring true to me. For a start, quite a few of my traddie mates are from working class backgrounds - just like me! And, I suspect, if there were people out there who were/are creative enough to create a 'new folk music' they would be doing it and wouldn't give a monkeys about the views of a handful of traddies. No doubt you will tell me that they are out there and that their creativity is being stifled. Well, possibly - but it's more likely to be 'market forces' that are doing the stifling - and not a few people who like old songs.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 06:28 AM

well there might be some new folk music out there amomgst the passive mindless lower classes. sullen brutes that we are.

i'm just pointing out that they provided you with all the traditional classics. maybe that's where the new classics will come from.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 07:02 AM

I fully and completely acknowledge, and am proud of the fact, that our traditional songs were passed on by, and often created by, MY working class ancestors, as well as yours, WLD.

And I never said anything about the lower classes being "passive mindles ... sullen brutes" - you did! For the record what I said was (in agreement with a previous post from Howard Jones):

"The working class, and most members of every other class for that matter, have turned into passive consumers of commercial entertainment."

In fact the working class have a proud history of self-improvement and education in this country - often in the face of overwhelming odds. You just have to think of many of the traditional singers themselves, rural poets like John Clare and the great self-educated scientist/naturalists of 19th century South Lancashire. In fact I still know quite a few people from 'humble' backgrounds who are in this tradition (particularly in the field of Natural History). So why doesn't this tradition produce the great works of 'contemporary folk music' which you yearn for? I doubt whether it has anything to do with a few middle class AND working class people singing old songs.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 07:07 AM

I'm not exactly where this fits into this discussion because I don't know how pertinant to the OP it is... But there are some pretty working class sounding names here:

The Imagined Village

I've only just been introduced to them - all old news to everyone else here no doubt, but here's their fantastic performance on Jools


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 07:14 AM

Funny you think the traddies have the market in festivals cornered, Al.

Down here in deepest Kent we are up in arms at the absence of folk at Broadstairs, and the booking of a band called "the Funking Bar Stewards" who are thought to be less than wholly couth.

Maybe I should move to Grottingham, and you to K*nt?

Shimrod does however have a point - the traditional socialists had a considerable commitment to education and self-improvement, seen in the WEA movement and the Fabian society, and many debating societies formed by the unemployoed inthe 30s etc etc.

Are you saying that the modern working (or not-working) class (a) rejects such or similar things and (b) is right to do so?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 07:38 AM

I took my old 11+ exam (remember that?) at a local Mechanics' Institute in Lancashire in 1955. The building was a reminder that there was a huge self-improvement programme for working-class people that started in the 1820s - often philanthropically funded by industralists on the premise that a better-educated workforce was a more productive workforce. That movement gave birth to the Public Library movement, with the "penny rate" that funded it.

One factor has changed since those days: there was no benefit if any kind for those with no money. No sick benefits, no unemployments benefits, no housing benefits - until the Means Test in the 1930s (subject of "Love On The Dole"). So, it may be that the incentive to lear, to better oneself, to "get on" was more urgent than today - when, if one so chooses, one can just about live off the State.

Please note: I'm not necessarily saying that we live in a more feckless society than of yore, but life is easier now than then for those who do reject education and self-improvement.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:24 AM

I don't feel very attracted to a principle of less eligibility. Most people surely then and now pursue(d) betterment for its own sake - don't they?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:43 AM

I hope you do come to Nottingham someday soon Richard. I'm really looking forward to hearing you and meeting you.

melodeonboy - i have had many opportunities to hear those artists. i will give the individual songs all a listen. But the fact that you have quoted them at me shows you're not grasping the nub of my argument.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:51 AM

Al,
The first thing to say about the 'old' songs is that they are not just 'old', they are timeless; the themes, love, lust, passion, hardship, loss, injustice, pride in work, hatred of authority, triumph.... whatever, all are, or have at one time been part of my life, and, I suspect, most other peoples. I can't think of any single emotion or experience covered by folk song that I can't relate to in some way or other.
I can still laugh at the predicament of a cross-dressing ex-suitor hiding from the Duke of Athol's Nurse's brothers, or get caught up in the chase of the eloping Earl Brand and his lover, or say "serves the bastard right "when the Outlandish Knight gets thrown into the sea. I still listen with a lump in my throat when Sheila Stewart tells the story of Tiftie's Annie being beaten to death by her family because she wants to marry a servant. The idea that Henry Harbutt could have been sent to the other side of the world for taking a few rabbits from what was almost certainly enclosed common land by a magistrate who was almost certainly one of the people who carried out the requisitioning still makes me angry.
The universality of the themes, stories, people and situations that gave rise to thesongs are as relevant and as enjoyable and involving as they were when they were made, they are a part of my history and my culture, and of many like me – that's why they lasted as long as they did and continued to entertain right into the 20th century.
Also, the straight, narrative form in which they were composed makes them accessible to anybody who is prepared to take the trouble to listen; that's how I came to them in the first place, and I still passionately believe that if we do our job properly and take the trouble to present them well and thoughtfully enough, that's how they will survive for future generations – but that, of course, is the problem we are faced with.
I am not an antiquarian; I'm not particularly interested in 'authenticity' – I don't know what is 'authentic. We came to our song tradition when it was on its last legs and when (with a few notable exceptions) our singers were past their best and remembering the songs rather than interpreting them. I was lucky enough to be introduced to the singing of MacColl, Lloyd and others, who were, in their way, modernising and re-creating the songs WITHOUT BETRAYING OR ABANDONING THEIR BASIC FUNCTION – THAT OF NARRATIVE INTERPRETATION AND COMMUNICATION.   
Unlike modern songs which appeal to the 'yoof', THEY DO NOT COME WITH A SELL-BY DATE. If you discard them because of their age, or because they are not relevant to the younger generation, be sure you leave enough room in the bin for Aeschylus, Homer, Shakespeare, Johnson, Boccaccio, Fielding, Chekov, Hugo, Zola, Hasek, Dickens, Hardy, Joyce, Graves, Greene, Hemmingway, Steinbeck.... and all the others who have given me a great deal of pleasure during my lifetime.
Having said that, my interest is not confined to the 'old' songs; you know about The New City Songster, edited by Peggy Seeger, which went into 20 odd editions and made available hundreds of newly written songs (including one of your own). It has always been my belief that the creation of new songs is possible – even necessary to the future of folk music – I'm not talking about the navel gazing masturbatory, 'private - keep out' compositions which masquerade as 'folk', but songs that say something to us all, and can be used by all to express our own opinions and emotions. I believe the universal form of the tradition is one form that can achieve this; personally, I can't think of any other that can do the job half as well, but I'm open to suggestions. Modern forms don't work for me, not because they are inferior, but simply that they are not narrative enough to hang an idea or an experience on.
Best – and again – happy birthday,
Jim Carroll (ELECTRICIAN)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,John E.
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM

Having skimmed this thread I think the content largely answers its own question.

If folk clubs really are dying it's because too many (not all) of them seem to deliberately choose not to appeal to anyone outside their own clique, especially not to younger people. As a result they have become self-centred, boring and sometimes more concerned with navel-gazing, politics and sociology than the music. If you doubt me just skim back up the thread!

I've been involved in folk as modest performer and enthusiastic gig-goer since the mid-60s and I was lucky, when I was young folk music WAS pop music. I love the music, in all its forms from "finger-in-the-ear" trad to modern folk-rock, and I am interested in the history and background to the songs I sing, but what really matters is the music itself first and foremost.

If I hear a song I like, it doesn't matter where it comes from, I'll work to arrange it in a way I can handle; and if I can't do a song justice, I'll set it aside rather than butcher it.

If we just set out to have fun with our music and to enthuse and entertain a wider audience maybe we can get back into the mainstream and re-invigorate live acoustic music in all its forms. Here's hoping ...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Somebody else wearing a wig
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM

Unfortunately, admitting who you are tends to make the discussion seem a bit weird, as the moderators have taken down all my postings, which makes interesting reading as people refer to posts that are no longer there...

Even if I were to say who I was, the IP address of my computer would probably be barred, which does tend to shut me up, (for about four seconds, as it doesn't take a rocket scientist to get past the access denied screen.)

I love the person who says he has credibility because his dad was a sheet metal worker, and I especially love how Jim Carroll called me an arrogant prick.

Sadly, fold clubs are dying, and it ain't old Willie's fault. He just notices all and laughs at the preposterous claims that folk clubs are not dying, black is white and don't enter the room unless you fit our profile that we all set up amongst ourselves on this forum. (Look at some of the hilarious tosh that came out when somebody innocently posed the question the other day, "What is a floor singer?"

Anyway, best not to block me too often, as I do come on to get lyrics or see a chord sequence from time to time. Also gives me material for the jokes I tell about folk clubs and other time warp nonsense when I play theatres and arts centres etc. (I would play folk clubs, I do get asked, but couldn't be arsed to tip toe around the politics and people who get up in a morning just so they can be offended by others.

S.W.H.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 12:25 PM

No,
I called you arrogant - you called yourself a prick - and then went and proved it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 03:07 PM

"I love the person who says he has credibility because his dad was a sheet metal worker,..."

I claimed no such credibility! WLD assumed that, because I like traditional song, I must be middle class. This is factually incorrect - I was merely putting the record straight.

Take that sneer off your face, Lizzie, and pay attention!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Aeola
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:22 PM

Whilst there is a lot to be said for the more trad folk music, as with trad jazz, there is room for progression. I'm sure that in years to come there will be comments about the 'classic' songs from the 60's, 70's, 80's, etc., you know' they don't write them like that anymore'.Time moves on and everything will progress accordingly and some people will prefer one type to another.A bit like a bottle of wine!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 05:03 PM

Why bother taking the piss out of people who wear wigs?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 09:59 AM

i feel the folk music of today must be out there somewhere - out there on the housing estates, in the workplaces, in the hearts of the people

I think you're wrong there, I'm afraid.

The problem is, people (of all classes) don't like making more effort than they have to. Give them washing machines and they won't wash the sheets by hand*. Give them TVs and they won't go to the pictures twice a week. Give them jukeboxes and they won't sing around the piano in the pub. Give them recorded music and they won't buy sheet music. Make it easy to listen to music and they won't go to the trouble of making music.

And what happens when people stop making music is that they stop passing it on; the folk process stops happening. All of this happened in Britain forty years ago or more - the lid was probably closing on the folk process around the same time the Revival got going. Folk music - music of the people - just isn't out there any more; we traddies are curators of our own little museum. I think it's a fantastic museum, which could give a lot more to a lot more people than it is doing at the moment; if there are cliques, and if there are people getting turned away on the door (or looking in the door and turning away of their own accord), then that needs fixing. But it's still a museum.

(Al - I held back a day on posting this. Hope you had a good 'un.)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 10:01 AM

Oops - forgot my footnote.

*Apart from my late mother-in-law, who used to fill the twin-tub then switch it off and do the actual washing herself. But she was unusual even for her (1920s) generation.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 10:20 AM

500.


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