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Why folk clubs are dying

melodeonboy 20 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 12:02 PM
Jack Blandiver 20 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM
Jack Blandiver 20 Jan 09 - 12:10 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Jan 09 - 03:00 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 03:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM
The Barden of England 20 Jan 09 - 07:58 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 09 - 03:15 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 04:42 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM
Will Fly 21 Jan 09 - 04:49 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 04:53 AM
Will Fly 21 Jan 09 - 04:57 AM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Phil Beer ( In Glasgow) 21 Jan 09 - 05:57 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 06:10 AM
Jack Blandiver 21 Jan 09 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 21 Jan 09 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 21 Jan 09 - 08:35 AM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 09:07 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 10:50 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Jan 09 - 11:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 01:24 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 02:13 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 02:44 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 03:10 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 03:17 PM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 03:30 PM
melodeonboy 21 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 09 - 06:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM
Folkiedave 21 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 06:34 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 07:34 PM
Banjiman 22 Jan 09 - 03:18 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Jan 09 - 04:10 AM
Folkiedave 22 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM
Sleepy Rosie 22 Jan 09 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 22 Jan 09 - 05:33 AM
Banjiman 22 Jan 09 - 05:42 AM
Folkiedave 22 Jan 09 - 05:47 AM
Surreysinger 22 Jan 09 - 05:51 AM
Surreysinger 22 Jan 09 - 05:54 AM
Sleepy Rosie 22 Jan 09 - 06:03 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jan 09 - 06:09 AM
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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM

Much of what you say is true, Pip. However, there are people (myself included, I like to think!) who do make more effort than they have to. Certainly, they're in a minority, but they do exist.

Also, from my point of view, I'm not playing music in a museum. I understand that the relatively bland, uneventful and secure lives that many people lead in the western world in the 21st century may not provide such great stimuli for the development of new songs, but there are still a lot of people out there writing songs (many of them good ones), and many others interpreting older songs/tunes in their own way. I've never seen what I do as static or just a lame reproduction of what's gone before.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM

However, there are people (myself included, I like to think!) who do make more effort than they have to.

Me too!

I've never seen what I do as static or just a lame reproduction of what's gone before.

And me neither. It's a living museum - with room for the likes of this and this as well as this.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 12:02 PM

Oops - clickie trouble. Clickie 2 and 3 OK but clickie 1, he dead.

First clickie should be this.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM

It's a living museum - with room for the likes of this and this as well as this.

I said this once:

We lovers of traditional song are not so much the keepers of a tradition, rather the volunteer curators of a museum, entrusted with the preservation of a few precious, priceless and irreplaceable artefacts: hand-crafted tools we no longer know the names of (let alone what they were actually used for) ; hideous masks of woven cornstalks (which are invariably assumed to be pagan) ; and hoary cases of singular taxidermy wherein beasts long extinct are depicted in a natural habitat long since vanished.

Not only is such a museum a beacon for the naturally curious, it's a treasure in and of itself, an anachronism in age of instant (and invariable soulless) gratification, and as such under constant threat by those who want to see it revamped; cleaned up with computerised displays and interactive exhibits and brought into line with the rest of commodified cultural presently on offer.

But not only is this museum is our collective Pit-Rivers, it is a museum which, in itself, is just as much an artefact of a long-vanished era as the objects it contains. It is delicate, and crumbling, but those who truly love it wouldn't have it any other way - and quite rightly so.   


(for the rest see my blog: The Liege, The Lief and the Traditional Folk Song over at my Myspace page.)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 12:10 PM

The lesson being, always check your links before posting:

http://www.myspace.com/sedayne


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 03:00 PM

God Pip - they were bloody awful - no wonder someone shot Jim Moray (from the look of the photograph).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 03:04 PM

I prefer Nic Jones's Bateman, but I liked it being in 5/4 - and I'll not hear a word against Sedayne's King Henry.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM

no need to hold off saying what you think.

I've been a bit short of time recently - but I am always interested by other peoples views - particularly people who care about folk music. Even if I disagree with you about the nature of folkmusic.

I think the balance of probablity is that there is life on other planets and that there in this vast population - people denied all access to other forms of expression - by reasons of not knowing the social mores attached to poetry, drama, novel writing etc - and I believe some of them will be writing folksongs.

the reason I believe it.

I go to folk clubs andd I meet these people. They never get the nod from the folk establishment. But take it from me - theres a lot of creative effort out there going on.

And I side with with the living over the dead every time. The thing is, its easier - it takes less creative effort to rework a traditional piece, than to start out with a blank piece of paper - particularly when there there's no end of clever dicks telling you this is how tradtional music should sound. The tramlines are laid out for the for those who can do no other than ride life's tramlines.

Like I say. I understand perfectly that mine is a minority view on Mudcat. But I think it valid and its the basis of my approach to making music. Works for me.

my grandad was a 19th century miner (born 1880 went down the pit aged twelve). I would never have the arrogance to pretend I understood what made him the kind of bloke he was. And to be honest I haven't come across many songs that shed light on the matter.

However you must do as you wish and if you think the folksong movement is best served by singing about ranting roaring colliers, etc. - go ahead.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Barden of England
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 07:58 PM

My Paternal Grandfather was a born to fairground people - and ???
Maternal Grandfather - first generation Scot - so what?? Should I sing about 30 foot trailers, or warble about my sporran? Hell no!!!
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 03:15 AM

"I prefer Nic Jones's Bateman, but I liked it being in 5/4 - and I'll not hear a word against Sedayne's King Henry."
As the man in that lovely jazz film 'Round Midnight' said - "Your notes are fine, but where's your story?" (with any of them)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:42 AM

"As the man in that lovely jazz film 'Round Midnight' said - "Your notes are fine, but where's your story?" (with any of them)
Jim Carroll"

That's quite interesting, I enjoyed all three, but the first and last most.

The first time I heard Lucy Wan was in Jim Moray's version: Jim Moray And maybe it's because you don't often hear songs about incest and sibling murder in a pop/hip-hop musical context, but I was genuinely rivited by the story. The taboo, the violence, the love and distress, the flight into the unknown. The lack of conclusion. Maybe because the contemporary context counterpoints a story which comes from so long ago. And yet through this, gives it life blood, and immediacy. I like those no-doubt synthesised anxious rising pipes over the rap.

I've heard a few of Sedayne's pieces since I've been here. And it's a bit like Lime Pickle for me (Lime Pickle like Stout or Danish Blue, being something that I had to aquire a taste for.) This piece however, which he posted up on another thread yesterday, is by far the most 'living story' version of this song I've heard. I've heard a few 'Gently Johnny's' (being a bit of a fan of the Wicker Man, and having been on the quest for so-called 'Pagan' songs lately) but I've not heard the real and intimate story of seduction and foreplay in the lyrics as sucessfully expressed in any other (it's got a nice wedge of Whitman in the middle too): Gently Johnny

In a way I think I'm very fortunate, coming as I do to traditional song, with completely virginal ears - and a personal curiosity for experiencing unfamiliar things, which don't conform to what I might expect to enjoy. Does a story have to be told in a way that we are familiar with, to impress itself upon our imaginations or our responsive senses? I probably don't know enough about traditional song or storytelling to judge, but I supsect that my 'not knowing' is itself a blessing of sorts.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM

And just to clarify, although I really enjoy this as a piece of music, the story is, for me, utterly lost underneath. They could be singing about almost anything. A very modern take on 'Cold Haily Rainy Night' by The Imagined Village


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:49 AM

with completely virginal ears

There's a ballad in there somewhere - "The Virginal Ears Of Sleepy Rosie", perhaps? Pencil and paper please...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:53 AM

Will Fly...!
Now I've really heard some things here...
What websites have you been visiting lately!?

>virginal ears of poster in mock shock<


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:57 AM

You wouldn't want to know...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM

Jim Carrol,

Would you be able to put a link into a recording/ video of someone (in your opinion) who is really telling the story of a song?

The reason why I ask is that I have been having a conversation with another ultra-traddie (honestly not meant as a derogatory label, just can't think of a better way of describing) about the same thing.

I like quite a lot of modern/ unusual takes on traditional songs....either ones that turn the song into a thing of beauty (think Eliza Carthy, even Kate Rusby on some things)and make it very listenable or create an unusual sound (such as Sedayne/Insane Beard's).

I find either of these approaches pull me in and makes me listen to the words/ meaning of the song. I'm not sure that is is true (for me) of some of the more difficult to listen to "traditional" renditions of songs.... I'd really like to hear something that you consider a sublime example of this genre (as someone who's view on trad song I respect). I'd really like to have my mind changed on this one.

BTW, I'll be putting Sedayne on at KFFC at some point this year.... a club that's not dead yet!

Thanks

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Phil Beer ( In Glasgow)
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 05:57 AM

Sorry folks. No time to read the thread in full but just an observation. My local folk club is on a sunday in Topsham and runs the usual combination of singarounds and gigs with pro artistes.It's five minutes from my home and I go whenever its humanly possible given the amount of touring and recording work I do which keeps me away from home for over half the year. The guest nights are well attended and so are the singarounds. The same crowd tend to populate the singarounds but are often noticeably absent from guest nights which attract a widely varying audience. Some of the people who run the club are the same people that first got me in to all this 40 years ago. Still singing and still going strong!! I went last sunday to record Jackie Oates and James Pemberton and the gig was absolutely sold out. All the gigs I got to last year were either sold out or very well attended. Back in the late sixties/early seventies, we could go to a folk club or a session of some kind every night of the week. This appears to now be almost the case down here again after all this time. There's a new singaround just started in Ide and a whole bunch of other things going on. The open mike night at the Barnfield studio theatre is packed on fridays with young and old and has now extended itself into a series of extra concerts as a spin off. I got to several major concerts before christmas in larger venues. Seth Lakeman at the university, Cara Dillon at the corn exchange and so on. All big gigs with good crowds. If folk,acoustic, roots, world, (acid,surf,disco, funk, reggae, blues,house,hip hop,jazz,rocknrooool, oh and country) is dying in your neck of the woods, move to devon cos its all happening here!
Happy musical new year.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 06:10 AM

"You wouldn't want to know..."
Well, I do hope you're not growing those thick wiry hairs on your hands again..

And I second Banjiman there, I'd too very much like to hear something considered truly excellent storytelling in "ultra traddie" stylee.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 08:05 AM

A couple of years back I immersed myself in the studio to record an extended ensemble version of King Henry / Child 32 bookended by ambience recorded in the medieval Chapter House of York Minster a few days earlier. The ensemble (Eleanor's Visceral Tomb) comprises Crwth, Doromb (Hungarian Jews Harp), Clarinet, Indian Harmonium, Flowler Calls, Animal Bells and Frame Drum. Clocking in at a hefty 17.45 I dare this stretches the listening attention of even the most dedicated Sedayne fan, but it remains a personal favourite which I like to give away free as a MP3 for those who feel such a thing might be an enrichment to their lives and / or their appreciation of a particularly No-Age approach to the tetius auris of traditional balladry.

Here it is anyway, gratis, as a secure download via YouSendIt:

King Henry / Child #32 / Eleanor's Visceral Tomb, July 2007


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 08:16 AM

Well, if I've done nothing else in my time on Mudcat I've found something that WLD and Jim Carroll agree on: they both think contemporary interpreters of traditional material are rubbish. Sedayne, Jim Moray, June Tabor, John Kelly - they should all either step aside and make room for real traditional singers (Jim), or else stop being so idle and learn to write their own songs (Al).

And if that sounds like a caricature of your positions, gents, all I can say is that at the moment you're doing a good job of caricaturing them yourselves.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 08:35 AM

Incidentally, my granddad was also a miner, although he only went down the pit after the tileworks closed down; he was out on strike for ten months in 1926, surviving on charity for most of that time & eventually going back to work to a pay cut. My granddad on the other side of the family lied about his age to join up in 1914, and got gassed for his pains. I don't think I've ever heard anything that I felt spoke to me about their experiences - be it traditional, pseudo-traditional or contemporary-in-the-tradition - and I wouldn't presume to write about them myself.

I still think Little Musgrave's a bloody good song.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 09:07 AM

Sedayne, that is bonkers. Put a smile on my face!

(I repeat) just the right amounts of eccentricity & respect..... and certainly not dumbed down.

Good stuff. Will it be enough to keep the folk clubs alive though?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 10:50 AM

'And if that sounds like a caricature of your positions, gents, all I can say is that at the moment you're doing a good job of caricaturing them yourselves.'

I had my 60th birthday party the other day. Loads of people there who had pursued a lifetime in music because they'd taken lesson from me, or gone to folk clubs I organised.

jim Carrol's work is recognised by none other than peggy seeger -on this thread.

Both of us have doen valuable work - fuelled by our beliefs - which happen to be different. if we believe something different from you - tough. At least we didn't settle for the received knowledge.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM

if we believe something different from you - tough

If everyone believed the same as me there'd be no point me coming here, or anyone else for that matter. I get riled when you come out with stuff that you don't believe, for the sake of making a point. This stuff -

"I side with the living over the dead every time. The thing is, its easier - it takes less creative effort to rework a traditional piece, than to start out with a blank piece of paper - particularly when there there's no end of clever dicks telling you this is how tradtional music should sound. The tramlines are laid out for the for those who can do no other than ride life's tramlines."

It makes a good rant, but you wouldn't have put so much effort into getting John Kelly's music a hearing if you really believed that traddies were lazy and unimaginative. But I guess you didn't mean traddies like John Kelly, and you didn't mean traddies like Capstick - you meant those other traddies...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 11:52 AM

An unusual choice, maybe, but I was overwhelmed by the sense of narrative in Martin Simpson's performances at teh Folk Proms.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 01:24 PM

I know what you're saying Richard - but its what I believe.

I don't think traddies are lazy or unimaginative - on the contrary I think the creation of traditional persona like The Watersons - this weird family, singing in strange accents, on the edge of civilisation and filled with ancient knowledge - is a great imaginative creation - a bit like Ziggy Stardust.

I just wish traddies could see it as such, instead of accepting it as an orthodoxy.

If you could see how clever and how much artifice went into becoming a waterson I would respect more of you. Brian Peters for example hits the stage running - he's damn good. I just hate these buggers who claim to be part of an ancient brotherhood of traditional music and claim the right to bore the arse offen me, or read lyrics at me from an exercise book.

John Kelly defies description. he stayed at my place a couple of days before he went in the tent. he said to me - you know - you're even more obsessed with music than I am.....

I'm not.

John's one on his own. he would be unique, whatever music he was doing. One of his biggest fans is Jack Hudson. its a fellowship of the obsessed.

the field of endeavour is almost irrelevant - compared to the creative effort.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 02:13 PM

I think the creation of traditional persona like The Watersons - this weird family, singing in strange accents, on the edge of civilisation and filled with ancient knowledge - is a great imaginative creation - a bit like Ziggy Stardust.

I like it.

I just hate these buggers who claim to be part of an ancient brotherhood of traditional music and claim the right to bore the arse offen me, or read lyrics at me from an exercise book.

Yes, I hate them too. To be honest I never seem to meet anyone like that, but if I did I would hate the blighters.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM

Banjiman
Sorry, don't know my way around the internet well enough to give you a clip. Perhaps somebody else can help - would suggest anything by Walter Pardon, MacColl (singing a traditional song), Sheila Stewart (try Tiftie's Annie), Texas Gladden, Bert Lloyd...... hundreds of names spring to mind. You want to hear Lucy Wan in all it's viciousness, dig out Terry Yarnell's version.
Please do not confuse taste with definition - what people like or dislike (me included) is entirely their own business. None of those clips of emasculated folk songs appeal to me in any way, but that is a matter of my personal taste, not an argument against anybody else enjoying them. Personally, I love 'cowshit music' (Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth, Delius.... et al - all of whom used folk songs and tunes, but I would argue that, played they way they are, they are no longer folk. Would Beethoven, Mozart or Handel still be classical played on tenor sax or uillian pipes or synthesizer, or does 'classical' suggest a style of playing as well as a collection on notes?
English language folk songs (on this side of the pond anyway) are, by their very function, narrative. The singers tended to pitch their songs around their speaking range and make sense of the narrative by not breaking words up, taking a short breath with the commas and a longer one with the full stops. They did not interrupt the narrative flow with instrumental breaks, their main purpose being to pass on a story, or at least, a body of information. Every traditional singer we interviewed said (in one way or another) that they considered themselves storytellers whose stories came with tunes. Most of them totally identified with the songs; they could provide descriptions of the characters and of the locations where the action took place. Singers like Walter Pardon envisaged some of them taking place in his own locality.
Alan Lomax and his Cantometric team back in the 70s descibed English language songs as "wordy" ie, having a lot of words. In all the clips provided I would be hard-pressed to be able to make out the words of any of the songs, let alone follow them. I could find no interpretation in any of them - even though I knew them all. Perhaps I am missing something and somebody would supply with one? To me, they are all indifferently performed pop songs, to which my first reaction was 'thank god the government is considering a noise-limitation bill'.
Pip,
Thank you for oversimplifying both my and Al's attitude to music. I am not, as Banjiman suggested an 'ultra-traddie', I love traditional music, but I also see no sense in just singing the 'old' songs. I adimired MacColl's singing - for many an arch-traddie for whom the term finger-in-ear was invented. MacColl wrote more songs than any other singer in the folk scene - all of them relevant to the time in which they were made. Compared to his songs, I find the output and performance of today's singer-songwriters 'public masturbation'. They concern nobody but the singer/writer.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 02:44 PM

'I just hate these buggers who claim to be part of an ancient brotherhood of traditional music and claim the right to bore the arse offen me, or read lyrics at me from an exercise book.

Yes, I hate them too. To be honest I never seem to meet anyone like that, but if I did I would hate the blighters.'

you've done bloody well!

MacColl was another great character.If you had a traditional song - you knew you'd get one of his songs before long. and as jim said - it wasn't about sod all. It would be about something. also he and Peggy seemed to do traditional songs from all over the place - a bit like Pete Seeger really - so it wasn't all on one note - monotonous is the word I'm searching for.

'I find the output and performance of today's singer-songwriters 'public masturbation'

Yes I'll admit to being a bit of a wanker. I've never really worked it into the act, but who knows it could be just the climax to the first half, that will catapult me to stardom.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM

I think I have to disagree a bit with Jim, while bowing of course to his superior knowledge.

To start with, public masturbation does indeed concern other people - hence the offence of indecent exposure, and some chagrin of George Michael.

MacColl, I fear, I find, at least on the recordings of him that I have, dull. Compare his version of Henry the Poacher with the Young Tradition's. The latter coveys the horror, resignation, and thrill far more vividly. The only time I heard Lloyd live (well, I think he was just still alive) it was hard to figure out what notes he was trying to sing, and there was no force to the songs.

I'm not sure that I can even agree that English language (or even English) folks songs are all narrative. Where does that leave shanties, marching songs, or songs sung to dance tunes or for dancing. I'm sure it would exlclude a quantity of Scottish and Irish material.

Also,as I think I have said before, the 1954 Karpeles definition does not deal with style of performance. The genre "folk" is unlike any other in that. So the mere fact that Nice's "Rondo" or Love Sculpture's "Sabre Dance" would probably be called "rock" not "classical" does not mean that Vaughan WIlliam's renditions of folk tunes were no longer folk tunes.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 03:10 PM

Jim,

I don't think there's anything available on the web about Terry Yarnell singing Lucy Wan. The way you describe it I would like to hear it..... can anyone help?

Ewan McColl..... yes I've heard plenty (pretty much brought up on it, along with Accordion Dance Tunes). I completely respect what he did for folk music and am happy to listen to him any time.... but he doesn't completely blow my socks off (saw Peggy Seeger a couple of months ago, she did..... until she started playing the piano, luckily only on a few songs!).

I've managed to find a 30 second sample of Tifty's Annie by Sheila Stewart (along with 30 second samples from the rest of The CD "From The Heart of The Tradition). I guess it is unfair to judge her story telling qualities on a short sample. I think I'll buy the CD though I rather fear it will be "good" for me rather than wholeheartedly enjoying it! Some great songs though.

Put Walter Pardon into a search engine and you get this . which is just plain scary! I did then find some similar 30 second samples. Do you really find the lyrics easier to understand on this than on some of the "emasculated folk songs" referred to above? I don't..... which makes the story hard to follow. Happy to accept that my ears are untutored.

I'll keep listening..... anyone else got any suggestions of this type of genre that might completely blow me away?

Thanks

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 03:17 PM

Thank you for oversimplifying both my and Al's attitude to music.

Well, I won't say it was a pleasure... Thanks for giving us a fuller version.

I take the point about the style[s] of singing in the performances I linked to; I think maybe they work best for people who listen to the sound first and the words second. Where I part company with you is that I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing - I think it's another way for listeners to get into the songs, and another way to keep the songs alive.

Incidentally, I agree that there have been some superb songwriters on the folk scene, and that there are a lot of mediocre ones. My repertoire's almost exclusively trad these days, but there are songs by MacColl and Lal Waterson, to name two, that I could never chuck out.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 03:30 PM

"I take the point about the style[s] of singing in the performances I linked to; I think maybe they work best for people who listen to the sound first and the words second. Where I part company with you is that I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing - I think it's another way for listeners to get into the songs, and another way to keep the songs alive."

I think you've got a really good point there Pip...... but I find it far easier to listen to the words of a song if I am enjoying the "sound". Musical accompaniment I also find can help the narrative..... it doesn't always get in the way.

I'm on a drive to get the "normal" (non-folky) people in and around our village to come to some of our folk events in the village Hall..... I really don't think that traditional music presented in an unaccompanied, "authentic but hard to listen to" way will keep them coming back. 200 leaflets delivered today (only another 350 to go!).

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM

"The Watersons - this weird family, singing in strange accents"

Do what????

In what way are they weird? 'cos they sing together at home or what is it?

And what's strange about their accents? They're from the North Country (in case you hadn't noticed) and they sing with a northern accent. What accent are they supposed to sing in, for Christ's sake! Welsh? Received Pronunciation? Solomon Island Creole?

If anyone's weird around here, I think it's you, WLD. Take that bloody chip off your shoulder and stop wasting everyone's time.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 06:10 PM

Paul,
Unaccompanied singing is an acquired taste, as is Dickens, Beethoven and Shakespeare; the decision has to be whether you think it worthwhile to make the effort to acquire it. I'm lucky enough to have done so for all of them thanks to the people I've known.
Terry Yarnell made a CD for the Living Tradition 'Tradition Bearer' series - he also makes a stunning job of Sheath and Knife' - also worth looking out for.
PM me an postal address and I'll see what I can do. Can't claim to give you something you will like, but it will explain my point far better than I can.
Richard;
I should have said mostly narrative - there are a few exceptions, but not many that I can think of.
Even the shanties are mostly versed narratives;

Little Sally Racket,
Pawned my best jacket,
She's gone and lost the ticket.

A three-line narrative. The point I was making was that they are word based.

"Karpeles definition does not deal with style of performance."
Don't think it's a question of style, which can vary; more one of function - ie the passing on of information via ideas, emotions, descriptions, stories via words - none of the clips do that - not for me anyway, as the texts are either buried under an avalanche of (un) musical sound or so disjointed as to be meaningless.
MacColl's singing is a matter of taste – he worked for me, not for you. As far as 'Henry The Poacher' is concerned, MacColl's rendition worked to an extent but was far outstripped by Harry Cox's.
The Young Tradition didn't even enter into the running; I found everything they did bland and samey. I admit I believe that folk song relies very much (with a few exceptions) on singular interpretation, but I found YT one of the worst of them.
Pip
Can't see how it is possible to disconnect the sound from the words in a piece of narrative - particularly as a single performance of a song is quite often all you are going to get.
Al - onanism.
Not referring to you - haven't heard you sing (or watched you.... whatever)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM

Its you who's got a chip on your shoulder....

I gigged Yorkshire for about thirty years. I NEVER heard anyone talk in the sort of gurning style of All the little flowers in the garden.

You simply can't grasp that they do is artifice - as false as the phoniest country and western accent.

Listen for godsake to the early albums - the first two were great favourites of mine. i loved those albums - but the harmonies and the strange accents gave a great theatricality to what they they did. It was wonderful!

they are not horny handed sons of the soil - they are pro gigging musicians.

I bet you walk round thinking that Arnold Scharznegger would be a terrific cop - sort out all the problems, and that Sly stallone would be beat Taliban hands down.

your take on folk music is that bloody naive.

it reminds me of the story of Tim hart who retired to the canary islands, and the spaniards heard his records and he was asked - what is that strange English accent you sing in, where in England do they speak like that?

To give Tim his due, he admitted - i was stumped for an answer.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM

I think the creation of traditional persona like The Watersons - this weird family, singing in strange accents, on the edge of civilisation and filled with ancient knowledge - is a great imaginative creation - a bit like Ziggy Stardust.

Good gracious Al, you'll be telling us they are middle-class next!

And surely Hull is father away than the edge of civilisation


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 06:34 PM

I really don't think that traditional music presented in an unaccompanied, "authentic but hard to listen to" way will keep them coming back.

At the risk of contradicting myself, speaking as an unaccompanied singer, I don't believe those two things are synonymous! At least, I really hope they aren't - I'll have to put it to the test & do some recording some time.

Jim: Can't see how it is possible to disconnect the sound from the words in a piece of narrative

Just saying that some people might listen to Jim Moray's Bateman, say, & think "mmm, nice sound... nice piano, nice voice... interesting time signature... strange words, what's it about?" - and go from there to developing an interest in the song. (I'm reasonably sure that's the effect Jim Moray intends to have.) More than one way to skin a cat.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 07:34 PM

I remember reading the letters of Raymond Chandler some years ago. Chandler was of course the English public schoolboy - educated at Dulwich college, who creared the Private Detective Philip Marlowe - immortalised by Bogart in The Big Sleep, and Robert Montgomery in that film where the camera tells the story, and The lady in the lake.

Anyway Chandler was forever being plagued by letters who confused him with his creation - they used to ask him which was favourite gun the beretta, or the snub nose colt? stuff like that.

Chandler wrote in exasperation - I think these are the kind of people whose lips move when they read.

You HAVE to separate the artist from his creation. Otherwise we'll all end up sheltering in the cellar with Rushdie.

un soupcon of sophistication, please gentlemen!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 03:18 AM

"At the risk of contradicting myself, speaking as an unaccompanied singer, I don't believe those two things are synonymous! At least, I really hope they aren't - I'll have to put it to the test & do some recording some time."

I'm not suggesting that they are.... I could give lots of examples of fantastic unaccompanied singing (from some of our friends around here to some of the best known pros) ..... it comes back to your point about the "sound" of the thing, it needs to be accessible/ pleasant to the untrained ear. If it is, it will speak to the masses.

Hope that makes it clearer.

Jim, I'll be in touch.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 04:10 AM

Why do these threads always have to go through ritual slanging matches.
No behave yourselves or you'll be sent to bed without any tea.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM

Promises!!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:26 AM

The Storytelling aspect of this thread has really captured my imagination. And it's very interesting, but I suspect that it's the stories that I heard in songs when I was growing up, which first drew me into music of any kind. I now believe that it's the importance of the story element in traditional song, which has roped me into 'folk'. The stories which introduced me to music were penned by people like David Bowie, Genesis, Alice Cooper amongst many others. And I believe that all these tales are quite captivating to the imagination. What I also realise somewhat sadly that the 'great era' of 20thC popular musical storytelling (bar a few later examples such as Billy Bragg or Morrissey for example.) via which I was initiated to music, has long since passed away.

Now what's interesting to me, is that what some here complain of ("funny voices" and stuff) doesn't alienate me, or prevent me from curious discovery of Traditional Songs. Though I might need to be willing to persevere in order to gain access to it's peculiar (to my uninitiated ear) aesthetic charms. That piece that Sedayne posted below, about the gluttonous Faery bint, I found kinda magical (though how poor Henry got aroused enough to sleep with her, is beyond imagining - and my mind draws a discreet veil over those particular images). Though initially on hearing his personal style of delivery I did have to listen closely to gain access to the story. But then I do have soft Southerners ears and would be compelled to don earmuffs if I ventured much farther North than that delightfully evocative sign on the M1 that says 'The North' (which apparantly translates as 'Here Be Dragons' or something similarly warding and mysterious...)

I doubt that the list of examples of what I see as extrordinarily fine modern musical storytelling will convince anyone here that stories can be the driving and most captivating element in *any* type of song. Whether they be unaccompanied, accompanied, modern or traditional, sung as though spoken as a narrative, or following a musical rythm, or containing musical interludes.
But my own experiences convince me at least, that the truly fascinated ear will ever be compelled to listen and to hear.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:33 AM

To Quote....

"But then I do have soft Southerners ears and would be compelled to don earmuffs if I ventured much farther North than that delightfully evocative sign on the M1 that says 'The North' (which apparantly translates as 'Here Be Dragons' or something similarly warding and mysterious...)"

I think you'll find the sign says "Hatfield and the North!"
A Fine band....check out Rotters Club!

But, Yep, they're a bit odd beyond Birmingham!!! (Ducks to avoid the empty bottles of Newccy Brown..)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:42 AM

....where's me whippet?

Having lived North & South of the Great Divide (Barnet) I can confirm folks oop north are odd.

But then they are South of the divide as well (they're all really posh as well).


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:47 AM

All relative.

My mother came from the Orkneys. I have no doubt she regarded Edinburgh as down south.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Surreysinger
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:51 AM

Banjiman ... possibly a little late in the day, but I only started reading this thread this morning. Jim suggested various singers to listen to, which included Texas Gladden. That spurred me on to Google her (after seeing the hilarious Walter Pardon (not) Youtube clip) ... and I found Texas Gladden radio . Since Jim put her down as a suggestion for worthwhile listening, I thought I should share!!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Surreysinger
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:54 AM

As to signs on the M1 heralding The North, it amuses me greatly that it continues to say that all the way up to Yorkshire and beyond, no doubt. I have never gone further up to find out where the signposts to The North actually stop .... the last tip of land on the northern Scottish coastland??


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:03 AM

"(Ducks to avoid the empty bottles of Newccy Brown..)"

Heyup Ralphie, maybe I better be nicer! I've got on along alright here so far, wouldn't want to end up beerless like poor thirsty old Katy Cruel next time I step North... I'm gonna learn 'The Unquiet Grave' this week btw. that lass on track 2 the disc you sent is quite lovely.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:09 AM

There was only ever the one Hatfield and the North sign, and I'm told it went the journey long ago! According to Pip Pyle (RIP), it was Mike Patto's idea to use it for a band name. All the others say The North, Hatfield or Hatfield, The North, but not Hatfield and the North. A fine band indeed, whose legend endures with two cracking volumes of sessions & concert material recently released:

http://www.hatfieldandthenorth.co.uk/

And for a flavour of their music (and for those who might have wondered what happened after Dave's organ solo faded on Halfway Between Heaven & Earth on the Over the Rainbow...):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGjRhhggSFo

________________

PS - All art is narrative!


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