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Why folk clubs are dying

TheSnail 22 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM
Folkiedave 22 Jan 09 - 07:15 PM
Nick 22 Jan 09 - 06:25 PM
Folkiedave 22 Jan 09 - 06:21 PM
Nick 22 Jan 09 - 04:52 PM
The Sandman 22 Jan 09 - 03:17 PM
The Sandman 22 Jan 09 - 03:14 PM
Folkiedave 22 Jan 09 - 03:01 PM
Sleepy Rosie 22 Jan 09 - 02:41 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Jan 09 - 02:25 PM
Sleepy Rosie 22 Jan 09 - 01:23 PM
TheSnail 22 Jan 09 - 01:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jan 09 - 12:45 PM
The Borchester Echo 22 Jan 09 - 12:22 PM
Sleepy Rosie 22 Jan 09 - 12:18 PM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jan 09 - 10:29 AM
Backwoodsman 22 Jan 09 - 10:13 AM
Phil Edwards 22 Jan 09 - 08:59 AM
Backwoodsman 22 Jan 09 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,Golightly 22 Jan 09 - 08:23 AM
Phil Edwards 22 Jan 09 - 07:56 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Jan 09 - 06:53 AM
Vin2 22 Jan 09 - 06:51 AM
Will Fly 22 Jan 09 - 06:37 AM
Sleepy Rosie 22 Jan 09 - 06:33 AM
Banjiman 22 Jan 09 - 06:27 AM
Will Fly 22 Jan 09 - 06:15 AM
Banjiman 22 Jan 09 - 06:15 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jan 09 - 06:09 AM
Sleepy Rosie 22 Jan 09 - 06:03 AM
Surreysinger 22 Jan 09 - 05:54 AM
Surreysinger 22 Jan 09 - 05:51 AM
Folkiedave 22 Jan 09 - 05:47 AM
Banjiman 22 Jan 09 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 22 Jan 09 - 05:33 AM
Sleepy Rosie 22 Jan 09 - 05:26 AM
Folkiedave 22 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Jan 09 - 04:10 AM
Banjiman 22 Jan 09 - 03:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 07:34 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 06:34 PM
Folkiedave 21 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 09 - 06:10 PM
melodeonboy 21 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 03:30 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 03:17 PM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 03:10 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 02:44 PM
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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM

Captain Birdseye

Snail,John Morgan? do you mean Don Morgan

No. I mean John Morgan from Kent. Traditional songs with melodeon and guitar.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 07:15 PM

Stop trying to drift the thread...........:-)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:25 PM

Ah but that's not a folk song.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:21 PM

Not here they aren't.

Thanks to the Derby Ram for this one.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 04:52 PM

Martin Carthy plays in a wide range of styles as most people who like music do - an example - it's just music. Who knows, perhaps he just chooses to use his voice as he chooses. Sometimes people generalise. They could pick up the clip in this post and make a host of assumptions - which might be right or wrong.

To me it is an example of diversity.

The Bob Copper story with Taj Mahal and the Watersons is in the same sort of league.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 03:17 PM

ah, don morgan appears on st valetines night with diane morgan.
alas no morgan morgan


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 03:14 PM

Snail,John Morgan? do you mean Don Morgan .


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 03:01 PM

No doubt people would get pissed off with martin carthy if he did songs in a Jim Reeves style.

Well style maybe but he has recorded Hong Kong Blues, Heartbreak Hotel and the Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.

He also sang "Where Do Flies Go in the Winter Time" and "Hard Cheese of Old England". I think he has a wider repertoire than sometimes people give him credit for.

As for the Watersons Mike was kicked out of singing and music lessons at school. They didn't like him harmonising.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 02:41 PM

"Oooooh (sucking of teeth sound!) Complicated one this Rosie - there are accounts of singers being taught by older singers - Joe Heaney and Johnny McDonagh were both 'taught' by their uncle, Colm Keane."

Fair do's Jim C. As you might possibly have gathered by now, I'm no expert. I am however greatly enjoying the exchange of thoughts here, all of which will hopefully engender rather more (albeit primarily autodidactic) educated informed engagement in future.

As for storytelling, I'd be remiss in not mentioning my own mendicant Irish 'rougue' Grandfather, whose broken yet utterly seductive Fey-winged Pneuma - if not the precise memory of the tales themselves - remains beating in my own hearts breath to this very day.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 02:25 PM

"The 'folk' who originally sang these songs were indeed 'aurally untrained' in the sense that they did not undergo any formal training in order to *cultivate an appreciation* of their own art. They were born and bred in the middle of it."
Oooooh (sucking of teeth sound!) Complicated one this Rosie - there are accounts of singers being taught by older singers - Joe Heaney and Johnny McDonagh were both 'taught' by their uncle, Colm Keane.
Depends also on how far back you want to go - and how far afield. Bert Lloyd talked about young singers undergoing an 'apprenticeship' and sitting the equivalent of an 'exam' after a given period in some Eastern European countries.
I think we all tend to forget that we caught our own tradition/s when they were, in most cases, being remembered rather than participated in, so we don't really know what they were like in full flower.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 01:23 PM

I just realised that the greek term "Pneuma", has been hovering around me somewhere unexpressed.

But 'Breath' 'Life' 'Spirit'!

Ahh, how pertinant to giving the loving breath of life to a Song, could anything be?

And newbie as I may be. The 'museum' of dessicated (though precious) artifacts, works no better for me than if it were to be applied to Greek Theatre - which fucking rocks..


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 01:10 PM

Thankd for the plug Diane.

Could I just point out that we are now the Lewes Saturday Folk Club at the Elephant and Castle, Lewes.

John Morgan this Saturday.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 12:45 PM

Difficult one that. Sing in your own voice is okay for most of us, but what about people with plummy voices - or people who want to sing other kinds of folksongs. lots of people like singing irish songs for example.

As i said, I love the Watersons, but they have a style of presenting a song which isn't really a 'natural' voice. Some people try and take on the character of the narrator, rather like an actor does with a role.

i always thought Ewan MacColl was very studied - none the worse for that.

what the hell! just give it your best shot.

Sometimes some people can change your mind about a song.

I wrote a song about my Aunty Nelly, who came from St Helens and was really impressed with the American airmen in the war who were stationed down the road at Burton Wood. When I wrote it I saw it a chance to use bottleneck guitar in the style of driving Rev Gary Davis's Whistling Blues - to emulate the boogie woogie piano music of the time.

On a Folkus weekend - a guy from St helens said - why are you using an American accent -its about someone from St Helens. You can speak in a Lancashire accent - why not do that . So I did, and it seems to improve the song - to my ears. Although its a strange hybrid - a boogie woogie song in a St Helens accent.

i suppose if you're famous - you're stuck with having to do with what the audience expect. No doubt people would get pissed off with martin carthy if he did songs in a Jim Reeves style.

One of the few compensations of being poor and unsuccessful is that you can do what you like.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 12:22 PM

Boden Years at The Colpitts

Glad you said that. I was beginning to think I'd imagined the whole thing, now that the Lewes Arms is claiming to have invented him singlehanded.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 12:18 PM

"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."

This I think is a crucial point.

The 'folk' who origonally sang these songs were indeed 'aurally untrained' in the sense that they did not undergo any formal training in order to *cultivate an appreciation* of their own art. They were born and bred in the middle of it.

I PM'd another poster (Ruth Archer) here today (who has been most helpful towards me regards educating my ear btw.), and I thought of Opera when writing a response to her query about 'how I was getting on' listening to some of the folk material she'd sent me.

I'm no Opera buff by one hell of a way. But one of my absolute favourite pieces of music in the world is Bartoks Bluebeards Castle (The story in this piece - monstrous, fragile, saturated with shadows... Just like the folktale.). Yet despite my love of this work, I know that Opera as a genre remains somewhat alien to me - but purely as a consequence of my own lack of effort to educate my own 'untrained ear'.

I suppose, if traditional song *now* requires an "educated ear", to appreciate it, it does indeed describe a separation from the (generally uneducated/non-formally educated, both now as then) 'folk' from whom at one time, it would have been most naturally understood and appreciated.

The bottom line though, I gotta agree with IB there, Love is the answer. But not merely of the singer (whatever thier style.)

There is a dance between the 'Bard' and their listener. And a fascinated, loving ear, for a good story well told, is intrinsic to human nature. Be it told by Yeats, Bartok, Oscar Wilde, The Brothers Grimm, Cocteau, The Beatles, Jim Moray, or indeed Sedaynes Henry here.

Is the medium more important than the message? I suspect that human intercourse over thousands of years, may say not. That is not to say that particular ways of expressing any art should be dismissed as soon as there's a new generation of artists who wish to revolutionise the way things have been. But perhaps a kind of dialectical process could be allowed for?

Song is so ephemeral, and it's mode of transmission even moreseo. There are no objects on which to forge any secure certainty... But maybe that ephemeral butterfly-like nature of a song, which has passed through thousands of voices, doesn't want to be captured or married to any given miode of representation.

And strumpet that our butterfly may be, it will flutter to wherever honey tongues and voices and ears may Love it best.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 10:29 AM

Perhaps there is, or was, a slice of the folk club audience for whom giving up the clubs was easier than giving up the beer.

On doctors orders I can only drink two pints a night, twice a week, maximum, and those four pints I'll drink whilst at a folk club - a singaround, session, or whatever. The pub is the natural habitat for a music that I never could take entirely sober anyway, nor yet too far removed from the context in which I first encountered it, or where it seems to be at its happiest - I love old pubs as much as I love the old songs. I dare say the smoking thing is a bit of a pain too - I gave up smoking myself back in 2000 and as a consequence stopped going to folk clubs for a full five years (thus missing out on the Boden Years at The Colpitts in Durham). I can't say I missed it too much, if at all, but back then Rapunzel was working shifts & we were living in a merry world of earlies, lates, nights and days off entirely out of synch with the rest of humanity. Rapunzel returning to a regular working life coincided with me finding my citera which gave me reason enough to want to start singing in folk clubs again.

Almost four years on and we're still in the habit - always seeking out new places to simply sing (rather than perform, which is less important to us), and finding plenty to keep us happy with respect of informal singarounds and suchlike, but aware that as traddies we are very much in the minority. Maybe that's why certain comments here irk me so much, regarding what I think of as a preciously indigenous idiom as oppose to the invariably American stylings of your average singer-songwriter, whose voices are just as effected as any traditional singer* you're ever likely to hear, if not more so. There are idioms, and there are conventions, but I regard it of supreme importance to sing in your own voice in celebration of the idiosyncratic human essence that is the heart and soul of traditional song - personal taste notwithstanding of course, which is something else altogether, though it is here we find the zealous negativity that will, I fear, be a contributing factor to the death of the thing entirely.

*I regard anyone who sings a traditional song as a traditional singer; source, revival, neo-revival, wyrd, experimental or otherwise. Maybe I've lost the ability to discriminate, or no longer see any good reason in doing so. If you love the music, then that's what you are; it's the love that qualifies you to sing in an idiom which is very much about the individual voice, irrespective of the hullabaloo which only serves to exclude.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 10:13 AM

"That was partly my point; we have a booze-and-folk culture, extending to the celebration of drink and drunkenness in song. Perhaps there is, or was, a slice of the folk club audience for whom giving up the clubs was easier than giving up the beer."

Agreed Pip. I feel sorry for them. If the choice for me had been to give up either booze or the music, music would have won hands-down and booze would have been binned. As it was, my choice was booze or a painful death - absolutely no contest!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 08:59 AM

As a non-drinker I'm often baffled as to why I can enjoy a night at a gig without boozing but others are really deterred if they can't have a drink.

Habit. Expectations. Habitual expectations. (Also nerves for performers.)

Beer and folk music are inextricably linked in some people's minds; maybe that's another problem.

That was partly my point; we have a booze-and-folk culture, extending to the celebration of drink and drunkenness in song. Perhaps there is, or was, a slice of the folk club audience for whom giving up the clubs was easier than giving up the beer.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 08:40 AM

Correct, Golightly, drinking and driving don't mix.

"As a non-drinker I'm often baffled as to why I can enjoy a night at a gig without boozing but others are really deterred if they can't have a drink.

Beer and folk music are inextricably linked in some people's minds; maybe that's another problem"

When the medics told me three years ago that I had to stop drinking alcohol, the one thing that didn't cross my mind was any kind of thought that my enjoyment of folk-music was at an end. It hasn't made the slightest difference to me in that respect - in fact in some ways it's made life easier, I no longer have the mental battle over whether to have a pint or not when I'm driving. :-)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Golightly
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 08:23 AM

Well, drinking and driving just don't mix, law or no law. As a non-drinker I'm often baffled as to why I can enjoy a night at a gig without boozing but others are really deterred if they can't have a drink.

Beer and folk music are inextricably linked in some people's minds; maybe that's another problem.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 07:56 AM

another long established folk club is on the cards for closing in April - the Open Door Folk Club in Failsworth

That's really sad. Mind you, even though I'm a Manc there's no way I could get to Failsworth for 9.00 on a Sunday (four miles into town & four miles out again, and no drinking at the end of it) - so I guess I'm part of the problem. Er... sorry.

Drink driving laws and the decline of folk clubs, anyone?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:53 AM

Hatfield and The North
When is that legislation on noise limitation due - pleeese?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Vin2
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:51 AM

Anyroadup, back to the thread....another long established folk club is on the cards for closing in April - the Open Door Folk Club in Failsworth. I think poor Pualine & John have finally and sadly realised they can't carry on with the low numbers they've been getting over the recent past. I was at the Stanley Ackrington gig t'other Sunday and apart from the organisers and guest there were only 6 or 7 present and 3 of us had to leave before the second half to catch a train home.

I do hold my hand up and hang my head in shame a bit as one who through non attendance in the past has kinda failed this club but Sunday eve starting at nine just isn't suitable for me as getting home is difficult.

Not sure of the answer, mebbe Sunday lunch/afternoon sessions? Some interesting posts on this thread tho. Despite the decline in clubs, i feel the music/genre whatever is thriving and will survive one way or another even if it's just half a dozen in someone's living room.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:37 AM

I'm happy to take your word for it. I'd always assumed that they would be "Lily white and fair Oh", somehow. Please don't disabuse me of this as I'm already up to verse 23. :-)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:33 AM

Shouldn't they really be "Lilly white and fair Oh!" or some such thing, to be genuinely worthy any kind of mention in a proper ballad?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:27 AM

p.s. just got to Barbara Allen on the Texas Gladden recordings. Pretty sublime version and singing...... not heard this version before. Great.

Better do some work now!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:15 AM

Sleepy Rosie:

But then I do have soft Southerners ears

Ah... more copy for my ballad - now entitled: "The Southern Virginal Ears of Sleepy Rosie". It's coming along nicely. Now - must shave the backs of me hands.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:15 AM

Thanks Surreysinger, I love the ambience of these Texas Gladden recordings. Great songs, great stories.

Still want to get my banjo out and add a little clawhammer backing..... probably get discommunicated for that though! And it probably misses the point as well.

The Devil & The farmer's wife is absolutely great.... but it is far more "musical" than the recordings that precede it(in my humble). Must be the guitar on it.

BTW, I was suggesting Barnet was the great divide, not that I had lived there. I can confirm "The North" signs go all the way up the A9 (past Inverness). Once drove from London to Orkney (except the last bit, obviously), thoroughy recommend it!

Not sure what any of this has to do with dead folk clubs though..... sorry!

Thanks again for the link.

Paul


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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM

Promises!!


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 03:10 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: 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: 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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