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Why folk clubs are dying

Jim Carroll 21 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 02:13 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 01:24 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Jan 09 - 11:52 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 10:50 AM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 21 Jan 09 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 21 Jan 09 - 08:16 AM
Jack Blandiver 21 Jan 09 - 08:05 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Phil Beer ( In Glasgow) 21 Jan 09 - 05:57 AM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM
Will Fly 21 Jan 09 - 04:57 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 04:53 AM
Will Fly 21 Jan 09 - 04:49 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 04:42 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 09 - 03:15 AM
The Barden of England 20 Jan 09 - 07:58 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 03:04 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Jan 09 - 03:00 PM
Jack Blandiver 20 Jan 09 - 12:10 PM
Jack Blandiver 20 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 12:02 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM
melodeonboy 20 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 09 - 10:20 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 10:01 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 09:59 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Jan 09 - 05:03 PM
Aeola 19 Jan 09 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 09 - 03:07 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 09 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Somebody else wearing a wig 19 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,John E. 19 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 09 - 09:51 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 09:43 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge 19 Jan 09 - 09:24 AM
Will Fly 19 Jan 09 - 07:38 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Jan 09 - 07:14 AM
Sleepy Rosie 19 Jan 09 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 09 - 07:02 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 09 - 05:43 AM
melodeonboy 19 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 05:09 AM
melodeonboy 19 Jan 09 - 04:55 AM
Banjiman 19 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM
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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 04:49 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 - 04:46 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 10:20 AM

500.


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: melodeonboy
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM

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


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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 - 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: Banjiman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM

Happy Birthday WLD!

Paul


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