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What makes it a Folk Song?

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Richard Bridge 15 May 09 - 07:11 PM
glueman 15 May 09 - 07:17 PM
TheSnail 15 May 09 - 07:48 PM
Jim Carroll 16 May 09 - 04:00 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 May 09 - 04:01 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 May 09 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 May 09 - 04:15 AM
TheSnail 16 May 09 - 05:07 AM
Richard Bridge 16 May 09 - 05:32 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 May 09 - 05:40 AM
Spleen Cringe 16 May 09 - 05:52 AM
glueman 16 May 09 - 06:18 AM
Howard Jones 16 May 09 - 07:46 AM
Jim Carroll 16 May 09 - 07:54 AM
glueman 16 May 09 - 08:15 AM
Howard Jones 16 May 09 - 08:38 AM
Jim Carroll 16 May 09 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 May 09 - 10:53 AM
glueman 16 May 09 - 11:15 AM
Jim Carroll 16 May 09 - 12:00 PM
glueman 16 May 09 - 12:22 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 May 09 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 May 09 - 01:12 PM
Jim Carroll 16 May 09 - 01:27 PM
Frozen Gin (inactive) 16 May 09 - 01:28 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 May 09 - 02:27 PM
Frozen Gin (inactive) 16 May 09 - 02:36 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 May 09 - 03:04 PM
Jim Carroll 16 May 09 - 03:26 PM
Richard Bridge 16 May 09 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 May 09 - 04:20 PM
Richard Bridge 16 May 09 - 04:27 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 May 09 - 06:13 PM
Phil Edwards 17 May 09 - 10:01 AM
glueman 17 May 09 - 03:48 PM
Richard Bridge 17 May 09 - 03:55 PM
glueman 17 May 09 - 04:05 PM
TheSnail 17 May 09 - 05:17 PM
Richard Bridge 17 May 09 - 05:35 PM
Phil Edwards 17 May 09 - 06:59 PM
Richard Bridge 17 May 09 - 10:15 PM
Jim Carroll 18 May 09 - 03:02 AM
glueman 18 May 09 - 04:55 AM
Jack Blandiver 18 May 09 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 May 09 - 05:20 AM
Richard Bridge 18 May 09 - 06:08 AM
Phil Edwards 18 May 09 - 06:19 AM
glueman 18 May 09 - 06:31 AM
Phil Edwards 18 May 09 - 08:07 AM
Richard Bridge 18 May 09 - 08:30 AM
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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:11 PM

Sticks? What, like border morris?

What it takes is THOUGHT!


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: glueman
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:17 PM

THOUGHT - and grumpy middle-aged beardy men in pubs. Not especially inclusive, welcoming or progressive. With apologies to folk outlets that serve a different clientele.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:48 PM

Jim Carroll

The idea that any definition be changed in the interest of a tiny handful on 'anything goes' clubs that wish to include "Blues, Shanties, Kipling, Cicely Fox Smith, Musical Hall, George Formby, Pop, County, Dylan, Cohen, Cash, Medieval Latin, Beatles, Irish Jigs and Reels, Scottish Strathspeys, Gospel, Rock, Classical Guitar, Native American Chants, Operatic Arias and even the occasional Traditional Song and Ballad"

I think this belongs in this thread especially since Insane Sinister Beard Supporter has conceded that Sailor Ron's assessment was nearer the truth.

Selective reading, Jim. Weak evidence undermines your argument but "a tiny handful of 'anything goes' clubs"! Progress. At least you're not condemning the whole lot on the basis of one flimsy piece of evidence.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 09 - 04:00 AM

"What makes it a folk song"
Its origins for a start it came from 'the folk' it was made and adapted by people described in George Ewart Evans' 'Ask the Fellow Who Cuts the Hay', or George Sturt's 'The Betsworth Book', or George Bourne's 'Memoirs of a Surrey Labourer', or 'When I Was A Child' by 'An Old Potter'. Or those more academically discussed in George Laurence Gomme's 'The Village Community'. The songs are part of their culture and their history and of ours. It was how they saw themselves not the view of an outsider, but one from the horse's (not the singing one's) mouth.
Don't believe me?
Listen to the Lomax recording of Harry Cox singing 'Betsy the Serving Maid' (son of a well-heeled family falls in love with a servant-girl family have her shipped out to America son dies of grief). At the end of the singing Cox spits out, "And that's what the buggers thought of us".
In the same session he sings 'Van Dieman's Land', then goes into a diatribe about local landlords who seized and enclosed the land, thus depriving land labourers of taking the odd hare or pheasant to fortify the pot that fed their hungry families.
Not the ranting of a bleeding-hearted liberal or leftie, but that of a land labourer assessing his position in the pecking order and using his songs to do it.
We came across it all the time - from Walter Pardon, who located many of his songs in the fields surrounding his home in North Norfolk, or from Travellers who would sing you a centuries-old ballad and tell you "That was a song made by a Traveller, about what happened to his grandfather". We were told of the rather mawkish 'Banks of the Lee', "she was a Travelling girl who died in a workhouse fire while her husband was working away".
When we first started recording here in West Clare we were being given dozens upon dozens of emigration songs I have to say, to my shame I dreaded them "Oh no, not another one of those bloody 'why did I leave dear old Ireland' dirges". Then we realised that there isn't a family in this area which hadn't lost members to the emigrations, and that these songs were an acknowledgement of that fact. We had described to us a local Christmas party where the elderly father sang 'The Christmas Letter' to a family in floods of tears, remembering brothers and sisters who had gone off to America or Canada, or Australia, and never made it back.
IMO, these songs were made, not just as an entertainment, but as an affirmation of who they/we are, where we came from (my own family, on both sides, left Ireland in the 1840s to escape the results of a lethally mismanaged famine).
I believe the making of these songs stopped when we all acquired televisions and became recipients rather than creators of our culture and our entertainment. It doesn't mean that we can't go on singing the songs, or creating new ones using the (very accessible) forms of composition in fact, it would be a god-awful waste not to do so. But we also need to recognise that what we do today is different than what has gone before.
By lumping together the modern compositions heard in folk clubs, no matter how worthy, with those of the anonymous farm labourers, mill workers, seamen, soldiers, miners. whoever, is, to me, debasing and distorting the coin.
This is doubly true of songs like 'Leader of the Pack' and '24 Hours From Tulsa, the wares of a cynical and avaricious music industry, designed to be milked for what they are worth in the short term, then discarded when there is nothing more to be had from them.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 May 09 - 04:01 AM

If you take the view that, since 'posh people' or 'academics' wrote it, it must be a load of bollocks which patronized the working class, then you're condemning ethnomusicology, sociology, anthropology and who knows what else to the bin as well.

Maybe I am at that, Brian. But one would at least hope that the thing itself is of greater validity than the academic study of it, and that the academic disciplines you mention are at least aware of the ethical issues arising from one lot of human beings aspiring to the heady heights of objectivity which will somehow enable them to study another lot. Again one is reminded of Alfred Kinsey and his team who in their study of human sexuality themselves became impotent.

And the more I read of this discussion, the more I lose the will to folk...


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 May 09 - 04:08 AM

Cross-post with Jim. Nice one, Mr Carroll - a genuine ray of sunshine on this increasingly grey & gloomy thread.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 May 09 - 04:15 AM

"The 54 definition is precisely about "how the music arrived here and through what processes of mediation and consumption" - that's what it defines."

Exactly, Pip - of course it does! Unfortunately, 'glueman' would prefer a different process of mediation and consumption - one more in line with his preconceptions.

Right, what label are you going to stick on me now, 'glueman': Middle class? Scientist? Beardy? Kitten strangler?


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 May 09 - 05:07 AM

Jim! Why can't you talk like that all the time? You could inspire people instead of driving them away.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 May 09 - 05:32 AM

I have never said that the working class can't think. We owe much of our understanding of folk song to Bert Lloyd and Ewan MacColl (although I disapprove of the latter's adoption of a fake identity). Neither middle class scholars, but they thought about what they were doing.

But "grumpy" - yes, label accepted with thanks. As I have said above I can't put up with wilful idiocy.

"Middle Aged" - be buggered, "old", thanks.

"Bearded" - yes, and have been since the age of 17. Your problem is? Hairy too - I'm very fond of my flowing locks (while they last).

"Inclusive" - try one of my song sessions. As it says on the posters "If you can play it, bring it with you (no amplifiers). If you can sing it bring your voice". Not only do I also go to the pub karaoke nights (except for one operator who is a silly young twerp) and sing at them, and get asked to do some of the Chuck Berry stuff, but I also badger the barmaid and any of the younger singers who can sing to come and sing some unamplified stuff at the folk dos. And stick my neck out by asking some of the local travellers to come and sing some of "the old songs". Pretty much the same approach at all the song sessions I know of round here.

"Welcoming" - see above, but I'm sure the people who are less experienced at "folk" don't want to be fawned over.

"Progressive" - ah, well, although I am a limited guitar and mandolin player, actually I do think that quite a lot of what I do, although largely using folk (1954 definition) songs, is pretty progressive in the way I arrange. That however is exactly what the 1954 definition allows for.   I've also taken mandoplank and distortion pedals to full on electric jams, rather to the surprise of some guitar players. Allegedly overheard at Rochester Sweeps fest, while I had got bored sticking to the morris tunes, and was having a little shred (expression learned from a person under 30)around the tune, through my portable Vox amp "Didn't he used to be in ZZ Top?". Also heard from someone else "That's very distracting". I think I am pretty progressive the way I approach folk music, and I also sing in "folk club" and "folk session" situations stuff that is not 1954 folk. I just appreciate that it is different from 1954 folk. So I think I am pretty progressive.

Once again, glueman, you are setting up an Aunt Sally shy.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 May 09 - 05:40 AM

I'm intrigued, Richard - where you at? I might just have a toddle along one day...


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 May 09 - 05:52 AM

"And the more I read of this discussion, the more I lose the will to folk..."

Nooooo! Don't do it!

The thing to remember is that if you ever got all these folks together in the same pub at the same time you'd have a cracking night out.

Jim, you last post was excellent. When are you going to write a book? Can I put my name down for one?


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: glueman
Date: 16 May 09 - 06:18 AM

Jim, you said earlier that 'from the outside' pop songs offered no settings. I offered 'Leader of the Pack' as an example of a popular song which has a similar narrative arc to a number of trad songs - transgressive romance, interdiction by authority, warning chorus/commentary, death and loss - as a folklorist might define it. Flip the ending (which folk often does) and we have Tam Lin on motorbikes - at least in plot. "The wares of a cynical and avaricious music industry" won't hold up as an indicator of form or type.

One of the things that surprised me when I first came across these arguments was how reluctant traditionalists were to see the folk revival in context. It resembled a belief system, one that arrived fully formed and worked if you didn't ask the wrong questions. I'm not made of that stuff, I want to subject the thing to all kinds of blows to understand why this music attracts and has been appropriated by such a narrow social group, especially when most of that group do not resemble its originators in any way.

My introduction to the 'debate' was to be told in short order I was one of the many who didn't understand. From that point I've been happy to conflate every last authority figure who told me I didn't understand something and was prepared to use ridicule as their first and last weapon - 54 Mudcatter's haven't let me down.

It's all about the music. It's mine as much as your's.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 May 09 - 07:46 AM

Jim, your last post was quite simply the best thing I have read on this subject. I have copied and saved it. Absolutely inspiring.

Glueman, this music hasn't been "appropriated" by a narrow social group. It's open to anyone, and crosses all social classes and backgrounds. It is however a minority group, and the interesting question is why this music has been dropped and ignored by the majority of the working class from which it sprang.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 09 - 07:54 AM

"It resembled a belief system, one that arrived fully formed and worked if you didn't ask the wrong questions."
Sorry Glueman - this means nothing whatever to me. I have no idea what 'belief sytem you are comparing our attitude to (get a little tired of being referred to as 'a traditionalist - equally meaningless to me - but let that pass).
I came to folk music largely via the BBC project material: Harry Cox - farm labourer, Jeannie Robertson - Scots Traveller, Sam Larner - East Anglian herring fisherman, Maggie Barry - street, singer Mark Anderson - lead miner, Colm Keane - West of Ireland small farmer.... and all the other 'folk'. I assumed pretty well from the start that it was to people like these I would have to go to if I wanted to learn more about the music and songs that had bowled me over.
If you are trying to tell me that I got it wrong and that I should have taken into consideration Rickie Nelson and Buddy Holly and Sandford Clark and Connie Francis.... and all the other singers I was listening to at the time, I'm afraid you aren't making much of a fist of it.
It is all about the music, and of course it's as much yours as it it mine - we appear to be having trouble deciding which music we are talking about.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: glueman
Date: 16 May 09 - 08:15 AM

I disagree HJ, accessibility is about more than the noise, it's about the people and locations the noise is heard and whether an individual can identify with those factors. I've spent 30 years avoiding folk clubs because my early experiences suggested the context had nothing to do with people like me so had to content myself with the same sound on recordings.

I attend a few festivals because there isn't the same sense of having to buy the whole package - certainly one attached to an historical definition anyway.

Jim the blief system part comes from discussions like this - you could listen to or make folk music all your life without ever having heard the date 1954 and be at no disadvantage or compromised in the sound you make or words you utter. The definition resembles a creed and I'm not happy with packaging beliefs in that way in any context.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 May 09 - 08:38 AM

The idea that 1954 represents a "creed" seems to exist only on Mudcat, and only among those who are opposed to it.

Most of us who play and listen to folk music recognise that there is something about it which distinguishes it from even the best of the other genres of music we may listen to. The 1954 definition is an admittedly imperfect explanation of how that has come about. It is a formal academic description of what is more casually referred to as the "folk process".

I admit my personal preference is towards traditional songs. But a good song is a good song, and if I hear a non-traditional song which engages me then I'll include it in my repertoire, and perform it in folk clubs and sessions. I just don't claim that it's a folk song. Jim's recent post at 04:00 am today explains better than I can why this matters.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 09 - 10:33 AM

"But a good song is a good song, and if I hear a non-traditional song which engages me then I'll include it in my repertoire, and perform it in folk clubs and sessions."
Howard is right - sing what turns you on - definitions are for communication of ideas.
Interestingly (to me anyway) every singer we ever interviewed had their own form of defiition; it didn't necessarily express a preference, it just identified their personal relationships to their songs.
It seems to me that if organisers call their clubs 'folk' they have a responsibility (a) To realise the implications of the term in all its aspects, and (b) To ascertain that what they present bears some resemblence to the original meaning. It is not enough - for me anyway, to say "I don't know what folk is" any more than it would be for a carpenter to say "I don't know anything about woodwork" - it's what we took on wen we became involved.
I also believe there is a responsibility to the Harry Coxs and Sam Larners, but that is more complicated, and probably more of a personal thing with me.
Jim Carroll
PS Richard
"although I disapprove of the latter's adoption of a fake identity"
Can I assume you disapprove of Robert Zimmerman (whoops, Bob Dylan) for the same reason


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 May 09 - 10:53 AM

" ... why this music attracts and has been appropriated by such a narrow social group, especially when most of that group do not resemble its originators in any way."

First, I do not consider that I have "appropriated" anything! I have always, since childhood music lessons introduced me to them, preferred tradional songs to pop music - that does not make me an "appropriator".

Second, you do not know me well enough to be able to tell if I 'do not resemble the originators of traditional song in ANY way. In fact both of my grandparents, on my mother's side, were East Anglian country people, born in the late 19th century. Although neither of them were singers, when I hear recordings of Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Walter Pardon etc. I hear my grandparents' voices and people who came from the same milieu as they did. And that milieu is still important and relevant to me - as it happens more important and relevant than popular, commercial effusions from the other side of the Atlantic or those produced by British, urban adolescents who went to Art School and think that they're desperately important because they formed a band that produces an incoherent, ephemeral, and often pretentious racket.

Call me whatever names you like but traditional song means more to me than anything the modern, commercial pop industry could ever churn out.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: glueman
Date: 16 May 09 - 11:15 AM

"or those produced by British, urban adolescents who went to Art School and think that they're desperately important because they formed a band that produces an incoherent, ephemeral, and often pretentious racket." - Shimrod

Folk's barely hidden nonsense rises to the surface once more. So that's the young, the creative and city dwellers removed because their music is verbally unclear, short-lived and pretends to things it doesn't contain. Is it any wonder ordinary people beieve folk is for up-themselves cumudgeons with an axe to grind?
Any other groups in society you want to throw out while you're at it?
I judge the definition by the company it keeps.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 09 - 12:00 PM

"Is it any wonder ordinary people believe folk is for up-themselves cumudgeons with an axe to grind?"
Doesn't everybody compare other people's personal tastes to their own? I can recall hearing people - young and old - describe English music in far less complementary terms than Shimrod has just used.
The favourite term for Irish traditional music, usually by media 'authorities' as "diddley-die".
Aren't we permitted to express our own preferences or do we all have to worship at the altar of youth? (you'll have to excuse this jaundiced view of youth as one of the little bastards - probably the one who killed our cat last year - has just passed down our narrow country road at around 90mph).
I totally agree with Shimrod's last sentence on the pap that is churned out by the music industry's sausage machine, which will probably be as much a thing of the past as Lord Gregory this time next year.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: glueman
Date: 16 May 09 - 12:22 PM

We're so far apart on these issues it's not worth discussing.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:10 PM

The favourite term for Irish traditional music, usually by media 'authorities' as "diddley-die".

Some of the finest trad. Irish session players I know call it that too! As for my take on such matters, allow me to repost a wee anecdote from elsewhere...

In the good old days in England Sam Smith's pubs carried music licenses and sold cheap (though barely drinkable) bitter such as Old Brewery, which at one Durham public house could be had for a quid a pint, thus making it very popular with musicians. Thursdays was the Folk Club; Tuesdays the Trad Jazz, and Mondays was the Irish Session, the players of which took themselves Very Seriously Indeed, and rightly so in terms of the impeccable standard of their playing which existed in direct correlation to the utter tedium it inspired in the casual listener, such as myself. Said public house was also the scene of many an hearty outrage; one night, for example, I was in there when a fight broke out in the bar between several inebriated men of the same family after a funeral. It was a Tuesday, and the Dixieland Jazzers played on as the chairs flew, and the men brawled, and the locals stood there as if nothing was happening. A lovely summer night it was as I recall, the sun shining, the doors open, and everything at peace with the world; a peace barely disturbed by the proceedings in the bar.

Anyhoo. One Monday night after an arduous coach journey from London I popped in for a pint (those who say to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive have never travelled by National Express). The Session Musicians were through in the club room, playing their particular brand of music with fierce concentration and earnestness - a music which filtered through to the bar as a mildly irritating ambience: difficult to ignore, but not really loud enough to engage your attention, especially when one was in there on one's own, enjoying a solitary pint of an autumn evening with a half-ounce of Golden Virginia (Job papers & Swan Vesta matches) and a copy of Heart of Darkness (if only to get a literary measure of Apocalypse Now). Into the bar comes an old lady in her slippers, hair-net and dressing gown. In the absence of the barmaid, she helps herself to a large glass of Grouse from the appropriate optic. Taking a sip, she savours the poison, pondering all the while the nature of the entertainment taking place through in the club room, where our Session friends are playing with such indefatigable gusto they might well get through the whole of O'Neill's before closing time. Then a look of realisation dawns on her wrinkled face as it all becomes clear; something at least approaching a smile plays about her lips as she turns to me (there is, alas, no one else in the bar) and utters the immortal words:
"Eh, that's that Riverdance music isn't it?"
"It most certainly is," I reply, happy for the first time since parting from my girlfriend at Worth Abbey some ten hours earlier.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:12 PM

"So that's the young, the creative and city dwellers removed because their music is verbally unclear, short-lived and pretends to things it doesn't contain."

But they're not 'removed', are they? They're everywhere, penetrating every nook and cranny of our culture such that there's no room for anything else and making contentless, raucous 'shite' the norm! When I hear yet another adolescent declare that his/her highest aspiration is to 'be-in-a-band', I despair!

Oh yes, I don't know about you but I happen to prefer music which is verbally clear, durable and unpretentious - a good description of traditional song, perhaps?


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:27 PM

"Some of the finest trad. Irish session players I know call it that too!"
And many of the West Indians I worked with on the building sites referred to themselves and each other as 'niggers'; not I thing I would want to do in a thousand years.
The diddley-di reference kept Irish music off the media for decades - it was (and still is i ome quarters) a term of contempt - as is 'Riverdance' by real dancers incidentally.
"We're so far apart on these issues"
I wonder on what in particular - it might help me understand your take on folk music, which I'm really having trouble with.
As far as I can see, pop music is a packaged product manipulated by the industry - summed up beautifully when I saw one of the great musical rebels from The Sex Pistols advertising Country Life on television last week
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:28 PM

"When I hear yet another adolescent declare that his/her highest aspiration is to 'be-in-a-band', I despair!"

I depair over people like you. When I was a teenager, low thses many years ago, that's an aspiration that many of had, to be in a band. Don't denigrate those who actually have some ambition, and, who knows, some vision.

I happen to prefer musicians who areverbally clear, durable AND unpretentious, which means some of them ain't folkies. Right at this moment, as I type this, I'm listening to I put A Spell On You as performed by David Gilmour and Mica Paris and The Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. Amazing stuff!


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 May 09 - 02:27 PM

verbally clear, durable and unpretentious - a good description of traditional song, perhaps?

Not the way I do 'em! Verbally unintelligible, existing only in the moment and thoroughly pretentious... or so they tell me.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 16 May 09 - 02:36 PM

"Not the way I do 'em! Verbally unintelligible, existing only in the moment and thoroughly pretentious... or so they tell me."

and honest as well, which is more than can be said of some...


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 May 09 - 03:04 PM

and honest as well

Too true. I am all too aware of my own idiosyncratic genius with respect of traditional song. Honesty is the best policy!


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 09 - 03:26 PM

"When I hear yet another adolescent declare that his/her highest aspiration is to 'be-in-a-band', I despair!"
Personally I have no objection to youngsters wanting to play the music they enjoy - it's preferable to being passive recipients as too many of them are (adults too). What does disturb me is when I hear kids say they want to be a 'pop star' - different kettle of whatever altogether.
I have to confess that I'm speaking from a position of strength here.
In our small one-street west of Ireland town I would calculate that there are something like 150 youngsters involved in tradition music, thanks to a responsible attitude by adult musicians taking a positive and (dare I say it) serious stance, on both the music and those wishing to learn it.
We have half a dozen regular classes (several teachers of which were barely out of the pram when we first started visiting here).
Not a bad situation when you consider that fiddle player Kevin Glackin once described having to hide his fiddle under his coat when going to lessons for fear of being beaten up by his schoolmates.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 May 09 - 04:15 PM

Hey! Hey!

THere is many a young band, and even 20s-30s age group band producing stunning original high-volume electric music with literate lyrics and great vgision and insight.

The trouble is that most of the music industry is so far up its own nose that it produces buys and sells the pap that musically reflects the endless obsession of the film business with franchises and remakes, and most of the lyrically dense music is obsessed with kiiling other niggaaaaz hos.

Heaven help us, Oasis have been lauded as intelligent. Post-punk is treated as having something still to say!

But the metal bands, the stoner bands producing soundscapes as fine as much early Floyd - totally ignored by the industry.

And probably a lot of other fine stuff ignored by the industry as well. Pink really can sing, but what about Atomic Kitten (better with the sound off I think).

There is plenty of fine modern rock music (and a lot that is rubbish too).


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 May 09 - 04:20 PM

""When I hear yet another adolescent declare that his/her highest aspiration is to 'be-in-a-band', I despair!"

I depair over people like you. When I was a teenager, low thses many years ago, that's an aspiration that many of had, to be in a band. Don't denigrate those who actually have some ambition, and, who knows, some vision."

When I was a teenager, from a working class family, I aspired to become a scientist (in my opinion, one of the highest callings a human being can have) and I became one.
Now I'm sure that there are plenty of teenagers today who are aspirational and ambitious - and, generally speaking, I support them. But wanting to be-in-a-band and make loud, incoherent, unintelligible 'clone noises' is, again, in my opinion, an unworthy aspiration - a symptom of our dreary, trivial, dumbed-down, money, fame and celebrity obsessed culture.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 May 09 - 04:27 PM

Oh, may I also point out that there are young (well, a LOT younger than me) singers singing mostly traditional songs who are quite spectacular. I have spent most of today listening to recordings of Anne Briggs and Shirley Collins and IMHO there are young or young-ish female singers out there today who are simply spellbindingly better - who do not have the tweeness of either. Not naming them to save embarrassing them.

Not sure there are any technically better than June Tabor, but there are again some who deliver with more force than any but the most spiteful of Tabor's recordings (Hughie Graeme comes to mind as perhaps her best because of the extra force in it - that would take a HUGE amount of topping).


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 May 09 - 06:13 PM

But wanting to be-in-a-band and make loud, incoherent, unintelligible 'clone noises'

I was in a band like that once; we called ourselves Rhombus of Dooom and our old guitarist has just set up a 25th Anniversary Myspace page.

http://www.myspace.com/rhombusovdooom

I played electric viola, though on the track Kallisti I'm playing bass. These are all live recordings and will shorty be available on CD, so I'm told. This is something I'm very proud to have been part of & after all these years the music still kicks ass.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 May 09 - 10:01 AM

I judge the definition by the company it keeps.

You're in luck then - there's Richard Bridge ("many a young band, and even 20s-30s age group band producing stunning original high-volume electric music with literate lyrics and great vgision and insight"), and there's me using 'punk' as a term of approbation (one of the highest in my vocabulary).

And will that persuade you that you were wrong about '54 partisans? I'm not holding my breath. You see what you want to see, glueman - I'm just sorry that what you want to see is so grim. That Centerville story fits you like a glove.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: glueman
Date: 17 May 09 - 03:48 PM

Approbation. I'm arguing with someone about music of the people who uses the word approbation. FFS Pipsqueak sort yourself out.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 May 09 - 03:55 PM

Hmm. Obfuscatory language? What was it I said before? Oh yes! Pot-kettle. Kettle-pot.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: glueman
Date: 17 May 09 - 04:05 PM

To go with chip and shoulder I presume. Shimrod's urban hating, youth despising, art loathing, little england folk myna bird is very much the rule round the class of 54. The level of suspicion about ordinary people and their opinions is the same one in found in 1974. Nothing has changed, I'll stick with my records, ta.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 May 09 - 05:17 PM

glueman

The level of suspicion about ordinary people

Yes! We're all ordinary.























I,m not,


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 May 09 - 05:35 PM

batey!


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 May 09 - 06:59 PM

Approbation. I'm arguing with someone about music of the people who uses the word approbation.

No you're not - arguing, that is. You're ignoring what I said and jeering at the language I said it in.

Shimrod's urban hating, youth despising, art loathing, little england folk myna bird is very much the rule round the class of 54.

No. It. Isn't. Richard Bridge doesn't agree with Shimrod on this one and neither do I. The evidence is right in front of you. But of course, since it's not the evidence you want to see, you'll ignore it. As I said earlier on, the Centerberg story fits you like a glove.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 May 09 - 10:15 PM

Well, there are loud noises and loud noises. There are clone bands doing Oasis shit, and frankly the Dave Clark 5 were both more original and more intelligent - but there are (as I said above) many creative young electric bands who don't get a look in because of A&R obsession with urban MoBO. And of course the plethora of tired old punk rehashes who mostly specialise in DoS (Drunk on Stage) - the mould they were trying to break was vaporised 20 years ago (example, the Inbreds).   And the jazz-funkers who still think the key to sounding like Sly Stone is to toke like him (example, Kingskin). There is lots of crap - but there is also lots of good stuff (example, Arch-Enemy, or, if you can find one of their rare live shows, Sons of Alpha Centauri) if you remember the only good line George Michael ever came up with "Listen without Prejudice". I'm currently tipping a band in rehearsal called Datura.

But none of that is folk song, although I have a sneaking feeling that some of Arch-Enemy's stuff could be re-written as neofolk.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 09 - 03:02 AM

Isn't it oddly predictable how these arguments always shift from being about definitions to ones of personal preference - "I wan't it to be a folk song - so it is"?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: glueman
Date: 18 May 09 - 04:55 AM

You don't get to make the rules Pip, and for that we should all be thankful. You once described the tradition as 'the hard stuff'. We don't need to know anything else about you - elitism, snobbery, pedantry.
It's not hard, inaccessible or in need of mediating by the middle class in the back rooms of pubs.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 May 09 - 05:18 AM

example, Arch-Enemy, or, if you can find one of their rare live shows, Sons of Alpha Centauri) if you remember the only good line George Michael ever came up with "Listen without Prejudice". I'm currently tipping a band in rehearsal called Datura.

Anything on-line at all, Richard?


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 May 09 - 05:20 AM

"Shimrod's urban hating, youth despising, art loathing, little england folk myna bird is very much the rule round the class of 54."

For the record, 'glueman', you paranoid heretic hunter, you! I live in a big city and I love it - although I despise its city council and I fear for its future as it inexorably becomes indistinguishable from every other city. I don't despise youth - but I do fear for their future in this era when social mobility has become so restricted. And I really do believe that wishing 'to-be-in-a-band-like-every-other-band' is an unworthy aspiration. I don't loathe art - but I tend to despise the British Art Establishment and Art School culture - which I think is pretentious, elitist and obscurist. I am not, and never have been, a "little englander" (how dare you!).

But I do plead guilty to being a myna bird - my secret is out! Squawk! Sorry ... drat!


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 May 09 - 06:08 AM

Archenemy readily obtainable by Youtube search.

http://www.sonsofalphacentauri.co.uk/news.php

Datura are still in rehearsal and I think that even the stuff they are readying for Youtube is only on their beta site to which there is no public access.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 May 09 - 06:19 AM

You once described the tradition as 'the hard stuff'. We don't need to know anything else about you - elitism, snobbery, pedantry. It's not hard, inaccessible or in need of mediating by the middle class in the back rooms of pubs.

Of course, I never suggested that it was - you seem to be deliberately misreading what I wrote. Which was:

FCs where anything goes are a lousy gateway drug - they don't do nearly enough to get people on to the hard stuff.

"gateway drug ... the hard stuff". If I referred to whisky as "the hard stuff", would that mean I was saying it was a middle-class drink which working people need training to appreciate?

The real irony is, what I was saying in the comment you quote is that I would like as many people as possible to get into traditional music, and I think a lot more people would do so if they had more chances to hear it. It's almost the exact opposite of the views you attribute to me.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: glueman
Date: 18 May 09 - 06:31 AM

Are you posting on tax-payer's money again Pip?


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 May 09 - 08:07 AM

Ooh, I've got a stalker! How sweet.


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Subject: RE: What makes it a Folk Song?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 May 09 - 08:30 AM

400


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