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When NOT to sing

Stringsinger 19 May 09 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,Songster Bob 18 May 09 - 10:36 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 May 09 - 04:42 PM
Diva 18 May 09 - 01:26 PM
Jim Carroll 18 May 09 - 05:06 AM
Marje 18 May 09 - 04:33 AM
Jim Carroll 18 May 09 - 02:44 AM
mg 18 May 09 - 12:33 AM
Zimmerman 17 May 09 - 11:12 PM
Bonzo3legs 17 May 09 - 03:42 PM
GUEST 17 May 09 - 10:47 AM
Frozen Gin (inactive) 16 May 09 - 01:47 PM
Diva 16 May 09 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Janice now in Western NY State 13 May 09 - 01:41 PM
Frozen Gin (inactive) 12 May 09 - 03:46 PM
Stringsinger 12 May 09 - 02:55 PM
Aeola 12 May 09 - 02:46 PM
TheSnail 12 May 09 - 01:51 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 12 May 09 - 08:31 AM
Jim Carroll 12 May 09 - 08:20 AM
TheSnail 12 May 09 - 07:15 AM
Spleen Cringe 12 May 09 - 02:47 AM
GUEST,some random lurker 12 May 09 - 02:13 AM
GUEST,glueman 07 May 09 - 03:34 PM
Jim Carroll 07 May 09 - 02:57 PM
Big Mick 07 May 09 - 02:12 PM
TheSnail 07 May 09 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,glueman 07 May 09 - 01:04 PM
Kampervan 07 May 09 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 07 May 09 - 12:38 PM
Kampervan 07 May 09 - 12:33 PM
High Hopes (inactive) 07 May 09 - 12:18 PM
Jim Carroll 07 May 09 - 12:07 PM
Musket 07 May 09 - 11:29 AM
Rifleman (inactive) 05 May 09 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,glueman 05 May 09 - 11:17 AM
Seamus Kennedy 05 May 09 - 10:22 AM
Jim Carroll 05 May 09 - 07:43 AM
Richard Bridge 05 May 09 - 07:05 AM
Jim Carroll 05 May 09 - 03:26 AM
VirginiaTam 05 May 09 - 03:01 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 05 May 09 - 02:03 AM
GUEST 04 May 09 - 11:16 PM
Big Mick 04 May 09 - 10:07 PM
Jim Carroll 04 May 09 - 08:39 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 04 May 09 - 07:08 PM
Bill D 04 May 09 - 05:33 PM
Richard Bridge 04 May 09 - 04:23 PM
GUEST 04 May 09 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 May 09 - 03:06 PM
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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 May 09 - 12:23 PM

If there is an understanding that the singer doesn't want you to sing along, then this should be respected of course.

Manners and sensitivity do play a role here.

But the best communication for most people is a sense of participation which if encouraged by the performer enhances that performance.

I have been bored to tears by some long-winded, pretentious, self-important singers
who insist on a "concert platform" for their "precious" offerings.

Folk song academia is a disease which is not limited to information but a great deal
of attitude.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Songster Bob
Date: 18 May 09 - 10:36 PM

I hope I'm not in the "sings when he shouldn't" category, and in particular, that I'm not the singer Big Mick mentioned, a friend who sang over you at a Getaway. If so, I'm sorry. I did notice myself a few weekends ago, when my enthusiasm for "Old Bill Bailey Played the Ukulele," got to me and I sang along with another friend, when it wasn't called for at all. There are times, even at my age, when enthusiasm overcomes taste and sense.

Me culpa.

I'm both a singer and musician, and one of my curious desires is to be an accompanist, when one can help the song, rather than a member of the chorus, so my chance to join in depends on a specific kind of session, and when I encounter that kind (essentially, country/bluegrass song-swaps, or blues sessions, or, as it were, "accompanied singarounds"), I have to be careful to not overdo it. If I'm the third or fourth guitarist in such a session, I'll pick up the mandolin or banjo or harmonica, or sit it out.

I could see doing it the same way if I were an accomplished harmony singer, I might make the same sing/don't-sing decision if I was not likely to help the sound by adding my voice -- if they didn't need another tenor or baritone, or if the harmony I could add was 'skew' to the kind of song being sung. To me, to sing or not to sing depends on what I can add with my voice or instrument, and how well that would fit the song & singer. In DC, we tend to sing a lot, when an opportunity presents itself. If it's a house concert or singaround, even more than a formal concert, but even then we're compelled by something inside, so have to almost artificially pull back if it seems like the wrong situation.

My contribution here seems to reinforce the "use your sensibilities" faction here. Unfortunately, that faction seems a little small, or at least not as outspoken as "some people here." Speak up for good sense, folks!


Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 May 09 - 04:42 PM

I think it boils down to horses for courses. If the singer and/or the song is an obvious solo performance then it would be very rude of the audience to join in without permission. On the other hand if I was to sing a shanty and no-one joined in I would be a bit put out! What we need is a modicum of common sense. Something that does not seem too common unfortunately:-(

Something did just spring to mind as I mentioned shanties - At Lancaster some years back a fellow mudcatter upset quite a few people by joining in with not only the choruses and refrains but the verses as well! The general concensus (sp?) was that the audience had paid to listen to Johnny Collins (as it was) NOT an unknown and very loud participant! Common sense again. Join in when appropriate and listen when it isn't!

What is difficult about that?

DeG


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Diva
Date: 18 May 09 - 01:26 PM

Basically what Jim Carroll said...manners...it is a question of manners


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 09 - 05:06 AM

Marge
I come with nearly forty years of being involved in Engish clubs. Up to ten-fifteen years ago it would have been unheard of for an audience to join in with a singer on a non-chorus song without being invited to do so BY THE SINGER. Nowadays it now seems to be the case of "It's my party and I'll sing if I want to".
It has to be the singer who decides, and he/she should NEVER be put in the humiliating situation of having to request that an audience don't join in.
There is no precedents (apart from family gatherings like the Coppers) of joining in with what are obviously non-chorus/refrain songs, or if there are, I would be interested to hear of them. In thirty years of collecting from source singers (English, Irish and Scots) we never encountered the phenomenon. Some of them, whenn we asked, expressed an abhorrence of the practice (into the microphone).
I've already given a couple of horror stories of Walter Pardon's experiences of such bad manners at the hands of club audiences - I could give plenty more.
Must go - session in Mayo where, if a bodhran player joins in without invitation, he or she could find themself swimming to America with their instrument inserted in a very inconvenient part of their anatomy.
jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Marje
Date: 18 May 09 - 04:33 AM

The last couple of examples relate particularly to Irish tradition:
"Irish clubs and bars here in England" and "the great Sean Nós singer Joe Heaney".

Please bear in mind that "our folk songs" (Jim) are not a single entity, and the social settings where they're sung are very varied. This forum includes members in England, Scotland and the US, as well as elsewhere. It's perfectly obvious from the discussions above that the traditions and customs around singing are not the same in all these regions. There are places (and songs) where you show respect by listening attentively, and there are also those where you show your appreciation and engagement with the song and the singer by joining in.

The song/singer focus is an interesting point: in England (at least) many well-respected "song-carriers" will tell you that for them it's the song that matters, every time. And paradoxically, it's often this respect for the song that makes them compelling and convincing singers. But I accept that this isn't how singing is perceived by everyone, everywhere.

By all means describe what you see in a particular area or setting; by all means say that's what you prefer; but please don't generalise and say this must apply everywhere and in all circumstances.

Marje


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 09 - 02:44 AM

Zimmerman
"respect the singer."
You have that right.
Have just been listening to an interview of the great Sean Nós singer Joe Heaney where he is asked precisely the same question you asked - his reply "One singer, one song".
Our folk songs, by and large, are constructed as solo pieces which are made for individual interpretation. Joining in wherever and whenever an audience feels like is an infringement on the right of the singer to give that individual interpretation - how could it possibly be anything else?
Silence on the part of the audience is an indication of respect for the singer and an interest in the song being sung.
Some songs are obviously made for joining in - they come with choruses and refrains; but even these should be treated with sensitivity - don't turn gentle refrains into belted out choruses - let the singer make the running - at the moment of singing it's his or her song.
If audience members want their five minutes of fame, let them go and get their own songs - not being precious - it's good manners apart from anything else.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: mg
Date: 18 May 09 - 12:33 AM

Yon social anthropologists need to broaden their scope of research. l;mg


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Zimmerman
Date: 17 May 09 - 11:12 PM

Having posed the original question in this thread it has been an eye-opener to sit ringside while blows have been exchanged and tears have been shed as egos have been confronted.

My inchoate response would be to ask another question: is it the singer or the song?

Social anthropologists have observed that in communities where music is integral to social occasions, the paradox arises that, although the song may be treasured, it is the singer who holds sway, even where there is a tradition of group singing.

As an example I would cite my own experience in Irish clubs and bars here in England. There may have been a professional band or singer booked but during their break, or especially at the end of the evening, it is common for an audience member to launch into a song and be heard in respectful silence. Drink-fuelled maudlin sentimentalty may play its part but the message is clear - respect the singer.

And I say Amen to that.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 May 09 - 03:42 PM

Just listen to any Gregson/Collister live recording and you will hear a chorus in the audience singing all the time - mainly girls!!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST
Date: 17 May 09 - 10:47 AM

Yes. It means they like the song and want to be involved. Why be precious about it?





couldnt have put it better myself .


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:47 PM

When NOT to sing

When you have a mouthful of dry cornflakes, makes a hell of a mess on the stage and in the first 3 or 4 rows of the audience. The gig promotor(s) are generally not impressed.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Diva
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:39 PM

It is wonderful to have a group of singers belting a chorus along with you especially with harmonies.....what is not wonderful is, as has been mentioned earlier,is when it gets taken over.

I found myself in that situation recently and found it a bit distracting. All was going well but one person sitting near me was about three words ahead in the refrain and doing their own thing and it was putting me off. My initial reaction was to put up a hand and stop them......but......I was there as a guest singer and in some fine company and thought it better not to resort to diva-ish behaviour. However, I found a way of dealing with it without making too much of a fuss. I just played about with the refrain, stretching notes putting in ornamentation etc til the culprit was keeping up with me and not the other way around.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Janice now in Western NY State
Date: 13 May 09 - 01:41 PM

There are no absolutes, but there are preferences. If you don't want people to sing along, then say so. If you want them to join you only on the choruses or refrians, then tell them that. And if it's okay to join in singing throught the song, then that's what you should say. Most audiences will respect your wishes.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 12 May 09 - 03:46 PM

they are damaging the reputation of UK folk clubs on an international forum.

You've got that right, just reading that linked post caused my blood pressure to rise. Alot of people put alot into making a folk club, or a session or a singaround work. I swear some belittle others simply to make themselves look good.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:55 PM

Lomax has made the case that the African-American influences in music stress participation as opposed to the Anglo penchant for solo singing. Growing up in jazz,
I like the idea of participation in music. I also see that sometimes it gets in the way of
an individual expressing themselves for an audience.

The question is not when "not" to sing but when to sing. I think that if you went to a Shakespeare play, even if you knew it from the beginning to the end you would not mumble along unless you were Winston Churchill. (See Burton's Hamlet and the backstage appearance of Churchill). On the other hand, how can you not want to participate in a rousing spiritual that everyone knows?

"To everything there is a season....a time to sing and a time to not sing" to paraphrase Pete and Ecclesiastes.

Frank


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Aeola
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:46 PM

I remember Keith Donnelly saying to me at a festival that he only performed 1 song whilst on stage because the audience all joined in with the others and so he left them to it!
Most people know when to join in or not.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 May 09 - 01:51 PM

Jim Carroll

I've become very bored with it all.

Then stop doing it. If you insist on attacking me for things I haven't said and opinions I don't hold and accusing me of being crass, of dumbing down and of promoting crap standards, I think I'm entitled to defend myself.

More generally, posts like this need to be countered as they are damaging the reputation of UK folk clubs on an international forum.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:31 AM

Just after a stotty stuffed with chips.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:20 AM

As I said, put my tirade of abuse up for all to judge if you wish to continue this harangue from thread to thread.
I've become very bored with it all.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 May 09 - 07:15 AM

Just back from a wonderful weekend of cakes, ale and song (both human and avian). Everything from Child ballads to nightingales.

There seems little point in responding in detail to Jim Carroll's tirade; everybody is all too well aware of what he has said. For the record, I would just like to make it clear that I have never advocated "allowing club platforms to be used as rehearsals for non singers" nor do I think that standards do not matter as has been said elsewhere.

Jim did indeed try to take our discussion off-line but he was far less inhibited in his abuse there and no better at listening to what I was actually saying so I said that I preferred to be assaulted in front of witnesses. In particular, he accused me of "encouraging people to sing in public if they are incapable of handling the basics of singing". Something which bears no resemblance to anything I have ever said.

Jim, you continue to make slanderous attacks on me and use every thread to do your best to sully the reputation of the current UK folk scene and those who dedicate themselves to making it work.

Agreeing to disagree is not an option.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:47 AM

"It stands to (my) reason that the surviving source of the songs would be the 'source singer', n'est-ce pas?"

I'm no singer, but if I ever poke my head over the parapet at my local sinaround (the Beech, Chorlton, 1st & 3rd Wednesdays), my source is my record collection... Luckily it contains stuff like VOTP and various Veteran and Musical Traditions CDs. I would suggest that this is the problem of calling "traditional" singers "source" singers...

I usually find it fairly obvious which are chorus songs and which aren't. Comments like "please join in on the chorus provide handy clues, too"...


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,some random lurker
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:13 AM

I came across this video of a heavy metal concert in France on YouTube and it made me think of this thread. The song is one of the best known of the band (Rammstein) involved, and the lead singer encourages the the audience to just sing the chorus to him for large sections of the song. At one point he even sort of conducts.

My point is that it isn't just folk audiences who want to sing along if the know the song. People just like to sing along.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLp63WBV-Ic


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 07 May 09 - 03:34 PM

Much of what passes for debate hereabouts falls into a few categories. There are considered judgements based on long experience, personal opinion with the usual smattering of prejudices all humans are prone to and simple caprice - right now in this mood I think x.

The danger is mixing a, expertise, and assuming every other observation we make falls under the same category. I fail to see any objective method for deciding whether people should join in or not that is arrived at beyond capriciousness.

Arguments usually begin from a sense of humour bypass, not a misunderstanding of the available facts.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 May 09 - 02:57 PM

"He talks about "nastiness" but pours abuse on any folk club organiser who dares to poke their head above the parapet"
Sorry Bryan, this, and much similar in the past is your own particular (extremely inaccurate) interpretation of my position based largely on fundamental disagreements between us. The fact that I do not see how advocating allowing club platforms to be used as rehearsals for non singers can be in any way beneficial to their future; this is the basis for that disagreement, and it is the reason why we have yet again been plunged into another head-to-head about something that bears no relation whatever to the subject of this thread.
I do not pour abuse on folk club organisers - I have an apparently irreconcilable disagreement with YOU on the question of standards of performance. I have suggested that we agree to disagree, I have also suggested that our argument should be taken off-line, yet once again you have insisted on dragging our differences onto another unrelated thread.
As you, and others have pointed out, I have not been a regular at a folk club for ten years, so to some degree I use threads like this as a guage of what is now happening on the scene (not the only one - I still manage occasionalvisits and I have friends who perform regularly). I use the information I receive here and on other threads to fill in what I can no longer find out first hand and I respond when I feel inclined to do so. Contrary to how you have interpreted my views on the clubs, I still hold them to be an extremely important part of the passing on of our music. They were my introduction to folk music and I hope that will continue to be the case for others.
This thread should not be about me and my attitude; it shoud be about whether joining in with singers is desirable - please allow it to be so.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Big Mick
Date: 07 May 09 - 02:12 PM

Dear Piginapoke, Mick in moderator mode here. Your comment has been deleted because you used an anon identity. If you are going to be critical in the manner in which you were, you will have to have the stones to use your own ID. Otherwise that would be trolling or flaming.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 May 09 - 01:13 PM

Kampervan

I'm getting a little tired with the personal attacks on someone who is obviously committed to supporting traditional music

There's the dilemma. Jim is an important figure in the folk revival and has done invaluable work for which we all owe him an enormous debt. The trouble is that, now, his contribution is overwhelmingly negative. He talks about "nastiness" but pours abuse on any folk club organiser who dares to poke their head above the parapet.

If he genuinely wishes to promote the music he loves, he is going to need allies. It makes no sense to alienate the very people who could help him.

Must get ready to go and see Con"Fada" O'Drisceoil at the Royal Oak.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 07 May 09 - 01:04 PM

Surely the best thing is to have the screaming abdabs at whoever has the temerity to join in, embarrass them to within an inch of their life, resume whatever song of the people you were singing, then moan on Mudcat?

On Crackerjack there used to be a bouncing ball over the words or Peter Glaze pointing to the lines of the song. Why can't we go back to simpler times?


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Kampervan
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:45 PM

O.K., nice one Jim ;-)

Nothing like keeping things in perspective.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:38 PM

I `ad that Jim Carroll in my cab the other day, `e looked well discombobulated.
I said, " What`s up Jim? Ryan Air put their prices up or something?
`e said, "Nah, I was at a singaround and session last night in Dulwich at "The Dog" ( or "The Crown and Greyhound" as the nouveaux still `ave it) and without a "by your leave" they joined in singing with everything."
I said, "That`s a bit out of order `ennit? What did you do then".
`e said, "Well, when it was my turn I thought I`ll just play a tune.But would you Adam and Eve it? They all started `umming!!"

Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Kampervan
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:33 PM

I've disagreed with Jim Carroll throughout this thread and I'm getting a little tired with the personal attacks on someone who is obviously committed to supporting traditional music

This is a valid thread, raising an important question, and deserves to be debated properly, In order to do that, people need to feel free to post their opinions and ideas, and others should feel free to disagree with these.

But personal insults and snide remarks do not add to the debate. Indeed, they deter many from getting involved.

If you can't add constructive thoughts, ideas, opinions or argument then don't bother coming on with the insults.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:18 PM

I think that the question posed by the thread title has been answered, some people don't mind when the audience joins in, some people do mind. The rest of you, back in your prams!


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 May 09 - 12:07 PM

"(possibly without Mr Carroll reminding us of whatever it is he reminds us of, I tend to forget.",
Bit more nastiness to add to the list
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Musket
Date: 07 May 09 - 11:29 AM

Just had a thought, (possibly without Mr Carroll reminding us of whatever it is he reminds us of, I tend to forget..)

Every song ever sung in a folk club is a folk song. ergo...

Perhaps somebody could remind me, who did the parody of Bright Lights, the chorus I believe went, appropriately;

Meet me at the folk club, don't be late
I need to sing some Richard and it just won't wait!
Blow out the candles and turn on the lights,
I don't want to hear "The Bright Lights" tonight.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 05 May 09 - 12:15 PM

Ultimately nothing matters except the music, all the harping and carping melts away. I LOVE people joining in, we (the band and I) performed The Partys Over a couple of weeks ago, and we avidly encouraged the audience to join in on the chorus, in the end there were a number of people who were familiar with the song, and sang the whole song right along with us, it was wonderful.

I wonder if John Tams would have offered his services to a song (the Albion Band Recording)that "says nothing". I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 05 May 09 - 11:17 AM

Good question Seamus.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 05 May 09 - 10:22 AM

From Virginia Tam's post"
"Singers age and die away, taking the traditional songs with them."

I have asked the following question on several threads and never received a satisfactory response:

When a source singer dies, taking his repertoire with him, does a revival singer or collector (an obvious repository or source of the old songs) then become a source singer?
And if not, why not?

It stands to (my) reason that the surviving source of the songs would be the 'source singer', n'est-ce pas?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 09 - 07:43 AM

Sorry Richard - I understood that you were an advocating 'the room' joinging in, therefore shutting them up would be a bad thing, no matter how it was acheived?
I'm confused, it seems
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 May 09 - 07:05 AM

Jim, the way to shut the room up is actually to be better - as PJ was on that rowdy night at Sweeps this weekend.

I've also heard Marian Button silence an entire bar in a chavvy dive in the middle of Maidstone - we were unable to use the usual club room that night and were singing away tucked into a corner of the downstairs bar. She started - and a ripple of silence and attention spread out across the room.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 09 - 03:26 AM

"The performer can and should invite participation or indicate not"
Circular argument Virginia; If a singer makes such a request for an audience not to join in, Richard, and those who think like him will be there to tell he or she that they consider themselves better than the rest of us. Where do you go from here? Surely the practice should be 'only join in when you are invited to do so'.
For the record (and off topic) I have never advocated that the introduction of non folk songs muddy the water - only that what goes on in folk song clubs should fall within recognisable parameters of the definition - ie they should sound like folk songs. Does the rendition of a pop song draw in youngsters? Most youngsters I know are fairly discriminating as to the quality of the music and virtually all the pop songs I have heard done at folk clubs have been executed fairly diabolically.
Jim (I prefer Jim - Mr Carroll makes me sound like my father) Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 05 May 09 - 03:01 AM

I can understand Mr. Carroll's concern that folk session is potentially muddied by introduction of non folk song.

But unfortunately this is time we are in. Singers age and die away, taking the traditional songs with them. New people come along that have not been indoctrinated as others have been, changing what may have once been a totally traditional song session into something else. This is not necessarily bad.

If rendering a pop song in a session draws a youngster into the room and that young one stays and discovers the next traditional song a wonderful revelation and goes on to find out more, invite friends, etc., then that "muddying" of the session has served a positive purpose. The above is not a judgement of the quality any song brought into a session, only a statement of how things are and can be.

Getting back to the original question when should singers not sing. It will always be a matter of consideration from both performer and audience. The performer can and should invite participation or indicate not. The audience (there is always the potential for beer soaked exceptions) should follow that lead.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 05 May 09 - 02:03 AM

Don T: "I have long advocated that joining in with a singer who is out front, concert style, should be by his/her invitation only, except for choruses.

Singarounds are somewhat different, and I tend to join in with others who I KNOW will not mind.

Sessions are by definition joining in events, and anybody wishing to perform without others' input should so indicate at the start of his/her song."

I think your brief summary here, makes a good deal of sense Don.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 09 - 11:16 PM

*If* you are an instumentalist (e.g. a fiddler) and you happen to be playing for a contra or square dance....no matter how good a singer you are....kindly refrain.
We contra dancers like to hear the caller!
(Can't really speak for the English country folks; my wife and I haven't gotten into ECD).


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 May 09 - 10:07 PM

Perhaps you all should stop debating about Jim's perceived faults and get back to the subject. I get so tired of this.......


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 May 09 - 08:39 PM

Perhaps we might put some of this 'insulting' in context.
Personally I find this insulting:
"You have hardly posted two polite comments in the last year";
particucilarly as it is patently untrue.
My "was it something I said" comment was aimed at someone who had once again raised a point of difference which has now been going on for many months and is proving unresolvable, yet the poster has dragged it up on numerous unrelated threads despite my requesting that we agree to differ or deal with it off-line in order not to inflict it on other members of this forum.
Again, I find "You come across as superior, patronising, grumpy and irrascible by turns," somewhat insulting as I don't believe they are descriptive of how I am - though you will have to ask my friends if that's the case.
In an odd way I find:
"The party's over
dim the lights,
Empty the ash trays
of redundant claims,
The ghosts of voices
in the night
Discuss another set
of party games";
rather childishly insulting, not because of what it says (it says nothing), but rather because it is one of a number of hostile and personal postings from this individual spread over several threads irrespective of topic.
Which in its turn makes;
"I'm beginning to think that Rifleman may not be too far off the mark." - rather insulting to be compared to somebody who indulges in such childish invective.
It is one of the unfortunate features of folk song - as it stands today, is that it seems to attract insults like horshit attracts flies.
Perhaps you would like to run your finger down this forum and count the number of times those of us who don't readily fall into line with what happens in folk clubs have been referred to as 'folk police' or ' folk fascists' or 'finger in ear' or, as I got recently 'woolly jumpers' (this last being accompanied by something like "sit down, shut up, and take what you're given").
My late friend and mentor for a couple of decades, Ewan MacColl, despite his being dead for around 20 years, is still the target of vituperative abuse from certain quarters - must earn him a place in the Guinness Book of Records for a performing artist, surely?
High hopes said:
"It isn't nice to suggest that some of us who have been performing for more years than we care to remember"
No it isn't - but some of us have got used to it. I calculated recently - to my horror - that in a couple of years time I will have been involved in folk song for half a century, yet I'm still being spoken to as if I had just dropped into a folk club on the off-chance. Whatever length of time you've been involved, it doesn't make any of us automatically right about anything.
Don; re my quotes in your previous posting - all of them are long term arguments which are related to specific statements and have been hammersed out ad-nauseum.
One of my favourite responses to something I found unnecessary or arduous used to be "life's too short", but as I will reach my 67th birthday this year - it really is too short.
I spent thirty odd years benefiting from and enjoying the generosity of traditional singers - as well as coming away with a large number of songs and a great deal of information, I also was left with a feeling that I owed those people a great debt - an obligation to make the best use of what they so generously gave.
I don't know whether I wish to remain a member of this forum. As much as I have enjoyed and benefited from it and have learned a great deal from it, I really don't see the point of continuing if the impression I am making is the one Don described. I have a great many things I still wish to do - and to repeat - life really is too short.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 04 May 09 - 07:08 PM

""I can't help noticing that his detractors don't seem to have many counter-arguments and seem to rely either on accusing him of some, vaguely defined 'moral turpitude' (nonsense!) or in insulting him.""

Do you then feel, Shimrod, that Jim has the right to insult folk club organisers and make assumptions as to the nature, efficiency, and probable shortcomings of clubs he has never visited, and knows nothing about.

It is not my purpose to insult him, but merely to question the basis of his assessment of the English folk scene from the far side of the Irish sea. He has stated on this thread that for ten years he has hardly spent any time over here, and a lot happens in ten years.

A couple of months ago, Dick Miles was kind enough, on another thread to compliment me on my methods of running a folk club, having guested there several times, albeit many years ago. Had HE said of that club, that I was doing a bad job, and needed to change the organisation, I would have taken note, because HE would have been speaking from personal experience.

As to the generalised nature of Jim's comments, well, each club is unique. The only thing they share is the kind of music they offer, and even that has its variants. If a club is pulling in good numbers then it is being effectively run, and the person best equipped to decide on the style and format is the one who knows the audience and performers, and that would be the organiser.


Jim Carroll wrote:-

""We no longer have the choice of the music we wish to listen to because organisers have allowed folk clubs to become dustbins for whatever people now choose to call folk.
Whatever is performed there is no loger guaranteed to be of a listenable standard because they have accepted that clubs are now a place were singers and non-singers are allowed to practice in public.
Even if you, by the slimmest chance, happen to find a club presenting the music you want at a reasonanle standard, you're not allowed to listen to it in peace because of the droning of a bunch of self-obsessed pratts who haven't got the good manners to listen to a performer without feeling the urge to show how clever they are.
Nice to know our music is in safe hands!!
Jim Carroll""

I have bad news Jim. Most folk club organisers don't run their clubs, or choose the performers, on the off chance that YOU might pop in out of the blue.

Generally speaking clubs seem to have better attendances if the organisers pay some heed to what their REGULARS require, which can be different at different clubs, or even on different nights (e.g. Guest or Singers) at the same club.

It's not an exact science, but the one sure way to kill it stone dead is to try to force all of them into a "one size fits all" mould.

Don T


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Bill D
Date: 04 May 09 - 05:33 PM

hmmm..I'd say that a 'bad salad' is an unusual way to keep an unruly audience in line.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 May 09 - 04:23 PM

I would liek to point out that at the Good Intent at Rochester Sweep's fest this weekend, PJ (of PJ's Music) came in from the garden (where there was a tunes session going on which he was chairing). He came in to the John Barden singing session in the bar. We had been roaring our heads off in harmony. The pub had a beer festival on - 48 barrels of ale gone in one weekend. An unruly crowd?

PJ nailed us to our seats with one bad salad. He just offered us a choice of a melodeon tune or the ballad. We opted. He sang. No-one moved or uttered a sound. He didn't need to make rules. He just did it so well that he held us rapt.

Locally we are used to the excellent Marian Button, who won the nats (best unaccompanied traditional song) not long ago. But I think PJ's rendition of the song and the power of his narrative and his dynamic use of his voice made it best unaccompanied traditional song I have ever heard live.

You want us to shut up and listen? Now you know what you truly need to do.


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 09 - 03:49 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVQ8NIGyHIM&feature=related

Better make the no singing along rules really clear to this crowd too (and it is totally fine to have whatever rules you want but I bet it would require great restraing for them not to sing along) mg


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Subject: RE: When NOT to sing
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 May 09 - 03:06 PM

For the record, most of Jim Carroll's posts seem perfectly reasonable to me. In my opinion a lot of the things that he says NEED to be said.For far too long the British folk scene has been collapsing into a lazy, pop-tinged mush and it needs shaking up. I can't help noticing that his detractors don't seem to have many counter-arguments and seem to rely either on accusing him of some, vaguely defined 'moral turpitude' (nonsense!) or in insulting him.

There are a few good clubs still out there (particularly that outstandingly brilliant one in Lewes!) and there are some great singers. I've heard two excellent young singers recently who have blown me away - and they both seem to have discovered the folk scene for themselves. But will they get the support and appreciation that they deserve or will they be driven away by a surfeit of the 'I-haven't-rehearsed-this-I'm-reading it-from-an-exercise-book' brigade or drowned out by members of the audience joining in uninvited?


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