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Do purists really exist?

Big Al Whittle 24 Dec 18 - 06:00 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Dec 18 - 03:24 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Dec 18 - 03:19 AM
The Sandman 24 Dec 18 - 01:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 23 Dec 18 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Kenny B(inactive) 22 Dec 18 - 11:54 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 18 - 11:32 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 18 - 11:32 AM
Vic Smith 22 Dec 18 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Modette 22 Dec 18 - 10:41 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Dec 18 - 10:30 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 18 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 22 Dec 18 - 09:04 AM
Vic Smith 22 Dec 18 - 08:37 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 18 - 08:02 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 18 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 22 Dec 18 - 07:34 AM
Will Fly 22 Dec 18 - 07:27 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 18 - 07:01 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 18 - 06:58 AM
Jack Campin 22 Dec 18 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 22 Dec 18 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Observer 22 Dec 18 - 05:24 AM
The Sandman 22 Dec 18 - 04:23 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 18 - 03:56 AM
Steve Gardham 21 Dec 18 - 06:46 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 18 - 02:52 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Dec 18 - 01:56 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Dec 18 - 01:51 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 18 - 12:53 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 18 - 12:00 PM
Jack Campin 21 Dec 18 - 11:50 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 18 - 11:27 AM
Jack Campin 21 Dec 18 - 10:26 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 18 - 10:04 AM
Jack Campin 21 Dec 18 - 09:58 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 18 - 09:21 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 18 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 21 Dec 18 - 06:22 AM
GUEST 21 Dec 18 - 06:21 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 18 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Observer 21 Dec 18 - 03:32 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Dec 18 - 03:46 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Dec 18 - 03:24 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 18 - 03:22 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 03:08 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Dec 18 - 02:50 PM
Vic Smith 20 Dec 18 - 02:44 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Dec 18 - 02:37 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 02:30 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Dec 18 - 02:13 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 01:48 PM
RTim 20 Dec 18 - 01:32 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 18 - 01:30 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 18 - 01:29 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 01:22 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 01:21 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Dec 18 - 01:17 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 18 - 01:15 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Dec 18 - 01:07 PM
Vic Smith 20 Dec 18 - 12:50 PM
Jeri 20 Dec 18 - 12:35 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Dec 18 - 12:32 PM
Vic Smith 20 Dec 18 - 12:15 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 20 Dec 18 - 11:23 AM
Vic Smith 20 Dec 18 - 10:28 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 09:13 AM
Vic Smith 20 Dec 18 - 09:01 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 08:24 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 18 - 04:50 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 18 - 04:48 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 04:39 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 18 - 04:26 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 04:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 18 - 03:49 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 18 - 03:39 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 18 - 02:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Dec 18 - 07:10 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 18 - 06:59 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 18 - 06:58 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Dec 18 - 06:32 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 18 - 05:18 PM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,kenny 19 Dec 18 - 02:56 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 02:46 PM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 01:14 PM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 01:06 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 11:38 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 10:59 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 10:55 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 10:40 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 09:38 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 09:29 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 09:13 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 08:31 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 08:06 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 07:17 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 07:05 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,patriot 19 Dec 18 - 06:17 AM
Jack Campin 19 Dec 18 - 05:56 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 05:53 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 05:44 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 05:42 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,21st Century Primitive 19 Dec 18 - 05:03 AM
Jack Campin 19 Dec 18 - 04:52 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 04:49 AM
Andy7 19 Dec 18 - 04:40 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 18 - 04:29 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 18 - 04:28 AM
Andy7 19 Dec 18 - 04:24 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 18 - 04:04 AM
Andy7 18 Dec 18 - 06:46 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 18 - 05:31 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 18 - 05:15 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 03:00 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 02:52 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 02:42 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 18 - 01:56 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 18 - 01:55 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 18 - 01:12 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 18 - 12:51 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 18 - 12:18 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 12:18 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 18 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,21st Century Primitive 18 Dec 18 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,21st Century Primitive 18 Dec 18 - 11:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Dec 18 - 11:43 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 18 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Observer 18 Dec 18 - 11:17 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 18 - 11:16 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 11:00 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 11:00 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,kenny 18 Dec 18 - 10:45 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 10:19 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 10:04 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,paperback 18 Dec 18 - 09:49 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 09:35 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 09:35 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 09:34 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 09:22 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,patriot 18 Dec 18 - 09:03 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 09:01 AM
GUEST 18 Dec 18 - 08:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 08:30 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 08:21 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 08:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 07:59 AM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 18 - 07:54 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 07:46 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 07:03 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 07:03 AM
GUEST 18 Dec 18 - 06:53 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 06:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 06:12 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 06:01 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 05:49 AM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 18 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Observer 18 Dec 18 - 05:28 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 05:26 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Observer 18 Dec 18 - 05:22 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 18 - 05:19 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 18 - 05:13 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 04:43 AM
theleveller 18 Dec 18 - 04:31 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 18 - 02:58 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 18 - 02:03 AM
GUEST,Observer 18 Dec 18 - 01:44 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 17 Dec 18 - 06:57 PM
Andy7 17 Dec 18 - 06:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Dec 18 - 02:09 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 18 - 10:58 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Dec 18 - 10:45 AM
Vic Smith 17 Dec 18 - 09:53 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Dec 18 - 09:13 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Dec 18 - 09:08 AM
Vic Smith 17 Dec 18 - 09:02 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Dec 18 - 08:20 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 18 - 08:16 AM
Vic Smith 17 Dec 18 - 06:57 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 18 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Observer 17 Dec 18 - 05:39 AM
Andy7 17 Dec 18 - 05:10 AM
The Sandman 17 Dec 18 - 04:18 AM
The Sandman 17 Dec 18 - 04:13 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 18 - 03:50 AM
Andy7 16 Dec 18 - 06:46 PM
The Sandman 16 Dec 18 - 01:19 PM
punkfolkrocker 16 Dec 18 - 01:06 PM
Andy7 16 Dec 18 - 12:52 PM
punkfolkrocker 16 Dec 18 - 12:37 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 18 - 12:09 PM
punkfolkrocker 16 Dec 18 - 11:20 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 18 - 10:43 AM
punkfolkrocker 16 Dec 18 - 10:02 AM
The Sandman 16 Dec 18 - 09:26 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 18 - 08:18 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 18 - 08:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Dec 18 - 05:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Dec 18 - 05:52 AM
The Sandman 16 Dec 18 - 05:20 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Dec 18 - 04:32 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 18 - 03:45 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Dec 18 - 07:16 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Dec 18 - 06:08 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Dec 18 - 06:03 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Dec 18 - 06:02 PM
Jack Campin 15 Dec 18 - 05:11 PM
Andy7 15 Dec 18 - 03:02 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Dec 18 - 01:09 PM
The Sandman 15 Dec 18 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 15 Dec 18 - 11:23 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Dec 18 - 11:04 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Dec 18 - 03:59 AM
punkfolkrocker 14 Dec 18 - 06:16 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Dec 18 - 06:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Dec 18 - 05:27 PM
The Sandman 14 Dec 18 - 03:40 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Dec 18 - 03:07 PM
The Sandman 14 Dec 18 - 02:45 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Dec 18 - 02:18 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Dec 18 - 02:18 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Dec 18 - 01:57 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Dec 18 - 01:30 PM
The Sandman 14 Dec 18 - 01:20 PM
punkfolkrocker 14 Dec 18 - 12:43 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Dec 18 - 12:30 PM
punkfolkrocker 14 Dec 18 - 11:45 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Dec 18 - 11:14 AM
The Sandman 14 Dec 18 - 11:07 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Dec 18 - 04:14 AM
The Sandman 14 Dec 18 - 03:52 AM
The Sandman 14 Dec 18 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 14 Dec 18 - 03:42 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Dec 18 - 03:26 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Dec 18 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,21st Century Primitive 14 Dec 18 - 03:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Dec 18 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,21st Century Primitive 13 Dec 18 - 07:09 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Dec 18 - 06:35 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Dec 18 - 04:05 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Dec 18 - 03:08 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Dec 18 - 02:17 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Dec 18 - 02:12 PM
The Sandman 13 Dec 18 - 01:29 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Dec 18 - 01:21 PM
Jack Campin 13 Dec 18 - 12:52 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Dec 18 - 12:36 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Dec 18 - 12:18 PM
Jack Campin 13 Dec 18 - 12:13 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Dec 18 - 12:06 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Dec 18 - 10:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Dec 18 - 10:01 AM
Vic Smith 13 Dec 18 - 08:00 AM
GUEST 13 Dec 18 - 07:40 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 18 - 07:36 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Dec 18 - 07:01 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 18 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,Peter 13 Dec 18 - 06:07 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Dec 18 - 05:31 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Dec 18 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,kenny 13 Dec 18 - 04:52 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 18 - 04:36 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 18 - 03:38 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Dec 18 - 03:20 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Dec 18 - 03:20 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 18 - 02:10 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 18 - 01:57 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Dec 18 - 09:33 PM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 05:39 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 05:33 PM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 03:36 PM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 02:58 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 02:58 PM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 11:29 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 11:15 AM
Jack Campin 12 Dec 18 - 11:06 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 10:57 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 09:28 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 06:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Dec 18 - 05:33 AM
Will Fly 12 Dec 18 - 04:05 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 03:48 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 03:48 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 02:41 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 02:36 AM
leeneia 12 Dec 18 - 02:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Dec 18 - 02:08 AM
Richard Spencer 03 Aug 11 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Aug 11 - 06:04 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Aug 11 - 09:44 PM
GUEST,livelylass 18 Jul 11 - 03:51 PM
Musket 18 Jul 11 - 03:03 PM
Will Fly 18 Jul 11 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Jul 11 - 10:43 AM
Will Fly 18 Jul 11 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 18 Jul 11 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Jul 11 - 06:22 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Jul 11 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Jul 11 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jul 11 - 02:03 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Jul 11 - 02:01 PM
Musket 17 Jul 11 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Jul 11 - 12:54 PM
TheSnail 17 Jul 11 - 09:14 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jul 11 - 08:37 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jul 11 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Jul 11 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,folkiedave 17 Jul 11 - 06:25 AM
Dave Hanson 17 Jul 11 - 06:14 AM
TheSnail 17 Jul 11 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 16 Jul 11 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 16 Jul 11 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 16 Jul 11 - 05:13 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Jul 11 - 11:23 PM
John P 15 Jul 11 - 04:39 PM
glueman 15 Jul 11 - 03:29 PM
John P 15 Jul 11 - 03:13 PM
Musket 15 Jul 11 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 15 Jul 11 - 10:20 AM
GUEST 15 Jul 11 - 09:43 AM
GUEST 15 Jul 11 - 09:39 AM
Phil Edwards 15 Jul 11 - 08:52 AM
theleveller 15 Jul 11 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 15 Jul 11 - 08:18 AM
Banjiman 15 Jul 11 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 15 Jul 11 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 15 Jul 11 - 06:17 AM
The Sandman 15 Jul 11 - 06:06 AM
theleveller 15 Jul 11 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 15 Jul 11 - 05:42 AM
theleveller 15 Jul 11 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 15 Jul 11 - 04:50 AM
theleveller 15 Jul 11 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 15 Jul 11 - 03:57 AM
Spleen Cringe 15 Jul 11 - 03:29 AM
MGM·Lion 15 Jul 11 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 14 Jul 11 - 08:47 PM
John P 14 Jul 11 - 07:00 PM
Phil Edwards 14 Jul 11 - 06:50 PM
Phil Edwards 14 Jul 11 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 14 Jul 11 - 06:27 PM
John P 14 Jul 11 - 06:22 PM
Spleen Cringe 14 Jul 11 - 06:08 PM
John P 14 Jul 11 - 05:49 PM
Phil Edwards 14 Jul 11 - 05:35 PM
The Sandman 14 Jul 11 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 14 Jul 11 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 14 Jul 11 - 02:29 PM
Howard Jones 14 Jul 11 - 02:27 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Jul 11 - 01:52 PM
Phil Edwards 14 Jul 11 - 01:18 PM
Phil Edwards 14 Jul 11 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 14 Jul 11 - 12:35 PM
TheSnail 14 Jul 11 - 11:39 AM
John P 14 Jul 11 - 10:44 AM
theleveller 14 Jul 11 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,livelylass 14 Jul 11 - 09:44 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 11 - 08:41 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Jul 11 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 14 Jul 11 - 08:11 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 11 - 07:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Jul 11 - 07:25 AM
theleveller 14 Jul 11 - 06:34 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Jul 11 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,livelylass 14 Jul 11 - 04:41 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 11 - 04:37 AM
Will Fly 14 Jul 11 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,livelylass 14 Jul 11 - 04:26 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Jul 11 - 03:46 AM
theleveller 14 Jul 11 - 03:40 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 14 Jul 11 - 03:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 11 - 07:29 PM
TheSnail 13 Jul 11 - 07:10 PM
Phil Edwards 13 Jul 11 - 07:08 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 11 - 06:56 PM
Spleen Cringe 13 Jul 11 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,livelylass 13 Jul 11 - 06:38 PM
glueman 13 Jul 11 - 06:34 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 11 - 01:45 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 11 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 13 Jul 11 - 01:29 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 11 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 13 Jul 11 - 12:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 11 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Jul 11 - 08:42 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 13 Jul 11 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Jul 11 - 07:49 AM
theleveller 13 Jul 11 - 06:00 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Jul 11 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Jul 11 - 05:48 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 11 - 05:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 11 - 05:42 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Jul 11 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Jul 11 - 05:12 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Jul 11 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Jul 11 - 04:58 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Jul 11 - 04:49 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Jul 11 - 04:31 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 11 - 03:38 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 11 - 03:25 AM
glueman 12 Jul 11 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jul 11 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,livelylass 12 Jul 11 - 03:26 PM
BTNG 12 Jul 11 - 03:06 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jul 11 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jul 11 - 11:27 AM
theleveller 12 Jul 11 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,livelylass 12 Jul 11 - 11:09 AM
theleveller 12 Jul 11 - 10:55 AM
John P 12 Jul 11 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jul 11 - 09:25 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jul 11 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 12 Jul 11 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jul 11 - 04:38 AM
John P 11 Jul 11 - 05:26 PM
Phil Edwards 11 Jul 11 - 05:00 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Jul 11 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 03:39 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jul 11 - 03:24 PM
Banjiman 11 Jul 11 - 02:25 PM
glueman 11 Jul 11 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 01:38 PM
The Sandman 11 Jul 11 - 01:14 PM
glueman 11 Jul 11 - 11:10 AM
theleveller 11 Jul 11 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 10:01 AM
theleveller 11 Jul 11 - 08:39 AM
glueman 11 Jul 11 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 07:58 AM
theleveller 11 Jul 11 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 07:34 AM
glueman 11 Jul 11 - 06:40 AM
theleveller 11 Jul 11 - 06:39 AM
glueman 11 Jul 11 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 05:05 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Jul 11 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,Jon 11 Jul 11 - 04:50 AM
Spleen Cringe 11 Jul 11 - 04:41 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Jul 11 - 04:41 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Jul 11 - 04:16 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Jul 11 - 04:06 AM
theleveller 11 Jul 11 - 03:52 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jul 11 - 03:52 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Jul 11 - 03:46 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Jul 11 - 03:43 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jul 11 - 03:24 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Jul 11 - 03:16 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jul 11 - 03:14 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jul 11 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,Brian 11 Jul 11 - 01:22 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jul 11 - 06:34 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Jul 11 - 05:16 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jul 11 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jul 11 - 04:44 PM
BTNG 10 Jul 11 - 04:30 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Jul 11 - 04:29 PM
Continuity Jones 10 Jul 11 - 04:14 PM
The Sandman 10 Jul 11 - 12:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jul 11 - 11:28 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Jul 11 - 10:46 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jul 11 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jul 11 - 08:07 AM
Will Fly 10 Jul 11 - 07:27 AM
Howard Jones 10 Jul 11 - 07:21 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jul 11 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jul 11 - 06:42 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jul 11 - 05:51 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jul 11 - 05:24 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jul 11 - 04:35 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jul 11 - 04:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jul 11 - 03:11 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Jul 11 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 09 Jul 11 - 01:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jul 11 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones, who really must reset his cook 09 Jul 11 - 09:55 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Jul 11 - 07:43 AM
Folknacious 09 Jul 11 - 07:27 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Jul 11 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 09 Jul 11 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Jul 11 - 05:35 AM
GUEST 09 Jul 11 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,mother macree anon purist 09 Jul 11 - 05:12 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Jul 11 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Jul 11 - 04:51 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jul 11 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 09 Jul 11 - 04:10 AM
Goose Gander 09 Jul 11 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 09 Jul 11 - 03:46 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jul 11 - 03:25 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jul 11 - 02:27 AM
Goose Gander 08 Jul 11 - 09:18 PM
ripov 08 Jul 11 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie / fluids whatever 08 Jul 11 - 05:59 PM
Goose Gander 08 Jul 11 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Jul 11 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 08 Jul 11 - 08:42 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Jul 11 - 05:39 AM
Banjiman 08 Jul 11 - 04:59 AM
GUEST 08 Jul 11 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 08 Jul 11 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 08 Jul 11 - 03:52 AM
Spleen Cringe 08 Jul 11 - 03:31 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 08 Jul 11 - 03:15 AM
GUEST 08 Jul 11 - 03:14 AM
John P 07 Jul 11 - 08:54 PM
ripov 07 Jul 11 - 08:11 PM
Goose Gander 07 Jul 11 - 07:04 PM
Spleen Cringe 07 Jul 11 - 07:02 PM
John P 07 Jul 11 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 07 Jul 11 - 06:26 PM
The Sandman 07 Jul 11 - 06:22 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 11 - 06:14 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 11 - 06:12 PM
Goose Gander 07 Jul 11 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,Banjiman 07 Jul 11 - 06:05 PM
John P 07 Jul 11 - 06:03 PM
John P 07 Jul 11 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,Jon 07 Jul 11 - 05:48 PM
John P 07 Jul 11 - 05:43 PM
Spleen Cringe 07 Jul 11 - 05:38 PM
The Sandman 07 Jul 11 - 05:30 PM
John P 07 Jul 11 - 05:16 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 11 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Jul 11 - 04:31 PM
The Sandman 07 Jul 11 - 04:27 PM
John P 07 Jul 11 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Banjiman 07 Jul 11 - 04:00 PM
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John P 07 Jul 11 - 03:52 PM
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John P 07 Jul 11 - 03:35 PM
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Jim Carroll 07 Jul 11 - 02:55 PM
Goose Gander 07 Jul 11 - 02:38 PM
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Jim Carroll 07 Jul 11 - 01:32 PM
GUEST 07 Jul 11 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Jul 11 - 12:41 PM
Brian Peters 07 Jul 11 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 07 Jul 11 - 12:29 PM
goatfell 07 Jul 11 - 11:47 AM
theleveller 07 Jul 11 - 11:28 AM
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Brian Peters 07 Jul 11 - 10:06 AM
theleveller 07 Jul 11 - 09:50 AM
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GUEST,Colin Holt 07 Jul 11 - 09:29 AM
theleveller 07 Jul 11 - 08:36 AM
theleveller 07 Jul 11 - 08:34 AM
Brian Peters 07 Jul 11 - 08:24 AM
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Phil Edwards 07 Jul 11 - 07:36 AM
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The Sandman 07 Jul 11 - 06:15 AM
theleveller 07 Jul 11 - 04:16 AM
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Jim Carroll 07 Jul 11 - 03:01 AM
John P 06 Jul 11 - 07:06 PM
The Sandman 06 Jul 11 - 07:28 AM
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Richard Bridge 06 Jul 11 - 04:37 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jul 11 - 02:28 AM
The Sandman 05 Jul 11 - 11:58 PM
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Rob Naylor 05 Jul 11 - 06:18 AM
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Big Al Whittle 05 Jul 11 - 05:18 AM
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Richard Bridge 05 Jul 11 - 05:07 AM
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Richard Bridge 05 Jul 11 - 04:45 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Jul 11 - 02:17 AM
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JohnH 04 Jul 11 - 05:28 PM
The Sandman 04 Jul 11 - 04:40 PM
dick greenhaus 04 Jul 11 - 03:05 PM
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The Sandman 04 Jul 11 - 01:56 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Jul 11 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Jul 11 - 01:17 PM
Brian Peters 04 Jul 11 - 12:26 PM
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Brian Peters 04 Jul 11 - 09:56 AM
The Sandman 04 Jul 11 - 09:18 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Jul 11 - 03:54 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Jul 11 - 03:20 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Jul 11 - 09:59 PM
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dick greenhaus 03 Jul 11 - 12:51 PM
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bluesunsets 02 Jul 11 - 10:53 PM
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ripov 02 Jul 11 - 04:03 PM
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Richard Bridge 01 Jul 11 - 09:48 PM
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ripov 01 Jul 11 - 07:45 PM
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Richard Bridge 01 Jul 11 - 01:14 PM
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theleveller 01 Jul 11 - 11:45 AM
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Brian Peters 01 Jul 11 - 06:49 AM
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Goose Gander 01 Jul 11 - 12:13 AM
Richard Bridge 30 Jun 11 - 06:48 PM
glueman 30 Jun 11 - 05:21 PM
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glueman 30 Jun 11 - 09:22 AM
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The Sandman 29 Jun 11 - 01:40 PM
Musket 29 Jun 11 - 01:25 PM
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Jim Carroll 28 Jun 11 - 11:54 AM
Richard Bridge 28 Jun 11 - 11:46 AM
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theleveller 28 Jun 11 - 09:53 AM
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Richard Bridge 28 Jun 11 - 05:07 AM
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glueman 28 Jun 11 - 03:48 AM
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Tattie Bogle 27 Jun 11 - 09:32 PM
Art Thieme 27 Jun 11 - 07:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Dec 18 - 06:00 AM

"Its not Paul or me or even you who decides you're a folksinger."
No it certainly isn't Al - it's whether you sing folk songs, and that depends on knowing what a folk song is

you can't control what people decide you are.

doubtless Hitler would have preferred to be remembered as the great benfactor.

merry christmas , no one in my Dublin family would have known a folksong from a fart. a very unmusical lot!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Dec 18 - 03:24 AM

"-n this case, lack or manipulation of them to suit personal end"
Sorry keyboard playing the maggot
Should read
"in this case - lack of understanding or manipulation of them to suit personal ends"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Dec 18 - 03:19 AM

Definitions are in order to identify what you are talking about, they guide evering in life that we do
Do away with them and you cease communicating with each other -n this case, lack or manipulation of them to suit personal ends stands to lose us our folk songs as it has lost us many of our folk clubs and in some cases cann affect people's lives - I've just had a PM from someone wo relies strongly on getting bookins from folk clubs but can no longer do so because he sings traditional songs

"Its not Paul or me or even you who decides you're a folksinger."
No it certainly isn't Al - it's whether you sing folk songs, and that depends on knowing what a folk song is

Here we have a situation that 'Nellie Dean" (a song written by an American boxing promoter at the beginning of the 20th century) might be an English folk song while at the same time traditional ballads that heve been sung by the folk for centuries and are regarded and described as the "the high watermark of the oral tradition" ot "The Muckle (big) songs" are "inappropriate.
I despair, I really do.

Happy Crimbo all - off to listen to a lorra=lorra traditional music and songs tonight in Dublin, where they have no doubt what their traditional music is and are proud of it
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Dec 18 - 01:52 AM

D3efinitions are produced by scholars,it enables categorisation and reminds me of nineteenth century butterfly colectors, music however evolves and changes


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Dec 18 - 02:53 PM

Yes , but you don't get it - what Paul's song is saying.

Its not Paul or me or even you who decides you're a folksinger.

If people say you're a folkie - you're bloody stuck with it mate.

Personally I'd rather be regarded as a boulevardier - charismatic, good looking and musically talented.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Kenny B(inactive)
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 11:54 AM

Dear Mr Sandman thank you for reminding me of Don Quixote who has an obvious relevance in this thread regarding purists, his "baldrick" Sancho Panza and his "high horse" Rocinante

A read of the Wiki quotes below may illustrate the subtle and appreciated humour of your posting to other interested parties encore!

The story follows the adventures of a noble (hidalgo) named Alonso Quixano who reads so many chivalric romances that he loses his sanity and decides to become a knight-errant (caballero andante), reviving chivalry and serving his country, under the name Don Quixote de la Mancha. He recruits a simple farmer, Sancho Panza, as his squire, who often employs a unique, earthy wit in dealing with Don Quixote's rhetorical orations on antiquated knighthood. Don Quixote, in the first part of the book, does not see the world for what it is and prefers to imagine that he is living out a knightly story.


Rocinante (Spanish pronunciation: [ro?i'nante]) is Don Quixote's horse in the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. In many ways, Rocinante is not only Don Quixote's horse, but also his double: like Don Quixote, he is awkward, past his prime, and engaged in a task beyond his capacities.[1][2]


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 11:32 AM

"Nobody is right. Nobody is wrong. "
A definition is a definition Vic - if this is a folk song the cvlaimants need to say why
It is a early 20th century song of known authorship
It appears nto have not gone through any process to produce variants
It has not become regionalism in any way
It is not narrative as the bulk of our repertoire is
It lacks any form of charactarisasation
There is no evidence that anybody has claimed it as being their own, or Norfolk or Esat Sussex -
It remains as it was first created - "a sentimental ballad in common time by Henry W. Armstrong, published in 1905 by M. Witmark & Sons of New York City.

If all songs sung by traditional singers were 'folk' the term is meaningless and we have been wasting our lives pretending otherwise, which is some of the nonsense been peddled by some which is robbing our tradition of its unique identity
Not something I'm willing to put my name to

Why isn't \The Birdie song a folk song ; or The National Anthem, or Viva Espania

People who think folk songs aren't "brilliant" - they just don't like folk songs#]
Sorry 'bout that Al
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 11:32 AM

"Nobody is right. Nobody is wrong. "
A definition is a definition Vic - if this is a folk song the cvlaimants need to say why
It is a early 20th century song of known authorship
It appears nto have not gone through any process to produce variants
It has not become regionalism in any way
It is not narrative as the bulk of our repertoire is
It lacks any form of charactarisasation
There is no evidence that anybody has claimed it as being their own, or Norfolk or Esat Sussex -
It remains as it was first created - "a sentimental ballad in common time by Henry W. Armstrong, published in 1905 by M. Witmark & Sons of New York City.

If all songs sung by traditional singers were 'folk' the term is meaningless and we have been wasting our lives pretending otherwise, which is some of the nonsense been peddled by some which is robbing our tradition of its unique identity
Not something I'm willing to put my name to

Why isn't \The Birdie song a folk song ; or The National Anthem, or Viva Espania

People who think folk songs aren't "brilliant" - they just don't like folk songs#]
Sorry 'bout that Al
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 10:53 AM

In order to promote clarification, it needs to be pointed out that opinions differ as to whether Nellie Dean is a folk song or not.

* Some would say, as has been stated above, that it is an old pop song and therefore does not qualify.
* Others would say that it does qualify as a folk song because, thinking of the process of songs changing and developing in various ways in the tongues of singers which in now considered the central factor rather than the origin of the song. For this reason it has been treated like other songs that fit with this approach, it has been accorded a number in the Roud Index (30035).

This means that the only fair thing that we can say is that:-
There is a difference of opinion as to whether Nellie Dean is a folk song or not. This opinion will depend on which explanation of what constitutes a folk song is accepted by the person making the statement. We have to listen to who is speaking and why they are saying it.
Certainly Nellie Dean was in the repertoire of many English traditional singers of the 20th century along with other songs that can be traced to author(s).
Nobody is right. Nobody is wrong. Everybody has the right to express their opinion.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 10:41 AM

Brilliant, Al! Thanks for that.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 10:30 AM

This is a song written by my friend, neighbour and a lovely guy Paul Openshaw. Probably plays jigs, reels - all that sort of trad stuff I don't really get better than anyone I know - and I know quite a few/ I'm not sure he's met Jim Carroll, but they're both gentlemen. The meeting place is music - even if its no longer the folk club.


Folkie

You think of yourself as a folkie but you do not have the urge
You do not have the urge for a lengthy lament or a dirge
A lengthy lament or a dirge is not the way you fill your spot
But, you think of yourself as a folkie because nobody says that you’re not

You think of yourself as a folkie but you do not have the zest
You do not have the zest because with two left feet you are blessed
With two left feet you are blessed and so you do not have a chance
You do not have a chance when somebody asks you to dance
When somebody asks you to dance, everything goes to pot
But, you think of yourself as a folkie because nobody says that you’re not

You think of yourself as a folkie but you do not have the skill
You do not have the skill to twitter or to trill
To twitter or to trill is not the way you bat
And you don’t stick a finger in your ear, or anywhere else come to that
But if there is nobody else, and you are all they have got
You think of yourself as a folkie because nobody tells you you’re not

Paul J Openshaw (December 2018)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 10:14 AM

"YOU said Nellie Dean & suchlike are not folksongs. I"
They aren't - unless you can specify why they are -
Repetition has nothing to do with folk or tradition - Nellie Dean is an old pop song - if we didn't already know that we have a recording of Walter Pardon insisting it (and others like it were
Nellie Dean doesn't need an ethnologist to decide what it is - it is what is
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 09:04 AM

No Jim- YOU said Nellie Dean & suchlike are not folksongs. I certainly wouldn't be interested in defining whether it is or not, but this statement implies you know what IS a folk song- YOU brought it up, not me!

And also you have no right to say what will become the folksongs of the future- not your choice, fortunately.

Nellie Dean would be a fascinating study for social ethnomusicologists of the 23nd century- no doubt some singing circle of the future will dig it up & there are worse songs around today.

that's enough from me- have just been passed a pint & a plate of mince pies, so Merry Christmas & Happy new year to all at mudcat


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 08:37 AM

Jack wrote:-
Hunting songs are about as far from the revival as you can get.
Very true and my contacts with the people who uphold this tradition (only through talking to them at traditional music weekends) suggests that as a community they are feeling more isolated. There are few grounds for regarding these songs as anything other than an ongoing tradition and the fact that new songs are entering their repertoire and these are subject to oral change enhances that opinion.
This brings me to another thought. Clearly if the tradition is the voice of the people then it will change to reflect changes the views of the people. Fox hunting songs are not so well received in clubs/singarounds are they were as more and more it comes to be regarded as a cruel and deservedly outlawed activity. I would not like to see them banned, mainly because of their vitality and their historic importance in rural Britain. A lot depends in the context they are sung in and the way they are introduced.
Similarly, blatently misogynist songs are much less heard these days. I have been in audiences where women have audibly groaned as some of the greater excesses of these songs.... and why shouldn't they?
I must have heard the Copper Family singing Oh! Good Ale hundreds of times over the 50-odd years that I have known them. Back in the 1960s they used to sing really lustily....
....And if my wife should me despise
How soon I'd give her two black eyes....

In his last few years Bob Copper had great difficulty with these lines. I can remember him, more than once pausing, looking upwards as if speaking to his dead wife and saying, "You know I wouldn't, love, it's just in the words of the song!"
Similarly there were times when I really cringed when Belle Stewart sung Blue Blazing Blind Drunk and laughing as she sang -
...When Alex gets home I get battered,
He batters we all black and blue...

I can remember thinking, "It isn't funny, Belle. Domestic violence is a curse." but, weakly, I just buttoned my lip rather than speaking out.
A third and last example. A few years ago at our folk club one of our best floor singers sang The Jew's Garden and I was approached at the end of the evening by one of our regulars was clearly incensed and approached me and he told me fimly that I should not have 'allowed' that song to be sung. My reply was that I was the club's organiser and not its censor and that we could not pretend that anti-semitism did not exist then and now in British society. Once again, the context was everything and if there any suggestion that the singer was advocating racism, I would have said so when I was back-announcing him and condemned him for it, but it is a difficult issue for all that. Some singers make subtle changes to the words to deal with this. My wife, Tina, makes a great job of singing Gathering Rushes. One time I noticed that a new word (the underlined one) had been inserted -
Was it by a black haired man
Or was it by a brown?

... and I feel that by doing so, I am sure that she is emphasising the original meaning. When the adults in my extended family were talking during my boyhood in Edinburgh about 'a grey wuman' or 'a ginger laddie' it was the hair that was being referred to. In modern multi-cultural Britain, 'a black man' means something different.

It was reading - and agreeing with - Jack's thoughts on hunting songs and Jim Bainbridge's thoughts of the appropriate mixture of song and venue that have led to my sharing these thoughts, After all, if a song loses its function it is unlikely to continue to be sung.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 08:02 AM

"Who said they were folk songs? Not me-"
Why bring them up
Whethet you said it is immaterial - enough peopl have claimd some of them to be folk songs in order to sing them at folk clubs

"and probably already far more practised than Morris."
I have no doubt of that Will, jus as I have no doubt pop songs are more widely listened to and sung than folk songs
"'Nellie Dean' may be regarded as a traditional gem one day-"
Very doubtful - it is sentimentalised imagery based on an idyllic picture of country life
I'm not calling you or anybody names - people who use the term "purist" do that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 08:02 AM

"Who said they were folk songs? Not me-"
Why bring them up
Whethet you said it is immaterial - enough peopl have claimd some of them to be folk songs in order to sing them at folk clubs

"and probably already far more practised than Morris."
I have no doubt of that Will, jus as I have no doubt pop songs are more widely listened to and sung than folk songs
"'Nellie Dean' may be regarded as a traditional gem one day-"
Very doubtful - it is sentimentalised imagery based on an idyllic picture of country life
I'm not calling you or anybody names - people who use the term "purist" do that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 07:34 AM

Who said they were folk songs? Not me- I'm not getting into that, been there before & it just ends in tears.
'Nellie Dean' may be regarded as a traditional gem one day- not up to our generation to make a judgment on that.
I don't want to be called names, so will just carry on doing what I do, 'folk' or not & not worrying about it- the purists can do that


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 07:27 AM

Be careful what you prophesy, Jim... line dancing is amazingly popular, very socially inclusive - and probably already far more practised than Morris.

Dance Near You: Line Dancing Classes

From the website:
Whatever you have heard previously about line dancing... put those thoughts aside and embrace the new culture of line dancing in the modern 20th century.

Contrary to popular opinion Line dancing was not invented by cowboys. Line dancing has its origins initially in the 1960's soul music scene in America, Followed in the 70's by the trend of dancing in lines in the discos,.in the 80's along came Billy Ray Cyrus and his video to Achy Breaky Heart and it was only really then that line dancing took off in the UK.

Modern line dance clubs teach to music from all genres to all styles of music, including soul, rock or pop, latin music, Irish, salsa, and big band music as well as country and western.

It's easy for beginners to learn and offers more energetic and complex routines for the more experienced. From the first lesson beginners will be able to enjoy dancing to a whole range of line dance routines.


Don't care for it myself, but it's very popular and - I'm told - great fun to do.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 07:01 AM

Didn't quite finish
What Steve is describing isn't progression or development - it's acculturation - one culture taking over and replacing another
It's certainly not progress - it's a return to the times when everybody was trying to sound like Guthrie or Leadbelly
Wonder if people would be happy to see Morris replaced by Line-dancing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 06:58 AM

"Hunting songs are about as far from the revival as you can get"
True to a point Jack, though I do know some Northern Clubs specialised in them
Personally, I despise them almost as much as I do the bernaric practice the sclebrate

" music hall songs, rock music etc can do the same to us and future "
They may well - not sure what the youth of the future will make of 'Nellie Dean'
Beside the point - they ain't folk songs
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 05:56 AM

Hunting songs are about as far from the revival as you can get. For an ethnomusicologist, the continuity of the practice is what makes it distinctive.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 05:54 AM

Jim, if you accept that the songs & culture of previous centuries still gives pleasure today, then surely more recent culture, including music hall songs, rock music etc can do the same to us and future generations? Again, it's down to taste & sensitivity to context!
Re the 14 verse ballad I mentioned. Picture a hall full of rural folk out for a good night's entertainment on an annual village concert, with accordion, flute players & a ghastly electronic organ playing country & irish & people walking in & out, drinking tea & chatting to friends. An ancient ballad in a dialect far outside their experience is a LOT less relevant than almost anything I can think of!
Re the 'Wild Rover', you're being perverse there- you know quite well what version I meant! You just TRY to sing a lovely but different old version to a crowd such as I mentioned & you would not be able to complete the song, and would be deservedly perceived as some kind of an eejit!
I'm well aware of Brian Peters' excellent article about the song- Johnny Handle sent me a copy some time back. Louis Killen has also explained his role in its popularisation but wouldn't accept the blame- his version was good enough in its day, it's what has happened since which makes it the joke it is today!
Sad maybe but the real world.
It's folk, Jim, but not as we know it.....


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 05:24 AM

Jim Carroll Date: 22 Dec 18 - 03:56 AM

Well said, put perfectly.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 04:23 AM

Jim could you explain why you think it has nothing to do with the traditi0n


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 18 - 03:56 AM

Evolution of the revival, but it has nothing whatever to do with the tradition
We have a massive repertoire of songs and ballads which, in my opinion, need to be brought to the attention of as many people possible before they end up as museum pieces
They are not only extremely pleasurable to sing and listen to, but they are important carriers of our social history
If people had been happy to stand aside to make room for the latest fad we would have no Shakespeare or Chaucer or Beethoven...
Creative culture is a continuum, not a leap from fashion to fashion - it's part of our long-term human identity
If songs from the 17th - 18th 19th century could give mid 20th century young people so much pleasure, why can't they continue to do so in the 21st century?
I have to say I find complacent such as this from a researcher somewhat surprising and disappointing
I really think we have totally different objectives here
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 06:46 PM

Here's an interesting irony: I have a friend who has spent some time with current hunting clubs recording their songs which are still being written in the age-old way regarding local events, and by far the most influential genre for tune source is no longer folksong, but Irish Country music. Personally I don't see that as a problem, or even unusual, it's simply evolution.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 02:52 PM

"Oh, well, we offered.."
So did I
All the best to you too
There aren't too many Music Hall songs on the site, I can't recall many parlour songs either
As with the Traveller's Country and Western, they decided they weren't the really old songs and refused to sing them
They had less problems distinguishing fish from fown that the revival do apparently
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 01:56 PM

Jim, as you can appreciate there is already an enormous wealth of all sorts of material online, and for one reason or another yesterday was the first time I had a look at your Clare Co. Library material. Many thanks for this resource which is very helpful and some great material, even the parlour songs and Music hall songs amongst the ballads.

If you ever want a heads up on who wrote some of them and when, to complete the info, just let me know.

Have a good Christmas
All the best
Steve


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 01:51 PM

Oh, well, we offered.....Have a good Christmas, all.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 12:53 PM

Sorry Jack - didn't fully reply fully
Only our Clare recordings are on line - Google Carroll Mackenzie collection at Clare County Library
Most of the rest is listed and anybody interested will be sent an index on request
If there is enough interest, I may ask Joe offer to keep a copper (if he's willing and able) for full time use
Anybody wishing to get recordings will be put on my PCloud list
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 12:00 PM

Yes - our archive
I sent Brian the above mentioned version of Wild Rover for his article - he included it - anybody is welcome to it should they want it
Other than that, we only have the standard versions recorded by the BEEB
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 11:50 AM

You meant your stuff, not the EFDSS?

Is it actually usable? e.g. if Brian Peters had asked for all versions you had of The Wild Rover in any format, could you have provided them?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 11:27 AM

Sorry Jack, if you can't work out that people involved in traditional music and song declare they haven't and don't intend to make the use of an archive of Traditional songs and music doesn't add up to dogmatism, I really can't help you
I was going to leave it there so please don't labour it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 10:26 AM

So, who are the dogmatists you're referring to and what have they done?

Names and specific actions, please.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 10:04 AM

"you're kicking at an open door."
Not with some people it appears
I only mentioned Brian's article as a recommendation - my reference to dogmatism referred to the attitude of using archives
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 09:58 AM

I don't think anybody's been dogmatic about research like Brian's. If you have something to say and take the trouble to back it up, you're kicking at an open door.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 09:21 AM

Incidentally Jim
"I don't like the 'Wild Rover'"
I wonder if you've heard Pat Usher's (Mary Anne Carolan's Brother) version ?
Breathtakingly beautiful and far superior to the hackneyed 'sung to death' one that's bean beaten into the ground by the folkies
Amazing what you find if you turn over a few stones (which you won't do if you insist on refusing to avail yourself of collections you haven't heard)
Our own Brian Peters wrote an excellent article on this much maligned and abused song
The dogmatism that has bedeviled such research has done much to reduce the importance of our clubs as the carriers of The People's culture they could be - if only... !
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 07:01 AM

I do take in what's said Jim and I try to respond thoughtfully
Cant' think for the life of me why a Scottish ballad should be any mor irrelevant than a long rejected Victorian tear-jerker, or a 1920s sentmental song, or a faded 50s number... or many of the songs I'v heard sung at folk clubs
But there again, I've know Shakespeare plays to be described as "irrelevant" as well
What happened to 'every one to their own taste' I wonder ?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 06:22 AM

sorry that was me


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 06:21 AM

Don't see why you need to be your self-confessed 'pain in the arse' Jim. You have strong views about the music, and although I have never drawn on your archive & nor do I intend to, but I'm sure that all contributors here are grateful for its existence. I'm sure they'd also be grateful if you could try absorb what is said before replying?

Other archives are available, and I feature myself on some of them- why do I think of the Marx brothers here? I've had great times in folk clubs, festivals over the past 50 years, although the enjoyment is now wearing thin, it's been a valuable movement, but the wealth of recorded stuff is now huge, it's still down to personal taste.

I've run singarounds which have been cursed with 'dreich' traditional songs which please no one and a surfeit of these led on one occasion to its demise- a decision of a pub landlord. The value of traditional material is not in question here, but it's a matter of taste and sensitivity to context!


I remember the phrase 'pandering to your audience' being used by folkies but what does it mean? I arranged a nationally known UK singer of much experience to do a spot on a vilaage GAA concert in Ireland last year- she sang a 14 verse Scottish ballad which was totally irrelevant & almost killed the whole night.

It would be ridiculous to produce such stuff to a group of non-folkies anywhere, context is everything- you have to trust peoples' judgment in the 'folk' club context- they'll get it wrong sometimes (I certainly have) but this is not a crusade!

I don't like the 'Wild Rover' much but if asked, I would sing it, because after that, the 'folk' (and that's what they are !!!!) will be much more willing to accept what you give them. I have NO hesitation about singing 50s pop songs in the right context- it's often the right thing to do (yes that's occasionally a folk club,) but then I'm not a purist, am sure you'll agree about that?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 04:31 AM

Steve
Having more or less despaired of finding a home in the UK for our considerable library of books, recordings, albums, magazines, et al, we have bequeathed it to Limerick University World Music Centre where it has been greeted with warmth and gratitude and will remain as a separate library (the suggestion was under our name - hopefully not)
Our recordings are all digitised and listed - some are transcribed and others need annotation
I am in the process of sorting the large and somewhat ungainly Singers Workshop section into usable groups (I'm working on the BBC collection now)
There are around 200 radio programmes and as many lectures we and others have recorded down the years
Most of the MacColl/Critics Group meetings, seminars, interviews and documentation are gathered together to be sorted and properly indexed
This is for Limerick but I have arranged to pass on a large amout to Joe Offor, to be used as he sees fit
I was hoping this would be taken up by a responsible traditionally based club, but, following arguments like these, I'm not so sure now
Most of our commercial albums are digitised with notes for our own personal use

Some of this is already distributed here - , The Irish Traditional Music Archive has a copy of most, as has The Irish Folklore Department and Na Píobrí Uilleann and, whenever somebody has asked for material, they have been given whatever they can use.... hardly anything in the U.K., despite efforts
Some of what we have we have to think about as, though we have been given it freely we're not sure we should have it - we discuss this with everyone who wants it.

Thirty odd years ago we gave what we had then of our own recordings to the then British Institute of Recorded Sound, which later became The National Sound Archive and is now housed in The British Library
The deposit of the collection helped shift BIRS's attention from international musicology to expanding it to taking in British material
Ironically, the drive to expand their interests has meant that our and I think, other early collections have lain in a cupboard somewhere in The British Library and have never seen the light of day (I can't imagine that Walter, Mikeen, Mary Delaney, Tom Lenihan, et al are afraid of the dark, but it seems an awful shame !!)   

The collection we have helped put together represents not only a large slice of the recorded British Tradition but also The Rise and near Fall of the Folk Revival in Britain
Our efforts to find it a home have made me somewhat dubious of the future of folk song (in England at least - Scotland seems to have a far greater pride in its oral traditions)
As things stand with the EFDSS at present, I wouldn't dream of offering it to them, even if they wanted it
Good luck with your Broadsides - they have been turning down offers of such collections at least since Leslie Shepherd's collection was refused - they apparently haven't enough cupboards to lock them away in !

Personally, I believe the future of folk song in Britain to lie in the possibility of devotees of traditional music, song and arts getting together and forming some sort of Federation to draw back the many no longer involved because of the way things have gone, and to draw in desperately needed young people
Ireland has had tremendous succes in this and it has turned the fortunes of a once-declining music completely around
The internet makes that a possibility, but the will needs to be there - on of the reasons I involve myself in these often extremely depressing arguments

You say our collection has a couple of rare songs - actually it contains quite a few, including totally unique ones.
Ireland has proved itself a strong song-making country which made songs whenever the inspiration arose - most were never published but some survived in either the local oral traditions, in the memories of old singers or in family notebooks - may hundreds of them - we got several, others got more throughout the country
I'm working on the Child Ballads turned up in Ireland now and am constantly staggered at what made it here

As for ending these arguments - forget it
I believe that something is radically wrong with the traditional music scene in Britain and brushing it under the carpet isn't going to help
You know my feelings on the Revisionism that is taking place in folk song research which, I believe, is ripping the heart out of our understanding of our traditional Heritage
Instead of flying off in new tangents, we need to take stock of what we think we know and what those who were in a far better situation to judge, thought they knew, and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I have fond memories of great educational and inspiring gatherings conferences in Sheffield, Leeds, Salford, Aberdeen, Leominster..... perhaps it's time for another
I doubt if EFDSS has either the interest or the reputation to take some sort of lead and I now have strong doubts about The Traditional Song Forum -
It's a bit unfair to land the responsibility on groups like The Glasgow Ballad people who, I believe are doing an excellent job already, but I certainly think their work need to be more widely appreciated.
I just don't know if there is the interest anymore, which is why I'm more than prepared to continue making myself a pain in the arse
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 21 Dec 18 - 03:32 AM

Wonderful what sometimes comes up in threads, my unexpected Christmas bonus this year has got to be my introduction to the group "Yorkshire Garland" - thank you Steve Gardham, and compliments of the season to all.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 03:46 PM

Regarding other collections and placing them somewhere like Cecil Sharp House: Space is at a premium and taking on a collection involves all sorts of issues that need money and manpower to restore, catalogue, place online, then there are ownership/copyright issues. I know they have recently taken in at least 4 major collections which need processing and all of this takes a long time. Much of Mike's material is commercially available as is that of others like yourselves.

Here is an example of what happens when a major collector dies. During their lifetimes they make offers to various institutions, local universities etc. which for various reasons turn them down. Eventually one of these universities takes the recordings, but doesn't have the wherewithal to place them online. However, there are all sorts of other folklore artefacts, photos, diaries, book collection, and even where the heir has the generosity to invite other collectors to come in and take material some of the books at least end up being auctioned and dispersed. That's not the end of the world as only a few are rare books. Someone with very limited space and resources comes along (me) and says I'll take this and I'll take that, but what happens to it when I pop my clogs. I'm just grateful that my own recordings were taken on by the BL and my local archives have gone into the local history centre. My broadside copies are probably second to none in the country and I'm hoping EFDSS will take these when I'm ready to hang up my pen.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 03:24 PM

But you have gathered it, Jim, and some of us at least are extremely grateful. I have just been looking at the Roud Index on the VWML website looking for versions of a rare song and 2 of the 5 known versions come from your recordings which I will be referencing clearly and thankfully in our next book of songs.

Okay, let's make a start here and now. Here's my invitation as you won't take up Dave's. As a start, a brief itemisation/list of what you have that is not already available online, that is in any way related to folk music, MacColl, Palmer, Thompson, Shields, Munnely, your own, perhaps including a list of names who you have recorded and any material that is not commercially available or online. (Posted here if you like)

As an interested individual I can't promise anything but to make noises in the right places. In return can I please ask that you stop slagging off current research and the British folk scene. It serves no purpose at all. I'm not suggesting here we should stop debating issues, but to do it without flinging insults, and here I acknowledge I've flung as much mud as you have, which I regret.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 03:22 PM

I don't feel I've have been combative. Maybe I have, but not intentionally so.

I think things change. The big change for me has been the availability of cheap instrumens. When I was a kid, a months wages wouldn't have paid for a decent playable guitar. Now you can get a decent playable guitar for twenty quid on gumtree.

Plus there are cheaper banjos, penny whistles, mouth organs, bodhrans and fiddles.

Also there is more tuition around. The Seegers, Josh White looked like magicians. Their techniques and abilities seemed other worldly.

And I suppose that accounts for some of the differences. We are not perhaps in as much reverence as we should be for the visionary pioneers of the folk music revival. Their beautiful instruments and abikities are more familiar to us.

I wouldn't like anyone to think I was not respectful of another person's efforts to pass on something good to the world.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 03:08 PM

THen why didn't you participate Vic and why didn't others ?
He also serves who only stands and waits, eh ?
I find the accusation of hi-jacking highly insulting and a bit rich from someone who spends a deal of time complaining about insulting
I have neither insulted people here, nor have I or anybody "hijacked " this thread though I doubt if you will retract that accusation

"You need to be more explicit, Jim. "
I'm referring to Mike Yates
Other friends of EFDSS have equally important collections - Roy Palmer and Bob Thomson spring to mind

When we ran Singers Workshop and realised the need for an archive, I wrote a dozen appeals for material - in next to no time parcels ro tapes arrived from these people and others, Bob and Jacqueline Patten gave us almost their entire collection
From Ireland we got lumps of Hugh Shields' and Tom Munnely's collection and one old musician gave us around 60 tapes of songs and music he had made around the time the tape recorder first came available
Macoll and Seeger let me loose i their home for weeks and set up two tape recorders so we could cope what he had
I stayed with Charlie Parker a couple of times and he gave us loads of his work, including the actuality for the radio Ballads

All this stuff has always been available for the asking - if only there had been the will and initiative to gather it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 02:50 PM

OP
'OK, there's the odd Luddite (they exist in all walks of life, not just music), but isn't "purist" the wrong term?'

Neanderthal? (I was once a Neanderthal myself in the 60s before I evolved.)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 02:44 PM

"Do purists really exist?" Potentially, this could have been useful and interesting topic but once again a promising thread has been hi-jacked and repetitive combativeness has prevailed.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 02:37 PM

>>>>former editor<<<<
You need to be more explicit, Jim. There are many fine collectors with connections to EFDSS. Editor of what, the Journal, the magazine, the website, books of songs?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 02:30 PM

"Are you talking about performers or those preserving recordings and manuscripts?"
EFDSS of course - Performers do what they do and that's the way is should be
Iv'e already said how I heel about giving teh manuscripts priority

"Gezz Lowe's, Brian Peters', Graham Miles, Vin Garbutt et al, songs any different in form or quality from Ewan's?"
Quality is a matter of opinion; the form is so different
I've also given my view on the necessity of making songs - but those you mentioned are nt those chosen to put on their site
I wouldn't give any of them - Ewan's included, priority if it was a case of space
A very fine former editor is also one of Britain;s leading collectors - how about putting some of his stuff up to show people what folk song is
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 02:13 PM

>>>>it's what we expect from those who hold responsible positions in preserving the music some of us have worked hard and long to preserve and make available<<<
Are you talking about performers or those preserving recordings and manuscripts? Somewhat confusing. If you are talking about preserving, all of the institutions aforementioned are doing a marvellous job and need all the encouragement we can give. Just because they declined to take on your collection that doesn't mean they are not doing a good job.

>>>>They are not entitled to pass something of as what it is most certainly not<<<< In many cases this is a matter of opinion. For instance are Gezz Lowe's, Brian Peters', Graham Miles, Vin Garbutt et al, songs any different in form or quality from Ewan's? OPINION.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 01:48 PM

"Jim Carroll - you really are an Unpleasant man."
No I am not Tim - I have insulted no-one here other than the could of people who have insulted me - please go and check
It's not a mater of having opinions, it's what we expect from those who hold responsible positions in preserving the music some of us have worked hard and long to preserve and make available
People are entitled to like what they like (we all do that)
They are not entitled to pass something of as what it is most certainly not - or maybe you are one of those who think it is?
I have done my best to be polite here - happy to apologise for when I have not been
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: RTim
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 01:32 PM

Jim Carroll - you really are an Unpleasant man......Despite all the good work you have done in the past - your present persona is not for me.

I know I will be called names for this post - everyone who argues against you gets called names...but really Jim - let other people have opinions!!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 01:30 PM

Try again

EFDSS's top ten for Christmas? I'm intrigued! How do I find out what they are?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 01:29 PM

EFDSS's top ten for Christmas


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 01:22 PM

"BTW regarding female singers, the breathies are very much in a minority."
BTW - I was refering to EFDSS's top ten for Christmas
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 01:21 PM

Spent years working for EFDSS, salvaging vinyl BBC recordings from total be putting them onto tape, haping editing rapes which have now been deleted from the catalogue, helping to get The Carpenter Collection into The house.... and numerous other things

Personally, I wouldn't put much credence on somebody irresponsible end unaware enough to think the stuff occupying space on the EFDSS website has anything to do with folksong
No wonder the scene is in such a mess
We're not talking about picking or rejecting what we like or don't like - were's talking about the stuff THE ENGLISH FOLK DANCE AND SONG SOCIETY IS PEDDLING AS FOLK SONG   
For a time I thought you were disagreeing with what I said about the scene, but you're doing a superb job of proving my point - an early Christmas Present, perhaps?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 01:17 PM

BTW regarding female singers, the breathies are very much in a minority. There really are many excellent young female singers out there, Eliza Carthy, Bryony Griffiths, Alice Jones, Laura Smyth, and lots of unsung local ones in my own immediate area of Yorkshire.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 01:15 PM

And the handy thing about folk clubs, Steve, is that they are often in a pub. Once you get to know who you like and who you don't, you can time your bar visits to perfection :-)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 01:07 PM

I was a member of EFDSS from c65 to 70 and then dropped out as did many others as it had become a largely London-based dance club. Then in the late 70s along came a whole movement largely from the folk scene to make EFDSS more representative of song and music and the nation as a whole. I rejoined. I now am firm friends with the main backroom personnel at EFDSS who work extremely hard for no monetary gain, people like David Atkinson, Steve Roud, Laura Smyth, Bob Askew, Derek Schofield, Martina and Shan Graebe and lots of people from the folk scene, some on here, who regularly work with EFDSS on projects.
Whilst everyone is entitled to an opinion I personally wouldn't put much store in the opinion of someone who rarely goes there and can't even be bothered to check out the marvellous work being done online.

And quite frankly if someone is singing folksongs and attracting audiences I don't give a chuff how they are singing them. I can pick and choose the ones I like and ignore those I don't as everyone can.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 12:50 PM

I can in no way see how the EFDSS choice comes anywhere near that with the breathy 'little girl' voices and pseudo Mid-Atlantic accents that have taken over many of our folk clubs.
I am not sure what the EFDSS can do about the way songs are sung in folk clubs not that I do not hear much in the way of "breathy 'little girl' voices and pseudo Mid-Atlantic accents" on my frequent visits to them.

Whether you like them or not (immaterial) they no way meet what EFDSS should be about.
As a fully paid up long-term member of EFDSS, I vote in their committee elections to chose those who I think are likely to further the health of traditional song, music and dance in England. On a number of occasions when I have disagreed with EFDSS policies, I have written to the EFDSS to complain. I have always had replies, normally from the CEO to address the issues. I am not sure that this has made any major changes but I am registering my views which is all an individual member can do. I take it that the person who is so unhappy with EFDSS is a member and is trying to effect change from the inside. I am not sure that complaints on Mudcat will reach the ears of EFDSS council members who are the ones who formulate the policies.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jeri
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 12:35 PM

On one hand, there are people who want to rule the world and define what "folk music" is for everyone.
On the other hand, you have people who want to rule the world by letting those other guys set the agenda.
So what drives them are the folks attempting to rule the world.
Then there's that third parasitic twin's hand, where all threads default to McColl.
I don't know where the other hand is.

Why on earth does what other people think drive your happy car?
Do whatever the fuck you want to do. Enjoy whatever the fuck you enjoy. When you start bending yourself into forms that will please other people, you're not really worth anyone's attention.

Have fun!


And I know full well that the actual "fun" people are having around here is fighting with a usual set of opponents about subjects that will never be resolved. Because people gotta sound their barbaric "YAWP", and it doesn't count unless there's an audience.
Hello, internet. The purpose of the fight is to fight.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 12:32 PM

For those wishing to access recordings of source singers there are already numerous excellent recordings out there produced by many commercial companies such as Topic (Voice of the People for example) Fellside, Veteran, Musical traditions. To then place these on the internet for free would put these excellent companies out of business. Is that what you want? There are also freely available many recordings of traditional singers freely available on the BL Sound Archive website.


I'm not too keen myself but is putting on a Mid-Atlantic accent any different to a Salford lad putting on a Scottish accent?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 12:15 PM

Tobar an Dualchais does a lot better.
You are not comparing like with like, Jack. Tobar an Dualchais is an incomparable site for sound recordings Full English concerns itself with manuscript sources - field notebooks, diaries, photographs etc.
Neither has completed anything more than a small percentage of the task that they have set themselves. The London database is only few years old, the Edinburgh one is a much older and the material has been accumulating ever since the School of Scottish Studies was founded in the 1940s. An answer to my recent enquiry about the Goldstein/Cameron & Jane Turriff recordings told me that the SoSS have copies of Kenny Goldstein tapes which are not yet available on TaD and they are not likely to be. The originals are lodged with the University of Mississippi and are actually on-line, but only accessible to those who have the pass and that seems to be restricted to members of U of M Staff! I recently contacted U of M asking for permission to listen to the Turriff tapes to compare with recordings I made of them myself of them in 1971 and was given permission to listen to them only! They are just lovely - but where as Edinburgh would give free permission to listen to these but Mississippi - citing ownership and copyright issue would not - so you can see the dilemma.
Another difference is funding, As an academic institution SoSS can maintain their tapes and recordings even though cuts have meant that the digitisation and transcriptions are now progressing much more slowly. The EFDSS finds planning much more difficult because although UK government and Lottery funding did make 2 or 3 quite generous fundings, the annual funding application makes things like employing staff a much more hazardous thing. Progress with 'Full English' therefore is much less predictable. This makes their claim which I quotes above that 'Full English' is "the world’s largest online collection of English folk manuscripts." all the more admirable.
Tobar an Dualchais includes a small number of recordings by Peter Cook and by Ailie Munro of my singing.... just saying!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 11:35 AM

"Surely this is an opinion rather than a factual statement? "
Based on the present state of things, it seems common sense to me

"It would appear that 'Full English' considers song-makers as part of its ambit."
Couldn't argue with that if what they chose to represent folk music in any way resembled it
Ewan chose to create using traditional forms - he wasn't a singer-songwriter (in the way that term is now used) - he was a singer of traditional songs who used the songs he sand to crate new ones
I can in no way see how the EFDSS choice comes anywhere near that with the breathy 'little girl' voices and pseudo Mid-Atlantic accents that have taken over many of our folk clubs
Whether you like them or not (immaterial) they no way meet what EFDSS should be about
I know The Library has a reasonable collection of source singers and could lay their hands on may more with very little effort
Malcolm and I worked our way through The Hamer Collection to produce a Library cassette (now unavailable) and only had room for a few of them
As far as song-making is concerned, if they can't gain permission to use some of the good songmakers creating in traditional styles, they may as well leap onto their camels and ride off into the desert
Peggy had no problems at all when she produced her 20 volumes of New City Songster
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 11:23 AM

It's one of those sites where your only real way in is via a search box - no thesaurus structure you can browse.

I tried as a test to see if they had any media recording bhangra. The search got me to a report of a schools project in Croydon that EFDSS took part in, but there are no sound files or videos of the material they mention. I then tried to find what they had of Mary Neal (there must be film, surely?) but got a stack of library records with no content accessible outside the C#H building. Tobar an Dualchais does a lot better.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 10:28 AM

Manuscripts are for the already committed Vic
Surely this is an opinion rather than a factual statement? I would reckon that manuscripts and sound recordings each have their own validity according to the nature of the enquiry.
Just been searching the 'Full English' EFDSS site, all I could find was the Youth Choir, Mike Norris playing a jolly tune....
Would it be possible to give the 'Full English' reference number to these two categories as I cannot find them by completing a 'Full English' search.
and a number of dire snigger snogwriters
It would appear that 'Full English' considers song-makers as part of its ambit. For example, if you were to try to search for a snigger called Ewam MacColl, you would find there are 101 references to him as an important author and collector..... and as a snogwriter.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 09:13 AM

Manuscripts are for the already committed Vic - hardly what is needed in the present circumstances
I know from long experience that the VWML has a small but good sound collection and is in a position to expand that considerably with a little interest and effort
THe pathetic offerings are a waste of space and, as far as the songwriters - a damaging one
That is not what English folk song is about (I hope)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 09:01 AM

From https://www.efdss.org/efdss-the-full-english


The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) and its partners present the world’s largest online collection of English folk manuscripts.

Freely explore 80,000 pages of traditional songs, dances, tunes and customs from the golden age of folk music collecting, within the manuscripts of nineteen of England’s most important late Victorian and Edwardian folk collectors, including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Percy Grainger, Lucy Broadwood and Cecil Sharp.

The Full English digital archive delivers the true ‘voice of the people’ through a variety of material ranging from full songs to fragments of melodies, invaluable for researchers, performers, composers and many more. It is rich in social, family and local history, and provides a snapshot of England’s cultural heritage through voices rarely published and heard before.

The Full English Extra will see the collections of Mary Neal, suffragette, radical arts practitioner and founder of the Esperance Girls Club, and folk dance educator Daisy Caroline Daking added to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library online archive, alongside its collection of 19th century broadside ballads and songsters.

EFDSS will work with three national museums – the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading, the National Coal Mining Museum for England near Wakefield in Yorkshire and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London – combining folk arts and museum education to provide powerful new learning experiences for schools.


Improving access to The Full English digital archive

The first part of The Full English project was to make these images available, in a format that is searchable. However, as the information on these images can very hard to decipher, particularly if you are not a music reader, the second part is to improve access by providing transcriptions of texts and musical notation, as well as midi files so the tunes can be heard. The VWML would like to thank our volunteers, The Village Music Project, and Folkopedia, for supplying transcriptions.

Full English has a very user friendly 'search' facility which will give positive finds to virtually every major name in English traditional dance and song. It continues to expand at an impressive rate and has an increasing number of volunteer transcribers working on a wide range of song and dance manuscripts.
It is freely available to everyone.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 08:24 AM

Just been searching the 'Full English' EFDSS site, all I could find was the Youth Choir, Mike Norris playing a jolly tune and a number of dire snigger snogwriters
Library still looks as crammed as it was, so I can assume they are still turning down collections
I may not have got the hang of the site, but really !!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 04:50 AM

If you feel a great passion to communicate your love of this kind of folk music, and i think you do.

Why not start a website explaining what it means to you. That's the beauty of the internet. You don't need some git deciding whether you can publish, or not.

Its not all sweetness and light. i worked for ages on a website on my oevre of song writing and the life that had produced it. A chance remark from some big mouthed cunt on Mudcat led to me discontinuing it.

And the providers are not really on your side - its a labour of love. But some people will click on a link - even if they won'tplay a cd nowadays.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 04:48 AM

Yes, Jim. Once again, I consider it a win for me, ie a good result, if I go to a show or club and enjoy over 90% the songs. Nothing whatsoever to do with winning any sort of fight.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 04:39 AM

"I see that as a win!"
J


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 04:26 AM

The discussion is not a win/lose thing, Jim. Once again you are misrepresenting what was said. I consider it a win for me, ie a good result, if I go to a show or club and enjoy over 90% the songs.

What we are discussing here is the number of clubs that are putting on folk music as opposed to non folk. I think that at over 90% of clubs in the UK you have a better than 90% chance of hearing a lot of good quality folk music. You believe it to be considerably less. We will never agree on the proportion but we can agree that there is good and bad everywhere. Let's leave it at that.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 04:09 AM

"People talk about and remember the bad while keeping quiet and forgetting about the good"
Not sure what you are saying Dave - I'm certainly not disagreeing, uniess you are suggesting that I'm only imagining the situation because I only remember the bad ones - that would be very patronising of you
How does it prove that All's well ?
I'm talking about 1 concert here which I know I enjoyed
That is not my experience with the clubs, especially as I have trawled the web to see whats on offer - a handful of passable to reasonable the rest, well....
Clubs I have vited with young ladies doing "Dylan reprises" in breathy voices, introspective singer songwriters serenading their guitars... very little else
"But if over 90% of songs sung are good, I see that as a win!
ON ONE ****** EVENING - sort of like having to fly to Yorkshire for a good night
I am appalled this turned into a "win-lose" thing" - you really do disappoint me
I'm off while we're still friends
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 03:49 AM

I remember clearly what she finished the evening on, I cannot for the life of me remember what else was sung that night.

Thanks for confirming my point, Jim. People talk about and remember the bad while keeping quiet and forgetting about the good. The last 2 songs out of, what, 30? soured your evening. It is a shame it happened to you but think about it. 2 songs out of 30 is less than 7%. So 93% of the songs could well have been what you expected. I call 93% a great majority. I can go to a concert or buy an album of someone I really like and there will be some songs I am not keen on. Maybe I am just lucky in being a glass half full instead of a glass half empty person.I

I do sympathise with your view, honestly, and it is a shame that you feel let down. But if over 90% of songs sung are good, I see that as a win!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 03:39 AM

I'm afraid there has been a blurring of the parameters of art.

A lot of it has to do us becoming part of an international community. There are universities in some countries where Agatha Christie is considered a cultural heavyweight like Dickens. Its been coming on for fifty or sixty years. Byron, for example, whom we regard in our more generous moments as a second echelon romantic poet, in France - he is rated far above the rest of the boys in the band - Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge.

We've got used to the idea.

If John Williams, after a lifetime of selfless dedication, can not just countenance , but welcome the democratisarion of guitar playing. It tells us something about the nature of the world we live in.

We don't appear to be folksingers. But we are. In three hundred years our communities will doubtless look as fucked up and brainless as when we watch The Tudors. We may not bang on goatskins and record our stories in thirty verse ballads - but we are of our time. Why wouldn't we use ipads for our folk music. Ipads are more integral to our communities than bloody goats.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 18 - 02:53 AM

"Really? You mean you've never looked at VWML online? I don't believe you!"
I am well aware that at long last (how long has it been going?) EFDSS have made accessible its holdings
I am referring to the club evenings we attended thare
No apology forthcoming

""People can still go to folk clubs to hear 'folk songs reasonably well performed'. "
And \I respnded and have done over and over again
Tare are not enough of them to make a future for folk song viable and there never will be while people consider that to take folk song seriously is "purist" and believe serious argument to be insulting
The development of both of these tendencies can be traced on this forum through terms like finger-in-ear and the particularly deplorable "folk fascist"

It all boild down to what you consider is a "folk club" and "a good folk club"
For me a folk club is a place where you are guaranteed to hear folk songs, a good one is where you can hear folk songs performed well enough to be enjoyed without worrying that the singer is in tune or has remembered the words or is involved in what hie or she is singing
I stopped when all this ceased to be the case and what has gone on here has convinced me that little has changed.

I don't want to have to send scouts ahead to find if a folk club does folk songs, but that's the case now and has been for a long time
People on this forum in the past have argued here for poor standards, suggesting that to demand work and a degree of understanding and dedication is "elitist"
We've had threads arguing for the use of crib-sheets and mobile phones, saying that to oppose them is to put of people is to exclude people - which, in my opinion, patronised the singer and insults the audience
The 'anything goes" approach is highly supported, which assumes that anybody who wanted to listen to 'Lord Gregory' is going to be happy to sit through to 'Livin' Doll' or the 'Birdie Song'   
On this latter, some time ago I was taken to a convert of folk songs in Scotland by a friend -n the whole a highly enjoyable night until the star singer, whose singing I have always admired decided to finish the evening with two Cliff Richard songs
I can never remember feeling so let down - while I remember clearly what she finished the evening on, I cannot for the life of me remember what else was sung that night.

Despite the latest desk-jockey revisionism, our folk songs are unique - they stand apart form all other song forms as artistic creations and pieces of our social history and, because they do, they are as important as Shakespeare or Dickens or Haydn or Bechet... and that's what makes them both important and highly enjoyable if you take the time and trouble to listen
If people haven't the time or inclination to thumb through the bools and manuscripts clearly labeled "folk" or "traditional", they can recognise the uniqueness of folk song by comparing it to other forms
None of this is a criticism of the other forms - I happen to like song of them myself.
If I choose to go out to hear any form of music - folk, jazz, blues, opera, swing.... I expect to be given what I am told I am going to get         
My own interests developed among people who fervently believed that folk forms could be used to create a new repertoire - that is still my position, but I respect those who want to listen to those who just choose to listen to folk songs on a night out and would be happy to join them occasionally - that may be 'purist' to some, but it's certainly not "boring", as has been suggested.   

For me, and apparently for many others, the club scene plummeted when clubs removed the right of people to choose what they want ed to listen to and decided that standards of performance weren't necessary.
As a singer, I began to feel self-conscious that many of my songs didn't fit into evenings were I was able to sing - the number of venues where this wasn't the case got less and less so I and many like me stopped going
Nothing I have seen here has persuaded me that that has improved in any way, or not enough to make a difference

Finished here, I think - I have a load of work on folk song to get through while my memory and hearing holds out - I think I have got all I'm going to get

Once again I find it very telling that nobody has shown the slightest interest in acquiring our recordings
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 07:10 PM

I purify, therefore I am.

There you are, a little Cartesian logic sorts us all out.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 06:59 PM

In case you missed it...AS WELL AS!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 06:58 PM

AS WELL AS......AS WELL AS.....AS WELL AS......AS WELL AS......AS WELL AS............


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 06:32 PM

Blimey, reading this thread I'm glad I'm just a harmonica player. Wanna hear a nice set of polkas?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 05:18 PM

'It can't sustain a solid base for its archives - the EFDSS one is non existent,' JC.

Really? You mean you've never looked at VWML online? I don't believe you!

Apology, please!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 03:48 PM

Jim. your owwn statement about going to look for folk in village halls (Still not explained)

It was explained in my previous post. In case you missed it, again, here it is.

"People can still go to folk clubs to hear 'folk songs reasonably well performed'. They can also go to concert halls, village halls, community centres, festivals, pubs, house parties, and any number of venues where they can hear the same.

Nowhere in there can it be interpreted that you cannot get good music at folk clubs. The exact reverse is the case. The concerts at other venue are not instead of, they are as well as. "

I don't know how I can make it any plainer.

Kenny. You are right of course. There is good and bad in everything. I accept that there is some bad but do not think there is a lot. I think Jim has to accept that there is some good but thinks there is not a lot of that. To put this in perspective we have had umpteen accounts of good folk clubs with plenty of evidence to back that up. We have had very few people saying things are bad and there has been no evidence to back that up at all. What are we to believe? The many who say things are fine, backed up by the media and hard evidence? Or those who say things are shite but will not back up that statement with any facts whatsoever?

I know where my vote goes!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 02:56 PM

Do you really expect anyone to name "bad clubs", Dave ? Really ?
I would expect that you and Jim are both right, there are clubs with a consistently high standard of performance, and the opposite. It's largely a question of how many there are of the former compared to the latter, and that figure will undoubtedly vary from person to person. It would also depend on the standard of performance a person is satisfied with.
We're over 700 posts here now, and seem to have drifted from the original question. I think I'll stop now, better things to do. There's a really good set-dance, recorded by Angelina Carberry and Dan Brouder I must learn. Enjoy your music.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 02:46 PM

"That claim was the result of an investigation reported in the link I posted. Remember?"
The wiki ling that couldn't distinguish between Dylan, soft rock singer songwriters and the real thing, you mean
That's not a survey - it's a claim built on non-definition ignorance
"and you have still not named any of the so called bad clubs so I can see for myself :"
No I haven't nor will I - I have no intention of going to war with individual clubs
"I have had a handful of bad experiences and said as much."
I'm not basing my claims not only on the experionce of thousands of us who walked away and the arguments we have had here about "purists", "finger in ear" and your owwn statement about going to look for folk in village halls (Still not explained)
"People can still go to folk clubs to hear 'folk songs reasonably well performed'."
Didn't say they couldn't, but the ones being pointed out are in Yorkshire, Scotland and Sussex
Rudeness and abuse gets threads closed - I have indulged in neither - tell those who have

I have responded to every point made - the only club I mentioned as bad (and the only one I intend to) is the mess that calls itself a folk club in THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE ENGLISH FOLK DANCE AND SONG SOCIETY
If they can't get it right - who can ?
The don't even have a shop - now that's a sign that things aren't well, if anything is
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 01:14 PM

...and you have still not named any of the so called bad clubs so I can see for myself :-( This responding to points is not a one way street you know!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 01:06 PM

Not sure why you brought up those terms in reference to me then, Jim, but if you were not suggesting I had used them then fairy nuff.

I'm not claiming that the club scene plummeted and then revived. That claim was the result of an investigation reported in the link I posted. Remember?

The number of clubs began to decline in the 1980s, in the face of changing musical and social trends. In London Les Cousins in Greek Street, where John Renbourn often played, and The Scots Hoose in Cambridge Circus, were both casualties. The Singers Club (George IV, Lincoln's Inn) closed its doors in 1993.

The decline began to stabilise in the mid-1990s with the resurgence of interest in folk music and there are now over 160 folk clubs in the United Kingdom, including many that can trace their origins back to the 1950s


I am not claiming that people who had bad experiences are telling lies. I have had a handful of bad experiences and said as much. It is just that they are not common. Remember the old adage? Get good service, you tell no one. Get bad service, you tell everyone.

I am not discussing any other aspect but live folk music. It is all I know about. I don't know enough about the academic research to comment.

The point you make about going elsewhere is where you misconstrued what I said. I was going to let it lie but seeing as you have brought it up, again, here is my exact phrease.

People can still go to folk clubs to hear 'folk songs reasonably well performed'. They can also go to concert halls, village halls, community centres, festivals, pubs, house parties, and any number of venues where they can hear the same.

Nowhere in there can it be interpretted that you cannot get good music at folk clubs. The exact reverse is the case. The concerts at other venue are not instead of, they are as well as.

One thing we can agree on though. There is no point in continuing down this route. It is what gets threads closed. I am trying to say that there is a lot of good in the folk scene as it stands. You are resolutely saying it is rubbish. Those two viewpoints can seemingly never be reconciled.

Maybe I am too easily pleased? At least that makes for a much more enjoyable life than looking for fault in everything. The offer of accomodation and chaufeur services still stands and I look forward to welcoming you one day and showing you the high spots of the Aire valley :-D

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 11:38 AM

"Terms that I have never used in earnest. Take that up with someone else."
Sorry Dave, can't do that, it's far too common (go look at the title of the thread)
You are the last person I want to fall out with

I can't argue with your own experience any more than you can argue with mine
Are you really claiming that the club scene plummeted and then revived
Are you also claiming that those of u who had enough bad experiences to wak away didn't have those experiences

I have given you what I expect from a folk club and believe no longer to be available in enough for the music to survive - I have also made a pointy about archives, access to archives, publications, albums... and all the other things that go to make a healthy scene, none of which you have responded to

I said at the beginning that all I expected from a club was a night of folk songs reasonably sung - you told me I could no longer expect that from a club and would have to go elsewhere; now you appear to be saying that I can get if anywhere in Britain
If that's not what you are saying you need to explain your "village hall" etc reference
Unless you do we have nothing more to say to each other on the subject sadly
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 10:59 AM

I should also add that you have not named any of the plethora of 'bad' clubs so I can visit and judge for myself. I have at least given at least half a dozen examples of folk clubs where you will get exactly what you are looking for in a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 10:55 AM

you've said that it happens around you, which doesn't even touch what's happening in the rest of Britain

Between 1990 and 2010 I was in a job that took me all around the country and I was lucky enough to be able to book my own accommodation. One of the main criteria for booking a particular hotel was its proximity to a folk club and a lot of the time I was successful. I was not away every week and I did have repeat visits but I estimate that I visited folk clubs all over the country at least once a month for 20 years. That is approximately 240 visits. Many of the visits were to the same folk clubs (Bracknell, Leeds and Newcastle spring to mind as receiving multiple visits) but over the course of that 20 years I can count on one hand the number of times I was disappointed.

Terms like "purist" and "finger-in-ear"

Terms that I have never used in earnest. Take that up with someone else.

You have not address my findings and the findings of others who said they waked away from a scene became as rare as Dodos and the standards abysmal

Yes I have. See above. I fully accept that standards have slipped in some instances but can assure you that it is a rare occurrence rather than the norm. It is mentioned more because it is rare. Things going well do not make the news. Things going badly do.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 10:40 AM

"Yes, I can show that it is but only by inviting you to experience it."
You haven't so far Dave - you've said that it happens around you, which doesn't even touch what's happening in the rest of Britain
Terms like "purist" and "finger-in-ear" and the fact that we can't discuss the definition of folk song on this forum is a strong indicator that it ain't folk
You have not address my findings and the findings of others who said they waked away from a scene became as rare as Dodos and the standards abysmal
The decline in clubs, the arguments for not applying standards, the proliferation of crib-sheets as an indcation of people not bothering to learn words... and the many other examples appear to back up my case... the few you point to prove nothing really

"you definitely misconstrued what I said "
Not sure where - I definitely didn't misconstrue your saying that if I wished to be guaranteed to listen to folk songs I would have to go to festivals or concerts or village halls, which for me, sums up the whole problem
For me this shows clearly that the club scene is in need of repair
If I misconstrued anything else, it was accidental and I apologise
Unless you address the points I made other than "come to Yorkshire" this will continue to be a circular argument
I don't apologise for rubbing people up the wrong way and I doubt if they would apologise to me for doing likewise - at least, I hope not
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 09:38 AM

If that is music is not folk music, it makes my point - if you can show it is, feel free
I don't believe it is, and thereby hangs the problem


Yes, I can show that it is but only by inviting you to experience it. Which I have done. Now, back at you, can you show that it isn't?

As for insulting anyone. Well, I think you made some comments that rubbed people up the wrong way and you definitely misconstrued what I said but, what the heck, water under the bridge. I pointed out where it happened. It can still be seen and people can make up their own minds. No point in flogging it to death.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 09:29 AM

" more than acceptable to the vast majority of folk music fans"
Very carefully worded Dave
If that is music is not folk music, it makes my point - if you can show it is, feel free
I don't believe it is, and thereby hangs the problem

For the record, apart from Jack, I have insulted nobody here unless you regard criticism your clubs as "insulting (we never used to)
I should not have responded to Jack the way I did, for which I apologise - I should have ignored him

My offer will stand until I am convinced I am wasting my time
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 09:13 AM

A healthy folk club scene has to feature a guarantee of hearing folk songs at clubs

At the majority of folk clubs I can guarantee that the majority of songs that you hear will meet with your approval. I have put my money where my mouth is and I am sure a number of others will do the same. You have misinterpreted what a number of people have said, including me. I will try to make my argument quite clear.

The vast majority of clubs and other venues (that showcase folk music) are promoting music that is more than acceptable to the vast majority of folk music fans.

Feel free to disagree but, as yet, you have not come up with any proof of your 'anything goes' theory.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 08:31 AM

A healthy folk club scene has to feature a guarantee of hearing folk songs at clubs
That is not the case and, from what I have seen and what I havee read here, that is long gone - (even you have confirmed that with your village hall, concerts and festivals suggestion)
How can you possibly describe that as "healthy" ?

Thish forum has been bombarded by descriptions of hostility towards traditional and unaccompanied "finger-in-ear songs in the past - things have not improved in any way and arguments like his only confirm that situation
If you don't recognise there is a problem, that problem can only grow

The heartbeat of our tradition lay in the clubs - now it appears to be on a life-support system
Wahre are the albums of traditional songs now - where are the magazines we once had - where are the many thousands of clubs performing folk songs - where is the genuine and friendly interaction and discussion I and others experienced
We can't nip down to the village hall to get any of this

I am, at present, organising and annotating our collection in order to deposit it in an accessible form, to an Irish University World Music Center -
If I thought there was any point, I would happily put aside a smaller archive of recordings of singers, song texts, articles on traditional song and music, recordings of workshops and seminars, radio programmes, examples of voice and relaxation exercises.... and donate it to any club, or group of clubs to be used as an encouragement to learn and understand our folk-song traditions
Ive made similar offers in the past with no takers
Think about it
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 08:06 AM

That is where we must differ, Jim. You believe it is a handful of clubs that maintain a good standard. I know it is a lot more than a handful and evidence both here and elsewhere confirms that this is true. There are numerous good folk clubs out there and that is bolstered by the number of other venues that are now showcasing exceptionally good traditional music.

There are of course clubs where the standard may not be as high as you would like but that is the nature of the beast. Not everything is everyone's cup of tea. But the vast majority of clubs and other venues are promoting music that is more than acceptable to the vast majority of folk music fans.

We have presented the evidence that the 'folk scene' is thriving. Feel free to give us your evidence that it is otherwise.

You have and are perfectly entitled to your opinion that the scene is either dead or dying, and the way it was deteriorating in the late 1970s and early 1980s is likely to have given that impression. But it has recovered and is now a force to be reckoned with once again. Your impression is wrong and my offer stands open for as long as you like. Feel free to pick any folk club within striking distance of Airedale and I will take you there as well so there is no question of me picking only clubs I know are good.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 07:17 AM

My point remains Dave a handfull of clubs does not make for a healthy scene
I've just given you my long-term view of what I believe needs to happen to keep folk song available for the future
The state of the clubs has been displayed perfectly by the suggestion that anybody expecting to here folk songs performed reasonably well at a folk song is a purist - your really can't say clearer than that
You and others have given excuses rather than reasons why the club scene has declined - we don't agree on that, but we do seem to agree that it has declined
A basis to start an intelligent and friendly argument before Jack's insulting rudeness becomes an infection
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 07:05 AM

No problem, Jim. We all miss things sometimes.

I hope it would prove that the 'folk scene' is as healthy and vibrant as I and a number of other people have suggested rather than the poor quality, struggling, dying animal that you seem to be suggesting.

I am willing to be proved wrong but, to date, you have not offered any evidence that the folk music world in England is in such a poor shape.

We can all find examples of good and bad but I am willing to put my money where my mouth is and say that there is far more good than bad. All the evidence on here points to that, as does my experience.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 06:53 AM

"I didn't write the bit you put in quote"
My apologies - cnfused by the italics
I always try to use quotation marks - may miss them occasionally
Don't understand the rest, but I;'m sure you won't or can't clarify it
I insult nobody - I respond to what they say strongly maybe, but that' it
You have twice misrepresented what I believe - about my not believing what is happening in Glasgow and Edinburgh - I see no apology for doing so, which leads me to believe that your misinterpretation was deliberate
"I take it this is the sort of thing Jim doesn't believe exists?"

Sorry Dave
I did miss your offer
In the light of what is beig argued for here, what exactly would a visit to a couple of clubs in Yorkshire prove (as much as I am sure I would enjoy the visit, and the clubs (I love the area anyway)?
I have no doubt good, dedicated clubs still exist - I have named some myself
As with Edinburgh and Glasgow a good healthy folk scene cannot include having to nip onto a plane or train to visit such places
The scene you and others paint is not a healthy one - it appears to be dying
It can't sustain a solid base for its archives - the EFDSS one is non existent, The BL is poor and is too impoverished to expand - the best of the lot is in Scotland...
Two of us, me and Terry Yarnell have a large archive of British and Irish traditional recordings we can't find a home for in Britain so we have to look elsewhere
A healthy folk scene that can be guaranteed a future has to have a foundation based on the music - none exists
Any future has to depend on us being able to discuss our music - as Andy intimated, any attempts to discuss the definition of folk son sinks in flames before it is started - that is a sick joke
I'm sick and tired of the small mindedness, the jealousy towards dead performers, the personal nastiness (even towards terms such as purist) and the total inability to discuss this subject seriously and intelligently
The work has been long done to push the Traditional arts a stage further yet it cannot be availed of because of this hostile barrier   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do puriis both sts really exist?
From: GUEST,patriot
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 06:17 AM

It was a generous offer from Dave to you Jim Carroll and your self-expressed ignorance of it is both extremely rude and an indication of how much attention you pay to the comments and opinions of other contributors.
You spend your days insulting perfectly reasonable people with perfectly reasonable and constructive views while NOT READING what they have said!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 05:56 AM

"Purist means bore from my experience."
Idiots who use meaningless terms as invective are idiots in my experience Jack
People who opt for hit-and-run invective rather than argument ate little more than trolls
Not a case of "real ale" - just serving ale does the trick
You are as dishonest as the most dishonest


I didn't write the bit you put in quotes. And unlike you I make it VERY clear what I'm quoting (to any well-intentioned reader, that is - can't do much about bigoted liars determined to misread plainly obvious statements in the most paranoic and malicious way imaginable).

You've now done the same completely blatant sort of misinterpretation twice in 24 hours, once to Dave and now to me.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 05:53 AM

Just up a bit, Jim.

From: Dave the Gnome - PM
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 03:00 PM


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 05:44 AM

"So, I take it you will not take me up on the offer then, Jim?"
What was your offer Dave - missed it in the melee
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 05:42 AM

"Purist means bore from my experience."
Idiots who use meaningless terms as invective are idiots in my experience Jack
People who opt for hit-and-run invective rather than argument ate little more than trolls
Not a case of "real ale" - just serving ale does the trick
You are as dishonest as the most dishonest
Pity
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 05:16 AM

So, I take it you will not take me up on the offer then, Jim?

Well, you can take a horse to water...

BTW - exactly how do you describe the 'scene'? I need to know if I am to confirm or deny it!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,21st Century Primitive
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 05:03 AM

A word on that there Ewan McColl, as his name has come up in this thread.

I’m not particularly interested in the ins and outs of the dog’s bollocks about the minutiae (sp?) of his life and so on, but I do know this. He was one of the best songwriters these islands have ever produced. Some of the more narrowly political songs may have dated - but that’s ok, they were capturing and responding to a moment in time - but anyone capable of creating songs like ‘The Father’s Song’, ‘The Manchester Rambler’ and ‘Dirty Old Town’ has fully earned their place in musical history.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 04:52 AM

Purist means bore from my experience.

Sad buggers who won't go in a pub unless they serve "real" ale, waffle on about a 1954 definition of an abstract form of entertainment and reckon the only words to Sir Patrick Spence that count are the ones they first heard, normally on their mother's knee (allegedly).


Would you care to put a name and a face to such a person?

People who get off on having entirely imaginary enemies are a pain in the arse.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 04:49 AM

""What is folk music?" :-)"
Good luck with they=t one Andy ! :-)
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Andy7
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 04:40 AM

Haha, you've beaten me into submission, Jim!

I'm off out of here now, to start up a new thread entitled "What is folk music?" :-)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 04:29 AM

"just in case my interpretation of the song was historically inaccurate"
Do you have friends who insist on that sort of thing Andy - I've never known anybody who did
I find dishonest comments like that a confirmation of my arguments
No-one in my half century's involvement in folk song has ever demaned either historical or stylistic "accuracy" in folk song - both would be an impossible objective anyway - theer is no such thing as "historical accuracy"
Why make something up like that ?

This is a strange and extremely depressing argument
On the one hand, Dick has insisted that I have no right to comment on the scene because I don't go to enough of them; on the other; on the other, people, particularly Dave says that the scene is exactly as I describe and I have no right to expect anything else becuse it "has moved on".

I did a tour around what's available on line (including some that have been recommended to me) and found little, if anything that resembles a healthy folk scene - a lot of the writers of insipid songs, largely over-accompanied enough to make the words unfollowable and invariable, sung in a stange, Mid-Atlantic accent
A few exceptions, but not enough to make me believe things are going to improve in the near future

I no longer live in Britain and I know I can look forward to a folk scene that with continue to thrive
I can listen to good traditional music and song, well excecuted, on the media any night of the week - mainly played by new musicians in their late teens and twenties (singing has a little way to go yet, but there are signs that it's getting there)
This one-street town in the west has six nights of live traditional music - some nights have a couple of sessions going at the same time.
That in itself is a leap forward, usually the number of nights reduce to three after the visitors have stopped coming

What upsets me most about all this (and the animosity and dishonesty it arouses) is, it doesn't effect me personally - our collection has found a welcoming home which will guarantee that, long after we've turned up our toes, people will be able to listen to Walter Pardon and Harry Cox and Sam Larner, the Stewarts, The Travellers.... and many others we met or were given recordings of, singing and talking about their love of folk song proper
It's just a pity that those recordings will be housed in Limerick rather than London as the UK has no home for what they have to say and sing - and the clubs are apparently not interested anyway

MacColl was touched on again here, but thankfully not to the length of brutality he usually receives
   
I'd just like to restate my position on MacColl
I loved his singing _ I still do after half a century of listening to it
That has nothing to do with why I'm happy to raise his name and ideas whenever I have the opportunity - that's my personal taste - I can still get most of the albums he recorded over his long career - in the shops in newly issued anthologies or sing albums or on the Net, which say much about how he is still regarded outside the narrow, backbiting sonfines of the revival

MacColl thought folk song so important that he devoted a large part of his life trying to help and encourage other singers
The work he and The Critics Group did on the theory and practice of folk singing is totally unparalleled - the voice, singing and relaxation exercises, the evenings of analysis and suggestion on how to improve styles and understanding, the discussions on the cultural and historical importance of song..... a gold mine, recorded at length and ready to be worked.
Unfortunately, there is no home for that in a U.K. that could very much do with a firm kick up the arse of the culture and Voice of THe People is to survive for future generations to take as much pleasure from it as we did.

I once wrote a somewhat hostilely received aticle entitled "Where Have all the Folk Songs Gone" for 'The Living Tradition'
I have my answer - they got lost somewhere along the way and didn't go anywhere much
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 04:28 AM

I like the one that begins 'Iiiiiitttsss Chriiiissstttmaaaaasss' better :-)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Andy7
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 04:24 AM

Those are fair points.

My post was meant to be a lighthearted one! Because the mood of this discussion has been rather too dark at times; we should all be able to hold differing views, and have a lively discussion, without being negative/aggressive towards the views of others.

Okay, then ... I'll have a bash at that traditional folk song after all ... "The moon is up, the spirit's bright, we're here tonight, and that's enough, simply having ..."


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 18 - 04:04 AM

Andy you do not seem to understand what i am saying,1. there are a number of contributory reasons for folk clubs closing ,2 you do not seem to understand Iam only asking that people to try to do their best perfomance which means respect for the audience practising, if i was present at the same club as you i would not offer any opinion unless you asked me, i certainly would not comment on any historical inaccuracys, furthermore there is no such thing as a perfrmance being historically inaccurate, tradtional music has to evolve and change, i may not like your perfomance or style, but , i would not comment unless you asked me


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Andy7
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 06:46 PM

If I were at a folk club singaround where certain contributors on this thread were present, and I had carefully prepared a performance of one of the most indisputably traditional folk songs in the country, which I'd learned and practised to within an inch of perfection, I'd probably still be too scared to sing it when my moment came ... just in case my interpretation of the song was historically inaccurate, and I ruined it for everyone there! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:31 PM

There are also a lot more singarounds and sessions than there were in the 60s.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:15 PM

Very generous offer, Dave. If that doesn't work you could go that bit further to the Sheffield area hotbed which has oodles of talented youngsters playing folk music, and they know their stuff as well.

The folk scene in England at the moment is certainly vibrant, probably moreso than when we old farts were at it in the 60s, it's just more diverse and doesn't necessarily follow the rigid patterns set up in the 60s. Any current setbacks are definitely down to the economic climate, and not a lack of interest.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 03:00 PM

It was not a singers night observer. It had the traits in that someone went round asking if anyone wanted to do a bit but when someone started a tune a lot of people joined in. More like a session but with spots for solo artists if they wanted them.

Jim. We will just have to disagree. There are, according to the link I gave, 160 folk clubs. If you include venues such as mentioned earlier, there are probably double that regularly showcasing folk music. My experience has been that the majority is good quality with a minority of either poor performances or inappropriate music. I am equally sure that there are some where the quality is poorer than the ones I know are good. At those I know you would not be disappointed in the slightest.

The best way I can thinks of to prove it to you is not by conflict but with the hand of friendship. Book yourself a flight to Leeds one Friday. It is peanuts now. I shall pick you up and take you to the Keighley club. Stop over at ours for the weekend, all on me. We shall find something going on in the Leeds/Bradford area and I will drive. Have the other weekend day off for a tour round the dales. Monday I shall take you to the Skipton club. Tuesday I will take you to the airport for your return flight.

One of two things will happen. You will either see that the folk scene is still vibrant or you will prove that my definition of folk music leaves a lot to be desired! I am pretty sure it will be the former and you will enjoy what you see and hear.

What have you got to lose?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 02:52 PM

Should read
"while most of the people who are still digging Ewan up for a ritual kicking 30 years after his death were getting on with their careers
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 02:42 PM

"We all knew 'Ewan & Peggy' would get in on it eventually!"
Oh dear, not another bout of necrophobia
Why not, as they were to of the greatest contributors to folk song in Britain
May as well quote Ewan here as you all seem too shit scared to discuss his ideas
Ewan and Pegg were sacrificing a night a week to singers requesting help while most of the people who are still digging Ewan up for a ritual kicking 30 years after his death

One of the sure signs that something is rotten in the State of folkland is the fact that discussing 'what is folk' is a no-go area on this form and whenever two of folks great performers and songwriters are mentioned all present reach for the crucifix and garlic
What is wrong with you people ?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 01:56 PM

701. Maths was always a problem even when I was teaching it!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 01:55 PM

600


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 01:12 PM

We all knew 'Ewan & Peggy' would get in on it eventually!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 12:51 PM

Dave-ja vu.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 12:18 PM

what is LG? Sorry I am dense and have never been to a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 12:18 PM

"Having the opportunity to attend folk concerts at a variety of venues is a good thing. Don’t knock it."
I don't and I never have, but they should not be where I have to go to here decently sung folk song
Punk had nothing to do with the decline of folk song (actually, folk songs haven't declined, they exist in their many thousands in recordings and song collections - hopefully for future generations to benefit from what this one appears to have discarded)
What has declined is the opportunity to hear them (unless you live in Edinburgh, Glasgow or Swinton, it would appear)
As far as recognising folk when you hear it - of course different cultures produce different sounds - if you cast your net wide enough, you learn to recognise the genuine article in any culture once you familiarise yourself with it
Nevertheless, there is a thread which goes though manty that are related
In The Song Carriers, Macol starts by taking a recording of an Azerbaijani Bard and playing it into Oaddy Tunney's singing - a remarkable comarison
He then goes on to a recording of a Canto Hondo singer from Spain and runs it into Maggie Barry, the Irish Street singer - amazing similarities of style

Ewan and Peggy once say Joe Haney down and played him a selection of folk and non folk foreign recordings - Joe identified most of the traditional ones - brothers in their respective cultures
Our late friend and neighbour, Tommy McCarthy, came home from Bulgaria full of the similarities of what he had heard from musicians there

I'm not taking a pop at what he does, far from it - I just find what he is telling me extremely upsetting
I now live in Ireland and have watched the tradition move on from what I believed to be its last legs, to one with a thriving future
THat didn't just happen; it was worked for by dedicated individuals who recognised what was happening and turned it around
If I didn't believe that could happen in the U.K. I really wouldn't be arsed arguing
If something isn't done soon the scene will end up as passive recipients of what remainsof our folk song rather than participants of it
Concerts and festivals should b an added bonus, not objects in themselves
Our music was once the property of unpaid, unprofessional performers and song-makers - concerts are for passive observers
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 12:02 PM

retain LG? WTF? Try ‘certainly’!!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,21st Century Primitive
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 12:01 PM

Saw these two in a room above a pub in Todmorden. Not a folk club and they retain LG don’t claim to be folk. Excellent stuff nonetheless.

Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore - Fair Annie


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,21st Century Primitive
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 11:52 AM

Jim!

Having the opportunity to attend folk concerts at a variety of venues is a good thing. Don’t knock it.

And if Dave the Gnome is irreparably damaging folk I’ll eat my hat. He may be a mighty force, but I doubt the Great Destroyer is from Swinton.

I know why folk clubs declined. It’s because of my generation- the punk generation. We didn’t come along to keep the flame that your generation had lit alive. We got caught up doing other stuff. Meanwhile, there are far more people far younger than me playing traditional music than there are people of my generation, but for many of them, the standard-issue folk club isn’t where they chose to do it. That’s ok. Different generations do things different ways.

Now then. This business of knowing what a folk song sounds like. I’m going to call bullshit on that. Some jolly romp from the Coppers’ Songbook sounds nothing like a Scottish big ballad sounds nothing like piedmont blues sounds nothing like Bulgarian open voice singing sounds nothing like Finnish joik. As we know, folk song does not have a sound but a process...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 11:43 AM

oh i dunno. theres always been a fair bit of shite around. in fact folk on bbc4 is a a bit of turn off for me. i prefer real shite, like you get in folk clubs.

who needs record company folk.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 11:38 AM

jim ,is right it is important to encourage people to perform and improve their performances,
but selecting singers on the basis of what they sing is something different, personally i do not want to hear buddy holly songs, however the last person i heard do them was Andy Caven, who was a practised competent good performer.
I booked him at the folk club i ran because the audience asked for him, i also booked nic jones john and julia clifford steve turnerjohn and sue kirkpatrick, the club did not have a massive fall off in attendance because i once booked andy caven


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 11:17 AM

Sandy Bell's - Singers nights? I've only ever heard tunes sessions played there.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 11:16 AM

Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Observer - PM
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:28 AM

Changes and the way things are going with "Folk"? Clubs are in decline, "House Concerts" and "Village Hall Concerts" are on the rise. The one thing that you have strict control over in the latter two is IF you do have floor singers at all the person hosting the event can select who performs."
and that is how it still is at guestbooking folk clubs in my experience. and how it was back in guest booking folk clubsin the past , if you were not good enough you did not get on


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 11:00 AM

"There is still a wealth of high quality folk music being performed in folk clubs across the country, including the one I helped to run for 35 years."
The evidence it to the contrary Dave - certainly that being presented here
Your list of village halls and peivate gatherings is fairly indicative that I can't go to folk clubs for folk songs
I certainly have no intention of taking an anonymous Wiki article which lumps together Renborn, Dylan, Les Cousins and The Singers Club as representing the club scene   
I know when the scene brean to decline from personal experience to first hearing folk songs sung badly to when you could come away from an evening without hearing anything resembling a folk song
I'm not alone in this - others here have had experiences similar to mine - notably Observer
I know many others who have had the same experience
The scene, at its best, was made up of clubs where unpaid residents were capable of taking an evening totally independent of the starts, cultural democracy at is highest -m now I have to go to a local village hall and hope somebody knows what a a folk song - you appear not to
It's always seemed to me that when you become involved in folk-song (or any artistic form) you commit yourself to your subject
Folk song is, to me more important than most because it hasn't been treated with much respect by the arts Establishment
When the scene itself drops the ball, that becomes a catastrophe
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 11:00 AM

"There is still a wealth of high quality folk music being performed in folk clubs across the country, including the one I helped to run for 35 years."
The evidence it to the contrary Dave - certainly that being presented here
Your list of village halls and peivate gatherings is fairly indicative that I can't go to folk clubs for folk songs
I certainly have no intention of taking an anonymous Wiki article which lumps together Renborn, Dylan, Les Cousins and The Singers Club as representing the club scene   
I know when the scene brean to decline from personal experience to first hearing folk songs sung badly to when you could come away from an evening without hearing anything resembling a folk song
I'm not alone in this - others here have had experiences similar to mine - notably Observer
I know many others who have had the same experience
The scene, at its best, was made up of clubs where unpaid residents were capable of taking an evening totally independent of the starts, cultural democracy at is highest -m now I have to go to a local village hall and hope somebody knows what a a folk song - you appear not to
It's always seemed to me that when you become involved in folk-song (or any artistic form) you commit yourself to your subject
Folk song is, to me more important than most because it hasn't been treated with much respect by the arts Establishment
When the scene itself drops the ball, that becomes a catastrophe
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 10:50 AM

Then I can only suggest that you put in an amendment Kenny. I have only been to Sandy Bells once and on the night I was there it had all the traits of what I saw at the White Lion on most singers nights. It was not in a private room but an organiser went round the room asking if people wanted to perform and the music I heard was, in that main, traditional folk. I am pleased to say I sang but there were so many there I only got chance to do one!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 10:45 AM

"In Edinburgh, Sandy Bell's club in Forest Hill has been running since the late 1960s".
That's "Wikipedia" for you - when was "Sandy Bell's" in Edinburgh ever a "club" of any sort ? If a ludicrous statement like that is left to stand unchallenged, I see no reason to lend any credence to anything else in that article.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 10:19 AM

If you are not prepared to put on folk songs at folk clubs you are guilty of conning people

I don't know how many ways I can say this, Jim. There is still a wealth of high quality folk music being performed in folk clubs across the country, including the one I helped to run for 35 years.

But don't take my word for it. Take a look here - Folk Clubs

The relevant passage is

The number of clubs began to decline in the 1980s, in the face of changing musical and social trends. In London Les Cousins in Greek Street, where John Renbourn often played, and The Scots Hoose in Cambridge Circus, were both casualties. The Singers Club (George IV, Lincoln's Inn) closed its doors in 1993.

The decline began to stabilise in the mid-1990s with the resurgence of interest in folk music and there are now over 160 folk clubs in the United Kingdom, including many that can trace their origins back to the 1950s including The Bridge Folk Club in Newcastle (previously called the Folk Song and Ballad club) claims to the oldest club still in existence in its original venue (1953). In Edinburgh, Sandy Bell's club in Forest Hill has been running since the late 1960s. In London, the Troubadour at Earl's Court, where Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Sandy Denny and Martin Carthy sang, became a poetry club in the 1990s, but is now a folk club again.

The nature of surviving folk clubs has also changed significantly, many larger clubs use PA systems, opening the door to use of electric instruments, although drums and full electric line-ups remain rare. The mix of music often includes American roots music, blues, British folk rock, and world music as well as traditional British folk music. From 2000 the BBC Radio 2 folk awards have included an award for the best folk club.

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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 10:04 AM

THings have not moved on Dave - the clubs have been taken over by people who are not prepared to put folk songs on - that is not moving on
How dare you tell me to go somewhere else to listen to folk songs ?

I don't know fully what may or may not be happening across the country but if your arguments here are representative, I fear the worst
I have not misrepresented anything you said, I have read it carefully with growing horror and have replied to it as best I can

If you are not prepared to put on folk songs at folk clubs you are guilty of conning people - it really is as simple as that.
You are also damaging folk song, probably irreparably
Sadly
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 09:55 AM

I have said none of what you have taken apparent offense at, Jim. Please feel free to link where I have said anything remotely like anything in your rant against my so called 'arrogance'. I suspect that you are riled at something that does not exist. Let's look at the facts rather than the misinterpretations.

1. There are fewer folk clubs than there used to be. You believe that this is due to them relaxing the rules but have provided no facts to back this up. I believe there are fewer because things have moved on.

2. Because things have moved we can now get good quality folk music at a host more venues than the traditional style folk club. They exist side by side and long may that situation continue.

3. In my experience, which is nowhere near as extensive as yours but may be more up to date, there is good quality folk music available in regular folk clubs across the country. My in depth experience is with one club in the north west of England but when I used to travel a lot I found good clubs from Bracknell to Newcastle and Cambridge to Dudley with a lot of places in between. When selecting hotels my first criterion was a nearby folk club!

4. Nowhere has anyone asked you to vacate anything. That is yet another straw man.

I can only suggest that you go back and read my postings to this thread with an objective eye rather than a hostile attitude. If you cannot do that, please stop accusing me of saying things that I have not even suggested.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 09:49 AM

Just trolling by...

From: Bee-dubya-ell

Is a purist someone who plays a pur?

Purtiful


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 09:35 AM

By the way P - Dave has made my point perfectly - if I want to here folk songgs I ahve to go at the local village hall and hope they are putting them on
Sheesh......!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 09:35 AM

By the way P - Dave has made my point perfectly - if I want to here folk songgs I ahve to go at the local village hall and hope they are putting them on
Sheesh......!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 09:34 AM

I've just realised how arrogant your posting is Dave
Sorry, we no longer do folk songs in folk clubs - piss off to the village hall and see if they're doing them
Talk about a hostile takeover
I was here not long after the beginning - I've invested best part of my life in understanding and proliferating folk songs - I helped run workshops, sett up clubs, been part of the making of a dozen albums and sas many radio programmes, was part of establishing the Archive in The British Library and have ammassed one of the largest private arcives in these Islands - I've have given around thirty lectures on the subject (with Pat), and now I am told I have to vacate the scene I helped set up to people who can't even describe the folk song they claim to peddle
That is arrogance to the utmost degree

Patriot
Nothing here has anything to do with "purity" - please have the good manners to read what is written
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 09:22 AM

There is no guarantee of hearing a folk song at any of those venues - nor can there be expected to be

Regardless of the venue, if I go to an event that advertises a folk artist I can guarantee that I will hear folk songs. My point is that folk clubs are not the exclusive custodians of folk music.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 09:17 AM

If you van't describe a folk song I'm afraid that it means you don't know what one is yourself

I cannot describe nuclear fission but I know what the effect can be. I do know what I believe to be a folk song and you can look me up performing some at Swinton if you like. It may not agree with your definition but it is the best I can do. I am more than happy to accept other peoples definitions while fully understanding that no single one of them is the full picture. Can you say the same?

I can't remember any that presented a poorer one than the one you describe - one where I'm neither guaranteed folk songs or a reasonable standard or, in some cases, haven't even bothered learning them

I have never described a folk club let alone suggested that people performing should not learn their songs. The only one I mentioned was Swinton. If you visited there, chances are we met. I was doorman and oft times MC from the offset and only stopped doing so some 5 years back. It has always had the same ethos so, if you enjoyed it then, you still will.

Straw man once again, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,patriot
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 09:03 AM

there are lots of people- some on this thread, who in the context of folk clubs & suchlike, look down their nose at any material, however well- performed, which does not conform to their opinion of what 'folk'music is.

these people see themselves as standing guard over the 'purity'; of the music,

Conclusion- Purists DO exist and you don't have to look far to find them       Q.E.D.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 09:01 AM

What you described are unspecified concerts where anything goes on
A far cry from venues which were set up to listen to and perform folk song
There is no guarantee of hearing a folk song at any of those venues - nor can there be expected to be
Festivals are for the already initiated and they tend to be somewhat "in" affairs - and even they are disappearing - go count the number of major festivals that no longer take place

If you van't describe a folk song I'm afraid that it means you don't know what one is yourself - I think that makes my point perfectly
I went to Swinton many years ago and listened to folk songs - from the sound of it, I am no longer guaranteed to be able to do that now

"Some folk clubs did, rightly or wrongly, generate a poor image"
I can't remember any that presented a poorer one than the one you describe - one where I'm neither guaranteed folk songs or a reasonable standard or, in some cases, haven't even bothered learning them
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 08:51 AM

I'm not understanding the heat here. I personally don't think there is anything to worry about. It's in good hands there is peer review to keep it in check, and excellent tutalidge.
Everyone knows how change and innovation works in these disciplines and i've not noticed decline in fact quite the opposite.
       I would imagine the demographic here is not really the target audience for the short vid posted above. That sort of thing aimed at a younger audience I would imagine.Hopefully at our age those type of lessons are learned already.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 08:30 AM

I envision a folk club where people can go and hear folk songs reasonably well performed

People can still go to folk clubs to hear 'folk songs reasonably well performed'. They can also go to concert halls, village halls, community centres, festivals, pubs, house parties, and any number of venues where they can hear the same. Some folk clubs did, rightly or wrongly, generate a poor image. It is the type of folk club that perpetuated that image that has, quite rightly, had its day.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 08:21 AM

You still have not answered my question either, Jim. What did you mean by 'I told you what I believe'. To me that indicates that it is your view, not fact. Unless your belief comes from facts that you, as yet, have not given us.

But, yet again, I will address your point. If someone asked me what folk song was I would say I cannot describe it in words alone and give them a couple of songs that I perform. Or invite them to Swinton folk club to listen :-)

And there is nothing at all insulting in what I said. You asked what relevance the film had. I said it demonstrates what happens when any single person or group insists that their way is the only right way. Nothing whatsoever to do with folk clubs or you. You are either looking for insults where non exist or tilting at straw men.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 08:10 AM

"It isn't. It is just the type of folk club that you are referring to has had its day.""
I envision a folk club where people can go and hear folk songs reasonably well performed - nothing more
If that is out of date than we no longer have a place to go to hear folk song - or to draw people into listening to folk songs
"their 'way " again Dave - now becoming insulting - it's not "my way" - it's the way is was
You have yet to answer my question so I'll repeat it

"I have just met you on line and I asked you to describe this folk song I keep hearing about - how would you go about it, or where would you point me to to read the subject up
Feel free to ask me the same question, of course"
Put simply, what do you mean by "folk song"?

"Another one Jim doesn't believe exists:"
Either we cross-posted (though I have had the same thing before) or you are just bening bloody-mindedly obtuse Jack

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 07:59 AM

I asked first, Jim.

Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome - PM
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 06:12 AM

Jim. Your exact phrase is 'I told you what I believe'. That indicates it is your view or opinion. If that is not what you meant please tell me what you really did mean.


You never addressed that point but I am happy to address yours. I said absolutely nothing like the folk song I (you) envisions is solely my own invention and that there is so room for it on the present scene My exact phrase, for the second time, was "And please note that I am not saying folk music is out of favour. It isn't. It is just the type of folk club that you are referring to has had its day."

How you get your interpretation out of those words is beyond me I'm afraid.

And, yes, please dig out any proof you have that folk clubs started to decline because they relaxed the rules on what music could be performed. I would be very interested to see actual proof, not your opinion or someone else's conclusion, but solid evidence please.

The film was, just as I said, an interesting coincidence. It does not apply specifically to this thread but to all discussions where anyone believes that their 'way' is better than anyone else's.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 07:54 AM

Another one Jim doesn't believe exists:

FB group for Glasgow Ballad Workshop


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 07:46 AM

"As does yours, Jim. You have come up with no proof whatsoever.
I've told you where it was documented - I can probably dig out the articles if you really don't believe me
You wouldn't be the first one to call me a liar on this thread - I respect your, it doesn't concern me a bit what the other feller thinks of me, what you do matters

"Where in that statement do I say that the music has had its day?"
" It isn't. It is just the type of folk club that you are referring to has had its day."
You appear to be saying that the folk song I envisions is solely my own invention and that there is so room for it on the present scene
If that's not what you are saying, what exactly are you saying ?
Where can we go to here folk songs if it isn't in a folk club?
If what goes on at today;'s clubs has nothing to do wwith folk song why is that not damaging folk song beyond repair

I asked you a question and I would be very much obliged if you answered it
I haven't the faintest idea what relevance your film has to do with this
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 07:03 AM

So a music that has survived for centuries has "had its day" because a rapidly diminishing bunch of ageing2 folkies no longer find it interesting

Jim, you are being obtuse. Whether that is purposely or otherwise is irrelevant but it is quite simple to look back at my post where I say

"And please note that I am not saying folk music is out of favour. It isn't. It is just the type of folk club that you are referring to has had its day."

Where in that statement do I say that the music has had its day?

You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but unless to can substantiate that opinion with facts it remains only your opinion

As does yours, Jim. You have come up with no proof whatsoever. Restating your opinion over and over again does not constitute proof.

An interesting coincidence just cropped up. A good friend of mine and stalwart of our folk club stars in this short film. It is a bit heavy but well worth 13.5 minutes to see what can happen when you believe that yours is the only truth.

Enjoy

A Nick Short film.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 07:03 AM

"I take it this is the sort of thing Jim doesn't believe exists?"
Why should I not believe it exists or that the Ballad Workshop exists in Glasgow , or I can't go to The Musical Traditions in London and hear a good night of folk sons well sung....
Are yuio suggesting that the sme proliferates throughout Britain or that we should all nip up to Edinburgh or Glasgow or London whenever we fancy a good folk song ?

What is being argued for here is exactly the opposite Jack, that what happens in these venues "has had its day" in the club scene and no longer has any relevance to modern life
Does that not impact on you in any way ?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 06:53 AM

"I used to think that folk song would survive forever, but I have come to believe that it will only die if it falls into the hands of people who don't like it or understand it"
It seems he might have hit the nail squarely on the head"
   Gentlemen please ouch ! (fair play to you) ;)
Right what's the next topic.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 06:47 AM

" That indicates it is your view or opinion. "
No Dave - I have a long-held consensus and I have the evidence to back up that consensus - what can you offer in return ?

"The bubble burst. "
The bubble burst when the folk boom ended an the music industry lost interest
After that, the folk scene gathered its forces and established itself with its own labels, a plethora of magazines and new writings
It continued until the clubs moved away from folk song and opted for bums on seats
You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but unless to can substantiate that opinion with facts it remains only your opinion

Try this
I have just met you on line and I asked you to describe this folk song I keep hearing about - how would you go about it, or where would you point me to to read the subject up
Feel free to ask me the same question, of course

"It is just the type of folk club that you are referring to has had its day."
So a music that has survived for centuries has "had its day" because a rapidly diminishing bunch of ageing2 folkies no longer find it interesting - how sad (if I for one minute accepted it)
In the interview I quoted from above MacColl, I bridled somewhat when MacColl said
"I used to think that folk song would survive forever, but I have come to believe that it will only die if it falls into the hands of people who don't like it or understand it"
It seems he might have hit the nail squarely on the head

Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 06:12 AM

Jim. Your exact phrase is 'I told you what I believe'. That indicates it is your view or opinion. If that is not what you meant please tell me what you really did mean.

My alternative view of why folk clubs declined is that the massive increase of them in the 50s and 60s could not be sustained. The bubble burst. They fell out of favour, as did 60s music and bell bottomed trousers. These things are all cyclical. Nothing is new. They all come and go as does everything else and trying to hold on to what happened in the past is pointless.

And please note that I am not saying folk music is out of favour. It isn't. It is just the type of folk club that you are referring to has had its day.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 06:01 AM

"Yes it is Jim. You told us what you believe. "
No it isn't Dave - I've told you that the songs we always knew as folk were not mine - they are the ones documented as such - ir really is nothing to do with my views or tastes
If you have an alternative feel free to offer it, but please do not belittle it by suggesting the one I hold is "mine"
All "opinions" need to be based on something - I've told you what mine is - Child Sharp - and over a century of research, what are yours based on ?
The revival was built on the material collected by the BBC in the 1950s... what 'the folk' sang and almost certainly made
Nowadays, the club scene appears to be based on whatever takes the fancy of whoever participates - I find that insulting
I don't know who is lkely to turn up to hear centuries old pop songs that lived for a short time and then were forgotten - but they are now being given Roud numbers
This is nonsense
I have some idea of your political views and I assume that someone who calls himself "The Leveller" holds similar ones
Where does "The Voice of the People" figure in all this - and where does the hostility which often arises when that voice is discussed come from?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:49 AM

I told you why I believe it started to decline and when - nothing to do with "my view"

Yes it is Jim. You told us what you believe. Which is precisely your view means. I, and many others, disagree with that view but, again, that is only opinion. The only fact that can be verified is that there are not as many folk clubs as there used to be. There are a number of theories as to why that is but until someone can verify one as true that is all they are. Theories.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:28 AM

I take it this is the sort of thing Jim doesn't believe exists?

The World's Room, Edinburgh

It's good but it's hardly unique. Just happens to be the easiest for me to get to.

Waiting for Jim to chime in with reasons why it can't exist, or must be really horrible because he had a bad time at some venue in Birmingham 40 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:28 AM

Changes and the way things are going with "Folk"? Clubs are in decline, "House Concerts" and "Village Hall Concerts" are on the rise. The one thing that you have strict control over in the latter two is IF you do have floor singers at all the person hosting the event can select who performs.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:26 AM

"People will never agree on a definition of folk music s"
Nence the shambles of the club scene
There is a well documented definition - the fact that a handful of revisionists have decided to redefine it is immaterial - folk song is what it always has been
If we can't be arsed to either accept that definition or come up with one that we can all agree with we may as well leave it to rot, as it is doing
I told you why I believe it started to decline and when - nothing to do with "my view"
We knew what folk song was then - go look at the Topic catalogue - go and look at Roud's list before he decided to wander off in another direction
Folk song is as well documented as any other musical form; better than most - if we all want to have our own private definition we really are wasting our time - and I and many like me have wasted our lives
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:26 AM

"People will never agree on a definition of folk music s"
Nence the shambles of the club scene
There is a well documented definition - the fact that a handful of revisionists have decided to redefine it is immaterial - folk song is what it always has been
If we can't be arsed to either accept that definition or come up with one that we can all agree with we may as well leave it to rot, as it is doing
I told you why I believe it started to decline and when - nothing to do with "my view"
We knew what folk song was then - go look at the Topic catalogue - go and look at Roud's list before he decided to wander off in another direction
Folk song is as well documented as any other musical form; better than most - if we all want to have our own private definition we really are wasting our time - and I and many like me have wasted our lives
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:22 AM

"Certainly you should practice and try to attain the best performance you can, but having the words in front of you in case of a 'senior moment' can only be of benefit to the audience and shouldn't detract from the delivery."

Really fed up with this "senior moment" crap. But of course in this part of the above ".... having the words in front of you in case of a 'senior moment' can only be of benefit to the audience and shouldn't detract from the delivery." - The SHOULDN'T being the operative word. The reality is however it does detract and detract massively from the delivery compared to someone who has:

A - Learned the song
B - Sings it in key
C - Has worked out the phrasing of the song to deliver it in accordance with their interpretation of it

None of that can be done whilst hesitatingly reading the words while trying to sing them.

If you are seriously trying to equate someone singing a folk song to a group of people singing in a choir, or playing in an orchestra then I am sorry you are knowingly comparing apples to oranges as the latter two disciplines are NOT solo performances but multi-part collaborative pieces where those involved are singing and playing under direction that requires the highest discipline and perfect timing. The Score you see in their hands let's those holding them know what the others are doing and tells them when they should come in, something you do not need if you are performing on your own.

By the way someone sat there in public attempting to play and sing something that they haven't bothered to learn in a halting and hesitant manner, intermittently apologising while they stop to scroll their tablet - would not under any circumstance count as any sort of performance.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:19 AM

declining folk clubs are a result of anumber of different factors, soory whats dogmatic about asking people to practise and try and do a good job. i have changed my opinion and am prepared to accept people reading words... if they have practised


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 05:13 AM

Jim, this has been discussed ad nauseum. People will never agree on a definition of folk music so your insistence that your definition is the only one of any merit will always cause controversy. Our folk club was and still is well attended and a typical singers night will see a majority of songs belonging to your definition but will also contain a small number that you would not regard as folk. It is far from the 'anything goes' definition that you seem to think is prevalent but it is not rigidly stuck in the past either.

You seem to have cause and effect confused when you say that folk clubs started to decline when they started to deviate from your view. It was the other way round. Folk clubs started to decline well before the introduction of a more relaxed regime. The definition became more flexible to try and breathe a bit of life into a dying club scene. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't. C'est la vie.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 04:43 AM

"It's this sort of self-righteous, dogmatic attitude that drives people away from performing folk music."
Fraid not - the scene diminished to nothing when the choice of what you heard when you went to a folk club was removed
THere were a long series of articles in 'Folk Review' which predicted the decline fairly accurately
What can possibly be "dogmatic" about expecting to hear folk songs reasonably well sung - it is really beyond me and I've yet to see anybody explain it

It is insulting to an art form to suggest it should not be carried out well
Little wonder that Folk has never been taken seriously by more than a tiny handful of devotees
Even pop fans make demands on their idols = what is wrong with ours that so many denigrate it with an "anything goes" attitude ?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 04:31 AM

"Many use words to sing from" - Never used to be the case, that has crept in over the years, to now becoming accepted as being the norm. Again if you are going to sing in public have the decency to actually learn your material. or alternatively practise using wordsor printed material , so that like an actor you canm do a professional performance"

It's this sort of self-righteous, dogmatic attitude that drives people away from performing folk music. Certainly you should practice and try to attain the best performance you can, but having the words in front of you in case of a 'senior moment' can only be of benefit to the audience and shouldn't detract from the delivery. That's why every orchestra in the world and most professional choirs have the score in front of them. When I go to watch The Sixteen - probably the most sublime singing ensemble I've ever heard - they always sing from the score; to not do so would be considered totally unprofessional.


But, hey, Observer, you set out your list of rules and the rest of us can tell you, and all the other purists, where to stick them.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 02:58 AM

I think Andy is either missing or avoiding the poit
I can get
"What I have experienced, is friendly and welcoming groups of people, who perform, and enjoy, a wide variety of music "
Where does "folk song" fit into this - if it doesn't, why call yourself a "folk Club"
I can get welcoming groups of people anywhere and a wide group of material in a karaoke session
It is possible to ge an occasional gem in a poor session, but unlss you establish a standard, the likelihood of doing so is reduced considerably
It is unfair to expect those who have taken the trouble to learn the words and tune after the atmosphere has been lowered by those who haven't
One dreadful singer can ruin an entire evening - sadly, that's what the audience will remember
I helped run singers workshops all the years I have been involved in folk song and have come to the conclusion that, with very few exceptions anybody can become a proficient singer and the harder they are prepared to work at it, the better they will become

Again, I find myself in total agreement with 'Observer'
Anybody who sings in front of an audience without putting in the work shows contempt for the audience and for the songs - you owe putting in an effort to both

MacColl said it all for me in a long interview we did over six months back in the 80s

"Now you might say that working and training to develop your voice to sing Nine Maidens A-milking Did Go or Lord Randall is calculated to destroy your original joy in singing, at least that’s the argument that’s put to me from time to time, or has been put to me from time to time by singers who should know better.   
The better you can do a thing the more you enjoy it.   Anybody who’s ever tried to sing and got up in front of an audience and made a bloody mess of it knows that you’re not enjoying it when you’re making a balls of it, but you are enjoying it when it’s working, when all the things you want to happen are happening.    And that can happen without training, sure it can, but it’s hit or miss.   
If you’re training it can happen more, that’s the difference.   It can’t happen every time, not with anybody, although your training can stand you in good stead, it’s something to fall back on, a technique, you know.   It’s something that will at least make sure that you’re not absolutely diabolical……………
The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he’s no longer worried about technique, he’s done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself, she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 02:03 AM

2. "Many use words to sing from" - Never used to be the case, that has crept in over the years, to now becoming accepted as being the norm. Again if you are going to sing in public have the decency to actually learn your material. or alternatively practise using wordsor printed material , so that like an actor you canm do a professional performance


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 18 Dec 18 - 01:44 AM

"True, most performers are not experts at their craft, and many use words to sing from. Maybe they've only recently started out. Maybe their memory is not as good as it was. Maybe having the words there, just in case, gives them the confidence to perform. Does that mean those people shouldn't be allowed to sing?"

1. You do not have to be an expert. But IF you are going to "perform", i.e. impose yourself on a group of innocent bystanders, in public you owe it to THEM and the venue to pass as being competent.

2. "Many use words to sing from" - Never used to be the case, that has crept in over the years, to now becoming accepted as being the norm. Again if you are going to sing in public have the decency to actually learn your material.

3. Only problem with the "Oh it helps my memory" angle, or as a confidence booster, is that it would appear that the more they use the words the more they appear to rely on the words, they never ever get any better - If you do not "know" a song after singing the damn thing twenty-odd times - give up you re never going to learn it.

4. As for the singing, the short, hard and cruel answer if you are interested in maintaining a standard is no they shouldn't "perform" until they know their material well enough to perform it. Their obvious need for these supports screams that they themselves are uncomfortable and unsure. As previously stated use of such props would be mitigated if over the course of time they actually showed some signs of improvement, but they don't.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 06:57 PM

Is a purist someone who plays a pur?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Andy7
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 06:03 PM

No folk club I've ever been to - and I've been to many, over the years - has ever consisted of an entire evening of extremely mediocre renditions of old pop songs mumbled by people who are not particularly good singers reading the words and having to interrupt their own accompaniment by pausing to scroll up on their tablet.

What I have experienced, is friendly and welcoming groups of people, who perform, and enjoy, a wide variety of music - from those 'old pop songs' to traditional unaccompanied songs, and very much else besides.

True, most performers are not experts at their craft, and many use words to sing from. Maybe they've only recently started out. Maybe their memory is not as good as it was. Maybe having the words there, just in case, gives them the confidence to perform. Does that mean those people shouldn't be allowed to sing?

If I want to listen to top performers, I'll pay to go to a concert, which I do from time to time. And if I want a relaxed evening of friendship, lighthearted banter and a wide variety of music, some of which is of a very high standard, I'll go to a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 02:09 PM

'Pray tell, what is there to rejoice and enjoy about, when the weekly, fortnightly and monthly fare consists of extremely mediocre renditions of old pop songs mumbled by people who are not particularly good singers reading the words and having to interrupt their own accompaniment by pausing to scroll up on their "tablet" - they'd be better off in a Karaoke Bar.

The odd thing is that with this wealth of material available to them on these effin' tablets, they keep coming out with exactly the same shitty numbers week in week out without showing any sign of improvement.

The Observers Book of Folk Music.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 10:58 AM

Pfr, if all else fails, you can always view the page source (on some browsers, right click on the page and select the option from the popup menu) and look for the post.

Simplifying Vic's post a little, I get:

<font face = wingdings size = "+36">&#9786;</font>


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 10:45 AM

"when attempts are made to draw me into exchanges of insults"

Eh...????

have you forgot you are the one who dropped in playing clever buggers for no apparent reason..

"Vic Smith - Date: 17 Dec 18 - 06:57 AM"

Btw.. I was serious asking for advice on coding that emoticon...

but alas, that is the kind of misunderstanding emoticons can help prevent...???


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 09:53 AM

As others know, when attempts are made to draw me into exchanges of insults, I will not participate and retreat from the field. Anyway, as part of my busy modern life, I have far too much to do; I need to complete the present chapter of my great elequent novel. (You will be pleased to hear that it is going well as the moment) Then it is my turn to cook before we have a 35 minute drive to a monthly club where we expect to partcipate in an evening devoted exclusively to traditional songs and tunes. Life is good!
Exeunt


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 09:13 AM

see.. the emoticon plugin in Chrome still don't work...

If you wanna do something useful with yer clever bugger coding skills,
how about giving me a copy and paste for FACE WITH STUCK OUT TONGUE AND WINKING EYE
that I can keep handy on notepad...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 09:08 AM

??


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 09:02 AM

It would be much easier to discern if you used a good expressive emoticon....
Waht do you mean like ?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 08:20 AM

Vic - you can be as smug as you like...*
but when folks are quickly dashing off posts to a forum,
a well chosen emoticon is now an established form of communication
as part of busy modern life...
We can't all spend time drafting each post as though we are writing a great elequent novel...

[* you may or may not be intending to convey a smug sense of disdain and superiority...
It would be much easier to discern if you used a good expressive emoticon....

Unfortunately 'improvements' to mudcat coding no longer permit this useful facility...]


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 08:16 AM

Not sure what you're saying Vic
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 06:57 AM

Punkfolkrocker wrote:-
"Remember when mudcat allowed use of emoticons..."


How true! Sometimes I just do not know how to express myself without putting one of these evocative symbols to express how I am feeling.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 06:22 AM

"It would be great if there were lots of 'purist' folk clubs for those that want them"
"Purist Folk clubs" is like saying "purist greengrocers or "purist" stationers
Folk is what folk clubs are supposed to do - that's our product identity and it's what we contract to give to those seeking it
Folk Clubs are struggling to keep going because those interested in folk can no longer find what they're looking for and those seeking something else can find it far better done elsewhere

"extremely mediocre renditions of old pop songs mumbled by people who are not particularly good"
Wish I'd said that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 05:39 AM

"rather than mourn the loss of what we once had, let's value, and enjoy, what we have now!"

Pray tell, what is there to rejoice and enjoy about, when the weekly, fortnightly and monthly fare consists of extremely mediocre renditions of old pop songs mumbled by people who are not particularly good singers reading the words and having to interrupt their own accompaniment by pausing to scroll up on their "tablet" - they'd be better off in a Karaoke Bar.

The odd thing is that with this wealth of material available to them on these effin' tablets, they keep coming out with exactly the same shitty numbers week in week out without showing any sign of improvement.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Andy7
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 05:10 AM

It would be great if there were lots of 'purist' folk clubs for those that want them. But there are not, and nor are there likely to be.

Even the 'non-purist' folk clubs that we have now often struggle to keep going. But at least they do; and among their variety of music, they do preserve some of the 'purist' tradition in the offerings from some members (including from magpie singers like me, now and then).

So, rather than mourn the loss of what we once had, let's value, and enjoy, what we have now!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 04:18 AM

I believe we have lost our 'folk' identity"At one time, they all coincided - I could write about and lecture on what I sang and what I listened to - that no longer applies in Britain
I believe we have lost our 'folk' identity
Jim Carroll
what a sweeping generalisation, jim dismisses all the fiddle and accordion clubs in scotland,all the morris dancers all the folk customs suchas padstow etc


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 04:13 AM

Ihere is plenty of variety amongst traditional songs,if people want to sing Xliff Richard songs ,why do they not form a pop acoustic club.
I would not turn up at a jazz club and expect to hear an unaccompanied tradtional song such as long lankin,unless it was played as a tune and improvised upon/


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 18 - 03:50 AM

Can't disagree with any of that Andy, except it doesn't apply to just now - I have always enjoyed other types of music, jazz, swing, opera, classical....
It's not a matter of what yoy 'enjoy' - it's what you pass off as 'folk' at 'folk' clubs
My interest in folk music in folk music has always been as a singer, a listener and a researcher, documenter and passer-on of folk songs and other folk arts
At one time, they all coincided - I could write about and lecture on what I sang and what I listened to - that no longer applies in Britain
I believe we have lost our 'folk' identity
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Andy7
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 06:46 PM

Yes I agree, getting older is a strange experience.

One of its effects, for me, is that I'm much less of a 'purist' than I once was.

I used to seek out, and learn, old traditional songs to sing at folk clubs (as well as a couple of songs from a few 'accepted' folk artists, like Dylan, or S&G).

Now, I sing a much wider variety of songs; and, more importantly, I'm happy to accept, and enjoy, a much wider variety of songs from others.

Yes, I do still really enjoy hearing those old, unaccompanied, traditional songs. But I also like to hear other stuff; I love the variety I hear in my local clubs. Songs I may never have heard, if I'd just stayed at home and watched YouTube.

I have my likes and dislikes, of course, as does everyone. But to be honest, I'd probably have stopped going to local clubs long ago, had every song performed there been a long, unaccompanied, traditional ballad.

So ... to keep me as a very supportive member - who helps put out and pack away tables and chairs, and who runs the bar occasionally, when the organisers can't make it - you need to give me some variety! And I'm sure I'm not alone in that opinion!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 01:19 PM

Jim like trump you seem t5o believe in post truth


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 01:06 PM

Andy - getting old is a big novelty for me - it's all new...

Respects to the mudcat elders who've already been there and dunnit a long time ago...

Did I say my memory is going...???


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Andy7
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 12:52 PM

So you keep telling us ...    :-)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 12:37 PM

yes Donovan.. serves you right...

.. I could resort to even worse punishments...

You do know I used to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of shite pop folk...

Luckily for all mudcatters, age is impairing my memory...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 12:09 PM

Sorry if I mistook your meaning PFR - bit difficult distinguishing the Wood from the trees after an encounter with Dick
Blame it on the shell-shock
But Donovan !!!!!!!
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 11:20 AM

Remember when mudcat allowed use of emoticons...

My favourite, almost signature icon, was the cheeky winky eyed sticky out tongue emoticon.

Back then, over sensitive folks could not so easily mistake good natured tongue in cheek mickey taking as "snide"...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 10:43 AM

I fully intend to continue a discussion - without Dick
It woud be good if, instead of throwing in snidre comments, other people corrected me if they think I am wrog in my assessment - c'mon, it's Christmas
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 10:02 AM

... and... The war drags on - Donovan

It won't be over by xmas.. will it...???


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 09:26 AM

Jim , if you think you can be taken seriously, after as you claim, only a few visits to folk clubs, yet you contune to denigrate folk clubs bade on only a few visiuts give it a break.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 08:18 AM

"i do not believe that post of yours, jim."
Don't give two ***** Dick
I don't believe you didn't see it first time round =- how 'bout that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 08:18 AM

"i do not believe that post of yours, jim."
Don't give two ***** Dick
I don't believe you didn't see it first time round =- how 'bout that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 05:53 AM

Ho1 ho! ho!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 05:52 AM

Its there in black and white, Dick.

We are what we are.

It is Christmas . Merriness!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 05:20 AM

i do not believe that post of yours, jim.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 04:32 AM

Drily, sir expostulates!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 18 - 03:45 AM

"but refuses to answer as to the amount of times he has visited uk folk clubs in 2018."
14 Dec 18 - 02:18 PM
Not that it matters
Why not make a New Years Resolution to read what peopple write

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 07:16 PM

Dick....it doesn't matter! the world will revolve, tories will be bastards, the sun will rise, the gigs will come in, we will do them,   some people will say - John Denver ! I love folk music!, some people will say Ewan always put the other finger in his ear at that point, the grass will grow, the birds will sing....probably.

Merry Christmas!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 06:08 PM

Well it's good for cleaning paint brushes!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 06:03 PM

Tup, sirs?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 06:02 PM

Strip us!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 05:11 PM

This thread has turned into a piss rut.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Andy7
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 03:02 PM

'Purists' is an anagram of 'stirs up'.

Some profound meaning there, surely? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 01:09 PM

"merry christmas!"
And you Al - ster cleat of the mistletoe - it tastes like ****
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 12:39 PM

Firstly i have not boasted about anything , i was asked by kenny how many times i had visited folk clubs in 2018 ,i gave him an answer.
Jim gives an opinion about uk folk clubs but refuses to answer as to the amount of times he has visited uk folk clubs in 2018.
the question is important , because if anyone has not visited a folk club , they cannot give an up todate opinion that can be taken seriously.
Al Whittle, I suggest to you that people who have not visied a uk folk club for two years cannot give a serious opinion on the matter , what has christmas got to do with any of this?, I have witnessed Jim running down folk clubs on this forum for years, he has finally been exposed for what he is.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 11:23 AM

I `ad that Sublime Ashtray in my cab the other day. `e was going through a long established thread on that Mudcat and it was all about Purists but what with the racket from the traffic and all I couldn`t `ear exactly what `e was on about.
I now gather `e said, "`ere Jim, you and your band `ave been on the folk music since Adam was a boy, do you believe Purists exist?"
I said, `cause they do. I`m driving `em around London every day of the week".
`e said, "I said Purists, not TOURISTS, you wally!!"


Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 11:04 AM

Never any shortage of advice in folk clubs Jim.

no apologies necessary from you. EVER! merry christmas!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Dec 18 - 03:59 AM

My apologies - once again I have helped to nause up an important thread by rising(sic) to one of Dick's diversions - finished, as far as I'm concerned

I think Vic's earlier suggestion was an excellent one - if we want to discus 'Purism' - the subject of this thread, we should first define what we, as individuals, mean by the term, which has now become one of the most common terms of abuse in what is left of the revival

The clubs I have been involved with have all presented newly-made songs created using traditional forms and have accepted the use of instruments for what are basically unaccompanied singing traditions - nothing particularly 'purist' about that (though I do recognise the right of some clubs to discourage instrumentation should they wish, without believing them to be 'purist' - down the years there have been various reasons to do so in certain circumstances

All the clubs I have ever been involved in have been rooted in traditional song and music - had they not been, I would not have been involved if they hadn't been
They have also established a standard of performance that you did not drop below before you sang before an audience - I believe that should always be a responsibility, particularly to a paying audience (I've never been part of a singaround club - I know that maintaining a standard is difficult there, but I do believe that, with careful MC-ing, a balance between good and not-so-good singing can be arrived at.

Most of the clubs I have had access to workshops where lesser experienced singers can obtain advice and practical assistance, should they wish it.
Sandra Kerr of the Singers Club?Critics Group established the 'London Singers Workshop, which ran for nearly twenty years, did some excellent work and established one of the largest private sound archives in Britain - still in existence and available for use.

What ran though all this work like a thread was a solid link to folk-song proper as documented, collected and researched - that was used as a foundation for anything I have ever been involved in
If that is 'purist' I put my hands put to being a purist      
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 06:16 PM

...and they said the war would be over by xmas.....


I know, let's have a mudcat "I'm right, you're wrong" Advent calendar,
each day we can pop open a window to see who has won the prize of being right for that particular day...

[Disclaimer: contestants randomly chosen by AI, and not who is most in favour with mods - honest...]


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 06:00 PM

It doesn't hurt either of us, that its his opinion.

We may think he's wrong. He may think he's right.

Everyone's still alive. Its not like he's strapping on a suicide vest. ordering summary executions. Handing out fatwahs.

He's just saying we're wrong and he's right. Perhaps he is right, What the fuck does it matter. It doesn't stop us practicing folk music how we believe in it.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 05:27 PM

Oh come on Dick.. Since when have we examined peoples qualifications? Bleeding Christmas, for godsake...!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 03:40 PM

you would make a good politician. answer the questions, if you have not visited a folk club in the uk for two years you are not imo qualified to talk about the uk folk club scene


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 03:07 PM

"jim you have admitted that you have not been to a uk folk club in 2018"
I din't think you were taking any notice of what I wrote Dick - - unless you are calling me a liar go back and read what I wrote
Either way, it makes no difference how many I have visited - the ones you have make you not the slighted more qualified than I am
I don't need to visit any - I have heard your and others arguments at what passes for a folk club nowadays
If you are not going to contribute anything useful, get out of the way and make room for those who are
You are becoming a pest - to put it politely
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 02:45 PM

jim you have admitted that you have not been to a uk folk club in 2018,so stop passing judgements because you are not up to date with whats happening..why, because you havent been to any uk folk clubs for a long time, when were you last in a uk folk club. 3years go?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 02:18 PM

Nah - you never win with Dick - he doesn't listen
A quick point
He boasts tohave visited 20 clubs and festivals
We're talking about clubs here so that number is diminished somewhat
Most of those he would have visited as a booked guest - hardly a position to see whether a club is working or not - such evenings are never representative of what goes on
When push comes to shove, I reckon that cuts is visits down somewhat - little more than the half dozen I visited over the last twelve months - a tiny fraction of the number of clubs left if Britain
Now what can that possibly say about the scene in general   
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 02:18 PM

Nah - you never win with Dick - he doesn't listen
A quick point
He boasts tohave visited 20 clubs and festivals
We're talking about clubs here so that number is diminished somewhat
Most of those he would have visited as a booked guest - hardly a position to see whether a club is working or not - such evenings are never representative of what goes on
When push comes to shove, I reckon that cuts is visits down somewhat - little more than the half dozen I visited over the last twelve months - a tiny fraction of the number of clubs left if Britain
Now what can that possibly say about the scene in general   
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 01:57 PM

Absolutely..the winner! Jim Carroll Undisputed champion of the Mudcat ...

It must be my age, I've forgotten what game we're playing.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 01:30 PM

Cant remember visiring anywhere Dick - you clearly have no argument against what I have pointed out has gone wrong with the folk scene otherwise you would tell us
Game, set and match, I think
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 01:20 PM

Kenny asked me that same question i answered , i have nothing to hide/
Jim you clearly have not visired any folk clubs in the uk in 2018, otherwise you would tell us


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 12:43 PM

Make's you think dunnit...

A Scrumpyshire ancestor of mine could just as likely have provided Sharp with a few songs...

Probably the ditties he was too bashful to publish to decent society...???

Collected outside a pub after closing time...???


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 12:30 PM

"its music that arose from the rise of the folk clubs,"
Of course it didn't Al
The term as applied to the ordinary people originated in the 1983s, the earliest sound recordings of English folk songs were made in 1908 and published collections were being made available throughout the 19th century - Sharp and his mates were ferreting away at the beginning of the 20th century
The Folk clubs were very much a latecomer on the scene and they were based on the result of a century or so's work.
Others supplied the raw material, the clubs dropped the ball   

Finished with you Dick - you have had my answer - your question is irrelevant and frankly, none of your business
The arguments that have gone on here, what can be put on as folk music, standards of performance, the massive exodus out of the scene (20 clubs in a year nationwide - are you serious?), the hostility towards unaccompanied singing.... all have been raised her by people - tell me they have not, or tell me the people who raised them were lying
If you can't, you really do have no case
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 11:45 AM

"We are olde, and we Do have a certain fondness for arguing."

There are pukka scientific/medical explanations for this common phenomena...


No point anyone being in denial.

Own our old belligerent miserable gitness..!!!

We've lived long enough to earn it...

Stand up proud and loud, shout out to the world...

"I'm a nasty old **** and I don't care...!!!!!!!"


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 11:14 AM

The point is Jim - whether its your idea of folk music, or the definition - its music that arose from the rise of the folk clubs, and wouldn't have been there, but for the folk clubs.


And he's right. We are olde, and we Do have a certain fondness for arguing.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 11:07 AM

I've given you may answer to that Dick - that you offer no reply means you don't have one
Thank you for making my point2
It is you that has not replied . how many uk folk clubs did you visit in 2018


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 04:14 AM

"jim, if you have not visited any clubs in 2018 you cannot make a n up to date judgement, y"
We had a parrot who kept repeating the same thing over and over and over again - he didn't know what she was talking bout either
I've given you may answer to that Dick - that you offer no reply means you don't have one
Thank you for making my point

"who go around printing labels."
Labels tell us what tins to open - it stops us eating rice pudding out of soup bowls
If we don't name the songs we promote we may as ell just call our clubs song clubs and be done with all this "folk" crap
Don't know what you said seven years ago

Hi Some Bloke
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 03:52 AM

I have [based on my limited experience] come across three or four good young floor singers. my opinion[based on only a few visits] is that the lowest standard is in singaround clubs, i noticed also contemporary singers singing with fake american accents, a few people shuffling through wads of paper before singing, but less people playing out of tune guitars and saying [it was in tune when i bought it, a phenomenon commom in the eighties]i did notice one singer who also performed well with a wordsheet


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 03:43 AM

jim, if you have not visited any clubs in 2018 you cannot make a n up to date judgement, you have to qualify your statements with[ eg when i last visited a club in year whatever, and then be careful not to generalise from one particular example. that doers not make your criticism of one or maybe two clubs not valid, that is the essence of my point


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 03:42 AM

Just had a read through. I think I still agree with what I said only seven years ago but might be a bit less dismissive of those who go around printing labels.

Hi Jim.....


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 03:26 AM

To make myself clear - it was never about being done "properly" - it was and is about it being done proficiently - nobody is going to sit and listen to bad out-of-tune singing read from crib sheets
There have been enough complaints here of a hostility towards traditional unaccompanied songs in some clubs
Our own experience was when my partner, Pat, tried to arrange a tour for the last of our big traditional singers, Walter Pardon
The phoned a club organised who advertised itself as "folk" and when asked what Walter did, explained his performance, repertoire and importance
She was told, "We don't do that sort of thing - we're a folk club"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 03:17 AM

"So, at least in part, the has descended into the usual thing of old men arguing about whether folk clubs are any good."
We owe our songs to "old men (and women) - without them, we wouldn't have have the decades of pleasure
and knowledge that we got from the gifts that they gave us.
I always thought it polite never to mention their age - another change that has taken place, it appears (they even have a label for it now - 'ageism)
These arguments have always taken place, as far back as 1300 years ago, when The Venerable Bede groused about having his sermons interrupted by cattlemen passing a harp around and singing lewd songs - they have been a part of the learning curve and have helped sustain the interest in the songs of the people.
If we can't argue about them here, we may as well forget them
Sorry, and all that.
All I know is that sometime in the 80s it became common to walk into a folk club and not hear a folk song
Thousand like me shared that experience and walked away from the scene
I'm delighted that some are still going - many hundreds of clubs disappeared, as did the magazines and the dozens of record labels
Dick mentions visiting 20 folk clubs last year - I could have visited that many in a week within a short driving instance of my home
That is no longer the case in the U.K. and that is what the scene lost

Some of us continued to work on folk song, singing where we could, amassing recorded examples of folk songs proper and making them available to those interested and ascertaining that was was available would survive for future generations to make use of.
I make no apologies for arguing about what I believe to be happening - sadly, the abuse and the reluctance to argue the facts only confirms my opinion that, if the British scene doesn't get its finger out the scene will die.

30 odd years ago, when I was visiting Ireland regularly to record songs, music lore and information, I believed that the few of us around would be the last
Thanks to old (and young) men and women arguing, proselyting, setting up schools, raising money.... to build a foundation for the survival of the traditional arts, Irish folk traditions have now been guaranteed a future for at least another century
Young people are flooding onto the scene to take up the music, and at last, the songs (slowly) - not as career opportunists but for the sheer love of it.
They don't sit around hurling "purist" and "finger-in-ear" abuses - they know what the music is ans they realist its importance
Rather than denigrating the old, they realise that it is they who helped keep the music alive - the present renaissance is based on young players and singers listening to and beinng taught by these crumblies
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,21st Century Primitive
Date: 14 Dec 18 - 03:03 AM

To make myself clear, because I realise I didnt above, the “stuff we don’t need to know” I was referring to was business about how this folk thing should be done properly.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 08:01 PM

I suppose its true you don't need to know anything. Someone said its possible to go through life thinking the moon is made of green cheese,e one aspect of folk   but its not a great idea. I think the more you understand, the more tolerant you are of what the different singers at a folk club are trying to achieve.

And it can enhance your enjoyment - I have found.
In fact I think the real problem happens when someone thinks because they understand and appreciate one aspect of the folk music movement, another aspect is valueless.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,21st Century Primitive
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 07:09 PM

So, at least in part, the has descended into the usual thing of old men arguing about whether folk clubs are any good.

I don’t go to them very often, but I do know this. Two minutes from my house, I can attend a gathering of people in a room in a pub who sing mainly traditional songs, some accompanied, some unaccompanied. Some of the singers are fucking marvellous, some are a bit shit, most are somewhere in between. The choruses always sound fantastic. There are no guests, no residents, no hierarchy - it’s all about the singing and the songs. It’s not really a folk club, with all that implies, but something far more primal and essential than that: a small community of people gathering together to do what people do - bringing themselves and each other pleasure by singing together.

It’s good and it’s enough. The fact it doesn’t meet some arbitrary folk standard set by someone who is not part of it matters not a shit. It’s what we do, it’s what people have always done and in some ways, it’s a reclaiming of traditional songs from those who would tell us shit we really don’t need to know.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 06:35 PM

Yeh! you're right. It might have been my sweaty bollocks that didn't fit in with the gay social whirl of Clevedon.
She married a French bloke who looked a bit like Sacha Distel.
I think that's at the bottom of why I voted for Brexit.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 04:05 PM

"Are you from Clevedon?"

Al - nah.. nowhere near wealthy enough...!!!

Clevedon is an exclusive exotic resort
located near the northern most coastal reaches of Scrumpyshire...

I grew up miles away where the modern factories used to tempt lowly rural agricultural workers
away to the bright electric lights and big town vice and depravity;
abandoning their jolly idyllic traditional folk singing lives,
breaking their backs ploughing the fields, harvesting, and sweating their bollocks off for the country gentlefolks...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 03:08 PM

Oh Wow Punkfolk rocker. Are you from Clevedon?

When I was 18, I was totally besotted and in love with a girl from Clevedon. But she was haughty proud and a mature woman of 22. I had a shrewd suspicion she avoided my company.

We weren't a good match really. She liked Mahler. I thought there was no bloody tune you could sing along to.

Her name was Jane Hirst. Do you know her?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 02:17 PM

Why does google [in Chrome] keep offering to tranlate this thread...!!!???


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 02:12 PM

"Jim when did you last visit a folk club in the uk and how many didd you visit in 2018,"
Mind your own business Dick - it hasd nothing to do with the points I am making - the ones you are studiously avoiding

What has happened to the folk scene is public knowledge unless me and kenny and the many who have posted on this forum are telling lies - is that what you are suggesting

The fact that you and Jack and many others are forced to resort to personal insulting rather than open discussion says all that needs to be said about the present scene as far as I am concerned
I can go to the local schoolyard and watch the kids throwing insults at each other if that's what I am looking - intelligent discussion is harder to come by - here too, it would seem n
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 01:29 PM

Jim when did you last visit a folk club in the uk and how many didd you visit in 2018, if you did not visit any then please stop pretending that you know what goes on in them in 2018, and since i have not pontificating about what happens in all of them i do not have to answerkennys politicians type question , my experience is based on regular visits to folk clubs and festivals in 2018 and is only limited to those i have visited, approx 20


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 01:21 PM

"you have to go there to know what they're like."
Sigh.....
no I don't Jack - I've been told often enough that I have no right to expect to hear folk songs at a folk club
You're not unlike the people who have told me that I have no right to comment on British politics because I no longer live there

Just looked up Reddit whatsit and got this

"Hey people
Free shit from the admins? Sure, sign us the fuck up! Oh, it's for "coins". Maybe not then, I think we should at
least get a pencil or a t-shirt or something. After all, literally all of us have cancer and need life-saving reddit
merchandise to keep going.
Men, whatever, let's do it anyway.
Here are the categories that/u/jackson1442 came up with. So it's his fault for being unoriginal, and my fault for
being okay with that."

Decided I can't be arsed with such offensive insulting - I have no idea what relevance it has to this discussion other than allow to to insult and slip out of the back door
I used to think you were better than that - we live and learn - you are little better than the worst
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 12:52 PM

The way to find out what I'm talking about is to actually look at it.

Kinda like folk clubs in other countries - you have to go there to know what they're like.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 12:36 PM

Haven't a clue what your talking about Jack - would love some argument rather than insults though
C'mmon fellers pretend it's Christmas - bring it on !!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 12:18 PM

Its about 20 years since I had a brief project involvement with folk South West and Eddie Upton...

Is it still active to any extent...??

Just googled, but no website...???


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 12:13 PM

Reddit's r/ChoosingBeggars would love Jim. Maybe I could repost a few selected requirements there.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 12:06 PM

"I don't know how many people come on here as people who are interested and start to read this stuff"
With respect Guest, these discussions/arguments tend to take place between people who are involved and have been for a while; no way of avoiding that, I'm afraid
Theer are plenty of examples of the music on line to make your own mind - he last few years has benefited from quite a few sites dedicated to traditional music (British Library, School of Scottish Studies, Irish Traditional Music Archive to name a few - I'm quite proud of our own collection on the Clare County Library, but I would be, wouldn't I?
Can't argue too much with Vic's list, but most of us cut our teeth on clubs run by volunteers who didn't get paid - they were a breakaway from the commercial scene that many people seem to have returned to
The clubs I was involved in seldom booked more than one guest a month and relied on dedicated residents to make evenings work
THat seems to be what is happening now in Ireland, the main difference being that the media has little to say on what is happening and Traditional music has won its place in the sun for what it is rather than what can be made from it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 10:56 AM

I've a simple solution, I don't go to folk clubs...
Haven't set foot in one for about 40 years...
Except once about 14 years ago, a pub in Clevedon advertised as a folk night..

Great old pub - real proper job cider - looked promising...

A long haired bloke with a fiddle got up to do a trad tune,
then for the rest of the night was shunted forlornly aside,
while a couple of slick middle aged men in expensive jeans and shirts,
showing off extremly shiny top of the price range looking acoustic guitars,
played Beatles songs for the rest of the night...

The mrs had to stop me heckling belligerently as the cider gradually kicked in...
Yeah.. call me a purist...

We missed the last bus out of Clevedon, and had to fork out for a bloody costly taxi home..

Some wedding anniversary that was.....!!!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 10:01 AM

The thing is there's plenty of variety of folk clubs. If you don't like one sort, you can go to another. There are some I don't go to - even though they are run by personal friends. Its hard work if you're not enjoying the music.

Some folk clubs are rin by people who dislike me, and I dislike them - but I go to them if theres an artist I want to see.

Its just the way it is. I'm sure its like that for most people.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 08:00 AM

Agreed!!! It might also be useful to establish an agreed definition of "purist" so that we might be able to discuss and then perhaps, answer, the original question which forms the thread's title.
As we cannot even agree a definition of "folk music" it seems unlikely that we can agree what constitutes a pure interpretation of it.

I might add that my calendar tells me that I have present at around 75 live folk music events this year so far. A few of them have been disappointing but they are outnumbered by those that I have left feeling uplifted by performances of traditional song and music by performers from England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Wales, The USA and Canada. These included quite a number by younger performers that I had not seen before and I would like to name Daoirí Farrell and Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne amongst these.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 07:40 AM

I know you guys seem like to spend all your time on this forum going round in circles in pointless arguments.

I don't know how many people come on here as people who are interested and start to read this stuff but as outsiders do not understand what you are actually talking about. I am one anyway.

It would be really helpful to hear some examples of the music. That way I would understand more.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 07:36 AM

I was explaining how NTMC was run, factual experience [something you appear to be short on when you judge the folk clubs of 2018] i did not denigrate their booking policy, telling someone to piss off illustrates the bankruptcy of your comments. yourattendance at uk folk clubs is relevant , because if you have not attended any you cannot make an accurate judgement, further proof you are talking hot air


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 07:01 AM

"It is simply a waste of time to generalise."
It is virtually impossible not to generalise when you are discussing the general state of the club scene
I have no doubt good clubs exist - I've always enjoyed the Musical Traditions Club in London, but I had a hell of a time finding another which came anywhere near it's standards - that includes the one at Britain's centre of folk excellence at Cecil Sharp house, which, on the night we were there abounded with crib-sheets, forgotten words and out-of-tune singing.
As far as I can judge, compared to how it was when I left, the scene is moribund and the academic side has become revisionist
Not much hope for th future in that - we can't all shoot up to Edinburgh or down to Lewes when we want a good night of folk songs   
I used to think it wasd (to borrow Billy Connolly's phrase) "sick but save-able - not so sure FOLLOWING DISCUSSINIONS LIKE THIS ONE

"but i have not passed any judgement on folk clubs"
You seem pretty keen on denigrating the NTMC
My attendance at folk clubs has no relevance, your refusal to respond to what I actually said has
Piss or get off the pot
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 06:18 AM

Thankyou Peter.
Kenny, i play regularly in uk folk clubs and festivals, but i have not passed any judgemet on folk clubs , jim has but has not answered how many times he has been over, since i have not passed any judgement it is not for me to answer, however i will say that based on my limited but regularexperiences, i would endorse what peter says


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 06:07 AM

I have been to clubs that are solidly traditional and clubs where you are lucky to hear one traditional song in an evening. I have been to clubs with high performance standards and clubs that provide a music stand as standard as so many people use cribs.

It is simply a waste of time to generalise.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 05:31 AM

"I do not consider you are in a position to judge folk clubs if your judgement is based on watching an occasional you tube clip."
Now you are deliberately distorting some of what I have said and deliberately ignoring
You have my arguments here
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 10:57 AM
I don't give a shit how the Nottingham Club behaved - I know from knowing some of those involved that THEY DID NOT "LOOK DOWN" ON THEIR AUDIENCE AS YOU INTERPRET IT - THEY WOULD NOT HAVE HAD AN AUDIENCE, HAD THEY DONE SO

They are to be complemented for choosing not to occupy seats reserved for paying guests, as far as I'm concerned, having had to stand up all night in crowded clubs enough times.

Don' you fdare tell me I am not in a position to judge what is happening when this forum stands as living proof, in its arguments supporting crib sheets, low standards and using folk clubs as 'anything goes' cultural dustbins, of exactly what is happening on the club scene
I'm very grateful for Kenny's contribution - his views represent many of us who walked away when we'de had enough of being let down

What is happening in Ireland on the music scene stands as a shining example of what could be done if the will was there
Kids have flocked to the music without it having to be mixed in with other forms, or watered down
Hey have been taiught by the older generation of masters and mistresses of traditional music at summer schools like The Willie Clancy one here in Miltown, or the Frankie Kennedy one... hopefully The Tommy Peoples planned School will add to that
They don't have to take what they learn as gospel - they are most certainly making the music their own; but they are doing what they do on the raw, unadulterated material and it's paying off in spades - Irish traditional music has now bee guaranteed at least a two generation future thanks to the efforts of a handful of dedicated "purists"
I suggest you come back when you can say the same for the British scene
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 05:31 AM

"I do not consider you are in a position to judge folk clubs if your judgement is based on watching an occasional you tube clip."
Now you are deliberately distorting some of what I have said and deliberately ignoring
You have my arguments here
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 10:57 AM
I don't give a shit how the Nottingham Club behaved - I know from knowing some of those involved that THEY DID NOT "LOOK DOWN" ON THEIR AUDIENCE AS YOU INTERPRET IT - THEY WOULD NOT HAVE HAD AN AUDIENCE, HAD THEY DONE SO

They are to be complemented for choosing not to occupy seats reserved for paying guests, as far as I'm concerned, having had to stand up all night in crowded clubs enough times.

Don' you fdare tell me I am not in a position to judge what is happening when this forum stands as living proof, in its arguments supporting crib sheets, low standards and using folk clubs as 'anything goes' cultural dustbins, of exactly what is happening on the club scene
I'm very grateful for Kenny's contribution - his views represent many of us who walked away when we'de had enough of being let down

What is happening in Ireland on the music scene stands as a shining example of what could be done if the will was there
Kids have flocked to the music without it having to be mixed in with other forms, or watered down
Hey have been taiught by the older generation of masters and mistresses of traditional music at summer schools like The Willie Clancy one here in Miltown, or the Frankie Kennedy one... hopefully The Tommy Peoples planned School will add to that
They don't have to take what they learn as gospel - they are most certainly making the music their own; but they are doing what they do on the raw, unadulterated material and it's paying off in spades - Irish traditional music has now bee guaranteed at least a two generation future thanks to the efforts of a handful of dedicated "purists"
I suggest you come back when you can say the same for the British scene
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 04:52 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that Jim is the only contributer here who is "living in Ireland".
Now we all know that you perform fairly regularly in British folk clubs, Dick, but how many would that have been, this year, say ? Would it be enough to make a general observation as to whether or not Jim's belief that "folk" songs [ however you define that ] are not generally being sung in the folk clubs as they are in 2018 is true or not ? I'm not taking any sides in any debate here, but would be genuinely interested to know.
I speak as one who - like Jim - more or less gave up on folk clubs some years ago for the same reasons as him, but also for an appalling drop in musical standards [ IMHO ].
Do "purists" exist ? Yes, I've been called that myself, but it's not true, and it wouldn't worry me anyway - I've been called worse. :)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 04:36 AM

Jim, resident perfomers at NTMC were positioned behind performers, on a SILL in a slightly elevated position, LOOKING OUT TOWARDS THE AUDIENCE ,THIS IS AN ACCURATE DESCRIPTION OF THE LAYOUT OF THE FOLK CLUB , THE RESIDENTS WERE KNOWN AS ON THE SILL.
They were seperated from the audience, AND ALSO SAT BEHIND BOOKED GUEST PERFORMERS, this is FACT,and well you know it.
   my interpretation of this is that it created a distancing of the residents from the audience, I also think that as a performer it is better to have all your audience[ including organisers and residents in front of you] where you can see their reactions, i think that when a guest artist is performing it is better for the guest to be able to see the reactions of all the audience including the residents and organisers, ,and is imperative in attempting to give as good a perfomance as possible.
layout of rooms in clubs is important in enabling performers to perform to a high standard


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 03:38 AM

I do not consider you are in a position to judge folk clubs if your judgement is based on watching an occasional you tube clip.
The point of a club is that it is inclusive, the idea of NTMC that residents sat on a sill behind the performers in an elevated position, this type set up often creates a them and us situation,it gives an impression that the residents on the SILL were better or more important than visiting singers.
To criticise a particular aspect of a folk club has nothing to do with being a dictator.
HVING A POLICY THAT INSISTS ON EITHER TRADTIONAL ONLY, BLUES ONLY, OR SONGWRITERS ONLY IS PURIST, the fact it is purist does not automatically mean it is bad.
I am afraid in my eyes you are reminscent oif Don Quixote because until you tell us how often you have visited uk folk clubs when you are living in ireland you are in a similar postion to Don Quxitoe in that you are off on imaginary or NON EXISTENT VISITS


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 03:20 AM

"However running a club that as residents sitting on a sill, looking down at the audience"
I get a little tired of reported incidents like this - I have got used to them with the Singers Club - they bore no resemblance to the reality of what was happening
'The Singers' operated from a stage facing the audience, as did 'The Wayfarers' and the MSG in Manchester, and 'Thew Empress of Russia', in London and 'The Herga' in Harrow and 'The Grey Cock' in Birmingham virtually every other club I visited regularly - Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool...
This "looking down on the audience" is, as far as I am concerned, a nasty and inaccurate
Who do people who criticise the layout of clubs think they are - little dictators
Any residents who 'looked down on an audience' very soon lost their audiences - these clubs ran for many years
Audences walked away from the folk scene when the standards fell and when they were no longer guaranteed folk songs when they turned up at a folk club = pretty well documented

I've told you why I consider myself in a position to judge Dick - you choose to ignore what I have to say - far more insulting than the NMTC residents "looking down on their audiences" as far as I'm concerned, as is being compared to Dpn Quixote"
You complain about "insulting audiences" by insulting people - do you not find that a little contradictory ?
Sadly, Jack, someone I usually respect, chooses to do the same

As far as I am concerned, until folk clubs rebuild their foundation by making themselves venues where people can go to hear folk songs sung to a reasonable standard they will continue to decline - that's not purism; it's common sense
I've made my points - respond to them politely and stop insulting me - otherwise, we are wasting each other's time
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 03:20 AM

"However running a club that as residents sitting on a sill, looking down at the audience"
I get a little tired of reported incidents like this - I have got used to them with the Singers Club - they bore no resemblance to the reality of what was happening
'The Singers' operated from a stage facing the audience, as did 'The Wayfarers' and the MSG in Manchester, and 'Thew Empress of Russia', in London and 'The Herga' in Harrow and 'The Grey Cock' in Birmingham virtually every other club I visited regularly - Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool...
This "looking down on the audience" is, as far as I am concerned, a nasty and inaccurate
Who do people who criticise the layout of clubs think they are - little dictators
Any residents who 'looked down on an audience' very soon lost their audiences - these clubs ran for many years
Audences walked away from the folk scene when the standards fell and when they were no longer guaranteed folk songs when they turned up at a folk club = pretty well documented

I've told you why I consider myself in a position to judge Dick - you choose to ignore what I have to say - far more insulting than the NMTC residents "looking down on their audiences" as far as I'm concerned, as is being compared to Dpn Quixote"
You complain about "insulting audiences" by insulting people - do you not find that a little contradictory ?
Sadly, Jack, someone I usually respect, chooses to do the same

As far as I am concerned, until folk clubs rebuild their foundation by making themselves venues where people can go to hear folk songs sung to a reasonable standard they will continue to decline - that's not purism; it's common sense
I've made my points - respond to them politely and stop insulting me - otherwise, we are wasting each other's time
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 02:10 AM

Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 06:52 AM

My strongest memories of NTMC involve listening to Roy Harris - a singer of traditional songs without a 'purist' agenda
He sang them because he loved them and assumed that people coming to a club that called its itself "Traditional" would be of a like mind - would that all traditional clubs did the same
Can't see anything 'purist' in that"
of course it is purist, just as blues clubs that sticks to singing blues is purist that does not make it a bad policy,
However running a club that as residents sitting on a sill, looking down at the audience creates a them and us scenario, and is in my opinion not a good way to run a club


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 01:57 AM

Roy was a very good performer and was IMO very good at getting audience participation and a nice guy.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 09:33 PM

Roy was a terrific bloke. I've got two of his albums - the live one and Champions of folly of Topic. I think I won them both in raffles.

I remember trying for weeks to win one album at NTMC. An old Irish lady from Birmingham, whose name escapes me.

I don't remember you Jim. Do remember Gren Morris and Steve Whitely. Steve was a tall blond bloke who had a Gibson guitar in the days when they were rare as hen's teeth. He was at the same college I was at. He left the year before I got there, but his folk singing was legendary in our college.

Gren Morris - you can still hear him at the grotto at the major oak in Sherwood Forest singing Robin Hood ballads on tape. Bit spooky actually - the kids were terrified of this plaster outlaw in the branches of a tree and this disembodied voice.

Saw some great acts there.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 05:39 PM

how often have vyou visited folk clubs in the uk in the last year, if you havent or only visited once or twice you are in no position to judge you are like don quixote, you are making judgements on imaginary visirts


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 05:33 PM

Your behaviour is proving my point Dick
If you had an argument, you would give it
I've made my point as lucidly a I am able - feel free to demolish it
Otherwise, what I said stays unanswered
Sleep well
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 03:36 PM

how often have you been to a folk club in the last year JIM


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 02:58 PM

Jim, I acknowledge your helpfulness as regards your sharing of singing exercises and other facets of Critics Group info, but i really feel that you are not in a position to talk about what goes on in UK FOLK CLUBS ,DUE TO YOUR NOT ATTENDING THEM VERY OFTEN


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 02:58 PM

"Jim Carroll, Mudcats very own Don Quixote
Sticks and stones Dick, sticks and stones
If you had an answer, you'd give it
Don't worry, you're not alone
The same goes for you as I told Jack
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 11:29 AM

Jim Carroll,Mudcats very own Don Quixote


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 11:15 AM

"how about you go to the World's Room in Edinburgh or the Glasgow Ballad Workshop, "
I know and admire what happens there Jack - unfortunately, that is no longer what the general scene is about
How about cutting the abuse and responding to what I have said, I'm afraid duct tape doesn't work on a discussion forum, so I can't return your ill-mannered suggestion
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 11:06 AM

Jim - how about you go to the World's Room in Edinburgh or the Glasgow Ballad Workshop, and sit with duct tape over your mouth until you understand what the fuck is going on in front of you?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 10:57 AM

"Jim, perhaps a bit of objective analysis of yourself might help,you very rarely go to folk clubs in the uk yet you maintain that you know what is going on in them"
I tried for years Dick, and finally gave up
Anything I have heard or read since convinces me that, rather than changing for the better, things have got steadily worse (in the UK, that is)
I've heard and read arguments for not establishing standards of singing at clubs, at not having to learn words but read them off crib sheets or mobile phones, and whenever it is mentioned that folk clubs should present folk songs rather than something you would hear at a karaoke session rather than the clubs I got used to and cut my teeth on, we're drowned out with cries of "purist" or "finger-in-ear"
Here we have a forum where a discussion on "what is folk song" has become a no-go area
Even our academics can no longer distinguish the different between parlour ballads, music hall fodder and early pop songs

I know what a folk song is - I've been listening to to it and singing it fo half a century
I spent thirty odd years talking to people who were part of the continuum of our oral traditions
I have a library of books of examples and arguments on what constitutes folk song
I must have given a few dozen lectures on the subject and made as many radio programmes
If none of this counts, I can always fall back on the fact that I know a folk song when I hear one.

I have no problem with contemporary songs being made using traditional forms - I believe that the scene would be a museum without that happening, but as for a night of poorly performed pop songs, or songs that fell out of favour over a century ago.... not 'My Kind of Folk' I'm afraid   

If I was to your somewhat insulting Quixote analogy I would say you remind me of someone trying to sell me a bag-full of goodies and refusing to open the bag and allow me to see what I am buying
I know what has happened to the folk scene - I've been part of the argument on what now passes for folk here and elsewhere - it has nothing whatever to do with the folk I know and love.
When somebody recommends the modern scene I can usually dig it up on the web - I invariably end up thinking "what the **** was that?"

Rather than talking down to and insulting, ho about taking what I say and show me where I am mistaken?
Much more conducive to a pleasant exchange of ideas, I find
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 09:28 AM

Jim, perhaps a bit of objective analysis of yourself might help,you very rarely go to folk clubs in the uk yet you maintain that you know what is going on in them, you remind me of a character who went off on imaginary adventures... don quixote


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 06:52 AM

My strongest memories of NTMC involve listening to Roy Harris - a singer of traditional songs without a 'purist' agenda
He sang them because he loved them and assumed that people coming to a club that called its itself "Traditional" would be of a like mind - would that all traditional clubs did the same
Can't see anything 'purist' in that
Wonder if those who use the term apply it to Classical venues who insist on putting on Classical music - or jazz clubs or Country and Western venues...
What makes traditional music so inferior that it has to be watered down or diluted with other forms ?

Seems my life has been blighted by this attitude
I whetted my appetite for live music at one of the finest jazz clubs in the North of England - 'The Liverpool Cavern'
I fecked off when it was attacked by an infestation of Beatles - how purist of me !
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 05:33 AM

I used to attend the NTMC.
There was a bloke with a whistle who used to get on my nerves. The tunes never sounded like bugger all. Then he used to say, I've made a mistake, I'll have to start again.
Everyone was too polite to tell him to sod off.

It may well have been an excess of politeness that did for the place eventually.
The organisers were nice people. Syd Pritchett was one. One night Sid told the crowd, they had to be nice and polite to me because in the early days the club featured country music, and I was wearing a country and western H bar C shirt. The thing is, I'was doing trad songs at the time - it was just the only clean shirt I had.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 04:05 AM

Jim, I don't share your passion in listening to traditional folk songs - my musical interests lie elsewhere - but I can sympathise with anyone who yearns for a time before the particular kind of music they love had (in their view) disappeared or lessened.

I'm lucky in that the traditional tune sessions that I'm fond of flower in my area, and that there are many places where I can play ragtime, blues and jazz from the 1920s and 1930s - and other things - on my guitar. If the opportunity to do these things - which I also love - were diminished, then life would be diminished as well.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 03:48 AM

The Nottingham Club and its organisers no longer are around to defend themselves - not an uncommon situation nowadays
My limited memory of the club was of one where I could go and here songs I knew to be 'folk' sung well - if anybody calls that 'purist' they have a peculiar definition of the term
I stopped going to go to most clubs when that ceased to become the case
God - how I miss the old days !!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 03:48 AM

The Nottingham Club and its organisers no longer are around to defend themselves - not an uncommon situation nowadays
My limited memory of the club was of one where I could go and here songs I knew to be 'folk' sung well - if anybody calls that 'purist' they have a peculiar definition of the term
I stopped going to go to most clubs when that ceased to become the case
God - how I miss the old days !!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 02:41 AM

NTMC residents sat on a sill in a slightly elevated position,looking slightly superior, what a way to run a "CLUB,not on first appearances very inclusive


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 02:36 AM

so this is a rather late defence of the Nottingham Traditional Music Club, which was mentioned on this thread 18th July. Unfortunately the club has long gone now. It did, quite unashamedly, have a very clear "purist" policy,"
imo the problem with that club was some of the people who were involved, all that elitist nonsense about residents sitting on on a sill, nothing wrong in having a clear stated policy,after all there are blues clubs that are solely blues, NTMC problem, imo was the way residents were put on a pedestal which tended to create an atmosphere of pomposityand holier than thou snottiness.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: leeneia
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 02:15 AM

Here's a purist for you.

I play music for English country dancers. All except one of us are folkies. The other one went to the London Conservatory of Music for graduate work.

One day our fearless leader selected a Playford dance in four flats. Imagine trying to play four flats on recorder, guitar or accordion. I suggested transposing it, but the the expert said we should "Respect the source." So irritating!

I found an image of the original Playford dance on the Internet and showed everybody the original was in one flat. Purism defeated again.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Dec 18 - 02:08 AM

Interesting thread.

It always amazes me that people don't get what all decent guitarists know.

The chords and therefore the form of George Formby's cleaning windows is very similar to Blind Blakes Rag, hugely similar to Sporting Life Blues/ Ain't Nobody's Business done by Billie Holiday and Brownie McGhee. George Gershwins Someone to Watch Over me
Very Similar to Fats Wallers Ain't Misbehavin'
Not totally unlike the unaccompanied Dinks Song.
The Call and Response rather similar to Scarborough Fair.

I mean, really there's damn all pure about it.
It all leaks into each other.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Richard Spencer
Date: 03 Aug 11 - 09:16 AM

Sorry, havent been here for a while, so this is a rather late defence of the Nottingham Traditional Music Club, which was mentioned on this thread 18th July. Unfortunately the club has long gone now. It did, quite unashamedly, have a very clear "purist" policy, but you should remember that in Nottingham in those days there was a folk club most nights of the week, sometimes more than one, and the range of music played was very diverse. There were some where unaccompanied traditional singing was not tolerated (why don't those clubs get the same stick?), many mixed, and then there was the NTMC.

Nobody was forced to attend you understand, but they did. The place was packed, the house full signs would often go up just after the 8pm start. And these were almost always singers' nights. You may have a vision of serious purists sitting around and picking on each others songs - but it was not like that at all. The first half of the evening contained quieter songs, some ballads, some folk club classics. The second half was wall to wall chorus singing acheiving decibel levels I have never heard exceeded outside the Yorkshire Carol sessions. There were good singers, indifferent singers and a few poor ones, but there was never a judgemental attitude. I dont remember the policy ever being enforced, it just happened.

I had left Nottingham before Nic Jones played there, so I can't comment on that night, other than to say that Nic always had a wry sense of humour, and I doubt there was any malice in his final song, and I doubt any offence was taken. The club was not that deadly serious, it was, to my recollection, good fun.

Now I don't say don't criticise the NTMC, it is no sacred cow, and never pretended to be.It was also very much of its time, and I have never found the like since. But it was a place where many of us learned to love the music, and was the start of my 35 year obsession with folk song. Knock it if you must, but don't knock it too hard please.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Aug 11 - 06:04 AM

The sleeping dog wakes, opens a quizzical eye, then goes back to sleep. It's just too muggy a day to be bothered really, so back to dreams of chasing hares over the russet hued hills of autumn.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Aug 11 - 09:44 PM

Good job we settled that problem!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 03:51 PM

"My folk is not yours and yours not mine. If it were, it could never evolve and if folk music does anything, it evolves."

I think your folk and my folk, aren't all that dissimilar. I think the similarities far outweigh the differences. I think we could easily end up at the same session or same festival and both enjoy it for the very same reasons, albeit maybe coming away with slightly different impressions about slightly different things. You would go up to the bar while that old man sang some long dirgey ballad, while I'd go up to the bar during another 60's acoustic cover. But, we'd both have a smile and a beer and be happy about it all.

As for 'evolution', evolution can keep itself busy elsewhere where the young vibrant things are busy evolving, Folk is about rare fuzzy bearded Hobbit-like creatures and 'the olden days' and an indulgence in unashamedly comforting nostalgia.

I love the revival folk, and I will most assuredly miss them once they are no longer with us. Not convinced yet that I'll be so interested in the 'folk scene' once the new breed of highly musically evolved folkies inherit and reshape it. Time will tell..


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Musket
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 03:03 PM

Just been thinking about your Nepalese landlord Will.

I am sure I too would have enjoyed the experience of hearing him sing it. Encouraging people to express themselves can be fulfilling in itself and if it then provides excellent entertainment, then wonderful. However, I also think that if I were asked what I mean by folk, (available now on another thread, folks!) it wouldn't occur to me to include music and dance from other cultures, that are folk in any interpretation there is, but not my folk. My folk is precious to me, it is the warm beer, good mates, hearing a song that a long lost friend used to sing etc.

Many of the songs in my little world, based loosely on recapturing my own past, I suppose, are not what some would call folk, but I heard them in a folk club. hence they are folk. At the same time, if somebody asks me if I like folk music I might hesitate because they could be about to moan about the ethnic entertainment in a Greek hotel by people in national dress, and touted by the tour company as "folk."

To some, the dancers for tourists may be a pure (that word again..) folk and hearing Dave Burland sing "I Don't Like Mondays" isn't. But for me, it is and like anything really, this is all relative.

Think of this whole debate as relative personal take, and the silliness and vitriol disappears. Even between the usual suspects who love to disagree with each other at every opportunity. My folk is not yours and yours not mine. If it were, it could never evolve and if folk music does anything, it evolves.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 11:00 AM

We have a monthly village singaround in a pub near Gatwick. It's always a great night, and the Nepalese landlord and his family make us very welcome, arranging chairs and bringing us free snacks. One of our best nights was when, after some persuasion, we got the landlord and his family to come out from behind the bar and sing us some Nepalese songs - to tumultuous applause. We didn't understand a word, of course, but the music was so good it didn't really matter at the time.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 10:43 AM

Thanks for the confirmation of the set-up, Will, but in all fairness in all the years I ever went there I never once saw any of the residents pull faces. Poker-faced doesn't come close, but they were always respectful, whatever the standard of the hapless turn - be it lofty guest or lowly floor singer. We are, after all, talking about some of the finest singers in the country here, which makes the set-up all the more baffling!

Southern wankers sounds like a Northern joke gone wrong, as often happens when Folkies attempt to be funny on such matters. Such prejudices aren't funny in the first place, let alone trying to make jokes of them. More seriously, I once saw (not in The Bridge) an Geordie-born Asian singer introduced as Not being from around these parts. Despite cringing apologies and pleas of the I'm not a racist variety, she never went back, and neither did I. Such issues run deep, making jokes of them only serves to make them worse, especially as the only non-white faces you get in Folk these days are due to the recent fashion for Morris Dancers to blacken up.

That said, I didn't take offence at a Scottish booking I did once where the MC urged the audience to show me patience, that being a Geordie I wasn't in fact English, rather just a Scot with his brains knocked out.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 10:11 AM

From S'oP earlier on:

At one of the first Folk Clubs I used to regularly sing at, floor singers would face the audience (as is the norm) but in doing so would be standing with their backs to a panel of exalted residents. If that wasn't bad enough, the residents would on a raised stage, whereas the floor-singers would be (as you'd expect) on the floor. I often pondered the mindset that lay behind such an inhuman arrangement and hope we will never see it's like again. That was The Bridge Folksong & Ballad, back in the early 1980s, when it was in the basement, and was accepted as perfectly normal.

Coincidence, coincidence. I'm just back from the Bradfield Trad Music Weekend where, in conversation over a pre-session pint at the Royal, an experienced old-stager was reminiscing about various northern clubs. And out of his memory came The Bridge at Newcastle, where - according to him - the residents not only sat in a semi-circle behind the performers, but used to pull faces if they didn't like what he or she was performing. Furthermore, one south country singer and accompanying band were introduced as "southern wankers". The name of the offender and the name of the offended were mentioned, but I refrain from posting them here.

An inhuman arrangement indeed...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:38 AM

There is, or used to be, a Traditional Music Club (I've been out of the country for 30 years now...) in Nottingham. Very clear,'purist', policy on what was acceptable and what not. Then they booked Nic Jones.....Two sets of 'straight down the line' traditional songs and tunes. Then came the encore....Chattanooga Choo-Choo! As related two days later in Derby,-and not without a certain relish- there were some red faces on the then NTMC committee after Nics gig.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:22 PM

I have a beard; I even wear sandles (with socks in winter) but I've never been a member of EFDSS. Maybe I was never communicant in the first place?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:19 PM

... & for that matter, Sean, what form would this 'excommunication' take. Will a ceremony be held for the public confiscation of one's EFDSS badge [I haven't been a member for years] ~~ or for trimming one's beard and cutting the buckles off one's sandals [mine are velcro-fastened]~~

~~ or what????

{;~)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:19 PM

Which is probably why I go to folk clubs and not miners' social clubs ... ?

Moot point, Shimrod. Which pill would you take - the red or the blue? Though I hear tell of an historical enounter at a WMC in Tow Law when Ewan MacColl and A L Loyd were giving the Miners a Concert of Their Own Songs. It was at this event they first met Lomax. Apocrypal? Maybe so, but it has a certain hoary romance lingering still o'er those bleak and blasted moors of Tow Law where the turbines wave from valley to hill, even unto Stanley and beyond. In my dream I hear Paul Robeson adding his voice to the struggle, but did he ever sing The Colliers Rant I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 02:03 PM

Sorry - something went badly awry there!

Anyway." ... if one wanted to define Folk Music according to the Living Creative Music of the Folk of the Northumbrian Coalfield then it would take in everything from Tommy Armstrong to the New Blockaders and pretty much everything else along the way, but your actual Folk Music would be barely noticable. For some reason though actually saying this sort of thing is held to be heretical and apt to result in excommunication, ..."

Which is probably why I go to folk clubs and not miners' social clubs ... ?

And who, exactly, is going to 'excommunicate' you, Suibhne? I've told you a million, billion times never to exaggerate!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 02:01 PM

I have a beard and I wear sandals. I don't think they say any more about me than that I hate shaving and like to have comfortable feet, and now I am retired I see no reason not to indulge myself to such an extent.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Musket
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 01:23 PM

When I worked down the pit, folk music was something I heard on records, down the the local folk club etc. At work, the baths had the local radio station (Radio Hallam as it was called then,) the lamp room had Radio 2 and down the pit? Those over 50 were whistling Slim Whitman or Jim Reeves songs, those under 50 were whistling whatever was current in the charts, (us young 'uns) or whatever the turn was singing down the welfare the other night. (Living next door to Alice, American Trilogy, You've Lost that Loving Feeling etc etc.)

I was I suppose a singing miner. I sang about herring fishing mainly. (And having lover's balls for somebody, about the only types of song I wrote for many years, mainly as I could use a slow acoustic version in folk clubs and an up tempo rock version with the rock band.)

As I and others have pointed out many times, those who sang about mining tended to be teachers, social workers etc. I don't mean that in a bad way, after all I sang about anything but my own experiences and if a workmate sang about how hard it was, I would be taking the piss forever more, and rightly so. Perhaps one of the reasons I find the purism that this thread has unearthed a bit of a farce really. Sandals and beards don't make you authentic, they give you wet feet and soup to enjoy later.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 12:54 PM

i think given my family background, and the rural nature of my upbringing - Ithink I would have been aware of the tradtions growing up if they had existed.

I'm from a mining background & feel pretty much the same way. Like I said earlier (in this thread?) if one wanted to define Folk Music according to the Living Creative Music of the Folk of the Northumbrian Coalfield then it would take in everything from Tommy Armstrong to the New Blockaders and pretty much everything else along the way, but your actual Folk Music would be barely noticable. For some reason though actually saying this sort of thing is held to be heretical and apt to result in excommunication, even for a devoted Traddy like me. I grew up in mining communities near Seghill and Delaval & knew lots of singing miners old and young, but never heard of The Blackleg Miner until some Macrame Beat teacher sang it at school. Thus do I say Folk is more a Religion than a Science; it takes faith to believe in something that just ain't there...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 09:14 AM

I don't rubbish traditional music.

Never said you did, Al.

If pointing out the similarity of the way Mike Seeger and Peggy did a Ralph Stanley tune to Martin Carthy's guitar technique is sacrilege

Did anyone say it was? Nobody lives in isolation but we are all influenced by what we here. I have heard that one of Martin's major influences was Big Bill Broonzy. maybe the Seegers were drawing on the same tradition.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 08:37 AM

... or, Al, as Tom Lehrer remembered Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachewski saying [in a slightly different field] ~~

Plagiarise
Let nobody's work evade your eyes
Why you think the good lord made yer eyes?
So plagiarise, plagiarise, plagiarise ~~
   - But be careful, please, always to call it
    "Research"

~M~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 07:45 AM

I don't rubbish traditional music. I'm just VERY suspicious of it. Mainly i suppose because - i think given my family background, and the rural nature of my upbringing - Ithink I would have been aware of the tradtions growing up if they had existed.

As it is the traditions that I did grow up with, are routinely rubbished by 'traditionalists'.

At this point in time. I hold no brief for anybody. If you're ears are unreceptive to country and irish. That's fine. But maybe you should be aware that in the last century - many English and irish folk artists dabbled and made a living, in some cases, with country music.

If pointing out the similarity of the way Mike Seeger and Peggy did a Ralph Stanley tune to Martin carthy's guitar technique is sacrilege and and impugning the sacred reputation of MC, so be it. i think it was TS Eliot who said, only mediocrity is influenced - real genius actually steals!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:49 AM

macrame is making things out of string.

For sure, on one level, it is making things out of string, or rather (and more properly) jute. On another, however, Macrame has come to typify a certain 70's Folksy-Crafty Zeitgeist not altogether unassociated with the rhythmic contrivances of Steeleye Span and June Tabor (et al). I hardly think it's in any way disrectful or unreasonable to call this Macrame Beat. Tabor's While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping is a Macrame Beat classic, as is Steeleye Span's All Around My Hat, both of which force hitherto natural Traditional Songs into all sorts of unnatural contortions in a way that only becomes evident on seeking The Source of such material to see the extent of such perversions.

Another example is Carthy's Rufford Park, the Macrame Beat of which is so insistent I had to stop singing it because every time I did it came out all jerky.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,folkiedave
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:25 AM

Macrame using cat hair was a workshop at Blitherscrum one year!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:14 AM

Suibhne, what on earth does ' rollicking macrame beat ' mean ? macrame is making things out of string.

Big Al just seems to be pushing his favourite Country & Irish singer again.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 05:57 AM

It would be lovely to know which moron first came up the idea that you have bigger balls as a folk music fan if you reject some other kind of music.

I know what you mean, Big Al. Some people really seem to get a kick out of rubishing traditional music.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 05:27 AM

(I'm sorry, I'll type that again.)

You've got that right.

(Actually there's a syntactic ambiguity in there which is quite relevant here, depending which of the last two words gets the stress... either way & in both senses - right as noun and adverb.)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 05:19 AM

folk chooses you.

You've got right.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 05:13 AM

Carthy's jerky rhythms came to typify New Testament Folk in so many ways; be it in in Steeleye Span's rollicking macrame-beat or else in the singing of June Tabor, where her rendering of Gamekeeper's Lie Sleeping comes out sounding like a Victoria Wood parody - unlike (say) Bob Robert's who just hangs it up there on the wall by way of an old print. You still hear it; hell, we even use it ourselves - once I think, in the Jew's Harp off-beats of our rendering The Trees They Do Grow High, but back then, with bands like Gentle Giant having fun with all sorts of jerky rhythms & folk/prog crossovers Cultural Arythmia seemed to be very much the order of the day. Thank Christ for the Amen Beat (which never did impact of folk much, did it?). You still get a lot of that guitar thing these days by way of convention, but listening to the early recordings of Carthy & Swarb locking horns on Byker Hill (or better still watching them on YouTube) is still very special for me, and not just by way of Chops Awe either (much less Chops Envy which is a different matter entirely...).

Folk doesn't have to be dazzling; in fact one of the things I loved about Folk in the early days was that along with Punk and Free Improv it's musicality was never dependent on vituosity, and the people doing the best music weren't necessarily the best musicians. The manifesto remains engraved in my heart: This is a chord (A). This is another (E). This is a third (G). Now Form a Band.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 11:23 PM

folk chooses you.

as for the purist thing. someone has revived the irish Coutry Music thread. I was struck by the relevance of my comments back then in 2008.

'It would be lovely to know which moron first came up the idea that you have bigger balls as a folk music fan if you reject some other kind of music.

The relationships between different kinds of folk music is so obvious, to even a person of average intellligence. But it really does defeat these wooden eared zealots.

The relattionship between The Unfortuanate Rake and the Streets of Laredo and Gold in the Mountains and St James Infirmary is well documented.

The cross fertilisation between Whisky in the Jar, The Irish Rebel Ballads, The larrikins of the Australian Bush ballads, Jesse James and there ain't no good chain gang, and I fought the law leaves the average person with deja vu.

That jerky guitar rhythm in Carthy's Famous Flower of Serving Men and Peggy and Mike Seegers Clinch Mountain Backstep, and presumably The Stanley Bros. How could anyone except the tone deaf miss it?

Yeh you're right Irish Country Music - many mudcatters have swapped their listening ears for a mess of pottage - namely the companionship of a lot dull snobs. people who can't value a guy like Johnny MacEvoy - someone who can switch from Shores of Amerikay to Hickory Wind effortlessly and with the grace of the truly talented.'


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: John P
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 04:39 PM

I do wonder whether folk isn't sometimes a similar career choice for a talented musician.

I doubt it. Someone with high-level skills who is choosing a type of music to play as a career choice instead of choosing the type of music they love to play would probably choose something that pays better.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 03:29 PM

"Lots of dazzlingly talented young folkies around these days, but as I said a while back - where are the un-dazzling ones?"

I fear you may be on to something there, virtuosity has never been my cup of Tetley's. It's said that bright young things at Oxbridge sometimes approach their tutor with the question, "which political party should I stand for" and I do wonder whether folk isn't sometimes a similar career choice for a talented musician. 'Dare to be bad' is always good advice and 'the bad should dare' is close on its coat tails.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: John P
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 03:13 PM

Purists do not exist, they cannot, because to be a purist,one cannot accept influences on traditions

I like that. I've always thought that too many people, many of whom consider themselves purists, confuse the concepts of "traditional" and "historical" when it comes to music. Learning, in an academic way, everything there is to know about a tradition at some particular historical point and then playing the music in that way in order to lend it historical accuracy is, for me, almost the opposite of traditional music making. The only time that's a problem for me is when they step out of the purist role and into the obnoxious prat role by trying to tell others that this is the only appropriate way to play the music.

I've been to Irish sessions in Seattle where everyone was told very clearly what is traditional in Ireland and what's not. Never made much sense to me, from a traditional music standpoint. To me, traditional music is local music. For a Seattle session, I'd be much more interested in how Irish music is played in Seattle than how it's played in Ireland.

I've been told more than once that a guitar isn't appropriate for music that came to be in the years before guitars were widely used, or for places where the guitar never caught on. Oddly, I've never been told that about my cittern. Since I play music spanning 600 years and two continents, in order to be completely traditional historically accurate, I'd have to drive around with a large truck full of instruments and an instrument technician.

That situation is MUCH worse in the Early Music scene, where one pretty much has to be a pedantic academic in order to play Early Music. I've heard some amazing ones there -- like that you shouldn't play a harmonic on a stringed instrument because there is no hard evidence that any string players back then did that.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Musket
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 01:05 PM

Yes, McColl did damage a few fragile egos. He also insulted many people who were just there for the enjoyment. A true case of with me politically or fuck off. During the strike, he and Peggy played Kiveton and I had to sit there listening to how the noble cause etc. Disillusioned me, I can tell you. I was like most of my mates, piggy in the middle of two political egos.

I enjoy what I call folk. A bit of a bugger when people tell me it isn't folk after all. A bit like Peoples' Popular Front of Judea if you ask me.

Folk is, (for me, not you) a nostalgic journey to recapture my youth. Upstairs rooms of pubs, candles on the tables, Fred Foster's teeth flying out during Jones Ale, a reel on pipes followed by a Bob Dylan song. My mate Mitch summed it up in his parody of English Country Garden;

One'll sing a dirty song,
One'll get the words all wrong,
One stands supping beer with his finger in his ear,
And then softly croons out of key and out of tune,
In an English country folk club.

And then visit a nearby club to be told they only want traditional singers. Fine, your club mate. Oh, sorry, when did you fold? How sad. Never mind, ours accepts the odd traditional singer...

Method; Get a lift, turn up, drink beer, sing a song with complicated guitar bits, drink, give them a slightly less complicated guitar bit, drink, toilet, drink, drink, oh shit, me again? Err, sing unaccompanied, drink, drink,

Now that's what I call folk.

Must be a type of purist then?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 10:20 AM

My un-dazzling enquiry was largely rhetorical; the New Testament generation of undazzling folkies were part of a very different wannabe zeitgeist to that which we now (the Apocryphal Generation?). I still hear 60-something Shirley Collins, Tim Hart, June Tabor and Martin Carthy impersonators (and many of them new-to-Folk Second Lifers) and whilst the Rusbyesque Head-voice & Northern vowels is pretty much ubiquitous amongst female singers of a certain age, it doesn't seem to be as imitative as it first might appear, but characterfully distinct in and of itself. I was wary of The Unthanks at first, but their track on Oak Ash Thorn won me over completely. Is there a male equivilant? Certain Younger Male singers - not just in folk - seem content without adopting the affectations of yore, so a more natural voice begins to emerge which can sing the material afresh and very much uncluttered, like Jim Causely for one and Jon Boden for another, no matter where they're coming from. You seldom hear extreme voices in pop & folk these days, not in these parts anyway, just good natural wholesome singers.

Jim Eldon is still my favourite living Folk Singer though; one wishes his approach was the norm rather than the exception.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 09:43 AM

Mmm, looks like I don't know how last.fm actually works - artists linked to not correct.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 09:39 AM

"Lots of dazzlingly talented young folkies around these days, but as I said a while back - where are the un-dazzling ones?"

Probably not occupying more traditional folk zones? Possibly creating interesting sounding folk fusion rather than perfecting their fiddle technique?

I found this obscure fellow today: http://www.last.fm/listen/artist/Wukir/similarartists

I'm also rather fond of Jenny Hval: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_6kxYSwTwg
And Brethren of the Free Spirit: http://www.last.fm/listen/artist/Brethren%2BOf%2BThe%2BFree%2BSpirit/similarartists


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 08:52 AM

Lots of dazzlingly talented young folkies around these days, but as I said a while back - where are the un-dazzling ones?

Bloody hell, there's no pleasing some people...

(PS I agree.)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 08:22 AM

Hey! Who are you calling folky?

Anyway - what have you go to be envious about?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 08:18 AM

I'm not old, and thoug we'd known each other 5 years or so years previously my wife was 24 when we got together in that distant summer of 1999 (Durham Folk Party as it happens, who says Folk Romance is dead?) - and being married to someone as beautiful as they are gifted as you are then I doubt you know the meaning of this word envy, much less the 1954 Definition. Never been to clear on it myself actually...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Banjiman
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 07:55 AM

What is it with you strange old folky guys with your cradle snatched wives?????

Envious .......moi?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 06:18 AM

49? - you're nobbut a lad!

I have a 37-year-old wife as well as a 30-year-old daughter; I am now 19 years older than my father was when he died; I became a father myself at 19 to a woman several years my senior; I was a young man, I was a rover - or was it Maggie May? The older I get, the younger I feel...

*

PS: Well said, GSS!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 06:17 AM

"Ewan MacColl told me that many years ago in the same way he had a pop at many younger people coming through."

Ah yes, the wicked MacColl! I think that the main trouble with MacColl was that he spoke his mind and damaged a few very fragile egoes as a result. I doubt that he was "having a pop" at anyone but, rather, trying to make them think - but a lot of people don't like thinking, do they? After all:

(1) Thinking can be hard work.

(2) Sometimes the thinker has to abandon his/her precious preconceptions - and we can't have that, can we?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 06:06 AM

Purists do not exist, they cannot, because to be a purist,one cannot accept influences on traditions,
A purist is one who desires that an item remain true to its essence and free from adulterating or diluting influences.to quote John Donne, no man is an island unto himself.
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 05:59 AM

"The Age Thing"

I can recommend Boots Anti-Ageing Serum - at 62 I've the face and body of a 47-year old (it's called mrsleveller).

49? - you're nobbut a lad!

Seruoisly, though, I do get a huge vicarious pleasure from hearing my 11-year old daughter singing and playing cello and keyboard.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 05:42 AM

Now there's a point - The Age Thing - which we've touched upon here. Never thought of it quite that way before though. When I saw 4square and the various younger musicians who filter through the Fylde (there was one lot from Chethams who were around a few years back who created quite a stir; I think their percussionist had won Young Musician of the Year, but their name escapes me. Anyone??) I just feel Very Old, which is weird because, at 49, (for the next 5 weeks anyway), I'm actually very young in Folk Years. Of course, anyone younger that 35 views me as positively antique, and one punter recently called me The Old Man Who Tells Stories. He'd first seen me in his school fifteen years ago when he was nine. The other day I found an old piece about me in The Sunderland Echo; it features a charming picture of a five-year-old girl having a go on my crwth. By my reckoning she'll be about 21 now. Wonder if she remembers or was in any way affected by the experience?

Kids grow up; storytellers never do...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 05:29 AM

"I got into folk for the stank and seance of the thing"

Plenty of that going on in pubs, singarounds, fields, front rooms, back rooms, public toilets (some mates will be singing this weekend in a Gents in Hull until they get thrown out) and under the willow tree in my garden - usually accompanied by large quatities of liver-crippling draughts and various illicit substances. It's just that kids like 4Square, Lucy Ward, The Old Dance School, Kat Gilmour and Jamie Roberts etc., make me, in the words of the Eurythmics, "feel like I'm 17 again" (I wish!).


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 04:50 AM

Yeah, we had 4square at our club a few years ago (hope I didn't freak the drummer out too much with my warnings of anthrax from untreated skins) and very fine they were too. Lots of dazzlingly talented young folkies around these days, but as I said a while back - where are the un-dazzling ones? In the Old Music dazzling technicality was less of an issue than the functional craft of the thing - if I have one complaint about a lot of young folkies it is thsat they seem too good for the music! It's akin to listening to the original Mothers of Invention really playing theit balls off on Uncle Meat and hearing Zappa's later bands playing the stuff like it was nothing. So it's not just a Folk Issue, but a Muso issue in general. Much of what appeals to me in Music (be it early Zappa, Harry Cox, The Fall, Leadbelly, Jim Eldon, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Rene Zosso, Michael Hurley etc.) is the discernable Human Craft of the thing which isn't about dazzling technicality which tends not to reach my soul. I'm not an advocate of GEFF, just find Muso Folk / Jazz / Classical often a little bland for my palette. Hell, I got into folk for the stank and seance of the thing, and in my other life have worked with members of The Portsmouth Sinfonia and once performed a Violin Sonata in which four people demolished a violin to sawdust (don't worry, it was only a Skylark which had been nailed to a tree for most of the previous winter - all part of the concept for which the Arts Council paid us very nicely) so technique was never uppermost in my list of musical requisites!

Again though, each to their own & more power to them all.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 04:12 AM

I'd say that the majority of folk that I listen to is neither trad nor the psych- acid- or whatever-folk of the 70s. Individuals and bands - many of them youngsters - are using the folk idiom to create something that is new, vibrant and exciting but still contains enough of the folk elements to be a continuum rather than a reinvention. That makes an old folkie like me very happy indeed. Here's an example, average age around 18:

4square


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 03:57 AM

Thing is though, all this has just happened; an unfortunate turn of events for sure, but there's been no obvious coup as such, much less any conspiracy. Call it - entropy. Perhaps one sad fact of life is that more people enjoy Jasper Carrott than enjoy Peter Bellamy, thus necessitating a more pragmatic approach to what other genres we might think of as being Folk. Then again, the Folk Revival (both Old & New Testament) is awkwardly placed with respect of The Old Songs Correctly Known as Folk Songs and the Feral Context in which they originally existed, which is about as different from Old & New Testament Revival Folk as you can get. Folk was, in effect, invented as One Thing, re-invented as another, and over the last 60 years or so has become a whole bunch of other things by logical extension. These days many Folk Clubs (most? God knows it certainly seems so) function as Open Mic Nights without the mics where pretty much anything goes - just as long as its not one of those bloody Border Ballads! Bizarrely, I've been to well-attended singarounds in which 1) I have been the only person accompanying myself on a musical instrument and 2) I have been the only person who sang a Traditional Song. How weird's that? An unnacompanied singaround where all the songs are MOR self-penned Folk Style rather than Pure Trad.

Just making observations here though; people can, and will, do what they like. As we can see by the diversity of music discussed here on Mudcat, Folk is a mutable beast and depends not on some God-like tradition as such, but the bent of the people in the room at the time. If I set up a singaround and get a load of Dylan-heads along (it has happened) then I can hardly complain if they sing Bob Dylan songs can I?

As for the Furniture Analogy - I'd say these days Folk is not even as specific as chairs (what sort of chairs? stools, armchairs, settees, sofas, benches, recliners, crackets, milking stools, park benches (I had one in a room once; one of those ones with cast iron iron snakes), pews, misericords &c.); rather Folk is as general as furniture, and even then is in need of further refinement according to taste and provenance. Are we walking Ikea Flatpacked Folk or some hand-carved Folk settle from a Victorian farmhouse? Or is it more akin to the beautifully inlaid wooden miners' cracket that has been in my family for generations - a perfect piece of Traditional Northumbrian functional folk-art? Or is it (WCS) a craft-stall modern replica of such a thing that doesn't bear too close an examination as to its construction methods much less the intention of the maker in calling it Folk Art or even Traditional? In the Manchester Gallery there is an early 19th Century chair on display of mostly Gothic influence, though in the fore-legs at least you may detect something more Classical going on. I love this chair as much I love the Thomas Toft slipware plates with which it shares the same space. I also love it because we have a Very Similar Chair which we bought in the Preston Antiques Centre for a mere £20. Thing is, do we want our Folk Clubs to more like Antique Centres or branches of Ikea? For sure we might frequent both upon occasion, but hardly with equal relish, for (perhaps ironically) only in the Antique Centre does the Humanity of the thing truly come alive - at least it does for me...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 03:29 AM

Yes Pip, I agree with you that a lot of the alt-folk around is pretty retro (the ISB influences and so on are near-compulsory) and chances are that in a few years, it will sound as quaint as some of the stuff that Al bangs on about. The point I was trying to make is that if you want non-trad folk it is out there, but thankfully has nothing to do with dated comedy or cheesy light entertainment. A good thing in my opinion, but then I've always liked the ISB... and have found myself capable of listening to a whole set without needing it broken up with mother-in-law jokes and card tricks, or whatever constitutes a top quality night out.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 01:07 AM

"Descriptor" ··· Thanks, John P. That is the word we want; or maybe "referent". I once wrote in Folk Review, "If every article of household furniture were called a chair, we shouldn't know where to park our arses". Peter Bellamy liked the formulation so much that at one time he went around quoting it at practically every gig. And in a review for The Times Ed, I wrote "The syllogism 'I like folk; I like John Lennon; ∴ the Beatles are folk' won't work: I happen to be very fond both of eating and of the novels of Jane Austen; but that doesn't make me think that Mansfield Park is a chip butty". The Arts Editor headlined the column "Not a Chip Butty".

The point is that every time a word is over-defined in this way, the effect is to diminish the language as a communicative medium. When "folk" as a term for "the sort of music I happen to like" is diminished to the equivalent of the use of "bourgeois" by a marxist to mean simply "someone I don't happen to like", it isn't any particular person who suffers, but the language. One is reminded of Bert Lloyd's point that. if we are to call, say, Big Yellow Taxi a folksong then we shall need a new term for, say, The Seeds Of Love; and hence, if we are to say, as quoted above, "traditional singers like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell", we shall need a new term for Joseph Taylor and John England and Harry Cox {& Martin Carthy too, for that matter}.

It's a free country, you can call it all 'folk' {or 'food'} if you like. Who's to stop you? Choose your own parameters.

But Mind Your Language!

I would urge that this is not 'purism' or 'pedantry' or any such pejorative; it's just logical sense.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 08:47 PM

As we used to say in the studio, and still do, "You can ALWAYS tell a 'purist'..they're ALWAYS out of tune!"

GfS


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: John P
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 07:00 PM

who think they are right despite there being no right or wrong.

Yes!

What have I learned? Maybe that I am a singer of folk songs rather than a folk singer

Yeah, I've heard that one too. That type of distinction never made much sense to me. Someone who sings folk songs is a folk singer. Can you imagine telling a rocker that they are not a rocker, but a player of rock songs? After all, REAL rockers only existed in the 60s . . . :^)

Another one that's never made much sense to me is the idea that people should only do songs from their own locale. There was a club here several years ago that had a policy that traditional folk music could only be performed by people from the country the music came from. At the time, I was doing almost exclusively English, Irish and Scottish music. Since my cultural heritage here in the US is English in origin, they were just saying that I couldn't come there and play music from my cultural heritage. I wondered what difference it made if an ancestor of mine left the farm in the 1800s and moved to American while some London bloke's ancestor left the farm in the 1800s and moved to London. Both of us were probably brought up on American and English pop music and got into traditional folk when we were young adults. What difference does it make what country we were born in? That's making something other than the music itself and the skill of the performer be the important thing. Pedantry on a pedestal. I honored their right to do whatever they wanted in their club, but I thought it was a stupid policy.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:50 PM

PS "And no bloody Comus either! Sick, I call it. Bloody hippies, I don't know."


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:48 PM

live music events where the music has a very folkish vibe
...
and a lot of this stuff is generational

What if the "folkish vibe" is generational as well? Maybe it's just what I've heard, but it seems to me that if you went shopping for nu- psych- alt- whatsit-folk with the sole proviso that you didn't want to hear anything that sounded like Hunting Song or Reynardine you'd have a pretty thin time of it - and if you said to your nu-folk personal shopper "and nothing like the String Band either" you'd be going home empty-handed. These are records - and styles - that are 40 years old now, if not more. I'm not denying that there's lots of music being made & appreciated out there, but I wonder if what's basically a retro style is going to have the staying-power of old songs.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:27 PM

Thanks I shall.

And I will call it folk on the basis that folk clubs seem to be my haunt of choice and in my case tradition.

A bit concerned that I read what you reckon isn't there but no matter, I can't help your sense of reality. When Jim says he doesn't go to folk clubs because if isn't folk I take that a wee bit personal because folk it most certainly is. It's my folk. Perhaps not his but it is mine. And it is the folk of those who enjoy it.

All a bit moot because purism hs been flogged adequately here and we have unearthed a few definitions.

Some describing those who lament the founding ideas and some that describe those who think they are right despite there being no right or wrong.

What have I learned? Maybe that I am a singer of folk songs rather than a folk singer. Ewan MacColl told me that many years ago in the same way he had a pop at many younger people coming through. So sad that I can still put him on a pedestal and at the same time remember him as a purist prat.

My money is on Mick Jagger. It's the singer not the song.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: John P
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:22 PM

Oh, one more thing for Steamin' Willie -- I agree that someone trying to give you proper folky credentials for being part of a mining family is really silly, unless you are singing mining songs you learned from your dad who learned them in a mine. I might even agree with the prat label in that case. I think people should get accepted by organizers and audiences for being what and who they are.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:08 PM

Just as there were plenty of people doing non-trad folk back in the day, so there are now. Its just that they don't play in folk clubs and they don't tend to feel the need to tell jokes or present as all-round light entertainers. The modern day equivalent of those folk-lite groups who appeared on Pebble Mill at One and TV Variety shows don't exist anymore, at least not unless they are over 50 and still doing the rounds. But there are plenty of people outside of the folk club scene putting on live music events where the music has a very folkish vibe. You won't hear many covers, sixties or otherwise (though you may here the odd traditional song) and the bands and artists won't be trying to please all of the people all of the time (still less someone's mother-in-law who got dragged along) but you will hear some excellent new music.

Lots of things have changed. Less folk clubs, less working men's clubs, no Sunday Night at the London Palladium or Wheeltappers and Shunters. As a kid I always thought that sort of stuff was aimed at my mum and dad's generation anyway - and a lot of this stuff is generational. Nowadays, if you want to do covers, you'll go to an open mic night or find that kind of folk club - or you'll get serious and form a tribute band. If you want to do your own songs, you do what people have always done - get out there and play and hope you find your audience. It you want to do trad, you go to your local singaround and do it for fun or you take your chances with everyone else. The art centre gigs and festival spots don't come on a plate and there are increasing numbers of people who include trad material in their sets who rarely set foot in a folk club.

Back on topic, I reckon The Snail hit the nail on the head earlier. Things move on. Things change.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: John P
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 05:49 PM

Steamin' Willie, my point, which I made very clear, is that you were complaining about being told that you shouldn't enjoy the music you enjoy. Here's your quote again, for you to contemplate: . . .wondering if I am allowed to enjoy it because some prat keeps saying folk is about . . .

I'm not saying that purists don't exist. I'm saying that the idea that anyone gives a damn about what you enjoy listening to exists only in your head. I'm saying that making that kind of comment indicates that you don't get what we're talking about and that you are setting up a straw man so you can have something to bitch about. Also, calling someone a prat because they define the word "folk" differently than you do is uncalled for.

I'm also not trying to get you to shut up (another conversation that's only taking place in your head?). I'm trying to get you to talk about what's actually being talked about. The fact that someone disagrees with you about the definition of folk music doesn't mean anything except that someone disagrees with you about the definition of folk music. One of the big reasons that discussions about the nature of folk music often turn nasty is that people like you apparently believe that people who disagree with you are trying to control you in some way.

While not a purist in any pure sense of the word, I regret that singer-songwriters refer to their music as folk. I understand, however, that the world has moved on and that "folk" now refers to multiple genres of music and is therefore less useful as a descriptor than it used to be. I switched to "traditional folk" for a long time, but found that this caused people to think I'm a traditionalist, which I'm not. Also, I've heard young songwriters talk about enjoying "traditional folk, like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell" (!!). I've started using "ethnic folk" when I have to give a description of what I do because it separates it adequately from the generalized folk label but doesn't carry as much connotation of me being some kind of hide-bound traditionalist.

Please continue to enjoy whatever music you enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 05:35 PM

imagine anyone liking Jasper Carrot's MOR comedic fluff to dig the chthonic depths of Peter Bellamy

Well, yes and no. Imagine anyone who liked Tony Capstick's gags about strippers and Irishmen, and also liked Tony Capstick's precise and pitiless readings of "The Scarecrow" and "Red Wine Promises". Personally I go very much for one and not the other, but there was an audience for both on the same night, for a while back there - you can hear the applause. (I don't think Does a turn is available anywhere anyhow, but it should and could be.)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 05:26 PM

When you're left to draw both audiences and performers from a much-diminished pool it is more likely that the format with the widest appeal will win out, leaving the specialists/purists with nowhere to go.
incorrect, it will be clubs, where clubs are clubs and people socialise and where people make their own entertainment, where guests are not booked every week, where singers are so plentiful,
That guests are not wanted, in some ways this is good, in one way it is not, GUEST SINGERS HELP TO RAISE STANDARDS, yet before the revival, this was how it was, people made their own entertainment


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 04:03 PM

At this point we come to a parting of the ways; take your pick, otherwise the two appoahes don't seem to be able to co-exist. This results in partition, which has already happened, long ago (imagine anyone liking Jasper Carrot's MOR comedic fluff to dig the chthonic depths of Peter Bellamy; it's rather like expecting people who like Mrs Mills to listen to Cecil Taylor) hence these occasional ceremonial border skirmishes on Mudcat. Weird thing is that all this might co-exists at all, but it does, respectfully on my part too; I've got lots of musical pals who do all shades of Folk from Wacky Folk 'n' Fluff MOR to Deep Macrame Owl Demonic Drones. But then I've got lots of other musical pals too, from Early Music Professionals, to Free Jazzers, to Modern Classical Musos, to ageing Metal Heads, to DJs, Drum and Bass crews, and Psychedelic Stoners, to Japanese sound artists and Circus drummers. Crucially, we dig; with much joy and much respect.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 02:29 PM

Sorry John P I fail to see your point.

If you care to read the many entries on this thread you might notice that people are defining folk in order to define purist. I assume there must be purists amongst stamp collectors and bridge club members but the usual subjects keep slogging away with their definitions of folk yet again. The 1954 nonsense is cited on the basis that there are precious few others, or I suspect because if is about working people having chips on their collective shoulder.

That's why I mentioned listening to an abstract music form whilst not exactly fitting the stereotype. I find it somewhat pathetic that when I write and perform a song about having a hard on for somebody (or love song as it is referred to) those folk club organisers who know me introduce me as an ex miner in order to give some weird credentials to my ability to sing, play guitar and get lovers balls over an imaginary woman.

You see in my mind purists do exist. Their linking music to situation in order to make if pure shows them for what they are. Hence the demise of clubs.

I have played in, got pissed in and enjoyed being in upstairs rooms of pubs and under canvas at festivals with good mates and had the time of my life for many years. Then somebody tells me this 'folk' I have been participating in isn't really folk at all.

Yes it is.

Ruddy purists.

Middle of the night here, just got my 3 dongle roaming so if I can't get to blessed sleep your attempts to get me to shut up may be in vain. I know the point Joe Offer shakes his head at and I for one haven't reached it yet. At least I try to address the thread.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 02:27 PM

I think Big Al has put his finger on a crucial point. Was the role of folk clubs simply to be an aspect of light entertainment, a middle-class version of working men's club, or should it be a place for people who want to get into the music at a deeper level?

There's no reason why the latter shouldn't also be entertaining, but it's inevitably going to be more challenging and difficult. It's the same in any genre of music, and probabaly in most activities. Someone whose idea of jazz is Kenny Ball is going to struggle when taken to a jazz club playing modern jazz, just as someone whose idea of classical music is Classical FM will be challenged by John Cage.

It doesn't seem unreasonable to me for people with a deep interest in something, whether its folk music or model railways, to want somewhere they can pursue that interst. However its inevitable that a version which is more accessible will have a wider appeal, which can very easily crowd out the minority specialists - the purists if you like.

Whether that was responsible for the initial decline is debateable. As Brian pointed out, once the rot set in the decline affected both types of club. I suspect it was largely due to the ageing folk club population having less time and money to spare due to family and professional commitments (I know that's what reduced my folk club attendance). When you're left to draw both audiences and performers from a much-diminished pool it is more likely that the format with the widest appeal will win out, leaving the specialists/purists with nowhere to go.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 01:52 PM

What the hell - it was a long time ago.

The point was, you couldn't trust a traddie with a three song spot - not to demolish your audience to a place where they would never return.

I went tofolkclubs from the 60's . then i got married in 71 and I started taking my in laws round to folk clubs. An ordinary guy who'd worked as a miner and in the hosiery factories of the midlands plus his wife. Just guys who could entertain them - Murf, Brimstone, Lockran, pete Quinn, Jasper, Alex Campbell, ian Campbell's group.

They went explorong on their own and encountered Bellamy and Carthy, Bob Davernport and never darkened the door of a folk club again.

That's okay. these guys were challenging and confrontational in their style of presenting folk music.

But without a significant interface with humankind - whatever the 1954 committee says - in my book, it ain't folkmusic.

Now that makes me a purist of one sort. There are purists of the other sort - who say what is writ large on the temple wall is folkmusic, because it is - lots of terrific reasons. None of them good enough for me. But they satisfy some folk.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 01:18 PM

One other thing. I'm only dipping in and out of this thread - it's too long to catch up with properly - but I wanted to give a M3 T00 to Suibhne's comparison of POW with TBPWM. My first exposure to TBPWM was when I saw the lyrics written down; I was looking at it with my sister, and when she got to

"And as the ship drew into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be"

she read it out and we both burst out laughing. After that I heard it sung - poorly, well and by June Tabor - but I never lost that first reaction. Faced with songs like that, part of me is still the snotty kid at the back of the class thinking You're trying to impress me, and it's not working!.* (As opposed to my reaction to, say, June Tabor singing POW or Waly Waly, which is what the f___ was that and how the f___ did you do it?)

To this day there's a whole class of songs which I sit through with a frozen smile of polite appreciation for somebody taking the trouble to make a mildly pleasant noise - and then there are songs that stop me in my tracks even when they're done badly, and pin me to the wall when they're done well. What baffles me isn't so much that you can hear them both in one evening as that they're both called 'folk'. But there you go, it is what it is.

*This is what's wrong with the 'legs' line, IMO - it's not a million miles away from 'My Son John', but the understatement seems sleeve-tugging & sentimental where MSJ's is grimly comic.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 12:41 PM

I stopped listening to folk in 1976-7 and got into it again 25 years later, so I basically slept through the Great Decline that people are talking about. But what's struck me recently, particularly from browsing the vinyl at the Oxfam shop in Manchester city centre, is how huge the scene was in the 70s, at least relative to what it's like now. An album by a local band called the Wassailers had a sleevenote describing them as "one of the hardest-working bands in the County Palatinate". I don't think there are enough active folk groups in Lancashire now to make that kind of comparison - it'd be like saying that silver is one of the best Olympic medals.

On balance I think I suspect Snail is closer to the truth of it than either Jim or Al, for two reasons. Firstly, I don't think that you can judge if a club is likely to get cliquey and stale, or that it won't be able to counter the appeal of the telly, from the style of music it offers. Where I live there's an anything-goes FC where standards are very variable indeed & self-composed stuff is the norm, and (as Jim would predict) it's pretty much driven the traddies out. However, it's still packed out week after week - and the traddies are fine, as we meet somewhere else on a different night. Which is my second reason for thinking that Snail is closer to the mark: in my experience things just aren't as bad as both Jim and Al are making out.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 12:35 PM

No, Jim, I'm not Sweeney.

Objection!

My earlier stance regarding the issue was based on the empirical evidence at hand; the fact in most Folk Clubs these days you will indeed hear a surfiet of - er - other idioms shall we say, all of which are regarded as being Folk in common usage of the term. From this I deduced that in modern parlance Folk Music meant any music regardless of idion, fetched up in a Folk Club and performed by hearty amateurs, inclusive of all others. I believe, M'Lud, that I produced a list of different idioms in support of this claim, all of them experienced being performed (perhaps approximated would be a better word) over maybe three nights at my then local Folk Club. I tried to accomodate this general unpleasantness for the sake of my own sanity as much as anything else, but in the end stumbled upon our present Holy of Holies Folk Club where things are (to say the least) rather better all around. So - whilst I would still recommend a more pragmatic and indeed empirical approach to both the phenomenon of Ye Folk Club and the very vexed issue of What You Might Expect To Hear Therein (and, indeed, How That Impacts on One's Own Repertoire) (as much for the sake ones sanity as anything else) I can say (heart on sleeve) that if it doesn't meet with my exacting requirements based on long years of bitter/sweet Folk Experience then I won't be darkening its doors again.

I trust this clears up my feelings in the matter. To sum up: 1) Yes I accept that Folk Clubs these days aren't places where one is likely to enjoy a heart night of (shall we say) Traditional Song and Ballad, much less be welcoming of those who wish to perform such material. And 2) My idea of the perfect Folk Club is one which is 100% Proof on the Trad Songs, Music Ballads and derivations / familiars thereof, the heartier the better, as, by Jove, such music is apt to facilitate.

S O'P (still not a purist, honest...)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 11:39 AM

Jim Carroll

Sorry Bryan - what don't you get?
Are you saying what you describe didn't happen, that the clubs didn't become a dumping ground for any type of music, and the audiences could no longer find what they were looking for (not an "unexplained reason")


My experience is that, in the seventies, I was going to clubs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights which varied from trad through tradish to electic/contemporary. the latter had acts that you might well call stand up comedians but I also some excellent traditional performers there as well. They were all prospering. None of them changed their format, but as time passed, the audiences began to decline in all of them.

There seem to be three versions of events going round. According to Big Al, real folk music was doing fine until the traddies drove it out; according to you, real folk music was doing fine until the anything-goes crowd drove it out; according to me, all styles were doing fine and went into decline together. Who is right? Will we ever know? Unfortunately, I have never seen Fred Woods' 'Crap Begets Crap' article. Is it available anywhere?

My problem with your description is that I just can't see how unpopular acts could drive out popular ones. Did the organisers of the day (of which you were one) deliberately choose performers that drove their audiences away?

or are you claiming that everything that that was performed at a folk club became folk because it was it was performed at a folk club - as has been claimed?

No, Jim, I'm not Sweeney.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: John P
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 10:44 AM

Steamin' Willie says: . . . listening to some folk music via the iPad and wondering if I am allowed to enjoy it because some prat keeps saying folk is about the trials and tribulations of the working class . . .

This is one of the biggest things that bug me about these discussions. No one has ever had anything to say on the subject of what you should listen to and enjoy. In fact, the exact opposite has been said many, many times. When you say things like this it indicates that you don't get what's being talked about, and that you are having a conversation with some imaginary "purists" in your head. It sounds like you are so pissed off about being told that many people don't consider singer-songwriter to be folk music that you are willing to tell lies about them.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 09:48 AM

When I fetched up in London in 1967 from Yorkshire, where, from the age of 16, I had been playing in between 3 and 5 folk clubs a week (to the detriment of my education), I went to a few clubs and found them generally pretty dour and unwelcoming (with the notable exception of the Cousins) - with the result that I confined my playing to busking and pretty soon fell out of the folk scene altogether in favour of underground rock. I didn't return to folk until the early 90s, by which time I was back living in Yorkshire. There I found quite a few of the old faces plus a great many new ones - and a folk scene that, although different, was and is vibrant and exciting.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 09:44 AM

"they felt they had a secure living. they thought folk clubs and folk music was going to be constant feature of the post war music scene."

Perhaps their mistake was in believing in notions that the revival would be as enduring as the very tradition of folk song that it sought to emulate and revive?

As for the evolving or otherwise of "folk" into non-traditional acoustic 60's pop, unlike traditional folk music itself (which came from and belongs to another world in time altogether) what "folk music" became during the 60's, was inevitably forever destined to be "60's acoustic folk"

Most modern styles of music become dated very fast and while 60's acoustic folk was "modern folk music" in it's day, it's now simply dated 60's folk music. A thing of either cringing embarrassment or misty eyed nostalgia for those who were there depending on their perspective, but of little interest to anyone who came after bar music nerds who enjoy trawling through back catalogues. Same deal with 50's rock'n'roll or 70's prog rock or 80's new wave..

So overall, as for what folk music has "evolved" into and those various "folk" activies I've been to If I had a hammer, someone else would be leaving with a fucking head injury...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 08:41 AM

"The picture i painted jim was was told to me by folksingers"
And the picture I painted was watching the clubs in the greater London area dwindle from around 100 to its present (maybe) dozen.
Given the choice of viewing the situation deteriorate gradually - as we did as regular vistors to clubs - or taling the word of booked guests who might turn up - what once a year......
But as I say, the situation that arose was well documented; whatever you might think of any particular magazine they did provide an overall view.
In the long run - a bit of a applied logic should serve to persuade that if regular punters were not given what they paid their pennies to listen to, they were bound to go away - wouldn't you? There was no argument that this was happening.
We were organising bookings for traditional singer Walter Pardon and being told "no we don't do anything like that - we're a folk club".
None of this alters the fact that the music, as far as the clubs were concerned, was being de-defined to the extent that there no longer exists a concensus, even within the present club scene, as to what you would find if you turned up at a folk club - Magicical Mystery Tour rules OK, so to speak.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 08:19 AM

I took folk Review for several years. the trouble was - you had to be either Jasper Carrott or martin Carthy - nothing much in the middle - a less simplistic view of folk music, was tolerated.

The picture i painted jim was was told to me by folksingers who had been making their living on the folk club circuit since the 1960's. In the 60's - they felt they had a secure living. they thought folk clubs and folk music was going to be constant feature of the post war music scene. these were pe0ple travelling the length and breadth of Britain. Not just in isolated places.

the doctrinaire view of the traddies was not the view of folk music that ordinary tv watching English people had. I don't why you're bitching. you won. you had the only two folk journalists in England batting for your side. There was a civil war, you won it.

'the taste was not as sweet' i imagine.   all that shouting the odds and being rude to everyone didn't win very much. I suspect.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 08:11 AM

So its hard not to take personally some of the 'the Tradition of Tired Acoustic Covers of Sixties Pop/Rock" comments.

It's never either / or in folk; it's always all, and there'll invariably be dialogue arising from it born ultimately of human respect. We all have our own take on such things after all, our various burdens and crosses to bear, but one would hope it never gets hostile. In the context of this discussion we can be frank about such matters, but at the end of the day it's only music no matter how seriously we might take it.

If every Folky dreams of getting on the cover of fRoots then that's cool by me; it's like everyone who does the lottery dreaming of actually winning it. It's a community thang all the way down the line really; celebrity comes, celebrity goes, but the music keeps on going. We mutter, we complain, we rejoice; hell, all human life is here if you look hard enough.

One of my Editors recently urged me to be more controversial in my writing - like I am on Mudcat. Thing is, on Mudcat people have an instant right of reply to anything anyone says, which isn't the case once something is published. To me dialogue is all; the crack and blether of the thing, and even though I'm given to polemicising from time to time, I'm not wanting a fight as such, just a natter, a discussion, a bit crack, which is what we have here. And that's something to cherish I think...

*

My problem is, I never got Dylan, and was always moved more by music than I was by words. Still the same today really, I'd rather listen to instrumental music or stuff in a foreign language, or a lot of other Popular English Language Idioms where you can make out the words anyway. I suffer from ADD; have done all my life: it's embarassing but even when I listen to an unaccompanied ballad I'm hearing the music of the thing first, then maybe one or two images, with the story hardly a consideration at all. Am I unique in this? Maybe I am, but in terms of Human Music I'd say that was hardly uncommon at all. I love listening to Gaelic stuff, or raw Scots where you just pick up the odd phrase; and counsel strongly the Folk Myth that Song Accompaniment is there to support a song and not drown the bloody thing out entirely. Indeed, I recently did a version of Over the Hills and Far Away for an aborted project. It was only after removing the vocal track entirely that it made any musical sense to me. Listen here:

HEADLAND (OVER THE HILLS) (21st April 2011)

Music to me exists in terms of landscape or else just pure sound; I like folk for its modes, rhythms, histories, drones, inner aesthetics and cultural possibilities. When working with my wife my extremes are tempered, my enthusiasms curbed, but it was always Folk and it remains Folk, in my heart at least, telling it's own story as all music does... Do it in a Folk Club? No way; this is where the internet comes into its own.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 07:56 AM

"The general consensus amongst people ...."
Nope - 'twasn't the way it happened - the decline was pretty well documented at the time, particulary with the correspondance following Fred Woods' article 'Crap Begets Crap' in Folk review - it was the core audiences that left; we never really managed to attract enough curious outsiders in - when your lot moved in big-time, the regulars left.
Quality certainly came into; Alex Campbell's "near enough for folk song opening line ceased to be a joke and became a reality, and now, to some clubs, seems to be an essantial part of their make-up, "so as not to frighten away the laess talented".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 07:25 AM

'Very few people 'got' Blake at the time, but how things have changed.'

reminds me a little bit of the Max Beerbohm short story Enoch Soames - about an unsuccessful poet who sold his soul to the devil to visit the British museum in fifty years time and see if people 'got' him yet. When he looked hismself up, it just said Enoch Soames - character in a Max Beerbohm short story.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:34 AM

"If only they'd stay in the graveyards, leave the arts centres and folk clubs and BBC2 for sentient human beings."

This seems to highlight the difference of how we perceive folk music. For me, the context is crucial. I'd much rather sing for my own amusement in a place that has a resonance to the music, or with a couple of like-minded people, than perform it to an audience from a stage. Nowadays, it seems, the emphasis is all too often on performance rather than context, with performers looking more for quantity of audience than quality of individual experience. The music can change perceptibly when it is taken out of, say, a singaround in a local pub or what Suibhne calls 'feral' performances (and I call ruffian music), and is honed and perfected to provide a slick, uniform presentation for mass consumption. Now, all too often, the goal seems not to be the integrity of the music but getting your photo on the cover of fRoots. That's fine, but it doesn't mean that the grassroots 'artisan' side of the music has lost its relevance.

Don't get me wrong – I love watching professional performers, but prefer smaller, more intimate venues where there is a rapport with the audience (last weekend's Moonbeams Festival was a perfect balance, with artists like John Jones of Oysterband jumping off the stage to mingle with the audience and later joining in the late-night singaround).

So don't knock the solitary singer in his/her own little world. I'm just reading Peter Ackroyd's biography of William Blake and am surprised to find that the works which now have worldwide acclaim were often produced in editions of single figures – individually printed, hand-coloured and bound. Very few people 'got' Blake at the time, but how things have changed.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 05:52 AM

'People stopped going to the clubs because the term "folk" ceased being a guide to what they would find there; the term never evolved, was never re-defined; it became meaningless (to most of the clubs); it retained its meaning in its literature, documentation and research; that remains the same - it is basically a club phenomenon.'

The general consensus amongst people I knew was this series of events:-

1) the folk clubs were packed
2) mr and Mrs Joe Average read Karl dallas's accounts of how wonderful Carthy, Bellamy etc were
3) Mr and Mrs Average turned up at the folk club expecting a sort of superior Anglicised version of peter paul and mary and John Denver and the Spinners and the Corries and 70's TV folk stars.
4) Next week the club was empty.

There are still plenty of folk clubs doing the trad thing. More than enough to cater for what is a very minority taste. Also they get huge chunks of media exposure - they've got that tied up very nicely. Most weeks they piss away more creative opportunities than come the way of ordinary English musos in a lifetime.

Nah Will! Never bitten. But i tick all the boxes that traddies hate. I was a pro musician, used variable accents when I sang (probably none very convincing!), used synths, synthetic handclaps, anything i wanted,knew the words of the songs and generally went down quite well - this last one really pissed them off . (Oh well anybody can write silly songs and do gutter entertainment! - i have been informed occasionally)

So its hard not to take personally some of the 'the Tradition of Tired Acoustic Covers of Sixties Pop/Rock" comments.

Stll a space man from mars couldn't tell the difference between me and Bob Dylan or Martin carthy. Take the larger view - we're all in it up the neck.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 04:41 AM

"Or music in the Tradition of Tired Acoustic Covers of Sixties Pop/Rock,"

Titter..


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 04:37 AM

"Sorry, don't get it. "
Sorry Bryan - what don't you get?
Are you saying what you describe didn't happen, that the clubs didn't become a dumping ground for any type of music, and the audiences could no longer find what they were looking for (not an "unexplained reason"), or are you claiming that everything that that was performed at a folk club became folk because it was it was performed at a folk club - as has been claimed?
None of this has anything whatever to do with dictionary definitions; it would be "purism" if anyone were to insist that only songs conforming to a definition were performed - never happened in my experience.
People stopped going to the clubs because the term "folk" ceased being a guide to what they would find there; the term never evolved, was never re-defined; it became meaningless (to most of the clubs); it retained its meaning in its literature, documentation and research; that remains the same - it is basically a club phenomenon.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 04:33 AM

Al - you sound like I was when I was aged 9. I was bitten on the hand by a mongrel dog - which so enraged me that, for years afterwards, any dog that growled at me got kicked to Kingdom Come. (I managed to contain my temper after that).

Were you, by any chance, bitten by a folksinger at an early age? :-)

Well, I'm off to the Bradfield Traditional Music Weekend today. 4 days of wall-to-wall sessions. Will I emerge unscathed, or will I get back to sunny Sussex with an uncontrollable urge for a free reed?

Only time will tell...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 04:26 AM

I'd go to a gig in a graveyard! Supernatural ballads and gory songs for All Hallows Eve please. Bring your own blanket and white cider..


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 03:46 AM

If only they'd stay in the graveyards, leave the arts centres and folk clubs and BBC2 for sentient human beings.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 03:40 AM

"... would rather be singing to the dead in graveyards or else to the ghosts in ancient ruins, or keening our plaintive minstrelsy midst the shrill cry of fox and hawk 'pon some bleak & blasted heath..."

Ha! Best thing I've read in this thread. Thank f**k I'm not the only one! Can't think of anything better than sitting in Rudston churchyard with my back against the monolith singing songs about the surrounding landscape and its people. My folk amongst my folk - sense of place par excellence.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 03:19 AM

The trick in the Newcastle club would have been to put yourself at the back of the raised dais and perform from there.

That would have been from behind the wall then, thus out in the old Castle Garth somewhere with the ghost of my Great-Grandfather - an Irish Tailor fetched up in Newcastle & running a tailors shop on the old stairs, as mentioned in the old Tyneside Folk Song which simply states: The quayside for sailors / The castle Garth for tailors.

namely tired acoustic covers of sixties pop/rock..

Or music in the Tradition of Tired Acoustic Covers of Sixties Pop/Rock, which is what most people seem to think of as being Folk these days - Easy Listening Singer-Songwriter Style sung by some fat old bloke with a guitar who insists on entertaining the audience with a mix of 90% comedy to 10% music. I'm not thinking of any one person here, just a General Averagee of the 60-something folk-style troubadour who does folk clubs (never without a PA) because a real WMC would eat him up bones and all. At least we holographic traddie purists know our place & would rather be singing to the dead in graveyards or else to the ghosts in ancient ruins, or keening our plaintive minstrelsy midst the shrill cry of fox and hawk 'pon some bleak & blasted heath...

a myth put about by musicians who use these things & want to look like rebels?

Rebel folkies? Help ma kilt! Just the thoughts, although I have met a few of these too in my time - and a merciful few at that. The one thing they have in common is their lack of staying power. During their brief flirtation with folk the Purist is a Strawman based on a handful of accumulated in-cliches and hardly backed up by reality, though a few of the posts here run perilously close to confirming the stereotype. Whilst the Young Folk Rebel is similarly elusive, a fight between these Twa Strawmen would make for a good scene in a Mummers Play, maybe in a few hundred years or so when the technology exists to project these things hologramatically with dazzling CGI special FX so we might watch them, interactively and in life-size hard-light 3D, in the comforts of our own homes.

(for unexplained reasons)

Ceaselesy debated maybe, but hardly unexplained, or even unaccepted...

*

Maybe the bottom line here is that all Folk is boring anyway, year in, year out; hardly the wonder there's always some vampirish thread on Mudcat calling out for young blood. But tedium is Folk's very essence; repetition, nostalgia and (yes) Tradition; those self-same festival spots in the self-same venues to the self-same audiences listening to the self-same songs & laughing at the self-same jokes, year in, year out; even these wee natters on Mudcat have an almost scripted feel about them, like Mummers Plays with hearty announcements of in comes I.... To some it will be This Year's Exciting New Fashion, they'll stop by, have look around, and, if they have any sense, they'll move on; but to others they'll be wearing it for the rest of their lives. And how soon that happens... Think of them as The Permafolk.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 07:29 PM

Stick around, you will get it!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 07:10 PM

I know I'll regret this but...

Jim Carroll

I was part of the English scene for thirty five years; I cut down on my folk-club intake when it became all but impossible to go to a folk club and hear a folk song and when the standards plummeted - the right for me to liten to the music I wanted to listen to played half decently was taken from me (thousands of others felt the same and pissed off with me around the same time).

The logic of this has always escaped me. Hundreds of folk clubs were attended by thousands of enthusiasts for real (i.e. 1954 definition) folk music until they were overwhekmed by a deluge of stand up comedians, do-as-you-please singarounds, and people singing Music Hall, Beatles, Dylan, pop and their own songs that (for unexplained reasons) didn't fit the "written in the tradition" style. The clubs were left empty or not playing any actual folk music.

Sorry, don't get it.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 07:08 PM

you'd be tired if you'd been listening to traditional music.

I really wouldn't. I've left folk clubs tired, bored and thoroughly depressed, but never after an evening of traditional music.

I've just looked back at Folknacious's original question, and I think it's a good one. The question is, does anyone actually complain about accompaniment / guitars / electric guitars / drum machines / etc because they're different, or is this a myth put about by musicians who use these things & want to look like rebels?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 06:56 PM

'tired acoustic covers of sixties pop/rock'

you'd be tired if you'd been listening to traditional music. Of course its allright fou holograms of purists. You don't exist and don't have to listen to all those cyber ballads and all the jigs and reels on your internal hard drive.

Real folksingers like us , who are part of a living tradition and come from singing families that pass on their Beatles cds from generation to generation - we have to put up with all this cybernetic folksong from holograms of purists that don't really exist. Its when the traddies get up to sing and ruin the evening for everybody in decent folk clubs - that's when most people go for a wee - in my experience.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 06:52 PM

"Or it devolved into something that younger generations couldn't give a shit about, namely tired acoustic covers of sixties pop/rock"

I like it!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 06:38 PM

"Ah but is that because the music was no longer folk or that folk music had evolved into something they didn't get?"

Or it devolved into something that younger generations couldn't give a shit about, namely tired acoustic covers of sixties pop/rock..


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: glueman
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 06:34 PM

The trick in the Newcastle club would have been to put yourself at the back of the raised dais and perform from there. Singing to the backs of the heads of the great and good who were in turn observing the hoi polloi below them would have been a delight. Of course these things tend only to occur to you in later life when you realise our elders and better not only have feet of clay but brains of the same material.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 01:45 PM

Any ideas? "
Yeah - define the music you think I will find if i ever drag my arse to a folk club again.
As I said, I've been long enough at it to think I know what folk music is, and if I'm in any doubt, I can always buy the book or watch the movie - now tell me what you think it is - have asked before, but you scurried off before you could answer.
Enlighten me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 01:40 PM

Perhaps purists don't really exist.

Perhaps they are a fiendishly clever hologram.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 01:29 PM

Ah but is that because the music was no longer folk or that folk music had evolved into something they didn't get?

They wouldn't perchance be purists would they / you?

You see, we are trying to see if purists exist if the thread was ever worth the effort you and others put into it. You describe people who saw folk and decided it wasnt folk. All we have to do is think of a word to describe these poor frustrated people. Any ideas?

I've got one.

But there again, I would have to qualify it and I can only do that by reading your threads Jim. Actually, I have no intention to qualify simple objective observations. If you disagree, fine, but asking me to qualify them can only be in order to disagree even more strongly. That seems a bit indulgent if you don't mind me saying so.

There we have it folks, (or folk?) a purist can now be defined through Jim's assertion that many people said "That's not folk" when faced with evolving folk.

All we need now is M'Unlearned Friend to give us some big words to use for the official 2011 definition and we are laughing.

Or at least I am, I'm about to board a plane to Singapore, and shortly be quaffing my champagne in Raffles class, listening to some folk music via the iPad and wondering if I am allowed to enjoy it because some prat keeps saying folk is about the trials and tribulations of the working class. Not fitting your stereotype doesn't alter my enjoyment of the abstract entertainment I call folk.

At the risk of repeating myself, I reckon Sir Thomas Beecham got it in one when he said "The English don't understand music but they love the noise it makes.".

Quite.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 01:05 PM

"Who are the "our"? "
The several thousand folk fans who drifted away in the eighties because they couldn't find the music they had been listening to at folk clubs any more - along with the radio programmes, magazines, specialist labels and shops...... who else?
Thought fora minute you were coming back to qualify some of your pronouncements - nah - perish the thought - far easier to pin on labels.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 12:15 PM

Jim Carroll wrote,

... The do-as-you-please singaround type venue would have been a rare enough bird to have a conservation order put on it in those days, and its proliferation in later years has contributed much to the present situation of our no longer being able to choose our 'folk' music, hence the disappearence of our clubs etc IMO.
Jim Carroll

Available from K-Tel records, "Now that's what I call purist!"

Thanks Jim, knew you would get there in the end. Who are the "our"?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 10:05 AM

Now i remember the old days when if you sang about anything that happened more than 10 yards away, Ewan macColl would come and sort you out with a set of knuckle dusters, and then Peggy Seeger would come round with a rubber truncheon.

And you know what we loved them for it!

Mind you we had it tough. When people talk about being traumatised by the seating arrangements at a folk club. I think this feng shui bollocks has gone too far.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 08:42 AM

Empowering, eh? Maybe it was, up to a point anyway. It wasn't everyone who got to sing though & I recall the club was certainly friendly enough, for the most part anyway, though certain residents often refused my requests for a spot. Back then though one never felt in any way encouraged, so much as tolerated, be it by policy, or because you must have been doing something right, however so - unwittingly. The current gaffer of The Bridge Folk Club tells a tale of me getting up in an Afghan to accompany a 40-verse ballad on a one-string fiddle to the choreographed jaw-dropped horror of the residents behind me, but as I never owned an Afghan I think he must be confusing me with someone else. Also one of my regular employers remembers me from those days too - and yet has consistently employed me these last five years or so.

One thing I do remember is leaving the Bridge Folk Club with my batiked viola to go up to the Anglo-Asian Club (nothing to do with concertinas) on the West Road to do a gig with Rhombus of Dooom, Newcastle's premier Space-Punk band at the time. I've recently received copies of a CD of the gig featuring photos of the band at that time, two of whom are sadly no longer with us.
Here's one: Rhombus AA - 1986 it says. That's me beind the girl on the floor, the late Sue Sayles, reciting her poetry, and the chap standing at the back in the stripey jumper is our bass player Pete who now plays for The Baghdaddies. Och, whit a necht thet wiz!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 07:51 AM

Suibhne's description of the Bridge at Newcastle in the 70s-80s chimes closely with my own memories of the club. As a performer, having the residents arrayed behind you could be quite intimidating (you half felt they might hold up score cards at the end of your performance...). On the other hand, there was also a feeling that, while you were up there, you were somehow part of this glittering company yourself. You might even call it empowering!

On guest nights, the booked performers would sit among the residents too, and then step forward when their time came. When Ewan MacColl was booked guest, he naturally enough brought his chair with him the to the front and swung it round so he could lean his elbows on the backrest. There was some merriment at this, for some wag had earlier chalked the word "God" on the backrest. Apologies if you've heard this yarn before. I wasn't present on that occasion, so it may be as apocryphal as King Cnut and his wet sandals.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 07:49 AM

My principle of being is that for every person who says something, there'll be another saying the opposite; they can't both be right, but they can both be wrong. Opinions are all very well, but seeking for the provenance of those opinions is even better. That said, for every kid who goes to drifts into innocent slumber on Xmas Eve with comforting thoughts of Jovial Santa Clause leaving gifts of Subbuteo and Action Man beneath the Xmas Tree, there'll be a Folklorist feverishly tossing in his wanking pit about bloodsoaked Siberian Shamans and how Xmas Tree tinsel, baubels &c. are the vestiges of the still warm viscera of sacrificial reindeer (hence the old song Run, Run, Rudolph presumably). I live in avoidance of overly Prescriptive Pagans eager to tell me what things Really Mean, from the Phallic Maypole to the Green Man to Hares to Blacked-Up prattish Morris Dancers.

However - when after many years of genuine blissful Ignorance I discover the real reason that Peter Alolph called his innovative table-top football game Subbuteo (probably on QI) I rejoice at the pure genius of it. But that is different. Unlike Folklore, that is both real and relevant, to my culture, my life, and my times; my community, my folklore, my past and in many ways my future too; it stands as Very Essential Ethnography.

*

The Folk Process is the water that makes my Indian coffee grounds drinkable; it is the rain on my window; it is the stinking stagnant water in my washing up bowl; it is The Tees (the chilly slow brown Tees); it is the Tyne; it is The Wyre; it is The Thames; it is the ice in my whisky; the water on my knee; it is both the clouds and the face of Harpo Marx I once saw therein as a child; it is the bottles of Sparkling Spring Water we buy from Aldi; it is the surging floods now so typical of a British Summer; it is the melt water of the Polar Icecaps that will dilute the Gulf Stream; it is the blizzards of another ice-age; it is the erstwhile permafrost of a million mammoth graves; it is the Holy Water from Lourdes in a plastic bottle shaped like the BVM; it is the leavings in the Baptismal Font; it is the noctural dripping of a distant tap; it is the water off a duck's back...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 06:00 AM

"Tides are a good thing."

Indeed they are! They wash away the dross and deposit new and wonderful treasures on the shoreline. The "folk process", as I understand it (probably imperfectly), is a not a tide but a slow-moving stream or, at times, a man-made canal.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 05:56 AM

Agree re Ring-o-Roses ~~ one of those pieces of Folklore About Folklore, as the great Peter Opie said in an interview I did with the Opies for Folk Review.

BUT one who feels that cannot, with consistency, go along with that vulgar Canute concept.

Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim, you will remember, based his life on the important precept that nice things are nicer than nasty ones. My principle-of-being is that right things are righter than wrong ones.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 05:48 AM

I cherish common usage. I first encountered King Canute (if you insist) in the wilds of collective commonality long before he made his ceremonial entrance into the hallowed halls Educational Correctness. It went something like this:
Pedagogue: "Can anyone tell me who King Canutes was?"
30 eager kids with hands raised: "I can! I can! Me! Me!"
Pedagogue: "Okay then - Suibhne - enlighten us."
S O'P (aged 6): "He was a king who thought he was so powerful that he tried to command the very tides but only got wet feet for his troubles."
Pedagague: "Wrong, you malnourished oik!" (lobs blackboard rubber at hapless pupil knocking him to the floor on which he lies, bloodied, but still conscious) "King Canute was not trying to turn back the tide ~ he was demonstrating that it couldn't be done, in order to deflate his flattering courtiers' fulsome assessments of his powers."
And so the nourishing maternal warmth of common usage was betrayed by the dictates of cold hard fact.   

Similarly Ring-a-Roses was a game we played in all innocence before being told (no doubt by the same teacher) that we were, in point of fact, re-enacting the symptoms of the Black Death. Now, whilst I'm pepared to accept the Canute Disparity as being a genuine instance of folklore simplifying history if only to make a more compact analogue, the Ring-o-Roses IPOF I regard as the worst possible sort of myth-making. Indeed, such mythconceptions take hold like Grey Squirrels, choking the life out of our more delicate native Reds, hence the need for a more rigorous approach to the management of the ecology of our cherished Folklore before it too is pushed to the brink of extinction by facts both real and imagined. This is why I continue to draw King Cnut in the sand, to keep common usage alive, at least until the tide comes in.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 05:46 AM

"You've got to admit there's some odd coves and wild cards in the pack."
There are indeed - but when such a club, with such a (real or imagined) agenda is presented in a thread discussing a genre of (also real or imagined) folkies it needs to be qualified, especially when it accompanied by a preference for a type of club that would have been as far away as you could get from the norm 20-odd years ago. The do-as-you-please singaround type venue would have been a rare enough bird to have a conservation order put on it in those days, and its proliferation in later years has contributed much to the present situation of our no longer being able to choose our 'folk' music, hence the disappearence of our clubs etc IMO.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 05:42 AM

You see Jim, he was irked by a common usage at an early age - no getting over that....

sounds bloody painful!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 05:16 AM

"common usage" a dangerous concept. Accuracy matters more than commonness [in any sense]. Do not try to turn back the tide of accuracy, or who knows what Pandora's Box will be opened, can of worms stirred up?!...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 05:12 AM

In common usage the KC Metaphor is simply to do with the futility of turning back tides; he is cast as Graves' Caligula in this respect, waging war with Neptune. Maybe the historical Caligula was like that too. I confess, many mistaken Common Usages do irk me - Green Men for one / Ring a Roses for another - but both of these I fear are the consequence of Folkloric Wonkiness finding its way into the mainstream rather than any feral-thang in and of itself. The Common KC Metaphor (however so mistaken) is totally feral; the others are just bad folkloric-factoids gone awry.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 05:03 AM

the KC Metaphor is just as I've used it here, regardless of the historical facts of the case····
,,,,
Exactly ~~ just what Valerie meant by the wrong footnote! Not like you to denounce getting something right instead of wrong as 'nit-picking purism' ~~ surprised at you!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 04:58 AM

You know, I took out the sentence in my last post which read even as I write this I sense some nit-picking purist will be along presently to tell us all what KC was really up to in his tide-stunt though little did I realise it would be you... Anyway, in terms of Typical Usage and genuine Folklore the KC Metaphor is just as I've used it here, regardless of the historical facts of the case. I like nothing better (whilst wandering the beach at low tide anyway) than drawing KC in the sand and watching the tide wash him away just to remind myself of that very important, though in all events apocryphal, demo.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 04:49 AM

King Canute [don't be precieux about the spelling, Sean dear] was not trying to turn back the tide ~~ he was demonstrating that it couldn't be done, in order to deflate his flattering courtiers' fulsome assessments of his powers. My late wife Valerie summed it up in her novel Culture Shock [1988]: "History has given Canute the wrong footnote".

~M~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 04:31 AM

I am tempted to ask, then how did you know it was deliberate rather than poor judgement and thoughtlessness, but please don't bother.

The Folk Song & Ballad Club in Newcastle was never so casual, much less spontaneous. When I used to go it was held in a featureless basement room (rather than the characterful upstairs clubroom it was held in originally & in which a Bridge Folk Club still meets, but it's nothing like the old one) which was laid out with very specific intention as detailed above. This is not some malicious rewriting of history for some dark nefarious ends; I have no agenda here, other than to report on the most ghastly folk club set up I have ever encountered, and one that was hardly formative of my love of communal music-making based around a shared loved of the Old Songs and Shanties. Despite the stellar calibre of the residents, the set-up was hardly conducive to either fostering an interest in their various idioms (which, to be honest, I doubt was on the agenda back then anyway) or reflecting the egalirarian political ends which were always a prominent aspect of the New Testament Folk Revival. I heard some very good singing there, and grat music, which is why I used to go, but remain eternally baffled by the set up. As to why they did it, I've no idea. I'm not even sure if anyone else felt intimidated by it; as I say, it was an accepted aspect of the club.

That surely, is your own choice

Indeed so, one born of long years of bitter experience. The more openly egalitarian & essentially rule-free a club is, so more encouraging it will be on any number of levels and the more potential there is for reaching Trad Nirvana (in my experience, certainly I've never reached it in any other sort of club). In my current club there is no Trad Only policy as such, but that tends to be the way things happen. Not even sure if you would call it an Unwritten Rule - rather it's just the consequence of what happens when you get a few like-minded souls gathered together who just want a good old blow. It effects the rest of the pub too, and kicks off in rare old style on a regular basis.

Back on thread.

These days the Folk Remit is very wide, even on Mudcat, and I've tried to be accepting of this but (in the words of one old storyteller I one had the privilege of getting drunk with) it's rather like shoving your own shit back up your arse: as unpleasant as it is, ultimately, impossible. Does that mark me out as a Purist? Thing is, I often get called a Purist myself on account (I suppose) of being fond of Old Songs & Old Singers. I once even said to one young singer-songwriter (thus paraprasing Peter Pan) for every new song you sing, and old one dies. Granted I was very drunk at the time, and her repertoir of Old Songs was impressive (and she couldn't have been that offended because she would later become my wife) but in my heart I still carry this notion that Folk is all about the Old Songs, and that the new ones are somehow missing a very essential point. I own, however, that this is very much My Problem, and that to dictate to others is rather like King Cnut (careful with that spelling there) trying to turn back the tide.

Tides are a good thing.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 03:38 AM

Ah yes Jim, but no one expects....... The Spanish Inquisition!

You've got to admit there's some odd coves and wild cards in the pack. Seems our friend got dealt one in his first game. Scarred for life!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 03:25 AM

"How the hell should I know?"
I am tempted to ask, then how did you know it was deliberate rather than poor judgement and thoughtlessness, but please don't bother.
Excuse my scepticism, but your description of the club sounds like many of the folk/jazz/C&W venues I visited at one time or another, and your Nineteen-Eighty-Four analysis sounds.... well.... odd, to say the least.
Most organisers I knew, me included, after a days work and a bolted meal, found ourselves with barely enough time to rush down to the pub, set the chairs out, organise the float for the door, pin up the record sleeves and the ads for albums for sale... not to mention the in-between work of knocking our songs into shape, sorting out accompaniments, planning our lists - especially when we did feature evenings, publicity, booking guests and arranging accommodation for them...
The idea that we should give any time or thought to laying out our club-room like the 23rd Congress of the CPSU in order to intimidate our audiences, just in case they harboured any notions of coming back the following week...... wellllll...... seems as fanciful as the other claims of "purism" dotted all over this thread.
"I hate the idea of resident groups opening the night with a surfiet of songs and singarounds"
That surely, is your own choice, just as a reasonably organised club with a set policy, a selection of residents of varying abilities, experience and repertoires, feature evenings, facilities to encourage and develop inexperienced singers, archives and libraries to enable the building of repertoires..... has been, and occasionally still is the choice of many of the clubs I have visited and enjoyed.
Personally I detested the policyless, anything-goes goes singaround clubs that didn't have a pool of competent residents to keep things moving and guarantee - or at least, aim that the proceedings never fell below a certain level, but instead based themselves on whoever turned up on the night - I avoided them like the plague and still do.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: glueman
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 05:27 PM

Re. Jon Boden's quote, I reckon the internet as a whole is a very mixed blessing.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 04:39 PM

Then perhaps you'd like to explain why it was done?

How the hell should I know? It was never explained or accounted for, least of all to me, and they certainly never asked me about it - and neither did I ask them - it was Just The Way it Was, and no doubt always had been since the club's inception back in the Folk New Testament Dawn. Even as late as 1989 (or was it 1990?) I remember feeling the eyes of The Bridge Folk Club Residents burning into my back from on high as I droned my way through Binnorie and Wee Wee Man on my hurdy-gurdy. Weird - the experience that is, not the music, though come to think of it...

My ideal folk club is egalitarian and leader / resident free; my current club has its resident regulars (myself & my wife included) but it's small enough to function on the Crack alone,and all hierarchies are born of total and mutual respect and a love of great music. I hate the idea of resident groups opening the night with a surfiet of songs and singarounds where someone is 'in charge' - just kick it off, watch it run; talk about a piss-up in a brewery.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 03:26 PM

"unfortunately some folk do lack an imagination"

In point of fact, as a proper mad person (not the official clinical term) I don't lack any amount of imagination! But what I do lack is the desire to bullshit real human people out of their real human histories in order to indulge some cosy little modern middle-class romance about the olden days and "the tradition". All props to the assiduous work of the debunkers and the disabusers of such fanciful indulgences I say, they do the songmakers and indeed their communities (which are not ours), a service in righting certain errors of the revival. That is not to say that I am not in emotional sympathy with the poetry of Bodens take (or what has been presented here of it at least) just not dishonest enough to buy it, at least without knowing much more...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: BTNG
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 03:06 PM

"(Jon) Boden appears to be pleading the case for 'suspension of disbelief' about real world history'

it does require a bit of an imagination, but it can be done, unfortunately some folk do lack an imagination


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 03:01 PM

"Oh, it was very deliberate, Jim - make no mistake about that. "
Then perhaps you'd like to explain why it was done?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 11:27 AM

but I see no reason to equate them purists

I only speak of those who actually used the term Purist themselves, usually when confronting me over some aspect of my work or another. One asked me if my 3-string Black Sea Fiddle was a Bowed Psaltery (an entirely modern invention BTW) and when I told him it wasn't, and told him what it was, he said that as a Purist he was offended by my use of a non-Traditional Instrument to accompany Traditional Song. He himself played the guitar. I pointed out the fallacy of his argument, but didn't take too much pleasure over it because I could feel his world crumbling away as I spoke. No bad thing, eh? But is it really their fault? Like the Folkier members of the BNP, Folk Purists have fallen for the Folk Myth hook line and sinker. These are the people who will tell you that the Black Leg Miner is a true folk song with a thousand variants...

My Steamfolk Thread is but one attempt at embracing what Jon Boden refers to as Folk Romanicism, which I feel is a Very Good Thing and has given us much to be cheerful for over the decades and it continues to do so. My aim is keep cheerful, and keep loving it and enjoying it even though there are times I might slip into serious crisis. Take a deep breath, take time out, then enjoy it all afresh..


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 11:26 AM

I hear what you're saying, livelylass. Maybe I should have posted this on the Steamfolk thread ;)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 11:09 AM

Fascinating stuff Leveller.
As for Folk Romanticism, Boden appears to be pleading the case for 'suspension of disbelief' about real world history? The intersection of fantasy and reality, however romantically desirable, is one we simply are not able to sustain in the contemporary world (which means there will be no more "histories" like Homer for example) it is an intersection which is for the arts to explore independently of the sciences and vice versa I would say - until such time as we all realise we are living a superreal dream (as Bill Hicks down below might argue) perhaps.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 10:55 AM

Whilst looking at another thread a Soundpost Singing Weekend in Sheffield in October was mentioned and I noticed one of the talks is this:

Derailing the tradition: The cost of 'de-bunking'
John Boden
The advent of internet discussion groups has made it infinitely easier for people to track down the lyrics of songs and discuss their origins in a public forum. Whilst this is in many ways a great development, it has also led to the rise of the professional de-bunker, dedicated to dissecting the assumptions and romantic fallacies of other users. Generally they are in the right - but that does not necessarily mean they are right to do so. Folk songs are more than a set of lyrics with a 16 bar tune, they are the evolving common-imaginative possessions of the people. The reductionist instincts of the debunkers are in danger of stifling the imaginative legacy of traditional song and curtailing its future evolution by nailing specimens of song to the immovable tree of fact. Jon Boden speaks up for folk romanticism. (And fully expects to be shouted at.)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: John P
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 10:21 AM

I agree about the self-styled jerks, but I see no reason to equate them purists. False purism is just the jerk's avenue to jerkiness. I imagine they are equally jerky in non-musical aspects of their lives as well.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 09:25 AM

Oh, it was very deliberate, Jim - make no mistake about that. And no, Shimrod, to my eternal shame I didn't challenge it, but had a notion that one day I might stand with my back to the audience and face the residents instead - but, sadly, I never did. Instead I sloped off in search of a more human club instead wgich I eventually found at the Wylam Ship and latterly The Colpitts in Durham which provided the blue-prints for my perfect club. Even these days I generally just slope off if I find a club too entrenched in its attitudes and residencies and other such redundant and counter-productive hierachies.

In my experience the more openly human the set up, the better the music, to the extent where our current club (at which we're named residents!) is a jump-in come-all-ye where no-one is favoured above any other and the music is second to none.   Not that we weren't in stellar company at The Bridge back then of course, but I hated it so much that one night I passed on what would have been my debut encounter with Peter Bellamy in favour of staying upstairs and drinking with my BTCV mates. I met PB that night though - when he came up to the bar to seek me out looking for a doss. Imagine that - the great Peter Bellamy, circa 1983, reduced to scrounging a doss from a complete stranger - albeit one recommended from on high, no doubt on account of my liberal approach to dope at the time. One often heard tales back then of staid folkie hosts being horrified on saying yes to PB's request 'Do you mind if I smoke?' In the event he stayed with someone else closer to Newcastle, but well I recall feeling deeply embarassed for the man that no-one 'down below' was prepared to put him up or find him someone who was, just make random suggestions and expect him to make the arrangements himself. Some booking! Read that how you will, but taken with all the other attitudes to PB I've come across over the years I'd say it was pretty unambiguous myself.

Getting back on track...

It seems to me this thread is made up of such presumptions, the only evidence of there ever having been "purists" being based on an animosity towards those not prepared to 'go with the flow' backed up by apocryphal tales of a far-distant, ill-remembered past.

In which case, I'd say you've missed the whole point of the thread, much less the sheer joy of it. The emergent feeling here (one that I abide by myself) is that as far as they exist at all, the Purist is self-styled pedantic jerk who knows SFA about anything. The ones I've met have been misanthropic nerds hung up on notions of correctness so rigid that you knew to them Folk was less a music than it was an OCD. Let's hope they got the help they obviously and so desperately needed. Those who do know and love Folk realise pretty quick that Purism is a complete anathema to the nature of The Beast.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 05:19 AM

"I often pondered the mindset that lay behind such an inhuman arrangement"
Which, presumably, you have decided was deliberate, rather than a thoughtless or unavoidable making do with the space to hand.
The first jazz club I ever attended (The Liverpool Cavern, in those halcyon pre-Beatle days) was laid out so "the performers would face the audience (as is the norm) but in doing so would be standing with their backs to" - record sleeves of past performers.
It seems to me this thread is made up of such presumptions, the only evidence of there ever having been "purists" being based on an animosity towards those not prepared to 'go with the flow' backed up by apocryphal tales of a far-distant, ill-remembered past.
The validity (or otherwise) of these claims is underlined for me by the tendency of those making such claims to ignore challenges and to scurry off to other threads when asked to put their money where their mouth is.
"Do purists really exist?"
Based on the 'evidence' presented here, no - and they probably never did to any significant extent, other than in the minds of those who feel it necesary to create straw men in order to give vent to their own likes and dislikes at the expense of other peoples' choices.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 05:10 AM

"I often pondered the mindset that lay behind such an inhuman arrangement ..."

Did you try challenging it, Suibhne, or just brood darkly about: "holy writs, sacred cows, holy families, gangs of fours, volkish fantasies, cringing deferences, immovable feasts, entrenched hierarchies, absolute correctness and summary excommunications ..."?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 04:38 AM

Since it's not, it just sounds like an over-active imagination.

Overly facetious maybe.

At one of the first Folk Clubs I used to regularly sing at, floor singers would face the audience (as is the norm) but in doing so would be standing with their backs to a panel of exalted residents. If that wasn't bad enough, the residents would on a raised stage, whereas the floor-singers would be (as you'd expect) on the floor. I often pondered the mindset that lay behind such an inhuman arrangement and hope we will never see it's like again. That was The Bridge Folksong & Ballad, back in the early 1980s, when it was in the basement, and was accepted as perfectly normal.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: John P
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 05:26 PM

. . . our beloved Folk Music with its holy writs, sacred cows, holy families, gangs of fours, volkish fantasies, cringing deferences, immovable feasts, entrenched hierarchies, absolute correctness and summary excommunications . . .

Wow, this would be worrisome if it was a description of the folk music and dance communities that I'm a part of. Since it's not, it just sounds like an over-active imagination.

To sum up me and almost every traditional folk musician I know:
- Not a purist.
- Not trying to revive anything.
- Don't care what other people play or listen to.
- History and folklore are interesting, but don't have much to do with playing music.
- The only important thing about a performance is that it sound good.
- The 1954 definition is good for discussions, not for music-making.
- Admire skill, but not much into the "stars" of the folk scene.
- We pretty much all like each other.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 05:00 PM

I think the premesis joke was one of Flann O' Brien's

It's in At Swim-Two-Birds. The main character spends a lot of time having arguments in bars, and comes up with what he thinks is a killer witticism/put-down - "Your argument is unsound, as it is based on licensed premises". He tries to use it two or three different times, but keeps getting cut off or ignored.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 04:29 PM

I assume "jouaissance" is used as in the French original. Gosh how exciting.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:39 PM

I'm presently in the process of persuading our local council to start a Folklore Collection service. So far so good; we've agreed on the broad concepts, and even begasn head-hunting the basic workforce. All we need to now is decide on the colour of the bins. In Tyneside you get Folklore Collection 'igloos' in most car-parks, but we feel being more proactive in the collection process and actually going out into the community will result in both a higher yield and a higher quality of Pure Grade Lore collected. The basic idea is once we've collected enough high grade Pure Folklore, then we'll enter into negotiations with less Lore-rich areas of England to arrange redistribution on a barter basis. Expect to see our lorries on the motorways soon.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:24 PM

Dunno
Haven't found one yet
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Banjiman
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 02:25 PM

Now..... where were those purists again?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: glueman
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 01:54 PM

But adherents of anarchism are deeply conservative, show me a Crass T-shirt and I'll show you a well brought up public servant in mufti. Anarchy wants to impose its views like all the rest, I say believe what the hell you like, gods, pixies, purism, neo-purism, each to his own in the true sense of individualism before the word was sold off by the pound in Mrs Thatcher's market economy.

Anarchy is just another ideology with a capital letter and a big idea. Gimme small ideas every time.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 01:38 PM

Exactly so, GSS - both Anarchy and Atheism remain the high ideals of an eventual utopia; no Gods, no Laws, just mutual respect across the board according to prophesies of Bakunin. Now, I wonder where such an idyll of tolerance and inclusity would leave our beloved Folk Music with its holy writs, sacred cows, holy families, gangs of fours, volkish fantasies, cringing deferences, immovable feasts, entrenched hierarchies, absolute correctness and summary excommunications?

Ever heard the Dick Gaughan / Ken Hyder piece News From Nowhere? No that's so political it trascends my usual objections - for one thing it's an instrumental free improvisation, and the underlying ideology of both perps is quite faultless. In this context it's worth having a look at what Dick Gaughan had to say about Peter Bellamy. Read it HERE. Folk Lefties take note....


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 01:14 PM

but you dont understand that anarchism was the final goal of communism, the ideal was that the state would eventually whither away, when people were well educated enough to undertstand that the state was no longer needed, that all peoples actions interacted with others so if everyone thought about other people and the consequences of their actions the state was no longer needed.
in fact anarchy is not just mayhem, as capitalists and thatcherites would leave us to believe, it is the understanding of everyones position in a community, in relation to everyone else it is about consideration for others


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: glueman
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 11:10 AM

Anarchy is a form of conservatism of course.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 11:09 AM

Oh bugger - mow you've gone and brought religion into it as well. Time to reach for the tin hat :)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 10:01 AM

Okay then - all human interaction is political be default. As a kid I was brought to believe Christ was the first Communist, then had to cope with the parable of the shekels as being the essence of Capitalism. In the end it's all a matter scale and individual freedom, which is why the older I get I return more and more to my Anarchist roots.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:39 AM

I really can't see how you can dissociate folk music and politics any more that you could history and politics. Politics, in its widest sense, is an integral part of life. For instance, in 'Liberty Against the Law', Christopher Hill devotes an entire chapter to why the Robin Hood ballads gained such popularity amongst the disenfranchised, and often dispossessed in the mid-1700s, during the time of The Enclosures.

By "widest sense" BTW, I mean wider than the narrow and polarised boundaries of party poltics. And yes, Glueman, there are as many bad political songs as there are good ones and the allusions must be readily understandable now and, hopefully, in the future. A good tune doesn't go amiss, either!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: glueman
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:26 AM

I was thinking particularly about lyrical polemics Leveller. I'm not suggesting overtly political songs can't be great art, just that they so rarely are. Religious songs can fall prey to the same impulse of wanting to hammer home a message but using lyrics as a way of sugaring the pill, which is why I prefer, say, 397 from the Denson Book "There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins: And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains" to "Lord of the Dance".

If there's to be a pill I prefer it bitter than hidden in sugary analogies. Modern political songs tend to be too keen on allusion for my simple tastes.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 07:58 AM

So are you saying that your political opinions overide your critical faculties?

Speaking for myself, I see music as being polically humanist by default; if it is co-opted in a right-wing or left-wing cause it loses all meaning. I go into Folk Clubs where I hear as many Anti-War and Poor Working Man songs as I do opinions railing against Political Correctness; even songs that are yet more subtle in their racism (A Mon Like Thee) or Homophobia. It's an uneasy curdling mix for sure, and I would counsel strongly against going there, which is why I seldom do. Kipling is always a minefield in this respect; for example I have two dear friends who see no harm in singing The Ladies, which is something would I never do. Likewise - I know many who sing The Land as a left-wing song, which most obviously it isn't, but that just goes to show how twisted these things can get by way of interpretation or glib assertion. I might argue that racism knows no politics, homophobia likewise, or warn of the nationalistic dangers of Folk in any case, or just remember poor Peter Bellamy, who dared be outspoken in such matters and suffered the consequences.

And can Guernica really be said to be political in that sense? As a monument to those killed under the barbarity of a far greater evil, I think, perhaps not.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 07:37 AM

So are you saying that your political opinions overide your critical faculties?

"the cause of art and polemics generally means quality takes a nosedive"

I think Picasso's Guernica might give the lie to that. Or are you saying that your statement only applies to songs?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 07:34 AM

I think the premesis joke was one of Flann O' Brien's; if it occurs to me I'll post a reference, but as I recall it's in The Best of Myles.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that political songs are the corner stone of contemporary folk music.

I think you're right there, theleveller - which is maybe why I don't get along with it, much less the conservative left-wing religiosity it implies. Folk religiosity is one thing; political reliosity is another. Even an innocuous song about a Certain Pigeon (also in the Tabor Songbook) becomes a vehicle for leaden political sentiment. I can't think of many Contemporary Folk Songs that don't do this, apart from the Funny Ones which maybe I despise even more, although I admit Ron Baxter's parody of TBPWM is a thing of true genius. That said, I also admit that, as far as Folk Parodies go, it is, alas, the exception that proves a very prevalent rule.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: glueman
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 06:40 AM

"I was constantly reminded of the story told about that lovable wit Rev. Sydney Smith, who was strolling along a narrow street around 1800 with a colleague when they heard two women leaning out of their opposite windows and screaming insults at each other.

'These two ladies will never agree,' Smith commented, as the debate raged over his head, 'for they are arguing from different premises'."
Stolen from the excellent site in the link:


Skeptical Investigations


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 06:39 AM

I'd totally disagree with you there, Glueman. The Oysterband's performance at Moonbeams Festival on Friday had some excellent political songs that were greatly appreciated. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that political songs are the corner stone of contemporary folk music.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: glueman
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 06:21 AM

Re. political songs, I've never been a fan either. A good song can rarely serve two masters and the cause of art and polemics generally means quality takes a nosedive.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 05:28 AM

PS - There are lots of poignant War songs that aren't Traditional as such: Bellamy's setting of My Boy Jack is potent; as is Hamish Henderson's Fairwell to Sicily. Both of which I sing.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 05:21 AM

This is hardly suggesting the narrators view was the prevailing view of his comrades - even years after the event.

The song is not aimed at comrades, rather the captive folk audience who find such sentiments deeply moving. Personally I find manipulative, and cynical. A cheap trick if ever there was one. Same with the other one about Willie McBride. Whenever such songs are sung, I head for the bar and hope there's no one in earshot of the singer who's ever lost any one in wars old and new. It happened once in my experience, during the Falklands, when a solfier's wife out with her roudy mates took exception to the anti-war righteousness of the folkies - and rightly so. Was life ever so simple?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 05:05 AM

Like No Man's Land, TBPWM is a brilliantly written song in the style of the tradition.

It's written in some style anyway, but if you mean The Tradition as used by FolkTrad types to designate those Collected Canonical Songs we call Folk Song, then I might question that on any number of structural points. But the rest of your post does that perfectly so I'm not going to do it. As well as putting words in mouths, it puts thoughts in heads or else preaches to the converted. I only brought it into the discussion as I first it sung by June Tabor in the filthy back-room of a pub somewhere in the Northumbrian coal-field when there was still a working colliery (with steam trains) nearby. She sang it alongside The Plains of Waterloo, if not in the same breath, then in the same set. It's certainly on the same album (I still have a copy of the record as bought from her that night). So - Plains of Waterloo on one hand - The Band Played Waltzing Matilda on the other. I was just a kid - 14/15 or so - but my dislike of the latter song was instant and enduring; 35 years on I detest it still, whereas even the John Renbourn Group version of Plains of Waterloo (with its OTT programmatic arrangement of fifes, drums &c.) still manages to move me. Better still, Shirley Collins; better still, June Tabor herself; but best of all was the nameless (to me) (male) floor-singer who wasted me with it at The Bay Hotel Folk Club in Cullercoats around 1985 or so.

Thing is, I know my dislike of TBPWM marks me as a Purist; even in the first instance my reaction was one of what's the fecking point? Much less - so what?. Especially as POW was so strong regarding the subjective human aspect of war, without turning that into some unweildy political point about its wrongness. War is never a matter of absolute wrongness, it is always matter grim necessity and individual opinion of All Shades, even unto the Bullying righteous opinions of white-poppy wearing pacifists for whom TBPWM is gospel. Also when I was 14/15 I used to have a friend - an old man in a wheelchair who'd lost both his legs and half of his face at the Dunkirk Evacuation some 35 years earlier. We used to sit in the sun in a local graveyard and smoke and talk; me the slovenly hippy Gong-freak with a penchant for local history & folklore, and he the living hero who'd been blown to bits when he was 15 (having lied about his age in his eagerness to enlist) in a war against an entrenched evil that had ended a mere 16 years before I was born. I cannot begin to comprehend that sort of sacrifice, but I know that I could not have live the sort of life that I have done all these years without it. To him and millions of others, I owed my very freedom; and Dear God he was not bitter, but proud. Working it out now I realise that if he'd been 15 at Dunkirk, he was only 50 when I knew him - the same age (almost!) that I am now.

One thing I will not do is write a fecking song about it. Life is life. It goes on. My love of The Old Songs (a term used by many Traditional Singers I believe, Richard - one certainly used by Bob Copper in his poem of that name : see Here if for some reason that one has somehow passed you by. Imagine if using THE CORRECT term it was The Folk Songs - just would have the same punch, would it?) is largely one of poetic immediacy - no agendas, similies, wonky poetic metaphors unless by way of circumlocution (Seeds of Love is pure hard-core filth in this respect) and pure textual jouissance. Kipling caught this; & others have too. To me its high art, and in any case the first thing I want to do when told by a righteous idealogue like Billy Bragg not to buy The Sun, is to go out and buy The Sun. That's not why I listen to music, nor is it part of my political world view (best summed up in Kipling's poem A Pilgrim's Way) much less my musical one (which, right now, enjoys those three lost early Krafwerk albums on a par with Miles Davis early 70s electric period and the chamber music of Henry Purcell) in which Folk Music was only ever a small part, which is maybe the key here. What is the dominant music in your life? What proportion of your musical life is given over to Folk? I'd say it's never been more than 20%, and these days it's settled to around 10%, which is where I reckon it belongs. Even in its Innocence, folk was only ever a small part of a much bigger cultural reality without which I'd say it's pretty meaningless.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 05:02 AM

Not ignoring it Jon, but fair comment.

Did you ever hear a modern song of WW1 that did take "the prevailing view of his comrades" ?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 04:50 AM

On the Bogle song drift. Keith also seems to opt to ignore this verse in TBPWM:
And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving dreams of past glory
The forgotten heroes a forgotten war
And the young people ask , "What are they Marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question

This is hardly suggesting the narrators view was the prevailing view of his comrades - even years after the event.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 04:41 AM

I know this is further deviation from the thread, but... I'd always assumed EB was pretty conversant with the works of those WW1 poets who tried to capture the horrors of what they were experiencing when he wrote those songs - and that his perspective was influenced by theirs. So they could be seen as a reframing of one particular set of contemporary accounts with the added dimension of 50 years or so worth of hindsight (including Australia's involvement in Vietnam).

I guess they'd pass muster as contemporary songs that nod in the direction of old folk songs of the English speaking world or whatever you want to call 'em. And I've always thought that Aussies were particularly good at a certain type of mawkishness.

Meanwhile, I doubt purists exist, partly because virtually anyone can find someone else to apply the label to in order to distance themselves from it. From the perspective of the outside world, I'd hazard a guess that even the most 'impure' folkie would seem pretty, um, quaint. And I reckon that even the most rigorous folkie also enjoys some other stuff too - the differences are purely about cataloguing rather than about the music itself, and I would suggest that it is up to each individual what they catalogue where, and indeed even whether to bother to catalogue. After all, folk has been a disputed term - amongst those to whom disputing it matters - for over fifty years. Then again, I'm not a music academic and I catalogue pretty randomly.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 04:41 AM

Not denying the tragedy of suffering and loss Al, and don't want to drift an important thread.
I do deny that there was a common sense of lack of purpose, apart from the intellectual elite of the war poets.
There are many collections of letters published.
I found this collection in seconds.
An Aussie Anzac in Gallipoli.

http://www.smythe.id.au/letters/15_33.htm


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 04:16 AM

I agree with Jim.(you may frame this Jim).

Ewan and peggy were all right. They were the first people to publish one of my songs. Although they were a bit surprised to find out that I wasn't black, because I'd written a calypso using the patois of the kids i used to teach in Brum.

If they were purists - I'd settle for being a purist. Doubtless they had limitations - but that goes with being human.

I can't really see where this thread is going, except as a vehicle for me writing silly poems - which i do anyway.

I'm not sure what the detractors of the Eric bogle song are saying - matilda was in the same edition of NCS as my song (Ithink) - either that or the Barrie Robberts/Bill caddick Songsmith magazine.

The only point of view it expresses is that people were shocked and saddened by young men being killed and maimed in great numbers in WW1. That point of view didn't exist at the time - we all just swelled with pride at the heroic sacrifice - i don't think so Keith.

The sense of waste and the misery of bereavement - I think they were around at the time. In fact i can testify from accounts of my own family members that they were.

Have you all nae heard of Archie Plum?
Who did muckle talking through his bum....

I had trouble finishing that one. I did think:-

Och! the voice had a wondrous Hieland lilt
an' was muckle strange, comin' frae his kilt...

(Ewan could do Scotch accents.)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 04:06 AM

It was not much of a point M. Sorry.

There are a number of songs about WW1 that are written from a modern perspective, that suggest the soldiery lacked any understanding of what they were fighting for and that there was no cause anyway.
I do regard EBs songs as falling into that category, is all I was trying to say.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:52 AM

Just got back from a phenomenal weekend of folk, roots and acoustic at Moonbeams Wold Top Folk Festival high up in the Yorkshire Wolds. Here performers across a wide age spectrum played to a lively audience with a similar age profile. "Pure" folk it may not have been but it was pure enjoyment. Much of the audience and many of the performers were local and the "sense of place" was brilliant (even the beer was brewed on the premises).

This was certainly not folk that needed an iron lung to keep it alive as you can see if you have a listen to these 4 amazing teenagers:

4 Square


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:52 AM

It's story is told in first person Michael.===

Yes; beginning with an old man saying 'when I was a young man', and relating his present perspective on the long-past events. Nothing to do with the perspective people had at the time of the events: tho I can't see they would have had more than one probable 'perspective' on losing their legs & wishing they had died instead, at that.

I am afraid I just cannot grasp your point here at all.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:46 AM

Although it does make the narrator a surviving veteran.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:43 AM

It's story is told in first person Michael.
Your challenge could fairly be made aginst my mention of No Man's Land.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:24 AM

Keith: I think you have misrepresented the perspective of Band Played... "that barely existed at the time of the events". The song is surely retrospective, not viewed from from POV of when the events occurred.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:16 AM

Like No Man's Land, TBPWM is a brilliantly written song in the style of the tradition.
My objection to both is that they are written as if putting words into the mouths of those about whom they are written.
They re-write history from a perspective that barely existed at the time of the events.

You can argue that individuals may have held such views, but not that they were at all representative.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:14 AM

"and pretty damn hardline......"
Such stuff as dreams are made on!!
As a long time supporter and organiser, occasional resident and regular visitor to the Singers Club from the late 60s to Ewan's death in 1989, certainly hardly ever missing a club night in the 70s, this is the first time I have heard that Loudon Wainright ever went near the Singers Club - Dylan maybe, but that was earlier.
MacColl and Seeger individually wrote more songs than anybody else in the revival.
They regularly appealed for new songs at the club and issued those they were given in 20 editions of Singers Club sponsored 'New City Songster', edited by Peggy, between 1969 and 1984.
After Ewan's death Peggy published two selections of songs they had written, one of around 200 of Ewans and another 150 of her own.
Along with accompaniment classes and seminars, they ran regular songwriting classes.
If they were such dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists, they had an extremely weird way of going about it, doncha think?
I can't think of one individual singer, club or organisation that went to anything like the trouble to promote the making of new songs; can you?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 02:25 AM

"a fecking dreadful piece of mawkish tripe" ...

"I'm not a great fan of political songwriting "

Sweeney on TBPWM.
,,,,
Trouble is, Sean, you will undermine your case by gross hyperbolic overstatement, then climbing down in a shake of a lamb's tail when challenged ~~ see above. Sabotages all the possible effect of your verbosity.

Then

=="Please note though, my dislike of TBPWM is purely personal and has little bearing on this present Sunday sub-discussion much less the thread as a whole.
Now, what were we talking about again? "==

you climb down further by declaring what you have said irrelevant anyhow and trying to change the subject.

It won't do, you know. I mean, dash it, it just won't do!

Regards

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Brian
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 01:22 AM

My smug purist days came to an end one evening at the Singers' Club in London in the 70s - run by Ewan and Peggy, and pretty damn hardline on the subject of traditional music and sing-what-you-know - when Loudon Wainright III sang 'Dead Skunk In the Middle Of the Road' and got an ovation and two encores...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 06:34 PM

It doesn't tell a story so much as labour a point. There is a world of difference. POW tells a story; whereas TBPWM negates the narrative completely by miring it in meaning. I'm not a great fan of political songwriting - I love Robert Wyatt, but when he gets political I switch off. Please note though, my dislike of TBPWM is purely personal and has little bearing on this present Sunday sub-discussion much less the thread as a whole.

Now, what were we talking about again?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 05:16 PM

it was only coming to Lancashire and hearing all the other myriad approximations of musical styles that were performed in the name of Folk over here (as well as the geral disinterest in Old Songs and Ballads) that made me realise I had to loosen up or else go insane. In the end, I chose the latter option

Hmmm...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 05:14 PM

Bullying? It tells a story from a point of view (as do many of the Irish Republican songs that I hate). What's your problem?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:44 PM

But Sean, I believe you stake some claims to be an original maker.

Not really - at least not songs anyway; I sing Old Traddy Folk Songs and that's about it, though I did make a song called Porcupine in October Sycamore which can listen to (and read about) HERE, though I doubt it'll appeal to anyone on Mudcat.

My main objection to The Band Played WM is the bullying sentiment of the thing and the assumption that we all must agree with those sentiments. I like stories without an agenda, or just a bunch of images, or both. This is one of my reasons for liking the Old Songs, which usually I'm quite happy to call Traditional Folk Songs / Ballads out of deference to convention but not credo. My reasons for loving these songs is as much aesthetic as it is social, and consequently I favour those Folk Clubs where they dominate to the point of exclusivity.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: BTNG
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:30 PM

Do purists really exist?

like legends, only in their own minds


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:29 PM

"and some pretend it still is. "
Perhaps you - or somebody would like to explain exactly what being "a purist" is and what we should be doing to become "impure" in order to satisfy those who obviously disapprove of us doing what we do - no luck so far, but here's hoping.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:14 PM

Folk is like tomatoes. Tomatoes struggle to grow in the wild in most countries, but do ok if they're propagated and covered and watered and tendered. They're quite good fun to do, but not real wild tomatoes. Folk music today is like that. It's a long way from the real wild tomato that people claim it once was and some pretend it still is. Some people like to propagate and protect and water and tender and pretend they're wild tomatoes and others like to buy tins of Heinz Tomato Soup.

I hope that has made it clear.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 12:30 PM

I was interested to see that the traditional music event which has been occupying my time lately, The Willie Clancy Summer School (a 39 year-old, week-long annual feast of music classes, song workshops, lectures, exhibitions, recitals and jam-packed pub sessions, topped off with a concert of Irelands finest traditional singers and musicians), made page two of The Irish Times yesterday while the Oxegen knees-up at Puncherstown only made page seven - where did we go wrong, I wonder.   
excellent news jim


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 11:28 AM

Have you all nae heard of Archie Plum?
Who did muckle talking through his bum....


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 10:46 AM

As you know, I don't think the DIY argument ['it's better than you could do anyway'] holds any water: Dr Johnson on tables applies [google it if you don't know it].

But Sean, I believe you stake some claims to be an original maker. So let me know when you have come up with anything ·00001% as god as "The Band Played...'; and, yowzer, will I ever be impressed.

Regards

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 09:31 AM

Oh, there goes "find the lady" again.

You brought the issue of "what is folk" in in place of "what is a purist". Now you want to talk about "what is old". In this context, because the discussion had diverted to the folkish essence in purism the CORRECT term is "folk song": otherwise you are changing horses in midstream.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 08:07 AM

You substitute an invented term "old songs and ballads" for the correct one "folk song".

There is no correct here, only to the fundamentalist. Hmmm - fundament / mentalist seems to as good a term for Anally Retentive as any, especially in this context don't you think?

That adds nothing and loses much since it loses the correlation between folk song and folk music on the one hand and folk arts and folklore generically on the other.

Have you read Trubshaw's Discovering Folklore? If not, recommend you do. It only comes unstuck (ironically) when discussing Folk Music, where he gets more hung up on content than context. Folk Arts is a deplorable term anyway - reactionary post-modernism at its worst, and quite patronising too. We had a lovely thread about it a while ago. Folklore, again, is more about outsider observation, interpretation and misunderstanding of feral events by way of containing them in academic terms and thereby reconstructing them in that image. It isseldom about what it means to the people who it, in which case there'd be nothing to write, or else too much, and the whole notion of Folklore would evaporate, as I believe it should. Folklore is either Everything Everywhere, or it is Nothing Nowhere. As a singer of Old Songs and a teller of Old Stories and lover of Old Rites and Riots, I go with the later every time!

Schmaltzy Matilda (I like the coinage) is a fine song in its own way

No it isn't, it's a fecking dreadful piece of mawkish tripe that only comes in useful for parody as in Ron Baxter's masterful Morecambe.

and there's nothing inherently evil in singing it - and if your own arguments are right then it is a traditional song. Reductio ad absurdum.

I never said it wasn't a Traditional Song - just not an Old One; it's certainly a New Testament Folk Song, sung to the point of laboured idiomatic cliche (as you keep saying Folk is never about quality or musical preference) but I do believe its inherent evil lies in the thuggish assumption that a random smattering of listeners have to weep along with mawkish sentiments. Thing is, being a Revival in the religious sense, in my experience, they generally do.

*

PS -

Your distortion of the impact of the application of a term to the Elliots is likewise contumelious.

Make no mistake, I have every respect for The Elliots, but not for the system by which they were selected and exalted. I despise the implication of Folk Purity and co-opting of select individuals and familes simply to prove a point. It's rather like Disney's cameramen driving lemmings over a cliff to substantiate a myth. In the context of their Culture and Community the Elliots remain remarkable, but only one tiny small piece of a much bigger jigsaw that is the rich and wondrous culture & musical traditions of the Durham & Northumbrian Coalfield which was my natural born home - a culture that must include everything from Tommy Armstrong to The New Blockaders.

I have no respect for your arguments, or your irrelevancies,

Thinking about this again, I have every respect for yours.

*

Suibhne, your argument that all music is traditional, whilst I can understand it, is not helpful to this discussion.

I don't want to helpful, Howard - I'm just pointing out to the anchorites of the Folk World that there are other musics out there, each of them with equally valid claims to being Traditional.

You know full well what I mean by "traditional" in this context.

I know what Folkies mean by it - I also believe they are wrong and quite frequently miss the beauties of the songs they love owing to both a lack of understanding of cultural process and a willingness to believe othodox writ.

Besides, you are the one who has consistently berated academics and collectors for their lack of understanding.

Yes, but look at the reasons why.

This completely disregards that the purpose of folk clubs is to present a particular type of music,

No it doesn't - and chance would be a bloody fine thing if that was the case. As I keep saying, I only go to Folk Clubs to play and hear a particular type of music, but the reality is seldom so straightforward. In fact, it was only coming to Lancashire and hearing all the other myriad approximations of musical styles that were performed in the name of Folk over here (as well as the geral disinterest in Old Songs and Ballads) that made me realise I had to loosen up or else go insane. In the end, I chose the latter option, especially when we found what is now our Perfect Folk Club in the perfect pub. However in the wider context of Human Society there is more to be considered by the Folklorist Ethnographer than the interests of a minority of enthusiastic hobbyists - such as myself and every other Folkie great and small.

Off out to enjoy the day now, back later, or tomorrow, depending how we get on.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 07:27 AM

someone wishing to perform at a folk club should play folk music, or something close to it

Hah. The McGuffin, around which all Mudcat discussions of folk tend to revolve endlessly.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 07:21 AM

Suibhne, your argument that all music is traditional, whilst I can understand it, is not helpful to this discussion. You know full well what I mean by "traditional" in this context.

Your statement that defining folk is "as easy as ABC, elementary musicology" flies in the face of everything you've said on this thread and elsewhere. Besides, you are the one who has consistently berated academics and collectors for their lack of understanding. And

Despite this you yourself see everything in terms of an academic definition - because folk is the Music of the People, what is termed "folk music" should embrace whatever music The People now enjoy. This completely disregards that the purpose of folk clubs is to present a particular type of music, not to be an extension of folkloric or ethnomusicological studes. In this they are no different from other music venues, be they jazz clubs, rock venues or classical concert halls. It is not being "purist" (at least not in the derogatory sense) to expect that someone wishing to perform at a folk club should play folk music, or something close to it.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 07:04 AM

You substitute an invented term "old songs and ballads" for the correct one "folk song". That adds nothing and loses much since it loses the correlation between folk song and folk music on the one hand and folk arts and folklore generically on the other. Schmaltzy Matilda (I like the coinage) is a fine song in its own way and there's nothing inherently evil in singing it - and if your own arguments are right then it is a traditional song. Reductio ad absurdum.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 06:42 AM

But none of that makes the sentence traditional nor the tune we compose traditional.

As I say, The Tradition is the stuff that songs are made on, not the songs themselves which are but the consequence of that tradition. For any tradition to live those songs exist as fluid consequences of the creative processes and conventions which are its life and soul.

That is so obvious that it must undermine any bona fides that your argument might otherwise have.

Obvious as a convention but only in a canonical sense. We have the Canon of Folk Song as given to us by the Old Testament Revival and the collectors thereof, but those songs are only a bunch of random samples from the Tradition that made them, they are not the Tradition in and of themselves. Those collected songs are but snap-shots, mere stills and glimpses isolated from the fluidity of musical process, and imperfect ones at that.

Your distortion of the impact of the application of a term to the Elliots is likewise contumelious.

Only in respect of Folk Heresy I'm sure.

I have no respect for your arguments, or your irrelevancies,

Likewise I'm sure.

although I am mildly gratified to see that you are trying to understand the difference between a folksinger and a folksong singer.

I'm running with the Revival Convention of such matters anyway, otherwise in the broader scheme of universal musical creativity it doesn't mean that much to me other than the Old Folk Singers are generally more fun to listen to than the New Ones. Old Testament Folk Song - be it Harry Cox or Phil Tanner or Alfred Deller or Jack Langstaff or John Jacob Niles or Seamus Ennis - have something else going on which is largely absent from the New Testament MOR approach; at least to my ears anyway. Of course there are exceptions - Jim Eldon, Peter Bellamy, Mike Waterson, Dave Peters et al. So in many ways the distinction is purely an aesthetic one, though I will always consider Context as a crucial factor - so someone like (say) Davie Stewart becomes a hero for me, but in the same sense the others do too - Bellamy, Eldon... In terms of Pure Music though, those distinctions don't really bother me in the slightest.

That in itself appears to indicate that you might actually know what folksong is

What it actually shows that I know what YOU think a Folk Song is and what The Colonial Revival thinks a Folk Song is. I'm well acquainted with the conventions, orthodoxies and the canons of The Revival but I don't agree with the conclusions, much less that other songs sung by the Old Singers can't be considered Folk Songs, nor, for that matter, why many songs sung by New Singers CAN and, indeed ARE. After all, athiests can be Theologists too.

and so that your sesquipedalian arguments are not bona fide.

Damn right they are, all the more so because I love and sing this stuff too. In essence I'm a passionate folky for whom the Old Songs & Ballads represent a pinacle of artistic achievement in all their glorious diversity. To see them reduced to MOR easy-listening mush for a elite minority of baby-boomers breaks my heart. I think this goes back to first hearing June Tabor sing Plains of Waterloo in the same gig as The Band Played Smalzting Matilda (certainly they're both on the same record). Maybe I was 14 or so at the time, but in instantly loving the former I instantly despised the latter, and I still do, and can't see why the two should ever be associated. Still, each to their own, eh?

S O'P (for Purist, acknowledging the Joys of Folk Analysis)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 05:51 AM

But none of that makes the sentence traditional nor the tune we compose traditional. That is so obvious that it must undermine any bona fides that your argument might otherwise have.

Your distortion of the impact of the application of a term to the Elliots is likewise contumelious.

I have no respect for your arguments, or your irrelevancies, although I am mildly gratified to see that you are trying to understand the difference between a folksinger and a folksong singer. That in itself appears to indicate that you might actually know what folksong is and so that your sesquipedalian arguments are not bona fide.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 05:24 AM

each individual word I used was traditional and the grammatical structures I used likewise.

By jove I think he's beginning to get it! We use language as Innocently as the Elliots once used Folk Song, but each and every one of us is a master of it - able to compose entire sentences as quick as we can say them. Thing is, we might not be aware of such Linguistic terms of noun-phrase or bi-labial fricative but that doesn't mean we can't use them; we might even be aware of Grimms Law or which words we use are Romance or whatever, but that doesn't effect or ability to use them in a sentence.

for example there was some years ago a South American composer who decided to break the octave down into 64 intervals rather than 12.

Feast your eyes, ears & intellect on the music of Harry Partch, who using Pythagorean theory divided the octave into 43. The reason he did this? 1) to more accurately reflect the inflections of human speach patterns which (he felt) had come adrift in Western Music traditions (Opera in particular) and 2) so he might use Perfect intervals in his music rather than (say) the compromised thirds of the tempered scale. Now Musical Maverick he may have been, but in every aspect of his work Partch was drawing heavily on tradition, even the tradition of musical outsider eccentricity in which he might sit alongside such philosophical innovators as Sun Ra and Moondog - both of whom were ultra-traditionalists when it came to the core of their thinking and compositional approaches and allegiances - as was Harry Partch, whose music was the direct creative consequence of that which preceded it just as all musics are in terms of pure process and tradition which is why Partch is an integral figure in the Tradition of New World Classical music.

Even the story about Karpeles allegedly saying that a person was not a folk singer because he had been educated involves a probably malicious slight

The Karpeles story was related on one of these threads by the singer themselves. Not sure which thread it was now (1954 and all That?) but they offered it in the context of a wider discussion on Karpeles and her ideas regarding Folk Purity. The discintion of Folk Songer / Folksong Singer is always going to a weird one, given that the Elliots only became Folk Singers when Ewan MacColl told them they were. The rest of us have elected to be Folksong Singers on account of our enthusiasms for the idiom, and for the essential respect for the old innocent singers thereof (one wonders if the Elliots were still Folk Singers when they became aware that they were?) However, there are Revival Traditions which in themselves can be the source of a Purist Snobbery which we all might be prone to...

For example only yesterday we met up with old friends in MCR and consequently I was rather pished by the time we made it into Fopp where, inebriated into Steamfok nostalgia (or whatever) I bought the 3 CDs by the John Renbourn Group earlier mentioned in my Steamfolk thread. Playing Maid in Bedlam in the car on the way home I remembered once hearing a woman singing Black Waterside as Jacqui Mcshee sings it on that recording - with the la-la-las and all. My God, I almost choked on my pint, but such sloppy sourcing is no cause for derision, surely? Her idea of Folk was singing Jacqui McShee songs; she also sang Cruel Sister to the tune of Lay the Bent to the Bonny Broom, and once complained at me for singing her song to the wrong words when I sang Lay the Bent as given in the Northumbrian Minstelsy (Child #1). Was I purist for advising her to be more dilligent in sourcing her rep? Hmmm... Guilty as charge m'lud... The shame, the shame...

*

I notice on one of the John Renbourn Group CDs they sing a translation of Machaut's Douce Dame Jolie by one Anne Lister. Is that 'our' Anne Lister? I know she has a background in medieval studies. Very nice it is too, but maybe the purist would rather hear it sung as Machaut intended? That's the thing with the tradition of New Testament Revival Folk - it's been done in so many ways the whole notion of purism becomes laughable - and yet, and yet...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:35 AM

"and then displaying all the traits discussed in this thread isn't answering anything"
Don't suppose you'd care to give me any examples of which particular stereotype I fit into and why.
I love and have always encouraged accompanied songs - hardly an indication of "purism".
I've always argued that it is important to continue making songs using folk forms, otherwise the genre will stagnate. The most well known of our residents wrote far more contemporary songs than any singer/songwriter I know, which range from ones that are regularly mistaken for traditional, to those which are sung world-wide, including one that made number one (twice) in the charts (and his fortune).
After half a century I have come to accept a definition which fits the music I have been listening to for most of my life, and which also fits the information we have been given by the traditional singers we have intervied over the last thirty-odd years - no need to take my word on this; the interviews are freely availably for access in the British Library if you are in the UK and in a couple of archives in Ireland if you happen to be passing.
It is the music that fits into that definition that I have thought worthwhile listening to, performing and making accessible to wider audiences - the success of that music here in Ireland seems to prove that, in spite of the sneers and the name-calling, it hasn't anywhere near reached the end of its shelf-life yet.
I was interested to see that the traditional music event which has been occupying my time lately, The Willie Clancy Summer School (a 39 year-old, week-long annual feast of music classes, song workshops, lectures, exhibitions, recitals and jam-packed pub sessions, topped off with a concert of Irelands finest traditional singers and musicians), made page two of The Irish Times yesterday while the Oxegen knees-up at Puncherstown only made page seven - where did we go wrong, I wonder?      
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:11 AM

On the basis of what has been said above I cannot agree that all music is traditional. That assertion seems to involve eliding the scales that are used, and possibly the timings, with the works composed using them. It would obviously be impossible to contend that a set of words that I might compose today or tomorrow were traditional save in the obviously ridiculous sense that each individual word I used was traditional and the grammatical structures I used likewise. Even that plainly unuseful argument breaks down when applied to music: for example there was some years ago a South American composer who decided to break the octave down into 64 intervals rather than 12. Clearly the music he composed was not in any sense traditional unless you assert that the existence of an octave is a tradition rather than a mathematical fact. In short the assertion is a typical piece of horse dishonesty (or horse puckey if you prefer).

The absurd academic arguments employed (obfuscated by frequent gratuitous philological exhibitionism) to seek to invalidate the core views of the 1954 definition are it seems to me equally dishonest in context - as is the outright false assertion that the 1954 definition uses the expression, much less is founded on views about, "working class".

Even the story about Karpeles allegedly saying that a person was not a folk singer because he had been educated involves a probably malicious slight: I am in no doubt that Karpeles would have been aware of (and largely observed) the distinction between a folk singer and a folksong singer - one used for example in early Martin Carthy sleeve notes.

This is not, however, in principle a "what is folk" thread. It asks "Do purists exist". That can only be answered by knowing what a purist is.

The definitions I cited above centre on a tendency to prohibit or criticise the doing of things save in certain older manners or forms. They do not centre on knowing the difference between derivations. There are two points here. First, the (only sensible, so far) definition of folk music is one of derivation not form or style although some authorities do cite matters of style or form (in particular formulaic expression, and some aspects of the use of modes if you believe that modes exist rather than being choices of notes in a scale) as indicating probable derivation. Second the interaction between the correct use of the expression "folk music" and the word "purist" depends on what is sought to be prohibited or criticised. Int he examples given above there are two main strands of criticism or prohibition.

The first type of prohibition or criticism is that a work is not "folk" (or as in the case of the Singers' Club part of the community of the singer). The furthest anyone has gone on this thread is Jim, and he has not suggested that a song should be banned from any assembly merely because it was not folk. On the contrary, although he admits all folk song (although I wonder how far I'd get in County Clare with some "traditional" British Army songs if I knew any) he also admits "folk-alike" songs that are stylistically close enough. Possibly Bob Copper might have gone further.

We may therefore conclude that we cannot find an example of anyone who seeks to exclude works that are not "folk". There remain, then, only those who seek to exclude for matters of style or form (including "you're doing it wrong" and "those aren't the right words").

That conceivably does fall within the core of the definitions I gave. I've never had anyone tell me, although I do get told that I do some things differently from typical renditions, that I shouldn't do it my way. I know someone who claims to have been firmly glared at by Bob Copper for doing "The Cuddy Wren" with a guitar, but perhaps Bob just didn't like the way the guitar was being played (OK, that's tongue in cheek in case the person is reading this).

The evidence on that would seem to be that although such people do exist, they are rare, but more particularly that their objections are nothing to do with whether something is folk music. So can we leave horses out?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 03:11 AM

Theres a lot to be said for an anal view
Its gets to the bottom of me and you
My pleasure has often been quite unalloyed
Looking up at the stools and the haemmeroids
If you're a bit of an aresehole, to thyself be true
And demand a room with an anal view.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:41 PM

We all seem to be able to agree that "traditional" music is "folk".

I don't. All music is Traditional, but not all music is Folk. All Folk music is Traditional though.

We may find that hard to define

It's easy as ABC; elementary musicology in fact.

but I don't think that's as important as is made out

It's an ongoing bugbear for sure, but not without good reason.

I can't define an elephant, but I know one when I see it.

That's because elephants exist and aren't some rare breed of folk species that only comes into existence by subjecting it to an absurd & unrealistic criteria to prove it is biologically different from any other breed of animal.

It seems to be the people who want other styles of music also to be called "folk" who complain most loudly about "purists" trying to keep them out

Who does this? Or maybe you think by pointing out the Myriad of Styles you can call Folk these days by way of their context - i.e the many sorts of music you hear in Folk Clubs or discussed on Mudcat - this opens the floodgates? BUT it's not a matter of wanting this, far from it, rather it's a matter of facing facts. Nothing to do with Horses either, just to do with sorts of things your likely to hear done in the Name O' Folk these days.

but I have to question their motives for wanting to be included.

There aren't any motives; it's all down to the Come All Ye inclusivity which is the nature of the Folk beast - be it bands, clubs, festivals, Mudcat or whatever. Where there is Folk there is always going to be all sorts of music and approaces that will irk the self-styled Purist, not because the music is at fault or doesn't belong, but because Purists are complete and utter twats who know nowt about the music they claim to love. If they did, they wouldn't be purists. What they do know about is a perverse small minded craving for Rules and Regulations so they may adopt a Jobsworth attitude to further the misery that their anal view of the world dictates they must share.

I've met a few, not many as I say, for which I am truly thankful.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 01:33 PM

Ironically, I have a lot of time for purists as in taking a hobby seriously and combining the historical research of how we expressed ourselves and getting good abstract enjoyment out of perpetuating that medium.

Lots of big words there.

Nonetheless I see the difference between a person taking a huge interest in what we loosely call folk and somebody berating others for not fitting their ideal.

Just to keep the purist term a neutral one, I don't think a bloke who goes in to a barmaid and asks for her to Allow him to partake of a jar of her finest real ale is a purist, he is a prat who cannot ask for a pint of bitter. I see similar prats once they have their pint and are discussing the merits of a song some poor sod is trying to sing. They are not purists, they are prats. a purist may know a bit about the song, might even understand what specific gravity means with regard to the keg beer disguised with a clever hand pull valve, but purist they are not.

A purist for me is somebody who then can't understand why we don't all embarrass the bar staff and piss off the singers.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 10:24 AM

Yes I admit I'm a purist. None of you have reached my exacting standards. I advise you all to jack it in.

I did consider liquidating the disparate elements who have dragged the tradition down to its present sorry state. One night when i was drunk I put a machne gun in one of my guitar cases. I've forgotten which one. But if i turn up at your folk club and by mischance I have picked the case with a machine gun in it. There will be trouble.

I am a purist. Not a man to trifled with. You all need to pull your socks up, and start behaving yourself. People who forget the words and the tune of the song they are performing - you have been warned!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones, who really must reset his cook
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 09:55 AM

I didn't get into folk music because of some academic definition, or because of its class origins or political associations. I discovered a genre of music which I could relate to - and importantly, which I could play at a time when I had barely mastered three chords on guitar. That music was labelled "folk", which at that time still meant mainly traditional music (or rather the revival interpretation of it), although confusingly it also covered another genre which seemed to have little in common other than usually being accompanied with acoustic guitar.

As I mentioned in a previous post, these two did drift apart for a while, more as a result of natural selection than club policies - people naturally gravitated towards the clubs whose music they preferred. More recently they seem to have come together again, and the "folk" tag seems to have become even wider. I have a BBC Folk Awards album on which one of the instrumental tracks not only shows no relationship to traditional melodic structures but the instrumentation and manner of performance bears no relationship to either traditional or the usual revival styles. It's not bad music, but I can see nothing about it to justify labelling it "folk".

We all seem to be able to agree that "traditional" music is "folk". We may find that hard to define, but I don't think that's as important as is made out - I can't define an elephant, but I know one when I see it. It seems to be the people who want other styles of music also to be called "folk" who complain most loudly about "purists" trying to keep them out, but I have to question their motives for wanting to be included.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 07:43 AM

You can't say whether there are purists until you know what a purist is. That's why I put up the dictionary definitions earlier.

I even indicated that I didn't plan to get into "what is folk" (or words to that sort of effect) until horse wnakers started. But I do know pretentious drivel when I see it, and I see a lot of it here, mostly apparently from horses.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Folknacious
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 07:27 AM

GUEST Steamin' Willie: the stereotype that this thread started describing before it became another what is folk.

Thank you, Steam. As the person who started this thread and is truly staggered by its length and the effects of blowback, I must say that the last thing I had in mind was another "what the f**k is f**k?" war between the usual suspects beating each other around the heads with prejudices, dictionaries and hot air ballons.

For what it's worth, in spite of it all - and I must admit to not having carefully read every word due to my war wound - I'm still not entirely sure my original question was answered. Yes, lots of people have popped up wearing their stereotypes with pride, but whether the term "purist" is correctly applied is questionable. There's been an awful lot of narrow minded, close-horizoned, lack of broad experience low level bigotry expressed, but that's not being a "purist" because to be a "purist", surely you have to not only know and love your field but also have good knowledge of everything else surrounding it or you can't possibly make value judgements. I don't see a lot of that: I see a lot of "I know about what I think is folk and I don't like the other stuff because I've hardly experienced it." Surely that's not being a purist, it's rather more like being an old (or insert age range of choice) fart.

But thank you all, I think.

Ken


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 06:27 AM

But the point is that they were singing folk songs. Just because they hadn't put a particular label on them didn't mean they wern't folk.


And so were they called to their sacred mission, bestowed from on high in reward for the purity of their innocent compliance to the holy law whilst other lesser mortals slipped through the dragnet. These days there's no such purity, much less innocence, though occasionally one hears of individuals being hailed for such qualities, these random messiahs feted as The Real Thing according to the Holy Writ of both the Old and New Testments of the Revival. Pure blood lines, unsullied by the baser elements and the corrupting influences of Popular Culture, such people are seen as saviours.

And so the Folk Myth endureth, and will endureth, until The Folk Rapture, which, as predicted, will happen on the 23rd June 2024. On this day, the True Folk and the Faithful thereof will be carried aloft into Paradise, leaving the rest of us to heave a huge sigh of relief and simply get on with the very pleasant business of making beautiful music together.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:52 AM

Yeah but then, I don't make a living out of talking balls M'Unlearned friend.

Jim, when you get back from your music or whatever (I'm going to my hill to walk up for that matter and about as relevant) please note that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. just saying you are not a purist and then displaying all the traits discussed in this thread isn't answering anything. I haven't addressed what you have put for a reason. It is interesting but is not relevant to this discussion.

You can be an enthusiast all you like but that doesn't stop you fitting the stereotype that this thread started describing before it became another what is folk.

Folk is what you say it is and it is what I say it is. Funnily enough, strip out the pretentious words he uses and it might, just might also be what M'Unlearned Friend says it is. Alternatively show me the copyright. And before you say it, dictionaries are reactive not proactive so don't try that one. Even Rumpole of Kent might understand that.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:35 AM

Or is the field of Folk song scholarship the one where the pit used to be? Or the old houses long since demolished under Schedule D? The people who lived there didn't realise they were singing Folk Songs either. In my experience most of them weren't, but they were still singing like birds, like old 'Uncle' Jimmy, a ex-miner who'd been singing semi-professionally around the Durham pit villages since 1920 and had never heard of any of the folk songs I asked him about... And he was most keen to impress me too, which he did with his encyclopedic knowledge of early 20th century Popular Song, stories and traditions. He liked The Colliers' Rant though; I showed it to him in my facsimile of Bells' Northern Bards (1812).


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:29 AM

'Have a look at the book about the Elliots of Birtley when they say "We di'nt know thst we were singing folk songs till Ewan Maccoll told us"'

But the point is that they were singing folk songs. Just because they hadn't put a particular label on them didn't mean they wern't folk.

There are two aspects to this argument: the purely academic one which is of only passing interest to the ordinary music lover, and the more practical one of what sort of music is appropriate in a "folk club". The latter is important, because there is a case for saying that too broad an approach has contributed to the general decline in folk clubs.

I don't know of many clubs which had an actual policy, but most were self-selecting and the division into trad and contemporary clubs was more a matter of natural selection than edict. If a club doesn't want to book a performer because they don't suit the style of the club that's not being "purist" or "fascist", that's just paying regard to the expectations of the club's audience.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,mother macree anon purist
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:12 AM

Come on you lot!!!!!!!!!! does it really matter.?

I learnt to sing,enjoy and perform folk when i did not know what folk was. Have a look at the book about the Elliots of Birtley when they say "We di'nt know thst we were singing folk songs till Ewan Maccoll told us"
I did and still enjoy singing and that it is it.

ENJOY ENJOY, now get out and sing!!! damn you!! not sit around on your collective smug arses annalysing it.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:10 AM

Mr Fluids has as usual no idea what he is talking about.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:51 AM

"The unconconcious folk-singer whose singing was regarded as unconsidered and as 'instinctive as birdsong' has been one of the most prevailing images in the field of folk song scholarship since it began."

I like the like the idea of uncon-consciousness. Otherwise I can run with that as an apt analogy of how these songs would have existed in their Natural Habitat, much less been seen to flow by the outsiders. One thinks of Bird singing, or Coltrane, or Miles, or Louis Armstring - or - any true master of their art - be it Jeannie Robertson - Phil Tanner - Sam Larner - and the countless others that were missed entirely - whose singing was, indeed, as natural to them as birdsong.

Meanwhile, I think the field of folksong scholarship is now a Tescos...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:33 AM

"My point is that collecting and folklore scholarship moved on from those naive and often condescending beginnings."
It may have GG but the result of those attitudes means we have no way of assessing what our traditional singers regarded their songs - the source information is not there and those who carried it are no longer with us. I agree that some US collectors and researchers did attempt to redress this situation, but in the UK we are still in the world of 'birdsong' - one result being that we have a revival that can't tell its folk arse from its elbow and where every singer from Melba to Meatloaf has to be regarded as "folk" because he ain't a horse.
"Every time Jim starts typing, we answer the original question"
Willie - you have not addressed one single point I have made and have each time reverted to childish name calling.
I am not a "purist", I am not an academic or an expert - I am an enthusiast who spent most of my musical life in folk clubs, but who decided to lift up the corner and try to see what lay underneath, mainly by talking to older singers, but also reading the occasional book as well - try it.
Please try to put a little thought behind your words - it makes for better understanding and tolerance.
And ntw - I'm certainly not just "a collector with a very different attitude and approach" - my musical approach was formed in the clubs and is an extension of that experience.
Must go - music calls.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:10 AM

It's true this thread has drifted away from the original topic onto the usual well-worn tracks. But the reason we have this debate about "purists" comes back to the difficulty we have in defining "folk" - or more accurately getting some people to accept it.

I doubt whether they have the same issues in other genres, or at least to the same extent. OK I know of the rift in jazz between trad and bebop, but if I go to a jazz club I know broadly what to expect - the same if I go to a classical concert, or an event billed as reggae, northern soul or whatever. If I go to a folk club - some clubs anyway - I could hear almost anything.

The strangest thing is why all these people performing other than traditional folk want to squeeze inside the folk tent. Apart from brief periods, folk has been deeply unfashionable and uncool. My cynical view is that the folk scene offers them an opportunity to perfor before an often uncritical audience, and to become a big fish in a small pond.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:01 AM

Jim Carroll goes to bat for Sub, doesn't often happen, but I will admit that is a good example of an old attitude toward 'the folk' and 'folksong'.   Jim, you are a collector with a very different attitude and approach. I often listen to recordings collected by you and the aforementioned Mark Wilson and Art Rosenbaum, I don't often dig through the moldy old writings of Barry. My point is that collecting and folklore scholarship moved on from those naive and often condescending beginnings. Please read the late American folklorist Archie Green for a view of folksong diametrically opposed to that put forward by Barry, check out Norm Cohen as well.

"The unconconcious folk-singer whose singing was regarded as unconsidered and as 'instinctive as birdsong' has been one of the most prevailing images in the field of folk song scholarship since it began." - Jim, you have to know that view has been strongly challenged for decades, and not just by you.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 03:46 AM

And then goes on to fan the flames..... Thanks as ever Jim.

I would have sympathy with that if this were such a thread. However it started as a discussion around the word purist. Methinks it also debated whether purism is a nice or nasty label. Since then it has become a rather academic debate around what is folk, similar to every other ruddy thread. Although whenever I or others try debating that subject, you get all precious. Perhaps you are answering the original thread by accident?

Some very deep meaningful discussion here but needs an appropriate thread starting. Every time Jim starts typing, we answer the original question and that's a shame because there is a place for learned people like Jim but not necessarily chairman of the folk board.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 03:25 AM

"...you can't name any collector who believed that the working class was incapable of producing anything, and you certainly can't cite the offending words."
Regarding the creation of folk song, this from Phillips Barry in his note to The Lakes of Col Finn in The New Green Mountain Songster:
"Popular tradition, however, does not mean popular origin. In the case of of the ballad, the underlying folklore is Irish de facto, but not de jure: the ballad is of Oriental and literary origin, and has sunk to the level of the "folk" which has the keeping of folklore. To put it in a single phrase, memory not invention is the function of the folk " (my emphasis).
I believe this attitude reflects that of many collectors and academics, who have treated our field singers as merely sources of songs and nothing more, the result being that we have little or no information as to what the singers thought of their songs, if anything.
The unconconcious folk-singer whose singing was regarded as unconsidered and as "instinctive as birdsong" has been one of the most prevailing images in the field of folk song scholarship since it began. We even have our own 'expert' on this forum who, based on "gut reaction", is keen to prove that the folk had no part in the making of our traditional songs, which, he claims, were really the products of an army of pixies slaving away in cellars of broadside publishing houses in order to give us our oral folk literature because the 'ordinary' people were too busy earning a living to create anything artistic for themselves - not my opinion after nearly 40 years of interviewing some of the remaining few source singers left to us.
As a whole, the working class has always been regarded as being incapable of artistic creation, other than on the most crude and basic level; the main reason why folk song has been treated as an object of ridicule by the arts establishment and the media (and even evident on this thread) - the 'Rambling Sid Rumpo' school of thought.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 02:27 AM

Haven't got time to get to involved in this - am in the middle of our traditional music summer school - briefly.
"Second, I am tempted to write a definitive book of rules and state that this is folk and nothing else is"
It's facile and unpleasent comments like this that send threads like this crashing in flames make it impossible to discuss our different approaches to our music(s) - a form of cyber-bullying.
There are no "rules" as to how folk music "should" be performed (other than those invented by people who neither understand nor particularly like traditional music"). There certainly has been no evidence of their existance other than 'urban-legend-type' references to "purists".
There certainly are personal tastes, but these get bulldozed into the ground by stupid and nasty phrases like "purist", "finger-in-ear" and "folk police (or even fascist)".
The folk scene has built an impregnable wall around itself, leaving us with a sickly anodyne critical mechanism by which we can judge how well or badly we are doing and what impact our music is having outside our 'folk-greenhouses'.
Music calls
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 09:18 PM

Ripov, your statements about classical performance confirm my comments.

"Yes, concert performances of beethoven will be very similar to each other, because the performers all play the same version, and indeed only that one version exists."

One version of the 9th is all we have (but it's certainly enough). Conversely, there is no 'right' version of 'Pretty Saro', there are multiple versions, reflecting the processes that (awkward though the phrase is) we call the folk process. Different versions of Vivaldi's work will differ, but not to the degree that variants of Child #84 differ. There is still Vivaldi's score to refer to; a would-be ballad singer in 2011 has hundreds of recordings, transcriptions and texts to refer to (or he or she can make up his own version).

"The same applies at times to the "folk" scene today."

First of all, today's revivalist folk scene is not the same tradition as the ones documented by Sharp, Lomax and others; secondly, there are plenty of different versions of any given song, each 'right' in its own way, but no single 'correct' version, so I'm not sure the same does apply.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: ripov
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 08:12 PM

The "working class" (particularly the urban working class) in the period when collectors like Sharp were active, were living in completely different ("Dickensian") circumstances to the mainly rural workers in earlier times. And many of those earlier workers were craftsmen, self employed people that nowadays, and even in victorian times, would have been regarded as "middle class". The "wage slave" was a product of the Industrial Revolution, possibly driven from the old way of life by the Enclosures. These events are well documented in folk-song.
Particularly as far as music is concerned the concept of these workers as unlearned is probably incorrect. I think it was Suibhne who mentioned this earlier, and just to back it up here are a couple of quotes;
from the Oxford Companion to Music referring to the Metrical Psalters (circa 1600);(Hymns and Hymn Tunes 5) "this was a period when sightsinging was a common accomplishment". And from Trevalyan's "English Social History", again referring to these psalters "these.... often supplied the music in four parts.... so that "the unskilful with small practice may attain to sing that part which is fittest for their voice". Which implies that
1. it was normal to be able to sing from music, and that
2. experienced singers would improvise appropriate parts on their own.
Again the first edition of The Beggar's Opera had melody but no bass. Well, a competent musician can play a suitable bass without the dots, can't he.
In any case, should we not expect a complete continuum of musical ability from the veriest amateur to the top professional; and so regard any division of this continuum as artificial.

GooseGander, I think you are coming from the wrong end about classical music. Yes, concert performances of beethoven will be very similar to each other, because the performers all play the same version, and indeed only that one version exists. The same applies at times to the "folk" scene today. But regarding folk not sounding like classical, apart from not sounding like Dylan (is Dylan folk?), Boyce doesn't sound anything like Birtwhistle either (thank goodness).
I think it was Beethoven who got cross about performers playing his music their own way (or was it Haydn), it was certainly normal up till then for this to happen.
Try a few (particularly newer) recordings of Vivaldi's "Four Seaons" and you will find they vary considerably.
And have you heard the renderings of Pachabel's Canon, as it is sometimes played in sessions?
But it's good to know what the composer intended, before making our own "adjustments".

Suibhne, my recollection of the classical scene is that knowledge of the teacher/pupil relationship is very important for tracing the handing down of technical matters and of interpretation, and regarded almost as a pedigree, so unlike the folk tradition the path of the classical tradition is well documented. (yes I know I said the distinction was artificial, I'm being an artificer)
For a modern example see http://www.violinist.com/blog/weekendvote/20088/8963/

And as you say the improvisation not only of music but of story was held in high regard. The old name for lyrics, the "lay", sounds very close to the "lie" told by "liars" or story-tellers.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie / fluids whatever
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 05:59 PM

On holiday but pissing it down so sat playing with iPhone ( sign of the times, finding something to play with but I digress)

First, thanks as ever to M'Unlearned Friend for inadvertently making my point whilst trying to make me look a pillock quite a few posts back.

Second, I am tempted to write a definitive book of rules and state that this is folk and nothing else is. I am of the opinion many people would feel such rules a comfort blanket.

Thirdly, I note that poor Joe Offer seems to have to read this thread, presumably out of a deep sense of service. What the hell you must be thinking about us weird buggers this side of the pond.... Don't worry, we get a kick out of lobbing bricks at each other.

And to everybody else, complaining about purists indicates a sense of purism.

Goodnight from a wet and windy campsite in the lake district. Singapore next week for part 2 of the hols. At least the rain is warm and short lived there.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 02:09 PM

Very nicely put, Howard.

Terms like folk, traditional, and folk process are nothing more than shorthand for forms based upon processes that you yourself have indicated that you understand (again, I refer you to your own words I quoted above). You have described your session as 100% traditional, you refer directly above to "Traditional Ballad Singers, Storytellers, & Folk Singers"; clearly, you intend these words to mean something when you use them, you just have a problem when other people use them. Apparently, what is meaningful when you say it is meaningless when I say it. And you say you're not muddying the waters?

"No they don't though, because these processes are an integral part of those other sorts of music too."

Not in the same way and not to the same degree. There is nothing comparable in classical, marching band and death metal (to continue with these examples) that is equivalent to hundreds of different variants of Child #200 with divergent melodies, arrangments, plots, lyrical devices; the 'Drowsy Sleeper'/'Silver Dagger' cluster of ballads/songs in North America; or the ubiquitous 'Cotton-Eyed Joe'. The diversity of forms reflects "a cultural idiom of song making & remaking in an largely working-class oral culture which may have preceded or succeeded the Broadsides," to borrow a phrase, something that cannot be demonstrated in the desemination and performance of Beethoven's choral symphonies (for example).

"Offending words? The whole thing is writ large in the very DNA of the thing."

More sweeping generalizations, Sub. And still no specific reference to a collector (an individual, mind you) that ever believed that the working class was incapable of producing anything. Nor any indication you are aware that collecting and scholarship have moved on from those mist-shrouded, romantic beginnnings. You might want to look into the work of Mark Wilson and Art Rosenbaum in North America for a more up-to-date philosopy and practice of collecting, and more importantly to hear some incredible music.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 09:24 AM

Thanks for the precis, Howard - I do go on at times.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 08:42 AM

It's easy to be critical of the early collectors, but it must be remembered that they were mostly not academics but enthusiasts, who were developing techniques and methodology as they went along. Above all, they were inevitably affected by the class assumptions of their time, as well as by their own political or romantic prejudices.

The idea of "folk music" arose from empirical observation. They realised there was a body of music which differed from contemporary art and popular music. They found it among the "lower classes" and saw it was in danger of dying out, because as this class became more upwardly mobile it was seen not only as old-fashioned but symbolic of what they were trying to "better themselves" from.

Just because the collectors' attitudes and conclusions may have been simplistic or even simply wrong does mean that what they identified as "folk" did not exist, or that it is not a meaningful concept today, even if the word itself has become debased (for entirely separate reasons)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 05:39 AM

these processes make folk music (not Folk Music)distinctive from other kinds of music such as classical, marching band, and death metal.

No they don't though, because these processes are an integral part of those other sorts of music too. What makes each genre special is the aesthetic, cultural & musicological factors which rest at the heart of musical diversity and ensure that there'll always be room for more stlyes, idioms, genres, & traditions, in the future. Any type of so-called Folk Music can go by another name - just another idiom, like different languages or different styles of art, which, in the end, are all the ongoing consequence of units of individual human creativity operating collectively, culturally, socially, organically. There's no music on the planet where this isn't the case.

So in other words, no, you can't name any collector who believed that the working class was incapable of producing anything, and you certainly can't cite the offending words.

Offending words? The whole thing is writ large in the very DNA of the thing. One of the more moving passages in Georgina Boyes' The Imagined Village is when she quotes Joseph Jacobs on the nature of individual creativity with respect of free-styling (for want of a better term) Indo-European folk tales. This opinion is widely regarded as mistaken, but not by me. In Living Traditions, the free-styling of material is integral to the life of the thing and there is no reason why Traditional Ballad Singers, Storytellers, & Folk Singers weren't able to freely create as it suited them to do so. In the European Folk Tale analogues abound, often o'erleaping cultural & linguistic boundaries; same goes for ballads and songs where the themes run fluidly with random adaptation, sampling, making, remaking all being essential aspects of a Living Tradition perpetuated by master craftsmen & women. By masters I mean ordinary people well versed in the soul of the thing, in The Tradition as it were - which is NOT the songs themselves, but such stuff as songs are made on.

Again, it comes down to individuals, albeit in a time when the only micophones were the human ears, the only recording medium the human brain, and the notion of copyright and other legalities hadn't even been thought of yet. The Grapevine was all, and songs spread swift as gossiping tongues and were changed with each re-making NOT because of being wrongly remembered, but to suit the requirements of each individual singer. Chances are they were never sung the same way twice. We can see the collected legacy of this surviving in the collections cited by Jim earlier; The Traditional Songs so eagerly sought after by scholarly academics from an essentially debased proletariat who were very much of an inferior order of being - deferential, humiliated, humble; just as the indigenous populations of the empire were help to be inferior, the oppressed and huddled masses of lumpen humanity, exploited by the Right and patronised by the Left, but never allowed to live and breathe on account of their essential individual uniqueness.

One is reminded of Maud Karpeles introducing one universally celebrated Folk singer as NOT being a real Folk Singer on account of her having been to college. Tongue in cheek? I think not. The 1954 Definition (of Karpeles) is full of assumptions of Folk Character and Community typical of Folkloric studies in general, whereby human individuality is removed from the equation entirely and ones worth (if any) is solely as a passive Tradition Bearer in the context of ones collective community. Know your place, work man.

In Classical Traditions the Community is one of Individuals. We remember names like Henry Purcell, but what of the likes of John Blow and Pelham Humphries and the hundreds of others with whom Purcell studied and learned, and locked horns with on a daily basis, ploughing over as much old ground (and much so-called Folk material) as breaking new? These days we might call it paying dues. In Folk Music, the illusion of collectivism is the consequence of an indifferent educated class misunderstanding and mythologising the actual nature of Alien Human Culture which assumes that by dint of its Inferiority it must be Truly Different in terms of the Authentic, or the Exotic, or the Pure - and then has the neck to make up the terms on which to judge it.

If we defined Folk Music on account of it being simply (and properly) The Music of The Folk, then people here wouldn't be interested. Instead Folk must be this other thing that The Folk are barely even aware of, thus Folk, as it stands, and at its very worst, is a signifier of rabid bourgeois fantasy. At best, it means anything you want it to mean. Hardly the wonder Folk Roots and the International Folk Music Council changed their names to downplay the F-word. As terms Roots and Traditional Music have their problems, but in the manifest remits of both Froots and the Internaional Council for Traditional Music, and the work being done by singers and musicians old and young the world over... well, I don't think there's any real cause to worry, do you?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Banjiman
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 04:59 AM

Thanks Joe, sorted now!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 04:30 AM

"Of course, you could e-mail Joe and get your Mudcat account unscrewed..."

Which I did several months ago and got no response! But I'll try again.
    Maybe it ended up in junk mail, which happens...I e-mailed the info to your e-mail address of record.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 04:07 AM

"PM me if you do... "

I can't PM as my Mudcat account is screwed up. But email me.

Nicely written publicity blurb Mr Cringe!
    Of course, you could e-mail Joe and get your Mudcat account unscrewed...
    -joe@mudcat.org-


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 03:52 AM

Following on from my previous post I think that the whole 'what is folk'?/what is a folk purist?' debate can be neatly summed up in the following dialogue:

'Folk' singer: "I do folk; gimme a gig in your club, man!"

Folk club organiser: "Sorry but no. You see we only book people who do traditional type material."

'Folk' singer: "Whadya mean, no! You f***ing purist!"

And this dialogue, in some form or other, has been repeated over and over for at least the last 50 years, and will probably be repeated for the next 50.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 03:31 AM

"It seemed safer to move away from the folk tag"

In that case, Banjiman, have a listen to these and these and see if you fancy then for one of your nights! PM me if you do...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 03:15 AM

Above was me!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 03:14 AM

"I think Banjiman knows I was being semi-facetious, Jim"

Really! I'm so disappointed. Especially as yours is the only definition of tradalike or "in the tradition" songwriting that I have been offered.

Jim, you are still waiting for a definition of "purist" (from whom I'm not sure, I don't think from me though as I only used the term once, and that was in jest).

I'm still waiting for a definition (from you) as to the Tradalike (i.e. NOT folk, in the terms that you commonly use) songs that were acceptable at the club you were involved in. I'm also interested in how these songs contributed to the title "folk club" doing what it said on the tin.

This is important stuff for me, I've moved away from calling the events we put on "folk" in response to a lot of what I read on here (as well as the "f" word putting off a lot of potential local non-folky audience) and called it either Acoustic Icons or simply The Village Concerts........ For me this debate is not purely academic, it has practical implications for what we run. Oh, and by the way, we still put on lots of Folk (even by it's purest, traditional, definition) acts, just not exclusively, so it seemed safer to move away from the folk tag.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: John P
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 08:54 PM

Thank you ripov. Well said.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: ripov
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 08:11 PM

What is generally termed folk music (not sure about capitalisation or its implication) may indeed be different from other MODERN forms, but is much closer to classical music (not in the pedantic sense) which was hardly a seperate branch of music then, and marches (which it includes) FROM ITS OWN PERIOD (say 1600-1750). Music, like most other human activities, has changes of fashion quite frequently, and those familiar with them can date musical styes to within a few decades or better. Listen to concertos by Handel, Vivaldi, and Boyce. Obviously by different composers, but very similar, because they had the same external influences. This "fashionable" sound of the period is what we recognise as the "folk" sound. And we can probably date it, perhaps a little roughly, the earlier tunes probably more modal, because the main influence was church music, and later tunes more melodic with the popularisation of "classical" concerts, and more formal dances (think Jane Austen)
All music, not just "folk", will be played in a style that owes something to the fashion of the times, because that is our main influence.
That is where the Good Purist comes in.
S/He researches the period and performing styles when the music was composed, and is able to demonstrate how it was originally played (maybe). This is a Good Thing. We know our music's origins, however we subsequently choose to play it.
Then there's the Bad Purist who attempts to prevent the music evolving by only approving performance in the original style.
Otherwise referred to as "precious"; this is a Bad Thing.

BTW does the 1954 text include a definition of "working class"?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 07:04 PM

"I must point out that all music is the consequence of such cultural / musical process, what's so special about folk?"

In the passage I quoted above, you yourself alluded to the specific cultural/musical processes in the evolution of folk music that make it "special"; these processes make folk music (not Folk Music)distinctive from other kinds of music such as classical, marching band, and death metal.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 07:02 PM

I think Banjiman knows I was being semi-facetious, Jim... There is a serious point in there, though. Some of the 'trad-a-like' stuff is very good, but some is such cringe-inducingly bad fake-folk-by-numbers, verily it offendeth mine ears. In such circumstances I'd much rather listen a decent contemporary singer-songwriter who isn't trying to be anything but what they are. Like this feller (listen to the song called 'Romance is Dead')

I think Shimrod has sort of hit the nail on the head though. This 'split' in the postwar folk revival scene is as old as the scene itself. Personally I can live with it, but my bottom line is that I tend to judge a song or a performance by what it tastes like rather than by what it says on the tin, to use a parallel Jim has sometimes used. To stretch it further, this means if it says beans and it is beans, I don't necessarily know till I've tried 'em whether they're succulent beans in a rich, thick sauce or hard little pellets in a thin gruel. And if the tin says beans and when I open it, it's pear halves in syrup, then sometimes that's a nice surprise and sometimes its a pain in the arse. There again, I do have obscenely catholic tastes and a blithe disregard for labels... Snail ice-cream, anyone?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: John P
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 06:48 PM

GSS,
Wow, you are really fixated on this. Why is it so important to you? For the tenth time, would you book a heavy rock act into a folk club you were running? Would you want to perform folk music in a heavy rock club?

For the record, I would make a terrible policeman, since I am an inveterate rule breaker. I still wouldn't want to play my guitar in a singing-only club. There's breaking rules, and then there's being a jerk (as in complete and utter arsehole). Please note that I've never said I agree with a singing-only policy. I don't, actually. But it's THEIR BLOODY CLUB! They get to do what they want, and their audience apparently likes it. Why is it any of your business? Oh, sorry, I've asked you that several times already without any answer, so forgive me for wasting your bandwidth once again.

As for my intelligibility, go find an English teacher and show them my posts and yours, and see what they have to say about clear writing. And reading comprehension. You sound like a pot calling a stainless steel pan black.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 06:26 PM

"A non-traditional folk singer came into her place and screamed at her VERY obscenely for half an hour because she told him she wouldn't book him, and why. This was, at the time, one of the very few places in town that focused on traditional music. There were numerous places for him to play, but he felt that any place that said folk music had to automatically book him because he played folk."

I'm not surprised at this sorry tale at all. I suspect that it gets to the heart of what discussions like this are really all about. In the 50s and 60s there was a brief fad for a form called Skiffle followed by a guitar-based, Dylanesque commercial form to which was applied the label 'Folk'; this was/is widely popular - and there's no reason why it shouldn't be (although I'll put my cards on the table and say that it doesn't particularly appeal to me).

At the same time there evolved a less commercial, grass-roots movement based on traditional Folk music, and two of the leading lights/prime movers in this latter movement were Lloyd and MacColl. The latter was an inspired but controversial figure who was associated with a club which once had a policy which demanded that people who sang at that club should only sing songs from their own region. There were perfectly good reasons for this - which have been discussed, at great length, before. Nevertheless, this (now long defunct) policy has caused apoplexy, in some circles, ever since.

I suspect that this on-going apoplexy about a prehistoric policy, and all of this constant droning on about purists, is because 'Folk' singers, who probably either don't like, or can't see the point of, traditional based Folk, think (like the singer in the story above)that they should have unrestricted access to the clubs based on traditional Folk.

At the same time there have been, in the long history of the Post-War Revival, a few silly buggers who have said things like, "you can't bring that guitar in here" and "you're singing it wrong" etc. Such people should be dealt with by giving them a good, hard slap!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 06:22 PM

I don't get the feeling that you are spending any time actually thinking about what I'm saying. With all humility and respect, please back off. john p quote
I have spent too much time thinking about what you are trying to say and have come to the conclusion it is rather like hampton court maze   
You would make an excellent policeman, you seem to approve of people being told that they should not sing with accompaniments in certain clubs because it is the rule[however absurd it is as a rule and it is absurd] it is absurd because no one imposes a rule upon unaccompanied singers that they have to perform with instruments, and it is absurd because it prevents certain singers from performing to the best of their ability and it also excludes performers who wish to accompany themselves.
music should be inclusive not exclusive, people imposing rules which prevent performers from performing to the best of their abilty, reminds me of the rule imposed on singers performing at the macColl Seeger singers club, where people had to perform songs from their own native background, so English people had to sing English songs NOT AMERICAN, it was imo a very big mistake, IMPOSING RULES FORCING SINGERS TO SING UNACCOMPANIED IS BACKWARD LOOKING.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 06:14 PM

And still neither a definition nor a source of information I can go to - no change there then
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 06:12 PM

"Jim, does that fit with the tradalike"
Sounds like facile crap to me - if that's what you think folk song is you really haven't been looking.
A piss-taking parody rather than a definition which didn't eeven attempt to explain either "folk" or "tradition".
I gathered that SC was being facetious - you apparently took him seriously
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 06:08 PM

"The very fact that Folk Song is seen as a collective product with the stress on The Anonymous and The Traditional is proof pure of this legacy."

So in other words, no, you can't name any collector who believed that the working class was incapable of producing anything, and you certainly can't cite the offending words.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 06:05 PM

Thanks Spleen Cringe, at least you've actually read my question and attempted a definition. It even sounds like a very honest description of some things I like...... a lot! Amongst other things of course.

Jim, does that fit with the tradalike you said you would have in your club? Or was it something different?


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