mudcat.org: Throwing away the crutch....
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Throwing away the crutch....

Ron Davies 02 Jul 13 - 12:53 AM
Rumncoke 01 Jul 13 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,Musket sans body of Clapton 01 Jul 13 - 06:55 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jul 13 - 06:38 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jul 13 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,Musket sans reality check 01 Jul 13 - 06:25 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jul 13 - 06:23 PM
Ron Davies 01 Jul 13 - 06:21 PM
Jack Campin 01 Jul 13 - 11:56 AM
OlgaJ 01 Jul 13 - 11:37 AM
Don Firth 30 Jun 13 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,150613 30 Jun 13 - 03:33 PM
Don Firth 30 Jun 13 - 01:35 AM
GUEST,John Routledge 29 Jun 13 - 07:37 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Jun 13 - 06:20 AM
Jack Campin 29 Jun 13 - 04:56 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Jun 13 - 04:34 AM
Johnny J 29 Jun 13 - 03:53 AM
Ron Davies 28 Jun 13 - 11:54 PM
Bill D 28 Jun 13 - 11:37 AM
Marje 28 Jun 13 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,SteveT 28 Jun 13 - 07:43 AM
GUEST,Musket sans props 28 Jun 13 - 05:45 AM
Johnny J 27 Jun 13 - 03:53 PM
GUEST 27 Jun 13 - 03:41 PM
Don Firth 27 Jun 13 - 03:08 PM
Will Fly 27 Jun 13 - 03:03 PM
Don Firth 27 Jun 13 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Don Wise 27 Jun 13 - 01:45 PM
Marje 27 Jun 13 - 11:21 AM
Jack Campin 27 Jun 13 - 09:35 AM
Marje 27 Jun 13 - 08:30 AM
Jack Campin 27 Jun 13 - 06:01 AM
Phil Edwards 27 Jun 13 - 02:35 AM
Ron Davies 27 Jun 13 - 12:27 AM
Don Firth 26 Jun 13 - 08:22 PM
Phil Edwards 26 Jun 13 - 06:40 PM
Johnny J 26 Jun 13 - 05:14 AM
Ron Davies 26 Jun 13 - 12:05 AM
Ron Davies 25 Jun 13 - 11:53 PM
Ron Davies 25 Jun 13 - 11:40 PM
Phil Edwards 25 Jun 13 - 01:56 PM
Jack Campin 25 Jun 13 - 01:16 PM
Ron Davies 25 Jun 13 - 11:01 AM
Nigel Parsons 25 Jun 13 - 10:54 AM
Ron Davies 25 Jun 13 - 10:07 AM
Nigel Parsons 25 Jun 13 - 09:44 AM
Ron Davies 25 Jun 13 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,John Routledge 25 Jun 13 - 09:25 AM
Ron Davies 25 Jun 13 - 09:10 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 02 Jul 13 - 12:53 AM

"old bloke".   That I can believe. Must be retired, among other things--to have the amazing amount of time to waste on the Militant Atheist thread that appears to be the case.

But I still hope you're not in fact buggered.   You might not enjoy it. But if you do, I'm sure you'll tell us all about it. Just think, it could be worth a few more posts on the Atheist thread.    But please forgive me if I skip them.    It's not really of interest to me. I lean more towards music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Rumncoke
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 08:04 PM

When I was younger I could remember a song after hearing it once.
I wrote down words only when I wanted to play my guitar to it, so I could write in where to put the capo and when to change the cord.

Then suddenly I could no longer remember the words - and some cords. I mean, how can someone forget D Dm and D7 - well I did.

So I went through my diary to look for mentions of songs I had not already written down - and then I found Mudcat, amongst other resources, and I did remember that I sang something like the songs I found, but my repertoire was rather different from most.

So - without the book I would have had to stop singing, so I used the book.

I think my memory is getting a bit better. It is rather strange - I have never forgotten Tam Linn, but something with three verses - no, gone.

The last thing however is a real pain - I thought I would look up some new songs, that is songs I have heard but which did not stick fast, and now it is the tunes.

I decided to learn Penny for the Ploughboys and Curragh of Kildare.

At first I could not carry either tune, but have persisted - using Utube to find and sing along with various different recordings. It has taken several hours, but I think I have them now.

I know that might seem a small amount of time to learn a tune and song, but it used to take no time at all.

So - please - do not think that it is laziness or lack of application for someone to produce a song book so as to read the words.

It could just be a failure of the little grey cells.

In making the several copies of my song book I have devised a method of book binding, and also how to get the computer to print out paper with the number of lines I decided was most useful for my purpose.

So not all my time wasted.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: GUEST,Musket sans body of Clapton
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 06:55 PM

Bless you my son.






Though be buggered if I know why. ..

I know Franco is dead.   An old guy I once worked with joined the international brigade and many years ago, he took a holiday to Madrid.   His only worry was being fit enough (in his 80s then) to climb the path to Francos mountain tomb.

Just to make sure he was still dead.

Wikipedia? Naw, just an old bloke showing what socialist belief is, and how it knocks the spots off less temporal belief.

Mind you, me? Im a dirty rotten stinking capitalist.

But I can see the difference between believing in fighting for fair society and fighting for medieval community control freakery.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 06:38 PM

But at least "sans reality check" is correct.    At least the poster is right once in a while. Just not quite as often as a broken clock.

And he is entertaining.    In his quaint way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 06:35 PM

"blinkers off".    Sorry, I should know better than to think that US singers know more about US conditions and a US book of songs than UK atheists do.

Hey, maybe the unpleasantness of 1775-83 had a point after all.

But the horse is still dead.

So is Franco--if you get that.    (No fair looking it up on Wiki--many Americans would not have to do that).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: GUEST,Musket sans reality check
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 06:25 PM

Sorry to disappoint you Ron.

But you are talking bollocks so may wait a long time for an answer to your pathetic provocative question.

If you don't go in for all that superstitious nonsense, you cannot provide the answer to your question.

If you take your blinkers off, you'd realise that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 06:23 PM

"RUS--refusal to learn songs--religion link"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 06:21 PM

"belief-centered"

Sorry, that's more drivel. This source seems to be an inexhaustible supply.    Too bad it can't substitute for fossil fuels.

RUS is a book with lots of good songs of many types.   As I have said more than once, it is compact, not so expensive, and purports even to have tunes.   It has caught on with many because of this.

That's enough to make "instant community in a box" easy for people who can't get together very often and would like to sing together.   Many don't want to have to actually learn songs. The religious background of the editors is totally immaterial. And no data has been put forward to challenge this obvious fact. Just as religious belief or background of same in the people who choose to sing from the book has nothing to do with it.

If anything, the worship which comes into play is, as I noted, the American worship of efficiency.

No matter how many times our illustrious atheists want to beat the dead horse it's just not showing any signs of life.

Not that we ever expect them to admit they are way off base on this.

Now perhaps our UK atheists can tell us how religion is the cause of red-light running in the US.   Still waiting for this.   It promises to be at least as entertaining as the RUS-refusal to learn songs link.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 11:56 AM

I just looked up the background to the creators of Rise Up Singing.

Pete Seeger was the primary inspiration - the Wikipedia page about him says His Yankee-Protestant family, which Seeger called "enormously Christian, in the Puritan, Calvinist New England tradition", traced its genealogy back over 200 years - which kinda suggests he was proud of it. And the current editors, Peter Blood and Annie Patterson, have spent their entire careers combining music and Quakerism:

http://www.quakersong.org/

It doesn't look like they're afraid to say where they're coming from. And surely a lot of the people who helped them make RUS into the phenomenon it is share their belief-centred approach.

I can't think of many comparable figures in the UK. Sydney Carter was maybe the closest in the way he thought, but he wasn't a creator of mass movements. Hamish Henderson was an Episcopalian, but the only time I know of that he made a point of it was at his funeral (the biggest I have ever been to, with extremely powerful singing of the classic Anglican hymns he wanted - by massed folkies, using the words in their order of service leaflets).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: OlgaJ
Date: 01 Jul 13 - 11:37 AM

Sorry I haven't read all the above all the way through so if I'm covering what someone else has said I apologize. Nothing wrong with crib sheets in singarounds and sessions but I do object to the 'song book' culture where people who have no inclination to sing themselves turn round and say 'Can someone please sing no. 35 because I like to hear it'. Some of you may know where I'm coming from. However, well delivered, practiced, and learnt songs and tunes are always more enjoyable than long ballads where the singer forgets the words half way through and has to start from the beginning again.

As far as tunes are concerned we play as a ceilidh band and one of our members can't actually remember the tunes/chords very well so he brings a stand on stage with him, we'd prefer he didn't but its better than messing up a whole set. We also have one for the leader who occasionally has a slip of memory and its better to have an available prop as memory slips can spoil the dance. Also we regularly get asked by callers to play tunes we haven't done for a long time, sometimes years. However when we do stage sets and sessions we never use stands, and very rarely crib sheets.

There seems to be a bit of a culture in some of the circles we move in where people who have been playing for 25 years+, almost always reading from the same book, are starting to object when someone new comes along with different music (we do provide sheet music for big scratch bands so that any competent musician can make a good attempt and the dancers won't be disadvantaged). We all appreciate a challenge and playing from an 'easy' book doesn't do much for experienced musicians (don't count me in that, I'm a goat basher most of the time:)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 05:55 PM

GUEST,150613, that's what I have said a couple of times up-thread. For those who want to sing out of books, there is nothing to stop them from getting together and doing so.

But the book-singers keep showing up at open mikes and sessions where it is already established that one knows a song from memory and can sing it straight to the audience without the book intervening.

That's what was assumed when I first began singing folk songs and ballads in the early 1950a and that's the way everybody did it.

Until sometime in the late 1970s and early 80s when some newcomers started showing up with armloads of books.

I like to sing my songs directly to an audience, without a book intervening. And I don't like it much when someone has to sing out of a book or they don't have anything to sing.

It demonstrates that the singer is not really invested in the song! Knowing a song means a lot more than just having memorized the words and tune.

I can't see Pete Seeger or Joan Baez or Jean Ritchie or Mississippi John Hurt walking out on stage and singing out of a book.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: GUEST,150613
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 03:33 PM

I guess I am one of those people "spent their formative years singing from hymn books" as that was what was done in English state school system where I lived. Until, I later discovered, a staff room rebellion lead to more liberal interpretation of the word "worship".

I straight-off interpreted Jack's first post on churchgoers in the way he explained it in his last post.

One learns things like how to read one line ahead, so as to know where the story is going and how the words need to scan. And to read two lines ahead to as be able to miss-pronounce the word at the end on line two so that it rhymes with the one at the end of line four. And how to shift parts of the tune an octave 'on the fly' if the key does not suite (or to accidentally shift a fifth thinking that it is an octave). And to pick out the voices around who seem to know this tune and ignore the person next to you who can't sing in tune.

So we don't end up in a situation where "there's nothing worse than having to stand up and try to sing a song you don't know, quite possibly have never heard before, or the key and/or arrangements don't suit your voice." (Johnny J above).

The challenge now, mainly at funerals, and having subliminally learned the hymns decades ago, is to anticipate where they have been changed to make them gender neutral and so on.

But its not really about crutches is it ? Why not leave the folk who get together for communal singing from books to get on with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 01:35 AM

"Rise Up Singing" is a good resource for the words of a lot of songs and ballads. The problem is the way many people use it.

The idea that turned the book into a plague may be the sub-title:   "The Group Singing Songbook."

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: GUEST,John Routledge
Date: 29 Jun 13 - 07:37 AM

Or a pair of walking poles strapped to a walking sac


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jun 13 - 06:20 AM

That's the other side of it. Sometimes a crutch is just a walking stick.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jun 13 - 04:56 AM

Perhaps a country with a higher proportion of regular church attenders (past as well as present) will have a higher proportion of people who "spent their formative years singing from hymn books", and consequently a higher proportion of people who find it natural to sing from a book.

And such people may often have learned how to sing with meaning and expression from the book, and will be equally baffled by people who haven't learned to do it effectively and by people who refuse to believe it can be done effectively. A background in church attendance is not necessarily bad for musicianship.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jun 13 - 04:34 AM

it is unlikely, to say the least, that the spread of RUS at singarounds in the US has any link to church attendance.

I think you misunderstood the original point. What we've been suggesting is that the difference between the US and the UK in this respect may have something to do with the difference between the two countries in levels of church attendance. As Marje said,

although communal hymn-singing is not a common feature of modern life in the UK, many of the people over 50 who insist on reading every word from a book or file have, like me, spent their formative years singing from hymn books like this, and don't know how to do it any other way.

Perhaps a country with a higher proportion of regular church attenders (past as well as present) will have a higher proportion of people who "spent their formative years singing from hymn books", and consequently a higher proportion of people who find it natural to sing from a book. That's all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Johnny J
Date: 29 Jun 13 - 03:53 AM

Bill D

"You don't have to believe everything you sing."

Worthy of another thread, methinks.
:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 11:54 PM

Just checking back.

So it seems, as I observed earlier, that it is unlikely, to say the least, that the spread of RUS at singarounds in the US has any link to church attendance.

As I also noted, it certainly is an amazing coincidence that the allegation that church attendance is a possible cause of people not learning songs came from one of our eminent atheists.    It's nice to know they can always be depended on for a totally objective view of religion.

Look, RUS is actually a fine source book--at home. But there are many reasonable causes other than the ones I have already mentioned, which make its use attractive---regardless of the religious background or lack of same--for those who treat it as a folk hymnal. For instance, it has lots of good songs, it is compact, and it's not that expensive.

One of the ironies of the whole mess is that the compilers of the book never meant it to be the last word--they recognized it was just a snapshot. It's some, not all, of the users who have abused it.

But it does make it easy to have a "instant folk community in a box", as I mentioned earlier. Without doing any work to actually learn a song.

And that's how it has caused a schism in the US folk music world.    Which is already a small group.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 11:37 AM

I am fortunate to live where one of, if not THE largest Folk organizations in the US has been active for about 45 years.

If you look thru the list of events at http://www.fsgw.org/ (The Folklore Society of Greater Washington), you will note there is a monthly 'Open Sing' ...where there are few absolute rules. I have attended this off & on for over 35 years, and frankly, it has been in decline as those eager young 'folk' from the 60s have also declined in vaious ways. (Death...moved... got too 'good' and professional to spend time in less than 'A' rated sessions). Still, for those willing to see an occasional RUS or tolerate a few singers who have less-than-professional abilities, it is quite possible to have a nice evening and always hear & share some nice songs.

There are also monthly Gospel singing and Sacred Harp sessions. There is 'some' overlap in who attends these 3 events.... and at our annual Getaway, which you may have read about (now in planning for this Oct.) you will likely see & hear ALL forms of music which even faintly can be chassified as 'folk'.
In recent years...10 or so.. because of Mudcat, the Getaway has attracted music lovers from all over the US, the UK and a few other countries & continents. As far as we can tell, the Getaway format is 'almost' unknown in the UK, though those who have come seem to think it is a grand way to spend a musical weekend. With a group of 150 or so, in workshops, late night singarounds, small impromptu gatherings and a few formal 'concerts', you are likely to hear almost anything. You can immerse yourself in mostly ballad singing, share in a workshop on a single topic, sing Gospel songs with aficionados for 3 days or just wander about listening-- and leaving a group if something doesn't suit you-- There is something to please... and yes, to DISplease everyone.I'm sure you in the UK have similar experiences when you attend 3 day festivals where groups repair to pubs at night for regular annual meeting with folk you don't see often.

(what is Bill D getting at now?, you ask) well, what I am trying to say is that folk music, to quote my father who said it about everything: "It's the same...only different!" YES...some singers and instrumentalists are 'better' than others. Some are professional... some could be, but aren't. Some find it easy to keep in tune, memorize words, project the song expressively, research the history and versions..etc... and some don't- for various reasons. Some clubs & sessions and gathering are open, welcoming and tolerant of variable levels of knowledge and ability- some seriously restrict- formally or informally- those who do not 'fit' the groups idea of what should be sung & played... and at what tempo, using what lyrics and whether read of memorized.
I do suggest that everyone remember that 'folk music' has always meant...among other things.. music of the 'people', and the people are not standardized models. It can be very useful to tolerate and gently 'help' those who are interested but struggling with the music.... one may turn out to be a prize.

As to Gospel music.... I know a few folks who sing it because they 'believe' it... and many others who occasionally sing it because there are just so many amazing, moving songs in the format(s). I am non-religious, but I have several songs that are ummm...just great songs...especially a couple I call "metaphysical metaphor"...("Life's Railway to Heaven" for one...and have you ever heard "Dropkick Me, Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life"? ) and several amazing, bouncy, moving Pentecostal hymns that just demand participation! "You don't have to believe everything you sing."


The crutch? I try not to use it... but throw it away? I'd rather hobble on one 'occasionally' than not get to the party.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Marje
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 11:21 AM

It's true that this topic has been aired in the past, but what's interesting is that the trend to using a crib-sheet seems to be advancing, while those opposed to it are increasingly obliged to defend their position.

At a local singaround I go to, the leader has decided to ban the use of crib-sheets and song books. When he first set up the group a couple of years ago, there were two other rules: the session was to be entirely unaccompanied singing, and the material to be either traditional (UK/Ireland)or, if more modern, in the traditional style. It was perhaps a mistake not to introduce the no-books rule right from the start, as one or two people took it personally when this change was made, but it's likely that the leader didn't forsee what would happen.

We have lost a couple of regular members, but newcomers now know what's expected and either go along with it or don't come back. Sitting in a small room sharing unaccompanied songs together, with no printed material getting in the way, is a very special experience. Most of us are very happy with the way it's working out; we've had some lovely, informal song-swapping evenings and hope for many more.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: GUEST,SteveT
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 07:43 AM

I'm glad to say that the majority of singarounds I go to do not feature crib sheets in any great density. In fact there seem to be more at the folk clubs that I occasionally visit. One of the biggest factors in the spread of these is, I think, the critical mass concept. At some of the singers' clubs it's become the accepted practice. At the singarounds, which I prefer, those few who do refer to the words nearly always apologise for doing so. My guess is that newcomers see this and realise that it's only acceptable in extenuating circumstances and excuses like "I haven't learned this one properly yet" are not extenuating enough.

I've been going to clubs and singarounds a long time now. I see myself as a singer, not a performer, nor an entertainer (and I avoid doing gigs for that reason) but I still think if I'm going to stand up (or remain seated) in public and sing a song then it would be an insult to those present if I didn't take the trouble to learn it first. If I wanted to sing a song I didn't know, I'd do it in private and if I just wanted the applause (what applause?) without the work I'd hire a claque. (Not The Claque as they'd probably charge too much!)

This is just my opinion of course and therefore, while right for me, I'm not saying anyone else must subscribe to it; I'm not trying to force others into my way of thinking. My solution; I avoid open mike evenings which seem to be more about the performer than the songs and I avoid places with too much paper. If I don't like the way a place operates I don't go there, if I like it I go.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: GUEST,Musket sans props
Date: 28 Jun 13 - 05:45 AM

Fascinating thread. Many years ago when I first started going to folk clubs, all the ones near me were of the stage and two song set variety on singers nights and that is what I am used to. The first sing around in the go round the room sense I went to, I found it odd that crib sheets were being used. I still find it strange yet the few clubs I support all have a format supporting it.   In fact last week, out of around 12 people playing I was the only one who didn't have a sheet. I was the only one who stood to play for that matter.   Even in my local club, it tends to be just s couple of us who play without props. I suppose we are the only two who have been performers in the gig sense but no matter, I still think it strange.

However. ... You can get confused between performing and joining in a club activity. Performing is the art of entertaining whilst clapping a retired social worker for putting his glasses on the end of his nose, coughing slightly and then reading out the words he sings about how hard it is working the herring fleet. ... That is encouraging people to experience the thrill of performing and whilst ok between consenting adults in private, you wouldn't put it on a Simon Cowell show.   

Although. .......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Johnny J
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 03:53 PM

This thread's getting a lot of mileage for "a topic that's been aired many times" here before.

:=)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 03:41 PM

"The audience mattered" - perfectly sums up how should be now. :0(


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 03:08 PM

Spot on, Will!!

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 03:03 PM

I don't think singing in church has anything to do with why more and more people in the US - or the UK for that matter - are using folders of songs when doing floor spots at clubs.

I personally think it's an urge for the spotlight coupled with the idea that anyone can do it: just take a parcel of songs, pick one at random and - hey presto! - you're an instant performer. The motive, in my view, is not to entertain an audience but to get attention. Now, I'm sure many of us started off wanting the limelight - I know I did - but in my day (the 1960s), you earned it by hard work and application. And the audience mattered.

It amuses me that people should think performing to an audience in the folk world takes little or no effort when, in any other field of activity it just isn't so. I used to enjoy playing tennis as a teenager - but I was bloody useless at it and wouldn't have dreamed of entering for a tournament just because I owned a tennis racquet.

My advice to singers who use a prop at folk clubs is this: You more or less know you're going to do a floor spot. You know you'll get probably two - three at most - numbers to perform. Why, for feck's sake, can't you take the trouble to learn your two songs properly before you insist on getting up and performing? Then, when you've learned your two songs and done them to everyone's satisfaction, learn two more - and don't come back to perform at the same place until you've done so. You might well perform at less frequent intervals, but you'll come across better when you do.

I don't include singarounds or sessions in my little encomium - let people do as they will in those arenas - but doing your stuff well in front of an audience (probably paying) needs a bit of work. And the irony is that it's so much more satisfying and rewarding for the performer when the work has been put in.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 02:33 PM

At least in U.S. folk clubs, open mikes, and song circles, the encroachment of song books and crib sheets has little or nothing to do with hymn singing in church, or religion and religious traditions.

Sad to say, it's simply a matter of laziness on the part of those who wish to participate but don't want to exert the effort to learn the songs before singing them before the whole group.

Don't make it more complicated than it is.

I've been there, I've watched new people come into the group lugging their armloads of songbooks and/or three-ring binders full of crib sheets, and then bore the crap out of the "old-timers" who always learned a song before they sang it for others. The old-timers heaved a sigh and gradually drifted away, leaving the song-readers to it--meanwhile, gathering in private homes and continuing to sing for each other. From memory.

Now, these newcomers may be somewhat influenced by church-style singing from out of a hymnal, but I really don't think that has anything to do with it.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 01:45 PM

"Follow the bouncing ball..........""


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Marje
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 11:21 AM

I wish you hadn't said that, Jack! Someone, somewhere will be thinking, "Now there's an idea..."

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 09:35 AM

If the evangelistic tradition has the same effect on the current generation, Rise Up Singing had better be published in PowerPoint.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Marje
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 08:30 AM

There is some cross-over in parts of the UK: I'm thinking of the evangelistic tradtion, with hymns such as "In the Good Old Way" or "Blessed Quietness", which do get sung in secular folkie gatherings at times. Some of these may well be Anerican in origin, as much of the evanglistic approach has been over the years, but I don't think they're felt to be foreign. Traditional carols, in the style of the Sheffield carols or West Gallery, are also part of the folk tradition. I thinks they are usually sung as songs (with little or no pious or devotional feeling) rather than hymns.

But the point about these hymns is that they are designed to be sung without books - they usually contain a large proportion of repeated or chorus material that's easy to join in with, and only a line or two of new text in each verse.

There is, however, another reason that people expect to sing from books on both sides of the Pond. Like many people of my (now retired) generation, I was raised in a tradition of hymn singing from hymn books. We did this in Sunday School, in Church, and every day of my school life. Even when we were six, the words would often be up on a blackboard for us to sing from.

So although communal hymn-singingbut is not a common feature of modern life in the UK, many of the people over 50 who insist on reading every word from a book or file have, like me, spent their formative years singing from hymn books like this, and don't know how to do it any other way.

I don't like it in a folk setting, I think it's lazy and unnecessary, but I can see how it has come about.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 06:01 AM

Continuing the religious divagation a bit more.

Ron Davies pointed out that gospel is a common feature of US folk clubs' repertoire. (I have to take his word for it - when I lived in the US I never found a folk club, though there may have been one locally). It does occasionally feature in British ones too (or as mediated by Stephen Foster), but it's always seen as an American import. There doesn't seem to be any kind of religious folksong of the British Isles that has crossed over into the secular folk repertoire; we do have that kind of music, but West Gallery singing is a specialist genre that doesn't get mixed with other stuff, and while we have the tradition of Gaelic psalm singing in Scotland, it stays in church (and on Sunday morning Gaelic radio and on CD). I cannot imagine anybody, even Margaret Bennett, trying to lead the Edinburgh FC regulars in a Gaelic psalm, even though they'll all have heard them.

I doubt if Afro-Caribbean Christian music would be any more likely to get a hearing in the folk scene, even in clubs in London within five minutes walk of churches where it's sung every week. But that's a different story.

Anyway: religious folksong has made the crossover into the secular folk scene in the US but hasn't in the UK, even though such song genres exist in the UK too. There has to be a reason for the difference. I think the reason is simply that there's much less church-going in the UK and hence the cultural influence of activities that take place in church is much less. Why Ron is so outraged at that idea I can't imagine - most Christians in the UK don't have a problem with admitting they're a bit more marginal than they used to be.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 02:35 AM

Yes, he's saying that religious attendance is four times as prevalent in the US and connecting that fact with use of RUS; I'm aware of that. I'm also aware that neither you nor Don thinks there is any connection. I don't think it should be dismissed out of hand, though.

Let's say we observe folk dance in two different countries, and somebody comments that dances in Elbonia sometimes include what looks like marching on the spot, but dances in Freedonia never do. Then somebody else looks at the likelihood of individuals in the two countries having done military service, and it turns out to be much higher in Elbonia than in Freedonia. That would sound like a partial explanation to me.

And the difference between the two countries would still be relevant even if we knew that folk dance was full of pacifists and most folk dancers - in both countries - were more likely to have refused military service than to have done it. Let's say that 12% of adult males in Elbonia have done military service as against 3% in Freedonia; let's also say that the folk dance scene in both countries is so pacifist that folk dancers are one third as likely to do military service as the population average. That still means that 4% of Elbonian male folk dancers have experience of drill, as against 1% of their Freedonian counterparts.

Or perhaps I should explain to our UK contingent why dumbed-down community singing is spreading in the UK.

Well, it's not, so you'll have to try something else. You could explain folk getting fashionable if you like; this guy has an interesting take on it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 27 Jun 13 - 12:27 AM

"All Jack's saying...".   Sorry, that is incorrect.   He is linking spread of RUS in the US with church attendance.   You need to reread.    If necessary I will be glad to quote chapter and verse from the collected works of Mr. Campin.

It's just remotely possible that Americans know more about the causes of this phenomenon than Britons do.

Or perhaps I should explain to our UK contingent why dumbed-down community singing is spreading in the UK.    It would have precisely the same amount of value--and be just as welcome, no doubt.

By the way, I thought somebody in the UK was going to explain why religion is to blame for red-light running in the US.   We're still waiting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 08:22 PM

Just an observation, but I don't think most of the people I've seen at song circle when the use of RUS became chronic, and then developed into "hymn-sing," are regular church-goers.

And as far as their religious beliefs are concerned, in never came up, but I think if it did, you'd get the full spectrum, but without the extremes, i.e., hard-charging atheist on one end, fundamentalist Bible-thumper on the other.

No, RUS and other materials crept into Seattle's previously excellent Song Circle sort of like "the Fungus that Took Over the World." And those who first organized Song Circle, such as John Dwyer, Stan James, and I, sort of rolled our eyes and left.

I memorize the songs I do and then study them 'til I know all I can find out about them. The only time I would ever have a "cheat sheet" around is in a recording session, and then, just for insurance against the occasional memory lapse.

Yes, I've blanked out on a line occasionally in live performance, but picked it up again and went on, and the world didn't come to an end.

Hell, I did a live television series some years ago, and I used neither cue-cards nor teleprompter. Once during the series, I forgot a line in a song, went into an instrumental break, remembered the line, and finish the song. I asked a number of people later on, and nobody had noticed. They just thought that I always put a guitar break there.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 06:40 PM

it is very unlikely that the use of RUS in the US is influenced in the slightest by church attendance

Not sure how you'd prove this negative, Ron, and I'm really not sure (more to the point) why you want to.

All Jack's saying is that if you randomly sampled citizens of the two countries, you'd be four times as likely to find a church-goer in one than the other. It seems like a pretty salient difference to me. Unless you're arguing that the US folk scene is disproportionately composed of atheists - and even then you'd have to argue that it's even more atheist-heavy, compared to the overall population, than the British folk scene is in comparison to its overall population.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Johnny J
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 05:14 AM

Getting back to the hymns and songs in church, there's nothing worse than having to stand up and try to sing a song you don't know, quite possibly have never heard before, or the key and/or arrangements don't suit your voice.

That's another thing about community singing, of course. Many of the arrangements and keys just don't suit or appeal to everyone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 12:05 AM

Excuse me:    "not relevant to that experience..." Don't want to misquote the illustrious poster.


But it is interesting that ballad singing is not a big feature of UK pubs. UK ballad singing sure is a big feature of Mudcat music threads, so it's reasonable that we on the other side of the Pond would think this.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 11:53 PM

Also "not relevant now..." Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 11:40 PM

"four times as prevalent".    You can rabbit on as much as you want---to coin a phrase : "show your ignorance, as waxy as you like".

But it is very unlikely that the use of RUS in the US is influenced in the slightest by church attendance. Much more likely are the factors I mentioned.

And it's still faintly amusing that an atheist fingers religion for people not learning songs.

Is it also to blame for people running red lights in the US?   I'm sure a Briton can enlighten us on this also.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 01:56 PM

Ballads are just as much a minority interest here as in the US. You hardly ever hear them in most folk clubs.

Digressing slightly, I'm happy to say I did a 35-verse version of Lord Bateman the other night; I'm ecstatic to say that it went down well. I'd encourage anyone who's got a big ballad or two up their sleeve to get them out sooner rather than later; you might be pleasantly surprised.

Oh, and obviously it was from memory. The thing about the big ballads is, they're really easy to learn - particularly if (as in this case) you haven't just learnt it from a record, but spent some time looking at different variants and putting together a version that works for you. But even if you just learned Lord Bateman the way Nic Jones or Jim Moray recorded it, I think it'd be considerably easier than learning the average Dylan song, say. You're telling a story, and you're telling it with a very rigid and predictable rhyme scheme - if you forgot the precise wording of a verse you could make it up without too much trouble.

So that's my personal solution for memory problems: more big ballads!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 01:16 PM

When I said Ron Davies's description matched a church service, I was talking about my own experience of them. I've spent rather a lot of time sitting in large halls with a lot of other people singing words they don't know past the first verse and don't understand at all to tunes they only vaguely get, and it wasn't in the folk scene. What I believe now is not relevant to that experience and none of Ron's business.

There is a real difference between the number of people with first-hand experience of religious ritual in the US and UK:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_attendance

It's nearly four times as prevalent over there. A difference like that is going to shape people's expectations of social behaviour well outside the religious sphere and also among people who never go near a church.

Ballads are just as much a minority interest here as in the US. You hardly ever hear them in most folk clubs. "country, bluegrass, mining songs, labor songs, drinking songs, black and white gospel, labor songs-- protest songs of all types" fits just as well here (except not much gospel).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 11:01 AM

No problem, Nigel.   You're right, that's the obvious choice.

But whatever anybody chooses to call it, my comments stand. UK and US circumstances are often different.    I have no idea of UK conditions. Nor do UK posters of US conditions.

And as I said, it's just slightly suspicious that an atheist would finger religion as the origin of yet another problem.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 10:54 AM

"UK folk hymn-sing book" = "UK folk hymnal"

Precise is better (unless it's got to scan!) :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 10:07 AM

"UK folk hymn-sing book"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 09:44 AM

Some singers who accompany themselves on guitar make a point of performing without a 'crutch' (some may have crib sheets stuck to their guitars).
Some memorise songs and can perform them beautifully, but if you've seen them before you may know that their 'set' will perm any three of the eight songs you've heard them sing before.
Others have learnt lots of songs, and can sing any of them 'at the drop of a hat' (good title for a revue, that).
Some supplement their supply of memorised songs with paper versions, which allows them to try something new, or fit in with a themed evening (at short notice).
Yet others only sing from paper. They may improve, and move into one of the earlier descriptions, but probably not if they are censured for singing from a sheet.

Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 09:29 AM

Also, it's interesting that an atheist would be an expert in "a typical church service".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: GUEST,John Routledge
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 09:25 AM

Guest of 8.18 was me - Cookie crumbled.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Throwing away the crutch....
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 09:10 AM

It also seems clear to me that in the UK and Ireland folks are far more interested in ballads--that is, solo storytelling, than many are in the US.   After all, the ballads in question by and large came from the UK and Ireland. They are yours, not ours, though we have our own versions.   There's the role played by Child.   But the ballads were still not home-grown American--they came from European sources.

Also, we are more likely to want to stretch the definition of folk--and 1954 is just a year. We watch you wrangle about 1954 with tolerant amusement.

For us "folk" can include virtually everything not classical or rock (and even rock is encroaching, since we are starting to do more doo-wop.)

Some include country, bluegrass, mining songs, labor songs, drinking songs, black and white gospel, labor songs-- protest songs of all types, black and white gospel, and probably more.    There are examples of many of these in RUS.

Yet another possibility is that folkies in the US have less time than those in the UK--maybe folks in the US don't retire as early.   That however is pure speculation--I have no idea if there's anything to that.

It's also possible that as the population ages and it's harder for folks in general to learn songs, UK version of a "folk hymn-sing" book may start to catch on. But it's also possible that the UK "hymn-sing book" will turn out to be an i-Phone or something similar.

But US folkies singing from RUS since they are used to hymn singing.   Not likely , to put it mildly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 October 5:34 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.