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Repeating the first verse at the end

Richard Mellish 09 Mar 14 - 02:24 PM
Mrrzy 09 Mar 14 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,twerp 09 Mar 14 - 02:36 PM
Gurney 09 Mar 14 - 02:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Mar 14 - 02:38 PM
Crowhugger 09 Mar 14 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Guest TF 09 Mar 14 - 02:45 PM
Mrrzy 09 Mar 14 - 02:51 PM
Uncle_DaveO 09 Mar 14 - 03:13 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 14 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,matt milton 09 Mar 14 - 04:07 PM
Don Firth 09 Mar 14 - 04:25 PM
Richard Mellish 09 Mar 14 - 04:37 PM
Bert 09 Mar 14 - 05:20 PM
Newport Boy 09 Mar 14 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,matt milton 09 Mar 14 - 07:17 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 14 - 07:31 PM
Allan C. 09 Mar 14 - 07:37 PM
Phil Edwards 09 Mar 14 - 07:40 PM
Matthew Edwards 09 Mar 14 - 07:45 PM
Lighter 09 Mar 14 - 08:29 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 09 Mar 14 - 08:56 PM
Joe_F 09 Mar 14 - 10:44 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Mar 14 - 02:02 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 14 - 03:45 AM
The Sandman 10 Mar 14 - 05:10 AM
The Sandman 10 Mar 14 - 05:22 AM
GUEST 10 Mar 14 - 08:17 AM
Scabby Douglas 10 Mar 14 - 09:47 AM
Mo the caller 10 Mar 14 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,Phil at work 10 Mar 14 - 10:00 AM
Marje 10 Mar 14 - 12:22 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 14 - 12:46 PM
Marje 10 Mar 14 - 01:26 PM
The Sandman 10 Mar 14 - 02:36 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 14 - 04:16 AM
johncharles 11 Mar 14 - 04:42 AM
The Sandman 11 Mar 14 - 04:51 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 14 - 05:04 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 14 - 05:47 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 14 - 06:08 AM
GUEST 11 Mar 14 - 06:16 AM
JHW 11 Mar 14 - 06:20 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 14 - 06:47 AM
The Sandman 11 Mar 14 - 07:30 AM
Richard Mellish 11 Mar 14 - 08:27 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 14 - 11:41 AM
Richard Mellish 11 Mar 14 - 01:31 PM
The Sandman 11 Mar 14 - 01:49 PM
The Sandman 11 Mar 14 - 02:08 PM
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Subject: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 02:24 PM

I notice nowadays, far more often than I used to, a singer coming to the end of a song and singing the first verse again. To my mind this seldom works well. Usually it's a mere waste of time, and sometimes it actually messes up the story.

For example, in The Bay of Biscay, in the first verse the girl says she doesn't know where her man is. Then he appears, and reveals himself to be a ghost. Now she knows that his body is at the bottom of the sea. So repeating "Where he is I do not know" at the end seems nonsense.

(As I write this, it occurs to me that he might have died in battle rather than by drowning, in which case his body would be in a graveyard somewhere over the sea rather than at the bottom of the sea. So she might still not know for sure where it is. But she certainly knows that he is dead, so the first verse still doesn't fit at the end.)

Why do singers do it? Is it just a fashion that they think they ought to follow?


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 02:34 PM

I like the same verse at the end with one small change, as in The Highwayman where first he "came riding" (and the story is in past tense) then in the repeat he "comes riding" (and suddenly it's a ghost story). It was a common way of signaling the end of a ballad, coming around to the beginning, but ...

Good question...

why was that? The familiarity would tell people the song was about to end so they could beat feet for the privy, or something? Sovereigns had to be told because with inbreeding they couldn't tell?


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: GUEST,twerp
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 02:36 PM

to make a short song longer


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Gurney
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 02:38 PM

A common practice in Country and some Pop songs, usually to pad out a short song. Sometimes the chorus is repeated several times with varied accompaniments for the same reason.
Can't see any reason for doing it in Folk, as the content is usually graphic enough. (Or the song long enough;-))


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 02:38 PM

The practice is old, it occurs with some folk songs.
The verse must be general enough that it emphasizes the subject and does not interfere with the story line.

But Richard is correct; some singers don't know when to quit.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Crowhugger
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 02:39 PM

I like it for songs that start with a declaration and then proceed to explain the whys and wherefores of that opening statement. When the first verse repeats it's in the spirit of "now you can see all the layers of meaning within these-first-verse-words." I don't take it too seriously if someone does a verse 1 repeat that doesn't fit that notion--on the one hand I tend to shrug off interpretive choices that don't make sense to me at the moment, yet I also file them away in case I figure out a use for that approach myself some day in a way that makes sense to me.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: GUEST,Guest TF
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 02:45 PM

If it doesn't make sense, why do it?


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 02:51 PM

In French you pad short songs by repeating each line so that the end of each verse is repeated as the beginning of the following one, so basically you can do A la claire fontaine singing it twice through once... or the short way, once through. Don't know of any English ballads where they do that, though?


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 03:13 PM

In grade school it was common for student
writers in those early grades to do this same
thing, closing what they wrote and turned
in by repeating or at least paraphrasing their
first sentence at the end, thus padding out their
essay to try to meet the assignment length and
trying to get away with a simplistic, empty
thought. The teacher would criticize this practice
and give a failing grade to the lazy student who
couldn't or wouldn't find more content.

These young writers were often repeat offenders,
who seemed never to learn, but appeared to naively
justify this stylistic gaffe as a way to bring
closure to their inadequate thought.

Someone who never understood the shortcomings of
the end-repetition might apply it to performance in
later life, thinking it acceptable stylistic practice.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 03:15 PM

With narrative song, i.e., ballads I don't see a reason, and I don't think I do it, but occasionally with a non-narrative song that is mostly chorus where there are lots of musicians and singers joining in I will do it to let them all know we're coming to the end, e.g., The Candlelight Fisherman.

Similar situation to using the commonplace:
'There's buns in the oven and cheese on the shelf,
if you want any more you can sing it yourself.'

These simple devices have a long tradition.

As several posters have said, it's a way of milking a good chorus song if it's going well and you want the occasion to go on a little more.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 04:07 PM

I do it with some songs. One example being 'The Grey Cock' ('Lover's Ghost'), which I know from the Vaughn Williams/Penguin book of folksongs.

That's partly because I generally cut two verses, but mainly because there's that line about 'the burning Thames I have to cross', and repeating it suggests a return trip: that the ghostly revenant is re-crossing some Stygian river of fire back to hell. Or, in my case, if I'm finishing with that song, returning to South London from North London...

There's one or two other songs in which I repeat the first verse. 'The Mermaid' sometimes, because the first verse is a sort of framing verse that might imply the verses of the song are a dream, and if I wanted to make that implication more explicit I could repeat the first verse.

I wouldn't do it if there wasn't a reason. There's always a reason; though sometimes that reason is simply a matter of atmosphere ie 'it feels right'


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 04:25 PM

Standard formula for expository writing:

You tell them what you are going to tell them.

You tell them.

Then you tell them what you've just told them.

I don't gratuitously repeat the first verse at the end--unless that is the way it is presented by my source for the song, such as in a Cecil Sharp collection or in a text from Child. Or if this is the way it is sung by someone I learned it from, such as on a record by someone notable for their authentic and tasteful presentations.

And if it doesn't "clank."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 04:37 PM

Matt said,
> there's that line about 'the burning Thames I have to cross', and repeating it suggests a return trip: that the ghostly revenant is re-crossing some Stygian river of fire back to hell. Or, in my case, if I'm finishing with that song, returning to South London from North London...

But not "into the arms of my dear love/lass" when he's going away from her. And a stumble that would delay his journey would be all to the good if he's on his way back to hell. So the first verse doesn't fit at the end unless you change some words.

HOWEVER I do like that interpretation of "the burning Thames". Much better than dismissing it as a corruption of "this morning's tempest".

Don said
"Standard formula for expository writing:

You tell them what you are going to tell them.

You tell them.

Then you tell them what you've just told them."

But not usually in exactly the same words. Some modification is needed e.g. at the beginning "Come all you (whoevers) and listen" then at the end "Come all you (whoevers) who've listened".


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Bert
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 05:20 PM

It is quite common in Country and Pop music, especially when writing songs in the AABA format.

The song has to be written so that the repetition makes sense and reinforces the message.

There is nothing wrong with short songs, sometimes the message is short.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Newport Boy
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 05:47 PM

It's not always the first verse. The 'Donibristle Moss Disaster' is an example - repeating the second verse at the end is very effective. It's both a moment of reflection (particularly if the names are almost spoken) and a fund-raising reminder.

"There was Rattray, Macdonald, Hynde, Patterson:
Too well the knew the dangers...".

Phil


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 07:17 PM

"But not "into the arms of my dear love/lass" when he's going away from her. And a stumble that would delay his journey would be all to the good if he's on his way back to hell. So the first verse doesn't fit at the end unless you change some words."

I'm happy with imperfection and inconsistencies and things that don't fit: there's already plenty of that in the song! It starts being sung in the first person - "I" - but then changes to the third person – "he", "she". It also changes tense. It leaps from one person's mouth to an overall God's-eye-view the way a trippy movie does. It also has a couplet that rhymes "day" with, er, "day".

If you're not happy with the idea of that verse signifiying a return journey to the afterlife, then all you have to do is not think of it that way. Think of it as the rambling song of an addled, wandering spirit. Or think of it as being sung by me, the actual singer, declaring my own intent to go home to my missus. Or just think of it as a repeated verse in a song that doesn't actually have a stable narrator anyway.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 07:31 PM

Or indeed a unique song that has been cobbled together from 3 other songs, but what a magnificent job they made of it! If Cecilia Costello is the author then she's a genius.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Allan C.
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 07:37 PM

I will sometimes repeat the first line or so, but rarely the entire verse. This can be especially effective if the opening line sets the stage for a repeating scene. The only example of this that comes to mind is: "Fog's rollin' in off the East River bank
Like a shroud it covers Bleeker Street"

It sounds far better than it looks in print ;-)


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 07:40 PM

A lot of songs have a framing verse as the first verse - the first verse seems like it's going somewhere ("As I walked out...") but it turns out to be a set-up for the second and subsequent verses ("I overheard a young ticket inspector lamenting for his true love who had gone to work for a pork butcher on the other side of town"). Repeating the first verse of a song like that should work well, I think.

I used to sing The Bonny Bunch of Roses quite a lot, and always intended to repeat the first verse at the end; whether I actually did would depend on how well I thought the song had gone down up to then.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 07:45 PM

I think Richard is right that the repetition of the first verse at the end of a song is becoming more common practice; I've noticed it a few times, but I haven't paid much attention to notice whether it happens with specific songs, or types of songs, or in specific occasions. I'd regard it as simply a sort of framing technique on the part of the singer to say, in effect, that the story is now over.

My impression is that the repeated verse is sung at a different pace when used to conclude the song - otherwise you get the alarming sensation that the singer is going to sing the whole thing again!

I wonder whether the practice is more common in singarounds, than say in recordings or concert performances, since it acts as a useful signal that the singer is finishing their turn and it is time for the next person.

I can't say that I've found it irritating or time-wasting generally; perhaps in some cases it might be meant to illustrate the cyclical nature of time - "in my end is my beginning", but I think it really is just another way of saying "That's All Folks!"

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 08:29 PM

Very, very few traditional songs or singers ever did this.

I remember the practice from the '60s.

Presumably it "wraps up" the song by "bringing it full circle."

It does make for less abrupt endings. The audience has a full stanza to realize that the song is over.

Pop singers sustain a high note to show they're done. Folkies repeat the first stanza.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 08:56 PM

I do it for the same reason Crowhugger suggests--for many songs it's a reminder of the 'problem' the was, eventually in some form or another, resolved.    Hearing the first verse at the end of the song, you get a totally different perspective than when you first heard it.

But I think it needs to be the singer's decision as to whether such a repeat is doing that, rather than being something that is just done automatically.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Joe_F
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 10:44 PM

I sing "The Cuckoo" & "Dink's Song" that way. In such songs the first verse is not part of the story & can well serve as a recapitulation. In the case of "Dink's Song" I sing the repetition to a slightly more elaborate tune (not sure where I learned that -- getting on 60 years now).


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 02:02 AM

It's surely just one of many possible "That's all Folks" techniques. Many traditional singers would speak the title, or the last few words, at the end. Or I often like just to re-sing, unaccompanied, the first phrase, or first line, of the first verse in some songs {to take above two examples, to sing just "O the cuckoo is a pretty bird" or "If I had wings", & break off}. And sometimes repeat the first verse with variations {"& so you called on me to sing and I've showed what I could do, & now that I have finished it, I'll call on one of you", & this time repeat last line in speech, and point at someone}. And sometimes just speak instead of sing the last few words {Sing "And our mothers made colcannon": pause: then speak with emphasis "In the little skillet pot!"}. Or, sometimes, just as I'm doing with original point in this post -- REPEAT FIRST VERSE.

~M~

I think you'll find all these somewhere in my Youtube channel.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 03:45 AM

"The practice is old, it occurs with some folk songs."
As far as British and Irish singing It is an 'old' revival affectation; the older generation of singers seldom, if ever did it; many frowned on it when it became fashionable.
Our songs are mainly narrative and it has always seemed pointless to me to reach the climax of a story and start talking about clocks striking thirteen all over again.
Speaking the last line (usually the last few words) is mainly an Irish practice - when we saw it happen with the older singers it was invariably in rooms full of strangers - a sort of self-assurance that these 'incomers' had understood what they had just been told.
Again, many of the old boys disapproved of it - we were specifically told that it ever happened in the farmhouse kitchens where the singing took place.
Quite often then, the listeners would join in with the last few words of a song - a sort of affirmation of its familiarity among people to whom the songs were part of their lives.
I've just re-listened to about four hundred songs we recorded from Clare singers and cannot recall the practice with any of the 'big' traditional singers here, though I will admit, I hear it sometimes from the present generation, but then again, not that often.
Pausing before last few words - nope - exclusive to younger singers
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 05:10 AM

Jim, there are occasions when it makes sense, particptory songs like shanties,of non narrative songs candlight fishermen, when a performer has good chorus singing going, do it one more time.
I talk from the point of view of a as a professional performer,not as a collector of traditional songs from traditional singers, all that concerns me as a performer is what works as a performer, I could not care a toss whether any other trad singer approved of it, they were frequently singing in different situations, that does not mean that I do not have respect for other aspects of unaccompanied traditional singers style, you are right, it is generally speaking a nonsense in a narrative ballad,here is a song where it would be a bit silly
Phil Tanner here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xVT-vdJL4g
The point about shanties is they can be of any length, they were work songs designed to last as long as the job took, as regards singing shanties in folk clubs they can last as long as they are doing the job of getting people to join in ,it is up to the performer to judge when enough is enough, as the actress said to the bishop.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 05:22 AM

a song where it might work here, a repeat of the very first line, is adieu sweet lovely nancy, the first line starts as a farewell, furthermore the chord progression ends on the tonic giving a finished sound.
a repeat of the first verse of hard times of old england is not nosensencial, in hard times of old england by ding so, it changes from a note of optimism to one of reflecting back on the situation but it is not nonsense, neither is a repeat of the the first verse candlelight fishermen, so there will always be exceptions where it will work.
It is about analysing the lyrics beforehand and giving it some thought.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 08:17 AM

It comes from one of the formalities of Welsh harp music, where the expositor starts with s statement and then works a series of variations on it, bringing the complexity around in a circle until the logical conclusion is to return to where we started. IT may have had some roots in classical music of the 17th Century, we see something similar in Britten's variations on a theme of Purcell known as The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.
It should not be common practice unless the song actually calls for it. Indeed, I've long been of the opinion that we should actually think about what we're singing, as some of the Trad repertoire is hybridised from two songs: Outlandish Knight, for example, picks up the tail end of Young Hunting in a way which makes no sense whatsoever.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 09:47 AM

I've often come across this practice in the context of a singaround, for well-known songs without a chorus. When the first (or any) verse is repeated, there's a tacit understanding and encouragement from the singer to the rest of the company that they can join in. It's almost like saying "I'm sorry there's no chorus that you were able to join in, but here's the first verse instead. Please feel free to sing along."


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Mo the caller
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 09:54 AM

"My impression is that the repeated verse is sung at a different pace when used to conclude the song - otherwise you get the alarming sensation that the singer is going to sing the whole thing again!"

Yes, I heard that done too!


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: GUEST,Phil at work
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 10:00 AM

I think you need to listen to Young Hunting again, or at least have a look at the text. There's very little overlap between YH and TOK - certainly not enough to suggest hybridisation. Near the beginning of YH (not the tail end) a lady tries to get a talking bird onside by promising it a cage made of glittering gold, but (a) it's a fairly transparent ruse to kill the bird & (b) the bird doesn't fall for it. The only thing it has in common with the bargain at the end of TOK is the reference to a gold (and ivory) cage.

Nic Jones sang a version of TOK with a first-verse repeat on his second album ("And he's followed her up and he's followed her down", etc). I hadn't listened to that much folk when I first heard it, and it took me ages to work out what was going on ("he came back?"). I don't think the first-verse repeat works with ballads generally.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Marje
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 12:22 PM

That repetition of the first verse is something you get in certain poetry too. I think the effect is much the same as with certain songs: it brings new meaning to the verse you heard first, because now you know the story that it was introducing, and understand the significance of what it told you. It can bring a certain irony (popular in late romantic poetry) and sense of knowingness or regret.

On a practical level, it makes it clear that you're winding up the song, and (Jim Carroll won't approve of this, but it's common in England now) allows your audience to join in because that first verse is more familiar to them now. I like this; it gives the audience a chance to express their endorsement, their participation in the sentiments or the story of the song.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 12:46 PM

Whether you do or don't is a matter of personal taste - my intervention was purely based on the statement that it was an old practice.
I don't see the need for it, particularly in narrative songs - it has to spoil the plot.
Joining in on the last verse wouldn't make the slightest difference anyway - if you've gone back to the beginning of the story you would have spoiled it for me anyway
I believe it to be a modern affectation, that's all.
Another affectation is the use of recitative, a straight lift from the music-hall and the Vaudeville stage.
As Marge says, in general, I detest joiners inners ; if I still lived in the U.K. I would attempt to organise an annual cull.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Marje
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 01:26 PM

Blimey, Jim, do warn us if you're coming over here - it's so common now for people to join in, there would be few left standing once you started culling!

Marje


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 02:36 PM

music is about participating, joining in, occasionally it is inappropriate, but with folk music it was something Pete Seeger managed to use successfully. here is another song that in my opoinion it is satisfactory to repeat the first verse so that people can join in, on one april morning.
JIM, Have you ever sung in a museum, I think you might like it.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 04:16 AM

Folk song has never been been about joining in - it is about people who have turned their emotions and experiences into musical verse and passed them on to others - poets, playwrights, authors.... painters whoever, have done the same for millenia and will continue to do so long after we have shuffled off.
I am totally at a loss to understand this moronic desire to join in with the verses of a song should have ever caught on - the massed choirs of the folk song revival.   
Try going to an opera and joining in - or muttering your way through Shakespearean soliloquies.... I've seen people being asked to leave a cinema because they insisted in echoing familiar lines in a film.
Joining in on songs as a matter of course without being asked is arrogant interference in a solo singers rights to interpret a song for themselves.
If it is a widespread trend in British folk clubs it is an extremely disturbing one - if it happens at singing weekends I attend here people talk about long after the culprits have departed from Shannon airport back to Heathrow (it seems yet another British eccentricity designed to damage folk song even further).
If I have been given the opportunity to sing I expect to be allowed to be given the consideration of people listening to what I an saying with my songs.
If I want them to join in I will ask them to do so - that's what choruses are for.
If you want to sing, wait till it's your turn.
You want to sing in groups - join a feckin' choir!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: johncharles
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 04:42 AM

most joiner inners would find a choir very difficult, given their propensity to sing faster or slower than the performer; never in time.
john


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 04:51 AM

folksong has always been about joining in, but in the appropriate places, look at the format of some of the oldest ballads that have a line and then a line to join in with.
it is not moronic to get an audience to participate,Jim, you clearly are uninformed about performing, neither is it moronic to turn the first verse or any verse of a song into in effect a chorus, if the performer wants people to join in,AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT MAKE A NONSENSE OF THE SONG.
A poem that i set music to.. Sailortown, i used one of the verses as a chorus it was a non narrative song, as a performance it works well.As a performer what matters are that you perform well, and the audience enjoy themselves if they are enjoying themselves by joining in and is not detrimental to my performnce,I do not have a problem, it is easy enough for a performer to say in a pleasant way you can join in, or this one is better without etc. Folk song is not opera neither is it going to the cinema, it is about people enjoying themselves.
a good performer should be aware of the audience and be able to encourage or discourage certain things in a pleasant way, it is up to the performer
the only problem I have ever had was when i was booked at the folk club in cecil sharp house,and some fllor singer decided to join in with his concertina ,the problem was he was playing a completely different set of chords, yes, jim that sort of thing is out of order.   by the way your anti english remark was racist and unecessary, in ireland this sort of thing is sometimes mistakenly done by tourists of many different nationalities, it is in a different situation to the guest perfomer booked in folk club, it can be irritating if the person joining in is incompetent,on the other hand i have ha great musicians call in and play because it is an open session, but it is the problem of the irish tourist industry who give the impression that all sessions are free for alls.
so we have 2 different situations, tourists coming to ireland and being under the impression they can join in regardless of whether they know the music, and people in england paying to get in to a folk club and joining in,they are two different situations and both can be dealt with tact fully.
Jim, the word radical means getting to the root of the problem ,singling out english folk club visitors as the proplem is not accurate, the problem is the nature of an open session it is open to anyone, if you dont want an oipen session play in your own house with invited guests, a public house is a public house it is open to the public , if you dont like it set up to your own house session, but dont come on here putting the blame on english people.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 05:04 AM

I remember long ago [at the very 1st Cambridge FF, 1965, IIRC] Jon Raven & his group The Black Country Three [I think they were called] sang The Bonnie Lass Of Fyvie; & Jon in his intro saying that they always sang the second verse ['Mony a bonnie lass in the Howes o' Auchterless...'] as a chorus after each verse, "because we find people like singing choruses". That is a song with a good bouncy tune, and it seemed a good idea; and no-one obtrusively then took it on themselves to join in with the other verses, even tho most of us knew them. It is surely a matter of courtesy to take one's lead from the performer[s] in this particular.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 05:47 AM

Dick - I have no intention of following you into one of your rather gloomy and unpleasant blind alleys - Mike has just said it all
"It is surely a matter of courtesy to take one's lead from the performer"
If a performer is happy that an audience joins in on what he or she does - fine, that is their prerogative.
Nobody should ever be put in the position of having to ask an audience not to join in; that is an unacceptable imposition and where a club carries it out as common practice, it would set up an immediate barrier between listener/would-be-joiner-inner and performer.
On the few occasions I have found myself sitting next to one of these strange people in an audience I have moved away rather than ask them to shut up (my first instinct)
People here have argued for it happening at open sessions, they have suggested that it is arrogant to expect to be allowed to sing solo.
Personally, I would avoid such clubs like the plague - they should be required to put up health warnings - it is, at the very least, bad manners - at worst artistic vandalism
Jim Carroll .


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 06:08 AM

Sorry
In a hurry when I wrote that
Should read
"People here have suggested that it should happen in clubs"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 06:16 AM

This conversation has gone a bit off-thread, though, Jim - it was about repeating the last verse. In a way you should go a tad further, though, recognising that some songs are dialogues with the audience and go desperately flat if they're the Wigmore Hall kind of audience sitting there purely expecting to be entertained - the kind who expect a live performance to be the ultimate in hi-fidelity recordings and give no feedback whatsoever. Horses for courses, therefore, and dependent also on the audience.
The funniest one I ever discovered was at a dead kitsch tourist performance of Strauss waltzes in Vienna - first piece, dead silence at the end. There's no applause on CDs. Silence. I had the eye of the leader and the conversation went, roughly, "for fuck's sake somebody lead them" "me?" "Yeah, you" "Oh, OK then". Release of the log-jam. Which goes to make the point that if you are going to get the audience involved, seed it with people you know who can come with you and lead them - or risk it going flat.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: JHW
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 06:20 AM

Occasionally it has become standard practice with certain songs.

Mervyn Vincent never returned to the first verse of Sailing Time. As the last verse ends 'haul away for heaven, God be by your side' surely that is the way the song writer intended to leave it but far more prevalent has become the first verse repeat.
Mary Ellen Carter ends with a variant chorus but you're very likely to get a finisher of the regular one.
(Here I prefer a finisher of the variant chorus repeated)

Could be (in general) that one singer copies what he heard another do without giving thought to the effect.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 06:47 AM

"This conversation has gone a bit off-thread, though, Jim "
You are right of course, but in way they are linked in what has happened to folk songs in the hands of people whose involvement with them appears to be very different from their makers and those who have kept them as part of their lives for centuries.
That said, I'm quite happy to leave it there and let the topic proceed uninterrupted by my particular béte noire
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 07:30 AM

"It is surely a matter of courtesy to take one's lead from the performer",
exactly the point that i made, the performer encourages or gives a lead, or if he is in a situation where something he doesnt like occurs, he has every right tactfully to ask the person to desist, whether it be a club or singaround or irish song session, I had to do this with a tourist who was not english who was playing random notes on a harmonica to a set of tunes, at an irish pub session, i explained nicelt fuirst time that it was a good idea to know the tune but if not to play quietly,[he took no notice]so i had to ask him again, this guy was just playing anything regardless of the tune or key, but that is a bit different from people repeating the last verse of a song.
I am in effect partially agreeing with you , with the proviso ,it can vary on ciurcumstance.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 08:27 AM

JHW said
"Could be (in general) that one singer copies what he heard another do without giving thought to the effect."

That probably accounts for many instances, and would be a particular instance of a wider phenomenon of singers not always paying attention to the sense of the words that they are singing. (And that's not only revivalists: it applies to some of the old traditional singers too.)

On the other hand there can sometimes be some justice in what Michael Flanders said about Donald Swann's singing of To Kokoraki, which (if my memory isn't too far off) was something along the lines of "Personally I don't worry about the words too much: I just look on it as a jolly pleasing noise".


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 11:41 AM

"he has every right tactfully to ask the person to desist,"
He or she should never be put in the position of having to make such a request - it should be taken as read that he or she is a solo performer until it is shown otherwise - as is the case with every other performing art
You have been given the reason for this fact already - respond to this or go away and stop nausing up a discussion with inanities.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 01:31 PM

Having started this thread I am pleased that it has generated some active discussion, but sorry that it has given GSS and Jim another subject to cross swords about.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 01:49 PM

Jim, there are no inanities,
what you have shown on this thread that you are capable of making racist, generalised remarks, that you know nothing about performing. you cannot make hard and fast rules that do not take into account individual differing circumstances that have to take into account differing performing situations.
you seem to forget that people go out to hear folk music and enjoy it, if the majority of people in a club are enjoying people joining in and you are not, you are in a minority what you should do is leave and subsequently write a letter to the organiser, voicing your dissatisfaction
if you are in a majority at the time then say something to the organiser.
its very simple if you are in a minority, you have a number of options put up with it or leave and write a letter to the organiser. can we now get away from your red herring and return to the discussion of the last verse repetition.


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Subject: RE: Repeating the first verse at the end
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 14 - 02:08 PM

there is evidence that people have always joined in some narrative ballads, that is why some ancient narrative songs have repeat lines so that audiences can join in in appropriate places.
repeating the first verse is not always nonsensical, it depends on the lyrics of the song.,
and the particular situation the performer find him/herself in, there are not hard and fast rules that have to be obeyed, much depends on varying situations, experienced performers are able to be sensitive to diferent situations and they adapt,
there will always be grumpy old bollcks who appear to want to lay down rules, whats new?


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