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'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?

Musket 22 Sep 14 - 12:50 PM
Musket 22 Sep 14 - 12:49 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 14 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 22 Sep 14 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 22 Sep 14 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 22 Sep 14 - 10:34 AM
Musket 21 Sep 14 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 21 Sep 14 - 10:57 AM
Lighter 21 Sep 14 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 21 Sep 14 - 08:51 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Sep 14 - 06:34 AM
Brian Peters 21 Sep 14 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 20 Sep 14 - 08:26 PM
Musket 20 Sep 14 - 07:19 PM
Brian Peters 20 Sep 14 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 19 Sep 14 - 12:20 PM
Musket 19 Sep 14 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 19 Sep 14 - 12:14 PM
Brian Peters 19 Sep 14 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 19 Sep 14 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,John P 19 Sep 14 - 10:33 AM
Bounty Hound 18 Sep 14 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 18 Sep 14 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 18 Sep 14 - 05:15 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Sep 14 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,spleen cringe 18 Sep 14 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 18 Sep 14 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 18 Sep 14 - 01:44 PM
Bounty Hound 18 Sep 14 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 18 Sep 14 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 18 Sep 14 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 18 Sep 14 - 12:24 PM
Bounty Hound 18 Sep 14 - 11:41 AM
Mark Clark 18 Sep 14 - 11:11 AM
Musket 18 Sep 14 - 06:36 AM
dick greenhaus 18 Sep 14 - 04:51 AM
Musket 18 Sep 14 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,Stim 18 Sep 14 - 12:47 AM
Musket 17 Sep 14 - 02:38 AM
GUEST,Stim 17 Sep 14 - 02:28 AM
Backwoodsman 17 Sep 14 - 01:48 AM
Musket 16 Sep 14 - 04:58 PM
Backwoodsman 16 Sep 14 - 04:02 PM
Musket 16 Sep 14 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 16 Sep 14 - 08:57 AM
Backwoodsman 16 Sep 14 - 08:53 AM
Lighter 16 Sep 14 - 08:36 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Sep 14 - 06:44 AM
Musket 16 Sep 14 - 06:27 AM
Rob Naylor 16 Sep 14 - 06:13 AM
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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 12:50 PM

I pressed the submit button before dragging in a bit about most discos where I come from fit the bill for strip the widow, but you can get the picture..


😎😎😎


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 12:49 PM

I love to love
But my baby just loves to dance,
He wants to dance, he's got to dance

I love to love
But my baby prefers Morris and longsword


(Tina Charles)

🎼🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎺🎺🎷🎸🎸🎸🎵🎵🎵🎵🎹🎹🎹🎹


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 11:54 AM

Folk Disco? Have you heard the syndrum on Tim Hart's 'One Man Went to Mow'? ...


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 11:35 AM

I know this is not 'folk rock and a lot of folks here will dismiss it as crap..

but it's just too irresistable for a couple minutes of light weight fun........


Gaudete


Now when are we going to start talking about 'Folk Disco' !!!???


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 10:37 AM

Don't you think we are comparing two elements of folk and trying to say one makes the other wrong rather than celebrate each on its own merit

Nope. I'm saying we shouldn't apply the same criteria to 'judging' folk rock as we would to judging folk. F'rinstance, everytime I hear the word 'diction' I want crank the fuzz 'n' feedback up to 11...


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Sep 14 - 10:34 AM

You talk good sense, Mr Punkfolkrocker. I don't feel as if I'm missing much when I listen to, say, psychedelic funk from 70s Nigeria and they're not singing a word of English....

Meanwhile, I like that folk-rock is so much a broader church than the UK variety would have you think. Whether it's the scorching Creedence-inspired desert rock of Tinarawen, the droning Finnish psych-folk sounds of Kiila, the classic 60s tropicalia of Os Mutantes (convince me Bat Macumba isn't folk rock!) or the 60s-inspired Byrdsian jangle of the Young Sinclairs, it's all folk-rock. I'm too lazy to put up the links, but if you have a few idle moments, look 'em up in Youtube!


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 21 Sep 14 - 02:39 PM

Why is a symphony louder than a Chopin prelude? How can he be a pop singer if he doesn't wear a glitter suit? That Madrigal can't be music, there's no instruments. It can't be a folk song, Bob Dylan didn't write it. Don't say Stephan Grappelli was a jazz man, I never heard him play a sax.

Don't you think we are comparing two elements of folk and trying to say one makes the other wrong rather than celebrate each on its own merit?

After all, some people in folk clubs drink lager rather than bitter. They still sing folk.

💤


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 Sep 14 - 10:57 AM

... aren't we examining extremes, to try to find the sweet spot that appeals to both the heart and the mind ???

Like the slurred worn out, world weary, matured bitter-sweet tones of the great elderly blues and jazz singers.

Is there no place for that in British trad folk...???

An emotive evocative voice of aging clapped out life-long exploited manual labourers and factory workers...??

A voice of bitter experience in Brit trad folk music.

Or do we just accept the anodyne warblings of the latest generation of middle class schooled for fame
folk wannabes...???

just 'academic' questions.... that's all.. no need for knickers in twists about it...


Btw.. I also can't stand vocal ornamentation just for the sake and vanity of it..


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Sep 14 - 09:56 AM

> an emotive sense of raw humanity

What does that mean? Something inarticulate but what? And why is it as good as (or even better than) the corresponding articulate what?

And why is raw humanity a good thing in music anyway? Is it like a primal scream? Over and over?

It gets kind of tedious, like screaming your head off at a hockey game - or listening to the guy next to you doing it.

Shane MacGowan's incomprehensibility doesn't appeal to everyone. He might as well just go "na na na na na na" like the night they drove old Dixie down.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 Sep 14 - 08:51 AM

Problems with obscured diction as part of a singer's idiosyncratic approach to performance..???

Back in the early 1970s, a large part of the ritual experience of serious apreciation of the artistry of a new LP,
was studiously analysing & interpreting the sleeve artwork;
and reading the lyric sheet whilst listening to the record playing...

No problem.....

But then, I was a grammar school kid, that's the sort of precocious clever clogs thing we did back then......


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Sep 14 - 06:34 AM

"I've criticized MacColl's floating accent on here before"
MacColl was from a Scots family - his accent varied at home as it did with his singing.
I've sat in the middle of conversations with him and his mother Betsy and thought (in those days) that I may as well have been sitting in a Greek Cypriot Cafe in Camden Town (my local eatery in those days).
His accent broadened when in Scots company - it was the one he was used to at home.
I always felt that he deliberately neutralised Scots texts (as an actor does) to make them more accessible.
Just before I moved to London a few of us went to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and saw MacBeth (complete with the witches in skimpy see-through robes).
Matt McGinn played the part of the gatekeeper - didn't understand a bloody word - and my dad was born in Glasgow!
"using voice as an instrument"
Fine, as long as you remember that British folk song is word and not music based and English and Scots songs are strongly narrative.
Over-instrumentation and, on occasion, over-musicality, can interfere with the communication of this.
This is my problem with electric-folk - it exorcises the narrative and becomes something else.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Sep 14 - 06:07 AM

"some posts here are arguing that folk rock is different to folk as appreciation of lyrics is something that sets the genres apart. I would argue that is a sweeping generalisation that doesn't do justice to the art of using voice as an instrument"

I don't disagree with the last bit. Every singer who ornaments the melody is using their voice as an instrument. When I see the suggestion from some tradsong commentators that using instrumental accompaniment inevitably distracts from the story, I want to suggest to them that any embellishment (including ornamentation) must detract just as much, and perhaps we should get rid of the tune altogether and just recite our ballads.

On the first point, a highly-amplified concert performance by a band with a drummer is a different beast, to my ears, than a ballad singer in an intimate back-room setting, and different rules may apply (regardless of whether you call either one 'folk'). I think Phil Edwards made the same point. Some of the songs I like have good (and sometimes complicated) stories, and being able to understand the words makes them more enjoyable - it's nothing to do with 'sterile academic clarity'. Incidentally I can understand most of Richard Thompson's words OK.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 08:26 PM

Clear diction is essential in 'folk' ????

... errrmmm.. Shane MacGowan ?????????????


So.. communicating an emotive sense of raw humanity behind the story of a song
is somehow not as important as sterile academic clarity..???


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 07:19 PM

Aye they are. In fact many good songs sung by many excellent performers would suffer if clear diction was a prerequisite.

I just get the feeling that some posts here are arguing that folk rock is different to folk as appreciation of lyrics is something that sets the genres apart. I would argue that is a sweeping generalisation that doesn't do justice to the art of using voice as an instrument, which is widespread amongst just about all types of music.

Fol de rol day


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 03:51 PM

"In which case, listening to a recording of MacColl singing a traditional Scottish song in that affected accent he used when singing them must be very difficult for you Brian."

I'm not about to defend anyone singing a ballad in such a mannered style that you can't make out the words, and I've criticized MacColl's floating accent on here before. Better to 'sing in your own voice', as Harry Boardman used to say.

But.... Ballads in Scots are always going to contain words foreign to an English listener - you can struggle even with a very clear singer like Ray Fisher. And, if we're judging performance on the basis of ' a good noise', then I have to say that some of MacColl's Scots ballads are pretty stirring.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 12:20 PM

Btw... just googled it...

"mysterious snatches" still seems to be available for a Band name..........


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 12:15 PM

In which case, listening to a recording of MacColl singing a traditional Scottish song in that affected accent he used when singing them must be very difficult for you Brian. Be buggered if I can make out half the words.

🎤🎸🎸


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 12:14 PM

Too many great bands and singers are dreadful lyricists,
it's best not to be able to hear what they are singing.

There's an early 70s Prog folk band in my LP collection.
Fantastic atmosphere setting music, good singer,
all sabotaged and ruined by too frequent moments of clunky cringey bad song writing,
that severely distract from the mood of the listening experience...

One of the main reasons I like listening to 'World music' sung in foreign languages
I haven't the slightest understanding of...


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 11:38 AM

"because the words are rarely given priority over the other aspects of the overall sound, you'll often hear mysterious snatches of them rather than the whole lyric on a plate"

I was thinking just that yesterday, listening to some old Steve Earle tracks in the car. A truly great lyricist, a lousy enunciator, but still IMO a brilliant singer. And the 'mysterious snatches' somehow managed to convey the meaning very well (though I do go online to check his lyrics sometimes).

You could certainly hear all the words on early Steeleye Span albums, but they were playing folk on electric instruments, rather than 'folk-rock'. And it if it's 'folk', I do want to hear the words.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 11:20 AM

What is most interesting of the European 'Folk Metal' genre of the last decade or so
is how enthusiastically hordes of teenage headbangers and moshers have taken to bagpipes and hurdy gurdys,
violins, and whatever other early music instruments, being featured on stage
alongside the more 'traditional' pointy headstock high powered pickups electric guitars.......

QUOTED FROM: ELUVEITIE Youtube link -


"Lee Sadovsky4 months ago

hurdy gurdy power :)))__________________________--


Reddust86 4 weeks ago

fucking bagpipes.. FUCKYEAH!!_______________________


Davskla Smalay3 weeks ago

WTF ! I love the bagpipes ^^______________________


Donald Waite3 weeks ago

HA I BET EVERY PERSON HERE THOUGHT BAGPIPES WERE RETARDED UNTIL THEY HEARD THIS SONG________________


Björn Mätal 1 week ago

Nope, I thought bagpipes are fun. Now I think bagpipes are awesome.___________________


Trevor Wagner1 week ago

it just made me like them more than i already did______________



TheLoneLoony1 week ago

Heavy Metal Bagpipes FTW_______________________"


So... there you are, maybe there is hope for the future after alll !!!?????


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,John P
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 10:33 AM

There seems to be some confusion about the difference between historical music and traditional music. Studying the past to determine musical style and instrumentation isn't traditional -- it's academic musicology, which in some ways is the exact opposite of traditional. I play music with origins that range over a 700 year period; if I were to only use the instruments that were current when each song first came into existence, I'd have to drive around with a large truck full of instruments.

There also seems to be confusion over the fact that our wonderful English language allows us to use the same words for different meanings depending on context. The "traditional" in traditional song, to me, refers to the provenance of the song, not the milieu or style in which it is sung. Communities have traditions. These traditions root the community to the past but are also constantly changing. When traditional songs first came into being in their traditional communities, they were modern music and were played on whatever instrument came to hand. In today's society, playing traditional music on the electric guitar could be argued to be more traditional than playing it on a concertina or hurdy-gurdy . . .

If you are going to exclude electric guitars from traditional music, you may as well also exclude acoustic guitars, accordions, flutes with keys, violins, etc. How far back do you want to go to establish what is traditional and what isn't?


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 06:38 PM

Spleen, I like to think we give our music a bit of an edge, and thank you for that comment. Sorry to say I'm not with you on Flying Saucer Attack, not my cup of tea I'm afraid, and Punkfolkrocker, I've had a look at your links, and same reaction. Still, it would be a boring old world if we all had the same taste ;)

I'm more of a Levellers, Men they Couldn't Hang, Strawbs, Tull man myself, which does bring us back to the importance of the words. I think the world would be a sadder place without the genius lyrics of Dave Cousins and Ian Anderson.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 05:20 PM

I'm in the queue right behind you for those Archdrude and Portishead albums, PFR. And your queue, Phil, for the FSA reformation...


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 05:15 PM

"Flying Saucer Attack - Sally Free and Easy"

listening to it now.... kinda reminds me of Julian Cope.

Now I lost track of his copious output about 20 years ago..
If he hasn't alread yet released a CD of 'Pagan Neo Folk' run throughs of favourite trad songs,
he's one artist who damn well ought to....

Right, so now I want Portishead and Julian Cope to go 'Folk'....


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 05:05 PM

Digressing slightly, here's my favourite Flying Saucer Attack number: At Night. (Best played loud and in a darkened room.) FSA should definitely (a) reform and (b) do some traditional material. Can you imagine what they could do with True Thomas or Little Musgrave?

you've got to admit that too much diction (to paraphrase Television) is horrible unless it's overdone for effect Syd Barret style

Not with you there. Clarity doesn't mean RP. Whatever I listen to, I like to hear the words well enough to learn the song for myself, but that doesn't mean everything has to be "Ear-ly one mor-or-neeng". In fact one of the things I like about that FSA track is that the vocals are clear as a bell (in their own way).

When I was young and pretentious (and into the later Soft Machine), my best friend was raving about some new band - I think it was Bad Company, which dates me - and I told him I couldn't really be bothered with them: "Thing is, I've got a fundamental aversion to rock." I was being pretentious - and he never let me forget it - but there was a grain of truth there; put me in front of a guitar-based rock combo straight out of the mid-70s and I'll just get bored. (Guitar-based rock combos straight out of the late 70s were a very different bag of nails - at least, they were until U2 came along.) Unfortunately this rules out an awful lot of folk-rock. Then there's my fundamental aversion to protest songs... maybe I'm just fundamentally awkward!


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,spleen cringe
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 04:44 PM

I will give you that I'm more of a tunes than a songs man, BH. I like a decent lyric as much as the next person. But I'm perfectly happy with the human voice as just another instrument. And you've got to admit that too much diction (to paraphrase Television) is horrible unless it's overdone for effect Syd Barret style. I stand corrected about the 'vocals high in the mix' issue, but I would add that when people claimed not to be able to hear the words on your Blackleg Miner on the thread I've avoided posting to, my intial thought was 'does it really friggin' matter?' It's folk rock... and your stuff often has a rawer edge than the standard issue version, which should always be encouraged!

I'd love to hear more stuff like this: Flying Saucer Attack - Sally Free and Easy - If Cyril Tawney's songs are really folk of course!


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 01:47 PM

... and a full live gig...

Eluveitie - Live at Summerbreeze 2008


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 01:44 PM

My memory is a bit intermittent these days....

but here's one of 'em.... ELUVEITIE


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 01:37 PM

Got to disagree with you there Spleen Cringe, words are what make a song a song, without them it's just a tune!

I can also tell you from many years experience that you don't have to 'compromise the sound' to make sure the words are heard! Interestingly, I've just had a look at a youtube video of Wolf People,the band you mention, not a video of a live performance, but a studio production, so presumably they had a hand in the overall mix, and the vocals are well up in that mix, so it might be that they would not agree with you either!


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 01:14 PM

"But do give me examples that prove me wrong..."

About six or seven years ago I had an exciting aural fling with some Swiss and Scandinavian
'Folk Metal' bands....

Buggered if I can remember the names right now, but I enjoyed their CDs a lot at the time..


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 01:07 PM

Two points about folk-rock.

Judging from frequently repeated comments on this site about'diction' and 'clarity', many people who are drawn to traditional song are drawn to it foremost for the words rather than the tune and if they can't hear the words the experience loses its meaning for them. Most good rock music of any variety, on the other hand, is about the sum total of the sound created: the mood, the vibe, the melody, the arrangement, the playing - and the words. However, because the words are rarely given priority over the other aspects of the overall sound, you'll often hear mysterious snatches of them rather than the whole lyric on a plate clear as a bell. This subsuming of the words to overarching musical experience is often one of the hallmarks of great rock music. I personally don't care whether I can hear the words when I'm listening to rock - I'm more worried about whether the tune and the arrangement is any good, and if it isn't, the most brilliant lyrics ever cannot even begin to compensate. I'd rather read the lyrics as poetry when that happens.

If traditional songs are given a rock setting, most rock fans aren't going to be that bothered about whether they can hear the words or not. Folkies are. However, if folk-rock bands compromise the overall sound to make sure the word-hungry folkies are satisfied, they will also be compromising the effectiveness of their music as good rock music. The idea of rock music with the vocals high enough in the mix to please the folkies or the words enunciated painstakingly clearly and correctly makes for pretty shit rock. Good diction in rock sucks.

If you want to listen first and foremost to the lyrics and in order to do so you want to reduce the music to 'appropriate accompaniment' stick to folk! Please! Rock music isn't for you...

****************

Meanwhile, folk-rock is a pretty meaningless label nowadays, unless it is used mainly to describe music that regurgitates the formula laid down 45 years ago by a handful of UK bands like Fairport and Steeleye or to describe music with roots in 50 year old American bands like the Byrds (personally I prefer the latter). I'm not reallly interested in folk-rock heritage/tribute bands - they seem primarily to be part of the retromania/nostalgia industry. I'll make an expection for the Wolf People, but only just.

Rock itself is almost as meaningless a terms as folk. Heavy rock? Indie rock? Post Rock? Country Rock? Maths Rock? Punk rock? Garage rock? Soft rock? Psych rock? Jazz rock? The list is endless. What I do know is that most folk -ock appends its folk to pretty moribund and middle-of-th-road rock forms. Which is sad.

But do give me examples that prove me wrong...


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 12:24 PM

There are dedicated folks who deserve every respect and honour to be awarded
for their lifelong commitment collecting, archiving and preserving,
all aspects of our informal & ephemeral, living, evolving, and transmuting creative culture...

However these folks are not necessarily the ideal authorities
regarding the custodianship and arbitration
of how these collected cultural products should be diseminated and merrily fucked around with
by our contemporay artistic and wider savvy population....


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 11:41 AM

Thanks Mark, your comments made me blush :)

And what a well put answer to the original question, so thanks for that as well.

John


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 11:11 AM

To a US Midwesterner who's been performing both traditional and modern music in public for more than 50 years, this seems like an odd discussion. I love traditional songs performed in a minimalist folksy way. But I also love music performed in a tastefully elaborate way. I watched the YouTube video linked in the initial post and have to say I like it very much. I think it's nicely arranged, well performed, and exciting to its audience. What more could one want in a public performance where people pay good money for admission?

I'm guessing the question here is whether or not this performance (or any performance of "folk-like" music) remains true to the material. So here's my take on that question.

The term "folk" has had many meanings over time. The great classical composers often drew on what were called "folk" themes for their great symphonies and operas. They didn't travel to remote villages to find these themes. They were just part of the common musical consciousness of the day. In the 20th century, scholars made an academic discipline from the study of songs as they passed from person to person and generation to generation migrating with the people who sang them. So the term "folk" was an academic term with a particular academic definition. As these traditional songs evolved, and especially with the advent of radio and recording, the folk material became the basis for a great deal of "popular" music the main point of which was to entertain audiences and make some money. In the middle of the 20th century performers began rearranging the old songs to suit the tastes of the day and "folk music" was born as a commercial genre. All these meanings of "folk" and more are still in use (and useful) today.

A musical performance can have a number of possible purposes. For many years I attended the University of Chicago Folk Festival held near the end of January each year. The focus of the festival leaned toward the academic. Performers might be featured who really were directly from the hills, hollers, plantations, and prisons. They sang in ways passed through generations. Their performances were often beautiful (at least to me) but not necessarily beautiful as musical entertainment. But also on the stage would be some modern interpreter of those old songs whose performances were tightly arranged and expertly performed. These were the performers whose record albums the audience actually bought.

All this music is continually changing. When we think of Irish music today we think of bouzoukis, 4-string banjos, bodhráns, and other instruments only recently taken up by Irish performers. No one says this isn't "traditional" Irish music but it wouldn't sound familiar to "The Croppy Boy."

Whether or not The Bounty Hounds' performance of "Blackleg Miner" is folk, folk-rock, rock 'n' roll, or pop, it's clearly very entertaining and nicely done. We spend too much effort trying to force the music into this or that temporary mold when we should be trying to set the music free so it can grow to its full potential.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 06:36 AM

UK? This debate was started in another thread by a pedant in Ireland who could start an argument in an empty room.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 04:51 AM

It seems that, in the UK "folk" refers only to the words of a song.; in the US, style is much more the defining characteristic. Not a difference that can be reconciled by logic or discussion. Even by noisy debate.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 02:51 AM

No. I'm thick, you see.

It takes gross stupidity though to demand answers to rhetorical questions.

zzzz


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 12:47 AM

The short answer being that you have no answer.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 17 Sep 14 - 02:38 AM

If I look to my left I see rock. To my right is a hard place.

It's an evolution. Like many genres, it is a library card system to lessen the chances of being disappointed once you get to the gig if it is labelled to your liking.

What is classical? Is baroque different? Can you call Benjamin Britten or Gilbert and Sullivan opera? Is madrigal accapella?

When Martin Carthy sings a Slade song, does that make Noddy Holder a folk songwriter?

When you go on Mudcat, do you think everybody gets precious over silly things in their real lives too? How many of us have real lives? Has anybody thought of the significance of the three musketeers?

Tomorrow. How to nail jelly to the ceiling.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 17 Sep 14 - 02:28 AM

Well, don't feel to guilty, Musket. I don't agree with you. At least I don't agree that you've given any sort of explanation of what makes anything rock. Forget about traditional, forget about folk, tell me what you think rock is.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 17 Sep 14 - 01:48 AM

Don't worry about it, even a broken clock is right twice a day. :-)


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 04:58 PM

You realise the thought of anybody agreeing with me makes me feel guilty??


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 04:02 PM

Musket, not overly exercised about agreeing with you, it happens more often than you'd probably think, but agreeing with Bunter?!? That's a worry.

No can do Ep'th this time - domestic responsibilities must take priority - but I've every intention of getting over there very soon.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 01:05 PM

No idea re Mamas Boys, other than hearing them at Sheffield City Hll on the same tour Judas Priest got a bollocking for riding a motorbike on stage at Newcastle. '78? '79?

Never heard about them since, but they influenced me in some ways as they not only played lots of jigs & reels very well, with a fiddle leading, but some of their tunes were borrowed strongly from traditional tunes and seemed well suited to their heavy metal style. I still remember them now, and that's something considering we had been in the Wapentek before the gig, front loading on old Peculiar as usual....

Backwoodsman. Take a tablet and lie down. Then tomorrow get your arse to Epworth and buy me a pint eh?


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 08:57 AM

Mama's Boys ???

I don't recall them at all ?

- but then, there are guilty reasons for black holes in my memory of the 70s....

The only Youtube's I can find are 80s videos of an average commercial pop metal band..

any better links to suggest ?

Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher are more obvious partial folkrockers who are easier to remember...

But my favourite mid 70s folk rockers were Jack The Lad [Lindisfarne spin off band]

Definitely had a more assertive, even aggressive, arguably 'proto punk' vibe about them...
even though they played predominantly 'acoustic' instruments...


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 08:53 AM

Bloody hell, now I find myself in agreement not only with Musket, but with Bunter too!
'Ere, wots goin' on?


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 08:36 AM

What disappoints me, and presumably others, is not the sound(Steeleye was, and occasionally still is, marvelous), but the fact, which others have noticed, is that "folk tradition" as technically understood has vanished from the genre.

Probably inevitably.

"Trad folk-rock" is another minor concert genre in the musical spectrum. It is arduous to produce and perform, and it requires a team of professionals or semiprofessionals to do it. As is true of other music, the performers copyright their material and their imitators usually feel compelled to reproduce it (at least the words) as closely as possible.

It's hard to call something "folk" in any historically meaningful way if it can only be done right by well-equipped professionals. I suppose the accompaniment varies from performer to performer, but that's only one element of "tradition."


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 06:44 AM

"The voice is a musical instrument "
The voice is als an instrument for communicating ideas and emotions - as are fok songs - an instrument for communicatinf thoughts and feelings - a perfect combination when used to its full extent
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Musket
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 06:27 AM

What's all this crap about clear diction? The voice is a musical instrument as anybody with a love of traditional music knows, if they stop and think about it for once.

Fol de rol, diddle aye do.

If you must analyse words, then note that they are sometimes rather clumsy from a use of language sense because fitting the rhythm is more important than fitting the grammar.


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Subject: RE: 'Traditional' folk/rock - meaningless?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 06:13 AM

BountyHound: On the thread about 'what makes a new song folk', Jim Carroll maintains that folk/rock makes traditional song meaningless as you can't hear the lyrics.
.
.
.
.
So what does the team think, does folk/rock make a traditional song meaningless?


Well, going back to the original post:

a) I can think of very few "folk/rock treatments of traditional songs where you can't hear the lyrics. I'm "quite mature", my hearing's not what it was, and I have tinnitus in my left ear, so I reckon if *I* can hear the lyrics of almost all folk/rock songs, then anyone who can't must have either very significant hearing problems or some kind of psychological hangup that militates against audibility!

b) No, of course a folk/rock treatment doesn't render *any* song, traditional or not, "meaningless". Inaudible, badly-sung unaccompanied songs mumbled through intervening sheets of lyrics are. to my ears, much more "meaningless" ( in the literal sense of the term) than most folk/rock!


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