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guest nights and singaround clubs

The Sandman 12 Oct 14 - 06:45 AM
Girl Friday 12 Oct 14 - 09:31 AM
jacqui.c 12 Oct 14 - 10:52 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Oct 14 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 12 Oct 14 - 11:17 AM
Ian Hendrie 12 Oct 14 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,# 12 Oct 14 - 12:51 PM
Leadfingers 12 Oct 14 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 12 Oct 14 - 01:45 PM
Jack Campin 12 Oct 14 - 02:02 PM
Musket 12 Oct 14 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,# 12 Oct 14 - 02:09 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 14 - 02:50 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Oct 14 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,FloraG 13 Oct 14 - 04:00 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Oct 14 - 04:05 AM
The Sandman 13 Oct 14 - 04:26 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Oct 14 - 04:36 AM
Musket 13 Oct 14 - 05:25 AM
GUEST 13 Oct 14 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 13 Oct 14 - 05:35 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Oct 14 - 06:09 AM
Musket 13 Oct 14 - 06:14 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Oct 14 - 06:19 AM
The Sandman 13 Oct 14 - 07:19 AM
johncharles 13 Oct 14 - 07:19 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Oct 14 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 13 Oct 14 - 08:02 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Oct 14 - 08:42 AM
rosma 13 Oct 14 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 13 Oct 14 - 09:04 AM
Jack Campin 13 Oct 14 - 09:22 AM
Musket 13 Oct 14 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,ST 13 Oct 14 - 09:50 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Oct 14 - 10:18 AM
Musket 13 Oct 14 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 13 Oct 14 - 12:00 PM
Dave Sutherland 13 Oct 14 - 12:23 PM
The Sandman 13 Oct 14 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Desi C 13 Oct 14 - 02:14 PM
Jack Campin 13 Oct 14 - 03:05 PM
growler 13 Oct 14 - 03:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Oct 14 - 04:03 PM
Phil Edwards 13 Oct 14 - 04:57 PM
Musket 14 Oct 14 - 03:28 AM
GUEST,FloraG 14 Oct 14 - 03:28 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Oct 14 - 04:14 AM
Rob Naylor 14 Oct 14 - 04:18 AM
The Sandman 14 Oct 14 - 04:24 AM
Phil Edwards 14 Oct 14 - 04:35 AM
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Subject: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 06:45 AM

In my opinion and my experience the standard[with a few exceptions] in UK Folk clubs is higher in guest booking clubs than at singaround clubs.
there are less people using crib sheets, very few of the paid guests use crib sheets and most of them are professional in their approach.yet singaround clubs appear to be popular and some of the singers AT THESE VENUES only seem to be interested in themselves and not in listening to others, has anyone any idea what is responsible for this situation.
I do not understand how people can improve if they are not interested in listening to other performers.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Girl Friday
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 09:31 AM

Hello Dick. This subject got talked about at Tenterden last week. I think we are mostly talking of Open Mics here. There are more of them than anyone can cope with, yet it seems to be a circuit. The same people go everywhere. We only go to ones that attract an audience, and where the players DO want to listen to each other, though there is a lot of background chat. They aren't Folk Clubs. It is totally rude of performers to only stay for their spot, and not listen to their friends/ fellow performers.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: jacqui.c
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 10:52 AM

It seems fairly obvious to me - guests are generally paid and therefore are expected to be professional or semi-professional and held to a higher standard than amateurs.

Singarounds give ordinary folk the opportunity to sing out the songs they love, mostly to the best of their ability. Granted there are some who don't sing very well or who tend to rely on crib sheets and there are a very few who make no effort to improve or to try a song with a piece of paper in front of them, but the idea is to get together and share a love of traditional music. The majority of venues I have been to everyone listens to whoever is performing, whatever level they are at.

I have been in the position of sitting next to someone who just wants to chat through other people's performances, but I think there are some people who just like the sound of their own voices and there is very little anyone can do about that, other than ignore them and make it clear that you are there for the music, not to talk.

I would also confess that I have been at venues where one or two performers were not my cup of tea - maybe doing non folk stuff at what is purportedly a folk session and not even doing that well. I will quite often use there turn as a good time to go to the loo, or to get another drink, so that I don't miss the people I really want to hear.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 11:08 AM

In the past, the best clubs were those that you field a team of their own residents good enough to take a whole evening to themselves
Singers from the floor spots gave visitors a chance to be heard and, if good enough, be invited to perform regularly.
The most imaginative clubs were those that ran workshops to enable new or inexperienced singers to develop and gain confidence.
The clubs I was involved with had a conscious policy of only having one guest night in every four - none of them ever really needed more than that as the residents were competent to take full evenings themselves, that way, we could use the door-takings for publicity and projects such as research and producing song books.
Too many guests always seemed to me to be counter-productive - far more valuable to establish a strong home-base
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 11:17 AM

some of us feel safer having the words and music, even if only as a precaution. it would be nice if everyone was the perfect performer, but making a bit of an effort will do for me. those "professional" performers must have learnt their craft somewhere......maybe those allegedly lower standard singarounds ?.
like girl Friday, I find it rude when some performers don't listen to the other participants, and sometimes those who don't listen are the paid guests. but at the end of the day, we live and learn, and gravitate more to places where at least some people listen.
the worst one I went to, was when the audience were watching football, and the other performers talked most of the time. I have not been back to that pub so far.
the other thing about singarounds , is that there is obviously more opportunity to participate, than when a guest takes most of the evening. there is also more variety, and unless the guest has great drawing power, it might be the less popular option.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 12:40 PM

I don't disagree with anything said so far but would just make a few comments.

There are a few clubs in the Manchester area which manage to run good singers' nights (or singarounds) AND regularly put on good quality guests on nights which are well attended (though not necessarily by those who attend the singers nights). The quality of guests and the 'home grown' support acts both encourage good attendances. In addition the people running these clubs make those attending feel welcome. Good communication, via regular e-mails, helps people feel involved.

The range of ability in singarounds is wide and I have found them generally very supportive of those of lower ability (I include myself in that category). Confidence or lack of it can make or break a performance and it should not be underestimated just how daunting it can be to perform in public or in front of musicians of much greater ability. The use of a safety net (i.e. crib sheet) can be invaluable to someone whose performance in their own home is good but who 'goes to pieces' in the public arena. Many with crib sheets sing with their eyes closed anyway!

Just how you get more of the people who attend singarounds to attend guest nights (and maybe learn something which could help them improve) is the problem. One local club offers tokens on singers' nights which give a discount on guest nights. I can't say if this works but it seems like a good idea.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,#
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 12:51 PM

Open mikes expose people to lots of very mediocre talent and the odd gem every now and then. Get too many mediocres for too many weeks or months in a row and the audience will get smaller and smaller.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 01:20 PM

When I started attending Folk Clubs in the mid sixties No One used crib sheets , though this has become more and more common of late , a trend than one can only frown on . At American song sessions it would seem to be 'The Norm' , with the majority singing from "The Book"


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 01:45 PM

There was an English guy one time who used to come a session which I was prone to visit. This guy spoke German. For reasons unknown to everyone but himself, he used to insist on singing incredibly long German songs, in German, out of a book.

There was a fair bit of carpet chewing went on when that guy was around, I can tell you. But even he wasn't as bad as Kenny, who used to sing Beatles songs and play the instrumental breaks on his anorak!!

I'm glad to say that time has drawn a veil over most of the other nutters I had to endure. However, I was living in Northern Ireland in those days. Brother was I glad to get back there.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 02:02 PM

Just how you get more of the people who attend singarounds to attend guest nights (and maybe learn something which could help them improve) is the problem.

I can think of quite a few regular guests on the folk club circuit that I'd much prefer nobody tried to learn from.

Being a professional means only that you've figured out how to make money out of the tradition. It doesn't mean you're a resource for it.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Musket
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 02:02 PM

I spent a number of years going to folk clubs where it was arranged as stage with audience facing. Even singers nights were of this style, two songs at a time usually and It remains my personal favourite style. I genuinely didn't know any other format. (Singarounds were things I experienced at festivals.)

The standard of entertainment for those wishing to be purely audience was fairly high generally, and young musicians found themselves in an environment where striving to achieve a performance was the norm

However, it isn't the most inclusive way of organising things and is more of a folk concert than a folk club, to be fair. In recent years, singarounds of the "this way round" have become far more prevalent. I can easily enjoy both and I get huge pleasure over seeing somebody's confidence rise and the entertainment value of their contribution increase. I would say though that a singaround is less of a spectator sport and casual onlookers sometimes wonder what the attraction is.

I do have two pet beefs about the singaround format.

Reading or sorting what you are going to do next, shuffling through folders and books whilst somebody is singing. If this is acceptable then singarounds are about self expression rather than entertainment.

I served my apprenticeship introducing songs, giving the provenance of traditional songs or why I decided to write this particular song, or why I like a song. Usually with the odd joke thrown in. I learned at the feet of masters of that art, and that is as much a tradition of the UK folk club scene as fair-isle sweaters. Nobody seems to call order in most singarounds till somebody actually starts singing. It isn't hard and fast rule fodder, but introducing songs is more of the norm at the more concert orientated folk clubs.

I am lucky in that the local clubs I try to get to and support, whilst singaround in nature are nice friendly places with a wide range of musical styles and abilities. They must think it odd that I insist on standing to play and never use a book, but thirty five years of standing to play and practicing till I know the words beforehand is me and something I will always do. (A piece of paper stuck to the guitar with first lines and key of a few songs helps these days though....)

I wrote down just about every song I know from memory and would be happy to sing at a level I considered entertainment recently. Its over 200, with plenty more ready with only a couple of hours working on them. I am sure that was typical years ago?


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,#
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 02:09 PM

"Its over 200, with plenty more ready with only a couple of hours working on them. I am sure that was typical years ago?"

It was standard, that's for sure.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 02:50 PM

ubject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 11:08 AM

In the past, the best clubs were those that you field a team of their own residents good enough to take a whole evening to themselves
Singers from the floor spots gave visitors a chance to be heard and, if good enough, be invited to perform regularly.
The most imaginative clubs were those that ran workshops to enable new or inexperienced singers to develop and gain confidence.
The clubs I was involved with had a conscious policy of only having one guest night in every four - none of them ever really needed more than that as the residents were competent to take full evenings themselves, that way, we could use the door-takings for publicity and projects such as research and producing song books.
Too many guests always seemed to me to be counter-productive - far more valuable to establish a strong home-base
Jim Carroll"
Yes very good points,
but if the club does not have good resident singers, or only a couple of good residents it is better to have guests who are professional in their attitude and are good competent performers, rather than having MANY singers who are unprepared, shuffling though papers etc, most people will tolerate the occasional duff unprepared performer, but not half a dozen or ten of them.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 03:45 AM

There is no reason in the world why a club shouldn't be able to get together enough singers to hold decent singing evenings as long as people are prepared to make the effort - if they are not - why bother?
I believe that, with few very rare exceptions, anybody can become at least a proficient singer is they are prepared to work at it
Professionalism doesn't necessarily mean good - enough evidence of this to be found, god knows.
The best guest evenings I ever attended were by non-professionals anyway - Sam Larner, Harry Cox, The Stewarts, Joe Heaney, Kevin Mitchell, Walter Pardon... hardly card-carrying members of the M.U. but far more entertaining that most of the professionals I ever heard sing.
If there are enough people locally to make setting up a singing session, it is inconceivable that there aren't enough people capable of forming a good team of residents if the incentive is created without having to rely on the services of outsiders.
All too often, relying on guests became a reason for not making sure that a club developed its own quality performers - if a club is going to be of any value whatever, it has to be on the basis of a strong resident team and not having to rely on outside help.
There's nothing wrong with booking guests, but the democracy of the early folk clubs which allowed us to make our own music, sing our own songs and become aware of our own traditions without having to have them sold to us by professionals was what made folk song unique, just as being able to scratch together a group with tea-chest bases and guitars and sing and play skiffle was equally unique.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 04:00 AM

I think its only polite that the guests listen to the floor spots too( apart perhaps from tuning up time). One guest at Dartford recently invited one of the young floor spots to join him for a tune. What a nice touch.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 04:05 AM

i think there are so many variables, its difficult to generalise. as i get older i often wonder how i managed to sit so long on uncomfortable wooden chairs.

nowadays, i'd rather watch other people play and sing than do it myself in singarounds. i like seeing younger peoples enthusiasm. but if you don't sing - just sing at home - you do lose the edge somewhat. performing for other people is a skill you can't neglect.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 04:26 AM

"There's nothing wrong with booking guests, but the democracy of the early folk clubs which allowed us to make our own music, sing our own songs and become aware of our own traditions without having to have them sold to us by professionals was what made folk song unique, just as being able to scratch together a group with tea-chest bases and guitars and sing and play skiffle was equally unique."
I do not disagree, but my point is that those people practised,and performed without shuffling through crib sheets, is that not correct Jim? did they or did they not perform without words in front of them?
"Professionalism doesn't necessarily mean good - enough evidence of this to be found, god knows"
yes it does, it means good performance, please do not insult professional musicians, who practise hard turn up on time deliver an entertaining evening,and remember their words without crib sheets, play and musical instruments with a high level of competence, a professional musician may not necessarily be to your taste , that is a different matter.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 04:36 AM

"but my point is that those people practised,and performed without shuffling through crib sheets, "
Are you suggesting that residents and local singers do these things - a bit elitist, don't you think?
I woldn't get up from in front of Holby City to go and see most of the guests on the scene nowadays - but I would walk over broken glass for a night of good local singers - any day
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Musket
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 05:25 AM

Excellent Jim! You and Holby City make an accurate comparison.

Holby City looks a bit like an NHS hospital but falls short on reality, detail and real life credibility.

Your narrow interpretation of folk falls short on reality, detail and real life credibility.

I see why you prefer to watch it rather than enjoy the wide wonderful genre of music the rest of us recognise.

😂😂

Hang on, that deserves a third one.

😂

There you go.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 05:32 AM

"Confidence or lack of it can make or break a performance and it should not be underestimated just how daunting it can be to perform in public or in front of musicians of much greater ability."

That is self-evident, but was always the case. Everyone who performs in public has had to face that when starting out. Even an experienced performer should still feel a frisson before facing an audience, and some would say that a touch of that helps to deliver a good performance.

The point is that in the old-style folk clubs it was clear from example that performing from songbooks or sheets was not an acceptable standard of performance. Aspiring performers knew they had to prepare themselves thoroughly. It isn't easy, but the only way to gain confidence is by standing up and doing it, and reading the words does not help with that. If you need a prop, then a discreet note taped to the guitar or held to be referred to only in an emergency might just be acceptable. Far better to learn and rehearse the song thoroughly.

When an evening regularly comprised a professional guest supported by expert residents (possibly semi-pro themselves) it set the bar high for other floor singers to aspire to. Most achieved it, or they wouldn't be invited to sing on guest nights. A singaround which accepts low standards encourages low standards - why bother to learn the skills when there is no need to?


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 05:35 AM

One of the (many) disadvantages of crib sheets is that the really bad singers can now painfully bore us with longer songs. I don't go to folk clubs to endure excruciating 'recitations'!


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 06:09 AM

oh bugger ! musket -cut it out, not another Tom and Jerry type thread!

don't say a word Jim, please!


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Musket
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 06:14 AM

With apologies to whoever wrote this, and they may be a Mudcatter.. I heard someone sing this last week and they emailed me the words, (although I actually asked for the words for something else they sang, however...)

Galway Drawl


At the local folk club, in fairest Barnsley,
One pleasant evening in the month of May,
There stood a singer, of neenah breeding
And his singing fairly took my breath away:

Ch: He had no talent, or sense of rhythm
No ear for music, no none at all….
But he sang for ages, went on for pages,
And he sang them slowly, in a Galway drawl.

He sang of Ireland, as if he'd been there,
He sang of troubles and war and pain.
He stopped eventually, we clapped politely,
So he stood and sang them all again:

He sang of rebels and Irish rovers,
The lakes, Coolphin and Ponchitrain
He sang each note, like an Irish setter
And the tears stood in our eyes with pain.

He kept on singing, we started walking,
Till the road to Dodworth came into view,
Says he to us, 'mates, all back to my place,
Where I've got another book of songs or two:


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 06:19 AM

Nice one Muskie - an attack on fellow performers - your talent is wasted talking to us lesser mortals
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 07:19 AM

I am suggesting everybody should practise so that they can perform to the best of their abilities, that they should have rehearsed and be familiar with their material, that is not elitist it is showing respect for ones material and respect for those that have come to listen.
Traditional singers like Fred Jordan who were good performers understood this, I do not recall seeing Fred ever perform with a crib sheet even when he was quite old.
here is Jim Carrolls quote, basically more Carroll Codswallop
"Are you suggesting that residents and local singers do these things - a bit elitist, don't you think?"
what is elitist about trying to perform well?


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: johncharles
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 07:19 AM

Hardly any irish songs sung at Barnsley in my 30 years of going there.
john


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 07:35 AM

"what is elitist about trying to perform well?"
Your suggestion was that if we didn't want "MANY singers who are unprepared, shuffling though papers etc, most people will tolerate the occasional duff unprepared performer" we should call in the experts.
Your suggestion is both elitist and patronising.
Any club that has to do that is not doing its job properly.
"Carroll Codswallop"
You're doing it again - you talentless moron - stop fucking up threads with your arrogance and ill manners.
If you don't learn to behave you shell be sent to bed without any tea.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 08:02 AM

We've had our fun with arranging guest nights. We have two sessions every Friday evening. That is basically 104 sessions a year. We would have guest nights only 4 times per year which only affected the earlier session anyway. People still got a chance for a spot prior to the guest and the later session in the pub was always on anyway which many of the guest would also come along too. There was a minority core though who really objected to the guest evenings. They objected to the cost even though they tended not to go to the pub session where the money is collected for bringing guests; they objected to losing part of their evening even though it was only 4 times per year; they objected to the quality even though they didn't go along anyway and the quality has been consistently good. ie for instance Wizz Jones, Allan Taylor, Steve Tilston, Sarah MacQuaid, Ivan Drever etc etc. It got so that last year we suspended having guests for a year. Luckily this year we have reasserted some kind of common sense and we now have a budget again (and funding was never an issue as we have plenty of funds) for 4 perhaps 5 per year. I just don't understand why supposed musicians wouldn't want to go and see good performers really close up and intimate! I mean we're talking about audiences of a couple of dozen at most. We're a small town where the alternative is to travel distances to see anyone of note bar Ally and Phil's regular jaunt here to play in the big hall. No cost to club members for our guest nights!!! Wizz Jones even agreed to do a guitar workshop the following day as did Sarah with a dadgad workshop. Why would you rather hear the same old same old playing the same old same old week in week out?


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 08:42 AM

You seem to be describing a rather tired club Allan and turning it into simply a venue for booked acts is going to turn it into just that - a venue for booked acts.
I tend to go with those who object to increasing the number of guests - if there isn't local talent enough to run a club, fair enough, but you will end up not having a club.
Developing a reliable team of residents as always been the secret wherever we were involved - it takes imagination and work.
Wherever we had a club we had a workshop run by seasoned performers to help and encourage newer singers.
We had separate non club nights where performers could work on accompaniments and again, give help to those less experienced
We developed archives of contributed material to be dipped into for building repertoires.
One of the ways we encouraged residents to add material to their repertoires was to establish a practice of singers being asked not to repeat the same songs over a set period - three months worked for us, but that would depend on the size of existing repertoires.
We encouraged projects, such as researching local songs - nights of those could be a draw to non-involved local people if advertised properly, especially in small towns.
Feature evenings of these, along with poetry and prose readings can make for great nights if done with a degree of ability.   
Feature evenings of any sort can be a great incentive to look out new songs on specific themes - Battle of the Sexes, Gone for a Soldier, Go to Sea No more.... loads of themes to think about
Even within an ordinary evening, having themed spots can work wonders.
One of the great audience-catchers for us was the 'You name it, we'll sing it' nights - audiences being asked for subjects of songs rather than specific titles - still remember the feller who passed up a slip which read "Unpaid brickie goes ape and slaughters family" - he was 'hinting' at Lamkin - magic nights, but needing work and dedication to pull them off.
For us, guest evenings were never a necessity, they were the icing on the cake.
You should onl;y book guest because you want them, not because you need them
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: rosma
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 08:52 AM

While I like a good guest night, my best folk club experiences have been at singers' nights and singarounds, whether I'm singing or not. One of the first clubs I went to had some excellent residents and I don't know how you would get onto the list as a newcomer (I wasn't even up to trying at the time).

Eventually I was persuaded to sing at another club and I've been doing so on and off since. In truth I had a few years off, and my return was not at folk clubs at all, but at sessions organised by a friend at various pubs. At some venues everyone in the pub would be listening to every word and note, in others no one but our core performers maintained an interest. It was in these sessions that I developed what performing confidence I have - and the ability to sing loudly where the atmosphere (or the song) demands it.

I'm not saying that y performance is amazing, and I know it can occasionally be dreadful, but when I do OK I think I manage to entertain and when I don't, things soon move to the next performer.

The club I attend now is purely a sing-around. While there is various ribbing about using words and playing guitars (Oh no!), neither of these props is actually ripped from anyone's hands, and they are always asked to perform next time round ;-)

It's all to do with inclusiveness; not in an "everyone's a winner" sort of way but in that the enjoyment of the evening is in the combination of performing and listening. We have some excellent regulars, and when a newcomer or visitor turns up it's always exciting to see what they perform and sometimes a real jewel emerges. Everyone who turns up is encouraged to perform - you may even be asked two or three times, but there is no compulsion, and pure audience is always welcome - in fact the organiser almost never performs!

From my past experience it wise to encourage those who aren't maybe quite as good as might be hoped, because with encouragement they may (and sometimes do) blossom into worthwhile performers.

Simon (http://dragonfolkclub.blogspot.co.uk/)


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 09:04 AM

On threads like this, the usual 'bleeding heart' excuse for crib sheets is that they are a useful prop and aid for new, inexperienced singers. But I've noticed that many 'crib-sheeters' are no better performers 5 or 6 years after they started inflicting themselves on us - and they STILL use crib sheets! I've also noticed that the use of crib sheets, by one or two people, can actually serve to lower standards at singarounds - because then other idiots thinks they only have to supply themselves with a bundle of crib sheets in order to 'have a go'.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 09:22 AM

You seem to be describing a rather tired club Allan and turning it into simply a venue for booked acts is going to turn it into just that - a venue for booked acts.

Did you actually READ Allan's message?

I fail to see how anybody could interpret it that way.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Musket
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 09:24 AM

Come to think of it John, I never saw a folder come out all my years popping occasionally to The Wheatsheaf.. Must be nearly thirty years since they knocked the bugger down? Plenty of Irish songs though..

Jim knocks the idea of singers who he may not like before hearing them, but I suppose the rest of us turn up at clubs and have a good time. I am an ex performer in rock but a bloke with a guitar who does the odd floor turn in folk clubs and enjoys singarounds as per my earlier post, although I've had my moments I suppose in bands. That's why I tend to be a wee bit more comfortable in the more concert style folk clubs that are becoming few and far between.

Still, I suppose its better than watching Holby City in order to get your rocks off..


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,ST
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 09:50 AM

I don't recognise the situation described by the OP as describing the scene where I live.   The difference is not so much between singarounds and "guest clubs" as between singarounds and clubs in general. True, well paid guests themselves should be more proficient than the average performer (though there are many "professionals" that I'd go out of my way to avoid) but the heart of my "folk world" is the fact that it belongs to us ordinary folk, not to a set of paid entertainers and, within us ordinary folk, the singarounds tend to come out on top of the clubs if you're looking for quality (paid guests excluded).

I don't tend to class the singarounds I go to as clubs becuase they're not private, they don't have a membership as such, they don't have an admission charge etc etc. The singarounds happen when groups of friends get together, usually in the bar or an open side room and take it in turns to sing. Anyone is free to wander in or out and, usually, newcomers are asked if they sing.   Only very occasionally does anyone have words written down and they soon pick up that it's the norm to actually know your material rather than read it. In some of the singarounds the songs are sometimes interspersed by comments and questions about a song's origins and background while in others it tends to be just songs with no discussion. I think they all work though because they have a core of people who work to know and respect the songs they sing and who sing them to the best of their ability.

I occasionally go to folk clubs (which may or may not book guests as often as once a month). Most folk clubs however seem to cater for a wider range of tastes than the mainly traditional singarounds, including Americana, blues, 60s/70s songs etc. I find these songs less to my personal taste so go less frequently. It's also these places that tend to have the "go to the front and perform two numbers" set up which seems to encourage those who like their music stands and words in front of them. I also get the feeling that they're more concerned with the image they present as entertainers (despite needing prompt sheets) than with the actual material they're singing. Professional or amateur, for me, if a singer respects the song it's likely to work; if they're just using the song as a vehicle to promote themselves it doesn't.   Not learning a song is no way to respect it.

I have a feeling that the OP may be referring to open mic events though. These I do my best to avoid entirely. Not only are they likely to have word sheets and music stands but PA systems and even spotlights. Again it seems the performer takes precedence over the songs and often once they've done their turn they'll leave. I don't personally think these events and performers have anything to do with the "folk" world that I know: I see them more as role players in a fantasy gane where they're imagining being famous pop stars.

I believe the OP makes or made a living at least partially as a paid guest at clubs. It's possible that he rarely found/finds the singarounds I've described as, unlike the clubs and open mics, they are very local sessions in out of the way places, often not advertised except by word of mouth. They'd probably be of little use to someone who needed to make money out of bookings but I'm sure he wouldn't be disappointed in the quality if he found some of them. (I believe even Messrs Carroll and Edwards might enjoy an evening at one or two (though perhaps not on the same night as GSS) as they are definitely within the "traditional idiom" even when they occasionally stray from "true folk".)


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 10:18 AM

i used to gig the irish pubs and clubs in barnsley, that would be 1998, or so.

i think the parody was pretty good musket.

i seem to remember a version they sang at The Poets Corner in the meadows part of nottingham...that was the place they set fire too when a mate of mine as gigging it.

she wore no knickers.....


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Musket
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 11:39 AM

A fiver says I was in The Clinton Arms at the time, not folk music but plenty of folk watching the entertainment of Nottingham....


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 12:00 PM

Thanks Jack yes the idea was not to turn it into a venue for booked acts but just to re-establish the number of booked acts we had previously. Only 4 per annum and we meet every week at two different venues so it is only a small number of gigs. Actually we've even bent further than that in that the guest nights are now going to be on a Sunday evening so not eating in to the normal Friday nights at all. We had the first several weeks back, the American duo Hungrytown, which went off well.

We put the bottle round during the Cobbles session and part of that money goes to funding the guest nights. Members of the club, and by that we mean anyone who regularly attends and contributes to the bottle whether players or listeners, then get into the gig free. Bringing music to a small community whilst in our own small way helping professional musicians make a living. Can't see the problem.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 12:23 PM

Singing in Poets Corner?? I wouldn't even dare go drinking in there....


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 01:47 PM

"Your suggestion was that if we didn't want "MANY singers who are unprepared, shuffling though papers etc, most people will tolerate the occasional duff unprepared performer" we should call in the experts.
Your suggestion is both elitist and patronising."Jim Carroll
I said
"MANY singers who are unprepared, shuffling though papers etc, most people will tolerate the occasional duff unprepared performer"
I saidSubject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 04:26 AM

"There's nothing wrong with booking guests, but the democracy of the early folk clubs which allowed us to make our own music, sing our own songs and become aware of our own traditions without having to have them sold to us by professionals was what made folk song unique, just as being able to scratch together a group with tea-chest bases and guitars and sing and play skiffle was equally unique."
I do not disagree, but my point is that those people practised,and performed without shuffling through crib sheets, is that not correct Jim? did they or did they not perform without words in front of them?
"Professionalism doesn't necessarily mean good - enough evidence of this to be found, god knows"
yes it does, it means good performance, please do not insult professional musicians, who practise hard turn up on time deliver an entertaining evening,and remember their words without crib sheets, play and musical instruments with a high level of competence, a professional musician may not necessarily be to your taste , that is a different matter.Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 07:19 AM

I am suggesting everybody should practise so that they can perform to the best of their abilities, that they should have rehearsed and be familiar with their material, that is not elitist it is showing respect for ones material and respect for those that have come to listen.
Traditional singers like Fred Jordan who were good performers understood this, I do not recall seeing Fred ever perform with a crib sheet even when he was quite old.
here is Jim Carrolls quote, basically more Carroll Codswallop
"Are you suggesting that residents and local singers do these things - a bit elitist, don't you think?"
what is elitist about trying to perform well? Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 02:50 PM

ubject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 11:08 AM

In the past, the best clubs were those that you field a team of their own residents good enough to take a whole evening to themselves
Singers from the floor spots gave visitors a chance to be heard and, if good enough, be invited to perform regularly.
The most imaginative clubs were those that ran workshops to enable new or inexperienced singers to develop and gain confidence.
The clubs I was involved with had a conscious policy of only having one guest night in every four - none of them ever really needed more than that as the residents were competent to take full evenings themselves, that way, we could use the door-takings for publicity and projects such as research and producing song books.
Too many guests always seemed to me to be counter-productive - far more valuable to establish a strong home-base
Jim Carroll"
Yes very good points,
but if the club does not have good resident singers, or only a couple of good residents it is better to have guests who are professional in their attitude and are good competent performers, rather than having MANY singers who are unprepared, shuffling though papers etc, most people will tolerate the occasional duff unprepared performer, but not half a dozen or ten of them.
please stop quoting me out of context.
And please stop suggesting that Iam saying things that i have not said


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 02:14 PM

Bit of a daft post, bookiung clubs hire Pros, so of course you'd not expect them to use crib sheets. But very ftew use tham at Open Mic clubs anyway. It's worth pointing out though that artists such as Hank Williams Snr, Johnny Cash, and Jim reeves nearly always had crib sheets on the music stand. And having hear several Folk acts forget their words I have no problem with that!


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 03:05 PM

Somebody even bigger-time than them:

The Concert Sinatra


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: growler
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 03:33 PM

At the Good Intent Rochester, singaround nights are open to everyone. We have accomplished musicians, trad folkies, those with crib sheets and anyone else who wants to contribute. Everyone listens or joins in and we make room for every ability. We also have a monthly guest night, for those who just want to listen


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 04:03 PM

isn't it possible to enjoy both sorts of clubs?

the problem has been inflation. in the early 70's, for my first teaching job i was getting thirteen quid a week. folk club acts were getting twenty five to thirty five quid for a gig.

to get three times a probationer teachers weekly wage nowadays - you would be wanting between five or six hundred quid.

the case is altered. altered considerably.

the other thing is the traddy/entertainer dichotony that sprung up in the 70's. the Carthy/Carrot wars. woe betide anyone who wasn't keen on either label. a few like Bernard Wrigley managed the situation with skill. others like Wizz Jones and Gerry Lockran went into exile. many performers who could only accomplish the high level technical skill necessary by working full time as a musician started exploring by ways of the folk world - folk rock groups, session work, etc. most traddies became semi-pro.

as Jim Carrol said - it became something of a lottery turning up at a folk club - you never knew quite what to expect.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 04:57 PM

I believe even Messrs Carroll and Edwards might enjoy an evening at one or two (though perhaps not on the same night as GSS) as they are definitely within the "traditional idiom" even when they occasionally stray from "true folk".

Ha! I'm a regular at two singarounds, both of which I enjoy very much indeed. And I don't only listen to traditional songs - I don't always perform traditional songs, even. I do prefer it when I'm not quite the most traditionalist performer in the room, though - I like to feel I've got a standard to live up to.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Musket
Date: 14 Oct 14 - 03:28 AM

I doubt Johnny Cash or Jim Reeves flicked through books and said "I'll sing this one" having never practiced it for an audience, stopped to turn a page and half way through, give up and start again with a different song. Or ignore others, reading and sorting whilst some poor bugger is doing their bit. Maybe backstage but not sat next to them...

Like I said, I think the difference is between entertaining and self expression. Do you go mainly to hear others? Then you expect them, regardless of technical ability to make an effort or at least have practiced a song. Do you go to hear yourself? Singarounds are an excellent outlet then, but sing with your eyes closed to avoid disappointment.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 14 Oct 14 - 03:28 AM

have you been to ' a young persons' pub'? its crowded, the TV is on but silent, there may be flashing lights, different music is on ( live or otherwise), most have a bottle in hand, most are standing, some are dancing, many are having a conversation.
- and we expect them to have listening skills?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Oct 14 - 04:14 AM

"yes it does, it means good performance"
Not always - we've argued before about a 'very professional' performer who occasionally vomited over the audience - he had an alcohol problem and unfortunately many audiences encouraged his behaviour and it became part of his act.
Good entertainment of any sort does not make good folk singing, no matter how professionally done - can't remember the number of time I've turned up to hear a 'name' I'd never heard sing before and gone home thinking "what was that all about?"
The Singers Club committee was inundated by publicity flyers from 'professional folk singer agents advertising 'their boy', who wanted to get into 'the folk scene' - we never booked any without hearing them and those who had the forethought to send recorded samples were quite often either poor performers or nothing to do with folk music whatever.
Agents are paid to promote eve when what they are promoting is crap.
"I do not disagree, but my point is that those people practised,and performed without shuffling through crib sheets, is that not correct Jim?"
You harp on this as if it is the general practice of us mere non-professionals - it is not and to suggest other wise is elitist nonsense.
"I am suggesting everybody should practise so that they can perform to the best of their abilities"
So am I - what the **** are you on about.
"basically more Carroll Codswallop"
And this is more of your gratuitous insulting - if you can't address people properly - go and learn some manners
Don't know about cl;ubs, but I'd never bother my arse to listen to such an ill-mannered lout.
You really aren't good enough as a performer or as a debater to insult anybody
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 14 Oct 14 - 04:18 AM

FloraG:

Usually, in that kind of establishment, there isn't a TV. TV isn't really relevant to "young persons" these days. None of my 3 have a TV in their own flats, and neither do most of their friends. Any programme watching they do, they do through their notebooks or tablets, but mostly they just don't watch it at all.

Anyway, I go to that kind of pub sometimes, usually with rock climbing or Military Fitness friends, who are (both groups) all ages from early 20s to mid 70s (I'm 59 myself). Yes, we stand around talking (loudly, above the music), holding bottles or glasses in hand. Usually bottles as they're less likely to spill than a glass, in a crowd. The music (live or otherwise) isn't "folk" by any stretch of the imagination.

However, I reckon I have "listening skills" and several of the people I attend this kind of venue with are accomplished musicians, some in their 20s or 30s, who also have "listening skills", and play/ sing/ listen at other venues. Just because you go to a noisy, crowded pub sometimes doesn't mean you can't also appreciate a different type of event.

Strangely, when I was young I also went to pubs/ events (including noisy/ crowded Led Zeppelin/ Who/ RollingStones gigs, with flashing lights etc) AS WELL as going to see local acoustic performers in upstairs rooms of pubs, where I managed to refrain from dancing around with a bottle in my hand, and sat quietly, listening.

I still enjoy both scenarios....and the odd classical concert!


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Oct 14 - 04:24 AM

"Not always - we've argued before about a 'very professional' performer who occasionally vomited over the audience - he had an alcohol problem and unfortunately many audiences encouraged his behaviour and it became part of his act."
a generalisation from one particular case, something that you do on occasions.
the vast majority of professionals are just that, professional , they turn up on time, they are well practised, they are skilled and their performance is of a high standard.
I know of only two cases of performers vomiting on audiences one was an IRISH FEMALE TRADiTIONAL SINGER AND THE OTHER WAS THE PERSON YOU ARE REFERRING TO.
2 occasions in 40 years.


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Subject: RE: guest nights and singaround clubs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Oct 14 - 04:35 AM

One of the first things that hit me when I started going to singarounds was how much higher the standard of performance was, compared to the friendly anything-goes amateurism of the floor-singers' folk club I was used to. I don't think FCs are teaching performance skills, if they ever did.


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