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uk folk clubs high standard

The Sandman 27 Apr 19 - 09:52 AM
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GUEST,Pseudonymous 07 May 19 - 05:07 AM
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GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 May 19 - 03:13 AM
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Backwoodsman 10 May 19 - 04:31 AM
Jack Campin 10 May 19 - 05:02 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 May 19 - 05:18 AM
Andy7 10 May 19 - 05:53 AM
Iains 10 May 19 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 10 May 19 - 06:13 AM
Howard Jones 10 May 19 - 06:46 AM
GUEST 10 May 19 - 09:19 AM
Jim Carroll 10 May 19 - 09:21 AM
Jack Campin 10 May 19 - 09:38 AM
Steve Gardham 10 May 19 - 02:54 PM
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Subject: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 09:52 AM

I have played two folk clubs within the last week where the standard of floor singers and tradtional singing were high, they were the welly club at wolvistion teesside, asnd the Ryburn folk club run by PETE AND SUE COE The week before that i played Norwich folk club again high standards of singers playing trad songs.
with the greatest respect i advise Jim Carroll to visit these clubs next time he is in the UK.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 09:54 AM

http://www.thewilsonfamilyalbum.co.uk/welly_folk_club.aspx


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 10:14 AM

https://www.ryburn3step.org.uk/?page_id=66


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 10:20 AM

Well done, Dick!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 12:30 PM

I'm very happy for you, but it proves very little. You're hardly going to post here that the clubs which give you a booking are shite, are you ?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 01:23 PM

Troll alert!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 01:48 PM

It's a fair question. Answer ?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 01:56 PM

Positive beats negative in my book.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 01:57 PM

Troll alert!

Probably but I'd also have doubts about artists publicly grading folk clubs.

That said, I enjoyed Norwich the times I went there, mostly for singers nights. It's been a while though and the last time I went, a few years back was really to say hello to a booked artist, someone I'd had enjoyable times with many years previously in "Bangor Festivals" (just long weekends of Irish sessions).

Finding opportunities closer to my own main interests, increasingly limited transport and, these days, less enthusiasm all get in the way... But if it (I think currently in the Christ Church Centre) remains similar, it's a nice club for those who enjoy a slightly more formal, occasional (sort of 1 in 4?) guest booking club.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 02:04 PM

Jon, I'd also have doubts about artists publicly 'grading' folk clubs, but all Dick was doing here was giving a very positive impression of 3 clubs he has been to recently. I don't always agree with Dick, but I do trust his judgment in these matters. It makes a refreshing change from the scene-bashers we often get on here.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 03:18 PM

UK? I think you mean "England". The clubs you played at don't allow you to make any judgements on clubs in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 03:44 PM

What a twat you are, unnamed guest.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 04:45 PM

Abuse solves nothing, and says more about you than "guest". What was factually innacurate about what was posted?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 09:36 PM

Well I suppose it was an attack on Dick's integrity. Personally I'm speechless with admiration for anyone who flogs around the country -in fact leaves the country he's living in , just to do folk gigs.

As for English folk clubs having very high standards, I will take Dick's word for it. He's a fine musician and well able to judge.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 03:05 AM

But did anyone sing Waterloo or The Birdie Song?

(Ducking and running)

:D tG


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: r.padgett
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 03:13 AM

The standard, frequency and abundance of high quality singers and songs goes beyond folk clubs ~ folk clubs? some can claim that title, no doubt mainly traditional based?

Concert clubs and other venues also host Folky guests in whatever format

and folk singarounds all provide great folk based meetings

Folk song music and dance all alive and kicking in UK

Ray


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 03:30 AM

Yes the folk clubs i mentioned are tradtional based, that is because that is the material i perform so logically,i am more likely to be booked by those than by a blues based club.
however some years ago i did a floor spot at Dartford, none of the other floor singers did uk tradtional or uk trad based material, it was mainly bluegrass, but the standard was high.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 03:45 AM

Is it "scene bashing" negativity to point out that not so long ago an article claiming a rise in the success of the folk scene was based on there being 186 clubs and only a few of those would specialise in traditional or traditionally based material?
I suggest that the complacency here damages any chance of improving things
Sorry to be the spectre at the feast - I thought it needed one
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 04:04 AM

Yes it is, no it doesn't and it didn't.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 04:10 AM

"Well I suppose it was an attack on Dick's integrity". It was nothing of the kind. A question was asked which still requires an answer.
A more accurate "subject" headline would have been "High Standard of Music at 3 English Folk Clubs".


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 04:57 AM

"Yes it is, no it doesn't and it didn't."
If you're reffering to my post Dave - if your description of the "successful folk scene" is accurate, yes it most certainly did for those who care about the future of English folk song
Back-slapping and pretending all is well is destroying any chance of future for English folk music
The scene is in crisis if theer are only 186 clubs
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 05:02 AM

You can't get lower in integrity than anonymous sneering.

I'd take a recommendation from Dick as a reason to visit a club, though it would be sheer fluke if I was ever in a position to visit the ones he's played in lately.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 05:16 AM

Where's the "sneering"?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 05:32 AM

Dick I'm glad you had some nice gigs.
I don't want to argue with this character who has intinated that the only reason you've posted this is because they gave you a gig, and you couldn't really say the clubs were shite. then he/she says - he's not attacking your integrity.

I'd like to support you in this, but it doesn't do me any good getting worked up.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 05:42 AM

APRIL 28 2017, I PLAYED AT BIRMINGHAM TRAD FOLK CLUB,Ioften make notes about clubs i have played and my comments atthe time was high standard of singing


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 05:44 AM

Jim ,i think e both appreciate approx the same kind of music, just letting you know ones that you might enjoy


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 06:06 AM

We do Dick "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers"
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 06:52 AM

I have played all clubs mentioned with the exception of the Wellie, and couldn't agree more with Dick. The only thing I don't understand is why you are remotely bothered about what Jim Carroll thinks?
I gave up some time ago. You're a better man than me Dick!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 07:08 AM

guest, the following post made before your remark mentioned Dartford folk club a club that has never booked me, i mentioned i did a floor spot and then mentioned the high quality of other floor singers which rater disproves your assertion that i am only mentioining it to get rebooked at clubs
Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman - PM
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 03:30 AM

Yes the folk clubs i mentioned are tradtional based, that is because that is the material i perform so logically,i am more likely to be booked by those than by a blues based club.
however some years ago i did a floor spot at Dartford, none of the other floor singers did uk tradtional or uk trad based material, it was mainly bluegrass, but the standard was high.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 07:22 AM

"...why you are remotely bothered about what Jim Carroll thinks?"
I can't understand why you should refer to anything I say if you're not bothered about it Nick
Probably why I don't bother replying to you
I have at no time insulted you o even disagreed with you
I may have argued with a friend of yoursds, but that is no reason for you to be so damn rude
We're here to exchange ideas
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 08:03 AM

See what I mean?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 08:09 AM

"See what I mean?"
That was a polite reply Nick
You want to start a vendetta, feel free - I have no intention of responding to ant any more
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Andy7
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 09:00 AM

If I started a thread called 'The sun is shining today in Southampton', I'm sure it wouldn't be long before I got posts like:

"No, I don't think it is; what evidence do you have to back up your statement?"

"What use is that to us? Do you know whether it's shining in Bristol today? Or in Wolverhampton?"

"So what ... it no longer shines anywhere near as well as it did in the old days."


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Cujimmy
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 09:26 AM

It would be a very interesting and enjoyable conversation here if good quality singers at Folk Clubs were the subject instead of people trying to get one over on each other.

The Folk clubs I attend ie The Grove in Leeds and the Topic in Bradford have seen a lot of wonderful singers, but especially recently some so good in fact they are doing very well for themselves, people like Ewan McLennan, Sam Barrett, Bella Gaffney, cohen braithwaite-kilcoyne and others. Its always good to see people who start off building their confidence doing floor spots then evolving into very talented Folk artists as mentioned above.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 12:53 PM

The main club I help run is concert style, stage, pa and up to 120 tickets available. Usually 50-60 sold although the likes of Jez Lowe, Martin Simpson / Carthy etc fill it.

We try to book young talent gaining reputations such as (recently) Rowan Piggott and Rosie Hodgson, Trials of Cato, Ninebarrow and many more, with some heroes over the years such as Steve Tilston, Dave Burland, Rick Kemp, Archie Fisher etc.

Our support acts are our club members, and whilst not wishing to comment one way or another on my own set, the standard of our supports is (otherwise!) very high. This is because people are spending £10-£12 on a ticket so we have a responsibility to our supporters. We have the occasional club night where we are delighted to find future supports and indeed one who came this route has his own main act booking this year. Two teenagers who started with us now have agents and are entertaining on the folk and roots circuit.

Conversely, I help run a club elsewhere which is more inclusive of people wishing to sing and hear others at all levels.

It's horses for courses. If we booked Dick at the former I'm sure his observations would hold true here but if he popped in at the latter, he would hear something very different.

I never compare my two clubs. They are both very different. Yet both loosely called folk clubs although neither fit a general description.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: r.padgett
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 02:19 PM

"The scene is in crisis if theer are only 186 clubs"

I do not agree ~but some definition of "the scene" Mr Carroll please?

Ray


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Apr 19 - 03:50 PM

Jim,
I don't think you have once responded to many people stating that the nature of the folk scene in the UK has changed a lot since the late 70s. Ray has just referred to precisely this, that it is much more diverse in the number and type of venue/event it now operates in, sessions, singarounds, village halls, concerts, festivals. Does it really matter that the number of 'folk clubs' has declined if that music is now taking place in a variety of other ways.


Others have also offered the many diverse reasons why the number of 'folk clubs' has declined.

Other than that you have been given numerous examples of actual clubs where the music is thriving, the quality of floor singers is of a high standard, and the healthy numbers of artists, young and old, who are still making their living touring the clubs. Some of them regularly respond to your negativity in self-imposed exile!

Response please!!!!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 03:19 AM

I have said ecxatly not only how the scene has declined but why it has declined - over and over again
It no longer guarantees that a prospective puter will hear a folk song if he or she turns up to a folk club - simple as that
People have written about feeling "out of place" or "unwelcome" if they sing unaccompanied folk songs - one contributor to this forum described ballads as "inappropriate"
Pat pointed out to me last night that a survey was carried out some time in th seventies that suggested there were around 1,600 clubs in Britain - Dave puts up 186 as evidence of a "successful folk scene" - do the math and come back and tell me that is an improvement, or even holding its own
People on this forum, during these exchanges have described the need to set a standard of performance (not particularly high) in folk clubs as "elitism" - the same with the use of crib sheets and mobile pads, rather than learning the words
One of the worst aspects of the scene is the move away from grass-roots, resident based local clubs to festivals and booked guests

If club numbers have fallen to the extent they have and if you can no longer go to the remaining clubs and hear anything resembling folk songs then the scene is not only on the decline, it's on its last legs
When arguments are put up here not just excusing that decline, but justifying it as "success" from people I feel I should be respecting - that confirms it
PLease don't ask me to respond when I've repeateed this over and over again, try responding to what I write instead

As we headed a letter we sent to 'The Living Tradition' some years ago "Where Have All the Folk Songs Gone ?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 03:52 AM

Could it be that today the folk scene has many more participants rather than passive audiences? Hence the demand for more varied venues and decline of the conventional stage, performer, audience of yore. Times change as does the traditional performer and audience.
Anyone can afford a guitar today,this makes participation far easier.
(My attention span and interest in unaccompanied singing is severely limited. imperfections in voice, delivery, inflection, etc, etc have no place to hide when there are no additional instruments) Strictly a personal view,but I suspect shared by others.
People also go to be entertained,not to be dictated to as to what may or may not be perceived as a folk song. That information can be obtained from a library and that also will present a complete spectrum of views.
Constantly defining the minutae of the pigeonholing simply drives people away.
If youwant education go to a library, if you want entertainment go to a club. Simples!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: r.padgett
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 04:24 AM

Round in circles ~

Q It no longer guarantees that a prospective puter will hear a folk song if he or she turns up to a folk club - simple as that

A Punter is not a word I like in relation to folk gatherings

Q/A Folk clubs ~please define what you understand by Folk songs ~ the modern definition includes traditional but many written songs are regularly sung at folk gatherings folk gatherings are places of social entertainment also

A Pubs continue to be flattened and house built ~so the folk clubs of old continue to diminish

A
the Polka Hop in Wakefield and Fernandes Tap has "mixed sessions" singing and playing well attended per month

A The Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield monthly Sunday pm event attracts unaccompanied singers singing largely Traditional song (no accompaniment) with professional singers such a Jess and Richard Arrowsmith, James Fagan, Matt Quinn and Rosie Hood ~ work permitting

Q People have written about feeling "out of place" or "unwelcome" if they sing unaccompanied folk songs - one contributor to this forum described ballads as "inappropriate" singers or audience??

A Times they are a changing!

Q Pat pointed out to me last night that a survey was carried out some time in the seventies that suggested there were around 1,600 clubs in Britain - Dave puts up 186 as evidence of a "successful folk scene" - do the math and come back and tell me that is an improvement, or even holding its own

A I disagree ~ successful folkscene has moved away from pubs ( they are diminishing see above) but concert clubs and alternative venues are being sought and have been established in the circuits and continue to attract paying customers ~current example Show of Hands at Barnsley Civic theatre May 2019

Q People on this forum
during these exchanges have described the need to set a standard of performance (not particularly high) in folk clubs as "elitism" - the same with the use of crib sheets and mobile pads, rather than learning the word

A Yes in Folk clubs where these still exist not a good idea to have new singers as support for an expensive guest

One of the worst aspects of the scene is the move away from grass-roots, resident based local clubs to festivals and booked guests

A The problem is that weekly supporters are often the life blood of the folk club and often do not want to see paid guest and stay away !!

Singing and singers can be awkward !!!

Ray


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: r.padgett
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 04:24 AM

Round in circles ~

Q It no longer guarantees that a prospective puter will hear a folk song if he or she turns up to a folk club - simple as that

A Punter is not a word I like in relation to folk gatherings

Q/A Folk clubs ~please define what you understand by Folk songs ~ the modern definition includes traditional but many written songs are regularly sung at folk gatherings folk gatherings are places of social entertainment also

A Pubs continue to be flattened and house built ~so the folk clubs of old continue to diminish

A
the Polka Hop in Wakefield and Fernandes Tap has "mixed sessions" singing and playing well attended per month

A The Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield monthly Sunday pm event attracts unaccompanied singers singing largely Traditional song (no accompaniment) with professional singers such a Jess and Richard Arrowsmith, James Fagan, Matt Quinn and Rosie Hood ~ work permitting

Q People have written about feeling "out of place" or "unwelcome" if they sing unaccompanied folk songs - one contributor to this forum described ballads as "inappropriate" singers or audience??

A Times they are a changing!

Q Pat pointed out to me last night that a survey was carried out some time in the seventies that suggested there were around 1,600 clubs in Britain - Dave puts up 186 as evidence of a "successful folk scene" - do the math and come back and tell me that is an improvement, or even holding its own

A I disagree ~ successful folkscene has moved away from pubs ( they are diminishing see above) but concert clubs and alternative venues are being sought and have been established in the circuits and continue to attract paying customers ~current example Show of Hands at Barnsley Civic theatre May 2019

Q People on this forum
during these exchanges have described the need to set a standard of performance (not particularly high) in folk clubs as "elitism" - the same with the use of crib sheets and mobile pads, rather than learning the word

A Yes in Folk clubs where these still exist not a good idea to have new singers as support for an expensive guest

One of the worst aspects of the scene is the move away from grass-roots, resident based local clubs to festivals and booked guests

A The problem is that weekly supporters are often the life blood of the folk club and often do not want to see paid guest and stay away !!

Singing and singers can be awkward !!!

Ray


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 05:28 AM

"A Punter is not a word I like in relation to folk gatherings"
Immaterial to this - people going to a folk club atre entitles to get what the club calls itself
How can you object to the worrd punter if you don't object to a club calling itself "folk" when it doesn't do just that ?
Naming a handful of clubs that do when the scene has diminished by at least a thousand is meaningless
Concerts are where people go to be formed at - as I said, the club scene has lost its grass roots aspect
Any half decent scene can exist without guests otr the occasional guest
The malaise has even spread to teh researchers where folk aint folk anymore among them as well thatks to arbitrary re-definitions
Pretending that all is well isn't helping Ray
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 06:45 AM

The “scene” hasn’t declined just because someone no longer has any experience of it to relate.

In fact, since the population of Ireland increased by two, it may well have become more enjoyable in The UK. ??


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 06:46 AM

An argument that there are fewer folk clubs because clubs started to include music not counting as 'folk' in some definitions, and so people stopped turning up would seem to be specious, as if there were a demand for that sort of music the clubs, logically, would have continued to provide it. Why would they stop providing stuff that people wanted to hear? Even a weaker form of the argument, to the effect that such clubs did not provide exclusively 'folk-in-a-particular-definition, but drove people away by also providing not-folk so horrid that people were deterred from coming seems difficult to sustain.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 07:10 AM

"if there were a demand for that sort of music the clubs, logically, would have continued to provide it. "
If that is not the case then the existing clubs would no longer be folk clubs and flying under false colours
The decline was gradual and, while the demand remained (and still does) those who couldn't find it stopped going - not everyone has the time or ability to set up a new scene - they shouldn't have to
It's like being evicted from your house and being told "if you want somewhere to live, go and buy another one"
What other definition of "folk" is there other than the one that has been fully documented ?
No-one has come up with one so far
People are entitled to put out whatever they want - if they are conning people by telling them it is something it isn't, that's sharp practice
The importance of folk music reaches far beyond the dwindling number of clubs - try calling shanty singing 'Grand Opera' and see how har you'd get
Folk song is what it has been known as since at least F J Child called his collection 'Popular Ballads (Popular = of the people'
The songs are the creation o the 'ordinary people' - their creation and their history - as such they deserve respect
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 08:33 AM

Folk song existed long before folk clubs and the folk revival started and there is every reason to suppose that they will continue in their ever changing form after folk clubs have ceased to exist.

The folk clubs are a particularly British institution existing in Scotland, Wales and England. At a meal with Jerry O'Reilly this weekend, he stated that the places that are called 'folk clubs' in Ireland are run in a way that is very different from the rest of the British Isles.

I have sought out and found evenings of traditional music and song in countries as far apart as Turkey, the USA, the Gambia, Morocco and Hungary. All of them featured lovely traditional music presented in different ways, none were anything like folk clubs. What all of them shared was a sense that the presentation of a shared music that helps to cement communal identity and promote pride in their own way of doing things. I have never been to Puglia before, but I will be there in June and by asking around, I expect to find venues or locations where I can enjoy tarantella and pizzica song music and dance that I know exists there, just as I was able to find Cantu a tenore in Sardinia. All these are different ways in which ordinary people find their ordinary venacular secular and religious expression of feelings.

I love folk clubs; otherwise why would I have run them for fifty years; but I would consider myself very narrow minded if I thought they were the be all and end all.

Traditional music and song is characterised by continuity, orality, certain cultural traits, linguistic expressions, and change and this distinguishes it from classical and popular musics. One of the ways that it is changing in the UK as Steve and myself and others with a long involvement have pointed out is that the folk song and music is taking its part on a much wider mix of presentational formats and in my opinion this is healthy. To fixate on folk clubs alone is to miss the bigger picture.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 09:43 AM

The clubs were our platform for a specific type of music Vic
Take them away and we become a bunch of eccentrics potternignabout in the past
They provided entertainment for an entire generation and allowed them to participate rather than just passive observers
Go compare the number of say, participating Folk Song Forum members to the many thousand who listened sang played, wrote articles, collected.... and took their interest further
Without the clubs thi would never have happened and the people's songs would have remained in Sharp and Co's drawing rooms   
Abandoning the clubs would be to deprive future generations of the pleasure and interest that we got from the scene

Ireland has never had a major folk scene comparable to the UK
Gerry's Goilin is little difference to many of the clubs I attended back in England - it lacks the formality, not a bad thing, but you are guaranteed a night of good, largely traditional songs, sung well enough to make it worthwhile turning up the following week - it's recently celebrated its 40th anniversary
It runs an annual festival in memory of one of its leading supporters, Frank Harte, and it has recently started a workshop to encourage women singers - it is a folk club in all but name
Over the last few years, a new club in Dublin, at the Cobblestone Pub in Smithfied, started by mainly young singers, has built up an interest in traditional songs, with an impressive line up of singers
Whatever you chose to call them. I see no alternative to the clubs
I find it sad that so may have abandoned them
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 09:46 AM

i have found singers circles and singers clubs very similar to folk clubs the only difference is for example the goilin club in ireland banning instrumental accompaniment,
it makes no diffrence to me because unlike steve turner and martin carthy, i am versatile enough to do an evening unaccompanied no problem, that is not boasting, but a statement of fact


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 09:51 AM

What makes you think that Steve Turner or Martin Carthy couldn't do an evening of songs unaccompanied if that was required of them ?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 09:53 AM

I am playing at Bollington club soon , jim, i will pm you in a couple of weeks if i think you would enjoy the club.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 10:03 AM

Iains 29 Apr 19 - 03:52 AM

> Could it be that today the folk scene has many more participants rather than passive audiences? Hence the demand for more varied venues and decline of the conventional stage, performer, audience of yore.<

My perception is the opposite: formerly more clubs operating what might now be termed singarounds, and latterly more venues with separation between performers on stage (with amplification) and audience. However that may only reflect the venues that I have happened to attend over the years.

> Times change as does the traditional performer and audience.
Anyone can afford a guitar today,this makes participation far easier. (My attention span and interest in unaccompanied singing is severely limited. imperfections in voice, delivery, inflection, etc, etc have no place to hide when there are no additional instruments) Strictly a personal view,but I suspect shared by others.
<

Definitely not shared by me!

You are assuming that possession of a guitar is both necessary and beneficial. Writing again from my own experience, for every performer who uses a guitar to good effect, enhancing the performance, there are many more who never bother to do more than strum (if indeed they have ever learnt to do any more). It may perhaps help to hide the imperfections in their singing, but only by the even greater limitations in their playing.

It has been said on other threads here that any accompaniment is a distraction from the words. A good accompaniment enhances more than it distracts, but for that it does need to be good. Even some performers who are competent as musicians and can do much more than strum their guitars devote too much brainpower to the "accompaniment" and not enough to their singing, causing some words to be lost.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 10:57 AM

"goilin club in ireland banning instrumental accompaniment,"
Their choice and a pretty reasonable one in my opinion
I found it interesting that, when Christie Moore was asked to perform at a Goilin event commemorating Frank Harte and was invited to use his guitar, he refused in deference to the club policy - he never brings his guitar to the club
It seems some performers respect club policy while others just moan about it

The guitar isn't often seen in the singing venues I've attended because the singers and audience are quite happy to listen to unaccompanied songs (that is their tradition - as it it in Britain)
A good accompanist well follow the song and not dominate or distract from it - that takes hard work and dedication - all too often lacking in my experience
However, most traditional songs don't need accompanying, as I am now finding as I no longer have an accompanist
Working though my large repertoire, I haven't found a single song I am no longer unable to sing
You can sing anything as long as you are prepared to put in the work - the more work, the better you sing
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 12:32 PM

Still not following Jim's logic. So there is, he says, a demand for 'folk' as he defines it (and I am fully aware that Jim himself is aware of differing definitions) but that some clubs are flying false colours and claiming to be folk when they are not and this is resulting in a decline in the number of 'proper' folk clubs. It still makes no sense.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 12:48 PM

I am coming to the view that there was a 'revival', involving folk clubs at which unaccompanied singing of songs was the in thing and that this fashion faded. At the same time, a much wider definition of 'folk' became common and so 'folk clubs' featured a wider range of music. Some people didn't like this, some did. Times change.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: r.padgett
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 01:02 PM

"A Punter is not a word I like in relation to folk gatherings"

Immaterial to this - people going to a folk club are entitled to get what the club calls itself

People going to their Folk club will I suspect get what they are used to

How can you object to the word punter if you don't object to a club calling itself "folk" when it doesn't do just that ?

You still have NOT stated what YOU deem to be a Folk song ~ please I am confused by your lack of clarity

Naming a handful of clubs that do when the scene has diminished by at least a thousand is meaningless ~ WHEN did you last go to a Folk song gathering of any description and what is/was its format ?

I have told you that the Folk scene that you KNEW has changed as every thing does and the youngsters want what THEY want not the dinosaurs like you and me

Concerts are where people go to be sang to and entertained, at - as I said, the club scene has lost its grass roots aspect

~the CLUB scene may have but the broader scene has not lost its grass roots ~ they have and love to continue to sing traditional and similar songs

Any half decent scene can exist without guests or the occasional guest ~ totally agree!


The malaise has even spread to the researchers where folk aint folk anymore among them as well thanks to arbitrary re-definitions

What malaise? start thinking in terms of what we have NOW GOT ~ see what I say WHY we have the present scene! please

NOW Jim Carroll where should WE be? and what are YOU either wanting it to be or are YOU going to DO about it??

You really are quite tiresome now


Pretending that all is well isn't helping Ray

We have no control of time, progress or change Jim ~you cannot think that surely??

Ray


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 01:14 PM

Crazy conclusion
The clubs, unaccmompanied and accompanied based began to close not because one o the other - bad performances and disappearances of any kind of folk song drove the audiences away
It's only lately that all the other stuff has suddenly become "folk" - which of course, it isn't
These are excuses
People just gave up looking for the clubs - that doesn't mean they stopped liking ot respecting folk song
You still refuse to respond to the wider implications of having driven folk song from the scene
The clubs weer set up to present a specific type of music and became subject to a hostile takeover
That it is nigh impossible to discuss folk song without being subjected to personal abuse "folk police' Folk fascist' 'finger in ear' 'purist' 'narrow' 'trenchant' intransident'
That's as hostile as it gets
Folk song is among the best and intensely researched of all the musical arts yet the revival is dominated by clubs that call themselves 'folk' but put on something else entirely
That's what doesn't make sense
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: r.padgett
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 01:24 PM

I cannot understand anything of YOUR answer to my questions above

Are you still getting to any folk songs sessions anywhere?


What "other stuff" do you refer to?

Once we know what "other stuff" is we may have a clue as what is getting your goat

People just gave up looking for the clubs - that doesn't mean they stopped liking or respecting folk song ~ What are you on about??

The clubs were set up to present a specific type of music and became subject to a hostile takeover

Clubs set up to present what specific type of music? ~now this is vital I think to knowing what you ARE on about, please explain

Hostile take over? by whom?

Ray


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 01:29 PM

Sorry Ray -cross posted
I have got tired of stating what I mean by a folk club - it is, always was, and still should be a place where someone can go and listen to folk songs or contemporary one created using folk forms
If I worried about what modern kids though I would long have given up reading Dickens and Hardy or watching Shakespeare plays or seeking out good films
I regard folk songs as important - if they don't they have missed out on something and have my sympathy - it doen't make folk song any the less important
If I wanted to be a sheep I'd hang a bell around my neck and get my hair cut regularly
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 01:58 PM

Ray
Whatever this mysterious "wider definition of folk song" is (nobody has yet explained or even agreed what it is, unless you can define it and show it to be as culturally and historically important as folk song as researched and internationally accepted , your only reason for promoting it has to be an opportunistic one of putting bums on seats
That is cultural vandalism of the most basic kind
"Hostile takeover by whom?"
By those who don't give a toss about people's culture - that's whom
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 02:39 PM

Jim i was not moaning just poining out that i am so wonderful that i can do what steve turner or martin carthy cannot do ,not only am i absolutely feckin spectacularly brilliant i am also modest


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 02:45 PM

Dunno abut Steve Turner but I've heard Martin Carthy making a grand job of singing unaccompanied - personally, I prefer him doing so - less long pauses for displays of guitar playing
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 02:58 PM

AS stated over and over by many people on these threads...There are many many reasons why the numbers of folk clubs have declined in the UK.

Just ONE of those reasons recently hinted at, more and more people interested in folk song are desirous of actually performing, at whatever level (If you think that's a bad thing that's your problem not ours) rather than sitting there passively listening. Again other developments have facilitated this. The person who mentioned cheaper guitars was only giving one example.

In light of that consider the following

Folk club: half a dozen people, often fewer, get to perform in the usual 3-hour slot.

Singaround: Everyone who wants to gets to perform, even in less formal situations, for the duration of the session.

Session: Everyone reasonably competent gets to perform for all of the duration of the session.

This is a general overview so please don't argue that your little neck of the woods doesn't fit into this pattern.

Those who prefer to be passive and listen can attend numerous concerts organised, or even listen to/watch their favourite performers online.

At good festivals like Whitby/Sidmouth and even most of the weekenders you can do all of these to your heart's content.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 03:55 PM

Problem is, generations have been bought up to believe the word 'folk' means, at best, Bob Dylan and his decendents, and at worst, anyone with an acoustic guitar. So it doesn't really matter what people like Jim (and myself) consider to be 'folk music'. The rest of the world has bolted. The word itself has gone through the folk process and now means something completely different. Funny, eh?

But - the tradition still remains, the songs still remain. It's just they're sharing their name with all sorts of other types of music. Perhaps the solution would be for 1954 folk music to have a new term, what ever that would be.

Carrols?

No, I could see why that could get confusing.

Whilst I'm here, I totally agree with Christy Moore not taking his guitar to a no-guitar club. There are plenty of guitar clubs, afterall. Mostly full of people singing Brown Eyed Girl.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 04:06 PM

Jim, my point was they chose not to , i am a goody two shoes i follow the rules and ican DO a night singing unaccompanied , the other two clearly did not feel totally confident without their props/instruments, these are facts


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 05:47 PM

I think Jim is repeating and/or developing what seems to me to be an illogical explanation for the decline in the number of folk clubs, which I shall quote:

"The clubs, unaccmompanied and accompanied based began to close not because one o the other - bad performances and disappearances of any kind of folk song drove the audiences away"

The idea is still in this version of the argument that a reason for the clubs folding was that they did not include folk song as a 'genre', irrespective of the quality of performance, which is deemed to be a different issue.

I repeat my view that this is illogical because if there was a demand (and on Jim's view it was not solely bad performance at issue) then there would be no need to close. The solution to the problem would be to supply the required kind of music. Or is Jim saying that what was on offer was at one and the same time badly performed and not 'folk'?

I think Cj is right about the word 'folk' having been through a 'folk process' of sorts, though commercial factors, not usually seen as 'folk' probably played a part.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Apr 19 - 05:53 PM

Sorry, that last post was me.

But in any case, it also seems to me that on one view the whole idea of 'folk' being performed in clubs isn't a very 'folk' idea. Did the ancient elite who, according to Child, wrote the oldest ballads perform them in 'clubs'? I think not.

Steve Gardam's latest post made some interesting distinctions between types of events: all of these are likely to be attractive to people interested in folk music, but none of them seem to be particularly 'authentic' in terms of the original contexts in which such music is thought to have been performed. I am not saying this is in any sense 'wrong' or 'inappropriate', but just noticing it.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 02:43 AM

I think folk clubs have not had it easy these last few years. With pubs closing/ changing landlords every few weeks/ charging for the venue you can see why clubs have had to go for more moneymaking nights rather than nights which encourage new performers. All credit to those who give up a lot of time to organise such dos.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 02:43 AM

I think folk clubs have not had it easy these last few years. With pubs closing/ changing landlords every few weeks/ charging for the venue you can see why clubs have had to go for more moneymaking nights rather than nights which encourage new performers. All credit to those who give up a lot of time to organise such dos.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: r.padgett
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 02:44 AM

"Steve Gardham's latest post made some interesting distinctions between types of events: all of these are likely to be attractive to people interested in folk music, but none of them seem to be particularly 'authentic' in terms of the original contexts in which such music is thought to have been performed. I am not saying this is in any sense 'wrong' or 'inappropriate', but just noticing it"

Steve's post is a good statement as to how the "folk" scene is currently
organised and fractionalised ~in most cases "audience" is also welcome depending upon the space in the pub or whatever ~ unless there is guest artist there is usually no charge (or will be specified)

Presently guests are usually classified as paid full time professionals of semi professionals (making a living at folk is problematic) professionals are a different breed, usually long serving artist who attract dedicated or interested audience or young thrusters
who may have been to appropriate University their success is Not Guaranteed

Artist who complain about "folk clubs" not booking them CANNOT blame folk clubs ~they whoever they are should try running their OWN folk club first ~ particularly the "Young thruster"

Ray


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 02:53 AM

Ray,to quote william shakespeare, some are born great some achieve greatness some have greatness thrust upon them,
such is my burden, ray, do you know any old ladies who would like me to thrust my greatness upon them


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 03:07 AM

"Did the ancient elite who, according to Child, wrote the oldest ballads perform them in 'clubs'? I think not. "
Totally immaterial
There was no elite, from what I can gather - people sang and made songs at social gatherings - In Ireland it wwas at specifically organised events (house dances, crossroads dances, m cuirds (pro. coors) where neighbours would meet in each others homes to sing, play, dance, tell stories, swap news....
Singing was often a small (and sometimes not very welcome) part of a house or crossroads dance - it was considered an interruption to the proceedings by some dancers and the singers often found it restrictive and difficult to get the necessary attention for sometimes long songs among a group of socialising people, there for pleasure

Sam Larner once spoke about the singing that went on at his local, The Fisherman's Return and at the fishermen's singing competitions when they met up in strange ports - he told Charles and Ewan, "the serious singing was done at home or at sea"   (where the singers could get quiet and attention)
I know from interviewing singers that it was sometimes at these small gatherings that songs were made - we have descriptions of them doing so
Ieland has a huge, largely unexplored repertoire of locally made songs made to cover local events as they occurred, from ambushes during the War o Independence, to local drownings, shipwrecks... to drunken pub crawls and comments on the railway service.

Those days are long gone - the clubs were a compromise to fill their loss and they worked - you have hi-jacked them and robbed folk song of an important platform - that's what you need to address
These are just the type of evasive wiggles politicians make when they don't want to face facts

I was there at the fall of the clubs - my visits to them declined rapidly from sometimes five times a week to, eventually the two I was involved in where I knew I would hear folk songs instead of the somewhat superficial stuff that was being passed off as folk
The editor of 'Folk Review' wrote and article on the declining state of the clubs which was taken up over several issues and spread from noisy audiences and seedy premises to lowering standards of performance and non folk songs

How people organise their clubs is their own business - hopefully they do so to suit local circumstances
The one constant used to be that you went to a folk club to hear folk songs or songs that have been made using folk styles
The festivals I went to were usually showcases for the best - I heard Jeannie, and The Stewarts, and some of the greats there, but on the whole, I found them impersonal, uncomfortable, and often cliquish - they were never a substitute for the clubs

You really do need to address the damage that has been done by using folk clubs as a cultural dustbin - stop making excuses
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 03:24 AM

Folk clubs are the best platforms for folk song performance because people go to listen , people go to opera and classical concerts to listen.The latter show respect for the performers, and respect for the material
they also go to be entertained, that means thought about presentation as well as performance of song.
When i giGged at THE WILSONS CLUB AND AT PETE COES CLUB,There was a high standard, this is down to high standard of resident singers as one would expect from Pete Coe and The Wilsons, what i believe happens is that other singers then up their own standard, both of those clubs were tradtional based


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Andy7
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 03:49 AM

I can think of at least 8 good folk clubs within easy driving distance of me in south Hampshire. All of them are very welcoming to unaccompanied singers of traditional songs, as well as being welcoming to other kinds of music. I've heard, and learned, quite a number of traditional folk songs through visiting some of these clubs regularly over the years.

But I very much doubt that, if I set up a new club exclusively for unaccompanied singers of traditional songs, any members of the existing clubs would desert them for mine. In fact, I wouldn't even go to it myself, as I love the variety of music in the existing clubs.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 04:10 AM

fair enough, but you see andy, i am versatile and can do either, i am also fantastically handsome, i reckon i would also make the trains run on time


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 04:28 AM

As I remember you used to have to give me a lift because the trains didn't run on time! (in that green Van with dodgy timing) I also remember you used to get all the girls instead of me! Nobody said life was fair! I still haven't forgiven you, (for the dodgy van that is)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 05:04 AM

Nick , you are very good at singing and playing but now a new talent telling fairy stories.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 05:09 AM

" if I set up a new club exclusively for unaccompanied singers of traditional songs, any members of the existing clubs would desert them for mine. "
Straw man
Nobody is suggesting you should
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 05:10 AM

Wiki states that in the 60's there were 300 folk clubs in the UK.
According to the Daily Telegraph there were 3000.


Singing from the floor suggests every college,town and village had a folk club in the 60's.
Does anyone have any hard figures? It is hard to discuss the rise and fall of clubs when figures stated cannot be verified. It is a bit like using a slide rule to discuss sociology.

What is certain is that weirdy beardy men in pullovers no longer dominate the genre.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 05:31 AM

Fairy Stories? Well alright a bit! OK more than a bit! However the van used to conk out at every set of traffic lights. A bit like me nowadays.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 05:35 AM

Sandman, I'm sure what you say is right.

What I am not convinced of is the argument that once upon a time there was a large number of folk clubs at which, if Jim Carroll is right, there were high quality performances of music that either was 'folk' or had been made 'using folk styles', and that clubs stopped providing these two features - which led to a great lowering of attendance and club numbers, killing off the scene.

I do not accept this because it is illogical. If there was a disappointed demand for the offerings Jim describes, then clubs would have been providing that for which there was a demand. It is more logical to assume that recreational and musical fashions changed. Not to mention the zeitgeist (probably cannot spell that).


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 06:09 AM

I don't think there is much doubt or disagreement about the value of recorded traditional singers and the manuscripts of earlier days, mostly with no agreed author/composer, which seems to be an essential part of recognition as a folk song in some quarters?

I think those who regret the passing (in relative terms) of clubs where traditional material is the norm are missing the point.

Sam Larner, Scan Tester, Phil Tanner etc were part of a lifestyle and ofcommunities which no longer exist, and their songs were a part of that lost way of lifese.
It's excellent that these vestiges of a once-vibrant tradition preserved in the records of their way of life, but trying to bring the word-for-word/musical dots of this material into the world of 2019 is maybe unrealistic?

The material is there, being added to all the time by Rod Stradling, John Howson and Jim Carroll amongst others, not to mention Youtube, and can be drawn on by those who are interested. It will always be a minority interest, although in some circles, there is enough interest to bring it to life again in the context of clubs, as mentioned by Dick- and good for them if it works.

However, kit cannot be a surprise that


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 06:14 AM

sorry- wrong button-= as I was saying, it cannot be a surprise that people living in the world of 2019 are writing songs in the traditional style but about modern topics like ecology, politics etc, and this is surely part of our evolving tradition- we don't know who wrote the material in the preserved folk tradition, but we do today- I don't really see the difference nor what the fuss is about- standards are high, but that too is in the eye of the beholder...


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 06:21 AM

" there were high quality performances of music "
Again - nobody has ever suggested this - it really doesn't help to distort what is being argued
What I said is that there was an aimed level of performance that was acceptable to an audience and a standard expected of residents that wasn't fallen below - not particularly high - you were expected to have learned and become reasonably proficient in your songs and mastered the tune
Some clubs - certainly most I was associated with, offered help to inexperienced singers to develop - workshops and one-to-one help
Most folk clubs had some basis in folk song - whether it be the home-grown type or the American stuff picked up from Dylan before he came a pop star
All you need to do is listen to some of the masses of radio programmes CJB `has put up - Folk on Two springs to mind but there were many more - Top Records have never veered too far from folk song proper
The scene was based on a specific type of music - now it is not
Some clubs even made records - Birmingham - Nottingham - The Singers Club in London - recorded club nights or features from club residents
Your refusal to believe this is living proof of how far down the line the scene had degenerated
When that specific identification went, the attendances went down and the record labels, the many magazines, the specialist shops like Free Reed and Collets, the superrb radio output by Bert and Levy and MacColl and Charles Parker and Malcolm Taylor and Battachara - all flushed down the jaxxie   

In contrast the Irish music scene has now established itself and guaranteed an at least two generation future for traditional music by first carefully building a foundation based on the real thing
Youngsters are flocking to it in their thousands - they are free to take it wherever they choose, but they will always have that base to remind them what the music is about
There is always a danger of the music industry and an ignorant media nausing things up (as shown recently by the pathetic 'Ireland's Favourite Folk Song' competition and that awful anti-climactic second Sam Henry programme) but the base will remain as long as there is an interest
In Britain, it seems even some of the researchers have joined in the creation of a smoke-screen obscuring the uniqueness and importance of folk song
What a **** shame
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 06:25 AM

Guest posting at 6.09 am. Yes this looks like sense. But Jim isn't limiting his 'ideal' club to traditional material, he includes the 'style', presumably to accommodate people who wrote their own material.

Another point: The 'tradition' may have been vibrant, but I'm not convinced that all of the 'community' singers were necessarily good, vibrant performers. Given a friendly tavern sing-song, might it not have gone round in turns and would there not inevitably have been some useless person who was tolerated in a spirit of camaraderie? And it seems clear that 'pop' music of the times was taken up and sung by the 'folk'. So it was not necessarily a tradition of singing 'traditional' songs and nothing but.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 06:26 AM

Missed that
Sam, Scan at at are all irelevant
I'm glad we have that cleared up
About time we had a bit of honesty here
MacColl always said that folk song would only die if it fell into the hands of people who don't like or understand it
"Rod Stradling, "
Rod pointed out that he was only able to sell three copied of the Sam Larner Album, there is no interest in our English recordings - particularly of Walter Pardon - hee'll end up in Limeric Uni 'cause there's nowehere in the UK for him
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 06:52 AM

Nobody is being dishonest or stating that 'Sam' etc are irrelevant. For heaven's sake!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 07:10 AM

And now it seems Jim is agreeing with me, because he is apparently referring to people not linking folk music with the result that it died. This may explain the demise of large numbers of clubs. Though 'the tradition' was pretty much on its way out by his time as far as I can see. Hence the taking round of people like Pardon to 'perform' in clubs.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 08:03 AM

while we're celebrating folk clubs, I'll chip in by saying that the monthly folk clubs I go to here in London consistently have a really good standard. They include: Tooting folk club; Bermondsey Folk Club; and A Roving Folk Club (which is held in both Eltham and Bromley).

All of the above are very welcoming. They have a lot of really talented singers and musicians. And, crucially, are friendly enough in atmosphere that even when someone might be a bit rusty, shall we say, gets up to sing, their contribution feels equally as valid.

There are some other, more established folk clubs in London that I do enjoy going to but which I often find seem to be give undue prominence to their regulars, which I find a bit alienating.

Still, let's stay positive: I'm encouraged by the preponderance of relatively new folk clubs in London. Often run by young(er) people. I could also mention Queens Road Folk & Blues club (Peckham). I could also mention The Goose is Out (Nunhead). Long may they continue.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 08:18 AM

"Pat pointed out to me last night that a survey was carried out some time in th seventies that suggested there were around 1,600 clubs in Britain - Dave puts up 186 as evidence of a "successful folk scene" - do the math and come back and tell me that is an improvement, or even holding its own"

I think it would be almost impossible to find out how many folk clubs there currently are in the UK today; there are things coming and going that I only hear about because I'm good with my social media and actively keep my ear to the ground.

Important to remember just how long ago the 1970s were. Given we're talking about a 45 year span or so, I can't consider it a tragedy or even that surprising that the number of folk clubs would have declined a lot. Given that folk is a specialist music, given that it had an untypical blip in mainstream consciousness in the 1960s and early 70s, that doesn't really surprise me.

I think it's far sadder that the number of live music venues as a whole has declined so rapidly over a much shorter space of time. I think it's sad that the idea of going to hear (or participate in) live music is unlikely to be a regular cultural part of my son's teenage life the way it was for me (irrespective of musical genre).

I see traditional music in much the same way I see other non-mainstream musics like jazz or death metal or minimalist techno or contemporary classical music or indeed any other regional-specific music. It's specialist-audience music. I can't think of folk music as being in crisis because there are folk clubs I go to every month in which young people are singing traditional folk songs.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 08:46 AM

Matt wrote:-
I think it's sad that the idea of going to hear (or participate in) live music is unlikely to be a regular cultural part of my son's teenage life the way it was for me (irrespective of musical genre).

Our dance band plays for a lot of weddings and I have become increasingly aware of the reaction of some members of our audience - and I remember that they have not chosen to be at one of our events but they have been invited as a friend or relative. Before playing for dancing, we normally play a couple of sets of tunes to give people the feel of the music. Mostly we will see smiles and people who clearly cannot wait to get on the dance floor. Others sit looking bemused or they turn their backs on the band. I do not think thay are hating what they hear; I am convinced that these people simply do not have any live music in their lives and are not sure how they should react to it. As a live music junkie who gets twitchy if more than a few days go by without having an event where live music is played, the reaction of the non-musicers I find incomprehensible.

I am not long returned from West Africa where live music/song/dance/excitement/laughter are intrinsically linked. Matt is right to bemoan the cultural loss and I think it applies more to metropolitan England than to the rest of the British Isles.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: r.padgett
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 09:25 AM

High regard and have Walter Pardon CDs and vinyl ~saw him at Whitby ff in 1977 ~ also Sam Larner ~ Musical Traditions run by Rod Stradling continues his excellent work

Ray


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 09:33 AM

jim the club un by the wilsons was every bit as good as regards quality, as clubs that i remember from the sixties and seventies, but there are less guest booking clubs than there used to be


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 09:33 AM

"Nobody is being dishonest or stating that 'Sam' etc are irrelevant. For heaven's sake!"
Explain this
"Sam Larner, Scan Tester, Phil Tanner etc were part of a lifestyle and ofcommunities which no longer exist, and their songs were a part of that lost way of lifese. "
You might explain this as well
"And now it seems Jim is agreeing with me, because he is apparently referring to people not linking folk music with the result that it died."
"Though 'the tradition' was pretty much on its way out by his time as far as I can see."
The tradition was dying when Sharp and his collegues were collecting - the BBC carried out a 'mopping up' campaign in the early 1950s from people who were largely remembering songs from a tradition that had died
In the late fifties the revival used the recordings to escape from the pop pap - few of the revival singers had learned their songs traditionally but used the BBC recordings and books like 'The Penguin Book of Folk Songs'
Even Walter Pardon had not really been part of a living tradition - that disappeared when he was a young child
He systematically wrote down his family songs (we have his books) and memorised the tunes on a melodeon
"I think it would be almost impossible to find out how many folk clubs there currently are in the UK today; "
An accurate figure isn't particularly important - the inescapable fact is that the number of clubs have shrunk to a massive degree and those involved in running them are mainly of 'a certain age'
Many of the youngsters people throw up as up-and-coming are the 'names' who have had a degree of success - it seems the dogsbodies and instigators with a feel for the tradition are not being replaced at the rate they need to be
No matter how many clubs there are, those catering for folk song proper are a minority of a shrinking number
Nobody seems interested in addressing that point and the effect it has on the future access to traditional song
My generation - right though the 'Swingin' Sixties' took great pleasure from listening to and singing long ballads, transportation songs, bawdy songs, songs about press gangs and work at sea and going to war.....
We weren't freaks or intellectuals ploutering in the past - we were ordinary youngsters enjoying the creations of our forefathers - pretty well the same as some of us took (and still take) pleasure in reading Dickens and Hardy or watching plays by Shakespeare
I see Irish youngsters in their thousands beginning to get the same pleasure from creations of the past and making it their own now - why can't that happen back home I wonder
That's part of the responsibility we took on when we came to folk song
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 09:42 AM

Dave puts up 186 as evidence of a "successful folk scene"

I really do wish people would stop making things up. I put up no arguments or conclusions. I linked to this Wiki article which states

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

Note. It says that there are over 160 clubs. This is a minimum figure. I do not know where it came from and others have suggested there are considerably more. It does not suggest that this is indicative of a successful folk scene. It says quite categorically that the decline has stabilised and goes on to explain that the nature of folk clubs has changed.

If anyone is going to attribute anything to me, make sure you get the facts and source right or it makes you look foolish.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 10:05 AM

"I put up no arguments or conclusions"
You put it up as proof of an improvement - if I made a mistake it was that I overestimated that 'success'
I take something somebody puts up as an indication that they believe it to be true Dave
It might be "considerably more" but that is not been borne out by actual numbers
If you remember, we went on to disagree on what was acceptable at folk clubs
That particular argument floundered when I compared your suggestions with the wide variation to be found in the traditional song repertoire - you refused to respond
Later, when I quoted Martin Carthy's statement about the importance and relevance of folk song to modern life, everybody refused to respond
My apologies for giving a higher number in your favour, I'll try not to let it happen again
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 12:02 PM

Not a clue what you are on about, Jim. As usual it is all bluster and noise. If I "put it up as proof of an improvement" show us all where I did that. I can guarantee, once again, that you will fail to do so. You disagree with me on one tiny part of what is performed at folk clubs and, for reasons known only to yourself, you have decided I am "the enemy" . You keep attempting to discredit arguments I have never made. Why?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 12:03 PM

"Many of the youngsters people throw up as up-and-coming are the 'names' who have had a degree of success - it seems the dogsbodies and instigators with a feel for the tradition are not being replaced at the rate they need to be "

The "they should do something" rather than "we can do something" attitude seems to have taken root. I see a fair few youngsters stewarding for free tickets at festivals but it is definitely the bus pass generation putting out the chairs at folk clubs.

My own observation of the "decline" was that it was, to some extent, to be expected with the big input into the clubs in the 60s. People left because of the normal issues of families, jobs and mortgages and shifts in fashion meant that there was nowhere near like for like replacement.

Many (by no means all) clubs were left in the hands of pretty indifferent singers. I am sure that the failure to even partially replace a declining audience had as much to do with quality as with content.

What is striking is the success of concerts. It is the same demogrphic as the clubs but, from the ones that I have observed, not the same people. The baby boomers seem keen to come back to folk but aren't spending their pensions on watching a floor singer who rubbish in 1970 and hasn't improved since.

That isn't something that I am happy about and it isn't healthy in the medium term. I am aware however of (relatively) younger people running informal folk events but the label "folk club" seems to be toxic as far as they are concerned.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Andy7
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 12:09 PM

Andy7: "I can think of at least 8 good folk clubs within easy driving distance of me in south Hampshire. All of them are very welcoming to unaccompanied singers of traditional songs, as well as being welcoming to other kinds of music. I've heard, and learned, quite a number of traditional folk songs through visiting some of these clubs regularly over the years.

But I very much doubt that, if I set up a new club exclusively for unaccompanied singers of traditional songs, any members of the existing clubs would desert them for mine. In fact, I wouldn't even go to it myself, as I love the variety of music in the existing clubs."

Jim Carroll: "Straw man
Nobody is suggesting you should"

Mr. Carroll, please don't chuck an insult at me like that, in response to a serious post. I never do that to others on this site; and I'd appreciate the same courtesy in return.

The point of my post was obviously not whether or not anyone is suggesting that I should set up a new club.

The point I was making is, that in the 'mixed' clubs that are seen nowadays, unaccompanied traditional songs are almost invariably welcome.

The people that attend such clubs seem - from many conversations I've had over the years - to very much enjoy the variety on offer. At the same time, these clubs are playing a major role in keeping alive the traditional songs.

I don't believe that a club focusing solely on traditional unaccompanied songs would be as successful; any more than would a club focusing solely on 60s folk-style songs, or solely on self-penned songs, or solely on music hall songs, or solely on parodies, etc. etc.

It's the variety that I, and many others, enjoy. And that variety includes, as an intrinsic part, those traditional folk songs which, I agree, it's very important to maintain as a living musical tradition.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 12:28 PM

”I don't believe that a club focusing solely on traditional unaccompanied songs would be as successful; any more than would a club focusing solely on 60s folk-style songs, or solely on self-penned songs, or solely on music hall songs, or solely on parodies, etc. etc.

It's the variety that I, and many others, enjoy. And that variety includes, as an intrinsic part, those traditional folk songs which, I agree, it's very important to maintain as a living musical tradition.”


Amen to that, Andy, a thousand Amens.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 01:01 PM

"Mr. Carroll, please don't chuck an insult at me like that"
What insult ?
Straw man isn't a reference to you - it is a reference to your attributing to me something I haven't said
I repeat - nobody had suggested a club that only deals with traditional, unaccompanied song - I've always avoided them like the plague
You've just repeated it
"I don't believe that a club focusing solely on traditional unaccompanied songs would be as successful;"
Who has mentioned suv=ch a thing ?
If you think a traditional repertoire is't "varied", you should look again - it is a damn sight more varied that the one-theme pop output which is largely populated by unidentifiable non-people
Nothing wrong with throwing music-hall and parodies, but the trad repertoire has everything they could offer in spades - from the big ballads to children's make-ups - bawdry, eroticism, belly-laugh humour, biter-bit smilse behind the hand, work, travel, wars, sea-going, love, hate, marriage...
Name one subject from a music hall song that can't be matched traditionally
" As usual it is all bluster and noise."
Now your resorting to personal abuse Dave - I thought higher of you than that
Would you like to dig out the thread where I put forward the variety of folk song and compared it to the pop repertoire (pretty much the same as I have just written)
Ot perhaps you would like me to put up the Martin Carthy quote which you and everybody else ignored ?
JIm


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Andy7
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 01:10 PM

"What insult ?
Straw man isn't a reference to you - it is a reference to your attributing to me something I haven't said"

Haha, it did sound a bit like an insult! But if you didn't mean it as such, I'll accept that.

Any way ... my original post didn't attribute anything to you. I didn't mention your name, my post didn't quote any of your statements, and nor did it even immediately follow any of your posts.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 01:21 PM

"Haha, it did sound a bit like an insult! "
It really wasn't intended as such
A straw man is a decoy put up to divert attention - honest !!
"Any way ... my original post didn't attribute anything to you. "
Maybe not, but it is one of the regular ploys put up in these arguments
Ast to expect hearing folk songs in a folk club and people will suggest you expect only folk songs#Ask for basic standards and you are accused of demanding virtuoso singing
I wouldn't waste my time in museum clubs that only put on unaccompanied traditional songs - that would be purist

Dave, for the record - this is the posting I asked you to respond to
Subject: RE: UK 60s Folk Club Boom?
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 04:50 AM

Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 01:43 PM

I have not made any personal insults, Jim. I was pointing out that your argument was all bluster and noise, not you. It has no substance, much like your reply to me. You are going on about straw men and at the same time attributing things to me that I have never said. I asked you to show us where I "put it up as proof of an improvement". Your reply makes no sense whatsoever and perfectly underlines the fact that you cannot show where I said any of the things you have attributed to me. For instance:

I am happy to have any music at folk clubs. Not true
I said Ed Sheeran was a folk singer. Not true
I put up an article as proof things were improving. Not true

Those are just the latest three. There have been umpteen before and, although I am a patient man, my patience is wearing thin.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 01:46 PM

Anyway, more important (and more enjoyable) things than arguing about a minority genre on a minority interest forum await.

Game of Thrones :-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 01:48 PM

Dave if your patience is wearing thin ,perhaps you would be good enough to remain quiet ,so that we can continue talking about the high standards found in some uk folk clubs, i would appreciate you doing that thankyou very much.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 01:53 PM

I will continue to deny the comments attributed to me by Jim as long as he keeps making them up, Dick. Sorry if you have a problem with that but it is not my problem is it. Maybe you should ask Jim to stop making things up about me.

For what it's worth, I have been saying all along that I find that the folk clubs I attend all have very high standards. I agree with you. It is Jim that says they put on any old rubbish!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Bignige
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 02:04 PM

We, over the last few years, have had so many clubs just fade away. A number of reasons, one of which, imho, is due to the unaccompanied singer situation. It is only of interest to other unaccompanied singers and is not likely to attract new people to Folk Clubs. We have had to stop booking guests because our audience is now so small it is not viable. In a few years I suspect Folk Clubs will not exist.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Matt milton
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 02:12 PM

The songs existed when there were zero folk clubs. the Popularity of folk in the 60s and some of the 70s strikes me as a cultural blip, no more to be mourned than Bebop or ska reggae. It seems crazy to expect folk clubs to exist in their thousands until the end of time. Does the same apply to other genres of music too? There aren’t classical music salons around now the way there was in 18th century Vienna, should we be bemoaning that as well?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 02:42 PM

"the Popularity of folk in the 60s and some of the 70s strikes me as a cultural blip, no more to be mourned than Bebop or ska reggae. "
Shame ion you Matt - these songs are timeless and they still resonate - far mor that the spit-out-when-you've finished pop pap
The oldest mentioned song in the folk repertoire was mentioned in the 13 hundreds and was still being sung into the mid seventies - wanna name a reggae or ska song that can match that ?
It's like saying Shakespeare's had his day
If we in the mid twentieth century could take as muuch pleasure as we did from centuries old songthen there's no reason that cannot continue to happen
If you don't like folk song and feel them irrelevant then stand aside for those who feel differently
What the hell are we posting to a site that describes itself aas mudcat does if the folk arts are "irrelevant"

"I have not made any personal insults"
The you'd better report the person who sent " As usual it is all bluster and noise" in your name
I've posted the link I referred to and you'v repeat your accusation that I am a liar
"I will continue to deny the comments attributed to me by Jim as long as he keeps making them up, Dick."
Haveing denied you insulted me, you've just done it again
I think we're finished here
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 02:44 PM

In the sixties and seventies beer was relatively cheaper, there were far more pubs and many more people went out drinking regularly. Central heating, colour TV, ready access to electronic media, the increased price of beer, changing mores of society all played a part in the diminishing public participation in folk music. Times change, so do people. In essence a folkclub plays a fossilised genre. It's popularity peaked at a moment in time and then decayed. It was probably nothing at all to do with how the genre was defined or how well it was presented, the world simply moved on. Folk music existed long beforefolk clubs and no doubt will survive in some form when the last folk club closes.
In terms of a rigid definition of folk music a folk club is a very artificial construction used to display/present/nurture the genre. It robs the medium of it's spontaneity and probably it was a middle class thing displaying the compositions of the working class.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Matt milton
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 03:28 PM

Jim, I said the popularity of folk clubs once, not the existence of folk itself. two different things. The popularity of it isn’t really something you can control and lamenting the fact that folk Isn’t as popular as it was in the 60s is as pointless as lamenting that children aren’t taught Latin in school.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Matt milton
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 03:33 PM

Jim, the song from the 1300s clearly doesn’t need folk clubs. It survived without their existence for much longer than folk clubs are likely to exist


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 05:01 PM

it sounds to me Jim, you've had a lucky deliverance from degenerate gits like us.

Well done!!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 05:05 PM

" As usual it is all bluster and noise"

As I said, Jim. That is a reference to your argument, not you. If you see it as personal, maybe that is signs of a guilty concience?

"I will continue to deny the comments attributed to me by Jim as long as he keeps making them up, Dick."

No insult there either. Prove that I have said any of the things you accuse me of and I shall apologise. Again, you know you are wrong and will just not admit it.

I can confidently predict that you will just post more obfuscation and not give us any proof of what I am accused of.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Bignige
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 06:02 PM

Of course the music will always be there. Evidence the demise of Folk Clubs and the rise of the Open Mics the music is still there just the platform changes. I'm sure the mention of Open Mics will send the Folk world into an apoplectic fit, but they are popular not restricted to one genre and more importantly attract the young.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 06:10 PM

well this is it...open mics are for people whose culture and community haven't disappeared.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Apr 19 - 07:48 PM

Just back from my local folk club, which has been going for over 30 years and showing no signs of dying. Great night with one of Scotland's finest female singers, Sylvia Barnes, and brilliant guitarist, Sandy Stanage, who accompanied some, but not all, of her songs. Fine accompanist, never letting the guitar get in the way of the song, which always shone through. The songs were not all traditional, even though Sylvia is one of the best interpreters of traditional song: a very varied programme. THIS is the way forward.
And please, please can we stick to the topic and stop the puerile personal spats going on here? You are driving people away from Mudcat: you know who you are!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 May 19 - 02:24 AM

Seems like when a thread degenerates to personal abuse and flippancy it's run its course
Indifference seems to have won the day here
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 May 19 - 02:37 AM

the lowest standard in guest booking clubs that i have come across ,has been in clubs full of singer songwriters , they were competent on their guitars, but frequently sang in mock american accents and their song writing efforts were samey., often singing in the same key,and same tempo subject matter nothing but personal relationship songs
OF COURSE THAT DOES NOT MEAN ALL SINGER SONGWRITERS ARE POOR.BUT this has been my experience,I remember thinking at the time if only they could write like MacColl, or Lowe


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 May 19 - 02:07 PM

In an earlier post I said “if Dick were to come to our club etc.”   His comments re Martin Carthy and Steve Turner say it all.
my comments were factual neither wished to sing without accompaniment, they are both very good performers who i have booked at my festival www.fastnetmaritime.com.
I WOULD NOT PLAY AT SOME BLOKES CLUB IF HE ASKED ME TO . I PREFER TO PLAY CLUBS LIKE THE WILSONS CLUB AND PETE COES CLUB.Iknow from exoerience that the standard of singing at the aforementioned clubs is high
Some bloke claims to run a folk club I,doubt if he does at all, who are you? hiding behind anonymity and where is this mythical club judging from your puerile comments about trad singers with trousers up to your tits,are you Ian Mathers


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 May 19 - 02:52 AM

@ Bignige

You have a point about 'the music' being always there, though for how long? But my understanding is that Jim, the main critic of modern folk clubs, isn't really interested in the music side of things, it is the lyrics that he is focused on.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 19 - 03:31 AM

"Jim, the main critic of modern folk clubs, isn't really interested in the music side of things, it is the lyrics that he is focused on."
You can't have one without the other - I do believe there's a balance to be struck between the two
As far as instrumental music, I don't know enough of what's happening in the UK in that respect, but our work has included recording musicians at length, playing and talking
We also recorded masses of lore, particularly from Travellers
Some of the rarest recordings we made were of a few of the last of the big storytellers, particularly in Clare
We would have included dance if it wasn't for the fact that the dancers here kept demanding that you got up and joined them - they really didn't deserve that !
All these different aspects of peoples' culture are interrelated, that's why they fly under the same 'folk' flag
Change one and you put a question mark over the rest
The term 'folk' came into use as a reference to the lore that was being collected by antiquarians like Tombs, Chambers, Halliwell, Brand and Hone
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:16 AM

@ Jim Carroll

'I don't know enough of what's happening in the UK'...

Yet you announced yourself as the 'spectre at the feast', and have spent much of this thread expressing your view that English folk clubs have dwindled in number due to a) not having any 'folk' on and b) poor performance standards, though, as you have emphasised, not meaning this in any 'elitist' sense.

Perhaps you ought to have accepted the invitation proferred in the intitial thread?

By the way, and apologies for not being clear, in previous discussions you have expressed a view that the tunes to folk songs were relatively important, that it is the words that appeal. I was suggesting that the music is crucial to a 'song' in support of Bignige, who said that people would always make music, which I hope is true. I apologise again if this is not clear.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:44 AM

"Yet you announced yourself as the 'spectre at the feast', "
I said in regard to English instrumental music - something I have little experience of
I know well enough what happened in the clubs because I was involvd when they began to decline
What you (in the collective sense) have told me is enough to convince me that things have got far worse
I do get to the UK - my family lives there, and, from what I've seen first hand shows my impressions to be about right
When researchers start arbitrarily re-defining 'folk' and folk clubs stop putting on folk to the extent they have, while people on this forum tell me that it isn't relevant any more, 'fings ain't what they used to be' is inescapable
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:54 AM

Things are not what they used to be. Bringing us back to the point of the thread, UK folk clubs have a very high standard nowadays. They have to to keep going.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:45 AM

"UK folk clubs have a very high standard nowadays."
That's a very firm pronouncement Dave
Do you have anything to back that up ?
The fact that most of them no longer involve themselves in folk song and there are not enough of them is another matter altogether
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:50 AM

"UK folk clubs have a very high standard nowadays". UK ? What do you know about folk clubs in Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland ?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:57 AM

That's a very firm pronouncement Dave
Do you have anything to back that up ?


Errrr, yes. Is that not what Dick said and what the thread is about?

Good point, Guest. I only know clubs in England. The thread was about UK clubs so I stuck with that but I shall change my statement to English folk clubs have a very high standard. Maybe someone with more knowledge of the rest of the UK will comment on the rest.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:57 AM

The fact that most of them no longer involve themselves in folk song and there are not enough of them is another matter altogether.

Do you have anything to back that up ?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 19 - 06:23 AM

Pretty well were things were heading when when I left, discussions with friends still interested and arguments and discussions I have had on forums such as this
You might throw in what's happening - or not happening in print
When people argue as vociferously for something, as they have here, you can safely assume that
You might throw in that we now have a bunch of researchers that seem to have forgotten the identifiable uniqueness of folk song
Unless there's been a sudden renaissance, I'd say it was a done deal
That there aren't enough of them goes without saying - even the other side seems to have acknowledged that on (and put up the excuses as to why there are not)
"Scotland and Wales"
I try to avoid commenting on their situation - all I have on Scotland is sparse
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 May 19 - 06:46 AM

I try to avoid commenting on their situation - all I have on Scotland is sparse
I would think that there is a good case for saying that all you have on England is sparse - or hearsay. Your location means that you very rarely attend them but you still refute the evidence of those who go to folk clubs regularly.
That there aren't enough of them goes without saying
If quantity = quality then you have a case but I would suggest that the opposite is the case. Now that all the folk comedians, guitar noodlers, introspective singer-songwriters etc. have moved on, my experience suggests that in the reduced numbers of clubs there is a larger percentage of hardcore enthusiasts for the tradition whilst at the same time a feeling that variety is needed to make an evening entertaining.
Not everything is right with the surviving clubs and who would expect it to be. My main bugbear is the appearance of music stands and words on hand-held devices. Usually I have the courage to tell that singer that they would put over the song better if they were fully in command of the words.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 19 - 11:09 AM

"I would think that there is a good case for saying that all you have on England is sparse"
I think I'd say that if I was defending some of the positions here

I've told you what was happening when I left and I've been told by others
Now we no longer have the connection that the magazines and broadcasts once gave us we have little else to go on
I’ve been told over and over again the state of the clubs during these arguments – the poor standards, the failure to live up to the claim of being folk – the tearing up of the grass roots…. “all human folk is there” as the News of the World nearly used to say
You obviously see fit to dismiss the arguments being put up during these discussions defending the disappearance of clubs, the standards and the songs that are now passing for folk
I don't I'm afraid
Out of the mouths....
No - quantity doesn't equal quality - I've never argued it does, but if a music is to survive there needs to be enough people involved to mke that happen
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 19 - 11:21 AM

>>>>>I’ve been told over and over again the state of the clubs during these arguments – the poor standards, the failure to live up to the claim of being folk – the tearing up of the grass roots…. “all human folk is there”<<<<< Jim Carroll


You have been told over and over again the exact opposite. Sheesh! What does it take? We really are wasting our time here. Me out.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 02 May 19 - 11:29 AM

All music is folk music; I ain't never heard no horse....aaawww, fuggeddit! ;-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 May 19 - 12:39 PM

I’ve been told over and over again the state of the clubs during these arguments – the poor standards, the failure to live up to the claim of being folk

No Jim. You have been told that by some and the exact reverse by many others. You choose to believe the ones that pander to your underlying bias, which we all do. But to argue that you believe clubs are poor quality and do not present folk music on a thread that says the opposite, started by a folk singer that actually performs at clubs is a bit like going into a synagogue eating a bacon butty.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 19 - 01:35 PM

"No Jim. You have been told that by some and the exact reverse by many others."
Enough to indicate that the scene is in a pretty bad shape, which was one of teh issues that was brought up all those years in 'Folk Review (Crap Begets Crap)
It's pretty obvious when those who don't agree with you that reading from phons and crib sheets is one of the issues - that practice has not only been accepted but defended
Learnin the songs you are singing is a pretty basic expectation for any audience
Will you stop this insulting "underlying bias" - I was on the scene when things began to slither down the pan - not a "bias" - an observation
You accuse me (unjustifiably) of insulting you yet you feel free to insult me
Give us a break Dave
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 19 - 01:54 PM

"uk folk clubs high standard" - based on a sample size of 3.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 May 19 - 01:57 PM

I think the truth lies between the two points of view, I mentioned high standards in three clubs i have been to recently,Ihave also come across clubs where buddy holly songs seemed to be lavour of the day among floor singers and alsoi a club where there were the floor singers very poor singer songwriters, i also mentioned dartford folk c;lub where the standard was high but most of the songs were carter family or bluegrass, i also wento the cellar upstairs a few years ago and the floorsingers were tom paley and peta webb and ken hall, and a guy who had potential but wasjust beginning on the banjo, overasll a high standard. there is imo a lack of respect amongst a minority of performers for the roots of the music


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 19 - 03:23 PM

"I think the truth lies between the two points of view,"
Of course it does Dick, it's the proportion of good and bad that's the unknown, but even that makes little difference when the reported number of clubs is so low
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 May 19 - 03:24 PM

There we have the voice of reason. The truth lies somewhere between the 2. We disagree on many things, Dick, but I am wholeheartedly behind that one. I was at Skipton a few weeks back and the floor singers included Nick Dow and Tom Lewis so it is not unusual to get that level of support.

Guest - It is not a sample size of 3. We have the 3 that Dick mentions. The 3 I go to regularly. The many mentioned by many other posters on Mudcat. The dozens I visited when I was 'on the road' some years back. I suggest you do a bit of homework before you fire off any more snide remarks.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 19 - 03:27 PM

Come on, Dave. Surely you can recognise trolling by now!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 19 - 03:40 PM

Original post : "I have played two folk clubs within the last week where the standard of floor singers and tradtional singing were high, they were the welly club at wolvistion teesside, asnd the Ryburn folk club run by PETE AND SUE COE The week before that i played Norwich folk club again high standards of singers playing trad songs.
with the greatest respect i advise Jim Carroll to visit these clubs next time he is in the UK".
3.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 19 - 03:43 PM

In short
Fewer folk clubs for a variety of mainly economic reasons.

Many more other outlets for folk music, many producing a high standard.

There are a few places where phones and cribs are used but they are few and far between and they don't affect the overall standard.

This is my experience mainly in Yorkshire.

Typical hotbeds, York, Sheffield, Ryburn, Teesside, Hull, Whitby. Apologies to those parts I'm not aware of.
Other places where I know there is a strong representation, Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Suffolk, Norfolk, East Lancashire, Newcastle, and I'm sure there are many others I'm not aware of.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:03 PM

I like to give the benefit of the doubt, Steve, but you are probably right.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:11 PM

why are we arguing?

Jim is entitled tohis opinions and everyone else is enrirled to theirs.

what's difficult about that situation?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:23 PM

>why are we arguing?

That what youse guys do, Big Al, (that and drown interesting American posters under a deluge of frivolous BS).


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:37 PM


Jim is entitled tohis opinions and everyone else is enrirled to theirs.

what's difficult about that situation?

I think that on this point, Al, you are missing the point. Of course, Jim is entitled to his opinions and I cannot see anywhere where this entitlement is rejected or even questioned. The objections are to the way he goes about stating them with unsupported authority that seems to raise the hackles. His opinions come over as authoritative facts rather than the opinions which they actually are. To challenge his statements is to open your own statements to denigration.... and as you say, we are all entitled to our opinions.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 May 19 - 04:57 PM

drown interesting American posters under a deluge of frivolous BS

What? And American posters never indulge in frivolous BS? What dimension is that in?

:D tG


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:06 PM

Dave the Grom: foxtrot oscar


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:25 PM

Perhaps, just perhaps, a person seeking to establish that their view is objective/factual as opposed to being biased, and that to accuse them of bias is to insult them, them would be more convincing if their view was not expressed in emotive, if not positively insulting metaphorical language like 'things began to slither down the pan.'


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:25 PM

Another troll Dave. You know what to do.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 19 - 05:49 PM

"Fewer folk clubs for a variety of mainly economic reasons."
One of the great detrimental changes in clubs has been to replace resident evenings with paid guests - people have argued that this is to put more bums on seats - it certainly isn't an 'economic' move
Another excuse that doesn't make sense
It is far cheaper to run and attend a local club than it is a fesival - I believe you once suggested that the scene wasn't declining but was being replaced by festivals - if not you, many others have
Your economic argument is as full of holes as a string vest, I'm afraid
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 02 May 19 - 06:02 PM

Well, at least the emotive imagery is clothes- rather than excrement-based this time. :)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 19 - 06:32 PM

Extremely valid economic reasons with no holes.

Pubs shutting down at an alarming rate over a long period of time, somewhat accelerated more recently.

Pubs turning to more lucrative usage of the space due to economic pressure.

Austerity has steadily accelerated since Thatcher's day.

Cheaper to go online and watch clips of favourite performers.

Increasing fuel and transport costs deterring going any distance for a night out at a club.

Folk club necessarily has door charge unlike session/singaround so these options preferred.

etc. etc. yes I know, yawn, excuses, excuses.....


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 May 19 - 01:41 AM

What's a Grom and why don't you just say fuck off like normal people?

(I know, John, but a very poor one ;-) )


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 May 19 - 02:01 AM

well we've had a lot of sneers about folk comedians and folksingers who presented folksongs in a light hearted manner.

but the hay day of the folk clubs was the day when (not every week) but there nights when you didn't need to be a folk song aficionado to have a good night out at your local folk club.

Basically what happened was that that generation of entertainers died out. The Alex Campbells, Johnny Handles, Peabody and McNulty etc.

What we have left is people who demand respect.....and to be honest...they don't make for the greatest company. The cake needs to seasoned with something lighter.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 02:46 AM

"Extremely valid economic reasons with no hole"
You've just been given the 'holes' Steve - ignore them if you wish
u cn add to the ons I've given you the 'Electric Folk' experiment which added the totally unnecessary cost of extremely expensive sound equipment and instruments ane turned what is essentially a narrative form into unfollowable electric soup
It's main effect was to make an inexpensive pastime into something that became less accessible and less portable with a need for venues that could cater for a barrage of larely over-amplified sound
I peeped in occasionally on the the 'What guitar do you need for a folk club' thread - if there is an 'economic' problem it's an unnecessary self-inflicted one
When the scene started it was simply to get together and swap songs - pretty well the same as it happened in the tradition
The move away from that, with concerts and reliance on guests and festivals and a pursuit for 'success' - in fact, all but a return to the music industry's values that we walked away from to make our own music.
With very few exceptions, anybody can sing - the more work and thought you put into it, the better you become
Venues have always been a problem, if anything, the economic downturn has eased it a little - anxious landlords wanting to fill empty nights
These are quickly-grabbed excuses Steve - nothing else.

I find your your 'listening to your favourite performers' an indication of the star system that has come to dominate the scene
Sure - it was great to have the occasional guest, but the most enjoyable evenings I can remember were those when a residents night clicked and everyone went home remembering the songs and not the performers

You never needed to be an 'aficionado' to enjoy folk songs Al - the people who gave the songs to us were sailors and farm and factory workers - 'ordinary people'
Few specialised in the songs - they were part of their lives and enjoyment
There's nothing wrong with respecting people who give their songs out of love and a desire to share - it's when they come with a price-tag that worries me
JIm


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 03:15 AM

"u cn add"
A typo - honest !!
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 19 - 04:03 AM

The average pub landlord of those surviving pubs does nor really want a bunch of folkies sipping orange juice all night. The days of a bar making money purely from drinks are long gone.
Unless an aficionado he/she can make more serving food. A pub providing a venue is providing a "service" not a profit center.

25% of pubs have closed since 2001. 33% since the 70's. I think it is a pretty safe bet that economics closed all these pubs. Breathyalyser, no smoking, cheaper booze from supermarkets, being able to listen to world class performances in the home the reasons are numerous for diminishing audience. This does not directly correlate with a lack of interest however. Ipsosmori is unlikely to survey such a niche interest therefore any participant figures are unreliable to say the least.
The only folk clubs I ever attended not in pubs were student unions and the Surbiton Assembly rooms, so perhaps I show bias.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 May 19 - 04:25 AM

While Jim may be right about the songs being 'given' by factory workers, it seems plain that at least some of the people he was involved with, some of the ones doing the 'taking', were 'professional' musicians and/or folklorists, with the Lloyd and Maccoll being examples.

Jim may not have liked electrified music, but some of this was successful and enjoyable and probably introduced people who would not have otherwise heard these songs to them. Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span being two examples of this. In my taste, preferable to the concertina warblings on some Lloyd recordings.

Lloyd was right at the heart of a commercial folk enterprise, as per his work with 'folkways'.

The image of the 'unfollowable electric soup' is not one of Jim's best, and certainly not fair to the two electric groups I have mentioned. Personally, I like soup anyway, so I don't see a problem.

When Walter Pardon was being taxied to various clubs I was wondering whether he appeared free, and who paid the petrol money. In any case, he can hardly have been described as a 'resident', he was a guest. And I doubt that his delivery would have lived up to Maccoll's prescriptions about how stuff should be sung. And that melodeon, hardly a traditional British instrument is it?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 May 19 - 04:36 AM

Interesting about folk clubs not in pubs - I sometimes went to Keele Uni folk club in their SU bar when my lad was there. The other coincidence is that one of my local clubs, Baccapipes, is in a Ukrainian club. Just noticed that Doncaster Roots music club is also in a Ukrainian club! Maybe the Ukrainians are the new torch bearers :-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 19 - 04:41 AM

"And that melodeon, hardly a traditional British instrument is it?"
It's as traditional as any.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 May 19 - 04:47 AM

"all but a return to the music industry's values that we walked away from to make our own music."

Sorry to nitpick, but it seems to me that Jim has been clear that the people there in his clubs were not making their own music, they were making other peoples. To use Jim's own terms, songs from 'the tradition' were being performed on the 'scene'.   

I do recall reading that Lloyd himself was often critical of people whom he thought were not very good, so the rot (if any) must have set in when he was still around.

But maybe this simply is a case of the old looking back through the mists of memory and saying how much better stuff was in the old day?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 05:16 AM

"they were making other peoples"
Sorry to nitpick but the fact that the music we were making was in the public domain so if it was anybody's it belonged to all of us.
Sure, many were making new songs based on old styles but nobody expected to make anything from them
Of all the leading figures in the revival, Lloyd was the least critical of anybody
We were all amateurs doing our best - no glittering prizes in those days, just the songs

As far as professional performers are concerned, a very few made a living from club performances, mthe overwhelming majority, including those who did pair bookings did other things to supplement their incomes
I know that Ewan and Peggy would arrange a tour when funds ran low - their main activity, when not residentingay The Singers, was to work with other, less experienced singers
Lloyd wrote, translated, lectured, broadcasted... and other things - he in fact did very few bookings

There seems to have been a screeching U turn here
One minute I'm being slagged off for suggesting that something has gone seriously wrong with the folk scene, next minute iI'm being bombarded with excuses for why its gone wrong

"nor really want a bunch of folkies sipping orange juice all night."
You cannot be serious !!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 03 May 19 - 05:24 AM

Hello Guest (4.41am)

'As traditional as any', yes, maybe I would agree if you take it that 'traditional' singing was not accompanied at all, as some people seem to believe. So on that basis, then no instruments are 'traditional?

But I understand that the melodeon is 1) a 19th century invention and 2) not English in origin. That was the point of my comment, it's about the 'tradition' and the 'scene'.

Things changed, were not static, and musical electrification seems a logical thing for 'ordinary' people to embrace - along with fridges and electric carpet sweepers.

Returning to the topic of the thread, I cannot compare standards today with those of whenever it was that Jim Carroll was going to clubs (? the 60s?) but I believe that rumours of the death of good entertainment in them are greatly exagerated.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 06:27 AM

"as some people seem to believe"
Never heard that one
Some songs were accompanied, the vast majority were't
However, there is such a thing as traditional music, presumably played on traditional instruments
America, of course is different
MacColl never had a 'prescription' of how songs should be sung
If he did, maybe someone can produce it - won't hold my breath though
Jim Carroll was going to the clubs from the beginning of the sixties right through to the present day
I resedented regularly into the early nineties, but continue to go as regularly as I could/can after that
Is it really necessary to distort my position - it would seen so !!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 May 19 - 06:52 AM

I haven't been going to folk clubs for quite as long, Ithink I went to a folk club in 1964 for the first time. I didn't play in public for another ten or eleven years, but I used to strum away at home - thinking, one day I'll be good enough.

Never did quite make it.

For as long as I can remember - there have been nights where you thought - well that was a waste of an evening. But there was some good stuff in there as well.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 May 19 - 07:29 AM

Steve Gardham wrote -
Pubs shutting down at an alarming rate over a long period of time, somewhat accelerated more recently.

Information from this morning's The Guardian -
In the first four months of this year 636 pubs in the UK have closed their doors beaten only by banks (716).


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 07:45 AM

Sounds a great argument for offering them a new source of custom Vic
Immaterial anyway
The decline was well underway when the pubs were thriving and the economy was pretty steady
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: r.padgett
Date: 03 May 19 - 07:49 AM

The standard, frequency and abundance of high quality singers and songs goes beyond folk clubs ~ folk clubs? some can claim that title, no doubt mainly traditional based?

Concert clubs and other venues also host Folky guests in whatever format

and folk singarounds all provide great folk based meetings

Folk song music and dance all alive and kicking in UK
________________________________________
They're knocking 'em down the Old pubs

Ray from my posting April 19th


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 May 19 - 07:58 AM

I'm a bit confused about the timescale. Jim seems to be suggesting the rot set it when the clubs started booking professional guests. When I started visiting clubs around 1970 this was already the well-established pattern. Most people I know would say the clubs were thriving during that period and until well into the next decade, at least. So Jim must be talking about the golden era being the 60s or even earlier. If that is the case the folk scene has been in decline for 50 years or more, which I doubt most people involved in it during that time would agree with.

The clubs I see now aren't much different from back in the 70s and 80s, either in standard of performance or the material they present. As then, there is a mix of both traditional and contemporary material, and a mix of abilities. In many respects standards are higher, as more people have access to workshops and lessons. Singing from books or notes is not all that common in my experience, but neither is it a new phenomenon.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 08:10 AM

"I'm a bit confused about the timescale. Jim seems to be suggesting the rot set it when the clubs started booking professional guests."
No Howard - that always happened, as you pointed out
Becoming reliant on professional guest didn't help, but the main thing was moving away from the type of song that brought us together in the first place
Now Ray is saying that all is well - better get yourselves a hymn sheet you can all sing from, I think - and maybe an abacus to count the number of clubs that have gone awol
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 May 19 - 08:22 AM

You say that quantity does not equal quality but the number of clubs is a measure of how bad things are? Maybe you need the hymn sheet, Jim. Although if you cannot remember your own song maybe it is as well that you stopped attending folk clubs :-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 May 19 - 08:51 AM

"Becoming reliant on professional guest didn't help, but the main thing was moving away from the type of song that brought us together in the first place"

If by that you mean traditional song, by the time I became involved that too had already happened. The clubs I knew then, and now, covered a wide range of music, including but by no means limited to traditional song. Those clubs which insisted on only traditional songs were seen as something of an oddity.

However we've been over all this many times before. You clearly have a firm idea of the current state of UK folk clubs. I cannot say that you are wrong or that your experience of these clubs is untypical, all I can say is that it doesn't match my own experience. Perhaps what this does show is that the club scene is more diverse than either of us realise.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 May 19 - 08:51 AM

the main thing was moving away from the type of song that brought us together in the first place

Another opinion put forward as fact.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 09:40 AM

"Another opinion put forward as fact."
You confirmed it with your description of what acceptable at a folk club, as have many others
Why do you do this /
I was around on n the scene when It began to happen - it was fully debated at the time
"but the number of clubs is a measure of how bad things are?"
There may be a lot of bad clubs - quantity means nothing
Remind me again how many clubs make a success according to your link ??
II have stressed throughout that it was a combination of issues being discussed - the main thing being the move away from folk song and its replacement with the limited and transient stuff that people now seem to be happy with   
My argument has been consistent from the beginning and it is based on personal experience - i three of the major cities in Britain
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 03 May 19 - 09:47 AM

Venues and artiste/s.
Cecil Sharpe House, Fairfield Hall, Eel Pie Island, Surbiton Assembly Rooms(the largest UK folkclub) etc etc.
A blast from the past!


https://concerts.fandom.com/wiki/The_Strawbs

When Folk was mainstream, often electrified and played traditional and contemporary.

It was and is eclectic!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 May 19 - 10:22 AM

so its important to pay the eclecticity bill.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 May 19 - 10:24 AM

Jim, it is your opinion that "moving away from the type of song that brought us together in the first place" was the main cause of the reduction in clubs. No one is disputing that there are fewer folk clubs. That is a fact. There are many causes why those numbers have dwindled, not just the one you mention. I doubt that was even a major cause, let alone the main one. You have offered no evidence in support of your opinion so it remains just that. Your opinion.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 03 May 19 - 10:56 AM

Big Al you have been here long enough to know that levity and facetiousness is frowned on, though many threads deserve nothing less!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 11:07 AM

"Jim, it is your opinion that "moving away from the type of song that brought us together in the first place"
You do this all the time Dave - attributing documented incidents to "my opinion" just as some eejits pt down the well documented definition of folk song "my definition" (and failing to come up with their own - of course)
The decline of the scene was well debated - largely in magazines like Folk Revue
You can put forward all the silly excises you want, but it stands to sense that people who went out looking for folk song and didn't find it in the clubs, stopped looking
You have no evidence whatever that that is not the case so, whatever excuse you put forward remains 'your excuse' until you offer something substantial
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 03 May 19 - 11:44 AM

Time to bring in Academia:

http://livemusicexchange.org/wp-content/uploads/Investigating-the-health-of-the-UK-folk-club.pdf


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 May 19 - 12:04 PM

it stands to sense that people who went out looking for folk song and didn't find it in the clubs,

Jim. Could I suggest something here that might help us?
If we are to make progress at all, you need to stop making sweeping generalisations as if they were facts. Look at the statement of yours that I have quoted.
Now try substituting something like In my opinion... or My experience when I lived in England suggests to me that... for it stands to sense that.... In other words, it is not what you say but the way that you say it.

At the moment you making statements that are actually speculative or theroretical sound as though they are factual or tautological (using this word in its formal logic meaning).
The result is that taking the discussion forward gets bogged down as others feel the need to challenge you. Can you see the problem?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 May 19 - 12:42 PM

You have no evidence whatever that that is not the case so

As discussed many times, Jim, you are making the claim, it is up to you to prove it. I have already agreed that it may be part of the issue. You say it is the main reason for the decline in folk clubs so you give us the evidence that it is. And before you ask, I think there is a combination of reasons that moved people out of folk clubs as they were with no single cause being more important than another.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 12:59 PM

One of your black holes again Dave
I have refererd yo to the discussions that took place and where they took place
You choose to ignore them
I have given you reasons why the scene collapsed - you insisted that everything was fine
Once again, conversations with you have become one sided - I tell you what I know and have experienced - you ignore it
Same with you Vic
You've been round long enough to know that all is not well
Not sure which side you are on really - the ones that say all ois ok or the ones throwing up excuses
Basically - the problem as I see it is simple - the club sene no longer has a basis in folk
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 May 19 - 01:27 PM

I have refererd yo to the discussions that took place and where they took place

Those were discussions like this one. They provide no proof of anything.

you insisted that everything was fine

I did no such thing. I said I enjoy the clubs I go to and there is no shortage of traditional material there. Only a fool would insist everything was perfect with anything.

I tell you what I know and have experienced

You tell us your opinion of what caused the drop in numbers with no proof of your opinion. Many people relate different experiences to you and they confirm what I experience and you ignore that.

Once again, conversations with you have become one sided

It had indeed, Jim. You state your opinions as facts and if anyone disputes them you go off at a tangent. Everyone else can see it even if you can't.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 May 19 - 01:37 PM

'You've been round long enough to know that all is not well...'

Spooky!
Famine an pestilence stalk the land....The grim reaper has is doing a floor spot. Satan himself has won the raffle. Next weeks guests....The Flesh Eating Vampires, so buy your tickets early for the meat raffle.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 01:47 PM

Now you're being dishonest
You were obviously not there,so you can't possibly claim you know what was said
Unless you wish to call me a liar agai you have no case -
You can't even agree among yourselves - one minute you are saying all is well, the next you are givig a string of illogical excuses why everything went wrong
Not one of you have put forward an alternative definition you can agree on
You put up the number of existing clubs - you've ebeven backed away from that saying nobody can know how many clubs hacve survived your holocaust
I'd have thought someone with your socio-political outlook would have had more respect for the Voice of the People - or perhaps you think they didn't have one
Plenty do
Over and out
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 May 19 - 02:09 PM

You were obviously not there,so you can't possibly claim you know what was said

I doin't need to know what was said. I know that discussions do not constitute poisitive proof of anything.

You can't even agree among yourselves

There isn't an ourselves. You are, or should be, addressing points that I am making. I have not spoken on behalf of anyone else and no one, as far as I know, has spoken for me.

Not one of you have put forward an alternative definition you can agree on

I am not arguing about any definition. I am saying that your statement "the main thing was moving away from the type of song that brought us together in the first place" is your opinion of why the number of folk clubs declined. Not a fact. You know this to be true so you are trying to cloud the issue.

Stick to the point. Where is your proof that "the main thing was moving away from the type of song that brought us together in the first place" is the main cause of what is wrong on the folk scene.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 May 19 - 02:10 PM

Oh, and I'm off to Morris practise soon so if you want to make smutty jokes about me enjoying George or Bill again, feel free.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 19 - 02:31 PM

'one minute you are saying all is well, the next you are givig a string of illogical excuses' Jim Carroll
You are welcome to hold that opinion. Nobody NOBODY has disagreed with you that there are fewer folk clubs. We have ALL stated that there are numerous other outlets for folk music nowadays and that in our own separate areas and experiences the scene in the UK is healthy in our opinions ON THE SPOT not a few hundred miles away. There is absolutely plenty of traditional British music being played, and plenty of music that MacColl would approve of in addition.

We are in OUR opinions giving lots of valid reasons for fewer folk clubs. They are NOT excuses, never mind illogical excuses. Perhaps you'd like to analyse those reasons and tell us why you think they are 'illogical excuses'.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 May 19 - 02:54 PM

Same with you Vic
You've been round long enough to know that all is not well

I must say that I resent you telling me what I know and don't know. My impression is that the English folk scene in on a high at the moment. A recent club appearance by Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne was magnificent. Amongst the best club performance of traditional ballads, songs and dance tunes that I have ever seen. The new album of traditional tunes by Matt Quinn & Owen Woods is superb. They are second and third generation folkies respectively. I have been inspired to submit five magazine articles on these and other young performers which is more than I wrote all last year. In the last couple of years my attendance at folk clubs has probably increased though I attend and take part in more song and tune sessions than I go to clubs. You will be very pleased to hear that no money changes hands at these well-attended sessions but there a high standard of singing and musicianship. In fact the sessions are just like those mythical long lost days that you were on about earlier before all those nasty professional singers came along. Just like the good old days, eh?
However, we have dissimilar involvements in the current English folk scene so our opinions, viewed from County Sussex and County Clare are bound to be different.

Not sure which side you are on really - the ones that say all (o)is ok or the ones throwing up excuses
Sides? What sides? I am not in anybody's gang. Hopefully folk enthusiasts are all in the same position of working together at our different abilities and contrasting emphases; all part of what Hamish Henderson called 'The Flowing Stream'.

Basically - the problem as I see it is simple - the club sene no longer has a basis in folk
Jim

I think what you meant to say was Basically - the problem as I see it is simple -In my opinion the club s(c)ene no longer has a basis in folk.
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Rab C.
Date: 03 May 19 - 03:01 PM

" the scene in the UK... " I think you mean England, and if folk music is in such a healthy state there, I'm very happy for you. Not a single contributer here has mentioned attending recently any club in N.Ireland, Wales or Scotland.
"traditional British music" - there's no such thing.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 19 - 03:04 PM

"I doin't need to know what was said."
'Course you don't !!!!
I'll tell you exactly what happened nevertheless
Fred Woods, editor of F.R. wrote a leader complaining of a couple of noisy clubs he visited, within two issues, writers took up his points and escalated them into a wide ranging criticism of what was happening on the scene in general
The only dissenting voice over the course of those postings was from one of the clubs referred to in the editorial claiming he had turned up on a bad night and the club was not usually as noisy as that
I'm sure, had you been tere you'd have taken up the pen to claim all was well - at your club, at least
Sorry Dave - you do need to know what was said - it is arrogant to claim otherwise

Steve
If there are valid reasons, you haven't given any
Your snide refence to what MacColl would approve of was unnecessary (he's been dead thirty years or so and no loger able to answer for himself -as Peggy pointed out when she asked people to let him lie in peace)
MacColl seldom, if ever commented on other clubs other than to say he enjoyed his visits to them - he just got on with running his club and he and Peggy continued to draw large audiences right up to his death
He must have got something right
If he had behaved in the same manner as some of the grave dancers who still feel the need to display their insecurity at his expense, he would have dedesrecved every word of hatred still being aimed at him
He didn't and he doesn't
Go find another corpse to dig up
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 19 - 03:41 PM

Jim, you are letting your paranoia slip out again! There was absolutely NO SNIDE REFERENCEs in my post. I merely was using your frequent references to Ewan to give an idea of the type of songs being sung, along with the traditional songs, in many of the events I've been at in the last 20 years. Any sign of an apology??


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 May 19 - 03:43 PM

" the scene in the UK... " I think you mean England, and if folk music is in such a healthy state there, I'm very happy for you. Not a single contributer here has mentioned attending recently any club in N.Ireland, Wales or Scotland.

I haven't been to folk clubs much in Scotland in the last 15 years because of my schedule, but I do keep up with what I'm missing, and I can see that Scottish clubs are very similar to English ones in content, demographic and organization.

They often book the same acts, and when they haven't it's mostly for younger performers who are less mobile than the old and established. Rachel Walker from Scotland and Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne from England would each go down a storm in the venues the other has played in up to now.

"traditional British music" - there's no such thing.

Scottish and English tradition have been interwoven at least since the Scota got the Highland bagpipe from the English in the 15th century. Vic Smith, posting in this thread, knows as much about Scottish music as anyone, and he's as far from Scotland as you can get without being in France.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Vic Smith
Date: 03 May 19 - 03:59 PM

Vic Smith, posting in this thread, knows as much about Scottish music as anyone, and he's as far from Scotland as you can get without being in France.
Ga'en yirsel', Jimmy


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 19 - 05:15 PM

But what does he know about folk clubs in Scotland in 2019 ?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 19 - 05:16 PM

200


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 May 19 - 05:27 PM

Fred Woods, editor of F.R. wrote a leader complaining of a couple of noisy clubs he visited, within two issues, writers took up his points and escalated them into a wide ranging criticism of what was happening on the scene in general

So, as I said, no proof of your statement at all. Just hearsay that reinforces your already entrenched view. You really need to differentiate between fact and opinion if you want to be taken seriously, Jim.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 May 19 - 06:27 PM

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!
See 30th April @7.48. I posted about our local Scottish folk club, but as usual, my on topic posts (rare items!) get totally ignored among the morasse of point-scoring, mud-slinging posts off topic between the "usual suspects"!
FWIW it was a SUPERB night at Newtongrange Folk Club last night with guests Fiona Hunter and Mike Vass, and the floor spots were great too. folk music and clubs are very much alive and well in Scotland.
And then there was Edinburgh Folk Club on Wednesday, with a rare, but very welcome visit, from Dave Burland. Excellent support from Emma Leitch and Dougie Mackenzie, accompanied by Brian Miller. I didn't get to that one but it was "live streamed" so was able to watch most of it at home later after getting in from a rehearsal for another folk event.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 May 19 - 07:21 PM

Mike Vass is back playing regularly again? He'd taken some time off. He's great.

I couldn't make that one, I've had band rehearsals on Thursdays for years.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 May 19 - 07:51 PM

Yes, I went to Mike's solo concert in the Traverse a few weeks ago: another good night. He has had his problems with recurring Lyme disease, to which he referred during that concert, but is looking and sounding good.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 May 19 - 12:59 AM

Possibly the problem is that we resent being called a load of rubbish - even if (by your standards) we are , Jim.

Perhaps its as well you went to Ireland. I'm sure we all hope you will continue to be happy there.

You can't really expect us to conform to your standards - particularly as they seem to be centred round an obscure definition of folk music by a group of people from another era.

THey do stuff differently nowadays. Different from when I was a young man, and that was different from when you were a young man. Its their world now - their turn. THat's the nature of English society. Its very dynamic - it does adapt. Everything changes. Its composition, its cultural values, the way the citizens earn a living.

It wasn't ever thus. But it has been since the 18th century.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 May 19 - 11:00 AM

"So, as I said, no proof of your statement at all."
So you're calling me a liar then
Not the first time
When did you last here of a survey of folk clubs Dave - all the information we have is "just hearsay" - yourrs included
Your statement of how mant fork clubs there are and the fact that you put them up as "a success" leaves you soemwhat hoist on your own petard
I really find stonewalling such as yours really distasteful - it stymies any chance of a frank exchange of opinions and ideas - which is why I won't try again

"There was absolutely NO SNIDE REFERENCEs in my post"
Yas there was Steve - why on earth should you suggest macColl would "approve of anything" and why should I care what he approved of ?
I put my own opinions up - nobody else's
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 19 - 01:48 PM

Subject: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 19 - 09:52 AM

"I have played two folk clubs within the last week where the standard of floor singers and tradtional singing were high, they were the welly club at wolvistion teesside, asnd the Ryburn folk club run by PETE AND SUE COE The week before that i played Norwich folk club again high standards of singers playing trad songs.
with the greatest respect i advise Jim Carroll to visit these clubs next time he is in the UK."

What did you expect, given the last sentence ?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 04 May 19 - 01:54 PM

So you're calling me a liar then

No idea where that comes from, Jim. I have no doubt whatsoever as to the veracity of Your description of the discussion and what was said. What I am saying is that it provides no proof of your theory that the main reason for a fall in the number of folk clubs is that they no longer provide folk music. You know that to be true so, once again, you are trying to cloud the issue.

all the information we have is "just hearsay" - yourrs included

Indeed. But unlike you I do not present my opinions as facts.

the fact that you put them up as "a success"

We went through this only a few hours ago. I did not put anything up as a success. I linked an article which explained the decline had stopped. Surely you have not forgotten so soon.

which is why I won't try again

If only, Jim. If only.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 May 19 - 03:07 PM

"No idea where that comes from, Jim."
I've told you what the discussion was about and I also told you that I stopped going to clubs when the performances deteriorated to an unacceptable standard
The discussion confirmed my personal experiences were commonplace, yet you imply it is "just my opinion" and "hearsay"
You are either not reading what I write or are dismissing it out of hand - either way, I find it both offensive and disappointing
You have, in your own way, confirmed my beliefs by telling me what you regard as folk song or folk sounding, so your own words only serve to underline how far the club scene has moved from folk song
You put up your link when we were arguing abut the success or failure of the club scene
You surely are not claiming you put it up as an act of surrender, are you
Of course you put it up because it represented your view - give me credit for a little intelligence Dave
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 May 19 - 03:25 PM

Let's turn this around.

Consider the way Jim addresses us as the sort of talk you'd get in the venues he frequents in the west of Ireland. Or at least, as the sort of talk they tolerate.

Would you want to experience such a place? I certainly wouldn't.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 04 May 19 - 04:35 PM

What is seems to come down to is that on your few recent visits to UK folk clubs you have come away disappointed. That is unfortunate, because as many have pointed out there are plenty of other clubs where you would have had a better experience. However from those bad experiences you have formed a view of the state of the entire club scene. When others point out that your experience may not be the whole picture you simply dismiss them, claiming in your support an article in a magazine which ceased publication 40 years ago.

Are there fewer folk clubs now than there used to be? Undoubtedly. Do some clubs allow or even encourage poor practice such as reading from song sheets? True. Are those clubs typical? Not in my experience. Have standards declined? Not in my experience.

The folk scene has changed, and clubs no longer dominate it the way they used to. It is now in the hands of a younger generation who do things their own way, and in their own venues. Those I know take the music seriously and standards, especially of instrumental music, are probably higher than ever. There are many excellent young performers, and traditional music remains at the core of what many of them do. There are more opportunities to study aspects of folk music (not just the degree courses but workshops, summer schools, conferences, etc). For those interested in 'authentic' traditional music, resources are now much more easily available than before.

The folk scene is in my opinion in pretty good shape. I'm sorry you seem to have turned your back on it, because you are missing out on some good music.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 04 May 19 - 05:06 PM

The discussion confirmed my personal experiences were commonplace, yet you imply it is "just my opinion" and "hearsay"

I don't imply anything at all, Jim. It is a fact that it is just your opinion. Just as it is a fact that a number of other people saying it is also their opinion does not make it any more valid. In a recent poll 51% of people said it was a good idea to leave the EU. By your reckoning does that make it a fact that leaving is a good idea? Get a grip, man.

Of course you put it up because it represented your view

Yes. It represents my view that the decline has abated if not reversed. That is what it said. Nothing more, nothing less.

Howard has it spot on. Shame you feel that you no longer fit into the English folk scene. However, English folk will continue to thrive whether you are there to help it along or not. I, and many others, will continue to enjoy it. You will continue griping and it will carry on regardless.

What happened to "which is why I won't try again" btw? :-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 May 19 - 07:13 PM

3rd May 2019: Hadleigh Folk & Acoustic Club: Val & Simon opened with a couple of enjoyable tune sets, followed by Steve who had blagged a couple of songs which were 'old school' and fine, (He does that at Everyman also).The balance of the first half and featured guest served to remind Bill why he has hitherto declined to step into the pool of SOBWG's (look it up on Terence Blacker's YT), who are numerously competitive in seeking venues to play trophy guitars in various combinations, and taking themselves altogether too seriously. Nonetheless that is the pool into which Sh?ed seemingly seeks to step! Fortunately Dick Miles redeemed the evening with an engaging and intimate set of well known songs, beautifully sung and accompanied, and with which people immediately felt able and inclined to participate in chorus, and verse if known. No cajoling necessary. Fantastic stagecraft, (seemed effortless), and saved the evening. (We had almost given up at half time).review from folkbluesnbeyond.co.uk


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 May 19 - 07:16 PM

sobwg apparantly stands for sad old bastard with guitar


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 19 - 03:01 AM

"What is seems to come down to is that on your few recent visits to UK folk clubs you have come away disappointed"
No - it goes far beyond that Howard
This decline has been taking place since the late eighties when I mad many others stopped widely visiting clubs and confined ourselves to the diminishing few that lived up to what they called themselves
By the mid-nineties they became so few that the revival scene to be able to sustain itself
Arguments like these have pretty well established why they disappeared - the scene no longer has an identifiable basis, nobody seems to know or care what folk song is any more which means it has no future in England
I have no doubt there are clubs that still fly the folk flag, but I don't believe there is anywhere enogh to bring about the necessary changes

Ireland
I can't recall having described what happens on the singing scene in Ireland - I certainly have never advocated it happening in Britain
Ireland has never really had a strong club scene - a few, some of them excellent - the Goilín being one of the most long lasting, the newest and the most promising is 'the one at The Cobblestone in Dublin, run mainly be young newbies
The instrumental music scene has established itself - from the 'session' level right through to having a place on the media and acceptance within the Arts fraternity - it has constant coverage in the media
The song side has a fair way to go to catch up, but there are signs that it is moving
THere are many 'song circles' here - regular local gatherings to sing and listen to songs
Not many are, as far as I know, traditionally based and there are few I have attended that I would do so regularly
We're lucky here - we have an excellent one, well run by a lady with a strong interest in traditional songs and firm han on the tiller - I'll be at that one tonight (will have to record 'Line of Duty' !!!)
Next month she has booked Tom McCarthy as a guest
We are discussing how to expand the group into a workshop in order to encourage those who don't sing, with advice and offers of material to learn from
I know that Mudcat member, Marn Ryan, is part of of an excellent Singers Gathering in Kinvarra, in Galway
There are over a dozen of these 'Circles' in this County alone
I would guess that there are more of them around Ireland than there are clubs in Britain
Not many are what I would describe as 'folk, but what's not to like Jack - you certainly don't have anything better on your side of the pond ?
As for festivals - in eight weeks time this little one-street town will be overflowing with people, young and old, who have come from all over the world come to take part in a week of classes, lectures, sessions, recitals, concerts.... in honour of the memory of traditional piper, Willie Clancy
That has been running for over four decades now and has produced some of the finest musicians in Ireland - it's importance being it is a school where people go to learn and teach and is, as far as I know, totally unique
There are other such annual gatherings in Ireland, many dedicated to traditional musicians and singers - Frank Harte, Padraig O'Keefe, Seamus Ennis, Joe Heaney, Joe Cooley, Frankie Kennedy....   
Not much not to like there Jack
Would that England had the same respect for its traditional singers and musicians Jack
They have a name for attitudes like your over here Jack - "begrudgery"

Sorry Dave
You are totally ignoring what I have said and are now carrying out a war of attrition - not something I wish to be part of
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 03:28 AM

Absolutely not, Jim. Unless by war of attrition you mean setting the record straight. Which I will do once again.

You say,"This decline has been taking place since the late eighties". The article to which I referred says the same.

The number of clubs began to decline in the 1980s, in the face of changing musical and social trends.

Note that it agrees with you on when it happened, just not why. Which is what I have said all along. Furthermore, you go on to say "when I mad many others stopped widely visiting clubs" so, when you stopped visiting, you no longer had your finger on the pulse. The article goes on to say

The decline began to stabilise in the mid-1990s with the resurgence of interest in folk music

So, after you lost touch with clubs, the decline stabilised.

I believe your opinion of why clubs declined is wrong and, since you lost touch, the decline has stopped. Which is what the article confirms. I would go further and say since the early 2000s the interest in folk music has increased but that is just my opinion. It is however now backed up by the fact that there is more folk music in the public eye than ever before. Something that never could have happened with folk clubs which were never part of main stream media.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 19 - 03:57 AM

"The decline began to stabilise in the mid-1990s with the resurgence of interest in folk music"
And the list that the article gives is of superstars - there is no reference whatever to the clubs - the scene, according to your article, hace transmogrified to something nearer the pop scene with no reference whatever to its original grass-roots nature - the point I am making - it was no longer locally based ot had anything to do with folk music proper
Read what you put up
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 19 - 03:57 AM

"The decline began to stabilise in the mid-1990s with the resurgence of interest in folk music"
And the list that the article gives is of superstars - there is no reference whatever to the clubs - the scene, according to your article, hace transmogrified to something nearer the pop scene with no reference whatever to its original grass-roots nature - the point I am making - it was no longer locally based ot had anything to do with folk music proper
Read what you put up
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 05 May 19 - 04:07 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpAvcGcEc0k


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 04:22 AM

the scene, according to your article, hace transmogrified to something nearer the pop scene

And thereby made it available to thousands of people who would otherwise never have heard folk music. How is taking folk music out of clique driven dingy back rooms and giving it to the masses a bad thing?

Read what you put up

I find it quite insulting that you suggest I would link an article without understanding it. Seeing as you seem to misquote both me and the article regularly may I suggest that revisit it yourself. And I do wish you would stop referring to 'your article'. It has nothing to do with me. It was written by someone I have no connection with and it is subject to the usual wiki terms. If it is wrong, anyone can submit a correction.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 04:28 AM

And...

Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 04 May 19 - 11:00 AM

...I really find stonewalling such as yours really distasteful - it stymies any chance of a frank exchange of opinions and ideas - which is why I won't try again


I did suggest this statement may not be true :-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 19 - 04:54 AM

And thereby made it available to thousands of people who would otherwise never have heard folk music. How is taking folk music out of clique driven dingy back rooms and giving it to the masses a bad thing?"Dave   folkmusic is not in clquey dingy rooms, you make sweeping generalisations which insult many organisers.
the last four clubs i have played at in the last few weeks, two were in rooms that were previously churches one was in a pub noit a back room and the other was a well lit well decorated upstairs room of a pub.
Dave your comment actually displays your ignorance of many folk club venues. Dave you favour the commercilisation of folk music and giving it to the masses , unfortunately sometimes by doing this the music becomes bowdlerised and sanatised.. witness Cecil sharp , and in the case of folk rock sometimes beyond recognition


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 19 - 05:11 AM

my experience has been that many folk clubs are not held in dingy backrooms that are clique ridden
firstly, many dingy back rooms are no longer available to folk club organisers any more , yet more evidence that dave the gnome does not know what he is talking about .perhaps he should get out more and visit more folk clubs he will find out that these days they are in many different places that they are well lit and friendly,
two i visted recently were in well lit ex churches, norwich and hadleigh,two were in upstairs rooms that were well lit and pleasantly decorated, ryburn and the wilsons club


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 05 May 19 - 05:32 AM

”And thereby made it available to thousands of people who would otherwise never have heard of folk music. How is taking folk music out of clique driven dingy back rooms and giving it to the masses a bad thing?” (DtG)

“my experience has been that many folk clubs are not held in dingy backrooms that are clique ridden” (The Sandman)


And my reading of what Dave wrote is that he was saying precisely the same thing as you, Sandman, not something different. No doubt Dave will clarify if I’ve misunderstood his post but, AFAICS, he clearly was saying that, since the ‘80s, there has been a move to the “Many different places that are well-lit and friendly” that you talk about, and largely because of the changing format of the music.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 May 19 - 05:52 AM

"I really find stonewalling such as yours really distasteful - it stymies any chance of a frank exchange of opinions and ideas - which is why I won't try again"

"I did suggest this statement may not be true"

I'm sure many readers of the thread had the same thought in respect of the 'I won't try again'. Another common rhetorical flourish is 'I think we're done here' when obviously nobody is 'done', especially the writer. And recently we have another dead metaphor with a similar declaration, the 'war of attrition' metaphor "You are totally ignoring what I have said and are now carrying out a war of attrition - not something I wish to be part of"

At this point the rhetoric becomes highly amusing. Because the same poster has used metaphor based on warfare himself, as in You surely are not claiming you put it up as an act of surrender, are you'. If you don't want to give the impression you are part of a 'war of attrition' then maybe give the military metaphors a miss. (Not sure how apt the metaphor is anyway, but there you go).


Also amusing because of the language of the poster, who emotively and I think it fair to say belligerently describes the views and points etc of people who don't agree with him as and I quote 'offensive', 'distasteful' while claiming, as far as one can make it out, to be objective and factual in his claims.


I am happy to do as Jim asks and credit him with a little intelligence.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 19 - 05:58 AM

Dingy back rooms - what an appalling way too write off one of the most exciting and pleasurable episoodes of British cultural history
It was 'dingy back rooms' smoky pubs, dirty factory floors, stables filled with horse-shit, barrack rooms, fordecks... that gave birth to our fol songs
You want plush venues, go book the RHa - that will really empower the people culturally
You are criticising the whole basis of people's culture - it was the music of the workplace and where workers took respite from their labours
I suppose you would do the same for sweaty, overcrowded discos - put them on stage where they smell nice
Gi'e us a break Dave
The atmosphere of an overcrowded club with people crammed in to listen to good songs well sung remains one of my fondest memories
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:00 AM

Spot on BWM. One of the many reasons that the number of folk clubs lessened is that the one ones that were clique driven and dingy were, quite rightfully, closed. Not only have the number of venues lessened but the the quality of the ones left has improved, making folk music a much more inviting thing to many who previously were not even aware of it. This in turn, in my opinion, has led to folk music becoming a more interesting prospect for main stream media to carry. Which brings me on to...

Dave you favour the commercilisation of folk music and giving it to the masses

If it is not given to the masses, how is it folk music, Dick? As to commercialisation, why do you say I favour it? I have never even suggested such a thing although, now you mention it, a bit of commercialisation would not harm the career and finances of any jobbing folk singer would it :-)

BTW - I believe you are at the White Lion later this year. Not cliquey at all but, unless it has been decorated since April 1st, let me know how you feel about the mould.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:04 AM

If there was a decline in the sort of club Jim liked to attend, maybe this was linked to a decline in funding from the old Soviet Union as described in that biography of A L Lloyd?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:07 AM

I can remember the first time I heard MacColl sing 'Sweet Thames'
I'd turned up at the Singers Club late and Peggy ssuggested I sit on the front of the stage, facing the audience
The room fas full to bursting and I watched an enthralled, totally silent packed audience breathing in time to Ewan's singing Sweet Thames
The memory remains so strong that when we made the two Ewan tribute programmes, she insisted we put it in as a run-up to the song
Still brings a lump....
I won't respond to your 'your opinion' nonsense Dave - I'm no snob - I'll talk to anybody :-)
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:07 AM

Dave it depends how you define commercialisation, dave, if it means changing what i perform to signing buddy hooly and cliff richard. NO


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:10 AM

So, now we have the real cause of Jim's complaint. The number of dingy back rooms, smokey pubs, dirty workplaces, shitty stables and even sweaty discos is not what it used to be. At least we know now. I wonder if I could make a commercial venture of re-introducing them? ;-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:14 AM

In my experience commercialsation of the uk folk revival in practice means a handful of agents dominating the scene , they push their acts , muscle in on certain festivals,the scene becomes saturated with their acts, no . i do not think that aspect of commercialsation is the best thing for the uk folk revival


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:15 AM

Dave it depends how you define commercialisation, dave, if it means changing what i perform to signing buddy hooly and cliff richard. NO

Absolutely, Dick. I would much rather you carry on doing what you do best. It was you that brought up commercialisation, not me. I took you to mean making a bit of money out of it, which is fine by me and I am sure you do not complain about being paid. As far as I am aware commercialisism has never meant pandering to the masses.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:31 AM

And thereby made it available to thousands of people who would otherwise never have heard folk music. How is taking folk music out of clique driven dingy back rooms and giving it to the masses a bad thing?
your words giving it to the masses is generally defined as commercialiosation
2, SONGS THAT ARE SUNG AT FOOTBALL MATCHES ARE SUNG BY THE MASSES, and according to the 1954 defintion are folk songs , nobody would pay to hear such garbage as thewheelbarrowsong at a folk club , if that is what you want dave ,that is not what i want to hear at a folk club , please define the music you would like the masses to hear and let me know how you think it should be performed so that the masses would like it, and then we might notice how commercialisation takes ther music away from the roots.
3 you mention one club, in swinton and mould, are you generalising from the particular again Gnome, i am sure the organsiers at Swinton would thank you for dissing their premises , they would possibly call you something else other than gn0ome


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:34 AM

commercialism definition: the principles and activity of commerce, especially those connected with profit rather than quality or doing good
Elvis versus Sandy Denny perhaps? The floor is open.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:37 AM

smoky back rooms. They didn't import tobacco until relatively late.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:49 AM

"generalising from the particular " is what started this thread in the first place.
"They didn't import tobacco until relatively late." Does the name Raleigh mean anything to you ?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:55 AM

kind of push bike?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 06:55 AM

please define the music you would like the masses to hear and let me know how you think it should be performed

Dead simple, Dick. It should be folk music, that people like to hear, performed well. I am not going to fall into the folk music definition trap.

i am sure the organsiers at Swinton would thank you for dissing their premises

I was one of the organisers, Dick, and Ged and Sue who run it now are still two of my best friends. The state of the folk club room has nothing to do with the folk club anyway as the pub is managed by a landlord and owned by Robinsons brewery. Maybe you should get to know the facts before shooting your mouth off. Little wonder that you get into so many arguments.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 19 - 07:00 AM

Raleigh, oh the one rumoured to have introduced tobacco? That Raleigh?
Colonialist etc.

Point stands, with respect, that 'folk song' is supposed to date back to medieval times whereas in Europe tobacco is about 16th century. So claiming that folk originated in smoky dens or whatever not quite historical.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 19 - 07:13 AM

Little wonder that you get into so many arguments."Dave that is hilarious coming from you.
2 if it is the fault of the landlord of a pub in the one case that you have generalised from, it is obviuos the club would have moved if there were other suitable venues or perhaps the venue has other positives that you have not mentioned. howewver i have mentioned 5 venues thati have n played in recently that do not fit the description ofdingy cl;iquey back rooms.
3. dve can you desist in contuing your numeous arguments with jim carroll so that we can discuss the high standard of singing folk clubs.
Guest you are wrong whatstarted this thread was relating the experince from 3 particulars. not the same as generalising from one particular i have now mentioned4 examples of high standards that i have witnessed.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Walter Raleigh
Date: 05 May 19 - 07:15 AM

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold
When Rivers rage and Rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten:
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and Ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 05 May 19 - 07:18 AM

Throughout the year we have a huge number of festivals from which to choose. Some of these are large-scale events showcasing the 'superstars' you disdain, while others are smaller and more intimate, and a number of these are explicitly focused on traditional music and where possible include authentic traditional singers and musicians, although sadly there are now fewer of those left these days. We have nothing quite like Willie Week, but only last weekend John and Katie Howson put on a celebration of Julia Clifford, who although Irish lived for much of her life in East Anglia. Until they retired they ran the East Anglian Music Trust which does a lot to promote the traditional music of the region including holding events. There is something for everyone, from the diehard enthusiast to the casual listener.

The folk scene here is thriving, perhaps not at the level it once enjoyed but it's doing well enough, and will continue to do so whatever you choose to believe about it. Folk clubs are part of it, but only a part. Young people, some of them second and third generation folkies, are enthusiastic about traditional music and are performing it to very high standards, and also creating new music in traditional styles. I can quite understand that there is much you might find is not to your taste - "things ain't what they used to be" has been the cry down all the generations. Turn your back on it if you choose - it's your loss.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 May 19 - 07:18 AM

Mr Sandman, you have a point. But (and a previous post to this effect vanished) it was obvious from the moment you put up your post that Jim Carroll would be along to start an argument. I think Vic Smith correctly pointed out some features in Jim's approach to 'discussion', or perhaps 'battle' as this is how Jim seems to see it, winds people up. I agree that it is best to focus on what is positive. And there is a lot to be positive about.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 May 19 - 07:21 AM

Howard is right about 'things ain't what they used to be cries'. That said, food definitely tasted better in t'owd dees. And nowadays everybody - just everybody mumbles and even the TV is broadcast at noticeably lower volumes. Maybe Jim's approach to online discussion is a variant on the 'old man who is deaf shouts as this is the only way he can hear himself'??? :)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 19 - 07:50 AM

"I am not going to fall into the folk music definition trap."Goes with teh job description I'm afraid
"I'm an electrician but I don't understand electrics - ridicu;ous
This is the main cause of the decline
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 07:55 AM

it is obviuos the club would have moved if there were other suitable venues

I was born in Swinton 66 years ago and lived there most of my life. I helped to run the folk club for over 30 years of that time. If I remember rightly the only time you were booked there before, there was a mix up over dates and you didn't make it. Do you not think I may know a bit more about Swinton than you do, Dick?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 May 19 - 08:02 AM

Hmm. Still happy to credit Jim with a little intelligence.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 19 - 08:07 AM

no, dave you are wrong i have played there to quote yourself,Maybe you should get to know the facts before shooting your mouth off. you clearly do not know much about the club if you get your facts wrong check with Ged,
furthermore i have a witness a friend of mine who was at least one of the gigs.
howard, i took her several times to my club in bury st edmunds, i booked john and julia when few others in east anglia were booking them, the people that looked after them and visited them the most were the mongers and the kilbanes
julia did not live most of her life in east anglia prior to east anglia they lived in hackney.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 08:52 AM

If you have appeared at Swinton before then, Dick, I apologise. I was probably there as well but can't remember. Must have been a memorable night... :-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 10:11 AM

Goes with teh job description I'm afraid

What job description is that, Jim? I no longer have a "job" in folk music. I know what I like and I know what sounds like folk song to me. Why would I want to get embroiled in a pointless argument about arbitrary definitions?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 May 19 - 10:53 AM

I's afraid that it does not follow that, because a person with an interest in 'folk' declines in one context to get involved in theoretical debates about definitions of folk that they are like an electrician who claims not to to 'understand' electricity. The suggestion is a non sequitur, or, more likely, a couple of non sequiturs cobbled together.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 11:02 AM

Exactly, Pseudonymous. I also love the Marvel Comic Universe and have no superpowers. Well, apart from endless patience and something I should not really brag about in mixed company...


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 19 - 11:40 AM

"What job description is that, Jim? "
If you run a folk club you learn what folk song is - same if you interminably argue about it
Try applying it to florists or greengrocers or Irionmongers - or even hip-hop or Grand Opera
If folk so inferior or unimportant that it doesn't deserve recognition ?
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 11:41 AM

I don't run a folk club any more.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 May 19 - 11:44 AM

@ Dave the Gnome: :)

@ Jim Carroll: "If(s) folk so inferior or unimportant that it doesn't deserve recognition ?" Rhetorical question. Seems to imply that somebody has advanced an argument to that effect, but as far as I can see nobody on this thread has.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 12:21 PM

Eeeeee. Tha's got for't lowf.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 19 - 12:22 PM

"I don't run a folk club any more."
Only half an answer - read the rest of the line
"Rhetorical question."
Nope - I specified what I was referring to exactly - stop wriggling
Why do those pursuits I listed merit an identification and not folk songs ?
I have asked this before and what nobody has done is answered it
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 12:51 PM

Sorryo, Jim?. No idea WTF you are on about.

Only half an answer? I was not responding to a question. Just stating a fact in response to your "job description" comment.

Just what rhetorical question am I supposed to be wriggling at? Either you or I need to start taking more water with it coz I have now lost the plot altogether!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 19 - 01:52 PM

And I was just pointing out your pontificating
If you adovocate for non folk foik clubs you are as responsible as any active organiser Dave - heat - kitchen and all that
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 May 19 - 02:24 PM

It's kinda surprising that since (on his say-so) Jim spent years embedded in the greatest folk club of all time, and has moved to a place with the most discernng audiences and the strongest pool of local talent in the world, that he hasn't managed to open a local club that anybody wants to set foot in. Whereas more than one poster here managed it for decades on end in the dreary philistine talentless wastelands of England.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 05 May 19 - 02:36 PM

I think Jim's denial (I think it is a denial) that he had posed a rhetorical question, namely " Is folk so inferior or unimportant that it doesn't deserve recognition?" and Jim's subsequent comment about "wriggling" was aimed at me, not at D the G.

However, it plainly was a rhetorical question.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 19 - 02:49 PM

Ah, ok. Missed that Pseudonymous. In my defense, it can be difficult to follow Jim's posts at times.

Jim

you are as responsible as any active organiser

Which bit of "I don't run a folk club any more" is so difficult to understand?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 May 19 - 04:16 PM

So how about it?

We knock the donovan and Gordon Lightfoot on the head ; chuck away the guitars and sing very old ballads unaccompanied. I can kick it off with Marty Robbins El Paso. After that you're on your own.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 19 - 04:29 PM

I happen to like colours and catch the wind.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 03:17 AM

"Which bit of "I don't run a folk club any more" is so difficult to understand?"
Maybe I should have specified - didn't think it necessary - I obviously overestimated
You, as someone who advocates enthusiastically for non-folk dross at folk clubs, is just as responsible or the damage being done to genuine folk song as is the club organiser who books such dross
Does that help ?
It seems a long-winded way of putting something which is fairly obvious, but needs must...

" Jim spent years embedded in the greatest folk club of all time,"
Was it ?
I didn't say so - I said it was the best one I attended, but I didn't attend them all
I said the same about the Song Circle I attend


Have we reached the point where distorting what I say has become essential Jack ?
"Rhetorical"
Now we are arguing semantics - all helps to avoid the real points I suppose !

I have never advocated for unaccompanied song either Al
Tsk-tsk
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 May 19 - 03:43 AM

Ah, OK. So the audience (IE me) is responsible for the decline of folk clubs. That makes sense. We wanted to hear a more varied repertoire of songs in different surroundings so the organisers gave us what we wanted. Tsk, tsk. Silly organisers. Fancy, wanting to let people discover new music instead of sticking to the same old songs, venues and performers. I don't know what they were thinking of...

For the umpteenth time, Jim.

The number of clubs began to decline in the 1980s, in the face of changing musical and social trends.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 May 19 - 03:51 AM

Oh, and for what it is worth, I have never "enthusiastically advocated" any dross. It may be debatable whether some of the music I am enthusiastic about is folk or not, but it is all good music. You may have noticed that the biggest criticism I ever level at something I do not like is "it's not my cup of tea", yet you readily dismiss the tastes of others as inferior to yours. Folk elitism at its worse.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 04:56 AM

"We wanted to hear a more varied repertoire of songs in different surroundings so the organisers gave us what we wanted. "
There was never a survey of what the audience wanted - or if theer was, can you point out how, when and were
The clubs were taken over
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 May 19 - 05:10 AM

Dave, lets face it - you booked dross.

Everybody knows that what your audience really craved was long ballads sung with no accompaniment.

You let the side down. If it weren't for moral failures like you, every mucky dingy backroom of a pub would have an English folk club: wo full of of real folk music fans, standing shoulder to shoulder hanging onto every word of an accompanied ballad. You could hear a pin drop.

In fact one week someone dropped a pin. I think it was Leonard Cohen.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 May 19 - 05:14 AM

it might be what some people want, there is no statistical evidence either way.
while it is very flattering to receive a good review as i did at Hadleigh folk club, like all reviews it was subjective, however there were 40 plus people in the audience.
the truth is that while i drew some people to the club you could have an artist who did very different material who might draw different people and some of the people who attended my gig might stay away for someone different.
the truth is we never have info about those that stay away.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 19 - 05:28 AM

In my opinion, Jim does not fully grasp the meaning of the term 'rhetorical question'. This is why, when he for some reason decides to disagree with my pointing out this feature of his style of writing, he claims that I am engaging in a semantic argument.

I was looking at his style of writing because another poster raised the topic, suggesting, validly I felt, that Jim's style was provocative. Eg Vic Smith 03 May, 12.04 pm.   Another poster commented on the way Jim addresses us. Somebody else described Jim's approach as 'bluster'. The point has generally been made that Jim tends to write as if he were expressing facts when he is setting forth opinions.

Therefore, I - and some other posters - have been noting some of the stylistic features of Jim's posts. These are often features associated with persuasive and expressive uses of language, rather than factual statements. I have noted emotive imagery based on excrement. We have emotive nouns such as 'dross'. His use of the term 'excuses' has been noted by somebody further up the thread.

I think the point that Jim's language is provocative was well-made. And I think his metaphors based on battle and conflict demonstrate that this is how he conceives of the thread. I do not know who he thinks he will persuade by this somewhat aggressive approach. But it won't be me.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 May 19 - 05:33 AM

Sorry, the above post was from me.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 05:36 AM

"Everybody knows that what your audience really craved was long ballads sung with no accompaniment."
Facetiousness is not particularly helpful here A and it certainly isn't working in your favour
When this downturn happened the scene was in a healthy position - magazines a stack of radio coverage, and fairly steady audiences
The clubs I regularly attended had a steady level of audiences - long ballads and all - he scene was fairly steady
The immediate effect of your 'changes' was a gradual downturn in attendances and eventually an exodus by those who had come to hrear folk song - a decline from over 15 hundred clubs to Daved 160 odd
If you don't like long ballads you're in the wrong game in folk song - that's the what they are - folk-song at its very best
My advice - if you're a vegetarian, don't shop at a butchers - if you don't like folk song, go somewhere else
You are now being deliberately dishonest about accompaniment - nobody has ever advocated exclusively unaccompanied singing here and the clubs that went in for it then were few and far between
MacColl was right when he said that folk song would only die if it fell into the hands of those who neither liked it or understood it
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 19 - 05:57 AM

Sorry not sure who Jim is calling 'deliberately dishonest' but the tone of Jim's post has put me on their side. I don't think they are being any such thing.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 May 19 - 06:01 AM

We can debate the causes of the 1980s decline until the cows come home, the fact is we don't really know. It was probably a perfect storm of multiple factors, including (in my case anyway) being at a time in my life when young children and work commitments stopped me going our as often as I had when younger. I suspect that punk took over from folk as the voice of social outrage, as well as providing a platform for 3-chord trick merchants who might otherwise have gone into folk. I don't recall the clubs I went to changing the sort of music they put on (which included ballads) but that probably reveals me as a moral degenerate who doesn't understand folk music but knows what they like, and who went to the wrong sort of clubs.

It doesn't really matter now. It happened, there's nothing we can do about it. What does matter is the state of the scene now. It is different, it is smaller, the proportion of singarounds to 'proper' folk clubs seems to be much higher, but in the remaining old-style clubs seem to be still putting on a good range of folk music performed by the same mix of professional, semi-pro and entirely amateur musicians performing at a generally high standard. There are also other outlets for folk besides these old-style clubs. Young people are enthusiastically involved. But for Jim, who seems to regard himself as the custodian of the flame, none of this matters - we have all abandoned real folk music and should be ashamed of ourselves.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 May 19 - 06:20 AM

You don't need an audience survey, Jim. They vote with their feet. Once again, all together now, with feeling...

The number of clubs began to decline in the 1980s, in the face of changing musical and social trends.

Al, take no notice of the man behind the curtain. Your post was a joy to read :-) Yes, I should have made sure I only listened to folk dross instead of non folk dross. I single handedly brought down the folk scene when I first listened to Tull's "Songs from the wood" in 1977. Mea Culpa.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 06 May 19 - 06:27 AM

This article seems vaguely pertinent to me. How broad is the church and who is allowed to define it?

https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/07/happy-memories-regrets-and-bitching-history-british-folk-clubs


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 06:40 AM

"They vote with their feet. Once again, all together now, with feeling..."
They did indeed Dave - and walked away from the clubs
The figures again - from over 1500 to 160 something - no magazines, hardly any media presence a couple of folk labels....
That was a fairly convincing result
And still you persist in defending it
Whatever you were hoping to achieve (if you even thought about it) you failed miserably, and damaged folk song severely, possibly irreparably
You should be proud
The 'changing musical trends' had nothing to do with the folk revival, which was in itself, bucking the trends anyway, and came into being in order to do just that
Nothing radical was happening musically in the eighties - if the revival was prone to 'musical trends' it would have disappeared in the sixties and seventies when music was undergoing a revolution - instead, taht is when it came into its own having seperated itself from the Music Industry 'trendmakers' pretty well completely
"We can debate the causes of the 1980s decline until the cows come home, the fact is we don't really know. "
No we can't Howard, but we can make an intelligent guess and try to do something about it
" I don't think they are being any such thing."
Al is persistently bringing up 'unaccompanied songs" which is his issue, nobody else's
I don't want anybody to be on 'my side' - I would like an honest debate based on what has actually been suggested
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 May 19 - 06:41 AM

@ Iains: and is pink nail varnish folk or not-folk (Maccoll according to the article you linked to was of the latter view, and told a woman off for wearing it). Would he have accepted red, I wonder?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 06 May 19 - 07:04 AM

Given his political background highly likely.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 07:08 AM

'Singing From the Floor' is crammed with such mythological crap - try reading it
It's entirely based on gossip
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 07:24 AM

"Given his political background highly likely."
So left wingers disapprove of lipstick
I think
you mean religious nuts who keep quoting the scriptures don't you (which would be you, judging by the Brexit thread)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 06 May 19 - 07:35 AM

'Singing From the Floor' is crammed with such mythological crap - try reading it
It's entirely based on gossip
Jim



This is a book is stuffed with such wonderful stories, recounted by the people who were there at every level of music-making: players, producers, writers, comedians, friends and fans.
The reviewer


Hmmmmm! Who to believe?
Here is a starter for 10.

The reviewer Erica Wagner Wagner was literary editor of The Times between 1996 and June 2013. She also reviews regularly for The New York Times. Wagner was selected to be one of the judges for the Man Booker Prize in both 2002 and 2014


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 May 19 - 07:46 AM

No magazines? There's fRoots of course, which despite its fascination with World Music also covers UK folk. There's also the excellent Living Tradition. English Dance & Song is I think still settling in under its new editor, but is nevertheless mostly a good read. There are still plenty of local magazines although many have gone online, for obvious reasons, but some continue in print (if that matters to you).

There is still an hour-long weekly folk programme on Radio 2, and a few of the local radio folk programmes have survived. Regrettably, many others have been lost to BBC cuts, but folk hasn't been singled out for these. On the plus side, even if you live outside their broadcasting area local programmes can be listened to online. There are also podcasts which go out only online.

I don't recall ever seeing very much folk on TV since the Spinners lost their show, but excellent programmes come up from time to time. Whatever you may think of the Folk Awards, they are broadcast in full on TV as well as radio. Scottish and Irish music are better served by their regional broadcasters and these programmes can be seen online. There is a huge amount of folk on Youtube. To say there is "no media presence" is nonsense.

"A couple of folk labels". More nonsense. Here's a list from Mike Harding: http://mikehardingfolkshow.com/links-pages/record-labels/ . As he admits, it's not complete (for example, it doesn't have Rootbeats records who release Leveret's CDs, among other artists). However that misses the point - CDs are easier and cheaper to make than ever before, and many performers release their own CDs. Besides CDs are old technology, streaming is the future.

You really must get out more.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 May 19 - 08:21 AM

I should test clickies first

Mike Harding Folk Show


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 08:24 AM

Three Magazines out of at least a dozen Howard, and, according to Rod Stradling, Dance and Song abandoned serious folk content some time ago
I was a regularl subscriber to The Living Tradition until it bacame to fanzine for my taste and to took me half-a-dozen copies of Folk Roots to decide it wasn't 'My Kind of Folk'
Interestingly, you omitted The Journal, which, of all the publications, continues to fly the flag
The radio output has been decimated and serious programmes on TV such as the Arena Series and 'Beats of the Heart' - and all those us gave us serious and thoughtful and enjoyable views of music and tradition in general have all gone
Turning BBC 2 on two Sundays ago and getting that wonderful Sam Henry programme was like stepping out of a time machine, but we were quickly brought back to reality with the dreadful 'Folk Bling' follow up (that was from Ulster anyway, which has maintained a level of respect for folk)
It's all but gone Howard, and, while this complacency and animosity towards the real thing persistes, will stay gone

Gossip Iains - I've just pulled it off the shelf to remind me how much so
Anybody who believes that MacColl's audiences would be so docile as to accept MacCol's criticising somebody's lipstick has to have as great a contempt of humanity
Scraping the bottom of the necrophobic barrell I'm afraid
You don't have to 'believe' anybody - a little logic or common sense does the trick
Whoever Erica Wagner is - she has no history in folk song whatever
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 08:36 AM

Incidentally
Erica Wagner had nothing to do with the writing of the book so her qualifications are irrelevant
She was just repeating the gossip - from someone who had a huge chip on her shoulder because either MacColl or Lloydonce described her stage performance as "bucolic" (I seem to remember that was Berty anyway
Stories such as these proliferate - over the thirty years I had dealings with the club I never once saw MacColl (or anybody) behave in the manner described - nor do I recall a situation in which such behaviour would have been tolerated without widely reported criticism
It to the demise of MacColl for this particular urban myth to surface
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 May 19 - 08:51 AM

Erica Wagner is not claiming a history in folk song; she was writing a review of a book by Sheffield-based J P Bean. You can read extracts from the book on Amazon. It is largely based on interviews with people who were around at the time. The quotation about the nail polish is from Shirley Collins, as it happens. The book appears to deal with changes in the folk scene: it comments that the audiences got older and older and that it was difficult for new people to go as it felt cliquey. It looks like a book worth reading, by the way, so thanks for the link.   

I looked up 'flow sweet river'. It isn't a folk song. And it is to be supposed that it was never presented by Maccoll as such.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 06 May 19 - 09:19 AM

The "Wheelbarrow Song" garbage?? - show some respect for the dead!!!


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 May 19 - 09:34 AM

my apologies to notts county fans


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 10:10 AM

"'flow sweet river'. "
Sweet Thanes Flow Softly" was written for a dramatised adaptation of 'Romeo and Juliet' set in the East End of London, for the then schools programmes - 'Down the Lane' was written for the same production
Neither were folk songs

Collins's story was supposed to have happened 65 years ago
I doubt if the audiences would have tolerated such an event, even then and, from the photographs at the time, he would have insulted most of the women on the scene at the time
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 May 19 - 10:38 AM

Why would Shirley make it up. Anyway it does not alter the fact that Ewan was a fine songwriter and a good performer


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 May 19 - 11:18 AM

hardly any media presence

Folk music has more media presence now than it ever had. On national radio and TV. Never heard of the Radio 2 folk awards? Seen the spate of folk documentaries on TV? Listen to the 6 music folk podcasts?

Sorry to burst your bubble.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 May 19 - 11:24 AM

I omitted the Journal because it is a serious academic journal rather than a general interest magazine. Whether or not you approve of their content, we still have three national print folk magazines, plus the Journal. There are plenty more on the internet, including Rod's Musical Traditions.

Yes of course there could be more on the radio and TV. However it's not just folk which is affected, all the 'minority' music interests are feeling the squeeze. Nevertheless from time to time folk programmes still appear - only recently BBC Radio 3 had a programme on folk dance music, and Shirley Collins was on Radio 2 talking about her collecting trips with Alan Lomax. Many of these programmes can still be heard or watched on catch-up, whereas previously they would have been heard once and then forgotten, unless someone had managed to tape them. But the broadcast media are old technology, there is plenty on the internet, and that's where young people look for new music.

You seem to be a glass-half-empty sort of person. The decline which began in the 80s has been halted, and possibly reversed. Most importantly, there are plenty of young people who are enthusiastic about folk music. They have plenty of opportunities to find it, more than my generation had. I had been going to folk clubs for 10 years before I discovered that the tradition had not died out with Cecil Sharp but was still alive less than a couple of hours' drive from where I lived. Now, Walter Pardon and Sam Larner are on Youtube and Spotify. That's why I'm optimistic for the future.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 May 19 - 11:30 AM

Well said, Howard.

The decline which began in the 80s has been halted, and possibly reversed.

I have been saying this until I am blue in the face. It is what the wiki article I linked confirmed. Thank you for providing further proof that not all is rotten in the state of folk.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 11:39 AM

Folk music has more media presence now than it ever had. On national radio and TV. Never heard of the Radio 2 folk awards? Seen the spate of folk documentaries on TV? Listen to the 6 music folk podcasts?
Of course it hasn't Dave - pure fantasy
The media folk awards have little to do with folk song
Where are the half-dozen weekly programmes folk - Bert's Programmes, the ones I mentioned above ?
Where are the folk courses ?
Crappy, industry driven awards are signs of further deterioration - they have little to do with real folk - just dedicated to the few who 'make it'
Sorry to burst your bubble Dave - stop making things up
You have yet to acknowledge the dire discrepancy between 1,500 + clubs and your 160ish
If that isn't a sign of how bad things have become, I don't know what you need
Nor have you mentioned the effects the driving out of folk song proper from the scene has had on 'The Voice of the People'
Don't you care ?

"Why would Shirley make it up."
Just told you why Dick - MacColl and Seeger refused to become part of the folk 'luvvies' and dedicated his time to working with less experienced singers and promoting folk song - while those knocking him were getting on with their own careers
In all the time I associated with them, I never once heard either of them slag off fellow performers publicly - noot once
Even in private Ewan was very guarded in his criticism of others,
I know there was a time Ewan and Bert didn't get on; I once said I didn't think much of Bert's ballad singing; he jumped to Bert's defence and said he didn't like discussing colleagues singing unless they were there
As far as I know, he never did
I've been a dozens of public performances where others have done it to him
One of the worst examples was at Peggy's first public outing after Ewan's death
She had agreed to sing voluntarily at 'The Red and Green Umbrella Show in Hampstead when a young talentless navel-gazer fired off about Ewan's "finger-in-ear pretentiousness"
Ewan could be a pain in the arse on occasion but as I said, he never ran fellow performers publicly

Nuff of this - anti MacColl necrophobia has no place here
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 May 19 - 11:48 AM

When I die, I've insisted there be no funeral, memorial gig, wake, or whatever.

I think the thing is to slip away unnoticed.

Ewan was always nice and pleasant to me.

I'm sure people will think of millions rubbish things to say about me. The idea of prefacing it with a funeral saying a load of bullshit about what a pleasure it was to know me. I find quite distressing.

Still, theres not much you can do about it.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 May 19 - 11:49 AM

Where are the half-dozen weekly programmes folk

You tell me. I don't remember them. Unless you are referring to the Spinners TV programme and similar folk dross ;-)

Of course it hasn't Dave - pure fantasy

To use your own hyperbole, are you calling me a liar?

It seems that, once again, there is one law for Jim and one for everyone else.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 19 - 12:07 PM

I think folk music definitely does have a greater media presence than ever before. At the click of a button I can access vast swathes of it from a range of cultures.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 May 19 - 12:20 PM

Sorry that was me.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 12:26 PM

"You tell me. I don't remember them. Unless you are referring to the Spinners TV programme and similar folk dross ;-)"
I've listed them Dave - don't remember ever Hearing the Spinners on the media - the occasional tele appearance
If you've forgotten the volume that was available I suggest you look up the vast amount CJB and I have compied and made available
This gets silly - there really is no comparison and what comes out now has little to do with folk
And still you refuse to comment on the detrimental effect al this has on 'The Voice o the People
I can only assume you don't care - in which case, why am I even bothering discussing it with you ?
Carro in stonewalling - I have a 'Line of Duty to watch
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 May 19 - 12:32 PM

Sorry, that last guest was me.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 May 19 - 01:14 PM

"To use your own hyperbole, are you calling me a liar?"
I've said they have already been named
YI also said where they can be checked out
If I wanted tyo go where you've gone I could ask Dave is he a liar
"You tell me. I don't remember them".
Because he doesn't remember them doesn't mean they weren't there
Folk of the popular king (but still folk) was well covered, bot as research subjects and broadcasts of concerts and clubs
And still you refuse to comment on the effect the takeover has had on the future of folk song
Which tells me what I wanted to know
I'll be back when you want to debate - I never liked ping-pong
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 May 19 - 01:30 PM

"Where are the half-dozen weekly programmes folk - Bert's Programmes, the ones I mentioned above ?" Now you seem to be harking back to a golden era few of us can remember, although of course I am just a mere youth in my mid-60s. All I can remember is Folk on Friday/Folk on 2, with another hour-long programme shared with country music. I also remember Folkweave, which recorded live performances in the clubs (I even appeared on one) but I think that was instead of, rather than as well as, one of the other shows. The Spinners had a TV show, and the Dubliners and Steeleye Span made it onto Top of the Pops. But that was 50 years ago when folk music was, briefly, part of mainstream popular culture.

We still have an hour of folk on one of the main radio channels, plus other programmes from time to time. I'm no huge fan of the Folk Awards but they do bring folk to wider attention, and its just possible some casual viewers might then take more of an interest. Would I like there to be more folk on TV and radio? Of course, but then the radio is no longer how people listen to music, they listen on their phones instead. There is a vast resource of folk music instantly available online.

"Where are the folk courses?" Apart from a full programme throughout the year at Halsway Manor, regular courses at C# House, Folkworks, the Soundworks events near Sheffield? ... I could go on. This weekend I am going to a weekend devoted to melodeon tuition, the following weekend there is one for concertinas. In June there is the Traditional Tunes and Popular Airs one-day conference in Sheffield. These are just a few examples, there are many more, and that's before we get onto festival workshops or the formal university courses.

You really don't have the first idea what goes on over here, do you?

No one is saying things couldn't be better, and no one is pretending the folk scene is as strong as it was up to about 30 years ago. But it's still here, it's active, young people are getting involved, and there's some great music. It has a bright future.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 06 May 19 - 01:41 PM

Eem>in eight weeks time this little one-street town will be overflowing with people, young and old, who have come from all over the world come to take part in a week of classes, lectures, sessions, recitals, concerts.... in honour of the memory of traditional piper, Willie Clancy
That has been running for over four decades now and has produced some of the finest musicians in Ireland - it's importance being it is a school where people go to learn and teach and is, as far as I know, totally unique

The only thing that's unique about it is that the people involved are under the impression they're unique. I'm going to two weeks of this in August:

Yiddish Summer Weimar

which is basically the same structure but spread out over a longer period. Two years ago I was at this:

Méta tabor

and there are similar events all over Hungary. Next year I'm thinking of going to this one:

Music Village

which has venues in small villages in Turkey and Germany.

There are comparable events in most countries in Europe. If you want to do diatonic accordion for a week in Catalonia, bagpipes in Czechia, trad fiddle in Poland or Italy or manouche guitar in France, you can easily find what you want.


There are other such annual gatherings in Ireland, many dedicated to traditional musicians and singers - Frank Harte, Padraig O'Keefe, Seamus Ennis, Joe Heaney, Joe Cooley, Frankie Kennedy....

Since when does dedicating it to someone famous mean it's going to be any good?


Not much not to like there Jack

What's not to like is YOU, and the arrogant entitled bozos I know personally who constitute the only other people who've been through Willie Week. Even if Irish music were still a priority for me, I'd have no intention of spending a week of expensive vacation time listening to people spitting snooty xenophobic bile about anyone who isn't part of their clique.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 May 19 - 01:42 PM

You know what just struck me. I have just come back from the May Day celebrations in Skipton. It was perishing cold for early May and it rained later but we managed to avoid it. I sung along with the Keighley Road Wassailers and their selection of traditional May carols. I then played concertina for our Morris side on 2 traditional dances. It was all in public and the shivering crowds seemed to appreciate it. And now I am being told by someone who left folk when the going got tough that I am doing irreparable damage to the folk scene.

If it wasn't so bizarre it would be funny.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 06 May 19 - 02:19 PM

've listed them Dave - don't remember ever Hearing the Spinners on the media - the occasional tele appearance

Don#t remember much then obviously!

They produced over forty albums, and made numerous concerts and TV appearances. In 1970, they were given their own television show on BBC One that ran for seven years. They also had their own show on BBC Radio 2. They retired in 1988, after thirty years together


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 06 May 19 - 02:31 PM

MacColl and those around him were not antiquarians who claimed that only folk songs should be performed on the scene - on the contrary, the argument was always that if this happened the clubs would be no more than museums.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 06 May 19 - 07:40 PM

If it wasn't so bizarre it would be funny.   Anyone want to re-evaluate my post on April 28th?
Quod Erat Demonstrandum


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 May 19 - 08:19 PM

I was a great admirer of the recently deceased Alan Bell.

I attended several of his folkus weekends where you could do all kinds of folksinging and instrumental courses over a weekend. Alan made a wonderful contribution to folk music in England. A great man.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 May 19 - 02:42 AM

All i was trying to say was that folk clubs i haveplayed at recently including norwich , wilsons club, and ryburn had a high standard of singing


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 May 19 - 02:56 AM

You're right, Nick. Did you get to Skipton last night? After I got home from the May celebrations I just put my feet up and ruined folk music by watching Game of Thrones :-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 May 19 - 02:58 AM

"MacColl and those around him were not antiquarians who claimed that only folk songs should be performed on the scene - on the contrary, the argument was always that if this happened the clubs would be no more than museums."
Has anybody heer said otherwise ?
If not, why raise it ?

"The only thing that's unique about it is that the people involved are under the impression they're unique. "
The unique thing about it is that it is a week-long school to pass on traditional music and song to several thousand people annually
It has led the massive change in the fortunes o Irish music and been part of attracting many young peopple onto the scene - it has helped gurantee an at least two-generation future for Irish traditional music
It has not wavered from doing this for forty eight years
It's also a living monument to one of Ireland's finest traditional musicians
Stop being a begrudger Jack and give me a comparison in these islands - I doubt if there is anything to compare in England
This is little more than mean-minded spitefulness aimed a well-meaning and highly successful, non-commercial musical activity - sour grapes
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Andy7
Date: 07 May 19 - 03:39 AM

I enjoy both Caesar Salad and Waldorf Salad.

But it has to be said, the Caesar Salad has nothing that can directly compare with those walnuts.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 May 19 - 03:42 AM

"Since when does dedicating it to someone famous mean it's going to be any good? "
These are dedicted to who they are, not because they are "famous" Jack but for their contribution to traditional music
You seem to have a thing about "fame" on the British scene
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: r.padgett
Date: 07 May 19 - 03:53 AM

With respect Jim you seem to have some issues regarding traditional music and song ~ I would say that as with the so called Revival of the late 1960s traditional song and contemporary songs as well to some extent the blues and Americana contributed to an evenings entertainment ~trad song and shanties all made a folk clubs (or any gathering) song quota night

Traditional song nights as a stand alone would tend to put people off a bit ~particularly those not well versed ~ this from me is my English point of view course

Ray


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 May 19 - 04:13 AM

"Traditional song nights as a stand alone would tend to put people off a bit "
Sorry Ray - not you
Who's suggested this (nt that I agree they would- they never have)
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 May 19 - 05:07 AM

So Jim, you don't agree that a club that limited itself to traditional folk would end up like a museum? You think this practice has never put people off? Just to clarify, you are happy with non-traditional folk being performeed at clubs? Just stuff you don't count as folk of the traditional kind or the other kind? On the basis, one supposes that folk is about universal/timeless issues and/or delivered in certain ways that count as valid 'folk' but not including the modern instruments available to ordinary people for self expression ie electric guitars? Have I got this right?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 May 19 - 05:37 AM

"So Jim, you don't agree that a club that limited itself to traditional folk would end up like a museum? "I've said I do on numerous occasions
I've never belonged to an exclusively traditional club and teh singer I admire most wrote more contemporary songs based on traditional styles that anybody else on the scene
Putting people off is irrelevant - if people don't like folk music there's nothing much you can do about it other than to persuade them otherwise
Putting something else on to attract people in is dishonest and is doomed to failure - as is shown by the number of clubs that have disappeared or trying to do just that
Try telling the opera fraternity that they should put on Rogers and Hammerstein or Andrew Lloyd Webber if they wish to fill their venues and see how far that gets you
If instruments can enhance the songs when use to accompany - fine - some have
Others are a distraction and as such, have no place in folk song whatever
I want people to be able to listen to and appreciate the songs, now
t the wrapping
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 07 May 19 - 05:42 AM

I think the difficulty many of us have as that we don't see evidence of the "takeover" you allege has taken place. You seem to believe that traditional music has been driven out of the folk clubs by more commercial music, but I for one have seen no evidence of this. The range of music I hear performed at folk clubs and other folk events seems to me to be much the same as it was when I was a regular club attender and performer more than 30 years ago. It covers a broad range, but all within what I broadly understand as "folk", Traditional music, together with modern compositions drawing strongly on transnational music, forms a large part. If I notice any difference it is fewer music hall songs and monologues.

It is perhaps true that performance styles have evolved and, especially at the professional level, have become more sophisticated. There is a danger that this can become a barrier to the music itself, although I think most performers manage to avoid this. At club level, it seems to be still mostly singer-with-guitar, so no change there.

I'm not claiming that covers of pop songs are never heard at folk clubs, but these are not representative of the typical folk club repertoire.

Likewise, I hadn't noticed any sea-change in the type of music being performed in the clubs I went to up to the time in the late 1980s when I stopped attending regularly. This is the time when the decline in the number of clubs had begun. I have already given my own reasons for no longer attending, which were due to necessity rather than choice and had nothing at all to do with the music.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 May 19 - 06:02 AM

"I think the difficulty many of us have as that we don't see evidence of the "takeover" you allege has taken place."
Most oof "us" here Howard
Go ask the thousands who walked away when they turned up at folk clubs and could no longer hear folk songs
The stupid things if taht folk song hasn't been driven away by more commercial music - if that were the case there would be far more folk clubs and far greater audiences
Nobody is going to turn up to listen to long dead music hall songs, or Victorian Parlour Ballads, or faded and rejected pop songs - but that seems to be what has replaced many of the traditional songs
By doing whet people have done to 'folk' clubs, they have robbed folk song of its uniqueness and have failed to replace it with anything as unique homogeneous or identifiable
A trip to a folk club is a not-so Magical Mystery Tour
That helps nobody - certainly not the genuine folk song follower
Have to leave this for a few days shortly - hpe you're still around when I get back
Jim


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 May 19 - 06:36 AM

the thousands who walked away when they turned up at folk clubs and could no longer hear folk songs

That is your threory, Jim.

Once again, with feeling...

The number of clubs began to decline in the 1980s, in the face of changing musical and social trends.

Is a more plausible one, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 May 19 - 06:57 AM

Anybody got any ideas as to why the folk club scene in Ireland failed so abortively? What did they get so horribly wrong in comparison with the British scene?

For one example, a singer as good as Thomas McCarthy can hardly get a booking there - almost all of his work is in England which is where he's appreciated. He probably gets as many bookings in Belgium as in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 07 May 19 - 07:23 AM

Are you suggesting Thomas McCarthy isn't appreciate in Ireland, Jack?

He was given a Gradam Amhránaí, possibly the highest token of appreciation given to any singer in this country.

I am not sure bookings at clubs quite measure up as a token of appreciation.

I think things are done differently in Ireland and do not feel a club system like the British one is a superior way of going about things. But don't let that get in the way of a good old rant, so carry on.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 07 May 19 - 07:35 AM

https://www.drb.ie/essays/the-people-s-music

All Music is Folk Music. I Ain’t Never Heard a Horse Sing a Song. – Louis Armstrong

Bob Davenport
Traditional music was for entertaining, it wasn’t for a further education class.”


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 May 19 - 07:45 AM

i think you'll find that most opera companies have had a crack at Oklahoma or West Side Story.

all those tenors love singing Maria.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 07 May 19 - 08:02 AM

If people "walked away when they turned up at folk clubs and could no longer hear folk songs" why did they not do so in the 1970s when they were filling the folk clubs, which were putting on much the same mixture of music then as they were in the 1980s. when the decline started, and as they do now. Yes that did include music hall songs, because they were fun. Were they "folk"? Probably not, but they sat well alongside folk.If people are willing to listen to long-dead folk songs why should they not also be interested in long-dead music hall songs as well? On the other hand, many clubs moved towards putting on more traditional song - I found there was a degree of polarisation with some clubs leaning towards trad and others being more contemporary.

I had the pleasure of playing as part of the "pit band" for some of the music hall evenings at Fylde Folk Festival supporting Cosmotheka and the great Sam Sherry, among others. These did not replace traditional songs, the event was just one of many and sat alongside events putting on traditional and modern folk songs. They drew good audiences, who could also be found enjoying 'real' folk at other events during the festival.

"Folk" has always been a broad church which has included a wide range of music besides the purely traditional. Even in the early days, before my time, from what I can gather the early clubs also covered a lot of different material, including Americana and blues (don't hear much of that these days).


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 07 May 19 - 08:32 AM

Peter, Jack can defend himself but I think his question was specifically why a fine Irish singer doesn't get booked in Irish folk clubs.

You say that things are done differently in Ireland. I would be interested to know what this means. Jim seems to believe that the British folk scene is synonymous with folk clubs, and that the decline in folk clubs means the folk scene as a whole is declining He dismisses the alternative venues which have sprung up to supplement them. You appear to be saying that folk clubs aren't an important part of the Irish folk scene.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 07 May 19 - 09:22 AM

Howard: 'blues' in early folk clubs may have been because blues was often seen in the US via a 'folkloric paradigm'. Some on the left at that time thought of blues as a sort of working class anti-establishment because it highlighted injustice, racism and so on and felt that the example might usefully be applied to 'folk' in the UK. I have simplified the view, which is controversial, but various 'blues revivals' seem to have gone alongside folk revivals, with the same people linked with these and jazz in the early days.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 19 - 09:28 AM

And there were commercial/music industry links too. The 'folkways' label issued Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie and A L Lloyd.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 07 May 19 - 09:47 AM

Howard, I am not sure there's a need for Jack to defend himself. I just think he shows a lack of knowledge of the situation here when he asks why the country 'got things so horribly wrong'.

I don't think the country got things 'horribly wrong'. There are singers circles, singing festivals and all sorts of places where songs are sung and plenty of venues where music is played in various formats. Things are very much alive and well.

I can think of one venue describing itself as a 'folkclub' within a reasonable distance from where I live, a club in Sixmilebridge.

But I am more at the traditional music end of things, perhaps I live sheltered from anything 'folk'.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 07 May 19 - 10:15 AM

Thanks Peter. That sounds rather similar to what we now have here in the UK, where folk clubs no longer dominate the scene but alongside them we also have house concerts, more formal concerts on both large and intimate scales, festivals large and small, and a large number of instrumental and mixed sessions, which largely go under the radar. Much as I enjoy a good folk club, I think from what you describe that the Irish situation shows that they are not essential to having a lively folk scene.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 May 19 - 11:12 AM

I must make an apology. Earlier I made the comment Unless you are referring to the Spinners TV programme and similar folk dross ;-)

I did put a wink at the end but in case anyone did not realise, I do not wish to say the Spinners were dross. In fact I believe the Spinners did a great job of bringing folk to the masses and I saw them live once or twice in Manchester. I used the term unfairly in dealing with Jim's dismissal of other music as "non-folk dross".

To the Spinners and their legions of fans, I unreservedly apologise. Mea Culpa.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 May 19 - 11:44 AM

The point of the way I characterized the Irish scene was to wind Jim up - if he knows so much about how to run a folk club and what the punters want, why isn't there an all-trad-all-the-time Carroll's Club to pull in his model-of-discernment locals? And if he doesn't see anything to worry about with the absence of Irish clubs why isn't he saying "bring on the apocalypse" about the British ones?

BTW the Spinners are the only British folk act I can remember ever seeing on TV, but then I don't watch a lot of TV. Well done them for seeing Caribbean music as part of a common tradition with that of the British Isles.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 May 19 - 11:56 AM

Mike Harding did a show as well. As did a lot of folk comedians.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Brimbacombe
Date: 07 May 19 - 12:03 PM

I've seen more high-quality programmes about folk music and its practitioners in the past decade or so on BBC4 than I'd seen on British television in the whole of my life before that. Sky Arts shows the odd half-decent programme/concert too.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 May 19 - 03:30 PM

folk in the 1960's was quite cutting edge. folk music was in the charts.
and nothing succeeds likw success.

other people want a piece of your success and want to be associated with it.

The Tonight programme featured folksingers every night, the god slot tv used to have folksong competitions about sings of social concern. there was the john pearse hold down a chord series evcourading and teaching folk guitar. the tea time local news frequently showed folk music. there were a few fairly dire tv programmes shown in the early evening - one i recall called hullaballoo.. pete seeger played sunday night at the london palladium.

it was in the air.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 07 May 19 - 03:52 PM

Big AL. Bert Weedon was a stalwart in days of yore(influencing Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and Brian May). Robin Hall and Jimmy Macgregor appeared extensively on BBC Television – both on the Tonight programme and on the White Heather Club. Julie Felix filled the Albert Hall and went on to the Frost report. She had her own TV show from 1968to 1970.
Folk was mainstream during this period.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 May 19 - 05:03 PM

none of this alters the fact that recently on my visits to four folk clubs in england the standard of singing was high, When was the last time Jim was in a folk club in England?IN future i shall pm jim with lists of clubs that he might enjoy, like him i do not want to sit through floor singers singing cliff richard songs


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 08 May 19 - 06:37 PM

Thank you Al, for reminding me of Songs of Grief and Glory and Nadia Cattouse on the BBC!

Kitty


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 May 19 - 09:20 PM

yes indeed.Nadia was a wonderful talent.

I was btought up as a Quaker, so I was on board with all the young christian ethos of those Teenage Religion programmes.
I think in a way it was doomed . The Quakers brought a pamphlet called Towards a Quaker view of Sex. It said things to day are thought of as self evident. Tolerance and aceeptance of homosexuals, premarital sex not being a sin - both deeply shocking propositions for people like my parents whose faith was of a very simple nature.

I suppose 'one nation conservatism' wasn't confined to politics, and the 60's had to start sometime and sweep all that away.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 May 19 - 12:32 PM

Al i too went to a quaker school, saffron walden and am of that persuasion


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 May 19 - 03:13 AM

I am sure there is a great deal of high standard singing in many folk clubs. But I cannot help feeling that there is something 'untraditional' in an emphasis on 'standards' if we are talking about 'ordinary people' making music for their own amusement.

This emphasis on 'standards' as evidenced by one 'spectre at the feast' may be down to the approach at the critics group, which seems to me to have been a long way from 'traditional', involving as it did Stanislavsky method acting and so on. Indeed, one account says that MacColl "set about the Herculean task of trying to drag British folk music into mainstream culture. Frustrated by the dreary amateurishness of folk song performance, he decided to establish his own centre of excellence to professionalise the art."

https://carthyarchive.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/how-folk-songs-should-be-sung/

The key here is 'professionalise'.

I don't particularly object to professionalisation but let's not imagine that it is 'traditional'.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 May 19 - 03:44 AM

Good point Pseudonymous. Interesting to think that the very act of professionalising folk music to bring it into mainstream culture added to the decline of the amateur folk club that is so lamented by some. Looks like the choice is, stick with the "dreary amateurishness" or become mainstream. Who would have thought that the critics group itself contributed to the decline... ;-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 May 19 - 04:31 AM

”Who would have thought that the critics group itself contributed to the decline”

I’ve always thought it. As soon as you start to introduce “‘rules’ and ‘standards’, and try to impose them on others by ‘criticism of performers/performances’, and ‘training’, you remove much of the spontaneity and inclusivity that has been the trademark of the clubs.

Not everyone can be, or even wants to be, a star - most of us just want to enjoy what we do in whatever way we do it. We’re not all frustrated superstar-wannabes.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 May 19 - 05:02 AM

I imagine that every folk club has a few regulars who have responded to the challenge of "professionalism" by practicing a few songs to absolute perfection - so they come out exactly the same every time. They don't seem to have taken on board that real professionals are hit and run - they can do exactly the same act ten nights in succession, but it'll be to ten different audiences.

Traditional singers always had a few setpieces, but they didn't practice in front of a mirror to do the same thing regardless of the audience response as present-day floor singers with "high standards" do. Gimme somebody performing something that's just got their attention and means something to them any day, even if they have to use a sheet of words.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 May 19 - 05:18 AM

I as just watching a sparrow outside my window -flying in and out of the neighbours drainpipe guttering. Its strange how sparrows manage to achieve perfection as sparrows without guidance from critics.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Andy7
Date: 10 May 19 - 05:53 AM

True, but sparrows are rubbish at singing! :-)


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Iains
Date: 10 May 19 - 05:57 AM

"professionalism" can mean many things. In this context it can be broken down to two things: Money, Delivery

Some have a rare talent of delivering a song in such a way as to grab the attention of an audience. Some professionals can give a flawless performance on a recording, but live performances can suggest either they had an off day, or the sound desk massaged the recording extensively before release.
Drive, ambition, talent, luck all play a part in the transition to professional for making money.
To what extent these same factors create the gifted amateur, who knows?


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 10 May 19 - 06:13 AM

But some people did get drawn in by professional standards (and political content, of course), with results that were beneficial to the field.

Here is an example:

Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie were brought together by the icon of the British folk revival, Ewan MacColl. During the 1950s and 1960s, when American folk music and skiffle were popular in English folk clubs, MacColl led a passionate campaign in support of indigenous folk song. Jim and Pat were both listening to jazz and blues at the time but, when they heard Ewan MacColl singing industrial ballads about British working people’s lives and emotions they were completely bowled over.

http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart558.htm

So, in so far as the collecting done by Jim and Pat made a significant contribution, "professionalism" seems to have served a useful purpose in bringing people into the field of 'folk' albeit via 'industrial ballads'.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Howard Jones
Date: 10 May 19 - 06:46 AM

I am sure that the best traditional singers and musicians practised their art, and thought carefully about their songs and how best to deliver them. I thought the notion of the unspoiled, unselfconscious yokel had been dismissed long ago. It's reported that Walter Pardon stopped singing when he judged his voice was no longer good enough. Fred Jordan was constantly adding songs to his repertoire, and was not averse to learning them from revival singers, and rather cultivated his "man of the soil" image. Some were semi-professional, providing music at local events around their area for cash or other payment, rather like many folk musicians today.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: GUEST
Date: 10 May 19 - 09:19 AM

Jim Carroll- Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger, the Critics Group, Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger & back to the Critics Group (what a pretentious name anyway) then back to Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger & round again

Sandman- me me me me me me
                   what a bore


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 May 19 - 09:21 AM

"How a folk Song Should be sung" tas a deliberately distorted picture of how the Critics Group worked - it was a travesty
MacColl refused to 'teach' anybody anything, he set up a 'self help' group so people could become their own Critics - and 'criticism' that went on in the meetings were oint contributions my all present - MacColl acted as a chairman
If I thought anybody was interested I'd be happy to pass on recordings of the meetings to show how they group worked, but I'm sure that would take an open-mindedness that has yet to show its head in discussions about macColl
Far easier to snide and kick
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 May 19 - 09:38 AM

There aren't many people like Walter Pardon around now and the few there are haven't fallen into the professionalism-envy trap. Whereas every folk club now has its Five Song Frankies who have learned a few relatively complex songs well enough that they can turn out a performance that's an exact clone of how John Prine or Christy Moore did it, and will repeat the achievement any chance they get. If you're hearing them for the first time this can sound really good. By the tenth time you wish they'd make Sonny go away and join ISIS or something.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 May 19 - 02:54 PM

Ah but, Jack, those 5-song Frankies might eventually look at what 100-song Harry is doing and become 8-song Eddies and 9-song Normans...…
It doesn't happen overnight but the possibilities are there.


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Subject: RE: uk folk clubs high standard
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 May 19 - 03:13 PM

The bed-rock of the UK folkscene consists of like-minded individuals who are indulging in a remarkable national (international?) love and respect for their hobby. Similar events going on all around the country, all with a common people groundswell with little input and interference from the rich and powerful. The music is pretty much the same in any of these areas, so much that someone from Thurso can walk into an event in Penzance and feel immediately at home.

The few arseholes aside it nurtures social interaction, respect for the music, and is more often than not about inclusion. That is what is important about it. The fact that long ballads often sit alongside the latest compositions seamlessly says a lot for it. All interests have their nutjob purists (I should know, I once was one) and even these are largely tolerated.

I remember back in the 60s we made a great effort to take the music out of the folk club to the people and we were largely successful with that. Today we are doing the same, at least we are in my neck of the woods. Many sessions and singarounds, all the ones I know and attend, are held in a public bar where Joe Public can sit and listen or perhaps eventually join in; not in a private room with an entry fee. Nothing wrong with that at all but Joe Public rarely gets to see that.


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