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The current state of folk music in UK

Jim Carroll 29 Oct 19 - 05:55 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 19 - 05:32 AM
Dave the Gnome 29 Oct 19 - 05:04 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 19 - 04:51 AM
The Sandman 29 Oct 19 - 04:29 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 19 - 04:15 AM
punkfolkrocker 29 Oct 19 - 04:12 AM
Dave the Gnome 29 Oct 19 - 04:08 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 19 - 03:54 AM
The Sandman 29 Oct 19 - 03:00 AM
Dave the Gnome 28 Oct 19 - 05:30 PM
punkfolkrocker 28 Oct 19 - 04:48 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Oct 19 - 04:34 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Oct 19 - 03:50 PM
punkfolkrocker 28 Oct 19 - 03:40 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Oct 19 - 03:40 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 19 - 03:31 PM
punkfolkrocker 28 Oct 19 - 03:30 PM
Raggytash 28 Oct 19 - 03:20 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Oct 19 - 03:18 PM
punkfolkrocker 28 Oct 19 - 03:01 PM
Jeri 28 Oct 19 - 02:54 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Oct 19 - 02:50 PM
Richard Bridge 28 Oct 19 - 02:47 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 19 - 02:35 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Oct 19 - 02:21 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 19 - 02:14 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Oct 19 - 01:52 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 19 - 01:48 PM
punkfolkrocker 28 Oct 19 - 01:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Oct 19 - 01:30 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 19 - 01:09 PM
punkfolkrocker 28 Oct 19 - 12:57 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 19 - 12:56 PM
Raggytash 28 Oct 19 - 12:54 PM
punkfolkrocker 28 Oct 19 - 12:47 PM
Vic Smith 28 Oct 19 - 12:41 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 19 - 12:39 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 19 - 12:38 PM
punkfolkrocker 28 Oct 19 - 12:28 PM
Stringsinger 28 Oct 19 - 12:24 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Oct 19 - 11:49 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 19 - 10:36 AM
Jack Campin 28 Oct 19 - 10:16 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 19 - 09:25 AM
Jeri 28 Oct 19 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 28 Oct 19 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 28 Oct 19 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,JoeG 28 Oct 19 - 07:06 AM
The Sandman 28 Oct 19 - 06:41 AM
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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 05:55 AM

"Well, the consensus seems to be, that we don't agree what folk music is "
This thread and those similar represent a tiny handful of posters in a centuries old music which has been clearly identified and documented for over 100 years
That fact that some pf ' we few. we few, we band of brothers' chooses not to accept the work of over a century and, apparently, is not prepared to pull a book off the shelf to prove or disprove that work, doesn't amount to a hill of beans Al
Those who can't define folk don't want to - probably because it suits them that it goes unrecognised

Old versus new - are you serious Dave - ?
I seriously hope not
As always, the proof is in the pudding
Once you drag an art-form down to that level you trivialise it beyond all discussion
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 05:32 AM

Well, the consensus seems to be, that we don't agree what folk music is - so we don't agree about the present, and thus the future is totally unfathomable.

nuff said , really.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 05:04 AM

I see the pattern emerging here. Renoir is better tnan Banksie. Dickens is better than Groening. Pardon is better than Sheeran. Old is better than new. Fine. Everyone to their own. As long as you do not insist that your tastes are better than anyone elses, there is no argument. Moving back to the state of folk in the UK...

Yes, Dick. There are a number of singer/songwriters who are a bit samey. On the other hand there are those who write about many things other than relationships. I think the best ones do, as with everything else, get to the top. This is where the folk world differs from pop. They get there by being good, not through marketing. There are a number of pop artists who are exceptionally good too but public exposure can have a much greater bearing in pop than it does in folk. That is where folk still has, to me, the advantage over mainstream.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 04:51 AM

"Humbug..."
I prefer Maltesers with a figure like meine
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 04:29 AM

Well said Jim,


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 04:15 AM

Renoir of course - Banksie works on the instantaneous impact principle - you see everything first time around with him, you see something new everything you visit the masters (if they are good and if you put the work in)
There are a series of war sketches by Goya - each tome I see them is like being punched in the face
That goes beyond simple enjoyment
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 04:12 AM

"Anybody who just listens to folk songs for the music is just chewing the wrapping and throwing the sweet away

Humbug...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 04:08 AM

Ok, Jim. I will just put it down to differences between how we communicate. Out of interest. Which do you think needs more work? Renoir or Banksie?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 03:54 AM

"So why say you have to understand it enjoy it in the first place? "
It's the difference between watching The Simpsons and reading Dickens Dave
You enjoy both (if you have any taste) but you have to put more work into one of them
Same with any Art - you can enjoy Renoir and Banksie - one takes more work to appreciate than the other
If you take on folk song as a performer you take on an important piece of social history created by a people that have largely been considered creativeless - 'The People's Songs'
I have always enjoyed listening to them - the better they were sng the more I enjoyed them, but the songs themselves are quite interesting
I didn't bother too much how I sang them when I started until I noticed the special buzz it gave m when the songs workd - for me and for the listeners, so I worked at them, technically and getting to understand them
I can pretty well get the same level of pleasure from a song I leaned fifty years go than I do when I find a new one
I won't live long enough to do all the things I want to do with folk song now - I'm only just beginning to understand folk song and its implications
That's what I call a half decent alternative to waiting for the next episode of Holby City - it's called fulfilling yourself (and, when it comes to research) leaving something behind you when you go.
Come in - the water's lovely
Anybody who just listens to folk songs for the music is just chewing the wrapping and throwing the sweet away - folk song is words and stories, the tunes are there to provide a matrix for them to be appreciated
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Oct 19 - 03:00 AM

It is my opinion there are quite a lot of duos trios who are very competent musically and vocally but when you examine the content of the songs, there is little social comment and neither is there very much trad material. a large proportion their repertoire is singer songwriter songs about personal relationships,this can produce an overall sameiness, lightened only by instrumental variety , to precis more concern about presentation than form
there are also one or two singer songwriters who are masters of comic genre, who are an oasis in a desert of bland folk pop


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 05:30 PM

I get to watch the great model railway challenge as consolation. :-)


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 04:48 PM

Yeah.. we got it on the £1.99 deal..

even at that price you don't get much Rutger Hauer cameo for the money...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 04:34 PM

Damn! It's a pay one. You know what he tight Yorkshire sods are like. I might get sent back to Lancashire.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:50 PM

You've set my nights viewing, PFR. Looks good and has the late and very lamented Rutger Hauer in it!


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:40 PM

Jim - I'll be watching "Sisters Brothers" again [2 day hire from Amazon prime]
The best new Western I've enjoyed this century,
possibly one of the best films regardless of genre..

I couldn't fault it..
It has wide audience appeal..
It's both instantly entertaining, and at the same time deep with complex meaning
But a commercial flop...?????
.. I've not seen a bad review so far by anyone who has seen it...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:40 PM

Agree absolutely, Jim. So why say you have to understand it enjoy it in the first place? I am just trying to get a better understanding of what you are trying to say to avoid future misunderstandings.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:31 PM

"Two seemingly contradictory statements."
They aren't
You can look at something ant take immediate superficial pleasure from it - you enjoy it
Look at it more closely and you see more - you enjoy it more
I find, say, the ballads something you can approach from different directions and get different levels of pleasure from because you see it differently each time
I believe this is the essence of good art - there's always something else to find,
Sometimes it's in the picture or song, sometimes it's something you remembered ot has just happened in your own life and it clicks

THere's a version of the Golden Vanity abot the cabin boy who volunteers to sink the enemy ship
Theres a verse in ir which describes the French crew relaxing, when the water pours through the olles the lad has drilled in the ship

Some were playing cards and some were playing dice,
Some where standing around giving good advice

You don't have to have been to University to appreciate that wonderful image- anybody who has worked in a factory and watched the lads playing cards or chess or cribbage at dinnertime with all their work-mates standing around whispering "You shouldn't have done that" know what that's about
Our ballads and folk songs are full of things like that - you can use images like that as a singer all the time - that's not education, it's observation

Off to watch shit on tele all night
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:30 PM

DtG - bloody America misspelled "Dessert "...???


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Raggytash
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:20 PM

Can't say for certain Richard, I probably had a dram or two too many in your company. It was numerous years ago and on more than one occasion.

Yourself and your good lady had a well deserved reputation for wonderful hospitality.

Trying to think logically, Cleckheaton, Saddleworth perhaps, or even Bedworth. Upon reflection Bedworth may be the festivals !!


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:18 PM

What's wrong with going through a desert on a horse with no name, PFR? :-)


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 03:01 PM

""I still disagree that you need to understand something to enjoy it"
I don't say you can't enjoy it - I do say the more you understand it, the more there is to enjoy, that's all
"


Me and the mrs enjoy subtitled foreign movies...

We wouldn't be entirely buggered if the translation was missing
while watching an old kung fu movie, or 1970s soft core slapstick sex comedy..

But subtitles really are vital with complex serious drama...

Having said that, I readily enjoy foreign songs where I haven't a clue what they're singing about,
but the instrumental arangement and voice convey emotion that resignates with me...

..and again, I openly acknowledge I also tend to concentrate listening to the musicality of our trad folk songs,
the words and story often just wash over me as I concentrate on the emotionality of the sound...

That can be a blessing when zoned out and suppressing hearing really rubbish lyrics
that could pop out and spoil my listening pleasure..

For instance I like Lankum,
but was listening to one of their more long winded songs yesterday,
when the lyrics just started to irritate me,
and distracted from my connection to the song and enjoyment of it...

It wasn't the subject matter that started to bore me,
it was the the quality of the writing...

Obviously this is about my own personal tastes,
I'm not a qualified know it all creative writing teacher...

But don't even get me started on a lot of 1970's rock lyrics...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 02:54 PM

I will say one thing, then leave this.
This is not a discussion, it's a tennis match. Enjoy.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 02:50 PM

1. Folk song is like every other artistic endeavour - you have to work at it to understand it and you have to understand it to like it - it is not superficial - good things never are

2. I don't say you can't enjoy it - I do say the more you understand it, the more there is to enjoy, that's all

There is where I, and I suspect many others, have problems with what you are saying, Jim. Two seemingly contradictory statements. Version 1 says You have to work at it understand it. You have to understand it to enjoy it. Version 2 days you don't need to understand it to enjoy it. Then when I ask you to clarify you go ballistic and accuse me of hounding you. Please make yourself clear so us thick Yorkshire twats can understand what you obviously high IQ Scouse gits are trying to say.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 02:47 PM

So, Raggytash, which festival was it that you encountered my caravan?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 02:35 PM

"I still disagree that you need to understand something to enjoy it"
I don't say you can't enjoy it - I do say the more you understand it, the more there is to enjoy, that's all
Whan I started listening to the ballads I was knocked out by the stories, when I began to learn them I began to realise there were things I'd missed
For instance, I loved Ewan singing Gil Morricwe, but when he explained one of the lines the whole thing hooked me

A husband kills a hermit boy because he believes his wife is having an affair because she is aked to meet him in the woods
She explains he is not her lover but her illegitimate son who she has exiled
She confesses:
"I once was full o' Gil Morrice as the hip is of the stone" - one of the most beutiful descriptions of pregnancy in poetry, as far as I'm concerned - in the vernacular language of the folk

Just stick your thumbnail into the thin latyer of flesh of a rose-hip and you'll see what I mean
There - I've got a lump in my throat !
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 02:21 PM

Ok. That is clearer. Thanks.

I still disagree that you need to understand something to enjoy it. I enjoy all sorts of things I don't understand. Ok, part of the enjoyment can be learning more but it is not a prerequisite.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 02:14 PM

I don't believe ou have to be educated to understand art - as my Traveller example shows
When I talk about education I'm not referring to formal or higher education - I think people reach their own understanding of things - quite of ten in ways that educated people fail to do sometimes
We do live in a society governed by educated morons, after all
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 01:52 PM

Elitist snobbery is the domain of those who believe that you have to be educated to think about art

And from the same pen...

Folk song is like every other artistic endeavour - you have to work at it to understand it and you have to understand it to like it - it is not superficial - good things never are

So, on the one hand you believe that you have to understand it to enjoy it but do not believe you need to be educated to enjoy it. How do you think people are going to understand something of they do not educate themselves in it?

Anyhow. I think we were talking about different things before. If you mean you have to work at something to enjoy performing then, yes, I agree completely. It came across as you have to understand to appreciate listening and I disagree with that.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 01:48 PM

Sorry misunderstood - I was still in my replying to Dave mode
Apologies
"Dave was born and reared in Lancashire, the same county as you I believe."
Sorry - it was a joke
Who on earth suggested that Liverpool was in Lancashire anyway - whatever happened to the 33 county of Ireland !!

"Personally, i'd rather hear a Beatles song played properly than a traditional song buggered up."
Why does it have to be either or Al ?
I'd rather hear traditional song sung properly - I've heard as much as I want of the Beatles songs - them and football drove me away from home
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 01:33 PM

Jim - are you confusing me with other mudcatters again today...???

I've not said a word about our elder singers..

Remember, like you, I'm a a lifelong proponent of working class self education movement...

My guess is you tend to get full steam ahead with your arguments,
and accidentally confuse and conflate several posters at a time when you answer back...???


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 01:30 PM

If you're doing it right, it shouldn't feel like work.
No doubt codifying and tabulating folk music is laborious, but you'd never get anywhere clock watching. you work on the music until it sounds right.

Its not like a music exam - where you get 6 out of ten and you get a pass. you have to be confident enough that you've got it as right as you can. And if it still sounds like shit - play something easier in public that you are capable of.

Pesonally, i'd rather hear a Beatles song played properly than a traditional song buggered up.

Not that the Beatles are easy - they were clever blokes - 2nd generation working class musician in Paul's case. the songs were written so well, that I can adapt them to my style, which I would characterise as mid 20th century English folk club. i don't try to sound like the Beatles, but I love doing their songs - and audiences love them.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 01:09 PM

"elitist snobbery is a reality,"
Elitist snobbery is the domain of those who believe that you have to be educated to think about art
I'm not over-defensive about anything - I just get bored with hearing this 'instinctive as birdsong' approach to folksong
You really need to listen to what some of the old singers had to say about folksong sometime
Try this from a non-literate Irish traveller talking about how he understands 'What Put the Blood'

"“I’d say the song, myself, goes back to.... depicts Cain and Abel in the Bible and where Our Lord said to Cain.... I think this is where the Travellers Curse come from too, because Our Lord says to Cain, “Cain”, says Our Lord, “you have slain your brother, and for this”, says Our Lord, says he, “and for this, be a wanderer and a fugitive on the earth”.
“Not so Lord” says he, “this punishment is too severe, and whoever finds me”, says he, “will slay me, “says he “or harass me”.
“Not so”, says Our Lord, says he, “whoever finds Cain and punishes or slains (sic) Cain, I will punish them sevenfold”.
And I think this is where the Travellers curse come from.
Anyway, the song depicts this, this er....
1 call it Cain and Abel anyway; there never was a name for the song, but that what I call it, you know, the depiction of Cain and Abel.”

Wexford Traveller, 'Pop's' Johnny Connors,
Reccordded on a field next to Heathrow Airport
July, 1973


"


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 12:57 PM

""elitist snobbery"
Sigh---- not again
Jim
"

Jim - why sigh.. elitist snobbery is a reality, and the bane of working class culture and aspirations..

I think the trouble is you see these words printed in any context,
and your brain targets in on them and triggers you into thinking
these two words are being written there and then about you...???

You really don't need to be so over-defensive...

Unless in this instance you were a middle class academic/ literary critic in the early to mid 20th Century...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 12:56 PM

Mike Yates wrote an interesting article on Walter's non traditional songs for Musical Traditions entitled 'The Other Songs' and I wrote a response to it - both are still on line
When Tom Munnelly was quit ill some of us wrote articles in his honour which was published as a Festschrift
Pat and I did one on Walter entitled, Walter Pardon - a Simple Countryman? (note the question-mark)
We chose the title after having an arument with a well-known English folkie who, after our explaining how Walter approached his songs, replied, "How could he - he's just a simple countryman - he must have been got at"
Happy to pass that article in to anybody interested
A similar thing wa said about Joe Heaney when his approach to singing was made public
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Raggytash
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 12:54 PM

Jim, once again you fail dramatically with your "facts"

Dave was born and reared in Lancashire, the same county as you I believe.

You really should take a step back before you start attacking people, which I may add, you do with boring repetition.

Oh once again I forgot the "rules" 1 and 2.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 12:47 PM

Stringsinger - I suggest you are going too far in your apparent disdain for 'commercial product' music and culure

"Fast-food music appeals to those who don't know any better. It's not their fault, but.."

AS much as you may not intend it, that still comes over as patronising and insulting...

My conclusion to my disssertation nearly 40 years ago,
about novelists from the late Victorian and Edwardian era,
was basically...

"Conrad was a high brow artistic writer trying but failing to make more money,
whereas Haggard was a commercially succesful populist hack writer
who aspired to be taken more seriously by the critics..
But both appealed to an educated readership..

Likewise, well rounded open minded listeners can and do enjoy obscure minority interest music and crass bubble gum pop...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Vic Smith
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 12:41 PM

Pseudonymous wrote
And I had never heard of Walter Pardon, but and I am just being honest here, some of the offerings on Spotify are so embarrassingly bad I would be cringing if hearing them live.

I don't know which recordings of Walter are on Spotify but I'd imagine that they would be taken from the various commercial recordings that he made. I have all of these and there would be no doubt in my mind to say that Walter Pardon is one of the finest of all England's traditional singers. His phrasing is sure, his tone and pitch are spot on and he has a large and very interesting repertoire.
Of course, for many ears, I realise that the solo voice of the traditional singer is an an acquired taste for some people but once you have acquired that taste you come to realise that in his own field, he is a great artist.
Get Martin Carthy or his daughter Eliza talking about Walter's singing and what a lovely man he was and you find that is difficult to get them to stop.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 12:39 PM

"elitist snobbery"
Sigh---- not again
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 12:38 PM

"If you have to work at it to understand it and understand it to enjoy it then 95% of the population would never get round to enjoying it."
If you don't work at it and make a balls of it, you don't even get to enjoy it yourself
If you want to paint you learn the techniques of painting - writing, playing an instrument,,,,, you m name it, to need to put in the work in if you are going to do it well - nothing to do with being academic
Are you suggesting that the people aren't capable of understanding and enjoying academic subjects - surely not !!
You want to get behind a couple of Liverpool supporters who've never kicked a ball in their lives discussing the finer arts of football sometime
You might not understand that coming from Yorkshire :->
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 12:28 PM

I can barely remember now,
but nearly 40 years ago on my degree I was arguing against the elitist snobbery
of middle class literary accademics and critics..

The name F. R. Leavis springs to mind, but I remember eff all about him now.
A quick google reminder is too much to take in for the moment..

But here's a random sample from his wiki

"..uncompromising zeal in promoting his views.. sanctimonious prick.. narrowness, spitefulness, dogmatism..
provocative, and idiosyncratic..
characteristics of a religious or ideological sect..
"

Thank goodness the state of folk music in the UK in 2019 is more easy going and open minded than that.. eh..???

Anyway, I was allowed to write my dissertation favourably comparing H Rider Haggard and Joseph Conrad,
my two favourite novelists at that time..
One considered high brow, the other middle to low brow,
But as I keenly argued far more similar than convenient
for the stale orthodoxies of the critical establishment...

Well.. I was young and full of rebellious intellectual vigour back then...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 12:24 PM

Appreciating traditional folk music is available to the people. Many people have been brainwashed by manufactured consent to the ruling elite and dumbed-down entertainment industry. The appreciation for folk music relies on digging through the weeds and onto the rich soil. Many people do not expect instant gratification depending on which people we mean. A metaphor this would be healthy food. Many don't care. Some do. Agribusiness has desensitized people for the need to have organic food in their diet. Nonetheless, this doesn't stop some from wanting to improve their lifestyle.

This is the metaphor for understanding traditional folk music. It's always been there and even though vestiges of it seem like it's dying out, it pops up again and again in unlikely places. As people crave a healthy lifestyle, they also crave the musical nutrition of traditional folk as it documents important aspects of human history. Fast-food music appeals to those who don't know any better. It's not their fault, but the fault of the music merchants, businessmen, financial wheelers-and-dealers and those who run the world.
Their job is to hypnotize the public to buy their product so that they can stay or become wealthy.

In short, commercialism in music is the enemy of traditional folk music as it engenders a musical imperialism. The musical copyright laws in place are meant to keep the exclusivity to those who have profited from fast-food music.

The answer is to understand and own the traditional folk music of a country. It is important and nourishing when people are freed from the propaganda that the commercial music industry has handed us.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 11:49 AM

Folk song is like every other artistic endeavour - you have to work at it to understand it and you have to understand it to like it - it is not superficial - good things never are

There are lots of things that I like that I never have had to work at. Including some, but not all, traditional singing. If you have to work at it to understand it and understand it to enjoy it then 95% of the population would never get round to enjoying it. Most people want their pleasures handed to them on a plate. How on earth can it be the music of the people of it takes academic effort to appreciate it?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 10:36 AM

"Not one of the ballads in Child's collection came through any Traveller source, n"
Nobody knows where all Child's ballads came from - he was largely working from print despite his despising the broadsides
We know that in the twentieth century they were a major source in Scotland - I am now finding the same applies to Ireland
There is no reason why that shouldn't always have been the case
Our knowledge of the oral tradition dates back only as far as the twentieth century
As you say "twaddle"
Would be interested to find you know anything different
THe indications are that the same applies to storytelling - I'm pretty sure that ballad singing and storytelling are related within living traditions


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 10:16 AM

one reason why pop songs and beatle songs cannot become folk songs is that they are not altered by oral transmission except possibly when sung at football matches, but if sung in folk clubs they are sung in my experience as they were written, if one takes the 1954 definition then by this judgement they will never be folk songs because they are not folkprocessed.

Somebody who performs a note-perfect replica of what a "source singer" recorded 50 years ago is doing exactly what a covers band does with the Beatles (in fact the covers band is more likely to introduce changes). So where's the difference?

We owe the survival of our ballads and many narrative songs to communities that were overwhelmingly illiterate - the Travellers

Twaddle. Not one of the ballads in Child's collection came through any Traveller source, neither did anything Sharp collected, and only a handful of songs in the Greig-Duncan collection. The vast corpus of British folksongs owes nothing to the Travellers. It was interesting to find a bunch of people singing those songs by oral transmission as late as the Fifties, but that is absolutely as far as it goes. We have no reason to think that their performance style has anything to do with any ancient and general tradition either - there are plenty of old recording by non-Travellers that sound completely unlike the Stewarts of Blair orthodoxy. Traveller culture is a nice historical footnote but no more. And it has zero relevance to the current UK scene.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 09:25 AM

"I would be cringing if hearing them live."
Walter was lionised as one of Britain's best singers, along with fellow East Anglains, Harry Cox nad Sam Larner
If you don't get his singing you don't get what traditional singing is about
Your Walter quotes are totally out-of -context and misleading
We spent twenty years recording him in minute detail and have Bill Leader's early recordings of him as well
Mike Yates spent a deal of time with him too and gave us some of his recordings
Walter was very precise on how he viewed folk songs, their importance and how they differed from other non-folk items in his repertoire
Now that National Sound Archive have decided to put our collection on line, I'm hoping they will include what he had to say as well as what he sung
One of the greatest gaps in our knowledge of the tradition is that we have litle idea of what the singers thought, which has led to all sorts of wild speculation, the most inaccurate being that because they sang every type of song they couldn't tell the difference between the different types
Walter would have been very amused (and confused) to see his 'When The Fields Were White With Daisies' being designated as a folk song and given a Roud number - he firmly stated that this type of song was not and said why - often at length.

Folk song is like every other artistic endeavour - you have to work at it to understand it and you have to understand it to like it - it is not superficial - good things never are

I hated Harry Cox's singing when I first heard it - now it never fails to move me and I never cease to find something new in it whenever I revisit it

"Over 600 posts, and nobody's saying anything new"
Pay attention, that girl !! :->
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 08:49 AM

You should probably stick to curated and slick studio recordings if the "warts" bother you.

I've thought about this for years: why is there a cut-off of x years ago? When was the "tradition" authentic, and now, it's not, because it changed? And what will the folklorists of the next century say? What is the long view here?

People now learn songs from recordings or books. If there are what some deem "traditional" singers, how do they exist apart from mass media? "Tradition" has to change, no matter how much people bitch about it.

(Over 600 posts, and nobody's saying anything new, but then, it's a traditional subject. [insert winky face here])


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 08:27 AM

And I had never heard of Walter Pardon, but and I am just being honest here, some of the offerings on Spotify are so embarrassingly bad I would be cringing if hearing them live.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 08:26 AM

Walter's grandfather, he said, was musical and could note down tunes from broadsides. Walter also said his singing style was his own, and not traditional. For me, when you pick away at these claims that people are 'traditional folk singers' so much of it appears to be based upon rosy tinted spectacles rather than on reasoned argument.

Ironically, I used to subscribe to a similar view of 'folk music' as being the music of the people. It was Jim Carroll's rantings that put me off it.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,JoeG
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 07:06 AM

I was hovering to get the 600th post in but missed it. Over 600 posts and we're still speaking to each other. Keep it up :-) I'll post some thoughts later when on the PC. Thanks for all the contributions sofar


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Oct 19 - 06:41 AM

one reason why pop songs and beatle songs cannot become folk songs is that they are not altered by oral transmission except possibly when sung at football matches, but if sung in folk clubs they are sung in my experience as they were written, if one takes the 1954 definition then by this judgement they will never be folk songs because they are not folkprocessed.


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