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What other people think - Best Folk Song

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RTim 17 Jan 20 - 10:12 PM
voyager 17 Jan 20 - 10:20 PM
RTim 17 Jan 20 - 10:28 PM
Joe Offer 17 Jan 20 - 11:23 PM
Karen Impola 18 Jan 20 - 01:12 AM
Backwoodsman 18 Jan 20 - 03:04 AM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 20 - 06:28 AM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 20 - 06:54 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 18 Jan 20 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Observer 18 Jan 20 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,HiLo 18 Jan 20 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Brad Sondahl 18 Jan 20 - 10:19 AM
gillymor 18 Jan 20 - 10:44 AM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 20 - 11:01 AM
Jeri 18 Jan 20 - 11:41 AM
Karen Impola 18 Jan 20 - 12:26 PM
Karen Impola 18 Jan 20 - 12:45 PM
Lighter 18 Jan 20 - 01:37 PM
Joe Offer 18 Jan 20 - 01:52 PM
Georgiansilver 18 Jan 20 - 01:55 PM
Bill D 18 Jan 20 - 02:45 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 20 - 03:24 PM
Joe_F 18 Jan 20 - 06:19 PM
Bill D 18 Jan 20 - 08:52 PM
Jeri 18 Jan 20 - 09:08 PM
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Subject: What other people think - Best Folk Songs
From: RTim
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 10:12 PM

I came upon this web page while I was doodling online..."100 Most Essential Folk Songs"...what is your opinion of these and do any of them find a place on your own lists of Essential songs.....
https://www.folkalley.com/lists/100-most-essential-folk-songs

Can you list 100 songs to replace this.....?? or even20 songs....

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: voyager
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 10:20 PM

Reason to Believe - Tim Hardin


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: RTim
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 10:28 PM

I meant to add - How many do you think are Folk songs......In your opinion...

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 11:23 PM

Dang, Tim, you pose a hard question. I know and sing almost all of those songs....and I think of myself as an inadequate folksinger because of them. I've worked with the Rise Up Singing folks for 23 years now, and the songs I sing are the 2400 songs in their songbooks - almost all of the songs on your list, are in those songbooks. And I'm told at Mudcat that's bad, but yet I love the songs and sing them quite well.
So, what the hell? I sing the songs and all is well, and we have a good time. Isn't having a good time what it's all about?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Karen Impola
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 01:12 AM

That list skews heavily American, heavily 1960's and 70's, and heavily original compositions as opposed to trad, but I personally like many of those songs. I especially approve of the few more recent songwriters I noticed there - Dave Carter, Iris Dement, James Keelaghan, John Gorka.

My own top 100 would be much more idiosyncratic and obscure, and include a wider range of genres, including (gasp!) music not sung in English. But for what it is - a list put together by an American radio service aimed at a baby boomer demographic - it's a good list.

(For the record, I'm an American boomer myself, but I try not to let it define my listening patterns.)

I think of "folk music" as an umbrella term, which includes both trad and non-trad. It has fuzzy boundaries, and that's okay.


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 03:04 AM

Pass me the popcorn please....


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 06:28 AM

I need to know, first of all, what is folk...

Good popcorn, this...


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 06:54 AM

When I was Beatles fan in my teens, I used to think that a folk song was a pop song that had a fiddle in it.

That big list contains a lot of very good songs that I would never call folk songs. However, in the spirit of that list, I'd like to nominate Raglan Road, as long as Luke is singing it. And therein lies a thing: how much you like a song can depend a lot on who is singing it. Ten Thousand Miles, sung by Nic Jones, would be near the top of my list. Sung jazzily by a person who I shall have to leave nameless and it instantly falls right off the bottom of my list. A few others from the Noah's Ark Trap would be right up there too. But again I'm talking versions of songs, not just songs. Ewan's The Joy Of Living and This Land Is Your Land hit the right notes for me too. I can read the words as poetry without hearing a particular version (though if pushed I'd choose the composers singing those two every time). But then I'm mostly an Irish tunes man...

Last year we took my dad to a high place of heather, rock and ling (precisely that) and scattered his dust and ashes, feeding them to the Pendle wind, in his favourite place. That makes me biased!


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 07:06 AM

1 Tam Lin (Roud 25?) (I like Fairport's version and The Imagined Village version)

http://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/C039.html

More to follow ...


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 08:02 AM

Essential to Americans maybe, not to anybody else, almost all of them were written to make money in that market as "pop" or C&W songs.


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 09:39 AM

Well, it is an interesting list for sure, some great songs on it, but many of my favourites are missing.. Anything by Kate and Anna Mcgarrigle, Natalie McMaster,June Tabor, Frankie Armstrong. Nick Jones, especially "Miles Weatherhill and Sarah Bell" by Nick Jones, Martin Carthy.. well, one could go on forever.
   I would add the early albums of Joan Baez as I think she got many people interested in the child Ballads.


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: GUEST,Brad Sondahl
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 10:19 AM

It kind of fits Folk Alley's vibe, which is rather pop and not what I as a long time folky enjoy listening to.... It's weird that the songs are selected with groups that popularized them rather than authored them, like Where have all the Flowers Gone, or Doc Watson for House of the Rising Sun... A better description of the list would be to say most popular folk entertainers with their most popular songs...


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: gillymor
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 10:44 AM

It's all good, except attributing "Hobo's Lullaby" to Woody Guthrie rather than Goebel Reeves.


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 11:01 AM

I agree with Brad. I suppose it's hard to divorce favourite artists from the songs (and why should we?)


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 11:41 AM

We're so used to being listeners instead of singers, I suppose that's why we name other people and their versions. Maybe this is more like "what is your favorite song to sing?" Or maybe this is about who we fangirl at. No criticism, because I do it too, but the direction this thread is going is about consumerism more than anything.

...and I vote for Gaughan's version of Hamish Henderson's "51st Highland Division's Farewell to Sicily", although that ain't traditional either

Otherwise, it's pretty silly/impossible to have one favorite. It's whatever song is happening at the moment.


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Karen Impola
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 12:26 PM

Observer: 'almost all of them were written to make money in that [=the American] market as "pop" or C&W songs'

I really don't think Dylan, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Joni Mitchell, et. al. had making money as their primary motivation, but you're entitled to your opinion.


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Karen Impola
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 12:45 PM

The list is going for songs that are "influential, memorable, and legendary". If you think of it in terms of "What songs are Americans who have some affinity for folk music likely to sing around a campfire", I'd say it's pretty accurate. Where I live, there'd be more John Prine ("Paradise", "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness"), more bluegrass standards, and a few songs by local singer-songwriters.


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 01:37 PM

> I really don't think Dylan, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Joni Mitchell, et. al. had making money as their primary motivation

The songs they wrote are the songs they wrote in any case.


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 01:52 PM

I think there's an ultimate futility in any attempt to find the "best" in music. The Folk Alley list is a recipe for a pretty good night of singing, but we all would alter the list with other songs we like better. If it's my turn to pick a song at a singaround, I tend to pick something people don't sing all the time, but something they can sing together easily - not necessarily a "best" song, but a song that best fits the particular situation.
I think it's a matter of what seems to work right for the occasion, rather than a list of "bests." I suppose that most singarounds I go to, have a majority of songs that were written in the last half-century, with a mix of a few more historic songs. Even "traditional" singarounds have a good number of songs that were recently written. We have fun, so why not?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 01:55 PM

By far my favourite.....


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 02:45 PM

None of the ones on that list except a couple by Tom Paxton and "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda - Eric Bogle" rank in a 'favorite' list for me. Of course, I know & sing Wildwood Flower, but there are so many songs, both trad & pop-folk, that I **like** better... that any list I compile... if I could even sort it down to fewer than several hundred, would include stuff that that survey doesn't seem to be aware of.
   I see nothing by Utah Phillips on the list, and he'd have 3-4 in my top 100. "Goodnight-Loving Trail" "Enola Gay" "Yuba City" and "The Telling Takes Me Home" come to mind immediately... and I get LOTS of milage from sneaking in "Aces, Straights & Flushes" on a new group of victims...um.. listeners.

I am reminded of the Bob Zentz song My Favorite Song

"You ask me to sing my favorite song, well I guess you don’t understand (C-F-C-Am-F-G-C)

I’ve been up here pickin’ all night long, while you play stump the band (C-F-C-Am-F-G-C-C7)

But I call ‘em as I see ‘em, and I see ‘em all the time (F-C-Am-F-G)
And any song I sing for you is a favorite song of mine (C-G-C-F-C-G-C)



    I wouldn’t sing ‘em if I didn’t like ‘em, I wouldn’t like ‘em if I didn’t care.
   I wouldn’t care if you didn’t listen, but there’s a lot of good songs out there
    Some songs are just like the people I know, some people like the songs I sing.
    And I never sang a song that I didn’t love, or no song that didn’t love me"


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 03:24 PM

That is a hellish good pick, Jeri. I saw Dick singing that one in a somewhat bleak theatre in Tavistock ages ago. The place was chilly, the lights were low and cold and Dick stood alone on stage to play it, and it was utterly enthralling. I've seen Dick in concert four times, and that was the best performance of any song out of all of them (even though he usually did Now Westlin Winds....)


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 06:19 PM

A few of them I have never heard of, and a few of them I have no trouble sneering at, but most of them I would smile if I heard being sung. With my top 100, there would be only modest overlap; most of my magical songs are traditional.


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 08:52 PM

That song Jeri chose IS a fine pick. We heard Ed Miller sing it in Austin, Texas many years ago, and my wife wanted to learn it... (before the WWW). When Ed Miller came to the DC area, she requested it, and he sang it.. and carefully wrote it out long hand for her and explained the terminology. She is pretty good with getting foreign accents and pronunciation close, and The 51st Highlanders is not a song that translates well. It was important to her to do it as close to the original as possible... but even so, she only sang it in public when it was a knowledgeable folkie audience that would appreciate it. I haven't heard her sing it for years. There was much debate over the years as to the exact meaning, references and implications in the well-crafted lyrics.


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Subject: RE: What other people think - Best Folk Song
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 09:08 PM

There was a fairly in-depth discussion of it in uk.music.folk years ago. Mostly, because of Gaughan's recording, and he explained a lot of things I hadn't understood.

That list, though... It's clear what it really is is favorite recorded versions of folk-like songs. For example, "The Dutchman" by Steve Goodman. The song was written by Michael P Smith, and recorded by him and about a hundred other people. It's at the Folk Alley, and you'd expect them to know WTF they were talking about, but I suppose they're dumbing it down so the lowest common denominator (almost wrote "demonimator") can understand it. I suppose I'm feeling snobbish tonight.

I read the list earlier, and I think "Scarborough Fair" was the only one I thought was a "folk" song. But "By Martin Carthy"!? They mean their favorite recorded version, right? So it's not actually about the SONG??!!

Gonna go take my meds now.


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