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A Real Folksinger

Suffet 06 Jul 01 - 07:45 PM
Rick Fielding 06 Jul 01 - 08:12 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Jul 01 - 09:35 PM
GUEST 06 Jul 01 - 09:37 PM
Midchuck 06 Jul 01 - 10:31 PM
Amos 06 Jul 01 - 10:37 PM
DonMeixner 06 Jul 01 - 10:39 PM
Bill D 06 Jul 01 - 10:41 PM
Art Thieme 06 Jul 01 - 10:42 PM
Clinton Hammond 06 Jul 01 - 10:50 PM
catspaw49 06 Jul 01 - 10:53 PM
Amos 06 Jul 01 - 11:07 PM
Clinton Hammond 06 Jul 01 - 11:11 PM
Celtic Soul 06 Jul 01 - 11:23 PM
Suffet 06 Jul 01 - 11:25 PM
GUEST,Frogmore 06 Jul 01 - 11:39 PM
Jimmy C 07 Jul 01 - 12:00 AM
Amos 07 Jul 01 - 12:24 AM
Seamus Kennedy 07 Jul 01 - 12:34 AM
Ralphie 07 Jul 01 - 12:36 AM
Mudlark 07 Jul 01 - 01:48 AM
mg 07 Jul 01 - 02:32 AM
Clifton53 07 Jul 01 - 08:49 AM
kendall 07 Jul 01 - 08:54 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jul 01 - 10:41 AM
Jon Freeman 07 Jul 01 - 11:01 AM
Art Thieme 07 Jul 01 - 11:35 AM
Jimmy C 07 Jul 01 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,Frogmore 07 Jul 01 - 11:49 AM
Jeri 07 Jul 01 - 12:33 PM
Amos 07 Jul 01 - 01:53 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Jul 01 - 01:56 PM
clansfolk 07 Jul 01 - 02:38 PM
Brían 07 Jul 01 - 02:44 PM
Ralphie 07 Jul 01 - 03:01 PM
Bill D 07 Jul 01 - 03:35 PM
catspaw49 07 Jul 01 - 04:36 PM
TishA 07 Jul 01 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,jim.griffin@wolrdnet.att.net 07 Jul 01 - 05:00 PM
TishA 07 Jul 01 - 05:15 PM
Jeri 07 Jul 01 - 05:43 PM
Amos 07 Jul 01 - 05:54 PM
Jon Freeman 07 Jul 01 - 06:55 PM
Amos 07 Jul 01 - 07:14 PM
Little Hawk 07 Jul 01 - 07:27 PM
Jeri 07 Jul 01 - 07:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jul 01 - 07:39 PM
Bill D 07 Jul 01 - 08:32 PM
Deckman 07 Jul 01 - 09:58 PM
catspaw49 07 Jul 01 - 10:15 PM
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Subject: A Real Folksinger
From: Suffet
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 07:45 PM

A real folksinger...

€ A real folksinger doesn't worry about bookings. A real folkinger creates his/her own venue. On street corners. In campgrounds. In parks. In schools. At parties. At family gatherings. Wherever and whenever the opportunity arises. A real folksinger plays in hospitals, and hospices, and old age homes. A real folksinger plays in prisons, and libraries, and bus stations, and at street fairs. And a real folksinger doesn't whine and bellyache and complain because such and such club or festival wouldn't have him/her.

€ A real folksinger understands that folk music is not a genre. A real folksinger understands that any song can be a folksong. A real folksonger knows there is no such thing as singing a folksong wrong. If a real folksinger forgets the words, he/she makes up new ones on the spot. If a real folksinger can't quite remember the melody, he/she invents one that fits his/her own vocal style, perhaps flatting a 7th here, jumping an octave there, or changing a major key into a mountain modal.

€ A real folksinger never calls him/herself as a singer-songwriter. And yet a real folksinger is always writing songs to sing and singing the songs he/she writes. And a real folksinger doesn't write self-centered contemplate-one's-navel type songs. A real folksinger writes songs that tell interesting stories. Yes, real folksingers have written songs about bad relationships, but those songs include "Pretty Polly," "Banks of the Ohio," and "Rose Connelly"!

€ Real folksingers have written some of the greatest lines in the whole English language. Three examples:

And all she said as she neared his bed,
Was, "Young man, I think you're dying."

Rise up, rise up, little Matty Groves,
And dress as quick as you can,
For never shall it be said in old England,
That I slew a naked man.

Dig the beets from your ground,
Cut the grapes from your vine,
To set on your table,
Your light sparkling wine.


€ A real folksinger borrows from others, and in turn expects that others will borrow from him/her. A real folksinger understands that all "anon" and "trad" songs had real live authors, and perhaps the greatest honor thaty can ever befall a real folksinger is to become the author of an anonymous/traditional song.

€ If a real folksinger wants to make money, he/she gets a job.

€ A real folksinger doesn't sing to an audience. A real folksinger gets the audience to sing. And if the audience whips out kazoos, tmabourines, Jew's harps, and harmonicas and starts to play along, so much the better.



Feel free to add your own comments.


--- Steve


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 08:12 PM

I'd like to Steve, but I'm speechless!

Rick


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 09:35 PM

Steve, I buy almost everthing you say, and what I don't buy, many others will, and who am I to say they or you are wrong? A nice post.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 09:37 PM

REAL FOLKSINGERS HAVE DAY JOBS


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Midchuck
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 10:31 PM

Are you trying to say that when and if someone is foolish enough to offer me money to sing folk music, I should turn it down so that I can remain a "real" folksinger?

If you are, can I get some of what you're smoking/drinking?

Peter.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 10:37 PM

None of what's listed above says a real folksinger has to be stupid about what money he gets or getting what money he can. I doubt anyone would argue that Pete Seeger was not a "real folksinger" -- or even Bobby Dylan for all the showbusiness he's gotten sucked into. And a real folksinger remains a folksinger when he has a day job and when he doesn't, in my humble experience. I have had to earn a few meals playing, and I wouldn't want to have to depend on it completely but was glad to do it when I had to.

A


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: DonMeixner
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 10:39 PM

Hmmmm.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 10:41 PM

hmmmmm......interesting....but the one part really creates a problem

" A real folksinger understands that folk music is not a genre. A real folksinger understands that any song can be a folksong. A real folksonger knows there is no such thing as singing a folksong wrong. If a real folksinger forgets the words, he/she makes up new ones on the spot. If a real folksinger can't quite remember the melody, he/she invents one that fits his/her own vocal style, perhaps flatting a 7th here, jumping an octave there, or changing a major key into a mountain modal."

it seems to allow anything anyone wants to be 'folk'...in which case, why use the word?...just 'music' would do.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Art Thieme
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 10:42 PM

???????????????????????????????????????????????????


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 10:50 PM

Real folk singers ignore 'jumbly bollox' who try to tell them who or what a real folk singer is!!!


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 10:53 PM

Yeah......I was kinda' waitin' for those last couple. Folk isn't a genre? I think ya' got some points, but you have some real arguments coming on some of them too. Like, you've never in the slightest way promoted yourself Steve? Making a buck or at least scrounging a living is somehow a disqualifying factor? And what's with not trying to get into a particular venue when you already do the others too?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 11:07 PM

Real folksingers don't go around trying to define "real", or prescribe the nature of "folksinger" neither!

A


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 11:11 PM

^5's Amos!


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 11:23 PM

All in all a really wonderful post on the love of the craft.

I can't help but see one small part as being a little skewed, though.

I think that the love of a thing does not prohibit the earning of money from it. In fact, earning a living at what you love is one of the most rewarding things one can do with ones life.

So long as you treat your audience with respect, and are not up there merely for yourself, what is the harm in earning some money doing it? I go to craftsman for furniture, for instruments, for art, for jewelry and I pay for their wares and bring home something marvelous that I can enjoy and share with others.

Why is a folk musician any different than any of the other artisans to whom we pay money in trade for their hard work?

I don't want to detract from the wonderful sentiment contained, though. I thought it a beautifully penned and poetic description.

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Suffet
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 11:25 PM

I never said there's anything wrong with making a buck. And there is certainly nothing wrong with getting paid. But that's not what folk music is all about. You make the music -- and you get other people to make music with you -- whether you're paid or not. And I'll say it again, folk music is not a genre. Any song can become a folk song. It's a matter of attitude.

One of the best folksingers I have heard in a long time is a middle aged woman whose name I believe is Betty. I don't know her last name. She's a school security officer at the Renaissance Charter School in the Borough of Queens, New York City. Once a month the school has a sing-around potluck for the children, the staff, the parents, and guests. When the turn came to Betty she first sang "The Wagoner's Lad" and then the next time sang "Silver Dagger," both songs a capella with just a hint of Gospel and blues in her voice. And she got everyone else to sing along, but quietly enough so her unamplified voice carried through the large room. I was floored. I would sooner listen to her any day than to any one of a dozen polished professional acts which call themselves folk but who don't possess one one-hundredth of Betty's soul.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: GUEST,Frogmore
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 11:39 PM

Folksinger. Jazz. Bebop. Country. CATEGORIES! A waste of time in my humble opinion. I like a quote attributed to the great Duke Elligton. He sain something like, "There are only 2 kinds of music. Good music and the other." Actions speak louder than words, although I must admit I'm currently using words. Wanna pick?


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Jimmy C
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 12:00 AM

A real folk singer is one who has experienced what the song is all about, if not then we are singers of folk songs and not folksingers. ??


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 12:24 AM

Well, yes... but what IS folk music, really?? ;>)

A


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 12:34 AM

AMOS!!!! NO, NO!!!!! Seamus


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Ralphie
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 12:36 AM

Oh No Amos......Don't start that one...!
I've lost my can-opener Lol Ralphie


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Mudlark
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 01:48 AM

"FOLK music? SURE it's folk music. Ain't no HORSE singing it." Big Bill Broonzy


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: mg
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 02:32 AM

I think it might be someone who learns what are considered folksongs via some sort of human transmission. I also think he/she should not be confused with a preacher who puts the preaching to some sort of tune. The love of the music itself has to be there somewhere.

mg


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Clifton53
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 08:49 AM

So, there ARE rules eh? I hate rules and boxes, good or bad.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: kendall
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 08:54 AM

Professional folksinger is an oxymoron.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 10:41 AM

I'm sure I'd like to get a job where I was paid to drink, and such jobs do exist, far and few. But that's not what drinking is about.

That goes for anything that is worth doing for its own sake.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 11:01 AM

"A real folksinger doesn't sing to an audience. A real folksinger gets the audience to sing. And if the audience whips out kazoos, tmabourines, Jew's harps, and harmonicas and starts to play along, so much the better."

If that is the case, I can only guess that a real folksinger either has a limited repertiore or can have no clue how to express certain songs and ballads.

Jon


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 11:35 AM

???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Jimmy C
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 11:46 AM

McGrath, My brother once had a job that paid him to sample whiskey and grade it, yet at private parties he would touch the stuff. I gave his a resume every week but he could not get me into the firm, how's that for brotherly love.

BTW he married a McGrath ?.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: GUEST,Frogmore
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 11:49 AM

"Folk Music" comes from the Folkland Islands.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 12:33 PM

Horses don't sing any sort of music. You want a list of stuff horses don't sing? Horses also don't folk dance, so any dancing must be folk dancing? Any art must be folk art? Likewise, I ain't never seen no humans eat hay, so anything that eats hay must be a horse? (Sorry - can you tell I'm sick of this meaningless quote?)

Real folksingers just do it. It's rather remarkable to have reached a point in traditional music where some think the common people aren't qualified to decide what music they'll keep on singing. Well, they haven't studied it, have they?

It's also futile. You may wish no new songs at all get into the collective songbag, or you may wish all of them sound like those that have gone before. The ones that get in there are going to be the ones people sing, and if that means Yellow Submarine, too bad. One thing people tend to ignore when it comes to folk music is the time line. Not every song IS a folk song (as in traditional), but every song has the potential to be.

I have my likes and dislikes, but I also realise that telling people what they should or shouldn't sing (or post or do, for that matter) is just plain anal. I was anal last week - I'm shooting for confused, but happy this week. I'll sing songs I like, and someone else may hear them and learn them, and they'll stay alive. It's a whole lot less crazy-making to get folks interested in doing something than to get them to stop.

And Steve, if someone whips out a kazoo when I'm singing a sea shanty, they're gonna need a mirror and a flashlight to find it later. (OK, maybe I'm still a wee bit anal. ;-)


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 01:53 PM

I think there's a folksong in there somewhere, Jeri -- the Mirror and the Flashlight, maybe, or the Terrible Fate of the Young Man's Kazoo...your call!

A


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Subject: Real Annoying!!!
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 01:56 PM

And if the audience whips out kazoos, tambourines, Jew's harps, and harmonicas and starts to play along...

I quit, take my money and go the hell home!


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: clansfolk
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 02:38 PM

A real folk singer is the one who hasn't read this thread!

Doh!


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Brían
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 02:44 PM

I don't mind throwing a monkey wrench into the mix. Woody Guthrie in his own words said that Pete Seeger was not a folk singer, but a SINGER OF FOLK SONGS. Pete Seeger, a true artist I respect greatly, has continued to use that label to identify himself.

I hate to use a lame analogy like "If you have to talk about folk music, you're not a folk musician". It is important to talk about it. Folk musicians are very aware of there status in society. there is, however a different types of singers who sing folk songs. I am going to gnaw on some ideas and get back to you all.

Beidh mé ag caint libh aríst,

Brían.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Ralphie
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 03:01 PM

Jeri....Sorry you've been feeling Anal.....It happens to most of us when you get to a certain age.
I recommend Brown paper and black treacle applied to the affected parts...It'll feel much better tomorrow....promise!
Ralphie


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 03:35 PM

oh, HORRORS!! not categories!!..someone might have to think! *big grin*
...you ALL use categories everyday, but some 'folks' want them to eternally fuzzy and ambiguous so they can fit their own likes & dislikes into convenient terms.
I like a certain 'flavor' of music more than others. I like 'mostly' older songs and songs with general characteristics that are a bit different than many of the newer songs. When I discovered them, 'folk' was a good term that described them...and I could be reasonably sure that I would like most of what I heard at a 'folk' club' or found in the 'folk' bin at the music store. That has changed...and I don't care for loud, electic Celtic!

Now, I would like to be able to refer to those songs without writing an entire paragraph with 27 disclaimers and subordinate clauses. What would you suggest I call it?

I understand that jazz is struggling to keep hip-hop from being subsumed, and I know that traditional Bluegrass is resisting having 'Newgrass' slipped into their venues.....and so it goes.

So...you anti-category folks...you tell me...what are we to do? Some of you say."..oh, I just call music good or bad...lets pick"....but try opening a music store with no labels on the record ummm....CD bins!

The late Chet Atkins sort of apologized for what he did to 'country' music as a category, and I doubt it will ever recover.

Fine, refuse to deal with it....but you are just hiding your head in the sand...(and frogmore..Duke Ellington may have SAID that, but what he PLAYED fit a category)


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 04:36 PM

**Small round of Applause to Bill from East Ohio**

Spaw


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: TishA
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 04:57 PM

Second the applause.

Chip A.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: GUEST,jim.griffin@wolrdnet.att.net
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 05:00 PM

I read the Folksinger........I've been a folksinger all my life...in my head....never thought I could learn to strum a guitar let alone sing..But now I just turned 50 years young and started to play an old guitar I got at the local pawn shop. I've been pounding on that for a nmuber of months...I just a bought Washburn Dreadnaugt steel string, but the old pawn special still feels like the first time I put my arm around a girls waist. I'm still struggling with Tom Dooley and Good Night Irene but I really don't give a rats ass...Once I learn a few more songs I will go to to the local public market in KC and stand and play. The first person to drop a quarter in my guitar case, I will give them a dollar bill and say thanks. All the quarters I get will be donated to a local charity...I'm a folk singer. Jim


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: TishA
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 05:15 PM

Way to go, Jim!


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 05:43 PM

Well, the categories ARE eternally fuzzy and ambiguous, or we wouldn't keep trying to pin the suckers down and get everyone else to agree with us.

Ralphie - TREACLE??!! Isn't that the same as molasses? Does that work the same as hot wax? OW! I think I'd rather just let the anality wear off. (Hell-week at work, in case anyone's interested.)

I think these arguments can actually be funny if you look at them the right way.

Folk
Everything
Not Everything
Yes, Everything. Except horses
Horses suck
You're a folk-[nastyword]
You're a fuzzy-category [nastyword]
...and after the discussion goes through everyone's reasons for categories and reasons against them, everyone stops for a while because it's not going anywhere. It comes back later though, and pretty much goes the same way.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 05:54 PM

But, well, what IS folkmusic, really? Mpppffffppffttttt....


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 06:55 PM

Not to worried about what it is Amos. I often use "If it sounds like folk to me, it is". I do think though that whatever definitions we use, we all have some idea of the "ballpark" - it's just that some definitions are narrower than others...

Fortunately, most of us are open enough to at least agree to dissagree with the ideas of others without the need to try to legislate for what makes it, or the singers of it real.

Jon


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 07:14 PM

Thanks for the input and clarification Jon. I'll respond as soon as I get this ducttape of my mouth!!!

LOL

A


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 07:27 PM

Amos - Folk music is simply this: music that begins with "F" and ends with "K".

Or else it isn't.

Either way.

- LH


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 07:28 PM

And while I am sharing my feelings
Your opinion is different than mine
We don't have to fight 'cause I know I am right
Just agree, and things will be fine

Everybody, repeat after me: "I am right, and I know it. I do not have to convince everyone else."


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 07:39 PM

Exactly Jeri - "What is Folk" is a form of social or ritual dancing here on the Mudcat. We all go through the motions, and some people take it very seriously and others don't, and in the process people get to know each other.

And, as with Morris dancing, The Horse is always likely to make an appearance at some point. (And I nornally chip in to point out that in fact horses do sing...)

It's a Living Tradition.


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 08:32 PM

what is the sound of two hands clapping? MUSIC!...I think that with applause ringing in my ears, I'll retire to the sidelines


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 09:58 PM

Hey ... lighten up folks! I think you are being HAD. What did Suffet (Steve) say: "You make the music, and get other people to make music with you." What's to dissagree about? All he has done is to define most of us ... we sing at old folks homes, fairs, concerts. And we also have jobs, income, pay our bills. I think you are all being far too sensitive. Suffet (Steve) is probably bored and needed some entertainment at our expense! I'm sure he's laughing at us all right now! CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: A Real Folksinger
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Jul 01 - 10:15 PM

Well Deckster, however it is, HERE is a thread with probably more truth and a lot funnier!!! Love ol' Leej!!!

Spaw


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