mudcat.org: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3]


blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)

DigiTrad:
NOT IN THE BOOK


Related threads:
Rise Up Mudcat!, RUS Volume 3 (online) (52)
Rise Up Singing Book II: 'Rise Again' (158)
homage to Rise Up Singing (374)
Mudcat Up Singing - a perfect songbook (34)
Lyr Req: Not in the Book (20)
Cheapest copies of RUS? (7)
RISE UP SINGING II - Current Status??? (14) (closed)
Revised RUS due next fall (9)
Help: Rise Up Singing II (10) (closed)
9/11 NYC Help--Rise Up Singing (8)
Help: Trouble w chords in RISE UP SINGING?? (43)
What's RISE UP SINGING? (42)
Help: Rise Up Singing Two (9) (closed)
Help: Update on 'Rise up Singing' 2000 (23)
Any news on the Rise Up Singing sequel? (18)
Sequel to Rise Up Singing coming in Spring (2) (closed)
Rise Up Singing (47)
Suggestions for Rise Up Singing II (39) (closed)
In defense of RUS (4)


GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 07 Feb 02 - 12:24 AM
Amos 07 Feb 02 - 12:27 AM
ddw 07 Feb 02 - 12:31 AM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 07 Feb 02 - 12:35 AM
ddw 07 Feb 02 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 07 Feb 02 - 12:51 AM
Don Firth 07 Feb 02 - 02:24 AM
GUEST 24 Feb 03 - 06:19 PM
Deckman 24 Feb 03 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,denise:^) at work 24 Feb 03 - 06:53 PM
Joe Offer 24 Feb 03 - 07:28 PM
Ebbie 24 Feb 03 - 08:22 PM
Amos 24 Feb 03 - 08:30 PM
Snuffy 24 Feb 03 - 08:48 PM
Joe Offer 24 Feb 03 - 08:58 PM
mg 24 Feb 03 - 10:08 PM
mg 24 Feb 03 - 10:10 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 03 - 10:27 PM
Amos 24 Feb 03 - 10:48 PM
Bill D 24 Feb 03 - 11:02 PM
Stewart 24 Feb 03 - 11:10 PM
Deckman 24 Feb 03 - 11:12 PM
Bev and Jerry 24 Feb 03 - 11:25 PM
artbrooks 24 Feb 03 - 11:25 PM
mg 24 Feb 03 - 11:40 PM
Bill D 24 Feb 03 - 11:52 PM
Ebbie 24 Feb 03 - 11:56 PM
Mooh 25 Feb 03 - 09:02 AM
Frankham 25 Feb 03 - 03:32 PM
fsharpdim7 25 Feb 03 - 03:48 PM
MMario 25 Feb 03 - 03:53 PM
artbrooks 25 Feb 03 - 03:59 PM
greg stephens 25 Feb 03 - 04:09 PM
Bill D 25 Feb 03 - 06:40 PM
Joe_F 25 Feb 03 - 07:46 PM
Deckman 25 Feb 03 - 08:05 PM
MAG 26 Feb 03 - 12:12 PM
Deckman 26 Feb 03 - 12:24 PM
sharyn 26 Feb 03 - 01:58 PM
denise:^) 26 Feb 03 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,Mudjack 27 Feb 03 - 03:22 PM
Bill D 27 Feb 03 - 04:24 PM
mg 27 Feb 03 - 09:42 PM
Jon Bartlett 27 Feb 03 - 10:31 PM
Joe Offer 27 Feb 03 - 11:08 PM
Deckman 27 Feb 03 - 11:38 PM
mg 28 Feb 03 - 02:09 AM
Jon Bartlett 28 Feb 03 - 02:50 AM
mg 28 Feb 03 - 03:19 AM
MMario 28 Feb 03 - 12:09 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:








Subject: blue books revisited
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 12:24 AM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: blue books revisited
From: Amos
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 12:27 AM

Mary:

Are you you said everything you meant to say on this topic??

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: blue books revisited
From: ddw
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 12:31 AM

Amos,

Are you?

d


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: blue books revisited
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 12:35 AM

Oh, I think we have to think about this one some more. I just came from a wonderful camp, but there were times I would just leave a group because of too much of the BBS. And I know I am not the only one. Some people have more of a tolerance for them, and will stick it out. But believe me, I know for a fact that people will leave a session once those books come out. You might not even know they are gone, but they do sneak out. And it seems to be the people with the best voices and best songs. And new people are not told this because I guess it's not polite.

I guess what I am referring to mostly is the late night, unofficial sessions, where the best music happens. That's when it drives me crazy. I guess a workshop, or song circle is fair game.

But I think people should express their opinions, one way or the other, unless it conflicts with mine, of course. And groups should let newcomers know if there is a group preference. And people don't have to follow the groupthink on this..they should be free to do what they want...but they should know that the quality of the music goes way way down. Maybe it is counterbalanced by something else...a better sense of community or something....but I go mainly for the music. I don't want to ruin people's enjoyment by any means...but I think they should know the consequences of those BBs. And that is, quite often, based on my observation only, that the best singers will quit coming to your song circles. They will have secret hiding places at camps and sing in the dark so you can't read them. They are passionate about how much they dislike what it does to the music.

I guess I have a couple of recommendations. One is, if you like them, use them, but use them for yourself only. Don't ask the group to turn to a particular page, wait while they do it, then ask if anyone knows the tune. You can learn the tune and refer to the words. Better yet, you can hum along or sing the chorus on songs and learn them as you go. If y ou are running a camp or a song circle, consider this problem, and maybe have some suggestions on when and when not to bring them out, and I would say, as a general rule, O.K. during official sessions listed on the program, OK if you set up your own session later on, but don't bring them to a group of people already singing. It really really disrupts the flow and greatly reduces the quality of the singing.

There. I said it.

mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: blue books revisited
From: ddw
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 12:41 AM

Mary,

Sorry, but what are Blue Books? And why are they so bad? Is it that anybody using a cheat sheet doesn't really know the song and will turn a lousy version?

Just curious.

david


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: blue books revisited
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 12:51 AM

no...it is a book that a lot of people have. A cheat sheet is inocuous because a person has taken the time to at least partially know it...maybe she knows the tune and forgets the words. Now, the singing will still be better without it...I don't know why..if it is acoustical or what...some type of better communication that we evolved to hear...reading is basically a visual act. Singing is an oral/aural act. It calls on different parts of the brain. I don't know all the factors. But cheat sheets, while less preferable than knowing by heart, do not in any way compare to the way the BB is used...which is like a folk choir book. People know just enough to know they have heard the song somewhere, then try to patch it together. It can be quite painful. If they must use them, I would prefer that just one person used it for a cheat sheet, on a song they more or less knew and were just refreshing their memory on the words. I know there can be mental situations where memorization is not possible, and as always, we should accomodate that sort of problem. But how hard could it be to learn 2 songs say? Not that I have recently.

mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: blue books revisited
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Feb 02 - 02:24 AM

I think what Mary is referring to is Rise Up Singing (right, Mary?).

Right from the very beginning (my very beginning as a singer of folk songs), the unspoken rule, which everyone followed, was "know a song before you try to sing it in front of anybody else." Learn it first. That's kind of basic. If you don't know the song yet, don't try to sing it. If you want other people to sing a song you do know along with you, teach it to them. But--bringing a songbook to a hoot or a songfest and singing from it was regarded as a form of cheating. A real no-no!

At the John Dwyer memorial meeting of the Seattle Song Circle (about 125 people, I think) pretty much everyone sang, and no one used a song book. The last event of the evening was dismembering a copy of Rise Up Singing and feeding its pages into a shredder as an acknowledgement and a tribute to John Dwyer's loathing of "the Blue Book" and the way it dominated some of the Seattle Song Circle meetings. He wanted people to learn the songs. John only sang songs he knew. But he knew a lot of songs.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 06:19 PM

I just wrote an article for the Seattle Folklore Society Flyer (inspired by this thread) which I thought might be pertinent to add here. So here is is:

NOT IN THE BOOK

Come all ye bold singers that have to this place come,
And we'll sing songs of sailors who don't suck their thumbs;
Good cheer is our goal till the rafters we've shook.
We'll sing what we please and they're not in the book.

     Rise Up Singing is a song book often over-used at song circles. The late John Dwyer, a stalwart member of the Seattle Song Circle, loathed it, and Craig Brandis wrote this song about it. At John's memorial service in 1997 a copy was ceremoniously dismembered and fed to the fire as a tribute to him.

     So what is it about this book that some loath and others cling to for dear life? It is really a fine collection of songs to sing in groups, but not to be used in group singing. Does that make sense?

     One of my first song books was Song Fest, by Dick and Beth Best, published by the Intercollegiate Outing Club Assoc. (I.O.C.A.) in 1954. The preface to the original collection had some interesting words of wisdom: "Because the fires of enthusiasm kindled at a rousing songfest, roaring most heartily… can't be artificially preserved for I.O.C.A. posterity, this song book is inevitably a mere woodpile. The motley crew who haphazardly, and  with occasional splurge of energy, have thrown the pile together, haven't bothered about a few knots and flaws in the grain. They've gone out of their way to select good rough logs, which haven't been cut up, dried, and neatly sorted like those you find on any standard woodpile. They've tossed the big timbers in next to the small ones, but have tried to stack them up for easy reference. You'll find some of them won't burn very easily unless you corral an expert hand to touch them off, but plenty of room has been left on the pile for wood of you own choosing. In brief, the woodpilers herewith toss you the torch – and the tip that, not withstanding a random shot of smoke-in-the-eyes, which you may get in the early stages, no fire will burn more brightly than the one you concoct yourself." The following P.S. was added: "A reward of one left-hand dungaree patch, guaranteed not to rip, run, rust, tear, split, melt, break, etc. is hereby offered for the pelt of the first bohunk caught surreptiously using this book at a songfest."

     There is something about learning a song before you try to sing it in front of anyone else. If you don't know the song don't sing it! Use the book to learn it, but then put the book away. Only when a song is memorized does it come alive. Only then do you understand what the song is about and it becomes your song. You can then mold the song to your own interpretation. Singing a song is like telling a story – it doesn't work well when you read from a book.

     This advice is not meant to discourage anyone from coming to song circles, but rather to encourage them to make an investment that will pay dividends in their own and others' enjoyment. So use the book, but don't bring it to the circle! And you might also try to learn other songs that are "not in the book."

Stewart Hendrickson

Cheers, S. in Seattle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Deckman
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 06:33 PM

Very well said everyone! Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: GUEST,denise:^) at work
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 06:53 PM

I know the words to about a zillion songs--but I don't always know the chords. I find the dreaded 'blue book' quite handy for that--but, I might add,
~I will *not* try to sing something I don't know;
~I don't sing with my head buried 'twixt the pages;
~I don't ask for the same songs every month when it's "my turn" to choose;
~I know, sing, and lead MANY songs that aren't in the book!

I know that some people hate RUS--but, I've seen those *same* complaining people replace RUS with some version of their own--with a bunch of typos and only 12 songs!! I've also heard them stumble and mutter their way through a song they all "knew," but didn't really KNOW--like, for example, "The Mary Ellen Carter."

I once writhed through a dreadful song session in which verses were repeated ad nauseum (people got 'stuck' in songs & couldn't remember how to get past a certain point); "The Mary Ellen Carter" was slaughtered; and a tentative time was had by all--while a cardboard box of "the books" sat on the floor in a corner of the room!
"Guys, 'The Mary Ellen Carter' is in there," I volunteered, as they "couldn't leave her there" for about the third time.
"WE DON'T SING OUT OF 'THE BOOK!'" I was loudly told.
(By the way, I happen to know--I mean, really know!--the words to "The Mary Ellen Carter." However, the group leader told me quite firmly to "stop leading this song," because it "wasn't your choice..." --so I had to sit back and let them flounder.)

Needless to say , I never went back there...

(I don't attend song jams where folks' noses are permanently stuck between the RUS pages, where you have to sing "The John B Sails" EVERY MONTH....or anything else EVERY MONTH. I don't go to ones where songs "not in the book" are frowned upon. But using a resource certainly beats the hell out of floundering 'round a song until you are so lost you finally give up. Using a resource *may* even help you to LEARN the song! And a resource with 1200 songs is certainly going to be better than a resource with 12 songs...or 39, like the other group I visited...)

I think that the book can be a useful resource, but should not be considered the final authority on song jams/circles. I think wholesale condemnation of RUS is nearly as annoying as complete dependence. If you have confidence in yourself as a musician, and take time to learn the songs you want to share/lead, it won't matter where you got them. If you don't know a song at all, unless you have the complete lyrics in front of you, you probably ought not to be singing it in public.

Denise:^)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 07:28 PM

You're courageous, Denise. I have been flayed, drawn, and quartered on these pages more than once, simply for expousing the same ideas you expressed. Still, I continue to use Rise Up Singing. Lately, I've taken to carrying a copy of Playboy with me to singing sessions. I don't use it for the pictures, and I don't read the stories - I use it for hiding my copy of Rise Up Singing. People do wonder how I found an issue of Playboy that has the lyrics to "Dwelling in Beaulah Land," but they're too politically correct to dare to look inside and see what's really inside my magazine.

In the song circle in Sacramento, rumor has it that I know all to songs in Rise Up Singing. That's not quite true, but I know an awful lot of them, and they're the songs I like most and sing best - and I think I sing them pretty darn well. I know the songs, and refer to the book very little while I'm singing, but I find that using the book helps me sing without having to fumble for lyrics. I sing four or five times a week, but most of the people in our group sing only once a month. If they didn't have a book to lean on, they wouldn't sing at all. With the book, and with the help of a few of us, they sing up a storm and have a darn good time. If we didn't have the books, how could thirty people sing the same song together? Yes, it can get dry unless you have a few good musicians to liven things up - but the book is a great tool if you use it right.

I love the song circles I've attended in Washington, DC, and in San Francisco, and I don't use the book there (very often). However, most of the people I sing with in Sacramento, would be lost in the more sophisticated song circles.

So, I believe in the Blue Book - used judiciously. I use a hymnal in church. Why can't I use one in a song circle if it helps me?

-Joe Offer, masochistically preparing to be flayed again-


And Bill Day, I know you're gonna nail me on this issue, but your wife likes my singing just fine. [grin]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 08:22 PM

It seems like a certain mindset gels and hardens when faced with the blue book. I don't know why there is a difference from using the book versus what I do: After I know a song 'by heart' (lovely phrase), I print off 10 or so copies, then at our song circle I pass them out and lead the group in singing it; often we sing it more than once. Then some take the song home in their notebooks and others lay the sheets down for me to gather up for later use. In a matter of a couple of weeks others have learned the song, and it has become a standard.

Now, with the blue book- somehow everyone takes ownership or maybe it's equal unownership and rarely does a song from it gain vitality, personality or life; rarely does someone make it uniquely theirs. I'm sure that's not always true- and as someone once said- was it you, Joe O?- the point is to get people singing, and without a book many people won't even try. That may be- but in my experience, the book is a pernicious influence!

flippppp. flippppp. flippppp. Here's one- page 126 Arrrgggghhhh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Amos
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 08:30 PM

I don't own one but I wouldn't mind owning one, if I needed it to repair holes in my memory, or find the words to a song I was learning.

But that's the end of it. Why? Because the whole art is based on communicating by the singer to the listener, or between the singers to each other. If you put a bloody great solid book in the middle of that connection, you might as well stay home and Email the effing song. There's no life, no live and immediate communication, in an object no matter what color it is. Take it home to study, if you need, but for the love of god leave it there!

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Snuffy
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 08:48 PM

"I'm going to sing a song now. I love it so much that I couldn't be bothered to learn the words or the tune. I'm sure you'll love it"


Yeah, right


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 08:58 PM

OK, so how do you get a group of nonsingers to sing?
Yeah, I can do a campfire program and get them to sing choruses, but isn't there room for singing old songs together? How do you do that, if people don't know the words?
We use hymnals in choir all the time. Works very well.
We let the congregation use them, too.
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: mg
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 10:08 PM

I think the problem isn't so much with people using the blue books, but trying to make everyone else, and really really slowing down the rhythm while they make sure everyone turns to a page. And they shove the books at you too. I'm not fond of the music words handed out before the singing either. Say you have them and let people take them after, or before, or during, if they can do it quickly. And know the group....if they are all equally beginners, I still think they can find songs they know..Red River Valley, Home on the range..that sort of stuff. If they are really good you will drive them crazy with the blue books and they will leave most likely and not come back and the music experience will be greatly diminished. The social experience might be stronger thougn. So if you are going for a social experience it doesn't matter but if you are going for a musical experience it does. Pick your poison. And people can always hum along, read lips, etc. Sing choruses....mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: mg
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 10:10 PM

I think it would be really interesting if people gave their most heartfelt reaction to them. Then at least if we're at the same place we'll know how we feel.

I hate them.

mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 10:27 PM

Well, if it's any consolation, though Dad hated it when people sang with their faces buried in the pages, he did own a copy of the book. I have it here. But even from the very beginning, he never sang songs in public that he hadn't used us as guinea pigs at bedtime when we were trapped under the sheet he was sitting on practiced a lot first.

;-)



Maggie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Amos
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 10:48 PM

Aw, Joe, you stuck a pin in my favorite puffery!!

I guess itr's a matter of consenting adults, huh?


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:02 PM

well! what can I say after Joe has already told me what I'm gonna do? *grin*

the thing is....EVERY pursuit has its RUS. In woodturning, it's 'scrapers'...those who almost never use scrapers look down on those who can't work without scrapers. In BOTH cases, it's the end result that matters, in my opinion.
I feel a song is best sung with NO cheat sheet, because once it is 'part of' the singer, they are free to refine the details, instead of following the text and tune and fretting.

That said, *I* sometimes keep a text handy when doing a song I havent done recently...but I at least try to know the song WITH the book/sheet. As mentioned above, it is excruciating to sit thru a performance where someone is stopping to find the line, experimenting with the tune and murdering the rhythm.

I am sure that some people have a sincere problem with memory...or exceedingly bad stage fright. I don't know what to say in those cases....but nothing is improved much by reading haltingly through a song and missing half the notes. Who is entertained by this? What is the goal?

At the last local Sing, held in my basement, several people used either RUS or some other 'aid'...in a couple of cases, if I had my eyes closed, I'd never have known they were reading....in a couple of the others, it was almost painful. I heard Eric Bogle's "No Man's Land" (William McBride) totally BUTCHERED!...It is no sin to not be a wonderful singer, or to be a beginner...but I don't understand not being AWARE that you are not ready to sing some particular song in public yet.

There are groups that ONLY use RUS, and there are groups that would NEVER use it...and there are those in between that tolerate it in varying degrees. I think it should be a open issue, whenever possible, so that accomidation can be made and truces negotiated.

Books are wonderful...I have LOTS of books..I even own a copy of RUS. but among those who know, RUS is notorious for egregious mistakes and missing verses. It can be handy, but why it has become a 'bible' is beyond me...promotion, I guess.

(Why do people not bring copies of "The Folksingers Wordbook" (it is blue!)instead?...too big? wrong binding? It is a far better book, if you MUST use something like that.)

*sigh*...so many issues and side issues....my own line in the sand is simple....If you can sing so that I can't tell with my eyes closed what you are doing...I don't care!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Stewart
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:10 PM

Wow! I didn't think I would stir up such a response by bringing back this thread of only 7 posts. I don't have anything against RUS, just the way it is used or misused. I have a copy, which I refer to less and less, but I don't bring it to the circle nor do I use anyone else's copy there. If I don't know the song, I find it easier to learn by careful listening rather than plowing through the words with no regard to meaning or how the words might fit with the music. Of course that is hard when many other people are plowing through.

As an instrumentalist, as well as a singer, at instrumental sessions I also think it is not good to use a book. Tunes are better learned by ear than by notes. Yes, I do admit to using notes at home, but am trying to wean myself of that approach. And at a session, if I don't know the tune I don't try to play and muddle up the music for others. Again, attentive listening is the best way to learn. Later, when I begin to pick up the tune, I quietly try to play along without disturbing others.

Sessions, both singing and instrumental, can be enjoyable and also good learning experiences. Good musicians can (and should) help those who are not as good, but sessions are their best if they result in better music. I have little patience for those who come to sessions with no thought of learning the music or becoming better musicians. The question then is why are they there?

I think I'd better stop here, and run for cover!

Cheers, S. in Seattle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Deckman
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:12 PM

Hi Joe, I like Mary Garvey's take on this. To me, a good song fest is one where spontaneity abounds. For example, someone might get into "East Texas Red"', which logically leads to "Danville Girl," which can lead into "Hoboes Lullaby," etc. If our noses are buried in a book, that kills the moments when other companian songs emerge. Perhaps the answer is simply planning a good mix: well known group songs for the sing-a-long crowd, but try to add a measure of a free for all, where the more extensive repertoires can add to everyone enjoyment and education. CHEERS, Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:25 PM

We think RUS is a fine book for certain purposes. For one thing, it's an excellent collection of songs a lot of people know so if you learn songs from this book, a lot of people will be able to sing along with you. Also, occasions come up where someone will ask if anyone knows a particular song and no one says "yes". If it's a song we can lead only by using the blue book, sometimes we'll grab a copy and lead the song, sometimes not. It all depends on the mood of the room. But, we'll never sing a song we planned to sing unless we can do it without reading the words.

But, when everyone's using the book singing is no fun. Especially when they produce music stands to hold the book so they can play and read the words out of the book and no one can see their faces.

We once went to a song circle where every song was "in the book" and there was more than one complaint that people were not allowing enough time between announcing the song name and page and starting the song, so some people couldn't get to the page in RUS for the very first word of the song. This group no longer exists.

To answer your question, Joe, the book is used as a crutch and many people will never put their crutch down unless pressured to do so. So, start by introducing some songs which are not in the book but are well known or have easy to learn choruses. Little by little, you can reduce the book to occasional use. We bet you could do that with hymnals, too.

Bev and Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: artbrooks
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:25 PM

Well, I bring BOTH Rise Up Singing and The Folksingers Wordbook! And I also bring songsheets to pass around. Perhaps it makes a difference if the group you sing with is a "song circle," where everyone takes turns singing something and everyone else sits there quietly and listens, or a "sing-a-long," where everyone sings together, assuming that they know the tune and have the words. There's also nothing at all wrong, IMHO, with the kind of session where there is a mixture of the two options. I enjoy hearing a song I don't know done by someone that does it well, and I also enjoy participating with a dozen people in something everyone knows...especially if the words are in front of them.

A steady diet of RUS is boring, especially if you've been singing out of the thing for twenty years. At the same time, I think it brings people into the group...and once they're singing, they too can mine the DT for fun things to suggest the next time around.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: mg
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:40 PM

I know not everyone knows everybody else in a group...but sometimes when absolutely legendary people show up..who are so good..I think if you really love the music you should drop the take turns routine and just let them shine..they will know songs that others can sing choruses of..or teach them new ones...I have seen this so much...when people I am dying to hear and who have such songs to sing are subjected to this...and I have said this before..they get in little clusters and find another room or building or whatever and they sneak out. now if they would only tell me where they go..

And I think my biggest peeve is when it is not an official anything..especially the late night music at the music camps. I would say if you are beginner there keep the books away and follow the lead of the truly great singers. I don't think anyone has to try to improve themselves at all..they can be choruses, or just enjoy the beautiful music, but I also don't think they should break the flow of the music.

mg

mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:52 PM

I remember the time someone sang a song from memory, and sang it well, and when he was done, someone held up RUS and complained that he "didn't do it right"! *grin*...now THAT was interesting as we explained that RUS had a VERY much condensed, edited version that was not 'exactly' the standard.

This is similar to folks who hear some well-known singer do a song, even if they have re-written half of it, and assume that if "X" did it, it IS the best way! (Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton are famous, not original sources)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:56 PM

I agree with you, Mary. As a general thing the weekly music at my home is a song circle- each in turn either sings, plays, requests a song from someone else or passes. However, if someone is here who is in town to do a concert, that night is a different experience for us all. It simply never fails that the person is pumped so that s/he and those others present who are in the guest's league tend to give us a wonderful, special night. Those of us who don't perform will be encouraged by me (Calvin Ball, you know!) to listen, request, and appreciate. Isn't music wonderful!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Mooh
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 09:02 AM

What fun, another RUS thread!

I need to be reminded of my postal code, never mind words and chords for songs, so I don't mind at all using references. No, my nose isn't firmly planted in "the book" but it sure helps me down my forgetful path. I may have some mental condition, but damn the torpedos I won't be denied my right to song.

For what it is, RUS is pretty good, widely available, and more or less generic enough to suit most users. It isn't the definitive anything because song is derivitive, interpretive, and evolving. If there are different versions and interpretations of the Bible, why can't there be of folk songs? RUS doesn't pretend to be cut in stone, and it says as much in its introduction, so there's no reason to treat it as the ten commandments of folk music.

I don't actually use RUS any more than any other of the dozens of other song books on my shelves, and I normally use a book of my own making. Nonetheless, it would be hard to fit as many songs into as little space as RUS so it sure is convenient.

A well known high profile folkie once took me to task for sitting back and listening instead of sharing a song. When I played Peter Amberlay differently than he would, he said I was wrong. I countered that we're both right. I figure it's his loss if he disagrees. (And I did check my sources.) Can't wait to play it for him again!

Rise Up Grinning, Mooh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Frankham
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 03:32 PM

Love this thread. I have no problem for people who want to use Rise Up Squinting to learn words. I think a compromise might be a singer who uses large print to remember a word or two they get stuck on. But to keep your nose in Rise Up Squinting is in my view somewhat antisocial. It keeps your eyes in the wrong place. To use it to remember chords is equally a distraction. Why shouldn't one memorize the chords as well as the melody or the lyrics?

I got back into teaching groups for this very reason. We run a class of beginning folk music and encourage people to bring tape recorders so they can learn the tunes at home. We pass out lyric sheets but put 'em away while they're singing in the class. Instead of chord sheets, we try to get 'em to memorize the progressions by using the numeral system. (So-called Nashville numbering but it didn't originate in Nashville, musicians have been using it for years). To my way of thinking, church hymnals are a bane. In my day (grumpy old man) folks learned the lyrics by heart and we liked it!

But I confess to having to use a cheat sheet when trying to sing songs in different languages for a specific gig. It's a cop out but it helps me keep working.

What is needed and what we try to address in our clases is how to learn a song lyric and accompany it on a respective instrument. It's not all that easy to learn lyrics by heart but there are proscribed ways of doing it involving some homework.

1. Repeat the line of each stanza to be learned at least twenty times.
2. Connect each line of the stanza with singing the last word or two of the first line and the first word or two of the next line at least twenty times. Do this with every line.
3.   Learn the chord progression of the song by heart so that you can play it without having to hear the melody. This allows more advanced musicians to improvise over the chords.

In short, the more people that can learn to sing together and make music without printed material, the better in my opinion.

Frank Hamilton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: fsharpdim7
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 03:48 PM

Get ready, folks. You ain't seen nothing yet. I predict that circles will become even MORE tied to RUS when the BIG print (leader's) edition comes out (Mark says soon). When the type is big enough for all to read, it will be an even greater temptation to bury the nose in it. But I think that the alternative - where people try to sing songs that they think they know, but don't (me included sometimes) - is much worse. (See the Yahoo Sing Out group for more info.)
Chris in Wheaton, IL


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: MMario
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 03:53 PM

well - given that none of the melodies are in RUS - someoneneeds to know the blasted song before you sing it!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: artbrooks
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 03:59 PM

MMario, Sing Out will be glad to sell you a tape (or tapes) with the tunes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: greg stephens
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 04:09 PM

This seems to be an exclusively American thread, I don't think we have sessions with everyone singing out of the same book on this side of the pond. But the subject is intriguing. Do you confine youselves at these get-togethers to songs that lend themselves to communal singing, or do people sing sort of solo-type songs ensemble as well?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 06:40 PM

Mooh...about 'right' & 'wrong' versions....it is certainly true that variations exist in folk music, but just as there are several 'rights' there can be many 'wrongs',.....different versions of the bible DO exist, but if **I** were to do a translation from the Aramaic, it would be considered silly, and rightly so.

There is a big difference between slight phrasing variations and plain careless errors in hearing/editing....and RUS has WAY more than their share. Having only one book for reference, those errors will become set in stone for some folks....I'm glad you say you have a number.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Joe_F
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 07:46 PM

I may have made this point on one of the other threads, but -- RUS can be a blessing even if most people know the song.

I was in a high school that had a strong folksinging tradition, and we didn't need any ******* books because we learned the songs from each other and so there was a Putney version of every song we knew.

That was 50 years ago. There are few such subcultures now. If you & I, having just met at a singing party, both knowing the St James Infirmary Blues, aspire to sing it together, we shall have to do some fancy eyebrow raising or telepathy to figure out which stanza is next, and whether it's old Joe McGinty or McKennedy. If six people are trying it, the thing is impossible; we'll all be tripping on each other's tongues. The version in RUS is something we can settle on at a glance, even tho, of course, it isn't the right one %^).

I would far rather sing with a beer mug in one hand & a chocolate-chip cookie in the other & my eyes on the face of the person opposite (how beautiful people are when they sing!). But sometimes RUS is the lesser evil.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 08:05 PM

I know I digress ... but I can draw a comparison here. Bride Judy and I have a constant "SCRABBLE" game going on our dining table. It's fun, we keep score, and we're very serious (in a fun way) about it. Yet, at some point, one MUST have one ultimate bible, one totally correct referee. We use the latest version of the "Scrabble Dictionary." But ... occasionally, we both dissagree with that bible ... cheat ... but only by mutual agreement ... when we feel the dictionary is just flat wrong. What's my point, you may ask? My point is simply this ... there are sing-a-longs, and song circles, and gatherings, and hoots! And as someone said quite well, "Ain't music fun?" Make it work. It can work, because music is far to important to allow it not to work. CHEERS, Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: MAG
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 12:12 PM

I recognise myself at both ends of this spectrum, having set up a music stand at one song circle, and been blasted at another for doing a song different from "The Book."

What I really need to do is find a way to quit my job so I can practice to my heart's content, in spite of arthritis ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Deckman
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 12:24 PM

HEY MAG ... I've got a simple solution to your problem. Just set up your music stand at work and then start to practice there. That ought to solve your delemma. (big grin) Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: sharyn
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 01:58 PM

Comparing the Blue Book to hymnals is really not fair -- in my churchgoing days the reason to use the hymnal was to poach the alto, tenor or bass part when you got tired of singing the melody line. The entire congregation did this. It was also useful for showing the line-breaks in Gregorian chants.

As others have pointed out, the Blue Book does not contain melodies or harmonies -- and it is a good thing that it doesn't because if it did we would have to contend with people who would allow for no melodic or harmonic variation, just as they now stubbornly insist that words must be sung this way "because it's in the book."

Now, a confession. I am one of those late-night singers with a huge repertory and a good memory and I am generally vocal in my derision for the book. But, I opened one singing session in January by borrowing a copy of the Blue Book to lead "Beulahland." Why? Because the song was going through my head, because I know the tune, the chorus, the first verse and a few other lines of this particular song, because I was in the mood to sing it, because no one else knew it all by heart and because it fit the mood and size of the session. And I was grateful to my compadre who had the book there. If it had not been there I would have chosen another song. (And I can see, for you die-hards, I'm going to have to add "Beulahland" to my active repertory). So, the book can be used well by an accomplished singer in a pinch, but as others have said, folksong is largely an oral tradition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: denise:^)
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 04:13 PM

I still contend that I've been in "song circles" that reminded me more of gerbils running around in one of those wheels in their cage...round and round, and getting nowhere, because someone is "stuck" at a point in a song they "know," and can't get past it!! Without finishing the song, they feel a sort of "songus interruptus," and so they're reluctant to admit that they just don't know it--and they plod on interminably, without ever making any progress. That, for me, is a much greater misery than that of using 'the book.'

I guess we all have to decide what makes us crazier!!

Of course, a song*writer's* circle is NOT a community sing or song circle; an open stage is not a community sing or song circle; a coffehouse is not a community sing or song circle...I think you get my drift. There are places I would NEVER drag out RUS!
(I use the terms community sing, song circle, sing-along, and song jam interchangeably, referring to a situation in which many folks who enjoy singing--but don't necessarily perform or sing solos--get together and SING. THAT'S what I think RUS was designed for...)

Any time I'm performing, I have my material committed to memory, of course--but when I'm asked to "moderate" a sing-along at a festival, I find that RUS is a big help with those requests that I'm familiar with, but have never performed or memorized. I also find that folks at a sing-along aren't disturbed by the fact that I don't have every song in the world committed to memory, chords and all. They just want to sing, and want someone up front who can lead them in their favorites.

(As for the "you did it WRONG!" folks, they exist everywhere, and they'll ALWAYS find a source to support their point of view. RUS can't be blamed for them--I heard folks saying that at the first "open stage" I ever performed at, back in 19xx, when I was about 10 years old. The "wrongers" predate RUS, and will still be around long after it's gone...)

Denise:^)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: GUEST,Mudjack
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 03:22 PM

I am guilty for being less tolerant to using "The Blue Book" Great book but perehaps the most abused song book in exsistance.
I see where folks often use it as a "juke box" selection guide. They see a song they haven't heard in decades, but remember someone famous singing it and toss it out there like everyone in the room can just do it, when knowing they can't begin to lead it. Like Mary G says, some folks sneak out of the room when it comes out, Thats me.
Mudjack


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 04:24 PM

'that' situation, Mudjack, is precisely the biggest problem. You outlined very clearly what I have seen happen a number of times.

To repeat: IF you can lead/sing the song clearly and reasonably with just a little help for your memory, by all means, go ahead. Otherwise ASK if anyone else can.....if no one knows it, DON'T try to cobble it together from 17 vague memories of the tune, rhythm and pace. All you will succeed in doing is driving away many of the better singers who cringe in discomfortat good songs being half-done.

If you don't mind this result, be my guest...I guess it is possible on some level to enjoy the awkward attempts, but not for many of us.

Once more....the point is usually to have a good song rendered in an enjoyable manner, even if you are reading some of the words....even better is to gradually reduce the amount of dependance on the book.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: mg
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 09:42 PM

so mudjack, where do you great singers sneak off to? I always check the bathrooms, kitchen, woodshed etc....

mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 10:31 PM

Yeah, Deckman! Singing is a conversation or it's a concert; and I don't like concerts. If you find you have a limited amount of things to say in a conversation, you don't bring along a phrasebook to help you out, saying, "I can never remember any good topics."

I've got a good memory, a lot of songs, and a good few folk books too (being as how I'm the archivist of our local Society) and am avid for more. The books include the Blue Book of Death, which is always good for a laugh when the words are totally screwed up (like the "stuns'l "bones" in Maui), or for what's NOT in it (like the "Good Old Mountain Dew" (Irish version) or even a Drinking section (you have to look under "Unity", I think, but you won't find "The Barley Mow", Drink Old England Dry", "Fathom the Bowl", "Bottle of Wine", the drinking song from the Student Prince, "Ye Mar'ners All", Bring Us a Barrel", "Roll Out the barrel", "Boozing, Bloody Well Boozing", "All For me Grog", "Five Deadly Sins", "Jones' Ale", "The Old Dun Cow", "Jug of Punch" (for Christ's sake!), "The Parting Glass", "Three Jolly Boys", 'Ard Tac", "Bluey Brink", "The Pub with No Beer", "Ratcliffe Highway", "Sammy's Bar", "The Very Fat Man Wot Waters the Workers' Beer" or a thousand other like songs). You will on the other hand find some really good party songs like "In Christ there is no East and West", "It's Only a Wee Wee", and "Shake My Sillies Out". ("I'm sorry, Officer, I was just shaking my sillies out...").

In short, the biggest argument against RUS is its pathetic puritanism, masquerading as New Age sensitivity. There! I've said it - now flog me!

Jon Bartlett


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 11:08 PM

Well, I think it's safe to say that most of the songs in the "blue book" are composed, not traditional. Most of the time, there IS a correct set of lyrics for a composed song, and Rise Up Singing generally has the correct lyrics for those songs.
What bugs me more, is people who complain when you don't sing a song the same as the recording they know.
I don't think Rise Up Singing is a good source for singers of traditional ballads (like Sharyn, f'rinstance...).

The "Man Who Waters the Workers' Beer" IS in the Blue Book, but I will agree that there is a lot of politically-correct Puritanism in the book.

-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Deckman
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 11:38 PM

Hi Jon ... I appreciate your comment that a good sing is like a good conversation (my words). Very well said! And this goes back to what Mary Garvey (damn fine singer, by the way) has said. I've most always found that when the "book" comes out, no matter what book it is, I simply head for the back door. (that's where we usually hang out, in the garage, in the backyard, on the way to our cars). And I want to add this point: if it were not for my careful LISTENING, I would still be singing the one version of Foggy Dew I learned when I was 12! CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: mg
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 02:09 AM

hooray..someone has broken the silence and now I know where to look for the great singers..never thought to check the carports...one thing I have noticed..is they leave the gosh-awful flourescent lights off...that alone does so much to make a late evening session more nice...whenever we suggest turning down the awful lights, leaving enough to navigate by etc..someone will always say the book people need them. Can't they be asked to bring a flashlight? I carry two at all times so I shall loan one out...I am talking about late night sessions mostly at the camps..got another one coming up...take me with you when you sneak out. Actually I am thinking of where could Jon Bartlett and Mudjack sneak out to where they wouldn't be heard for about five miles away they have such powerful voices...

I think we all have to do some sort of balancing act between being hospitable and encouraging to everyone and doing sometimes the opposite actions that will produce the most wonderful music...the two are often incompatible in some situations. Splinter groups are often the answer..

mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 02:50 AM

Exactly, Mary... but they leave the fluorescent lights on full because they're TASTELESS! Which is why they sing songs from the BBD. Yes, Joe, you're right... but why do that title it "The Man THAT Waters the Workers' Beer" when the very first line has WHO? Not only are they tasteless, they ain't got no GRAMMAR! GRR!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: mg
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 03:19 AM

I think for a lot of people it might not be an auditory experience so the actual sound of the music might not be as important to them as it is to others of us who like the actual sounds produced. People talk about a lot of reasons for liking music, but it is almost like they never talk about the sensory experience..our puritanical background again I guess. It tinkles our eardrums nicely. Ask 20 people why they like music...some like the emotional experience, some like the political expression, some like the community sharing etc...rarely will a person say because it feels good. There. I have said it. For me, the better it sounds, the better an experience it is. If I was more politically inclined, the sound might not matter as much and the ideas might be much more important. I know I am left-handed and probably my music center is in my dominant hemisphere..wonder if that is a factor.

g


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: blue books revisited (Rise Up Singing)
From: MMario
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 12:09 PM

Sometimes it feels like the music is actually flowing, like water; that kind of sensation you mean, Mary?

another leftie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 13 August 1:12 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.