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Who Killed Folk Music?

Jerry Rasmussen 13 Feb 02 - 11:20 PM
Art Thieme 13 Feb 02 - 11:42 PM
Steve in Idaho 13 Feb 02 - 11:54 PM
TeriLu 14 Feb 02 - 12:00 AM
Little Hawk 14 Feb 02 - 01:57 AM
The Shambles 14 Feb 02 - 02:40 AM
Crane Driver 14 Feb 02 - 02:41 AM
Little Hawk 14 Feb 02 - 02:45 AM
Chris Amos 14 Feb 02 - 05:50 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 14 Feb 02 - 07:05 AM
Dave the Gnome 14 Feb 02 - 07:11 AM
Janice in NJ 14 Feb 02 - 07:12 AM
The Shambles 14 Feb 02 - 08:09 AM
kendall 14 Feb 02 - 08:39 AM
Les from Hull 14 Feb 02 - 09:46 AM
reggie miles 14 Feb 02 - 10:28 AM
M.Ted 14 Feb 02 - 11:07 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Feb 02 - 11:49 AM
GUEST 14 Feb 02 - 12:18 PM
Desdemona 14 Feb 02 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Fiddlin'Buck 14 Feb 02 - 12:38 PM
Art Thieme 14 Feb 02 - 12:40 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 14 Feb 02 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,guest 14 Feb 02 - 12:45 PM
Clinton Hammond 14 Feb 02 - 12:46 PM
Ebbie 14 Feb 02 - 01:19 PM
Jeri 14 Feb 02 - 01:42 PM
Lonesome EJ 14 Feb 02 - 02:06 PM
The Shambles 14 Feb 02 - 02:19 PM
Jeri 14 Feb 02 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Suffet at work 14 Feb 02 - 03:58 PM
Chicken Charlie 14 Feb 02 - 04:06 PM
M.Ted 14 Feb 02 - 04:33 PM
Bill D 14 Feb 02 - 05:16 PM
Rick Fielding 14 Feb 02 - 05:52 PM
Chicken Charlie 14 Feb 02 - 06:05 PM
Lonesome EJ 14 Feb 02 - 07:17 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 14 Feb 02 - 07:24 PM
Chicken Charlie 14 Feb 02 - 07:25 PM
Mr Red 14 Feb 02 - 07:37 PM
CarolC 14 Feb 02 - 07:43 PM
kendall 14 Feb 02 - 07:57 PM
wysiwyg 14 Feb 02 - 08:04 PM
M.Ted 14 Feb 02 - 08:35 PM
Little Hawk 14 Feb 02 - 09:11 PM
Suffet 14 Feb 02 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,Lynn Koch 14 Feb 02 - 10:29 PM
GUEST,Who killed folk music? 14 Feb 02 - 10:34 PM
GUEST 14 Feb 02 - 10:37 PM
Phil Cooper 14 Feb 02 - 11:51 PM
GUEST,coyote breath 15 Feb 02 - 12:17 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Feb 02 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,Dageham Doc 15 Feb 02 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,eliza 15 Feb 02 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,eliza 15 Feb 02 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,eliza 15 Feb 02 - 09:04 AM
Jeri 15 Feb 02 - 09:29 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 15 Feb 02 - 11:47 AM
Lonesome EJ 15 Feb 02 - 12:50 PM
Chicken Charlie 15 Feb 02 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,John Hernandez 15 Feb 02 - 02:28 PM
DougR 15 Feb 02 - 04:10 PM
Mr Red 15 Feb 02 - 04:35 PM
Wesley S 15 Feb 02 - 05:39 PM
Joe_F 15 Feb 02 - 06:05 PM
Bobert 15 Feb 02 - 07:44 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 02 - 08:29 PM
Bobert 15 Feb 02 - 10:34 PM
banjomad (inactive) 16 Feb 02 - 07:09 AM
Suffet 16 Feb 02 - 09:08 AM
Desdemona 17 Feb 02 - 08:29 AM
JEM-Wales 17 Feb 02 - 09:20 AM
MichaelAnthony 17 Feb 02 - 10:31 AM
Art Thieme 18 Feb 02 - 11:38 PM
CarolC 19 Feb 02 - 01:21 AM
The Shambles 19 Feb 02 - 01:47 AM
CarolC 19 Feb 02 - 02:09 AM
The Shambles 19 Feb 02 - 02:57 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 19 Feb 02 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,DaveP 19 Feb 02 - 08:44 AM
Big Mick 19 Feb 02 - 08:46 AM
Don Firth 19 Feb 02 - 04:53 PM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 02 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,vince 19 Feb 02 - 05:50 PM
Lonesome EJ 19 Feb 02 - 06:06 PM
CarolC 19 Feb 02 - 06:13 PM
The Shambles 19 Feb 02 - 07:11 PM
Miken 19 Feb 02 - 09:56 PM
Miken 19 Feb 02 - 10:04 PM
Little Hawk 20 Feb 02 - 12:05 AM
Terch 20 Feb 02 - 09:04 AM
Little Hawk 20 Feb 02 - 01:14 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 Feb 02 - 04:17 PM
Don Firth 20 Feb 02 - 04:23 PM
CarolC 20 Feb 02 - 05:19 PM
Art Thieme 20 Feb 02 - 05:50 PM
Little Hawk 20 Feb 02 - 09:05 PM
Steve Latimer 20 Feb 02 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,mac 21 Feb 02 - 09:27 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Feb 02 - 10:47 AM
Fortunato 21 Feb 02 - 11:09 AM
Janice in NJ 13 Nov 05 - 09:31 PM
Effsee 13 Nov 05 - 09:59 PM
jimmyt 13 Nov 05 - 10:42 PM
jimmyt 13 Nov 05 - 10:48 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 14 Nov 05 - 01:24 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Nov 05 - 04:16 AM
Stephen L. Rich 14 Nov 05 - 04:17 AM
Keef 14 Nov 05 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,DB 14 Nov 05 - 08:53 AM
Peter T. 14 Nov 05 - 09:47 AM
Flash Company 14 Nov 05 - 10:03 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 14 Nov 05 - 10:12 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 14 Nov 05 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 14 Nov 05 - 11:28 AM
DebC 14 Nov 05 - 12:02 PM
DebC 14 Nov 05 - 12:17 PM
DebC 14 Nov 05 - 12:19 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 14 Nov 05 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,Dave 14 Nov 05 - 01:53 PM
Suffet 14 Nov 05 - 04:53 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 14 Nov 05 - 05:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Nov 05 - 05:14 PM
Joybell 14 Nov 05 - 07:09 PM
Joybell 14 Nov 05 - 07:15 PM
dick greenhaus 14 Nov 05 - 08:02 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 14 Nov 05 - 08:26 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 14 Nov 05 - 08:57 PM
rongcro 14 Nov 05 - 10:32 PM
Suffet 14 Nov 05 - 11:14 PM
Zhenya 15 Nov 05 - 12:08 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 15 Nov 05 - 01:26 AM
Stephen L. Rich 15 Nov 05 - 01:44 AM
mg 15 Nov 05 - 02:33 AM
Richard Bridge 15 Nov 05 - 04:26 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Nov 05 - 05:37 AM
Andrez 15 Nov 05 - 05:51 AM
Suffet 15 Nov 05 - 08:10 AM
Rusty Dobro 15 Nov 05 - 08:34 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Nov 05 - 09:53 AM
DebC 15 Nov 05 - 12:42 PM
Suffet 15 Nov 05 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 15 Nov 05 - 03:24 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Nov 05 - 03:46 PM
dick greenhaus 15 Nov 05 - 04:01 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Nov 05 - 04:07 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Nov 05 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 15 Nov 05 - 04:32 PM
shepherdlass 15 Nov 05 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Paddy Reilly came back. 15 Nov 05 - 05:02 PM
Stephen L. Rich 15 Nov 05 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 15 Nov 05 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Franz S. 15 Nov 05 - 06:43 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Nov 05 - 06:55 PM
John Routledge 15 Nov 05 - 07:00 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Nov 05 - 07:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Nov 05 - 07:50 PM
Peace 15 Nov 05 - 07:52 PM
Peace 15 Nov 05 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 15 Nov 05 - 08:54 PM
akenaton 15 Nov 05 - 09:51 PM
Cluin 15 Nov 05 - 09:52 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 16 Nov 05 - 04:27 AM
Bob Bolton 16 Nov 05 - 04:58 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Nov 05 - 07:11 AM
Janice in NJ 16 Nov 05 - 07:17 AM
Betsy 16 Nov 05 - 07:23 AM
GUEST 16 Nov 05 - 07:31 AM
Hopfolk 16 Nov 05 - 07:31 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Nov 05 - 09:05 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 05 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,BazT 16 Nov 05 - 09:42 AM
John P 16 Nov 05 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,BazT 16 Nov 05 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,potbelly 16 Nov 05 - 10:25 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 05 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,John Hernandez 16 Nov 05 - 11:42 AM
Hopfolk 16 Nov 05 - 03:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Nov 05 - 04:57 PM
shepherdlass 16 Nov 05 - 06:19 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Nov 05 - 06:30 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 05 - 07:35 PM
Janice in NJ 16 Nov 05 - 07:42 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 05 - 07:54 PM
Stephen L. Rich 16 Nov 05 - 10:44 PM
mg 16 Nov 05 - 11:22 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 05 - 11:42 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 16 Nov 05 - 11:48 PM
Hopfolk 17 Nov 05 - 07:16 AM
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Subject: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 11:20 PM

Every once in a while I read in one thread or another a statement about who killed folk music. It seems like folks are about equally split between Dylan and the Beatles. I just have a few questions.

First of all, who says folk music is dead? Perhaps it died and I didn't notice? If it's dead, who are we?

What do you mean, dead? No more top 40 folk songs? No more Puff The Magic Dragon, Michael Row The Boat Ashore or the Ballad of Charlie and the M.T.A? When folk music stopped being played on a.m. stations, did it die?

Or maybe people mean that traditional music on the coffee house circuit is dead. That's a little closer to the truth, although even pre-Dylan there was a lot of music being played that wasn't traditional, and there are still places where traditional folk music is welcomed today.

And how did the Beatles kill folk music? By being more popular? Getting the women? If the Beatles hadn't come along, would folk music still rule the airwaves?

Just wondering...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 11:42 PM

Ah, Jerry, my man, alas, it probably got what it deserved. ;-)

Art


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 11:54 PM

I was going to say Guest did it but would get shot in the butt for that one. It's alive Jerry - here in our hearts. Didn't you see that Folk tune I posted the lyrics to today? I doubt 20 people here know it - and it has been around for 30+ years -

Love Ya Brother

Steve


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: TeriLu
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:00 AM

Television.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 01:57 AM

Television has killed a lot more than folk music. It's killed a lot of brain cells too, and annihilated a vast amount of human culture and ancient wisdom.

But what really killed folk music was the music business itself. They discovered that they could make BIG BUCKS with it in the late 50's, and proceeded to milk it dry, commercialize it to death with plastic folk groups, and overexpose it till there was nothing left to milk.

That is exactly why Dylan moved on. He just realized sooner than most that the folk scene (on a large scale, that is) was dying, turning into stale cliche and repetition, and could not be sustained. Most of the other folksingers realized it some time later. Some never caught on.

It is the latter group who castigate Dylan for recognizing what they could not.

Dylan is still a person with a tremendous sense of the folk tradition, as he has demonstrated again and again. Check out his 2 folk albums from the early 90's and read the liner notes on "World Gone Wrong".

Or ask Rick Fielding.

Folk is not truly dead, of course. For those who love it, folk will never die, and there will always be such people, but as a mainstream radio and TV musical thing it is finished, just like disco, rock 'n roll, old country, new wave, progressive rock, and any number of other fads that the MUSIC INDUSTRY has exploited to death and then abandoned. (I like folk better than those others, but they have all suffered much the same fate at the hands of commerce.)

The Music Business killed folk. They kill everything they touch...after making a killing on it first.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 02:40 AM

In the UK it was the man who edits a very influential magazine that dropped the 'F' word from the title.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 02:41 AM

The best thing that ever happened to folk music was for the "music industry" to drop it and move away to plague someone else. No, folk isn't dead. It may not be possible to make a fortune from it these days, but that's not what it's for anyway.

Folk was never nearer to being dead than when it was all over the radio and being commercialised to hell, but it wasn't really dead, just stunned into a coma by big bucks. As an art, as opposed to an industry, it's healthier now that people have got back to doing it for the love of it, not because it's trendy or a route to being famous and wealthy.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 02:45 AM

Yes, that is quite right.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Chris Amos
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 05:50 AM

Hi,

In a way I see the computers and the net as saving folk music, at least music made by the people.

What the music industry has done is to turn music into a consumer item, not something you do your self or partisipate in. Off the net you can now download mixers etc., have your own MP3 sites, contact other musicians on the other side of the world. Where I work some of the young people, who have never taken part in any musical activity other than going clubbing are now playing around with sampling on bits of kit they have down loaded.

In a funny way even the TV shows like Pop Star helps as it shows that "stars" were once normal people before the likes of Pete Waterman & Nasty Nigel get their claws into them.

Folk music is not what it once was and thankfully never will be, but I feel a lot more confident about music of the people surviving than I did a few years.

Onward and upward

Chris


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 07:05 AM

I picked up a wonderfully bizarre secondhand book recently called "The Marxist Minstrels: How communism is taking over music". Written by an American clergyman as late as 1974, it maintained, at great length, that all pop and folk music artistes were in league with the Devil and Moscow. I think a couple of Mudcatters get honourable mention!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 07:11 AM

I have to own up. It was me. People have been saying that I have been murdering folk music for years...

On a more serious note - go to BBC Radio 2 web site (www.bbc.co.uk/radio2) and look at the folk awards to see if folk music is dead. It looks alive and well and living in Radio 2 land to me! And before anyone makes any disparaging remarks about Radio 2 look at the awards it has won itself (Best radio station, multiple best presenters, biggest audience increase etc etc)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 07:12 AM

Televison, the music industry, or whatever -- even the mini-star system within our own folk music community -- all add up to one thing: the notion that people are passive consumers of entertainment. Music is simply one product. So are visual arts, cinema, theatre, sports, etc. Even something once as democratic and participatory as snowboarding has been co-opted into megabucks passive entertainment. Excuse me if I puke. Or maybe cry.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 08:09 AM

Well said Janice

Dave is it not what Janice has just described that you are referring to as being good at the awards and Radio 2? The product?

In the case of these recent awards, the FOLK are reduced to looking through the windows from outside or hearing it the day after on web casts and radio.

They feel they have to invite 'pop stars' in order to make the event watchable and have all the trappings of other awards. At the next 'Brits' will Elza be singing with Robbie Williams?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: kendall
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 08:39 AM

The Kingston Trio, the Highwaymen, the Pinetoppers, all the other wannabe groups were a long way from real folk music, and maybe they deserved to die off; but, as far as I'm concerned, I'd rather listen to any of them than the crap that replaced them in popularity. My idols, Buryl Ives and Pete Seeger were never on the top of the popularity heap to begin with, so, they were not really replaced.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 09:46 AM

I have a cast iron alibi!

I have to agree with what people have said so far. The music industry doesn't want too much to do with folk music, as it can't make so much money out of it. And the media are mainly interested in what the music industry presents as it come with money attached. And people like what the media tell them to like.

Our music gets much more freedom from being largely outside this 'money loop'. I'm sure there are many of us who would like to have more money, but at least we do have the freedom to do what we like with our music.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: reggie miles
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 10:28 AM

The only thing that is inevitable is change. Who was it who said, the times they are a changin'? ;o) Some prophetic doomsayer no doubt. *BG* Though there are hardcore preservationists out there working to save glorious moments in musical styles and idioms, change, like time, marches ever onward and, as the saying goes, waits for no man. Our own individual capabilty to be mutable, versatile or flexible enough to alter our perceptions with these changes that take place, at what seems like a continually quicker rate with each passing day, is key to our survival. To some change comes easier than to others. It seems the young accept it more readily than older folks. This may be partly due to how we process past events, musical or otherwise, within our memories coupled with our own indiviual interactions in present day events, the good ole days vs. our troubled times. I assert, for the record, that folk music is not, and furthermore attest, nor will it ever be dead. It is only we who slow down or stand still in our understanding of how and what takes place around us on the planet.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 11:07 AM

Real, live music ought to be on the endangered species list--the music that people listen to comes from an ever decreasing circle of producers and performers, through ever more homogeneous marketing/entertainment pipeline--it isn't really TV or radio--which once offered lots of live music--radio, TV, and broadcast networks used to have their own orchestras, and country/old timey live radio shows used to be everywhere--Woody himself was a radio peformer--

The thing that has killed everything is the vertical entertaiment monopoly--who control what is recorded, what is played, and, to a great extent, what is available--The average listener only knows to buy whatever music they hear, and they media marketing moguls know this and have grabbed up radio and TV to use a promotions for their "product"--Given a choice, most people would listen to, and buy things other than Brittany Spears, so the choices are taken away.

A while back, there was a thread about finding ways to promote folk music--we ended up wandering off on a tangent without solving the problem, but the answer turned out to be, make the film "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?"--when people heard the music, they loved it, and bought it---It seems clear that access is the issue, and whoever controls the access controls what survives and what doesn't--


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 11:49 AM

It's the big money music industry which is dying. We'll dance on its grave yet. And I don't know what sort of music we'll be dancing to, but whatever kind, it will be folk music.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:18 PM

TV has not affffffecccctttted meeee..........



Mr Red - who's computer is his TV.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Desdemona
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:26 PM

In order to answer that question, ne would have to accept that folk music was dead, which it most assuredly is NOT! There's a fair amount of latitude in interpreting just what is meant by "folk music", of course; if you mean popular music like the folkISH tunes mentioned in Jerry's initial post above, that were getting airplay back in the '60s, then no, that trend is no longer current. But if you mean traditional music, the sort of oral tradition, ancient ballad, grannies have been singing this since time out my mind music that I consider "folk", then I'd say that not only is it not "dead", it's enjoying a very healthy, vigourous life indeed! As Kendall points out, the real giants of folk music have never been chart-toppers anyway.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Fiddlin'Buck
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:38 PM

I think of folk music as commnunity music. I think that is what the larger culture has lost to a great extent--the chance to participate in the creation of their own culture.

Instead, most folks have allowed culture to be created for them by external forces. Granted they get a bit of say in the form of marketing polls and focus groups. But more and more people have started thinking of music as something made "for" them by other folks, or something that came to them through radio or tv.

Folk music to me is a music tradition that has been around forever. Music for dances or pleasure, made by you and me and other members of the community that you are a part of.

I'm lucky to still participate in this type of community act. There is a strong folk scene in my little town. And this is the music I like--music that I make with other friends with instruments we play ourselves and songs we sing ourselves.

I play for dances in our community, and also many nights or weekends just get together with good friends to play tunes. Some of these tunes have been around for centuries. Some of us compose tunes ourselves. We put our one interpretation and personality into the old tunes we play...and pass them on...adding new tunes to the stream as we go.

I don't relate to pop music at all and I don't care about it. I don't watch TV either. I get more pleasure out of my friends, my farm and my chickens, my cats, the woods around my house, our dances, etc. etc.

That is what folk music is to me. It's not dead. It goes on and perhaps the population at large will appreciate it again someday when the vague anxieties they feel that have been created by living in a culture they do not wholly participate in become too much for them to ignore.

Give me a fiddle and banjo over modern pop culture anyday. I liked Dylan and the Beatles etc. I think they were fine artists and musicians. But common folk who looked outward from themselves to feel the music were the ones who lost in. When people look within to find their music again...that's when they will discover folk music again.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:40 PM

Little Hawk,

Right on !!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:45 PM

Just in case it isn't clear, I never thought folk music died. It just went back to the front porch, living rooms and dance halls where it's been since Kendall invented the front porch. When I listen to the stuff that was popular in the 60's, for the most it doesn't hold up well for me. But, Clarence Ashley, Leadbelly, the Carter Family and the rest sound as fresh to me now as they did the first time that I heard them.

A lot of good comments in this thread.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:45 PM

the folk muisc revival came after the decline in Jazz. It was a generation newly educated from the working class finding something for itself.That generation was more socially aware, more optimistic, and far more interested in the world than any generation subsequent to it. It didn't die, it just got older. Everything lasts 40/50 years. Impressionism, Pre-Raphaelitism,Music hall,rock and roll, all last until the final originals are gone. It's the human condition. If there's any fault place it at the feet of the people who dumbed down the education process for subsequent generations, and the spread of drug culture.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:46 PM

Well, I saw Garnet Rogers play a few nights ago at the local 'Folk' club and well, he seemed pretty alive to me... as did his fantastic music, and the capacity crowd that filled the hall...

I suspect that the rumours of folks demise have been greatly exaggerated...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Ebbie
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 01:19 PM

Prediction: There will be a resurgence of 'Folk'. And we won't like it.

Just as the name of 'Country' has been commandeered for today's market, the powers will present folk music in a different form which will become wildly popular, and some of us will be saying, "Wait, Wait! That's not it. Just calling it by the name doesn't make it so..."

Everything goes in cycles and changes in the process. Our children's children may sing unrecognizable Folk. But their children's children may be singing their hearts out with Leadbelly, the Carter Family, the Seegers, many of today's Mudcatters and many, many others. It is the nature of a pendulum to swing.

I don't believe that intangibles can be killed. They only go dormant for a time. And now that I've mixed all these metaphors I have to add that this is all my opinion.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Jeri
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 01:42 PM

Based on my own personal definition of the "f" word, I'd have to agree with Jerry.

TV may have been a big part of why many folks these days have been alienated from folk music, but it started with radio and recordings. It started when average people started thinking they should always listen instead of sing or play. It started when the first person said "I can't sing" and meant they didn't sound like the popular star of the day.

I see performers as troubadors - they can provide us with music we don't already know. The same can even be said of collectors. Both are outside the "tradition," but connected. The only problems arise when folks start viewing them as authorities on behavior rather than the music itself.

As far as the state of folk music today, I think we're trying to view our own moment in time, in a process that's millenia old. What will they say about the state of folk music today in a hundred years or so?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 02:06 PM

I for one would like to know who refers to him or her self as a "folk" musician? I can't think of anyone other than those who participated in the 60s Folk Scare, when "folk" was thought of as cutting edge music. Dylan, Martin Carthy, Gordon Bok, Lightfoot, Baez...do any of them say "I'm a Folk Musician"? I doubt it. The term has a dated feel to it : overly sincere and self-righteous college students with goatees sitting around singing Kumbaya and The Cruel War. Hell, I doubt Woody and Huddie would have owned up to that moniker. I think most of these people are, and were, writing original music that became traditional through osmosis. Often they were playing traditional music, sometimes with their own words.

Fact is the term Folk is viable as a definition for music from a certain period of recent history, or as a broader and less accurate synonym for Traditional. But I think it has acquired a certain stigma as a dated form, to the extent that no currently viable artists or performers are anxious to adopt the term.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 02:19 PM

That is sadly true but it means that these performers are distancing themselves from THE folk.

I go back to our recent awards. Good to see people recognised that have not generally been before, but WE never forgot them.

When I see them being feted by members of the Government who have refused to help folk at the other end of the scale to play a few tunes together in a pub, I wonder if they have forgotten us?

The editor of the magazine I mentioned earlier who got rid of the 'F' word from the front of his magazine is now saying he won't have men with beards on his cover. A joke no doubt but...............


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Jeri
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 02:56 PM

Well, Roger, he DID put TWO winky faces after the comment...


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Suffet at work
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 03:58 PM

For Lonesome EJ, let me reprint a message I posted last July. Let me just add that there are still plenty of people who are proud to be called folksingers or folk musicians. For them folk music cannot die.

--- Steve


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:

Then slowly, slowly got she up,
And slowly drew she nigh him,
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 that 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.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 04:06 PM

Interesting. This query migrated in from another thread.

I think mostly it illustrates the futility of arguing without first defining terms. Per the first thread, I agree completely with Jerry. I.e., I do not understand the content of the utterance, "The Beatles killed folk." When a thought becomes sloganized, it loses any exactitude of meaning.

Ironically, as I peruse the list of "examples," I say to myself, "That isn't folk." But it is, it just isn't "trad." Further ambiguity. Then the valid point is made about Leadbelly et al probably not thinking of themselves as "folk musicians."

I guess what folks have in mind when they say 'folk' is 'dead' is that 'Hootenanny' no longer aired after the Beatles came along, but then, harkening to the implication of the term "Folk Scare" [I like it] as opposed to the more naive "Folk Revival," one could say that not much of what aired on Hootenanny was "really" folk anyway.

In the absence of a whole glossary of overly explained terms, trying to discuss this question is like the proverbial act of nailing jelly to the wall.

Now let me get back to practicing "Barbree Allen" on the synthesizer. Would that be folk?

CC


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 04:33 PM

The last time you posted that, a number of folks felt that you were being smug. sanctimonious, and condescending--I guess you won't mind hearing it again, because you posted it again--


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 05:16 PM

no one 'killed' anything--they just subverted the language. People still sing what they please, even though WHAT they sing has been influenced by all those things mentioned above.

but the word 'folk' no longer has any clear meaning, and there are those who decry any effort to HAVE any definitions.

Personally, I like acoustic/acapella music of generally older styles , sung with, rather than 'at' people, preferably with no money involved..(though that is a minor point) and done with only slowly evolving details, rather than wholesale, gratuitous change for changes sake.(that is, when the 'folk processor' is not set on "puree")

This is what BROUGHT me to this sort of music, and I can still find it occasionally....I just can't find any simple word(s) for it!...Even 'traditional' is becoming corrupted and 'oldies' means whatever you listened to at 17.

It is possible to find 'folk'..and even possible to construct a useful description....but it is NOT possible to get any agreement and continuity about a definition.

Everyone knows there IS a difference between what Sara Ogun Gunning, The New Lost City Ramblers, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones did....but I am willing to name the boundries, and most are not...so I cope...*shrug*...and I play and sing 'mostly' 'folk'...no matter whatYOU call it.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 05:52 PM

"Who killed Folk Music?"

Just out of curiosity, does anyone actually WANT folk music (however you may define it) to be popular and more easily accesible than it already is? I sure don't. Last week in Toronto, 5000 people sat in an arena (The "Down From the Mountain" show) to watch some fine musicians play three songs each. I doubt if even fifty of them knew who The Nashville Bluegrass Band was. A good payday for the musicians is the ONLY thing of value I can imagine from something like that.

This is just another commercial "blip" in the "folk music" history. Every large or small town I've travelled to over thirty three years has some local musician that is as riveting as any big name.

Nothing ever killed folk music (nor will), 'cause it's still there, as wonderful as it ever was, during any era you can name....but you have to care enough to look for it.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 06:05 PM

M. Ted--

Sorry, I lack the agility to be smug, sanctimonious and condescending all at once. Too much like playing well and singing, which I can't manage either.

All I'm saying is that there was an element of ambiguity in the original premise. I asked for clarification (not the act of a smug person) and Don Firth supplied a nice explanation which helped me understand where others in this thread and the related one are coming from.

Let's plea bargain the charge of ssc down to becoming defensive and hankering after clarity and I'll plead guilty if there's a sentencing recommendation. :)

CC


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 07:17 PM

Rick's post is very interesting, especially the comment does anyone actually WANT folk music (however you may define it) to be popular and more easily accesible than it already is?

This is the crux of the "folk music" biscuit just as it always has been. Although the tunes we embrace as "folk music" may have originated as popular music (Jimmy Crack-Corn was almost certainly a pop tune in its day as opposed to, say, Fur Elise), we shun the concept of current popular music as banal, while declaring the sanctity of this traditional music that has been consecrated by passing time. Ironic and remarkable that traditional, or Folk Music if you will, has attained a rather interesting level of acceptance among those of discriminating tastes.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 07:24 PM

For the last three or four hundred years, folk music HAS been pop music. Lack of popularity is not a virtue. Or a fault. They didn't invent the top forty list until about the time that Kendall invented the porch swing.
Jerry


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 07:25 PM

Oh, Kendall did that? I thought it was Gore. Jeez, the stuff you learn on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Mr Red
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 07:37 PM

Professor Child, in the Library, with a bad salad.

The plethora of boring, wrist-slashing long song has "killed interest" for the public at large. Which is perhaps a better definition of "killed".

call me a wollower but I can find a place for sad songs, but not a suitcase full of them.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: CarolC
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 07:43 PM

Was there ever, really, in the history of any broadcast medium, a time when "folk" music (however you define the term) was in the mainstream. Maybe I'm completely all wet, but I really don't think there was. It seems to me that broadcast media have always been more about what is popular at any given time than about either "traditional" music, or any other form of music that has been linked to the term "folk".

If I'm right about that, using whatever is being played by any broadcast medium as an indicator of whether or not "folk" or "traditional" music is alive, doesn't make much sense. Similarly, trying to say it's dead because people aren't playing it any more doesn't make sense either. Just about everywhere a person can go on earth, there are groups of people who get together to play music or sing songs. Much of this music could be considered traditional. A lot of it would probably fit into the other definition of "folk".

I can't remember any point in my own lifetime when this sort of musical experience was more in evidence than it is right now. And with advances in technology that make producing CDs and other recordings possible for almost everybody, there are probably more recordings of people playing "traditional" and other kinds of music that might be labeled "folk" available for purchase (or for piracy) than there ever have been before. Or so it seems to me.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: kendall
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 07:57 PM

Jeez! it's amazing what a slip of the keyboard can do! No one killed folk music, the Beatles replaced it in popularity, that's all. Of course it isn't dead; I sing folk songs and I'm a long way from dead! Hell, even Jerry Rasmussen is still breathing! Dont give me all the credit for inventing the porch, I couldn't have done it if Sandy Paton hadn't invented the house.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 08:04 PM

It must have been the same poor SOB who "Killed The Thread."

I hate that guy!

Maybe it's that damn terrorist, Capslock!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 08:35 PM

Sorry, I didn't mean to graze you, Chicken Charlie, I was talking to Steve Suffet--who started a rukus with his business about what a real folksinger does or doesn't do--you were being good--


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 09:11 PM

Carol, I think folk music actually was "mainstream" for a fairly brief period...like about 1958 to 1966 or something like that. It wasn't the only style of music that was mainstream at that time (rock 'n roll was also, and so was country), but it was certainly getting a lot of attention. Newport was a huge music event in those days.

That mainstream attention began to dissipate by the late sixties, and sort of mutated into the singer-songwriter phase (James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and numerous others). I've always liked singer-songwriter material, in a general sense, because I regard it as the descendant of 60's folk music. Not to say that I like all of it...

- LH


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Suffet
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 09:55 PM

M.Ted, I'll risk the flames, but my intent is to be neither smug nor sanctimonious nor condescending. Rather my intent is to lay out what I believe is the essential nature of folk music. I reposted that message to this present thread because it explains why I believe folk music cannot die, let alone be killed.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Lynn Koch
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 10:29 PM

TeriLu - I once owned a Toyota truck with a bumper sticker I bought from Sally Rogers - 'Kill Your Television' It surely has done its share to kill the idea of singing around the hearth after dinner (assuming you have a hearth).


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Who killed folk music?
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 10:34 PM

It isn't who. It's what. It's sheet music, recorded music, high literacy rates, computers, and prosperity in general. Deal with it.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 10:37 PM

...but if you want to compose your own song and post it on the web or sing it to someone else in the hopes that they'll remember it and pass it along with a few embellishments, go ahead. How about this one:

Jingle Bells, Cockle Shells. Rabbits in the Hay. Farmer Brown shot one down but the other one got away!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 11:51 PM

I vote for the music still being alive. People who like it, like it alot. The others don't matter


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,coyote breath
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 12:17 AM

Ya know? that's true. People do like to hear 'the music'. I sang in church the other day and our little congregation actually applauded! I was stunned and pleased. I sang a song called Hallelujah Side which is one of my ideas of what folk music sometimes is and I sang it because it is what is happening to me and has become important in my life and I was so pleased to be allowed to sing it that all the other stuff was gravy. Folk music is alive and well and changing and shifting and resonating to a fair-thee-well here in Franklin County, Missouri. Folk music is what people like when they're sitting on the porch or in the kitchen or around a campfire. We have a winter camp this week-end and there will be music from Friday til Sunday almost without halt. It will be in the camps and in the old store around the wood stove and down at the bread ovens and in every heart and on all lips and that sure seems as though it is alive, now don't it?

CB


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 06:26 AM

Coyote Breath: Why didn't you tell me? The Gospel Messengers sing Hallelujah Side. We would have sung it and Dave Para at Cathy Barton's Big Muddy Festival when we were out in Boonville last Spring. You're the only one I've met who knows the song. You bring up a good point. Many people don't even know what you mean when you say that you sing folk music. And yet, they enjoy the music when you sing it. Only goes to show how unimportant labels are. In the black community, very few people have any conception of what folk music is, but if you sit down and play it for them, they love it... and have heard a lot of it. The music is basically rural, so anyone who grew up in the country has heard at least some folk music, whether they call it that or not. Through people like Uncle Dave Macon, DeFord Bailey (the first black performer on the Grand Old Opry and a wonderful harmonica player, and later, Grandpa Jones, people heard folk music over the radio throughout the south. I doubt that Uncle Dave would have said, "here's an old folk song I want to sing for you." They were just songs.
Jerry


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Dageham Doc
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 07:28 AM

Folk's not dead it's getting older,let's not forget that.Young people call to the tune to 'popular' music, and we were the young people of the time. The music is still there and so are we. Luv


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,eliza
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 08:36 AM

I certainly will not and they certainly did,difference is that I don't think that particular thing hurts folk music in any way-in case you didn't see it,what we did was folk music and I think that particular pop star did very well and taught me a thing or two. x ec ;)


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,eliza
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 09:01 AM

The difference between traditional music and folk music is a funny intangible one. I tend to say these days that anything that permanently enters the public consciousness and gets changed by that consciousness into something different in each mouth,remembering the words slightly wrong,making up new ones,that sort of thing-has become a traditional song.Or a folk song. My head hurts! "Wild Mountain Thyme" is a good example of this. Everyone has different versions of it though it was written so recently. I think that declaring any one version of a song "definitive" can do almost as good a job as a shot of strychnine in the arm. Do songs have to be pop songs before they can be folk songs? I think so. No-one is going to learn your song and want to pass it on if it isn't very good,which means it is probably a mistake to call something a "pop" song if only one band has done it and it went to number one and immediately got forgotten! That also explains why people still care so much about the old songs that there are,and why it can be such a frustrating thing researching through old books,because the transcriber has forgotten that the process is supposed to weed out the rotten stuff,so some rubbish songs have lived on when they maybe wouldn't have otherwise! Not to say it isn't worth doing though,sometimes you may think the folk scene only knows ten old songs... cheers, ec :)


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,eliza
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 09:04 AM

sorry,last one! Martin C does describe himself as a folksinger,and so do I. cheers ec


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 09:29 AM

Eliza, I agree with your post. Well-put.

The problem is when people look at a book of collected folks songs ore recordings and say "these are the songs we must sing, and this is exactly how we must sing them."

The songs will live, based on the song. I love many old songs, but the only reason I know them is because people have loved them enough to pass them down. My guess is that ANY song that people love enough will be snatched up, learned, and passed down, regardless of where it comes from. It may be frustrating to those who care only about the historical songs, but it's the way things have always worked. People looking at this from the future will probably not refer to "folk music" as only the stuff that small sub-cultures played and sang, but what most people did. How many kids know various Beatles songs, but don't have a clue who the beatles were?

One person writes a song, one person sings it, and it goes on from there. All each of us can do is add our own voice and our own favorite songs. None of us can take anything away - only add.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 11:47 AM

The fantasy writer Terry Pratchett, was once asked whether he thought of his books as "literature". Terry replied that becoming "literature" is a result of a vote taken fifty years after your death. He preferred not to worry about that, and just got on with trying to write books for people to enjoy in the here and now. (Which he does, very well.)

Perhaps all of us who sing, or play, or dance, in any style that might be called traditional, should stop fretting about what label to file our stuff under, and wondering whether succeeding generations will continue to cherish it. Maybe we should just get on with doing it as well as we can, for anyone who happens to be watching or listening, and let democracy - now or later - decide if it counts as "folk", and whether it deserves to survive.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 12:50 PM

Well said, Mike. A lot of good points are being made in this thread. CarolC, there was a time when Folk was in the forefront of American musical consciousness, when it actually crossed-over into pop music. Tom Dooley was a top ten hit. If this is what the originator of this thread is referring to, then yes indeed, "folk" is dead, and it was simply the victim of changing popular tastes. But it is also true that the number of available outlets for different types of music is wider today than ever before, and its quite possible that folk, or trad, has more listeners than ever before. Its a cinch, whichever way you view it, that the folk process is unstoppable. Contemporary music will continually pass into the consciousness of the culture. Yesterday and Yellow Submarine will probably be known in 100 years to most people. But will Barbara Allen and Booth Shot Lincoln?

I suppose its up to us.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 02:06 PM

M. Ted. No harm, no foul. Fowl.

Thread creep re "Jingle bells, cockle shells..."

"Hickory, dickory dock. Two mice ran up the clock.
The clock struck 'one.'
The other got away clean.

I better go back to work on that'n.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,John Hernandez
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 02:28 PM

Here are some more people who have described themselves as folk musicians or folk singers.

1. Elvis Presley (when he first appeared on The Louisiana Hayride in 1954 he asked to be introduced as a "new folk singer")

2. Steve Martin (in an interview after he made it big as a comedian: "I was a poor, starving folk singer")

3. Paul Simon (he said that it was his "folk musician's temperment" that enabled him to do Graceland and The Rhythms of the Saints)

4. Linda Ronstadt ("I'm more of a folk musician than anything else")


Martin Carthy is in good company.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: DougR
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 04:10 PM

I must admit, Carol C., that your post of February 14 @ 7:43P.M. makes a lot of sense to me. (Surprise!)

DougR


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Mr Red
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 04:35 PM

Lonnie Donegan & skiffle was a pretty folkie and Cecil Sharp was a big deal when he got going. There will be a renaissance but not as we know it. I predict it - now I just need the dates and I will be rich.
Reports of the "death" are much exaggerated.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Wesley S
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 05:39 PM

I've always suspected Davy Moore and Hattie Carroll.

But have you noticed that front porchs started disappearing from houses about the same time that TV was invented?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Joe_F
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 06:05 PM

About a hundred years ago, G. K. Chesterton complained that men no longer sat around a table and sang; they sat and listened to one man sing, "for the absurd reason that he could sing better". That was when the rot began -- before television, before radio, before phonographs. I think, proximately, the cause of it was urbanization, which provided new opportunities to orchestrate & exploit the base motives of people in crowds for commercial gain.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 07:44 PM

FOLK MUSIC HAS NEVER BEEN HEALTHIER! That's the ol bobert's opionion. When I quit performing coffee house in 1976 in Richmond, Va. there was one place to play. Now there's many. Where ever you go there are musicans, lots of musicans, lots of small venues.

Plus lots of different folks bringing their folk oriented music. Just 'cause you may not like someones style doesn't mean that it isn't "folk music". Heck, Rap music, which the ol bobert hates.... is folk music. Blues is making a nice comeback.... folk music. Old time mountain music... folk. Celtic... folk.

Whenever one compares the future or here-and-now of any developing art form with a critical eye focused more on the past, they're going to be disappointed.

FOLK IS HEALTHY....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 08:29 PM

You're wrong! All of you! :-)

I just called up Bob and asked him for the DEFINITIVE answer as to who killed folk music.

He said, "Al Aronowitz. He did it."

Only trouble is...I'm not sure if he was being serious. It's always kind of hard to tell with Bob.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 10:34 PM

Yo Hawkster, Iz don't know this Aronowitz guy is but if he thinks he's the "Enronowitz of Folk" then reserve him a room with rubberwalls. He's suffering big time from illusions, dellusions and just about any "usions" that you can come up with.

The only way they can stop folk music is to BLOW UP THE PLANET.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: banjomad (inactive)
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 07:09 AM

if folk music could talk, it would quote Woody Guthrie, ' I aint dead yet ' Blessings, Dave


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Suffet
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 09:08 AM

Or Pete Seeger. When you ask him, "How are you?" he often answers, "Still here!"

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Desdemona
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 08:29 AM

The most important thing(to my mind)is that as long as someone is singing/playing some variant of these songs, and sharing them with others, then "folk" music will never be dead---it's the sharing & even the changes that inevitably occur that keep it alive. I sing these songs to my children, & they're exposed to lots of traditional music in a very casual, informal way; my 7-year-old's favourite CD on car rides is "Plain Capers"! While my eldest son now refers to "your weird music, Mom", he'll still remember "Freight Train", "The Fox", "Early One Morning", "Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill" & all the rest because we sang them so often back in the days when he DID like them---hey, it worked with me!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: JEM-Wales
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 09:20 AM

Please define Folk music.

To me it means music that folk will sing. (Please define folk).

In my office recently I have startd people humming, singing such variety of music as the Sugur plum fairy, The Red Flag, If you are happy and you know it clap your hands, Suger Suger, Freight Train, 16 Tons, We are the Monkeys and other songs and instremental music.

I was not the only one to start strands

We are folk - we sing.

To me that is the defination of folk music, be it "popular music" or anon music. As long as people sing it that is folk music.

If it is good enough to last into the historic memories of the population it is good folk music.

However much I may dislike the song - Girls Just want to have fun - I believe that in 50 years that will be considered as folk music.

As long as people have voices, and will sing, Folk music is alive and well, living in the collective brains of the population.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: MichaelAnthony
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 10:31 AM

It's going to come back around again in industry popularity, isn't it? Didn't the O Brother soundtrack go platinum or something? Someone authentic is going to make it big sooner or later, right?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 11:38 PM

(refresh)

;-)


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 01:21 AM

Wow. I got some interesting responses. Lonesome EJ, I'm not sure I quite understand yours. But working with what I think you might be saying, I have this response to your response ;-)

Just about everywhere I've lived in the past thirty years, there have been people getting together to play old music. Music from the Renaissance period, traditional music from the Appalachian Mountain region, traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, and some other countries. And also some new music. Some of it in the style of the older music, and some of it in the style of folkie type singer/songwriters.

In the town where I live now, there is a jam session that's been going on for about ten years (or maybe it's twenty... I can't remember right now). They play old timey music from the mountains, and a lot of British Isles music. That's the bulk of it, although sometimes you can hear traditional Finnish music when Debbie and Niles Hokkannen show up. Or music from medieval France when Nick Blanton Shows up. And some more recently composed pieces when Sam Rizzetta shows up.

Anyway, one evening a couple of years ago, someone requested a tune that apparently is considered "traditional" these days in trad. music circles. The thing that was really interesting to me about the piece, is that it was one that I had played in my teens when I was playing nothing but Renaissance and early Baroque music. Only it wasn't considered traditional in that context and setting and at that time. It was considered a sub-category of classical music.

So I guess it just goes to show how misleading labels can be, in the first place, and how much staying power a lot of very old music has. And also, just how alive and vibrant the music scene is for all kinds of old music, and new music that is played by just folks getting together to play music.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 01:47 AM

So I guess it just goes to show how misleading labels can be, in the first place, and how much staying power a lot of very old music has. And also, just how alive and vibrant the music scene is for all kinds of old music, and new music that is played by just folks getting together to play music.

I can't agree more about the labels but, if we have to have one, and some people do, you have come up with a good definition.

Folks getting together to play music=FOLK music?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 02:09 AM

Folks getting together to play music=FOLK music?

If you're asking me this question, I couldn't tell you. I feel like I'm swimming in a sea of jellyfish with these kinds of discussions. I'm just relating some of my experiences. I'll let you be responsible for whatever labels you choose to put on things. Although I think I included pretty much all of the various categories of music that are considered "folk" by different people in my little treatise there.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 02:57 AM

In the context of the thread, I think I am saying that useing your definition, despite the best efforts of many who did not understand the word, folk is very much alive.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 07:42 AM

Some thoughts on the current topic of discussion.

There is a line – though it's sometimes a rather hazy one – between folk music and commercial music.

Folk music is made by the people, for the people. It's something we all participate in, not something that a few of us sell and the rest of us buy. As long as human beings stay human, it will survive in one form or another, because it meets a basic human need.

Commercial music is made by corporations, for the mass market. Professionals are paid to produce it, and then entrepreneurs sell it to the public, for a profit. It will survive – forever changing as the winds of fashion blow one way, then another - because for a great many people it is a commodity as useful and necessary as coffee or soap.

Of course, there is some overlap between the two forms.

Many folk performers make a little money out of what they do – enough for a couple of beers and some new guitar strings now and then. A few make a living out of it – though usually a fairly modest one. (Most could apply their talents far more profitably elsewhere.) But nobody plays folk music just for the money. They do it for love. Because these tunes, songs and dances have a beauty, a strength, and an integrity which can enrich our lives in good times, and sustain us through bad times.

Some pieces of commercial music also have this power to delight and support us. Over the years many have entered the collective consciousness, and been adopted as part of the folk heritage. This process will probably continue. But though folk music sometimes makes a profit, and though commercial music sometimes has folk qualities, I believe it's still helpful to keep using different labels for them.

So what about the alleged "death of folk music" then?

Well, every decade or so, the world of commercial music seizes upon some form of folk music. For a short while, it gets processed and marketed as a new fashion trend. Then, inevitably, it's dropped again …

BUT THIS IS NOT "THE DEATH OF FOLK MUSIC"!

Sorry for shouting, folks, but I really, really want to emphasise that point. Folk music lives! It lives in us, and through us, and it will live on as long as we believe in it – whatever the moguls of the music biz, and their cheerleaders in the media, say or, do , or think.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,DaveP
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 08:44 AM

Who killed folk music?

I, said the singer needed money for my dinner.

Who saw it die?

I, said writer over my type writer I saw it die.

Who'll carry the coffin?

We, said the band we now own the land, we'll carry the coffin.

Who'll toll the bell?

Not I said the 'catter for it is live and well!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Big Mick
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 08:46 AM

In response to the original question...............I did. I did it with the screwy way I have been playing the C, F, and B7 chords. Well maybe not killed, but I definitely wounded it. But Bro' Fielding got me straightened out. With care and practice, folk music should recover.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 04:53 PM

MikeofNorthumbria, wassail indeed! As clear and concise an explanation as I have ever heard. Well said.

I was at a songfest at Bob and Judy Nelson's in Everett, Washington on Sunday: a potluck, both gustatory and musical. Ate like little piggies and sang up a storm. It started about three in the afternoon and went on 'til God knows when. Barbara and I folded at about 10:30 p.m. and headed back to Seattle.

According to all evidence presented at this event, methinks folk music is alive and healthy.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 05:45 PM

Checked back with Bob, and he now denies the whole Aronowitz thing. Pinned him down to it, that he actually did say that it was Al Aronowitz who did it (killed folk music).

His response: "Yeah, well, people say a lotta things. Y' can't run your life by what they say. It don't matter what I said, no more'n it matters what the bus driver said, or the guy over there with the cheese sandwich. It's just unimportant. I don't have t' deny I said it, cos it don't matter anyway. Let's say it was dead, folk music I mean, and let's say a bunch of press people got the idea that it would be good copy t' say I did it. So wouldja believe 'em? I know a lotta people would, but a lotta people will believe anything they see in the morning paper. I don't. I don't believe nuth'n they say no more. You shouldn't've asked me in the first place. You should've asked someone who would tell you what you wanted to hear. Nobody wants to hear about Al Aronowitz...well almost nobody...and I know that, so that's why I said it. I can live with that, and I hope you can too."

It's all much clearer now. :-)

- LH


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,vince
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 05:50 PM

In the late sixties and early seventies, there was music by floyd, zeppelin, third ear band, jethro tull, captain beefheart etc etc classed as 'underground music'. I think the real and (thankfully) still thriving underground music is folk music. This is proved to me when i mention to people in work that i'm going to see people (legends) like Jansch, Carthy, Swarbrick, Harper, and they say 'who?' cos they've never heard of em! There's always been a real solid (and underground cos it rarely surfaces on the mass media - apart from Harding's show or local radio) folk scene. So, anyone who says folk is dead does'nt understand what folk music is and should visit some of the festivals or local folk clubs and git edicated!! (in my 'umble opinion!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 06:06 PM

Carol, you aren't accusing me of being obtuse, are you? :>}


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 06:13 PM

No Mr. EJ, Sir. I would never accuse you of anything ;-)


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 07:11 PM

Its all true though........


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Miken
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 09:56 PM

I heard Rosalie Sorrels perform at a small coffee house in Spokane on Sunday. The newspaper article announcing the performance quoted her saying "The current state of folk music is exactly like it always was. Folk music is music that people need. Sometimes it becomes a viable, commercial thing for a while and everybody thinks it's successful....It's always there and it always will be."

It was a wonderful show, like being in her living room at home in her cabin in southern Idaho for nearly three hours. As many stories as songs and much reminiscing about a life of touring. She said she's retiring from the road and there will be a farewell concert at Harvard University in about a month.

BTW, the venue in Spokane is called the "Mother Goose Progressive Coffee House" ( honest!) and they have a performance of mostly local folk folks about once a week in a storefront at 1011 W. First. Rosalie had about 200 or so people show up, and they were a warm and appreciative audience.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Miken
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 10:04 PM

Don, Sorry I wasn't able to get to Bob and Judy's for the fracas on Sunday. Did get in some music as you can see above, see you at the next one! Mike


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 12:05 AM

Yeah, all you gotta do is go to the folk festivals, and you will see it's far from dead. The best thing about folk is...it's so non-commercial that the music business ignores it most of the time! Better yet, TV ignores it. Anything that is ignored by TV has almost got to have lasting value in this world, given the fact that it needs no advertising to be viable...

- LH


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Terch
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:04 AM

Who killed Folk Music? We--e-ll. Uhmmm.. Folk did really. Folk are fundementally lazy and folk music is about mutual entertainment among consenting parties. When it comes to the choice between learning and/or practicing a new song/tune it is left to the tiny few, the rest of us swich on the tele, radio or whatever.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 01:14 PM

I take it you mean that "people" are fundamentally lazy? Yes, well, they are...especially in a society that gears their jaded tastes to the notion of instant gratification on every trivial level possible, through relentless marketing and consumerism.

It is for the same reason that most people in North America would rather watch sports than play them, and would rather click their TV remote than read a book, and would rather play Nintendo than build a model kit.

Now, if you go to Cuba or a number of other simpler societies, you will find people who play sports, sing, play instruments, read, and generally are a whole lot less lazy than their couch potatoe counterparts in the arsenal of consumerism. Also, they are less bored. And also, astoundingly, they are far more relaxed and seem to have a lot more free time to enjoy themselves doing the above things!

I kid you not. I've been there. It used to be that way in America too, before it sold its soul to consumerism.

Folk music is indeed a holdover from an era when people actually had the patience and initiative to do things themselves, rather than watch or listen to someone else do it.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 04:17 PM

People who are too lazy to learn new songs write them. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 04:23 PM

Bingo, Jerry!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 05:19 PM

(Ohhh!!! LH, spelling! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 05:50 PM

refresh

art


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:05 PM

Jerry - That has got to be one of the most memorable quotes I've ever seen on Mudcat! LOL!

- LH


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 10:25 PM

Is it to early to say "I've never heard a horse sing it"?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,mac
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 09:27 AM

like the three examples of wonderful use of English in folk song lyrics. My favourite is:

Strange news has come to town Strange news is carried Strange news flies up and down, That my love's married.......


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 10:47 AM

Thanks, Little Hawk. Me being a singer/songwriter among other things. Actually, I spend a lot of time learning new songs, though. Far more than I do writing them. These days, I write an occasional song for my gospel group (very much in the tradition.) The rest of the time I'm doing what I find really irritating... sitting crouched over a tape player or CD trying to write the words to a song on a pad. Man, that's second only to changing guitar strings. But, I do it, and when it's all over, I'm glad that I did it.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Fortunato
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 11:09 AM

I believe that no one on their death bed ever said: "I wish I'd watched more television."

On the other hand, when on my death bed, sucking my last air, I hope my friends (like Big Mick) will sing me a song. (And a kiss from my sweet wife and a pint of ale would be good as well.)

Cheers, Chance


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 09:31 PM

I was waiting for Amtrak train #284 a few mornings ago, the 10:02 out of Rochester bound for New York's Penn Station, when two 18 or 19ish boys came up to me and asked, "Hey, guitar lady, can you play a train song?" Now you need to understand that I'm gray haired and nearly 60, but there must be something inviting about an old woman like me carrying a guitar case. So I said, "Sure," but only if you sing along with me." That must have taken the boys by surprise, because they said "OK." I then opened up my case, took out my Epiphone, fingered a G chord, and began to sing "This train is bound for glory, this train..." To my surprise, the two boys started singing along. Either they already knew the song, or else they were quick learners. Then, as if out of nowhere, other people of all ages joined in, some old, some young, some in-between, men, women, girls, boys, white, black, and various intermediate shades. A few were obviously immigrants, and I had no idea where they knew the song from, but they just did. Maybe we had 20 or 25 people singing, and at least an equal number looking on. We must have continued for 10 minutes, making up new verses or repeating the ones we already sang two or three times. We didn't stop until the voice on the PA announced that 284 was approaching the station. And when we did everyone applauded. In fact it was the loudest applause I have heard in years.

So please don't ask who killed folk music. It isn't dead yet, and once again I have been reminded of that simple truth.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Effsee
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 09:59 PM

'nuff said!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: jimmyt
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 10:42 PM

JAnice in NJ,   Now THAT is a good story! Thank you for making my day! I frequently ponder on living the moment. WHen I was younger I constantly missed the moment. I was always looking forward to what was ahead and always looking back later realizing I had missed "the moment" once again.   

You were living in the moment and I hope it was as magical for you as it was when I read your post a minute ago!   thanks again jimmyt


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Subject: Please Read 'Who Killed Folk Music'
From: jimmyt
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 10:48 PM

I just read this thread. It is always interesting to me when someone revives an old thread. What stimulates someone to go back and comment on some thread that had been archived for years? The post that revived this really got my attention. If you have a moment, read the thread or scroll down to the 2005 entries for a great heartwarming story. I hope you ejnoy it as much as I did.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 01:24 AM

Janice,

Thanks! I needed that!!

Art !!!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 04:16 AM

I suppose ones relationship with folk music is like ones relationship with everything and everybody and that you love.

Sometimes it will disappoint, turn out to be something worse than you expected.

but the love is deep and sooner rather than later, you patch up your differences. You enjoy what you have, and realise there is much to be deeply thankful for.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 04:17 AM

Well said, Janice.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Keef
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 04:57 AM

Killa Watt and Dessie Bell
I heard them do it.
Keef


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 08:53 AM

Something similar happened to me a couple of years ago. I'd been for a night out with a group of friends in Liverpool. We were waiting for a train on a freezing cold platform, in the dead of night. I thought that we were the only ones present and started singing. At that point a new voice joined in - a rather enebriated Scouser (how unusual for Liverpool where, of course, alcoholic drinks are practically unknown!!). The singing carried on, on the train, with other passengers joining in. The repertoire was mainly confined to Irish rebel songs but it was still one of those 'magic moments' referred to above ...


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Peter T.
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 09:47 AM

Folk Music died 1965, 1966, 1967, etc.
Folk Music reborn November 2005, Rochester N.Y.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Flash Company
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 10:03 AM

Speaking as a guy who once found himself leading a chorus of Irish songs at a wedding party at about half past midnight, I have to think that folk is where you find it. To expand on that a little, the bride was a rather beautiful Indian called Zarin, and the groom was a Swede called Lars!
Serious thought though, I have known in the past a few singers of Folk who 'went professional' and became parodies of themselves. It really should stay an amateur pastime.

FC


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 10:12 AM

I just returned from NERFA - a conference for folk artists, media and "industry" people. The Northeast Regional Folk Alliance is an organization affiliated with the Folk Alliance. Approximately 700 people attended this event which was held at Kutshers Resort in the Catskills.

There were a number of people wringing their hands - moaning about lower attendance at clubs, decreasing listenership, fewer young people involved in the music and generally an older audience that is dieing out.   Peter Yarrow was there, and to paraphrase his comments at a workshop, he moaned that there were fewer songwriters creating songs of social content and fewer radio stations that would play that.

To all that, I can only answer as eloqently as the question deserves - horse shit. This truly angers me.

There are MORE opportunities for folk music to be heard then there was during the folk revival.   Sure, artists like Peter Paul & Mary and the Kingston Trio were scoring hits and more "folk" records were being sold, but the vast majority of radio stations were not playing folk music. There were commercial ventures that tried to make a fast buck, but you did not have the well organized coffeehouse and folk society circuit that exists today that WILL perpetuate folk music.   Back then, recording songs was an expensive proposition that required artists to sell their souls to record companies. (There were exceptions to that rule, notably Folk-Legacy.)   Today, artists have creative and financial control, and the process of recording makes it so much easier to share songs.

Folk music has always been a diverse "gumbo" of styles and sources. Today we are seeing young singer-songwriters that get a bad rap. I am guilty of adding to this myself when I make comments like singer-songwhiner. While there are songs and songwriters that are too self-absorbed, there are many songwriters who are writing exciting and important songs. Joe Jenks writes from the same pen that was shared by Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs. I hear songwriters like Liz Carlisle and Anais Mitchell, both in their early 20's and writing with a maturity that Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan experienced. Put a fiddle in the hands of 20-something Jeremy Kittel and you know he has the respect of his elders, many of whom did not have the same poise and ability when they were his age.   Groups like the Duhks, the Mammals, Nickel Creek and many others are all young and exciting.   Folk music is in good hands.

With that said, there are a few areas that I think deserve some attention. We aren't singing as much as we used to. Folk music has become an exhibition sport instead of a participatory one.   I can't sing a lick, but I love to join in on a chorus. We need more open mics and song circles AND we need to encourage people to sing. Too often the folk community operates in cliques and makes newcomers feel unwelcome - sometimes for the simple reason that they need to use a song book to help them remember a song. Get over it!   Folk music isn't a gift that you can claim as your own - it is something that we all share in.

While at NERFA this past weekend, I also heard many people make reference to the "folk revival" - as if the music began being sung in the late 1950's.   That 7 or 8 year period was a commercial accident. The so-called folk revival began around the start of the 20th century when collectors really worked in earnest to save these songs. John Lomax's publications were a huge influence on the revival in this country. The Carter Family created the first folk radio shows and achieved success decades before the Kingston Trio began.

Sorry for my long rambles. I came back on Mudcat today and saw this thread pop up again, and it angered me.   I am so glad to hear stories like Janice's, and I know there are many more.   I attended a wonderful showcase on traditional music at NERFA. Unfortunately it was late on Saturday night and they stuck it in a distant corner of the hotel. The showcase included John Roberts (who looks wonderful and sounds better than ever!), Jeff Warner, Alison Lee Freeman, Mel Green and later people like Debra Cowan, Barbara Benn, Judith Zweiman and Stuart Markus joined in. While attendance was low, I was still encouraged because the people who attended included Mary Cliff, Rich Warren and myself.   Mary and Rich have HUGE audiences in comparison to my humble show and I know they have a deep respect for the tradition and will continue to offer it to their large audiences. So will I. The industry people at NERFA may have had other agendas on Saturday night, but I know the public that we serve continues to have a deep intrest and they want more. The finest music I heard all weekend came from that room, and I know the artists weren't upset by the low attendance. That wasn't the point. It's all about the music. It is in good hands.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 10:21 AM

oops... I just realized that I misspelled Joe Jencks name.

I would also like to add artists like Antje Duvekott, Ned Massey, Rebecca Hall, Tim Grimm, Joe Crookston, Johnsmith, Rich Deans, Eric Balkey, Pat Wictor, We're About Nine and Red Molly - just to name a few people I ran into this past weekend.   Some are singer-songwriters, some play traditional music - but all of them are creating music that SHOULD be heard. Don't pass them by if you see their names at a venue near you!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 11:28 AM

Obviously, the one who killed folk music was the same guy who killed Penis Rabinowitz! (P. R. was "Cock Robin's" real name. He changed it for practical reasons.)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: DebC
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 12:02 PM

I want to thank Ron Olesko for that most eloquent and articulate piece of writing.

One thing I see in the Traditional community and here on Mudcat is the total support that we show to each other. We attend each other's performances and we share the music among ourselves. Now for the "rant":

I was honoured to have been asked by Ron and Bill Hahn to be one of the artists to participate in WFDU's 25th Anniversary Celebration Showcase at NERFA. I felt that I was in some fantastic company with Modern Man, Joe Jencks, Chuck Mitchell, Red Moly and others. I did leave the showcase after Joe's set so I did not get a chance to see the other artists. Attenda


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: DebC
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 12:17 PM

I want to thank Ron Olesko for that most eloquent and articulate piece of writing. I am not half as eloquent and articulate so bear with me on this.

One thing I see in the Traditional community and here on Mudcat is the total support that we show to each other. We attend each other's performances and we share the music among ourselves. The giving aspect in the traditional community is very evident. Now for the "rant":

I was honoured to have been asked by Ron and his radio co-hort Bill Hahn to be one of the artists to participate in WFDU's 25th Anniversary Celebration Showcase at NERFA. I felt that I was in some fantastic company with Modern Man, Joe Jencks, Chuck Mitchell, Red Moly and others. I did have to leave the showcase after Joe's set so I did not get a chance to see the other artists. Attendance for the first four acts (I went on after Modern Man in the #2 slot) was very poor. I do hope that Ron can assure me that it got better after I left.

I don't give a horses' patootie that folks weren't there to see me. If the room had been packed for Modern Man, then emptied for me and then filled up for Chuck Mitchell, that would have been fine and I would not be writing this.

But what makes me angry is that Ron and Bill have spent 25 years giving up their Sunday afternoons to present the music they love and to further OUR careers. I would assume that a majority of the artists that attended NERFA get airplay on WFDU "Traditions" and the lack of support from them is upsetting to me. That room should have been packed just to say "Thanks, Ron and Bill".

Ron, please tell me that attendance picked up after Joe's set. If not, I will apologise for all my performer peers that should have been there. We owe you and all the Folk DJs our undying gratitude because in many cases it's because of what you do that enables us to keep doing what we do.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: DebC
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 12:19 PM

sorry for the double whammy up there. Maybe one of the clones can remove my first posting :-)

Deb


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 01:18 PM

Hi Debra,

Thanks for the note. For those who weren't there, Deb is talking about a showcase that Bill Hahn and I hosted on Friday evening. We did see some more traffic for Pat Wictor, Antje Duvekot and Red Molly - but attendance was still sparse considering the talent we had. I don't think we had more than 10 people in the room at one time. We expected that Modern Man, who normally have a large audience, would have drawn much better. Honestly, Bill and I are not upset for ourselves. We felt bad for the talent who gave outstanding performances for us. More people should have witnessed it. Luckily, we taped the event and as soon as we finish editing and getting final approval, we will broadcast our showcase. I know our listeners, the people who all of us are working so hard for, will appreciate the efforts of the artists.

There were some reasons why the event was sparsely attended. The location of the event was far away from the dozens of other showcases that were taking place at the resort.   I've even heard that many of the other showcases in the main part of the building had attendance problems. People had to make an effort and a long walk to come to ours. Also, since it was our first time hosting a showcase at such an event, we learned a few things. Bill and I need to do more publicity if we do this again.

I would like to thank Debra for the wonderful songs she shared with us.   To have the opportunity to share such wonderful music is the only thanks that Bill and I need!!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 01:53 PM

I found it interesting to read an interview with Lloyd Cole, a great crossover artist in the sense that he doesn't really fit into any regular category.
He was saying that he never used to enjoy playing live when he felt he was only promoting the latest album.
"It's only when I became a folk singer without the band that I started to enjoy it - there's a lot more sponteneity with the audience."

Now I listen to a fair bit of rock, pop, folk and suchlike and had never considered Cole to be a 'folk' singer in the sense many of us grew up to recognise. He is, however, an erudite storyteller and musician who could presumably be a folk singer in a sense.

I don't think folk's dead, I think that the definition is changing just as much as the music has done over the years.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Suffet
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 04:53 PM

Greetings:

This revived discussion reminds me of something I wrote in 2001 in a somewhat controversial thread called 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.


I guess I should add train stations!

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 05:02 PM

Not bad Steve, but even folksingers need to eat.

I think what this country needs is another WPA. We can spend billions on tools to wage war, why not spend some of that on the arts - maybe with some understanding of culture we won't need the damn wars!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 05:14 PM

thank god for a few unreal folksingers

most of them worried about where their next gig was coming from. i never knew any of the real ones - they sound as though they wouldn't have understood the imperfect world that I live in.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 07:09 PM

I've played in all those places except prisons (nothing against prisons - just it hasn't happened) Add a shoe shop and a green grocers and a hardware shop....

Hooray I'm REAL! I'm REAL!

Also had to worry about gigs though. And I confess I've whinged about not being included in festivals. I love the festival scene. Can't afford it unless I'm paid expenses. Real Joy


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 07:15 PM

I was thinking, though - Is my dentist not REAL? and the lady who cuts my hair? Also the man who came and fixed the TV antenna? AHH! I've been paying them REAL money!!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 08:02 PM

REAL folksingers have day jobs.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 08:26 PM

being a folksinger can be a day job.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 08:57 PM

THIS MACHINE KILLED FOLK MUSIC--
"a sign of the times stuck onto some mod country/pop kid's guitar maybe"

What machine?

Show biz?! Maybe. Maybe not.

Steve Suffet, I think I understand where from you are speaking--and some of the frustrations that can be generated. Good people, all of 'em---are doing the best they can to find their own place in folkdom---kind of a little like us road warrior singers of yore. Now it's showcases and agents and gorilla showcases and road managers and more showcases and travel agents and "product" to sell and guitar and banjo and dulcimer endorsements and a huge too-expensive-to-attend convention once a year in a hotel the president stayed in the week before. And on and on. It's a lot more monkey business now than I would've ever figured was possible, or desirable, in other seemingly simpler times---! This new folk thing would be uncomfortable as all hell for me to maneuver within---so it's probably best that I can't participate much now except by writing pointed diatribes like this one. But if I was young, and could do it, I would, like those little pullets in Chris Bouchillons good old 1928 song --- The Original Talkin' Blues-----I would be out there " pluggin' away the best I knew how" !

My advice, just keep on keeping it alive any ol' way you can. It really is THAT important!!! Once folks are IN our little pond, they will most likely swim with the trends and currents of the times. Then, but maybe not in our lifetime, they will dive deep---and there will find the roots-----just waiting invitingly, and ever so succulently, to provide the nourishment they never knew they liked the flavor of, or needed, before that. Acquired tastes can often be enhanced by the various accrued educational baggage/knowledge we pick up along the way.

And then, at a later date, possibly in a meditation or a prayer (god forbid ;-) they'll retroactively thank us....

Love to all,

Art T.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: rongcro
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 10:32 PM

In talking about where folk music ended, we might look at where it started--that is,its latest resurrection after WWII. As an old folk song lover, I seem to recall that folk music was always around in some form, but it wasn't always dominant and did not become a strong force on the music scene until the nineteen fifties--maybe late fifties. Before, the scene was dominated by the crooners of popular love ballads like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, etc. There were always a few lonesome folksingers out in the thirties and forties like Woody Guthrie and some of the black singers like Ledbelly (Irene Good Night). There was the English folk singer Richard Dyer Bennet whose record I happened to find in the library.
Maybe there were others, but the first folk singer that I remember becoming nationally popular after (maybe during) WWII was Burl Ives (Blue Tail Fly, etc.). For a time, he seemed to be out there by himself. But then folk songs and singers really took off after the excellent Weavers group broke the surface. Seems like after that the groups began multiply like crazy: Kingston Trio, Brothers Four, Peter, Paul, and Mary, etc.
But there was no reason to expect this style of music to dominate longer than it did. Music styles always change. I, however, was delighted when it came and greatly disappointed when it gave way to rock and roll in the seventies. Its high popularity seems to have lasted over a decade, and that's not bad.

Ron Crowe


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Suffet
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 11:14 PM

Greetings:

Here's a link the thread A Real Folksinger. Go ahead and read the original in its entirety, along with all the responses. It created a bit of a stir four years ago. I wrote it to console a friend whose application had been rejected by the Old Songs festival, even though she is recognized as quite an accomplished folk musician with lots of festival, concert, coffee house, and club performances to her credit.

I still stand by everything I said then, including the necessity for a folksinger to create his or her own venues.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Zhenya
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 12:08 AM

Janice, I loved your story! If I was there, I would have been singing along too!

As far as where these people learned the song - well, my young niece, who lives in another state and is a public school second grader was visiting this summer, and she was singing "This Land is Your Land" and "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" and other songs of this type. She didn't get them from me, and, unfortunately, neither of her parents is interested in this type of music. But apparently, she has been learning them in school. I've heard similar stories from friends, so that's one avenue for keeping these songs alive. Summer camp is probably another one, and maybe religious activities. Maybe even TV, in an odd moment, who knows. Most of you probably are like me, and have your ears perked for any good song that comes your way, no matter where it pops up.

I have to confess I haven't read every entry in this long thread, but I have read the more recent entries and some of the earlier ones. I guess a lot depends on the old question, how you're defining folk music. It seems that many people here are referring to mainly songs (as opposed to tunes without words), maybe singer-songwriter type of material, singer with a guitar, protest songs, and so forth. I still think there's a lot of exactly that around, if you know where to look, although it's not mainstream.

For myself though, I guess I think of all these things and more as folk music: Irish and Scottish tunes, sea chanties, Child Ballads, singer-songwriter, Sacred Harp, Appalachian fiddle tunes, etc. etc. There is so much of this around that I have to keep a special "music event" calendar for myself to keep track of it all: concerts large and small, workshops and classes, sessions and singers' circles and more. The majority of events I go to seem to be well attended, and equally nice, there are often many new faces of people young and old who are just discovering this music and getting addicted. I am, admittedly, in a large city, but of course there are plenty of places with active music scenes of this sort. I guess my point is that the music is still very much out there.

I agree with several posters above that one of the biggest problems is simply making people aware of the music and how they can participate in it. Probably half or more of the events I go to are advertised simply by "word of mouth." You have to already be involved and on someone's e-mail list, or be lucky to have the right friend to invite you along. I am sometimes surprised the audiences are as big as they are, because there often seems to be little public outreach going on. This is probably something the folk community really needs to concentrate on more. I also agree that at times, the community is not always patient and welcoming to new members, and can get kind of cliquish. Not all the time of course, different groups have different dynamics, but it's something to think about if you truly want to bring more people in and have them become a long term part of things.

To sort of come full circle and end on a positive note, I was at a Sacred Harp sing yesterday and there were many new faces, including lots of younger ones. One person heard about it from a friend who sang, another one heard about it in their ethnomusicology class. Someone heard it in the movie "Cold Mountain" and got curious. And one woman said "I just heard this for the first time last week and I HAD to learn how to do it!"

So I respectfully disagree with this thread title - I think folk music, however you wish to define it, is quite alive, although maybe not as visible to enough people as it could be. So keep singing and playing whenever and wherever the opportunity arises, and spread the word(s)!

Zhenya


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 01:26 AM

Again, Steve, I'm agreeing with some of what you've said---including that we must create our own venues. To me, that means we have to get it across to people why what we do is valuable to them. That can make for real job security. When I was doing the Mississippi River steamboat gigs for ten years, I showed 'em I was willing and able to take over the raconteur/tall tale teller job the Captain did during the excursion trip. That freed the captain up for some rest time during the long day's voyage. That made me an even bigger asset to the boat voyage than just the 2 hours I was hired to fill being a folksinger.

In that sense, I guess I was creating my own venue!!

Art


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 01:44 AM

Q: Who killed Folk Music?

A: "Not I," said the duck.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: mg
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 02:33 AM

I haven't gone bak and see if I already said this years ago, but since I don't like old conversations I will say it again...
Hitler certainly killed the beautiful german songs, or tried to by appropriating them and then people wouldn't sing them. Teachers ion American schools who tried to "elevate us" from our humble origins...snooty people who look down at the irish-American songs every st. Patrick's day...Catholics who put together wierd and ugly sounds and called it folk music...well that is enough for now..although i AM NOT CONCEEDING THAT IT IS DEAD. MG


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 04:26 AM

Anyone who writes contemporary music and calls it folk music helps to kill folk music - or at least to dilute the bloodline so much that the inheritance becomes invisible.

I don't object to contemporary acoustic music (or whatever name you want to give it) - but it isn't folk music.

It is remarkably similar to diluting ethnic traditions - dilute them enough and you sanitise cultural identity.

We defend folk music by performing it and re-interpreting it. Not by asserting that the cuckoo in the nest is the true hatchling.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 05:37 AM

Disagree Richard. totally disagree.

I'm sure you're a great guy, but I'm allowed to disagree.

I grew up with old people. My grandmas sisters - some of them were born in the 1850's. that means they probably knew people who fought in the battle of waterloo- in the same way that i knew loads of old soldiers who fought in the 1st world war when I was a kid.

None of them sang in the 'traditional' manner. None of them reacted to the hardships of their lives in the ways outlined in folksongs - running off to join the ships company dressed as a man, etc. I find most folksongs profoundly disrespectful of the sheer shittiness of their experience. It wasn't the floggings and hangings that kept people in their place - it was the rigidity of the class system and the day to day grind of every kind of poverty.

I think Kingsley Amis had it about right when he described Eliot and Pound's attempts to re-connect with a long dead poetic tradition as being 'like a maniac rampaging round a museum'. this is what 90 odd percent of English folk music sounds like to most English people. Compare and contrast with what comes out of the radio in countries where there is a living tradition. In those countries the tradition my come from the lips of Chuck Berry or Daniel O'Donnel - but the thread is at least tangible.

First reflect on your own life. then try to express it. then your art will live. It may not fit in with the assholes who want to dress folk music up in grandad shirts and Laura Ashley dresses, may not make the Mike harding playlist, but at least - it will have some integrity.

all the best
big al whttle


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Andrez
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 05:51 AM

Morris Dancers !!!

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Suffet
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 08:10 AM

Greeting:

Art's example of his Mississippi riverboat job is exactly what I mean when I say creating one's own venues. If you can actually make a living at it, more power to you. If not, at least you've found an opportunity to connect the music with people who likely do not frequent the folk club and festival scene.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 08:34 AM

Phew, thank goodness I read this thread in time! Tomorrow night I was going to venture off the edge of the map to visit the Eel's Foot pub at Eastbridge in Suffolk, but if folk really is dead, I won't have to bother. Judging by previous occasions, between six and twenty singers and musicians would have gathered by eight o'clock,just as they have for hundreds of years, strong drink would be taken, a very elderly gentleman would sing 'Flash Company' and the rest of us would take turns with Dylan, Broonzy, melodeon tunes, sea shanties, Richard Thompson, George Formby, and anything else that we could get away with. Around midnight we would have been packing away the instruments when someone would strike up another tune and away we'd go again.

Now I suppose I can stay in and watch 'East Enders'and have an early night.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 09:53 AM

"Anyone who writes contemporary music and calls it folk music helps to kill folk music"

Sorry, but I am with weelittledrummer - I disagree 100% with Richard's statements. If you wish to follow that logic, than anyone who ever steps in front of a microphone to record a song is killing folk music.   Anytime anyone sings a song in a pub, song circle, campfire, etc - they are killing folk music.

I am sick to death of the hand wringing that goes in trad circles whenever someone sees a contemporary songwriter. I am also sick to death of the contemporary singer songwriters who refuse to explore their roots.   Each group sings about community, peace and love - but there is a battle going on between both hypocritical camps - there are individuals on both sides are too self-absorbed to see beyond their narrow point of view.

Sorry, but this angers me. I feel that we've become too involved in creating labels that we lose sight of a good song.

I don't want to hear a lecture on the definition of "folk song". I completely understand the clinical definition of the folk process and tradition, but folk music is not something that belongs in a museum. It is a living tradition and it is meant to be used.   I can go into a museum and see an example of a 300 year old hammer, but when I need to hang a picture I am going to grab my own personal hammer from my tool kit or I will improvise and use the heel of my shoe.

Discussions like this are what is killing folk music. Groucho Marx once said that if you have to analyze comedy, it isn't funny.   When you waste time trying to determine what is and what isn't folk music - you end up turning people off.   No wonder attendance is down in most folk venues.    Let's wake up people!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: DebC
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 12:42 PM

I knew there was a good reason that I hang out with Mr. Olesko.

I too am tired of the fractious nature of our community. We all need to come together and we all need to listen to each other. I love traditional song and perform many, but I love a GOOD composed song and sing those as well.

I do wish that we can all come together and enjoy the music whatever we call it. There is so much great stuff out there, trad and contemporary.

Deb Cowan


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Suffet
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 02:08 PM

Greetings agai:

Ron will be happy to know that I'm a singer-songwriter who only writes traditional folk songs. :-)

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 03:24 PM

Richard Bridge has said exactly what I was intimating in my last post. That is as accurate as one is likely to get on this topic.

Many years ago, I saw folks like David Amram with their pushing onto the folk performing stages the fusions of divergent ethnic musics as simply muddying the waters beyond any logical limit. This diluted the clear visions--and led to a lessening of what defined the music. It also made some see it as maybe killing the music.----- Whatever.

There is real value to drawing easily identifiable lines that clearly define the roots musics. You are good people, I know, doing the best you can to make a living --- but you who are saying that Richard Bridge (and me too) are wrong are not seeing the reality of it. You are blending single malt scotch with ice cream, and insisting that be called a proper milk shake.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 03:46 PM

Art, I do see the point that you and Richard are trying to make. However, let me use your example.   There are people who would not touch the concotion simply because it is not scotch served with a splash of water and others that would not drink it because it isn't a vanilla shake with ice cream and milk, period.   There are others that would leap at the chance to see how good, or bad, this experiment will taste. I am sure the person who invented the White Russian was faced with the same dilemma, but now it is a staple in most establishments. It isn't for everyone to drink, but it is there and has people that enjoy it. I certainly would not move my barstool if someone sitting next to me was drinking one.

Diluting a clear vision?   Is it a clear vision when a white kid from a wealthy family who attended prep school in Connecticut and then went on to Harvard and then goes around singing native African folk songs?   Doesn't sound like a folk singer,and the roots are surely diluted, but I think most of us accept Pete Seeger.   Pete never played the songs in an "authentic" style, but he fused his own musical upbringing into his performance.

Believe me, I do know what you are saying.   I think it is extremely important that field recordings are preserved and that people understand what the traditions are all about.   At the same time, I think it is important that we keep an open mind about "fusion". Some of it can be quite satisfying and it will open doors for new "fans". I grew up on Bob Dylan, and I began to search out the roots.   I know fans of David Grisman who have gone further into the music to learn about the Carter Family and their sources.    We truly need to preserve our traditions.

Now I am going to look for my blender and the bottle of scotch I received last Christmas.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 04:01 PM

It might be worthwhile to stop considering "folk" as a value judgment, and recognize that we're lumping two entirely different subjects: Social singing, and performance singing. They serve different functions, even though the same people may indulge in both.

"Performance" singing od folkish material is (largely) dead as a mass-media phenomenon just because , like all mass-media phenomena, it was replaced by something else. In this field "new" is what's important.

Social singing, on t'other hand, is alive and well, though its importance has been diminished by mass-media entertainment (including commercial "folk singing".


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 04:07 PM

scotch and ice cream... line 'em up! (how did you know my favourite....and yes i'll have a cherry!)

What Binds us together is that we CARE about folk music ...and that is more important than any differences.

to accuse one another of killing the art form that we love is abusive.

One can always find something to be abusive about. there are worthier subjects than our fellow mudcatters.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 04:17 PM

I hope that my postings have not come across as "abusive" to any of our fellow mudcatters. I have tremendous respect for Art, Dick , Richard, Debra and the others who have taken part in this discussion.   Weelittledrummer is correct, we are all bound together by our love of this music - however we define it.

Dick Greenhaus made a very good point about social and exhibition singing. I don't think social singing is as prevelant as it should be, but I know that for me - I look forward to the Old Songs Festival for the after concert singing that takes place in the Dutch Barn (usually led by Mr. Greenhaus!)   That is an incredibly rewarding experience for me, and while my voice would clear out the room if I tried to lead a room in song, I truly enjoy joining in a chorus and learning new songs.   At the same time, I enjoy watching an artist perform a song - be it an old folk tune or a new contemporary ballad. I can't draw to save my life, but I appreciate the beauty of a good painting. Participate or witness, good music is good music.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 04:32 PM

the Beatles revived folk music.

"We All live a Yellow Submarine, Ob La DI, Ob La Da will be sung by children 100 years from now and be considered popular folk tunes of the mid 20th century.

The way I see it, if the song passes through a generation, it is folk music. It all has to start somewhere. It just can't really ever die, just be redefined.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: shepherdlass
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 04:35 PM

Can I raise an obvious point? If someone killed folk music, then why are there enough enthusiasts around to discuss this?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Paddy Reilly came back.
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 05:02 PM

In Ireland folk singing is as strong as ever it was, I do not detect any sign of it dying here, RTE and the Irish language station TG4 have great programmes weekly and also our Radio Programmes cater for good folk and traditional music, it ain`t dead here.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 05:03 PM

You know, for something that is supposed to be dead folk music is doing a heck of a lot of moving around.

Yes, folk music is dead as a mass-market item. for all our sakes (and for the sake of the music itself) let's hope that it stays that way.It's very difficult, if not impossible, to be a force for creativity, human obsevation, and social change when you've been co-opted by the powers that be. That co-opting (if there is such a word) started when "Goodnight, Irene" became a hit song. The door, at that point, was open. The mainstream music buisness was paying attention.
The subsequent success of the Kingston Trio set it in stone. After that the powers of the biz saw folkies as a cheap, easy way to make a hit record -- the Flok Boom ( or "Scare" if you prefer) was off and running. Then it was just buisness as usual with a new, low cost way to make money. It reached its logical extreme when the Kingston Trio sang a jingle for Pepsi and Tom Paxton's song "MY Dog's Bigger Than Your Dog" became the jingle for Ken-L-Ration dog food.
    I should point out that I am not in any way unhappy about the success of the Weavers, The Kingston Trio, PP&M, or anyone else. My Kingston Trio records happen to be amongst the most treasured in my collection. If not for the and Peter, Paul and Mary it is entirely possible that I'd would be making a living in comedy rather than folk music. I'm merely explaining the realities of the buisness.

    While the "Boom" was going on there was a growing underground of fans and performers who were busy building something else with the music; something meaningful; something lasting;something productive and creative. This underground was lead by word of mouth, radio programs like "The Midnight Special", and magazines like "Sing Out!" and "Broadside(NY)". As the mainstream music buisness began to discover that they weren't getting as many hit songs as they wanted out of folk music and that they had just about milked the last dime's worth of money out of it, the "underground" kept growing.

    We are the living results of that "underground". We are its legacy. We're still growing. I run an open mic in Madison, WI. Every week I see a few new faces; not just to perform but to listen. The ages range from retirees to highschool student. I see, hear, feel and experience the strength of folk music on a weekly basis. Folk music is the healthiest damned corpse I've ever seen in my life!!!

Stephen Lee Rich


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 05:51 PM

No, the music isn't dead--just some different. That it lives in a way that bothers me now must be because I liked it better in other times. I truly respect all of you folks' for your talent, and I also enjoy a good portion of the music being made. And I hope you all can understand that my feelings about what I heard on stage when the truly brilliant David Amram took everyone hired to perform at a given folk festival -- and had them jam on stage?!---The result was, for me, a real sonic hodge podge at best. At worst, it was an invitation to others to do their own fusion thing---maybe for a living -- if only they could get a label and show-biz pushing and advertising machinations behind it. If it was done in the name of brotherhood, it could be considered kosher, right? Well, that is surely a laudible end to shoot at. But the misinformation produced as a byproduct just might diminish and change greatly (even while not killing) the music. As we've seen on many battlefields in recent years, misinformation, to achieve what is thought by some to be a defensible position, can lead to random early deaths -- of various kinds.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Franz S.
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 06:43 PM

Three-four years ago my wife and I were driving crosscountry from Nova Scotia (where music could be found in almost every parking lot, it seemed) to California. One night we wound up at the Interstate motel-restaurant complex just outside Richfield, Utah. When we entered the restaurant I saw in the giftshop a one-page flyer called Guitar News which among other things reminded people that there was a music party every Tuesday night at that very restaurant.

It started at 7. There were about 50 people there, all ages from 9 months to 90 years. About 10-15 people took the part of musicians, mostly guitars but a couple of fiddles, a keyboard or two, accordion, and one woman with an amazing collection of homemade percussion instruments.   They took turns leading songs, which included everything from Frank Sinatra to country hits to hymns, to show tunes to...whatever.   People sang along when they felt like it.   Couples got up and danced when they felt like it, including the 12-y and the 80-year-old who danced together.   There was a dessert potluck.    The party was going strong when I left at 9:30.

I refuse to believe that Richfield,Utah, is the only place that sort of thing happens. In fact, I know it isn't. The San Francisco Folk Music Club newsletter lists 2 legalsized pages in tiny type of events, venues, and get-togethers just in this part of the country every couple of months.

I know that it's really hard for most singer-songwriters or performers to make a living. I wish I had enough money to let them know tangibly how much they add to my quality of life. But that is a separate issue from whether or not folks is still making music.   Most of us occupy a position somewhere between that of performers and that of consumers.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 06:55 PM

Look - contemporary chaps.

Nothing wrong with contemporary music. But it isn't folk music. Why can't you get it through your heads that if I say it isn't folk music, I am not denigrating it. I am merely saying it isn't folk music.

You may be creating a new and valid community singing programme - but it isn't folk music. Saying it is is what makes folk music disappear. There is so much other stuff being called folk music that folk music disappears.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: John Routledge
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 07:00 PM

On Tyneside (UK) a performer called Little Billy Fane recreated the atmosphere of Music Hall performances often with relatively modern materal.

As he said "Music Hall didn't die - it just moved round a bit."


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 07:04 PM

Richard, you just used the word "chaps".    In this country (U.S.) the word means an article of clothing that are worn by cowboys. Yet you have a different usage of the word.

Folk music means different things to different people. I certainly would not call singer-songwriters "traditional", but I have no problem calling certain artists "folk".


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 07:50 PM

to be honest, we've heard it all before and it pulled me up in my trax the first time I heard it.

Ewan MacColl said all this in an interview in New Musical Express in 1965 - June I think. It was rubbish then, and its rubbish now. You can't blame Ewan - he'd been beating the drum for folk music for, over a decade and a load of whippersnappers like Donovan and Dylan happened along. he must have been pig sick.

the only thing that sustains any artistic movement - is the energy, creativity of the artists and if they are lucky enough to gain recognition - either before or after death - the audience factor, shall we say.

You are denigrating these artists efforts Richard.

the implication of what you are saying is that these people don't have a place in the folk song movement. Their place is a matter of historical record, and they have made a fabulous contribution to civilisation and culture. And incidentally, they have interested an awful lot of people in traditional material, by presenting it what is initially a more accessible form to modern ears.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 07:52 PM

"Nothing wrong with contemporary music. But it isn't folk music. Why can't you get it through your heads that if I say it isn't folk music, I am not denigrating it. I am merely saying it isn't folk music."

Much of it will be in a hundred years.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 07:57 PM

. . . so I'm glad you didn't say it isn't GONNA be folk music.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 08:54 PM

The idea seems to be: if it isn't coming out of a million loudspeakers, it's dead. That idea strikes me as wrong.

Every once in a while, when I am at the supermarket or the laundromat, the gangster sleaze or mechanized tantrums are interrupted and an actual song comes out of the loudspeakers. That is a relief; but its prolongation would not put me in paradise. In my paradise, the loudspeakers have all been bulldozed into sanitary landfills (a noise to end noise!) and people, some of them, sing while they push their carts around.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. :||


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: akenaton
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 09:51 PM

Word on the street is ...It was a suicide.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Cluin
Date: 15 Nov 05 - 09:52 PM

Ed Sullivan


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 04:27 AM

Ewan's "Springhill Mine Disaster" = folk music

Ewan's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" = pop = not folk music

Woody and Cisco doing "Worried Man" = folk music

Kingston Trio doing "It Takes A Worried Man" = bowdlerized pimply hyperbole = folk based money maker music

Bottom line is: If you've done the homework, you know the truth of what Richard and Peace and I are getting at. If you've not got the inclination to look for what has gone down, your forays into the musical future will have some basic flaws that could diminish your output like soot specks falling on uncovered milk. Sure, it can get mixed in and be nearly undetectable. But some will be able to see the graying of it--and then show the emperor that he's less than clothed. That's a mixed metaphor, but still valid, even if it only shows that the scanty revealing clothes being worn are simply out of fashion.

Art


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 04:58 AM

G'day Art (you'll have to get someone to bake you a new cookie ...!),

Springhill Mine Disaster is Peggy's ...

The first time I heard Ewan's love song to Peggy: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face ... sung on an Australian television program ... about 1963, by Martyn Wyndham-Read, I was stunned by its simple and honest expression of deep emotion. That's what folk music can do!

What Roberta Flack ... and the recording studio ... makes of it is pop ... but pretty good pop! Ewan's words can still survive and be cherished by the folk ...

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 07:11 AM

I liked and respected Ewan MacColl. he was a great man and a great artist.

But a lot more people listened to the Kingston Trio, and a lot of people stopped listening when they packed in. A lot of people were listening to folk music in those days who would never have sat through Ewan singing the ballad of Tam Linn.

we could do with people like that nowadays, people who can communicate folk music with a mass audience and get folk songs into ordinary households - otherwise children will never learn these songs of their heritage.

In England The spinners did it it and The Corries, and they were largely despised for their efforts. They never had the mass success the Kingston Trio enjoyed in America though - I would think only Lonnie Donnegan made albums with folksongs on, that lots of people bought - having said that not many people bought albums - as I remember. Perhaps Nina and frederick also should be given credit. we had few tv channels in those days and there was always a folk music slot on a BBC early evening programme called Tonight.

The present tendency of serious folk artists to strive after an authentic ethnic sound makes that sort of exposure for ordinary people to folk music very unlikely nowadays.

I guess its perhaps different in America - a different set of circumstances that I don't understand. But really I would think you need as many people behind the folk music barricades with you as possible - the barbarians are not just at the gates, they are already here!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 07:17 AM

Tomorrow will be one week since my Waiting for the Morning Train incident, the lesson of which is that regardless of our debates over what is and what is not folk music, and in spite of how folk music is ignored by the mass media and by the music business, authentic folk music is still alive here in the USA, or at least in one little corner of the USA. I'll be at the Amtrak station in Providence a little later today. Let's see if any inquisitive teenage boys are present!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Betsy
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 07:23 AM

I had an illuminating conversation many years ago with a singer, and as I shall attribute / paraphrase some of his comments, but I shall preserve his anonymity and simply call him Bob.
Here in the U.K. he believed that the rise of the folk scene and club, in the 60's gave people a different view of life and values than that propagated by the huge musical industry. We were all a bit bolshy - buoyed-up by the Beatles and Dylan esp. with his "Times are a-changing".
When the festivals came along - due to a dearth in full-time time performers and stars - the people (groups and individuals ) who found themselves able to take time off to perform at the festivals - were generally schoolteachers who were already on holiday in the Summer term.
These schoolteachers became relatively well known and became the "names" to book at the clubs.
They came along to the clubs and sanitised them - no more angry singers and writers, no more weird ideas , songs, swearing ( cussing ) or any behaviour for which a schoolteacher could be criticised by his School superiors.
As such the whole thing lost it's edge, became a bit pseudo intellectual and far too comfortable and institutionalised and in later years is probably the reason why the Folk scene does not attract the younger person.
It's too safe, has no teeth and too reverent to society.
There's no risk or fun in the Folk evening - people tut-tutting when someone sings a Beatle song or uses the F* word even when contained in a really funny joke.
Someone reproducing a Carthy song complete with Martin Cathy's EXACT accent and delivery is loudly applauded. We don't need these mimics and copycats - it is silly. It has all become too Conservative when the scene was built on opposite principles.
All the foregoing shouldn't stop the many of us who are trying to "Gee-up" the system, and, the experience of going to a Folk night, but MC's / Organisers please monitor the performers and ensure that they are not boring and frightening-off your most regular and enthusiastic supporters who bring life and vigour to your Club.
Cheers Betsy


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 07:31 AM

What passes as folk-trad for many people here on this Thread, would not be recognised as such in Ireland, yes I know we have countless songs and music all of which goes back a long way and I suppose that means we can turn our nose up at the Kingston Trio and other Johnny -come-latelys.

I can enjoy all of those artists but some of their material would never consitute what we know as folk music, I am not being a musical snob, just stating facts. Just enjoy the music that your contempary artists bring, but wait another couple of hundred years and then you may call it folk.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Hopfolk
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 07:31 AM

Folk MUSIC is alive and well, it's folk SINGING that has suffered.

I agree, Peace. David Gray = Not folk

As a relatively young fan of Trad.Folk (37) I have done lots of research in the last three years and it seems to me that Pete+Peggy Seeger had a great deal to do with the confusion and evolution of Folk music in Britain.
Although I understand that the Seegers are important people in their own right, they concentrate mostly with protest songs, played in a contemporary style = Not folk.
Oh yes, I know there ARE folk songs that are also protest songs but Trad.folk (And let's face it, that's where the definition of folk starts) doesn't dwell on protest. Circumstances that might be unfair are mostly sung of in a storytelling vein, not on a whingeing vein.
I offer 'Andrew Rose' and 'A-Beggin' I will go' and 'Rigs of the time' as examples of this.

I'm trying my hardest to make Folk singing, in public (Where it should be) attractive to the people around me. By promotion, participation and information. It's fun and it's hard work.

Here's to the revival

John


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 09:05 AM

WAIT ANOTHER TWO HUNDRED YEARS......!


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 09:30 AM

"Springhill Mine Disaster" = folk music
"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" = pop = not folk music


By following that logic, would "Barbara Allen" be considered a pop song?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,BazT
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 09:42 AM

I understand what people mean when they say that contemporary songs need to wait 100 or 200 years to become absorbed into the folk tradition, and finally be worthy of the the description "folk", but seeing as how none of us will be around then, why don't we stop mithering about it and enjoy whatever music we enjoy?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: John P
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 09:56 AM

Folk music isn't dead. Way up there in the thread somewhere Ron talked about how we aren't singing as much as we used to and how folk music has become a spectator sport. This is only true if you are looking for folk music in concert halls, pubs, and CDs. While those are the places were performers of folk music can make money at it and where spectators can spectate, that isn't where most folk music happens. I'm singing more than ever, and so are most of my friends. Singing in the living room, at work, and while out walking.

Here in Seattle you can go to a "folk" dance of some type every night of the week if you want to. Not ethnic dance performances with costumes -- just normal folks getting together after work and dancing away the night. With live music. The musicians make a few bucks and the hall has to be rented, but it's really just a flourishing folk music and dance scene happening without the need to perform, get paid, attend conferences, worry about what happened to folk music, be on the radio, or any of the stuff that people usually think about when they think about the Music Business. Because it ain't business -- its people singing and playing and dancing as a vital part of their daily lives.

As for the difference between traditional music and singer-songwriter music, it's just a different genre of music. A lot of the same people like to listen to both. But the cultures the musics are played in are very different. The melodic structures are very different. The lyrics are very different. And, except for a relatively few exceptions, the musicians don't hang out with each other and play each other's music. There's no judgement here -- just an observation that calling it all folk music is like saying rap and rockabilly are both rock music. Yes, it's true in a way. And there may be a few people who play both and a few more who listen to both. Some of the same musical instruments may get used. But calling it all rock music doesn't really tell us anything meaningful about rap or about rockabilly.

I play almost exlusively old traditional European folk music, some of which I write. I don't ever go to concerts by singer-songwriters. They don't much come to my shows. When I find myself jamming with one at a party, I usually find that I can jam along on their songs and they haven't a clue what's going on when I play mine. Of course the same is true with the bluegrass folks.

I mix and match cultures in the music I play, and am completely aware that I am in some way diluting the traditions. Two things about that: the culture seems to be doing OK even with me pouring fusion on it and running it through the folk processor. There are lots of people from all the places I steal music from who are firmly carrying the tradition. Secondly, I'm an American. The American culture exists as a result of mixing an matching. I see it as melting pot music, a reflection of the culture I grew up in an live in. I'm never going to be a purely traditional Norwegian folk musician, or an Irish musician, or a Bulgarian musician. I didn't grow up in those cultures and I came to this music as an adult. The folks I play with have a variety of ethnic heritages and learned traditional music in different ways and have different areas of focus. Sort of like the American society as a whole.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,BazT
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 10:18 AM

For some reason only half of my last post actually got posted, and therefore I fear it appeared more facetious than I intended.......I won't re-type everything, but I wanted to bring to you attention I quote I remember reading somewhere. The story goes that Bob Dylan met Thelonious Monk and introduced himself as someon who "played folk music", to which Monk replied "Man, we ALL play folk music!"

To a very large extent, the practice of differentiating music by genre was invented to make records easier to sell. I don't necessarily discourage this, but I always remember that I don't live in a record shop.

You play music. I play music. Long may it continu. Surely whether or not we decide to call it "folk" or not is not the most important thing here?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,potbelly
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 10:25 AM

as long as they is folk (people) we will have folk songs


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 11:39 AM

"Way up there in the thread somewhere Ron talked about how we aren't singing as much as we used to and how folk music has become a spectator sport. This is only true if you are looking for folk music in concert halls, pubs, and CDs. While those are the places were performers of folk music can make money at it and where spectators can spectate, that isn't where most folk music happens. I'm singing more than ever, and so are most of my friends. Singing in the living room, at work, and while out walking."


Jim, I think what you are doing is excellent, and more people should be doing that. But your examples are largely solo efforts.   I was actually talking about social singing with others.    Of course there are still outlets for it, but I don't think they are as prevelant as they once were.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,John Hernandez
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 11:42 AM

La musica folklorica is what traditional folk music is called in Latin America, and it's alive and well as it always has been, and it follows la raza al Norte, meaning that truly traditional Latin folk music can be found in almost any North American city. It may not be the stuff that's played on the radio, but it there just the same. The old people remember and love it, but the young people know it, too. It's what they would call very old school, and the may not pay much attention to it 99 percent of the time. But on a warm summer's evening the streets come alive with the sounds of plena. Where did these muchachos y muchachas learn it? Who knows? But they did.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Hopfolk
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 03:30 PM

Weelittledrummer: Why shout that? Are you one of those people who suddenly stands up in the cinema and shouts stuff like "THE ALIENS ARE COMING"?

'Folk' had revivals in the Victorian period, Music hall, 2nd world Wartime, 60's, 80's and there might just be one going on now. Ever tried to get a ticket for Cambridge, Sidmouth, Bridport? Where was all this stuff in the early 90's?
It was there but much more low key. All hail the Internet!!!

Cheers

John


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 04:57 PM

You're probably right. I should have warned you about the paranoid delusions, before you tried to engage in serious conversation with me.

I used to think One Step Byond was a documentary. I still think it made pertinent value judgements.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: shepherdlass
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 06:19 PM

CamoJohn said: "I agree, Peace. David Gray = Not folk"

Who'd argue with that? It bugs me as much as the next person that David Gray's dubious meanderings can be equated as folk just because they're vaguely acoustic and singer-songwritery.

But then what do you do with work, nay anthems, from other "johnny come latelys" (Jez Lowe's "Black Diamonds"; Billy Bragg's "Between the Wars"; any amount of current output from "world music" artists like Gilberto Gil or Youssou n'Dour; the magic riff of Eliza Carthy's "Accordion Song"; Leon Rosselson's "World turned Upside Down"; Robbie Williams' "Angels" if you want to push the extremities of the definition). These are songwriters who produce music relevant to their communities (alright, I'm not sure about Robbie, but one hell of a lot of people seem to identify with that song) and that seem likely to be sung within their communities or at least at weddings/gatherings/pub singarounds (and not necessarily limited to folk clubs) for decades to come.   Surely entry into the tradition can't be barred to anything written since 1950?


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 06:30 PM

Read the F***ing definition. I hav posted it elsewhere and it was from a world council - not an English one.

When the composer is not known, and the song has been handed down AND MODIFIED BY the oral tradition, it will be folk song.

I play some folk songs. I interpret and arrange them.

I play some contemporary songs (EG "Step it out Mary" and others closer to my inherited tradition. They are not folk songs. When you say that these non-folk songs are folk songs, you destroy folk music for it is no longer evident.

Like them equally, if you do. Know the difference.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 07:35 PM

Don't patronize us! We all know the "definitions". Screw definitions. You change the definition of words all the time. We all do. Words, like folk music, evolve to fit the time.

Traditional and contemporary are one thing. You can't change that. But like it or not, "folk" has become a genre and no amount of whining or reciting classroom explanations will change that.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 07:42 PM

I was not my intention to reinflame passions over what is and what is not a folk song. All I wanted to do was describe an incident that once again reminded me that folk music is still very much alive outside of that narrow and limited environment we call the folk scene. I believe that is the point John Hernandez is making when he explains that traditional Latin American folk music is also very much alive, even in North America.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 07:54 PM

Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Main Entry: folk song
Function: noun
: a traditional or composed song typically characterized by stanzaic form, refrain, and simplicity of melody


American Heritage Dictonary:
folk song
...1. A song belonging to the folk music of a people or area, often existing in several versions or with regional variations. 2. A song composed in the style of traditional...


MSN Encarta:
folk song
folk song (plural folk songs)
noun
Definitions:

1. traditional song: a traditional song that has been passed down orally

2. modern song in traditional style: a modern song composed in the style of traditional folk music, often performed by a solo singer


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 10:44 PM

It would seem that we're back to the eternal debate of defining the music. Like philosophers debating the existance vs the non-existance of The Almighty, we are unlikely to ever reach a universally satisfactory conclusion to said debate.

That having been said, it must be pointed out that valid points have been made on either side of or current discussion.

To begin, there ARE rigid, scholarly definitions of folk music, folklore, and folk ways. The trickey bit is that how many definitions exist depends on how many ethnomusicologists you've asked recently. Each seems to have his or her own, unique definition.

Secondly, it is also true that things which are not considered "folk" at the moment may well be considered so at some point in the future. Consider the work of John roberts who is keen on perserving and recreating old Music Hall recitations. They we, when they were new, part of mainstream show buisness. Are we to consider them "not folk" because of thier origins?

Third, The point has been made that, for good or ill, folk music has become a genre. Whether it is because of commercialization of the music or due to some other cause it is a fact. Further, it has a much narrower, and much less mercurial definition than the scholarly one. It generally means any music performed exclusively on "acoustic" instruments (the word "acoustic" is in quotes because, what with so many instrument having on-board electronic these days, that definition is also a bit fluid).

Finally, non-commercial/non-performance singing is as common as it ever was. It just isn't in the same places that it used to be. It may not always be in someone's living room.
It may be a random song circle at a SCA meeting, a car-pool of people singing along with the radio, a folk music society that opens its meeting with a group sing. you have to look a bit harder for it and they're not singing a lot of the same songs that we sang back in the day, but the phenomenon is very much out there.


Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: mg
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 11:22 PM

I just remembered...those Irish lady singers who try to sing ..or perhaps really do...like they are having spiritual moments combined with finding themselves in an old cathedral with monks in the background and they can somehow wheeze and sing at the same time. mg


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 11:42 PM

I re-read some of my notes, and I would like to apologize. I think I came across as rather harsh and demeaning, and that was not my intent. I completely respect, and believe it or not, I do understand the criteria of what makes a folk song.   I have deep respect for all the posters here, and I did not wish to stir up any ill feelings. It is warming to see that we are all passionate about the music.

If any of you have listened to my radio show, you will know that I have a deep respect for traditional music and I would dare say that I feature more of it on my program than on most radio shows that call themselves "folk". However, I have a similar respect for many singer-songwriters who create songs that speak to similar themes and also can be shared in the same fashion.

I believe is started around the Civil War, but whenever it began, there is a monument in Washington for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. A fallen soldier from each of the past wars is at rest there, each unidentifiable from their remains.   However, modern technology has come along and with procedures like DNA tests, it is unlikely that we will have "unkown" soldiers in future wars.

Folk music has become the same.   Through "modern" inventions - from the first recordings to the internet and iPods, we have an "industry". It doesn't necessarily have to be commercial, but most songs will be tagged to an owner, and I doubt future generations will have true "folk" songs to deal with from our generation and those to come.

For better or worse, the "folk scare" created a monster. We will continue to argue, but deep down we will all love the music.   Folk music will never die, no matter how many doom and gloom individuals are lurking out there.


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 16 Nov 05 - 11:48 PM

Stephen,

Great post.

I think content can define a song as folk or not too. What it is about can at least indicate whether this is the kind of thing folk-songs are about.

That's what I meant when I mentioned Ewan's "Springhill Mine Disaster" being a folksong. (Mr. Mac Coll is who I heard do it first--even though Peggy wrote it. In my mind, Ewan "had" this song. What a great version he did!!)----------It's a ballad---a good story told with a good trad-sounding tune to add to it's appeal.

On the other hand, "First Time Ever" doesn't strike me as sounding like a folk song. --- It sounds, to me, like a pop love song.

And writing a TOPICAL ballad, even though it is a new song, makes it a song I might consider learning because of it having been written very much like the older graphic historical songs I tend to choose and care so much about.

As a folksinger, I tend to think I sing/sang folk songs, or folk type songs at least 50% of the time---hopefully more. I do that because those are the songs that fulfill my criteria for what a folk song is or might be.
---
That's just how I feel about it. One fellows opinion. No value judgment intended at all.

A good discussion with many well stated takes on a topic that'll never be exhausted here apparently. It helps us all "know" that what we feel is the correct way to see things actually is, indeed, the best way to go. **SMILE**

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Who Killed Folk Music?
From: Hopfolk
Date: 17 Nov 05 - 07:16 AM

There's always the issue of entertainment.

Prior to the 1960's, very few people had access to television and, as such, had to find their entertainment elsewhere. When TV's made staying at home an inviting prospect, I would imagine that Folksinging would have suffered somewhat due to this.

Just a though

John


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