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Shirley Collins - can she sing?

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The Sandman 26 Nov 13 - 01:16 PM
Stringsinger 26 Nov 13 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,Reynard 26 Nov 13 - 11:08 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Nov 13 - 11:07 AM
The Sandman 26 Nov 13 - 08:46 AM
GUEST 26 Nov 13 - 08:34 AM
GUEST 26 Nov 13 - 08:32 AM
The Sandman 26 Nov 13 - 07:51 AM
Brian Peters 26 Nov 13 - 06:55 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Nov 13 - 05:11 AM
Brian May 25 Nov 13 - 05:52 PM
The Sandman 25 Nov 13 - 05:18 PM
TheSnail 25 Nov 13 - 04:11 PM
The Sandman 25 Nov 13 - 03:23 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Nov 13 - 02:30 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Nov 13 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,CS 25 Nov 13 - 02:02 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Nov 13 - 12:30 PM
The Sandman 25 Nov 13 - 12:23 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Nov 13 - 11:17 AM
RoyH (Burl) 25 Nov 13 - 10:20 AM
The Sandman 25 Nov 13 - 04:59 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Nov 13 - 04:14 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Nov 13 - 04:53 PM
The Sandman 24 Nov 13 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,BrendanB 24 Nov 13 - 03:52 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Nov 13 - 02:47 PM
Don Firth 24 Nov 13 - 02:43 PM
johncharles 24 Nov 13 - 02:34 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Nov 13 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,Joe Moran 24 Nov 13 - 01:32 PM
The Sandman 24 Nov 13 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,Raymond Greenoaken 24 Nov 13 - 12:12 PM
The Sandman 24 Nov 13 - 11:34 AM
The Sandman 24 Nov 13 - 11:15 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Nov 13 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,Folknacious 24 Nov 13 - 10:45 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Nov 13 - 03:33 AM
The Sandman 24 Nov 13 - 03:08 AM
Phil Cooper 23 Nov 13 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,Morris-ey 23 Nov 13 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 23 Nov 13 - 05:55 PM
Vic Smith 23 Nov 13 - 03:18 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 13 - 02:55 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Nov 13 - 02:51 PM
The Sandman 23 Nov 13 - 01:47 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 13 - 01:18 PM
Vic Smith 23 Nov 13 - 12:50 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Nov 13 - 12:37 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 13 - 12:19 PM
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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 01:16 PM

"I know taste is a personal thing, but criticism of her as someone who "can't sing" simply because she doesn't meet certain peoples preconceptions of what a "good" singer should sound like feels like the type competitive judgemental "muso" wankery that seems to exist across many genres and has always seemed to me like the wrong approach to music."
I agree with this post.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 12:07 PM

It all depends on how you define singing. Does she have a well-trained voice? Probably not but can she communicate? That is just as important. A well-trained voice allows you to keep it as you grow older. Communication is perhaps even more important.

Alan Lomax certainly thought Shirley was a good singer and promoted her extensively.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: GUEST,Reynard
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 11:08 AM

To me she's a great and unique singer. One comment I would add, is that "folk" can approached from many angles, and that classical or mainstream pop vocal styles are not the only other alternatives.

In my case before discovering English folk I was a fan of mainly indie/alternative/rock music and have always appreciated an expressive and interesting singer over one with a bland but technically perfect voice. To me Shirley Collins singing is beautiful and sums up what I love most about the music.

I know taste is a personal thing, but criticism of her as someone who "can't sing" simply because she doesn't meet certain peoples preconceptions of what a "good" singer should sound like feels like the type competitive judgemental "muso" wankery that seems to exist across many genres and has always seemed to me like the wrong approach to music.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 11:07 AM

"However, I'd have thought Anne Briggs was much more influential on revival style."
I would agree with this, unfortunately the thread is about Shirley Collins.
I was hoping the discussion would develop into something a little more adult and a little less personal – ah well!!
She is undoubtedly a good singer - few have argued otherwise; whether you 'like' her singing is a matter of personal taste - not a lot you can do about that one way or another.
I took as my cue a remark that was made earlier - "her voice has a breathy, unearthly quality" - her breathiness is commented on by several other people.
As has been pointed out, her style of singing seems to be natural - to her.
When it is taken up and used in a wholesale manner on every song by singers to whom this way of singing is not natural, I believe it produces the problems I have mentioned - I also believe it to be a valid subject for discussion on this thread.
I also partly agree with Brian regarding Anne Briggs, whose singing raises the same feelings with me and the same problems with other singers, though whose influence is the greatest is, as far as I'm concerned, a moot point.   

As promise Mike – from the Criticism at Singarounds thread.
Apologies to eldergirl for taking her name in vain.

Date: 31 Oct 13 - 05:03 AM
Another problem that seldom occurred in the older singers was the 'head-voice' syndrome (common to women unless you happen to be a castrati!)
The airy tone some women use takes up too much air to sing a full line without having to take a breath - saw a spectacular example last night in our local session when an otherwise fine singer broke down and abandoned her song.
This tone also produces 'gear change' - a forced shift from head to chest tone as the singer moves down her range - a lack of tonal continuity - a sort of quantum leap - can't think of a single example among the older generation of singers - plenty in revival ones.
Sorry - having my own personal little rant now.
Jim Carroll

Subject: RE: Criticism at singarounds
From: GUEST,eldergirl on another computer - PM
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 06:21 AM
guilty as charged, Jim! some days I can manage the leap, but mostly not. tension, and lack of practice, that is, not singing out for most of my life. :(

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 08:46 AM

this might be useful for people who are running out of breath whilst singing.
long breathing comes from diaphragm control., posture is important, smoking is going to make long breathing and good breath control more difficult.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJzflvDTWno. in my opinion you can forget all this talk about head voice and chest voice if you want to be confident as a performer, in my opinion it is more im portant to try alexander technique, if you want to improve your breath control, try breathing exercises, give up smoking and take regular exercise.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 08:34 AM

Woops sorry folks, probs with my membership. That last thread rant was me Vin2


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 08:32 AM

Well Davey Graham thought she was good

http://youtu.be/jUigUFYIsQw

Shirley Collins, Anne Briggs, Martin Carthy, John Martyn, Bert Jansch &c all had/have distinctive unique voices styles.

No Roses is a classic folk album and, in my 'umble opinion, Shirley's singing is superb. Joan Baez had a clear, clean lovely voice but doubt she could pur over Hal-an-Tow like our Shirley can.

I've heard some opera singers and pop singers who are supposed to have the 'x' factor (whatever that shit means) who sound bloody awful......in my 'umble opinion.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 07:51 AM

I've described a local singer here who has a perfectly good natural voice, but who has developed the habit in singing in head voice and has all but abandoned singing unnecessarily because she can no longer handle long lines, gasps for breath and her singing actually peters out before she reaches the end of the line."
this could be rectified in my opinion by breathing exercises and stopping smoking, bad breathing can sometimes occur through incorrect posture, Alexander technique is designed to help perfrmers[including singers] perform better,
bad breathing is not necessarily anything to do with head voice, it can occur with singers who use chest voice too.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 06:55 AM

CS wrote:
"I find Shirley's singing to be thoroughly engaging. She sings honestly without artifice or pretence, in a manner that is entirely her own. She communicates like a true story teller."

Couldn't have put it better (and the same goes for RoyH's post). I've listened to plenty of Shirley's singing, and enjoyed it way more than some of her more widely-praised peers. And her voice is surely unique enough to satisfy even Raymond G's passion for idiosyncracy.

However, I'd have thought Anne Briggs was much more influential on revival style.

I've been inclined to stay well clear of a thread that started out negatively and then got seriously unpleasant - in the hope that it might die - but finally decided that a small contribution to help tip the balance might be more useful.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 05:11 AM

"Hate to appear ignorant, Jim; but could you be kind enough to define 'head voice' in the sense you are using it? "
How do you define a sound in words - beyond me?
Listen to Shirley Collins - she sings in head voice as I understand it.
She handles it well and doesn't show any signs of the problems that come with it.
We're told that this is her natural voice, which makes sense to me.
The many hundreds of women in the revival have adopted head voice when it is not their not natural voice and do have those problems, this is what concern me.
One contributor to a current thread (Criticism in Sessions maybe) has said she sings in head voice and has one of these problems - gear change (change of tone from head to chest when moving up and down her range) - will dig it out later.
I've described a local singer here who has a perfectly good natural voice, but who has developed the habit in singing in head voice and has all but abandoned singing unnecessarily because she can no longer handle long lines, gasps for breath and her singing actually peters out before she reaches the end of the line.
In workshops I've worked in this has been a problem with other women singers.
As far as I am concerned head voice has been adopted by singers to whom it is not their natural voice and they have used it for every song they sing - producing a sameness in performance.
Sorry - must go - will look up the posting I referred to later.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Brian May
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 05:52 PM

Blimey - can we stop now?


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 05:18 PM

my apologies, Bryan, it is a little while since I heard him sing,that's why i used the past tense, glad to hear he is going strong.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 04:11 PM

Good Soldier Schweik

I have spent many years listening to Traditional singers such as harry cox and fred jordan, bob lewis, they sang naturally, ...

I wish you'd stop referring to Bob Lewis in the past tense, Dick. He was singing naturally and without affectation when I last saw him a couple of weeks ago and I am sure he will on Wednesday at the next rehearsal for the concert of Sussex Carols our little choir will be performing at various venues under the banner Shepherds Arise with musical interludes of traditional Sussex tunes from Will Duke and from the Shepherds Arise band with readings from Shirley Collins MBE.

First outing - Lewes Saturday Folk Club, Elephant and Castle, White Hill, Lewes BN7 2DJ Saturday 7th December.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 03:23 PM

"I'm not denigrating head voice - extremely attractive when used well (and sparingly), but it raises problems which have to be noticed and need to be dealt with."
what are these problems and on whose authority to they have to be dealt with.
As far as I can hear Shirley is using her natural voice rather similiar to her speaking voice, she is from Sussex and speaks with a slight Sussex accent. In my experience all Traditional singers do this,and most of them know nothing about chest voices or head voices
the terms head voice and chest voice appear to have first surfaced sometime in the uk folk revival in the seventies, and seem to be connected with the Critics group.
So Lloyd said "bucolic being fairly rare in folk song" are we suposed to take this statement without a challenge,   here is harry cox singing with a rural accent.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsxG06FMA-Y Walter Pardon also sang in a norfolk bucolic accent, dictionary definition of bucolic [rustic, pastoral, of the countryside]


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 02:30 PM

Hate to appear ignorant, Jim; but could you be kind enough to define 'head voice' in the sense you are using it?


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 02:04 PM

"But I agree that I can think of few Shirley Collins soundalikes."
I'm talking specifically about the use of head-voice, noted by Bert Lloyd when he made his "bucolic" comment as being fairly rare in folk song, but later producing many imitators of the style.
I'm not denigrating head voice - extremely attractive when used well (and sparingly), but it raises problems which have to be noticed and need to be dealt with.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 02:02 PM

I find Shirley's singing to be thoroughly engaging. She sings honestly without artifice or pretence, in a manner that is entirely her own. She communicates like a true story teller. Any technical 'flaws' or imperfections in her singing, merely accent her unique character.

As someone who has tried but failed to get on board with much of the music professionally produced in the name of folk, I find Shirley's music possesses a timeless charm and is always worth returning to.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 12:30 PM

Indeed ~~ and in various ways by June Tabor, Maddie Prior, Norma Waterson -- more recently Eliza Carthy ... et al. But I agree that I can think of few Shirley Collins soundalikes.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 12:23 PM

"Whatever my personal opinions on Shirley Collins' singing, my main reason for discussion is the effect that her style has had on the revival as a whole (I'm not blaming her for that, just pointing out what I believe has happened)."
I would be interested to have some evidence of the effect her style has had on the revival as a whole,over the last 40 years I have heard very few Shirley Collins imitators.
I have heard a considerable number of female singers, who have clearly attended and been influenced by Frankie Armstrongs' workshops, in my opinion the UK Folk revival[ as regards female singers] has been influenced more by Frankie Armstrong and Sandra Kerr[ two performers with strong connections to The Critics Group] than by Shirley Collins.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 11:17 AM

Interestingly, Roy, I have always thought that you and Shirley have much in common as singers ~~ a straightforwardness of performance, singing with sincerity and truth and eschewing gimmickry. And you have both, as is known to quite a few, long been admired and enjoyed by me.

Nice to hear from you again.

& A Merry Christmas To All My [former] Readers!

☤☤✸✸☃☃✾✾~Michael~✾✾☃☃✸✸☤☤


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 10:20 AM

Off course Shirley Collins can sing. She sings like Shirley Collins!   She sings in a totally honest, straightforward style, without histrionics or over elaboration, in her own Sussex accent, which adds to the charm of her singing in my opinion, No one can fault her for integrity,she has upheld her belief and love for traditional song for many years and continues to do so. Long may she reign. However, as she is a noted public figure, heard by many, there are bound to be some who do not like her singing. It's inevitable. Lots of people don't like my singing, but I'm grateful for those that do, and accept that the others have a right to their opinion. I love to sing, and will continue to do so regardless of having some critics. I'm sure that Shirley wishes she could sing right now. I too have suffered from Vocal Dysphonia, it was the darkest period in my life when I feared I would never sing again. It took me three years plus before I could use my voice with confidence once more.
Like Shirley's singing if you wish. Dislike it if you wish. It's just your opoinion after all. But to say that she CAN'T sing. Nonsense!


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 04:59 AM

I attribute the idea that performers must sing in certain styles[including an insistence on using both head and chest voice] to various workshops that certain uk revival performers[not Shirley Collins] have given, in my opinion these workshops were not based on uk traditional singing styles as sometimes have been claimed.
using a harder tone was an idea put forward by certain uk revival singers[not shirley collins].
I have spent many years listening to Traditional singers such as harry cox and fred jordan, bob lewis, they sang naturally, without the affectation of singing with a smile on their face or deliberately developing a hard tone.
how people choose to sing stylistically is up to them, but for anyone to claim it is in anyway connected with uk traditional singing styles is in my opinion not proven.
I think that there are a number of other revival singers who have been much more influential[mostly through song workshops] on revival style than shirley collins,one of those singers had a connection with the Critics group, and believed in the use of varying tone or using a harder tone. I repeat uk Traditional Singers in my experience did not do this.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsxG06FMA-Y
or willie scott http://www.last.fm/music/Willie+Scott/The+Shepherd%27s+Song/The+Shepherd%27s+Song


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 04:14 AM

"Does a comment like "She brings shame on the folk world" fit into such a summation, would you say, Jim?"
No it doesn't Mike (a misuse of the term "in the main" on my part) - I think I made the point earlier about this particular posting, which I find as offensive as anybody else rightly does.
I see nothing wrong with criticising any singer, no matter how experienced, though I would prefer any criticism to be qualified by an explanation so it may be discussed - that particular one isn't criticism, it's downright offensive condemnation of a singer who has made an enormous contribution to folk song.
Whatever my personal opinions on Shirley Collins' singing, my main reason for discussion is the effect that her style has had on the revival as a whole (I'm not blaming her for that, just pointing out what I believe has happened).
"I entirely agree with Vic Smith's reaction, the posts to which he was responding were puerile and offensive."
Couldn't agree more Steve - can't offer an explanation without re-opening a long and rather long running unpleasantness, so I can only apologise to all and say it won't happen again.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:53 PM

Bloody hell, Dick! You and me agreeing! What is the world coming to?


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:24 PM

"Dislike what you don't like but accept that yours is not the right opinion, it's just your opinion."
well said, and that goes for all opinions about what is the correct way to sing folk songs including people who insist that to be a good singer it is necessary to vary tone, or sing in a head voice or sing with a smile on ones face or do all during a song.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: GUEST,BrendanB
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 03:52 PM

I entirely agree with Vic Smith's reaction, the posts to which he was responding were puerile and offensive.
Anthems in Eden, (Shirley and Dolly Collins) is, in my opinion, one of the definitive albums of English folk music. Of course there are people who will not like it. Their response is entirely subjective - just as mine is. Millions of people revere Morrisey and David Bowie, I don't get it but I am not going to say they are wrong, they just like different stuff. I have even met people who actively dislike baroque music - weird thinking to me but there you go.
You cannot tell other people what is good music and what is bad - you can only talk about what you like and what you don't like. I knew that I hated hiphop until I saw the Rizzle Kicks - they're fab! (Mind you, I also loved Moby and Portishead so it was probably only a matter of time.). All this from someone who has a record collection which is at least 70% folk oriented. Like what you like and don't apologise for it. Dislike what you don't like but accept that yours is not the right opinion, it's just your opinion.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 02:47 PM

Many professional singers on the folk scene and elsewhere deliberately develop a singing style that is different to their normal spoken voice. Mostly these are people trying to establish their uniqueness in a competitive market. In some music genres this practice is essential and the norm.

As far as Shirley is concerned I've always found her spoken voice pretty much the same as her singing voice. I'm not sure what she would make of all this blather, but what I am sure of is, she has been appreciated by a great number of people over a very long period of time, and therefore this discussion is somewhat pointless. One or two people don't like her singing. So????


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 02:43 PM

I had not heard of Shirley Collins until this thread came up—and I have not read much of the thread, just enough to get the general thrust of peoples' opinions.

Can she sing? Obvious she can, because she does. And in my humble opinion, she has a pretty good voice for singing folk songs. I've heard one helluva lot of far less listenable voices on field recordings, AND I have noted in my long and checked career in the folk music world that there are many "revival" singers out there—city-bred singers of folk songs—who kill themselves trying to sound like singers on field recordings.

Shirley Collins apparently doesn't have to try. That's her natural voice.

Granted, she's no Joan Baez, but then Joan sounds much more like a classical singer than a "folk" singer and one could raise the question of whether or not she has a good voice for singing folk songs.

It seems to me (at least I have always operated on this premise) that the main aim should be in communicating the song. The emotions expressed, the story, if a ballad or the implied story with other songs. Clear diction, singing on pitch, and a pleasant sounding voice helps, but if the audience is more hung up on the beauty of the singer's voice and the finesse of their vocal technique than they are on the song itself, then—

I once heard George London, one of the world's greatest bass-baritones (the only American invited to Beyreuth to sing "Wotan" in the Wagner Ring Festival and to Russia to sing "Boris Godunov") sing "Lord Randal"—giving it the full operatic treatment. He made Lord Randal sound like "the Death of Boris" scene. It was Gawd-bloody-Awful!

But beautifully sung. . . .

In the meantime, Dave Van Ronk's voice sounded like a rusty hinge. But what a great singer!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: johncharles
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 02:34 PM

I really like her version of Brigg Fair. Well done that lady
john


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 01:41 PM

..."in the main it [ie this thread] is a balance of praise and honest criticism", claims Jim above. Well, "up to a point", I should say, rather than "in the main". Does a comment like "She brings shame on the folk world" fit into such a summation, would you say, Jim? What manner of 'shame', for crying out loud? Would you describe that as 'honest criticism'?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: GUEST,Joe Moran
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 01:32 PM

I'm to blame! I started the thread!
I'd like to make two comments here.
If Shirley had got up at my local folk club - back in the day - and I hadn't known who she was, I wouldn't have been impressed!
I wouldn't have gone home I told my wife that I'd just heard a wonderful, inspiring - whatever - rendition of a folk
song.
Secondly, I wouldn't dream of playing a track by Shirley, to a non-folky friend - as an example of great - even good - folk singing.
On one level it could be called a "personal thing" but if the folk scene had been full of Shirley Collin's type singers when I first got in to folk music in the 60s, then I wouldn't be here now writing this!


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 12:19 PM

No RAYMOND, of course you are not, your comments are not unpleasant, they are a statement of personal preference put in a polite manner, that is very different from saying brings" shame on the folk scene"or "can she sing"and the rest of that first post.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: GUEST,Raymond Greenoaken
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 12:12 PM

I think there's a post earlier in this ancient thread in which someone purporting to be Shirley writes in answer to the thread title: (I quote from memory) "Of course I can, you cheeky monkeys." Whether it was Shirley in truth or a mischievous Mudcatter, I've always thought it was the best posting I'd ever read on Mudcat.

But to pick up on another, more recent comment — "I've always liked how Shirley Collins sang. I like the way she presented the song, not the person singing it." I understand the point being made here, and I've read many variations on it on this and other discussion forums: that the singer should ideally be a neutral medium through which the song travels unimpeded and unadulterated. Well, I'm not at all sure I would agree with this. It's true I could happily listen to Shirley C sing all night, and the same is true for other undemonstrative singers like Harry Cox or Walter Pardon. But if you forced me to name my favourite singers, they are almost all singers with very idiosyncratic approaches and peculiar-sounding voices, and who are not afraid to take sometimes extreme liberties with their material. You want names? Peter Bellamy, Robin Williamson, Peter Stampfel, Mike Heron, Martin Carthy for starters. A beautiful song can be an end in itself, but when it's sung by someone who is prepared to explore the possibilities of the human voice... That's a combination I can't resist. Am I a bad person?


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 11:34 AM

I am inclined to agree with folknacious, words such as brings "shame on the folk world", are just horrible, and bring mudcat into disrepute, even the original wording of the thread is in my opinion unpleasant.
mudcat should be a place where people discuss folk music, not a place where anonymous posters can say outrageously unpleasant insults to other performers, there has been some sensible criticism from the likes of MGM.
I have to say this thread and its original title, contain two of the nastiest personal attacks on Shirley Collins., that I have ever seen. I think this thread should be closed.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 11:15 AM

Iam inclined to agree with F


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 10:54 AM

This thread represents everything that is obnoxious about Mudcat
Collins" and finding this.
Why - in the main it is a balance of praise and honest criticism
Mudcat is not a publicity forum for folk stars
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 10:45 AM

This thread represents everything that is obnoxious about Mudcat, and why it is so widely loathed and derided as a haven for nutters and trolls. Just imagine somebody Googling for "folk" or "Shirley Collins" and finding this.

Ken


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 03:33 AM

" I simply quoted some phrases from Shirley's wikipedia entry"
I know that Mike, I thought I and referred to your quote as such, and not your opinion.
For me, the description echoed how I felt about Shirley's singing and how the fact that many women singers have taken up her style of delivery has impacted on the revival as a whole - no intentions of misquoting you.
"Right, that's it! I'm out of here, I came here for discussion. "
Vic - I made my comment in order to nip Dick's attempt to make this discussion something other than that.
As far as I'm concerned, it is a discussion on Shirley Collins, not another head-to-head between me and Dick.
That's finished, here and elsewhere on my part
I will be mortified if I have had any part in driving you away.
Apologies
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 03:08 AM

I first heard Shirley Collins singing on a compilation lp,put together by Peter Kennedy she was singing a song Dabbling in the Dew, I enjoyed it, and in my opinion it is songs like that and Claudy Banks that are her forte.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 07:02 PM

I've always liked how Shirley Collins sang. I like the way she presented the song, not the person singing it.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 06:32 PM

I see the troll has had his/her effect. Come back in 4 years.....


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 05:55 PM

I'm so proud of Shirley Collins' contribution to my ethnic music.

Her dignified and modest appraisal of her contribution to the folk revival, both in the England and America, are exemplary.

Like Martin Carthy and his family she has allowed the songs which she has lovingly passed on to speak for themselves.

Further insights into her lifetime involvement in traditional music - including a reference to what Vic Smith referred to as a "traumatic event" - may be gathered from a published interview here


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 03:18 PM

"why dont these wankers just fuck off."
"Please feel free to piss off and take your unpleasant vendetta and carefully place it where it won't get sunburnt."


Right, that's it! I'm out of here, I came here for discussion.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 02:55 PM

"Jim, has said does not like Shirley Collins"
You're doing it again Dick - I still have your PM agreeing with my opinion of Shirley Collins if you would like me to dig it out for you.
I am entitled to have an opinion on any singer I wish and am happy to state any of my feelings at the appropriate time and place - not here.
"could you provide some back up info."
No - certainly not - I have decided that the only thing worth sharing with you is distance.
Please feel free to piss off and take your unpleasant vendetta and carefully place it where it won't get sunburnt.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 02:51 PM

Jim: I have not offered any definition or description of anything that I am aware of. I simply quoted some phrases from Shirley's wikipedia entry, one of which you appeared to think summarised the phenomenon in question, which was no part of my intention in quoting it.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 01:47 PM

Jim, has said does not like Shirley Collins, he also has said he does not care much for martin carthy, tony rose or nic jones or peter bellamy., five very different singers.
I mention this Jim, not as a vendetta, but a statement of fact, because I think it puts a perspective on your viewpoint.could you explain why you do not care for these vastly differing singers
I am also interested in your statement about shirley collins and head voice, could you provide some back up info.
to me shirley collins singing is unaffected .


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 01:18 PM

No apologies necessary Vic - I do it all the time
Probably my bad phrasing wot dunnit - where's me phrase exercise book?
"As for a singer's voice alienating someone, well that person must seriously want to be alienated otherwise why would they carry on listening!"
Amen to that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 12:50 PM

I need to apologise unreservedly to Jim about my misreading of his post about smoking and Shirley, though he must admit that in the phrase

We have an example here.... etc

the "here" could mean either 'in this thread' or 'where I live'

I think that I need to lie down and do some Chinese Breathing Exercises.


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 12:37 PM

To my ear, Shirley Collins' speaking voice and singing voice are in essence the same voice, which she uses to sing in her own natural accent in a very unaffected way. I can, and frequently do, listen to her songs for an hour or more. The songs, replete with stories and folklore, are the point of her art. As for a singer's voice alienating someone, well that person must seriously want to be alienated otherwise why would they carry on listening!


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Subject: RE: Shirley Collins - can she sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 13 - 12:19 PM

"yet you persist in using the term."
As I said - the description of the term Mike gave is perfectly adequate a description of how I understand and recognise the tone I am referring to.
I have just followed your helpful point and looked the term up on the net and I find that there is no contradiction between what appears to be the accepted definition and how I have always understood it.
Nor do I find my own feelings about Shirley Collins' singing in any way in conflict with the way I have always used the term.
I have 'defined' the term it in terms of the inbuilt problems it produces (as I have described) not as a criticism but as a way of drawing attention to those problems in order to be aware of them and so, overcoming them.
"Can I again call for evidence or examples" - in Shirley's singing - no, of course you can't - I've come across plenty of examples to be had of women finding it necessary to take breaths because of the tone they are using.
A long-term singer in one of our workshops conquered a medical breathing problem by consciously ceasing to use head voice.
Can't recall the singer's name, but I have a recording somewhere of a lecture given by a friend which included a popular Irish singer of a decade or so ago singing Barbara Allen in head voice and having to take a breath after every fourth word.
What are you saying Vic - that our conclusions that head voice doesn't create breathing problems, that head voice has not been adopted by singers as a style - what.
"You insinuate that heavy smoking cause her to lose this undefined 'head tone' gasping at the end of lines whereas the reason that she stopped singing was a traumatic incident that I don't think I should mention on a public forum - though I'm sure that Shirley would tell you if you were to ask her."
Where on earth did this come from Vic - I "insinuated" nothing of the sort - I gave an example of a local singer (she runs our local session) who has all but given up singing because she can no longer sing in the way she has chosen to
I made it perfectly clear that I was not referring to Shirley Collins' singing which I am not familiar with any more.
I stopped listening to her singing because I find it too bland and unvaried for my taste - nothing to do with her use of head voice.
Please stop attributing things I neither said nor believe to me.
As for by not having an accurate definition - perhaps we might discuss the definition of folk song sometime and see how many takers we get.
Perhaps you might find it beneficial to trawl your way though all the other hits you get if you Google up head voice - several of them appear to be attempting to deal with the problems I have described.
Jim Carroll


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