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Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.

Tigger the Tiger 21 Oct 11 - 05:11 AM
theleveller 21 Oct 11 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,999 21 Oct 11 - 12:54 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Oct 11 - 07:32 PM
Stringsinger 20 Oct 11 - 06:49 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 20 Oct 11 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,Lizzie Cornish 1 20 Oct 11 - 02:16 PM
Bert 20 Oct 11 - 01:07 PM
tonyteach1 20 Oct 11 - 08:37 AM
BobKnight 20 Oct 11 - 08:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Oct 11 - 08:15 AM
tonyteach1 20 Oct 11 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 20 Oct 11 - 06:32 AM
Songwronger 19 Oct 11 - 11:54 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 19 Oct 11 - 06:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Oct 11 - 01:08 PM
Acorn4 19 Oct 11 - 11:39 AM
BobKnight 19 Oct 11 - 09:25 AM
Johnny J 19 Oct 11 - 09:00 AM
theleveller 19 Oct 11 - 08:20 AM
Johnny J 19 Oct 11 - 07:21 AM
Tigger the Tiger 19 Oct 11 - 06:07 AM
Rick Fielding 14 Jun 99 - 12:47 AM
Susanne (skw) 13 Jun 99 - 07:17 PM
The Shambles 13 Jun 99 - 03:52 AM
Chet W. 12 Jun 99 - 11:51 PM
LEJ 12 Jun 99 - 08:35 PM
campfire 12 Jun 99 - 08:34 PM
Chet W. 12 Jun 99 - 08:15 PM
campfire 12 Jun 99 - 01:59 PM
Bonedaddy 12 Jun 99 - 04:30 AM
The Shambles 12 Jun 99 - 03:41 AM
campfire 11 Jun 99 - 10:48 PM
Chet W. 11 Jun 99 - 07:09 PM
Jack (who is called Jack) 11 Jun 99 - 04:48 PM
Bill D 11 Jun 99 - 03:11 PM
Art Thieme 11 Jun 99 - 12:27 PM
dick greenhaus 10 Jun 99 - 10:46 PM
Chet W. 10 Jun 99 - 09:59 PM
The Shambles 10 Jun 99 - 09:37 PM
Bill D 10 Jun 99 - 09:28 PM
Roger in Baltimore 10 Jun 99 - 06:03 PM
reggie miles 10 Jun 99 - 05:39 PM
The Shambles 10 Jun 99 - 02:18 PM
reggie miles 10 Jun 99 - 01:20 PM
Art Thieme 10 Jun 99 - 10:10 AM
KingBrilliant 10 Jun 99 - 10:04 AM
Bert 10 Jun 99 - 09:29 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Jun 99 - 08:46 PM
Chet W. 09 Jun 99 - 07:48 PM
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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 05:11 AM

One important aspect of the songwriter's gift in the 1960's was to write songs about current issues. These songs actually gave color to various movements and protests. Where are the songs for what was done to us in 2008?We probably need more than songs to explain that,but basics would help.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: theleveller
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 03:49 AM

Oh dear, we have the same old chestnuts: if it's old it must be good, if it's new it must be bad. It's rather like saying that if you can't play guitar as well as Martin Simpson or Bert Jansch, don't even come out of the bedroom, let alone put videos of yourself all over YouTube.

As usuual, those who can, do - those who can't bitch about those who can on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: GUEST,999
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 12:54 AM

"RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence."

Their B Defence ain't bad, either.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 07:32 PM

I confess to having written songs. I rarely sing them. Who am I to put my offerings alongside our history and the greats. Conceited I may be, but not that conceited. I write only if I feel I have to, if there is something I have to say. I play my own songs in only if I have to or if people (expressly or by implication) ask for it. I might do a new one out once or twice to see if it resonates with others. I am amazed at the chutzpah of those who recycle barely distinguishable melodies and mundane words in the unshared belief of their own genius.

There are exceptions. El Greko for example often brings the sharpness of perspective on people or society that only a person with an outside observation point (with or without an inside one too) can bring. The Barden of England has a voice to die for and could sing the 'phone book and thereby engender enjoyment in the audience. This is not limitative but illustrative. Fiddlers' Green is a great song. Tolpuddle Man is a great song. There are others.

Unless you are that good your conceit is unfounded. Hide it.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 06:49 PM

I miss a good story song as exemplified by Woody Guthrie, Jean Ritchie, Tom Paxton, Steve Goodman, Kate Wolf, Utah Phillips and others, with lots of fresh images and word pictures.

I like a good song with a chorus people can sing.

A folk song variant is invariably re-written by someone. It can be mis-remembered
or actually messed with.

Woody and Dylan always used serviceable folk tunes for their lyrics.
That's part of the folk process.

Actually, the great songwriters of the past have written memorable lyrics to show songs
which would be worthy of study.

Sometimes a song can take a year or more to become a good one. People are too eager
to put everything down without editing. You have to put it in a drawer and take it out later to see if it really holds up.

A good song doesn't need a defense. It has legs.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 02:19 PM

the very *first* peasant... Oops..


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: GUEST,Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 02:16 PM

Ain't never heard a Singer Songwriter saying that all Folk Singers are shite, incompetant prats who couldn't entertain an audience in a month of Saturday evenings..

But then, that's Singer Songwriters for you...

They know that they're The Tradition through and through, being that the very peasant wot ever hummed a few notes, then put words to it, was the very first singer songwriter.....

Of course, Poor Peasant would have a fit if he thought his song woz being sung in hallowed halls for hallowed ears....and besides, were he zoomed back into the days of today, he'd be out there in the pubs listening to the singer songwriters and having a whale of a time!

T'aint Singer Songwriters who are up their own holes, for sure...........

;0)


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Bert
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 01:07 PM

Well said BobKnight. I hate people who put down other peoples performances and/or abilities. You NEVER hear a GOOD musician put down the efforts of those less talented.

If you get up on stage to sing then the audience should be able to understand and enjoy the words. Three chords is all you need to accompany most songs.

And as for writing songs about ME, I will often write songs in the first person as it stops the audience from thinking that I have written the song about THEM. Songs like "Size Doesn't Matter" or "Three Minute Man" would be quite offensive to some members of the audience if they weren't written in the first person.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: tonyteach1
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 08:37 AM

FAO Big Al Now that would be an act - doing it to members of the audience I should want extra for that as you don't know where they've been !


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: BobKnight
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 08:28 AM

As a singer-songwriter who describes his guitar style as "barely adequate" it's all about the SONG and the voice for me. Save us from the vituoso guitarist who plays a long brilliant intro, mumbles a line of vocals, then play another long guitar bit before singing the next line, by which time you've forgotten what the first line was, if indeed you ever knew.

There are some who can manage both brilliantly, and those I can only watch and listen to in admiration, but they are few and far between.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 08:15 AM

I would like to affirm the god given right of all guitarists to sniff their own hole, and other peoples holes occasionally.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: tonyteach1
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 07:26 AM

I am a singing and guitar teacher and have worked with a number of songwriters and singer guitarists My perspective is both as a teacher and member of the audience

1 The minute you step on stage you are a PERFORMER This means establishing and keeping a rapport with the audience who may have paid to see you

2 Soundhole sniffers are a no no to me You must be able to face your audience and communicate clearly the lyrics and melody of the song to me Otherwise I am heading for the bar or the loo

3 You must communicate between songs ie speak to the audience clearly keep their attention Lengthy tunings are a turnoff unless you can do it while talking Martin Carthy is brilliant at this

4 Check out your set - ie too many songs in the same rhythm - chord sequence - same place on the guitar - same mood and the audience will turn off Monitor which songs which work and in which environment. In London there are several circuits, Blues - acoustic - folk country and pubs where live music is played. You need material for each venue

5 Most male performers are guitarist singers. To be effective learn to control your guitar skill and concentrate on the whole performance ie brilliant or difficult guitar breaks with bad singing can have a negative effect . Guitarists might admire it - the rest of the audience may not Bad singing is not just about vocal quality its lack of communication with the audience


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 06:32 AM

Ah yes, I remember them well.... people mumbling often extremely cringeworthy lyrics into the soundholes of their guitars. In most cases only the front row, and possibly the second, were able to 'share and enjoy' what was being offered. With hindsight, and as a songwriter as well, I feel the problem is) that these people haven't realised that, no matter what music you're playing, you have to establish a link with the audience. Presenting your song(s) as if you're praying for the ground to open and swallow you up is generally an audience turn-off. As the jazz song puts it,"It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it." I've written songs which, for me, have a personal background, but I try to 'package' the story in such a way that the audience reaction is not, "Oh God, that's all so embarrassing!", but rather,"Been there, done that, didn't like the T-shirt either, but hey, that's an interesting slant on the 'failed relationship'(or whatever) theme", and, for the songwriters present,"Why didn't I think of that way of dealing with the topic!?" Or to put it another way, it makes a difference if the audience feels you're standing up for your song(s) or not. Whether or not you're a good singer, instrumentalist and/or talented wordsmith is often a secondary consideration, the main thing is to stand up for what you've composed.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Songwronger
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 11:54 PM

Miles Davis said there's room enough for all of it. (All types of music).


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 06:15 PM

Never understood the abuse offered in 'folkie' (dreadful word) circles - wasn't the redoubtable Ewan McColl a singer and songwriter?


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 01:08 PM

You'll all be sorry, when my songs DO eventually save the world - provide a bulwark behind which our fragile civilisation can shelter and take strength.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Acorn4
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 11:39 AM

I agree with Bob. These are things I try to avoid:-

Songs about a "failed relationship".


Those involving "my cesspit of despair" or "floating on my psychedelic cloud"

Trying to sound like an American when I'm not an American -"Heading darn the Harway with ma geetar in ma hyand."

Trying to avoid sounding like an American by sounding like Chas n' Dave.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: BobKnight
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 09:25 AM

I never write songs about ME!! However, what you have experienced in life does trickle through into your songs, but they're still not about ME. Although I have more than enough of my own material to cover the usual 2x45 minute folk club spots, I am now inclined to add a few traditional songs to the set list as well. You can hear a few of my original songs here...

www.youtube.com/bobknightfolk


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Johnny J
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 09:00 AM

The great majority of songs were never composed or written by persons whom we would generally describe as "singer/songwriters" but I know what you mean.

Of course, people have always composed new songs and there is a need for this to continue. However, as I said, the problem is that it's now becoming the norm to write songs for the sake of things and it's regarded as a genre in itself. So new writers will gain all or most of their inspiration from other song writers as opposed to the "tradition" or other genres of music in general.

Many start off churning out loads of songs when they can barely strum three chords which I feel is ridiculous.

Also, the trend, especially in pop, rock etc circles is for all would be performers to aim for a repertoire of entirely original material.... this might be a good move as far as royalties are concerned but if the quality is poor, what's the point?

However, if it goes on like this, the only people who will end up performing the songs will be the writers themselves and the songs will die with them.

So, I'd rather if people composed original material a little more sparingly and also *respected* that which is already there, i.e. whether it be traditional or good recent work from other composers.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: theleveller
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 08:20 AM

I really can't see why singer/songwriters need defending - or to be defensive. Without them there'd be damn all for anyone to sing. Let's face it, songs do not suddenly descend to earth, given to mankind by the Great God Trad.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Johnny J
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 07:21 AM

I've joined this thread late but my own view is that there is nothing wrong with people writing original songs and they don't necessarily have to be in traditional style as such.

However, before even contemplating embarking on regular song writing activites, the musician or singer should firstly have a good grounding in their own preferred area of music as opposed to those(many) who choose to purchase a guitar, ukele, or whatever and start plinking and wailing away.... the "should have stayed in the bedroom" types.

So, it ought to be a gradual process for a trad, folk, blues, jazz, even rock singer to progress into composing original as and when they are ready and the inspiration takes them. They should not think of "singer/song writing" as a genre in itself and just decide to write songs for the sake of it.

With a very few exceptions, all the respected songwriters have allowed themselves to have good musical grounding and gathered experience first..
eg Bob Dylan studied Woody Guthrie in particular, Ralph McTell... blues and old rag time, Dick Gaughan....traditional music etc, even The Beatles played rock and roll and other music for several years before they became prolific song writers. Their earlier albums included many covers.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 06:07 AM

Quite an interesting,broad-minded post. I found most songwriters from the 1960's defended their positions quite adequately. Best highly individual writer I ever met was a fellow named Tom Cooke,who lived in Illinois,Missouri,CA,and North Carolina. This fellow wrote well-crafted songs that were pretty personal but beautiful. I never kept in touch but have recently found that people who he considered friends have no interest in his music now. Very sad to lose trace of such talent.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 14 Jun 99 - 12:47 AM

Poor ol' Pete. He's been re-telling that story for twenty years now and no-one (wants) to believe him. It's like the "Babe" calling his shot.
Funny thing about Dylan's "betrayal". A great deal of that was instigated by Irwin Silber in "Sing Out". I think most of the folk fans could have cared less.
One of my students asked me two weeks ago if I could recommend 5 albums that I thought were really important to help her "get into this folky thing". I suggested "Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall", "Horton Barker"(recorded by our own Sandy),"Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell, (Blues Before Sunrise"), Ewan MacColl (Jacobite Songs), and God help me, with so many other wonderful albums to choose from.."Bob Dylan"(the first one). I listen to it every so often and for sheer unvarnished talent and excitement, it's still a milestone. The guitar playing (which plummetted after this one) is superb!
Five albums of course aren't enough. Twenty, would be more representative.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 13 Jun 99 - 07:17 PM

Defence of Pete Seeger: He tells his biographer he did not threaten to cut the power supply because he didn't like what Dylan was doing but because the PA system was too loud and wrecking Dylan's song. (Not trying to start an argument, just to give info...) - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jun 99 - 03:52 AM

Campfire.

As to you weakness. Stevie Nicks (who I don't really think of as generally a great song-writer) has a line in a Fleetwood Mac song, about. "Players only love when they're playing", which I think has a lot of truth behind it. She should know, I suppose?


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Chet W.
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 11:51 PM

Yes of course, and rarely has a fine artist made such an ass of himself as when Pete Seeger (allegedly) tried to literally axe the power supply to stop Bob's heresy. But I was not referring so much to well-known musicians and their fans as to the people I used to meet and remeet at festivals and local friends that got together to play and occasionally do a "coffee house" thing somewhere, or put on a dance or God knows what. Some of them are still around me, but most went on to something else. My lament is that the current old-time or traditional or "rural-acoustic" crowd gets so unnecessarily uptight about things that are meaningless to me. I guess maybe these are just uptight times. I got memories.

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: LEJ
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 08:35 PM

Chet w... I'm not too sure that "the open-mindedness" of the old days of folk ever existed. Bob Dylan was certainly not welcomed with open arms when he amped-up at Newport in 65. And although many viewed his change from more traditional forms to the hated guise of a rock-edged "singer-songwriter" as a betrayal, I think it opened up the door to his true greatness, and benefitted both folk and rock in the years that followed.

LEJ


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: campfire
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 08:34 PM

Maybe followed by "Belly Button Blues"?


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Chet W.
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 08:15 PM

Okay thanks to all of you I feel a compulsion to write about my navel. I think I'll do a song-cycle, titled "The Umbilical Chord".

Chet


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: campfire
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 01:59 PM

Hey, Bonedaddy - I just posted that on the "Hokey Pokey" thread!

And Shambles, I'm an admitted singer/songwriter fan from way back. Unfortunately, I tend to fall in love with them, and THAT has proven my demise. From now on, I just listen....thanks for the concern.

campfire


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Bonedaddy
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 04:30 AM

How long after I die will my songs become certified as folk, blues, jazz, or simply "contemporary easy listening"? I've written a lot of songs about a lot of things (my navel not being one of them) over the past few decades, and still like to think of myself as just a musician. I guess if I write a song about running over my dog, it's country, but if I sing a song Pete Seeger wrote about runng over his dog, it's folk. Dog's just as dead. Saw this T-shirt the other day..."What if the Hokey-Pokey really is what it's all about"...Bonedaddy


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 03:41 AM

Campfire.

I hope you don't feel like crying too much today.

I suppose that is all I am trying to say hear, if you lump everyone together in a category, there is always the chance that you will miss something special.

Sometimes what you think you want is not always what you need.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: campfire
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 10:48 PM

I'm not sure if I should post on this thread or on the "broken heart" thread - but I went to see a local singer/songwriter tonight. He made me laugh, he made me cry (not difficult tonight, admittedly), and yes, he sang a song that inspired me to go get another cup of coffee. I came home with two of his CDs and a MUCH better mood than I left the house in.

campfire


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Chet W.
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 07:09 PM

Yes of course, and sometimes I try to make a song sound as authentic as possible if that seems right to me. But I suspect, and I may be wrong, that when the Skillet Lickers conciously played a tune that way it was mostly because they learned it that way and they liked it that way, and in the 30's there was a market for genuine hillbilly music (which later came to mean something else). Both John Jackson and myself can tell the difference between traditional and non, but we're not married to it, or at least he didn't seem to be the times I've seen him play. And I think that Doc Watson, possibly my greatest musical hero, embodies what I'm saying; He'll sing an unaccompanied ballad older than any recording and you can almost hear it echoing off the sides of mountains, and the next number might be a blues from Mississippi John Hurt and the one after that might be a Sam Cooke song. And when Merle was still here the next song might be from the Allman Brothers. He does not automatically put himself in any box. If somebody else wants to, it doesn't bother me, but I think it takes some of the soul out of music. I have arranged Carter Family songs with Beach Boys harmonies. I wear Birkenstocks every day. The old-time music crowd that educated and nurtured me in the sixties and seventies has made a generational shift that does bother me, because I think intolerant puritanism is always bad. I just wish the open-mindedness that attracted me in the first place was not so hard to find these days.

Concerned, Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Jack (who is called Jack)
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 04:48 PM

There was a 'folk scare' back in the 60's, associated with a little stampede of its own. I wonder what IT trampled?


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 03:11 PM

...amen, Art...that sure pinpoints a couple of the issues..


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 12:27 PM

As Lenny Bruce once said, "A knowledge of venerial disease is not a prescription to go out and get it." (He was saying that a knowledge of human sexuality was a good thing to teach in schools.)

Preferring traditional folk to pop folk does not exclude me from appreciating Bird and Dizzy (and listening to them and so many more)every chance I get.Some of my best friends are S/Ss. Doc Watson played rock and Western Swing every weekend for years before Clarence Ashley got him to play the older traditional things (also in his background)so they could work the new college and festival folk circuit of the 60s. They chose not to tell the folkies about their background in other musics. All I'm saying is that I prefer coffee straight to the watered down kind. I can see through the watered down stuff.

There are very real and very valid reasons for us to draw easily seen lines around aspects of life. If only to preserve privacy rights, we have doors on the rooms of a house. And as Lenny also said, "We have separate bathrooms and bedrooms so nobody will come along and toss crap on us while we're sleeping." I don't think it helps us to build homes without walls.

In the Black Hills-1874, Custer, in collusian with the railroad who wanted to build through the Sioux lands, said he'd found gold. All that was necessary to assure a white stampede westward was to find a bit of the yellow stuff there--and in California. By broadening the definitions, and erasing the lines, many good singers have seen it as being in their economic interest to adopt folk as a means to an end--success. It's just sad for me to watch the glitz and other stuff come pouring through the bedroom unopposed while I'm asleep.

This is just my way of keeping one eye open while I get the needed rest.

Art


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 10:46 PM

Chet W. A lot of 1930's country/folk singers were VERY conscious of what they were doing and what was--and wasn't--traditional. Buell Kazee used different vocal techniques depending on what he waws singing, as did Vernon Dalhart. Clayton McMichum played cointry fiddle very differently than he played Dixie jazz. And this capability of distinction is still very much with usL John Jackson knows damn well what he's doing, and will do it differently depending upon what he's playing--as will Doc Watson.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Chet W.
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 09:59 PM

Does anybody seriously think that Robert Johnson or Leadbelly or Gid Tanner or anybody before we became archivists in the sixties ever gave a thought to whether they were tradtional or not, or whether they should be? It's absurd. People like Gid Tanner and especially Charlie Poole especially were influenced by whatever they heard that they liked enough to incorporate into their own music. There's as much swing and blues in some of those old records as there is Scotch/Irish tradition. I seriously doubt that any of this purist frenzy (although I know there were archivists, as in Child ballads and on and on) even existed before the last few decades. And it's not just the music either. I have mused many times while playing for dances what a puritanical ethic has taken over. When Tommy Jarrell and his contemporaries were playing for dances in their younger years it was a party! People who wanted to have drinks had them (probably often to excess)! Now at the dances around here and even at some of the big gatherings if you want to have a beer you have to go hide somewhere. A cigarette? Even if you hide and have one people will smell it and many will not talk to you because of your obvious character flaw. I'm not defending drunkenness or smoking but I find that so many people at these events these days are so uptight I don't enjoy them anymore. And they seem to think they are getting back to some kind of roots? It's such a sanitized middle-class version of our roots that it gets ridiculous, which is exactly what I think people are doing if they are so into "traditional", which obviously doesn't mean anything anymore, that they are missing out on much of life, avoiding the acquaintance of some very interesting people and they are not preserving anything. Try having fun, for God's sake. It won't kill you and a perfect contra dance won't make you holy.

Mouthing off, Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 09:37 PM

I can now sleep easy.

Goodnight. John-Boy..


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 09:28 PM

shambles...Bill D has been reading this thread...wondering how to catch up and clear the air..*grin*...methinks 'tis not possible.

(At our festival last weekend, I had a crafts table...and the stage that faced me featured Singer/songwriters much of the 2 days...arrrgghhh!! Some was 'ok', but some was just 'cookie cutter' thumping and chanting.*sigh*)....

One more time...SOMEONE has to write songs, or there wont be any....some songs are good, some are not...but it is a matter of taste which. I truly like some recently written songs...but they are NOT folk/trad. If I am at home, playing music (live OR on the machine) I do not differentiate. If I go out to buy, or pay to hear, music, I DO differentiate, because certain kinds of music ****TEND**** to be more to my taste, and I want some sort of filter out there where I am severely outnumbered!


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 06:03 PM

Attribued to Michael Cooney: "If it takes more than two trips from the car, it ain't folk."

Big RiB


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: reggie miles
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 05:39 PM

In response to the comment about singer/song writers taking over venues in California, there are similiar occurances here in Washington state. It could be due to the threats of legal action by ASCAP and BMI which were instrumental (bad choice of words) in causing several venues in this area to go with only canned music or with musicians that only played original stuff. A sad state of affairs indeed but small places that want to accomodate acoustic acts have no recourse but to pay large sums to these organizations or operate without supporting live music. Bugetary cocerns often lead them to the later of those two choices.

A sad and woeful story, Reggie


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 02:18 PM

Where is Bill D when you need him?

Mention of Bob Copper: Has anyone heard him sing the blues?

There is a recorded version of him 'doing' a version of 'Going Down To Brownsville'!!!

Brownsville ia small village in Sussex, I am given to believe?


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: reggie miles
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 01:20 PM

I've written some songs which I perform and I enjoy playing songs written by a good friend/mentor so I guess that would put me in a couple of different catagories to start. Then if you add the fact that I also play blues interpretations and love to do old novelty/hokum tunes, I think that puts me into another couple of slots still. Add to all that the somewhat unorthodox instrumentation I employ (washboard/sound effects gizmo, musical saw, homemade rezophonic guitar) and it's no wonder I find it so difficult to put a name or catagory to what I do. Is it folk/blues or am I a singer of folk and blues songs? Am I a singer/song writer or a singer of singer/song writer songs? I'm confused about all this labeling and when I try to explain what I do to the occasional inquiry I find it challenging to come up with a category that fits. I play acoustic guitars but I have pickups on them and play them through an amp as this gives me better definition at most shows I do, so I'm not entirely acoustic. Does that then make me acoustic/electric? I don't believe there is a category that fits everyone and perhaps we shouldn't even try to label everything. This though is a method that most radio stations use to determine if a given artist's music will be played at their station and more than once I've been turned away from a club/bar/lounge/restaurant because I didn't play the style of music which they or their customers wanted to support. It seems by their standards that I didn't play enough blues, singer/song writer, rhythm 'n blues, rock, country, irish or whatever to be considered entertaining for their tastes. There is a new catagory I've heard of recently that seems to include much of what has been previously unlabelable. According to KHUM out of Arcata CA this new label is called Americana and they say with it even a guy like me can now has a catagory to fit in. I don't know how I feel about that, I rather liked being undefinable. Hey but if it gets me a little more air play alright call me what you will.

Reggie


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 10:10 AM

There's a folk holy grail only if ya think there is.

Art


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 10:04 AM

Should do Bert, according to that definition. So : in folk clubs, singarounds, festivals etc where people are singing and where people tend to pick up songs by hearing them (& perhaps asking for the words etc) the folksinging thing must be still ongoing - with all the adaptations, variations, inspirations and lucky accidents that involves. Sounds healthy enough to me.

Or do we have to have some notion of being purely oral tradition in order to qualify as folksingers? Is there a folk holy grail?

Kris


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Bert
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 09:29 AM

So if I learned some songs from my Dad who learned them from his Grandma, Does that make me a folksinger?

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jun 99 - 08:46 PM

A folksinger is a person to whom a song was transmitted via the oral tradition and who sings it as such. He may also archive them. An example would be the late Stan Hugill, last of the shantymen. Another might have been Bert Lloyd. I suppose a case could be made that the Bob Copper is a surviving folksinger and that I exaggerated.

A folksong singer is someone who has learned folksongs via research, and now sings them. An example is Martin Carthy (MBE for services to folk music!)


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Subject: RE: Singer-Songwriters: A Defence.
From: Chet W.
Date: 09 Jun 99 - 07:48 PM

Don's remark that it's not the song that's the tradition, it's the singing - I like that a lot. It sums up this ongoing argument with accessories better than I expected anybody could.

Seriously impressed by eloquence, Chet W.


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