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Folk Music for the Middle Class

19 Sep 07 - 08:48 AM (#2152578)
Subject: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Cod Fiddler

In another thread (Showmanship - or Showoff?) Stewart said the following:

"...Like watching a city-bred folksinger from a middle-class background trying to sing a song about a poor share-cropper with a "Woody Guthrie" accent and dress."

He certainly has a point. However, what happens if you love singing, love folk music have a good voice but you're middle class who speaks with received pronunciation?

I suppose that songs about love and death are common to everyone but many of these are Scottish or Irish. Nothing is worse than a put on accent (most pop music) or an artificially roughened voice.

Can anyone suggest some good songs for the middle class?

One of my favourites is "the Queen of all Argyll" as done by Silly Wizard - a great tune and real poetry - here is a girl I really want to sing about but never can. It's getting to the stage that I feel guilty for playing an Irish tune on my fiddle, particuarly in front of a real live Irish person! What contribution can the middle class make to folk music?

Richard.


19 Sep 07 - 08:53 AM (#2152581)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,Richard

If a song or a tune speaks to your heart, play it from there. Only philistines will complain. As a musician, it's your duty!
Richard


19 Sep 07 - 08:59 AM (#2152586)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Cod Fiddler

Hurrah!

However, even I find it silly sometimes (not always) when people with no experience of a way of life (fishing, coal mining, war etc) sing about it.

When someone who really knows sings, the effect is so much more exciting - eg. Linda Kelly and "the luckiest sailor" - shivers down spine - brrrr.

Does that mean I am confined to mediocrity?


19 Sep 07 - 09:26 AM (#2152602)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker

surely there must be some old folk songs concerning:

private health care insurance

savings investment schemes

tax minimisation

property valuations

private education cost plans

avoiding inheritance tax


.. what about all the crusty traveller trustifarian mistrels..

surely they must have a repatoire of apropriate material

they cant just be humming & la la la-ing along without any lyrics or subject matter
of any significance or cultural value..!!!????


19 Sep 07 - 09:27 AM (#2152603)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: PMB

Not this one again! So miners shouldn't sing songs about fishing, as they have as little experience of that as the average civil servant does? Nobody should sing border ballads unless they have recent experience of reiving. You can't sing Proud Maisrie unless you're a gardener. Don't sing Fields of Athenry unless you or your husband has been transported to Australia (actually, I agree with that one).

But anyway, I've probably posted this before, no idea who wrote it, but it should be middle class enough for you, to be sung in your best Heome Cyounties arccent:

I'm just a typically English girl from a typically English home,
Born and bred in Borehamwood, Herts,
But I've travelled, at least, to points both south and east,
To the Continent, and other foreign parts.
I went to school in Cheltenham, and also Switzerland,
At examinations failed to get a pass.
Daddy says it isn't funny, I'm fat and lazy just like Mummy,
On the lower side of upper-middle-class.

Daddy has a salary of five hundred grand a year,
He's something in the City I believe,
He wears apin-striped suit, bowler hat and brolly to boot,
And he never wipes his nose upon his sleeve!
He has a panelled office, and a pretty secretary,
Though I suspect she's only working class-
She drops her H's at will, and something else as well,
On the lower side of upper-middle-class.

Cecelia Harcourt Fawcett Smythe's my chum from boardinmg school,
Our relationship has a special quality,
But Mater and Pater, oh God, they ruddy hate her,
They say she's middle-middle and not for me!
One day we went to Brighton and we walked along the prom
Till some local yobbos finally made a pass-
They had pimples on their noses, BO and halitosis,
They weren't lower side of upper-middle-class!

Group Captain Nigel Pickering's My latest male escort,
Last night for the very first time I took him home.
Mummy and Daddy were surprised that he's a pilot, and he flies,
And he's from a similar stratum to my own.
When we told them we were planning going camping for the hols
They were somewhat shocked and rather looked aghast-
They didn't know such things went on, and on and on and on,
On the lower side of upper-middle-class.

But now I'm getting older and I'm thinking for myself,
And I'm entertaining grave and serious doubts
About what Daddy says about people and their ways,
Concerning those with and those without,
For at school I met with girls from every walk of life-
There were even scholarship girls from working class-
And when changing in the showers they have bodies much like ours
On the lower side of upper-middle-class.


19 Sep 07 - 10:16 AM (#2152636)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,Russ

I'm as middle class as you can get.

I sing any song I feel like singing.

The people I usually sing with and for don't care that I'm not a miner or a sailor or an unwed mother...

Some songs are truly not class-specific. What is class specific about a mother commiting infanticide?
Others are.

Who cares?

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


19 Sep 07 - 10:31 AM (#2152644)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Long Lankin

I agree with PMB and Russ. Most folkies are middle class (even if they claim to be otherwise)and having an accent or not is no definition. If you want some "rules" on whether to sing a particular song:
# Like the song
# Understand any terminology or dialect words(often a problem with mining songs)
# Don't put on a cod accent
Oh and knowing the words is useful as well

Long Lankin


19 Sep 07 - 10:34 AM (#2152645)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade

At the Wimborne Sessions where I play many songs are about seduction with euphemistic titles such as 'the cuckoo's nest' and just looking around at the players we know it's all wishful thinking, or at best vague memories. People who do, do and people who don't sing folk songs about it.


19 Sep 07 - 10:36 AM (#2152647)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Peace

The middle-class has as much right to song as any other class. Part of the problem that is beginning to be felt is the restrictiveness of ideas and categories of music. (Recall the 'uproar' when Fairport did trad stuff with electric instruments. Youda thought civilization was ending.) The folk world needs ways to draw in younger blood. If it doesn't, the music will be remembered as a lost art. Trad music is not sacred. Nor is 'the blues'. Nor is ANY music. It belongs to all people. Everywhere. Even rich people.


19 Sep 07 - 10:36 AM (#2152648)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: stallion

Firstly, as fairly rational beings one doesn't have to have endured something to feel empathy, like the Irish now singing about the famine, they will not have experienced it but I will not deny that they may sing about it with some strong feeling. I know "shiny arses" that sing about hard labouring jobs of which I have done many and they have only read about, but their songs have all the passion and intonation, maybe it is because they are good minstrels.
Secondly there are songs written from a middle class perspective, like the late "Suicide" Bill Newton who wrote songs like "Talking OFWAT Blues", "The Knackered Shock Absorber Blues", "Thank God it's Friday" and many others including a song about executives who don leather Hells Angel Jackets at weekends a cruise about on Harleys ( the title of which escapes me no doubt Nutty will put me right!)


19 Sep 07 - 10:45 AM (#2152657)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Peace

If the only people who could sing 'railroad' songs were people who actually worked on the railroad, there would soon be lots of lost songs out there. Same can be said of sea songs. With the passing of Stan Hugill, who is there left that's 'authentic'? But does anyone think those songs should not be sung by others? Does anyone think that to sing those songs one should have a beard? Does anyone think that women shouldn't sing those songs?

Musicians are not the 'owners' of the music they sing. They are the folks who keep it for the future. Get too snobby about it and it will all be lost. That is directed at no one on this thread. More a response to another thread where 'purists' think it's all about 'purity' of the music. Sheesh.


19 Sep 07 - 12:34 PM (#2152705)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Folkiedave

Where do songwriters fit in then? Should they only sing songs abot writing songs?


19 Sep 07 - 12:40 PM (#2152715)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Grab

Hey - "Talking OFWAT Blues" is a Googlewhack!


19 Sep 07 - 12:49 PM (#2152724)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss

Ha, Dave! I presume you've seen my trouncing in Stirrings for being well-heeled?! (actually you should see the state of my old boots :-)

I get a lot of flack for having been born to Mr and Mrs B and had the 'benefit' of a frankly brutal private education. I was even once accosted after a gig: "You're a brave man", "Am I?" "You're ploughing a lonely furrow," "Really?" - baleful stare - "You're middle-class and you sing folk songs"

There are some (like Mr DS) who would prefer that people like me should NOT be allowed to write codfolk songs, and certainly not sing anything traditional!

I'm currently taking unelecution lessons.

Repeat after me: "Ey up, me ansum, look-you - well I'll go t' foot of our apples-n-pairs, hinny, what what?"


19 Sep 07 - 12:58 PM (#2152733)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Marje

Why shouldn't the middle class get to sing good songs? The best folk songs, whether traditional or recently written, go beyond class, time and place and have some sort of universality about them - that's why they survive and get passed around.

Taxes and financial problems are noeither new nor confined to the middle class, but they rarely make a good song unless there's some connection with the real human issues that money can touch - greed, poverty, envy, hope, despair, etc.

Mind you, I can only take so many songs in one evening about how grim life is in the mill, down the pit, out at sea, etc. And as someone has said above, there's a lot of wishful thinking in some of the songs "All night long we did sport and play..." etc.(in your dreams, I sometimes think as I look at the singer!)

But in general, a good song is strong enough to be taken up by singers of different backgrounds - in fact, if it's a really good song, it may even bring the listeners a little closer to understanding the lives of others in different times and circumstances.

Marje


19 Sep 07 - 12:59 PM (#2152734)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Peace

Tom, IMO, you should sing whatever the hell you feel like singing. Period. AND, have a bloody good time doing it.


19 Sep 07 - 12:59 PM (#2152737)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Folkiedave

Ey up mi old china plate, ´ow gus it? I amt seen Stirrings - zit good then?

I am a member of the working-class currently house hunting in Spain.
There must be s song init somewhere.

That there Joseph Taylor - him that sang Brigg Fair - weren´t he middle class?

Did Percy Grainger (he had some funny habits) know?


19 Sep 07 - 01:00 PM (#2152738)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Peace

Besides, it's clearly understood here that if ya wake an Englishman up at 3:00 AM he'll talk just like a Canadian.


19 Sep 07 - 01:04 PM (#2152743)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,TB

Hope you find a nice house Dave. Just make sure you don't write any songs about it, or if you do, don't under any circumstances send them to Stirrings! lol!

(Thanks Peace - I do what I feel like doing, and thankfully the majority seem content :-)


19 Sep 07 - 01:04 PM (#2152744)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: The Borchester Echo

I'm bilingual in North East and RP. You bloody well need to be if convent-educated.
So I'm going to combine Magdalene Laundries with the tune of Bonnie Gateshead Lass.
Can't think of anything else appropriate so it'll be a short set.


19 Sep 07 - 01:06 PM (#2152745)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,TB

Come and sing it at Sharps next week Diane!! :-)


19 Sep 07 - 01:33 PM (#2152759)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,countrylife

private health care insurance

savings investment schemes

tax minimisation

property valuations

private education cost plans

Ray Davies (and, yes I know he's not a folk singer, at least by some people's standards *LOL*)


19 Sep 07 - 01:56 PM (#2152779)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Stewart

Since I was cited in the first post, I should probably respond to this. I certainly didn't mean that one shouldn't sing songs about things that one hasn't experienced or lived through. Just don't try to affect some artificial persona, accent or style. If you're a good enough actor that you can pull it off and it seems genuine, that's fine. But if it looks artificial, it's not.

I sing a lot of Irish songs, but I'm not very good at the accent, so I don't try. Besides, the words are more understandable if I don't, and understanding the words and the story is more important. And I try to research the subject so I know what I am singing about, the history and the terminology, so if someone were to ask me, I wouldn't appear like a total fool.

I also sing songs of the sea. I used to sail as a teenager off the California coast, so I have some experience and know some of the terminology. But I've never been on a whaler, survived a ship wreck, or sailed around the horn. But that doesn't mean I can't sing about it. But then, I try to understand what I'm singing about. That's just interesting in itself.

Then there are some songs that I can't sing because they don't fit my style, my voice or personality. So I don't even try.

So just sing what you enjoy, try to understand what you are singing about, and don't try to come across as something you're not. That's all.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


19 Sep 07 - 01:57 PM (#2152781)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: dick greenhaus

FOLK SINGER'S BLUES
(Shel Silverstein)

Well, I'd like to sing a song about the chain gang (Whap!)
And swingin' twelve pound hammers all the day, (Whap!)
And how a I'd like to kill my captain (Whap!)
And how a black man works his life away, but...
What do you do if you're young and white and Jewish?
And you've never swung a hammer against a spike?
And you've never called a water boy
Early in the morning
And your only chain is the chain that's on your bike? Yes,
Your only chain is the chain on your bike.

Now I'd like to be a-walkin up the highway
Feelin' cold and wet and hungry all night long,
Doin' some hard ramblin', hard gamblin', hard smamblin', hard blamblin'
But always takin' time to write a song. But...
What do you do if you're young and white and Jewish?
And you never heard an old freight whistle blow?
And you've never slept the night
In a cold and empty box car
And you take a subway everywhere you go? Oh, oh
You take the subway everywhere you go.

Now I'd like to sing a song about the coal mine
A-chippin' away in tunnel 22
And when I hear that timber crack, why I support it with my back
Until my comrades all crawl safely through, but...
What do you do if you're young and white and Jewish?
And you've got to be in class at half-past nine
And in spite of all your urgin', and your pleadin' and your cryin'
Your mother says it's too dirty down in a mine, That what she says,
Your mother says it's too dirty down in a mine.

Well now, I'd like to sing about the Mississippi,
Workin' on the levee all the day
And when them cotton bolls get rotten
You got a lotta rotten cotton
And on Saturday you go and spend your pay, but
What do you do if you're young and white and Jewish?
And you've never loaded cotton on the dock?
And you've never worked a day
Or drunk up all your pay
And the only levee you know is the Levy who lives on the block, Yes
The only levee you know is the Levy who lives on the block.

@folkmusic @music
filename[ YNGWHIT
RG


19 Sep 07 - 02:02 PM (#2152790)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: McGrath of Harlow

Martin Carthy never seems to have any problems with this.


19 Sep 07 - 02:09 PM (#2152793)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Peace

Stewart: This is a cogent, good and timely thread. I am glad you started it.

In some songs I write I use 'Black' phrasing; that is, I will drop some plurals or affect some expressions. Hell, I KNOW I'm not Black. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the culture, many of the songs, many of the songwriters who did come from Black culture. Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.


19 Sep 07 - 02:14 PM (#2152797)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Peace

Just recently I finished a song that included a refrain line about riding a horse: "I want to take an Appaloosa, baby, and ride out in the rain, when I cannot sleep at night." I have never been on a horse in my life. I've eaten horse meat and seen horses, gave first aid to a horse after a vehicle crash, even fed a horse. But I've never ridden one. If anyone figures that deceitful or bad of me because I am not a working cowboy--tough. (It's a good song, btw.)


19 Sep 07 - 02:16 PM (#2152800)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Peace

PARDON ME. I'm glad Cod Fiddler started the thread. I need glasses.


19 Sep 07 - 02:25 PM (#2152807)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Bonzo3legs

"Martin Carthy never seems to have any problems with this" - absolutely, its the cretins who have a problem with being middle class and think speaking properly is "posh"

Do you really want to live in a one up one down in Worksop, bleat on about the miners ...............?

There should be songs about working class oiks.


19 Sep 07 - 02:49 PM (#2152829)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,countrylife

"Do you really want to live in a one up one down in Worksop"

ever give any thought to just maybe this all some people can afford, given the price of housing, probably not..living in you Million Pound Semi-Detached..(Ray Davies again there)

"There should be songs about working class oiks"

I'm proud to be a working class oik..do we make you feel uncomfortable..? Too bad!


19 Sep 07 - 03:25 PM (#2152867)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Big Al Whittle

I wonder if musical instruments observe the class boundaries.

Do the Martins and the Lowdens get together in secret groups and say - we don't want those nasty Yamaha oiks making their beastly strumming noises, whilst we are expressing ourselves in faultless musicality?

Do the Vega and Gibson banjos, think - oh god! not an Antoria, unspeakable little turd with his nasty vulgar twangling! What a desecration of the beautiful bell like tones of our exclusive brotherhood!

Do they squabble in the music store at night with each other - oh no a crate of Crafters, that'll bring the tone of this place down! Why does he get a window stand and not me!

On the other hand - they could be smarter than us.


19 Sep 07 - 03:56 PM (#2152895)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: McGrath of Harlow

Do violins and fiddles despise each other?


19 Sep 07 - 04:25 PM (#2152918)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,Dan's other computer

Does anyone ever complain about all the ballads involving the fabulously wealthy collcted from poor people?

Dan Schatz


19 Sep 07 - 05:23 PM (#2152963)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Richard Bridge

Hi Tom, I didn't know you were middle class. Upper middle, middle, or lower middle? Tell me the school and I might guess. Downside was always one of the most brutal - but it was catholic.

I know of a least one folkie who went to Slough Grammar. If you know what that means you are probably upper middle.


19 Sep 07 - 05:28 PM (#2152967)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Big Al Whittle

sounds like The Slough of Despond

"Martin Carthy never seems to have any problems with this."

he's a private man, he hides his anguish well.


19 Sep 07 - 05:36 PM (#2152972)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Richard Bridge

Isn't that the antithesis of folk music?


19 Sep 07 - 05:43 PM (#2152980)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: PeadarOfPortsmouth

The way things are going, soon there won't be a middle class -- so the question will be moot and we can sing what we want.

Just know that we'll have to pay "the Man" for the rights...


19 Sep 07 - 05:52 PM (#2152989)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Big Al Whittle

I thought we could already sing what we want.

can't we?


19 Sep 07 - 06:58 PM (#2153040)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego

I've known singers who were very much upper class (Loudon Wainwright III comes to mind), many middle class (certainly Bob Dylan and Tom Waits fit), along with the Jesse Fullers and Leadbellys of the world. Point is, many songs would never be known by a larger audience if not for the performers who make them popular, wherever they come from.

That's one thing. The other is the creating of a "persona" and trying to seem what you are not. That was one of my early objections to Dylan. Waits, at least, lived on the streets for a time to experience that life. No one really likes a phony. Just sing as best you can and don't worry about sounding like someone or something else. You'll learn soon enough whether anyone wants you to continue.


19 Sep 07 - 07:39 PM (#2153064)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Big Al Whittle

well you're right in a way TJ - the problem is, in England - people don't tend to tell middle class folksingers, who can effortlessly evoke an atmosphere of tedium to fuck off. they give them arts council grants to tour the world. they play them on the only nationally radio and tv programmes and ask them to lecture to future generations of middle class bores at our most respected universities.

i don't think you can have a class system over there - otherwise you'd know all about it.


20 Sep 07 - 01:36 AM (#2153218)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: michaelr

You're all a bunch of tossers. Hasn't it occurred to anyone yet (enough to mention it here, anyway) that the whole class dynamic is an artificial means of control the rulers impose?

It's segregation, pure and simple -- the "middle class" is quieted with empty promises of possible advancement while its economic base keeps being purposely eroded -- the "lower class" is told to know its place, and is kept there by institutionalized poverty -- while the "upper class" just keeps amassing wealth and political power.

I'm quite surprised that purported lovers of folk songs, which have been songs by the "lower class" of protest against oppression from "above", are missing out on this all=important dynamic in this discussion.

Cheers,
Michael


20 Sep 07 - 02:50 AM (#2153236)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Richard Bridge

Yes, my impression is largely that

in the USA class = wealth

in the UK class = speech habits (and table manners, in the middle-class bracket).


However, it only takes a couple of generations backwards, and much of today's English middle class was not middle class at all. If you accept (as I do) that folk song and music speaks to one's roots (or genetic inheritance) then the perception of a present-day class anomaly is misleading.

This is another reason IMHO why distinctions between "folk" "nu-folk" (or "neo-folk") and ARSS assist in clarity.


20 Sep 07 - 04:12 AM (#2153254)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Santa

So folk music is all about the working class singing about themselves or indulging in class warfare?   Obviously not enough copies of Childs ballads around - or unopened.

Away from the ballads, there are folk songs about the middle classes - think of all the tailors, millers, sea captains and farmers. Not all are derogatory. Isn't Bold Johnson about a butcher? Doesn't one heroine dash away with the calico printer's clerk?


20 Sep 07 - 04:18 AM (#2153255)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss

"middle class folksingers... can effortlessly evoke an atmosphere of tedium" Tee hee, so THAT'S why you kept nodding off at the Woodlark, Al! (Thanks for staying even so).

I don't think it's true that only middle class artists get funding and exposure, though. The picture is much much more complicated than that.

There has been and still is much injustice and abuse within the British class system, though it's much better these days than when my ancestor William Bliss (who's own ancesters were simple weavers - so how far back do we go?) was first pioneering 'Utopian Socialism' along with Titus Salt, Robert Owen, and John Cadbury. (He was awarded a medal of honour by Napoloen Bonaparte for the liberal and benign treatment of his work force).

I sometimes think, though, that class warfare is partly about tribal identity as much as political justice - not that this in any way reduces our mutual duty to agitate for a better system. We see it from both (/all?) sides of the 'divide.' People are put in boxes because of how they talk, and judged for who they seem to be, rather than who they really are.

In most walks of life RP is still an advantage (though far less so than it was 30 years ago), but in the folk world it is not.

When I decided to launch myself on the poor innocent folk fans of this parish, I did worry that my 'capitalist' background (though actually, as those who've heard my song about it will know, we lost the lot and my father grew up with very little), my connection with the Channel Islands (a red rag to lots of red bulls) and my 'posh' voice might inhibit my progress.

I'm still unsure if it has - there are certainly some who believe that folk music is the province of the 'working classes' and that people like me should steer clear.

But while it's true that songs and tunes have had massive value and spiritual (and political) relevance to many groups of down-trodden people through the years, there is some evidence that 'middle class' people have always been involved, to some extent - and may even have originally written some of the material - even if it might appear at first glance to be the work of an 'uneducated' man or woman.

M/classers have certainly had a major role to play in the collecting and promotion of traditional music (not always benignly, though, I grant you).

So where does that leave us? Well, apart from a healthy debate on whether Michael's point is still valid in the 21st C (are we talking abut poverty of wealth, education or happiness, Michael?) it all leaves people like me having to decide if I should go on making the music I love, or take Mr Sissons advice and get the hell out of his territory.

I'm thinking on


20 Sep 07 - 04:18 AM (#2153257)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,Dáithí

Well, Cod Fiddler - I've heard you play Irish music on that there fiddle and can't imagine why you would "feel guilty" about it.

If you feel the tune and can evoke a response in whoever listens..that's all that's needed surely.
And you do, so... ná bí buartha! (don't worry!).

Personally,I like songs about the Napoleonic wars and enjoy listening to, and occasionally singing, them. I'm neither old enough to have been there nor French..but I have read widely about the period and figure I can put such songs over well enough.So do folks who've listened to me.
I'm sure the same goes for other topics too.

Regardless of accent or background, any musician may well have a passion for coal mining, fishing, farming, hunting the cuckoo or whatever and may even be more sympatico with it than an apparently more appropriate class of person.

I look forward to catching up with you again soon!
Dáithí


20 Sep 07 - 05:09 AM (#2153269)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: redsnapper

I wonder if musical instruments observe the class boundaries.

Do the Martins and the Lowdens get together in secret groups and say - we don't want those nasty Yamaha oiks making their beastly strumming noises, whilst we are expressing ourselves in faultless musicality?


I don't know about that WLD, but sometimes their owners do just that. I've seen "instrument snobbery" many times in 40 years of sessioneering and gigging.

On the main subject, I play and sing what I like where and when I like and rely on an inbuilt sense of what is appropriate for a given situation.

RS (ex-Martin and Lowden owner, now very happily playing a Yamaha)


20 Sep 07 - 11:48 AM (#2153469)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: BB

"it all leaves people like me having to decide if I should go on making the music I love, or take Mr Sissons advice and get the hell out of his territory.

I'm thinking on"

Well, stop thinking on, Mr. Bliss - you have a contract with our club, so you can't stop until at least the end of February next year! :-)

Barbara


20 Sep 07 - 01:21 PM (#2153546)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,folkiedave in an internet caf

AndI would be very disappointed if you stopped at all.


20 Sep 07 - 01:36 PM (#2153559)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,otis

norma watersons said that she sang folk because the thought it was fun and enjoyed it. just enjoy singing. even if you are middle class singing working class minings songs. the fact is that you are telling a story, and keeping a song alive, and not just a record or recording.


20 Sep 07 - 06:42 PM (#2153824)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Liz the Squeak

My excuse is that I come from good, solid Agricultural and labouring stock (about the only rural pursuit I can't actually lay claim to is tin-mining) and I'll sings songs about the life style that they led.

I've got photos of my granfer plouging, fishing and stock rearing, my great aunt and uncle making hay (really!) my great granfer making baskets, my mother making nets (OK, so it's in a factory) and another great grandfather standing shepherd at the age of 11. I've got great great uncles who were killed in WWI on land and sea, I've got distant relatives who were 'Preventive Men' (forerunners of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) and I've got a fair smattering of fatherless babies too... did I miss anything?

Go back into your family history and sooner or later, you'll find something to fit the songs you like to sing... I defy anyone to get back more than 5 generations without an illegitimate birth (unless you're Amish).

LTS


20 Sep 07 - 07:19 PM (#2153849)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,wordy

What is the middle class anyway?
It's the educated working class. At least, they were the engine of the folk revival.
I thought that's what we all wanted.
Or should we be looking for the underclass and chavs to carry the process on?


20 Sep 07 - 07:49 PM (#2153873)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,geezer

A Musician interprets Music. A good Musician is one who can effectively interpret Music of many genres. Whether their instrument is their voice or a mandolin, a good Musician should be capable of stylistically correct great performances in many genres, whether Baroque, Bluegrass, Bossa Nova--by Beatles, Brahams, Bacharach, Berlin, The Bird (Charles Parker), Brubeck or "composer unknown" / "traditional."


21 Sep 07 - 02:09 AM (#2154070)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Richard Bridge

interepret + "stylistically correct" = does not compute


21 Sep 07 - 05:18 AM (#2154114)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss

LOL - I'll be there, Barbara, and many many other places - never fear! (I've had much worse reviews in the past, and a good thrashing is the best workout for the cardiovasular system. Complacency is the enemy)!


21 Sep 07 - 08:13 AM (#2154187)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: MikeofNorthumbria

All this talk about class only confuses the issue. Wake up guys and gals - class is history!

Granted, there are a few people at the top of the heap who get lots of power, privilege, money and celebrity, while a much larger number at the bottom get almost nothing, and those in the middle get by as best they can. Nothing new there. But the difference is that today class – as it used to be understood - has little to do with who gets what.

Just look around you. On the one hand, people with historic pedigrees and cut-glass accents are regularly treated with scorn and derision – understandably, given how badly so many of them behave. On the other hand, people that my Granny (a former charlady who lived and died in a Council flat) would have called "common as muck" become rich and famous overnight, and millions adopt them as role-models.   And somewhere along the way, the baby of civility got thrown out along with the bathwater of deference, so that anyone who displays good manners, clear speech, and a smattering of education in public is liable to provoke suspicion and hostility, if not actual physical assault.

And what does that have to do with folk music? Well the story goes something like this, I think. There are many people in the folk community who just enjoy the music for its own sake, and don't worry about its origins. There are others who like to day-dream about a mythical arcadia, free from all the irritations of modern life. And there are quite a few who take a serious scholarly interest in the folk tradition.   Most of them don't seem to worry overmuch about the relationship between music and class. But there are others who do.

For these people, folk song is primarily a protest against injustice. Sometimes they sing about injustices which they themselves have suffered - but more often they rage about injustices inflicted upon others with whom they identify. Nothing unhealthy about that – but the problems start when protesters realise that they may be indirect beneficiaries of the historic injustices they sing about. Things get worse if the protesters find that descendants of the people their ancestors exploited don't welcome their retrospective expressions of fraternal solidarity. End result – guilt, followed by denial!

"Oh no, it's not me that's inauthentic – it's just those horrible middle-class folkies singing about a way of life they've never experienced. Well, yes, I may have an office job … and a bank account … and a mortgage … and an insurance policy … and a pension plan – but that doesn't make me middle class! My father/ grandfather/ great-grandfather was a miner/ mill-hand/ farm labourer, and I'm a committed Socialist. I shall stand alongside the exploited masses (with whom I belong in spirit, if not in crude socio-economic terms) until the day of Revolution finally dawns."

Dream on comrade! If the Revolution comes, you and your kind will soon be heading for the Gulag, along with the rest of us bourgeois intellectuals.

Wassail!


21 Sep 07 - 11:10 PM (#2154718)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk Music for the Middle Class
From: Alaska Mike

Write your own songs. When you write your own songs you can use your own perspective and your own values. Either write about your own experiences or use your imagination, it doesn't matter. Be creative and be resourceful. Do some research or just make it up.

Mike