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'Owned' songs

19 Jan 18 - 06:49 PM (#3900605)
Subject: 'Owned' songs at folk clubs
From: Andy7

In many folk clubs, there are songs that are, in a certain sense, 'owned' by one of the regular members.

Not songs that they've composed themselves - these are self-evidently 'owned' by the people that wrote them - but traditional or popular songs that they've sung so often, and usually so well, that other members would feel very awkward about trying the song themselves, especially if the song 'owner' is present.

I've sometimes wondered, what is the protocol here?

If I fancy singing, say, 'Rose of Allendale' one evening, but it's always been sung (really well) by Gillian at least once a month, and no one else ever sings it, could I give it a go? And could I give it a go if Gillian is actually there?

Suppose I mess it up, and at the same time stop her sharing with everyone her version, the one that everyone always enjoys? Or suppose, maybe even worse, I do it well, and some people actually prefer my rendition of the song?

And in another situation entirely ... what should I do if, maybe during a holiday in a different part of the country, I take in a session of a folk club that I've never been to before?

Should I be wary of singing any song, unless it's really obscure or self-penned, just in case I take away an 'owned' song from a regular folk club member?

19 Jan 18 - 08:05 PM (#3900610)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Joe Offer

Here in our song circle in California, we have one singer who was born in Scotland, and one who was born in Kent. Both of them (Holdstock and MacLeod) are excellent singers - and both are very supportive of us younger American singers (Well, not so young). BUT - Despite their support, I'm apprehensive about singing English and Scottish songs, particularly the songs that they sing.

Sooooo - I save those songs up for the times when they're not there, although sometimes I'll sing one of "their" songs to honor them and show off what I've learned from them. But when I sing one of "their" songs, I make a point of saying that I'm singing it for them, to show that I'm learning. I think that both of them enjoy being recognized as mentors for the rest of us. And both of them are so darn nice.

I also seem to like songs sung by Judy Cook of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. Her songs fit my vocal range very well, and I like her taste in music. Since she's moved to Ohio, I don't see her as often, but we still end up at camp together sometimes. Same thing. I don't usually sing "her" songs when she's around, but sometimes I sing them to show what I've learned from her. That seems to work well.


20 Jan 18 - 03:54 AM (#3900629)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Jim Carroll

Nothing new in this
Among traditional singing circles it was a common courtesy not to sing the songs os certain respected local singers
Both Harry Cox and Sam Larner referred to this practice - Harry Cox described how he didn't sing some songs he had known for a long time until the 'owner' died
Walter Pardon held the opposite view - he was reproached by a local man one for 'giving his songs away' to collectors
He replied, "they're not my songs, they're everybody's - if you don't let others have them they'll die with you"
Jim Carroll

20 Jan 18 - 05:08 AM (#3900644)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Georgiansilver

I guess when visiting a different club, if asked if you want to perform, you should perform whatever song you feel happy doing at the time. Even if the song you sing is done there regularly, they will recognise that you are not aware of that and make allowances. If your version is not as good as the other persons, people will still applaud you with encouragement because that is 'the thing to do'. If in a club you regularly attend a particular singer is missing and you want to sing one of his/her songs... why not~? Of course if you're brave enough!!!! . I accept that certain members of some clubs become entrenched in their own 'routines' and 'traditions' but I believe that most 'Folkies' are generous with their patience and understanding.

20 Jan 18 - 05:15 AM (#3900645)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,SteveT

I wouldn't dream of singing a song I knew was a "party piece" of another member of a session I was at, it just seems to be bad manners to me. Of course, I learn all my songs by ear so I must have "stolen" them from someone at some time but I wait until I'm in a different location from the original singer before I air them in public.   (Luckily I seem to have moved about every 10 years or so making this feasible - I don't know what would have happened if I'd lived in the same place all my life.)   As for what to sing when you go to a session/location new to you; I tend to have a set of songs that I know are not commonly sung, some I've made up myself and some are just less well-known songs.

20 Jan 18 - 05:26 AM (#3900646)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler

Another aspect of this is from the question of what to do when someone sings a song that your own group normally does, in particular the fact that you have to listen to their version before joining in the chorus with your "normal" harmony. It may not fit with their interpretation, or it may enhance it.
Happened last night for me when Gary and Vera sang "Icy Acres"; I just had to change one note.


20 Jan 18 - 06:12 AM (#3900650)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer

Over christmas we performed the Innocents. Turned out a local performer has family connections to the poem writer. They were very kind to give us an ok even though they sing it ( we didn't know ). Slightly different 'own'. When you find a professional has covered a song you have also 'discovered ' - Downeaster by Billy Joel that I found on cassette many years ago and Reunion Hill by Richard Shindell from a CD lent by friend. Nice to know I share musical tastes but the constant " you nicked that from SOH " is annoying. I now check on youtube what has been 'folked' .

20 Jan 18 - 06:14 AM (#3900653)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Big Al Whittle

i suppose you could practise it in private and then wait for the singer to die, before trespassing on his territory.

you might have to wait a while. if you really didn't want to hurt their feelings, but you were desperate to sing the song - you could murder him.

there are several quite effective poisons available in most English gardens or on the shelves of your local hardware store.

20 Jan 18 - 06:25 AM (#3900657)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Jim Carroll

If we're talking about folk song (quite often we are not on this forum) - why not just find another version or even a different approach?
Jim Carroll

20 Jan 18 - 07:04 AM (#3900659)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Big Al Whittle

nab...homicide is the way to go. Then you can pinch his entire act.

20 Jan 18 - 07:10 AM (#3900660)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: melodeonboy

I think we can get a bit precious about this. In general, I just sing what I want to sing. Sometimes I sing something that someone else was going to sing, and sometimes someone else sings something that I was going to sing. I don't find that a problem.
I do make two exceptions:
1. If the writer of the song is present, I ask them if they're intending to do it before singing it.
2. If there is a novice in the room who has just started learning songs, and I am aware that they may only know two or three songs, I would avoid those songs.
When someone else sings a song that I often sing, I find it interesting to hear their version, and have no negativity towards it.

20 Jan 18 - 07:32 AM (#3900663)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Vic Smith

Dan Quinn was a resident singer at the club we ran in Lewes and we sang together every Thursday for around a quarter of a century. Quite early on during that time we found that we both sang The Mickey Dam and both had learned it from Kevin Mitchell. We never discussed it (still haven't) but neither of us ever sang the song at the club again.

20 Jan 18 - 08:58 AM (#3900677)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Doug Chadwick

It depends on the song.

I don't think anyone can lay claim to a Dylan song (other than Bob). If you have a version of one as your party piece and someone else sings it before you, then that is just tough. If you get in there first, then the other person should accept it as the luck of the draw.

More obscure songs, which someone might have introduced into a particular setting, should be given more respect. If, however, you have a version which is significantly different, it may be acceptable to present it so that the listeners can compare and contrast.

Visiting singers should be given leeway as they probably won't be there next time so the problem will have gone away.


20 Jan 18 - 09:09 AM (#3900680)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Big Al Whittle

well all right, but keep the arsenic handy!

20 Jan 18 - 12:12 PM (#3900714)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Johnny J

I remember Sheila Stewart would never sing certain songs while her mother(Belle) was still alive e.g. Queen Among the Heather etc. She eventually included them in her repertoire during her own later years.

20 Jan 18 - 12:59 PM (#3900723)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: G-Force

I think it's good manners to go carefully here. If someone has researched a song from an obscure source and put in a lot or work on it, then it strikes me it's pretty thoughtless if someone from the same club says " Oh, really like that; I'm gonna sing it too," especially if they make a mess of it! I suppose the answer would be to sing it again really well and hope they get the message. However, well known songs are really open to anyone who wants to sing them.

20 Jan 18 - 01:05 PM (#3900725)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Phil Edwards

If Fred regularly sings The Dolphin or The Oxen Ploughing or whatever, it's common courtesy not to sing those songs yourself while Fred's in the room - and it might seem a bit presumptuous to do them on weeks when he's not there, particularly if he sings them well.

You can't really cater for this kind of thing when you're a visitor, though - who's to say what might be J. Random Regular's song? In Lewes once I did a Kipling song which got a slightly subdued reception, with some comments about how if so-and-so had been there he might have got in first with that one, etc. Nothing you can do to stop that happening, apart from going further afield with your song selections - although then you risk getting blank looks because nobody knows the song you've chosen.

The opposite problem arises when somebody who has a definite set of songs stops attending a session, or dies - in that situation you might well feel there's a positive obligation to start doing "their" songs.

20 Jan 18 - 01:37 PM (#3900730)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Steve Gardham

There is a definite protocol here, certainly this side of the pond.
If you are a regular at a club and another regular regularly sings a certain song then you respect that and leave him/her to it.

If that person ceases to sing the song, leaves the area, or dies then that song is surely'up for grabs'.

There are thousands and thousands of songs. Surely we're not that desperate that we have to sing one song. Even those singers (some on Mudcat) who try to sing a different set of songs every week at the club can manage it without taking someone else's song in their club.

Visitors of course, as has been stated, cannot be expected to know every song that is regularly sung at the club, so common sense rules hopefully.

Similarly at tune sessions, if I arrive late I will wait a considerable length of time before starting up a set in case those tunes have already been played.

20 Jan 18 - 02:40 PM (#3900741)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,Sol

My view: There are millions of songs that you can sing. Why would you want to choose a song that is recognised as a being a cornerstone of another member's repertoire? I don't think that's cricket, old boy. Different if you are in a strange club and sing a song without knowledge of it being on a local member's song list.
I recall an incomer to a folk circle I used to frequent who would literally 'steal' all the other singers' big songs and without shame would perform them in their presence. A very unpopular performer for obvious reasons. Fortunately the culprit moved on much to the delight of the company.

20 Jan 18 - 04:06 PM (#3900753)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Gurney

Steve T's comment up there goes for me too. I've never had a problem learning vocals anyway (the guitar is another matter) and I'll abandon a song that someone else takes up, and if I'm in a strange club (aren't they all?) I'll pre-apologise in a ramble before I start.

20 Jan 18 - 07:10 PM (#3900787)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Andy7

"I don't think anyone can lay claim to a Dylan song (other than Bob)"

Some time ago I included 'Lay Down Your Weary Tune' in my repertoire for a while.

According to his own web page, Dylan has only ever performed this once (in 1963). So I enjoyed pointing out, the second time I sang it, that I'd now performed it in public twice as often as Bob himself!

20 Jan 18 - 09:38 PM (#3900792)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Deckman

I can add something of a funny spin to this interesting thread. When I was 16, MANY years ago, I sang " "Devilish Mary" at a hoot in Seattle. I had just the week before met the "great" Walt Robertson. I didn't know him at all, I didn't even know that he'd just recorded his first record album with Moses Ash, of Folkways. At this time, in Seattle, Walt was viewed as something as a god ... GEEZE LOUSE ... a TV show and records too! AND, one of the songs he sang was "Devilish Mary." After I sang my song, a friend took me to one side and pointed out that he was sitting there in the corner and I'd dared to sing one "his songs."

Not a ten minutes went by and he came over and complemented me on my version and presentation.

A few years later, we became fast friends and we laughed about that "introduction" to ourselves often. Sometimes ignorance can be bliss? bob(deckman)nelson

21 Jan 18 - 03:37 AM (#3900806)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: BobL

Visiting a club a long way from home, I took the opportunity to go over the songs & tunes I'd done to death in my home club, guessing that they might be less familiar there. I guessed right.

I've composed, not songs, but one or two dances, and I'm delighted if others call them. Even if I'd been meaning to call them myself.

"You cannot steal a folk tune - you can only borrow it" - Danish String Quartet

21 Jan 18 - 05:43 AM (#3900823)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Banjo-Flower

why not share the dances with us


21 Jan 18 - 06:47 AM (#3900836)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Mo the caller

On the question of dances. I had a short spot (the 'teatime hour') at Bromyard Festival. On my list 'possibly if I'm brave enough' was a Contra that Rhodri Davies had written for us when he called at our Ruby wedding dance. Rhod was calling the workshop before me and called it first. And for another dance on my list the band had already used the tune set that I always used from their CD if I was calling with recorded music.
Never mind, they had other good tunes, I had other contras.

At our dance club we have 8 callers (on a rota of 1 or 2 each evening), and if someone calls a dance that another likes they will ask about it and call it too. Gives some continuity to the dancers.

21 Jan 18 - 02:04 PM (#3900914)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Tattie Bogle

Perhaps there are fewer "owned songs" now than there used to be, though I can think of a couple of people who are no longer with us, and you definitely would NOT sing one of "their" songs in their presence. One song in particular, was never sung for years after the usual singer of it passed away, as it was "X's song". Then one day, a new person to the session launched into that song: you could feel a certain frisson pass around the room at first, but then everyone relaxed and joined in the chorus, and that was it - song back in the repertoire!

The other side of this is that there are some songs that have caught the imagination of many people, who have gone and learned them, and there's almost a competition to get in first with Y song, before someone else sings it!
And as we are now coming up to the Burns season in Scotland, any session on a theme of Burns songs is bound to have a people throwing songbooks over their shoulders as someone else just did the one they'd planned to do! My favourite Burns song just happens to be one that 2 of our local male singers do very well: they were both there at a Burns night in a folk club, and one had already sung, but not done that song: I asked the other if he was intending to do it, but no, so I was able to do it without ruffling any feathers. (The song includes a lot of birds - guess which?!) For a more formal Burns supper, the organiser will usually contact people in advance to make sure there is no duplication of songs or disjointed noses.

21 Jan 18 - 02:15 PM (#3900918)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Andy7

One St. David's Day, at a folk club in southern England, I sang the only song I know in Welsh, which I'd learned parrot fashion.

Then it turned out that, unknown to me, there was a Welsh person at the session, who had been planning to sing the same song!

I still feel slightly guilty about that one!

21 Jan 18 - 10:40 PM (#3900973)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Phil Cooper

The Chicago area song circle I used to attend before we moved to the frozen north of the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan had some songs "owned" by regulars. I supposed I "owned" a couple because I heard that people who missed me when I moved would now sing them. I was never bothered by someone singing something I did, by the way. There were a couple people who "owned" some Stan Rogers and Michael Smith songs which they did often. Sometimes that could be a bit touchy. Once someone there sang The Water is Wide (in my opinion way over-sang/emoted it). Someone else came in after that performance and sang a very nice version of The Water it Wide. The other person, needlessly in my opinion, mentioned he had done the song a half hour earlier. I thought, what difference did it make. This was supposed to be a fun gathering, not a contest. I don't think the second Water is Wide singer ever came back.

21 Jan 18 - 11:12 PM (#3900975)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Deckman

It's all about EGO's, isn't it. bob(deckman)nelson

22 Jan 18 - 05:13 AM (#3900999)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Nigel Parsons

It's all about EGO's, isn't it. bob(deckman)nelson

Yes, it's a case of 'E GOt to that song before me :-)

22 Jan 18 - 10:48 AM (#3901057)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Mr Red

Some people are possesive by nature, and there is the problem of the regulars' habituation. You betta dun sing it either the same of not at all.

I sing "the Carter" and the guy who used to sing it was happy for me to sing it, he found new songs to cherish. I now have a memory of that guy, he was a real nice chap. And I cherish his memory, and keep it alive by singing his song, with as much of a Welsh accent a "Black Country" boyo can muster - in his memory.

Sometimes pinching songs gets you more than the song.

If I was at an unfamiliar event how would I know I was crashing someone's act? Unless he has already sung it, in which case why would I sing it that night?

22 Jan 18 - 11:08 AM (#3901067)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Big Al Whittle

what does it say about us that we are so petty that we think we 'own'- songs ?

I wonder if anyone did My Way before Sinatra, and Frank thought well that's my act fucked....

22 Jan 18 - 11:46 AM (#3901071)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Marje

It's surely just good manners to avoid a song that another member sings regularly, unless you're offering a different version. And if it's already heard frequently at that venue, why would you want to anyway? Why not sing something different?


22 Jan 18 - 02:02 PM (#3901097)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,Sol

Spot on, Marje.
Courtesy & respect for other performers. It should be a no-brainer.

22 Jan 18 - 02:03 PM (#3901098)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Big Al Whittle

well maybe you WANT to sing the song.
That's the name of the game - we go to folk clubs because we WANT to sing folk songs. Not to make vast fortunes, but because we like individual folksongs.

so why would any reasonable singer believe that no one else was allowed to sing a song that they were singing regularly.

if they want to sing it first - they should grab an earlier spot'
i think its really cheeky saying that you have got exclusive rights to singing a song - even your own song that you've written.

22 Jan 18 - 02:18 PM (#3901101)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,Sol

There's a song I really like but won't do at our club as it's in another member's repertoire. Yes I could do it but 1) if I sing it better than they do (which I can't, btw), it could cause resentment 2) If I sing it worse than they do, then I look poor.
The crux of the matter is, either way, it's a lose/lose situation for everybody, so why do it?

22 Jan 18 - 03:58 PM (#3901112)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Tattie Bogle

But it is when you're in an unknown-to-you-previously environment and it's your turn, or you are invited, to sing. Are you really going to ask before starting if you you could be treading on someone's toes? You could just say, "this is one of my favourite songs, because...." and just go for it. if it happens to be someone else's "owned" song, that person surely has more songs up the sleeve?? (Ok, I do know a few people who only ever sing the same 4 or 5 songs, but they'd still have 3 or 4 left!)

22 Jan 18 - 04:12 PM (#3901116)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Big Al Whittle

you have no right to resent someone singing a song, just because he sung it first.

i suppose sometimes you forbear from singing a song because the singer has a few nuts and bolts missing and doesn't know many songs.

but its all a bit 'care in the community'.

22 Jan 18 - 05:49 PM (#3901135)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: MoorleyMan

May I be permitted my humble penn'orth?

There's a fine line between Respect and Precious, and it can be so hard to get it right sometimes.

Sure, if the writer of a song is present, it's only fair to refrain from singing it then and there or check with the writer first on the night.

But that aside, I've always felt that if a song's a good song then it should be sung, by whoever. And some singers will inevitably do a better job than others - whether or not they make the song their own or bring a radically different perspective to it. There are some great songs where the "light-bulb" moment ("oh THAT's what it's all about!) has only come after hearing many renditions, some of which may have been by "owners" who clearly didn't "get" it...

There are indeed countless songs in the total potential repertoire, but there will be occasions when only be a small proportion of those will suit the moment!

I don't get upset if someone else gets up and sings a song I love to sing or am known for singing (I can remember one festival singaround where that happened for five consecutive songs, which fast narrowed my choice thereafter!)... but on the other hand it does grate if someone takes up a song that I've introduced and then been singing out for a while, and proceeds to claim "ownership" to the extent that I'm effectively barred from singing it myself again.

A good song should be able to take more than one "owner", I believe.
I prefer to use the word "carrier" in that context.

22 Jan 18 - 07:58 PM (#3901155)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,Sol

I would like to clarify my point of view here.
I feel it is disrespectful to sing a song that you KNOWINGLY is a cornerstone of another singer's repertoire while they are present at the session. However, in my view, it's acceptable to sing the song if they are not in attendance.

23 Jan 18 - 05:21 AM (#3901204)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,SteveT

There are two approaches to this question. One is about my right to sing whatever I want to sing regardless, the other is about my responsibility to consider the feelings of others. It's true that people have no right to be upset if I sing a song that they've invested a lot in trying to learn - but that may not stop them, in real life, feeling hurt or being left with nothing left to sing if I do. So do my rights to do what I want outweigh my responsibilities to consider their feelings even if I feel those feelings make them over-sensitive? It seems to be quite a relevant question about society in general!

23 Jan 18 - 05:22 AM (#3901205)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Mo the caller

And at tune sessions, where most of us play tunes that everyone can join in with there is a tune that I introduced to a friend (we used to have a home practise session), she introduced it to a couple who she played with. When they then started playing it at sessions in an arrangement that no-one else could join with I did feel a bit miffed. Wouldn't have felt "that was my tune" if I could have joined in.

23 Jan 18 - 01:20 PM (#3901290)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Marje

Big Al: it's surely not just about what you want? What about the feelings of the person who has made that song, in that venue, one of their party-pieces? And more to the point, what about the audience? If they are already hearing a certain song frequently sung by one of their regulars, wouldn't they appreciate hearing something different from another singer, rather than the same old, same old? I just can't think why singers would want to duplicate each other's songs at the same gathering.


23 Jan 18 - 02:35 PM (#3901309)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Vic Smith

Al Whittle wrote -
"I wonder if anyone did My Way before Sinatra, and Frank thought well that's my act fucked."

What d'you mean? Are you trying to tell me that someone did it before Johnny Rotten?


23 Jan 18 - 03:29 PM (#3901327)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Big Al Whittle

i had no idea it was such a contentious issue.

i suppose I had better add an apology to anyone whose repertoire I have cruelly forestalled in the last fifty years.

23 Jan 18 - 04:13 PM (#3901333)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,Sol

Vic, your Johnny Rotten is actually Sid Vicious. ;-)

24 Jan 18 - 07:24 AM (#3901416)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Andy7

The problem of someone singing a song that another person was planning to sing would be solved if, instead of taking turns at a singaround, everyone sings their songs at the same time.

24 Jan 18 - 07:32 AM (#3901417)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Jack Campin

The Filipinos seem to have a solution to this:


24 Jan 18 - 08:27 AM (#3901423)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Jack Campin

at tune sessions, where most of us play tunes that everyone can join in with there is a tune that I introduced to a friend (we used to have a home practise session), she introduced it to a couple who she played with. When they then started playing it at sessions in an arrangement that no-one else could join with I did feel a bit miffed

I would welcome that. If somebody can play a tune I know well in such a way that I couldn't possibly join in, it's in no danger of being ossified. The session scene often murders tunes by pointlessly standardizing them.

25 Jan 18 - 10:06 PM (#3901836)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: CupOfTea

I've been following this thread with interest. Mostly vicarious interest. While there was one now defunct session where a guy felt he "owned" anything related to Pete Seeger and took umbrage when we wanted to sing rather than hear his 5 minute introductionary story of "Pete and me."

What I feel is wistfulness akin to envy that you have groups and places where you get together and sing often enough that you even HAVE this issue. Do you know how fortunate you are? For years I've tried to get that sort of singing going, but I'm not star attraction material, and have had occasional small successes, but they don't build.

Having had the pleasure of singing in places where certain songs go best with certain people, I am of the camp who thinks it is a courtesy and respect issue that is situationally defendant, rather than yes/no. When I sing a song I "got"' from someone, I introduce its lineage, and have found people here to usually be plesantly surprised by that. That what you sing, or what version you sing, is a part of a living tradition, and sharing, rather than hoarding, suits me best.

Joanne in Cleveland

26 Jan 18 - 12:50 AM (#3901839)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Big Al Whittle

oh Joanne. I'm so sorry you haven't got folk clubs. I can't imagine what its like - not having folk clubs.

i suppose really, how ever pissed off we get with each other. most of us work hard at tolerating our very different views as to what constitutes folk music and tradition.

so many Americans come across our contributions on mudcat - and are repelled by the bile of brit folk music fans for each other. what they forget is that most nights we sit in rooms fully aware that the bloke (woman) sitting next to you reckons you're abit of a twat with no idea about folk music.

the only thing we agree on is that - the idea of folk clubs and folk music is vitally important. and when we see a message like yours - we see how fantastically lucky we are, to have reached this sort of rapprochement.

26 Jan 18 - 04:30 AM (#3901859)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Acorn4

"The problem of someone singing a song that another person was planning to sing would be solved if, instead of taking turns at a singaround, everyone sings their songs at the same time."

At Whitby last year there was one of those "jump in when you like" singarounds. Sometimes you get a situation where two people will start a song simultaneously.. Usually will give way and take the next turn but not on this occasion - both singers carried on apparently unaware of the other to the end of the songs that they'd started.

26 Jan 18 - 09:49 AM (#3901931)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,Airy

Oh big al whittle, life on a island must be grand especially when the little island was so grand.

Now America the beautiful may lack pubs and clubs but it still has the mudcat cafe
were Americans are digitally hung drawn and quartered despite the mandate of no cruel or unusually punishment

You should really see the grand canyon, very inspiring.

26 Jan 18 - 11:07 AM (#3901947)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Bill D

Since I have for the last 40 years been a member of a very large & diverse folk society, I have always realized that at any gathering there was likely to be several singers who knew 'almost' any songs that I did, and probably did them better.
   Thus, I just sang what I could.. as best I could... and gradually figured out what to avoid in certain situations. Eventually, *I* came up with several that no one else in the group seemed to do, and discovered that some of those were 'learned' by others, but not done when I was present.
   So... I do see why the practice of deference to certain folks about certain songs grew up. I never treated it as a 'must be obeyed' law, but I can't help being aware of the way it works.

04 Feb 18 - 12:59 PM (#3903790)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Phil Edwards

I did "When a man's in love" the other week. As I was sitting back afterwards, feeling gratified that the gods of song had gifted me with a decent performance, a friend said "I was in a session once, twenty-odd years ago, and I was going to do that song..."

Twenty-odd years! Well, I guess I always knew they were old songs, I thought to myself, but there goes any chance I had of making a mark with it...

But then he went on: "I was going to do that song, and as we were going round the guy about two or three before me did it instead. I didn't know him - I just thought, you bastard... Anyway, I found out afterwards it was John Tunney."

Somebody has always got to that song before you - whatever that song is and whoever you are. It goes with the territory.

05 Feb 18 - 03:13 AM (#3903863)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,Some bloke

My local clubs, I slip them in when the other singer isn"t there. Mind you, it was funny when someone visited a local club and asked me to sing a particular trad song, flattering me by saying it was my calling card song.

A bit of a bugger then as I had been going there almost every month for many years and hadn't ever sung it as a guy there played it all the time so I never did.

Far more common when you sing mainly trad is to have an idea what you will be singing then hear them all before your turn... A wry smile at a singaround but a bit of a bugger to fiddle your set when you are the guest. Although at a concert recently when opening for a well known singer, she said in the interval that she only had three trad songs in her set for that tour and I sang two of them... Whoops

06 Feb 18 - 07:46 AM (#3904069)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: Jack Campin

A local situation. Singer has cultivated a voice like a radial arm saw going through bone, guitar style like a misaligned Victorian steam hammer and a repertoire of about three songs, delivered with such shattering ugliness it would put any average listener off hearing those songs, or any traditional music, ever again. The Bleacher Lassie of Kelvin Haugh sounds like the victim of a Dickensian industrial accident. This isn't so much owning songs as asset-stripping them - I don't expect anyone local will try to sing those again in my lifetime.

This guy actually *teaches* guitar accompaniment.

06 Feb 18 - 10:17 AM (#3904092)
Subject: RE: 'Owned' songs
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge

I `ad one of those blokes in my cab the other day `who `ad just come from the sing-around at "The Gander`s Inn" in Sarf London. `e looked well miffed, just like `is G string `ad snapped and caught `im in a most precious spot. I could `ear `im on `is mobile phone crying to somebody, "`e was singing my song, bloody liberty!"
I said, "Pardon me, Ewan, but nobody owns songs. Surely, you just gets up and sings what you like, no offence taken"
`e said, "They all know there that I sing that song, Why didn`t anybody tell `im?"
I said, "If you`d `ave got there earlier and put your name down on their regimented list you`d `ave got your crack of the whip."
`e said, "That`s not the point. The point is `e was singing it just like I do and they were all pissing themselves!!"

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