I am very much someone who was introduced to folk music by the Corries and Ewan McColl and then Dick Gaughan too: and glad of all I have learned from each of them.
I heard the Dubliners on vinyl and thought they sounded a bit plastic at the time but I've revised that as I have learned more about them and their sources.
Luke Kelly's version of "Tramps and Hawkers" is one of the best I've ever heard but then again the best, in my opinion, I ever heard was a man called Archie Frame sing it in a session in Killin one year. He put everything into it. Never heard of him? My point is just that, who needs "stars"?
Similarly, there is an oft repeated comment about commerciality abd the assumed lack of integrity it involves. I have no issue with comerciality if it leads people into folk music too- it shouldn't be a one way street; although I'm aware that it can create a distance between the "stars" and the audience. I prefer smaller gatherings with more intimacy and less of a division between those who perform and those who "just listen".
However, I would finish this meandering nonsense by pointing out one of my fondest memories of just how blurred the lines really are between the comercial singers/singer-songwriters/adaptive artists ets and what some would refer to as the "purists" (aka folk police, snobs etc...of which I have been accused of membership on more than one occasion).
Anyway.. John Watt, (if you don't know him; he's a singer from Fife-wrote the "Keltie Clippy" and "Pittenweem Jo" and is known for comic songs mostly) at the Auchtermuchty Festival a few years ago..
In a session he sang "The Kielder Hunt" and it literally (not metaphorically) made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up... I knew that John had known Willie Scott the great Border singer very well. I could hear Willie in the singing, I could hear the respect, the depth of tradition that was in the song. I defy anyone to tell me that that wasn't traditional singing in the most "purist" sense of the word...
In which case, whose definitions are these and are they that important after all? As long as we enjoy the songs/tunes and singers/instrumentalists and are as passionate about it as this thread has been.