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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Scoville Is this a folk song? (172* d) RE: Is this a folk song? 24 Mar 07

Good input, Frank. Thanks.

I don't necessarily agree that it's a "poor decision" to allow a contemporary song to be a folk song. The relevance argument fails sometimes even in the old standbys: "Barbara Allan" is a lovely song but doesn't have much more to do with "human condition" than most Victorian or even 1950's pop music (boy meets girl, girl snubs boy, boy dies of broken heart, girl dies of remorse, true love is cruel, boo hoo hoo), which is not really surprising since that kind of thing was pop music when it originated. Furthermore, there must have been many songs from the same era that did not survive in common "folk" reperatoires that would be hailed as rediscovered "folk" if they resurfaced today.

Second, while I think that content ought to supersede style, I think there is at least something of a stylistic element to "folk". I don't know about the UK music scene, but there's a heck of a lot of stuff in the U.S. that many people in this thread would swear up and down is not folk, but stylistically, it would not be at all marketable as rock, country, etc., and it doesn't really belong in any of those categories.

Lastly, there is a lot of new stuff that has at least as much to do with "human condition" and a lot less in common with commercial pop/rock/country music than some other things people would generally consider "folk". Most of the musicians I have in mind are living what they sing and are writing songs because they see stuff that needs to be said. So it's folk-rock or folk-country or whatever. Maybe this is an American perspective, but I don't think you should have to be dead fifty years to "count" if what you've got to say is legitimate.

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