The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #77728   Message #1392724
Posted By: Bill D
29-Jan-05 - 07:16 PM
Thread Name: What is wrong with being a purist?
Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
indeed I haven't suggested that anyone 'go away'...but I DO wish that singer-songwriters and those who promote them HAD (notice the past tense) qualified what they do and called themselves "modern acoustic" or "pop folk" or something...but it's about too late now. If we are even able to keep the term 'traditional' referring mostly to older music that derives from before commercial recording, I would be overjoyed! I, personally, do not have some meta-extreme notion that there is only one 'right' set of words or tune, and that if it is on a record, it can't be 'trad'.

Don T.....There are many (5 to 25, depending on how you analyze) characteristics of a folk/traditional song, including age, style, anonymity, tune, subject matter, content, etc --If you looked at all the songs in the DigiTrad, you'd see common themes...There are songs no one would doubt are folk/trad, and some that few would argue DO fit the definition. "False Knight on the Road" usually gets in, "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" mostly does not. "Jambalaya" kinda falls in the middle and "This Land is Your Land" has pretty well been accepted. Why?...They just are 'different'....in another 100 years, there might be songs by Dylan which are passed down by people who have no idea who Dylan is, and "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol" may fit almost as well as "John Hardy"....do YOU know whether John Hardy was a real person or not? I can just see a Mudcat question in 2105 "someone told me that "Hattie Carrol" was based on a true story....could this be true?"

I have always advocated looking at a list of characteristics, then sorta assigning a song a place on a line based on how many hits it got, and accepting those with high score, rejecting those with very LOW score, and not fussing about those in the middle. (I don't mean to do this as some tedious, formal process with committee votes and annual ceremonies like the Baseball Hall of Fame....I mean just noting in your head that "Yellow Submarine", neat as it is, may have to wait a number of years to see it it ever achieves the status of an Uncle Dave Macon creation! *grin*)