The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #141622   Message #3260952
Posted By: GUEST,SteveT
21-Nov-11 - 11:46 AM
Thread Name: What Folk Revival?
Subject: RE: What Folk Revival?
"There were 'traditional' and 'contemporary' clubs way back when and it was with some trepidation would you dare sing a song out of remit."

Absolutely and it's still true, though there's a lot fewer of both.

"I think club organisers should ensure that a certain part of each evening is devoted to the preservation of traditional material."

True, there was a time (from the mid 1960s to about 1980 I'd guess) when "traditional" folk was popular and such clubs were plentiful but if it doesn't catch people's imagination now in the same way you can't make them like it by legislating or compelling them – they'll just vote with their feet and not turn up.

"when I first went to folk clubs in the 60s they had been started by - and were dominated by - trad folkies, but somehow the singers of old pop songs and dubious singer-songwriter material have last (sic) the course better, and now they dominate a lot of the clubs that I attend."

Part of the problem, I think, is that there are some abysmal singers around who think that "traditional" means basic and poor. I've sat through some appalling renditions of traditional songs whose very simplicity means you actually have to be a much better singer and interpreter of song to do them justice than you have to be to get away with most of the contemporary material. OK, I'm biased; I love the traditional songs (especially LDBs – long dismal ballads) and I'd rather these songs were sung than not but I don't blame some people for switching off. (I'd better add that the singarounds I do go to are fantastic with some excellent singers who do full justice to the tradition but there are singarounds and clubs that even I can't face.)

I've got a choice now between three or four monthly singarounds (though, to be fair, not folk "clubs") which are predominantly "traditional" and weekly and monthly folk clubs that have become (or started out) mainly "contemporary". The traditional singarounds were started mainly because the singers there didn't want to spend an evening listening to singer-songwriters, American inspired material from the sixties and seventies and "folk-pop". Either you're unlucky and this choice doesn't exist where you are or you just haven't found it yet. If the former, set up your own singaround with a group of you that do like the traditional songs and treatments. If they're good (the songs and the singers) you'll have a full house like we do.