The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2224 Message #9048
Posted By: Joe Offer
19-Jul-97 - 03:33 AM
Thread Name: What is a Folk Song?
Subject: RE: What is a Folk Song?
I can't believe I'm saying this, but after reading all of these messages, I have to admit that Elsie and the purists have made a good point. What changed my mind is a look at the schedule of our local "folk" club, the Palms Playhouse in Davis, CA. I used to go to the Palms once a month or more, but now it's more like twice a year. The reason: most of the performers have the moniker "singer-songwriter," after their name. The more traditional performers have been squeezed out, to a great degree.
I suppose the real purists wouldn't call Bill Staines, "folk," but Bill does stuff that is rooted in tradition, songs that people like to sing along with. If fact, the whole audience sings along with most of Bill's songs at his annual Palms performance.
But Bill draws an audience of 75, about half a house full. John Gorka sells out two performances when he appears at the Palms. It's gotten to the point that I have to drive past the Palms and a hundred miles to San Francisco if I want to hear what I call real folk music.
So, Elsie, I agree that the Tradition must be preserved - but it must also be continued. If our music is to remain alive and healthy, not just a museum piece, we must be open to adding new songs to our canon of "traditional folk" music. 'Nuff said.
-Joe Offer, Sacramento, CA-