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the folk revival

The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 06:05 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 28 Jun 07 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 28 Jun 07 - 07:48 AM
8_Pints 28 Jun 07 - 08:06 AM
greg stephens 28 Jun 07 - 08:07 AM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jun 07 - 08:23 AM
The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 28 Jun 07 - 08:35 AM
The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 08:35 AM
Deckman 28 Jun 07 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 28 Jun 07 - 08:56 AM
Waddon Pete 28 Jun 07 - 09:00 AM
Surreysinger 28 Jun 07 - 09:03 AM
George Papavgeris 28 Jun 07 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Russ 28 Jun 07 - 09:17 AM
The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 10:40 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Jun 07 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Rat bag 28 Jun 07 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,PMB 28 Jun 07 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 28 Jun 07 - 11:33 AM
treewind 28 Jun 07 - 11:42 AM
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greg stephens 03 Jul 07 - 04:16 PM
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GUEST 04 Jul 07 - 03:16 AM
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countrylife 04 Jul 07 - 06:14 PM
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Subject: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 06:05 AM

Is the folk revival an irrelevancy,to traditional music.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 06:16 AM

I would say not, Dick. Any upswing in the public profile of folk in general, must inevitably have a positive effect, however small, on traditional folk song & dance.

This is the reason why the folk clubs I have run, have been as inclusive as I was able to make them. Many people who attended to hear contemporary music, discovered that they liked much of the trad side as well.

I can even recall a few diehard traddies (I use the phrase with affection, not as a pejorative), who discovered a liking for contemporary folk.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 07:48 AM

Some may find these words tough, but as a traditionalist singer, picker and scholar who is also a mod-folk singer-songwriter, I have a dual perspective. What follows is, of course, only my opinion, but it is an informed one.

The folk revival did wonders at bringing traditional music, styles, etc. before a wider public. But did it make a difference to the music itself? That is, did it add or change something important about traditional music? IMO, a qualified no.

First, insofar as it used real traditional music, the folk revival mostly copied, preserved, or bastardized. It did not innovate within, or anywhere near, the tradition. For a good reason! Those doing the music were almost exclusively of a sophisticated culture separate from the cultures they were drawing on -- mountain, cowboy, Cajun, shantymen, etc., all those usually regarded as "traditional" for folk music purposes.

Second, insofar as it added new songs, styles, etc., the folk revival almost completely failed to contribute any new repertoire to *traditional* music. Instead it created a parallel body of music faithful to its own sophisticated views: a *separate* repertoire that is admirable in itself, but not traditional in any sense I can detect. Instead I would argue that it is more or less a division of popular music, and is having a pretty hard time hanging onto "folk" status in the traditional sense.

Of course there are some exceptions to the above, and we all have our favorites we feel come close to the genre and perhaps could survive in tradition. They're few, though, and IMO they fall far short of outweighing the general rule.

Also, I'm aware what I've said depends on generalizing from definitions that have been much wrangled over on the forum, like "What is tradition? What is traditional?" (I've posted extensively on one of those DT threads if anyone wants to follow my thinking.)

But still, for overall trends, the rule mostly holds. The folk revival was a popular dip into the folk repertoire and manner -- that is, it was a non-traditional public making a tourist excursion into traditional territory. Some of the tourists became very knowledgeable, made great music, etc. But I they didn't constitute a new traditional upsurge.

Will some songs and styles from the folk revival become part of the body of traditional music as it carries on into the future? Yes, without a doubt. Some perhaps already have. But the folk tradition has always had a tradition of taking over material foreign to it -- from the stage, for example, a very big source in the 19th century, as records were in the 20th. The folk revival style and repertoire are just as foreign to tradition as the stage and pop music, but they're also fair game.

-- That is, if we can regard any population as "traditional" in this age. I think we can, and have to, if we're not to declare tradition dead. In that wider sense, we're probably tradition's bastard children, carrying on step-Daddy's and step-Mommy's songs, having adopted them. Here all the definitions go awry. If we're the traditional population, does anything we like become part of tradition, willy-nilly? Or is there still a discernible traditional population somewhere else on which we draw?

There is, of course, but that Somewhere Else is increasingly the past. The sons and daughters of the older traditional cultures are out making rock, salsa, pop music, country music, swamp rock, etc., and we, as in "Poor Howard," are left here "singing this song," making of it what we can.

Crystal-balling is anybody's guess, but I'd venture that whatever folk tradition will be in the 22nd century, it will include songs from rock, pop from the entire electronic era from the 1920s forward, hiphop, perhaps subdivisions of pop like meringue and salsa, plus future music we have no idea of now, and it will have some songs from the folk revival too.

What will it sound like stylistically? Very odd, maybe. Just as we'd sound almost incomprehensible and probably laughable to the traditional folksong ancestors of the 19th century -- the period when our present idea of folksong became crystallized, or congealed, or whatever.

I tend to feel traditional song of any era will still have to be music one person can make -- not depending on any very sophisticated instrumental accompaniment, attitudinizing, or performance situation. Of course if by then we all have chips in our brains that allow us to, say, vocalize and orchestrize in the same moment and from the same throat, it's anybody's ball game. That'll REALLY change the sound of tradition as time goes on.

On the other hand we may all be cooking over campfires in the ruins, and unaccompanied singing will make a splendid comeback. In that case enjoy your guitars, banjos, etc. now, because when the stringmaking technologies fail, we'll be back to playing on catgut, cornstalk fiddles, and mutant vines stretched to the breaking point. :)

I think SOLO is the key. Folk music, in any era, is music one person can make without sophisticated help. Without backing musicians, without an instrument whose skill level is highl, without media or stage, without pretension or production. It may be, with time, almost any sort of song, but performable offhand, and solo.

Musicians may get together and play it, sure. But if it can't be done solo, it has a harder time surviving. Like the old argument: learn golf, because you can go on with it when you're out of school and can't put together a team to play anything.

Just an opinion. I may be completely wrong, but then, nearly every past statement about tradition has ultimately been wrong, so I'll be in excellent company.

Bob


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: 8_Pints
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:06 AM

Dick,

If it prevented traditional song from being forgotten then it served a purpose surely?

Bob vG


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:07 AM

Bob: a very interesting look at the question. I'm 90% in agreement, though not totally happy about your equating folk with what one solo person can deliver. The village band has a long and distinguished history servicing births, marriages, deaths, seasonal celebrations, pissup etc. and long may it continue to do so.
But your general point seems spot on. The revival used (and to a lesser extent uses) folk material, but is not itself part of any folk tradition. Except in so far as some genuinely trad folk msucians got into the revival, whether for enjoyment or employment. But the current folk revival has as much, or as little, to with folk as Benjamin Britten, Vaughan Williams and those others revivers before. They came, admired, borrowed, rearranged, wrote songs in the style of: but they never joined, and never really could join.The Gates of Eden only opened to let people out.
That may not be the case with the next revival, of course. It will depend on the people involved. But the current revival merely created its own scene.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:23 AM

Greg is of course entirely right about the importance of the village band. And it can scarcely be forgotten that it was the ceilidh scene that dragged English music through the 80s when the revival (in the UK) had otherwise disintegrated into a mish-mash of comedians and snigger-snoggers.

Bob Colman asserts that nothing important has been added or changed about traditional music. Not so. It may be far more an English phenomenen but many of out finest musicians are writing 'in the tradition', using and expanding upon existing material as well as creating new compositions to identify with our landscapes and ways of life. Obvious, high profile examples are The English Acoustic Collective, Kathryn Tickell, John Tams and Alisdair Roberts, though it's invidious to list.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:32 AM

Bob,you say the folk revival almost completely failed to contribute new material to the traditional repertoire.
Wrong.1 sweet thames flow softly ,2.Dirty old town,3 fiddlers green.4.Ring of Iron.5.Whitby whaler 6.Fields OF athenry[now sung by football fans].6 Reynardine.7 .Song for Ireland.8Wild Rover,9 willie mcbride.and so on on on.
It is not an irrelevancy,because it has enabled traditional musicians/singers like Walter Pardon,and many others to have a platform to perform,to enable singers like Walter who were only singing at home,to pass on their music in live performance to others.
   the music people of like OSCAR WOODS has influenced revivalist performers like Katie Howson,Rod Stradling,Flowers and Frolics,SuffolkBell and HoreshoeBand, Syzewll Gap
In AMERICA Roscoe Holscomb,played little Birdie to Pete Seeger[Traditional musician to Revivalist]PETE asks him what tuning hes in.
immediately interaction and influence takes place.

. the revival cannot be seperated from the tradition,the two are intertwined.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:35 AM

Bravo, Bob Coltman!

Thanks for an interesting and perceptive contribution to the debate.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:35 AM

8 pints ,I asked a F...KING QUESTION.of couse it served apurpose.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Deckman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:49 AM

Answer to Bob Coltman,

I, for one, think you are completly correct. For many years, I was a singer of ONLY traditional folk songs, which for me meant two things: the song had to be at least 100 years old and the author had to be unknown. While I built up a huge repitore, I began to find my self imposed limits stiflying.

Then along came the likes of John Denver, yourself, and many other song writers that attracted my attention because of the excellence of their material. I soon had to change my (expand) my personal limits.

I think your point of the "SOLO" performer is excatly correct. Thanks for your thoughtful posting. Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:56 AM

Any revival cannot be irrelavant to its subject. Traditional music has been handed down from generation to generation, often isolated in time and place from other influences. It sometimes moves across vast areas ie to the Americas, and mutates with other influences, to create something 'new'. Is that still traditional? I would argue yes as the change is subconcious and then becomes, once more, isolated.
The folk revival immediatly exposed the tradition music to the influences of the mass market, with new instrumentation and popular
ie contrived, music.
We are fortunate enough to be able to still hear where the music was at when recording was invented and, as such, that music continues to be handed down in a static form. What the revival did was allow folk music to evolve and mutate, extending its perimeters.
This is a subject to set for the degree in folk at Newcastle


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:00 AM

I agree that Bob Coltman has made a significant contribution to this thread. I have always thought that the solo performer unaided by technicalities, who can sing, or play in any circumstance is the best definition of a traditional style.

However, when 2 or 3 are gathered together, you get a group!

Then there is the question of whether we are traditional singers or singers of traditional songs? If I sing songs that I learned from my family, that they, in their turn, learned from theirs...does that make me a traditional singer or just lucky?

As long as you are singing the songs you enjoy with conviction and understanding, (with or without an audience)...does it actually matter?

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Surreysinger
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:03 AM

Captain - oh dear, I hate to say it but in the trade of "interrogators" (otherwise known as interviewers) in my previous line of business the question which you asked at the head of this thread is known as a closed question - to which there are actually only two possible answers - YES or NO . 8 pints has effectively provided a NO answer - and now so have you!!! So IMHO I really don't think that 8 pints merited that response.

(As my profession required the wheedling out of information,and establishment of facts, we were trained to avoid closed questions , and to ensure that any question was framed in such a way as to open discussion out ... amazing that even now the habits of training from a number of years ago still come flooding back ... as now do some of those interviews, and the occasions where the use of a closed question ended with a lack of information and an inability to "break the case" :-( )

Incidentally, questions about THE folk revival always intrigue me - which one - the 1850's, 1880's- early 1900's, the 1950's, 1960's or 1970's - an indeterminate genre (ie folk revivals in general) or even now?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:16 AM

I agree - Captain, unnecesarily loud and rude response to 8 pints, helps no-one.

Bob Coltman, great answer, though I will go with Diane's modification point about groups of musicians/bands being important to traditional dance music.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:17 AM

Bob,

Beautifully put.

Russ (Permanent GUEST, traditional musician, and folkie)


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 10:40 AM

apologies to 8 pints,it is a question,[at that point I had not stated my opinion].
his reply gave a suggestion that I might have answered yes.
the question can be answered yes /no,then the responder qualifies his answer,just as I did by mentioning Walter Pardons opportunity to perform.
Bobs answer that the folk revival has contributed hardly anything to the repertoire is in itself irrelevant,because it doesnt disprove the relevancy of the revival,the revival is relevant to the tradition,if it all it ever did was provide traditional singers and musicians with a platform to perform.
personally I think it has done more than that because it has also exposed traditional singers and their music to a wider audience.
Finally Bobs argument that it has to be solo is flawed,Bob and Ron Copper,Rita and Sara keane,The Wexford Carol Singers,the village bands[that also played in church]as described by Thomas Hardy.,the Wren boys,and so on.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:07 AM

"Those doing the music were almost exclusively of a sophisticated culture separate from the cultures they were drawing on -- mountain, cowboy, Cajun, shantymen, etc., all those usually regarded as "traditional" for folk music purposes."

But were they not a reflection of a culture onto themselves? The city kids who gathered in coffeehouses in the 1960's to sing cowboy songs created their own "tradition".   The cowboys of the 1860's utilized songs and traditions from other cultures and eras to create their own culture on the plains. The songs that came over to this country originated in Europe.   Is it not an ever-evolving "tradition"?

"Second, insofar as it added new songs, styles, etc., the folk revival almost completely failed to contribute any new repertoire to *traditional* music. Instead it created a parallel body of music faithful to its own sophisticated views: a *separate* repertoire that is admirable in itself, but not traditional in any sense I can detect. Instead I would argue that it is more or less a division of popular music, and is having a pretty hard time hanging onto "folk" status in the traditional sense."

By definition, you can't "add" to an existing tradition. If a 22 year old accountant sings a sea chanty at a festival in Kansas this weekend, that is about as far from the original setting as possible. What makes that "traditional"?

Is it the act of singing, the song itself, or the setting that determines?

I feel that the various folk revivals created their own traditions and added to an ever evolving tradition.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Rat bag
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:08 AM

What a load of over-intectualised hog wash, come on boys, get a life.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:16 AM

I think it depends which folk revival you mean, and where. The folk revival in Britain of the early 19th century resulted in the collection of a lot of ballads which might otherwise have been lost, but also the selectivity of recording- the collectors only wanted ones they thought were good in their own terms- meant that they were recorded in a standardised sort of way, that perhaps didn't reflect how they were being used at the time.

The later 19th century British revival resulted in a lot of material being recorded, particularly collections of Yorkshire and Geordie songs, with a lot of new songs added (Dalesman's Litany for example). Some of this came via the music halls, and has been subsequently incorporated in what we think of as traditional.

The early 20th century views of Sharp and co refocused attention on specifically songs of the country side, as they had a definite image of the unspoilt agricultural labourer carrying an unpolluted tradition that could be recovered. Unfortunately, they didn't think the UAL's style of singing as suitable for their own circles, and produced arrangements to be sung in a light tenor to a polite piano accompaniment, or for choirs of schoolchildren, with content altered to match. This buttercups-and-daisies period again collected and preserved a lot of stuff, but may have also contributed to its dying as a vernacular tradition, by association with the frankly risible sanitisers.

And so on. Our own revival, apart from the period from the mid 50s to the early 70s, has had to struggle against the image of tradition left by Sharp, and later against the image of "protest song" from the period when it was associated with CND etc. (That's where we got the bearded, arran- sweatered, carrot- juice drinking teacher cliche).

The American, Irish, what have you, revivals will have their own dynamics and baggage.

So my take is, in answer to Dick's original question, that not only have the various revivals been relevant to traditional music, it has to a great extent governed what people mean by traditional music.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:33 AM

During my freshman year of college, in 1958, I started hanging about in a coffee house with a group of like-minded boys and girls who had fallen in love with "folk music." Now, none of us, at the time, really knew or, more to the point, gave a rat's backside concerning the difference between "traditional" or "ethnic" songs and the things we were beginning to hear on the radio. Two camps developed in this venue. Those who chose the path of a rather self-righteous defense of "traditional" music; i.e., the Child ballads, songs collected by the Lomax family, etc., and those of us who did not find some updating all that offensive.

I say, to thine own self be true. For me, good music, well performed, trumps the more intellectual exercise of being absolutely true to the original material and performance style. For those who love the research and the collection of the arcane, God bless you. You're the folks who found the material we used. We are both right.

I have noted, over the years, that the audiences for the more polished
versions of "folk songs" tend to be consistently larger than those which favor the "pure" form. If that makes the former more "commercial," I'd take that to the bank.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:42 AM

"produced arrangements to be sung in a light tenor to a polite piano accompaniment"
There's a lot of mileage to be got out of those songs still, starting from the collected words and the music and avoiding the trained voice and Sharp's piano parts, and avoiding other "revival" recorded interpretations too. And playing the game of "one song to the tune of another" when words and music were not collected together, which they often weren't.

"[the revival] has to a great extent governed what people mean by traditional music."
The revival IS (part of) the tradition, which is a history of perpetual change, innovation, reaction, preservation, backlash and disagreement. It's always been like that, and long may it continue to do so!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:42 AM

Which revival?
Indeed, was there one at all and do we know which century we're talking about?
I imagine, for the purposes of this discussion, Dick means the mid C20th one.

Bob Davenport has this wonderful story about a 'field collector' who was giving a talk. This 'expert' claimed to know exactly when (to the month and year) that the hammer dulcimer ceased to be played by traditional musicians in England.

'That's amazing', said Bob. 'You mean that was a ghost I saw down Hoxton market this morning?'

Point is, traditions are all around us, at times more visible than others.
And it depends not on whether a cappella solo art singers are are up on platforms doing their interpretations, but on whether local communities out there are involved in their cultural heritage of dance and song, and carrying it forward.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:45 AM

Diane, I know you weren't responding to my post, but of course I meant any or all of them, in fact I couldn't make up my mind whether to put it/them in the plural or not...

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:51 AM

Point about this solo and unaccompanied thing: a folk song doesn't HAVE to be sung unaccompanied, but if it CAN'T be sung unaccompanied (like a lot of pop tracks can't really) it's never going to be a folk song. Really, to be folk it's got to be possible to pass it on by word of mouth or by playing the tune on an instrument, or it's a different kind of music.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:52 AM

Yes, I know. Anahata. We posted simultaneously.

And your points about making use of any source while avoiding slavish copying of a style, as well as mixing and matching texts and tunes are absolutely right, as you prove so effectively in your own work.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:13 PM

I think Bob makes some excellent and very valid points but I would like to offer a different perspective.

There are some problems here - not least of which is the term "revival". I do not want to get in to a discussion about that as a term but I just want to question its widespread acceptance in hopefully a non-confrontational way. (Second time I have asked for non-confrontational-ness on Mudcat this week - I must be getting soft!)

Another problem is - when did this revival start? There is a huge gap for example between the first folk clubs and what people call the revival starting in the mid-sixties. And I have never had any problem discovering traditional music in Ireland or Scotland.

Now here you might say it was a gradual process - in which case was the dying out a gradual process and if it was the tradition going on at the same time? Semantically difficult then to describe as a revival I would say.

The traditional "events" of the folk world - let's just take the Haxey Hood game, never died out and have passed through generations with no influence from the so-called "revival" except in the numbers attending.

From the perspective of my own city - for our American friends one of the UK's largest formerly industrial cities - then we have traditional singers and we have traditional dancers and we have traditional events (which involve singing) and all of these have passed down through generations and continue to be so. In no way could these be described as revivals. And I have watched two of these change with little influence from the "folk world".

As far as the interest in "folk things" in Sheffield (given a wide-ish definiton) then it is easy to make a case that it never went away - and certainly it hasn't. Not much of a revival there then - even though there was a lot of folk clubs in the sixties - none of whom discovered the local singing traditions for ages. And often still ignore it.

If I point to a different area - then the interest in bothy songs has existed and never went away - and again - I would argue may have received a bit of an upsurge of interest but really that is all. Again if it never went away not really a revival IMHO. A number of bothy ballad contests (some including free whisky from the sponsors!) are held and new songs are written in the traditional style (just as they always were). And before someone says it for me - yes I know the social and cultural and economic circumstances of farming in N.E. Scotland have changed - but that is also reflected in the modern versions of the bothy songs entered into the contests.

You may want to argue that these are anachronisms, but as far as the area I know best is concerned not at all - just part of my life.

Anyway for those really interested in folk revivals there is a conference here which naturally enough is being held in Sheffield!

Anyone seriously interested in attending might let me know. I shall be there but travelling each day.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:14 PM

yes DIANE,That was the one I meant.treewind I agree.
But, what, no Jim Carroll.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:16 PM

No - but Dave Eyre has joined in with points already mentioned albeit at length.

Sorry that was the length of time it took to get my ideas down and in some semblance of order.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:19 PM

Oi, stop provoking the poor bloke.
I'll not say this very often but this is one discussion that's better off without input from Mr Carroll!


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:41 PM

Anyone got a useful, working definition of what is a "traditional" song?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:48 PM

[instead it created a parrallel body etc not related to the tradition]Bob coltmans words.
Davy Graham brought to england,and the English folk revival,open tunings that were being used by morrocan traditional musicians,these were later used by Martin Carthy,NicJones Chris Foster etc,in theEnglish folk revival.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:50 PM

Since you ask. I suppose I could wheel it out again:

'The tradition' comprises art forms of a distinctive national, ethnic or social group rooted in that community's lore and customs and passed on orally, aurally or by demonstration rather than by written/recorded or formal didactic means. It has thus belonged collectively to that community, rather than to individuals or the state, and tells the history of the people from their common experience.

In the case of music, its platform has been predominantly the informal social gathering, the workplace or the home rather than the theatrical stage or concert hall, and pieces tended to be known by what or who they were about rather than by composer. This is not, of course, to say that trad musicians have not borrowed and adapted from formal composers or from other cultures. Obviously they have, and do, which is why the tradition continues to evolve.

However, three factors in the current revival are forcing ever more rapid and inexorable changes:

(a) digital archiving
(b) writing, consciously, 'in the tradition' and registering the result with MCPS/ PRS
(c) population mobility resulting in monumental cross cultural influence and collaboration.

It will, thus, never be the same again. 'The tradition' will remain that static body of information that has been quite literally passed down before the irrevocably altered times put an end to the centuries-old process (cue Richard Thompson . . . ). What is NOT traditional, by definition, is a recently composition of known origin. Even if you call it The White Hare.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:11 PM

Thanks Diane, an interesting and useful definition, not sure about the dig at Seth though..

If this definition is correct then (returning to the question that started the thread maybe?) the folk revival is an irrelevancy to traditional music as:

"'The tradition' will remain that static body of information that has been quite literally passed down before the irrevocably altered times put an end to the centuries-old process"

I assume this means that no song can ever again pass into the tradition?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:31 PM

not at all,fiddlers green instantly springs to my mind,I have heard this song sung in Ireland,at G.A.A. Scors,at pubs, etc everyone assuming it was irish and traditional,in fact I think JohnConnolly[the songs composer]was even told that he never wrote it,by one expert.
then we have all the songs sung at football matches.,even if the songs are not very good,some of them are still traditional songs,made up on the spur of the moment ,and no one claiming authorship.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:32 PM

Yes, I've seen that definition before and I still don't agree with the implication that there will be no new traditional music in the future.

(a) digital archiving
You may as well say traditional passing on of songs by word of mouth died when the first broadside was printed. And though I can access 1000000 tunes on the net, I still get the motivation to learn one because I've heard someone play it - then I might use John Chambers' tunefinder to get hold of a copy, which speeds the process up a bit, but I didn't know I could do that I would have written it down instead.

(b) Writing 'in the tradition' and resistering with MCPS/PRS
Doesn't stop anyone else performing them, and doesn't stop a song from evolving and changing. Which part of the process of "tradition" is affected by PRS registration? And eventually the copyright expires...

(c) population mobility, cross cultural influence and collaboration...
That has always happened in all the arts. It can happen faster now, but not all that much faster because it takes a while for people's tastes to change and be re-educated. And people still don't move all that much!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:44 PM

I still don't agree with the implication that there will be no new traditional music in the future

It doesn't (I didn't) say that. I said that the process was irrevocably different.

And it's not a dig at Mr Lakeperson but at the idiocy of Smoothops trying to defend the indefensible over the 'Best Traditional Track' at the Folk Awards.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:56 PM

That wasn't what I understood by the words: "'The tradition' will remain that static body of information that has been quite literally passed down before the irrevocably altered times put an end to the centuries-old process"

"static body" implies it won't change or be added to.

Personally I don't think the process is all that different. Things happen a bit faster, and use different technology, that's all.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:00 PM

"then we have all the songs sung at football matches.,even if the songs are not very good,some of them are still traditional songs,made up on the spur of the moment ,and no one claiming authorship"

WE R IMPS, WE R IMPS, WE R IMPS........Ill try this new traditional song next time I'm at a folk club :) (Yes not only do I play the banjo but I was also born in Lincoln...the crosses I have to bear!)

Seriously, is it not just the case that means of passing on the tradition changes (digital archiving) and that the "folk process" is speeded up (population mobility).

Captain....Another question re songs like Fiddlers green(Smile in Your Sleep By Jim Mclean is another one), if someone assumes a song is traditional, does that mean it is?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:05 PM

What I'm saying is that the process is a lot faster and that you can't undo the digital revolution. There can no longer be any doubt or uncertaintly over attribution (which is good from the royalties point of view). And it's not just physical mobility of population but the lightning-speed ease in which tunes can be disseminated electronically.

That is why the times are altered irrevocally.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:10 PM

That is why the times are altered irrevocally.

You mean the times they are a-changing?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:13 PM

That they already have.
Contrary to popular belief.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:17 PM

Eeeh!! and I thought the change were constant.

Wasn't it Hegel who suggested not only can you not throw yourself into the same river twice - you can't even throw the same you into the same river?

Or have I got my philosophers mixed up?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:27 PM

"But, what, no Jim Carroll."
Sorry Cap'n; I like to think about what I write before I write.
"I'll not say this very often but this is one discussion that's better off without input from Mr Carroll!"
I wonder why Diane?
I'll be back,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:41 PM

Oh, just that you're so dismissive of absolutely EVERYTHING that's happened in the revival.
And although there's plenty of diversionary crap, it's not all bad.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 03:14 PM

There's crap in the music of every era and every genre. Just because a song is interesting and important from a social study or academic viewpoint it doesn't make it de facto a great song, it needs more than that. And many great songs of the past may be unpalatable to contemporary music tastes or their subject or language may be offensive to today's mores - this doesn't make them bad songs, simply out of time.

I see the 50's/60s revival partly as an accelerator to the normal folk process, which went on before then and still goes on.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 06:03 PM

Heraclites - the Heraclitean imagery of a life as a river.

I agree with that bloke from San Diego - somewhere up the thread. he seems to have been involved the same folk revival I have been.

This is an odd experience, as nobody usually agrees with me on this subject.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 06:51 PM

Rats! You mean Grayson & Whitter, and Darby & Tarlton, Brownie & Sonny, the stuff that Doc Watson, Clarence Ashley and Fred Price did together, all the old string band stuff, the Carter Family and the Blue Sky Boys... all that stuff really isn't what's important in folk music? True, the song can be performed solo, but what about the creativity (and tradition) of harmonies. One man harmonies stink.

Love ya Bob, but excuuuuuuuuse me!

Jerry


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 07:05 PM

Dig in there, Jerry! But like I said earlier, I think Bob Coltman's contibution was masterly. But a litle bit flawed(well, a lot flawed) when he said folk music had to be deliverable by one person. I'm with you, Jerry, on that count he is talking out of his slightly inaccurate area. But in general, fine. It's not got much to do with folk music if you've played Cambridge or Celtic Connections. What couints is, how many weddings and funerals?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:19 PM

Yeah, Greg: Bob definitely knows his stuff. And he is one of my very favorite songwriters. It's a matter of perspective. Some folks picture folk music as a lonesome hobo shuffling down a dirt road with his guitar slung over his back. And that's an important part of folk music. But not all of it, by any means. I suppose it also depends on whether you put the song above everything else. If you do, then you're probably going to lead toward the lonesome hobo image.

Push comes to shove, just about nothing tops Train 45 by Grayson & Whitter, for me. I could sit and plunk away at it on the front porch all day, but I couldn't touch them boys. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 03:41 AM

Diane
No I'm certainly not! I am not dismissive of everything that's HAPPENED in the revival; I am more than a little disturbed at what's HAPPENING in the revival NOW, which is very different.
I came to the music through the revival; I really don't know anybody researching the music who didn't, and I suspect that those who didn't would make very dull scholars.
I still have hopes that, among other things, given the right circumstances, the revival can continue to give a great deal of pleasure and to help create new songs.

One of the objects of my collecting was to make available the songs we found to a wider audience - that's why anybody interested can walk into The National Sound Archive or the Irish Traditional Music Archive and listen to our recordings.
It's the reason we are in the process of setting up a local archive here in Clare - in order to get the songs sung again.
Jim Carroll
PS Don't forget - even Scousers have feelings!


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 05:06 AM

Jim, I take it you are disturbed at what is happening in the folk revival now,because you think it makes the folk revival irrelevant to traditional music.
one aspect that pleases me about the folk revival now,is the opportunity through Maritime festivals to make people [who would never dream of going to a folk club or festival]aware of one form of traditional music.
its healthy to see young people involved in the revival,however it would be great if some of them visited the National Sound Archive,and listened to Source Musicians /Singers,and absorbed their styles.The main problem then might be would the commercial mentors of people like Kate Rusby,persuade them to drop this absorption,and go back to a more accessible middle of the road-non interpretive-pop style delivery.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 05:16 AM

Giant apologies to Liverpool.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 06:00 AM

There is every chance that Kate Rusby listened to source singers. I checked this last week.

She will do whatever she wants and certainly in terms of monetary reward, headlining festivals, record sales etc she has been very successful. Looks to me that her commercial mentors (which is mainly her family) have done well by her in commercial terms.

Otherwise she will do what she wants and good luck to her.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: SimonS
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 06:21 AM

Forgive me my ignorance, but could someone explain why the cut-off point for "authentic" traditional singers is pre-revival. What did these singers have that later singers, singing entirely for their own pleasure and with songs learnt orally, do not?

I don't understand.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 06:35 AM

SimonS: a complex question, with no simple or single answer(and I'm not sure you are actually looking for an answer). But I think the most simplistic answer is: context. The "authentic traditonal" singer, and the "revival" singer, are singing, generally, in different places and for different reasons. So the same song can be two wildly different things.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,IS
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 06:50 AM

Quoting Greg Stephens: 'The "authentic traditonal" singer, and the "revival" singer, are singing, generally, in different places and for different reasons. So the same song can be two wildly different things.'

But ALL singers, even two different so-called "authentic traditional" singers, sing in different contexts and for different reasons. For example, there's a vast difference between somebody like Elizabeth Cronin, essentially a "home" singer, and somebody like Paddy Tunney, well-accustomed to public singing (but then, someone'll come along in a minute to say that Paddy Tunney isn't an "authentic" singer).

Moreover, who's to truly determine any singer's "reason" or "reasons" for singing? These are likely to be myriad and complex to the point of being entirely fruitless to attempt to analyse.

And what about a singer such as, say, Duncan Williamson, brought up within a family/community tradition of singing and storytelling, who remains open to learning new songs from a variety of sources (including, it seems, the tune of his 'Lady and the Blacksmith' from the infamously inauthentic Martin Carthy)?

What is "authentic" about all singers (which, for me, makes the adjective redundant) is the fact that they SING. All singers sing. Some singers have a gift of engaging with songs, making songs ring true, making them their own. Some you like, some you don't.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 08:26 AM

guest IS. well said
The authentic traditional singer and the revival singer,are singing in the same place for the same reason,[folk clubs folk festivals],they each enjoy performing and they are each pleased to get money for it,,they also both often sing at home for their own enjoyment.
examples of the former are Hary Cox,WalterPardon, FredJordan,the latter include myself Dick Miles[I often sing at home purely for pleasure],and Iwould imagine Brian Peters,and most other revival singers sing for their own enjoyment.
Folkie dave,you missed my point ,Im talking about commercial influences negating style .,[sing in a certain way to maximise sales rather than bother about artistic interpretation,eg Reuben Ranzo[ashanty],create a sound like middle of the road bland pop with a folk veneer],give me A.L.LLOYD any time ,He sounded like he had listened to shanty singers at work.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 08:54 AM

Dick I understand your point very well.

But how a singer sings and how much they give into "commercial" influences is their choice. You and I can comment upon it as is our right and they are likely to take no notice - as is their right. That is their "style".

Sure, if you want to become a "traditional style" singer then it is useful to listen to the "Voices of the People" set of Topic records if you think that would be useful. Myself I would recommend Phil Tanner. But it ain't compulsory.

Personally I can't stand people who sing with a mid-atlantic twang - but it is still their choice.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: SimonS
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 09:07 AM

Greg,
No, I'm not just trying to troll. I genuinely don't understand, and never have.

It strikes me that "traditional singers" as a concept are regarded as different from "revival singers" because most of the people on this thread are direct products of the revival. I was born in the early 80s, and I can see evidence of both unbroken traditions that are not part of a revival (The Sheffield Carols, say...) and traditions that have equally complex motives as any revivalist singing long before the 60s.

Tell me if I'm wrong, and why. I genuinely want to learn.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 09:35 AM

Loves dem solo sea chanties and chain gang songs.... Will you guys shut up! I'm singing a solo here!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jerry


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: stallion
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 10:04 AM

Oh Simon S I am confused too, I sing, I sing songs I like, I join in with songs I like, I have sung at funerals, I've sung at weddings, I have sung in folk clubs and sometimes I get paid and sometimes I don't, I sing whilst doing the day job, I sing at home, but I never really consider whether what I sing is revival or traditional and so I have never realised that there was too much difference.   Well, I live and learn


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Sugwash
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 10:38 AM

I'm would imagine that Kate Rusby also sings at home for her own enjoyment. If we, as singers, don't attempt to interpret songs they would, in my opinion, quickly become stale. By all means listen to recordings of 'source' singers, try to get a sense of what the songs meant to them, admire their technique (or lack of it), but try to interpret it your own way. Of course not everyone will agree with your interpretation of, for example, that old African song Ruben Ranzo (I think it's spelt Ashanti), but hopefully it'll be fresh.

I agree with the captain that it is good that people from without the folk community get exposed to music they might not oterwise have heard whilst visiting to many Maritime Festivals. From what I've heard of shanty crews I doubt that much of what they hear will be genuinely traditional or authentic.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 11:57 AM

the Shanty Crew,Make aconcerted effort to be authentic.most other Shanty singers make a fairly good attempt,to make them sound like worksongs. Kate Rusby does not.
neither do I like her interpretation of I courted a sailor,however her diction is good, her arrangements interesting,her breath control good and she has a good voice.
but if commercial pressure forces a singer to sing in a way,that is stylistically irrelevant from the tradition,and not artistically pleasing [Shane Mcgowan springs to mind]and if the majority of u.k./irish revival singers sing in a mid atlantic accent,[and pay no attention to their roots]then it could be argued that the folk revival style is becoming irrelevant to the tradition,in my opinion that is not the case at the moment.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: concertina ceol
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 12:19 PM

Rusby sings in a Barnsley accent, in a style that she is comfortable with, so you could argue that she is "authentic" to her own style.

I would class myself as a child of the folk revival. I think it is a generational thing in some ways. Whilst I wholeheartedly respect Sam Larner, Bob Cooper etc. etc. it is hard to get my wife (who only has a passing interest in folk music) and the majority of he population interested in anything that isn't accompanied by a guitar.

I love unaccompanied singing but my wife can't really see the "entertainment" in it.

I suppose if you don't feel that you are part of the folk movement (for want of a better term) then the music can seem quirky and strange. I have long debates with my wife that she has been conditioned by decades of lisening to american and american inspired rock and aor. She and a great many people just are not used to unaccompanied singing and so it sounds slightly odd to them.

Where does this leave the folk revival? Well without it, a massive body of song, music and dance would not have been recorded, noted and/or distributed. If you like, the revival spun the plate and kept the whole thing going.

But as Carthy said on a Late Junction around 2003/2004, if you start to put traditional music and song in a box and say "it should always sound like x or y" then it will quickly die and become irrelevant. I feel it has to be rediscovered and reinterpreted every 20 years or so to continue.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 12:49 PM

I did not say Kate Rusby sang in any other accent other than her own.
your lastpoint is a good one,but for the folk revival not to be irrelevant to the tradition it still has to have a recognisable connection to its roots.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 01:08 PM

Anyone got a useful, working definition of what is a "traditional" song?

OK, since Anahata didn't like the last one (which was a definition of 'traditional', not just song) here's another.

It's local music from out there, rooted in a tradition. It is music with a sense of roots, place and community. And it is very much easier to define what it is not. Just climb to the top of a Clapham omnibus and rule out the answers you get from Joe Public to the question 'what is f*lk?'


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 01:25 PM

"It's local music from out there, rooted in a tradition. It is music with a sense of roots, place and community. And it is very much easier to define what it is not."

..well that seems well in accord with why some of us
who were young adults back in the late 70's

seriously considered our enthusiastic expression
of cheap electric guitars home-grown provincial 'punkrock'

to be our evolving topical community 'folk' music..!!!???


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: SimonS
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 01:29 PM

I'd be interested to hear a source singer singing Kate Rusbys "I courted a sailor" better Captain B. Since she wrote it, I think she's probably entitled to sing it any way she wants!!


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 01:34 PM

It is very strange that a lot of people on this forum argue with great anger that certain contemporary songs are "folk" but some aren't. It seems to me purely class snobbery that punk is not classified as folk, but The Streets of London and Seth Lakeman's latest are within the hallowed fence.Surely, if contemporary song can be folk, than why can't punk?
   Myself, I call neither folk. But I am intrigued by the snobbery which makes some modern stuff folk, but not others.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 01:38 PM

Did Capt B mention I Courted A Sailor? It's a pretty little inconsequential fakesong, but I don't think he did. He did mention Ranzo which the kRusby slowed down as Wild Goose and possibly improved (though not much). It's all OK, in fact quite nice. But not a lot to do with what we're supposed to be talking about.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 01:41 PM

Oh, and YES Greg.
Nobody but nobody will ever convince me that Joe Strummer wasn't possibly the greatest f*lk singer there ever was.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 01:53 PM

Few threads I've seen have made the old 1960's line, "Different strokes for different folks" more apropos.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 02:12 PM

The Strokes.
Excellent post-punk band,


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 02:20 PM

Definitions are more important for what they exclude than include, Greg. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,countrylife
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 03:04 PM

"What draws me to folk music, or popular music as I prefer it to be called, is that it is often the truest representation of a piece of time - what was happening on the other side of the plate glass at a given time in history. It is often a more accurate view than that which historians who have a particular axe to grind, would have us believe. When I came to look at some of the songs of the day, I noted that they were at odds with the secondary modern education history that I'd been brought up on. Only in odd lines - there's a spirit that rings more truthfully than some of the historians would have us believe."

- John Tams

nice term that, popular music.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 03:11 PM

Simon S your entitled to your opinion,but just because someone wrote a song it does not mean that they are the best singer of it,here is an example, Paul Metsers Farewell to theGold ,the best version of this has got to be Nic Jones interpretation.
I was AWARE Kate Rusby wrote this song,it is a reasonable effort, enhanced by clever arranging,that could have been sung a lot better,personally I doubt if many source singers would have wasted their time on it.Icertainly wont waste any more time on it,can we get back to the thread please.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 03:27 PM

'Jim, I take it you are disturbed at what is happening in the folk revival now,because you think it makes the folk revival irrelevant to traditional music'.
Cap'n,
Why should you think that I think that.... if you know what I mean.
Please don't answer questions on my behalf.
I believe that - as I have said many times before, the revival owes its existence to the tradition and we would not be here talking to each other without it.
On the other hand, there has, as far as I can see, a significant shift away from the tradition, in singing style, in repertoire, and more importantly, in function. Without all of these, the folk song revival will no longer be a folk song revival, but something else, not better, not worse, and certainly not irrelevant to those participating - just something else.
I have been following the thread on criticism with some interest, and here, along with other threads, I have gathered the impression that one of the problems is a total lack of critical analysis in many of the clubs, which has, in my opinion, led to a plummeting in singing standards. In fact it has been argued that standards and good singing are counter-productive as they frighten off the mediocre. If mediocrity is an aim, the revival will crash - and will deserve to have crashed.
The tradition - as was - will still be there, on tapes. on records, in books - and in peoples affections and memories, but nobody in their right mind wants to spend a lifetime listening to bad, or even indifferent singing, and it certainly does no favours to the tradition.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 04:49 PM

Jim,many traditional singers are excellent, some mediocre,and a few bad[unable to sing or play remotely in tune]Harkie Nesling, alien storey],so whats the difference between the revival and the tradtion then.
mediocrity is not the aim, the aim is for people to enjoy themselves and give pleasure to others.,as most people that attend folk festivals and clubs are not musical masochists,something must be right about the folk revival.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: SimonS
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 05:05 PM

Captain, I didn't say Kate was the best singer of the song, I said she had a right to sing it however she wants. You (or I) don't have to like it, but its kind of beyond critisism of being "wrong".


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 05:08 PM

Well, that suggest one distinguishing difference between traditional and revival singers.

Traditional singers are allowed to sing badly, revivalists aren't :-)

Seriously the image of folk music has been at times badly damaged by bad singing or fiddle playing in imitation of the worst characteristics of some recorded sources. One refreshing thing about the current young generation of performers is that they have no hangups about being able to play their instruments well!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 05:58 PM

Anahata,
I agree wholeheartedly - as far as instruments are concerned.
Unfortunately this hasn't filtered down to the singers.
Irish music is enjoying a tremendous popularity at present generated by the skill of the performers - surely there is a lesson to be learned there
Cap'n
You've gone done it - you've lost me again.
Who mentioned the ability or otherwise of traditional singers - not me.
I have argued in the past - and will continue to do so that their function, with very few exceptions, was not as performers, but as song carriers who, in many cases, could bring a unique experience to the songs without necessarily possessing the skills that they may once have had;(please read back correspondence - I have no intention of reviving the argument here).
This has nothing whatever to do with the poor standards which are accepted, and in some case welcomed and encouraged by some PERFORMERS in the REVIVAL (read the back correspondence again). We can all have off nights, but when off nights become the object of the exercise.....
I can enjoy myself throwing darts at a dartboard, but the height of my enjoyment comes when I hit the bull.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 06:33 PM

Irish music has enjoyed a high standard,and has many skilful performers thanks to many teachers and also to comhaltas.
No Jim ,TheTraditional singers function was not that, but as singers and entertainers in their local environment,the singers at the Blaxhall ship did not regard themselves as song carriers,they went down to their pub to have a sing and socialise.
Walter Pardon may have regarded himself as a song carrier,but I think he was THE exception,Walter was preseving the songs consciously BECAUSE he had nowhere to sing them until the folk revival came along,and gave him a platform,
not so The Blaxhall ship singers[BobHart Cyril Poacher etc]or Bob/ RonCopper and their parents[of course Bob later documented his songs],But their songs were their entertainment ,part of their social life.
Before the FIRST WORLD WAR,which decimated english male society,the Village pub had an important function,many singers sang in these pubs,they sang Traditional songs,and music hall songs they did it for enjoyment.Its only people like yourself that have hare brained ideas about song carriers,the singers were too busy enjoying themselves getting inebriated,getting laid and enjoying life,just like[ I hope] young people in the folk revival are doing right now.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 11:23 PM

Good thoughts here from some of my favorite people. I'm with Mr. Bob Coltman just about all the way. Jerry knows I'll pick the hobo/cowboy/railroader singer who puts the SONG FIRST right at the top of the list of what I enjoy listening to most. (Harry Haywire Mac McClintock personifies this singer all by himself.) And if you look at what I personally put out on recordings over the years, it's all just ol' Art and his banjo or guitar on every single track but one; that one was where Cindy Mangsen sang harmony on the chorus of an Illinois version of "Down By The Brazos" --- the Texas song about that state's rivers. Soooo, the Illinois Humanities Council just put one of my songs on their new CDs of Illinois Folk Songs. What did they pick? Of course, the song with Cindy!

I pretty much fully understand their choice...

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 02:58 AM

'THE exception,Walter was preseving the songs consciously BECAUSE he had nowhere to sing them until the folk revival came along,and gave him a platform'
How about his singing them within his tradition, before the revival was a twinkle in MacColl's, Lomax's, Lloyd's eye?
The song tradition was a fact of life for many communities for centuries before either Sharp's or the present revival came along.
Your statement appears to make the tradition irrelevant, and once again you appear to be setting up a pissing competition between the tradition and the revival - I wonder why - a nasty dose of Comhaltas Competitionitis no doubt!
'The Village pub had an important function,many singers sang in these pubs'.
Do you know this; where is your evidence? Walter or his family never sang in pubs; Sam Larner said his singing was done at sea or at home; Irish singing was entirely a home-based activity up to fairly late in its development, as I believe it was in England.
By confining folk song to entertainment you are ignoring other aspects of its function. It certainly was/is entertaining, but it is/was much, much more than that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 05:43 AM

So, what has the Folk revival evre done for us?

I guess that is another thread?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 06:05 AM

yes Jim,The Blaxhall Ship, a village pub.In some east anglian pubs there would be an accordion behind the bar[if it wasnt there for use, why was it there]
Walter Pardon had to spend a whole winter,getting his songs up to recording standard.[in otherwords he was not practiced]
Sam Larner sang in a pub,so did the Coppers.
Bob Copper says he recalls the music that used to accompany toiling in the fields,shearing the sheep,or resting in the local Tap rooms[PUBS].He remembers the occassions on which they were sung TaTer,Beer night,hollering pot and Black ram,large and small festivals.
Please tell me what the Bothys were, if they were not places where Scottish farm workers slept, lived, told stories made their own entertainment and sang their traditional songs[They did it because that was how they made their entertainment]
Willie Scott sang at hunt functions[a social gathering],at many hunt functions,traditional songs were sung,they were sung for entertainment.
   
my point is that these singers/musicians sang/played for the enjoyment of it,not because they thought they had to to keep the songs alive,apart from Walter Pardon they did not see themselves as song carriers,they sang the songs because they enjoyed doing so. they sang during work and afterwork, they sang to relieve the drudgery of work.,and they sang to entertain each other,not because they thought they had to to keep them alive,once people[Walter Pardon] start doing that it shows the tradition is very weak.They sang for enjoyment after work and during work
now lets get back to the topic,I would also appreciate it if you refrained from personal attacks[a nasty dose of comhaltas competionitis].


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 06:12 AM

Lots of fervent - if thankfully not violent - agreement there.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: KeithofChester
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 06:24 AM

Talking of folk revivals, on Jonathan Ross last night Pete Docherty said that Bert Jansch is playing on the new Babyshambles album.

I also saw a huge list of Autumn Davey Graham dates all over the country on either Tickemaster or Ticketline the other day

What goes around comes around indeed.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 06:31 AM

Jim Carroll is doubting the significance of pubs as the places to sing, traditionally. Well, he is vastly experienced in these matters, but maybe in different places from those4 I know. I can confirm that in the far northwest of England(north Lancs/Cumbria I suppose), pubs were places where traditional(non-revival) singing flourished. Maybe not the only places, maybe not the main places, but certainly important places. And, apropos of other discussions here: it was pretty obvious in most cases who were trad and who were revival at the time I am talking about(60/70's)


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 07:17 AM

Singing was taking place in the 1950s,at the Blaxhall ship,there was singing at the EELS FOOT near LEISTON late fifties early sixties.,One of the singers was EdgarButton a traditional singer,
StephenBaldwin TRADITONAL FIDDLER RECORDED IN 1954 most of his playing had been done in local pubs[herefordshire area],according to RussellWortley,Reghall,RolloWoods and DavidBland.
then we have all the irish immigrants playing in london,in pubs in the 1950s,all of them traditional players.
here in Ballydehob,Irish traditional music was being played in the pubs[1960s] and at threshings [1950]s by my friend Jamesie Kingston[traditional fiddler].,he also played at scrioiacht,gatherings in private houses.all these musician, singers, I have mentioned were not from the Folk REVIVAL.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 08:06 AM

I trust that's not shouting I can here?

Some of us clearly enjoy an argument for it's own sake. But isn't simply polarizing positions on many features of human experience inappropriate?

People sang at home, people sang in pubs - more here, less there?

The tradition fuelled (?) the revival, the revival fuelled the tradition probably not much? Evidence of the latter please.

Cheers

Les (singing in the house not in the pub today)


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 08:14 AM

There is some contrary evidence too......

"Please tell me what the Bothys were, if they were not places where Scottish farm workers slept, lived, told stories made their own entertainment and sang their traditional songs[They did it because that was how they made their entertainment]
Willie Scott sang at hunt functions[a social gathering],at many hunt functions,traditional songs were sung,they were sung for entertainment."


Absolutely correct Dick but let's remember these were private functions and hunt suppers whilst held in pubs would be in a separate room.

These were inclusive social gatherings - not everyone was invited.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 08:19 AM

ok les I agree.I was asked to provide evidence,.The revival did fuel the tradition by providing WalterPardon and many other traditional singers musicians with a platform to perform,Julia /JOHNcLIFFORD,Fred Jordan,WillieScott,OscarWoods,BillyBennington,HarryCox,JimmyMCbeath,
BobRoberts,GordonHall,PackieByrne,BobCann,JeannieRobertson,and many more.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: John Hardly
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 08:38 AM

The folk revival kept the sound -- the instrumentation and acoustic sensibility -- alive for a generation of creative people who had a better idea of what to do with those tools to create art with them (rather than simply keeping alive a tradition).

So, even though the music of the folk revival was very un-creative (by definition), it kept a certain sound alive for people like Stephen Stills, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, Don McLean, and others to use to express their creative genius.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 08:42 AM

The Folk revival enabled traditional musicians to meet other traditional musicians /singers,from different parts of the country,at Folk Festivals to swop tunes, learn songs even[ possibly] learn new techniques,dare I say even improve their playing,another example of the revival fueling and strengthening the tradition.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 08:51 AM

tradional musicians, do not have to move around,to be influenced by the outside world,Jamesie Kingston Traditional Fiddler, lived five miles from me,and only had a wireless,but would learn tunes [jimmy shand]etc from the wireless,he would also learn tunes from a revival musician,like myself.
HE had in his repertoire Dashing along with the smoothing iron,he had learnt this from an english revivalist 20 years earlier,who had been on holiday in the area.
no traditional musician /singer is an island unto himself.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 10:02 AM

This thread is showing the divide of light years between the North American concept of what the revival is, and what it meant in England. It's not just the Atlantic Ocean (and different languages) that keep us apart (indeed John Hardly seems to think that all revivalists are marooned on an island somewhere midway), but a fundamental difference of perception of what roots music is.

Mr Hardly lists a few rock stars and claims these have kept 'the sound' alive. Now, I like the music of Stephen Stills (and Neil Young for that matter) but to say this is to try and include Graham Nash within the ranks of the English revivalists. And he's not. He's a Hollie, for chrissake.

I'll doubtless get battered for telling Murkans what their roots music actually IS. but to me it's local or regional musics: blues, cajun, conjunto, Appalachian, musics of immigrant communities and musics made by current writers if they are rooted in those traditions or address the problem. Not popular songs emanating from Nashville or Austin. Not yet, anyway.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 10:42 AM

I genuinely prefer the sound and emotiveness of US and Eastern European roots 'folk musics'
to trad UK 'morris' & 'celtic'& 'boring worthy archive accademic'..

there i said it..

But 1970's UK electric folk rock is the backbone of my CD collection.


..then, i'm from a generation that grew up in provincial towns
listening to and being influenced by early 1970's
folk rock on Radio 1 and Top of the Pops.

If folk clubs ever did exist in my hometown,
it would have been an unknown and alien culture to families from my west country council estate.

Wasn't until i left home in my late teens,
i went to a few folk clubs up North;
can't remember much about the experience..
guess that shows how much of a positive impression that left on me for the rest of my life..!!??


Everything I ever learnt about 'folk' has been off popular media channels,
inate curiosity and facilities for self learning in public library LP collections
[Topic Lable LPs were readily available in the nearest big library]..

and now here at mudcat !

If people with a similar background and music education to mine
ever try to become 'folk music' practicioners in the public realm..

then first and formost it is about enjoying the opportunity
to express ourselves creatively via a genre of music we love to listen to ourselves,
and entertaining an audience in a fun atmosphere of mutual/reciprocal shared community partying,

and if we muck about with electric guitars drum kits and synthesisers in the process..

muddying the barriers and definitions between trad song styles and geographical origins..

well.. thats the way we get pleasure from our music now..

thats it i s'pose.. off to the gym for a couple of hours hard work out..
get back home with a fierce thirst for cider..
plug a guitar in for a bit of an energetic warm up strum
to get in the mood for another saturday night
of pointless revelry..

[will try not to post any drunk shite here tonight..promise..]


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: John Hardly
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 10:50 AM

Easby, you're reading exactly the opposite of my point into my post.

I'm saying that those "rockers" are NOT part of the revival. But I am saying that those "rockers" stand on the shoulders of the revival -- that what those "rockers" owe the revival is that the revival, though having little spark of genius of it own, at least kept those instruments, that acoustic sound, alive long enough for real artists to come along and use it to make better music.

Those rockers were synthesizers (as are most good artists) and one of the elements they borrowed was a sound, a feel, from the folk revival. They also borrowed freely from jazz and from race recording and from whatever else was around -- but the sensibility -- the SOUND of their music comes greatly from the folk revival.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 11:15 AM

And having taken that 100,

"that what those "rockers" owe the revival is that the revival, though having little spark of genius of it own, at least kept those instruments, that acoustic sound, alive long enough for real artists to come along and use it to make better music."

As we say in soggy Sheffield - what a load of cobblers.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: John Hardly
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 11:24 AM

You scored that 100 on my shoulders.

You're welcome.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 11:30 AM

errr.. those folks of a purist or nervous disposition
may not enjoy googling for European 'Folk Metal' bands




heres a point in the 'wrong' direction..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_metal


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 11:36 AM

DAVE its Northampton for cobblers,I find myself agreeing with you DAVE,John Hardlys post is alot of poppycock.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 11:44 AM

Jim Carroll,correction to my earlier post re EELS FOOT public house LEISTON,there was singing in this pub in the 1930 and 1940s and was recorded by the BBC ,Needless to say thiswas long before the British folk revival,.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 11:50 AM

Jim Carroll, anyone interested in pub singing by traditional singers,should google Geoff Ling.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 11:51 AM

The band Mawkin has been organising musical weekends called Steppin' On The Eel's Foot in recent years. Their melodeon player's grandfather John Barber is the Southwold Town Crier.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: John Hardly
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 12:17 PM

Why don't you educate me so you needn't despair. I'd hate for you to have to despair. It sounds so...you know...desperate.

(and a little condescending. you don't suppose that I could have a different opinion than you? Or is it really that you're right and I'm ignorant?)

...but first, maybe you could explain back to me what you THINK I'm saying, because I think you're reading what I'm not writing.

...or you could continue to despair.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 12:22 PM

The original tradition was of people making music within, and for, their own community. For a variety of reasons, that tradition has largely, in England at least, died out.

The revival has created its own tradition, and its own community. However the community we have created is self-consciously based around the music.

I think there is now a new tradition - the revival has picked up the ball and run with it. On the one hand, it's taken it into the commercial world of festivals and recordings, but at the same time, at grass-roots level,sessions, ceilidhs and morris dancing are thriving at a level that probably hasn't been seen since the 19th Century.

Up until a few years ago, most of my music-making was as a "performer" - in folk clubs, at festival and similar events. Now most of my playing is in sessions, or playing in a band for weddings, parties etc. It occurs to me that what I'm doing now differs little from what the likes of Scan Tester, Billy Bennington, the Bulwers and others were doing. And while some of my repertoire comes from recorded or printed sources (and now from the internet) some of it was picked up from other singers and musicians. The continuity is still there.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 12:39 PM

Howard, I would argue and you really make the point well that there is more "continuity" than there is "revival".

Now it applies quite a lot in Sheffield as I argued earlier.

It seems to apply to you (with a slight aberration when you went around folk clubs!!) :-)


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 01:15 PM

well said Howard.a relative of mine used to accompany Walter Bulwer,at garden /village fetes where he[walter] used to buskbottling for him.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Bee
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 01:45 PM

While not wanting to intrude on the basic argument, could someone satisfy my curiousity about the role of women in UK traditional folk? All the talk of origins seems to be about where men sang to entertain each other. Did women not sing outside the house?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 01:55 PM

well.,this is interesting.
Walter Bulwer was accompanied by his wife Daisy,but she generally played the piano.
Women played outside the house, Dolly Curtis was a fine melodeon player in East Anglia.
Julia Clifford[an irish musician living in EastAnglia] played fiddle,but it seems that the East anglian sessions were male dominated.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 02:18 PM

...but I recently saw a video of an ancient session at the Blaxhall ship (it might have been filmed in the 1950's-60's, so actually less ancient than me) where there were some women step dancing, though I don't remember many singing. But pubs were funny about women then...

There were plenty of female song-carrying travellers. May Bradley and Phoebe Smith spring to mind immediately; I'm sure there are many more on Voice of the People. Cecil Sharp collected lots of songs from female singers in Somerset and elsewhere, Mary Humphreys has a whole bunch of recently-unearthed stuff from Cotttenhan in Cambridgeshire collected initially by Ella Bull from her servant Charlotte Few - in fact the more I think about it the more I know it's a total non-issue and frankly, a daft question.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 02:27 PM

This certainly has become two different discussions. The folk revival over here was in the 60's. It's the folk survival, now.
Most of the discussion seems to be raging between different appreciations of current singers in England. I can't add anything to that. Certainly, as far as being traditional is concerned, they can't hold a candle to Lonnie Donegan. :-)

Hi, Art: Yes, I know you have always loved solo singers, and have always preferred to sing solo. That's a very strong preference for you. With rare acception, I've performed solo most of my life, too.
It just worked out that way, and I'm very happy with it because I can be more conversational between songs and strike up a different raport with the audience. But, I'd never confuse personal preference with the validity of solo singers versus groups. That's a discussion that is so non-sensical that it can't even withstand conversation. Traditional folk music embodies many types of songs, from ballads to string band jump tunes, prison work songs and dance music. I smile, reading this discussion because there have been times when someone who believes that only solo performers are real folk musicians, and then they begrudgingly (it seems) make an acception for dance bands. It still evades the clear tradition of singing groups and duos.

I love it all... Charlie Poole and Almeda Riddle. I bet if old Charlie and Almeda got together they'd just laugh at how serious (and foolish) the new generation is when they try to validate what is all folk music.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 02:32 PM

Yes, it's a bit of a daft question. You only have to look at Voice Of The People where, in addition to May Bradley and Phoebe Smith many other women such as Sarah Makem, Belle Stewart, Margaret Barry Jeannie Robertson, Lizzie Higgins, Mary Anne Haynes and there are surely many more but I can't be arsed to go and look. Then there are the Legg women, Cecilia Costello and Queen Caroline Hughes.

It's true that these recordings are a little light on women musicians but, as Anahata says, pubs were funny about women then.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 02:49 PM

pubs were funny about women then? Perhaps in the sense that society was funny about women?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Bee
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 03:17 PM

I'm sorry you think it a daft question: I live in Canada, and here women weren't permitted in pubs or taverns until 1972, and since many discussions of UK music seem to focus on pubs, farm workers, fishermen, and other establishments and professions that here would have been considered strictly male preserves, am I supposed to just assume the women's situation in the UK? Thanks anyway for partially answering the question.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 03:19 PM

Exactly Les,very few of the women that Diane mentioned sang in pubs.
NOW,Iam leaving,because I sense ,Jim Carroll is coming.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 03:22 PM

Well yes, but as far as traditional music (especially singing) is concerned, women didn't have a different "role to play" (to quote Bee's question. There just weren't so many of them doing it - though I'm not too certain of that either.

In fact in the Victorian and Edwardian middle classes women were generally expected and encouraged to be singers and musicians.

I'm not sure was Les's point was, so I may not have addressed it squarely.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,countrylife
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 03:22 PM

unlike some.....just maybe bee isn't familiar with Voice of The People, I don't suppose everybody has heard of this collection, or even Lemmy Brazil, come to think of it...or Daisy Chapman.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,countrylife
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 03:31 PM

Bee it wasn't a daft question at all. Series like Voice of The People are not easy to come by in Canada, indeed it and other recordingssuch as these may only be available via the internet.
Musical Traditions (http://www.mustrad.org.uk) and
Topic Records (http://www.topicrecords.co.uk/)[ The Voice of The People]


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 03:35 PM

Bee, in Britain women weren't excluded from pubs, but they were often restricted: typically a pub would have a "public bar" where respectable women weren't expected and a "lounge bar" where they were, though not usually alone. The distinction fizzled out slowly over the 1960's/70s, varying from region to region and pub to pub.

I guess that women who sang did so more in the home than out of it, which is where they spent much more of their lives anyway.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 03:36 PM

I don't think I ever saw Margaret Barry anywhere other than in a pub, though I have to say that I encountered rather more women traditional singers at festivals like that which became the National, or at Sidmouth, neither of which are, technically, pubs.

Anyone who wishes to acquaint themselves with those traditional singers of the British Isles who have been recorded would surely begin with VotP.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: countrylife
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 04:00 PM

the following overview of The Voice of The People may prove useful

The Voice of The People


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Bee
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 09:03 PM

Thank you, countrylife, treewind, for the information. Voice of the People certainly hasn't been available to me, and I will read the site with interest.

And perhaps 'daft' isn't considered quite as insulting in the UK as it is in Nova Scotia: I wouldn't know.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,anonymous for safety
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 09:47 PM

hey Bee..

the UK folk inteligentsia elite are a nasty caustic bunch of never beens..

please dont let them undermine or upset you.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 11:13 PM

Voice of the People is likely the best collection of field recordings ever assembled. It is (and has been for years) available from CAMSCO--all 20 CDs of it. (yes, you can buy just one)

From dick greenhaus, on a borrowed computer


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 02:59 AM

the UK folk inteligentsia (sic) elite

As I have often remarked: If elitism = excellence, long live elitism.
And if joining the band of those who, way above me in the thread, cited VotP affords me membership of such an elite, then so be it.
(I don't mind very much being mentioned in the same breath as Anahata and Dave).
It is, frankly, impossible to discuss the recent origins of British trad without reference to VotP.
Such an omission leads, as we have just seen, to daft conclusions such as where were the women participants.
Or a peculiar notions that only solo performers are permitted.
Or the wildly ridiculous notion that CSNY are heirs to the revival.
This (quoth a resident) is rightly termed 'cobblers' in Sheffield.
Nay, Northampton, it was argued, to which I added a paragraph on John Clare, the Northamptonshire fiddler.
Now, I know not whether this post got zapped by someone who thinks John Clare is suitable only as a question on an English Literature paper or whether I'm not allowed to be in despair over nonsensical spoutings about the revival from those who know not what is IS.
Even before studying VotP, perhaps you Murkans should get hold of Fellside's Song Links, a celebration of English Traditional Songs And Their American Variants. It's even got Sara Grey and Jean Ritchie on it so it surely won't be too hard going. (Oh, and Anahata & Mary Humphreys too).


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:15 AM

i just woke up..

the mrs iis off on an adventure activity weekend in a tent
with her wimmin mates
somewhere flooded down in swampy underwater west country

..probably lifted to safety by now
ina coast guard helicopter by burly muscly brad pitt lookalikes in trust me i look cool and very heroic life saving uniforms..

so anyway..

back at home ..


i could listen to whatever i liked as loud as i liked..

ended up with anne briggs and marc bolan



and Blanche "little amber bottles"

who are trhe best yank band i heard since 16 horse power..


forgot which thread i'm posting this tripe under ..

but blanche are really good

and should be heard by all you old miserable clencharsed accademic ****ers


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:24 AM

But it wasn't a DAFT question. It was JUST a question from someone who didn't know the answer. To ask a question is perfectly reasonable, and the questionner is undeserving of the arrogant put-down, "It's a daft question".


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:25 AM

Well I'm playing Glorystrokes (Sheffield death metalcore ceilidh) and Tom Moore, a 12-year-old amazing fiddler.
So I'm way cooler than you.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:25 AM

We will do less miserable if you agree to do more coherent


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:30 AM

I was talking to PFR (or the wall)
Who're you talking to, Les?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:43 AM

g'mornin princess countess di..

my PC is too well cidered up and my windows is fallin down knackered..

tried listening.. bu8t media player dont work..

so..

"Possibly the world's only traditional english metalcore dance band, GloryStrokes bring together some well known names from the UK folk dance scene with a cataclysmic dash through their skeleton riddled musical closets. Take two melodeons, add double kick drums, detuned guitars, beats, samples and weird keyboard noises and you're left with traditional music as it hasn't been heard before, bridging the barrier from barn dance to mosh pit."

i'll take it on valued trust
that i'd probably enjoy them if i could hear it..

my favourite euro band is 'stille volk'


but i'm always keen to learn more..

oh btw..

hers one for a good laugh.

[errrm.. actually i might buy tickets to se them in bristol in septembr..]

http://www.turisas.com/


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:46 AM

Diane,

I was hoping to extract meaning from punkfolkrocker - he is working towards I guess?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:53 AM

working towards meaning..?????

get downstairs and make a bacon sandwich..


i've spent the lasrt 15 years haphazardly & painfulyy escaping from 'meaning'..

deep thinking hurts heads

remember that and be safe !!!


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:58 AM

Turisas?
Yeah, that's getting there.

I raise you Frigg (and JPP and Hoven Droven).


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 04:02 AM

Blanche? Sixteen horsepower?

What are they? Cider? Weed? Bands?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 04:12 AM

well they be music..



i'm off to bed now..

maybe wake up mid afternoon

hopefuly sunny stuff bursting though cutains..

then off to social club to enjoy a pint while taking piss out of smokers..


oh and thers some good french neo-folk goth metal band i got a cd off..


but cant remember name right now..

woman singer..


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 05:19 AM

OK - I could send Bee a PM but might as as well apologise in public for starting the "daft question" sub-thread.
Bee, I think you you were led down the garden path by all the argument that traditional folk music all happened in pubs, combined with the fact that your own culture used to see pubs (whatever they are in Nova Scotia) as exclusively men-only. And of course I had no idea where you were coming from, but accept that in the circumstances it was a reasonable question.

There was a thread about "the role of women in folk music" on mudcat a few years ago and your question reminded me of that - on that occasion it seemed to be trying to raise an issue where there was none.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 05:22 AM

Glorystrokes.

First time I heard their record I thought I had a bad copy. I was assured it was supposed to sound like that!!


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 05:27 AM

And I apologise for agreeing publicly that it was a daft question.
(Even though it was).
Though not any dafter than a lot of the transatlantic tripe posted above.
I think it's skewed agenda shredding time.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 05:41 AM

I apologise anyway. Seems best. I've contributed little to the thread (there's a surprise!), but gained a lot from the discussions, which thankfully have remained civil. But I see a great divide, the one Diane pointed towards several screenfuls further up, i.e. in the understanding of what is "traditional" on either side of the Atlantic. And it strikes me that this does not actually require bridging, even if that were possible. The two worlds have gone their own ways for the last 300 years or so, despite the links between tem. So, to compare the legitimacy of the term "traditional" when applied to each other's "old" material, serves little purpose. I.e. this is a discussion that can only make sense withing the confines of a single culture.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Bee
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 09:21 AM

Still, George, it hardly seems to me 'daft' to express a curiousity about some aspect of the 'other' cultural tradition, as there are obvious direct and indirect influences on North American music. Some of which I am trying to learn about, at least partly through Mudcat.

I'll be quiet now.

Bee, from Nova Scotia, which has its own various musical traditions, which have not stemmed from antique entertainments in drinking establishments.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 09:49 AM

Indeed it wasn't daft, Bee, and I never said it was either. But hair shirts seemed to be in fashion, so I put one on, too. Just trying to draw a veil and continue the discussion.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 09:54 AM

as the OP,I was referring to the British folk revival.
so far I have established that the British folk revival,gave input to traditional singers by giving them a place to perform,and by enabling them to meet other traditional musicians,from outside their original area,thus broadening their repertoire,and their styles.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 10:13 AM

Captain, it certainly did that. But I believe the revival has also re-invigorated the tradition.

When Cecil Sharp was collecting songs, tunes and dances a century ago he thought he was recording the dying throes of a moribund tradition. If he were to return today he would be astonished at the amount of music and song, the proliferation of morris sides, and the number of social dances taking place every weekend. Admittedly, it's opened up to different styles and influences, but there is also continuity with the old tradition.

There is now a thriving tradition of music and dance taking place within the community, for people's own entertainment rather than as a commercial event. It's a different sort of community than it once was, but that's also true of most areas of modern life.

True, it's no longer part of most people's lives the way it once was, the majority of people look elsewhere for their entertainment. But even outside the folk community, most people will have come across a music or song session in a pub, seen the morris dancers in their High Street, or danced at a PTA or wedding ceilidh.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,shepherdlass
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 10:19 AM

And sometimes the traditional musicians were full-fledged members of the revival too - people like Bob Copper and Jack Elliott of Birtley. Surely they wisely spotted a good outlet and ensured their traditions were carried forward by making use of the same distribution mechanisms as the young gun revivalists.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 03:30 PM

of course the British folk revival,gave platforms to singers such as Bob Dylan,who took english /irish traditonal tunes,Nottamun Town was used for Masters of War, LordFranklin/Croppy Boy,became Bob Dylans Dream,thus exposing traditional airs to a wider audience,and creating interest in the folk revival and other singers involved in the revival both traditional and revival.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 04:19 PM

I'm trying to make some sense of this discussion. It seems to me that academic males have made the distinction between what is revival and what is traditional and that this doesn't seem to be coming from very many who would be labeled as a traditional folk musician or singer. Also, as Bee has pointed out, not much imput from women here.

Most of the traditional singers have modified what they heard making it their own rather than imitative. In that sense, each time they perform, they are part of a revival.

New verses were being written by those who are dubbed traditional throughout the ages.

There is a Anglo singing approach to folk and an Afro one. The first stresses solo performance and the latter ensemble.

The difference between Dylan taking trad songs and rewriting them and those who do this in a traditional enclave or sub-culture is that Dylan gets the royalties.

Nottamun Town as sung by Jean Ritchie would seem the basis for Dylan's Masters of War.

I do think there are musical patterns which indicate a traditional approach to a song but as has been stated many times, the more global, technological, and academic folk music becomes, the lines between trad and revival become blurred.

There is a sub-cultural tradition in music whether it's jazz, blues, ballad narrative singing,
fiddling, etc. and this is what gave rise to the interest initially by those of us who got what that was.

I think it became Rousseauian, however. It was romantic and exotic by those who were not part of any particular definable sub-culture. People started dressing oddly and affected mannerisms that are what could be viewed by many as comic.

From the standpoint of a musician, which is how I initially started out, the music speaks louder than words. But then when you look at the lyrics of songs, something else comes into focus.

There are good lyrics and poor ones. Some of the so-called songwriters of the "revival" are better than some of the lyrics messed with by "traditionalists". And vice versa.

I originally liked the folk music that I heard because it attracted me as good music, potent words and historical revelations. When I encountered "academia" then it seemed that the point of what folk music was suddenly became kind of crazy.

But if there had not been a historical precedence, a body of developed tradition, a method of expression that was concise and subjectively what I would call honest, I wouldn't have bothered.

So it leaves us in limbo. When you start using words to describe music you might as well use them to make buildings.

I think that when you scratch the academic skin you find radical differences in what they call folk, trad, revival, commercial and the interjection of opinion keeps the conversation flowing. Some information is useful. Some not. But thanks to UK Mudcatters I'm learning more about how folk music is perceived in the British Isles.


Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 09:13 PM

not much imput from women

OK I have to confess that my examples of field recordings of women on VotP were entirely fabricated.
These were figments of my imagination, as were women collectors, and the backbone of social and ritual dance was kept intact entirely by men, most of whom happened to be rock stars.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 11:44 PM

Alas, Margaret Barry singing "She Moves Through the Faire" has been in my library o' musc since the '50s on an old Riverside sampler w. Ewan an Isla an P.Clayton & Patrick Galvan & Jesn Ritcheee & Obray Ramsay & the 2 Walters==Pegram & Parham------and I just heard it again and fund "She Moves" one of the most beauteous songs ever anywhere. All the years ago, when 1st hering of it, i thought it Banshee-like to the enth degree. And that banjo o hers was pure Neanderthal and out o tune ta boot. But then i dinna like single malt scotch either. Now they are both a part o me like me own skin an nothin fits better 'an that.

On top o' dat is de factoid dat M.Barry is treasured here by meself--and the single malt has been ordered out o my life by me health care professionals as dey are known here abouts now.
And on top o' dat is Punkfolkrocker sounds elloquent and poetic ta me tonight. What's it mean? Only dat, once ya get used to it, insanity can be de mos' normal ting in de wirld!!!

Ott Thayme (as John Hartford used to call me out on the Mississippi River.)


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 05:28 AM

And look how Mary Neal nearly spoiled it for Cecil Sharp.

http://www.thedonkey.org/Recycling/so_who_was_mary_neal.html


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 06:27 AM

No ,I think the point was that women didnt sing in pubs very muchin EastAnGlia[The BlaxhallShip,TheEElsFOOT],and rural areas,That doesnt mean they didnt contribute to the tradition.MargaretBarry was a street singer/busker,later she played in folk clubs in England[another traditional performer given a platform by the revival],she may well have played/sang in Irish pubs in london,but LONDON in the 1930 1940 1950,was more all embracing/less conservative than rural east Anglia,at that time.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 10:27 AM

The interesting question about Margaret Barry is this: How much exposure would someone who sounded like that get in the current folk revival scene in England? Radio 2 Best Live Act 2007 Award?   I can't see Smooth Operations(who chose their name advisedly) getting very excited by her. Folk music actually scares most people, lets face it. And I would think that if the Lakeman/Rusby axis is your gold standard, Barry and Gorman wouldn't get much of a look-in.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 12:29 PM

I think we have a logistical problem here Dick (Me starting the week off in a non-confrontational manner!!).

We do know that women sang - Sharp had a number of female informants. Emma Overd, and Lucy White to name two off the top of my head. Gordon Hall's mother had 2/300 songs he reckoned. A quick glance at Sharp's Appalachians book shows many many more (Yes I know that's American but bear with me).

Now we have an image (rightly or wrongly that women (especially those in the Appalachians) didn't go into pubs much and certainly not to sing.

We also have an image that men did sing in the pubs.

To me these things are not compatible. Either singing was learnt through the family and family get togethers - mainly; or it was learnt in the pub - mainly.

If it was learnt in the family and similar get-togethers then that's where the women learnt it.

If it was learnt - passed down if you like - in the pub, then it would be unlikely that women would be important song carriers yet we know that they were.

(In fact probably the greatest song carrier ever, Bell Duncan seemed to have little opportunity to visit the pub I would guess).

Ergo I would suggest that the pub played a lesser part in the carrying of the tradition than is sometimes believed.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 01:54 PM

"the pub played a lesser part in the carrying of the tradition than is sometimes believed."
Undoubtedly.

Let's not forget too, that just as folk music now means 100 different things to different people, it was the same in the past. We talk of "a" (or "the") tradition, but really there are lots of tiny tradition-ettes all over the country, all different. Sheffield Carols (in pubs, as it happens), The Copper Family with their song book and definitely singing at home, street musicians, bothy ballads, sea shanties, East Anglian "sing,say or play" sessions, dozens of regional varieties of step, clog, sword and morris dance, people everywhere singing at work because they didn't have the radio... well, that's enough but the list goes on for ever.

There isn't one tradition and it didn't conform to any one set of rules or generalisations. Sometimes you spot coincidental similarities but it doesn't mean much. For example: the Coppers and the Sheffield carollers both singing in harmony: maybe there's a common influence from the English choral church music tradition but that doesn't set rules about how you judge everything else.

Er, now where were we?

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Blaise
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 04:00 PM

Tell a story of any kind to one person and wait even 1 year and see how much the story has changed. There are IMHO no "set" "traditions "that arn't altered in some way through time.
To believe that "traditional" music began exactly as modern times i.e the advent of written or recorded music and hasn't been altered form it's point of origin is silly.
So enjoy what you like and play with passion and conviction to the relevance of the subject of the song.
that IMHO is the only way to be true to "tradition".


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 05:45 PM

Here in the Colonies, I would have to equate the "revival" of folk music as roughly equivalent to "the great folk music scare" of the late 1950's. True, The Weavers, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, Josh White and their contemporaries were occasionally heard on the radio, but they - in fact, most folk singers labored in relative obscurity most of the time. The Kingston Trio's hit, with "Tom Dooley," in 1957, marked a turning point, like it or not. Until they proved to the record producers that folk could be commercial, audiences tended to be small and specialized. Thereafter, acts such as Bud & Travis, Peter,Paul & Mary,The Limeliters, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, et al, got their day in the sun. Most of these people had been around, performing in coffee houses and small venues, but were virtually unknown except to a small cognescenti. Suddenly, folk was "hot" and the rest was (or is) history.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 06:58 PM

Suddenly, folk was "hot" and the rest was (or is) history.

The more things change the more things stay the same.......


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 07:51 PM

For "Folkiedave" and all others: I can't disagree. Also, I didn't say I necessarily liked the outlined evolution of the recent "folk revival." But, like anything truly worthwhile and with notable intrinsic value, the "great unwashed" don't necessarily know of it, much less pay rapt attention to it until it becomes commercial.

I would have to say, though, that an awful lot of people who love, perform and collect folk music might not have been exposed to it at all had it not been for the commercial success of those I mentioned, and others. In that regard, I am probably as guilty as anyone else.
What started out as a glorified attention-getting device in high school developed into a lifelong love affair.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 08:13 PM

" True, The Weavers, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, Josh White and their contemporaries were occasionally heard on the radio, but they ... labored in relative obscurity most of the time."

C'mon now. Ives did a hit Broadway show, and had a regular Sunday radio show for several years. Josh White made ths national charts with "One Meat Ball" The Weavers had a bunch of hits, including "Irene" which, as I recall, had record breaking sales.

    The "folk" that got "hot" was largely pop in style and presentation, although, admittedly, a passel of more traditional performers got a shot at public notice along with the pop acts. On both sides of the pond.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 03:20 AM

"Ives did a hit Broadway show, and had a regular Sunday radio show for several years"

Not to mention starring in a Disney film, and in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as the snowman.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: PoppaGator
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 02:53 PM

It's only within the last century or less that people have been exposed to recorded music, and by now there's hardly anyone anywhere in the world who doesn't hear recordings pretty much all the time.

The various national and ethnic traditions that developed throughout history were formed and nurtured by singers and musicians whose own listening experience was pretty much limited to whatever sounds were being produced by their neighbors, coworkers, and relatives. There no controversies concerning who was a "traditionalist" and who wasn't: everyone necessarily belonged to one tradition or another. Of course, one tradition (e.g., of some remote rural valley) might be very isolated and unique while another (such as that of seagoing whalers) might be much more cosmopolitan, drawing upon the shared musical experience of coworkers drawn together from all points of the compass.

In the 20th century and ever after, we all exercise our differing tastes as we establish our personal preferences among the many musical sounds available to us through technology. In any "revival," on any shore of any ocean during any postmodern decade, different folks develop difference preferences for musical styles that are more or less polished, more or less emotionally expressive, etc.

Except where we're talking about some favorite performer born in some relatively isolated region before, say, 1940, there is no longer such a thing as a "traditional" singer or player, in the sense of a person born and bred within the confined world of a given musical style, at least not in the Western world. The rest of us ~ almost everyone still alive ~ have grown up amid all kinds of modern and ancient sounds and selected the musical styles we prefer.

In other words, all the above discussion is interesting and stimulating, but it all boils down to personal preference and nothing more. There's no real distinction any more between a "traditional" performer or a "revivalist" (or even a "commercialist"). We each simply sing and play whatever appeals to us the most, as well as we can.

There have been times in my past life when I allowed myself to admit to enjoying only certain well-defined styles of music, and I was not being honest with myself. I know, because I now feel great nostalgic attachment to some popular songs from my youth that I would have been loath to admit that I liked at the time. Part of my self-imposed standards had to do with essentially political, ethno-historic factors, and part had to do simply with my personal ability to play and sing certain styles and not others.

Now that I'm old and gray, I'm willing to enjoy all kinds of stuff without getting my drawers in a knot about it.

I do still feel that human-sounding music ~ stuff that someone, if not me, can manage to more-or-less duplicate and pass along ~ is preferable to techo-monstrous noise, and can be seen as embodying some degree of "folk"-ness. I wouldn''t agree that it has to be solo; some songs whose vocal harmonies pretty much define them do get learned and remembered and handed down the generations.

However, as quickly as computerized musical functions are developed and made ever more user-friendly, it's not hard to imagine that there'll soon come a time when even completely synthesized musical numbers develop grass-roots popularity and achieve immortality while being "folk-processed" just as thoroughly as any ancient ballad, any 19th-century music hall number, or any Hank Williams or Bob Dylan or Louvin Brothers or Everly Brothers or Beatles or Motown song.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 02:59 PM

"Let's not forget too, that just as folk music now means 100 different things to different people"
Anahata,
If you are suggesting that 'traditional' singers don't discriminate, but will sing whatever takes their fancy or suits the particular situation, of course you are correct.
By the same token, if you thumb through my record collection you will find records by Joe Heaney, Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Maria Callas, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra; there are even a couple by Count John albums in there somewhere for when I am in the mood for a bit of strangulated Irish tenor... (but I don't spread that about)! This does not mean I do not discriminate between them and use them for different moods or fancies. Nor does it mean I cannot tell the difference between the various types of songs and singing.
If on the other hand, you are saying that traditional singers were unable to tell the difference between say, music-hall, early popular songs, light opera, Sheffield Carols, whatever, I wonder what you base this on. One of the great problems in assessing the tradition has always been that nobody ever asked the singers what they thought, so we simply don't know who knew, thought, believed what.
It has been our experience with the handful of singers we asked, that virtually all of them categorised their songs in one way or another.
The blind Travelling woman, Mary Delaney, with a repertoire of well over 100 traditional songs referred to all of these as "My daddy's songs", even though she had learned less than a dozen of them from him.
Singers here in West Clare talked about "Come-all-Ye's", "traditional" or simply "the old songs".
Walter Pardon persisted in talking about "Folk Songs" and while he may have picked the term up from his contact with revival singers, it is obvious from the notebooks in which he wrote down his family's songs that he was sorting them out into categories as early as 1947. Traveller Mikeen McCarthy, storyteller, street singer and ballad seller, who learned the bulk of his songs and stories from his father, a renowned singer and storyteller among both the settled community and travellers in his native Kerry, went one step further when he separated the different types of singing as being "street, pub or fireside" (Margaret Barry was a street-singer and her singing style was suited to this).

As far as pub singing is concerned, the Cap'n is quite right; women tended not to sing in pubs, which, for me, as this more-or-less excludes over half the population, suggests that pubs were not the best places to sing.   I repeat my statement that the pub singing of traditional songs was a comparatively recent phenomenon. Sam Larner sang every week at The Fisherman's Return in Winterton – in spite of having a repertoire of around 100 songs he sang the same couple each week throughout his life. He told the collector (and we have it on tape) that the serious singing was done "at home or at sea". The Bob Copper books and the interviews they did in the 1950s for the BBC indicates that their singing was done mainly within the family at home.
In Ireland, singing and playing traditional songs and music in pubs has been a fairly recent practice and we have been told by a number of older people here that that is when the music started to go downhill.
This doesn't mean that there was no singing in pubs – of course there was. But I believe that, if you look at the traditional repertoire, it is obvious that there are songs which require quiet and concentration, - I can't imagine the average pub clientele being subdued enough to sit through, say 'The Outlandish Knight', let alone Clare singer Martin Reidy's fifteen minute version of 'True Lovers' Discussion'! Chorus songs maybe, but the long(ish) narrative songs that form the greater part of our traditional repertoire - that just doesn't make sense to me.
When I lived in Manchester, occasionally on a Thursday night I would go along the Stretford Road to a pub which held 'singing nights', where I would hear pop songs (old and new), music hall songs, parlour ballads, country and western and light (and occasionally heavy) opera. The governor would give a couple of quid to the singer he judged to have got the most applause at the end of the evening – extremely enjoyable, particularly as the event had no pretensions at being anything but what it said on the window 'A singing evening'. Ginnette Dunne's excellent study of East Anglian pub singing 'The Fellowship of Song' suggests to me that it was the Stretford Road type of singing that took place in the pubs rather than the 'folk song club' variety.
The whole thing was summed up beautifully for me by an incident involving the great Derry singer, Eddie Butcher. Many years ago he was booked to sing at a folk club held in a pub in central Dublin. In spite of having a huge repertoire of traditional songs, he began with 'Danny Boy', followed by 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling', followed by 'Mother Machree. When asked to sing some of his traditional songs he demurred saying "I know well what type of songs they like to hear in a pub" – in other words, a certain type of song for a certain place.

Cap'n, if you're not careful you are going to dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back by telling us what a great job we all did in introducing traditional singers to the revival and "giving them an opportunity to sing their songs".   The experience of singing in clubs was, as far as I can make out, somewhat 'curate's eggish'. While some of them enjoyed and benefited from the experience, to others the idea singing to a crowd of strangers was an anathema. It was only a very tiny number of the remaining traditional singers who ever saw the inside of a folk club or a festival anyway.
I suggest that it was collectors like Alan Lomax and Hamish Henderson (and even Kennedy) who provided the most suitable audiences for their singing, in the comfort of their own homes.
We have already discussed the questionable way some clubs treated the older singers they booked and there are plenty of other examples to suggest it wasn't always the most pleasurable of experiences.
Jim Carroll
PS Sorry this post is so long – despite Diane's reservations (being told by Countess Di that my attitude is dismissive – I really will have to get a grip of myself!) I would have liked to have taken a greater part in this discussion, but we have an acre of garden and if I don't keep the grass down (between the pissing rain) we won't be able to see out of the windows.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 03:40 PM

Countess Di . . . quite like that. Especially if I can add McCormack . . .

Jim, I never take discussion like this completely seriously until one of two things happen:

(1) I realise that someone else is taking it less seriously that I am and/or taking the piss or

(2) it becomes obvious that certain 'opponents' haven't a clue what they are talking about.

I ask you. How can it be so hard to distinguish between musicians from a continuing tradition and a bunch of youthful urban enthusiasts anxious to learn but with not much clue where to start?

Jim describes the results graphically: the 'curate's egginess' of pulling the traditional musicians into alien environments. There were, on the other hand, the equally dubious efforts of some of us in 60s city pubs who tried out stuff before we should.

But aside from both these scenarios, there was a lot that didn't deserve total dismissal. Like meeting the trad musicians in more sympathetic environments and learning from them, as well as from those revivalists who'd already worked out the way to go.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 03:42 PM

Jim, stating:

"If you are suggesting that 'traditional' singers don't discriminate, but will sing whatever takes their fancy or suits the particular situation, of course you are correct."

it's the academics who often make the subjective distinction.

" This does not mean I do not discriminate between them and use them for different moods or fancies. Nor does it mean I cannot tell the difference between the various types of songs and singing."

Yes the differences are clear.

"If on the other hand, you are saying that traditional singers were unable to tell the difference between say, music-hall, early popular songs, light opera, Sheffield Carols, whatever, I wonder what you base this on."

When it comes to song material, I think everyone can make some distinctions but not always. This would require a certain familiarity and sophistication that many do not have because they haven't had the musical education to make these determinations. Many ot the academic folklorists suffer from musical myopia.

" One of the great problems in assessing the tradition has always been that nobody ever asked the singers what they thought, so we simply don't know who knew, thought, believed what."

I don't agree with this point. Eloquent members of a singing tradition are often able to articulate their role as a carrier. Jean Ritchie is certainly a case in point. She carries her tradition and is knowledgeable and expresses that knowlege well.

Doc Watson can differentiate between the kind of songs that were popular and more traditional and again expresses that well.

Big Bill Broonzy was knowledgeable and communicative as well. He thought that Elvis was a great thing to happen because it opened the doors for traditional blues artists such as himself.

I do agree about pub singing being recent. It is an offshoot of a popularization of music.
The point about drunks sitting around listening to arcane ballads is a good one.

Pete Seeger was a one-man PR firm for introducting traditional music to audiences that were unfamiliar with it. He toured for a year with Sonny Terry so that Sonny could reach audiences. I will argue that Pete is largely responsible for the folk music revival in America because it was through him that we find the Weavers, the Kingston Trio and P P and M.
Many of the pickers from the New York City area were exposed to traditional southern music because of Pete's enthusiasm and promotion.

Now didn't Peggy and Ewan have a similar role along with Lloyd in England?

The idea of a traditional singer would not be even entertained if it hadn't been for these dedicated "revivalists".

The New Lost City Ramblers opened doors for traditional performers in the US as well.

To say that the so-called "revivalist" singers were irrelevant to the appreciation of what we now call "traditional" music just doesn't make sense. Bonnie Raitt traveled with "Sippie" Wallace. Ry Cooder introduced many to traditional blues artists. Rory Block with early blues artists. And one who deserves considerable attention is Josh White who introduced blues to Cafe Society and through him and Pete, Leadbelly (aside from Alan Lomax who promoted him as well). Josh opened the doors for Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry as well. John Jacob Niles and Richard Dyer-Bennett were highly influential in calling attention to Anglo-American trad singers. Also Susan Reed. It became apparent that through the song material, the focus became where the songs came from. It wasn't all just Top Forty rewrites. The audiences were opened up to dig into the roots.

There can be no interest in traditional music without patting the backs of the revivalists who cared enough about the trad music to want to share it with the public and open the doors for it. Even the academics didn't really get interested until the revival made them review what they knew.

Now we are fortunate to have a rich musical pallette that is not media-driven by those who were exposed to the Revival as performers or audience. We have alternative audiences for all kinds of music and they disregard the programmed pop as representative of their tastes. This includes "traditional" folk music as well.

Alan Lomax didn't get this too well. He railed at what he considered to be the commercialization of folk music but in this he was inconsistent.. He, in one article, lauded the Kingston Trio for their contribution in an early Sing Out! article.

It doesn't make any sense that a notion of so-called "traditional" music just grew out of nothing. The Revival ultimately had to create an interest in it by non-academic audiences who were first introduced to seasoned performers by interpreters.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 04:03 PM

Now didn't Peggy and Ewan have a similar role along with Lloyd in England?

To a degree but they weren't the only ones.
Certainly they taught me what little I know about voice projection and stagecraft (this may not enhance their reputation . . . !).
The myths of who Ewan was and what he would do know no bounds.
E.g. 'he never sang 'The First Time Ever' (he did) and he despised music hall songs (he didn't and did (occasionally) perform them. And so on . . .


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: greg stephens
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 04:16 PM

Re Jim C's bits on singing in pubs. I mostly agree with him. Purely froma personal view, I often sing acoustically in my local pub in Stoke, but there is only a tiny fraction of the songs I know that I feel easy singing there. On the hand, really late at night with a lock-in in obscure island bars..this can change!
No rules are absolute: May Bradley's "Leaves oif Life" was recorded in Ludlow pub I believe, not what we wouyld mostly think of as pub fare. But then, May Bradley, like Margaret Barry, could make anybody listen to what she was at.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 04:43 PM

if I might hark back to an earlier post,the male singers at the eels foot leiston [1940-1950s],and The Blaxhall ship were not paid[please correct me if Iam wrong].
Some of the Irish sessions the musicians were ,it was these sessions where women players played MargaretBarry JuliaClifford.
I dont draw any significance to this[Idont mean women were avaricious],just that it happened.JIM alotof traditional singers and musicians did enjoy the revival, and I know they enjoyed it here arethe following that I KnowDID.
FredJordan,WillieScott,WillAtkinson,WillTaylor,JoeHutton,
BillyBennington,TedChaplin,CyrilBarber,CharlieStringer,FontWatling,
BobCann,Oscar woods,PackieByrne,Freddie Mackay,Julia and John Clifford,ErnestDyson,GeoffWesley,TomBrown[norfolk],FredaPalmer,BobCopper,BobRoberts[thats 21]


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 04:53 PM

I doubt Jeff Wesley would think he used to enjoy singing Dick.

I suspect he still does........

And I am looking forward to hear him sing in Sheffield in August.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 05:01 PM

of course Dave,Ididnt mean that hewas an ex singer, 21SINGERS /MUSICIANS is alot in five minutes,and all are people I have had some contact with,Im sure others can think of more.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Surreysinger
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 06:03 PM

Jeff certainly isn't an ex-singer - I think somebody else was expressing an opinion that he might be a while back. He was somewhat amused to hear this in mid-June at the Dorset singing weekend - where he was, as usual, in good voice!! [grins]


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 02:50 AM

What Dick asked was is the folk revival an irrelevancy to traditional music?
So what exactly is the point of dredging up lists of trad musicians who may or may not still be performing?
I'm listening currently to re:Masters, the first series of Free Reed archive releases, from which it is relatively simple to identify what has endured and what, currently, has not.
Jim Naughtie's current R4 series The Making Of Music is not presented as 'here is some arcane and obscure stuff that you ought to listen to but as a vibrant chronicle of what has made music what it is today.
The revival at its most positive is a continuation and development of what was worth taking from extant tradition.
It is those 'revivalists' who simply copy from a trad repertoire who are the irrelevancy because that is just not what trad musicians do, whether in the midst of a so-called 'revival' or not.
The 'tradition' must be respected but conventions can, and should, be broken (as Chris Wood said, or something like it).


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 03:16 AM

Can I make it clear:
I AM NOT DISMISSIVE OF THE REVIVAL
I loved it- I spent at least 1 night a week in folk clubs for over a quarter of a century; it's where I (and a hell of a lot of others) got our love of folk songs and ballads and where out appetites where whetted for finding out more. It's where I heard Harry Cox, Jeannie Robertson, Walter Pardon, Margaret Barry, Joe Heaney..... and a whole lot of traditional and revival singers who have put enough petrol in my tank to keep me going till I get to where I'm going.
I would very much like it for the next generations to have the same opportunities that I had. I believe that the 'Nearer My God To Thee' (let's sing 'til the ship goes down) approach will not make that happen. If the clubs are going to survive in any significant numbers they are going to have to get their acts together and decide what they are peddling and at what standard.
My heart lifts when I read about ballad seminars in Lewes, but it plummets when I am told about 'Beatles Evenings' at folk clubs, or 'Let's not be too good or we'll frighten the horses'; traditional song is worth much more than that.
Frank says
"It's the academics who often make the subjective distinction".
The few traditional singers we discussed subjects like definition with were far more conservative and dogmatic about what was "right" or "wrong" than I have ever been; they had their own set of rules about singing, some of which we managed to get down on tape. The problem was that the work we did was probably too little and too late. The only 'living' tradition we encountered was with the Irish Travellers, and that disappeared literally 18 months after we started when they got televisions in their caravans.
I still enjoy listening to a good song well sung; the hairs on the back of my neck still tingle when I hear Sheila Stewart singing Tiftie's Annie (as they did thirty odd years ago when I first heard it), or when I heard Martin McDonagh singing 'Young Hunting', or when I hear recordings of MacColl singing any one of the 137 Child ballads he breathed life into.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 04:23 AM

The revival at its most positive is a continuation and development of what was worth taking from extant tradition.

Without wishing to get into the semantics of this - and certainly not in a spirit of confrontation - doesn't that really contradict the idea of a revival? For is that not what people always did?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 04:30 AM

Yes it is. That's what I'm saying. With the proviso that the copyists are an irrelevance to a 'revival'.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 10:05 AM

Since several of you have mentioned Jeff Wesley, I can report that he came along to my folk club gig in Northampton last night, and sang a song written by Matt Armour, which Jeff had had to Anglicize in order to remove elements of Scots dialect. Jeff, of course, also sings the 'Ninety-Nine and Ninety' version of Child #1, which I imagine came to him from Peggy Seeger via who knows what route. Make of all that what you will, but what I make of it is that at least one singer whom many people would describe as 'traditional' is deeply involved with the 'revival', simply because that's the place he can share songs with others whose tastes are similar to his own.

I once asked Fred Jordan how he was enjoying a certain high-profile English folk festival. His reply: "Well, there's a lot of fucking tripe on here, but there's a few good singers." Fred undoubtedly enjoyed the experience of being booked at festivals organised by 'The Revival', but was nonetheless very choosy about his likes and dislikes amongst the other performers.

Last weekend I found myself taking part in a ballad session at the small but perfectly formed Four Fools Folk Festival in Lancashire. Seated beside me were Ken Hall and Peta Webb, Alison McMorland and Geordie MacIntyre, Ellen Mitchell and Donal Maguire - several of whom have enjoyed close contact with traditional singers in the past. For two and a half hours we sang ballads ranging from the real heavy stuff ('Tam Lin' and 'Lamkin' from Geordie alone!) to the hilarious Freddie Mackay ballad parody that Ken Hall does. Jim Carroll, I'm sure, would have loved it, as did the audience who sat with rapt attetntion in that suburban secondary school room, oblivious of the plastic seats, the kids's posters on the walls, and the rain pouring down outside the window. If the 'folk revival' can put on events like that, then it's doing something worthwhile. I don't think it's the sort of thing that would go down well in a pub, though.

As one who believes that it is necessary to draw a distinction between 'tradition' and 'revival' for the purposes of discussion (somebody's already said that on this thread but I can't find the post), I say that - as of now - we are where we are, and we just have to get on with it, without tying ourselves in knots about whether what we are doing is a continuation of the tradition, or sufficently faithful to it, or whatever. Time will sort the wheat from the chaff. In the meantime I'm in complete agreement with Guest Blaise, who said: "So enjoy what you like and play with passion and conviction to the relevance of the subject of the song."


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 10:12 AM

Jim Carroll:
Having based my version of 'Young Hunting' at least partly on the version sung by Martin McDonagh, which was handed to me on a battered cassette containing that one song and no background information, I would love to know a bit more about him, if it's not too much off topic.

And I hope this is OK, Jim, but I've printed out your post of 02.59 on 3.7, about the attitude of singers towards the songs in their repertoire, for future use in workshop sessions.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 02:06 PM

BrianPeters;good job I started the discussion then,wasnt it.
However Jim Carrolls,Singers who were not entirely happy in the folk revival, were clearly a small minority,as he hasnt bothered to name them.
Jim Caroll,says it was only a tiny minority of traditional singers who saw the inside of a folk club or a festival anyway[notso see my previous post].then he talks about the questionable way traditional singers were treated[lets have examples then Jim].in the earlier posts there were only two]when I think how many traditional performers were booked at the national, whitby, Sidmouth Chippenham Fylde and were treated well,I have to laugh at Jim Carrolls preposterous claims.Jim please back up your wild statemernts with facts.,thenI might take you seriously.,in the meantime Brian I wouldnt take Jim Carroll seriously.DickMiles


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 02:22 PM

This has been an excellent discussion, it'd be a shame if it disintegrates into point scoring.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 03:43 PM

Fair enough George,but statements should be backed up by facts,so that a correct perspective can be seen.
Iam under the impression from my own experience that the amount of traditional performers that have been treated badly by the folk revival,is avery small proportion,.
Jim Says [the questionable way some clubs treated the older singers and there are plenty of other examples to suggest it wasnt the most pleasurable erxperience]and to others the idea of singing to a crowd was anethma.Iam not trying to score points,but am asking for facts,if Jim can provide facts,it then has to be put into a broader picture ,which includes all the festivals and clubs,where they were treated well,and the many performers of which I have listed 20 who clearly did enjoy the revivals festivals and clubs.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: countrylife
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 04:02 PM

"This has been an excellent discussion, it'd be a shame if it disintegrates into point scoring"

Seems to me it already has...sorry to say


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 05:09 PM

It is important when discussing a topic to give correct information that reflects the OVERALL Picture.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 05:26 PM

Start to disintegrate?

It went sour at #3 when some snigger-snogger told us we were doing it wrong if we weren't soloists or golfers or something.

Not a 'revival' I've got any time for.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: countrylife
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 06:14 PM

That's where I got it wrong, I never took up golf...
*whistles The Ballad of the Bold Weekend Golfer*


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,AR
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 06:22 PM

Quoted from Brian Peters:

"Since several of you have mentioned Jeff Wesley, I can report that he came along to my folk club gig in Northampton last night, and sang a song written by Matt Armour, which Jeff had had to Anglicize in order to remove elements of Scots dialect."

Yes, it is proper to root out that awful Scots dialect whenever it crops up - polluting our good and pure English tongue like that!


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 06:31 PM

Anglicise.
thats very funny,I know he is a Scotsman but Matt has had the privilege to have lived in Milton Keynes for thirty years,it must be something the Concrete cows do to you,I must get some too and start writing in Scottish Dialect.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 06:37 PM

Captain Birdseye, we have concrete up here north of the border too. It's not all glens full of heather and gorse, you know. Plus, some people (misguided people, perhaps - who knows?) consider Scots a language, not a dialect.
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Snuffy
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 06:44 PM

A language is a dialect with an army. Discuss


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 06:49 PM

Guest AR:
"Yes, it is proper to root out that awful Scots dialect whenever it crops up - polluting our good and pure English tongue like that!"

Dear dear, it never ceases to amaze me how participants in internet discussions manage to conjure offence from innocent statements. Not presuming to speak for Jeff Wesley, but I'm fairly sure that what he meant was that for a singer from rural England to affect Scots dialect or pronunciation would be inappropriate at best, ridiculous at worst. And I could have mentioned that Matt Armour - a proud Fifer himself of course - has tried to help Jeff out, with his own Anglicization of the song in question.

Diane Easby:
Your description of "Snigger-snogger" aimed at the author of message 3 on this thread, does little justice to Bob Coltman, composer of some interesting rewrites of Child Ballads. I don't agree with him about the solo thing either, but the rest of his post was sound.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Jul 07 - 03:51 AM

Jim Carroll,I have decided it is correct to start another thread,entitled Traditonal singers and their treatment by the revival.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Edmond
Date: 05 Jul 07 - 11:13 AM

I'll stick my two pennorth in.

Jim Carroll - if you're the Jim Carroll who invited me - Bryn Pugh - to be one of the Manchester Critics in the late 60s, please PM me - I'd love to hear from you.

Now - I served me apprenticeship as a die-hard traddie in the mid 60s to the early 70s. I had no time for the three-chord wonders in the denim caps, which seemed to arrive almost like a plague.

What goes around might indeed come around - I look forward to seeing Davy Graham, and seeing Bert Jansch, in Concert. I have had, recently, several spine-tingling moments listening to and watching Oysterband, the Big Session, Jim Moray in Concert, and Bellowhead.

It seems to me that 'Folk Music' is evolving, and whilst not everyone might like the apparent direction in which it is evolving, it is unstoppable, I believe. That said, Kate Rusby does nothing for me. De gustibus nil disputandum ?

An old fart - bus pass, free prescriptions, hearing aid (so I know which ear not to stick me finger in, you understand, steri bottle bottom glasses, and a stick, if I feel nostalgic for the days when a good gig was six quid, me ale and a lift home. I can always dig out Frost and Fire ; Martin Carthy's Second Album ; the first and second Topic samplers ; Bert Jansch ; Rosemary Hardman and Rob Axton 'Second Season Came' ; Horsemusic ;etc. It's amazing what comes out on CD, and I no longer have to sharpen the stylus on the kitchen window sill before playing records.

The 'tradition' - whatever that might be - willalways be with us. It seems also to me today that a different interpretation of the 'traditional' songs is occurring. Who am I to criticise ? To me enjoyment is all.

Bryn Pugh, sometime singer of traditional song - I wouldn't call me a folk singer.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,countrylife
Date: 05 Jul 07 - 01:48 PM

"A language is a dialect with an army. Discuss"

A language is a dialect with attitude


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jul 07 - 10:30 AM

Brian
Marin MacDonagh was a Traveller from Lansbawn, Co Roscommon.
He was recorded by Tom Munnelly and Young Hunting is the only example of his singing available (cassette 'Songs of the Irish travellers).
The cassette is now unavailable, but if you let me have an address I'll let you have my spare copy.
I'm Flattered that anybody should find anything I wrote worth repeating - feel free to use it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jul 07 - 11:47 AM

Bryn,
I was that soldier - long time ago.
Nice to hear from you again - I remember you as a good ballad singer - is that right?
Cap'n,
Look forward to your new thread, but don't hold out too much hope in finding too much agreement with somebody prepered to overlook P Ks behavious toward traditional singers becausehe is 'convenient'

Jim Carroll
Sorry about intermittent response, my motherboard had become a mother******* board - ******* technology.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,guest,old curmudgeon
Date: 06 Jul 07 - 06:22 PM

Jim,
who is PK,and whats his connection with the Capn.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: curmudgeon
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 09:07 AM

PK is Peter Kennedy and his connection is with source singers, not the Capt - Tom Hall


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 09:24 AM

The LATE Peter Kennedy !


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jul 07 - 12:13 PM

PETER KENNEDY was a collector and is such irrelevant to the discussion,and to the new thread,which is how source singers were treated by the revival[ e g club organisers and festival organisers and audiences].
a typical red herring,from Jim Carroll.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 08 Jul 07 - 01:44 PM

Jim Carroll: (cassette 'Songs of the Irish travellers).
"The cassette is now unavailable, but if you let me have an address I'll let you have my spare copy."

Well, that would be very kind indeed. Since neither of us has ever bothered going through the (doubtless pathetically simple) steps of joing Mudcat - I must do it one day soon - and are unable to PM one another, here's my address: 72 Sheffield Rd., Glossop, SK13 8QP. I hope to be able to buy you a pint or two in return, one day.

"I'm Flattered that anybody should find anything I wrote worth repeating - feel free to use it."

As a 'revival' performer, the attitude of traditional singers towards the material they sang is of great interest to me, and as a workshop leader on traditional singing style it would be useful to be able to pass on some of that information to students. As a collector, you have 'the knowledge' at first hand (and express yourself pretty well too, if I may say so).


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jul 07 - 02:35 PM

the folk revival[and by that I meant the British folk club and folk festival circuit]has treated both traditional and revival performers performers equally well,and that is how it should be ,thereshould be no discrimination or preferential treatment,for either.
People are people regardless of whether they are traditional or revival ,and deserve to be looked after properlyregardless of their label.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 04:58 AM

Brian,
it is always a good idea,to get more than one angle on a subject,there are other collectors,who are accessible,such as John Howson,Sam Richards[he too collected from WalterPardon],who have first hand knowledge,and whose point of view ,might be just as useful.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Edmond
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 08:28 AM

This might be a bit off-thread, but I hope fellow 'Catters'll cut me a bit of slack.

Jim C - how lovely to hear from you - it's the best part of 40 years, and I'll bet the years have been kinder to you than to me !

Please see my previous post :

"Bryn Pugh - sometime singer of traditional songs - I wouldn't call me a folk singer".

I take your kind comment as meaning that I sang good ballads. There again, I never came across a bad one.

Bryn.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 12:43 PM

The cassette "Irish Travellers' Songs" is a gem and ought to be re-released on CD, if only for "False Lankum" by John Reilly. It is thanks to Jim I have my copy.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 01:40 PM

not quite sure of the relevance ,Mary.
I dont believe anyone has suggested Jims collections are not useful,.
To get an overaall picture however,of how traditional singers view their material,it is agood idea to get the opinion of more than onr collector.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 02:59 PM

Brian,
Thank you for those kind words - your cheque's in the post along with Mary's.
You should both look ot for Early Ballads in Ireland 1968-1985 also from Tom Munnelly's collection and on the Ethnic European Traditions label, but equally unavailable.
I'll put them in the post as soon as I get my computer problems sorted.
Edmund,
No, I meant i enjoyed you singing ballads - I seem to remember Bonny house of Airlie and one I've been racking my brains to remember - a cahes in a ship with magic sails???
Jim Carroll
Cap'n,
Does this mean the wedding's off again?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 03:11 PM

Damn I was out looking for a hat to wear too.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Andy Leader
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 03:11 PM

To finesse this vexed question, Lee Hayes once said, "It's all folk music... I've never heard any animals singing it."


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 04:27 PM

Jim Carroll,I have respect for you as a collector.
If you dont mind me saying,debating and discussing is better done amicably,telling someone to sod off to Glastonbury,reflects badly on yourself.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 02:19 AM

Cap'n,
You have a habit of walking away from your arguments when they get too much for you, which I find extremely irritating and certainly did on this occasion. Having said this, I should not have become irritated and I apologise for doing so.
I also find terms like 'folk police' the refuge of people who have run out of ideas, so perhaps it is best avoided.
To continue the discussion on more amicable terms:
Peter Kennedy was not only part of the revival, he was one of its founder members; as a collector his 'As I roved Out' series drew many of us into the music in the first place; as a musician and dance caller, he performed regularly at clubs and dances in the early days, and as organiser, he was very much part of what went on at Cecil Sharp House early in the revival.
It seems to there are a number of ways to approach his behavious towards traditional performers: you can deny it happened and argue otherwise; you can accept it and condemn it or you can ignore it and say it wasn't important - which is it to be?
My friend and neighbour, Tom Munnelly is probably the most important collector in these islands in the latter half of the 20th century.
He has recorded over 20,000 songs from thousands of traditional singers. I doubt if more than a dozen or so have ever been inside a club or at a festival.
If you look through Mike Yates' collection (on the British Library web page) you will find the same proportion applies to his singers.
Over the last 30 odd years we have probably recorded somewhere between
50 and 100 singers; around a half -dozen have ever been in a folk club, if that.
In a moment of point-scoring weakness I went through the BBC archive lists and began to list singers who had never appeared in public; I listed forty and hadn't got to the letter C.
I repeat, the vast majority of traditional singers never saw the inside of a folk club.
Incidentally, Walter Pardon's 'alleged' attitude to his songs is a matter of record and can be accessed via the interviews we did with him which are freely accessible at the National Sound Archive in The British Library.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 07:43 AM

Cap'n B:
"Brian, it is always a good idea,to get more than one angle on a subject,there are other collectors..."

Yes, Dick, I have talked to John Howson about collecting - interviewed him about it for 'The Living Tradition', in fact - but Jim Carroll is right here at my computer terminal telling me from his first-hand knowledge about singers (Bill Cassidy, for instance) I'm interested in. I don't actually think there's a great gulf of disagreement between Jim and yourself - on the parallel thread he's happy to acknowledge that most traditional singers were indeed well treated by the revival, but lists a few specific examples where they were not. I've heard the John Reilly story from several people apart from Jim (including Christy Moore on Desert Island Discs) and I don't think anyone is disagreeing with his account. But passionate argument is always good fun, and sometimes informative, so please continue - this is an interesting thread and thanks for starting it.

Jim Carroll:
"You should both look ot for Early Ballads in Ireland 1968-1985 also from Tom Munnelly's collection..."

I don't know whether you knew Joe Kerins during your time in Manchester, Jim (Mary certainly did!) but he was kind enough to make me a tape of this recording many years ago. And it's great.

What I would be interested in seeing on this thread is a discussion of how traditional singers were influenced by their contact with the revival. As Jim points out above, it was only a minority who ever made such contact (although the ones who did, like Sam Larner, Walter Pardon, etc. are not unnaturally the ones the revival tends to venerate), but to what extent were their repertoires or performance styles altered by the demands of this new audience? Jeannie Robertson? Fred Jordan? I arrived rather late to make that kind of judgement. Anyone?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 07:56 AM

As far as I am aware none of the singers from Sheffield - have ever been inside a folk club. The exception to this is the Traditional Music Festival at Bradfield and we used to have them over in Holmfirth Festival on a Sunday morning and they often made a day of it. But those are comparatively recent events.

The carol singers get an outing at the carol festival held every two years. Otherwise you can only hear them at carol time.

In fact of course not many of them have huge repertoires, so sustaining a whole evening at a folk club would be hard.

And finally as I pointed out earlier - the place to hear singers around here (as it was with Willy Scott for many years) - was at sheep-shearing and hunt suppers. In the private room of a pub.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 11:42 AM

In response to Brian's question about how trad singers were affected by the revival, the late Terry Whelan once told me that Fred Jordan, when he was first 'discovered' and invited to perform on a stage or at a folk club, dressed in his best Sunday suit. It was quite soon afterwards that he kept his farm-labourer's garb on for performing. Perhaps he found it necessary to conform to the expectations of the public?
I consider it quite likely that his repertoire was expanded too by listening to many more singers than he would have had access to in his home village.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:06 PM

I have started The thread Brian requested.
DAVE Ihad the pleasure of hearing Willie Scott, 1976,AT WHITBY FESTIVAL ,he was booked there every year,I must have seen him 5 years running,He was perfectly happy singing to revivalists.
I also saw the Northumbrian shepherds,at Whitby,again they were enjoying themselves,aswas FRED JORDAN who I haveseen AT Whitby ,Redcar,Fylde[Iwas performing at these festivals myself.]
Jean Ritchie at Norwich,again enjoying herself.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:25 PM

I find this thread fascinating. I've never been part of the folk scene - I came to the music relatively recently via CD rather than going to clubs and hearing it live. Without wanting to slide too far off topic - how recently was it that there were still a decent number of traditional rather than revivalist singers around? Are there many left still performing? Are there any good books or online articles I can read about these people?

Thanks,

Nigel


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:26 PM

Willy Scott began singing in folk clubs in October 1961 in the Howff at Dumfermline. He was sixty-four at the time. We can be that precise.

In previous years Willie had performed hundreds of times at herds' suppers at at Border kirns to audiences sharing his own background, predilections and speech idioms.

There is a book about him a book called "Herd Laddie of the Glen". It's all in there.

Note that Dick "hundreds of times". Willie was a singer at herds' suppers probably more times then he ever sang in a folk club.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 12:54 PM

that does not alter the fact that he was booked at WHITBY FOLK FESTIVAL every year for many years and was happy performing there,and happy with the folk revival.,as were Fred Jordan ErnestDyson ,Joe hutton, WIllatkinson,WillTtaylor,BobLewis,and many others.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 07:57 PM

Bob Coltman- (who doen't seem to respond to PMs)
Could you please E-mail me at dick@camscomusic.com? I have a couple of things I'd like to discuss with you.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 11:32 PM

The trouble with the idea of a traditional performer is not the performer him/herself. It's the promoters, the academics, the self-styled authorities who set this performer up as a kind of standard to be replicated. Anything other is not considered "authentic" which is nonsense. Even the notion of a "traditional" performer is an academic construct and may have nothing to do with the value of that said performer.

The reason that the folk revival in the US was aborted was because of the idea that a song had to be frozen as done by a personality for popular consumption. You couldn't take a Dylan song for example and change it around without some folkie jumping down your neck or getting sued by Dylan himself. In short, the creative life of a musician or composer was cut down. The life blood of whatever folk music is happens to be change.

Now when you talk about a folk revival, it has no meaning today. In its time, it was an adjunct of popular music and another branch of show business as exemplified by Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, P P and M or the Trio. Even Alan Lomax in his entrepreneurial role was a showman of sorts.   Bascom Lamar Lunsford's Asheville Folk Festival was a commercial venue, a kind of show business that attracted tourism. Ewan McColl, Peter Kennedy, A.L. Lloyd are show business people and even the Comhaltas Ceoltori Eireann can be considered as a branch of show business in which audiences pay to see performers.

A folk revival is an oxymoron. Folk music goes on in different forms regardless of what many half-baked academic authorities have to say about it. All you have to do is open your ears. It has nothing to do with whether a performer is deemed to be traditional by self-styled authorities or not.

My point is simple. Any culture-based musical expression contains enough musical information outside of that culture to render it as much non-traditional as it is traditional. So what does that leave us? Many talented wonderful singers who have something to offer by singing songs that have history, knowledge and style and are great whether or not they are called "traditional". The label is a red herring. There is no pure race. There is no pure music.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 05:56 AM

thankyou Frank,you have encapsulated my feelings,spot on.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Vin2
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 08:02 AM

Hmmmm, i like that Frank "....All you have to do is open your ears"

I think the rest is down to good manners, sensitivity, tolerance, an open mind with a dash of give and take. The one thing i think that unites us all and that is/can be multi-cultural is music no matter how it's classed or labelled. Not that there's any harm in a bit of friendly argie bargie now and then but if we let it get toooo personal and 'serious' then it defeats the object - which is to share and hopefully enjoy - and there endeth my sermon for the day.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: countrylife
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 03:10 PM

I maybe wrong here but wasn't it the late Frank Zappa(that well known folkie) who stated that there are only two types of music, good music and bad music?

*and now back to the topic*


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