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Songbooks: Review: The Folk Handbook

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GUEST,Shimrod 20 Aug 07 - 09:13 AM
Marje 20 Aug 07 - 09:45 AM
the button 20 Aug 07 - 09:56 AM
The Borchester Echo 20 Aug 07 - 10:02 AM
DMcG 20 Aug 07 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Ed 20 Aug 07 - 11:13 AM
redsnapper 20 Aug 07 - 12:00 PM
Tootler 20 Aug 07 - 06:08 PM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 20 Aug 07 - 06:44 PM
Desert Dancer 20 Aug 07 - 06:47 PM
Joe Offer 20 Aug 07 - 09:32 PM
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s&r 23 Aug 07 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 23 Aug 07 - 07:24 AM
The Borchester Echo 23 Aug 07 - 07:36 AM
TheSnail 23 Aug 07 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 23 Aug 07 - 11:10 AM
GUEST, Sminky 23 Aug 07 - 11:38 AM
TheSnail 23 Aug 07 - 11:44 AM
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TheSnail 23 Aug 07 - 03:29 PM
Joe Offer 23 Aug 07 - 05:23 PM
The Borchester Echo 23 Aug 07 - 05:56 PM
TheSnail 23 Aug 07 - 06:09 PM
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Joe Offer 23 Aug 07 - 06:12 PM
Dave Earl 23 Aug 07 - 06:20 PM
Les in Chorlton 24 Aug 07 - 03:43 AM
The Borchester Echo 24 Aug 07 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 24 Aug 07 - 07:18 AM
The Sandman 24 Aug 07 - 09:48 AM
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Tootler 24 Aug 07 - 06:43 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Aug 07 - 07:28 PM
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The Borchester Echo 25 Aug 07 - 07:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Aug 07 - 08:34 AM
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Subject: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:13 AM

Strictly speaking this is a review of a review (sorry!).

In yesterday's 'Independent on Sunday' newspaper there was a perceptive review, by Charlotte Greig, of a new book called 'The Folk Handbook' ed. John Morrish, pub. Backbeat.

This is, apparently, a collection of English folk songs - so the title sounds like a rather witless publisher's title to me.

To quote from Ms Greig's review:

"The odd thing about English folk song is that very few people in England seem to know anything about it. Otherwise cultured, literary people seem to have no idea that we possess an extraordinary rich canon of popular song ... It's a lyric tradition that more than compares to ... Chaucer, Shakespeare and the Romantics, but for some reason - whether through snobbery, ignorance, or the peculiarly British disease of self-deprecation - this valuable national treasure has been systematically trivialised and ridiculed over the years, to such an extent that today it remains virtually unknown."

I totally agree with that quote but would go further and suggest that the attitudes described above extend to some of the people who claim to be folk music enthusiasts. I've just been to a 'Folk Event' in southern England - in one of the counties which, a century or so ago, turned out to be a veritable 'treasure-house' of traditional song. Nevertheless, at this particular event very, very few people seemed to know anything about it - or to care. Even worse I seemed to detect, among certain factions of attendees, an antipathy, or even outright hostility, towards traditional song. This is a very sad state of affairs - but I'm not sure what can be done about it.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Marje
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:45 AM

You've saved me the trouble of starting this thread - I was just about to say I'd seen the review and ask whether anyone here had got hold of the book and CD to pass an opinion. The review is mostly a defence of English song and an explanation of why it's important and worth hearing, but I don't need convincing of this - what I want to know is whether the book and CD are worth buying.

The reviewer says it's aimed mainly at schools and libraries, but seems to base this opinion on the fact that it's in a ring-binder, which sounds a useful format for individuals too. Indeed, if he really means a ring-binder rather than spiral-bound, that's got an obvious flaw for libraries and schools, as pages will go missing.

Anyone seen it or even got a list of the songs?

Marje


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: the button
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:56 AM

I've seen it, and it's definitely spiral-bound rather than ring bound. Didn't buy it cos it was a bit pricey, so couldn't tell you what's inside. It's a joint venture with the EFDSS, though, so it's no doubt quality stuff.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 10:02 AM

Ah, Shimrod. I'd never have guessed ;-)

Actually, this 90-song publication is an EFDSS co-production and is very well done - as an entry-level songbook.

It is nevertheless true that English trad has been trivialised and ridiculed, certainly by the mainstream education system, throughout the last two generations, as well as being culturally vandalised by the equally mainstream musbiz.

However, what has been misrepresented can be redeemed. So much work has been put in by English musicians in schools and among people working close to their landscapes who still have a sense of place. Traditions are being respected but conventions broken. English music is still there and growing apace as people are adding to and broadening it. England is joining 'the world'.

So I shouldn't worry too much. Events will happen which some choose to call 'f*lk'. If they mean mostly MOR snigger-snoggers and new-agey tripe, so what? What's good (if anything) will survive and the rest will fall by the wayside. Just as has always happened.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: DMcG
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 11:13 AM

I was given a copy of this as a present, and would agree with Diane. The selection of songs doesn't contain anything very surprising, but it is exemplary in terms of the documentation the source of the songs and so on. A lot of thought has gone into the physical aspects of how the book is used. For example, the music has a large print, making it easy to read at a distance; where a song spreads over two pages, they are almost always both visible at the same time (more often than I think think, chance would have given); the spiral binding is large enough to always allow the book to lie flat without difficulty and so on.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 11:13 AM

More information, including a list of songs and midi files, at www.folkhandbook.com. Amazon are selling it for £12.97.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: redsnapper
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 12:00 PM

A creditable effort it seems.

RS


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 06:08 PM

Link to the actual review

An interesting review which makes some excellent and valuable points.

Having looked at the website, I reckon this could be as good a introduction to English Traditional song as the Penguin book, if not better because of the background information provided to the songs. Certainly I think it will go on my wish list for Christmas.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 06:44 PM

Slightly off-topic, I know, but I really enjoyed Charlotte Greig's last album, 'Quite Silent' - which was a collection of traditional songs in her own hypnotic style. She was good live, too. As far as I'm aware she operates largely outside of the 'official' folk scene.

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 06:47 PM

Tootler, you may have missed that "the Penguin book" was revised with the addition of lots of background info... 'Catter Malcolm Douglas was the editor... see this thread.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:32 PM

Amazon has The Folk Handbook for sale in the U.S. for just under twenty bucks.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Tootler
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 06:05 AM

Tootler, you may have missed that "the Penguin book" was revised with the addition of lots of background info

I did. My copy is an old one which I found in a second hand book shop some years back. The thread you linked to dates from before I joined Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: s&r
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 06:58 AM

Folk handbook arrived today - first impression are good - spiral binding is protected by a substantial card cover. Nice to see Kate and Martin used as cover illustrations.

My only quibble is that it's a strange square format that doesn't sit well on the bookshelves

Stu


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 07:24 AM

I see that no-one has addressed my point about antipathy/hostility towards English Trad. song from within the English (so-called) 'Folk Music community' itself.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 07:36 AM

Thought I did.
20 August 10.02:

. . . Events will happen which some choose to call 'f*lk'. If they mean mostly MOR snigger-snoggers and new-agey tripe, so what? What's good (if anything) will survive and the rest will fall by the wayside. Just as has always happened.

Then. of course, there's the 'good-enough-for-folk', 'let's dumb-it-down' gang whose mantra seems to be the newcomers will be scared off if they don't serve up MOR tripe.

No they won't.
If they don't come again it's probably because they were expecting trad music and not . . . MOR tripe . . .


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 08:01 AM

Shimrod

I see that no-one has addressed my point about antipathy/hostility towards English Trad. song from within the English (so-called) 'Folk Music community' itself.

Possibly because you're original point was a bit vague and unfocused. If no-one else has shared your experience we can't really comment on it. What was this 'Folk Event'?


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 11:10 AM

Dear TheSnail,

I'm not going to be crass enough to name this event because (a) I see no point in upsetting the organisers unecessarily and (b) because I was invited to the event by people for whom I have great respect and liking - and I don't want to upset them in particular.

The only thing that I can say is that there were quite a few musicians and dancers involved and I have noticed before that certain factions among these often exhibit antipathy/hostility to songs and singers (and, no, I am not tarring ALL musicians and dancers with this brush). In this particular case antipathy to singing was expressed in writing (the writer opined that the miserly amount of time devoted to singing was wasted and should have been devoted to dancing). I was also struck by how few of the songs that were sung were actually folk songs - recently composed non-folk songs and children's ditties seemed to predominate.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 11:38 AM

......and the hostility?


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 11:44 AM

So it was primarily a music/dance event. Don't blame it for not being something it never set out to be. I've been to song biased events that have looked on instrumental music as an unwanted intrusion. Choose the events you want.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 02:26 PM

"So it was primarily a music/dance event."

Traditional song was emphasised in the publicity.

"...and the hostility?"

How about a singaround organiser who appeared to have no interest in trad. song and often managed to miss out anyone who was likely to sing one.

The thing is, though, I don't particularly want to emphasise this specific event. The attitudes displayed were, I felt, a particularly glaring example of attitudes which I have been detecting in the English Folk Club movement for some years.

Sadly, I've not had the opportunity to attend a Scottish or Irish club - but I bet that they don't display the same contempt for their trad. song as we do!


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:29 PM

The attitudes displayed were, I felt, a particularly glaring example of attitudes which I have been detecting in the English Folk Club movement for some years.

Without specific examples, it's a bit hard to comment.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 05:23 PM

Well, I was tempted to start a new thread about antipathy/hostility towards English Trad. song, and ask that this thread be limited to discussion of The Folk Handbook, but I see that Shimrod mentioned that antipathy in the very first post.

My first-hand experience of English folk music was just three weeks - a week at Whitby Folk Week and two weeks in Yorkshire, Hertfordshire, and London. My gracious Mudcat hosts made sure I had music every night, so I think it was a pretty good opportunity to observe the health of English folk music. It seemed pretty healthy to me - very similar to the American folk music community in many ways, except that it seems to be easier for traditional musicians to make a living in the UK.

In the U.S., most "folk" music festivals feature commercial acts that do country, bluegrass, and singer-songwriter music. If you're lucky, you might get to hear an old-time performer or two. You're not likely to hear traditional-style musicians unless you go to the non-commercial festivals sponsored by the folk music clubs in San Francisco and Washington. The Philadelphia Folk Festival seems to be all commercial stuff, so I haven't bothered attending it. Same with the Strawberry Festival in California. But Whitby Folk Week had a full measure of traditional music, and it seemed to be in reasonable fiscal health. Yes, I know about some of the problems and personalities involved, but it still ends up being a wonderful festival with lots of good, traditional music.

For me, the high point of Whitby Folk Week was the chance to hear Cyril Tawney before he died. Now, I suppose you could jump all over me and scream that Cyril rarely sang a song he didn't write - but I think that Cyril fit very well into the "traditional" category. He knew his traditional music very well, and the songs he wrote fit well into a traditional context.

When I sing with people in Washington (DC) or San Francisco, I think that most of the music we do is "traditional" - but when I analyze it, I realize that most of the songs we sing are less than 75 years old, and many of the older songs are not rigidly "traditional," either. The only purely traditional sessions are the ballad sessions, and they draw a relatively small number of people. I found the same thing in the UK, at Whitby and at singarounds in London, Yorkshire, and Hertfordshire. People may call themselves "traditional" musicians, but most of the songs they sing are not historical artifacts.

I think that's healthy. Most of us can't handle a steady diet of history. We're eclectic - and I think that eclecticism is an important element of truly traditional music. Yes, we do need to preserve and resurrect the old stuff, but truly traditional music is living music that reflects the life of the community.

I don't think it's true traditional music when it's an audience listening to a performer, even if the performance is a pure diet of historical artifacts. I don't think it's true traditional music if the musicians slavishly adhere to the style of another performer or to their perception of a historical style. I don't think it's traditional if it's a singer-songwriter performing music only he/she can perform, even if that musician uses acoustic instruments. And I don't think it's true traditional music is the only songs allowed are certifiably historic ballads.

In many places in both the UK and the US, I have seen people come together to share music that is important to them, music that involves and provides expression for everyone present even though it might not always require everyone to sing or clap or whatever. Much of this music has a historic context, even though it might be recently composed. Now, that's what I call real traditional music.

"Traditional" music is no longer the predominant style in either the US or the UK, but it still exists in both places, and it's still quite healthy. One thing that can kill it, is restrictions - people who say you can't do this or you can't do that. Another thing that can kill traditional music is pettiness and squabbling and innuendo and bitterness and animosity - and all of those flaws see to run rampant in parts of the UK folk music community - and I've seen it in the US, too. So, lighten up, all you people, and let's just make music and not worry so damn much about what's traditional and what's not.

I suppose it IS sad that music festivals (even in the UK) have become increasingly oriented toward commercial "star" performers, but that seems to be what the admission-paying public wants. If that's what Ma and Pa Cherwinggum want, let them have it. Let's gather in a pub or a living room and make real music, and forget the Chewinggums. But forget all the pettiness, too - you UK folkies seem to spend a hell of a lot more time fighting, than you do making music.

-Joe-

I haven't received my copy of The Folk Handbook yet, so I can't comment on it. The companion Website, http://www.folkhandbook.com/, is terrific.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 05:56 PM

I said what Joe just did but beat him hands down on the word count.
Though I'm interested to know who were these trad musicians he met in a three-week whizzaround England who were coining it in.
And who said the only true trad is historic ballads?
What about dance music, both ritual and social?
And recently composed music written in the tradition certainly can have a sense of roots, place and community.
And it is extremely important to defend that and to be aware of and to respect the origins of the music we make, and to encourage all our citizens from wherever to have the confidence to add to it.
I'll stop before I turn into a commercial for The Imagined Village.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 06:09 PM

Joe Offer

But forget all the pettiness, too - you UK folkies seem to spend a hell of a lot more time fighting, than you do making music.

That's only on Mudcat Joe, face to face we're fine.

I probably wouldn't bother with this but it looks like a rerun of the "Death of the Folk Clubs" thread. Shimrod is making sweeping (and damaging) statements while producing no evidence at all.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 06:12 PM

Nice post, Joe, almost all of which I agree with (that's two of us stroppy Brits being nice already! What are you trying to do?). Agreeing with Diane's comments, I'd point to a band like Mawkin as an example of someone clearly rooted in tradition, yet moving it forwards, writing new material in keeping with the traditional tunes they do... and nary a ballad in sight.

I'd also say that the worst thing you can do to traditional music isn't to squabble over it or even restrict it. It's to ignore it.

Finally, can I confess to being a non-musician and non-singer who hates joining in with the actions or the chorus or even clapping along? I go to watch and listen (and dance if it's that kind of music...). I don't expect anyone to have to watch or listen to me having some kind of empowering community experience. Even out of pity. I'd even go as far as to say that there's plenty of traditional music in the UK that was performed and listened to, rather than joined in with. Communal singing sessions are only a part of the tradition, and for me personally, a part I'd strive to avoid like the plague. I'm happy for other people who like that kind of thing, but I hate it when it starts to feel compulsory.

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 06:12 PM

    And who said the only true trad is historic ballads?
Well, actually nobody actually said it - but they stare at me with those piercing glares, and make me really nervous....
And other times, they're knowingly condescending...
And then I wonder what they're saying behind my back because I sang a union song that was only 93 years old (and because I had ot use a sheet of paper to help me remember the lyrics). It's the people who make me feel like I'm not worthy to sing a song in their presence.
Those are the people who give traditional music a bad name. Those are the people who can kill traditional music. You know who they are - the Folk Police.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Dave Earl
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 06:20 PM

Diane said "I'll stop before I turn into a commercial for The Imagined Village."

OK but I will add that The Imagined Village show is coming to the venue where I work in a few weeks time. I have only seen the write-up in the brochure and know nothing more about it.

I hope to be able to see the show and perhaps form an opinion on it after.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 03:43 AM

The Book looks excellent, are their any plans for a a Folk Hand book on Social Dance and its associated music?


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 03:57 AM

EFDSS Publications: online dance book sales


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 07:18 AM

To 'The Snail',

"Without specific examples, it's a bit hard to comment."

I gave you some specific examples - I was not able to be specific about where they actually happened. And if you want more evidence, just pick out a few English folk clubs at random and count how many English Trad. songs you hear in a typical evening.

Oh yes, let me put you on the spot for a change. Do you like English Trad. songs? Would you like to hear more or less of them?

And to Joe Offer,

I'm not trying to ban anything or put restrictions on anyone and I'm definitely not a 'Folk Policeman' (an old and tired jibe which is way past its 'sell-by-date'). I just think that there ought to be a place in English folk clubs and, as Charlotte Grieg says in the review which I quoted above, English cultural life generally, for our amazing and beautiful English folk songs - that's all.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 09:48 AM

Shimrod if you came to one of my gigs in England you would hear many English traditional songs.
I have been singing them in folk clubs for thirty five years,and it dont seem a cday too long.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 10:05 AM

Good for you Capn.!


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 01:29 PM

These Folk Police (if they existed - and of course they don't, I mean, where are they if you want them?) are actually a figment of the kRusby imagination.

If only they did, they could get on with issuing ASBOs to the new-agey, wifty-wafty snigger-snoggers, pseudo-celtic pogue-clones, purveyors of MOR tripe and 'good-enough-for-f*lk' dumbers-down who could be usefully confined to the newly-discovered black hole of 6 billion trillion miles of absolutely nothing.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 02:16 PM

Diane,

If only I possessed your eloquence!!

One small point. Does kRusby have an imagination? I suppose she must have something resembling one in order to be able to replace all those beautiful trad. song tunes with her own wishy-washy effusions ...


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 02:29 PM

Careful, Diane - I may have to send the Acronym Police after you. What was that you said?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 02:33 PM

Ah, don't you have ASBOs in California?
These are Anti-Social Behaviour Orders served on those who kick up an appalling racket and won't turn it off when asked.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 06:43 PM

What a pity this thread, like too many others has degenerated into petty bickering.

My experience of folk clubs in NE England, limited as it is, suggests that there is much traditional material sung, but not exclusively. Most people seem to sing a mixture of traditional songs and more recently composed songs informed by the tradition but by known writers. There are even, heaven forbid, some people who sing their own material.

At the end of the day a good song is a good song, whatever its origins and a good song well sung will usually go down well.

If that's new-agey, wifty-wafty snigger-snoggers, pseudo-celtic pogue-clones, purveyors of MOR tripe and 'good-enough-for-f*lk' dumbers-down material well so be it.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 07:28 PM

well i think we can all agree the snigger snoggers need dealing with.

if you see a snigger snogger smaller than you - its your duty to punch him/her. Inform them of the error of their ways - and brook no insolence.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 06:34 AM

Tootler,

I insist that this is NOT petty bickering. Charlotte Greig made a very important point in her 'Independent on Sunday' review about the status of English Traditional song in English cultural life. My point is that powerful factions within the English Folk Revival/Folk Club Movement (call it what you will) have, at worst, the same contempt for it and at best the same ignorance of it. I think that these attitudes are completely unacceptable.

And to 'The Snail',

You may recall that a few posts back I put you on the spot and asked you a couple of simple questions:

(i) Do you like English Trad. songs?
(ii) Would you like to hear more or less of them?

To date I haven't seen you post any answers to these questions - come on, play the game - let's hear what you really think!


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 07:59 AM

Indeed, yes, Shimrod raises a perfectly legitimate issue culled from a review by a fairly mainstream name. This is far from 'bickering'; what is to be marvelled at is that Charlotte Greig was moved to comment on this strange and very English phenonomen at all.

That the average English 'persons in street' have been alienated from their cultural heritage and, further, positively encouraged to mock and ridicule it is an incontrovertible fact. So hurrah that someone clearly outside 'our musical world' can see it. This is a lot more than many who declare themselves within it can do.

Chris Wood has been saying it for years and it is the very foundation upon which the English Acoustic Collective was founded. Scottish and Irish trad are doing quite nicely, thank you, albeit boosted by a faintly distasteful tartan- and shamrock-clad commercially-orientated tourist industry.

The AEC's view is that a couple of generations of neglect in our education system can, and indeed is being, overcome. If a generation can be taught to disrespect and diown its cultural inheritance than their children can be taught to value it and, eventually, to add to it.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 08:34 AM

well I might have a bit more respect for the proponents of this point of view if they weren't the very people who had spent the last few years dismantling the format of English songs to give them a more ethnic (to the majority of English people) completely inaccessible sound.

I think we're talking dogmatic traddy bores.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 09:37 AM

WLD and Joe Offer seem to have gone off at a tangent about 'dogmatic traddy bores' but I don't think that's what anyone else is on about.

The topic is a well-produced, though quite expensive, collection of English songs and the OP wanted to know why every citizen wasn't rushing to lay hands on it. This is mostly because they don't know about it, and care less, for a variety of reasons.

Though what WLD is getting at with his remarks about 'more ethnic' and completely inaccessible' sounding English song baffles me entirely. England has always been a multicultural society and the EAC ethos, as I understand it, is that by understanding the richness of our own cultural heritage, we are better placed to appreciate the inheritance of others. If we take our place in the line of human endeavour that brought us to where we are, we will recognise more readily that of others, as anyone who has experienced musicians working with those of different cultures will know.

The making and composing of our own local musics is the most eloquent counterblast to the mainstream. Some will want to sing the old songs, others to compose new and some do both. Whichever you do is your story and you shouldn't believe for a minute that your music-making is not valid and that your story is not worth the telling. And it will help drown out the MOR mainstream tripe and stem the marketing onslaught.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 10:11 AM

all I can say is, it wouldn't baffle you if you listened to more non folk English people's reaction to ethnic style English folk music.. Ireland's got it right, you wouldn't be surprised if Daniel O'Donnel did a single with the Chieftains.

whereas every populariser in England from bert jansch to The spinners and now this Rusby woman, get it in the neck from the 'this is not folk music' brigade. i mean you wouldn't want them living next door to you, but live and let live....

Perhaps you should try a bit of wifty wafty with few snigger snoggers yourself Diane.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 11:14 AM

I would be very surprised if the Chieftains were to record with Daniel o Donnell [the singer],,W L D What would they record The Unfortunate Cup of Tea
There was another Daniel o Donnell who was a very good fiddle player, sadly he is dead.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 12:10 PM

I once lived almost next door to Bert Jansch who I really don't think regards himself as a 'populariser' (unless you're counting that Xmas carol single he put out once).
Jolly nice chap but not for trying to play along with. Blimey!
Anyway, he's Scottish . . .

As for the Chieftains (who are Irish) it actually wouldn't surprise me if they recorded with Mr O'Donnell (who is also Irish).
Mr Moloney seems to have an ambition to play with every clapped out MOR crooner on the planet and has even recorded with the bleedin' Corrs.

And the kRusby, well she's done it with Ronan Keating (who's also Irish).
When those Irish turn their minds to vomit-inducing MOR tat there's no room for half measures.

It's what 'non-folk English' have been bludgeoned into thinking about English trad that concerns me.
And it's why musicians like the aforementioned Chris Wood (to name but one so as not to be invidious and miss someone important off a list) with his composing, arranging, interpretations and tireless teaching) holds the key to turning round the tanker (as it were).


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 01:11 PM

Seriously though Diane - you're a fiddle player, didn't you say?

surely that's the whole point of playing a fiddle or a guitar - you play along with whatevers going on, whatever the temperature of the water is - and its folk music.

Any port in a storm, any wifty wafty snigger snogger on the microphone. And if its not folk music before you start, you bloody well turn it into folk music. Folk music is an ever expanding empire and the hits of Daniel O'Donnel is our last territorial demand.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 01:42 PM

Daniel o Donnell,is as Diane says,a clapped out crooner,the result of the mish mash of Paddy Moloney[the best of the little pipers]and Daniel o Donnell,would really be an Unfortunate Cup of Tea.. ButFOLK MUSIC no,just Boloney.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 03:40 PM

"well I might have a bit more respect for the proponents of this point of view if they weren't the very people who had spent the last few years dismantling the format of English songs to give them a more ethnic (to the majority of English people) completely inaccessible sound."

Far be it from me to agree wth WLD but I think that there's more than a grain of truth in what he says here. The peculiar nasal, 'pseudo-ethnic' style of many English folk club singers is, I have to admit, deeply off-putting - but I think that it goes deeper than that. I also think that there have been/still are powerful forces within the English Folk World who have been desperate to abandon 'The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs' as soon as possible and produce some sort of folk flavoured 'rock fusion' thingamajig (mainly because rock music is as far as their limited imaginations extend) OR to produce endless 'relevant' folk-type pastiches about how awful it is to be a miner/unemployed miner or fisherman/unemployed fisherman OR to abandon sense and dignity all together and to sing infantile kiddie songs with actions.

I think that it might be quite nice to get back to our roots (oh my God - did I really use that phrase!!) and sing some real folk songs for a change (puhlease - pretty puhlease!!!).


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 03:54 PM

people were quite rightly snotty about BBC's singing together programmes for schools. the plummy middle class tones etc - peolple say it acqainted them with folksong - but I think it maybe did for the grammar school kids - alot of kids it must have turned right off.

what we have here is a dichotony. Grammar School teacher singers who want to drone on their favourite poem and the bright kids will pick it up, and the others better watch out or they'll be in trouble.

What we need is a comprehensive approach!


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 04:03 PM

Omigod, Shimrod.
I don't claim to have any knowledge of these 'pseudo-ethnic' club singers because I keep well out of their way.
But what you are describing equates exactly with Smoothops and their MkII Radio Ballads.
Yes, good that they tried. They turned out far better than anything else they've laid their mits on.
But still a bit crap.
It is awful to be an unemployed fisherman (or anything) and there are excellent songwriters such as Barry Dransfield, John Tams and Jim Eldon who have written wonderful songs on these lines.
Yes, back to roots and sing about what we know about.
And encourage others who can to do the same.
It's called the living tradition.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 04:35 PM

OK WLD, I did Singing Together in my junior school, in view of slagheaps and sitting on the floor of the school hall.
William Appleby (definitely not middle-class) and that screechy soprano (who undoubtedly was), but they did a least teach us some trad songs and how to sing them in tune.
After the school day I went to clogdancing classes taught by the Ellwoods at the nearby Miners' Institute where we also sang show tunes from musicals because that way they got their pupils and retained their funding.
At Grammar School I learned my instruments (free before classes), played in the orchestra (after classesl) and sang in the choral society (after all that).
After I left, the school became comprehensive, dropped all music teaching and was (last time I looked) somewhere near the bottom of the league tables.
At school I was inspired by the most marvellous teachers, most of whom had trained after military service in World War II and were determined to create a better world, especially for working class children.
I really don't think they'd approve of what they'd see today but would see some hope in the EAC philosophy.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Jax
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 05:16 PM

As a newcomer to folk music, is this a good introduction? the review in the Independent made me think so but I've got a bit bogged down in the resulting arguments.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: DMcG
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 05:49 PM

Jax: Yes, the book is a good introduction. Most of the discussion above is about things other than the Folk Handbook!


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 06:48 PM

yeh you should know all those songs - pay attention to what is said to be the sources.

but if you hear a really shit version - even if some idiot tells you its as authentic as The Bible - think to yourself - this is not why this piece of work has been remembered - there must be something else, I'm missing. The substance has somehow escaped me.

your real problem is likely to be - hearing some ninety year old reprobate singing a song and thinking. I've made a mistake, this is total crap, and no wonder its been forgotten - its rubbish! I will not dedicate my life to this shite.

For example compare The Cruel Mother sa sung by Cecilia Costello., an old Irish lady who lived in Brum. This is a song which every Irish group doing the Irish music gig circuit does.

Focus not on the original singer, but the genius who sorted this out as a crowd pleaser. for this is the man who gave it immortality.

Creativity belongs to the artists - not the curators of tradtion - whatever self important fucking nonsense they come up with on mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 08:15 PM

WLD - maybe it's because I'm not part of this little folk world (I don't attend clubs or go to festivals or have friends who share my musical taste - which is why I end up on these godawful forums where the only sensible posts seem to be from Diane Easby... but I do buy records), but the point you're somewhat elliptically half-making kind of eludes me. You see, I have most the Voice of The People series and CDs by Harry Cox, Walter Pardon, Davie Stewart, Copper Family, Willie Scott, etc, etc, but reading your post, apparently I'm supposed to dismiss them as shit. Well, if that's what proper folkies want to do, be my guest. Us non-folkies will continue to enjoy them as seminal recordings of fantastic songs. If that's ok...

Maybe in the folk world you just want 'crowd pleasers'. Personally, just as I did with punk, jazz and 'world' music, I want a bit more than that from my music. I've never felt that the lowest common denominator can be good enough. Apparently in some folk circles it is. God forbid music actually challenges us...

Meanwhile, thank god there are young performers like Jackie Oates, Jim Causley, Lisa Knapp etc around who are happy to embrace tradtional music and do somnething exciting and dynamic with it. I believe a lot of these young artists have studied the old field recordings we're all supposed to dismiss. I'd rather have them than some mewling singer songwriter or stand-up comedian with a guitar anyday.

Mind you, this is just my personal opinion. I wouldn't want to try to make it the law...

Cheers,

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 10:44 PM

You do have some very serious unresolved issues, don't you? I'd recommend therapy. You clearly need it.

Cecilia Costello was English born and bred, though her parents were Irish. Her songs were a mix of things she learned from her father and things she'd picked up here.

Most of the posts in this thread have nothing whatever to do with the book, and most of the people who have felt moved to add their tuppenyworth have obviously not seen it. I've seen it, and (though I have some reservations about some of the introductory material) it's pretty good, and very well produced.

One of the people who produced it said to me (about this thread), 'Why are all these people pontificating about a book they haven't even seen?

They are compulsive posters, I replied. They have nothing to say, but they say it anyway; presumably because they have an over-inflated sense of their own importance.

If anyone has actually seen the book and has comments to make about it, then that might be helpful. Those of you who haven't might perhaps, for once in your lives, do well to hold your tongues until you know what you are talking about.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 10:52 PM

To which I should add, of course, that I was replying to the disturbed little WLD; not to Nigel, with whose comments I have no quarrel. I am far from home just now, and must compose offline; with the consequent delays.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 12:55 AM

No you shouldn't dismiss anybody as shit. That's your parlour trick.

but you live in a glossy no nonsense world. and if you are serious about wishing to disseminate our folk culture - you should stop handing out brownie points for people who try to sound like museum pieces. And stop dissing people who work passionately and hard at communicating folk music in a populist fashion.

look at the comments people have made about Daniel O'Donnel on this thread. Its okay for you lot to hand out abuse, sneer, sulk, insult gratuitously....You do it so much, you don't even notice you're doing it. That's the sovereign right of all real folksingers, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: DMcG
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 03:12 AM

Ok, I will try and make some more detailed comments about the book, picking up my original comments and one or two points raised along the way above.

I agreed with Diane's comments above about it being "very well done - as an entry level songbook". I'll start by elaborating that.

Thinking back to when I first got involved, the songbooks I had were exactly that: collections of songs and tunes with little or no other information. What the Folk Handbook adds to this entry level are several things that were certainly not present in anything I had in those early days: a discussion where the song fits into what I will call the genre (I will elaborate in a moment), a discursive account of where the song was collected, a list of some of recordings and, in the section that Malcolm has some reservations about, discussion of the folk situation in the UK, US; historically and currently. There is also a section discussing what characterises the music melodically.

To illustrate what I mean, here's a bit from "The bold Fisherman":   'The Bold Fisherman' has proved particularly popular with English singers, with just a few other records from Scotland and North America. The song was printed a number of times in the 19th century, but the only imprint outside of London that has come to light is that of Jackson (Birmingham); London imprints include Catnach, Disley, Fortey, Hodges, and Such.
Lucy Broadwood argued ....
This version was collected by Cecil Sharp From Edmund Jupp ...
Recordings: ....

That's far more detail about the song than I think the phrase "an entry-level songbook" might suggest. Someone purely interested in the song can ignore that and just treat it as an entry level book. But as their interest in the subject grows, it offers excellent pointers for further involvement. What are these imprints? Who or what is Catnach? Getting the answers to questions like this is where you move from entry-level on to a much fuller involvement with the tradition.

Malcolm will probably object to this, but he is recognised by many of us as a leading authority on these historical aspects of the songs. That he has some reservations about the introductory material should not put you off: it's a little like asking a professor of nuclear physics whether he has reservations about an introduction to the atom aimed at seven year olds!

Also, as I have said, I think a lot of thought has gone into the physical design. S&R's comment that "My only quibble is that it's a strange square format that doesn't sit well on the bookshelves" illustrates what I mean. While it does not fit on bookshelves too well, it fits on a music stand rather better than anything else I own.

My own quibble is the title. "The Folk Handbook" is a little misleading. The subtitle is more accurate: "Working with songs from the English tradition".


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 03:28 AM

I have made no comments about this book,because I havent seen it.I have seen Daniel O Donnell and the Chieftains,And I am qualified to comment,definitely an Unfortunate Cup Of Tea.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 04:57 AM

I haven't seen the book, but I'm glad it's out, that it's getting reviewed in mainstream publications and that it's readily available at a reasonable price from places like Amazon. It's another way to keep this music out of the museum...

Incidently, here's a link to Charlotte Greig's review

Slightly off-topic, but I can't see anyone in this thread "dissing people who work passionately and hard at communicating folk music in a populist fashion" as you put it, WLD- are you refering to the likes of Eliza Carthy, Kate Rusby and Seth Lakeman? I'm glad they're out there doing what they do. Except for Eliza, they're not really to my taste, but I wouldn't begrudge them their success. Likewise, it's great that Bellowhead are touring reasonably sized non-folk venues this autumn.

If on the other hand, you mean my 'mewling singer songwriter' comment - that's based on my limited experience of folk clubs, where I had to sit through some godawful, mediocre singer songwriters and 'funny' performers, who in a more mainstream venue would have been booed off. Hopefully they weren't typical of songwriters on the folk scene, but if that kind of thing is what you mean by 'communicating folk in a populist fashion' there's a hell of a long way to go. Having said that, I wouldn't mind being given some examples of these sorts of performers who are worth listening to. I am aware of people writing new stuff in a folk style who are really good - Alasdair Roberts and Sharron Kraus spring to mind... not convinced how far they are part of the folk scene though - I think they are largely independent of it.

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 05:17 AM

wee little drummer has a good point,the people that popularise [or sing the songs] are as important as the songbooks themselves,both need each other.
Martin Carthy states elsewhere,under the subject of style[the songs only come to life when there is intraction between the audience and the singer,and Ithink people 25 years ago hearing what has happenned to the music since would in general,be pleasurably surprised],he also says.[if you change the old singers song drastically you may well lose what attracted you to the song in the first place.At the same time,whilst Ihave learned from a recording of Thomas Moran,or Walter Pardon,I know that the music cannot help but change and evolve by a gradual process].
I have the original Penguin book,so at the moment I dont need to buy the revised copy.
Wee Little Drummer is absolutely right to object to the offensive tone of Malcolm Douglas ,if a poster cannot offer another point of view, without being called disturbed and in need of therapy,it is a sad day for freedom of speech.
However I disagree with WLD about Daniel o Donnells role as an ambassador or promoter of folk music,although his point about the singers [popularisers] promoting,performing and interpreting the songs is Important.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 05:30 AM

I have always thought that the people of England could be acquainted with more of the folksongs that are their birthright, if we could interest more mainstream artists in the idea of interpreting them. Scottish people know more of their folkmusic than our citizens.

And in a way its not the legacy of the Dick Gaughans(not that I'm downplaying his importance) - as much as people like Andy Stewart, Kenneth McKellar, Moira Anderson, Jimmy Shand and all those much despised producers of the shortbread tin stuff. they taught a load of songs to a broad sweep of their generation.

When I was a young chap, I was interested in Nottamunum Town. But I couldn't understand it. So I asked the only guy I knew who was likely to know and that was Ewan MacColl.(seems like he was as Scottish as Cecelia Costello was Irish). MacColl was brilliant on the subject explained all kinds of stuff, explained and expounded for an hour. I wish I'd taken notes in retrospect -finally though he asked me which version had captured my interest.

When I said Bert Jansch - it was abit like I'd dangled a rotten fish under his nose. In England, popularisers are treated with suspicion.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: s&r
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 05:38 AM

It's sad that so many people here seem to be preoccupied with what ought to be sung and where and how and by whom.

Last night we went to a wedding disco. We joined in. It was good fun. At the moment a CD is playing of Rolf Harris (daughter bought it for birthday - good fun) Were either Art, or Folk - No.

There is a place for the purist, and the archivist, and the researcher. Equally there is a place for the Hokey Cokey, and the intense angst-ridden singer/songwriter.

I'm with WLD that the performer brings life to a song. It may be that the song is part of a national treasure. Great that someone is making use of that treasure.

And I love Kate Rusby, whose folk credentials are impeccable.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 08:39 AM

I am much with Shimrod's opening post. Why do we so diss anything that is traditional English? Unfortunately, spendid fellow that WLD is, he seems to have a total antipathy (now) for anything that actually is traditional English. And while Diane is so well informed and turns such a neat phrase, it is a shame that her idea of a piquant sauce is so close to vitriol.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 09:03 AM

no Richard the word traditonal comes from the Latin:
traditio = I hand over

so why the hell don't we put these songs into the hands of someone who has some slight possibility of handing it over.

I'll tell you why we don't. Because there are all these fiefdoms of self importance, ramparts of self interest.....

if there were an album of English artists - who actually have a constituency - Status Quo, Cliff, MacCartney , The stones, Oasis, etc - each tackling a major work of English folksong. you might have some chance of getting more people into folksong. Getting the songs out there.

Of course that would mean people turning up at folkclubs singing folk songs in a more natural manner. that wouldn't please too many of the present crew.

From what Les at Market Rasen told me about you Richard - what I'm proposing is not too different from what you do in your act, is it?


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 10:03 AM

I was just making a sauce (béchamel, as it goes) so it's probably just as well Richard ain't coming round for dinner.

I applauded the book (which I have) and agreed with Charlotte Greig's (via Shimrod) assertion that the English (in the main) ignore, ridicule and despise what they have in their own cultural treasure chest.

And I haven't actually told WLD that he's bonkers (though clearly he's barking) but have concentrated on bigging up those musicians who are working within the tradition, are rooted in it and possess a sense of place and community and an ambition to instil this in others and assist them towards contributing to it.

What clinches it is WLD's weirdly insistent notion that Bert Jansch is a 'popularist' and even more so that he chooses to cite Nottamun Town as an 'example'. Bert recorded this on Jack Orion, his first set of almost exclusively trad material. If Ewan MacColl was taken aback at the mention, it was probably as a result of the inconguent recording of First Time Ever on the same LP.

Bert Jansch is a highly individual talent who performs what he wants, a mix of self-written and trad material in much the same way as highly-regarded artists like Richard Thompson (and so on . . . no more lists). It is absolutely NOT a case of 'getting people into folksong by dishing up a lowest common denominator mish-mash, a medley of All Around My Hat on a Daytrip To Bangor for a Whisky In The Jar.

Actually, a picture of the look on Mick Jagger or Noel Gallagher's face when asked to participate in such an insultingly misconceived project has just slid into my mind . . . oh dear.

No. Very well-known, fairly mainstream artists such as Billy Bragg and Paul Weller have already made inroads into the use of traditional material and shown a deep respect for its origins. (Led Zeppelin and Rod Stewart too, maybe, though just a bit light on respect). And there's a whole new musical movement out there which most people who post on Mudcat are ignoring because it's passed entirely beneath their radar. I can't admit to liking everything the Fence Collective does, but I'm ever so glad they're out there doing it.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 12:29 PM

WLD,

I'm sure that you're going to label me as a snob or an elitist (or at least something bad) because of this - but if Status Quo or The Stones started recording English Trad. songs, well, I might even kill myself - and it would all be your fault!!

No, I withdraw that threat of suicide because (a) one should never threaten such a thing and (b) ... it would be my fault ... wouldn't it ?

Anyway, I would be very, very, very peeved indeed!

You see (and I'm sure I've said this to you before), I really, really hate rock music (and I've hated it since I was a small child). One of the many reasons why I prefer English Trad. song is precisely because it's not rock music (not a noisy, ugly, brutish racket!).

I believe that one of the reasons why 'we' seem to despise English trad. song so much is because our culture is steeped and marinated in rock music and now 'we' can't imagine that anything which sounds different from it can have any value. Now that 'we've' converted all the fields to intensive ley meadows and oil seed rape and concreted over everything else 'we' can't imagine what the old 'flowery meads' looked like or recognise the value of one if 'we' were to catch a glimpse of it.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 02:10 PM

Stu - I listened to Rolf Harris today, too. My four year old loves him. I like him too. I also listened to Boards of Canada, King Creosote, Art Ensemble of Chicago and Efterklang. None of it is folk (possibly King Creosote?...). It proves nothing and is of little relevence to this debate.

I'm all for fusion and experimentation and moving the tradition forwards - whether it be Trees and early Steeleye Span and the Albion Band in the 70s or Mary Jane, Bellowhead, the Memory Band and the 18th Day of May now. However, I'd rather shred my own ears than listen to some superannuated corporate sludge-rock behemoth like Status frigging Quo or Oasis turn 'John Barleycorn' into 'Rocking All Over the World'. In the unlikely event of them deigning to cover traditional songs they still wouldn't get a penny of my hard earned cash. I'm not going to turn off my critical faculties or my bullshit detector just because there may be some 'folk' in the offing.

If I wanted to listen to washed up purveyors of Dad Rock, I wouldn't be here. I'd be perusing the racks at Tesco.

The idea might work with credible performers though. I dunno... we could maybe call it 'the Imagined Village'!

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 03:28 PM

well with respect, it wouldn't actually BE INTENDED for homo superiors like yourself - you know all the songs.

I just think some of those millions of other people we share this island with, should have the songs presented to them in a way that wouldn't have them going for the off switch.

If you knew Jansch in the 60's, you SAW the audience reaction, Diane. He was indeed a populariser - much more so than in your face popularisers like The Spinners. He was so charismatic and attractive. To be honest - without him I don't think Jack Orion, Blackwaterside, Rosemary lane, Nottanum town would be known by anybody outside of the folk club gang - which admittedly has shrunk from those days. I think he popularised a lot of folksongs.

She has a mind like a razor, this woman. Smart as a whip. She only pretends not to understand what I'm saying. Then she pretends to disagree - what a tease!

As if I'd insult Mick Jagger.....I don't insult anybody. Surely you noticed that much. Me....pacifist!


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 03:57 PM

Well actually I think most people learned Jack Orion from Martin Carthy, Blackwaterside from Anne Briggs and Nottamun Town from Shirley Collins. OK, I'll give you Rosemary Lane but that was much later, in the midst of the Pentangle era.

In the beginning, people were fascinated by Bert Jansch because of his unique, uncopyable playing style and his songwriting first and foremost. Not for his interpretation of trad songs.

My reference to Mick Jagger was that I thought he's be a bit puzzled, not insulted, to be asked to take part in The Imagined Village. Imagined Somewhere in the Deep South, perhaps, but not really a candidate for Banks of the Sweet Primroses. (Though there is Dandelion, I suppose . . .


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 04:52 PM

Bob Dylan used the tune of nottamun town for Masters of War,wasnt it a top ten hit,Now thats poularising.
Shoals of Herring also got into the top twenty


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 05:26 PM

The First Time Ever got to #14 with Roberta Flack in 1972 and paid for Ewan & Peggy to produce Kitty.

And an Oysterband sub-group called Fiddler's Dram took Day Trip To Bangor to #3 in 1979. Though I hardly think it counts.

Nor, really, does The Battle Of New Orleans which Lonnie Donegan took to #2 in 1959.

Probably Rod Stewart did best with Maggie May in 1971.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 06:11 PM

QUOTE: well with respect, it wouldn't actually BE INTENDED for homo superiors like yourself - you know all the songs

Actually I don't. As I said before, I'm not part of the folk scene - I just like the music - along with a lot of other non-folk music (most of my record collection has bugger all to do with folk).

Not listening to bland, lowest common denominator corporate rock doesn't make me a 'homo superior' of any kind. It's just that with a limited amount of cash to spend on music and so much good stuff out there, why should I waste my money on the musical equivalent of listening to paint dry, all for some kind of misplaced and deeply patronising populism? None of my friends like traditional music. Most of them, however, have bloody good record collections and don't need dumbing down to. And I doubt we'll ever convince those who might only buy at most a handful of any records a year, so why worry?

Meanwhile, people are 'popularising' folk out there. Check out some of the acts that play at festivals like Green Man, Wickerman, Beautiful Days, etc. They aren't corporate rockers, and they aren't part of the folk scene. But they are reaching a demographic that wouldn't be seen dead in a folk club or a Rolling Stones concert.

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 06:55 PM

Oh I dunno. Just imagine...

Joe Cocker doing Just as the tide was flowing

Annie Lennox doing The House Carpenter (Eric Clapton accompanying)

and so on....

Isla St Clair was half way there with her album The Song and the Story accompanying the TV series - as I remember, there was some decent synth (80's style) programming and most of Steeleye in the background. I don't think the voice was quite remarkable enough not to get swamped by the production, but it was a damn good try.

I particularly liked Flash Company, which came out as a sort of country song. I mean.....come on, I bet you've heard that one butchered by floorsingers many a time and oft on the rialto.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Richd
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 08:01 PM

I am a VERY happy attender at Green Man. Lots of good stuff including Shirley Collins who was lovely. It was great this year. It's the only festival I go to. I've been put off all the rest by what I read here. Sidmouth- why bother? It's all crap according to you lot. If you love music that much why do you constantly use it as a way of giving each other a kicking all the time. Some of you are a like a bunch of muttering old sods who talk exclusivly to each other in a room with the curtains closed convinced that the world has shrunk to the dimensions of your imaginations and understanding, seemingly unaware that a whole world exists happly outside the curtains making music, singing songs, having children, teaching them songs and having a good time.

Folk music is something you do. It's not a scene. It's what you ARE. It's not hard to do or clever. YOU JUST SING TO SOMEONE ELSE SONGS THAT SOMEONE SANG TO YOU OR YOU HEARD AND WERE MOVED BY. You don't need to buy books or records OR ANYTHING ELSE you already own it. It's yours. And mine. Its the songs- little capsuls of understanding down the years, waiting to come to life when someone sings them, no matter how badly or well.

The threads coming out on this forum from Britain have got very boring. It is very difficult to learn anything from them, except people's pseudonames and low opinion of each other. I used to learn a great deal on Mudcat, but I don't now. I think you must all know each other. Why don't you start talking to other people outside your little group and stop kicking each other. I know you won't 'cos that's how you get your jollies.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: richd
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 08:03 PM

Sorry, not logged in.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 08:08 PM

alright richd, we forgive your pique


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 08:17 PM

Actually Cap'n if you try to play the accompaniment of Nottamun Town to Masters of War it doesn't work (unless of course I have been "jazzing up" folk song again - which I probably have but I didn't intend to change the tune on that one).

WLD, what I aim to do is to take a folk song (or sometimes a neofolk song) and play it my way. Mostly (there are some exceptions, for example a variant of "Summertime Blues" that owes more to Blue Cheer than Eddie Cochrane, but it doesn't go out very often except on "silly nights" and a version of "The Morning Dew" that owes more to Nazareth than to Tim Rose, but I may ahve been at the tune a bit, it's just the way it is in my head) my purpose is to take the meaning of that song and present it with attitude.

THere are other exceptions, for example "Substitute" nello estilo folk song, and "Play with Fire" as an acoustic song with a sort chorus - but the wellspring is folk song.

That is because (I believe) English folk song is in a sense inherited.

Billy Brag songs may be excellent (I quite like "Sexuality") but they are not folk song. The Stones used to play some Afro-American traditional material (is it still OK to call it "blues"?) but have no perceivable conection to British folk music that I have perceived. The Quo - do me a favour, I have had some interaction and do they ahve any connection toany folk music and do they still have a fan base? Not hte same since John and Alan "left". As for "Status Quo, Cliff, MacCartney , The stones, Oasis" oh shit oh shit oh shit, do you mean that folk is Radio 2 material? I remember the day I was grooving hard in the greengrocers to the wireless playing, thinking "this is hot" and it turned out to be Radio 2. I knew I was not jsut old, but OLD in mind that day.

Shimrod, there is no need to dismiss rock as an artform nor as a metohd of interpretation of folk song. What isn't needed is people like Sniff Lakeperson taking songs like "The setting of the Sun" and totally ripping out the plaintive tune that gives meaning to the original and replacing it with a zero melody with a bit of "thud-thud-thid".


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 03:54 AM

RichD: Why are the angriest, most agitated posts on Mudcat always from people telling those having the online version of a pub discussion how angry and agitated they sound?

Green Man is my favourite festival too. A nice mixture of folk, low key rock, experimenting etc in a lovely setting with a great atmosphere. And in a lot of ways, I'd rather have the opportunity to see folk in that kind of setting than at a festival that is exclusively about folk - it also combats the tendency towards insularity.

I understand what you're saying about singing other people's songs being 'folk'. Whilst it's a commendably inclusive approach it does have the unfortunate implication of making 'Stars In Their Eyes' the most popular folk TV programme. It also means when my little boy and I are singing along to the Wiggles we are having some kind of 'folk' moment. We're not. We're just singing. The two aren't always the same.

WLD- Fair point about Joe Cocker. I actually quite like Rod the Mod's take on 'Man of Constant Sorrow' too, even if the recording credits try to make out he wrote it... another downside of the big boys doing folk material, possibly.

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 05:01 AM

sounds great Richard - we must do a gig together sometime. The stones are English - couldn't they have inherited a bit of folk tradition.

I think they could do a great job on Going Up Cambourne Hill, coming down. I can hear Brian Jones slide guitar on it!


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 08:07 PM

Shimrod

You may recall that a few posts back I put you on the spot and asked you a couple of simple questions:

(i) Do you like English Trad. songs?
(ii) Would you like to hear more or less of them?

To date I haven't seen you post any answers to these questions - come on, play the game - let's hear what you really think!


Sorry Shimrod, but I've been away at Towersey listening to a great deal of English Traditional song and music; some of it with a bit more drum'n'bass'n'electric guitar than suits my taste, but English Traditional nonetheless.

I gave you some specific examples

No you didn't. You cited this "Event" which you refuse to name and then made sweeping statements such as "The attitudes displayed were, I felt, a particularly glaring example of attitudes which I have been detecting in the English Folk Club movement for some years." Evidence. Give us evidence.

To your questions -
(i) Yes, very much.
(ii) I hear a great deal already but I would always be happy to hear more.

Diane Easby

I applauded the book (which I have) and agreed with Charlotte Greig's (via Shimrod) assertion that the English (in the main) ignore, ridicule and despise what they have in their own cultural treasure chest.

Shimrod's point is not that the English aren't interested in their culture but "My point is that powerful factions within the English Folk Revival/Folk Club Movement (call it what you will) have, at worst, the same contempt for it and at best the same ignorance of it

"powerful factions"! Good grief! Name names.

And if you want more evidence, just pick out a few English folk clubs at random and count how many English Trad. songs you hear in a typical evening.

I generally go to two folk clubs every week and I've lost count of the festivals I've been to this year. I am actively involved in the English Traditional folk music scene and hear plenty of English traditional song and music. I have seen no evidence of what you say.

Shimrod, I think you may just be going to the wrong clubs and events.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 29 Aug 07 - 05:21 AM

Thanks for the pointer to the book: I shall look out for it (and may even extend myself to chasing it up if it isn't for sale at Fylde this weekend).

Is this ideal traditionalist Chris Wood the same guy who has backed this arch villainess Kate Rusby? I think some people need to square some circles in their thinking.

So one dancer doesn't like the singing? That's no great surprise, is it? Look at the tension between musicians and singers at some sessions. ("You've sung one song, I shall now play this one set.....") I don't like blues. So?   Is this a symptom of a deep-rooted hatred of blues in the folk movement? I might like to think so, but don't see much evidence!

I only go to one club, and (shock horror gasp) it may well happen that no traditional song is sung in any one evening. On another, it may be nearly all traditional, depending upon the guest and floor singer(s). But "singer-songwriter" and "traditional" are not mutually exclusive except in closed minds. To pick one example, a songwriter like Jez Lowe is pretty close to the popular folk song of the North East. Here in the NW there seems to be a pretty healthy mix of the new and the old.

Just one point: I think the Spinners were a lot more popular than Bert Jansch. Talented though the latter is, and however influential to generations of tortured student guitar players, more people enjoyed the Spinners.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Aug 07 - 05:46 AM

Yes the The spinners were more popular than Bert Jansch when it came to filling biggish venues. Indubitably. so far as I know they were the only act to sing The Bleacher lass of of kelvinhall on Pebble Mill at one which I thought was pretty cool, for a group that some folkies get very snotty about.

The thing about Bert was though, he brought some fairly obscure traditional songs to prominence in the minds of guitarists. (in so much as we can be said to have minds). You only have to check the internet and the guitar magazines to see some character trying to invent a tab explanation of Blackwaterside, or any of the others I mentioned. Diane tells me that it was Martin Carthy who did these songs first and made them popular.

if she says so, I wouldn't argue, but it has been Bert's versions that have held a lasting fascination for us guitar anoraks. Trouble is, theres no tablature that can explain that touch.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Aug 07 - 06:06 AM

To 'TheSnail',

No, I'm not going to name the event. I gave my reasons for not doing so and you should also know that I made my views known to the organisers in private. Now I'm getting a bit tetchy about being put on the spot - so back off!!

I'm glad that you've found some folk clubs where folk songs are sung - I notice that YOU don't name them, though ... (?)


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Aug 07 - 07:17 AM

Shimrod

come on, play the game - let's hear what you really think!

Now I'm getting a bit tetchy about being put on the spot - so back off!!

Make up your mind.

You have made some very sweeping and derogatory statements about the current state of the folk club scene without producing any evidence and then demanded that people respond so you can't complain about being put on the spot.

I'm glad that you've found some folk clubs where folk songs are sung - I notice that YOU don't name them, though ... (?)

The two clubs here in Lewes, The Lewes Arms (of which I am a resident) and the Royal Oak are pretty solidly traditional. I think Seaford and Horsham have a fair mix of traditional and contemporary; I've certainly never encountered any "antipathy" or "hostility" to traditional song at either of them. The Lamb at Eastbourne seems to swing between extremes depending on who's in charge that night.

Like I said, I think you may be going to the wrong clubs. Seek and ye shall find.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Aug 07 - 07:28 AM

Santa:

To the best of my knowledge, Chris Wood has never 'backed' Ms Rusby.
Maybe you're thinking of Andy Cutting (his sometime sidekick) who plays in her band?

The only time I met the Spinners was at a town event for an early Loughborough Festival, some kind of effort to involve the good burghers in what the incomers were doing up at the Uni.
(There are others who do it better these days when not arseing about in cowsheds).
It was some sort of dire 'barn dance' and they were the interval spot.
We hightailed it (after I'd counted the meagre door take) to drown our sorrows in what passed for a 'nightclub' in said city.
Nice chaps but I'm willing to bet that Pentangle filled more venues worldwide than they did, if we are talking size.

WLD:

I don't recall Mr Carthy ever doing Blackwaterside. What I said was it was Anne Briggs who brought it to public attention more than anyone, with the possible exception of Margaret Barry.

Bert's version is outstanding though. 'Best thing he's ever done', according to Davey Graham. Thing about Bert's playing is that you really can't tab it. You could write out the riffs but that's only an outline.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Aug 07 - 02:38 PM

So, my copy of The Folk Handbook arrived yesterday. Right away, I discovered that it has "Pleasant and Delightful" in it, so it must be a proper British folk songbook. I have to say, though, that I was a bit perturbed to see "Rosin the Beau" in a collection of British songs - can't you people let us Americans lay claim to anything? A few of the songs are new to me as an American, but most are old standards that are known even to folkies here in California. The presentation of the songs is attractive and interesting. There's a 14-track CD included, which is nice. I was thinking it would be even better if MIDI files were available for all of the songs in the book, and I see on the last page that somebody else had the very same thought - the MIDI files for all the songs in the book are available at http://www.folkhandbook.com/. For me, it's a darn-near perfect songbook. It doesn't have guitar chords, but guitar chords mixed with lyrics in songbooks are annoying to me. In fact, most of the songs in the book are songs that I prefer to sing without accompaniment.

Stomp on them damn guitars.

I think the book is a wonderful way to wrest these good songs from the grasp of the "dogmatic traddy bores" and make them attractive to normal people - who can and do like traditional music when its presentation is interesting and inclusive.

-Joe Offer-
And so it doesn't get lost, here is the complete review that Shimrod referred to in the first post:
    The Independent
    29 August 2007 12:23
    The Folk Handbook ed John Morrish
    English folk songs are a cultural treasure comparable to Shakespeare – so why are they so under-appreciated?

    Reviewed by Charlotte Greig
    Published: 19 August 2007

    The odd thing about English folk song is that very few people in England seem to know anything about it. Otherwise cultured, literary people seem to have no idea that we possess an extraordinarily rich canon of popular song, ranging from profound narrative ballads illuminating the human condition, to lyrical love songs, to comical tales that play with metaphor in the most sophisticated way. It's a lyric tradition that more than compares in range and depth to the work of our greatest poets, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare and the Romantics, but for some reason – whether through snobbery, ignorance, or the peculiarly British disease of self-deprecation – this valuable national treasure has been systematically trivialised and ridiculed over the years, to such an extent that today it remains almost unknown.

    All of which makes this wonderful new collection of English folk songs particularly welcome. As well as the songs themselves, The Folk Handbook also boasts a series of perceptive essays and a fascinating CD of recently recorded traditional singers (one track was recorded as late as 2005, showing that the music is still very much alive). Packaged in a ring binder, it's clearly aimed at schools and libraries, but still has much to offer the general reader. Hopefully, the book will help to dispel the illusion, fostered by a lot of modern revivalists, that English folk music consists of nothing but whimsical nonsense about milkmaids, elves and fairies prancing about in a pastoral idyll. It may also give us some pointers as to why the tradition has been so undervalued in the past, and how it might be resurrected in the future.

    There are 90 songs here, presented in thematic groups entitled "songs of death", "songs of love", "songs of trickery and outwitting" and so on. Each song is given a page to itself, with the lyrics clearly printed and the melody shown in simple musical notation, followed by information on the song, which, like the rest of the writing in the book, is erudite without being overly academic.

    For instance, the notes on first song, "Death and the Lady", which tells of a young woman's attempt to bribe her way out of a prophecy of death, not only give us the lowdown on the danse macabre tradition to which it belongs, but discuss Holbein, Dürer, William Chappell, Mary Lamb, Cecil Sharp and Shirley Collins along the way. The classic murder ballad "Bruton Town" gets a similar treatment, showing us how it connects to versions of the story by Boccaccio, the German poet Hans Sachs and John Keats. To balance the gloom of the ballads, there are plenty of optimistic love songs in the collection, such as "The Banks of Sweet Primroses", "Hear the Nightingale Sing" and "The Bold Fisherman", as well as humorous, bawdy tales like "The Game of All Fours" and "The Thrashing Machine" that, as the notes explain, take delight in sexual metaphor rather than hiding behind euphemism.

    My own particular interest, songs about errant women of one kind or another, is also well represented here. On the one hand, we encounter resourceful heroines like Lady Isabel in "The Outlandish Knight", who drowns a serial killer by asking him to avert his gaze while she strips naked, and then pushes him off a cliff into the sea; on the other, there are tragic figures like the unfaithful wife in "The Daemon Lover", who is tempted away from her husband and baby by a former lover, with dreadful consequences. Also included here is perhaps the most famous female heroine of them all: the rich, highborn lady who leaves her "new-wedded lord" and her goose-feather bed to elope with a dark-eyed gypsy boy and sleep with him in a "cold open field", in the song variously known as "The Raggle Taggle Gypsies", "The Gypsy Laddie", and "Black Jack Davey".

    This is perhaps the one English folk song that people know today; yet somehow, in being served up to us over the years as a jolly rural ditty for schoolchildren to sing, its radical sexual and social message, as well as the mysterious female psychology at its heart, have tended to become obscured. Perhaps the reason for this has to do with the way folk songs have been presented in musical and cultural terms, rather than because their lyrics no longer speak to us. Handing out song sheets, getting people to sing the songs in unison, and banging out chords on the piano to accompany them, as teachers used to do when I was a child (and probably still do), entirely robs the words of their poetry. No wonder that today many people can't stand the sound of what they think of as "English folk music", and refuse to take it seriously.

    Many ancient English folk melodies are full of strange, Eastern-flavoured intervals and irregular patterns that are at odds with our contemporary way of making music, whether classical or pop. For this reason, an unaccompanied traditional air may sound stark, even ugly to the modern ear. But try listening to one of the singers on the CD here – Jean Orchard or Walter Pardon – and then attempt to sing along yourself. You'll be struck by the intricacy of the phrasing, the way it's almost impossible to reproduce exactly what you hear; and afterwards, when you go back to modern pop or rock tunes, you may begin to find that they begin to sound bland and simplistic in comparison.

    Overall, there is only one minor criticism that I would make: a separate index of song titles, with alternate versions, would have been helpful. Many readers will want to go straight to individual songs, rather than look through the selections by theme or consult a general index. But in every other way, this is a very fine, user-friendly collection, a sharing of experience and knowledge by some of our best contemporary English folk singers and scholars.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Older person, New Folkie
Date: 08 Sep 07 - 06:13 PM

Re: The Folk Story section of the book:
During my recent interest in folk music, I have been exposed to a jumble of names and styles of folk and I try to follow peoples' opinions and criticisms found on mudcat.

Understanding some folk music in clubs has been hard. My listening is improving and I feel less resistant to what seemed to drone on to hearing the lyrics/sentiments expressed. It doesn't happen overnight. A smattering of songs that I know has been needed to keep me involved.

Festivals and audience-type clubs have been inspiring in the main, especially the energy and enthusiasm of some younger players and dancers. I am astounded and reflective on how the 'big names' still play at local clubs. I am also surprised how few sing-around punters go to see and hear them, but I concur with their vision of some folk clubs meeting their social needs.

The Folk Story section of the book is so informative; there is much to read about all these 'names' that have been pieces of jigsaw folk-jargon to me. It has developed my understanding further with quotes and explanations of points of view.   

The Songbook will be as good, but I do wish there were chords printed. Not everyone is confident enough to sing unaccompanied. I actually bought the book to access some 'proper' folk songs as I know so few. It's not the done-thing it seems at some folk clubs to sing something different, so I feel unwelcome by the organiser, not the audience by the way.

Feeling a bit better educated now in this folk tradition stuff is satisfying. I suppose experienced folkies have just assimilated knowledge over the years. It's a steep and lonely learning curve for us newer ones.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Sep 07 - 11:21 AM

I've just obtained a copy of this book and my feelings are very mixed.

The Foreword by Shirley Collins is spot on. It seems to me that Ms Collins has always had a deep affinity with English Folk Song and writes about it, and explains its significance, very well. The same goes for Vic Gammon's lucid and scholarly Introduction. The next time that some hapless Mudcat contributor asks "what is folk music" they just need to be directed to this excellent and very readable essay.

The next section: 'Folk portraits' by John Morrish is more problematical. Although I would have liked to see more detail on some of the personalities discussed (Vaughan Williams for example) this is a quibble. But on p.31 we get two adjacent portraits of Ewan MacColl and Peter Kennedy. For MacColl the usual (too-oft repeated) jibes about the Singers' Club's 'only songs from your own area' policy and his 'fierce' politics are repeated but there is no mention whatsoever of the controversies (see recent postings on this board) surrounding Kennedy's name; why not? I think that MacColl was a very important figure and there should be much more discussion of his achievements and less harping on about his alleged flaws. Similarly, Kennedy was also a very talented figure but a more balanced portrait is needed than the usual hagiography. Dare I say it, but if some of the recent allegations are true Kennedy may turn out to be a much more flawed figure than MacColl ever was!

As for the rest of the Introductory material there appears to be too much rambling on about Bob Dylan, Paul Simon et.al. and 'Folk Rock' for my taste and I think that this stuff fits uneasily with what went before (and the songs which follow, for that matter). Nevertheless, Martin Carthy's contribution, 'Working with folk song', is interesting and I believe that singers (and would-be singers) would benefit from reading it.

I haven't been through the song book in any great detail, yet, but it does seem to be a bit of a ragbag (possibly?). The song essays are interesting but do we really need great lists of broadside printers associated with every song (interesting to know, but couldn't these have been confined to an appendix?). Also I find the 'Recordings' section at the end of each song essay curiously arbitrary (but that's probably just me!).
Oh yes, and is the song 'The Gypsy Lass' ('My Father's the King of the Gypsies') really on a CD called 'Songs of a Macedonian Gypsy'? I can't wait to hear that!


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: paula t
Date: 09 Sep 07 - 04:16 PM

I'm always so sad to read arguments about what is and is not accepted as "folk" music. When the traditional songs of the day were written they were the pop of their day. People wanted new and exciting music and they wanted to perform or listen to the music they had enjoyed.I always look at each song on its own merits. I don't worry if it is traditional or contemporary. This is the way people have always listened to music- reacting to each piece as they listen to it . Let's just enjoy music for what it is. The danger otherwise is that music stays in one place and we fail to build on our roots. There will suddenly be a "black hole" when people in the future try to find out and what our generation was singing and keep our traditions alive.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Sep 07 - 07:22 PM

Hmmm...what the reviewer seems to be saying, and indeed what AL Lloyd said in his book Folksong in England, was that it wasn't the pop music of its day. It was too complicated for us plebs to really get to grips with.

Fair enough ...leave it to the clever folk. They deserve it.

Folk song in every other country means the music of the people. In England, it means what half a dozen people with a hang-up about Eastern European rhythms think is really important.

think carefully before you agree with me, it could cost you your MBE.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: TheSnail
Date: 09 Sep 07 - 07:44 PM

weelittledrummer

and indeed what AL Lloyd said in his book Folksong in England, was that it wasn't the pop music of its day. It was too complicated for us plebs to really get to grips with.

Yeah, well, A L Lloyd was obviously just an ivory tower academic who had no idea what life was like for ordinary, working class people. You can read all about his privileged, middle-class life here.


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Sep 07 - 05:52 AM

"...what the reviewer seems to be saying, and indeed what AL Lloyd said in his book Folksong in England, was that it wasn't the pop music of its day. It was too complicated for us plebs to really get to grips with."

Where does Bert say that, WLD? Chapter & verse, chapter & verse ...

Oh, and by the way, this particular "pleb" (son of a sheet metalworker) has never had any problems in getting "to grips with it". And I've never felt excluded by the "clever folk" either (I've met quite a few of those in my time).
On the other hand I have been alienated by some of those who think that folk music is only 'yesterday's pop music' and it's, therefore, OK to replace the old songs with contemporary pop-inspired mush!


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Subject: RE: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Sep 07 - 01:49 PM

I think it is good. I wish I had been able to read it 40 years ago. Then I would have got to some of those songs before lots of other people did.

I guess lots of you all understood the deep and various origins of English folks songs and so the book says nothing new for you?


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Subject: RE: Songbooks: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Oct 15 - 08:22 AM

Did anyone ever produce a user-friendly contents list for the book? The web links go to a Japanese or Korean website.


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Subject: RE: Songbooks: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Reinhard
Date: 17 Oct 15 - 01:36 PM

I just did it: The Folk Handbook


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Subject: RE: Songbooks: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Oct 15 - 06:38 PM

Thanks, Reinhard. That's very helpful.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Songbooks: Review: The Folk Handbook
From: Reinhard
Date: 18 Oct 15 - 03:37 AM

And I forgot a link that I just rediscovered on my own page ;-), John Morrish's own The Folk Handbook Companion Site.


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