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source singers and accompaniment.

The Sandman 04 Oct 07 - 02:24 PM
DebC 04 Oct 07 - 04:13 PM
Desert Dancer 04 Oct 07 - 04:16 PM
DebC 04 Oct 07 - 04:17 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Oct 07 - 05:37 PM
Peace 04 Oct 07 - 05:41 PM
The Sandman 04 Oct 07 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 04 Oct 07 - 06:26 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Oct 07 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,doc.tom 04 Oct 07 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 05 Oct 07 - 02:57 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 05 Oct 07 - 04:18 AM
Bryn Pugh 05 Oct 07 - 04:34 AM
The Sandman 05 Oct 07 - 04:58 AM
The Sandman 05 Oct 07 - 05:06 AM
Bryn Pugh 05 Oct 07 - 05:23 AM
The Sandman 05 Oct 07 - 05:55 AM
Bryn Pugh 05 Oct 07 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,doc.tom 05 Oct 07 - 06:21 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Oct 07 - 06:34 AM
The Sandman 05 Oct 07 - 06:43 AM
The Sandman 05 Oct 07 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 05 Oct 07 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Young Buchan 05 Oct 07 - 04:24 PM
greg stephens 05 Oct 07 - 04:43 PM
dick greenhaus 05 Oct 07 - 04:55 PM
Barry Finn 05 Oct 07 - 05:02 PM
The Sandman 05 Oct 07 - 05:04 PM
The Sandman 05 Oct 07 - 05:45 PM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Oct 07 - 06:05 PM
GUEST 06 Oct 07 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,doc.tom 06 Oct 07 - 04:17 AM
The Sandman 06 Oct 07 - 04:29 AM
Snuffy 06 Oct 07 - 04:31 AM
Bryn Pugh 08 Oct 07 - 09:30 AM
Barry Finn 08 Oct 07 - 10:29 AM
Richard Bridge 08 Oct 07 - 11:16 AM
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Subject: source singers and accompaniment.
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 02:24 PM

Is it correct to say that the singing tradition in Ireland England Scotland Wales,was exclusively unaccompanied.
I can think of only two possible exceptions,was this the case amongst the travelling community as well.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: DebC
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 04:13 PM

Hi Dick,

In listening to the Flanders recordings (and I certainly didn't listen to ALL of them) I found one source singer, Edith Ballinger Price, who accompanied herself on the piano. Now whether she was the only one, I don't know. All the other singers I listened to sang unaccompanied, but there could have been others that used accompaniment that I didn't listen to.

Deb Cowan
www.DebraCowan.com


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 04:16 PM

That's New England for the Flanders collection, of course.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: DebC
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 04:17 PM

Thanks for adding that clarification, DD.

Deb
www.DebraCowan.com


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 05:37 PM

It seems unlikely. We know that many collections occurred of words only as the tunes were thought unimportant, and it is entirely possible that accompaniment was similarly marginalised.

We know that some songs are set to the tunes of tunes (Johnny Dhu - Scotland, and one of the name of which I am not certain - maybe "my good days are done" - a Northumbrian tune - to name but two). We know that some songs appear to be in the same mould as fife and drum playing which was used for military song. We know that ecclesiastical music (which plainly powerfully influenced some of the harmony work of the Watersons) had been accompanied since the the end of "pure" plainsong.

Music hall music which by the dates of much collection had already influenced the corpus of traditional song was usually accompanied. Surely the same argument can be made of the Wheatstone accordian and sea-song, can't it (I don't know, I speculate).

I thought that some source singers (and I thought that one was Margaret Barry, didn't she play the banjo?)

The travelling minstrel must surely have influenced the traditions, and many were lutenists were they not?

I cannot at the moment place where the line comes from but "Ye mid burn that old bass-viol, that I set such value by" surely points to the use of the instrument in tradition. Why would the tradition have segregated the instrumentalist from the singer?

It doesn't feel right that what is suggested should be so.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Peace
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 05:41 PM

Folkopedia.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 06:15 PM

Bob Blake[not a source singer,but still a good singer is listed] in folkepedia,but no Harry Cox [an excellent source singer]
BobRoberts accompanied himself,as did John Mcdonald[TheSingingMolecatcher],neither of these two are listed in folkopedia as source singers.,but most people think they are source simgers.
Pecker Dunn[is he a source singer or revival]banjo.
RichardBridge,Wheatstone made concertinas not F.....Accordions.
Fiddles were used on board sailing ships,but generally for hornpipe competitions,not shanties,which as far as I know were generally sung unaccompanied,please correct me if I am wrong.
Margaret Barry[afine singer],isnt mentioned in folkopedia,I am not sure,but most people assume,as I have done in the past that she was a source singer.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 06:26 PM

And let's not forget Davie Stewart. His piano accordion backing to "The Dowie Dens of Yarrow" is one of the great, rule-breaking traditional song accompaniments of all time.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 06:34 PM

My belief is that the Wheatsone concertina and mouth-organ would have been used for forebitters


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 06:59 PM

Bob Roberts & Charlie Bate both accompanied themselves - but arguably this was revival influence. Certainly I'd always considered the English tradition to (almost entirely) be unaccompanied. Harry Cox knew his song tunes on both fiddle and melodeon - but not to accompany himself. Margaret Barry and Davie Stewart (hear, hear, Brian)both developed their accompanied performance style as street singers - it helps get the money! Belle Stewart used to sing some material accompanied by Alex on the chanter - but was that only in folk clubs?

And incidentally, Folkopedia is there to be edited - add others by all means!

Tom


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 02:57 AM

It is always dodgy to talk about 'exclusive'.
The traditions you mentioned (not sure about Welsh) were, in general, unaccompanied when we came to them, but there are exceptions.
The McPeake's accompanied some songs, though there is no evidence to suggest that was a part of their local tradition. Jane Turriff and (I think) Elizabeth Stewart accompany - judge for yourself whether an instrument adds to or detracts from their songs.
I always wonder whether accompaniment is part of these singers traditions or a personal idiosyncrasy. I think the fact that our tradition is basically a narrative one suggests that it was unaccompanied, but like much else of folk song, we simply don't know. For me, the benefits or otherwise of adding an instrument are to be found in the series of albums issued by Folktrax which have dubbed-on accompaniments. One of the conditions put to Topic when they planned to issue the Harry Cox recordings was that the practice be repeated.
Sensitive and skillful instrumentation can work, but quite often accompaniment does more harm than good to a song.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 04:18 AM

"For me, the benefits or otherwise of adding an instrument are to be found in the series of albums issued by Folktrax which have dubbed-on accompaniments."

It's not fair to judge the merits of accompaniments by this outrageously insensitive practice. Overdubs are difficult even for the most talented and sensitive musician, let alone when added to a vocal track recorded at a different time with no thought to the future provision of accompaniment. Accompanying a singer is a hard job even when you're sitting right beside them. Self-accompaniment at least offers the opportunity to have voice and instrument working in synchrony, harmony and sympathy.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 04:34 AM

Jim,

Would it not be more accurate to have said 'quite often accompaniment can do more harm than good to a song' ?

I have followed and damn near worshipped |Martin Carthy since 1966, yet, when i listened last evening to the later recording of 'Broomfield Hill', I found myself wincing at the guitar accompaniment, which to my ears was meeting itself coming back.

Yet I can remember a spine-tingling moment (although this might be an age thing, or arthritis) when I first heard Martin play it in session, at MSG, all those years ago.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 04:58 AM

Martin Carthys guitar style has changed since 1966,Iam not sure if this is relevant to Broomfield hill,whether he has changed his tuning or style on this,this remark is not meant to be detrimental,just a statement of fact.
I do know that I sing differently without accompaniment,I think the lack of accompaniment, means the voice fills out gaps [where there would normally be a chord ]producing a more decorated style,.
I think if singer only has to concentrate on one thing singing,logically he should make a better job than having to concentrate on two things.
Generally speaking,I would prefer to sing Narrative songs unaccompanied,but i can think of at least three exceptions,where with the use of good[imo]harmony,the use of sus4 chords, or modal added chords,harmony can create and add drama to a song.
Apologies for digressing,.
Is it correct to say,that in Americasource singers using accompaniment is more prevalent,Roscoe Holcomb springs to mind,[to be seen on you tube on PeteSeegers RainbowQuest]Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 05:06 AM

Bryn,It is quite possible, Martin sang it differently on that occassion to when he recorded it,after all a good singer which he is [imo]will never sing the same song, exactly the same way. Singers are affected by all sorts of circumstances, as are members of an audience.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 05:23 AM

Capting darling-

I wouldn't argue with that.

The version of 'Broomfield Hill' to which I adverted in my earlier posting is on 'Landfall'. - early 1970s, I think, when this was first pressed.

In listening to it yesterevening, I found myself thinking about the recording made by Don Lang and his Frantic Five, of 'The Auctioneer's Song', way, way back in the 1950s (when even I was in short pants).

I'm not knocking Martin's playing, now or then - I have come home from many's the Martin Carthy gig (with or without Swarby) determined to put my foot through whichever guitar I owned at the time.

Sorry for not making myself clearer - what I should have said was that I listened, not to the song words or tune, but to the "curliness" of that particular accompaniment, its complexity and intricacy.

(Martin, as I am sure you will be aware, as a very modest man, is his own greatest critic. )

What I meant was that this accompaniment, in its intricacy, distracted me from the song. I am sure that you and Jim Carroll will agree with me that this, surely, defeats the object ? Which is, perhaps, the point that Jim was making in his earlier post.

I will agree that Martin's style has changed since 'Landfall'. Starker, darker, it seems to me - perhaps it is a case now of what to put in, rather than what to leave out.

What do I know ? How am I qualifed to judge ?

Blessed Be. Bryn


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 05:55 AM

Captain Birdseye[not Captain Darling],I am sure Captain Darling is a stout fellow,but he hasnt contributed to this thread.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 06:04 AM

Whatever


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 06:21 AM

But to return to the subject of this thread! I'm with Jim. Are we talking about 'traditional', 'source', or whatever the current fashionable title is? OR are we talking about (latter twentieth century) revival singers?


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 06:34 AM

How about "folk singer" - as distinct from what even the traddies amongst us mostly are - "folksong singer"?


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 06:43 AM

source singers[not revival singers].


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 01:10 PM

JimCarroll,what was the situation amongst travellers,mostof the recordings I have heard have been unaccompanied,apart from Pecker Dunn,the banjo seems to have been popular with travellers,but mostly for playing tunes.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 01:10 PM

"
It's not fair to judge the merits of accompaniments by this outrageously insensitive practice"
No it isn't - I'm at my most intolerant first thing in the morning.
."Would it not be more accurate to have said 'quite often accompaniment can do more harm than good to a song'"
Yes it would.
Digressing wildly Bryn,
Your mention of MSG brings many good memories flooding back - and bad ones.
Among my favourite is the First Time Ever (!!!) I met Ewan and Peggy at said establishment.
Terry Whelan introduced me and after the club we stood outside on the steps talking.
At one stage a taxi drew up and a smartly dressed young man stepped out and headed for the night-club next door.
One of our company, Barry Taylor, said, "That's Georgie Best".
Ever wordly, Peggy said, "Who's Georgie Best?"
Barry told her, and she promptly sprinted across and asked for his autograph.
Good days.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: GUEST,Young Buchan
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 04:24 PM

Jane Turriff not merely accompanied herself on the harmonium, she dragged it all round Scotland with her,by public transport, with a leg crippled by polio and leading her blind husband.

I believe Jack Elliott of Birtley could, at a pinch, accompany himself on a guitar.

So far contributions have concentrated on self accompaniment, but what about those nexecrable accompanimens Peter Kennedy perpetrated on some of the singers from whom he collected. And I'm sure that somewhere I have an EP of Jeannie Robertson accompanied by Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor. Lawd Elpus!


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 04:43 PM

Emma Vickers, as sourcy as you like, accompanied herself on the melodeon. I think it would be true to say that accompaniments were a part, but not a major part, of the British Isles tradition.At least in recent years.How about that? We have no idea of just how prevalent singing with a fiddle was more than century ago.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 04:55 PM

Aren't y'all being a bit parochial? There was a fair amount of instrumental accompaniment by the likes of Frank Profitt, Leadbelly, Rufus Crisp, and several hundred others on this side of the pond...though I'll freely grant that this was largely a 20th Century phenomenon.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Barry Finn
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 05:02 PM

George Herbert (RIP) was a Cape Horner. By the time I met him & recorded him (late 70's) he had long given up the sea. He was a singer, musician & collector or sea music. He stated out as a runaway kid of 12 or 13 in the baltic trades as a cabinboy sometime around WWI. He took his instruments (don't know when he started on them) to sea with him; concertina, harmonica & alto uke. George was born in England around the turn of the last century & eventually married & made West Geelong, Australia his home. He sang with & without his instruments & played tunes. He sang both traditional songs (some versions of which I never heard from others or seen in print) & as well as contempory songs. He espicially enjoyed Tom Lewis's 'Sailor Prayer' but couldn't bring himself to sing "with 'BEEK' as sharp as razors" instead singing the traditionl phrase "with 'WINGS' as sharp as razors".

Bob Roberts sang with & without his instruments as does the 13 yr old kid he took on as his apprentence, Danny Spooner.

Barry


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 05:04 PM

Subject: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 02:24 PM

Is it correct to say that the singing tradition in Ireland England Scotland Wales,was exclusively unaccompanied.
I can think of only two possible exceptions,was this the case amongst the travelling community as well.Dick Miles
DICK,Idid mention that it seemed to be different inUSA
Martin Carthys guitar style has changed since 1966,Iam not sure if this is relevant to Broomfield hill,whether he has changed his tuning or style on this,this remark is not meant to be detrimental,just a statement of fact.
I do know that I sing differently without accompaniment,I think the lack of accompaniment, means the voice fills out gaps [where there would normally be a chord ]producing a more decorated style,.
I think if singer only has to concentrate on one thing singing,logically he should make a better job than having to concentrate on two things.
Generally speaking,I would prefer to sing Narrative songs unaccompanied,but i can think of at least three exceptions,where with the use of good[imo]harmony,the use of sus4 chords, or modal added chords,harmony can create and add drama to a song.
Apologies for digressing,.
Is it correct to say,that in Americasource singers using accompaniment is more prevalent,Roscoe Holcomb springs to mind,[to be seen on you tube on PeteSeegers RainbowQuest]Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 05:45 PM

BARRY FINN,thankyou but bob roberts has already beem mentionedSubject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 06:15 PM

Bob Blake[not a source singer,but still a good singer is listed] in folkepedia,but no Harry Cox [an excellent source singer]
BobRoberts accompanied himself,as did John Mcdonald[TheSingingMolecatcher],neither of these two are listed in folkopedia as source singers.,but most people think they are source simgers.
Pecker Dunn[is he a source singer or revival]banjo.
RichardBridge,Wheatstone made concertinas not F.....Accordions.
Fiddles were used on board sailing ships,but generally for hornpipe competitions,not shanties,which as far as I know were generally sung unaccompanied,please correct me if I am wrong.
Margaret Barry[afine singer],isnt mentioned in folkopedia,I am not sure,but most people assume,as I have done in the past that she was a source singer.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 06:05 PM

Why are you quoting yourself?

'Folkopedia', as Tom has already hinted, is a cumulative work, like any other wiki; though unlike Wikipedia it does not allow anonymous contributions as it wants to be both accurate and accountable. More information is being added all the time, but some of us do have other things to do as well, so it may not happen as quickly as you would like.

Perhaps you should consider registering as a contributor. I expect that the concertina section could use more detail.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 03:19 AM

'And I'm sure that somewhere I have an EP of Jeannie Robertson accompanied by Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor. Lawd Elpus!'
Jeeze!, I'd forgotten that one (even though we have the Collector EP nestling in the cupboard, unplayed for many years), diabolical.
An Irish supergroup did the same for one of the finest Sean Nós singers, Tom Costello (Tom Paidín Tom).
'I can think of only two possible exceptions'
Can't think why, there have been at least a dozen examples so far, and they keep coming.
Definition: (that awful word again) exclusive - not didvided or shared by others: single, independent, sole.
Remembering Jeannie's 'My Son David' being accompanied, which was debated long and acrimoniously at the time, there was pressure from a certain section of the revival to prove that the tradition was, or had been an accompanied one and I witnessed a number of performances where the guest source singer was persuaded to allow one of the residents to add a touch of guitar or whatever - with deadly results. It was this practice I am convinced, that led a number of clubs to ban instruments altogether. I seem to remember Peggy and Ewan were once offered a booking as long as Peggy didn't bring her instruments.
Here in our local music sessions, occasionally a singer is invited to sing (usually when the musicians want to go out for a quick fag).
Unfortunately, some players (one box-driver in particular) has taken to providing accompaniment - watch this space.
Dick Greenhaus is right of course, the US has a wonderful accompanied singing tradition and well as an unaccompanied one (as do some European countries).
Among Travellers singing to accompaniment went on in connection with street singing (the Dunne Brothers from Kerry as well as those already mentioned). Kerry Traveller Mikeen MacCarthy, who was a street singer and ballad seller, made a clear distinction between this and what he referred to as 'fireside singing' which he said was invariably unaccompanied.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 04:17 AM

"couldn't bring himself to sing "with 'BEEK' as sharp as razors instead singing the traditionl phrase "with 'WINGS' as sharp as razors".
- Me neither, it's cetainly WINGS on the west coast of the West Country - although when I challenged Tom L on this on one occasion he said that that was the saw as he knew it - well, we ought to expect variations!


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 04:29 AM

MALCOLM DOUGLAS.I am quoting myself,toshow Bob Roberts has already been mentioned.


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Snuffy
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 04:31 AM

I could never work out why a dove would have 'BEAKERS' sharp as razors. Nor 'in my ear a lion'


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 09:30 AM

I remember one session at the 'Ducie', just behind the University Theatre, when I had been invited to sing.

A rare privilege, and high compliment, at an otherwise exclusively instrumental sesiun.

I sang 'Martinmas Time', and some cretin with a SQUARE BODHRAN - it's true, honestly ! insisted on providing a percussive "accompaniment" - until he was informed that said instrument would be forcibly introduced to his fundament

(taken and shoved up his arse, were the exact words used)

if he did not give over, and that right speedily !


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Barry Finn
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 10:29 AM

when I talked to Tom L about WINGS/BEEK he said he had the phrase as "wings" (which was how George had it) & built the song around the traditional phrase but changed it from wings to beek.
Sorry about drifting on your thread.

Barry


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Subject: RE: source singers and accompaniment.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 11:16 AM

Yes, concertina rather than accordian. But, the point is, surely used on forebitters. And why do you not accept that it would have been irrational to expect an unaccompanied tradition, and, further, that instruments were at risk of being marginalised in the process of collection? The ability or otherwise of the few living English source singers (I'm sorry if you don't understand the difference between "folk singer" and "folksong singer" - I think it tallies well with the 1954 definition) who survived into living memory to accompany themselves, or the failure of their preferred accompanists from their youth also to survive is at best marginal evidence of what the tradition actually was.


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