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Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs

Nan 13 May 99 - 01:41 PM
katlaughing 13 May 99 - 01:44 PM
Frank Of Toledo 13 May 99 - 02:44 PM
Les B 13 May 99 - 05:31 PM
katlaughing 13 May 99 - 07:38 PM
John Hindsill 13 May 99 - 09:35 PM
katlaughing 13 May 99 - 10:08 PM
Banjer 13 May 99 - 10:10 PM
Banjer 13 May 99 - 10:14 PM
katlaughing 13 May 99 - 10:34 PM
John Hindsill 13 May 99 - 10:58 PM
MAG (inactive) 13 May 99 - 11:08 PM
Barry Finn 13 May 99 - 11:22 PM
WyoWoman 14 May 99 - 12:07 AM
Les B 14 May 99 - 12:09 AM
katlaughing 14 May 99 - 12:19 AM
katlaughing 14 May 99 - 12:33 AM
Paul Jay 14 May 99 - 12:39 AM
katlaughing 14 May 99 - 12:55 AM
katlaughing 14 May 99 - 01:03 AM
SeanM 14 May 99 - 02:23 AM
Banjer 14 May 99 - 06:36 AM
katlaughing 14 May 99 - 09:39 AM
Shack 14 May 99 - 10:38 AM
Rick Fielding 14 May 99 - 11:33 AM
Alice 14 May 99 - 12:55 PM
LEJ 14 May 99 - 02:03 PM
katlaughing 14 May 99 - 03:50 PM
tomtom 14 May 99 - 03:58 PM
Paul Jay 14 May 99 - 05:30 PM
katlaughing 14 May 99 - 05:47 PM
Banjer 14 May 99 - 07:19 PM
John Hindsill 14 May 99 - 07:49 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 14 May 99 - 08:17 PM
katlaughing 14 May 99 - 08:25 PM
Banjer 14 May 99 - 08:52 PM
Guy Wolff 14 May 99 - 09:59 PM
WyoWoman 15 May 99 - 01:47 AM
Banjer 15 May 99 - 02:43 AM
Alice 15 May 99 - 11:04 AM
dick greenhaus 15 May 99 - 12:37 PM
Rick Fielding 15 May 99 - 01:18 PM
manylodges 15 May 99 - 06:47 PM
manylodges (inactive) 15 May 99 - 07:39 PM
Guy Wolff 15 May 99 - 09:49 PM
Lonesome EJ 16 May 99 - 02:08 AM
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Subject: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey "American" Songs
From: Nan
Date: 13 May 99 - 01:41 PM

Am learning all the songs on David Grismans Common Chord CD with my fiddle. Many are original American songs ,(Dark as a Dungeon by Mel Travis, Maidens Prayer Bob Wills etc.) but many were adopted from the ole' country (Barbara Allen, Wayfaring Stranger). Anyway, looking for more songs suggestions of that genre. Any favorites ot there? I thought Rocky Top and Wabash Cannonball for a start.....give me your favorites!


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 May 99 - 01:44 PM

Missouri Waltz is always gorgeous on the fiddle and then you don't have to worry about the offensive lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Frank Of Toledo
Date: 13 May 99 - 02:44 PM

Just started listening to a CD on David Grisman's label Acoustic Disc called "STORIES THE CROW TOLD ME", with John Cohen, Jody Stecher, David Grisman and Sue Draheim.........Rammbling Hobo.....Farmland Blues.. Twin Sisters......Sally In The Garden and many more.. Old time fiddle, banjo guitar, autoharp and mandolin.. And they"re all done the traditional way with direct references to the original recordings and/or performances. A great CD with over an hour of fabulous acoustic sounds...............


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Les B
Date: 13 May 99 - 05:31 PM

KATLAUGHING; Are you saying there are lyrics to Missouri Waltz ?? Offensive or not, I'd like to see them posted. You can use the starting letter of the word and then *** for "expletive deleted" if you'd prefer. I've always liked that tune and am curious about any words that have become attached to it. Les B.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 May 99 - 07:38 PM

Hi, Les B. If you go to the links and go to the Lester Levy Collection and either do the search with Missouri Waltz or go to Box #153 Item # 137, you will see the original sheet music for it.

The lyrics aren't bawdy, they are what I consider to be racist, nowadays, esp. since my son-in-law is from Antigua and so, my twin grandsons are bi-racial.

It is a beautiful tune, though. My dad and mom used to play it.

Thanks,

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: John Hindsill
Date: 13 May 99 - 09:35 PM

I know I must have heard the lyrics to Missouri Waltz, but couldn't sing any of them...unless the words Missouri Waltz are part of them. Therefore I am unaware of any offensive words, and to whom they would be offensive, in the song.

In general, however, and lacking a peculiar sensitivity, I believe that it is possible to sing songs, recite poetry or prose, and study same as originally written. We can do this while realizing that they reflect that particular historical era which may not be how we look, think behave now, and need not apologize for what came before, sanitize their words or ideas, nor expurgate them.

Sometimes these things are quaint or even offensive to today's sensitivities, but they should be viewed in historical context, and perhaps mitigated by explanitory background.

I am not one who suffers easily notions of political correctness, collective guilt, or the like. Let us correct real wrongs, not imagined ones.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 May 99 - 10:08 PM

Well, John, I don't consider racism an "imagined wrong". A lot of this was already discussed on the Song Appropriateness thread. I am not a strict adherent to PC, either, but I do not think it serves ANY purpose to sing songs of a less enlightened age with such words as "pickinniny" and "darkies", both of which are in the Missouri Waltz.

I would find them offensive

, whether there were a son-in-law and grandbabies of colour in my family or not.

Did you read my whole posting? Did you go to the Lester S. Levy collection and read the words? Yes, it is historically accurate and can be sung in that context, but why? What purpose does it serve except to remind us of the horrible inhumanity slavery was and to remind people of colour that they were, and still are by some, consider less than human?

This is a beautiful tune. It is gorgeous on the fiddle; one can really play it sweetly and soaring; no need for the words to ever be uttered. Just because there are words doesn't mean we need to use them.

This is one case where I don't believe history bears repeating.

katlaughing & defending her "cubs"


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Banjer
Date: 13 May 99 - 10:10 PM

While I understand AND respect Kat's views, I must say "Well spoken Mr. Hindsill!" It is not right to try to rewrite history or try to ignore it in hopes that it will go away. By learning our history, understanding what it meant at the time it was current we are able to relate it to the feelings of today's society and hopefully prevent the same mistakes from being repeated. I am not saying just one group of people but ALL people should learn and work together to make this happen. Kat, I love and respect your opinion, but you must see, I'm sure, that to avoid our forefather's mistakes we must know what those mistakes were. If words in songs can teach us these things, then let us learn all learn from them together. White, Black, Red, Yellow...ALL of US....TOGETHER as ONE


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Banjer
Date: 13 May 99 - 10:14 PM

Oh, my, talk about thread creep....that sucker didn't creep, it zigged..(did ya all hear Battle Hymn Of The Republic playing softly in the background? Neither did I, but it would have made a nice touch) I was also going to mention that Stephen C. Foster is one of my favorite "Old Time" music composers.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 May 99 - 10:34 PM

Sorry, Banj. If people don't know the history of slavery and how we can never go back to that time by now, I don't think a song is going to help. Singing a song about pickinnnies to MY grandsons is not going to teach them anything except make them feel badly about being half-Antiguan in colour!

There are so many good songs. If we really want to bring about tolerance for diversity, I believe we should be learning and sharing the songs of all cultures, esp. indigenous ones. Spend an hour listening to what Navive Americans have been writing for songs these days here

surf the net for other cultures' music sites; learn some of their songs of the here and now.

I grew up on Stephen Foster's songs; they seemed appropriate at the time; then I grew to know better; to be uncomfrotable and understand the hurtfulness they might cause. I think you guys are purists and I understand that. I do not think it serves any purpose outside of narrow studies, though, to continue presenting these songs when there are so many other good ones. There are too many people who might either be offended and hurt by them or who might take them as a continuation for the glorification of the hatred they may feel for any minority; with that kind of "perceived" justification, the racists can continue on with their rhethoric and agendas of hate. Let;s not give it to them. Let's give them examples of something more positive to emulate.

If someone sings these when I am in an audience, I would not stay around.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: John Hindsill
Date: 13 May 99 - 10:58 PM

Kat, I hope you are not suggesting that we should not read or study literature such as Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, or the Leatherstocking Tales, or even Mein Kampf (my particlar loathed work)because of the words, events or ideas expressed therein.

Even stereotypes have some truth, even if it is one we don't like. But these are historic works which give us insight into what was, warts and all. Mark Twain may have exposed the foibles, and the racism of the ante-bellum south, and he did so using the language of the day, but was HE racist in doing so (were the books racist)?

Should we be be exposed to the rantings of Hitler today? I believe there is a lot to learn there about today's headlines. Even if it inspires some deviant person, and it might, the overall good is in exposing it to the light of day. Incidentally, California's former, longtime US Senator, Alan Cranston (Dem.) also thought so in the 1930s (he was not a senator, then); he published an unauthorized translation of Mein Kampf and was sued by Hitler or his publisher...How ironic!

Also, listen to "The Work Song" by Kate McGarrigle recorded by Maria Muldaur in 1973. It uses the word 'darkie' jarringly, perhaps, but in context.

Banjer, thanks for the support; alas, I fear we'll be a minority.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 13 May 99 - 11:08 PM

This is a hot button, alright. In Florida I knew a banjo player who insisted it was all right for him to sing S Foster songs, because HE wasn't racist.

Believe me, you wouldn't have sung them in Chicago, where singing them would be prima facie evidence that you ARE racist.

If traditional material which is offensive cannot be judiciously modified, it will die. Period. Being purist will ensure the death of any song which contains the word "Darkie."

My fingerpicking teacher at OTSFM taught me one Foster song, but just to play, because, he said, the words are "Silly." That about sums it up.

PS: some scholars think Foster ripped off the tunes from the slaves anyway. I don't have any cites, just something I heard once.

I'm with you, Kat

-- MA


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 May 99 - 11:22 PM

I'd have to agree with you Kat. I'd say that I'm also a purist but I don't figure that these songs lent anything positive to anyone. Just the opposite probably, prolonging the view & damage of Jim Crow. Those views died a hard & long death (if it really died completely). The greater the artistic backing (or any thing else the would lent it's support towards these views) the longer the life of the sterotype. I find no beauty in these songs only an ugly testament to the suffering borne by those that these songs depicted. I remember being in the south during the 60's, Jim Crow was still alive & well as were the common caricatures & views that left it's brand on a race & it's stamp on the blues. Barry


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: WyoWoman
Date: 14 May 99 - 12:07 AM

It's a matter of choice. I personally don't choose to sing songs that repeat the ugliness of the past. I know they exist, and they have a right to keep on existing. But of all the wonderful songs out there, I get to choose which ones I lend my energy and loverly voice to, and which ones I'll just pass up, thank you very much.

However, let's don't tar S. Foster too very much. One of his loveliest songs, "Hard Times," has to do with economic injustice and the fact that wealthy, comfortable people were inside their cozy houses while the starving poor were languishing 'round the door. It was an early American "consciousness-raising" song, and has a beautiful tune, to boot.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Les B
Date: 14 May 99 - 12:09 AM

Mag & Kat: So are you saying that all Stephen Foster songs shouldn't be sung just because some of his work contained words that are now offensive ?? I dearly love his song "Hard Times" and don't think I should stop singing it just because he wrote "Old Black Joe" !


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 May 99 - 12:19 AM

Sorry, here is the link, correctly this time, I hope:

AIROS

As to literature; of course not, John. But reading usually requires active participation on the part of the reader. Listening to music can be very passive physically, yet the words and tunes can sink into the subconscious without any effort on the part of the listener, therefore can carry a much greater impact of insidious proportions.

Twain wrote great literature which did expose racism; not perptuate its concepts. I do not consider Foster's songs to be on par with Twain's great works. Their focus was a narrow depiction of a class of people, while his was often a broad denounement of society.

As I said, there are so many good songs, why sing these ones, unless you wish to offend or hurt?

Some of this reminds me of the symphony orchestras and their intransigent love of "the classics". NOT that they are racist, just the reluctant to use new material. I once ran an ad for my brother's music with the line "Composers don't have to be dead to be good!"

It never hurts to try something new, esp. something GOOD! After all that's part of our evolutions isn't it? To expand our consciousness through uplifting activities, ever onward up the spiral of life?

Thank you Barry and MA.

katlaughing, still defending her "cubs"


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 May 99 - 12:33 AM

I guess we were all posting at the same time. I don't believe any issue is black and white (and I don't mean the races here). There are always gray areas and it is never an either or situation, there is always a third, even fourth etc. solution.

Of course I don't mean all of S. Foster's songs! I truly love Hard Times. If you read my first posting, gawd I can't belive this grew out me suggesting the Missouri waltz as in instrumental piece, you will see that I was talking about what I consider to be specifically racist language.

Please read the Song Appropriateness thread. It was a great discussion. I didn't say you couldn't sing any of these songs; I simply said I wouldn't choose to stay and listen. Please respect my right to be respectful and supportive of people of colour.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Paul Jay
Date: 14 May 99 - 12:39 AM

NAN It's amazing to me that so many threads take off on a tangent; how "ole Timeey" Ameican songs becomes "should we not sing naything that hints of being non PC". I think I'll start a new thread on that subject.

In the meantime: I am reading a novel by Charles Frazier titled COLD MOUNTAIN which I find facinating. I originally went to the book/record store to get a CD "Songs from the Mountain" by Dirk Powell, Tim O'Brian, and John Herrmann that I heard reviewed on NPR. I discovered a copy of the CD and book packaged together at a great savings so I bought it am am glad that I did. The writing is excellent and makes one feel a part of the story. The CD has been played over and over again and is truly "OLE TIMEY" I plan to learn all the fiddle tunes on it that I don't already know and the different versions of the tunes I do know.

ANOTHER American who wrote and recorded great songs is Jimmy Driftwod. I have all his records so I don't know if there are any CD's of his out or not. He did many traditional Ozark Mountain songs and wrote many himself in the old style. You might know "The Battle of New Orleans" set to the fiddle tune The 12th of January". He taught me these songs when I was in high school and just starting college.

As you could assume from that I grew up in Arkansas. Attended Little Rock Central High after it was opened again and could relate experiances that would guarentee that I would NEVER be a racist, but I have to come down on the side of Banjer and Jim Hinsill. Their side, I believe, is the TRUTH. If we neglect that truth your grandchildren Kat will have to relive the horrors of those poor souls who suffered under totally misguided, and at times, EVIL people; people who acted from a FALSE sense of the truth. You might check out the book "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James W. Loewen, The New Press.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 May 99 - 12:55 AM

MY grandchildren will NEVER have to suffer what the slaves of the past did. I can't believe you guys are claiming those songs as the TRUTH. There are so many other teaching aids!

And, history encompasses so MUCH more than what those songs represent. Of couse, now I can open another can of worms by pointing out that history has mostly been written and perpetuated by the white, male of European origin and only in the past 20 or so years have we finally been finding out more of the Truth of women's history, but it wasn't necessarily through singing the old folk songs about women as chattles. It was mostly through finding our voices, as in the Civil Rights movement, as women/wimmin and telling OUR stories which had been ignored and/or supressed. In case you are wondering, yes, I am a feminist and yes, I am sometimes radical about it as I abhor injustice!

With the Civil Rights movement etc. how can any of you truly believe people DON'T know the history of slavery by now? These songs do not serve the purpose you claim, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 May 99 - 01:03 AM

I have a question. Have any of you ever explained, face-to-face with a person of colour, your rationale for singing these songs? If so, how did they react?


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: SeanM
Date: 14 May 99 - 02:23 AM

And now a futile attempt to calm things down...

CONTEXT, PEOPLE!

I think both sides are hitting the same general point... As the Song Appropriatness thread began to hint before another round of fuss 'n' feathers started, there's a time and place for these things. I wouldn't dream of going before a general audience and singing a lot of songs in their original format. Hell, we changed 'Paddy on the Railway' (which being Irish, Paddy could be taken wrong by me... but isn't) because it used the word 'bitches'. They were (and still are) loose freight cars in the railyard, but we altered it to avoid upsetting our audience.

However, I also wouldn't dream of changing the lyrics in a historic/educational setting. He who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it, ad nausea (and I do mean nausea). If the audience knows the wherefore and why, and are prepared to hear the 'offensive' lyrics in the proper setting (and no, KKK rallies are NOT appropriate), then these songs provide examples of a) why these songs were used, b) How the original lyrics fit the tune, and c) Why they aren't sung in public. At all.

To everything there is a season, and place. Let it rest at that, please?

M


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Banjer
Date: 14 May 99 - 06:36 AM

Ho boy, so much to write and so little time..Kat, keep uppermost in mind that we agreed to disagree, and if I cannot agree with your logic it doesn't mean I think any less of you. I respect your opinions, all of them and understand the reasons for your opinions. In answer to your question about discussing the music in question with folks of color, I can answer YES, and they sang right along with us! However I will qualify this and say that the black people, both male and female, ranging in age from 12 to 42 are fellow Civil War reenactors. It seems here in the South attitudes are different, at least in the contacts I have had and friends I know in the black community. The black reenactors portray part of the 54th Massachussets, the all black regiment immortalized in the movie "GLORY"
I would probably not go into a diverse audience and play some of the material written in those times, except that the audience was prepared to hear it in the historical content. I am NOT racist. Lets face it, we of (using your words) white European descent have as many or even more bad apples in our own midst. I believe this fits my thoughts into Seans CONTEXT thought.
Note to all the lovers of Fosters' "Hard Times", it is also one of my favorite songs. Has a beautiful melody and lyrics.
I still feel, and probably won't change, that history should not be rewritten to suit the needs or wants of any one group. History belongs to us ALL, and we should all study and understand it as written. That is NOT to say we should relive it, nor carry on some of the ugly events that occured. We should instead, honor our historical heritage, and show those whose forebears were wronged that we are not proud of what our ancestors did and learn to be one community. I think we all are looking for the same goal, but by different paths.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 May 99 - 09:39 AM

Oh, Banj, I'm not holding onto any of this personally, so please don't worry. I always enjoy your posting aan have a great deal of respect for you, too.

Thanks,

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Shack
Date: 14 May 99 - 10:38 AM

John and Banjer; count me in. This thread is beginning to sound a lot more like censorship than Stephen Foster ever did about racism. To criticize someone for singing songs that benignly depict plantation life in the days of slavery, without promoting slavery and most decidedly without putting down black people, is reverse bigotry and intellectual snobbism. There are many disgusting songs I would never sing. But Stepehen Foster? Give me a break.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 14 May 99 - 11:33 AM

Darn. I was going to stay out of this because:
A. Generally I find Foster songs to be boring (even the suddenly hip and much recently recorded "Hard Times".
B. As a commercial "pop" songwriter of his time, he wrote for dough, and constantly repeated himself in order to give the public "what they wanted>"

..but, "my gosh",..."benignly depicting plantation life in the days of slavery,..etc? ....reverse bigotry?
Kat, I guess you and Barry and Mag are going to have to take some sensitivity training to get rid of that ol' reverse bigotry. Now repeat after me: "see the happy pickaninnies" Now don't you feel better?

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I've been good for several weeks now.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Alice
Date: 14 May 99 - 12:55 PM

gee, I was hoping for an answer to Nan, who started this thread. Please give us a list of "Old Time" songs that people sing at get-togethers. Checking to see if the lyrics are here in the DT would be appreciated. --alice


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: LEJ
Date: 14 May 99 - 02:03 PM

Long Live Thread Creep! I had ignored this thread as way too general to be interesting, and you guys thread creep it into a great discussion! As Kat said, a lot of this ground has already been covered in another thread, but it is very thought provoking.

I recall listening to Randy Newman's great Album Rednecks , which was a tableau of characters and attitudes of people in the south, and was meant as a humorous but rather biting satire. The first line of the first song was "Last night I saw Lester Maddox on a tv show- with some smart-ass New York Jew". Now the song was a very clever criticism of Southern public discrimination against blacks, as opposed to Northern unspoken and smug discrimination. I played this for a Jewish friend of mine, thinking that due to the fact that Newman is Jewish and the song is satiric, that he would see the humour in it. His mouth gaped at the first line, and he never heard the rest of it.

Was this a justifiable use of a racial epithet? Does Randy Newman have a special dispensation to use a phrase like that, when Merle Haggard would be brought up on charges for it? I think that, indeed, CONTEXT is the key. As I explained in the other thread Kat mentioned, My Old Kentucky Home contains (in the Foster original) the line "in summer the darkies are gay." I love the song, but find the line offensive and unnecessary to the impact of the song- I have no problem with changing it.

I think Banjer, as a Civil War re-enactor, is concerned with historic accuracy. He wants these songs presented in the context of the time, so that the audience can empathize and understand what those times were like. If My Old Kentucky Home were sung as part of a re-creation of an authentic minstrel show, I would probably agree with Banjer. However, if we hope that the song will endure as a living tradition, we need to take pains to make sure that the song, while preserving the beauty and value of the past, does not diminish the present.

LEJ


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 May 99 - 03:50 PM

Well said, Leej, I agree with you. Hey! Rick, it's nice to see some litter throwing around here; it's been way too tame with 'Spaw away!

Alice, that was what I was attepting to do with my original two line posting.

Here are some other songs I might suggest. They are straight from my old grade school song book and a little book put out by the Wyoming Ag Council in 1963. While they may seem a little ordinary, they are mostly well-known so general audiences might feel okay about tryng to join in and, as far as I know, they are American:

Froggie Went A-Courtin'
My Home's in Montana
Shoo fly
Put your little foot
Drill, Ye Tarriers
Sweet Betsy from Pike
Skip to my Lou
Down in the valley
Roundup Lullaby
Old Chisolm Trail

I might also point out that while both books have some Foster favourites, even then in the early 60's, the words had been changed; there are no what I would consider racial slurs.

kat


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: tomtom
Date: 14 May 99 - 03:58 PM

Randy Newman also covered the song "Underneath a Harlem Moon," which contains the line "that's why darkies were born" (according to the song, I think they were born to sing and dance). It's an extremely rascist song, but Randy is certainly not endorsing the sentiment. Of course context must be considered. A singer's words are not necessarily to be taken at face value, even when he is covering a song. In Randy's case (and many other's), he sings from the point of view of somebody else. On more than one occasion, Randy sings from the point of view of a stalker/rapist. Without a measure of context, Randy's a hateful guy.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Paul Jay
Date: 14 May 99 - 05:30 PM

OK so I was not exactly right (not exactly wrong either) I realized when talking to my wife about this subject that I do change some lyrics to meet the demands of the audience today. I change old sottish ballads (or is that scottish:) so that my audience can understand what I'm singing. I expect negative criticism from the purists on that. The songs still convey the TRUTH without being totaly obscure. In fact I realized that when I first started teaching Art History (I had to they wouldn't let me teach all pottery classes)27 years ago I could find little about women in The usual Art History Books. Now I find a great deal more in even the most ordinary books on Women, African American, Native American, and Oriential Artists, so Yes KAT there has truly been a change in awareness since the 60s. AND Nan the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and many camp organizations have great little songbooks with all kinds of truly American songs, if you are looking for some neat sitting-around-the-campfire types.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 May 99 - 05:47 PM

Paul Jay, I checked out Cold Mountain, today, from the library. I think I remember hearing an interview of the author on NPR.

NAN, he's write about the Scouts. The Wy Ag booklet I mentioned was used mostly by Girl Scouts and 4H.

katlaughing, neither purist, no pc be I, just trying to stay balanced through the gray of the wry


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Banjer
Date: 14 May 99 - 07:19 PM

OK, one more comment here and I will not post on this subject on THIS thread again. Directed mostly at Katlaughing, but all should think on it. I deal with kids in the JROTC program that I have described to you, of all races and nationalities. There are some Blacks, some Oriental, two that I recall were at least 75% Native American, and also the general mix of multiracial families. I make it a point to not look at skin color or ethnic background when dealing with these kids. There are, in good proportion, extremely bright and inteligent people in all the various groups represented. I enjoy working with all these kids and when time permits during the sessions, I try to teach some of the history that is not taught in the regular curriculum. Here is where Kat comes in; I feel that these kids will have a stronger grasp on reality by learning about slavery, racial inequality, and other bad aprts of our past heritage, because they can compare that which was to that which is and see for themselves how much has been done to correct these mistakes of our past and how much has yet to be done with all of us working together to arrive at an acceptable future. Hiding or protecting them from the past is, in my eyes, doing them an injustice.
Now lets get on to music! Some more old time songs that I like are done by the Carter family. In fact I listen to them quite a bit. I received the complete collection (Rounder CD 1064 through CD 1072) of their complete Vitor recordings from the years 1927 (when they were first recorded by Ralph Peer for RCA Victor) to 1941, their last session. Wonderful listening, gives many hours of enjoyment. In fact I am listening right now to When The Roses Bloom In Dixieland, Number 3 in the collection.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: John Hindsill
Date: 14 May 99 - 07:49 PM

Premise 1 - we are all people of goodwill, here Premise 2 - no one of us has a higher moral ground by virtue of who (s)he is, where she comes from, who he is related to, or how rich or how talented, etc. Premise 3 - one is not protected by pretending things weren't or aren't.

SeanM said context is everything, and that really says it. No one I know of advocates using hurtful, outdated characterizations just for the hell of it. If one were writing a song about the late 20th century using ethnic, racial or religious epithets, that one would be correctly castigated in most instances. However, if one is performing or writing in historical context, one would not use the term Afro-American for the hated N word in a song or story about 1910 Atlanta, it is anachronistic. Nor would Kike be out of place in a piece depicting Jewish folks in the Depression-era Lower Eastside of NYC.

Please check out www.laradio.com for Tuesday & Wednesday of this week. A Los Angeles radio personality referred to certain motorcycles as 'Jap Bikes', a was severely criticized...correctly. The term Jap is perjoritive and has no place in 1999, but used in context of WWII it is not out of context.

It was, I believe, a Supreme Court Justice (perhaps Brandeis or Holmes) who said that the antidote to (offensive) free speech is more free speech. I grew up in a time when insults, real and perceived, were retorted by "Sticks and stone may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" and "I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you call me bounces off and sticks to you'. We maybe need more of that.

I have said my piece, and will say no more, here. If anyone takes issue and wants to pursue this further, I will respond to thoughtful and respectful E-mail or private message.

John- a 59 year old, white, Jewish, married, male, asthmatic.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 14 May 99 - 08:17 PM


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 May 99 - 08:25 PM

MAN! I am sorry but I think you guys are overreacting! I do NOT think of myself as on higher moral ground and I am NOT advocating hiding from the past or not teaching kids about it. I SAID I WOULD WALK OUT IF I HEARD SOMEONE SINGING THOSE OFFENSIVE LYRICS; THAT I DID NOT THINK THEY SERVED ANY PURPOSE, EXCEPT TO REMIND PEOPLE OF COLOUR OF A HORRIBLE HISTORY.

THATS IT! No censorship; I marched in support of 2LIVECrew' right to free speech, for crissakes!

I, too, will not post to this again. If you really want an idea of who I am and what I believe in, go abc through the threads and read some of what I've posted. Judge me by all of my words, not a chosen few!

katlaughing, feeling very personal at the moment!


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Banjer
Date: 14 May 99 - 08:52 PM

Aw. Kat, No Offense Intended, I'm sure. Just us guys voicing our opinions, and knowing that we can and that folks respect each other for our opinions and our right to voice them. Think what a dreadful world this would be if we all thought the same...Remember Pete Seegers Little Boxes? Please know that I for one respect and admire you and your opinion and know that we all can receive the same consideration from you. I'm sorry if my opinion offends..But yet I am pleased that we have a forum here where we can air our opinions and not be ostracised for it. Love ya'll....


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 14 May 99 - 09:59 PM

Hello to all... My idea of Ole Timey songs would be things like..... Little Sadie.... The Coo Coo....Short Life But Trouble.....May The Circle Be Unbroken....Walken Boss... All The Good Times Are Past And Gone..Stewball....Things that are old enough not to be placed in just one catagory.I love the picture of home made music being played by nieghbers {whatever color}before we put blues in one box ...country western in another ...Bluegrass in another...and so on.The great thing about older home-made songs is they have such great emages and stories."On the 10th of noverber as the air grew still and the moon came up over Simpson's pond I saw a great white owl..." My best to everyone....


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: WyoWoman
Date: 15 May 99 - 01:47 AM

Banjer-- I think Malvina Reynolds actually wrote "little boxes," yes?

Has anyone heard another of her songs, "The Girl on the Edge of the World?" Wow. kc


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Banjer
Date: 15 May 99 - 02:43 AM

Quite possibly, however my recording of is by Pete Seeger, That's why I used his name. Quite a powerful song if you listen to it, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Alice
Date: 15 May 99 - 11:04 AM

To me, Old Time is the music my grandparents sang
Red Wing
After the Ball
In the Good Old Summertime
Wildwood Flower
Give My Love to Nell
A Bicycle Built for Two
The Man On the Flying Trapeze
When You and I Were Young, Maggie
Golden Slippers
Listen to the Mocking Bird
My Bonnie
Wait For the Wagon
When It's Lamp Lighting Time in The Valley
Billy Boy
Little Old Sod Shanty

I have the impression that Old Time music varies from region to region.

alice in montana


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 May 99 - 12:37 PM

Just to add a bit of fuel, how do folks that are offended by Foster's "darkies" react to Henry Clay Work's "Year of the Jubilo" and "Wake Nicodemus"? By a staunch, effective abolitionist.

I've found that it's virtually impossible to find a song worth singing that dorsn't offend someone . Leave us not get carried away.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 15 May 99 - 01:18 PM

How right you are Dick. Singing in nursing homes (Elder Hostels) presents some intriguing dilemmas. Many of my performances are in Church folk clubs - and I like bawdy humour. More dilemmas.

One of the great Quebecois songs of this generation is "Mon Pays" by Gilles Vigneault. When I sung that in Toronto a few years ago, more than one (folk) audience member asked if I favoured the "destruction" of Canada.

Guess for me it comes down to "what's the motivation?" Each of us has our own "evil twin" who loves to "stick it" to selected folks, now and then, and I'm certainly no exception. I've seen a bit of (what I perceive as) that in this thread, and I can't help trying to suppress a bit of a smile.

Remember though, Randy newman, (can't tell you how brilliant I think he is)Phil Ochs, Dylan, Lehrer, Vigneault, the Rappers etc. mix satire, with their reality. I don't think Foster did - it's usually not good for sales. My reaction to "Shack" was mostly because of his wording - which I saw as a bit superficial. Kinda hoped he'd at least come back and prove me wrong. I ain't afraid to say "I just didn't get it>"

rick


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: manylodges
Date: 15 May 99 - 06:47 PM

Kat, I have been reading this back and forth for some time now. I do pre 1840 reenactments. From the French Vouager to the western Mountain Man. I have a particular interest in the sea trade of the 1800's having been a sailer in the US Navy. I spend a lot of my time teaching my kids, and tons of others about this time period. You are right, that there isn't to many who do not know of the slave trade and buisness of southern plantations. However very few know of the hiddiest conditions in which this so called buisness was carried out. I do a lot of rendezvous (reenactments of the fur trading meetings in the mountains) It is one of the most diverce meetings you can find. There are Irish, Scotch, French, English, reprisenting the so called white influence not to mention some of my decendents the Italions (who everyone thinks is of mafia origin), you have native americans, and runaway black slaves. We all use the jargon of the time together in content,but would never use them outside of content to anyone. In the mountains, no one was judged by the color of thier skin, but by how long they could servive without being kilt by an injin, (a term native americans don't like but use at rendezvous )found starved to death, scalped, killed by a bear, or other critter or froze to death. My point is when kids or adults come in to see this pre 1840 event they hear songs of the period, words of the period, and they see how they all had to be there to understand that time period. The "N" word was used by white mountain men to refer to them selves being seperat and different from other city deweling whites (flat landers). "This here n has the hair of the bear." My son who has been by my side since he was four years of age deplors the term as I do out side of its contex. He once said to me he had no idea how cruel and discusting the slave trade was. He would never have known without the songs, words, and writen history, who ever writes it. Believe me as a historian, I know that the writen history is in the eye of the beholder, and is viewed differently by each culture. Like you said just read or liston more apropriatly, to native american history. But please, let my children hear the words, as revolting as they are. They have learned from the history of all cultures to respect the good qualities of each race of people while also learning how cruely the human race treats each other. I like to think they will choose the best of the good qualites to emulate. I admire your pasion, and respect your views, but even today in Belgrade there is a population of people who will stand by a government who is feeding them the notion of geniside. If we cannot study the injustice of the past, with the words used at that time, we will hear them again.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: manylodges (inactive)
Date: 15 May 99 - 07:39 PM

Nan, a few of my favorits:

long black veil

two little boys

little low log cabin in the lane

ma ma look sharp


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 15 May 99 - 09:49 PM

Alice & Manyloges, I love both your lists.I used to play with a fiddle player and an acordianist who both loved pulling out the songs popular at "Kitchen parties" from their youth. Both we're in their 70's in the late sixties.ALice's list really reminded me of thoughs moments at the end of the night{After the square dance was over and before going home} they would start off in B flat and end up somewhere that could have been on mars as far as a young beginner on banjo could tell.Being within 100 miles of New York city they also added some older broadway songs in there just to confuse matters.I remember they realy loved the key of F and then would sort of move to the subdominent and end up in B Flat just from playing the tunes by ear.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for 'Ole Timey 'American Songs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 May 99 - 02:08 AM

Some songs from my dimly remembered elementary school songbooks:

Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal...The Caissons Go Rolling...Streets of Laredo...Old Joe Clark...Jimmy Crack Corn...Betsy from Pike...Working on the Railroad


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