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Money v Folk

GUEST,The Observer 07 May 08 - 09:22 AM
Snuffy 07 May 08 - 09:26 AM
*Laura* 07 May 08 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,Trevek 07 May 08 - 10:34 AM
Leadfingers 07 May 08 - 10:39 AM
artbrooks 07 May 08 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Volgadon 07 May 08 - 10:45 AM
treewind 07 May 08 - 10:46 AM
Peace 07 May 08 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Joe 07 May 08 - 10:49 AM
Nick 07 May 08 - 11:24 AM
irishenglish 07 May 08 - 11:45 AM
Backwoodsman 07 May 08 - 11:47 AM
WalterOtter 07 May 08 - 11:48 AM
Peace 07 May 08 - 01:31 PM
Dave the Gnome 07 May 08 - 01:43 PM
topical tom 07 May 08 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 07 May 08 - 02:02 PM
*Laura* 07 May 08 - 02:11 PM
Richard Bridge 07 May 08 - 02:20 PM
Peace 07 May 08 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 07 May 08 - 02:55 PM
Peace 07 May 08 - 03:04 PM
Uncle_DaveO 07 May 08 - 03:15 PM
fat B****rd 07 May 08 - 03:18 PM
Peace 07 May 08 - 03:24 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 May 08 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,Gerry 07 May 08 - 07:33 PM
Don Firth 07 May 08 - 07:53 PM
the lemonade lady 07 May 08 - 08:02 PM
mattkeen 08 May 08 - 06:46 AM
George Papavgeris 08 May 08 - 07:13 AM
Bob the Postman 08 May 08 - 08:06 AM
treewind 08 May 08 - 10:04 AM
Sean Belt 08 May 08 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 08 May 08 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 08 May 08 - 02:06 PM
the lemonade lady 08 May 08 - 03:02 PM
Peace 08 May 08 - 03:36 PM
The Sandman 08 May 08 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 08 May 08 - 03:58 PM
DonMeixner 08 May 08 - 04:32 PM
Don Firth 08 May 08 - 04:42 PM
M.Ted 08 May 08 - 06:14 PM
Dave the Gnome 09 May 08 - 03:16 AM
trevek 09 May 08 - 03:37 AM
mattkeen 09 May 08 - 05:38 AM
GUEST, Sminky 09 May 08 - 06:30 AM
glueman 09 May 08 - 07:14 AM
Grab 09 May 08 - 07:30 AM
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Subject: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,The Observer
Date: 07 May 08 - 09:22 AM

Again, I'm interested. Should anyone be making money out of Folk? And if so how much would be reasonable? Would Folk survive without professional singers and musicians? If artists are to be paid should there be a flat rate for all? Or should the best and most popular be paid more than the less popular? And if popularity is the guage for payment when does the cost preclude the artist from carrying the folk tag?

Has the festival scene lost its way? Should everything be reduced (or elevated) to a pub session where evryone brings their own beer and food. Do folkies want to have their music recognised by the general public or should it remain an underground movement, a home for rebels and the chattering classes (not meant to be pejorative in this case - honest)?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Snuffy
Date: 07 May 08 - 09:26 AM

Yes


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: *Laura*
Date: 07 May 08 - 09:29 AM

"Would folk survive without professional singers and musicians?"

Of course it would. It DID for a long long time.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Trevek
Date: 07 May 08 - 10:34 AM

Well, I suppose a lot of the people who wrote tunes and lyrics were professional in their day, so you could say people always have made money from folk.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 May 08 - 10:39 AM

I make SOME money out of what I call folk - But what I get paid to do may NOT fit YOUR definition .


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: artbrooks
Date: 07 May 08 - 10:44 AM

Gee...and what IS folk music, anyway?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 07 May 08 - 10:45 AM

Where did the silly idea come from that folk music can't be played for profit?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: treewind
Date: 07 May 08 - 10:46 AM

That's a contentious assumption buried in the thread title.

Anybody is entitled to be paid for doing anything if they are good enough and can find a market for it. Nobody's forced to pay. If it happens it happens - why does folk music have to be different from every other human activity in the universe in that some people think you're not allowed to do it for money?

Can you imagine asking the same about Jazz, or.... well, absolutely anything?

And by the way, folk music has had a lot of professional help in surviving. From the ancient bards and wandering minstrels to the publishers of 17th century broadsides to 19th century village bands to modern recording artists and your local ceilidh band - there was always somebody making some sort of part time or full time living or extra income out of it, and in doing so keeping it alive. Not to mention Child and others collecting songs and publishing books. Mostly people didn't get very rich that way, but certainly some were in the business of selling something or getting paid for their efforts where appropriate.

There can't be any other kind of music in the world that has this problem.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 08 - 10:49 AM

Hell, no! Start by payin' them and next thing these greedy bastards will want a roof over their heads, too. And food. And clothing. Sheesh. Where will it end?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 07 May 08 - 10:49 AM

Speak to anyone who makes a living out of folk music, Premiership footballer wage packets do not spring to mind.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Nick
Date: 07 May 08 - 11:24 AM

Another wind up thread, I sense.

But selling your labour is pretty basic to western capitalism. If the labour you have to sell is based on singing folk songs it seems reasonable to earn money from it. As reasonable as anything else.

Otherwise things like teaching people a language - or maths - or doing many things would also have no value.

People are not selling folk music they are selling their performance of it and that's what you are paying for - in the same way that if you sell services you are NOT selling the lamguage but profiting from it. And the basis of the system is as much as you can get for what you offer.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: irishenglish
Date: 07 May 08 - 11:45 AM

A flat rate to pay for folksingers? Cmon, you must be joking. It's free enterprise. If someone is really good, either as a singer or as an instrumentalist, word gets out, more seats get filled, a larger room or concert space then is needed, and then they are off. Your point sounds almost like a penalty against those that are naturally more gifted, or those who bring more to the table in terms of performance compared with someone who likes to sing one night a week with their guitar at some club or a pub. You see? Free enterprise. Maybe that person in the club gets better and better each week, learns more, and then word gets out, more seats get filled, a larger room or concert space is then needed, and so on! I don't care the genre of music, but if you suck, you suck, and an audience is going to reward you with no applause, and an empty hat passed around. If you are good, the hat's going to be overflowing on a good night, and you will know that you are doing something right, something people enjoy, and you'll be smiling because you know you are making a few bucks out of something you worked hard for.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 07 May 08 - 11:47 AM

"Should everything be reduced (or elevated) to a pub session where evryone brings their own beer and food."

taking your own beer and food to a pub session is pretty much guaranteed to result in the landlord's boot making violent contact with your arse, in my experience. And rightly so.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: WalterOtter
Date: 07 May 08 - 11:48 AM

"There ain't no money in poetry, that's what makes the poet free" - Guy Clark


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 08 - 01:31 PM

In some ways it's like feeding a stray cat. If you do, it'll keep coming back. That usually OK, but on occasion it will include banjo players, so be warned.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 May 08 - 01:43 PM

*Laura*

"Would folk survive without professional singers and musicians?"

Of course it would. It DID for a long long time.


When was that then?

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: topical tom
Date: 07 May 08 - 01:58 PM

Aside from informal jams and singalongs I have always paid something to hear folk music and was more than glad to do it.In the sense that folk performers are paid I suppose they could be called professionals. God knows, money is welcome to all of us!My love of folk music is rooted in the fact that profit is not the be-all and end-all of the music; quality replaces unintelligible lyrics and special effects.
"What is folk music?" To paraphrase, "Ah, let me count the types"!


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 07 May 08 - 02:02 PM

I doubt anyone goes into folk music for the money, but if you think no-one should be making money from folk, how exactly would you prevent them?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: *Laura*
Date: 07 May 08 - 02:11 PM

Dave - when parents sang songs to their kids and workers sang songs in fields and then the kids grew up and they sang the same songs to their kids etc etc

I'm not saying it hasn't been helped by professional singers but it existed and survived without people paying for it.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 May 08 - 02:20 PM

What is money? Is it a medium of exchange, a store of value, or a means of command?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 08 - 02:24 PM

The labourer is worthy of his/her hire. So pretend yer just paying for the performer's time. Hell, in the way-back days, people got fed and housed. Same thing today.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 07 May 08 - 02:55 PM

A chain yanking thread if ever I did see one.....Up on Cripple Creek....

Charlotte R


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 08 - 03:04 PM

. . . she sends me
If I spring a leak she mends me


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 07 May 08 - 03:15 PM

Artbrooks said, "Gee...and what IS folk music, anyway?"

It's whatever amateur horses don't sing.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: fat B****rd
Date: 07 May 08 - 03:18 PM

..I don't have to speak...


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 08 - 03:24 PM


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:36 PM

Money money money
If I had a little money...in a rich man's world

                              trad. child ballad 462


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 07 May 08 - 07:33 PM

A friend of mine recently reminded me that one of Johnny Carson's favorite jokes was his nominee for the least-frequently said sentence in English: "Look at the banjo player's Mercedes".


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 May 08 - 07:53 PM

Yeah, I'm beginning to get the impression that there are chains being yanked here. . . .

I like to sing folk songs and ballads and such. And if someone wants to give me good money to listen to me sing, I'm sure as hell gonna take it!

And not feel the least bit guilty about it!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 07 May 08 - 08:02 PM

Tredegar House yet. It's only £5 for camping. Singing is free. The Friday concert is only £3!

sal


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: mattkeen
Date: 08 May 08 - 06:46 AM

Why doesn't original poster say who they are and stop these trolling type of posts


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 08 May 08 - 07:13 AM

More fun that way - like knocking on someone's door and then running away


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 08 May 08 - 08:06 AM

Bob Snider's song "Darn Folksinger" tells it like it is re the unfortunate propensity of folksingers to accept remuneration.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: treewind
Date: 08 May 08 - 10:04 AM

That song's not about folk music, it's about busking, and while there's plenty of folk-singing buskers it's perfectly possible to be either without being the other.

Nice irony in the song though!


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Sean Belt
Date: 08 May 08 - 01:27 PM

A couple of weeks ago my musical partner and I spent four hours playing folk music for a couple hundred of the wealthiest people in town while they dined on ribs, chicken, and fine wines as part of their "Hoedown" night. The premise of the anonymous starter of this thread seems to suggest that these rich patrons should have expected to have gotten our services for free even though they were perfectly willing to pay for the use of the hall, the food, wine, open bar, waitstaff, and all the rest.

Nonsense. Whether I've spent my time learning folk music or string quartets, my time and talent have a value. If someone wants to make use of them, they have to be open to paying for them.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 08 May 08 - 02:00 PM

With much respect to all posters here.
I tend to spend my time playing at home.
The cost of driving around the country is becoming more prohibitive as the years go by.
My audience of one (me) seems to enjoy it.
Am I a bad folkie?
Discuss.
Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 08 May 08 - 02:06 PM

Mind you.
It's not much of a money spinner!
R


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 08 May 08 - 03:02 PM

I don't think it matters who started this thread, the point is it's opened up a much needed debate.

Sal


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Peace
Date: 08 May 08 - 03:36 PM

Debate about what?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 May 08 - 03:53 PM

I blame Walkabout verse.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 08 May 08 - 03:58 PM

'Debate about what?'
Exactly. The question is fairly simple and straight forward. Should anyone be making money out of Folk?

My answer is, bloody right I'll accept money for performance.

'Gee...and what IS folk music, anyway?'

Don't even go there...... *LOL*

Charlotte R


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: DonMeixner
Date: 08 May 08 - 04:32 PM

I am an entertainer and I get paid to entertain. The medium I chose to entertain with is up to me. I stopped thinking of my self as a folksinger and story teller many years ago. I actually preffer Entertainer to Folksinger. I get a lot more latitude that way.

I supoose you can substitute a lot of things with entertainer. Politician, Televangelical, and Conservative Talk Show Host come to mind most immediately. And they must be entertaining as I find myself laughing right out loud at the TV and car radio quite a bit these days.

Don


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 May 08 - 04:42 PM

I recall one afternoon when I was sitting in Len Hanson's office (Len Hanson was the producer of the weekly Seattle Center Hootenannies in 1963) when he got a phone call. He talked to the caller for a moment, then said, "Just a moment, please," and asked me if I was free to do a gig that evening. He mentioned how much I would be paid. It wasn't much, but I was free, so I said "Fine." He wrote down the address and handed it to me.

Hanson gave out a lot of work to those who were singing in the Seattle Center Hootenannies. People who wanted to hire a singer knew that Hanson had a long list of singers, and although he was not any kind of an agent, he did this sort of thing as a favor to his "stable" of performers.

I didn't have my own transportation then, and the time constraints were such that I had to take a cab out to where I lived to change clothes and pick up my guitar, then take another cab to the engagement. The cab fare ate up a goodly chunk of what I'd be paid, but I figured, "Oh, what the heck!"

So I sang for the requested half-hour. Then the person who had contacted Hanson wrote me out a check for the agreed upon amount.   I thanked him and started to stick the check into my wallet. He cleared his throat and said, "Umm  . . most of the entertainers who perform for us usually endorse the checks back to us as a contribution. This is a charity, you know."

No, I didn't know. Suddenly I felt myself in an awkward situation. By the time I got back home that night, the gig would wind up costing me money. Not much, but still.

The situation was similar to that described in Sean Ruprecht-Belt's post at 08 May 08 - 01:27 p.m. It was a banquet, and the people who had been invited were all pretty wealthy, and had been invited so the directors of the charity could mine them for contributions. One of the inducements to come, in addition to the food, was that there would be entertainment. The person they had originally hired had pooped out on them at the last minute, so they called Len Hanson to hire a pinch-hitter—me. Most of the people I entertained that evening could afford to spill more money than I was being paid.

I made a decision.

"I'm sorry," I said, then I explained the cab rides and the economics involved. Then I told him, "I make my living as a singer and music teacher, and no one told me that this was to be a benefit performance. In the future, you might want to make that clear." Then I put my wallet, containing the check, back into my pocket.

He wasn't happy, but then, he was anticipating getting, easily, several thousand times more than my meager fee in contributions from the assembled big-wigs.

I do a lot of singing for free, just for the fun of it. But—I established a policy early on:   If someone is making money out of the fact that I'm singing somewhere, then I have to have a cut of it. I do make exceptions, such as charities, retirement homes, and such. But—I insist on being the one who decides who I will sing for pro bono.

Dave Van Ronk once mentioned (and I have found this to be true for me, too) that he got a lot of requests to sing for free, often accompanied by the comment that "This doesn't pay anything, but it will be good exposure for you." Van Ronk then remarked, "People have been known to die of exposure!"

It's entertainment, folks (see similar thread, "Entertainment vs. Folk"). If a pop singer, a clown, a piano player, a stand-up comic, a juggler, an opera singer, or a guy making balloon animals gets paid to entertain, then why should a singer of folk songs not be paid as well?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 May 08 - 06:14 PM

I've been involved in fundraising events from both sides, Don, and have seen that stunt pulled before. It happens when the event costs more than expected and brings in less--which happens a lot more often than you realize.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 May 08 - 03:16 AM

*Laura*

but it existed and survived without people paying for it.

The point I was trying to make is that there has never been a time when people have not paid for music, just as there has never been a time when people have enjoyed it for free. Whether it is the latest rock band at Wembley stadium, the singer at the Music Hall, the kings Bard or, presumably, the cave man being fed for drumming out a particularly funky beat:-)

You seem to imply that there was a time when no music was paid for and I still ask; when was that? We do not know if it would survive without, because there has never been such a time and there never will be.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: trevek
Date: 09 May 08 - 03:37 AM

As a Punch and Judy performer I've had the odd attempt at a free show used on me (I do sometimes give free shows). My favourite one is "Oh, well I thought as it was for kids you might do it for nothing!" "Hmmm, let's see how far that gets you in Mothercare or Toys-R-Us"


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: mattkeen
Date: 09 May 08 - 05:38 AM

No its not a much needed debate - its a non issue, of course people should be paid if other people think they are worth paying to see and hear.
Its the sort of tosh that gets served up by people who should know better.


I am spending most of the next week paying to go and see professionals and semi professionals at gigs - it will probably be great, if past experience of the following performers is anything to go by

They include: Duncan Macfarlane band, john tams and batty coope, chris wood and hugh lupton, horses brawl, lark rise band, whapweasal

It will be a privilege to pay to hear them, and in the meantime I will also enjoy listening to myself trying to master some tunes from Brackley, my mate Rob Bray (we are semi pros) and a few people who are not paid but are really good like Jeff at the Great Knight Club in Northampton.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 09 May 08 - 06:30 AM

You seem to imply that there was a time when no music was paid for and I still ask; when was that?

If we're talking folk music, then the answer is 650BC - 1850AD (approx).

For centuries, 99% (substitute your own percentage) of traditional music was sung/created wherever 'ordinary' people gathered. I'm struggling to understand where money played a part. Sure, there've been minstrels, ballad writers/sellers, publishers etc trying to eke out a living, but they were peripheral at best. Or am I missing something?


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: glueman
Date: 09 May 08 - 07:14 AM

The commodification of folk music is a different issue to the money thing. When the public twigged some singers were better, knew more songs and played their instruments in tune more often than the chap in the Grey Horse - and you could see him two stations along the line for thruppence - the game was up for Old Ned at The Nag.
Somewhere along the way folk music moved from being the music of the people to an exercise in connoisseurship. Once the shortcomings were dwelt upon as exemplary by the 'informed' it wasn't folk any more. Folk revival is not folk in the true sense and it's crazy to describe it in those terms.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Grab
Date: 09 May 08 - 07:30 AM

but they were peripheral at best

Rubbish - as it is today, they were the example of quality that less skilled musicians aspired to.

For centuries, people have knocked nails or pegs into bits of wood to hold stuff together. Anyone can do it to some approximate kind fo standard. It hasn't stopped carpentry existing as a profession, for situations where a higher standard is called for. Ditto baking, cooking, building, farming, fighting, cesspit-digging, clothes-making, etc, etc.. Music is just another one. Just because you put the word "folk" in front of it, it doesn't change anything.

Graham.


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