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Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?

Brian Peters 09 Jan 09 - 10:00 AM
The Villan 09 Jan 09 - 10:22 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 09 - 10:28 AM
theleveller 09 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM
vectis 09 Jan 09 - 10:53 AM
greg stephens 09 Jan 09 - 11:05 AM
Nigel Parsons 09 Jan 09 - 11:16 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Jan 09 - 11:38 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Jan 09 - 11:49 AM
The Villan 09 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 09 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Ian 09 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM
peregrina 09 Jan 09 - 12:10 PM
Brian Peters 09 Jan 09 - 12:35 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Jan 09 - 01:36 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jan 09 - 01:58 PM
Sleepy Rosie 09 Jan 09 - 02:00 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 09 Jan 09 - 02:27 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 09 Jan 09 - 02:29 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Jan 09 - 02:33 PM
The Villan 09 Jan 09 - 02:41 PM
Nick 09 Jan 09 - 04:21 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jan 09 - 07:25 PM
Suegorgeous 09 Jan 09 - 07:38 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jan 09 - 08:32 PM
Jack Campin 09 Jan 09 - 08:43 PM
Waddon Pete 10 Jan 09 - 06:24 AM
Marje 10 Jan 09 - 06:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jan 09 - 07:59 AM
The Sandman 10 Jan 09 - 10:33 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jan 09 - 10:39 AM
Steve Gardham 10 Jan 09 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,Rafflesbear 10 Jan 09 - 04:53 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 09 - 05:24 PM
Bert 10 Jan 09 - 05:30 PM
Tim Leaning 10 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM
terrier 10 Jan 09 - 07:37 PM
Snuffy 10 Jan 09 - 07:51 PM
Leadfingers 10 Jan 09 - 08:02 PM
terrier 10 Jan 09 - 08:26 PM
Siochain 10 Jan 09 - 08:56 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jan 09 - 09:59 PM
GUEST,Phil 11 Jan 09 - 09:54 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 09 - 01:57 AM
melodeonboy 12 Jan 09 - 04:42 AM
Phil Edwards 12 Jan 09 - 04:47 AM
Fidjit 12 Jan 09 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,redmax 12 Jan 09 - 05:28 AM
Brian Peters 12 Jan 09 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,zig 12 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM
greg stephens 12 Jan 09 - 12:03 PM
SPB-Cooperator 12 Jan 09 - 12:07 PM
greg stephens 12 Jan 09 - 12:21 PM
The Sandman 12 Jan 09 - 12:34 PM
The Villan 12 Jan 09 - 12:35 PM
greg stephens 12 Jan 09 - 12:40 PM
Jack Blandiver 12 Jan 09 - 12:43 PM
GRex 12 Jan 09 - 01:47 PM
Phil Edwards 12 Jan 09 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,redmax 13 Jan 09 - 08:42 AM
GUEST,redmax 13 Jan 09 - 08:48 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jan 09 - 09:21 AM
Jack Blandiver 13 Jan 09 - 10:55 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jan 09 - 11:01 AM
greg stephens 13 Jan 09 - 12:05 PM
Phil Edwards 14 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM
Jack Blandiver 14 Jan 09 - 01:28 PM
Jack Campin 14 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM
Jack Blandiver 14 Jan 09 - 03:23 PM
Sleepy Rosie 15 Jan 09 - 10:19 AM
matt milton 15 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM
Teribus 15 Jan 09 - 12:38 PM
Diva 10 May 09 - 04:58 AM
The Sandman 10 May 09 - 05:20 AM
BobKnight 10 May 09 - 05:28 AM
The Sandman 10 May 09 - 06:08 AM
SunrayFC 10 May 09 - 06:20 AM
BobKnight 10 May 09 - 06:41 AM
Terry McDonald 10 May 09 - 06:51 AM
Diva 10 May 09 - 07:09 AM
SunrayFC 10 May 09 - 08:38 AM
Herga Kitty 10 May 09 - 12:27 PM
breezy 10 May 09 - 12:39 PM
Tattie Bogle 10 May 09 - 08:12 PM
Dave Hunt 10 May 09 - 09:14 PM
Tim Leaning 11 May 09 - 08:24 AM
The Sandman 11 May 09 - 10:05 AM
Diva 11 May 09 - 10:48 AM
Tattie Bogle 16 May 09 - 01:52 PM
Tattie Bogle 16 May 09 - 01:57 PM
Guy Wolff 17 May 09 - 07:59 AM
Barry Finn 18 May 09 - 12:40 AM
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Subject: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:00 AM

This is partly curiousity and partly geared to a workshop I'm giving. What are the songs most popular with Britain's floor singers and singaround regulars in the 21st century? Years ago I used to get to a lot of singarounds and I could probably name you ten songs that kept cropping up again and again in the 1980s. So can anyone nominate five to ten songs that you're most likely to hear if you walk into a song session or attend folk clubs with a lot of floor singers. Traditional or contemporary nominations are both welcome. Ta!


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: The Villan
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:22 AM

I don't know about songs, but popular songwriters that poeple refer to are
Jez Lowe
Alan Taylor
Stan Rogers
Cyril Tawney
Harvey Andrews


However we have so many singer songwriters in Lincolnshire who sing their own.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:28 AM

Richard Thompson songs all over


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: theleveller
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM

Probably Dylan songs.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: vectis
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:53 AM

I am starting to hate When All Men Sing....
If I hear it one more time sung very, very, very slowly I will scream...
Or join in the chorus like everybody else


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:05 AM

There is a clear distinction between folk club/singarounds run by and for folkies, on the one hand, and people singing in pubs who are not folk revivalists on the other.In the non-folk general public pub singing, you will always get the Fields of Athenry, Wild Rover, Whisky in the Jar etc. In the more folkie(and should I say more snobbish?)type of get together, that sort of song is considered too "common" generally. Interestingly, I went to a session(very much non-folk club) on New Year's Day, and one the day after, and the Wreck of the Old 97 was sung at each one, by different people.
   I obviously don't move in folkie circles any more: I don't even recall ever having heard a song called When All Men Sing, as mentioned by vectis in the previous post. And she is saying she is heartily sick of it!


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:16 AM

I think in this, as with many things, it is impossible (or pointless) to generalise.
In the last 10 years I've heard "Rolling down to old Maui" 4 times in different clubs, never once by the same performer. (and incorporated some different verses into my copy!)
Any other repeated songs tend to be when I visit a regular haunt and someone trots out one of their favourites periodically.
Otherwise there is little repetition, or none so much that it grates!

Cheers
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:38 AM

4 times in 10 years?

Ignoring snigger snogwriter stuff, I'd guess the following as pretty common nowadays: -
The Gay Fusilier
The Bold Fisherman
Bring us a Barrel
The Little Pot Stove
The Nutting Girl
The Grey Cock
New York Girls
Tell me Ma (Yecch!)
The Black Velvet Band (Yecch!)
The Lincolnshire Poacher (Yecch!)
The Drunken Sailor (Yecch!)
The Mingulay Boat Song (Yecch!)
Haul Away for Rosie
Haul Away Joe
Blood Red Roses
The Alabama
Shenandoah
The Mary Ellen Carter
Barrett's Privateers
The Trees they do Grow High
Waiting For the Day
Lowlands
The Rosie-ana
South Australia (Yecch!)
The Miner's Lifeguard
Blackleg Miner (usually murdered)
Tolpuddle Man


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:49 AM

Oh, I left out Bachelor's Hall, Fiddlers Green, and the Cadgwith Anthem


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: The Villan
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM

In Lincolnshire, we are lucky becuase we can hear Fiddlers Green sung by the originator John Conolly


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 12:01 PM

Mary wrote
I am starting to hate When All Men Sing....
If I hear it one more time sung very, very, very slowly I will scream...

Greg said
I obviously don't move in folkie circles any more: I don't even recall ever having heard a song called When All Men Sing

Well, you are the lucky one, Greg. I've reached the stage where people who have that song in their repertoire are unlikely to get a floor spot when I am compering.

Sharing Mary's opinion, I am heartily sick of it - never liked it in fact. It belongs to a category of mock-folky-nostalgia modern songs that I thoroughly disprove of - "Isn't it a pity that all the tin mines/fishing/collieries have gone" when what is missed is not those awful, dangerous, unhealthy, back-breaking jobs but the feeling of community, commonality and shared unionised purpose that they brought.
And as Mary has noted they all seem to have in common long, drawn out dirge-like choruses that audiences slow down unbearably as they trundle along.

Ewan MacColl was a brilliant songwriter, perhaps the best in this genre since Burns but when he wrote
The old ways are changing you cannot deny
he gave birth to an idea that has festered in the minds of lesser songwriters ever since.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM

Meet me at the folk club, don't be late
I need to sing some Richard and it just won't wait
Blow out the candles and turn on the lights
I don't want to hear the bright lights tonight


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: peregrina
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 12:10 PM

Maybe someone can make a diagram of the song distribution isoglosses. I suspect that the self-identified folkie song pool is distributed into much smaller regions than the trans-regional and trans-national pub standards. (I have never heard 'When All men sing'...but there are two wonderful songs by good songwriters that I'd rather not hear for a while...)


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 12:35 PM

It seems that some things haven't changed too much since the 1980s, then. Villan's and Mr Happy's list of songwriters would chime with my memories of Down Where the Drunkards Roll, Grey Funnel Line, Sally Free & Easy, Durham Jail (especially in the NE) and Roll on the Day being very popular. Bring Us A Barrel has been a staple in chorus-singing sessions for decades, and I noticed a fashion for Keith Marsden's Funeral Song a few years back. Miner's Lifeguard was sung to death after the strike, Lowlands has been popular for ever, in fact the only song from Richard's list that would not have been sung in the 1980s is Tolpuddle Man.

Nic Jones was responsible for the popularity of Little Pot Stove, (and Bonny Light Horseman as well), Artisan - I would guess - for Mary Ellen Carter, Jim and Johnny for any number of chorus songs.

Thanks Greg for reminding me that it's not only folkies who sing in pubs. I notice that 'Fields of Athenry' has joined the ranks of trad. songs appropriated by football fans (Liverpool ones, at any rate).

Keep 'em coming.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 01:36 PM

Fields of Athenrae is not trad.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM

well its traditional round here....


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 01:58 PM

jack hudson has been such a powerful influence round here. he had popularised many of the songs that you hear in the clubs. Guy Clarks songs (particularly LA Freeway and Dublin Blues) and Kate Wolf's Across the great divide.

Also jack's own song She Likes to Go Walking has at least five people going round singing it.


Otherwise you hear a lot of damien rice, dylan, kate rusby soundalikes.

the traddy clubs have their own list, but they seem to like a local connection - Emperor of rome (the one about the pigeon) and Richrd Thompson's Beeswing and of course Hey Up Me Duck


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 02:00 PM

A very helpful thread for peeps like me.
It'll give me a good idea of songs to completely avoid bothering with.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 02:27 PM

""Oh, I left out Bachelor's Hall, Fiddlers Green, and the Cadgwith Anthem""

Ahem.........Wasn't Fiddlers Green written by one of them there snigger/snogwriters then, Ricard?

John Conolly wasn't it?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 02:29 PM

All songs are SUNG in folk clubs.

It's the only thing you can do with 'em, really.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 02:33 PM

Yes, Don, but with its modification as it has been adopted it is well on the way to being a folk song of known authorship. So are others.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: The Villan
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 02:41 PM

>>Ahem.........Wasn't Fiddlers Green written by one of them there snigger/snogwriters then, Ricard?

John Conolly wasn't it?
<<
Yes Don as mentioned in my earlier post

In Lincolnshire, we are lucky becuase we can hear Fiddlers Green sung by the originator John Conolly and here he is http://www.faldingworthlive.co.uk/faldingworth_live_photo's.htm Scrolldown until you find him.

Les


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Nick
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 04:21 PM

I rarely hear When All Men Sing and still like it perhaps because it's a surprise when I do. Heard it at the Black Bull Bender in Tranmire and met Scowie there who wrote it sitting on a hay bale. Great chorus song with a room full of singers.

Linda Kelly's Northern Tide and Sweet Minerva and a few others that she wrote are getting more sung which is excellent.

Dougie Macleans Caledonia is sung a lot.

Cousin Jack (Show of Hands) I hear quite a lot.

Shoals of Herring making a comeback presumably after Bob Fox revived it as being ok to sing.

If Wishes Were Fishes and a range of Eric Bogle songs.

Waltzing for Dreamers and lots of Richard Thompson songs.

All the Irish 'favourites'.

Pleasant and Delightful.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 07:25 PM

I don't get into singarounds and folk clubs much these days but when I do I'm usually very surprised at the diversity. There are far more unexpected/new-to-me songs than those you expect to hear. I suppose this is healthy. And I suppose I'm lucky because I can even join in with gusto with Black Velvet Band and Wild Rover, oh yes and even Fields of Athenry, without cringing.
Welcome the new and savour the old!


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 07:38 PM

Grey Funnel line.......


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 08:32 PM

the question is by whom......

i don't sing any of these bloody songs, unless I'm paid. In fact I'm not paid any more by and large - so I just sing what I want to, I'm retired.

but I wouldn't choose to sing many of these songs. But when I was paid, i don't think I could have made a living out of singing this lot.

why do people SO despise the songs that ordinary people know. witness Jim carroll and folkiedave's dismay at my mentioning Donovan. On the miners thread last week.

I've got to do a gig on Tuesday at The Vernon in Derby - easily the best folk club Derbyshire has ever produced - I'm not really in the mood as we've just had a death in the family. I think I'll start with Colours. everybody will know it. Unlike all this other stuff.


I think I'll start a pressure group folkmusic for REAL FOLK.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 08:43 PM

I don't think I've ever heard either "Colours" or "When All Men Sing", in a folk club or elsewhere.

At a guess, the one song I've heard more often than any other in Scottish singarounds in the last few years is "The Road and the Miles to Dundee". "The Star of the Bar" next, maybe.

Of the others mentioned here, "Lowlands" and "Caledonia" get done fairly often. Honourable mentions to "Your Cheatin' Heart" and "Copperhead Road".


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 06:24 AM

Um........I may be missing the point here entirely......but isn't it likely that good songs that people enjoy singing.... (and that others enjoy listening to).....will be the ones that get heard the most?

One person's fish is another man's poisson and all that?


Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Marje
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 06:59 AM

Good point, Pete - isn't there a bit of inverted snobbery going on here if the main aim of a singer is to avoid songs that are popular?

I suppose it's a matter of getting the balance right - you don't want to do a song that's been done to death by three or four other regulars at the same venue, but if song is popular everywhere, it may be with good reason.

Reading through this thread, though, it seems to me that there's tremendous variation throughout the country. If you go to local sessions and clubs in your own area, you get to know which are the favourite songs of the regulars, including those that are overdone or often done badly; but if you travel elsewhere, say to a festival, you may find that the same songs can come over as fresh and interesting. The reverse process, alas, may also apply - your carefully-chosen new song may be an old favourite in a different area.

For what it's worth, the one I never want to hear again (but I'm sure I soon will) is Star of the County Down, although that's more of a session song than a club song.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 07:59 AM

well that's wrong cos I know a guy who can tear your heart out with The Star of the county Down. namely Patrick Walker - resident at fagans in Sheffield.

it just seems to me that the great river of humanity seems to flow past the door of the folk cottage. and once inside that cottage - you have to face it, all things are not as they should be.

theres much disagreement about the nature and value of folk music, quite a lot of generational divide, and not every evening in every club is a winner. Its hard and probably futile to argue with someone who is convinced what he is doing is worthwhile. And yet you see the poor sod is puzzled as to why theres nobody at his club.

basically we are performers in the club setting, and if you can make it work and succeed with that audience - fair enough - whatever it is.

when you're a teacher - you learn a bitter lesson. you devise a wonderful lesson and perhaps your enthusiasm doesn't ignite the interest of the kids. you either go on like a World War One general ploughing effort and manpower into a lost cause, defending your trench - or you rethink. where the hell am i doing this wrong? such thoughts seem alien to some people within the folk world.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 10:33 AM

Sailortown[c fox smith/DickMiles]
Battle of Bosworth Field[DickMiles]
Sailortown[C fox Smith/DickMiles]
Home to the Haven[Dick Miles]
SailorsDream[Dick Miles]
AROUND THE HARBOUR TOWN[DickMiles]


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 10:39 AM

hope you're filling in the PRS forms Dick!


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 03:49 PM

The last time I heard 'Star of the County Down, was in Provence a couple of years ago played on hurdy gurdies and with drums and other French-sounding things. It sounded bloody great and reminded what a great tune it is and why it is used for so many other songs.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: GUEST,Rafflesbear
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 04:53 PM

Some songs if you hear them once it's too often, others if you hear them twenty times it's a delight


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:24 PM

Feilds of Athenry
Ride on
Rosemary's sister(?)
Whats the use of wings(?)
Three weeks of heaven
Blowin in the wind
Meet me on the corner


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Bert
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:30 PM

snigger snogwriter indeed! Watchit Richard I'm one o' them.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM

Feilds of Athenry
Ride on
Rosemary's sister(?)
Whats the use of wings(?)
Three weeks of heaven
Blowin in the wind
Meet me on the corner
Sorry I was the mystery guest


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: terrier
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 07:37 PM

I've given up singing "Fields of Athenry" after a certain encounter in a Derbyshire Peaks pub and a landlord with a gun! Mr Happy did not warn me! If I ever dare to sing "Rosemary's Sister" at home, Mrs T comes running in flapping her arms about in the manner of angels wings making "ooooooooooo" sounds. Whilst at the Girvan festival I sang "Yellow Rose of Texas" at a singaround and was requested to sing it at every subsequent singaround at the festival yet when I sang it at Jaqui Mcdonalds club in Chester(UK) I was roundly told off and was informed "We don't sing 'those' sort of songs here, love". I also enjoy doing Victorian parlour songs but rarely sing them now at 'folk' sessions after being pointedly asked by a number of people "why do you sing 'those' sort of songs. So, are there any 'safe' songs that a visiting performer can do knowing that they are not going to incur the wrath of the local critics :)


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Snuffy
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 07:51 PM

Terrier, I've sung all sorts of "unusual" songs in folkie places, songs like Fields of Athenry, Nelly the Elephant, Wild Rover, When I'm Cleaning Windows, I'll Join the Legion, Nobody's Child, Runaway Train, She Wears Red Feathers, etc, etc and I've never been told off or asked why do you sing 'those' sort of songs.

Maybe it's the singer, not the song. :-)


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 08:02 PM

Fields of Athenry is a very good song , but can be Dirged SO easily - I tend to do Malcolm Austen's re write more than the original .
Difficult to do a list , as at Maidenhead we get a lovely variety of songs every week !


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: terrier
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 08:26 PM

Guess it's just time to call it a day, then, Snuffy!


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Siochain
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 08:56 PM

WEE Pot Stove is the title of the song written by Harry Robertson.

The words he wrote for the chorus are:
In the wee dark engine room, where the chill seeps in your soul,
How we huddled roon that wee pot stove, that burned oily rags and coal

Do most UK singers persist in calling it The Little Pot Stove and sing the Nic Jones version?

Siochain


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 09:59 PM

yes indeed never confuse a wee pot with any other receptacle.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 11 Jan 09 - 09:54 PM

I seem to recall Declan Affley sang The Little Iron Stove


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 01:57 AM

"Difficult to do a list, as at Maidenhead we get a lovely variety of songs every week!"
Isn't this the way it should be?
The Singers Club practice (in theory anyway) was not to repeat a song within three months - kept the audience listening and the residents adding to their repertoire.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 04:42 AM

"Do most UK singers persist in calling it The Little Pot Stove and sing the Nic Jones version?"

The simple answer to this is probably "Yes". I don't know if "persist" is an appropriate word in this context. It implies that someone is wilfullly doing something wrong when they should know better!

Apart from "Anglicising" some of the words, did Nic Jones significantly change the song in other ways? Having not heard the Harry Robertson version, I wouldn't know.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 04:47 AM

The recruited collier
Green grow the laurels
My love has gone
Seeds of love/Let no man steal your thyme/When I was in my prime/...
Thousands or more
Fathom the bowl
Glorious ale

The Singers Club practice (in theory anyway) was not to repeat a song within three months

Personally I don't get out enough to repeat myself! When I've got a grip on a new song I tend to sing it in as many different places as possible, but once per song is enough - there's always something else I want to work up.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Fidjit
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 05:21 AM

Nobody doing "The Derby Ram" or "Get Up Jack" then, so your safe there Brian.

Someone said that when the floor singers get hold of your songs then you've made it.

CHas


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 05:28 AM

I don't know how reliable a yardstick this is, but last year I completed a folk song dissertation using LP and CD liner notes for source material. I analysed 300 albums covering 1958-2008, just over 3000 song notes. The songs most recorded were (in order):

John Barleycorn
Geordie
Seven Gypsies (Black Jack Davey etc.)

No surprises there, then! These were followed by (not in order):

The Grey Cock
The Flash Lad
Polly Vaughan
Just as the Tide was Flowing

Other highly favoured ones included Lord Randal, Lowlands of Holland, The Trees They Do Grow High, The Outlandish Knight, Ye Mariners All, The Cruel Mother, and Jack the Jolly Tar. The only (semi) contemporary song that was anywhere near as ubiquitous was The Gay Fusilier, and even that was way, way behind.






By the way, some of the most informative liner notes came from a certain Brian Peters, especially those for Lucy on the new CD. I've quoted you, hope you don't mind!


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 06:22 AM

> I've quoted you, hope you don't mind! <

Not at all - I'm glad that somebody actually read them. I hope you found the online notes as well. What parameters did you use to choose those 300 albums?

I'm surprised that it took 47 posts to come up with 'Thousands or More' - in fact Pip lists a few that might have been expected to show up sooner.

> Rosemary's sister(?)
Whats the use of wings(?)<

If Tim is asking who wrote those songs, it was Huw Williams and Brian Bedford respectively. Interesting to see a couple of relatively recent songs making the list (I suspect the Fairport cover will have something to do with the former's popularity).


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: GUEST,zig
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM

I'd have expected more shanties


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 12:03 PM

GUEST REdmax: a remarkably traddy list. But before we can make any comments on your list, how do we know by what criteria you chose the LPs and CDs you were going to look at? Could you outline your research method?
Also, what sort of numbers were involved? Like, how many Gypsy Daveys, etc?


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 12:07 PM

In the last two years I've performed most

Everyone calls me Tarzan
Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo

(Does that count as I have only been to one club once in the last 2 years?)


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 12:21 PM

I was interested that the most popular (semi)contemporary song on redmax's list was the Gay Fusilier. Firstly, because I've never heard it, to my knowledge(shows how often I go to folk clubs. But I do own a lot of folk records). Secondly, because I would have expected Sally Free and Easy and Grey Funnel Line to be the most recorded contemporary type songs if you analysed folk records back to the year dot. Who sings this Gay Fusilier?


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 12:34 PM

dare I say it.
Folksongs.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: The Villan
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 12:35 PM

Linda Kelly's Northern Tide is a lovely song, and I have just heard Maggie Boyle's (Grace Notes) handling of the song. They do great credit to Linda's song.
Here is the link to Maggie's myspace account and you can listen to Northern Tide (track 3) http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=390278065


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 12:40 PM

Oh, I have just discovered that the Gay Fusilier is the title of that song about Rochester and Waltzing Matilda. Has that really been recorded more often that the Grey Funnel Line and Sally Free and Easy? You surprise me.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 12:43 PM

Interesting thread - but then again, aren't they all?

With respect of Pip's comments above - I wonder, how deliberate are we floor-singers in general about what songs we sing where? I keep a wee black book in which I detail just that, with the intention of trying not to repeat myself in any one place, but then again to form a relationship with a song you need to keep singing it. Earlier today I recorded a new version of the ballad of King Orfeo which I've been singing now since 1982. It evolves with me, forever suggesting different approaches. Today, I accompanied myself on a large Nepalese singing-bowl by way of a drone (although I couldn't imagine myself doing that in a singaround somehow); tomorrow, if I still like the recording, it goes up on my Myspace page.

At a singaround last Wednesday (The Beech in Chorlton, where Pip sang a languidly sublime Little Musgrave* which I hope to hear again one day) I eschewed both of the songs I'd rehearsed earlier in the day** in favour of ones I wasn't on top of at all, but which seemed more relevant to emergent themes. One of these was Seeds of Love - which I've never heard anyone else sing for years, if at all; the other was Robert Burns' Winter - A Dirge - which I've never heard anyone else do period. So much for the oral tradition, assuming it still has currency with respect of those songs we think of as being somehow traditional, and assuming ever existed in the first place other than a fantasy construct for academics to ponder over. But that, as they say, is another story - The Theory of the Oral Tradition...

* Allowing for my failing memory, he might have sang something else altogether, but either way languid / sublime.

** Come Write Me Down & Child #32, if you must know.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: GRex
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 01:47 PM

I would love to hear, in my local folk club, just some of the songs listed by Richard Bridge. (No names)

          GRex


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 05:05 PM

For longer than I care to remember I was a one-club performer, so my black book (actually a spreadsheet) is sadly deficient: it's got a column for the regular club and another column for everywhere else. So it tells me, for example, that I've done The Bonny Bunch of Roses four times Everywhere Else - but not that it was in four different places. Must sort that out.

Thanks for 'languid and sublime', IB. Yes, it was Musgrave. The effect I was after was a ballad that goes on and on relentlessly - speeding up a bit, getting a bit raucous, but mainly just going on and on - so that when it goes quiet in the last couple of verses, it just floats: it feels like the song's gone on forever & will carry on forever. At least, that's the effect I induced in myself when practising...

Powerful stuff, these ballads. I hope to hear your King Henry before too long.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 08:42 AM

The method for selecting the LPs and CDs could best be described as "trial and error"! It involved identifying "folk" albums that weren't predominantly singer-songwriter efforts. The criteria for inclusion was that the recording had to feature 3 or more songs not written by the performer, as I was researching the acquisition and adaptation of songs from documented or oral sources. So if it was Cyril Tawney performing Sally Free and Easy then the track was excluded from the research, but if was someone else's interpretation then that was included.

Analysing successive batches of records it became clear that certain artists and labels were more fruitful sources of detailed liner notes, so the later batches were biased towards these in order to get the most detail song comment. This probably led to a more traddy list, as well as the fact that 1970s recordings loomed rather large in the dataset. Needless to say, these skews in the sample were confessed to in the dissertaion.

Like I mentioned, it's a dubious yardstick to measure what was actually being sung in the clubs, and one of the overall impressions from recorded folk output was that performers were understandably seeking to record interesting and unusual songs. There were 3,263 song recordings included in the "weeded" sample- 2,041 different songs in all. 1,472 of these songs were only recorded once. Very few were recorded by more than 3 artists. It was all a bit before my time, but it would seem that in the earlier years of the revival there were a lot of people trying to be obscurer-than-thou!


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 08:48 AM

Sorry Greg, didn't answer your question fully. 16 John Barleycorns, 15 Geordies, I don't have the numbers for the others at hand.

I have loads more data on collectors, source singers, songbooks. Quite interesting if you're as boring as I am.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 09:21 AM

I don't think I've ever heard some of the songs Richard mentions - not in a folk club.

the Lincolnshire Poacher?.....


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 10:55 AM

Powerful stuff, these ballads. I hope to hear your King Henry before too long.

Ne'er say it twice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBDGmaoIBwU - another one for the virtual singaround!


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 11:01 AM

Tell you what gets on my tits.

When they do I'm a Rover Seldom Sober, then they leave out the chorus - so you can't join in.

You just get a sort of boring night visiting narrative - usually by some ugly sod that the girl would pretend she wasn't in - even if he turned up.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 12:05 PM

redmax: thanks for info. I would be very interested to read your thesis. Could you join up and send me a personal message, whether it might be available online, whether you could send it to me etc?


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM

IB - fine stuff.

I'd never heard (or read) that ballad in the original - I didn't know that the first thing King Henry did was give his mantle to the 'ghost'. A chivalrous gesture, or possibly a misogynistic one ("oi, cover yourself up!")


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 01:28 PM

Lady - Hap yer lingcan! Cover your shame, or your ugliness - one or the other. Note that later in the ballad he uses the same mantle to cover the heather bed... A fine song though, one in which I detect a definite note of parody, by way of the Grand-Guignol no doubt, depending on how one sees such things.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM

I accompanied myself on a large Nepalese singing-bowl by way of a drone (although I couldn't imagine myself doing that in a singaround somehow)

I think I would, except that my singing bowl is pitched at a rather sharp D and nobody else could join in. I could always tune my Black Sea fiddle to it.

I find exotic instruments go down pretty well in singarounds, except with the small self-righteous minority who think folk is defined by Dylan. The more traditionally-oriented the participants the weirder you can get.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 03:23 PM

I put my King Orfeo avec bowl on my myspace page earlier today (see http://www.myspace.com/sedayne). As for pitch, you know, I couldn't honestly say, though occasionally I do tune my Shruti Box to a singing bowl, but not this one. Over the past few years I've come rely on my Black Sea Fiddle for ballad & (ahem) E. trad accompaniment as a matter of course (tuned in 4ths - E, A, D - & usually with the Shruti Box - see Here for Butter & Cheese & All). The only vaguely Dylanish thing I do on it is, of course, The Housecarpenter, from the singing of Peter Bellamy, who did cover at least one Dylan original...

The reason why I wouldn't use the bowl in a singaround is mainly owing to the ceremonial nature of such a performance, especially in a ballad such as King Orfeo, which becomes, in essence, a ritual drama possessed of a particular potency. Although a pragmatist at heart, I nevertheless allow for the shamanic / mediumistic element when it comes to certain songs... Actually, some of strangest experiences I've had have been in relation to Butter & Cheese & All, but that's a story for another thread.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 10:19 AM

"Actually, some of strangest experiences I've had have been in relation to Butter & Cheese & All, but that's a story for another thread."

Go on then storyteller?
I'm waiting cross-legged on the floor with my tatty blanket...


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: matt milton
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM

I went along to the "Folk Idol" competition – bit of fun that was closer to a pub singalong than X-Factor I'm pleased to say – at the Local in Crouch End just before christmas. The idea was that all participants had to sing a "folk classic". (While, incidentally, wearing a false beard.)

I was going to play "Willie of the Winsbury", on the banjo, but then somebody else played it on the mandolin. Seeing as there were 7 entrants, I thought it would be bad form to play the same song, so I played "in the pines" instead.

It's funny though, I wouldn't have thought "Willie of the Winsbury" would have been that common a song to choose. I only know Anne Briggs' version.

Incidentally, other people chose 'she moves through the fair' and 'blackwater side'. I'd say those two are definite contenders for most-performed, surely? well, the former anyway...


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Teribus
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 12:38 PM

"All songs are SUNG in folk clubs.

It's the only thing you can do with 'em, really.

Don T."

Don't bet on it Don, its all down to what gets passed of as "singing".


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Diva
Date: 10 May 09 - 04:58 AM

Which songs most sung? I think it depends where you are in the I have a notion that there is a geographical divide...but maybe someone could do a paper on it....now that would be fun.   What a hardship I'd have do go to clubs and festivals and sit and listen and sing, all in the name of research. Hmm

We had a couple of big singarounds last weekend at Girvan and it was intersting (for me)to see the songs that were turning up. In Saturday nights "Driech and Coorse" session we had all sorts from "Nine inch will please a Lady" and "John Anderson My Jo" from Burns' Merry Muses to ballads "The Bonny Hind" to the well loved "Star of the Bar" (brilliantly sung by Charlie Strachan) In the bar after it was different again but still great.

I go to two clubs locally in the Borders, Denholm and Melrose and they are both great clubs but both very different in what is sung by the regulars. I find that I adapt repetiore to suit the club unless i am feeling particularly thrawn and then I'll sing a big ballad at Denholm.

Although I think I shocked one of the Denholm regulars the other week by singing a bit of the wonderful Peegy Lee number "Fever", Phil the bass was noodling the bass line and I just started singing a bit. Been meaning to learn it for years. Its a great song but they were a bit taken aback that I'd even know it. A good song is a good song regardless of genre.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 May 09 - 05:20 AM

It's funny though, I wouldn't have thought "Willie of the Winsbury" would have been that common a song to choose. I only know Anne Briggs' version.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0zAr1t6nTE&feature=channel_page


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: BobKnight
Date: 10 May 09 - 05:28 AM

Here in Scotland "Yellow On The Broom," seems to be very popular as is "Freedom Come A' Ye." "Busk, Busk Bonny Lassie" gets a regular airing too.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 May 09 - 06:08 AM

how abut Lassie wth the yellow coatie ,is that still sung in Scotland


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: SunrayFC
Date: 10 May 09 - 06:20 AM

Oh dear...and not a single mention of one of my songs!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: BobKnight
Date: 10 May 09 - 06:41 AM

Lassie Wi' The Yellow Coatie seems to have been popular in the 60's, 70's, but I've only been going to folk clubs for 5-6 years, and I've never heard it once in all that time.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 10 May 09 - 06:51 AM

I like your one about the girl dancing, Bob.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Diva
Date: 10 May 09 - 07:09 AM

Yep we had "Yellow on the Broom" which is a mighty song. Haven't heard lassie wi the yellow coatie for a gey long time. In the bar after if could have remembered it I would have belted oot "Jesus on the Mainline" but me little grey cells were not co operating


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: SunrayFC
Date: 10 May 09 - 08:38 AM

Amy Dancing. Thanx Terry. You are welcome to the MP3 if you wish.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 10 May 09 - 12:27 PM

Rosemary Lane (by the river)....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: breezy
Date: 10 May 09 - 12:39 PM

Gay Fusilier written by Pete Coe and you must hear him in order to learn the correct tune


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 10 May 09 - 08:12 PM

"Wild Mountain Thyme" still gets done a lot N of the Border, and "Wild Mountainside" (an entirely different song) is catching on -it was sung at the opening of the Scottish Parliament by Eddi Reader (as, of course, was "A Man's a Man for A' that" by Sheena Wellington). Other Burns songs ever present.
"Follow the Heron" seems much less known S of the Border, but is very popular up here, both in clubs and with community choirs.
Tine Wears Awa'
Braw Sailing on the Sea.
Fields of Athenry can be a difficult one, as it has been inextricably linked to Celtic football club, and you are well advised to check the local allegiances before attempting to sing it in a pub session (sad but true).

Most of the ones mentioned above, I have only heard when "down south", and have to confess, that I DO like "When All men Sing" (maybe haven't yet heard it often enough to get sick of it!


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 10 May 09 - 09:14 PM

Many years ago I remember Louis Killen saying to me - 'There's no such thing as a hackneyed song - the reason they survive is that people enjoy singing them' !


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 11 May 09 - 08:24 AM

Whats the one about slippy stones ?
Thats from the land of kilts and haggis


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 May 09 - 10:05 AM

Digital Tradition Mirror
When All Men Sing

When All Men Sing
(K.Scowcraft, Derek Gifford)

When snow transforms the hedgerow thorn
And frost engilds the berry
Good men and true the firelogs hew
And in the inns make merry
When singing all as with one voice
It seems the very walls rejoice
And merriment about does spring
When all men sing.

Cho:      Let every man so pitch his song

To help his neighbor sing along

To each and all contentment bring

When all men sing.

When lambs are seen and trees spring green
Come forth in bloom the daisies
For winters end our thanks we'll send
At Easter-time sing praises
Then with a will, yea one accord
We'll raise our voices to the Lord
And praise above our heavenly King
When all men sing.

When in the fields his scythe he wields
Then hear his summer sound
As man and boy their lungs employ
The songs they echo round
Rebound from hill and roof and spire
Starting lowly building higher
So surely then his scythe will swing
When all men sing.

When leaves they fall from elm tree tall
Then every back must bend
As young and old with courage bold
Their efforts they expend
Ensuring autumn's gifts are stored
Afore cold winter winds is blowed
Then comes and end to foraging
When all men sing.

Here's songs in season every year
Some voices sweet with others strong
Gently round ascending
With harmonies a-blending
In unison pours forth the song
Uplifting beams of Inn or Hall
And shaking plaster from the wall
When all men sing
I fail to see what is nostalgic in this song,secondly if audiences murder it ,surely thats not the fault of the composer.


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Diva
Date: 11 May 09 - 10:48 AM

Tim its just called "Slippy Stane". Ian Bruce recorded it on Hodden Grey. I think it came from janet Weatherston


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:52 PM

See also (from the National Library of Scotland)
http://www.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/16420/transcript/1


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 16 May 09 - 01:57 PM

Or this which gives an author:
http://thecapitalscot.com/pastfeatures/staneslip.html


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 17 May 09 - 07:59 AM

Some very interesting lists here . So many great old songs .Im over in New England thinking of you all .I have not been in the UK for years and my fantasies of the folk club scene is bigger then you can imagine !!! Questions :: Is the Penguin (child's) group out of favor ? I just worked up a Copper family song and thought I might see it on a list here. Do people stay away from bringing the songs Steel Eyed Span did back to folk roots (Black leg miner ? The Blacksmith ? ) or June Tabors ( Reynard The Fox) or the Watersons .. ( I would love to sing The Country Life with 100 people .

                  The first session I ever went to was in Bridgend where I heard three guys sing the Seven Joys Of Mary . It changed my life . All the best to all here .


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Subject: RE: Which songs are most sung in UK clubs?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 18 May 09 - 12:40 AM

This thread is great. Now I know what songs not to bring with me on my visit.
Thanks
Barry


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