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Same songs every time?

Mr Happy 12 May 09 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 12 May 09 - 06:39 AM
Charley Noble 12 May 09 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Jermaine Stewart 12 May 09 - 08:23 AM
Midchuck 12 May 09 - 08:28 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 May 09 - 08:32 AM
jacqui.c 12 May 09 - 08:36 AM
Richard Bridge 12 May 09 - 08:47 AM
Marje 12 May 09 - 08:47 AM
MMario 12 May 09 - 08:50 AM
Jack Campin 12 May 09 - 08:56 AM
GUEST 12 May 09 - 09:01 AM
Mr Happy 12 May 09 - 09:07 AM
VirginiaTam 12 May 09 - 09:11 AM
Bernard 12 May 09 - 09:12 AM
Mr Happy 12 May 09 - 09:19 AM
IanC 12 May 09 - 09:29 AM
Dave Sutherland 12 May 09 - 10:06 AM
Leadfingers 12 May 09 - 11:15 AM
Frozen Gin (inactive) 12 May 09 - 11:20 AM
Marje 12 May 09 - 11:59 AM
Frozen Gin (inactive) 12 May 09 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,Russ 12 May 09 - 12:15 PM
Bernard 12 May 09 - 12:16 PM
MMario 12 May 09 - 12:32 PM
goatfell 12 May 09 - 01:13 PM
Ernest 12 May 09 - 01:33 PM
reggie miles 12 May 09 - 02:52 PM
PoppaGator 12 May 09 - 03:18 PM
Charley Noble 12 May 09 - 04:56 PM
Tootler 12 May 09 - 07:24 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 12 May 09 - 07:35 PM
maple_leaf_boy 12 May 09 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band 13 May 09 - 11:11 AM
Marje 13 May 09 - 12:52 PM
Tug the Cox 13 May 09 - 01:56 PM
Richard Bridge 13 May 09 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band 14 May 09 - 12:54 PM
Ian Fyvie 14 May 09 - 02:10 PM
Frozen Gin (inactive) 14 May 09 - 03:22 PM
kendall 14 May 09 - 04:31 PM
jacqui.c 14 May 09 - 05:19 PM
skipy 14 May 09 - 08:57 PM
Peace 14 May 09 - 09:06 PM
JennieG 15 May 09 - 01:16 AM
Acorn4 15 May 09 - 04:10 AM
Diva 15 May 09 - 06:42 AM
Mr Happy 15 May 09 - 06:47 AM
kendall 15 May 09 - 07:58 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 15 May 09 - 08:18 AM
jacqui.c 15 May 09 - 08:26 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 15 May 09 - 08:35 AM
kendall 15 May 09 - 08:35 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 15 May 09 - 08:37 AM
Terry McDonald 15 May 09 - 09:17 AM
Mr Happy 15 May 09 - 09:21 AM
Tootler 15 May 09 - 06:07 PM
Midchuck 15 May 09 - 06:56 PM
kendall 15 May 09 - 07:12 PM
Arkie 15 May 09 - 09:48 PM
Bill D 15 May 09 - 10:29 PM
Ian Fyvie 16 May 09 - 02:07 PM
Charley Noble 17 May 09 - 02:02 PM
Dennis the Elder 17 May 09 - 04:38 PM
Mr Happy 17 Nov 09 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,Guest MikeL 17 Nov 09 - 02:57 PM
Dave MacKenzie 18 Nov 09 - 09:33 AM
Mr Happy 18 Nov 09 - 09:38 AM
melodeonboy 18 Nov 09 - 10:27 AM
Mo the caller 18 Nov 09 - 10:54 AM
Stringsinger 18 Nov 09 - 01:39 PM
Mr Happy 19 Nov 09 - 05:42 AM
Mr Happy 19 Nov 09 - 05:46 AM
Gervase 19 Nov 09 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,Big Elk 19 Nov 09 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,JOHN AND JEAN 19 Nov 09 - 12:25 PM
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Subject: Same songs every time?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 May 09 - 06:30 AM

At some've the music & song events I attend, certain individuals are prone to perform the same songs/ tunes time after time.

I'll freely admit that if I've recently added a new item to my repertoire, then I'll want to do it frequently, but hopefully at different venues with a fresh audience.

What irks me, [& others, I know] is that the predictability of some performers can become somewhat irritating & boring in the long term.

Of course there'll be manifold reasons that some never seem to learn any fresh material, or is it that sameness is part of 'traditional'?

What think you?


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 12 May 09 - 06:39 AM

I think I go to the other extreme - I feel embarrassed about doing a song twice in the same venue, or even two venues where I know the audiences overlap. Plus I like learning new material, and I don't get out often enough to make it a problem to bring out something new every time. But I think I'm probably over-correcting.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 May 09 - 07:48 AM

Folks should make an effort to learn their new songs thoroughly before performing them, rather than impose the ragged efforts of performing new songs or half-forgotten old songs on people expecting music. Yes, there always has to be a first time for presenting a new song and it won't necessarily be as polished a presentation as when it's been presented several times but the singer should be able to get from one end to the other without stumbling or resorting to notes.

The other extreme of singing the same song every time can also be irritating. Certainly it's nice to include a few familiar songs in any song circle or session but one should also be able to rotate them so they're not presented every time. People tend to go to sleep if the same song is presented too often, or break for the loo. Not exactly the reaction one wants to encourage.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: GUEST,Jermaine Stewart
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:23 AM

Yes this happens at a few clubs that I used to attend. One bloke has been singing the same 3 or 4 songs every week for about 25 years. I wouldn't mind but, Leaving On A Jet Plane, Streets Of London, Ride On, Colours etc can get on your nerves week in week out. Then there's the club where somebody has, for the last 10 years, every week sung/spoke this awful song about a "moggy" getting run down and the regulars still laugh at the punch lines as if they had never heard it before! It's more interesting to sit and watch telly at home. These same clubs wonder why they are loosing audiences.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Midchuck
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:28 AM

Folks should make an effort to learn their new songs thoroughly before performing them, rather than impose the ragged efforts of performing new songs or half-forgotten old songs on people expecting music. Yes, there always has to be a first time for presenting a new song and it won't necessarily be as polished a presentation as when it's been presented several times but the singer should be able to get from one end to the other without stumbling or resorting to notes.

Guilty. I try out new songs at our local song circle before I do them in a paid gig. I do so in full awareness that I may well stumble, it's part of the learning process. If this makes me a bad person, I will go out and drown myself so people will feel better about me....

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:32 AM

If you're only getting out to one session each month, even a handful of songs should ensure you don't have to sing the very same song month in month out. Personally I think it pretty selfish of anyone to expect the poor audience to endure the same song over and over again, and not try to learn at least a handful of songs! I can't imagine what satisfaction peddling out the same tune can be for the performer either, don't they get sick of singing the same old thing repeatedly? As a slow learner it takes me ages to set something to memory, so I don't get that many new songs learned each month. But I do hopefully learn enough songs so there will be a couple of new ones whenever I get out to sing. If it's a long session, then I see no shame in repeating some songs already sung before amongst the same group. An all day meet and a smallish circle makes singing a fresh half dozen or more songs unrealistic.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:36 AM

Don't worry Peter - you're not the only one. I still use cheat sheets on occasion as there are too many songs to learn that I enjoy singing and I prefer that to stopping in the middle of a song because I can't remember the next line.

The first singaround club that I went to back in 1999 had a number of people guilty of singing the same old same old week after week and, when I go back there occasionally, they are STILL doing it! One of the regulars was rather impressed that "You've added some new songs to your repertoire!"


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:47 AM

I think most people who get as far as halfway serious about what they are doing do try to vary it.

I was once introduced when singing in a break in the dancing at a ceilidh "This is RIchard, he's one of our singers, we don't know what he's going to do, in fact I don't think we've ever heard him sing the same song twice".

One Knockholt, with the aid of songboooks, I played pretty well all the time I was awake from Thursday to Saturday night without repeating myself.

Over the winter song sessions I have run in my local pub, I think I have only repeated myself once, and that was by request.


Not that I'm like the late Carey Roberts, who had thousands of songs in his memory, but I think it's worth avoiding sameness, and I think most people do try to.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Marje
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:47 AM

I try to avoid repeating a song to the same or a similar audience, even over a period of months, except for the occasional seasonal song that just needs to be done on a particular day. I think it's lazy and inconsiderate to keep on doing the same songs every week/month to the same people.

What I find most tiresome (like the example given by Jermaine above)is "humorous" songs repeated too frequently. Just because people laughed the first time, it doesn't follow that they'll find it as funny a couple of weeks later, and the week after that .... I do have a few funny songs but I'm very sparing with them, and air them only occasionally.

If I do learn a new song, I nearly always get it right the first time I do it "out", probably because I've just been practising it. The songs I forget are the ones I've been doing for years and never faltered on, until suddenly one day a curtain falls in my brain and ... well, you all know the feeling.

Now I'm getting anxious - I think I'll go and revise the new song I'm planning to do at the club this week.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: MMario
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:50 AM

I'm going to a session/singaround this weekend and have already been told what song they want me to sing; the same one I always end up singing there....

Which is okay - I guess, because I only get there maybe three times a year...but frustrating for *ME* because I usually only get to do one song; and sometimes I'd like to sing something different in this venue.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:56 AM

There is a South American culture described in Bruno Nettl's book on ethnomusicology that took this to the ultimate extreme. Everybody in the culture had their own personal song, which they'd composed themselves. Nobody else would ever sing it and you would never sing more than the one.

Nettl doesn't say, but I suspect they took up headhunting and cannibalism so as to hear some bloodcurdling screams as a change from the weekly singaround.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 May 09 - 09:01 AM

"[There] would be calls for old David's Outlandish Knight; not because they wanted particularly to hear it - indeed, they had heard it so often they all knew it by heart - but because, as they said, "Poor old feller be eighty-three. Let 'un sing while he can." So David would have his turn. He only knew the one ballad."

Lark Rise to Candleford


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 May 09 - 09:07 AM

That's a good example of what I didn't mean!

Of course in almost every venue there'll be old Tom or old Mary who just have one or two songs or tunes & its often the case that audience & performers alike will have the good grace to applaud these out of respect.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 12 May 09 - 09:11 AM

I am with Crow Sister. I get bored with what I am singing. If I am bored others in attendance sure gotta be.

Luckily, at the local club Crow Sister and I currently attend the repertoire collectively has been expanding. I am so proud of that merry little group.

One Knockholt, with the aid of songboooks, I played pretty well all the time I was awake from Thursday to Saturday night without repeating myself. I have seen the picture of you asleep at Knockholt, Richard.... awwww he looks so vulnerable and harmless, don't he?


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Bernard
Date: 12 May 09 - 09:12 AM

Tricky one, this... I suppose it depends upon the reason why the person is singing... if they are singing for their own enjoyment primarily, then they sing what they enjoy. If the primary concern is entertaining others, then a little 'audience savvy' comes into consideration.

People who attend singarounds are usually there primarily for their own enjoyment, so are entitled to be a little 'selfish'.

Having said that, it irritates the hell out of me seeing/hearing someone sing the same song every time I see them, and reading it off the same pice of paper with a page turn in the middle of a verse!!

A good job we're all different, innit?!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 May 09 - 09:19 AM

A good job we're all different, innit?!

********************

But going back to the old timers contributions mentioned above, brings to mind an old Welsh chap who used to attend a local sessh regularly & had but 2 songs.

He'd alternate them, tho - doing 'The Rose of Tralee' one week, then 'The Mountains of Mourne' the following week - & always to a great audience response joining the choruses


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: IanC
Date: 12 May 09 - 09:29 AM

This whole thing here seems to me to illustrate quite well the difference between "folk" and "folkies".

If you've gone somewhere to listen to interesting songs, I can understand why you wouldn't want to listen to the same person sing the same song week in and week out. A good folk club will be the place for you. Some singers nights, some guests. Excellent.

If you've gone somewhere to make music as part of a village or other neighbourhood community, then you'll be more than happy if Charlotte brings her flute every time and plays "Amazing Grace" because that's all she can confidently play (though you might encourage her to learn a 2nd and a 3rd tune for her own satisfaction) or if Keith sings "Old Shep" again (though you might complain for effect so that the whole pub joins you and him in having a good laugh).

;-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 12 May 09 - 10:06 AM

At the first two clubs at which I was a resident I frequently got the job of starting the night (either because I was reliable or it got me over with quickly - I don't know) but I always though it was disrespectful towards the audience to inflict the same few songs on them week after week. This certainly encouraged me to learn a larger number and wider variety of songs; along with the excitement and satisfaction of presenting new material on a regular basis.
However at one of these clubs a fellow resident performed "The Irish Rover" five weeks in succession; now what was worse, his repetition of the same song so often or me for realising that he had done?


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 May 09 - 11:15 AM

Its not just repeating the same songs - The ones who REALLY wind me up are the people who 'dont realise' they are next until told by who ever is running the singaround , despite the fact tha the person alongside them has just performed , THEN They get the instrument and or song book out and eventually do the same piece thet did last week !!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 12 May 09 - 11:20 AM

It's what the audience, at large, wants not a few discontented individuals. If the audience at large wants to hear Blackleg Miner or The Rigs of London Town every week, then who am I to deny'em that pleasure?


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Marje
Date: 12 May 09 - 11:59 AM

But bear in mind, Frozen Gin, that the audience will only request songs they remember hearing from you before. It's a bit like the requests, in public bars, for "The Wild Rover" or "Duelling Banjos".
No one ever says, "Sing us a new song that we've never heard you sing before!" but that could well be the one they'd enjoy most, particularly in a folk club.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 12 May 09 - 12:14 PM

Besides which, The Rigs of London Town has a REALLY great sing-along chorus


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 12 May 09 - 12:15 PM

First,
What IanC said.

I am a yank.

I sing in public but I am NOT a performer.
The venues that I sing and play in bear little resemblance to English folk clubs.

I know lots of songs and tunes, but I sing and play some things repeatedly because I like them. Imagine that. I also hope that if I sing the same song or play the same tune repeatedly in a venue that others will learn it and join me.

I make music with lots of different people in many different configurations. Some groups get together sporadically, some regularly. Some focus on instrumental music, some on songs. We do like new material. But we like to do some things repeatedly because we like them and we want to develop a common repertoire.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and traditional musician)


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Bernard
Date: 12 May 09 - 12:16 PM

When audiences ask me to 'sing a song we know' I usually gently remind them that every song they know started off as one they didn't - just as strangers are friends we don't yet know...!

Okay, get yer fingers outa yer throats!!

;o)


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: MMario
Date: 12 May 09 - 12:32 PM

No one ever says, "Sing us a new song that we've never heard you sing before!"

I guess I'm lucky - because I *do* have a venue where that is the request...gotta love friends running the show!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: goatfell
Date: 12 May 09 - 01:13 PM

I try and sing a new song almost ecery week at the local sesion that I go to and so do some of the other people there, except a guy named Dick he sings the same songs and plays the same tunes week after week, Now I like Dick but I just wish he would learn more songs and tunes.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Ernest
Date: 12 May 09 - 01:33 PM

With unpaid amateurs one shouldn`t expect too much. As pointed out before they do it for their own enjoyment, so we should let that go to a certain extent.

I find it much more annoying when a paid performer plays the same songs over and over again without variation and - even worse - introduces them with the same old jokes every time...

Regards
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: reggie miles
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:52 PM

Ernest, I guess you'd better not take in a show by Arlo Guthrie more than once. I was invited by a friend to one of Arlo's shows and like you, he was bothered by the fact that, in his words, Arlo's show had not changed. He had seen Arlo on two previous occasions and based his comment on the three shows.

I say, what ever works, use it. If the same line gets a laugh or a groan, why throw it away? Until you manage to come up with a better one, use what you've got.

We can't all be the perfect entertainers that every critical listener would enjoy. Neither should listeners expect to find such abilities at their local venues. Such talents are rare and not often shared in such humble spaces. Many talented folk often find those willing to help them to perform to a larger audience beyond their local scene.

It takes time for the fruits of our musical endeavors to ripen. Some will mature early and some late. Some will have many varied talents and skills and others just a few. You hope in vain if you think that every person's goal is the same and that every skill level can ultimately achieve equally. They can't. Just like you can't expect grass to grow as tall as trees or every bird to fly. It's the differences that make us all unique and special.

Some are comforted by the sameness they hear and see. Look at the poularity of the traditionalist musical movement. Where so many only wish things to remain the same. They are against differences in instrumentation in traditional bands. They long to hear what has already been played before by those who are deemed as the originators of their particular movement. They reward those that can closely approximate or imitate that which has already been played and aren't interested in anything different or new. Some of the more radical of this philosophy even demonize you for playing the note in the wrong place. It seems a little like musical hell to me but they find it heavenly.

But, as is the way of all things, the opposite is just as true. There are those that yearn for the very edges of musical expression and are willing to break every convention to find that place to play. For every yin there's a yang and the pendulum swings both ways. Personally, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Imitation might be the most sincere form of flattery, but when I hear everone adopting songs from my set list and doing them, allbeit in their own way, in the same venue, instead of complaining too loudly, I just find some new songs to play. There are plenty of songs out there and if I can't find what I like from what's already been offered by others, I have plenty of my own to sing. Or, I'll write a new one.

If I get tired of hearing everyone playing the same songs from their set lists, at every venue or event, I just migrate to another venue or event. There are even online collaborations that are bringing folks together from across the world to share their music. Try looking for one of those the next time you get too tired of your local scene. This web thing that we are all sharing has something for everyone. Aren't we the lucky ones!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 12 May 09 - 03:18 PM

Most of my performing experience occurred around 1969-72 (jeez, that's 40 years ago !!?!?) when I sang on the street as my full-time occupation.

The "audience" was never a consideration, of course. The vast majority of my listeners would simply be passing in and out of earshot, not necessarily hearing either the beginning or ending of any song. Even those who enjoyed the music well enough to make a contribution did not necessarily linger (although, just about every day, someone without pressing business elsewhere would see fit to hang around for a while).

Theoretically, one could "get away with" singing a single number over and over in that situation, or at least to operate using a very limited repertoire of, say, a half-dozen songs. Few listeners would ever notice.

In practice, of course, one inevitably adds more and more variety to the program all the time, if only to keep oneself adequately entertained. Once, during that long-ago period, a friend asked me how many songs I knew, and I quit counting at 200; there were still quite a few more songs I knew and was ready to play ~ and to sing, as well, with all the words, and all the verses in the correct order, without cheat-sheets!

My streetsinging career came to a sudden halt when certain real-life issues intervened, and at some point I stopped playing even for my own amusement. I resumed playing/practicing maybe about 10-12 years ago, and then began "playing out" ~ just a little bit ~ three years ago, upon returning home to New Orleans from Katrina exile.

I have a one-hour spot once a month at a local coffeehouse. The first few times, I had barely enough material prepared to fill that measly little hour, and did pretty much the same set each time out.

Out of the 200+ songs in my former working repertoire, I certainly did not remember all of them, and of those I could recall, I did not necessarily still know all the lyrics, nor was I necessarily sufficiently practiced at all the intrumental parts.

As I gradually "relearned" some of my old favorites, and also worked up some "new" pieces ~ actually, old songs that I hadn't previously learned to play ~ I finally got to where I could vary my set-list from one monthly hour to the next.

I still repeat myself to some extent. There are about four or five songs I do almost every time out; they still seem to elicit positive reactions, indicating that the small audiences (which include a very few "regulars") don't seem to be sick of them yet. Of late, I've (temporarily?) settled on a regular opening number, because I find it easy to do well, and thus put myself in a sort of "comfort zone," confident and well warmed-up.

Confession: I rely, to an extent, on a stack of printed lyrics on a music stand I can just see out of the corner of my eye. In my earlier incarnation, I would never have considered resorting to such a "crutch"; of course, I was singing all day every day, and drummed all those lyrics into my head by sheer repetition. Things are much different nowadays; even on some long-familiar songs, I need an occasional glance at my notes to recall which verse comes next, etc.

If I were actually working at music for pay, and doing three or four 45-minute sets per evening at a bar with a few regulars but a larger number of tourists/transients, my only concern would be to avoid repeating myself on a given date ~ unless specifically requested to "do that one again," and/or if the crowd for the late set were entirely "turned over" from the folks who were listening earlier. From one date to the next, I'm sure that I would have to include many of the same songs each time out.

The opposite extreme is the situation MMario describes, where one is given the opportunity to perform ONE song, at an event that only recurs a few times a year. In such circumstances, I would hate to be asked to do the same old thing every time, and extend my sympathies!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 May 09 - 04:56 PM

Oh, I've been know to show up with a song sheet for some new song I'm in love with but I really make an effort to practice the song as well.

And there is a good case that can be made for raising a song with a well-known chorus, just not the same one week after week.

The other extreme is presenting a new song with a complicated chorus and expecting people to pick it up immediately. No, slow down and repeat the chorus as many times as is needed so people can sink their teeth into it. And if they like it then, bring it back at least once more.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Tootler
Date: 12 May 09 - 07:24 PM

When I started going to folk clubs recently, I only knew a few songs, most of which I had learnt about 40 years previously in my previous venture into folk clubs. I quickly realised that I would have to learn some more songs so I made myself a promise that I would not repeat the same song in any venue for a year. That way I had to start learning songs and I stuck to it, though it was a bit hectic at times. I also managed to get through the year with only using a cheat sheet about two or three times. Now I am in the process of trying to relearn many of the songs I sang and also continuing to learn new songs. I try not to repeat a song I have sung for at least three months.

Even as an amateur I do think you should try and develop a reasonable repertoire and vary what you sing at your regular venue. I may be going to a folk club to sing for my own pleasure, but I am also singing to others so I feel owe it to the other regulars to vary what you sing and to try not to bore them. OTOH if someone asks you to sing a particular song - and it has happened even to me - then I am quite happy to oblige.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 12 May 09 - 07:35 PM

Object lesson:

When I first moved to our town, there was a quite famous night spot which served up beer, peanuts, nice looking minimally clad dancing girls and dixieland jazz in a warehouse setting. It was great fun and a huge draw in its day. However, after the third visit, I came to realize that it was like owning a CD. Once you've heard it, the next hearing is exactly the same. With few digressions from their standard repertoire, the band sounded almost exactly the same every night, with the same song list, the same instrumental riffs and including the same gag lines and patter. The fact that they were very good and very "tight" was made considerably easier by their failure to challenge themselves or to improvise at all. It was a very carefully packaged product. Most people didn't care, either because they were new to the place or because they were too busy trying to "hook up" to notice. I would never want to fall into that trap.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 12 May 09 - 09:24 PM

Personally, repeating the same songs every week really isn't something
I prefer.

I was placed in a no-win situation like this a long while ago:

I have repeated tunes in the distant past at some of the venues I
played (sing-around pubs), although I was reluctant to do so.
Some regular attendees would ask me for the same songs every time, and late arrivals would ask for one or two certain songs that I
already played. On occasion, I might have repeated one at the end of my set, but no more than that in the same night.

I would repeat one or two "staple songs" week after week, because somebody was always asking for those songs, but I would mix it up a bit with the rest of my set, always trying to fit in different songs each week.

At one point, I quit for quite some time and avoided the particular
places where I would always be asked for the same songs. I couldn't
keep repeating them, because some regular attendees might become
bored and I know that I was bored of those songs. However, I
couldn't say no, because other regular attendees or late arrivals
who missed a particular song would be disappointed. I couldn't
decide who would win.

I was moving anyway, and wouldn't have been within a reasonable distance to play shows often in the area, but I let people who used to hear me play know that I would be moving soon. That sort of saved me from making the decision of whether I should repeat the same songs week after week, and lose attendees who were getting somewhat bored, OR losing attendees for not playing the songs they wanted to hear; though it was the same people, same songs, every time.

In the aftermath, I determined that I might keep a one or two
"temporary staple song" system, with one being the opener. But, I would only do so once per venue until I've played an entire cycle of
the venues I would normally play, then I would pick one or two
different songs, and use them throughout the cycle.
It would normally depend on how many songs are in the set. If I was
playing a ten song set, one or two staple songs, but 15-20, I would
double it; and I would always mix up the order they're placed in the
set at random.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band
Date: 13 May 09 - 11:11 AM

Richard B.,
         You made reference earlier to the late Carey Roberts. Would that gentlemen be a shortish fellow with a beard in the 70`s who worked at BBC? If so, he was the one who recorded us ( Four Square Circle) in the London BBC studios. If my memory serves me well I`m sure he said "Mrs Dales Diary" was also done there.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Marje
Date: 13 May 09 - 12:52 PM

It's quite flattering to be asked to do a specific song, but I sometimes refuse because I can't be sure I'll remember all the words. I have a big repertoire of songs and there are an awful lot that I almost know but would need to skim quickly through the words of before singing. Before a club evening, I'll have half a dozen songs ready (to allow for some flexibility) but if I'm asked for one I haven't done for a while, I may have to say "Sorry, next time!", to give me time to revise it.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 13 May 09 - 01:56 PM

Spare a thought for dear old Ralph McTell. He's written some great songs in his time. Usually, when one is sung at a club, the reponse is... that was grteat, who wrote it?. He's coming to a concert in Exmouth soon. I know, he knows, and the prospective full house probably knows, that he won't be allowed out alive without doing 'Streets of London' for the 12,000th time, and many would feel cheated of their entrance fee if he refused to do it.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 May 09 - 06:43 PM

John, it sounds like him. He definitely worked at the BBC. I used to make a point of getting to Wish it Was a Brewery early specifically to hear him. He had some great songs. I wish I could remember his tune and words for "the Shaking of the Sheets". THe words in the DT don't seem to be what I heard him sing (although I can't remember clearly), and I can't reconstruct the tune at all. He was also long term friendly with my late wife Jacqui.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band
Date: 14 May 09 - 12:54 PM

Richard,
          I`m convinced he`s my man. I have made a cd of the reel to reel tape he produced for us and he is playing or drumming on "Skewball". I remember him and his enthusiasm for our music with fondness.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 14 May 09 - 02:10 PM

For 2009 I set up a database on the computer and logged every song at every club night (3 singarounds a week).

Two points on the overall issue though:
1- beware of a particular person at the club making you think of a particular song. They may not come along regularly but if they hear the same song when they do - they may get miffed with out you realising.

2 - It's good to give a group of songs a miss for a few months. It became apparent I was doing this naturally once I had enough entries on my song play list for analysis.

3 - I can play virtualy anything from my repetiore' by request' (30+ songs) given some may be a bit ragged. But the goodwill it creates far outweighs the odd missed word because your trying - perhaps for someone you haven't seen since their last annual visit.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 14 May 09 - 03:22 PM

"With unpaid amateurs one shouldn`t expect too much. As pointed out before they do it for their own enjoyment, so we should let that go to a certain extent."

Know what? This is a very patronising attitude. That aside, I've found, in my fairly wide experience that I've preferred amateurs of the pros simply because the amateurs are playing because they love to play, and, therefore, tend to experiment more, which in some cases drives traddies crazy, but heh, such is life.

Smile once in awhile, it'll do you good!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: kendall
Date: 14 May 09 - 04:31 PM

One time I was introduced by a person who said, "It's not easy to introduce Kendall because we never know what he is going to do. He sings folk songs, tells jokes and stories, plus he is an author."

That was so nice to hear because I hate to be bored by those people who cant or wont learn any more than 3 or 4 songs.Even if they are great songs, you can ride a good horse to death you know.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 14 May 09 - 05:19 PM

When I was going to two or three venues a week in the UK I started noting the songs that I sang on each occasion. I would then try to make sure that I didn't repeat those songs for a few weeks. Made sesnse to me.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: skipy
Date: 14 May 09 - 08:57 PM

Have any of you bothered to consider the possibility that some of us are unable to learn a song? Or that some of us may be more concerned about the attack that may come from any corner of a room at any moment? As for "enjoying" singing, drilling holes in your own teeth is probably more enjoyable! I wish it where not so, but for me it is!
So if it is true for one it is probably true for others, so why not cut them some slack. I don't ask for me, just for others amongst you.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Peace
Date: 14 May 09 - 09:06 PM

Some folks want to do it until they get it just the way they want.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: JennieG
Date: 15 May 09 - 01:16 AM

I've been reading this but haven't joined in, however I thought perhaps I would have my two cents' worth. Our folk club, which meets twice a month, is run in singaround style - as each person's turn comes around they can choose whether to sing, play, recite a poem - it's their choice. A few years ago we started monthly 'theme' nights to give us a chance to stretch ourselves a bit, and it has mostly worked....but there is one bloke who has his few favourite party pieces, it's amazing how he can manage to tie them into the theme of the night! I think for him it's a matter of not having the confidence to branch out into new material.

At the start of last year I decided to have a new piece for each club meeting, and I have managed to do that. Not all have been learnt word perfectly, or note perfectly, but we are a very forgiving bunch when it comes to having paper in front of us. We are a mixture of amateurs and pros but we all have a good time - the club wouldn't keep going if we didn't.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Acorn4
Date: 15 May 09 - 04:10 AM

I like theme nights - best one was one on "ghosts" when someone did one by Phil Spector!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Diva
Date: 15 May 09 - 06:42 AM

I used to be very guilty of that when I was younger and indeed there are 2 particular songs that are in my repetiore that one of my pals has banned me from singing if she is around!!!! I take it in good part and she is right. One of the nicest comments I had was after I did an extended spot in April at The Rollin Hills Folk Club in Melrose and John, my ex said it was nice to hear songs he hadn;t heard me sing in a while.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 15 May 09 - 06:47 AM

.........& then there's the other phenomenon of some song or tune someone's already done being repeated one or sometimes more times during the same session by latercomers!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: kendall
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:58 AM

I have no idea what it's like to be "Unable" to learn new songs. Logically, if you can learn one song you can learn two three a dozen.
Why would anyone want to get up in front of a group and bore them to death? Thats not entertainment. What it looks like is simple ego tripping with a minimum of effort on the part of the singer.

In the groups I hang out with they know I can no longer sing so I tell a story or recite a poem. Mostly I just sit back and enjoy what others are doing.No one can make me feel that I MUST perform.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:18 AM

Actually that Lark Rise to Candleford quote, was rather affecting, and I think not without worth. Especially for someone like me, who has found folk song relatively recently. And as such is both enthused, and blessed with sufficient youth to make the task of memorising songs probably considerably less taxing than it might be were I far older.

Perhaps for some older club members, they only started going to song sessions later in life as a retirement social activity. And so they sing whatever they remember from some past time when they may have just incidentally 'picked up' those one or two ballads? And even for those who might have had a greater repertoire, there may be loss of memory. I recall my own grandfathers increasing frustration at declining competence with tasks (mechanics, building work, engineering etc.) that he had been extremely good at up until past middle-age.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:26 AM

Actually, the task of learning new songs is considered to be very efficacious for older brains. Keeping the mind active is a real help in staving off the lessening of brain power that can come with age.

I came to folk music when I was 52, ten years ago. Prior to that I knew very few folk songs, just the stuff we learned at school. Now I try to learn a new song every week or so - walking the beach with the dog, or just around the house. Depending on the song I might get the words down in a couple of days or, as is the case with the song I'm now trying for, Lorena, I'm still working on it after best part of a week.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:35 AM

Fair point Jacqui, and I agree that song learning is good therapy for an older brain. Though when I use the term 'elderly' I don't think of someone in their sixties - more perhaps a person eighty plus. Once upon a time maybe, but certainly not these days. In fact one of my good friends approaching seventy, is currently completing his Phd.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: kendall
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:35 AM

Can't and wont are not the same.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:37 AM

Just realised, I didn't actually use the term 'elderly' - never mind, the Lark Rise to Candleford quote did make me think a bit about my own assumptions though.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 15 May 09 - 09:17 AM

Like Ian Fyvie, I keep a record of the songs I sing and play at Wimborne each week. However, I've a repertoire of about 200 songs that I can just 'do' without needing to refresh my memory and I often find that a song which I assume the audience and/or other performers will be thinking 'oh, not that one again', I've not sung for a year or so.

When I go to clubs other than Wimborne, though, I do have a sort of 'A' list of a dozen or so songs that I know from experience will be well received. Again, I worry that I may have sung the same two or three the last time I was at a particular club, perhaps six or more months previously.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 15 May 09 - 09:21 AM

I know a bloke who, at the start of each year, types out a list of all his songs, then each time he does one, crosses it off, so as to avoid doing any one've them twice - in a year!!

I don't know if he'd have enough for 2 or 3 once a week - as he'd need between 100 & 200, guess he learns fresh ones to cover himself?


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Tootler
Date: 15 May 09 - 06:07 PM

Over the year I avoided repeating myself I think I learnt around 100 songs, many of them I learnt just well enough to do them during one week and I have since forgotten them. Some I will probably never sing again, because they didn't feel right to me or did not go down too well.

I also regularly play a couple of tunes on my flute instead of singing a song in one of my spots. That seems to go down quite well. It did mean I had to learn quite a few tunes as well though.

At the moment I am aiming not to repeat a song or tune for about 3 months


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Midchuck
Date: 15 May 09 - 06:56 PM

Depending on the song I might get the words down in a couple of days or, as is the case with the song I'm now trying for, Lorena, I'm still working on it after best part of a week.

Jacqui, here's some other words if you want to pep it up:

The bytes go creeping by, Eudora
The net has broken down again.
I'll get my mail today, Eudora,
But I'll be damned if I know when

        For the mail comes in as slowly now,
        As when I was on AOL.
        But with the mail that's coming in now
        I think it may be just as well.

The spam comes pouring in, Eudora;
A never-ending siren's song.
If all of it were true, Eudora,
I'd have a Thing ten meters long.

        They sell you stocks and bonds and girls,
        And boys, and condos by the sea.
        I don't know where they got my address,
        But like some old drunk, they won't leave me be.


Peter


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: kendall
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:12 PM

Thats beautiful Peter. sniff.
I'll read it again when the Scotch wears off.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Arkie
Date: 15 May 09 - 09:48 PM

People most likely go to music gatherings for various reasons. Some enjoy the social contact but take the music seriously and take seriously the occasion to play or sing for a group's enjoyment. Others, as suggested by Crow Sister, go to gatherings primarily for the social contact primarily but also might like taking part or even feel obligated to join in the singing. I would suspect those who sing the same songs over and over might not ever sing except when they go to the gatherings. If there are just a few of the repeaters one might learn to tolerate it. If it is in fact driving folk away that is another problem.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 May 09 - 10:29 PM

I think *I* decided to learn more songs in my home town, 40 years ago, when every month one old guy came and did "The Strawberry Roan"...over & over & over.

Now, our local folk group has a 'theme' every month. It gets folks to try to find new songs and stretches the imagination. Some, of course, don't learn new songs as well as others and often don't even LOOK for one till the day of the sing. It's a mixed blessing, but works pretty well for the most part.
I don't add new stuff as often as I used to, but because I DID for years, I can usually dredge up something to fit.

(Richard Bridge said up there ^ that he was introduced this way.. ""This is RIchard, he's one of our singers, we don't know what he's going to do, in fact I don't think we've ever heard him sing the same song twice"."
I was once introduced the same way, and 30 minutes after I finished, I thought of the perfect reply...."Well, you see, a song needs some time to recover after I do it!"... I'm still waiting to use that line publicly.)

I have, as many of us have, been identified with a few songs...mostly silly ones... and I often get asked for them by folks I don't see regularly. I have had to restrict certain ones to once or twice a year. "Mrs. Ravoon" is in that category.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 16 May 09 - 02:07 PM

We're having a nostalgea guest night in June where three regular supporters come back together as the trio they were well known for in the 1990s.

There's a twist also, which could be used in a singaroud theme night. The trio, PJC, will ask other regular supporters who sing to perform songs that PJC request!

Most singers will be asked in advance what they're being requested to sing, but I expect more than one singer who we don't see that often to have this sprung upon them. Should be fun!


Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 May 09 - 02:02 PM

Peter-

Your "Eudora" song brought tears to my eyes.

Maybe I'll work up a verse inspired by the shift from Verizon to Fair Point Communications, the break-in period for this telemiscommunications giant has been festering for at least 6 months.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Dennis the Elder
Date: 17 May 09 - 04:38 PM

Guilty as charged.
Must admit, only know a few, I believe my favourite song gets better each time I sing it, but I would wouldn't I.
Something to do with a comfort zone.
I have learnt another one today which I will expose people to next time I get the chance.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 09:11 AM

.......similarly with tunes.

I was at a tuney sesh some months ago that I'd not been to for some years & they were still doing the same sets!!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: GUEST,Guest MikeL
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 02:57 PM

Hi everyone

I can see both sides of this interesting thread.

As an organiser and resident of several folk clubs over the past thirty years or so......!!!! I have performed many times in my own clubs.

When doing so I always tried to learn new material and I usually managed to learn at least a couple a week in the early days.

My format for my clubs at that time was that we had the night split into two halves separated by a half hour or so break.

On most cases I used to open the night whether we had guests or not so I knew all about going on first !!!! My strategy was to always open the night with a song that I considered to be " concert standard". This settled both me and the audiences down. But then I would use some of my first spot to perform songs I was trying to perfect. As a singer/guitarist I always considered it more important to know the words perfectly rather than the accompaniament.

In the second spots I tried to use music that I knew very well that I could perform to as high a standard as I could. I had enough of this material to vary the songs and I am proud to say that I always managed to ring the changes at the same time as being able to do any requests that members asked for.

During this time we had many floor singers - of all standards. We too had the salt of the earth standbys who would get up to help when not many others singers were available.....some of these did sing/perform the same tunes/songs. But I was always glad to use them and I believe that so did 99% of the audiences.

I have also performed as a guest ( most paid ) at many clubs and then it was different I always had a set of stuff that I considered my best - it changed to suit occasions and audiences. So I used to sing some songs more often than perhaps I would have wanted....but hey....the customer is always right !!

Happy music-making

MikeL


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 09:33 AM

I presume that was me Mr Happy was talking about in May. I've actually got enough on my list "of songs I've forgotten" to do 6 a week and still have a few left over. Apart from stopping me from repeating myself, it means that I'm less likely to forget them completely.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 09:38 AM

Dave,

Yes 'twas you!

Bring your little list down the Carlton tonight, you can be the mystery gust!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 10:27 AM

No doubt he'll be singing "Blow, Boys, Blow", "Ready for The Storm" and "Blowing in The Wind".

Or even "Mandolin Wind"!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 10:54 AM

Mr. Happy's comment about tune sessions takes us into a different area. New tunes are nice, but people can't join in until they've been played enough times to get into the brain and out through the fingers. And you go to a music sesion to play.
And most musicians are better than me; but I have difficulty starting off a new tune that no-one is joining in with, when I have all the other tunes ringing in my ears.
I like the old 'lift the roof' standards, dotted through the evening. With the new and fairly new ones mixed in.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 01:39 PM

The Singer/songwriter tends to do his/her own songs. They repeat them to sell them to audiences. Then audiences want the Singer/songwriter to do their fave songs.

There is an imitative aspect to the contemporary music called "folk" these days that tend
toward "pop corn beat" tedium. The variegated and rich traditions of the world's music always need to be explored.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 05:42 AM

Stringsinger,

The kind of seshes I generally attend aren't the sort where there's generally a formal audience.

Usually, everyone in the sesh is a participant musician/ singer,any others are listeners/ shaky eggers etc or chorus joining in'ers.


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 05:46 AM

So its not a matter of 'selling' anything


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: Gervase
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 05:46 AM

I'm lucky enough to have a repertoire of well-learned and polished songs that will last me a good ten years before I need to repeat myself when I'm singing in public.
I'm unlucky enough only to get about two opportunities a year to sing in public!


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: GUEST,Big Elk
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 11:55 AM

Different folks, different strokes.

There has to be an awareness that we are all different. Not everyone has the time or the facility to master 2 new songs or tunes a week.

I think that it is acceptable to use crib sheets and or key notes, but only to reinforce that which you already know, as a safety net. However to fumble and stumble through a song that or tune that has plainly not been practiced or even part memorized is to sell yourself and the audience short.

Amateur or pro, to stand up and argue about what you are going to do and what key it's in is an insult to the listeners and fellow musicians. I don't tend agree with Lead Fingers about much, but the "is it me next brigade" and the fumbling etc is unacceptable, why bring an instrument and put yourself up if you are not ready to commit and engage.

At the other end of the scale is the person for all songs (and or tunes) for all seasons, but they all sound the bloody same.

There is no one size fits all solution, nor should we ever seek to find one. However it is fair to ask all those who stand up to consider the audience and to make the effort to use their talents to the best effect possible. It is also right that the audience and fellow singers do not judge too harshly, as only the truly enlightened can see themselves as others see them


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Subject: RE: Same songs every time?
From: GUEST,JOHN AND JEAN
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 12:25 PM

One of the joys of grass roots folk music is variety and a good old sing song

There should be no shame whatsoever if a performer in a sing around gets a few words notes or chords askew

LONG LIVE - LIVE MUSIC - WARTS N ALL

For a paid for performance even I don't expect perfection but mistakes should be minimal

Using the sing around clubs even the bigger named semi professionals should experiment and practice


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