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Traditional Singing Public Resource?

Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 04 Jun 09 - 03:09 PM
Spleen Cringe 04 Jun 09 - 03:29 PM
Goose Gander 04 Jun 09 - 03:42 PM
GUEST 04 Jun 09 - 04:03 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 04 Jun 09 - 04:08 PM
Desert Dancer 04 Jun 09 - 04:15 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Jun 09 - 04:30 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Jun 09 - 04:34 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 04 Jun 09 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 04 Jun 09 - 04:41 PM
dick greenhaus 05 Jun 09 - 12:58 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 05 Jun 09 - 01:22 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 05 Jun 09 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,mg 05 Jun 09 - 02:14 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 05 Jun 09 - 02:18 PM
Willa 05 Jun 09 - 03:37 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Jun 09 - 04:25 PM
dick greenhaus 05 Jun 09 - 08:32 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 06 Jun 09 - 03:02 PM
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Subject: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 03:09 PM

So I've decided to commit to buying the whole Topic Records 'Voice of the People' collection, all twenty of them. It's going to cost me something like £300 overall, which some will say is well worth it and so I should and suchlike. Yet financial circumstances for me, mean that this will be a genuinely very expensive undertaking. I only ever buy second hand stuff (clothes/books/household items etc.), as we are not well off by a very long straw.

By contrast, The Max Hunter collection (field recorded early American folk singing), is of course a free online resource. The equivalent British cultural 'folk' resource however, is arguably only readily available to a niche group of affluent middle-class dilettantes and academics. Being a pretty poor working class person, who sings traditional songs and wants to learn more about traditional singing in the UK, so I can in my own way carry it on, there is something about this that sits poorly with me...

Just throwing this 'discomfort' (not exclusively about 'me') open to the forum for comment.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 03:29 PM

Of course, a cheaper way of getting VOTP is join emusic, where you get 100 songs a month for £20 (i.e. 20p a song) - they have all 20 volumes of VOTP available. The downside is that you lose out on the fantastic sleeve notes, but having said that, there are extensive notes on the series at the VOTP pages at the Musical Traditions site.

I can imagine in future, as it's on-line facilities expand, that having sound files of recordings of traditional singers available might be something that the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library could do. It's certainly doing some great stuff so far such as the Take 6 project.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 03:42 PM

Also, remember that VOTP is an 'edited' collection, while Max Hunter requires some digging to get at the good stuff (worth the effort, in my opinion).


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 04:03 PM

There is some great stuff on-line in the UK as well. The Yorkshire Garland website www.yorkshirefolksong.net will take you there.

Likewise FARNE http://www.asaplive.com/farne/home.cfm

I seem to remember that at one point Topic were charging around £!70.00 for the series obviously buying them separately would be more expensive.

I play one track from the series most weeks on my radio show "Thank Goodness It's Folk" (though not this week) so if you listened to every show you will get the series from there over the space of about ten years.

But to my mind the liner notes are essential.

HTH


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 04:08 PM

edited, unedited, who cares? VoP is well worth the cash outlay, it's a priceless collection of the voices and music of Britain.

A Sample of the Liner Notes (Vol 15)


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 04:15 PM

Starting point for the Mustrad material on the VotP collection -- including "the Reviews of each of the 20 CDs; the Comments on the whole Series made by the main reviewers; the Interview with Reg Hall and Tony Engle about the series; Mike Yates's Indexes of the Performers and Songs/Tunes; the Notes relating to the individual tracks; and the Track List for each CD."


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 04:30 PM

Testing


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 04:34 PM

Okay, back online after the glitch.
The British Library Sound Archive is currently placing online a vast amount of original recordings of British source singers from the 60s and 70s, most never heard in public before. All free to listen and well worth a search or browse. There may be unsifted fragments and commonplaces and some of the quality is poor but there are certainly many gems in there.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 04:41 PM

I bought VoP sound uheard and only read the Mustrad material afterwards, I'd have still purchased the collection regardless.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 04:41 PM

The Topic records website if offering the full 20 volume set for £187.68. That's a lot less than £300!!
and come the Autumn, there will be the second series, from Peter Kennedy's recordings - not as many as 20 volumes this time though!
Derek Schofield


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 12:58 PM

Well, you can order the complete set from CAMSCO for $240 (US)--that's
149.75 GBPounds. Shipping charges probably make it impractical for folks in the UK, but I think it's a great deal for US and Canadian folkies. IMO, the best collection of field recordings ever published.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 01:22 PM

OK, so this probably isn't really about the cost of the Topic collection so much (which no doubt are worth it if you can afford it), as much as the absence of a public educational and historical resource akin to the American Max Hunter collection. It was the decision to commit to buying the collection and the unpleasant realisation of how much it was going to cost me (I never personally spend that much on non-essential items), which prompted me to post.

I recently decided to start taking this 'traditional singing' lark a bit more seriously and make a more concerted effort to educate myself properly about my cultural roots if you will, and everyone but everyone says to look to recordings of source singers, a path which leads almost inevitably to VotP. As a low income working class amateur singer, with zero pence to my name, it struck me that the 'voice of the people' wasn't actually available to the 'ear of the people' so to speak, unless you happen to have a few hundred spare quid floating about, a spare hundred quid that I for one (can't speak for any other low income people here) simply don't have.

That's no criticism of Topic btw. I understand they are performing a valuable service. Just a pity there wasn't an equivalent freely available educational resource akin to Max Hunter, of English or British traditional singing. Though as others have mentioned here, there may be other places to look, and especially one hopes, in the future.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 02:08 PM

PS. I don't however wish to disregard the value of publicly avaliable contributions by living folk singers on communities like MySpace & YouTube - who I do take note of: Cap'n Birdseye & SO'P (who I still can't spell!) being two on this forum who regularly proffer stuff that I both listen to and learn occasional songs from, with thanks.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 02:14 PM

If you have time but not money, how about finding the people themselves and trying to learn and collect some songs from them? That could take a lifetime, no matter where you live. mg


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 02:18 PM

I encourage my family, in Canada, to purchase directly from Topic Records, and support what is arguably the oldest 'indie' record label in the world. The extra cost of shipping is well worth it.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Willa
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 03:37 PM

My local library has the full set available on loan - don't know whether that applies wherever you are?


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 04:25 PM

I don't know whether the full BLSA archive is fully online yet, but when it is, because it is an amalgamation of several audio collections I'd say it will rival any in the world in quality and quantity. As far as I know it's free. I know all my stuff is online but I haven't checked out the other collections yet and I'm sure they'll be greater than mine. Again though you will have to sift through the fragments, repeats and commonplaces unless you know what you're looking for. It is searchable.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 08:32 PM

Sigh--
It costs money to assemble, edit, remaster and annotate field recordings. It's nice when someone does it for free--but it's nothing to count on.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Singing Public Resource?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 03:02 PM

Mg: "If you have time but not money, how about finding the people themselves and trying to learn and collect some songs from them?"

For sure and a good point Mg, if I knew of any 'tradition bearers' (is that what they call them?) in my home county of Essex, in want of an apprentice to impart their repertoire too, I'd be more than interested.

Would love to learn songs from my home county especially, and from someone immersed in whatever knowledge there is of the local tradition.


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