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Does Folk Exist?

Related threads:
Popfolk? (19)
What isn't folk (88)
What is a Folk Song? (229)
Still wondering what's folk these days? (145)
What makes a new song a folk song? (1710)
Definition of folk song (137)
Here comes that bloody horse - again! (23)
What is a traditional singer? (136)
Is the 1954 definition, open to improvement? (105)
Folklore: Folk, 1954 definition? (133)
So what is *Traditional* Folk Music? (409)
'Folk.' OK...1954. What's 'country?' (17)
Folklore: Define English Trad Music (150)
What is Folk Music? This is... (120)
What is Zydeco? (74)
Traditional singer definition (360)
Is traditional song finished? (621)
1954 and All That - defining folk music (994)
BS: It ain't folk if ? (28)
No, really -- what IS NOT folk music? (176)
What defines a traditional song? (160) (closed)
Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished? (79)
How did Folk Song start? (57)
Traditional? (63)
Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs? (129)
What is The Tradition? (296) (closed)
Who Defines 'Folk'???? (177)
What is Blues? (80)
What is filk? (47)
What makes it a Folk Song? (404)
Article in Guardian:folk songs & pop junk & racism (30)
Does any other music require a committee (152)
Folk Music Tradition, what is it? (29)
Trad Song (36)
What do you consider Folk? (113)
Definition of Acoustic Music (52)
definition of a ballad (197)
Threads on the meaning of Folk (106)
Does it matter what music is called? (451)
What IS Folk Music? (132)
It isn't 'Folk', but what is it we do? (169)
Giving Talk on Folk Music (24)
What is Skiffle? (22)
Folklore: Folk, Pop, Trad or what? (19)
Folklore: What are the Motives of the Re-definers? (124)
Folklore: What Is Folk? (60)
Is it really Folk? (105)
What is a kid's song? (51)
Folk Rush in Where Mudcat Fears To Go (10)
A new definition of Folk? (34)
What is Folk? IN SONG. (20)
New Input Into 'WHAT IS FOLK?' (7)
What Is More Insular Than Folk Music? (33)
What is Folk Rock? (39)
'What is folk?' and cultural differences (24)
What is a folk song, version 3.0 (32)
What is Muzak? (19)
What is a folk song? Version 2.0 (59)
FILK: what is it? (18)
What is a Folksinger? (51)
BS: What is folk music? (69) (closed)
What is improvisation ? (21)
What is a Grange Song? (26)


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GUEST,Shimrod 14 Jul 09 - 05:49 PM
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Rifleman (inactive) 14 Jul 09 - 06:17 PM
Jack Blandiver 14 Jul 09 - 06:20 PM
reggie miles 14 Jul 09 - 11:33 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 09 - 02:43 AM
Phil Edwards 15 Jul 09 - 02:48 AM
glueman 15 Jul 09 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 15 Jul 09 - 04:30 AM
glueman 15 Jul 09 - 05:34 AM
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TheSnail 15 Jul 09 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 15 Jul 09 - 06:33 AM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jul 09 - 06:39 AM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jul 09 - 06:48 AM
TheSnail 15 Jul 09 - 07:12 AM
glueman 15 Jul 09 - 07:14 AM
glueman 15 Jul 09 - 07:20 AM
Phil Edwards 15 Jul 09 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 15 Jul 09 - 08:00 AM
GUEST, Sminky 15 Jul 09 - 08:31 AM
glueman 15 Jul 09 - 09:34 AM
Phil Edwards 15 Jul 09 - 09:42 AM
glueman 15 Jul 09 - 09:45 AM
The Sandman 15 Jul 09 - 09:50 AM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jul 09 - 09:56 AM
TheSnail 15 Jul 09 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 15 Jul 09 - 10:03 AM
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glueman 15 Jul 09 - 10:19 AM
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Rifleman (inactive) 15 Jul 09 - 11:10 AM
The Sandman 15 Jul 09 - 11:19 AM
Jack Campin 15 Jul 09 - 11:32 AM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jul 09 - 11:41 AM
Rifleman (inactive) 15 Jul 09 - 11:49 AM
TheSnail 15 Jul 09 - 11:50 AM
glueman 15 Jul 09 - 11:59 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 09 - 12:18 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 15 Jul 09 - 12:27 PM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jul 09 - 12:32 PM
glueman 15 Jul 09 - 12:36 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 09 - 12:44 PM
The Sandman 15 Jul 09 - 01:15 PM
Will Fly 15 Jul 09 - 02:00 PM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jul 09 - 02:29 PM
The Sandman 15 Jul 09 - 02:32 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 15 Jul 09 - 06:01 PM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jul 09 - 06:07 PM
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Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 16 Jul 09 - 05:01 AM
Will Fly 16 Jul 09 - 05:04 AM
Brian Peters 16 Jul 09 - 05:11 AM
glueman 16 Jul 09 - 05:58 AM
Phil Edwards 16 Jul 09 - 05:59 AM
Will Fly 16 Jul 09 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 Jul 09 - 06:25 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 16 Jul 09 - 06:30 AM
TheSnail 16 Jul 09 - 06:33 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Jul 09 - 07:42 AM
Brian Peters 16 Jul 09 - 08:06 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 16 Jul 09 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 Jul 09 - 08:20 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 16 Jul 09 - 08:21 AM
Brian Peters 16 Jul 09 - 08:28 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Jul 09 - 08:59 AM
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Brian Peters 16 Jul 09 - 09:17 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Jul 09 - 09:54 AM
The Sandman 16 Jul 09 - 10:18 AM
glueman 16 Jul 09 - 10:26 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 16 Jul 09 - 11:09 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Jul 09 - 11:53 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 16 Jul 09 - 12:35 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 16 Jul 09 - 12:48 PM
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The Sandman 16 Jul 09 - 01:09 PM
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Leadfingers 16 Jul 09 - 06:33 PM
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Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 17 Jul 09 - 04:17 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Jul 09 - 04:26 AM
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TheSnail 17 Jul 09 - 05:01 AM
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glueman 17 Jul 09 - 05:16 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Jul 09 - 05:39 AM
Phil Edwards 17 Jul 09 - 05:44 AM
glueman 17 Jul 09 - 05:47 AM
Phil Edwards 17 Jul 09 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jul 09 - 07:07 AM
glueman 17 Jul 09 - 07:15 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Jul 09 - 07:22 AM
glueman 17 Jul 09 - 07:22 AM
Phil Edwards 17 Jul 09 - 08:41 AM
glueman 17 Jul 09 - 09:01 AM
Will Fly 17 Jul 09 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jul 09 - 10:08 AM
glueman 17 Jul 09 - 10:16 AM
Brian Peters 17 Jul 09 - 10:46 AM
Phil Edwards 17 Jul 09 - 10:54 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 17 Jul 09 - 11:29 AM
Spleen Cringe 17 Jul 09 - 12:08 PM
Goose Gander 17 Jul 09 - 12:12 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jul 09 - 12:23 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 17 Jul 09 - 12:25 PM
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Jim Carroll 17 Jul 09 - 03:42 PM
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The Sandman 17 Jul 09 - 04:00 PM
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Jim Carroll 18 Jul 09 - 09:20 AM
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Jim Carroll 18 Jul 09 - 11:11 AM
Jack Blandiver 18 Jul 09 - 01:48 PM
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glueman 18 Jul 09 - 02:34 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jul 09 - 03:14 PM
glueman 18 Jul 09 - 03:18 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 18 Jul 09 - 03:37 PM
Jack Blandiver 18 Jul 09 - 03:58 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Jul 09 - 04:15 PM
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Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 18 Jul 09 - 05:22 PM
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glueman 18 Jul 09 - 06:02 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Jul 09 - 06:09 PM
glueman 18 Jul 09 - 06:10 PM
glueman 18 Jul 09 - 06:15 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Jul 09 - 06:22 PM
Jack Blandiver 18 Jul 09 - 06:28 PM
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Spleen Cringe 18 Jul 09 - 06:37 PM
Art Thieme 18 Jul 09 - 09:21 PM
glueman 19 Jul 09 - 03:56 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jul 09 - 05:12 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Jul 09 - 05:46 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 19 Jul 09 - 05:57 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 19 Jul 09 - 05:59 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Jul 09 - 06:48 AM
Azizi 19 Jul 09 - 11:53 AM
The Sandman 19 Jul 09 - 01:02 PM
Phil Edwards 19 Jul 09 - 01:27 PM
glueman 19 Jul 09 - 01:28 PM
glueman 19 Jul 09 - 01:30 PM
Phil Edwards 19 Jul 09 - 01:30 PM
glueman 19 Jul 09 - 01:31 PM
glueman 19 Jul 09 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jul 09 - 01:47 PM
glueman 19 Jul 09 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jul 09 - 02:29 PM
glueman 19 Jul 09 - 02:35 PM
Phil Edwards 19 Jul 09 - 03:04 PM
glueman 19 Jul 09 - 03:27 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Jul 09 - 03:37 PM
Azizi 19 Jul 09 - 03:51 PM
Phil Edwards 19 Jul 09 - 04:10 PM
glueman 19 Jul 09 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jul 09 - 04:32 PM
TheSnail 19 Jul 09 - 04:32 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Jul 09 - 02:23 AM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 02:59 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Jul 09 - 03:39 AM
Will Fly 20 Jul 09 - 04:05 AM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 04:13 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Jul 09 - 04:17 AM
Will Fly 20 Jul 09 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 20 Jul 09 - 04:57 AM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 05:15 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Jul 09 - 05:29 AM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 05:48 AM
Jack Blandiver 20 Jul 09 - 06:24 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 20 Jul 09 - 08:04 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Jul 09 - 08:18 AM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 20 Jul 09 - 12:33 PM
The Sandman 20 Jul 09 - 12:38 PM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 12:59 PM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 01:02 PM
The Sandman 20 Jul 09 - 01:10 PM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 20 Jul 09 - 01:55 PM
TheSnail 20 Jul 09 - 02:06 PM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 20 Jul 09 - 03:06 PM
The Sandman 20 Jul 09 - 03:13 PM
Jack Blandiver 20 Jul 09 - 03:17 PM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 03:28 PM
Goose Gander 20 Jul 09 - 03:45 PM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 04:05 PM
TheSnail 20 Jul 09 - 04:37 PM
glueman 20 Jul 09 - 05:16 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Jul 09 - 05:31 PM
Jack Blandiver 20 Jul 09 - 06:20 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Jul 09 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Chris Murray 21 Jul 09 - 04:04 AM
reggie miles 21 Jul 09 - 05:11 AM
Jack Blandiver 21 Jul 09 - 05:54 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Jul 09 - 06:28 AM
Jack Blandiver 21 Jul 09 - 07:31 AM
Brian Peters 21 Jul 09 - 07:39 AM
TheSnail 21 Jul 09 - 07:53 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Jul 09 - 08:03 AM
glueman 21 Jul 09 - 09:14 AM
Jack Blandiver 21 Jul 09 - 09:57 AM
Jack Blandiver 21 Jul 09 - 09:58 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Jul 09 - 10:12 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Jul 09 - 10:25 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 21 Jul 09 - 10:32 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Jul 09 - 11:32 AM
Jack Blandiver 21 Jul 09 - 11:46 AM
Spleen Cringe 21 Jul 09 - 12:42 PM
Art Thieme 21 Jul 09 - 12:59 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 21 Jul 09 - 01:07 PM
glueman 21 Jul 09 - 01:23 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 21 Jul 09 - 01:32 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jul 09 - 01:48 PM
TheSnail 21 Jul 09 - 01:57 PM
The Sandman 21 Jul 09 - 01:59 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 21 Jul 09 - 02:04 PM
glueman 21 Jul 09 - 02:20 PM
The Sandman 21 Jul 09 - 02:37 PM
glueman 21 Jul 09 - 02:48 PM
The Sandman 21 Jul 09 - 03:02 PM
glueman 21 Jul 09 - 03:12 PM
The Sandman 21 Jul 09 - 03:31 PM
glueman 21 Jul 09 - 03:37 PM
Art Thieme 21 Jul 09 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 21 Jul 09 - 06:13 PM
Jack Blandiver 21 Jul 09 - 06:50 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jul 09 - 07:00 PM
Art Thieme 21 Jul 09 - 07:05 PM
Will Fly 22 Jul 09 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 22 Jul 09 - 05:44 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jul 09 - 06:11 AM
Will Fly 22 Jul 09 - 06:12 AM
Will Fly 22 Jul 09 - 06:13 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jul 09 - 06:18 AM
TheSnail 22 Jul 09 - 06:44 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jul 09 - 06:48 AM
glueman 22 Jul 09 - 08:07 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 09 - 08:15 AM
glueman 22 Jul 09 - 08:34 AM
Phil Edwards 22 Jul 09 - 08:54 AM
TheSnail 22 Jul 09 - 08:57 AM
TheSnail 22 Jul 09 - 09:00 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jul 09 - 09:24 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jul 09 - 09:42 AM
glueman 22 Jul 09 - 09:44 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 09 - 10:58 AM
TheSnail 22 Jul 09 - 11:02 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jul 09 - 11:15 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jul 09 - 11:25 AM
Spleen Cringe 22 Jul 09 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 22 Jul 09 - 11:53 AM
Brian Peters 22 Jul 09 - 12:38 PM
Phil Edwards 22 Jul 09 - 05:29 PM
Spleen Cringe 22 Jul 09 - 06:30 PM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jul 09 - 06:45 PM
Spleen Cringe 22 Jul 09 - 06:46 PM
TheSnail 22 Jul 09 - 07:37 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 23 Jul 09 - 04:38 AM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jul 09 - 06:20 AM
Phil Edwards 23 Jul 09 - 06:33 AM
glueman 23 Jul 09 - 07:03 AM
Leadfingers 23 Jul 09 - 07:14 AM
Phil Edwards 23 Jul 09 - 08:23 AM
glueman 23 Jul 09 - 08:36 AM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jul 09 - 09:03 AM
Morris-ey 23 Jul 09 - 09:15 AM
Phil Edwards 23 Jul 09 - 09:27 AM
glueman 23 Jul 09 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 23 Jul 09 - 09:42 AM
Phil Edwards 23 Jul 09 - 09:43 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 Jul 09 - 09:49 AM
glueman 23 Jul 09 - 10:13 AM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jul 09 - 10:32 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 Jul 09 - 10:46 AM
Brian Peters 23 Jul 09 - 11:14 AM
glueman 23 Jul 09 - 11:56 AM
Goose Gander 23 Jul 09 - 12:55 PM
Goose Gander 23 Jul 09 - 01:03 PM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jul 09 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 23 Jul 09 - 01:17 PM
Goose Gander 23 Jul 09 - 01:20 PM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jul 09 - 01:22 PM
Goose Gander 23 Jul 09 - 01:24 PM
glueman 23 Jul 09 - 01:47 PM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jul 09 - 02:17 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 Jul 09 - 02:38 PM
Goose Gander 23 Jul 09 - 03:02 PM
Goose Gander 23 Jul 09 - 03:04 PM
Phil Edwards 23 Jul 09 - 03:12 PM
glueman 23 Jul 09 - 03:16 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 Jul 09 - 03:18 PM
glueman 23 Jul 09 - 03:32 PM
Goose Gander 23 Jul 09 - 03:36 PM
glueman 23 Jul 09 - 03:37 PM
Goose Gander 23 Jul 09 - 03:43 PM
Brian Peters 23 Jul 09 - 03:56 PM
glueman 23 Jul 09 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,eliza c 23 Jul 09 - 08:05 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Jul 09 - 08:20 PM
glueman 24 Jul 09 - 05:03 AM
glueman 24 Jul 09 - 05:07 AM
Jack Blandiver 24 Jul 09 - 05:44 AM
Brian Peters 24 Jul 09 - 05:50 AM
glueman 24 Jul 09 - 06:11 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Jul 09 - 06:22 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Jul 09 - 06:39 AM
glueman 24 Jul 09 - 06:41 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jul 09 - 07:25 AM
glueman 24 Jul 09 - 07:32 AM
Will Fly 24 Jul 09 - 07:46 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Jul 09 - 07:50 AM
glueman 24 Jul 09 - 08:06 AM
TheSnail 24 Jul 09 - 08:17 AM
Will Fly 24 Jul 09 - 08:47 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jul 09 - 09:45 AM
glueman 24 Jul 09 - 09:55 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Jul 09 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 25 Jul 09 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,Michael Morris sans cookie 25 Jul 09 - 01:46 PM
glueman 25 Jul 09 - 03:00 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Jul 09 - 03:44 PM
glueman 25 Jul 09 - 04:06 PM
glueman 25 Jul 09 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,michael Morris sans cookie 25 Jul 09 - 04:34 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Jul 09 - 04:40 PM
glueman 25 Jul 09 - 05:40 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 09 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 26 Jul 09 - 11:39 AM
glueman 28 Jul 09 - 10:25 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jul 09 - 10:54 AM
glueman 28 Jul 09 - 11:26 AM
TheSnail 28 Jul 09 - 12:15 PM
glueman 28 Jul 09 - 12:23 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Jul 09 - 02:31 AM
glueman 29 Jul 09 - 03:20 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Jul 09 - 04:42 AM
glueman 29 Jul 09 - 04:46 AM
GUEST, Sminky 29 Jul 09 - 04:55 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Jul 09 - 04:59 AM
glueman 29 Jul 09 - 05:09 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Jul 09 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 29 Jul 09 - 05:21 AM
Spleen Cringe 29 Jul 09 - 05:25 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Jul 09 - 05:27 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Jul 09 - 05:40 AM
glueman 29 Jul 09 - 05:46 AM
GUEST, Sminky 29 Jul 09 - 05:50 AM
Spleen Cringe 29 Jul 09 - 05:58 AM
GUEST, Sminky 29 Jul 09 - 06:03 AM
glueman 29 Jul 09 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 29 Jul 09 - 06:17 AM
glueman 29 Jul 09 - 06:48 AM
GUEST, Sminky 29 Jul 09 - 06:51 AM
Spleen Cringe 29 Jul 09 - 06:58 AM
glueman 29 Jul 09 - 07:00 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Jul 09 - 07:04 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Jul 09 - 07:16 AM
GUEST, Sminky 29 Jul 09 - 07:25 AM
glueman 29 Jul 09 - 07:38 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Jul 09 - 09:12 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Jul 09 - 09:44 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Jul 09 - 09:56 AM
glueman 29 Jul 09 - 10:14 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Jul 09 - 10:16 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Jul 09 - 10:18 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Jul 09 - 10:59 AM
Diva 29 Jul 09 - 11:05 AM
Diva 29 Jul 09 - 11:07 AM
Spleen Cringe 29 Jul 09 - 11:16 AM
Mr Happy 29 Jul 09 - 11:22 AM
Mr Happy 29 Jul 09 - 11:23 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Jul 09 - 11:44 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Jul 09 - 12:13 PM
The Sandman 29 Jul 09 - 06:09 PM
glueman 29 Jul 09 - 07:38 PM
The Sandman 30 Jul 09 - 08:32 AM
glueman 30 Jul 09 - 09:03 AM
Diva 31 Jul 09 - 05:57 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Jul 09 - 09:10 AM
Diva 18 Aug 09 - 08:02 AM
Kosmo 18 Aug 09 - 11:05 AM
agingcynic 18 Aug 09 - 11:26 AM
Jack Blandiver 26 Aug 09 - 08:55 AM
glueman 26 Aug 09 - 01:44 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Aug 09 - 02:53 PM
Jack Campin 26 Aug 09 - 03:29 PM
Jack Blandiver 26 Aug 09 - 05:49 PM
Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive) 26 Aug 09 - 06:01 PM
Goose Gander 26 Aug 09 - 06:09 PM
Goose Gander 26 Aug 09 - 06:13 PM
Jack Blandiver 26 Aug 09 - 06:15 PM
Jack Blandiver 26 Aug 09 - 06:33 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Aug 09 - 07:01 PM
steve in ottawa 26 Aug 09 - 08:40 PM
Little Hawk 26 Aug 09 - 08:49 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 27 Aug 09 - 02:53 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Aug 09 - 04:29 AM
Jack Campin 27 Aug 09 - 04:40 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Aug 09 - 05:24 AM
Sailor Ron 27 Aug 09 - 05:40 AM
Jack Campin 27 Aug 09 - 06:26 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Aug 09 - 06:48 AM
Brian Peters 27 Aug 09 - 06:53 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Aug 09 - 07:33 AM
Brian Peters 27 Aug 09 - 07:39 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Aug 09 - 08:08 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Aug 09 - 09:51 AM
Stringsinger 27 Aug 09 - 11:18 AM
Goose Gander 27 Aug 09 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Ed 27 Aug 09 - 11:42 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Aug 09 - 11:55 AM
Paul Burke 27 Aug 09 - 11:59 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Aug 09 - 12:10 PM
glueman 27 Aug 09 - 12:42 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 09 - 01:24 PM
Little Hawk 27 Aug 09 - 01:34 PM
glueman 27 Aug 09 - 02:13 PM
Little Hawk 27 Aug 09 - 02:33 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 09 - 02:50 PM
glueman 27 Aug 09 - 02:56 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 09 - 03:13 PM
Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive) 27 Aug 09 - 03:14 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 09 - 07:23 PM
Little Hawk 27 Aug 09 - 07:37 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 09 - 07:38 PM
glueman 28 Aug 09 - 02:27 AM
TinDor 28 Aug 09 - 03:05 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 09 - 03:37 AM
glueman 28 Aug 09 - 03:51 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 Aug 09 - 04:10 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 09 - 04:15 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 Aug 09 - 04:47 AM
glueman 28 Aug 09 - 04:56 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Aug 09 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Ed 28 Aug 09 - 05:41 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 09 - 05:45 AM
Jack Campin 28 Aug 09 - 05:47 AM
glueman 28 Aug 09 - 05:56 AM
glueman 28 Aug 09 - 05:57 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Aug 09 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 28 Aug 09 - 06:35 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 09 - 07:42 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Aug 09 - 07:48 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Aug 09 - 07:51 AM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 09 - 07:59 AM
Jack Campin 28 Aug 09 - 08:37 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 09 - 09:05 AM
glueman 28 Aug 09 - 09:18 AM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 09 - 09:20 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Aug 09 - 09:25 AM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 09 - 09:31 AM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 09 - 09:37 AM
glueman 28 Aug 09 - 09:39 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Aug 09 - 09:41 AM
Stringsinger 28 Aug 09 - 09:51 AM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 09 - 10:19 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 Aug 09 - 10:23 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Aug 09 - 10:37 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Aug 09 - 10:40 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 Aug 09 - 10:44 AM
Leadfingers 28 Aug 09 - 10:56 AM
Leadfingers 28 Aug 09 - 10:57 AM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 09 - 11:09 AM
Little Hawk 28 Aug 09 - 11:33 AM
Goose Gander 28 Aug 09 - 11:34 AM
glueman 28 Aug 09 - 11:38 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Aug 09 - 11:38 AM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 09 - 11:46 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 09 - 01:05 PM
Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive) 28 Aug 09 - 01:14 PM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 09 - 01:32 PM
glueman 28 Aug 09 - 01:53 PM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 09 - 02:10 PM
Art Thieme 28 Aug 09 - 02:37 PM
Jack Campin 28 Aug 09 - 03:06 PM
Goose Gander 28 Aug 09 - 03:32 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 09 - 03:34 PM
Paul Burke 28 Aug 09 - 07:33 PM
Jack Campin 28 Aug 09 - 08:44 PM
Jack Blandiver 28 Aug 09 - 08:44 PM
glueman 29 Aug 09 - 06:07 AM
glueman 29 Aug 09 - 06:13 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Aug 09 - 07:56 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Aug 09 - 01:53 PM
Stringsinger 29 Aug 09 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 29 Aug 09 - 03:02 PM
Jack Blandiver 29 Aug 09 - 04:03 PM
glueman 29 Aug 09 - 04:21 PM
Brian Peters 30 Aug 09 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 30 Aug 09 - 01:01 PM
glueman 30 Aug 09 - 01:14 PM
Little Hawk 30 Aug 09 - 01:21 PM
glueman 30 Aug 09 - 01:36 PM
glueman 30 Aug 09 - 01:47 PM
glueman 30 Aug 09 - 01:49 PM
Goose Gander 30 Aug 09 - 02:27 PM
Little Hawk 30 Aug 09 - 02:30 PM
glueman 30 Aug 09 - 03:22 PM
Jack Blandiver 30 Aug 09 - 06:27 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 30 Aug 09 - 06:33 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 30 Aug 09 - 06:40 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Aug 09 - 06:45 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 30 Aug 09 - 06:59 PM
glueman 31 Aug 09 - 04:10 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 31 Aug 09 - 05:07 AM
Jack Blandiver 31 Aug 09 - 05:31 AM
glueman 31 Aug 09 - 05:39 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 31 Aug 09 - 05:42 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 31 Aug 09 - 05:54 AM
glueman 31 Aug 09 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 31 Aug 09 - 06:52 AM
glueman 31 Aug 09 - 07:15 AM
Brian Peters 31 Aug 09 - 07:27 AM
glueman 31 Aug 09 - 07:32 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 31 Aug 09 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 31 Aug 09 - 10:27 AM
glueman 31 Aug 09 - 12:44 PM
Little Hawk 31 Aug 09 - 01:14 PM
Jack Blandiver 31 Aug 09 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Raymond Greenoaken 31 Aug 09 - 04:46 PM
Jack Blandiver 01 Sep 09 - 05:09 AM
Sailor Ron 01 Sep 09 - 05:48 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Sep 09 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 01 Sep 09 - 08:33 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Sep 09 - 09:25 AM
Sailor Ron 01 Sep 09 - 09:35 AM
glueman 01 Sep 09 - 10:21 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Sep 09 - 10:25 AM
glueman 01 Sep 09 - 10:29 AM
Little Hawk 01 Sep 09 - 11:06 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Sep 09 - 11:09 AM
glueman 01 Sep 09 - 11:42 AM
Little Hawk 01 Sep 09 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 01 Sep 09 - 02:11 PM
glueman 01 Sep 09 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 01 Sep 09 - 03:33 PM
glueman 01 Sep 09 - 03:46 PM
Jack Blandiver 02 Sep 09 - 08:21 AM
Jack Blandiver 26 Oct 09 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,glueman 26 Oct 09 - 04:16 PM
The Sandman 26 Oct 09 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 26 Oct 09 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,glueman 27 Oct 09 - 06:18 AM
Diva 27 Oct 09 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 27 Oct 09 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Jan 11 - 11:06 AM
Little Hawk 19 Jan 11 - 12:13 PM
Lighter 19 Jan 11 - 01:59 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 Sep 14 - 04:51 AM
Mooh 27 Sep 14 - 11:48 AM
The Sandman 27 Sep 14 - 12:06 PM
Brian Peters 27 Sep 14 - 05:30 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 Sep 14 - 05:36 PM
Brian Peters 27 Sep 14 - 05:43 PM
The Sandman 27 Sep 14 - 05:49 PM
GUEST 27 Sep 14 - 05:52 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Sep 14 - 07:07 PM
Jack Blandiver 28 Sep 14 - 06:24 AM
GUEST,Desi C 28 Sep 14 - 08:47 AM
The Sandman 28 Sep 14 - 12:16 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 14 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,Prof. Brainmangler 29 Sep 14 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,Guest 29 Sep 14 - 11:16 AM
GUEST 29 Sep 14 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Yorkshire lad 29 Sep 14 - 11:29 AM
Teribus 30 Sep 14 - 01:46 AM
Musket 30 Sep 14 - 03:28 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Sep 14 - 04:47 AM
Musket 30 Sep 14 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 30 Sep 14 - 10:19 AM
Musket 30 Sep 14 - 12:22 PM
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Subject: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 05:56 AM

Before loading ballista and mangonel with dead cattle and soiling the water supply, this is a serious question. New approaches welcomed, knee jerks treated with sympathy, jerks need not apply.

I'll risk a qualified and hesitant.......yes.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:07 AM

What kind of music do you play, if any? How do you know that exists?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:13 AM

Since all music in every culture has its origins in folk..... all music must therefore stem from folk.... So it could be said that all music is folk...... however... I guess all cultures and all individuals have their own ideas of what constitutes folk music nowadays.... so to find a definitive answer to your question... Yes Folk does exist..... in many traditional/modern and corrupt forms.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:19 AM

I still want to know what sort of stuff "glueman" performs and why we should want to listen to it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:20 AM

Yes


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:21 AM

Psychedelic banjo JC but I'm not sure that has any bearing on the question. My instinct is that there are only sounds, agreeable and disagreeable and nomenclature is misleading and occasionally mischievous. But I'm prepared to be convinced by peerless logic or well intentioned pokes.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:32 AM

Apparently iTunes has decreed that "folk" doesn't in fact exist..
Luckily for me, because I sing "traditional songs", the existence or non-existence of "folk", cause's me no form of inconvenience or distress.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: evansakes
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:34 AM

"Does Folk Exist?"

Philosophically....yes.

Scientifically.....nobody can be sure as it's not been empirically proven.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:36 AM

Perhaps if we called them 'old songs' we could do away with inflammable titles completely? Or is the flammability and risk of immolation part of the attraction?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:41 AM

I suppose "psychedelic banjo" was what I was playing last night - at a mostly-Scottish-trad session led by an accordionist, but Lindsay Porteous turned up with a cumbus-tanbur he'd refretted to mountain dulcimer tuning, and I accompanied him on an Arabic oud for a few American old-time tunes.

I didn't find it necessary to pick a fight with anybody to get people listening.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:41 AM

If a folk singer falls over in a forest and no one is there to hear him did it really happen?

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:49 AM

No JC! I have no desire to play for the public. Just immediate family and friends when I'm sure all the exits are locked. Are you suggesting public performance is a folk phenomenon? Would Rock, Blues, Serial music, Opera also not qualify?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Ernest
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 07:00 AM

No.

Anything you encounter is only a product of your phantasy caused by whatever weird substances you have been taken.

Can I claim copyright on the word "infolksicated" that I just have invented?

;0)
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 07:48 AM

I'm liking infolksicated Ernest. Can you understand folk without becoming infolksicated? One suspects not.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 09:08 AM

Apparently, it's not in the consciousness of younger people anymore. If you find it somewhere, please bring it back. It was much easier to teach kids to play guitar back in the 60's. The early etudes in the books are mostly old folk songs and my early-teen-aged students have never heard them and have no idea what they should sound like. It's sad. Many of those songs were 100 years old when I was a kid but I had heard them. Most could be played with 3 or 4 chords which gave the students a place to start that resembled real music. I want the "Folk Revival" back and I want it now.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 09:22 AM

Folk is the corporeal offspring of The Tradition, somewhat akin to Christ being the Son of God. If this analogy holds out then The Folk Process is The Holy Ghost. This is our Trinity, but as to whether it exists or not, it's very much a matter of faith. Personally, I don't think my Folk Faith has ever been lower than it is right now, though I doggedly persevere, yeah, even as a voice singing The Molecatcher in the wilderness! Times I might wonder because I look around and I see no Folk; times it seems The Tradition has abandoned us, and what of The Folk Process which once descended to bestow, verily, tongues of fire? I await a new prophet; the second coming of Barley Temple (he whose name is so sacred we but dare write in anagram form!) who will lead us back to the Old Testament prophets Larner, Cox, Pardon, & all so we might begin afresh with great rejoicing at such a renewal.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 09:25 AM

The term 'folk music' implies that some people constitute 'the folk,' and others do not.

I don't believe in 'the folk.' It is much too big and clumsy a category.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 09:57 AM

Folk mainly existed back when there was an obvious distinction between "music" (what highly proficient composers and lyricists set their names to and expected you to play without notable variation) and "trash" (everything else that one might play, whistle, or sing - with whatever variations or alterations that came to mind). "folk" being a later synonym for what was called either "trash" or "that nice song she's always humming," depending on your point of view.

Apparently this golden age, never stable, began to collapse between about 1850 and 1900, when signed compositions became available as sheet music at lower and lower prices; the bottom fell out when the phonograph became widespread after 1900.

At that point anyone could listen to whatever sort of music they wanted. "Folk" became the default designation for really old stuff performed by really old people in a really old style.

This really old stuff was treasured and revived by those of a conservative antiquarian, anthropological, and/or radical Marxist turn of mind. By 1960, it was obvious that whizbang arrangements of old songs and tunes could make a fortune for interested parties. That was when "folk" became a marketing label that came to mean (mostly) new stuff, not jazz, blues, or rock, performed by young white people with guitars. If said new stuff was in lyrical, pensive, confessional, modernist-poetic, or protesting mode, so much the better! A blend of all the above was better yet!

As a result, graying, desperate antiquarians and Marxists had to cling to the "traditonal" moniker for old anonymous stuff that the general public could stand only in small doses, if then. Soon rap music appeared, proving that anyone who could rhyme and had access to a turntable could get in the running to make a fortune. It was folklike in expressing popular, folky interests like love, sex, and violence, unfolklike in that only a philistine would perform somebody else's rap, thus short-circuiting the likelihood of a "traditional rap song."   

So in answer to your question: yes, "folk" exists, but in two forms. For most consumers it's the pensive guitar-type stuff mentioned above. For us pointy-headed geezers, it's what's there is when you can credit words and music to "Unknown or Irrelevant," and when you can also say, "Perform in any style you want, modify ad lib, don't worry about complaints from ASCAP."   

So it seems to me. And now, back under my rock!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 10:02 AM

W/a collection of traditional songs on itunes/amazon.com listed as a singer-songwriter work it seems the term has disappeared into cyber-space. Approval ratings and sales are high, so it does't matter to me WHAT badge they hang on it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 10:08 AM

"Folk" became the default designation for really old stuff performed by really old people in a really old style.'

Brilliant stuff.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 10:08 AM

(he whose name is so sacred we but dare write [it] in anagram form!)

Malty Bleeper might be a better one!

Otherwise, what a fascinating thread this is turning out to be; my faith might well be restored after all...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 10:10 AM

Or even A Tremble Yelp...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 10:16 AM

Nah, Barley Temple had just the right sacrificial overtones.
Though the second coming really aughta hurry up and make a show, we've got an apocalypse scheduled for 2012!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 10:18 AM

Shirley Temple? Paul Temple? Simon Templar, John Barleycorn?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 11:45 AM

THe topic question is semantically null.


A


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 11:50 AM

*guide enters with a tour group*


"and this, ladies and gentleman, is what some term a wind up thread, you may form your own conclusions."


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 01:01 PM

"and this, ladies and gentleman, is what some term a wind up thread, you may form your own conclusions."

Exactly, Rifleman.

How is this not another troll-like thread? And why are there so many lately? I mostly ignore them, but c'mon. There are real things to discuss, but it is impossible to discuss them within such a shallow framework as some of these new threads.

Not that it ultimately matters that much -- but I suggest either adding to an already established thread, OR coming up with an original approach and accompanying that by a DETAILED exposition of the issue and what has been said on it already. Otherwise these "Is sex sexy?" questions are just B.S.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 01:20 PM

"how is this not another troll-like thread And why are there so many lately"

Here's another one


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 01:57 PM

If a folksong tree falls into a record bin and no one hears it, does it exist?

Yes, because you may not find folk in a record bin but out in the world somewhere.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 02:07 PM

"jerks need not apply"

The thread has had some excellent contributions. Creative minds wander where they will, quotidian sensibilities stick to the well trodden path.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 03:34 PM

No way is this a troll thread, and it is only semantically null to the semantically dull. As the Sticky One says, we've had some great posts here and, as a consequence, my folk spirits are higher than they've been for some time. Same goes for the Is folk music folk music thread; sure we've been there before but these things need to be discussed, clarified, redefined, intuited upon and above all celebrated which is exactly what we're doing here.

Trolls need not apply!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 03:38 PM

It's a grammatical error. The question should be "Do folk exist?

I do. I can't speak for the rest of you.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 03:43 PM


Since all music in every culture has its origins in folk..... all music must therefore stem from folk....


That sounds suspiciously like that damned old horse again!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 04:12 PM

it is only semantically null to the semantically dull. A

Either you have a shallow understanding of semantics, or your are just being irascible. I did not say the question would not stimulate a cloud of discussion; I said it was semantically null. To place the word "folk" in the sentence at all is to posit the existence of the practice or entity that you are calling folk. To then ask if what you have posited to exist, and which is agreed on by anyone who uses the same definition, does exist, is circular. When you run in circles you end up....never mind.



A


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 11:11 AM

Lighter,

Well put.

I personally use "Folk music" as a conversation stopper.

Suppose a person asks me "What kind of music do you play?"

If I want to bring the conversation to a halt I reply "Folk music." It seems to me that most people think they know what folk music is and are pretty sure that they are not interested in it.

If I think the conversation has possibilities I reply "Old time music." Most people who don't play have no idea what that is and the term might pique their curiousity.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Aeola
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 04:45 PM

All very interesting, but, it would really be interesting if we knew what the guy, who originally coined the word 'Folk' was really thinking!!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 05:33 PM

"Does Folk Exist?"

'DO folk exist?' would be a better construction.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 05:38 PM

You'd be going a long way back indeed, and the earliest concept I know of for the word is "people", or sometimes "common people" as distinguished from aristocrats.

f"olk   (fōk)   
n.   pl. folk or folks
The common people of a society or region considered as the representatives of a traditional way of life and especially as the originators or carriers of the customs, beliefs, and arts that make up a distinctive culture: a leader who came from the folk."

[Middle English, from Old English folc; see pelə-1 in Indo-European roots.]

Origin:
bef. 900; ME; OE folc; c. OS, ON folk, OHG folk (G Volk)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Peace
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 05:45 PM

"Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 05:33 PM

"Does Folk Exist?"

'DO folk exist?' would be a better construction."

That was me. Don't want Joe claiming that as an example of me using a Guest alias.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 03:19 AM

As the OP I toiled grievously over Do or Does and opted for the latter, though with reservations. Do seemed to open up vernacular forms, now't so queer and other catch-all phrases that encompass the entire population rather than the problematised, edenic and largely dead strain who conjoured up the tradition. This divide may be a misapprehension of course and 'do' might have yielded riper fruit.

What I was attempting to uncover is whether the cultural artefact known as folk existed as anything more than an abstraction, whether its edges were fuzzy, hard or marked by aperture and transparency enabling a free flow of input and outgoing debate about where it begins and ends.
I find all this very interesting, while acknowledging it's a minority sport - though not necessarily a blood one.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Peace
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 03:24 AM

LOL

Just
funnin'
with
ya.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Peace
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 03:53 AM

I think--the 1954 definition aside--that folk implies a type of music that is distinguishable from others because it 'sounds' a certain way, says certain things certain ways. Maybe I can't describe it very well, but I know it when I hear it, glueman. So your remark about 'fuzzy around the edges' applies in my thoughts, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 04:48 AM

My original notion a couple of months back (see HERE) was for a thread entitled Does Folk Music Exist? Despite Glueman's encouragement in this matter I was feeling understandably frail after the epic struggle that was 1954 and All That and thought I'd let things settle before giving the matter further thought. In this way I subsequently forgot all about it until Glueman opened this one which, as I have stated above, has confounded my every expectation.

I note that back on the 8th of May I used the phrase Cultural Liminality with respect of Folk, and as I sit here trying to shake off my Sunday morning hangover an image forms of Folk as a spectral presence which requires mediumistic intervention to make it manifest as a corporeal entity. For example, on Thursday nights, the back room of The Old Cock and Bull is used for a Folk Club; a regular crowd of 30 or so local middle-aged Folkies gather therein with their guitars, dulcimers, banjos, Black Sea Fiddles, bowed psalteries &c. and a merry old time is had by all, as old chestnuts are warmed, choruses are roared, jokes repeated and shibboleths confirmed, in what is, in effect, a seance. Thus ghosts are raised, possessions are established, doubts are banished and faiths are restored. On Friday nights however, the back room of The Old Cock and Bull is used for The Carvery. How different it is from the night before, even if that couple over there in the corner tucking into their Roast Beef of Old England were just last night singing about it. But who else at The Carvery is to know that? Who else might guess that had they sat in this room but 24 fours earlier how very different it would have been? It's even worse on Wednesday nights; no one uses the back room at all and the landlord doesn't even bother to put the lights on; you might walk through it to get to the gents; you might catch a shadowy movement out of the corner of your eye; as a lorry rumbles past outside you think you hear the sound of singing, distant, yet chillingly vivid since we've learned a new act to drive sorrows away.... But when he lorry is gone, all is silence, as you hurriedly zip up your fly and haste back to the safety of the bar, and the silent TV screen...

I think Folk Music (in the sense that we mean the term here on Mudcat) only exists because a small minority of people make a very particular sort of effort to make it exist. In no way does it have a life of its own, although anyone in the back room of The Cock and Bull on a Thursday night would maybe argue with that one for not only are they mediums, but in the right situation they are The Possessed.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Peace
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 07:43 PM

That is beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 03:41 AM

My instinct is the tradition is safe because key 'texts' (to use a functional neologism) were saved by collectors and exist in every digital, aural and hard format conceived. So the embattled stance folk has adopted is largely a stylistic trapping made popular by the revival.

Those songs come alive by performance but are vital enough to have sprung a continuance of the material which may or may not have anything to do with original broadsides and ballads. Indeed it is possible (and quite likely) to hear traditional material that by familiarity or institutionalisation has none of the spirit of folk (much as a prayer is muttered in a church service with no sense of the word's meaning) while hearing renditions that are historically inauthentic which are imbued with the essential matter of folk.

That matter is mercurial, I believe its elusiveness is somehow intrinsic to it and won't be categorised by history or musical virtuosity. It is some deep and direct utterance of the soul that can only be perceived when it is heard and defies language and music, which is why the national boundaries of folk are inventions. Folk may speak to one community more than another but is essentially universal.
I'd suggest that the Victorian obsession with taxonomy did a good deal to reduce the impact of this common sound and to create boundaries that still exist today.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: treewind
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 03:58 AM

One aspect of that question that always gets me thinking is this: was there a time when "folk music" didn't exist separately from music? How far back?

For instance, 900 years ago when the church was the seat of all learning, was all secular music folk music? Did they call it that?
Was music a profession only practised by those who had the ability and the inclination? Were there amateur musicians? Is the amateur/profession distinction relevant to a discussion about "folk music" anyway?

Is D'Urfeys "Pills To Purge Melancholy" folk music?
Henry Purcell used to get together with his friends in South London pubs to sing bawdy catches - was that folk music?

...(cont. p.94)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 04:19 AM

it is possible (and quite likely) to hear traditional material that by familiarity or institutionalisation has none of the spirit of folk (much as a prayer is muttered in a church service with no sense of the word's meaning) while hearing renditions that are historically inauthentic which are imbued with the essential matter of folk.

I tend to agree. If I had to choose, I'd say my version of Jones's Ale (with an extra verse nobody else had heard before) was more the real thing than the Pleasant and Delightful I once heard sight-read in note-perfect two-part harmony - it was very lovely, but it wasn't very 'folk'.

Where I disagree is that I don't think we do have to choose - for me, traditional material is all folk, regardless of how it's performed. The person muttering a prayer in a church is still helping to make something happen, however unenthused they may be as an individual. Someone who comes to a singaround and reads the words to the Wild Rover out of a book is still helping to make folk music live.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 04:24 AM

the tradition is safe because key 'texts' (to use a functional neologism) were saved by collectors

It could well be argued that The Tradition is an illusion created by the very selective methodology employed by the collectors with respect to their agenda which set out to establish such a notion in the first place. Thus - anything that didn't fit that agenda was ignored; and anything that did was treated as an imperfect manifestation of a greater ideal and modified to fit.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 04:47 AM

Which is to say the potency of a faith should not be measured by the imperfections of its theology.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 04:59 AM

Well yes, I agree with that conclusion SO'P. The tradition as a word and an idea has become talismanic, a fundamental minimum of belonging, much as a belief in a deity is the basic building block of western religion (as we're using spiritual analogies). The stuff we call traditional, the material of collectors, is likely to be at the very posh end of the common sound which spanned every person who ever wanted to express his condition in front of an ale-house fireplace.

To my ears a good deal of the tradition is formulaic and leads to the suspicion collectors did indeed pick songs that fitted their idea of what old music was. I'm not convinced of Pip's rote performances as anything more than a perpetuation of the modern phenomenon of Folk Revival, any more than I am of the Nicean Creed's ability to transport someone who was thinking about what they were going to have for their tea.
There has to be a yearning, and that longing has to be more than attending a singaound.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 05:07 AM

and that longing has to be more than attending a singaound.

The singaround is where it happens though, for me at least. Nowhere else! That's the source of the communion, what inspires me to keep the faith, as I say, no matter how imperfect the theology. Without the singaround I'd have lost interest years ago.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 05:47 AM

A longer reply has disappeared so this is short. I don't have an issue with the singaround but with those who want to dictate the canon. People know what folk is when they hear it and sing it, they don't need a priestly class to mediate it for them.

Traditional music isn't the entirety of folk.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 05:51 AM

I'm not convinced of Pip's rote performances as anything more than a perpetuation of the modern phenomenon of Folk Revival, any more than I am of the Nicean Creed's ability to transport someone who was thinking about what they were going to have for their tea.

One answer is that it is a perpetuation of the modern phenomenon of Folk Revival - which is itself a folk art, like graffiti or line dancing.

More fundamentally, I'm suspicious of the opposition between routine and transcendence. Sticking to religion for the moment, I think leaving the house at the same time every Sunday morning, sitting in the same place for the same length of time and saying the same words - together with a lot of other people who are also doing it every week - is a religious experience, and quite a powerful one. The world collectively stops what it's doing for an hour or so, to come together and express a sense that there's something missing frm the rest of the week - a place for joy, grief, yearning for the world to be transformed. In practice, obviously, it's boring and meaningless for a lot of the time, but the constant ritual return and repetition builds up the charge of the sacred over time - a charge that resides in the location and in the congregation, as well as the ceremony. So when you get married you know that church is the place to do it - and when you've got problems you know that you can rely on 'church people'. Obviously that doesn't work all the time for everyone, but I think it does work for a lot of people a lot of the time.

I'm not suggesting you should go to church - I don't. But I think ritual is an important element of our lives, & that routine and ritual aren't all that different.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:17 AM

a good deal of the tradition is formulaic and leads to the suspicion collectors did indeed pick songs that fitted their idea of what old music was

Collectors were mostly pretty explicit about that they were doing, and you're deliberately misrepresenting a completely logical set of priorities. If you're in a community where two sorts of stuff are being performed:

1. songs and tunes deriving from printed sources you're familiar with already and only adapted to a limited extent

2. stuff you've never heard before, which seems to be unknown outside this community, and which might be forgotten in the very near future as this community's way of life comes to an end

which is the more important one to record?

For sure, we now think it is ALSO important to record a complete picture of the community's musical practice, including what they do with materials imported from outside, but the collectors of the early 20th century got their priorities basically right about what to do with the limited time and resources they had.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:24 AM

The problem with ritual is it can quickly become the totality of the thing, in the way that enlightenment C of E bishops say a deity is an important notion for describing the human condition's relationship with nature and the virgin birth is an expression of man's ideas of purity. I prefer the possibly flawed original, even when it defies reason, to a socio-analytic reading that puts custom and practice before substance.

You might argue that in a rationalist age the folk revival has become the vehicle for a communal expression of the numinous with apostolic figures replaced by collectors spreading the true word. I just don't happen to think that's what folk is all about.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 07:30 AM

Does any music exist?
Some times.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 07:31 AM

I've just come up with something on another thread which I feel bears repeating here:

Traditional Song is born of the moment, thus does it belong to the future.

Moreover, Traditional Song empowers the moment, giving us a glimpse not of the past per-se but of the continuity by which we have come be where we are and who we are.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 02:13 PM

"Collectors were mostly pretty explicit about that they were doing, and you're deliberately misrepresenting a completely logical set of priorities."

I completely agree with Jack Campin here. Just imagine you've just met old Mrs X in Village Y. She's got 21 songs which are made up of 6 ballads, 14 lyrical pieces and a recent music hall song. You've got a notepad and pencil and a limited amount of time in Village Y. Are you going to spend any of that time noting down the music hall piece?
Of course you're not!

Fast forward 100 years and your descendant meets Mrs X's descendant in the same village. This time your descendant is armed with a state-of-the-art electronic recorder. Now your descendant might have the luxury of recording that music hall piece (or 1940s pop song)for the sake of completeness.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 03:55 PM

Shimrod and Jack Campin have it dead right. All collectors (the ones I have met anyway) set out with the idea that they will record as much as time and circumstances allow them to, including information.
However, faced with singers like Tom Lenihan (200 songs) Mary Delaney (about the same) and Walter Pardon (around 150) we found ourselves constantly having to prioritise.
We set out as 'folk song collectors', having some idea what we meant by the term, and in the limited time we had available to us, they were our priority. If we (and the singers) had the time, we always recorded everything the singer was prepared to give us, and then get he or she to talk about their repertoire. I suggest you listen to what Walter Pardon had to say about his repertoire, some of which can be found in an article I wrote for Musical Traditions 'Enthusiasms' section, entitled 'By Any Other-Name'. Travelling woman Mary Delaney refused to sing her non-folk songs (mainly C&W), telling us that these were not what we were looking for and "the new songs have the old ones ruined" - she only sang them in the pub because "that's what the lads ask for".
Sharp, who started the ball rolling in England, based his 'Conclusions' on his extensive work in the South of England, Karpeles did so on her work with Sharp and her own in Newfoundland, Greig's massive collection came from is field work in Aberdeenshire..... how far do I have to go?
If they - or we with our 36 years recording farmworkers, fishermen, Irish and Scots Travellers, Irish construction workers in London.... all got it wrong, it really is time that somebody told us where we did so - and maybe compare what we did/do with their own efforts rather than resorting to the usual method (much in evidence here) of argument by innuendo.
It has always been my experience that people who ask such prattish questions as "Does folk exist" invariably do so from the comfort of their armchair, or a folk club, and usually have their own particular agenda, usually setting out to prove it doesn't, as likely as not in order to be able to justify their hangining their own particular preferences on the 'folk' peg.
Incidentally, to whoever suggested that it would be helpful to know what the person coined the term 'folk' had in mind, antiquarian William Thoms (1803-1885)first used the term 'folklore' in 1846. There is an entry on him the Funk and Wagnall Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, and a gread deal of information on his work and ideas in Richard Dorson's 'The British Folkorist'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 03:59 PM

"Sharp, who started the ball rolling in England, based his 'Conclusions' on his extensive work in the South of England,"
Sorry, intended to add 'and the Southern Appalachians'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:09 PM

And so the sound of one hand clapping returns to applaud itself.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:58 PM

I thought Jim C. said some very interesting stuff there. Though I do also rather like Glueman's Gnostic analogy below: "People know what folk is when they hear it and sing it, they don't need a priestly class to mediate it for them."

Otherwise, threads like this... I guess it matters much to some, but I'd guess it's the energy of personal investment and such, that err results in a 'need' for a definitive answer or conclusion. Human existence tends to 'happen' in some ways I guess, and thus we describe (and then attempt to define) what happens for pragmatic purposes of communicating those tendencies with other people. IMO, nothing that happens is 'real' as such, apart from what 'tends to happen'.

Yes Folk 'is': something happens, and we describe it as 'folk'.

Bums, it's all too much...!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 07:53 PM

"And so the sound of one hand clapping returns to applaud itself."
And that's it?
As I thought - all shadow and no substance. I really thought somebody might have had something worth looking at for a moment - ah well.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 05:40 AM

all shadow and no substance.

That's folk in a nutshell; rather like Death in Duncan Williamson's story (in which he appears to elaborate on a Scandinavian original) whereby havoc is wreaked in a world where things no longer die. Ultimately however, shadows are best; because shadows are all we've got, like those on the wall of Plato's Cave; shadows implying substance, or permanence, all of which might run contrary to the transient nature of all existence in which all things change regardless, unless they're stuffed up inside of nuts of course, which is a nice womb-like comfort zone no matter how cramped.

In reality, of course, and by his own admission, Jim's sort of Folk died the death long ago; folk in a nutshell, removed from any sort of human context it might have once had because even the singers found better things to do with their free time once they discovered the delights of modern life. Thankfully there's more to it, and Folk lives on as an essentially creative aesthetic derived from all sorts of musical & cultural associations, including Traditional Song & Music, folklore, hip-hop, free-improv, Flann O'Brien, experimental music, feral, wicca, tribal, jungle, hedgewitch, wildlife, bird song, storytelling, early music, modern classical, gamelan, plain chant, death metal, fog horns, Japanese Sapphic Erotica, dead seals, power stations, 1920's novelty dance bands, The Beano, Albert Richardson, Blackpool Tower, the M6, the A6, Catweazle, Bagpuss, etc. etc. with countless musicians diligently ploughing their own idiosyncratic furrows and making some fascinating noises in the process; best make that the folk process which lives on in other ways too. Even outside the Folk Scene - especially outside the Folk Scene - Folk Music is alive and well and thriving in an abundant transience that would make Maud Karpeles proud.

A very worthy thread indeed, and a joy for the most part despite Jim's ominous clouds gathering of late threatening further judgemental downpour. Fortunately, I have my trusty Gamp at hand!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 05:50 AM

"And so the sound of one hand clapping returns to applaud itself."

If we're talking about Jim's work as a collector (and the openness with which he's been willing to share his knowledge in this and other places), then there are two hands clapping in this household.

Give me a 'do-er' every time.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 06:18 AM

"If we're talking about Jim's work as a collector"

I don't think we are. Jim will be here to tell of about that soon enough. We were having a discussion about whether folk exists and if it does where it begins and ends. It's unfortunate that some people only join a thread to trade insults or flog horses that were merely sunning themselves.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 06:44 AM

"Do folk exist?"?

Oh, as in do heavy metal exist and do jazz exist!

Hmm... might sound all right in certain 19th century East Anglian dialects, but a bit antiquated now!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 06:49 AM

"And so the sound of one hand clapping returns to applaud itself." - 'glueman'

You can't resist being snide, can you Mr 'g'? Why not try writing something sensible and comprehensible for a change?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Chris Murray
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 06:54 AM

Has anybody mentioned the horse yet? I'm scared to look.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 07:01 AM

"You can't resist being snide, can you Mr 'g'?"

You'll find any thread I've been 'snide' in has been as a result of downright insults. At this point I'm tempted to bite but hope the thread returns to to its former very high standard and the rest return to their cave. Contributions are not compulsory.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 07:12 AM

Where were we? Ah yes, I'm reminded of Socrates quote 'an unexamined life is not worth living.' Perhaps folk is the last unexamined genre, a musical form completely lacking in self-awareness and reflexivity? Not knowing that it's 'such stuff as dreams are made on' or S O'P's ghosts in the backroom it can only continue so long as it doesn't look at its reflection?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 07:43 AM

If we're talking about Jim's work as a collector

We're all applauding that one, Brian - and I'm eternally grateful for the cassette he put my way a year or so back which has still to emerge from whatever box we packed it in when we moved. In respect of his diligence, passion, authority in respect of Traditional Singers & Songs over the years I will applaud him long & loud with much respect and admiration.

However...

It's no secret I'm still smarting from him dismissing my own efforts as a ballad singer as being truly awful and akin to bad pop music, which is a sour old approach and not helpful in the slightest. This is an attitude we find in many of his other posts which are cast in the direction of the wayward even as Satan smiting Job with sore boils, as in his dismissal of the inquiry which this thread is attempting to answer as prattish.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 08:10 AM

"If we're talking about Jim's work as a collector"

I'm not about to defend rude personal remarks whoever they're made by, but since this seems to be (yet another) thread centred upon the alleged existence of a "priestly class of mediators" (which I assume comprises or at least includes collectors), then JC's contribution, as a collector discussing the opinions of the singers from whom he collected songs, seems to be fairly central to the discussion.

"his dismissal of the inquiry which this thread is attempting to answer as prattish..."

Would this be the inquiry which opened with the fair-minded statement "jerks need not apply"?

"a musical form completely lacking in self-awareness and reflexivity?" [glueman]

There is a good point here: the folk revival is way more prone to navel gazing than most other musical genres. My experience, however, suggests that the 'un-definers' are no less keen to pore over the belly button than any high priest of the canon.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 08:11 AM

"I don't think we are. Jim will be here to tell of about that soon enough"
Glueman - your technique of arguing (regularly used enough to be described as a technique) is one of smear and innuend and then bottling out of either substantiating your smears or withdrawing them when challenged - want me to produce some recent examples in case they have slipped your memory. It is a cowardly and deeply dishonest way of arguing - yet - ''tis but thine own'.
Your smear tactics regarding collecting provoked the response I gave.
I seldom talk about our collecting other than to quote the singers, musicians and storytellers we have recorded - which is, as far as I'm concerned, what it was all about. If this is not the case, can you please prove otherwise.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 08:29 AM

"If this is not the case, can you please prove otherwise."

No. Do your worst Jim.
Then leave us alone to talk about the initial proposition.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 08:45 AM

"this seems to be (yet another) thread centred upon the alleged existence of a "priestly class of mediators"

You may or may not have noticed that a religious metaphor had been building across a number of posts, the priestly class was a response to that. I used the metonym to include all individuals who seek to create and reinforce boundaries in folk music and to divide people into categories of worthy/unworthy, saved/condemned, correct/wrong, prattish/enlightened.
Hope that helps.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 08:50 AM

"Hope that helps."

Not if you don't tell us who these people are.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 09:05 AM

The concept of folk exists. It is differentiated from other musics. A valid question here is not the definition but who gets to define it.

An even bigger question is who today cares? A comparatively small group.

I've tried to discover what it is by singing it myself and listening to others who I felt were part of a tradition. I never claimed to be a part of any tradition of any folk song except when my step-father taught me a blues song he had heard hobo-ing around in the 30's.

The reason I think that it exists is that it contains a kind of aesthetic. 1. It's generally accessible. 2. It has parameters. Not a wide vocal range. Basic language endemic to the culture. 3. Singing style is not classical or trained. 4. It has been passed down.
5. Content is usually narrative. 6. Much of it requires footnotes to understand its background. 7. Harmonic content is simple. 8. It is not adorned with the standard show business physicality of rock or pop or even some classical. 9. It sounds best in a smaller more intimate environment, not on a big stage. 10. People who are part of the culture which spawn the style recognize it as their own. 11. It is associated with working class culture.

There is a folk-like performance style that is sometimes appealing and sometimes contrived in its imitative approach.

I don't think that it can be duplicated by those outside the culture with much success.
There is a genetic as well as cultural component.

What we see in today's performance style that is reputed to be "folk" is more of a show business image thing.

I see it as separate from other forms of musical expression.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 09:23 AM

A marvellously reasoned contribution Frank. No.1 got me thinking though - is it accessible? Folk seems to have a higher proportion of players and singers than other genres. Might not this skill lend itself to increasing musical virtuosity with all the exclusivity that suggests?

I may be going off at a tangent here but not many folk musicians stop at the few chords rock performers are happy to play in perpetuity (while being aware solo virtuosity is a mark of rock it is not a requirement). I wonder if that specialisation excludes it from casual involvement and the primitive 'folkishness' the term implies, and take it into an acoustic branch of technicianship?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 09:34 AM

"jerks need not apply"

What was that referring to? I was actually meaning the enquiry Does Folk Exist?

"priestly class of mediators"

Would these be professional folk singers perhaps? Those who intercede between the Faithful and the Theologians with albums containing expositions of the Holy Writ backed up by copious annotations factual, fatuous, misleading or otherwise, but always couched with a certain authority which I for one have always been a sucker for. Whilst happy to ape this example in my own work over the years (not least on JATZ where each piece has a lengthy blog entry by way of a virtual sleeve note) we're currently working on a commissioned album of traditional material which, despite having an overall concept, will very deliberately have no sleeve notes whatsoever! But then again, whilst I get paid well enough for my storytelling I don't think I've ever received a penny for my folk singing, although I do feature Traditional Songs in my storytelling performances, very few of which, come to think of it, occur within Designated Folk Contexts where I'm quite happy to be a Lay Preacher.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 09:39 AM

Yes, I agree that 'Stringsinger's' contribution above is clear, concise, well-reasoned and free from obscurist jargon and snidey comments. Why can't your contributions be like that, 'glueman'?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 10:02 AM

And moving swiftly on, not sure about No.11 either Frank, though I'm picking nits, your point is well made.
No sleeve notes would be a massive step forward for folk SOP.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 12:51 PM

Does folk exist - yes it does
It can be found in many of the recorded form in collections such as 'Folk Songs of Britain', the aptly named 20 set 'Voice of The People' (soon to be joined by selections of the BBC project), the ongoing 'School of Scottish Studies series, and the many, many thousands of albums and collectiions of field recordings still available, released commercially or archived.
In published form they can be found in works such as 'The Greig Duncan Folksong Collection', Sam Henry aptly named 'Songs of the People', and the many hundred published and Mss. collections - soon to be joined by the massive Carpenter Collection.
Where are these songs and singers listed? The Roud Index is as about as comrehensive an index as you'll find for both recorded and printed sources of material.
Apart from those who prefer the 'Elephant in the Room' approach ("perhaps if we ignore it then it might go away and we can dump our personal preferences under the label 'Folk'") folk song has never been more available than it is today.
The only place you can't be guaranteed to find it any more is in clubs like those frequented by Suibhne O'Piobaireachd (under a previous persona), where you are more likely to find - and I quote: "Blues, Shanties, Kipling, Cicely Fox Smith, Musical Hall, George Formby, Pop, County, Dylan, Cohen, Cash, Medieval Latin, Beatles, Irish Jigs and Reels, Scottish Strathspeys, Gospel, Rock, Classical Guitar, Native American Chants, Operatic Arias and even the occasional Traditional Song and Ballad. We once had a floor singer who, in his own words, sang his own composition which he introduced with the Zen-like "...this is a folk song about rock 'n' roll..."."
Is folk still to be found in its raw form in the communities that once made, used and circulated it?
Probably not - modern technology has pretty well put paid to that - but hey - Shakespeare, Beeethoven and Homer have been dead for centuries and many of us still get great pleasure from their work.
any of us came into the folk song revival because it gave us great pleasure and satisfaction. It also gave us a template to create, sing and listen to newly created songs using the folk forms. Long may it continue to do so.
I didn't really expect a positive reply to my request to back up his innuendoes with facts - he doesn't do that sort of thing.
"Then leave us alone to talk about the initial proposition"
I'm afraid if you're going to move me on constable, you're going to have to show me your warrant card.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 01:09 PM

Phew! Bit of a sudden cloud-burst there - and whilst my gamp is keeping me nice and dry, there's always a risk of flooding - Roud, Child, VOTP, SOTP, Grieg Duncan, blah blah... Let's hope the drains can cope with such an almighty deluge!

Still, every cloud, eh?

Jim, you're like the Roman Catholic Theologian who when asked does God exist? points to the Vatican library...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 01:19 PM

"Hope that helps."
Not if you don't tell us who these people are.


Me too. I still don't see an answer to that one.

Ranting about unnamed enemies. It's the usual rhetorical strategy of grandiose cranks.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 01:24 PM

so Jim,says folk is not blues and not irish jigs and reels, and not shanties ,and not scottish strathspeys.
are you saying Jim that these are not folk, have I understood you correctly,if you are saying that ,I have to say youare talking Codswallop.
string singer says[3. Singing style is not classical or trained.]interesting that THEN excludesPeggy Seeger/maccoll.and all the Comhaltas singers.Seeger/Maccoll did vocal exercises that is training,Comhaltas singers train their voices in a different way,they train to sing in a particular style to win competitions.,but they call themselves singers of traditional songs,traditional songs are considerted by most people to be part of folk music,and neither of the above sing in a classical style.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 01:32 PM

Jim Carroll

Apart from those who prefer the 'Elephant in the Room' approach

Alternatively, you could try the 'Room in the Elephant' approach aka the Lewes Saturday Folk Club at The Elephant and Castle, Lewes. There, and at our neighbours the Royal Oak, Lewes, you will hear songs from the singing of Harry Cox, Walter Pardon, the Stewarts of Blairgowrie, Queen Caroline Hughes, Pheobe Smith, Louie Fuller, Lizzie Higgins, Pop Maynard, Mary Ann Haynes, Jeannie Robertson, Stanley Robertson, Fred Jordan.... and tunes from the playing of Scan Tester, Walter Bulwer, Lemmie Brazil, Percy Brown, Bob Cann, Will Atkinson Willy Taylor, Joe Hutton, James Hill.... and countless songs, ballads and tunes from the great Anon.

On top of that you'll get songs and tunes inspired by the tradition from people like Graham Miles, Barry Temple, Brian Bedford, Anne Lister, Alistair Anderson....

Not that we're purists. You'll hear music from foreign parts like Ireland, America, France, Kent.... and even a few music hall songs or Victorian parlour ballads.

A couple of fairly typical British folk clubs really.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 02:07 PM

Although not a consumer of contemporary broadcast media - I do like a nice narrowcast bit o' youtube mind - I turned on the car radio this afternoon being early for an appointment, blew the spiders out and heard Stuart McConey and others talking about musical nomenclature, genres, styles and whatnot.

The conclusion seemed to be that titles were fairly meaningless and music can only be spoken of in terms of comparison or metaphor. They may be onto something. If Ewan MacColl writes a song extolling the virtues of his wife is he a folk singer? When Jon Boden, a chap who knows a fair bit about the tradition and how to play it, makes a record of his own songs has he ceased to be a folkie?
At various times each of us answers to different titles (angler, lecturer, banjo player and grandiose crank at various times apparently) but 'folk musician' seems stickier than most, as though it is a life commitment, a calling, a vocation and those who push its boundaries and muck about with other forms are somehow suspect, letting the side down.

Perhaps folkies are happy with intertextual playfulness, absorbing the zeitgeist and chillin' but it doesn't often appear that way.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 02:21 PM

"Phew! Bit of a sudden cloud-burst there - and whilst my gamp is keeping me nice and dry, there's always a risk of flooding - Roud, Child, VOTP, SOTP, Grieg Duncan, blah blah... Let's hope the drains can cope with such an almighty deluge!"

Well, S'OP you've had plenty of practice at keeping dry after downpours like this:

"Blues, Shanties, Kipling, Cicely Fox Smith, Musical Hall, George Formby, Pop, County, Dylan, Cohen, Cash, Medieval Latin, Beatles, Irish Jigs and Reels, Scottish Strathspeys, Gospel, Rock, Classical Guitar, Native American Chants, Operatic Arias and even the occasional Traditional Song and Ballad."

Haven't you?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 02:36 PM

"Ranting about unnamed enemies"

or imaginary enemies done to death by Captain Obvious and his side kick The Paranoid Kid


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 02:52 PM

The secular priests, guardians, gate-keepers are both hard to define but easy to spot. Anyone, I suppose, who takes it upon themselves to extropolate an abstract notion and turn it into a bunker. Let me say I don't believe folkies as a group are prone to authoritarianism, the ones at festivals seem a liberal and jolly lot by and large, but a few have strong ideas about what is and isn't acceptable and are keen to demand everyone agrees, usually citing 'sources' (an extraordinary thing to do).
A two layer folk is what we have in practice, a pragmatic form and an austere one.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 03:52 PM

" ... but a few have ONE strong idea that ANYTHING is acceptable and are keen to demand everyone agrees, ... "


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 04:10 PM

Rifleman,still firing blanks?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 04:33 PM

My mother used to say 'gamp' or 'umbergamp', I didn't know it was in common usage. She also called sleepy eye snot 'gowly' which I also believed was a family term until it turned up on Call My Bluff for the same thing.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 04:54 PM

The secular priests, guardians, gate-keepers are both hard to define but easy to spot.

So it should be easy to name one, then.

a few have strong ideas about what is and isn't acceptable and are keen to demand everyone agrees, usually citing 'sources' (an extraordinary thing to do).

If there are so few of them they should be even easier to name.

Name some names or shut up.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 05:15 PM

"My mother used to say 'gamp' or 'umbergamp', I didn't know it was in common usage. She also called sleepy eye snot 'gowly' which I also believed was a family term until it turned up on Call My Bluff for the same thing."

I see that you're resorting to your usual extraordinary talent for evasiveness when challenged, 'glueman'! I'm sure your family dialect words and sayings are very interesting - but they're not very relevant to this thread, at this juncture, are they?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 05:27 PM

"Name some names or shut up."

Why? Would you walk into someone's house and adopt that tone. Cheeky saucepot.
As for Shimrod, you give me the impression of someone who was bullied and is determined to only hunt in a pack nowadays. Please refer to the original post or deliver yourself hence. You were humoured, then ignored but you still haven't learned politeness. Please do so.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 05:33 PM

I find the idea of Folk Priests a lot more worrying than the Folk Police. I think I'm going to have to sharpen my gamp...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 05:46 PM

Secular priests my arse - ditto abstract concepts - why do people insist on replacing serious discussion with such juvenile invective.
Folk music is far from abstract - it has been recorded, researched and documented enough over the last century to be regarded as a reality.
In the time I have been involved I was lucky enough to have seen singers like Jeannie Roberson, Lizzie Higgins, The Stewarts, Harry Cox, Walter Pardon....... and many others, singing songs we recognised as folk songs - not abstractions but living human beings passing on something special.
Some of us dipped our toes in a little further than just listening and singing and tried to find out more - if we got it wrong, tell us where instead of indulging in infantile name-calling. There is sod-all in the way of counter argument on this thread as far as I can see - just armchair musings.
Bryan:
You are right, and I am grateful that there are clubs like yours which continue to live up to what it says on the tin - I don't think there are enough of them, but we've argued the toss about that one in the past.
Cap'n,
'Jim,says folk is not blues and not irish jigs and reels, and not shanties ,and not scottish strathspeys'
No I don't - far from it - I am saying that if club organisers present ALL the music on SO'P's list as 'folk' and (as he did) define it as such, they are incapable of finding their 'folk' arses with both hands.
What is happening here in Ireland should be a lesson for all concerned with the survival of the music. A clear idea of what constitutes Irish folk music, and an application of standards has guaranteed its survival for the next two generations at least.
SOP
The fact that you equate the reality of folk music with the mysticism of the Vatican library explains much about your attitued and your performance.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 05:49 PM

'glueman' (to self):

"Drat! My evasiveness tactic has been rumbled! Resort to alternative tactic: Imply that opponent is morally defective or has psychological problems. Damn! That's been rumbled as well. Hhhhmmm! What's next? Spout First Year Social Sciences mumbo jumbo? No, tried that too many times. Try thinking my opinions through before posting them and talking sense ...? No! Too obvious!"


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 05:50 PM

100 For The Fun Of It !


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 05:51 PM

JC, the man who could start an argument in an empty room.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 06:14 PM

'glueman' (to self): he's hearing those voices again.

Nasty temporal lobe: Ah fuck him, the guy's a twat.

Nice temporal lobe: No he means well, he's sticking up for what he belives in. Be kind, be generous.

Nasty temporal lobe: So you saying he isn't an opinionated sonnofabitch and a shit singer?

Nice temporal lobe: No, people speak well of him.

Nasty temporal lobe: Your funeral.

Nice temporal lobe: I believe if you give people the opportunity to explain they'll come round in the end.

Nasty temporal lobe: Yeah well don't come crying to me when he starts spouting that 1964 shit.

Nice temporal lobe: It's 1954.

Nasty temporal lobe: Who gives a fuck.

Nice temporal lobe: They do.

Nasty temporal lobe: What happened anyways.

Nice temporal lobe: Do you always have the last word?

Nasty temporal lobe: Fuck you.

Nice temporal lobe: Well, do you.

Nasty temporal lobe: Shithead.

Nice temporal lobe: Insults now.

Nasty temporal lobe: Go fuck yourself creep.

Nice temporal lobe: I think you should apologise. Some people like definitions. They find it helps.

Nasty temporal lobe: Helps how?

Nice temporal lobe: It gives their lives meaning.

Nasty temporal lobe: A date gives their lives meaning?

Nice temporal lobe: Indeed.

Nasty temporal lobe: You're as crazy as those fucks.

Nice temporal lobe: Well at least I don't write out conversations with myself.

Nasty temporal lobe: You're doing it right now.

Nice temporal lobe: That's different.

Nasty temporal lobe: It's to make a point I suppose?

Nice temporal lobe: Exactly.

Nasty temporal lobe: Arsehole.

Nice temporal lobe: Goodnight.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 06:17 PM

"Rifleman,still firing blanks?"

Ahh, Captain Birdseed, still hanging around are you? I'd have thought you'd making more self-promotion "videos" of your "music". You know, you and Walkabouts Verse should really get together, you have more in common than you know. In a word over sized egos.

With lack of evidence regarding the existence of Carroll's so-called "enemies" I am forced to believe that they are indeed simply imaginary.

"JC, the man who could start an argument in an empty room"

Just because he has this urge to argue, goodness knows why.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 06:20 PM

I am saying that if club organisers present ALL the music on SO'P's list as 'folk' and (as he did) define it as such, they are incapable of finding their 'folk' arses with both hands.

No danger of you ever missing your folk arse anyway with your head rammed so firmly up there. Meanwhile, back in the real world, Folk Music (as with folklore) still has something to do with what living people are doing, which brings me back to the opening post of 1954 and All That.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: reggie miles
Date: 14 Jul 09 - 11:33 PM

Yup


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 02:43 AM

And more childish invective - just like being back in Speke Secondary Modern.
Ah - nostalgia
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 02:48 AM

I've been saying all along that glueman is arguing with a Bad Folkie in his head. Nice to have it confirmed.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 03:25 AM

Can I remind everyone who doesn't understand the title this is A Discursive Thread, not an Inquisition. Anyone who fancies themselves as Torquemada or showing their shiny instruments to would-be victims will find plenty of those kind of 'debates' elsewhere on Mudcat. Let them piss in other wells.

Brow-beating, the use of question marks as meat hooks and whatever cock of the walk status they may enjoy in normal life hold no thrall here. Bullying will not be tolerated, which is to say it will not be read, by the OP at least. Don't expect baiting traps to be picked up, I'll be responding to the last sensible post even if I disagree with it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 04:30 AM

"I'll be responding to the last sensible post even if I disagree with it."

With evasion, meaningless jargon and invective, no doubt.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 05:34 AM

That's precisely the kind of bullying I'm talking about, but then you already know that. Be nice or go away.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 06:22 AM

Looking at Stringsinger's No.6 and SOPs footnote comment I must admit to having gone down a route of enjoying their apparent authority then gradually despising them. If there are to be footnotes they might be done with context, wit and one eye on the cliche they have become. Perhaps hoping to discover something new, even when it's old, in a voice or a song is inhibited by written exposition, rather like those people who wander round the National Gallery in headphones because they're not sure whether to like something or not.

The question has to be, would an album be any less appealing a listen without the attributions or have more mileage, as one finds what the folk route if any, is.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 06:32 AM

Jim Carroll

Bryan:
You are right, and I am grateful that there are clubs like yours which continue to live up to what it says on the tin - I don't think there are enough of them, but we've argued the toss about that one in the past.


I think there are are a lot more than you realise or are prepared to admit.

I am saying that if club organisers present ALL the music on SO'P's list as 'folk'

They don't. The only evidence that you have is that quote by Shameless O'Shamrock that you have used half a dozen times now despite the fact that it was refuted by Sailor Ron here and S O'S acknowledged that he was right.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 06:33 AM

The thing is, 'glueman' I wouldn't be 'on your case' if you didn't insist on talking such pernicious nonsense. At the start of this thread you concede that "Folk Exists" (Wow! Great concession!) but elsewhere you insist that the baby boomers have got it (folk music) all wrong and should be doing something different - although you refuse, or are unable, to tell us exactly, what they, or succeeding generations, should be doing instead. I maintain that without such a manifesto you are playing straight into the hands of the 'anything goes, all music is folk music' brigade (perhaps you're one of them - it's hard to tell).

You also don't like definitions and state that citing sources is "an extraordinary thing to do" (does that mean that citing sources is wrong?). So, in spite of all the First Year Social Sciences mumbo jumbo, you appear to have an anti-intellectual bent as well. Further up the thread you tell us that one of your occupations is 'lecturer'. Do you tell your students that citing sources is "an extraordinary thing to do"?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 06:39 AM

The worrying thing is, I can only relate to this stuff if it comes with the right provenance. Provenance is part of the experience; provenance determines authenticity; provenance is the comfort of a higher intellectual authority. If Folk exists at all, then it's only in terms of a Canonical Orthodoxy to which all priests & preachers must be ultimately answerable, even Feral Hedge types like myself who might still be heard muttering in his cups if floor singers are still sourcing from their Steeleye Span LPs.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 06:48 AM

They don't. The only evidence that you have is that quote by Shameless O'Shamrock that you have used half a dozen times now despite the fact that it was refuted by Sailor Ron here and S O'S acknowledged that he was right.

Steady on there, Sycophantic Mollusc - I still stand by that list: all of that music I have heard in The Fleetwood Folk Club, not necessarily on the same night I grant, but all of it I accept as being Folk Music according the reasons given in the 1954 and All That thread - i.e. Folk as Flotsam, determined by context rather than content, and the nebulousness of the 1954 Definition which might as well be saying All music is Folk Music - I ain't never heard no horse sing a song. Furthermore, in my ongoing experience of what happens in Folk Clubs I'd say that list is pretty conservative.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 07:12 AM

S O'S

even the occasional Traditional Song and Ballad.

Sailor Ron

well over 60% of what is performed is 'traditional'[ that is if you include broadsheets, chapbooks, and 'old songs by unknown authors], plus a fair number of what I would call songs written in the traditional style or idiom.

Spot the difference.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 07:14 AM

Potted history: aged about 16 I began going in to folk clubs. I liked the music but thought the stuff that came with it was complete crap. So I had to decide, do you throw away the music or continue with it as a secret vice? I kept buying records and the one-way relationship with folk continued.
Occasionally I'd long for something of the 'community' of folk but it was like selling everything you believed in for a small hit of the good stuff, the attitude, clothes, what's right and wrong, one of us or them, absolute bull. Provenance means nothing to me in the sense I can tell the real thing with my ears and memory, if I'm duped it'll have to be a damned good ringer.

So for most of the time I'm folk's n****r, always on the outside looking in the shop window, wanting the sweets at the back but not prepared to swallow the twaddle. BTW, that isn't a romantic vision of folk or myself, it's a fact and people might examine their own consciences to see whether they fit the picture.
It's music, that's it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 07:20 AM

Whoever asked about lecturing, I haven't for many years. The comparison doesn't work either, folk is not a 'study' despite those who'd like to make it one. All that historical re-enactment, box ticking pedantry is hateful. It's music, not a lecture. Kill the footnotes and intros and reach out to people. Trust in their ears.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 07:35 AM

glueman, I'm sorry that you hate everyone else and that you're so sorry for yourself - it must be miserable being you. But I still don't know what you're actually talking about.

For example:

always on the outside looking in the shop window, wanting the sweets at the back but not prepared to swallow the twaddle

What twaddle?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 08:00 AM

" ... folk is not a 'study' despite those who'd like to make it one. All that historical re-enactment, box ticking pedantry is hateful. It's music, not a lecture. Kill the footnotes and intros and reach out to people. Trust in their ears."

Which is where we must part company, 'glueman'. It's music alright - but music with a context. To me it's not just a pleasant noise. At the weekend I paid my annual pilgrimage to a village once inhabited by one of our great national poets. He was an early folk song collector and we know that both of his parents sang (his father was a noted ballad singer in the area over 200 years ago). On the Friday night dozens of people from all over the area turned up, at one of the local pubs, to play tunes and to sing old songs. I experienced an extraordinary sense of connection and continuity. There was no attempt at "historical re-enactment" and no "box ticking" - it just happened (with the aid of some flyers and email). To me it was the context which helped to make that night special - along with the quality of the music, of course.

I'm obviously not like you, 'glueman' - I want to know about things. I want to understand context and to divine meaning. I despise 'wilful ignorance' and anti-intellectualism and think that these are serious problems in our society. Perhaps you'll tell me that this attitude constitutes some sort of 'moral failing' on my part - but you'll have a hard job convincing me!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 08:31 AM

"academic folklorists - card-indexers of the human soul"

A.L.Lloyd


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 09:34 AM

"glueman, I'm sorry that you hate everyone else and that you're so sorry for yourself - it must be miserable being you"

I'm sorry you draw that conclusion though in truth it's yet another ploy in your argument, so let neither of us shed crocodile tears for the other. I lead a perfectly fulfilled life, we differ on the nonsense that surrounds folk music that's all.
That nonsense includes the historical fussiness, the personalities who valourise that priggery, the self-appointed hierarchies, the 'real' vs unreal kneejerks, the fucking endless footnotes, the introductions, the general mistrust of youth or physical attractiveness, the mistrust of anyone who isn't them, the hale-fellow bullshit, the time-served idiocy, the folkier than thou arseholery, people who want to flood other people's discussion real or virtual because they might not be at the centre, the high priests and cardinals who want to turn a common currency into a religion and the intellectual prissiness that replaced folk's human warmth long ago.
For all those reasons and many similar ones it's often hard to believe folk exists. Naming the guilty who have occupied the music I like also makes me feel better. I don't expect to win the war, they're too well dug in but if the skirmishes make one of them reflect it's worthwhile.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 09:42 AM

the historical fussiness, the personalities who valourise that priggery, the self-appointed hierarchies, the 'real' vs unreal kneejerks, the fucking endless footnotes, the introductions, the general mistrust of youth or physical attractiveness, the mistrust of anyone who isn't them, the hale-fellow bullshit, the time-served idiocy, the folkier than thou arseholery, people who want to flood other people's discussion real or virtual because they might not be at the centre, the high priests and cardinals who want to turn a common currency into a religion and the intellectual prissiness that replaced folk's human warmth long ago.

This all sounds horrible, God knows, but most of it doesn't bear much relation to any Designated Folk Context I've ever been in (thankfully). I honestly think you ought to get out more.

Naming the guilty who have occupied the music I like also makes me feel better.

Go for it. So far you haven't named a single person.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 09:45 AM

Number One in a series of One Hundred:

Pip Radish

Collect the set.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 09:50 AM

Rifleman,yes I am promoting myself,and I also promoting traditional music.
unfortunately it has become necessary,as a performer,to publicise constantly,it has nothing to do with ego,it is necessary in 2009,as a means of professional survival.
apologies to others here for thread drift


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 09:56 AM

Spot the difference.

I never said anything about proportions, Sycophant - but even so I think Ron's 60% is a tad on the generous side - especially given his various caveats which many here, myself included, might disagree with. All of which is besides the point because a significant proportion of what is sung in any folk club is in no way shape or form traditional and yet it is still called folk. This is why I thought it was maybe time for a pragmatic reconsideration of what we mean when we say folk in the light - or otherwise - of Maud Karpeles' definition of 1954 which, to the Orthodox, is talking about a music which is dead, however so often revived.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:03 AM

Why Sycophant? I like to understand my insults.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:03 AM

" ... includes the historical fussiness, the personalities who valourise that priggery, the self-appointed hierarchies, the 'real' vs unreal kneejerks, the fucking endless footnotes, the introductions, the general mistrust of youth or physical attractiveness, the mistrust of anyone who isn't them, the hale-fellow bullshit, the time-served idiocy, the folkier than thou arseholery, people who want to flood other people's discussion real or virtual because they might not be at the centre, the high priests and cardinals who want to turn a common currency into a religion and the intellectual prissiness that replaced folk's human warmth long ago."

I make that 14 straw men,'glueman' - you will be busy knocking all those down, won't you?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:18 AM

""unfortunately it has become necessary,as a performer,to publicise constantly,it has nothing to do with ego,it is necessary in 2009,as a means of professional survival.
apologies to others here for thread drift
""

Indeed it has Dick, and the recent departure from the scene of one of my favourite artists because he wants to earn enough to feed his family is a pointer to that fact which SHOULD be obvious to the meanest intellect. And that is the wrong man apologising.

I've known Dick Miles for a very long time indeed, and I can assure you that his words and actions have far less to do with ego, than those of his accuser.

A fine singer, and that rarest of performers, one who is better than he thinks he is. Does that smack of egotism?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:19 AM

But the chances of you addressing the points are what..? Keep playing the man, not the ball, it's easier than self reflection.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:23 AM

Keep playing the man, not the ball, it's easier than self reflection.

Wise words, glueman.

Number One in a series of One Hundred:

Pip Radish

Collect the set.


OK, I'll take that. When and in what way have I ever "occupied the music you like"? What are you actually talking about?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:24 AM

Yes it does, at the singaround at the Beech, Chorlton, Manchester, tonight at 8pm, when a fairly disparate bunch of people of varying abilities and tastes will associate freely and willingly for a night of mainly, but not exclusively traditional songs. There will be banter, there will be laughter, there will be moments of spine-tingling beauty and moments of yearning melancholy to bring a tear to the eye of the most hardbitten cynic. There will also be a couple of fairly bobbins performances, but not without character and spirit. There will be people who play semi-professionally and others who are rank outsiders. There will be old lags and first timers. All will recieve a warm welcome, none will be excluded.

Children and grandchildren of the revival, many of the attendees are, for sure. But not prigs, not arseholes, not priestly mediators or whatever other labels anyone would want to stick on us. Just ordinary people who like to get together from time to time after a hard day's work or retirement to share a few old songs, tell a few stories and down a few pints. We tend to like traditional folk - others, at another pub further up the road get together to sing Beatles songs and Brian Eno songs and Beach Boys songs because that's what they like. Different strokes for different folks...

All welcome, anyhow.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:29 AM

You don't recognise the picture of the folk revival I painted?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:40 AM

Why Sycophant? I like to understand my insults.

Oh, when was it? Ages ago now - on one of those interminable WAV threads in which your good self and Don joined forces with regard to a grammatical idiosyncrasy on WAV's part which I justified in terms of a greater vernacular pragmatism.

Brian Eno songs

What the - ? You know, in all my folk years I don't think I've ever heard an Eno song in a Folk Club. Time to work up a version of Third Uncle I think...

Have fun at The Beech anyway you chaps & be sure to pass on our regards to anyone present who might remember us. An earlier point though, whilst Folk will exist at the Beech tonight, where's it all gone tomorrow night? Does Folk exist through us? Or do we exist through Folk?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:51 AM

Glueman:
the historical fussiness, the personalities who valourise that priggery, the self-appointed hierarchies, the 'real' vs unreal kneejerks, the fucking endless footnotes, the introductions, the general mistrust of youth or physical attractiveness, the mistrust of anyone who isn't them, the hale-fellow bullshit, the time-served idiocy, the folkier than thou arseholery, people who want to flood other people's discussion real or virtual because they might not be at the centre, the high priests and cardinals who want to turn a common currency into a religion and the intellectual prissiness that replaced folk's human warmth long ago.

Is this supposed to be a picture of a folk revival then? And which folk "revival" is being talked about? Is this supposed to be a picture of the folk world? Lord knows I don't get out and about more than 3 or 4 times a week these days to join in whatever gathering is going on in my area (or to play at a gig), but I haven't met any of this.

I was at a local pub singaround on Monday night. Around 16 people sitting or standing, plus onlookers and other locals. There was a lot of singing - and some of that from Johnny Collins's repertoire (in tribute) by many there who had known him. And what glorious singing it was! I - who don't include this stuff in my own repertoire - sang myself hoarse as we raised the roof. Then there were the instruments - concertinas, guitars, fiddle, banjos, mandolins, accordion - sometimes solo, sometimes in duets and trios, sometimes all at once - on jazz tunes, a blues or two, some old-time music. But, most of all, there was immense humour, backchat, rude comments and jokes, plenty of beer drinking (including some of the best-kept pints of Adnams Broadside I've drunk outside Southwold) - interspersed with some excellent, free spicy snacks from the Nepalese landlord.

What more could I have asked for? Well, to do it all again - which we're going to do tomorrow night when the Broadwood Morris will alternate dances with a local Appalachian clog team in the pub car park, followed by a session in the bar.

I don't recognise any of the tedious things you cite in the experiences I've had in folk clubs, singarounds and sessions - but perhaps I don't get out enough...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 11:07 AM

Curious that someone who thinks "of" and "have" are the same word can come out with phrases like "greater vernacular pragmatism".


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 11:10 AM

"and I also promoting traditional music"

to be polite about it, what absolute rubbish, you're promotong yourself and yourself alone..

"apologies to others here for thread drift "

I don't apologise for any such thing, it's all part and parcel of the variation the "what is folk?" theme, which this thread is.

"I don't think I've ever heard an Eno song in a Folk Club"

Don't give me any ideas, I get enough of my own *LOL*


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 11:19 AM

Rifleman, stop flaming.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 11:32 AM

You don't recognise the picture of the folk revival I painted?

No. But I do recognize the sort of mind that thinks that way.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 11:41 AM

Curious that someone who thinks "of" and "have" are the same word can come out with phrases like "greater vernacular pragmatism".

So you found it then? Well done that man! Now, stop trying to be smart and go back & read what I said back then and try to get your brain around a notion in which the pragmatics of vernacular usage determine the grammatical sense of the word rather than the pedantry you otherwise seem so fond of. Think of it as Linguistic Folklore - which is to say the way people actually use language as everyday living phenomenon rather than the rules of grammar which we're born with a complete preparedness for anyway.   

It's a matter of simple phonetics, with could have sounding very like could of in certain dialects - cuduv - so when a person writes it, they naturally write could of. The pragmatic intention is obvious, as is the derivation, in which, in this context, of does indeed mean have.

Folk? Pedantry? Death of vernacular diversity? Perish the thought!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 11:49 AM

"Rifleman, stop flaming."

is that really the best you can do? *LOL*

as long as pomposity exists in these threads (and, oh dear, does it exist!), I and others will point it out.

"Does Folk exist through us? Or do we exist through Folk?"

or does folk exist outside of 1954? *LOL* sorry couldn't resist


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 11:50 AM

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd

Now, stop trying to be smart and go back & read what I said back then and try to get your brain around a notion in which the pragmatics of vernacular usage determine the grammatical sense of the word rather than the pedantry you otherwise seem so fond of.

No.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 11:59 AM

Mine's all experience in the field, confirmed by the Mudcat welcoming committee Jacko.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 12:18 PM

"Maud Karpeles' definition of 1954"
Er no, and you know it.
The definition adopted by The International Folk Music Council in 1954 - but any lifebelt will do when the boat's sinking.
Even if ithad been devised by Auntie Maud alone, at least she had a CV worth considering... which is more than can be said of......
Why do you people insist on distorting the argument?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 12:27 PM

Oh dear..here he goes again, to quote Jethro Tull...Livin' in the Past. Enough already! I'm not even going to mention Maud Karpeles (NOT Aunt Maude, I'm sure she wasn't your aunt)

"at least she had a CV worth considering... which is more than can be said of......" now, now, an attempt to silence me by a laughable accusation of flaming, what's good for the goose etc....


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 12:32 PM

Why do you people insist on distorting the argument?

I gathered the 1954 was essentially the work of Maud Karpeles; if I'm wrong then so be it. The International Folk Music Council is now the more sensibly named International Council for Traditional Music whose objectives bear repeating here:

to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries.

That'll do just nicely!

Sinking? I've never felt so buoyant since joining this wretched forum.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 12:36 PM

"Why do you people insist on distorting the argument?"

No idea, perhaps it's Authentically Folk? As the men in Shimmy's head would say:
Mr Bladder "You're a git."
Unwitting Dupe "No, you're a git"
Mr Bladder "You've just called me a git, you must be losing the argument if you resort to calling people names. That's typical of your sort.
Unwitting Dupe: But...
Mr Bladder: And don't go twisting my words.
Unwitting Dupe: I wasn't twisting your words.
Mr Bladder: Twisting words eh? That's a sure sign you are in the wrong.

etc, etc, etc..........


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 12:44 PM

"'m not even going to mention Maud Karpeles"
But you just did -make up your maind
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 01:15 PM

Rifleman,please let us know what you have done,in the folk revival.
I understand you play a 5 string banjo,and have a recording studio,and now you have just bought a ukelele,perhaps you might honour us with some Carter family imitations,or are you a budding George Formby imitator,ever done anything original,or are you a plagiarist.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 02:00 PM

Captain Birdseye
please let us know what you have done,in the folk revival....ever done anything original,or are you a plagiarist.

Seems like poor old Rifleman can't win, Dick. If he does something original it's not folk by the 1954 definition - and if he doesn't do anything original, i.e. plays traditional tunes, then he's just a plagiarist.

Care to re-phrase the question...?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 02:29 PM

Does that make all traddies plagiarists then?

I'll get me coat...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 02:32 PM

no,
and I have never mentioned the 1954 definition.
Rifleman,is an appropriate name,he keeps sniping away.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 06:01 PM

Actually I was answering several questions in one posting, makes sense eh?
Ahh.... the poor captain hasn't got a single thing right about me, never mind me not being able to win. Sniping...? Apparently I've been hitting the target.

-------------------------------

"Does that make all traddies plagiarists then?"

not traddies per se, but I can think of one or two of the traddies heroes at whom that term could be levelled against.

Least myself and my fellow band memebers do make the attempt to write our own material.

Are we folk singers? No we.re not, infact I do believe I have stated before, the British Tradition is a part, not the whole, of our repertoire. Other influences include The Carter Family, The Band, Woody Guthrie, The Weavers, Cecilia Costello, Sam Larner, Walter Pardon. The Coppers, Fairpory Convention, Bellowhead etc...etc..

Get it right!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 06:07 PM

but I can think of one or two of the traddies heroes at whom that term could be levelled against.

Go on, Rifleman - fire away!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 03:10 AM

"You don't recognise the picture of the folk revival I painted?"

I don't spend enough time there to know, to be honest. I recognise some of what you're saying in the self portrait of the folk world painted by some contributors to Mudcat, but I dunno about in the field. I've been to some fairly crap folk clubs in the past, but these days most of my engagement with the music is either via CD or via my local sinaground, neither of which fit the bill of fare you describe. Although I wouldn't ever describe myself as a "folkie", the folkies I know in real life seem to be a nice enough bunch on the whole. I get the feeling most of 'em don't give a stuff about the sort of things that get talked about here. Rather, they just like singing the songs.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 05:01 AM

Spleen: "I get the feeling most of 'em don't give a stuff about the sort of things that get talked about here. Rather, they just like singing the songs."

Yeppers. I really don't think that the ground floor give a crap about all this stuff either. I suspect the majority avoid such discussions quite *actively*. In fact I've heard people say as much.
I also recall sometime back looking into books about the history of Folk, and another 'Catter semi-seriously entreating me: "Don't go into the Light! Don't go into the Light! Don't become one of 'Them'!"


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 05:04 AM

Crow Sister - did you stay on the Dark Side? May the Force be with you!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 05:11 AM

Perfectly true that most of 'em probably don't give a stuff. But how many posts does Mudcat receive from people wanting to know about the origins of this or that song or tune? Did you miss all the eulogies for Malcolm Douglas? You don't have to care about the stories and the history behind the songs but, for some of us at least, it makes what is already wonderful stand-alone music even more interesting.

Does that make me "one of Them"?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 05:58 AM

"I really don't think that the ground floor give a crap about all this stuff either."

The only reasonable position to hold. It's all been ghettoised into thought-speak by a few leaving your average folk fan bemused. If someone starts banging on at a festival I walk away. The next accusation is, 'so you don't like folk music' as though their views provide a direct line to what folk 'is'. Then it's 'ah so anything goes?' so their take or looking into an empty void. Then the word pop raises its head and they're off.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 05:59 AM

Plenty of human warmth in the Beech last night - I had to take my coat off. We laughed, we cried, we raised the roof.

But I'm afraid there were introductions; I introduced one song as an Appalachian variant of an old British song (historical fussiness, 'real' vs unreal kneejerks). And one person got to choose who would sing next (self-appointed hierarchies), while people who generally gave good performances or talked about interesting stuff were shown respect (time-served idiocy, folkier than thou arseholery). Almost everyone in the room knew almost everyone else (mistrust of anyone who isn't them), almost everyone was 40-something or over (general mistrust of youth or physical attractiveness), and everyone got on well with everyone else (hale-fellow bullshit).

It was an ordeal, really. I don't know why we put up with it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 06:05 AM

Heavens above, Pip - just my experience last Monday! Where can we go to get away from this?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 06:25 AM

" ... so their take or looking into an empty void."

So fill the void with something, 'glueman' - I challenge you!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 06:30 AM

Does that make me "one of Them"? "

Not necessarily Brian, though the sense of humour failure just might.. ;-)
It was of course but a flippant anecdote, intended to raise a small wry smile. And not a condemnation of anyone who might find interest in learning a little more about the songs they sing.

To explain: the fear was that my beginning to 'dabble' in serious book learning, might take me down a dangerous slippery slope of no return, whereby I might ultimately *become* one of Them: 'Them' who argue the toss - and in complete seriousness, on Mudcat threads such as these. As Spleen rightly said, most people into Folk are quite affable, easy going and welcoming people, and quite sensibly avoid such discussions.

Which reminds me, I really aughta get on and learn Bellamy's setting of Kiplings "Fathers of Old":

"We are afflicted by what we can prove,
We are distracted by what we know.
So - ah, so!
Down from your heaven or up from your mould,
Send us the hearts of our fathers of old !"

Ouch, now I think I'd better quickly shuffle back to the safety of the shadows...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 06:33 AM

Interesting.

Compare this -

Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman - PM
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 07:14 AM

-
-

So for most of the time I'm folk's n****r, always on the outside looking in the shop window, wanting the sweets at the back but not prepared to swallow the twaddle. BTW, that isn't a romantic vision of folk or myself, it's a fact and people might examine their own consciences to see whether they fit the picture.
It's music, that's it.



with this -

Subject: RE: Earning a living in Folk
From: GUEST,Ewan Spawned a Monster - PM
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 12:15 PM

-
-

In summary, Alex Petradis's comments do reflect how it often feels to those of us who are on the outside, faces squashed against the glass, looking in. A bit like interlopers in a world that isn't theirs. And maybe that's one of the reasons why there's not enough guest-based clubs to sustain the careers of more than just a few professional folk singers, and to go back to the point of the thread, its so hard for them to earn a living. As Tom Bliss has said, nationally, there simply aren't enough decent guest nights to go around. And we can't keep citing the same handful of examples that buck the trend in an attempt to keep our heads valiantly buried in the sand.


Could Ewan Spawned a Monster and glueman be one and the same?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 07:42 AM

Could Ewan Spawned a Monster and glueman be one and the same?

What? On the basis of one barely original metaphor? I think not, Sycophant! But that's quite a slime-trail you're leaving there; quite pretty too in certain lights, but you'll find me generally sympathetic to gastropods, with or without shells.

"one of Them"?

That set me thinking - am I one of them? To which the answer has to be a resounding yes, I'm rather afraid I am, though not without certain reservations of course, hem hem. Fact is any discipline designated Folk - be it lore, song, music, custom or tale - owes its very existence to the antiquarians and academics who perceived a subject worthy of collection, study and preservation in the first place thus giving rise to the whole merry shambles we know and (hopefully) love today. Thus you might find me poring over, say, the VOTP booklets if only because context is essential to any understanding or wider appreciation of these recordings; they are artefacts in a museum, so provenance is essential - otherwise you're up shit creek without a paddle. Likewise I regard Malcolm's Mudcat posts as one of the most important on-line resources on traditional song you might find.

Enquiry is part of human nature; and ignorance is most certainly not bliss - rather, it niggles away as an irritant engendering our urge to seek enlightenment. When Hux lately served up two classic slabs from the Dr Strangely Strange archive they did so in both cases with hefty booklets contextualising the music in terms of its inner mythos, which is something we fans of the Good Doctor had never seen before; likewise when Luca Ferrari issued his CD booklet on the Third Ear Band (Necromancers of the Drifting West) we looked on agog at the wonders therein. My appreciation of Frank Zappa was enriched by Ben Watson's Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play and I await the (imminent!) arrival of Daevid Allen's Gong Dreaming 2 with baited breath. My bookshelves are heavy with books on the music I love - Henry Purcell, Harry Partch, Scott Walker, Joy Division, Vivian Stanshall, The Manband, The Fall, Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Soft Machine. One day I hope there'll be a Peter Bellamy biography up there too, whose mythos might be explored on-line, in old magazines, or in the various sleeve-notes to the recent CD re-issues and compilations which serve to confirm the legend. I've also got any amount of books on The Marx Brothers too; I'd be quite stuffed without them to be honest.

Of course such wilful dilettantism is hardly academic - I'm sure my level of learning is no higher than your average Joe or Josephine who rushed out to buy Jade Goody's autobiography or any of the recent volumes of Michael Jackson - but understanding that on any level enquiry is engendered by our passions is essential, I feel, to our understanding of the broader appeal of Folk Music, Folk Song, Balladry etc. - which we wouldn't have without the academics and the collectors.

So, this is me, in all sweet deference, doffing the owld cloth cap, tugging the old greasy forelock, before exclaiming Gawd bless you, Mr Sharp! in a hoarse wheeze as I fling myself into the nearest ditch.

Thank you one and all; you done us proud.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 08:06 AM

Does that make me "one of Them"? "
Not necessarily Brian, though the sense of humour failure just might...

No SOH failure, Crow Sister, my remark was as tongue-in-cheek as I understood yours to be.

It's just when I read stuff like It's all been ghettoised into thought-speak [sic] by a few leaving your average folk fan bemused then I think it's worth sticking up for the value of curiosity against know-nothing-ism.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 08:19 AM

"Enquiry is part of human nature;"

Sure, I don't think that's quite the issue. And you're slightly missing my not very serious point. It's simply the case that, your average enthusiast tends not to want to engage in online arguments about what, how, when and who constitutes "folk".

These sorts of threads are jolly interesting sometimes, and entertaining too, especially when the hard-core name-calling starts!

But it's only about half a dozen members of Mudcat that engage in them, thus as Spleen said, such online discussions (and whatever picture they appear to paint of 'folkies'), are not representative of the broader reality of real world folk enthusiasts in any way.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 08:20 AM

" ... then I think it's worth sticking up for the value of curiosity against know-nothing-ism."

So do I, Mr Peters, so do I!! In my book 'wilful ignorance' is a dreary sin and nothing to boast about or even admit to. In addition 'learning stuff' has been a lifelong joy for me.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 08:21 AM

"No SOH failure, Crow Sister, my remark was as tongue-in-cheek as I understood yours to be."

Fair enough Brian! Anyway, I'm outa here before I get pulled into further dangerous quibbling! :-)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 08:28 AM

"But it's only about half a dozen members of Mudcat that engage in them"

Exactly. Mistaking Mudcat for real life is never a good idea.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 08:59 AM

your average enthusiast tends not to want to engage in online arguments about what, how, when and who constitutes "folk".

It happens in real life sometimes, like when I'm minding my pint or tuning my zither and someone steps out of the gloom and asks me if my approach is in any way authentic and if so, might I be so good as to explain how? Generally this is preceded by an enquiry about my instruments, which always attract this sort of attention, but there are those who wish to take it further down to road of what is traditional with an air of confrontation arising from an assured sense of righteousness, however so misplaced. So I point out that I'm not interested in authenticity, that I find the very concept anathematic to the business of life and the living thereof. At this point they look at me puzzled, then ask the $64,000 Question - then what are you doing in a folk club?

At such times I might as myself the same question. But then again, the Folk Scene is possessed of an underlying cultural autism that craves definition and pedantic absolutes in answer to deeper collective insecurity. It attracts those sorts of people, those culturally & genetically pre-disposed to enthusiasm; I meet them in most folk clubs I go to, likewise folk festivals, folk fora, singarounds etc. and in them I see an aspect of myself. Not so much there but for the grace of God go I, but almost a sense of envy akin to that which I feel for Christians and other believers. In that sense I might feel like the outsider looking in, face squashed against the glass, only too happy that I can walk away and maybe have a look at what's going on it the next window, or the one after that, knowing that to get in all I have do is knock...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 09:14 AM

It's a heck of a long jump from enthusiasm - an entirely admirable quality, I'd have thought - to , isn't it Suibhne?

I afraid I just don't meet these people who "crave definition and pedantic absolutes" except in the context of discussions in which definitions of some kind are necessary to understand what the other fellow is on about. Folk clubs have always seemed to me to be some of the most musically inclusive venues anywhere - wasn't that what you were saying not so long ago?

And the reason for the endless "What is Folk?" discussions is that people keep asking the question (often with mischievous motives), not because your "true believers" start them.

Oh oh, getting sucked in here. Better go and re-seal the bath.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 09:17 AM

That should have read: "It's a heck of a long jump from enthusiasm - an entirely admirable quality, I'd have thought - to cultural autism, isn't it Suibhne?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 09:54 AM

I think enthusiasm is very much a symptom of the cultural autism which is a further consequence of the societal insecurities arising from the sort of world we live in today. In such a world culture exists by virtue of a past no-one is quite clear about but which is, none the less, accessible at the touch of a button. If the youth of the 1960s showed as much passion with retro-culture as do the youth of today, they would have been grooving to the sounds of Ace Brigode and His 14 Virginians. To what extent did the baby-boomer Folk Revival come of such a reactionary impulse I wonder? Either way, we are increasingly beset with the past, by way of heritage, in a way that is, I fear, more than strictly good for us. Personally I feel we're all craving definition and pedantic absolutes, but in facing the increasing uncertainties of the future, what else can we do?

I'm not complaining here by the way, I'm celebrating.

This Sunday in Fleetwood it's The Transport Festival - aka Tram Sunday - one of the Fylde's choice celebrations of a cultural autism we might all enjoy, fuelled as it is by enthusiasts of every vintage imaginable. If anyone's passing, it's a must!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 10:18 AM

Exactly. Mistaking Mudcat for real life is never a good idea.]end of quote]
all these posts[98 percent twaddle].and at last something sensible.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 10:26 AM

SOP's last two posts are a perfect summary of my take on the whole thing. The important point is to recognise our desire for 'pedantic absolutes' can never be fulfilled, there is no 'authenticity' beyond an agreed set of values. Contentment comes when we recognise folk, as with most cultural objects is on a scale of illusion and live in peaceful co-existense with other people's dream without reaching for a truth enema to purge their misunderstanding.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 11:09 AM

"Personally I feel we're all craving definition and pedantic absolutes, but in facing the increasing uncertainties of the future, what else can we do?"

Read Alan Watts "Wisdom of Insecurity".


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 11:53 AM

The important point is to recognise our desire for 'pedantic absolutes' can never be fulfilled, there is no 'authenticity' beyond an agreed set of values.

I feel it's more important own such a desire, to feed it, to indulge it, even nurture it; to go with the inner flow however so derived. All human culture is based on agreed sets of values - without which, I feel, we're well and truly adrift!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 12:35 PM

"I feel it's more important own such a desire, to feed it, to indulge it, even nurture it; to go with the inner flow however so derived. All human culture is based on agreed sets of values"

The logical conclusions of "feeding, nurturing or indulging" a craving for pedantic absolutes, has resulted in the real world throughout human history, in very real and horrendous war and genocide (amongst other horrors of human paranoia in the face of the impossible).

That IMO, is a different and far more dodgy matter than aknowleging and accepting the relativism and collective pragmatic utility of "agreed sets of values".


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 12:48 PM

But we ARE well and truly adrift.

We tell ourselves stories in the dark to quell our anxieties, a fabric(ation) woven of fantasy. A continual suspension of disbelief: a spiders thread tightrope spun across the void, whether it is one to dance upon or one to cling to, it's all the same.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 01:00 PM

One of the important things about any music, especially a folk form, is that it has a steady influx of new blood. Unfortunately the authoritarians or absolutists, while by no means a majority, are common enough within the tradition to turn off newbies or those dipping a toe (or an ear). That and the barmy dress codes.

Much folk music is accessible and communal and I wonder why it isn't more popular. What may be happening is folk's youthful element are staying out of a debate and a club scene they see as irrelevant. I don't think the pernickety strand is compulsory to appreciation and hope that folk will carry its history lightly, a common knowledge that one taps into and out of at will without obsessing over.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 01:09 PM

Much folk music is accessible and communal and I wonder why it isn't more popular. What may be happening is folk's youthful element are staying out of a debate and a club scene they see as irrelevant.[end of quote],lets have some evidence.
my impression is that they are happy enough to play in folk clubs if they are paid,if they cant get gigs in arts centres,or in noisy pubs [where they are treated as wallpaper music],but still play cos they are broke].
performers need any venues they can get,but generally prefer thgose where they are listened to.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 01:20 PM

That and the barmy dress codes.

Eh?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 01:22 PM

"What may be happening is folk's youthful element are staying out of a debate and a club scene they see as irrelevant."

The tide does seem to be changing here it seems. Twentysumthings are discovering the genre anew - or so I hear. There was even a proper dishy/trendy young fella, couldn't have been much more than twenty (far to young for me anyway) performing at one of the amateur events I attended a while back. He'd got his young dishy/trendy mates with him too. Metrosexual hairdo's, skinny black jeans and all. Quite a surprise to me, but nice to see. It's the thirtysumthings like me, and fourtysumthings (including my friends), that seem to have been completely bypassed.

My own pet theory is that English folk has possibly gained a sharp leg-up in the wake of the strength of the revival in interest in the 'Celtic' folk scene. A 'viral' thing, so to speak. Cultural contagion.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 01:28 PM

There have been enough horse brasses and pointy hats and leather tankard threads without the onus of proof being on me for that one.
My impression of newer bands is that they move through folk clubs fairly swiftly for the festival circuit. Yes, I can think of exceptions but as a rule of thumb that is the case. Why worry about what a self appointed folk guardian thinks when you have a ready audience who don't GAF either way?

(waits for thumb gags)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 01:28 PM

than aknowleging and accepting the relativism and collective pragmatic utility of "agreed sets of values".

You make it sound as though we have a choice, CS. I don't believe we do. Everything we are is thus pre-determined, even down to the words we use to talk about it.

But we ARE well and truly adrift.

Or maybe that's just another story we tell ourselves in the dark, not so much the quell our fears, but to experience them more vividly, like a ghost story, which might frighten us because even though such things as ghosts might not be real, our capacity to fear them is real enough.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 01:31 PM

It's the thirtysumthings like me, and fourtysumthings (including my friends), that seem to have been completely bypassed.

Ain't that the truth!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 01:32 PM

Agree wiv da sister on this, folk (even The Tradition) is fashionable at the moment or so my 11 year old tells me. Let's hope they don't come across people asking them to prove they are 'authentic'.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 02:34 PM

I must admit Glueman, when I began reading this board late last year - it was all a bit overwhelming... So many strongly expressed and authoritative absolute opinions about what WAS or SHOULD be in ordfer for something to be CORRECT. In fact it was people like our own SO'P who helped me learn to not give a damn and just get on and sing. Thus I take some of his assertions on this thread, with something of a pinch of salt. But then I suspect he rather enjoys playing the Trickster. Another factor which completely remedied my anxieties, was getting out and meeting and singing with people on the ground floor in Essex, Kent and Suffolk. I now know that I could walk into any folk club in the country and be welcomed and have a pretty enjoyable evening. Of course, as I've said elsewhere, the likelihood of getting a shag is zero unless you're around retirement age, which has got to be something of a teensy-weensy put-off to younger and thus shag-questing generations...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 03:12 PM

Another factor which completely remedied my anxieties, was getting out and meeting and singing with people on the ground floor in Essex, Kent and Suffolk. I now know that I could walk into any folk club in the country and be welcomed and have a pretty enjoyable evening.

Amen to that. As for glueman's 'barmy dress code', it's true that you will occasionally meet a few eccentrics who believe that being a folkie at a folk event requires they dress in a certain way. But so what? If it doesn't stop you or me dressing how we want to and still being accepted, then let them have their fun.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 03:14 PM

Not sure that's true of festivals or gigs Sis. Lots of attractive hormonally abundant 20s and 30s, trad and nu fans. Went to a Bellowhead gig a few weeks ago and at 50 (glorious) years I was probably the oldest there and the median looked about 28.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 03:23 PM

Just to add I wasn't cruising for talent, my good lady accompanied me. That's why groups like b'head are so important, they provide an acceptable template for the folk-curious. Kids can imagine band members in the throes of passion, rather than, say, passing out and wetting themselves - always a good index for the 'shag-questing' generation as you so graphically put it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 03:44 PM

Gman, Sure.
I haven't actually done a 'proper' folk fez as yet this year (despite plans otherwise). Though having been an alt-fez goer in past, I recognise the classic demographic of fezzy goers.

I suspect, unless something radically alters in the near future, that the traditional 'folk club with guest', or indeed the 'amateur folk circle' which is apparently superceding it, will indeed die out in a matter of a bare smattering of decades.

Which I feel is actually rather a shame.
For I have a real fond spot for the classic 60's politically activist, liberal Guardian reading, educated working-class, folk revival generation. They are a unique breed peculiar to the particular social, political and intellectual ferment that birthed them, and I personally think we will be far the worse without them: pewter tankards, brown leather sandals, naive social idealism, panchromatic trousers and all.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 03:54 PM

"folk-curious."

Love that! So small ads.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 05:18 PM

Now then, I agree with a lot of that CS and if the Manchester Rambling, MacColic Lovin', finger in the brain image wasn't all too often a reality, we could all enjoy it for the heritage poster it is. I fear however, that it devoureth all whom it meet.

That Ken Barlow college scarf, duffel coat and desert boots, ex-grammar lad thing takes on a slightly sinister tone when it meets The Tradition.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 05:45 PM

"That Ken Barlow college scarf, duffel coat and desert boots, ex-grammar lad thing takes on a slightly sinister tone when it meets The Tradition."

Eeew! Sounds like a perfect scripted scary formula for Doctor Who...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 05:50 PM

Davros as folkie? Wouldn't be at all surprised.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 06:22 PM

That Ken Barlow college scarf, duffel coat and desert boots, ex-grammar lad thing

Sigh. Never met any of them either. What strange and scary folk circles you move in, glueman.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 06:33 PM

200


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 07:06 PM

An image of someone else's I riffed on Pippy, but don't let that stop the case for the prosecution.
This thread has returned some very interesting posts again today with maniacs notable by their absense. Perhaps you can put folk in a thread title without unleashing the Jack Russells of war.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 03:04 AM

I'm not interested in prosecution or even persecution. I'm making the case for dropping the Thersites act and just getting on with living in the same world as the rest of us.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 04:17 AM

"Davros as folkie? Wouldn't be at all surprised."

Ahh, you mean the grumpy awld get, on a mobility scooter?
Yeah, I think I've met him...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 04:26 AM

You can't get a decent duffel coat for love nor money these days, certainly not one in my size. The only coat I own is my trusty Barbour, but I rarely wear it since moving into the town. On cold days I wear an under-shirt; on rainy days I carry a gamp; and if the weather gets really bad, I might even be forced to wear socks with my sandals! I do own a fine pair of Dr Marten boots, but as with the Barbour they've seen little action since moving to the town / sea-side.

I've argued elsewhere about this sort of thing, how it is that many Folkies seem emarrassed to be what they are, uncomfortable in their own skins, or yet with the image they've created for themselves. See HERE for the full exposition.

And if the Sycophantic Mollusc is still reading, the legendary Could Of debate is in that thread too, so not a WAV thread as originally thought but it does begin with a WAV post. Read it in it's glorious entirety HERE.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 04:42 AM

Until a few months back I had a beard worthy of a stylite, old Topic vinyl, a range of comfortable yet warm outdoor clothing and would slip seamlessly into a traditional gathering - the knack is not to acquire the X-factor.

Sadly m'lady was beginning to withold favours, claiming the whiskers contained livestock though I keep the togs and they're all strangers to an iron and the records are safe in the school cabinet, (as perfect a way of keeping records as you can lay hands on - wooden but with glass windows). None of the accessories condemn a man without that other thing, that glint, that messianic what-not that starts in the feet and works itself through the shoulders and out through t'gob.

Leave that out the mix and you can wear the pointiest, horsebrass festooned hat with leather tankards hanging from it like an Aussie's corks and be entirely without sin.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:01 AM

Sycophantic? Perhaps he means Elephantic.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:01 AM

"Davros as folkie? Wouldn't be at all surprised."

Incidentally, Davros is my pet name for one of the Green Men in the cloisters of Chester Cathedral: see HERE. Quite a likeness, eh?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:16 AM

To be at least half serious, I reckon a lot of medieval heads are archetypes - in the Jungian sense - that work themselves out in the medium of the time, up to and including modern cartoons. They are like characters in a dream and the scenarios in which they are depicted something from a dreamscape.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:39 AM

I run a mile when hear the words Jungian archetype, although as we've touched on elsewhere (in the Folk: Image & Presentation thread actually) there is a persistence of analogue (a much preferable term) and patterns thereof which have their well-springs in our perceptive mechanisms, whereby we might not only recognise faces, but find therein beauty, menace, terror, and serenity.

As I've (maybe) said elsewhere the Green Men represent some of the finest figurative physiognomical sculpture of the medieval period. In the Chester Cloisters alone we find depicted a baffling array of characters and characteristics that gives to lie to a central Green Man figure in a depiction of Everyman in all his diverse forms, right up to Davros and, perhaps most astonishingly, Osama Bin Ladan!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:44 AM

None of the accessories

which I've never seen

condemn a man without that other thing, that glint, that messianic what-not that starts in the feet and works itself through the shoulders and out through t'gob

which I've also never seen.

Remind me, what colour's the sky on your planet?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:47 AM

First, find your mirror.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 06:04 AM

Actually that's precisely my point. Of course you think I'm like that - because you basically think everyone except you and a couple of others are like that. What I'm trying to get through to you is that there is no like that. All your generalisations are false. You're imagining things - and why you're imagining them God only knows, because the reality is a lot more welcoming.

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again - you should get out more.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 07:07 AM

I endorse everything that Pip says - you're a fantasist, 'glueman' - and I'm still on your case!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 07:15 AM

Au contraire, small salad, you are the one who said, 'give me the hard stuff', as though folk had to be unlistenable, or obscure, or in need of learning to be any good. I say it IS a broad church but the same hackneyed sterotypes keep trying to narrow it down to those in tune with higher vibrations like a dodgy medium. Or obsessed with definitions.

If you don't believe folk is largely a middle or old aged pursuit of jaded types in search of some folk mother lode (usually ranting that everything they don't approve of is pop) I suggest it's you who needs to get out more.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 07:22 AM

Shimrod - I'm sure Pip needs your endorsement like he needs a hole in the head. A lot of sycophantic molluscs about this year - must be the all this rain, still the sky's been clear of Jimbulocarrolonimbus of late, though I am indebted to him for the recording of Jamesy McCarthy's Come to the Hiring (VOTP Vol 20) which is the pure drop...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 07:22 AM

BTW Slimrod, you say fantasist like it's a bad thing. Doesn't blind me to manifest realities. Or the use of exclamations marks as a club. Hmm...Interesting? I wonder...?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 08:41 AM

you are the one who said, 'give me the hard stuff', as though folk had to be unlistenable, or obscure, or in need of learning to be any good.

Sure, like whisky is undrinkable, or obscure, or requires an education. That was a misreading on your part; I've explained what I meant once already, so this time round I'll class it as a deliberate misreading.

If you don't believe folk is largely a middle or old aged pursuit of jaded types in search of some folk mother lode (usually ranting that everything they don't approve of is pop) I suggest it's you who needs to get out more.

I don't know if you've noticed, but you've described All Those People You Hate in about six different ways now. Must be horrible having so many imaginary enemies. Anyway: yes, you and I and young Suibhne are on the young end of the folk demographic, and I think that's a shame. What does the rest of it mean, though? I believe that if you go to a classical concert you'll find a lot of people who are enthusiastic about classical music and less enthusiastic about other kinds of music. Same thing with jazz, same thing with folk. It'd be nice if everyone was open-minded enough to listen to everything all the time, but they're not. Slagging off folkies because they're enthusiastic about folk seems a bit desperate.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 09:01 AM

Thank you for your contribution to the thread. Some amusing ideas there.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 09:11 AM

I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness here... There are just too many assumptions about the demographics of "folk", what the folk who "do folk" are like, and what they like. I can only - once again - talk from personal experience. Here's my music week so far:

Sunday: My local session in the Plough. Meself on guitar, an old mate on guitar and mandolin (both of us 64), said mate's nephew who's just done a course at BIM (Brighton Institute of Music) (in his early 20s), a couple on guitars and vocals, probably in their 50s - the bloke being one of the best guitarists I've heard in this area - plus one of our band members (40s) on melodeons and soprano sax, and a young couple in their mid-20s - her singing sweetly and him playing guitar and fiddle. The result of this mix? An evening of blues, jazz, early country music, Balkan fiddle tunes, Swedish folk tunes, 1930s torch songs, ragtime and English, Scottish and Irish traditional tunes.

Monday: the Surrey singaround (described in a post above):"Around 16 people sitting or standing, plus onlookers and other locals. There was a lot of singing - and some of that from Johnny Collins's repertoire (in tribute) by many there who had known him. And what glorious singing it was! I - who don't include this stuff in my own repertoire - sang myself hoarse as we raised the roof. Then there were the instruments - concertinas, guitars, fiddle, banjos, mandolins, accordion - sometimes solo, sometimes in duets and trios, sometimes all at once - on jazz tunes, a blues or two, some old-time music. But, most of all, there was immense humour, backchat, rude comments and jokes, plenty of beer drinking (including some of the best-kept pints of Adnams Broadside I've drunk outside Southwold) - interspersed with some excellent, free spicy snacks from the Nepalese landlord."

Wednesday: Get-together with two of the guys in our ceilidh band to work up some different rhythms and arrangements for some of the tunes, and get some ideas for new tunes for the dances.

Thursday: Dance evening up in Surrey at the same pub as Monday. Broadwood Morrish and local ladies' clog teams in alternating dances, followed by an immense jam in the bar. Highlights of the evening included a young chap from the Morris dancing a solo jig in the bar. Demographics of the Morris? From 20s to 80s! Music: much that was English traditional, but with plenty of old-time stuff from 1920s America, plus some great singing from young and old, male and female.

Night off tonight, but there's a ceilidh gig tomorrow, where we'll be playing - again - to young and old, and having great fun while watching them have great fun getting tangled up in the dances.

No philosophising here, no semantics, no hang-ups. we just get on with the music, have a great time, enjoy the company, the beer, the occasion. And sometimes get paid. What's the problem?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 10:08 AM

"BTW Slimrod, you say fantasist like it's a bad thing."

Context is everything, 'glueman'. For example one of my favourite authors of all time is a 'fantasist'.

You, on the other hand, are a fantasist who dreams up imaginary enemies and then suggests that these phantoms are the reason why you hate the folk scene.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 10:16 AM

Folk 'scene', not folk music. Scene says owners club, pipe smoker of the year and the glint of pewter. None of them imaginary I assure you.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 10:46 AM

"owners club, pipe smoker of the year and the glint of pewter. None of them imaginary I assure you"

Not imaginary, any more than Arran sweaters were. Just wildly unrepresentative stereotyping.

"that glint, that messianic what-not..."

That, however, is imaginary.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 10:54 AM

Scene says owners club, pipe smoker of the year and the glint of pewter. None of them imaginary I assure you.

Yeah, but if you're the one imagining them...

Seriously, this is starting to reminds me of WAV threads - your mental universe seems just as cramped as his, not to mention your vision of 'folk'. Pewter, schmewter - 'folk scene' to me says

"we just get on with the music, have a great time, enjoy the company, the beer, the occasion" (Will)

"There will be banter, there will be laughter, there will be moments of spine-tingling beauty and moments of yearning melancholy to bring a tear to the eye of the most hardbitten cynic. There will also be a couple of fairly bobbins performances, but not without character and spirit. There will be people who play semi-professionally and others who are rank outsiders. There will be old lags and first timers. All will recieve a warm welcome, none will be excluded." (Spleen)

[and he was right - it was a good night]

"I now know that I could walk into any folk club in the country and be welcomed and have a pretty enjoyable evening." (CS)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 11:29 AM

I saw a chap in a right OTT looking "folkie" get-up one meet a few months back: a crude navy smock, peaked navy cap, beard etc.
He sang shanties all afternoon.

I thought "blimey he's dressed up for this do!"

Later it dawned on me that the geezer was actually a err life-long fisherman by trade.

Truth!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 12:08 PM

folkies

folkies

folkies

my kinda folkie

folkie wars

folk festival crowd

the female of the species

eek!

special folkies for Glueman (be very afraid)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 12:12 PM

There's a folkie in my garden!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 12:23 PM

"still the sky's been clear of Jimbulocarrolonimbus of late,"
I lurked on the offchance that something more than smug self-abuse emerged from those who would re-write the guidebook - it didn't, so I didn't bother.
Any credit for 'Come To The Hiring' goes entirely to Jamsie McCarthy and his like - as you rightly say "the pure drop"; though I'm not sure what they would have made of:
"Blues, Shanties, Kipling, Cicely Fox Smith, Musical Hall, George Formby, Pop, County, Dylan, Cohen, Cash, Medieval Latin, Beatles, Irish Jigs and Reels, Scottish Strathspeys, Gospel, Rock, Classical Guitar, Native American Chants, Operatic Arias and even the occasional Traditional Song and Ballad."
Nope - I'm lying - I know exactly what they would have made of it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 12:25 PM

Undesirable folkie-loric fantasies littering ones lawn?
Quick! Inform your Neighbourhood Watch, and/or Fortean Times, and/or local Pychiatric Unit.

Or just get down the pub and drink off the withdrawl symptoms.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 02:14 PM

"Nope - I'm lying - I know exactly what they would have made of it.
Jim Carroll"

As a relative newcomer, I truly believe Jim C, that there is plenty of room for all. That is what happens in amateur 'folk' circles, and as one of those who do sing mostly traditional songs, I personally love the eclectic mix of offerings you get at amateur 'folk' circles (Blues, Beatles, and whatnot). Indeed at one of the folk song meets I attend I *verge* on being the sole voice of traditional unaccompanied song there. Though I expect, given your prior comments about the work of others, that you would most likely dismiss my own efforts as meaningless pop. As I haven't invested a lifetime in the trade, it wouldn't sting any, but I do feel that some of your err negative comments, might not be particularly supportive of a cause which you yourself (unlike me a recent hobbyist) *have* invested a lifestimes energy into.

What has happened, is that people - who have ever gathered together to sing songs - are still doing so (albeit a re-kindled 'tradition' of gathering together to share in such a manner). But the songs they now sing are not necessarily only 'traditional folk songs', as people prior to the invasion of radios and musical media (who *were* dependent on oral transmission) might have done. Now they sing the songs that *they* hear, in fact just the same as 'the folk' did in days past.

However there are the more specialist folk events, which cater to 1954 tastes, they term themselves 'Traditional Folk'. I've only been to one such self-defined event in my short career as an amateur folk enthusiast, but they are out there - albeit in the minority. I hope these gain more recognition and support from the powers that be. Because they deserve to.
I personally feel, that the 'fate' of traditional song, now that it is no longer a 'real' aspect of culural continuity, aught not to be dependent upon the variable fate of the genre of 'folk' in the music industry, or indeed those small gatherings of people who like to sing and play together (under the convenient *name* of folk):

I do not believe - now that traditional song has been disconnected from 'the folk' - that we can allow it to remain subject like some failing Siamese sibling, to its healthier sister/s. Traditional song should stand alone on its own right, as a part of our collective cultural heritage, worthy of pushing down kids throats just the same as any other artistic discipline (like Shakespeare or Blake). Without such formal support, I feel it could indeed fade out altogether.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 03:42 PM

"I personally love the eclectic mix of offerings you get at amateur 'folk' circles (Blues, Beatles, and whatnot)."
Can't say I agree with you CS - whether I am attracted to any of SO'P's shopping list or not.
I saw the clubs empty, not particularly gradually, in the 1980s because it became possile to go home from a folk club without hearing a folk song - I would guess we lost something like two thirds of the audiences - including me.
It is not just a question of definition, rather it is whether I, as a potential punter, have the right to choose what I listen to.
I always wonder how an audience who turned up for a concert of chamber music would react if they were given a selection of rap, heavy metal, jazz - whatever, yet it is apparently acceptible for folk audiences.
Many of the clubs I visited in the 80s and 90 had become dustbins for discards who were not good enough to make it in their preferred music.
"Blues, Beatles, and whatnot"
Not particularly fond of The Beatles (having been driven out of my home town of Liverpool, where, unless you were interested in them or football - there was nothing else), so why should I conned into a folk club to listen to their songs(invariable poorly performed).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 03:50 PM

Perhaps folk clubs emptied because miserable beardy old blokes in leather hats with pewter tankards kept telling everyone they were wrong?

Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 04:00 PM

glueman,whats all this about pipes,it is illegal to smoke inside pubs,in the uk.
you are a beardist,generalising about bearded people,what about bearded women,are they all miserable too.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 04:07 PM

"Just a thought."
Not really a particularly informed one - it was pretty well documented in the folk press under the heading 'Crap Begets Crap'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 04:39 PM

"what about bearded women,are they all miserable too"

Only the pipe smokers.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 03:53 AM

"miserable beardy old blokes in leather hats with pewter tankards kept telling everyone they were wrong?"
Isn't it so much easier to work with stereotypes rather than facts?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 04:45 AM

Like, 'everything I don't approve of is pop' I suppose. Unfortunately we've reached the stage where the abominable no-men either can't or won't see the important points and have reduced another thread to mush.

I shall attend a couple of folk clubs soon and report back. I expect to find clean shaven metrosexuals under 40 with an open mind about home-grown music. I'll probably be the only grizzled, beardy, middle-aged man there but will just have to live with it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 05:56 AM

"Unfortunately we've reached the stage where the abominable no-men either can't or won't see the important points and have reduced another thread to mush."

I think you'll find that it was "mush" to start with! A thin gruel of myths, fantasies and stereotypes.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 06:45 AM

Lighten up.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 07:22 AM

"I'll probably be the only grizzled, beardy, middle-aged man there but will just have to live with it. "
Glueman
The problem with relying on superficialities such as dress code and image to back up your non-arguments is that you constantly have to keep looking over your shoulder to make sure that there are none of your own lurking there - rather like the Dylan/Zimmerman fans who constantly snipe at the (now 20 year dead) MacColl for changing his name.
Am I misremembering the leather capped and windcheatered monosyllabic Dylan wannabes who infested the folk scene, mumbling their way through 'Blowin' In The Wind' in a strange Mid-Atlantic accent? Or the tattooed, body-pierced and bike-gear clad mobs who piled into the heavy metal concerts. Or the pudding-basin haircuts, collarless jackets I used to see at the Beatles concerts.
I won't even start on the Union-Jack-bowler-hatted Hooray Henrys who will be giving their all for the British Empire and urging that its 'Bounds' to be 'Set wider' next week-end.
I'm old enough to remember the Bill Haley ' quiffs, drape jackets and brothel-creeper' phase that many of my contemporaries went through. And as for all those embarrassing Elvis lookalike conventions.... oh dear!
Of course, this sort of thing isn't confined to music - you should take a trip to Dublin on 16th June (Bloomsday).
Personally, I've never understood the 'uniform' thing, (I'm sure you'd be one of the first to scream "sartorial police" if one of us took your line) but I've been around long enough to realise it has absolutely nothing whatever to do with the music, as I'm sure you do – and really wouldn't bother if you weren't intent on scoring points.
Don't get me wrong; I fully understand how your failure to make your point otherwise is much in need of a bit of superficial padding - but do you really have to sound like one of those News Quiz know-nothings who go for the cheap laughs by taking a pop at 'Morris dancers' or 'groany old folksingers with their fingers in their ears ' (whoops, sorry – one of your favourite phrases I guess.
"Lighten up."
Don't you mean 'superficialise up?'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 07:35 AM

No, just stop treating it as life and death. Live and let live, each to his own, etc, etc.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 07:49 AM

BTW I like Morris dancing. To watch, preferably with a beer but only traditional. Not fussed about cyber morris, black face and what-not. Flowery hats and hankies and I'm your man, I record the stuff. And folk music though it's much better as sound without visuals. No fingers, see.

Problem is some people haven't got the mental flexibility to accommodate people like myself (and others) who like the thing while seeing the flaws and contradictions running through it, can get it out its box and put it away again, doesn't inform our 'lifestyle choices', those who wonder where the joins are.
It would be better with a broader demographic, people coming in challenging things, bringing different perspectives. That's all to the good in my book and I've no quarrel with those who see it through similar glasses. No time for the so-it's-pop-you-like argument, complete red herring. I like trad without the sourpuss nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 08:28 AM

"Problem is some people haven't got the mental flexibility to accommodate people like myself (and others) who like the thing while seeing the flaws and contradictions running through it, ... "

This from a man who thinks that, "citing sources [is] an extraordinary thing to do"! The man who appears to be the champion (to borrow Brian Peters's apt phrase)of "know-nothing-ism"!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin (in Budapest)
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 08:38 AM

I'm on my way to this:
Gyimes dance festival, Transylvania

to learn the koboz and some local dances. Anonymous paranoids are welcome to look through the photo gallery for hidden tankards. Might keep them more usefully occupied than posting here.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 09:20 AM

"No fingers, see."
I like discussions without the snide slogans - but each to his own.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 09:43 AM

"I like discussions without the snide slogans - but each to his own."

"The man who appears to be the champion...of "know-nothing-ism"!

Good to see hypocrisy alive and well in The Tradition.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 11:11 AM

"Good to see hypocrisy alive and well in The Tradition."
Don't suppose you'd care to explain - oh - forgot, you don't go there
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 01:48 PM

Meanwhile, back in real world (as far as Blackpool is real) we're enjoying the sunshine, the breeze, the 99p offer at Subway on Bispham Road, and chilling with some seriously 1954 / ICTM Traditional Music in the bandstand in Stanley Park.

Saturday 18th July 2009

Does Folk exist? When the music is happening, kicking off and making people smile - who gives a shit?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 02:18 PM

"Good to see hypocrisy alive and well in The Tradition."

I'm confused, 'glueman'. I point out inconsistencies in your 'arguments' (ravings?) and you accuse ME of being a hypocrite!?

No doubt you're going to tell me that I'm not 'broad-minded' enough to accept your point of view. But you don't seem to be FOR anything in particular. You just appear to be AGAINST introductions to songs and people (you've imagined) who have tankards hanging from their hats. Now, I thought that I was fairly broad-minded ... but ... well ... I'm lost for words!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 02:34 PM

But not lost for capital letters or exclamation marks apparently.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 03:14 PM

"who gives a shit?"
You do apparently (and fair play to you), judging by the time you spend debating
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 03:18 PM

Let it all out Jimbo.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 03:37 PM

I've realised to be a proper folkie, I need a tankard, but Oh... which one is really 'me'?

Scary....!

Gggggggrrrrrrrrrrr

Sparkley

Satanic Goat

I think my fave is King Kong, but the gold one might go well with my mudy boots?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 03:58 PM

You know, I started a thread on this very subject last year:

Folklore: Pewter Tankards


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 04:15 PM

I like the look of this.

Or
this.

This, on the other hand, just scares me.

And this is deeply sexy. I'm being serious now.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 05:19 PM

"But not lost for capital letters or exclamation marks apparently."

I see that you're exercising that finely honed talent for evasion again, 'glueman'.

Just look on my punctuation marks and typographical flourishes as being the equivalent of Mediterranean style hand waving. Don't tell me ... you're prejudiced against Greeks and Italians - especially if they wear tankards on their hats?

So, anyway, what would be your response to the following (sans capital letters and exclamation marks):

I'm confused, 'glueman'. I point out inconsistencies in your 'arguments' (ravings?) and you accuse me of being a hypocrite.

No doubt you're going to tell me that I'm not 'broad-minded' enough to accept your point of view. But you don't seem to be for anything in particular. You just appear to be against introductions to songs and people (you've imagined) who have tankards hanging from their hats. Now, I thought that I was fairly broad-minded ... but ... well ... I'm lost for words.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 05:22 PM

Core, check out the uber rustic Folkie-Quotient on that last baby! Respec'!

Kewel....
Take a look at what you could've won!
Ahhhh
Potentially dangerous....


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 05:41 PM

There's something wrong with tankards and if I knew what it was I'd crack this whole folk conundrum. It's a mix of aesthetics (or lack of them), unfitness for purpose relative to other vessels, ornament for its own sake and a certain overblownness, the kind of thing a wicked king in an illustrated children's tale would drink from. Also deeply personal in an unhealthy way - 'can I have My Tankard please landlord', the one with the engraving of the Raft of the Medusa, the cannons on the base, my name and professional qualifications, the sealed photograph of my dog and the Dresden lid.

I could become hypertensive just thinking about it, so won't.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 05:43 PM

Fuck, Crowsis, that last one is a crime against tankards! I WANT a Bullseye tankard though, if only to store Blue Peter badges in.

And I'll take your Desperate Dan and raise you this one.

This, though, is truly disturbing...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 05:47 PM

Gluey, is this the time to disclose (if we're becoming confessional, which I think maybe we are...) that on the death of my mother, bless her, I inherited a small collection of toby jugs?

Sub-genre ahoy!

If tankards are folkie-stylee folk, WTF are toby jugs?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 06:02 PM

Toby Jugs are simply grotesque and anything from the grotto is okay by me. Whimseys are another matter. In a confessional mode I'm rather taken by commemorative pit plates, popular with mining closures in the 80s.
Wouldn't dare bring one on the house, the wife would file them with doillies and antimacassars as household waste.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 06:09 PM

I have a fantastic NALGO commemorative plate designed by anarchist artist-for-hire, Clifford Harper...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 06:10 PM

Going back to folk clothing, or at least folkie clothing in the grand manner, what irritates me is the lack of any context. I get the donkey jacket, duffel coat, even the schoolmasterly bit of Harris tweed and leather elbow pads. What I don't understand is leather hats. I mean, to me leather hats say Clarrisa Dickson Wright, Jilly Cooper and Range Rovers.
Clearly there are so many things I don't understand about this scene.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 06:15 PM

Nice plates Spleen.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 06:22 PM

When I googled "folk grotesque" (my kind of folk!) I got this... EEEK!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 06:28 PM

And further on you get This...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 06:32 PM

you can never have to much insurance in your grotto


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 06:37 PM

Slight thread drift, apologies offered, etc - SO'P, take a look at your emails...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 09:21 PM

Well...

I did what I did, and it was folk music. Folksinger was the name I was proud to carry. I came of age while there was a folk music scene here in the USA---with all that that entails.

As Utah said, "The past didn't go anywhere!"

Please---turn around, look back, and there it will be---existing for all who treasure history.

How do I know? "The older I get, the better I was."


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 03:56 AM

Thread drift good, sunshine breaking through, little chance of thunder.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 05:12 AM

"Thread drift good, sunshine breaking through, little chance of thunder."

And certainly no chance of any sense ...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 05:46 AM

And certainly no chance of any sense ...

Oh no? Well try THIS matey!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 05:57 AM

Cripes SO'P!
Or in the words of PJ & Duncan...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 05:59 AM

PS Spleeny, your Desperate Dan Tankard SO beats mine! >:-<


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 06:48 AM

Can I add that I'm a huge fan of Dudley D Watkin's original Desperate Dan artwork? I'm a huge fan of DDW in general actually, including the more singular turns of craft which (from time to time, when he wasn't bringing life to Lord Snooty, The Broons, Oor Wullie, et al) resulted in things like THIS, which I might gaze at through multiple layers of reverence, secular or otherwise...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 11:53 AM

glueman,

I considered sending you a private message, but I feel the need to respond on this public forum about your use of the "N" word in your 15 Jul 09 - 07:14 AM post.

Reading that was like kick to my gut. It hurt more because it came out of nowhere. Did you really need to use that word to express what you were saying?

Beccause of such casual uses of racial slurs-and for the sake of the historical record, I'm excluding the retention of that odious "N" word" in the text of minstrel songs- I'm now resigned to the fact that Mudcat is likely never to have any but a few Black people and other People of Color who publicly acknowledge their race/ethncity and who regularly posts to its threads.

Sometimes I need to remind myself why I am a member of this community.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:02 PM

AZIZI,
I agree it was unnecessary,I missed it because so much of these posts are twaddle,and tedious to read.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:27 PM

Uppermill was wall to wall with folkies yesterday, and that was just the High Street. I kept my eyes peeled and my notebook handy, but I only spotted:

pewter tankards: 3 (only one in use; all owned by Morris dancers)
'folk trousers': 1 pr
duffel coats: 0
leather hats: 0

Not much of a haul, I'm afraid. On the other hand, there weren't many beautiful youths in skinny black jeans either.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:28 PM

I used the term, with asterisks, precisely because of the outsider status a (very) few people on this forum are prepared to offer anyone who disagrees with them. It's an unreconstructed word worthy of some very neanderthal sensibilities.

A lynchmob mentality I've encountered virtually from the first post and it shows no sign of going away.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:30 PM

I used the term, with asterisks, precisely because of the outsider status a (very) few people on this forum are prepared to offer anyone who disagrees with them. It's an unreconstructed word worthy of some very neanderthal sensibilities, a lynchmob mentality I've encountered virtually from the first post and it shows no sign of going away.

The term and the attitude behind it are indeed, disgusting.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:30 PM

Get over yourself, glueman. Disagreeing with your comments and challenging you to back them up is a long, long way from a "lynchmob mentality".


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:31 PM

Show me a post where I've exhibited any racialist sentiments.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:35 PM

So the sentiment of this board is that I'm a racist? No stone unturned indeed.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:47 PM

"It's an unreconstructed word worthy of some very neanderthal sensibilities, a lynchmob mentality I've encountered virtually from the first post and it shows no sign of going away."

Talk about a 'drama queen'!

'Glueman' you make vaguely contentious statements and people (like me, Pip and others) ask you to back them up and to expand on them. You then become evasive. If the questioner persists you become aggressive and start throwing all sorts of accusations around. Eventually you start casting doubts on the questioner's morality and sanity.

You remind me of a bloke who goes into one of the roughest pubs in the area shouting, "you're all a bunch of tossers, I'll fight the lot of you!" And then wonders why he gets his head kicked in!

Actually, no one has 'kicked your head in' - even though you've thrown a few wild punches yourself. I think, considering your behaviour, you've got off very lightly.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 02:22 PM

"I think, considering your behaviour, you've got off very lightly."

Please, tell me you work at a minor public school.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 02:29 PM

No, 'glueman', I don't work at a "minor public school" - what the f**k has that got to do with anything?

Come on, stop being such a 'big-girl's-blouse' and tell us what you're for, rather than what myths and stereotypes you're against.

Publish your manifesto and be damned, 'glueman' - I'm all ears!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 02:35 PM

All your dialogue comes from a Terence Rattigan play, e.g. "Publish your manifesto and be damned."

Nobody spoke like that after 1956 outside cloisters.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 03:04 PM

So the sentiment of this board is that I'm a racist?

Nobody - including Azizi - has suggested you're a racist. Nobody knows what you are or who you are, and I don't think anyone greatly cares.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 03:27 PM

So why are you in my thread? The title alone might have suggested it wasn't going to be your thing so why ferment trouble?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 03:37 PM

"So why are you in my thread?"
Not the first time you've tried to manipulate this threadto include only those who agree with you.
Jim Carroll
PS For the record, while I believe his words were thoughtless and ill chosen, I don't believe there is any indication that our sticky friend is in any way a racist, and pursuing this point is rather adopting his own evasive tactics.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 03:51 PM

glueman, I recognize that my comments are off-topic. I also recognize that four days have passed since you wrote that post that I find concerning. However, I just read this thread this morning for the first time.

I consider your use of the "N" word in your post to be racially insensitive. Furthermore, I think that the "Black person" as outsider wanting the "sweets in the back of the shop" analogy of your post is racially problematic.

In addition, I note that one other poster quoted an excerpted form of that comment which I consider racially insensitive, and another poster quoted that full comment. I also note that neither poster-nor anyone else before my post-indicated that they had any thoughts or concerns about the racial inappropriateness of your sentence.

As an African American, and as a human being I felt that I had to publicly indicate my concern about that sentence.

glueman, As I have written, I consider the use of the "N" word and that entire sentence to be racialy insensitive. However, I don't believe that you are racist. Nor do I believe that the other posters who quoted that full sentence or part of that sentence are racists.

I publicly indicate this in the hope that in the future you and/or others might refrain from using racial analogies to make the points that you are striving to make.

Having made that point, I leave you and others to continue this discussion about folk music.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 04:10 PM

So why are you in my thread?

I've responded to your comments for the same reason I respond to anyone else's - I agree with some and disagree with others.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 04:32 PM

Azizi you have PM. I won't re-read what I posted on this thread because your interpretation of it may be, indeed is based on inferences within it, rather I'll explain what I intended to say, clearly inadequately.

The N-word and the sentiments behind it are designed to maintain an outsider group, those acting as shopkeeper and those beyond who can only admire the goods but are forever on the wrong side of the glass and intended to stay there. Folk music, depending on your point of view, is clearly not on the same level of discrimination. It is however, meant to be the indigenous musical expression of a people or sometimes a race. There are people who have hijacked folk-music for spurious nationalistic reasons and there are a second, and I believe much larger constituency, who have annexed the 'music of the people' and created an academic structure and a populist language intended to separate it from its creators and intended audience.

That separation relies on certain shibboleths - the 'folk' who made it are dead and anonymous without any 'claim' from contemporary 'ordinary people' who cannot continue its creation, delivering folk music into the hands of finer sensibilities who understand music unsullied by modernism. The comparison I made may be overwrought and of an entirely different order of magnitude but the underlying divisions are similar, to corral a once popular currency into a deserving minority who agree on its terms and conditions and create an underclass who disagree on those conditions, not through race or skin colour but through intellect and discernment.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 04:32 PM

No, 'glueman', I'll give you the benefit of the doubt - you're probably not stupid enough to be a racist - that requires a degree of stupidity which even you haven't quite attained yet.

Although, come to think of it, when I think of you the word 'idiot' keeps bubbling to the surface and I keep having to suppress it (don't call him names!).

So, does ALL (note: capitals for emphasis only) of my dialogue remind you of Terence Rattigan? That's odd because I don't think I've ever seen a Terence Rattigan play. Of course, I may have seen the odd TR play on the telly and subconciously been so influenced by the script that I've slipped into that mode of expression without realising it. How amazing!

So, getting back to my original point, you've told us what you're against (sundry inventions, myths and stereotypes) but you've not told us what you're for. Unburden your soul 'adhesive one'!

That last coining was, of course, an homage to Mark Twain ... or was it Ernest Hemingway? ... F. Scott Fitzgerald? ... drat!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 04:32 PM

Azizi

In addition, I note that one other poster quoted an excerpted form of that comment which I consider racially insensitive, and another poster quoted that full comment. I also note that neither poster-nor anyone else before my post-indicated that they had any thoughts or concerns about the racial inappropriateness of your sentence.

As one of those people, I have to apologise unreservedly. I hope I have learnt a little about myself from this and will do my best to take that lesson on board. Please make allowance for the fact that phrases that were, sadly, more commonplace fifty years ago are difficult to shake off. I know of nobody who would use a line like that in conversation today.

In mitigation, can I say that I take very little notice of anything glueman says but simply took the quote as an opportunity to have a gentle dig at someone else who probably gets the joke.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 02:23 AM

"I have to apologise unreservedly."
Me too - I have to admit it was buried among much of the obscure garbage Glueman was giving forth and missed it completely until it was pointed out and I re-checked, disguised as it was with asterisks.
Sorry,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 02:59 AM

The wider point still stands. A minority group have decided society can no longer contribute to making its own indigenous sound by introducing artificial statification. If not racist it's a branch of musical eugenics.

No one has the right to say what is or isn't common music. Certainly not self-appointed intellectual elites.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 03:39 AM

Folk song was created by the people - 'folk' - pretty well defined in numerous works listed elsewhere and accepted universally since the term came into use in the first half of the 19th century.
Nowhere has it been suggested that the 'folk' are unable to create their own songs and music, but that, thanks to the development of and accessibilty to technology, they no longer do so. They/we have become passive recipients of, rather than participants in our culture.
There is ample evidence to prove that communities in area such as the West of Ireland, the North east of Scotland, East Anglia, Travellers, fishing communities....... at one time not only took up songs from the outside and adapted them to suit their own particular circumstances, but also made new ones to serve the same purpose.      
                        
                                                 THEY NO LONGER DO SO.

The Irish and Scots Travellers were probably the last to cling on to their culture, thanks to their relative isolation, but this disappeared virtually overnight with the advent of the portable television and the social changes brought about by the urnanisation of what were essentially rural communities.
It has never been a case of suggesting that people are UNABLE to create songs and music for themselves, just that circumstances have now changed for them to no longer do so.
Off to West Cork to see if I can catch sight of the Greater Spotted Cap'n Birdseye.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 04:05 AM

Jim Carroll:
Nowhere has it been suggested that the 'folk' are unable to create their own songs and music, but that, thanks to the development of and accessibilty to technology, they no longer do so. They/we have become passive recipients of, rather than participants in our culture.

Jim, with respect, that's not 100% true. I was at a singaround in a Surrey village last Monday, in which at least a couple of the songs were about the village and the area and had been composed by the senior member many, many years ago. The whole company sang them with obvious knowledge of the words (and not an instrument in sight). And good, rousing songs they were too. My intention is to get the words and music "down" at the next meeting in August.

What other pockets of such activity - which I think meets your criteria above - might exist elsewhere, without it being common knowledge?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 04:13 AM

Common folk do still create their own music, it merely has a different sound to the one that's been appropriated by 'folk music'. Technology is a completely arbitrary way of deciding typology. If that were the case folk would cease to be 'folk' the moment it was disseminated through an electronic medium of microphone, record, CD. No one denies youtube footage of Morris is folk because it's perceived through a digital format.

American rural poor black music and white music does not have the same stasis or closure that has been projected onto the folk of the UK, nor do asian or east european indigenous musics. They are recognised through form and those who want to continue with that form are folk musicians.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 04:17 AM

Sorry Will,
You are, of course right,
I was talking in general termsonly.
Of course there are exceptions, but I would say it was no longer a part of these communities' cultural identity, rather an isolated occurence.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 04:30 AM

Of course there are exceptions, but I would say it was no longer a part of these communities' cultural identity, rather an isolated occurence.

Probably all too true.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 04:57 AM

"A minority group have decided society can no longer contribute to making its own indigenous sound by introducing artificial statification. If not racist it's a branch of musical eugenics."

This is a contentious and inflammatory statement, 'glueman'. Who are these 'statifiers' (stratifiers?) - how do they achieve their wicked ends? Musical apartheid happening under our very noses - and I, for one, never even noticed. No-one has tried to stop me from singing - have they tried to stop you? If they have, I think you should name names - we need to know who they are so that we can stop them!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 05:15 AM

Anyone who suggests a national music 'died' and those who continue to create it are in error are guilty of intellectual mischief. They've decided a music is not characterised by subject matter, preoccupations, themes or even the instruments on which it is played but by its tense, and that contains no present or future.

The conseqence of that sealing is to disenfranchise those who believe there is a popular idiom in which folk continues to be mined and that expression is important to on-going identity. Most people with an interest in folk music see the danger of that position and describe folk in the continuing line from the tradition into the various strands we have today but a few insist common music is dead and by association the common people with it.

That is a political act with ramifications.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 05:29 AM

They've decided a music is not characterised by subject matter, preoccupations, themes or even the instruments on which it is played

Correct.

but by its tense

No. By the way it's created, received and transmitted; by when it's played as much as how or by whom; by what happens to a song after it's been listened to.

a few insist common music is dead and by association the common people with it

This would be insulting if it wasn't such nonsense. Jim again:

"Nowhere has it been suggested that the 'folk' are unable to create their own songs and music, but that, thanks to the development of and accessibilty to technology, they no longer do so."


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 05:48 AM

But folk music is continually spoken about in terms of regional, national or racial identity. If it isn't I have no argument. If it is it leaves nowhere for those who want to explore their local identity through in a traditional idiom without the interest of those who want to declaim what they're doing 'isn't folk'.
My point is people can decide for themselves where boundaries lie but there can be no institutionalised definition of those boundaries that doesn't undermine the prospect for a continuation or revival in the need for that common idiom. It uses language to cap the future potential of that music as effectively as an ex-mine is sealed. No-one can predict where common music will go or what societal changes might bring about its re-evaluation.

Having a running agenda about authenticity is priggish and proprietorial over a subject in which prigs and owners had no stake.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 06:24 AM

So at last we have our answer.

Folk continues to exist, but in forms that are, for whatever reason, altogether invisible to the Folkies. As long as there Actual Folk there will be Folk Music and Folk Song - likewise Folklore, Folk Custom, Folk Tale etc. - but it would seem this Actual Folk will be of no interest whatsoever to the Folkies to whom Folk is tightly bound construct which must comply with the Nebulous Agenda Ridden Aestheticism of the Revival (which Folkies laughingly refer to as The Tradition) which is, most pointedly, altogether invisible to Actual Folk.

What, for example, would members of the Folkie Morris Ring make of the teams who comprise the non-Folkie North of England Morris Dancing Carnival Organisation?

THEY NO LONGER DO SO.

Let that particular shibboleth be writ on the headstone of the revival when the last of us is passed away & it is finally dead, buried and, one hopes, soon forgotten.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 08:04 AM

'Glueman', let's imagine a community of musically talented people (working class, of course - 'horny-handed sons and daughters of toil') somewhere in England who are participating in a continuation of the Tradition. They sing ballads, based on traditional models, about the Internet, motorways and supermarkets; in their community centre they perform 'up-dated' jigs and reels to the accompaniment of fiddles and electric bass. Every May Day their children dance around a mobile phone mast with ribbons in their hair and bells on their ankles.

So who is stopping them? Is it likely that the fact that Jim Carroll, Pip Radish and I doubt that the Tradition is still operating going to phase them one little bit? Perhaps I'll meet them one day and be invited to join in their Utopian revels (?)

Contrary to your opinion I do not go around saying things like, "stop doing that, it's not traditional!" If asked for my opinion I will give it and may express myself robustly - but I have no power and no desire to tell people what to do, or what not to do.

If Jim Carroll says that the tradition is no longer operating then he may well have a point and has at least earned the right to be listened to (I also happen to be familiar with his work - I'm not familiar with yours, 'glueman'). Don't shoot the messenger!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 08:18 AM

As long as there Actual Folk there will be Folk Music and Folk Song - likewise Folklore, Folk Custom, Folk Tale etc.

I completely agree and totally disagree. This goes back to my semi-facetious comments about the Snelgrove Process in an earlier thread. Unless one of us is calling Jim a liar, I think we're agreed that he spent a lot of time and energy documenting something that people collectively used to do, and that he was witness to the fact that people don't collectively do that thing any more. (This isn't because people have changed but because society has changed. There are lots of things in the world that people don't do any more.)

The big controversy seems to be about what we call that thing. Calling it "folk music" doesn't bother me in the slightest, but it obviously bothers you a great deal. But all those are just labels, as someone said - the important thing is that Jim is reporting what he saw, and that he did see something real.

(Where I agree with you is that I do think people getting together and making music - in singarounds, in battles of the bands, wherever - is a folk art, & deserves to be celebrated as such. But I don't believe it produces folk music, 99.9% of the time; not because people have changed but because society has changed, and the place of music in society has changed.)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 10:27 AM

Jim is looking at a grand old house through a keyhole and claiming he has a firm knowledge of its interior. He can see some beautiful block-printed wallpaper, there's a corner of the Adam firplace and what looks like some tassels on a Turkey rug. He is now happy to pronounce he knows what what all old English houses look like.

If you believe any music is dying and set out looking for dying music you'll find it, of that there is no doubt. It's my misfortune to believe the thing you'll find is what you set out looking for, not the music of the people, or indeed folk music. Both are alive and only sometimes resemble keyhole views.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 12:33 PM

So where is this 'music of the people/folk music' that you've found, 'glueman'? According to you, "both are alive", so, presumably, you should have first hand knowledge of them and you should be able to point me in the right direction.

By the way, I hope that you're documenting all of this 'neo-folk'(?)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 12:38 PM

apparently it also exists in the chimes of Ice Cream vans,Still waiting to hear one play Lord Randall.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 12:59 PM

"So where is this 'music of the people/folk music' that you've found, 'glueman'? According to you, "both are alive", so, presumably, you should have first hand knowledge of them and you should be able to point me in the right direction.

By the way, I hope that you're documenting all of this 'neo-folk'(?)"

Here's some. I had a wheelbarrow
About three quarters of the way through this clip you'll hear a song to the tune of Old Smokey. It began one summer evening in the late 1980s when Shrewsbury Town played Notts County. I know cos I was there.

Shrewsbury supporters began singing a song in broad Salopian which the Notts fans could not recognise. It sounded a bit like Old Smokey but wasn't and the words sounded like 'I had a wheelbarrow, the wheel fell off' but weren't. A spontaneous outbreak of the song began which has morphed over the years into various Swing Low Sweet Wheelbarrow and others.

Nobody has ever claimed the song and its eruption was unplanned.
Lots more examples.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 01:02 PM

try again


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 01:10 PM

correct Glueman,I broached this subject myself,in an earlier thread and mentioned this particular song.
Norwich seemed to have a better song but then they are in a higher division.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 01:13 PM

folk in action


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 01:55 PM

Football chants may be folk songs of a sort. But it's interesting, 'glueman' that you decide that your chosen example is a folk song primarily because its author(s) is/are anonymous. The fact that many traditional songs have no known author is merely an accident of history. This has been discussed 'millions' of times in threads like this but some people will insist on clinging to the notion that the authors of folk songs must necessarily be anonymous.

As for your second example, surely Frank Sidebottom is a professional comedian? Are you counting ditties by professional comedians as folk songs now?

If both of the above are folk songs, they don't really measure up to the old stuff, do they?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 02:06 PM

But do those football fans describe what they do as folk music? If not what right has anyone to tell them that's what it is?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 02:15 PM

I had a wheelbarrow is a folk song because it's sung by the folk. It's credentials are impeccable, a mis-hearing of a different tune to different words in another part of the country, sung spontaneously and transforming into a variety of other songs with the same central conceit.

A voluntary coming together of a large number of people gaining identity through words of no clear meaning but accumulating status through repetition and change. which bit of that isn't a folk song.

So far as FSs dissembling of popular song goes it seems a reasonable supposition that Frank is taking them on the first stage of a folk process. A number of people will know Anarchy through his rendering of it. Plus the audience are the nearest thing to a folk crowd you'll find.

"If both of the above are folk songs, they don't really measure up to the old stuff, do they?"

That statement seems completely subjective.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 03:06 PM

You make some interesting points, 'glueman'. Points which are not easily dismissed. Thank you for taking the time to do so.

Nevertheless, I'm not very convinced by your Frank Sidebottom example.

On the other side of the argument, though, I listened to a talk, last weekend, by the distinguished author, Ronald Blythe (who, as far as I know is not connected to the Folk Revival in any way - nor was the event a folk event). Mr Blythe made the point that few people sing any more - well, not on a daily basis, as they go about their work, as they did in the East Anglian countryside of his youth. He pointed out that most people are now passive consumers of music which is "piped into their heads" (presumably via their iPods).
Perhaps, on that basis, things like football chants are a rare exception to something which was once universal. I don't doubt that people have the potential to develop and transmit a musical tradition - perhaps they think that they don't need to any more - except, possibly, at football matches.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 03:13 PM

and rugby matches,
for example the fields of athenry is sung very well at Irish rugby matches,and sometimes at soccer matches,at Cardiff in the last cricket test match,there was also some singing.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 03:17 PM

Unless one of us is calling Jim a liar, I think we're agreed that he spent a lot of time and energy documenting something that people collectively used to do, and that he was witness to the fact that people don't collectively do that thing any more.

There was always more to Folk than the stuff Jim collected. And even though they might have stopped doing that, what they do is still Traditional Folk Music / Song; likewise Traditional Folk Tale, Folklore, Folk Custom, Folk Ceremony, Folk Dance, etc. etc. Once again it's worth considering the aims the International Council for Traditional Music (formerly International Folk Music Council):

to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries.

Now, if Folk are no longer producing Traditional Folk Music (as Jim, Shimrod and Pip seem quite convinced of) just what is it that these people are furthering the studying of?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 03:28 PM

Another fast morphing song form is coach trip songs which I've heard build up through boozy nonsense and spread round the bus to become something solid. Unfortunately factory outings and the accompanying piss up are rarer these days.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 03:45 PM

Folk/Traditional music of the British Isles is one form of 'home-made music' - there are plenty of others. I would make a distinction between music that you make for yourself (with friends or alone) and music that you passively consume. American popular music evolved out of various regional folk traditions. British popular music is based primarily upon American imports (sorry if I generalize, but this seems clear to me). So, in the UK, this sort of discussion takes different directions that it would in the US (or some other country). A better title for this thread would have been 'Does English Folk Music Exist?" - the way you frame your question determines how it can be answered. You do realize that there's a world beyond your little island(s), don't you?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 04:05 PM

"You do realize that there's a world beyond your little island(s), don't you?"

Of Course!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 04:37 PM

glueman

I had a wheelbarrow is a folk song because it's sung by the folk. It's credentials are impeccable, a mis-hearing of a different tune to different words in another part of the country, sung spontaneously and transforming into a variety of other songs with the same central conceit.

From the point of view of a folklorist, this is clearly folk music, but do the particpants describe it as such?

Don't worry if you don't uderstand what I'm on about, glueman, this isn't aimed at you.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 05:16 PM

Did the people responsible for the tradition ever describe themselves as folk singers or use the word tradition? I imagine they were work songs, hearth songs or just 'the old songs'. The Wheelbarrow is a quasi-worksong, a spectator song, what I believe folklorists describe as a 'blason populaire' a song aimed at the mockery of other nations, counties, or neighbouring villages to expose the difference of the 'alien' and unite insiders.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 05:31 PM

I like the coach song & football song examples. These are situations where people sing together, sing songs they all know & have the opportunity to make the odd change to them as they go. My point is that there aren't that many of those situations left - and there are a lot more situations where music is available on tap.

even though they might have stopped doing that, what they do is still Traditional Folk Music / Song

This is a statement of faith, no more and no less. It's still Traditional Folk Music / Song because...?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 06:20 PM

there are a lot more situations where music is available on tap.

Someone listening to a tune on an iPod is a very different thing from them hearing it in a shopping mall, or a nightclub. The experience of the receptee/s determines the nature of the music, be it pre-recorded or otherwise. The same recording can be very different things according to context; it changes accordingly.   

It's still Traditional Folk Music / Song because...?

...of exactly the same criteria that made the other stuff Traditional Folk Music / Song. Not a statement of faith, but a statement of fact. If Folk Music is about process & context rather than a mere Genre, then even by the somewhat nannying strictures of the 1954 Definition even the above mentioned music-on-tap becomes Folk Music.

Try this: Irlam Royalettes Morris Dancers

It's interesting to note that even the tempo of the music is determined by the principle dancer, the digital sound system having the facility to change tempo without affecting pitch. We saw this happening yesterday at Tram Sunday here in Fleetwood, where the leader danced in the tempo. Amazing stuff I'd say, and a living, thriving, Folk Dance Tradition to boot, with Living Thriving Folk Music to match - at least for those of us who recognise that Folk Music is a whole lot more than Genre - and involves all the things enshrined in the 1954 Definition, and more besides, such as function / process / community / transmission / change / social context etc.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 07:28 PM

exactly the same criteria that made the other stuff Traditional Folk Music / Song

Again, this is just a statement of faith - I mean, exactly the same criteria? What are the chances of exactly the same criteria continuing to apply from, say, 1859 to now? Of course, you can decide beforehand that those criteria have got to continue to apply, and you can define them loosely enough to make it believable. But if you do that - if you include situations where there's no oral transmission; where songs and tunes aren't being shared within a community which pre-exists the music, and altered in the sharing - then we're just going to have to develop a more tightly-defined set of criteria for situations where those things are happening.

Folk art forms are great, and there are a lot of them about - no argument there. But it takes a very specific set of circumstances to produce folk songs, and it doesn't happen much any more.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Chris Murray
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 04:04 AM

Martin Carthy said a few years ago, in a fRoots interview, that football chants are folk music.

Blowed if I can find the interview.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: reggie miles
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 05:11 AM

Yup, folk does exist glueman.
It exists inside me and you man.
It exists in others too man.
Yup, folk does exist.

It depends upon your definition.
And you how grant recognition
As to what can gain admission
Into your folky focus

But rest assured it's still around
And always ever can be found
In cities, villages and towns
Most everywhere

Because folk is alive and cannot die
So dry your tears, no need to cry
Fret no more, stop your sigh
And sing another song


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 05:54 AM

What are the chances of exactly the same criteria continuing to apply from, say, 1859 to now?

Well, sorry to have to tell you this but people continue to make and experience music in communities, the primary context of which is folkloric - social, recreational & ceremonial, be it in terms of festival, holiday, seasonal observance, ritual, customary observance, weddings, funerals etc. etc. The body of songs that interested the collectors, the so-called Folk Songs, are no longer of any relevance to these people because they have moved on to a new body of songs, a contemporary perspective on culture, but the material still functions in exactly the same way because the important things of life never change.

In 1859 (to further indulge your folkish fantasy) one might have found some fiddlers at a wedding, and whilst the extent to which Canonical Folk Music permeated society has never been established, we might assume that said Fiddlers would be playing exactly what they were paid to play - much like the DJ hired for a wedding in 2009. 150 years on and the fundamentals of human life remain intact, just as immediate, meaningful and contemporary as they were back in 1859; there is love, laughter, tears, hope, remembrance, solemnity, ceremony, celebration, festival, and continuity. All of this is affirmed and experienced in the music - be it Fiddlers or DJ or the Local Covers Band (in Fleetwood we have The Jeps who rarely fail to delight & amaze me) the experience of the music determines its true nature and meaning in terms of actual social usage. The grandmother of the bride, born in 1949, coming of cultural age in the mid-60s, will enjoy afresh the soundtrack of her own life, given renewal on her granddaughter's big day; she will weep to the remix of Unchained Melody, or dance her ass off to The Jeps giving their all in 500 Miles.

These are the important elements of any Folk Music - the defining elements of human life as oppose to The Philatelist approach of those hung up on The Old Songs alone, which once removed from their human context have pretty much lost all meaning anyway, save to a handful of Anally Retentive Folk Enthusiasts, morbidly picking over the bones of the past in a search for the Authentic whilst failing to appreciate the living flesh of the present in which Folk Song & Music thrive, and will continue to thrive, renewed with each generation, but in a such a way that will be invisible to the ARFEs who, as we're seeing here, wouldn't know Folk Music if you hit them over the head with it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 06:28 AM

The body of songs that interested the collectors, the so-called Folk Songs, are no longer of any relevance to these people because they have moved on to a new body of songs

What new body of songs? There's a huge difference between songs that "everyone knows" because they sing them or hear them sung and songs that "everyone knows" because they're on the radio all the time.

she will weep to the remix of Unchained Melody, or dance her ass off to The Jeps giving their all in 500 Miles.

And those songs won't change. Unchained Melody will always be Unchained Melody, and 500 Miles will always be 500 Miles. Folk songs are different, because they're produced differently, transmitted differently and preserved differently.

the defining elements of human life as oppose to The Philatelist approach of those hung up on The Old Songs alone

Come down off that horse, you'll get altitude sickness. All we're arguing about - well, all I'm arguing about - is a label. I can appreciate an acoustic night or a covers band or an MC crew or whatever without feeling the urge to say that they're singing "folk songs". God knows they don't think they're singing folk songs - they'd probably find it more of an insult than a compliment.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 07:31 AM

There's a huge difference between songs that "everyone knows" because they sing them or hear them sung and songs that "everyone knows" because they're on the radio all the time.

No there isn't; in terms of human experience & meaning there is no difference whatsoever.

And those songs won't change. Unchained Melody will always be Unchained Melody, and 500 Miles will always be 500 Miles. Folk songs are different, because they're produced differently, transmitted differently and preserved differently.

The songs change with every performance, every spin, every remix, every dance because the experience will always be of the moment. These are Folk Songs in the sense that they are known to the folk, cherished by the folk; they have meaning, function, purpose and relevance whatever differences you might wish to fantasise over - or yet the origins of such specious (and redundant) criteria in the first place. But as I've demonstrated elsewhere, the 1954 Definition is so nebulous as to be useless in defining anything other than - er - music. Anything else is determined by your (evidently impoverished) personal faith.   

All we're arguing about - well, all I'm arguing about - is a label.

And since when has Folk Music ever been just a label? We're talking about the essentials of music in relation to human community & life experience, not some pseudo-academic taxonomy which was all so much bullshit anyway.   

I can appreciate an acoustic night or a covers band or an MC crew or whatever without feeling the urge to say that they're singing "folk songs". God knows they don't think they're singing folk songs - they'd probably find it more of an insult than a compliment.

Folk Music is about context, function and usage. When people say There is no Folk Music, then I say of course there is - and I point to it, and I say why it's folk music. Not Folk in terms of some antiquarian fantasy genre, or, worse still, label, which really would be insulting - rather Folk in terms of a living, breathing enthnographic reality of human life which we might look at along with all World Folk Musics and be justly proud. Even if it is just people dancing to some old 78s in the local community centre, or the local covers band, or the local Drum & Bass crew, or the local Irish band, or the local Brass Band, or Choral Society, or even Folk Club, who like most folk singers got all their songs off records anyway.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 07:39 AM

Seems we're back to "All music is folk music", then. (sigh)

"in terms of human experience & meaning there is no difference whatsoever."

What, between singing and listening??! Huge physiological and psychological and differences, surely?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 07:53 AM

The Philatelist approach of those hung up on The Old Songs alone, which once removed from their human context have pretty much lost all meaning anyway, save to a handful of Anally Retentive Folk Enthusiasts, morbidly picking over the bones of the past in a search for the Authentic

You mean things like this?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 08:03 AM

We're talking about the essentials of music in relation to human community & life experience

You are, I'm not.

The songs change with every performance, every spin, every remix, every dance because the experience will always be of the moment.

I agree. But the words don't change and the tunes don't change, and one song doesn't turn into two or three different songs. That's why I don't call them folk songs. (Most other people don't call them folk songs either, but I can't speak for them.)

These are Folk Songs in the sense that they are known to the folk, cherished by the folk; they have meaning, function, purpose and relevance

I am not denying, have never denied and would never wish to deny that lots of different musics are known to and cherished by ordinary people, let alone that they have meaning, function, purpose and relevance. This has sod-all to do with whether they're folk songs.

as I've demonstrated elsewhere, the 1954 Definition is so nebulous as to be useless in defining anything other than - er - music

Yes, you've demonstrated that the 1954 Definition can be read in such a way that it encompasses all music ever. However, since the 1954 Definition obviously wasn't intended to encompass all music ever, all this demonstrates is that you're misreading the definition.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 09:14 AM

Folk is too broad a term and carries too many aspirations to only describe the stuff that happens between consenting adults in folk revival clubs. That is historic song singing and long may it continue.

The evolution of common music, folk music, even spontaneous community music, continues outside those contexts and the folk revival and its definitions hold no sway there.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 09:57 AM

What, between singing and listening??! Huge physiological and psychological and differences, surely?

The communal experience of music exists in terms of its performance, social context and function, all which determine the meaning of that experience with respect of the individual and the others in the community. Even the playing of records is in itself a meaningful performance & an essential interaction between performer & audience. We all do it, even the most folkie of us. Hell, how else would I get my daily fix of Brian Peters or find renewed levels of meaning therein even in the same recordings?

*

But the words don't change and the tunes don't change, and one song doesn't turn into two or three different songs. That's why I don't call them folk songs.

Songs change the whole time. In the process of composition there's more than the one song as found itself split into two or three songs, and vice versa of course. The musical process of composition & creation will forever be a complex and intricate procedure in which definitive versions will rarely exist. There are innumerable instances of this; just last night whilst cooking dinner I was comparing the various versions of Robert Wyatt's Moon in June which begins life as two distinct songs, morphs into one big one, loses most of the original lyrics in the process and has the new lyrics completely rewritten for a BBC session. Other example abound. Otherwise - I refer you back to specious criteria.

I am not denying, have never denied and would never wish to deny that lots of different musics are known to and cherished by ordinary people, let alone that they have meaning, function, purpose and relevance. This has sod-all to do with whether they're folk songs.

It has every reason to do with it. Take the Folk out of Folk Songs and all you have are songs relevant to a dwindling body of Enthusiasts of a Particular Type of Folk Song - Traddies in other words, like me, and you, the difference being that my main interest in these Traditional Songs is in terms of their humanity and what they might tell us about ourselves, rather than some quasi-mystical process by which they supposedly came into being. Technology changes, but a fishing boat is still a fishing boat, be it made by the master shipwrights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee circa AD 20 or by the lads on the Jubilee Quay in Fleetwood circa AD 2009.   

Yes, you've demonstrated that the 1954 Definition can be read in such a way that it encompasses all music ever. However, since the 1954 Definition obviously wasn't intended to encompass all music ever, all this demonstrates is that you're misreading the definition.

What it demonstrates is the redundancy of a definition that only makes sense with an Orthodox Reading by the Folk Faithful (or otherwise initiated). Without it, what you have is a fundamental description of the process by which people make and experience music in communities, and whilst this might find an echo in the aims and objectives of the ICTM, it leaves the ninny-nannying of the 1954 Orthodoxy seeming sadly anachronistic to say the least. Hardly the wonder the Orthodoxy of the Folk Revival is an ageing, dwindling, whinging demographic poised on the precipice of extinction; with such a poisonous orthodoxy in place it's a miracle that it's made it as far as it has. Real Folk Music meanwhile - the music of every day people living every day lives giving meaning to their every day experiences - is, and will always be, thriving.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 09:58 AM

Cross post there, Glueman - otherwise: YES and - YES!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 10:12 AM

You know, I actually agree with most of that. (Are you and Suibhne taking turns on the good cop/bad cop rota?) I think there's a bit more to the trad. repertoire than simply being "historic songs", but it's fairly debatable. (Try bringing a rugby song to a singaround. Wait a minute, I'm arguing against myself now...)

I'm just being selfish: I love the songs* & would like to have more chances to hear & sing them. And as we know, sometimes if it says "folk" over the door you're in for a good blast of the Old Songs, but other times... not. Mostly, in fact, not. In practice "folk" seems to consist partly of stuff I love, partly of stuff I quite enjoy and partly of stuff that sends me to the bar; the Beech singaround has an 80/20/0 split on an average night, but that's very unusual (20/50/30 is probably more typical). Maybe we need a Revival...

*No hyperbole - I've never heard a traditional song I didn't like. Well, maybe one or two. I'm not wild about John Blunt. But the rest**, I like.

**As God is my witness, after typing these words I sat here for two solid minutes trying to think of another traditional song I don't like***. There is perhaps such a thing as taking Mudcat too seriously.

***Got one! Hares on the Mountain, that's bobbins. Hares on the Mountain, John Blunt, can't be doing with them. The rest are fine.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 10:25 AM

Real Folk Music meanwhile - the music of every day people living every day lives giving meaning to their every day experiences - is, and will always be, thriving.

Music always has meant a lot to people and been used to give meaning to their everyday lives, and hopefully always will. That has nothing to do with the processes - which are entirely physical, and not remotely mystical - by which music gets created, transmitted and preserved.

As for "Moon in June", there's nothing 'folk' about a musician writing a song and then changing it! The folk process is all about music being carried by a community and changed as it goes - it's a collective process of listening and imitating and remembering and singing and listening. I Had a Wheelbarrow is a great example. Moon in June isn't.

Really, what's so intolerable about the idea that I'm describing something that people (mostly) don't do any more? Society changes, and people's lives change with it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 10:32 AM

This will sound trite, but my own not very intellectual take on it, is that 'folk' being a word in a language, is probably really just whatever people generally think it means.

Ie: the meaning of the term, is defined by it's popular usage. Like most others. It's just too short and already thoroughly well-embedded in general usage, for its essential meaning to be subject to much tinkering now.

The only people who don't seem to share a common understanding about what it means are, err about half a dozen, very clever and learned, members of Mudcat. I'm not quite sure what to make of that, but I do find it somewhat entertaining... :-)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 11:32 AM

The only people who don't seem to share a common understanding about what it means are, err about half a dozen, very clever and learned, members of Mudcat.

Yeah but what you've got to understand, CS, is that those people are all wrong. I mean, glueman and Suibhne are wrong, obviously, but they're not nearly as wrong - in fact, compared to all those people who don't even think about what 'folk' means, they're almost as right as me.

See? It's not easy being a clever and learned Mudcatter, you know...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 11:46 AM

I think there's a bit more to the trad. repertoire than simply being "historic songs", but it's fairly debatable.

I like this Historic Songs tag, makes a lot of sense to me. If such things aren't happening now it's not for the want of folk music, rather a shift in the means by which music is created and consumed. Music is still created and consumed; the creative processes still exist, just the methods and results are a little different in terms of permanence. However, it seems more likely that these Historic Songs & Ballads are the result of a Tradition of Songwriting, Craftmanship & Creation rather than a theoretical Folk Process, which is to say the Traditional / Historic Songs are not born of collective / anonymous transformation but of very definite and purposeful mastery of a craft. As with song-smiths & ballad-mongers, then so with joiners, woodcarvers, coopers, blacksmiths etc. These were all creative individuals working within a tradition of master-craftsmanship. I agree that no-one could write one of these songs today any more than we could build a medieval church or cathedral; that articular tradition is long dead which is why these Historical Songs are so valuable. Even so, when I sing (say) Butter and Cheese and All I feel the same sense of craftsman ship as I do when examining the idiosyncratically mischievous carvings on a medieval misericord. That idiosyncrasy is an individual creative genius at work within a collective tradition.   

Really, what's so intolerable about the idea that I'm describing something that people (mostly) don't do any more? Society changes, and people's lives change with it.

The same collective urge that empowers the musical experience of every day folk is as alive and well in 2009 as it ever has been. This urge needs no revival, it's there by way of human social necessity by which we must celebrate in terms of festival, ceremony, ritual, courtship, or whatever. Music will always be part of that - and this is the musical experience of the people, the Folk, and is, therefore, Folk Music. What is intolerable is the situation whereby the Historic Songs that were rejected by the actual folk are said to be the only real Folk Music because of some hoary old nebulous shibboleth written by a cranky old nannying antiquarian folklorist over fifty years ago.      

As for "Moon in June", there's nothing 'folk' about a musician writing a song and then changing it! The folk process is all about music being carried by a community and changed as it goes - it's a collective process of listening and imitating and remembering and singing and listening.

As touched upon above, in concentrating on the communal Folklorists and Song Collectors are prone to over look the creative role of the individual writers and singers. In this sense The Folk are the faceless collective proletarian masses there to do the cultural bidding of the intelligentsia. As I've pointed out, however, all musical creativity - even the Folk Process - is determined by the creativity of individuals. The Moon in June is a pretty obvious example of this, as far as any one person is an individual in the sense of their own community and the traditions thereof. In Robert Wyatt's case it came about within the community that was the Soft Machine, resulting in the still-painful (to him) reality that the other members were keen to get rid of their pop-group past and refused to play on it, which meant he had to do all the instrumental parts himself. This is the version that appears on Third, which is all Wyatt except the 6/8 instrumental theme & organ solo which was recorded separately with Hopper & Ratledge. However, Hugh Hopper maintained that this wasn't the case at all, rather that it was Wyatt's preferred way of recording the song after the original demo from 1968. Whatever the case, all three members contribute to the 1969 BBC session version and one might watch a live 1969 trio version, recorded 2 months previously, HERE in which Wyatt changes the song so much it almost becomes an instrumental! In this sense the song is carried by a community & evolved therein, likewise most rock & pop songs, prog, jazz, etc.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 12:42 PM

"The Old Songs"... I like that. I'm sticking with it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 12:59 PM

Alas, it seems the Glueman Group has won here.

Art


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 01:07 PM

"compared to all those people who don't even think about what 'folk' means,"

Yes, most people probably don't attempt to precisely dissect and delimit those words they use in everyday language. But how many words in common usage *are* determined or defined by a process of analysis by an intellectual (be it academic or dilettante) elite?

Words are generated by the pragmatism of human need to communicate something mutually experienced. They are then tumbled like pebbles in water, by the flow of that same ongoing human communication which shapes and sometimes changes them unrecognisably. And yet the collectively *understood* meaning of the word, remains somehow, albeit in a different shape. Thus many words become multi-varianced, subtly nuanced, loaded with a plethora of ragged and unruly associations. These things are understood and accepted, as part and parcel of our everyday ordinary human intercourse. They tend only to become subject to intense scrutiny, when used in the context of critical analysis within drama or poetry, or err court cases.

Of course think tanks create new terms to describe particular notions which have been arrived at, *via* analysis, but they don't tend to try to 'pin down' and clip the wings of terms that are already in popular usage.

Words like 'folk' are like err wild flowers or something, they don't want to behave according to the terms of nice tidy middle England lawns. So why attempt to make them? Just create a nice shiny genetically modified word, one of those sterile F1 hybrids in Latin, that does exactly what it say's on the packet?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 01:23 PM

"Alas, it seems the Glueman Group has won here"

Never came to win anything, just provoke debate. The win/lose, triumphalism/defeat thing is far too deeply rooted in the folk revival as it is. It seems self-evident to me that the entirety of the folk process, even The Folk process if you buy into such stuff, cannot be fully accounted for in the practices of folk clubs.

I'm perfectly happy for people to sing historic songs to their hearts content so long as they don't annexe the real world as it exists today with their rhetorical bouquets.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 01:32 PM

Actually, I think language, is possibly one of the greatest ongoing bastions of the 'Folk Process' at it's pragmatic, anarchic and fecund best!

Check the Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/

As soon as we accept a Newspeak dictionary, we know we're fully in the depths of a classic gnostic dystopic nightmare.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 01:48 PM

Alas, it seems the Glueman Group has won here.

That's not my impression.

Thus many words become multi-varianced, subtly nuanced, loaded with a plethora of ragged and unruly associations. These things are understood and accepted, as part and parcel of our everyday ordinary human intercourse.

The [Un]Pleasant Surprise - A Brief Drama In Two Alternative Parts

[a]
"Where we off tonight?"
"Folk night, I thought."
"Not folk! I can't stand all those whinging cultural studies students clutching the Takamine that mummy bought them and singing about how they can't get laid (what a surprise)..."

[b]
"Where we off tonight?"
"Folk night, I thought."
"Is there a folk night? Brilliant! I was on Time Has Told Me today, I was downloading some Tony Rose stuff and I saw this Johnny Collins album I didn't know existed..."


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 01:57 PM

glueman

I'm perfectly happy for people to sing historic songs to their hearts content

I'm most enormously grateful. Otherwise I would have had to stay in tonight instead of going down the pub.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 01:59 PM

I am not in anyones group,
yes I agree football chants are folk music,but so is Lord Gregory,and the Game of all Fours,just becuase Lord Gregory is not chanted aT Notts County soccer[or what they attempt at soccer,it is pretty poor fare] matches,it does not mean it is not a folk song,likewise nobody would pay if I sang the wheel barrow song at a folk club it is still folk music,but the wheel barrow song is crap folk music,just like Notts County are a crap football team.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 02:04 PM

"but the wheel barrow song is crap folk music"

Lol!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 02:20 PM

"but the wheel barrow song is crap folk music,just like Notts County are a crap football team"

But only 25/1 at the bookies to win three successive promotions after today's news. The Glueman Group may be in the ascendency after all. (Helps that the world's third richest family have just bought the club and you're not a pothunting redback)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 02:37 PM

what is todays news, let me guess the Magpies,have got a new crap manager called Ericksson,If it is true it is a sad day,for within 5 years they will have to go into liquidation.,
still even sadder perhaps it will be the end of the wheel barrow song,an eccentric[not having its axis placed centrally,a circular disc fixed?on a revolving shaft]or not so eccentric crap song,whose storyline needs filling out,to even come to the level of Lord Randall,another crap folk song.
how about

O where ha' you been, Erickson my son?
And where ha' you been, my handsome young man?
I ha' been at meadow lane; mother, mak my bed soon,
For I'm wearied wi' soccer and fain wad lie down.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 02:48 PM

The songs are self-generating even as we speak at the home of football, free of the tethers of 1954, and the occupying sour-pusses of the revival.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 03:02 PM

Lets hope he doesnt lie down with the chairmans wife,and get sick.
you must start something like that, glueman,Ithink it is quite chantable.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 03:12 PM

The ones I'm hearing are about fickle turncoats crossing Trent Bridge in search of gold.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 03:31 PM

do I know you glueman,you are not Grenville Blattherwick are you?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 03:37 PM

Been called some things in my time but not one of those.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 04:06 PM

The folk process is NOT Odetta's hairdo - for goddam sure.

It has only been a forty year's long treasure hunt for me--and that's all.

And the sounds I heard and the people I met HAPHAZARDLY, luckily, albeit, by chance---incandescent as a bright spot on a sweaty face with a guitar at the Earl Of Old Town --- 5 AM. Wobbly Paul Durst--93 years of ridin' freights from 1868-----and on into the 1960s to tell it, and sing it, to me and my reel-to-reel machine. This was my folk process. What was FOUND was, indeed, incandescent. Some good parts of it got documented by LPs and CDs I made putting down the captured folk songs---the stories with tunes that told those others' real and lifelong adventures--or their fantasies of how things should've worked if this actually was the proverbial best of all possible worlds.

Their immortality isn't somewhereup in the sky when they die. Their immortality is actually, and ultimately, only the way we remember it and then portray it!

To all of you who keep them alive, Please, stay on pitch. It's the least we can do for them that showed us the way to make our own adventure!

When you get to the end of it---recognize it for the grail hunt that it has been all along the whole damn trip.

Love,

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 06:13 PM

I'm not at all sure that 'glueman's' group have won. I suppose that technically football chants might be thought of as folk songs - but something inside me wants to scream, "so what!!" Has the tradition come to this? Football chants?

On the other hand SO'P keeps insisting that 'all-music-is-folk-music' - which doesn't get us any further forward.

My view is that the folk process that, in England, and other parts of these islands, produced the great ballads and the lyrical songs is more or less dead - and replaced with commercial pop music which is very largely, passively consumed by the majority of the population.
Nevertheless, on the peripheries of our culture there are things that, if you stand on tiptoe, with a following wind, and squint hard, you might just be able to persuade yourself (especially if you're very desperate to do so)that they might possibly be similar to what folk songs used to be once upon a time.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 06:50 PM

On the other hand SO'P keeps insisting that 'all-music-is-folk-music'

I think my point is more along the lines of all music can be folk music, depending on context. This gets us a lot further forward.

and replaced with commercial pop music which is very largely, passively consumed by the majority of the population.

Passively? I think not; the consumption of popular music has always been pretty active in my experience & continues to be so.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 07:00 PM

Passively? I think not

I think so, compared with a period when music could only be 'consumed' by being played or sung. Again, the distinction is reasonably clear unless you try to obscure it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 07:05 PM

lueman,

In hicago we've had a theater group for a decade or so called the BLUE MAN GROUP! All of 'em are painted blue. I was simply making what I thought was a obvious play on words with your Mudcat name.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 03:49 AM

So the "consumption" of music is "passive", is it?

Depends what you mean by "consumption". Music is not a commodity, like lard or handkerchiefs, whatever people might say. It can start out as an overtly commercial, money-making commodity, and can be viewed as such by those who set out to make the money, but the ramifications of "consuming" the music are far more subtle than that.

The influence of listening to music, whatever that music might be, has all sorts of knock-on effects, not least of which is the desire which has come to many of us at one time or another, the statement - I want to do that! You can take what some might think to be the crassest, most banal musical guff in the world, and many people may well be inspired by it to learn an instrument because of hearing it. Having acquired an instrument and started the process, they may well then move on to other music. I have known many, many people who've started in music this way - and not all young and foolish.

Now this music starting and making may not have been fashioned in the traditional way, as we imagined it to be in earlier communities, but it's still perpetuating a line of music learning and creation. Whether it's to your tase is a different question. And, as far as older communities were concerned, there were no set patterns of likes and dislikes where music was concerned. Bob Copper had a huge love of jazz, and his dad's (Jim's) favourite song was "Brother Can You Spare A Dime" - this was told to me by Bob. Billy Pigg, the Northumbrian piper took his repertoire from older pipers like Tom Clough - and from stuff he heard on the radio. Doc Watson got a lot of his repertoire from gramophone records. In Sussex, Scan Tester had a repertoire which included traditional tunes, polkas, waltzes, scottisches and dance tunes of the day.

The Pure Drop is what turns you on to music - and gets you making it yourself. And you, in turn, can become the Pure Drop for other people.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 05:44 AM

Will,

I can't disagree with what you say.

Unfortunately (well, to me it's unfortunate), the highest musical aspiration that most young people seem to have is to 'be in a band', i.e. a 'rock band'. Popular music seems to have ossified into a form where one young person screams unintelligible words into a microphone whilst other young persons accompany him/her on electric guitars, drums and, occasionally, keyboards. To my dismay no-one, except me, seems to be in the least bit bored with this excruciatingly boring and ugly form of presentation - which now seems set to continue to the end of time ('Emperor's New Clothes' syndrome, I suppose).


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 06:11 AM

I think so, compared with a period when music could only be 'consumed' by being played or sung. Again, the distinction is reasonably clear unless you try to obscure it.

Pretty much what Will's said below there, although I might add that in no way am I trying to obscure anything and that the distinction is only clear if you wish it to be - like a belief in God, or the folk process, or fairies, or UFOs, or Ghosts, or the Orthodox reading of the 1954 Definition, belief in such things requires a very willing, and very subjective, faith - only to the faithful are such things ever clear.

For example, in Pip's period when music could only be 'consumed' by being played or sung not everyone played or sang - most people, then as now, were quite content to listen, be it to the ballad singer, or the storyteller, or the gossip, or else to dance to the fiddler, some of them no doubt making mental notes with respect of learning the piece themselves, much as we do today with our own covers of Traditional Songs, or whatever else we might sing in our folk clubs, only without the conceit of The Tradition that many of us have.

Someone singing a song or playing a tune is one form of playing back a musical recording; they've gone to trouble of learning it, and each time they'll sing it will be to the best of their ability - and even if they've sang it in exactly the same way 100 times before it's always going to be new for someone. That's why I go to singarounds - to hear people singing the Historical Songs, which, on a good night, will 90%+ of the experience, chorus singing notwithstanding. Quite often one might even hear an echo of the voice they learned the song from, or at least the recording of the voice they learned the song from, or there favourite folk singer. No different from The Jeps really, though to the Folk Faithful, who want this process to belong to some imagined past, there will be a world of difference. I hear the ghastly sound of a dozen ageing folk heads being agonisingly shoved up their own distended arseholes, for comfort no doubt in the face of so horrifying a heresy wherein the Folk Process is demonstrably alive and well but happening to musical forms & genres they can't conceive of as being any way folk.   

In listening to live music I am no more active or passive than I would be listening to a record - like just now, cleaning the cooker whilst listening to Gong's soundtrack for Continental Circus, a record I've known since I was 13 but each time I play it, it thrills me afresh. The tradition of Northern Soul is founded on a very active appreciation of recorded music; other dance traditions likewise - like the Carnival Morris dancing that is such a feature of traditional culture in the North West of England and of which I was largely ignorant until experiencing it first hand at the weekend - thus contextualising the tantalising headline in the local rag from a year or so back : Morris Dancers Trash Marine Hall Foyer.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 06:12 AM

Ooh, I'm not quite as pessimistic as you, I think. Yes - Youth will have its fling and do what it has to do, and a lot of it doesn't appeal to me. But, of course, we men all turn into our fathers in the end, and I can remember my father saying to me, as I watched something like the "Six Five Special" or "Ready Steady Go", "You can turn that bloody rubbish off!" Cherry Wainer - bloody rubbish? What heresy!

Age and growing older is a wonderful gift, and even the shoutiest, punkiest little snot-rag can possess talents and ideas that mature and change. We have to start somewhere, and being young and loud and angry and following the conventions of one's peers really has to be part of life for many people. My early heroes ranged from Lonnie Donegan to Django Reinhardt to Leadbelly to Sonny Terry to Howling Wolf to Merle Travis. And as I got much older, I of course, turned to the Clash and to traditional English morris tunes!

It's all good stuff, in its way - it's just what tickles your own particular biscuit.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 06:13 AM

(The above from me was a reply to Shimrod...)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 06:18 AM

Bugger that HTML. Here is is again, 2nd edition to include facetious response to Shimrod's latest missive...

I think so, compared with a period when music could only be 'consumed' by being played or sung. Again, the distinction is reasonably clear unless you try to obscure it.

Pretty much what Will's said below there, although I might add that in no way am I trying to obscure anything and that the distinction is only clear if you wish it to be - like a belief in God, or the folk process, or fairies, or UFOs, or Ghosts, or the Orthodox reading of the 1954 Definition, belief in such things requires a very willing, and very subjective, faith - only to the faithful are such things ever clear.

For example, in Pip's period when music could only be 'consumed' by being played or sung not everyone played or sang - most people, then as now, were quite content to listen, be it to the ballad singer, or the storyteller, or the gossip, or else to dance to the fiddler, some of them no doubt making mental notes with respect of learning the piece themselves, much as we do today with our own covers of Traditional Songs, or whatever else we might sing in our folk clubs, only without the conceit of The Tradition that many of us have.

Someone singing a song or playing a tune is one form of playing back a musical recording; they've gone to trouble of learning it, and each time they'll sing it will be to the best of their ability - and even if they've sang it in exactly the same way 100 times before it's always going to be new for someone. That's why I go to singarounds - to hear people singing the Historical Songs, which, on a good night, will 90%+ of the experience, chorus singing notwithstanding. Quite often one might even hear an echo of the voice they learned the song from, or at least the recording of the voice they learned the song from, or there favourite folk singer. No different from The Jeps really, though to the Folk Faithful, who want this process to belong to some imagined past, there will be a world of difference.

I hear the ghastly sound of a dozen ageing folk heads being agonisingly shoved up their own distended arseholes, for comfort no doubt in the face of so horrifying a heresy wherein the Folk Process is demonstrably alive and well but happening to musical forms & genres they can't conceive of as being any way folk*.   

In listening to live music I am no more active or passive than I would be listening to a record - like just now, cleaning the cooker whilst listening to Gong's soundtrack for Continental Circus (1971), a record I've known since I was 13 but each time I play it, it thrills me afresh. The tradition of Northern Soul is founded on a very active appreciation of recorded music; other dance traditions likewise - like the Carnival Morris dancing that is such a feature of traditional culture in the North West of England and of which I was largely ignorant until experiencing it first hand at the weekend - thus contextualising the tantalising headline in the local rag from a year or so back : Morris Dancers Trash Marine Hall Foyer.

* I wrote this before reading Shimrod's post below there; as nice a piece of prophesy as one might wish for in the circumstances. So thanks for that, Shimrod - right on cue!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 06:44 AM

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd

In listening to live music I am no more active or passive than I would be listening to a record

I'm so gobsmacked by that that all I can do is suggest you look at
this thread.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 06:48 AM

What are you wittering on about now, Mollusc?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 08:07 AM

As I offered previously, if people want to get together and sing historical ballads they are free to do so. Where I take issue is the philosphical minefield or linguistic gin traps that are layed around such enthusiasms.
It seems that yer average folkie (though by no means all) enjoys singing old songs in company and has formed an unwieldy structure to allow them to do so without guilt or to support their choices with rhetoric. Many are just p*ssed off with what they see as the shortcomings of the modern popular music industry, or think it's 'all too loud' in a Margaret Rutherford voice.

It's time such people left folk to do its thing without laying claim, rejecting, or submitting it to inappropriate tests of authenticity. If you like old ballads, you don't need a reason.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 08:15 AM

furthermore Erickkson is a crap manager.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 08:34 AM

I don't suppose people care about our parochial spat but he is the 4th most successful England manager ever and the only man to win league and cup doubles in three different european leagues including Serie A with an unfancied team.

Join the bandwagon Captain, that's what reds do after all. You won't need a load of out of date definitions or a tankard to get in, everyone sings together quite happily.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 08:54 AM

You can take what some might think to be the crassest, most banal musical guff in the world, and many people may well be inspired by it to learn an instrument because of hearing it.

True, and 'active' vs 'passive' probably isn't the best way to describe the difference between recorded and live music. It's still a pretty big difference.

Suibhne:

Someone singing a song or playing a tune is one form of playing back a musical recording; they've gone to trouble of learning it, and each time they'll sing it will be to the best of their ability

And, as you've said yourself in other threads, each time they sing it it'll be imperfect, and each time they sing it it'll be different. Those differences & imperfections are precisely where the folk process gets started, if it can.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 08:57 AM

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd

What are you wittering on about now, Mollusc?

If you can't recognise the difference between the pure magic of a live performance and the "make do" of a recording, then I don't think You can understand what I mean.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 09:00 AM

glueman

As I offered previously, if people want to get together and sing historical ballads they are free to do so.

I can't begin to express my gratitude at your gracious offer.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 09:24 AM

Art Theime:
"Alas, it seems the Glueman Group has won here."

The two individuals concerned certainly possess enviable persistence. For the rest of us, there's only so long you can go on banging your head against the wall. However...

SOB:
"Wyatt changes the song so much it almost becomes an instrumental! In this sense the song is carried by a community & evolved therein"

Sorry Suibhne, Robert Wyatt does not equal a community and nor did Soft Machine, fine band though they were for a time.

SOB:
"...a belief in God, or the folk process, or fairies, or UFOs, or Ghosts..."

So - if belief in 'the folk process' is confined to head-up-arse folk nazis - where exactly did those 200+ versions of Barbara Allen come from?

glueman:
"The songs are self-generating even as we speak at the home of football, free of the tethers of 1954, and the occupying sour-pusses of the revival."

True, but very old hat. 'Revival sourpusses' have recognized football chants, playground ditties and the like as traditional songs for donkeys' years.

glueman:
"If you like old ballads, you don't need a reason."

Abso-bloody-lutely!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 09:42 AM

the pure magic of a live performance and the "make do" of a recording,

All popular / traditional / folk music involves recording, so it's hardly "make do", rather it's an integral a part of the creative cultural process. Just as records are ethnographic artefacts in and of themselves, in recorded form the generative meme of the folk process exists as both corporeal and ethereal, be it as document, as product, as item of veneration, fetish, or otherwise somehow forever definitive in terms of performance. The Lomax Archive is a very good example of this, The Max Hunter Folk Song Collection is another. What Jim Carroll has sent me of his own archive is likewise revelatory, and though I have my doubts about about the VOTP series most of it resides on my CD shelves, pride of place etc. Each day I wake I give thanks that Jean Ritchie was on hand with her tape recorder when Seamus Ennis was giving voice to Sean Aerach & St. Peter, and where would folk be without This?

To the Feral Folk Musician the Zoom H4 is just as crucial an instrument as his Black Sea Fiddle; for whilst it is one thing singing The Molecatcher whilst walking at low tide beyond the pier ends on Blackpool beach to the found-accompaniment of the waves, the sea-gulls, the joyful noise from the rides on the central pier, ditto from the aecades along the Golden Mile etc. BUT it would have been nice to have been able to listen back to it afterwards as I don't think I've sang it quite as good as that before. Note to Self: next time - be prepared!

Singarounds might be the exception here, no recording can ever capture the pure joissance of simply being there, which is one of the things I love about it - the sheer sonic intensity of a dozen or more ill-educated voices braying forth in the inebriated assumption that they are making great music! Never fails for me.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 09:44 AM

"I can't begin to express my gratitude at your gracious offer."

Yes it is a gracious offer but I'm a generous fellow. If folkies want to sing their ballads without artificial ground rules, telling everyone what is and isn't folk or annexing the Sudetanland, they'll have nae bother from the likes o' me.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 10:58 AM

I have had the misfortune to have attended Meadow lane,it was marginally better than peterborough v stockport,but only really to be recommended to masochists.
folk exists,on several different levels,it exists at folk clubs and festivals,it also exist sat football grounds and rugby grounds and possibly cricket matches,but with the greatest respect,no one would pay to hear Martin Carthy singing the wheelbarrow song at a folk venue.
they might pay to hear someone sing it at a football club,I believe Richard Grainger ,was commissioned to sing and write a song for middlesborough football club,which he sang in front of 30 thousand people,but the point is that the musical creativity of football folkies,seems on the whole pretty limited to one minute wonders,and that their efforts do not stand up to being sung anywhere apart from football clubs.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 11:02 AM

I was right, S O'P, you don't understand what I mean.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 11:15 AM

Sorry Suibhne, Robert Wyatt does not equal a community and nor did Soft Machine, fine band though they were for a time.

Having recently read Bob Trubshaw's Explore Folklore (Heart of Albion, 2002) it would appear that in folkloric / ethnographic terms a community can comprise of as few as two individuals. These two individuals can evolve their own folklore, rituals and traditions; and if they are are musicians then it might be said that they have their own Folk Music. This makes the 1954 Definition very interesting! Certainly a band carries their own cultural & musical identity, however so informed by the other cultural forces around it in which pieces evolve and change with respect of a communal creative process. Compare the version of Foghat on Continental Circus to the one on Camembert Electrique, or even THIS. Likewise the various versions of The Moon in June, or Davie Stewart's singing of McGinties Meal an Ale. Odd how a cultural tradition is often best represented by the idiosyncratic creativity of the individual, be it Robert Wyatt, Davie Stewart, Sun Ra, Rahsaan Roland Kirk etc. and I dare say the same could be said of the flamboyant genius of Daevid Allen, Peter Bellamy or Vivian Stanshall. Similarly, the cultural traditions of any given language are manifest in the individual, thus does language evolve with respect of a collective spontaneity which is determined by the individuals of any given group. If two people can evolve their own language - which can be demonstrated - then the same can be said of tradition and folklore and, indeed, music.      

So - if belief in 'the folk process' is confined to head-up-arse folk nazis -

I never joke about Nazis, Brian; I don't regard the head-up-arse Folkies as fascists, or in any way malevolent, especially as I might, at times, count myself amongst their number.

where exactly did those 200+ versions of Barbara Allen come from?

Isn't this rather like saying if God doesn't exist, then who designed the universe? Or if Beavers don't have intelligence, how can they design such amazingly complex dams? There are any possible number of ways of accounting for the numerous variations in Traditional Folk Songs or, indeed, the inner mechanism of the what is called Folk Process - which no one here seems willing to talk about. The same is true of Traditional Folk Tales, which is one of the things I research as a storyteller - analogues in folk-tale morphology across cultural & linguistic frontiers, which makes the process all the more baffling at times. The Folk Process is simply about individual singers making their own creative choices about what they sing and how they sing it thus creating a cultural fluidity. That this no longer applies to the Old, Historical, Traditional Folk Songs is well established - I wrote a polemical diatribe about this for the old Harvest Home thread which I've now posted as a blog; see The Liege The Lief and the Traditional Folk Song - BUT that is no reason to suggest that this process is no longer happening to other more popular musical genres operating on this societal level and that those genres aren't, therefore, Folk Music.

Sorry for rambling on; in describing my symptoms to Ross just now he reckons I might have a mild heat-stroke after my aforementioned walk along Blackpool Beach on Monday. Heigh-ho...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 11:25 AM

I was right, S O'P, you don't understand what I mean.

As we both misunderstand one another then that's fine by me, TS.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 11:28 AM

If you can't recognise the difference between the pure magic of a recording and the "make do" of a live performance, then I don't think you can understand what I mean.

Got some brilliant albums. Been to some shit gigs.

Got some shit albums. Been to some brilliant gigs.

Horses for courses. All wrongs reversed.

If you don't agree with me you can't possibly understand and you must therefore be wrong...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 11:53 AM

"If folkies want to sing their ballads without artificial ground rules, telling everyone what is and isn't folk ... "

But generally speaking, they don't! They usually sit there in long-suffering silence. It's only when they express their views in this sort of forum that they get accused of torturing small, furry animals and other ghastly crimes - usually by people who seem to be desperate to see their favourite type of music admitted to the folk canon (in spite of the fact that such people can generally sing what they like in a folk club and get away with it!).


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 12:38 PM

"where exactly did those 200+ versions of Barbara Allen come from?"

"Isn't this rather like saying if God doesn't exist, then who designed the universe?"

More like saying: "All these wonderful fossils exist: what excellent evidence for evolution." You're not putting me on the side of the creationists.

"the inner mechanism of what is called Folk Process - which no one here seems willing to talk about"

Huh? We were talking about it on a 'Two Sisters' thread only last week. Individual creativity, imperfect memory, continuity versus change... been there. But rest assured that no-one really believes in 'collective composition' any more.

If we were to accept your Humpty-Dumpty redefinitions of words, the only outcome would be for the word 'folk' to cease to have any meaning at all. Which of course is exactly the conclusion that many have already drawn. And the answer to the OP would be "No". But where does that get anyone?

Thanks for the Gong link, though.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 05:29 PM

You're not putting me on the side of the creationists.

As it happens, the 'evolution' of folk song has a lot in common with biological evolution. Specifically, it's a two-stage process: in the case of evolution, random mutations produce variations, and natural selection determines which variations survive to the next generation. In the case of the folk process, individual creativity (plus imperfect recall and happy accidents) produces a multitude of variations - every performance of every song is different in some respect. But the second stage is crucial, just as it is with evolution: it's the adoption of particular variants by listeners, who then go on to base their own versions on a variant they like, that determines which songs go down to the next generation.

So no, it's not true to say that

The Folk Process is simply about individual singers making their own creative choices about what they sing and how they sing it thus creating a cultural fluidity.

Or rather, that's half of it - and that's the half that still happens and always will, for as long as anyone sings anything. It's the other half that's been eroded, almost into nothingness, by recorded and broadcast music.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 06:30 PM

Oi! The lot of you. Shush for a minute and listen to this!

Oh, Child 277 via Cath & Phil Tyler, by the way...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 06:45 PM

Hear Cath & Phil sing it HERE (around 7.12) in what looks like The Red Deer in Sheffield; I'd recognise that Tetley's mirror anywhere! The last gig I did there (a set of free-impov in a trio with Neil Carver & Martin Archer) it moved me to sing The Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 06:46 PM

O Death

Carol of the Birds

Sugar Baby

On this evidence, m'lud, the answer to the OP is a resounding "yes"...

Please enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 07:37 PM

Spleen Cringe

If you can't recognise the difference between the pure magic of a recording and the "make do" of a live performance,

Naughty, naughty.

Got some brilliant albums. Been to some shit gigs.

Got some shit albums. Been to some brilliant gigs.


Quite possibly true but irrelevant. You are not comparing like with like.

If you don't agree with me you can't possibly understand and you must therefore be wrong...

No, Suibhne is wrong; the lack of understanding comes afterwards. He can't understand that eating a cake is a totally different experience from looking at a picture of one and I don't understand why he doesn't see that.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 04:38 AM

Thanks, Spleen for posting the link to that recording of Phil Tyler singing, 'The Wife Wrapt in Wether's Skin'. That's exactly the sort of stuff I want to hear in a folk club (and so very rarely do). Fine singing with excellent banjo accompaniment.

It has been my experience that if you start widening the definition of folk song, to include anything that you happen to like, then this sort of stuff (the sort of stuff that I go to folk clubs for) has a tendency to be pushed out and replaced by any old 'drek'.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 06:20 AM

No, Suibhne is wrong; the lack of understanding comes afterwards. He can't understand that eating a cake is a totally different experience from looking at a picture of one and I don't understand why he doesn't see that.

Once again I hear the horrible sound of a folk-head being pushed with exquisite perversity up its own folk-arsehole; a slippery-slimy-shitty-slurp that, for all I know, might even be pleasurable, especially with respect to folk gastropods such as our very own Sycophantic Mollusc for whom this sort of bizarre behaviour would appear to be second nature.

No one mentioned fecking cake, TS - let alone pictures of cake. We're talking about music, which is a very different business altogether although there are times when I've baked something so perfect I might be tempted to take a picture of it - like This, which is, in fact, my own improved Porridge Method; feel free to PM me for the recipe. However photographs of cakes don't have the same temporal relationship to cakes as recordings of music do to live music - at least they shouldn't. In the Folk World, however, I think maybe they do, which is maybe where the confusion is arising, given that so much of the canon is derived from field-recorded documents that are rarely appreciated as pleasurable listening material in themselves. Rather they are source documents, artefacts to be studied in the absence of a corporeal Henry Mitchelmore or Pop Maynard (both of whom appear on VOTP #7 featured in the above linked image); they are mere residue, simply ghosts of the real thing.

Even Revival Folk Albums tend to be fairly straightforward recordings of the artistes as you might hear them performing in a Designated Folk Context; for sure few folk artistes have grasped the concept of using the studio as an instrument to produce stuff that they couldn't perform in a live situation. Exceptions abound I'm sure - Bright Phoebus is fascinating in this respect in that it's an entire sonic world in itself, a truly studio orientated piece of Folkish Excess that would defy live reproduction both in terms of its production & performance. And it sounds exquisite, unlike many other Folk Pop / Folk Rock albums before or since. In Folk, however, such exceptions only serve to prove rules, although the sonic world on other Leader albums (such as the beautifully produced Times and Traditions for Dulcimer by the trio of Roger Nicholson, Jake Walton and Andrew Cronshaw) would suggest an awareness at least that records, even Folk Records, aren't simply pictures of cake. Much more cake-like are the innumerable home baked folk albums, once on cassette, now on CD-R, which are indeed merely pictures of cake; cakes as they see themselves indeed; self-portraits of a self-actualised ideal of cake, however so imperfect, which to my mind is the very soul of what this cake music is all about. Folk will indeed eat itself.

I must confess at this point I'm tempted to go off on a tangent about pornography, at the very least erotica, but I'll resist that one. Instead, here's a very non-pornographic picture of yours truly performing at The Red Deer in Sheffield with my old pals Martin Archer & Neil Carver - Sedayne / Archer / Carver / September 2007. Note the Tetley mirror as might be seen in the Cath & Phil Tyler video linked to below. I might also add that Cath & Phil dropped in on us on that occasion, en route from Manchester to Sheffield with the amazing Pekko Kappi and we all ended up supping coffee on the pavement tables of The Coffee Bean in Lytham where the conversation turned to The Housecarpenter, at least Cath's version of it, False True Love, which she proceeded to give full voice to as we sat there in the cold February sunshine, thus giving at least one dear old Lytham lady cause to raise her eyebrows in astonished approval as she went about her daily business. Nice when things like that happen.   

*

Or rather, that's half of it - and that's the half that still happens and always will, for as long as anyone sings anything. It's the other half that's been eroded, almost into nothingness, by recorded and broadcast music.

Given that this other half you speak of is entirely theoretical, even to the point of being theological, doesn't this compromise your entire notion of what makes a Folk Song a Folk Song? Or do such things not matter to the folk faithful who might glibly spout such fantasies as though they were not only facts, but absolutes that account for every single variation of every single song that has come down to us? If this second stage didn't happen (after all the evidence that it did is purely circumstantial; as Brian points out, no-one really believes in 'collective composition' any more) does that mean there is no such thing as Folk Song as you understand it?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 06:33 AM

Given that this other half you speak of is entirely theoretical, even to the point of being theological, doesn't this compromise your entire notion of what makes a Folk Song a Folk Song?

It's about as theological as my belief in evolution - which I also can't observe in practice. It's the theory that best fits the evidence.

absolutes that account for every single variation of every single song that has come down to us

I think the combination of individual variation and differential survival does, in fact, account for every single variation of every single song that has come down to us - not because they're theoretical 'absolutes' but because I don't know what other factors there are.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 07:03 AM

Folk certainly seems to attract literalists. Those who'd like a musical equivalent of Newton and Darwin with the Folk Process their Origin of Species. With the hand of a maker expunged forever and a biological mass standing in for personal creativity.

My superstition hints that an uncommon man is behind the great ballads, an individual raised above his peers by capricious talent with successors merely twiddling the dials.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 07:14 AM

400


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 08:23 AM

With the hand of a maker expunged forever and a biological mass standing in for personal creativity.

This is so unlike anything I've written that I'm not sure how to respond to it. Misreading, thy name is glue.

My superstition hints that an uncommon man is behind the great ballads

Intelligent Design, eh?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 08:36 AM

"Intelligent Design, eh?"

In folk? Absolutely. The only fossil record there is in the minds of folkies.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 09:03 AM

because I don't know what other factors there are.

There are any amount of possible factors, Pip - not least the factor by which the songs come down to us - i.e. via the collectors, who invariably had a hand in things to a greater or lesser extent, with various peculiar agendas to prove in so doing. The tradition is one of a mastery of song-craft manifest in uncommon individual master ballad-mongers whose anonymity gives the illusion of a folk collectivity, but this is, I think, entirely misleading.   Worth a thought anyway, what? I don't think such songs could ever come into being via debasement; what we're seeing here is the product of a very deliberate and purposeful mastery. Sure debasement exists, as does faulty memory, which accounts for fragments and other such like dead-ends, but where a fragment is taken up and fleshed out; honed with resolute genius, then for sure you might well perceive collectivity, but all I see is people, doing what people have always done, just we don't know who they were.

Is this a bit like pressure waves travelling along a traffic jam? Or a Mexican Wave which is a similar phenomenon? We see the wave, rather than the people...

With respect of Folk Tales I've long been entranced by the notion that the syntactic structures of language are the psycho-biological wellsprings of narrative which is implicit in all art, from the most basic of sentences to the relative complexities of the sonata form. In storytelling with reception classes I've often found myself further enchanted by the sudden realisation that in a very real way the kids already know the story, which then becomes journey along a well-worn path deep into the synaptic forests of cognition itself*. So in this sense A Tradition is very much a phenomenon of human collectivity, although the process of composition remains something very different - and that takes singular genius, be it in the cunning of Butter and Cheese and All** or the music of John Coltrane. Human culture is collectivity expressed in terms of individual genius, something that our romantic Folklorists, Antiquarians and later left-wing Folk theorists were quite keen to deny, albeit for very different reasons***.

* I can't believe it either, but I'm afraid it's the sort of imagery we storytellers are prone to, especially still suffering from heat stroke...

** I know I keep banging on about this song but it's one of the ones that I recently re-learnt and in so doing entered into a very weird dialogue with the nature of the song itself which twisted up in my very dreams with vivid images both erotic & horrific, fighting me at every turn until at last it finally gave itself to me. Each time I sing it it becomes a vehicle for further musical improvisation as the images spin ever wilder in my brain. In this way the Folk Singer becomes a medium in a very singular seance indeed...

*** The former because they regarded all grubby rustics as being incapable of understanding the true significance of what they were doing and the latter because - er - much the same actually, hence the need for the guiding hand of the intelligentsia. I love the story of Alan Lomax first meeting Jimmy Miller and Albert Lancaster when they were giving a performance to the miners of Tow Law in an attempt to reintroduce them to their own folk songs. No doubt stuff like The Dirty Blackleg Miner which Bert had adapted specially for them from an American original.

*

Intelligent Design, eh?

Where there is design, there is intelligence. Otherwise, design is in the eye of the beholder, which is to say God did not create evolution, nor yet, for that matter, Folk Songs.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Morris-ey
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 09:15 AM

Having read the first five and last five posts:

Is not the essential difference between folk music and other forms that folk music evolves (or at least can do) wherever it is performed?

Compare that to what contributors to the old BBC Radio 3 forum called "western art music" (classical to you and me). Has anyone, ever, added or subtracted or changed notes to Bach or Beethoven or Elgar? How many people have added or subtracted or changed words to The Messiah or the Ring cycle?

Not that it really matters...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 09:27 AM

I don't think such songs could ever come into being via debasement

Well, here's one. A debased (half-forgotten and faultily reconstructed) version of Two Sisters. And a great song in its own right.

But I've never used the word debasement in this context (before this comment!) and it's not the word I'd choose - any more than I'd call evolution 'debasement'.

A Tradition is very much a phenomenon of human collectivity, although the process of composition remains something very different

That's pretty much what I've been saying.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 09:31 AM

Never believed in the evolution of the folk song in any meaningful sense, in the same way that I don't believe singing historical songs keeps them 'alive'. They are products of their time which people perform in disrete contexts. They have almost no leverage on contemporary sensibilities unless one captures popular imagination like, say, Scarborugh Fair, mostly through another medium such as film or television.

I think folk songs are the work of genius (in its original sense) a wayward spirit speaking through one person, not some organic temporal transference. That auteurship isn't perceived in the same way as other forms is due to the political history surrounding the revivals and the agendas carried in their wake.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 09:42 AM

"I don't think such songs could ever come into being via debasement; what we're seeing here is the product of a very deliberate and purposeful mastery."

What we may actually be seeing here (in the ballads especially) may be a glimpse of the creative workings of a non-literate culture (a culture that literate people, like us, can barely imagine). See David Buchan's 'The Ballad and the Folk'.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 09:43 AM

I think folk songs are the work of genius (in its original sense) a wayward spirit speaking through one person

What are Seeds of Love, Let No Man Steal Your Thyme and When I Was In My Prime - astonishing coincidences?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 09:49 AM

"astonishing coincidences?"

An early version of musical plagiarism? Same as modern musicians 'borrow' great bits out of other peoples songs.

(Sorry if I'm not following the line of reasoning here, I do tend to 'dip in' to this thread somewhat.)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 10:13 AM

Aye Sis, borrowing, nicking, purloining, 'homage'. There's your process laid bare.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 10:32 AM

A debased (half-forgotten and faultily reconstructed) version of Two Sisters. And a great song in its own right.

In your own words: It's a version recorded - and probably rewritten - by the Appalachian autoharpist (John) Kilby Snow. so hardly debased, or even half-forgotten or faultily reconstructed. In that sense Mark E. Smith's half-forgotten & faultily reconstructed version of Moore & Blegvad's WAR becomes a folk song...

What are Seeds of Love, Let No Man Steal Your Thyme and When I Was In My Prime - astonishing coincidences?

Hardly astonishing, nor yet even coincidences. I could demonstrate dozens of folk tales that use such similar motifs; Green Men carvings likewise. Maybe there's an implication of poetic significance here, some might say a consistency of symbolism - persuasively erotic cetainly. Not sure about Glueman's wayward spirit, but if there is such a thing then it speaks through more than the one individual.

Seeds of Love is another song wherein strange things happen, When I Was in My Prime likewise. I fact I stopped singing the latter after a spooky experience in a Durham Folk Club in which I became aware of someone standing close to me, a shadow out of the corner of my eye, a womanly fragrance, and a very definite sense of disapproval somehow. Someone was not happy with my performance, and it wasn't just the other singers. Later that night back a friend's place he nervously told me about the woman standing close to me when I was singing, but the next time he looked, she was gone. Still freaks me out every time I hear it actually. Guardians of Folk Songs? Actually I experience this sort of thing all the time - spectral presences in traditional songs. Oo-er...

Anyhoo - Back there a while I made some comment about Beaver Dams - seems the mechanism is simply a matter of beavers hating the sound of running water, so what happens after that is the organic consequence of an instinctive irritation. Play the sound of running water to a beaver over a loudspeaker and it'll grab the nearest thing to stuff it up. So much for design. We might gaze (as I often do at the zoo) at a Peacock's feather with no uncertain bafflement, but whatever the mechanics are I'm sure they'll be quite basic; Crop Circles likewise, especially in terms of an Evolving Tradition with Associated Folklore and other Fortean Implications both Mundane and Fantastic bit no less Wondrous whatever way you look upon it, and they do involve design.

*

What we may actually be seeing here (in the ballads especially) may be a glimpse of the creative workings of a non-literate culture (a culture that literate people, like us, can barely imagine).

Which is a very good point, although one school of thought has it that in such a culture human memory was far more acute at recording & recalling things than it is today. In Music Halls it's reported an audience could remember an entire song on a single hearing, likewise with lengthy lays in the Middle Ages. So how does this fit in with collective memory loss, or things changing by chance? Hmmmm...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 10:46 AM

"Guardians of Folk Songs?"

I can buy the notion of almost anything as a form of 'portal' to an alternate state - especially song and dance, being as they are universal methods for getting out of ones normal space.

Don't know that I buy song gaurdians exactly (though I wouldn't deny it as a possibility), maybe you're err 'sensitive' to dead residents of folk club, who will be interested in the songs *they* loved to sing (ie "OWNED" as indeed living residents seem to sometimes...) - and just like most folk on Mudcat, won't approve of any rendering which isn't exactly like their own!

Of course when *I* sing 'When I Was in My Prime', I only get lovely warm-heart feelings.. So maybe the ghosties approve? Hehe!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 11:14 AM

"Never believed in the evolution of the folk song in any meaningful sense..."

The evidence is there. Easily accessible. Take a look.

"I don't believe singing historical songs keeps them 'alive'... They have almost no leverage on contemporary sensibilities..."

If an audience is engaged, the song is alive. I wouldn't sing 'The Outlandish Knight' in my local pub, but I have sung it in non-folk contexts and had people break into cheering at the denouement. An audience that is prepared to listen will always be open to a good story. Whose 'contemporary sensibilities' are you judging it by?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 11:56 AM

What I can't swallow is the folk song as seamless evolution. I believe it's the unique creation of a talented individual, sometimes 2 or 3 such people with a dash of synchronicity, certainly tweaked and patched up, but decidedly not an incrementally growing artefact of 'the people'. Whoever the hell they might be.

"In Music Halls it's reported an audience could remember an entire song on a single hearing"

A very good point. My father's literacy levels were what you'd expect of a chap who left a small rural school at 14 but his recall of lengthy poems far exceeds my own - M.A. and all. Rote was the tool of choice for retaining all manner of information and un-literate people became expert at commiting to memory.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 12:55 PM


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 01:03 PM

"What I can't swallow is the folk song as seamless evolution. I believe it's the unique creation of a talented individual, sometimes 2 or 3 such people with a dash of synchronicity, certainly tweaked and patched up, but decidedly not an incrementally growing artefact of 'the people'."

Glueman, Strawman . . . no one here has made an argument for "seamless evolution" whatever that means(?) . . .

Individual creativity is one crucial component of the folk process, show me ANYONE here who has denied this. But it's not the only one, and changes to songs can and often are incremental, just as they can be intentional or accidental (anecdotes about 'perfect memory' notwithstanding) . . .

I agree, talk of 'the people' can be problematic (I would not want to live in the People's Republic of Folk Music, or the Union of Designated Soviet Folk Contexts) . . . but there is a (for lack of a better word) collective element to folk music. Look at regional styles in the US, whether it's balladry in North Carolina, banjo styles in Kentucky, 'lining-out' hymns among both white and black congregations, Holiness and Pentecostal songs, etc.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 01:05 PM

My own Grandfather likewise - he could recite endless Geordie Broon of Backworth and Kipling's Barrack Room Ballads with great aplomb. His Gunga Din was second to none and he even sang Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinney but remained oddly unimpressed when I played him Bellamy's setting of Gunga Din to Feet Still. He never lost a word.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 01:17 PM

"Which is a very good point, although one school of thought has it that in such a culture human memory was far more acute at recording & recalling things than it is today. In Music Halls it's reported an audience could remember an entire song on a single hearing, likewise with lengthy lays in the Middle Ages. So how does this fit in with collective memory loss, or things changing by chance? Hmmmm..."

Because, SO'P, Buchan suggests that in a non-literate culture texts were not fixed and ballad singers had a sort of 'construction kit' in their heads from which they made a ballad anew each time that they sang it. The 'kit' contained such things as tunes, plot lines and standard phrases ('milk-white steed', 'lily-white hand' etc.). I recommend 'The Ballad and the Folk' - it's a bit of a revelation.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 01:20 PM

The evidence for imperfect memory, mis-hearing, etc. is there in the collections (Max Hunter is good for this sort of thing, being an 'unedited' collection) . . . unless you believe that EVERY textual and melodic variation is intentional, and that EVERONE in your Grandfather's generation was possessed of perfect memory. Which would be a strange sort of Absolutism. Not that I want to put words in your mouth.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 01:22 PM

Look at regional styles in the US, whether it's balladry in North Carolina, banjo styles in Kentucky, 'lining-out' hymns among both white and black congregations, Holiness and Pentecostal songs, etc.

No one here is denying that musical traditions exist - I doubt there'd be any music without them; hell, even inveterate free-improvisers like myself are working within a musical tradition. What is under question is whether or not the Folk Process is the actual consequence of a series of random mutations or a somewhat wayward interpretation of the consequences of something a good deal more purposeful. Personally, I think it's been misrepresented by the collectors, with the evidence falsified to fit their agendas. I once had Folk Faith, becoming aware of the extent that A L Lloyd messed with the songs I'd long believed to be traditional not only shook me to the very core.

These days I treat the Revival as a Tradition in itself; all Folk Singers are, therefore, traditional; especially Traddies, boldly making sense out of the senseless and having a ball in the (folk) process.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 01:24 PM

Likewise, I don't think learning a ballad upon first hearing implies 'perfect memory' and replication of lyrics and tune, any more than repeating a story you've heard implies an exact word for word recitation.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 01:47 PM

The word process implies something protracted, drawn out. My argument is a song could be word and note perfect and changed only by accident or mis-hearing. That does not lend itself to an interpretation of being blessed by the transforming hand of the mysterious 'people', but a work of individual genius whose authorship has been lost. Yet songwriting skill and a well-crafted pithy lyric are not valourised in folk, or if they are it's at the expense of the hive mentality.
Not knowing a writer does not mean one cannot recognise singular genius or fingerprint.

Neither didactic process nor weird alchemy ring true. They're antique songs and the only thing we can be sure of (unless forged) is their antiquity - and an aggregation of myth.
Straw men are not evidenced merely by summoning their name.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 02:17 PM

(Max Hunter is good for this sort of thing, being an 'unedited' collection)

Max Hunter is good for everything! Of especial interest in this respect are Mrs Pearl Brewer's two distinct versions of Child #20 The Cruel Mother (All Down By The Greenwood Side) both of which I find utterly compelling as analogues of the same thing which might be ghosted between them. Is this imperfect memory at work? Or something more improvisatory in Mrs Brewers style? Could either of these variations go off to a second generation and become different songs? What was the prototype? How do they compare to that? In such situations such things are like a perfect sauce - a consummate reduction to its very essence but a means to an end or an end in itself? Who can say. Fact is Mrs Brewer is one of many Source Singers I do listen to for the pure beauty of her singing...

For those who don't know:

Child #20 - As sung by Mrs. Pearl Brewer, Pochahantas, Arkansas on November 12, 1958

Child #20 - As sung by Mrs. Pearl Brewer, Pocahontas, Arkansas on May 27, 1959


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 02:38 PM

Quite interesting SO'P, reminds me somewhat of my Grandmothers method of baking Cake (whilst she inevitably also sang). Well of course she knew what was supposed to go in, and how it was supposed to come out, but being a baker by trade, she didn't weigh or measure. Instead she would just adapt what she had to hand to make sure the cake baked alright. Sometimes adding a few cherries at the end if the fruit was short, or milk if the mix was too thick. Sometimes she'd leave it in the (slow) oven for an extra half an hour, if the middle hadn't quite set, etc...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:02 PM

Yes, the process requires time and multiple transmissions and recreations, that's why there are so many versions of Child 200 all over the English-speaking world, and so many of those 'Drowsy Sleeper' / 'Silver Dagger' type songs in North America. A couple of chance mis-hearings of a composed song do not imply 'folk processing' and I don't anyone here has suggested that.

"Yet songwriting skill and a well-crafted pithy lyric are not valourised in folk, or if they are it's at the expense of the hive mentality."

Bullpucky. Or, to be less polite, bullshit. Where do you come up with this stuff?

Your reference to "seamless evolution" was a Strawman. I thought my comment was fairly obvious.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:04 PM

"What is under question is whether or not the Folk Process is the actual consequence of a series of random mutations or a somewhat wayward interpretation of the consequences of something a good deal more purposeful."

No one here has argued for "a series of random mutations" and I think everyone here is agreed on the role of creativity and personal genius as an integral part of the folk process.

"Personally, I think it's been misrepresented by the collectors, with the evidence falsified to fit their agendas . . ."

Which collectors? Certainly not Max Hunter, nor Vance Randolph, nor Mike Cohen, nor Art Rosenthal, nor Mark Wilson. Certainly an individualist such as yourself understands that such generalized statements are unfair and invalid.

My favorite version of 'Greenwood Side'/'Cruel Mother' is the one sang by Addie Graham.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:12 PM

What is under question is whether or not the Folk Process is the actual consequence of a series of random mutations

Not really. I wrote:

in the case of evolution, random mutations produce variations, and natural selection determines which variations survive to the next generation. In the case of the folk process, individual creativity (plus imperfect recall and happy accidents) produces a multitude of variations - every performance of every song is different in some respect.

Not "random mutations" but "individual creativity". Agreed?

I also wrote:

But the second stage is crucial, just as it is with evolution: it's the adoption of particular variants by listeners, who then go on to base their own versions on a variant they like, that determines which songs go down to the next generation.

and I think it's this part you disagree with, although I still can't quite make out why.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:16 PM

When I rouse demons I know the angels are at my side. The folk process is a myth, at least one that has 'the people' as an ingredient.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:18 PM

That recollection of my Grandmother baking cakes, makes me almost certain that we've quite thoroughly lost the plot about all this folk singing stuff. I think I'd definitely better stick to singing songs in sweet ignorance in future!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:32 PM

Sing your heart out CS. It's music, there are no experts. Anyone who claims to be one or wants to put it in harness is an idiot.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:36 PM

"When I rouse demons I know the angels are at my side"

If I had any idea what you are talking about I would attempt a response.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:37 PM

You just did.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:43 PM

Touche.

And now, let's try to get back on topic.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 03:56 PM

"I think it [the folk process] has been misrepresented by the collectors, with the evidence falsified to fit their agendas... becoming aware of the extent that A L Lloyd messed with the songs I'd long believed to be traditional not only shook me to the very core."

Cobblers. Lloyd, we know, altered songs. His main reason seems to have been to improve them artistically, although in a few cases he may have had as his agenda the validation of his 'Industrial Song' Big Idea. But not 'validating the folk process'.

For all the flak that's been directed at Cecil Sharp, not even his severest critics have accused him of making up songs to demonstrate the folk process. Omitting the ones he didn't approve of, maybe. But that's a different issue.

As I said above, the evidence is there if you care to look at it. Hundreds of ballads, hundreds of variants (some of them differing by the merest gnat's crotchet, others wildly), catalogued by dozens of collectors most of whom - I hope you'll concede - "falsified the evidence". The evidence also includes, in some cases, the testimony of the singers themselves. What I'm seeing on your part is an elevation of the notion that 'folk music is no different to any other kind of music', to the point where all evidence to the contrary must be denied or ignored.

That's what I call 'an agenda'.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 04:07 PM

'folk music is no different to any other kind of music'

I'll have a slice of that. The convoluted backstory is purely for those who want validation for singing a song. Most people do it for the same reason a bird sings, to remember they're alive. Not to continue some half-arsed notion that they're involved in a process.

It's hard not to believe the whole thing isn't an elaborate scam to make pedants feel involved.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,eliza c
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 08:05 PM

glueman...
pedants feeling involved!!!!!
:-D
xe


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 08:20 PM

"Jim is looking at a grand old house through a keyhole and claiming he has a firm knowledge of its interior"
Glueman:
I have no expectations whatever of getting an answer on this one as I have come to realise that these unsubstantiated sweeping statements are designed solely to score points - but here goes anyway:
Where have I ever claimed that I have a 'firm knowlege' of anything - sorry - still learning.
What do you base this statement on?
Have you looked at our work? Are you familiar with the interviews we carried out with traditional singers? If so, where did we misconstrue them? What aspects of our researches do you think we messed up on? Where is your own research to contradict anything I have claimed? So far all you have put forward have been unqualified vaccuuous statements. Is there anywhere we can go to to look at your own work? So far all we have are armchaire musings WITH NOTHING TO BACK UP ANYTHING YOU HAVE CLAIMED.   
"Never believed in the evolution of the folk song in any meaningful sense"
One of the most popular songs we recorded from Irish Travellers was 'The Blind Beggar'. It was probably written during the reign of Elizabeth Ist, based on a living character and was entered in the stationers register in a 67 verse form in 1672. We recorded at least 8 distinct versions of it from various singers, where it had been pared down from its 67 verses to between 6 to 9, as well as at least the same number of incomplete sets.
Is its transition through time and distance and the fact that, after more than three centuries it remained in the oral tradition and has obviously been adapted to a thoroughly singable form right into the latter half of the 20th century not significant enough for you?
The Unfortunate Rake probably originated at the end of the 18th century as a street ballad. It is almost certainly the most widely travelled of all our folk songs. Some time in its history it split into two distinct forms; one from a man's point of view, the other from a woman's.
It is variously known as Sailor/Soldier/Cowboy/Young Man/Young Girl/Lad/BoyAirman/Trooper/......., The Whore's Lament, When I Was On Horseback/House of The Rising Sun/St James's Hospital/St James's Infirmary/St James's Workhouse..........
Why does "Never believed in the evolution of the folk song in any meaningful sense" come over as 'vaccuuous armchair smugness'?
On the other hand I may once again have got it all dreadfully wrong, so once again - on what do you base your claims?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 05:03 AM

Loving your stuff eliza, never seen a bad gig. Always thought you were the solution not the problem.
Siding with songwriters, whenever they lived, not the bluddy people.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 05:07 AM

Jim, research and music in the same sentence make me come over all nasty. If research means listening to donkey's years of folk music, I'm a researcher.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 05:44 AM

Just to say I feel like shit today & I've lost track of this one completely so I'm phoning in sick.

In response to Shimrod back there I'd just like to say that just because I feel all music can (and does) operate as folk music in terms of context & process, that doesn't mean I'm wanting to see that reflected it in folk clubs. The context of a Folk Club is sacrosanct to a particular faith and I have my ideals of what sort of thing I might expect to hear there - just as when I pick up a copy of Railway Modeller I expect to see an exquisitely modelled NER rural branch-line terminus circa 1934 with scratch built locos and rolling stock. You get the idea.

Anyway, keep the faith. For the rest of the day I'm going to be curled up on the sofa under the duvet watching DVDs of Magma's Mythes & Legendes concerts filmed at the Triton re-unions back in 2006. Here's a taste:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlJKKtgreqw


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 05:50 AM

Hope it's not swine flu, Suibhne. Get well soon.

glueman:
"The convoluted backstory is purely for those who want validation for singing a song. Most people do it for the same reason a bird sings, to remember they're alive. Not to continue some half-arsed notion that they're involved in a process."

Not sure what happens on planet glueman, but here on Earth I've never met a singer of traditional songs who didn't do it for the joy of singing. The 'convoluted backstory' is an addendum for those with enquiring minds.

And thanks, Jim, for the eloquent post on song evolution.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 06:11 AM

I'm for releasing folk from the addendum because it attracts too many for whom the sixth toe has become the whole point. People who shout 'what are your sources' or for all I know 'Judas!'

The way into folk music will be always the sound, digging the groove. If people want to bring their own hang-ups or go on a musical treasure hunt it's their prerogative but their opinions will always be after the fact.
On SOP's modelling analogy a new ready to run, weathered and detailed by the owner, serves equally as well as scratchbuilding, though scratch is fine so long as the builder doesn't bang on about it as the whole point. Arriving fully formed from it's originator doesn't mean we can't make our own mark, but it would be silly to say the postman who brought the package was part of the process.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 06:22 AM

Brian: The way into folk music will be always the sound, digging the groove

glueman: I've never met a singer of traditional songs who didn't do it for the joy of singing

me: no recording can ever capture the pure joissance of simply being there, which is one of the things I love about [singarounds]

Suibhne: I've never heard a traditional song I didn't like. Well, maybe one or two.

(I might have muddled some of those attributions.)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 06:39 AM

The point is - and this has been a large part of my reason for getting into these ridiculous arguments all along - the old songs groove. It goes like this - the fourth, the fifth... - they hit those intervals that evoke sweetness and sadness and joy (and sometimes all three), and then they hit them again. The kinds of effects that a contemporary songwriter would try to evoke by the end of the second middle-eight (I know, I've done it) - the old songs just go straight for it. There are subtleties and shadings, but they're carried on a big, definite framework: this is a song about love and death and you are going to feel it.

And that's why I love them. And that's why I feel short-changed if I go to a folk night and I'm the only one singing them.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 06:41 AM

I took my father-in-law to one of Eliza's gigs recently. A man for whom the term easy listening could have been coined. He loved it and has spent the intervening weeks telling his lounge-core friends how brilliant she is.

You don't have to know a damn thing about folk music to get it but no amount of attribution will bring you round if you don't.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 07:25 AM

"Jim, research and music in the same sentence make me come over all nasty. If research means listening to donkey's years of folk music, I'm a researcher."
We've all done that and come to different conclusions.
I take it that you have nothing to back up your conclusions other than your good word - and you've more than shown us what that's worth.
So we're left with armchair musings - ah well.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 07:32 AM

Not going down the grumpy music route again. I know what research is at the higher academic levels. I choose not to let it anywhere near the music I love because I understand what it can reveal and what it can't.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 07:46 AM

Some idle musings on music and research - from the viewpoint of one whose interest is more in melodies than songs. (Nothing against the old songs, but I only sing one or two of them myself and prefer my narratives in other formats).

Me and my mate Ian were having one of our weekly or fortnightly afternoon jams - coffee, guitars, fiddles, viola, mandolin - just busking through this and that. We were running in a jazzy way through a Bach gavotte in Am - probably from one of the lute suites, but I can't remember which for the moment - and, when we stopped for coffee, we remarked on the resemblance of the implied chords to stuff like St. James' Infirmary. Which got us speculating - in the light of our joint view that, as far as chord progressions are concerned, Bach has been there, done it and printed the T-shirt - how far composers like Bach, Purcell, etc., had both drawn from and contributed to the traditional music of their day and afterwards. How much had filtered back and forth along the chain, particularly where fiddle tunes were concerned. How Gay's "Beggar's Opera" had drawn on popular tunes, etc., etc - just chewing the fat.

A fascinating topic, and one which we may well spend some time on investigating further from scores and tune books - and a topic which has probably been well researched already, for all I know.

How, in the name of the sainted J.S.B., how can synergy like that, and knowledge of synergy like that be detrimental to me playing the music and some other bugger listening to it, Glueman? You might laugh at my ignorance, but I only found out, from the Senior Member at a recent Surrey session, that Michael Turner was a local man. (His violin apparently hung in a local museum). Now, I've played "Michael Turner's Waltz" many, many times without knowing that. "What does it matter?" I hear you say. Well, knowing that, I won't attempt to play it with grace notes, phrasing and other techniques which are taken from an Irish or a Scottish, or even a Northumbrian tradition.

It's only a trivial example, but knowing more about the roots and springs from which music flows can only be beneficial, perhaps at a level of which we're not immediately aware.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 07:50 AM

You don't have to know a damn thing about folk music to get it

but you need to have the chance to hear it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 08:06 AM

That's a fair point PR. I believe the serious face of folk music stops people getting access to the tradition as much as the inclusion of pop in clubs. Youngsters simply won't run the gauntlet of BS to be told what is and isn't 'authentic'.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 08:17 AM

Will Fly

You might laugh at my ignorance, but I only found out, from the Senior Member at a recent Surrey session, that Michael Turner was a local man. (His violin apparently hung in a local museum). Now, I've played "Michael Turner's Waltz" many, many times without knowing that. "What does it matter?" I hear you say. Well, knowing that, I won't attempt to play it with grace notes, phrasing and other techniques which are taken from an Irish or a Scottish, or even a Northumbrian tradition.

But did you know that it is actually written by Mozart? Michael Turner's version differs a bit from the original and it's changed in subtle ways over the years as it's been played in sessions so why not play it in an Irish, Scottish or Northumbrian style if you want to? I've heard that it's a popular busking tune in France where it's known as Dave's Waltz and it's used for a traditional American Hymn.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 08:47 AM

Yes - I confess I did know it was by Mozart, actually - and of course I can choose to play anything in any style I want to (and frequently do), regardless of any knowledge I may or may not have about a tune. I was just making the point that knowing something about the origins of a tune need not necessarily detract from either playing it or listening to it. As you can see from reading my previous paragraph, we were quite happily jazzing our way through the Bach gavotte...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 09:45 AM

"I choose not to let it anywhere near the music I love because I understand what it can reveal and what it can't."
Then why make crass statements about its existence, origins... etc?
All ill-informed bollocks really
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 09:55 AM

Disagree oh thunderer. Not at all crass, just aimed at winkling out shibboleths and acts of faith from the realities. Folk means different things to different people, the so-called process is one of those things that sets the dogs nodding.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 11:31 AM

"one of those things that sets the dogs nodding."
What evidence do you have that 'the folk process' does not exist?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 11:50 AM

"I believe the serious face of folk music stops people getting access to the tradition as much as the inclusion of pop in clubs. Youngsters simply won't run the gauntlet of BS to be told what is and isn't 'authentic'."

When I was a 'youngster' (a long, long time ago) I became interested in folk song because it 'rang my bell' more than the pop music of the time and it was "the serious face of folk music" which kept me interested. I didn't have to run any "gauntlet of BS" but I did get to meet some of the great names of the time and to listen to both their music and their wise words on the subject (I don't remember any 'BS').

I must admit that I do get a bit fed-up with you droning on about "acts of faith" 'glueman'. The theoretical background to folk music is based on thousands of hours of observation and research undertaken by some very talented and insightful people - whereas your vague musings seem to have been dreamed up in odd moments between scratching your arse and picking your nose. To dismiss all of that hard work in favour of a few arbitrary notions and prejudices seems to me to be the height of arrogance.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Michael Morris sans cookie
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 01:46 PM

"I'd be extremely interested in a post modern theory of folk music if there's one available. I'm not a post modernist but it sounds like a cat among stool pigeons. Or the role of the songwriter in folk, re-appraising the craft of Bert Lloyd, something on gender and if you have a psychoanalytic reading the folk revivalist I'm all ears."

"I know what research is at the higher academic levels. I choose not to let it anywhere near the music I love because I understand what it can reveal and what it can't."

Make up your mind, Glueman.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 03:00 PM

To be clear, some doctoral or post-doctoral research evidencing precisely how effective 'the process' is as a way of defining what's commonly described as folk music would be most welcome. I have no problem with change as a vehicle of transmission, I hesitate to bracket all folk songs as substantially changed because the index of transformation is not defined in a meaningful way. Taken as a whole my instinct is some traditional music is clearly common whereas others appear to be taken as common music on trust.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 03:44 PM

"To be clear, some doctoral or post-doctoral research evidencing precisely how effective 'the process' is as a way of defining what's commonly described as folk music would be most welcome."
whatever happened to:
"I choose not to let it anywhere near the music I love because I understand what it can reveal and what it can't."
How about some evidence straight from the horses mouth.
The Irish and Scots Travellers held on to their singing and storytelling traditions far longer than any other communities in these islands TOTALLY WITHOUT ACCESS TO LITRACY.
It was still possible to record full texts of song from them right into the mid-seventies including many of the Child ballads which had disappeared from the repertoires of field singers - 24 verse version of Lamkin, a similar length version of Young Hunting, The Outlandish Knight, The Grey Cock, Edward, Lord Randall - living examples of an oral tradition.
Of course,, this might not suit your own particular agenda- but you can't win 'em all.
I asked for evidence - all I got was waffle - no surprise there.
Business as usual
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 04:06 PM

I never claimed there is no such thing as an sung tradition of historic music, just that notions of 'the people' and 'process' are rather over-egged by those with a particular agenda.
Whatever their levels of "LITRACY".


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 04:22 PM

This is becoming very murky. I'm saying I can tell what folk music is by listening to it. Someone telling me it was Child 75 'Lord Lovel' or that he based his work on Gruntvig's model or it yields to a Proppian morphology is unnecessary to know it's a folk song.
If however traditionalists insist that academic readings are necessary for proof, or that such proofs play any part in appreciating music, then their research models and terminology are going to have to be impeccable. I'd rather keep professorial research away from the self-evident truth of my ears but terms like the people and the process serve to muddy the waters, not clear them.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,michael Morris sans cookie
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 04:34 PM

"I'd rather keep professorial research away from the self-evident truth of my ears but terms like the people and the process serve to muddy the waters, not clear them."

"To be clear, some doctoral or post-doctoral research evidencing precisely how effective 'the process' is as a way of defining what's commonly described as folk music would be most welcome."

"I'd be extremely interested in a post modern theory of folk music if there's one available . . . . Or the role of the songwriter in folk, re-appraising the craft of Bert Lloyd, something on gender and if you have a psychoanalytic reading the folk revivalist I'm all ears."

Murky, yes. Particularly when you can't seem to decide whether you want quantitive proof of the 'folk process', a 'critical theory' of folk music, a psychoanalytic reading of the folk revivalist," a postmodern theory of folk music, or just the "self-evident truth of my ears".


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 04:40 PM

How about this for a self-evident truth - Lord Lovel, along with The Suffolk Miracle, Captain Wedderburn's Courtship, The Keach in The Creel, The Cruel Mother, Lord Bateman and The Silk Merchants Daughter - Scots and English ballads all, proliferated in this remote(ish) area of the west of Ireland up to thirty odd years ago - all to be found in ther repertoires of 'the people' ie the rural working classes. You really don't need an M.A. to work out how they got here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 05:40 PM

A wilful misquote Guest MM. We'll keep research out of the picture completely and trust out ears. Agreed?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 09 - 11:01 AM

"A wilful misquote"
More than a little rich from someone whose stock-in-trade is misquotes and distortions (want a list?). Personally I can't see anything misquoted.
".....some doctoral or post-doctoral research evidencing precisely how effective 'the process' is as a way of defining what's commonly described as folk music would be most welcome." -
"We'll keep research out of the picture completely and trust out ears."
Now how do we square that circle? To me it reads "let's ignore the facts (other than the ones I make up myself!!!)".
The academic research work has been done: Abrahams and Foss, Bronson, Wilgus, Lloyd, Goldstein, Sharp, David Buchan, Glassie and Ives, Lomax (and his Cantometrics team), Charles Seeger, David Buchan, David Atkinson..... the list is endless.
The studies of the singers and their communities have been carried out to the satisfaction of all who take the trouble to examine them: MacColl and Seeger (English and Scots Travellers), Artelia Court and Alen McWeeney (Irish Travellers) Porter and Gower (Jeannie Robertson and other Scots Travellers), Hamish Henderson (both Scots Traveller and settled singers) Robin Morton (Fermanagh singer John Maguire), Hugh Shields (Donegal singers), Tom Munnelly (Clare singer Tom Lenihan), Henry Ives (Maine woodsmen), Alan and John Lomax (convicts, blues singers and many, many others), Henry Glassie (2 magnificent volumes (plus) of the songs and music of a Fremanagh village), Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin (Irish language singing in Uster), Lillis Ó Laoire (song and singers in Tory Island....... again, the list is endless.
Even some of the singers have put in their own opinion on record; Sheila Stewart, Willie McFee, Almeda Riddle, Betsy Whyte, Jean Richie, Duncan Williamson.......
Yet we ignore all this and "trust to our ears" - whose ears, yours? Someone who is apparently doing a Hamlet "To research or not to research ……..", and constantly misrepresents (deliberately, to judge by the response when challenged) the opinions of others and even his own - "I know what research is at the higher academic levels. I choose not to let it anywhere near the music I love" - gi'e us a break jimmy.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Jul 09 - 11:39 AM

"If however traditionalists insist that academic readings are necessary for proof, or that such proofs play any part in appreciating music, then their research models and terminology are going to have to be impeccable. I'd rather keep professorial research away from the self-evident truth of my ears but terms like the people and the process serve to muddy the waters, not clear them."

No-one is "insisting" on anything except you, 'glueman'! And who, exactly, has suggested that "proofs play any part in appreciating music"?

And, in the absence of any coherent arguments (or, indeed, evidence) on your part), I can only conclude that you think that "terms like the people and the process serve to muddy the waters" because they don't support your preconceptions.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 10:25 AM

Well I've had a few days away, read the thread and I'm convinced. Only stuff that fits the 1954 definition is valid and any other music in clubs or festivals should be heckled off the stage.
If I do notice any young people with a keenness for acoustic music they describe as folk they'll get a piece of my mind. Or I'll argue the toss with a tidal wave of words until they go away, or mad, whichever's sooner.

Thank you for enlightening me gentlemen, I have become one of you.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 10:54 AM

"Well I've had a few days away, read the thread and I'm convinced. Only stuff that fits the 1954 definition is valid and any other music in clubs or festivals should be heckled off the stage."
Won't bother to ask you to justify this - will chalk it up as another example of hit-and-run argument which you appear to favour.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 11:26 AM

I'm enlightened. It was the volume of words that did it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 12:15 PM

Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman - PM
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 04:45 AM

.

I shall attend a couple of folk clubs soon and report back.


How did it go?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 12:23 PM

Have mostly been on holiday but if I find any singer-songwriter folk-lite I'll be sure to do as everyone advised and tell them they're wrong, and to check here why.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 02:31 AM

"..........singer-songwriter folk-lite I'll be sure to do as everyone advised and tell them they're wrong,"
Don't supposed you're prepared to tell us who has said that snigger snogwriters are "wrong"? No? - thought not.
Keep it up Glueman - if you haven't got any facts to back up your argument - make 'em up!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 03:20 AM

BTW what is the correct response when you find non-54 tradition in a folk club?

a ) point out their error up to and including fisticuffs

b ) heckle

c ) moan interminably on Mudcat

d ) patronise the group with 'very nice if you like that sort of thing' comments

e ) roll eyes at fellow Ascended Masters but keep turning up because nowhere else will have you

f ) see the band's musical judgements as a matter of personal opinion


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 04:42 AM

And cover up your distortions in order to avoid answering awkward questions
Keep it up - only makinging my point for me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 04:46 AM

So which one is it Jimbo?
On the 'snigger-snogwriters' point (nice respectful term there from a folkie) it was Bridge. You do the search.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 04:55 AM

snigger snogwriters

I for one am getting pretty angry at the use of that term. Many of the songs we hold so dear were written by such people.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 04:59 AM

Thing to understand here is that the 1954 Folkies such as Richard, Pip and Jim have never expressed any disapproval of other types of music - see Pip's Dylan Night thread for example; and Richard seems very eclectic in his remit & performance; Jim likewise. What they say is that other types of music can't be Folk; they're not saying other types of music are in any way inferior.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 05:09 AM

That's a very literalist view of their conclusions if I may say so SOP. If their opinion on the exact definition of folk was an academic one without any repercussion in performing contexts, I'd agree it would be simply a point of view. As it is there's ample evidence they valourise the 54 definition at the expense of other musical practices. Neither do I believe they all share a similar outlook on the validity of non-traditional music when performed in folk clubs.

The volume and ferocity of engagement does not derive from an emphasis in wording.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 05:18 AM

Many of the songs we hold so dear were written by such people.

Is that the Royal We there, Sminky? Because personally, I can't think of a single one. But then I'm a 1954 Traddie by default - and when it comes to Folk, I only do trad. and any exception to that (such as the songs of Ron Baxter, Rudyard Kipling, Peter Bellamy etc.) are idiomatically trad. if not by process, then certainly by design.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 05:21 AM

"Thank you for enlightening me gentlemen, I have become one of you."

Oh, nice new tactic, 'glueman'! What do you call that? Rueful irony, perhaps?

Instead of wasting your time coming up with these endless distractions, why don't you tell us what, exactly, you believe in and what should, in your opinion, happen in folk clubs?

Right, I'm off to discourage some young people and then I might strangle a few cute, furry kittens! Aaaahhhh, ha, ha, ha!!!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 05:25 AM

Yeh, what I don't get is the assumption that if I like traditional music I also must de facto like a load of lame-assed introspective singer-songwriter guff of the sort that is beloved of folk clubs, with their "well-crafted", "tasteful", "workmanlike" bloody pointless, pedestrian, dreary bollocks. Fuck that! Give me the Stooges, Gong, John Coltrane, Henry Flynt, the Wooden Shjips, Six Organs of Admittance, the Skygreen Leopards, Bonnie "Prince" Billy and a thousand others over the self important ranks of singer-songwriters ("troubabours"? Bleeeuuurch!) anytime. And if I want to hear a good "singer-songwriter", chances are I won't be looking in a folk club to find them!

I do know, by the way, that some good original songs are still being written in a "folk style" by people who are part of the "folk scene" (Rapunzel's "Riverdance" or Wendy Arrowsmith's "The Visitor" spring to mind immediately) but I also know that you have to wade through oceans of dull shite to get to the good stuff.

Tee hee!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 05:27 AM

Gong

They're on - in Blackpool - Winter Gardens tomorrow night - after midnight - which means - I can't go! Shame it wasn't the Marine Hall in Fleetwood...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 05:40 AM

"I for one am getting pretty angry.........."
Having endured well over half a lifetime of such facile bollocks as 'finger in ear', 'purist', 'folk police' and all the other 'highly intellectual' summings up of my opinions, I feel myself totally justified to lose my patience occasionally and retaliating in kind, so please - please feel free to get as angry as you wish. If my using the term 'snigger snogwriter' gets up the right noses GOOD - perhaps it might go some way to putting an end to this infantile crap so we can all debate and share our ideas and opinions like adults.
Thank you SO'P (can't speak for the rest of the trio, but I'm not sure I answer to the 1954 folkies description, though I appreciate your kind words).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 05:46 AM

Shimrod, I prefer the music of the tradition but recognise it purely as the preference of a jaded musical palate searching for a hit, not an absolute conclusion backed by proofs.
It's also worth recognising that music hall songs, swing, boogie-woogie, ragtime, rock and roll and the rest were adopted by people who lived under a more direct influence of Tradition than we do, and found historical music limiting in its scope and its ability to relate to ordinary people.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 05:50 AM

Why do so many people assume that singer-songwriters are a 20/21st century phenomenon?

I'll give you a name S O'P - Joseph Lees, 18/19th century singer-songwriter. Creator of John O'Greenfield. By chance we know his name, but his unknown predecessors stretch back through the ages.

And BTW Spleen, some of them wrote bollocks too, but the songs didn't susrvive. Nothing new under the sun.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 05:58 AM

Fair point Sminky. I hope some of the songs I've had to sit through suffer the same fate...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:03 AM

So do I Spleen, and I'm sure they will ;-)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:10 AM

And so we return to the undeniable fact that all traditional songs were written by someone, and even if altered contained the signature of the originator, not the Bleedin' People.
If I could account for a single reason to stay out of folk clubs, even more than risking the opinions of Shimrod and his Newtonian Folk Proofs, it's a fear of hearing Streets of London played on a guitar.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:17 AM

But "music hall songs, swing, boogie-woogie, ragtime and [to a certain extent] rock and roll" are now regarded as "historical" musics and have been displaced.

I also don't buy this argument that the music that I like must also be relevant to 'ordinary people'. How relevant were swing, boogie-woogie and ragtime relevant to 'ordinary' British people in the past and how relevant is rap music relevant to 'ordinary' British people today? I would suggest that they were or are relevant because they were or are fashionable. Personally, I've never 'got' fashion (but surely the Emperor is naked?!) and it doesn't influence my tastes.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:48 AM

Swing was probably a revelation for some landgirl whose only exposure to music was Grandfer's fiddle tunes. Sexy, brash, great dances.
Lindy Hop


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:51 AM

Personal tastes aside (always). The fact that 'Streets' is so commonly played should tell you something about the song.

I recently took delivery of a new guitar at my place of work. I got the usual 'play us something' demands from my colleagues (of vastly differing ages and musical tastes). I played 'Streets' - without singing.

To a man (and woman) they spontaneously launched into the chorus. That should tell you something about it too.

Let it simmer for 200 years - with enough 'polishing' it might become a 'good' song.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:58 AM

I suspect any type of music is only "relevant" to those people it's relevant to. I've never consciously let popularity or lack thereof have any bearing on my tastes, though I have to sometimes stop myself from willingfully pursuing the obscure for its own sake.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 07:00 AM

SoL has become a litmus for *what do we mean by folk*. It sounds like it belongs in a designated folk context but points in the wrong direction.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 07:04 AM

Let it simmer for 200 years - with enough 'polishing' it might become a 'good' song.

Well, it's been simmering away now for 40 years and it's still no better - or indeed no different - than it was. What makes you think another 160 years will make a difference?

I hate The Hiring Fair even more, especially that look of utter perverse earnestness that invariably comes on the singers face when she puts his hand (pause) on her tit.

*

Actually my wife (the aforementioned Rapunzel) is a snigger-snogwriter, amongst other things; check her stuff out here: http://www.myspace.com/rachelmccarron. Her Sarah Says was a favourite of mine even before we got to know one another because it touched a literary nerve and inspired a mythos in its own right which leads somehow to me remixing it as Sarah More or Less a couple of years back. Folk? Process? I like to think so... Check it out! Raw folk-trip-hop fusion!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 07:16 AM

"It's also worth recognising that music hall songs, swing, boogie-woogie, ragtime, rock and roll and the rest were adopted by people"
They were not 'adopted' by the people - they may have been listened to and sung by them, quite often by the same people who sang folk songs, but they remained recognised as products of the music hall and the popular music composers and they tended to remain unchanged and unadapted. On the other hand, folk songs, whatever their origins, were taken over by the communities where they thrived and adapted out of all recognition. It would appear that their origins were considered unimportant enough to have been forgotten almost immediately on their being acquired (can provide enough evidence for this if required).
".....and even if altered contained the signature of the originator"
No they didn't, otherwise we might have some idea who wrote them - or maybe you have some idea who wrote Barbara Allen, or The Unfortunate Rake, or even what part of these islands he or she hailed from.
There is plenty of evidence that some folk songs were the original comositions of a number of people - all unknown.
The definition of a 'folk song' has nothing to do with who composed it or even in what form it was originally written - it is the process it underwent that provides its identity.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 07:25 AM

What makes you think another 160 years will make a difference?

Maybe it won't - so what? (40 years is nowt - though variations have already sprung up in the US). The fact that it is still being sung in 2209 (if indeed it is) should tell you something about it.

The opinions of you, me or next door's cat about the merits of the song amount to Jack Shit. Personal tastes aside - remember?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 07:38 AM

I'd include 'completely leaving behind historic music and choosing the radio and the dancehall' as part of the process of adoption. Boy hears Rolling Stones, seeks out John Lee Hooker, plays domestically intoned white blues, forms progressive blues rock band, music ignored for 30 years before being adopted by revivalists with new spin. Process in action.

Never bought into *the* process, only a process. Processes evolve like music, it's perverse to imagine otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 09:12 AM

I haven't looked at Rachel's page for some time - and I'm glad I just have again. As well as Sarah Says/Sarah More or Less, I remember listening to her rendition of Bonny Boy some time back, and thinking it was jolly good.

Very recently, after I came upon versions of the song by both June Tabor and Shirley Collins, I decided to learn it for myself. But after following the link you posted, must say I like your wife's version far more than either Shirley or June's - for whatever it's worth.

What's the drone thing? I noticed that it's sounds pitched to the lowest note in the song. Anyway it works well with such elegant and clean ornament.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 09:44 AM

What's the drone thing? I noticed that it's sounds pitched to the lowest note in the song.

That's me improvising the accompaniment on our Indian harmonium in (gulp!) real time; I have a perverse approach to drones & modality, and the modulations thereof, but when it works, as this did, it can be quite effective.

*

Sorry to all good folks for using the word tit back there by the way, it should really have been nork or, in honour of H. E. Bates (whose influence Ralphie was obviously labouring under when he wrote the song) nelly.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 09:56 AM

"The opinions of you, me or next door's cat about the merits of the song amount to Jack Shit."
Merit has nothing to do with definition, except to those who substitute personal preference for definition.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 10:14 AM

"Merit has nothing to do with definition"

From the horse's mouth. Are you still insisting definitions and processes don't evolve?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 10:16 AM

Here goes again
When did I ever insist that definitions and processes didn't evolve - of course they do.
Won't hold my breath
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 10:18 AM

I still maintain that the term Folk Music has more than one meaning; and that there is a pragmatic usage not entirely inconsistent with even the most Orthodox Reading of the 1954 Definition.

As an essentially creative / improvising musician, my music is more informed by folk than it is by say jazz or rock. I sing trad. folk songs to improvised accompaniments on Indo-European folk instruments; I improvise on these instruments using traditional Indo-European rhythms & modalities. I also improvise when I talk using the common English language & structures thereof to spontaneously compose sentences in response to other English speakers. All life in improvisation - be it the fields, on the beach, in the kitchen or in the bedroom. Sun Ra spoke of music being a universal language; and improvising jazz musicians such as Johnny Mbizo Dyani, Don Cherry, Dudu Pukwana, and Ken Hyder spoke of their music in terms of being folk music, rooted in their respective cultures by way of an international awareness arising from the national, which is something Hamish Henderson spoke about. When I write my autobiography it will be called Perverted by Piobaireachd.

But once again I might groove on the objectives of the International Council for Traditional Music (formerly the International Folk Music Council): to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries.

Now that, I think, just about covers it!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 10:59 AM

Spleen: "well-crafted", "tasteful", "workmanlike" bloody pointless, pedestrian, dreary bollocks

glue: If I could account for a single reason to stay out of folk clubs ... it's a fear of hearing Streets of London played on a guitar.

Amen to that - I stayed well away from folk clubs for years because I thought what I'd hear would be either SoL or self-penned SoL wannabes: nice, well-meaning, moderately well-written, moderately tuneful, moderately memorable, extremely dull. And when I did venture into folk clubs I did hear quite a bit of that*, but I also heard some really good singer-songwriter stuff (there is some) and some traditional stuff, which I liked and found I could do myself. Six years later I found my way to a venue where the music is mostly (but not exclusively) traditional, and promptly became the mild-mannered traddie fanatic you see before you now. Pip to world: Folk doesn't have to mean Streets of sodding London! There is another way! If I can save one novice folkie from six years of listening to Ralph McTell songs*, it'll all be worthwhile.

*To be fair, I never actually heard anyone do SoL in that time (although someone did once do quite a good parody).


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Diva
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 11:05 AM

Well it exists for me! Just back from Cullerlie and have spent a weekend listening to and singing with some of the finest singers in Britain and Ireland. Heard everything from Bothy ballads, muckle sangs, self penned wonderment from Adam McNaughton and Con O Driscoll and we won't mention the bawdry in the bothy!!!!!!! Suffice to say I have the first verse of the Nine Auld Hoors O Bythe from Danny Couper.   I think my mammy was a wee bit shocked but not surprised


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Diva
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 11:07 AM

And heard Margaret Spiers sing Bonny Lass o Fyvie to one of the tunes in the Greg Duncan which makes it a different song altogether......


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 11:16 AM

Nine Auld Hoors O Bythe

Now this I want to hear!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 11:22 AM

Surely the grammar's wrong, shouldn't the question be

'Do Folk Exist?'


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 11:23 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 11:44 AM

The irony of all this of course is that, as many of us have stressed over and over again, the 1954 definition is in need of udating and improving - based on the information which has been gathered since its acceptance.
This is not to say that it can be used as a dustbin to dump anything that you happen to need a convenient label (or venue) for.
This will NOT happen while we continue to retreat into our own particular corners and slug away.
As it stands, flawed as it is, the original definition will remain in place and continue to be documented - warts and all.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 12:13 PM

Surely the grammar's wrong, shouldn't the question be...

We've been through that. My original suggestion was Does Folk music exist? - this became Does Folk exist? which makes perfect sense in terms of its usage. Grammatically it's like asking Does Jazz exist?, or Does Piobaireachd exist? or Does Ambient exist?, the answer to which is an unreserved affirmative. However if one asks does Folk exist as a musical genre in the same way that Piobaireachd and Ambient do?, the answer to which is, of course, Yes but only, it would seem as a Academic Antiquarian Category with Severe Qualifications or as a section in your local friendly HMV store. I'm ignoring here the Designated Folk Scene, which, right now, I hope, is a figment of my fevered imagination...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 06:09 PM

lets get back to something interesting: Notts County.
ground capacity 20300,with a ground that size there is no way that in the long term they can compete with the big boys,however much money is thrown at them,what they will be able to do is buy a new wheel barrow,so they can wheel their pies around the ground without the wheel coming off.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 07:38 PM

But able to beat Forest's latest show ponies with the greatest of ease last Saturday. As you'll know it's not only Doughty's fortune that has seen good money thrown after bad. You still have debts to the local council, millions owed for stands going back years the club have no intention of coughing up, meaning all council tax payers are subsidising your team.
Realising they'll never see the dosh the council's latest scam is try to put both clubs in a new white elephant 'world cup' stadium so they can seize the waterfronts for whatever ego driven champagne junkets they can contrive.

Happily the old balance of dodgy council handshakes has been gone through like a dodgy lamb phaal by our billionaire backers, meaning the artist's waterfront impressions are disappearing from council chamber boardrooms faster than you can wiggle a thumb knickle. Expect men in bad suits to jump off Trent Bridge as Munto erase them from the picture.

Happy days indeed.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 08:32 AM

I reckon they will get promoted this year,they might even make it to the championship,which is great for the club,best of luck Glueman,I hope they do well.
last time they got to the top league was under jimmy sirrell wasnt it.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 09:03 AM

No, Neil Warnock, early nineties.

It'll be an interesting experiment, Premiership clubs have huge debts for interested parties to take on, Man Utd rumoured to be in the region of £1 billion in the red. Our lot were debt free and owned by the fans, although a few got carried away with the ideology and voted against the takeover.
Munto's backers are strongly believed to be the Qatari royal family, meaning Europe and the champions league would be the stuff of small change. Just a few divisions to win meantime. My folkie head baulks at the outrage but the people's game died with Bosman, The Premiership, Sky. Beam me up, Sheikie.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Diva
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 05:57 AM

Spleen Cringe....it is not for the faint hearted! The chorus is coorse in the extememe. But one man's coorse is another man's love song I suppose!

Folk exists because people are happy to turn up at events, be they festivals, singarounds etc and share songs and stories and tunes. Shared experience etc...I know there is a quote somewhre but I'm two years away from the books so someone else will have to supply it.

Stop fretting about the 1954 definition and get out there and sing


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jul 09 - 09:10 AM

Diva,
There are those who are just want to sing and play, those who wish to do to research and those who are happy doing both - all make a contribution and it's not for any of us to dictate what others should be doing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Diva
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 08:02 AM

It was not meant as a dictatorial statement. I have gone down both the academic route and the just sing route and I am very aware that folk are more than capable of making their own choices.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Kosmo
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 11:05 AM

my answer to the original question is going to be yes. But everyone is entitled to their opinion - my net opinion which I shall broadcast is that this thread is a bit silly.

Much love

Kosmo


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: agingcynic
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 11:26 AM

i've been told that folk music is a type of music that many folks simply won't listen to

that's also true of opera, and i'm sure opera exits. so it's likely that folk music exists as well.

i'm new to this site, but appreciate its philosophical depth


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 08:55 AM

i've been told that folk music is a type of music that many folks simply won't listen to / that's also true of opera, and i'm sure opera exits. so it's likely that folk music exists as well.

Folk isn't quite the same as Opera in that it was only perceived to exist by those learned few who defined it as such from their lofty position of would-be erudition. Thus Folk is a theoretical construct founded on the flimsiest of pretexts with much of the evidence being falsified if only to prove a point. This situation is further compounded by those who having convinced themselves that Folk is somehow real, then go on to define it (see 1954 and All That) according to an immovable theology which only dangerous heretics dare question in fear of their very lives. Thus Folk Music is, somewhat perversely, no longer the reserve of The Folk, but of a highly specialised pseudo-academic race of Dementor-like beings who speak of a Holy Mystery known as The Folk Process, which in any case, as they'll tell you, no longer exists. Thus do they suck the very life out of the music, not content until it is all safely gathered in, cut, dried, stamped, indexed and filed away never to be heard by the actual Folk again, who in any case would rather be watching TV.

Meanwhile, out here in the real word, even Operatic Arias are sung as Folk Songs by The Folk. But don't tell the Folk Dementors that or else they'll suck your soul out through your arse.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 01:44 PM

He's not wrong.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 02:53 PM

And rage at the dying of the light.
Sorry about my interrupting the love-in; thought it might have been something interesting - my mistake
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 03:29 PM

Folk isn't quite the same as Opera in that it was only perceived to exist by those learned few who defined it as such from their lofty position of would-be erudition. Thus Folk is a theoretical construct founded on the flimsiest of pretexts with much of the evidence being falsified if only to prove a point.

You enjoy having all those imaginary enemies?

(I just discovered today just how close I've come to dying from this heart condition. I've got no intention whatever of measuring out the rest of my life in a series of Two Minute Hates, and I can't imagine why the fuck you want to).


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 05:49 PM

Enemies? What enemies?? You're right though, Jack - life - all life - is way too short for enemies. Here's wishing us all health, joy & longevity!

Hope all is well.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive)
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 06:01 PM

Just play the bloody music, if you can, dance to the music if you can, listen to the music, if you can, because that's all that's really important.

1954? That was the year one of my uncles was born.

Charlotte Olivia Robertson (Ms)

Glorishears!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 06:09 PM

"Thus Folk is a theoretical construct founded on the flimsiest of pretexts with much of the evidence being falsified if only to prove a point."

And speaking of evidence, where is yours for this grand statement?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 06:13 PM

"This situation is further compounded by those who having convinced themselves that Folk is somehow real, then go on to define it . . . according to an immovable theology which only dangerous heretics dare question in fear of their very lives."

What planet do you live on? Your '1954 as Immovable Theology' is the biggest red herring I've ever come across in my merry ramblings through the Wonderful World of Folk.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 06:15 PM

Sorry, I should have put a smiley face after that.

:-)

;-]

etc.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 06:33 PM

What planet do you live on?

I took up residence on Planet Gong when I became a fully fledged PHP at the age of 13 - though I do take frequent trips to both Saturn and Kobaïa, all of which are about as far from the Wonderful World of Folk as you could wish to get, though I still might go there from time to time, 1954 issues notwithstanding - never did get the hang of time travel!

Have a Cup of Tea! Space is the Place!! Kobaïa Ïss De Hündin!!! Butter and Cheese and All!V

S O'P

PS - :-}


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 07:01 PM

"And speaking of evidence, where is yours for this grand statement?"
Don't bother Michael - this pair don't do evidence.
Sorry to hear of your problems Jack - good luck
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: steve in ottawa
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 08:40 PM

Does folk exist? This is a bit like asking, does "dark matter" exist. Without unobservable dark matter, current theory suggests that galaxies have insufficient mass to curl up as tightly as they do - they'd spin out. Similarly, I went to a folk festival last weekend, and although some persons, unnamed, would suggest I did not actually encounter any folk, it must have been present there somewhere, or the festival would not exist.

Last night, I watched a show about the Large Hadron Collider. What a machine! I'm pretty sure its purpose is to demonstrate the existence of the elusive FOLK, the last unobserved music among those predicted by the Standard Model. Now that's 3 billion Euros well spent!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 08:49 PM

I have a friend who smokes a lot of dope because it eases his medical problems and relaxes him. I decided to ask him the incredibly profound question, "Does Folk Exist?", and see if he could help me out, because I admit that it has me totally baffled.

So I asked him, "What do you think? Does folk exist?"

He stared ahead for awhile. I took several deep breaths and waited. So did he.

Then he spoke!

"Ahhhhhh.................?"

A brief pause.

"Ahhhh...did you say somethin'?"

"I just asked you if folk exists."

(very long pause) (more breathing)

"Ahhh.....you wanna toke?"

"No thanks. Just tell me what you think about if folk exists."

"Folk?"

"Yeah."

(looooong pause)

"Heavy, man. Fucked if I know." (he blew some smoke and we watched it rise to the ceiling where it formed in the shape of an Angel)

"This is some good shit."

I am still no wiser than I was before. Nor is he, come to think of it. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 02:53 AM

Be Well Jack. I always appreciate reading your erudite comments onlist. One of my cats is currently on my lap rumbling and clawing it's way through my epidermis, it is apparently very good for the heart.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 04:29 AM

Evidence? Try this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuqhEix8lGY

1929 footage of some jolly EFDSS revival types demonstrating English Traditional Dance (including Rapper) in America. Watch out for the Received Pronunciation... Surreal but wonderful!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 04:40 AM

And where is the faked evidence and dishonest theorizing in that clip?

Are you saying that people with the wrong accent musn't participate in folk dance?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 05:24 AM

I say you chaps, jolly nice weather for a spot of the old rapper dancing, what?

Still, nice to see the Flappers & Bright Young Things of the 20's weren't just doing the Charleston & jitterbugging. Reminds me of a track on And Now it is So Early (ultra rare LP of Bob & Carole Pegg singing Sydner Carter songs which can download entirely gratis - cover at & all - from HERE) called Up at the House of Cecil Sharp; sung to The Floral Dance, a stripper recalls her days dancing to the autoharp at C# house, whereas now she dances in Soho with nothing but a python on...

Honestly, Jack - watching this just underlines how utterly bogus the whole thing is. When the dancers start disappearing in the sequence beginning 1.45 we move into realms of the truly surreal, but no more surreal than these gay young fellows dancing a dance which even at the time was the traditional reserve of hard working miners embittered from the strike of a few years earlier. The classical violin accompaniment only serves to underline the absurdity. Thus Folk is, in effect, the bourgeois appropriation of Traditional Popular Culture by way of preservation - which is rather like preserving birds by shooting them for the taxidermist. Personally, it makes me want to vomit, but then again I'm pretty much an old school Class War Anarchist at heart, feeling that Folk Music is best defined by the working class people who do it (or not as they wish), not by some higher definition couched in the lingo of the intelligentsia.

A fascinating history though - and stunning cinematography on the part of the cameramen - but methinks my visits to the Wonderful World of Folk are becoming less & less the more I realise just what a pup we've been sold here.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 05:40 AM

Ah yes. But I like pups!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 06:26 AM

I still haven't seen the clip (this computer can't do YouTube) but what you're describing is a not very competent performace in poor taste. That does not mean the people doing it had hegemonic ambitions.

There are lots of other examples of poor taste in revival performance. The first ones I'd be tempted to put up against the wall are Clancy-Brothers-style performers of Irish music who turned an art form of community celebration and solidarity into a a spectacle of barely sublimated macho thuggery, but really I'm quite content to leave it to history to gently cover them with feminizing veils of dust.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 06:48 AM

Actually the dancing is rather good, which is besides the point. Whatever the case, I urge you, Jack - you really need to see this film! The setting is a winter woodland rather reminiscent of the Golfers story in Dead of Night - strong monochrome contrasts, very stark and atmospheric. I think the clips are un-edited rushes, hence the false starts and re-shooting from different angles and various disappearances. If you've seen Ring AKA Ringu (Hideo Nakata 1998) it has the flavour of Sadako's VHS footage! As already pointed out, 1929 is very early for sound-film - The Marx Brothers would have only just done The Cocoanuts (sic) at the time when all the cameras had to be in wooden boxes because of the noise they made - shooting through glass, you can see the reflections in many of the scenes! The sound here is pretty good too.

There is an innocence here I admit, but one born of a definite social privilege which seems to under-write the Folk Revival at every turn. This is the sort of thing that feeds back into education, making it into Wavlore as Our Own Good English Country Dancing, which is the very last thing it is. It complex for sure, but ultimately rather fascinating, as is this uniquely, and singularly, beautiful document - however so unwitting, or random, that beauty might be.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 06:53 AM

"Folk is, in effect, the bourgeois appropriation of Traditional Popular Culture by way of preservation"

What you are describing there is not 'Folk' but 'Folk Revival' as prescribed by Cecil Sharp (to what extent the more recent revival conforms with your description is debatable). What you call the "higher definition couched in the lingo of the intelligentsia" actually concerned itself precisely with (your words again) "Folk music [as] defined by the working class people who do it".

I had hoped that this thread had finally spluttered its way to oblivion, but it's exhibiting Rasputin-like resilience. How many different ways are there to say the same old things?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 07:33 AM

Folk only exists because of The Revival; it's nature and continuity is defined by it, much less the concepts thus engendered. It remains, therefore, largely illusory, unlike Opera which is a self-evident cultural phenomena with a faultless historical provenance. The best we can say about Folk is that it is a contemporary / post-modern re-imagining of traditional material the true nature of which has yet to be fully understood or yet even appreciated. And with all the Folk Dementors currently sweeping around the place it looks unlikely that this will be happening any time soon...

Looking forward to seeing your show at the Fylde anyway!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 07:39 AM

"Looking forward to seeing your show at the Fylde anyway!"

It will be brutally Dementorist (or, possibly, Demented).


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 08:08 AM

Believe you me, I get called the King of the Folk Dementors around here... Now there's an idea for a t-shirt!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 09:51 AM

Or maybe it is demented...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 11:18 AM

Folksongs are accessible to everyone. They are like national parks, public works, beaches etc.
When a written song is proclaimed as a folk song, chances
are, it isn't. The folk process works against copyright laws that rewards a single claimant for "intellectual property". No one owns a folk song.

It's important to separate the folksong from the folksinger. The folksong emanates from a sub-culture ie:
Appalachian, Blues, work-related groups like cowboys, coal miners, prisoners on chain gangs etc.

A folksong undergoes changes and becomes a "variant".
Maude Irving's "I'll Twine Midst the Ringlets" from England becomes A.P. Carter's "Wildwood Flower" in America.
The folksong changes to adapt to a new environment.

There are songwriters who make "folklike" songs, that is,
songs that are in the style of traditional folk songs.
Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Woody Guthrie, Dylan......

When a folklike song surfaces it is often confused with the
authentic folksong. "Over the Rainbow" may yet become a folksong (which would not make Yip Harburg happy) because
it will undergo changes that adapt to new conditions.
(Barbara Allen will find herself walking the highway home instead of a cowpath.)

Rock and Roll is a record company designation and not a folksong one. The labels are often produced after the music is created. Pop music is written for the marketplace. Folk music is preserved for the public trust
or if you like "the Commons", (a term that will not please
Libertarians.)

If a song survives and becomes more significant than its author/composer than it is likely a folksong. If it reflects the values of a cultural subgroup, then it is likely a folksong.

You can't write a song and automatically call it a folksong. If a song falls in the forest and no one
is there to listen, is it a folksong? Nahhh!

The term "folksong" itself is a designated one redefined by
the musical marketplace to sell recordings to a target audience. This doesn't invalidate the folksong origin.

Again, it has to be accessible so that anyone can learn it,
sing it, use it without financial penalties or having to deal with its author/composer/publisher.

A pop songwriter or even a topical songwriter can write a folksong if it becomes 1. changed, 2. survives generations,
3. renounces ownership of intellectual property.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 11:37 AM

Frank, thank you for that concise description/definition of 'what folk is' - a breath of fresh air after all the puffed-up verbiage that has accumulated under this thread (and others like it).

"Folk only exists because of The Revival; it's nature and continuity is defined by it, much less the concepts thus engendered."

Here SO'P demonstrates once again that in all his rambling posts about 'what folk be' he is really only talking about folk music in England. The world is bigger than your backyard, you know.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 11:42 AM

It may not suit your sensibilities, but real folk song still exists:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf51iRBIXG4


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 11:55 AM

It's my emerging conviction that Folk Songs were written by master craftspersons steeped in a creative tradition of Popular Versification which though being long dead to us is a cunning I feel many of the singers had - including several Coppers, the occasional Cox and Larner - and even A L Lloyd and an E MacColl - and most definitely a Mr Kipling and likewise a certain Mr Bellamy, Mr Carthy etc. Others have tried, and failed - Bob Pegg's worthy efforts, likewise those of Dave Cousins, remain obvious parodies as awkwardly ill-at-ease as Robert Burns efforts in this respect. Our very own Ron Baxter has the knack for sure - a mysterious hand-crafted cunning somewhat anomalous in this modern off-the-shelf machine age, but which nevertheless lingers, in pockets, here and there.

An emerging conviction as I say - taking shape as the years pass and certain things occur to me. Whilst I'm an Evolutionist who does not believe in Intelligent Design, I don't hold much with the Folk Process, which presupposes that collectivity takes precedence over the essential idiosyncrasy by which Traditional Song is most effectively manifest and conveyed. Also, I think maybe there just isn't the time to account for the variations as being random consequences of human failings. I detect a creative convention, a genre of such, as vibrantly ingenious as Jazz, or Country, or Pop, or Sit-com writing (the Ballads of our time?). But Keep Away ye Folk Dementors! Swoop not upon my soul for these are just a few ideas, in the offing as it were, open to discussion, and almost certainly off the record...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 11:59 AM

This all reminds me of David Hume's remark, on seeing two Edinburgh women in contention across the street from the windows of their respective tenements, that they would never agree, as they were arguing from different premises.

1954 definition? Yes, that's folk.
Bob Dylan? Yes, that too, and Woody Guthrie.
Cowboy yodelling? Yup.
Men in lederhosen and feathers in their hats slapping their thighs? Ja.
Fairport Convention? Well, they use folk, as do Vaughan Williams and Bartok.
Irish sessions? I think so.
Klezmer? Depends how it's done, there might be a clue here.
And lots more.

I think Sweeney's film clip was a bit of a case in point: clearly staged in a studio for the cameras, trying to show the form of English rapper dancing, not its original social context, a bit prissy by modern standards. The original dance probably survived quite a few social contexts.

So there are at least two sides to folk (probably six, otherwise it would't hold water)- the form of the music, and it's social context. Some musics, like the Irish session, have changed their social context radically in living memory, but so seamlessly that few noticed it. Apart from the instruments getting better (and more expensive), the music hasn't changed much.

I suspect that few Blues singers have experienced the chain gang (though some I've heard would certainly have been improved by it), but then relatively few ploughboys had spent seven long years carrying half a ring round the world, and only a few early 19th century Scottish grandmothers had experience of reiving. One of the things that makes it 'folk' is that it can adapt and appeal to new contexts- quite often evolving on the way, as from the high tragic ballad to the playground skipping song.

It's a spectrum, which gives hope to Over The Rainbow's chances of becoming Trad.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 12:10 PM

The world is bigger than your backyard, you know.

My backyard is a bit of sore point actually; a year on and all my Big Ideas remain unrealised - though I was out there the other day sorting out the bin-bags whilst listening to the Topic album of A L Lloyd's field-recordings of the Folk Music from Albania - a very fine slab o' vinyl indeed, but maybe the term Folk Music means something very different here, or maybe that's why the International Folk Music Council is now the International Council for Traditional Music whose remit is: to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries.

Anyway, nice to be accused of being so colloquial, ordinarily on this forum it's generally quite the opposite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4Y_tuSsCXw


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 12:42 PM

"It's my emerging conviction that Folk Songs were written by master craftspersons..."

I share your conviction. Moreover, I believe the Folk Revival and all its works to be one of the longest cons ever perpetrated on music. It's pyramid selling on an unprecedented scale.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 01:24 PM

"It's my emerging conviction that Folk Songs were written by master craftspersons"
You told us some time ago that you didn't believve in research - so this 'emerging conviction' would be the result of ..... divine inspiration, guesswork , or what?
Perhaps you might be able to name one of these 'master craftspersons' - ifnot, why not?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 01:34 PM

"How many different ways are there to say the same old things?"


How many?

Oh, about 112,343,836,032,854,737, I'd say.

So I expect this thread will still be going years from now. ;-) Some of us will die before it's finished.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 02:13 PM

"You told us some time ago that you didn't believve in research"

I believe in research for dessicated academic subjects. Or a cure for the common cold.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 02:33 PM

Or a better mousetrap.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 02:50 PM

"I believe in research for dessicated academic subjects. Or a cure for the common cold."
Wasn't talking to you - I was addressing the organ-grinder.
I already know you don't do answers - let's see if he does
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 02:56 PM

"Wasn't talking to you - I was addressing the organ-grinder."

Mind that blood pressure now.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 03:13 PM

Don't interrupt while the adults are talking otherwise you'll be put to bed without any tea
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jamming With Ollie Beak (inactive)
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 03:14 PM

"It's my emerging conviction that Folk Songs were written by master craftspersons..."
- glueman
The EFDSS has them locked away in a largish garden shed somewhere in Hampshire grinding out the songs.....

Charlotte Olivia Robertson (Ms)
gnome sweet gnome


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 07:23 PM

Nope - guess he doesn't (do answers, that is)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 07:37 PM

Deprive me of my tea, sir, and I shall place a set mousetrap at the foot of your bed.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 07:38 PM

Beast


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 02:27 AM

It's self evident that fine folk songs are written by master craftsmen. There is sufficient DNA if one cares to look for it to discern a signature but in case anyone should imagine I'm hung up on the genius racket, folk songs are craft pieces, not windows on art. Auteur theories are generally over-egged but that doesn't mean they lack an essential truth, the smoking gun of responsibility.

What is counter intuitive is that they are products of 'the people'. Adopted and adapted certainly, appropriated, re-named and full of body-doubles but lacking a moniker to send a royalty cheque does not prove the tweakers are as responsible as the author. Most folkies understand this intuitively and find it unproblematic. A few still carry those C19th reformist agendas with them. Belittling flak from collectors won't stop me telling the truth. It means the trail's still hot.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: TinDor
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 03:05 AM

Yes and No IMO. Yes, based on the fact that every country, ethnic group and/or race has a "Folk" music no matter where you go in the world. When I say NO, Im basically saying that I don't think "Folk" music has any one style or sound.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 03:37 AM

"It's self evident that fine folk songs are written by master craftsmen."
No it isn't, or if it is, provide your evidence...whoops - you don't do eviidence, do you - rather, you much prefer to make unsubstantiated statements from your armchair - much safer that way.
The bulk of folk songs sung today (with the exception of the ballads) are 19th century; not too long ago in the grand plan, yet researchers have failed too come up with 1 composer of the standard repertoire.
In an area like West Clare, which had a large repertoire of ballads, native-Irish, Anglo-Irish and local songs composed within the lifetimes of the singers, researchers have failed to come up with 1 author; with the exception of a local poet in the 1920s who contributed 2 songs to the town repertoire (from a published collection). In spite of the quality and size of the local song repertoire no 'master craftsman' has ever been identified.
Travellers sang songs which must have been made within 5 or ten years of their being recorded, yet failed to identify 1 songmaker.
Researchers, particularly American scholars, Bronson included, have combed the collections and again have failed to do so.
Maybe they were looking in the wrong place - perhaps they should have stayed at home and stared up at the ceiling till the answer came to them, as you appear to have done.
It is nonsensical (and not a little arrogant) that people who have been involved in a music they recognise as folk, for many years should be asked to abandon everything they know on the word of a pair of clowns who make vaccuuous statements on the basis of.... well, nothing.
                                              WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 03:51 AM

Your position is based on an absurdity JC. To say the people wrote them is as nonsensical as saying nobody wrote them.
At some point they required a founding author, even if that writer's efforts have become debased (dressed up as popularised) by repetition. The stimulus for their adoption relies on the permeability and attractiveness of the original product.

To use a pop example Annie's Song is still the work of John Denver even when an unknown Sheffield Utd songsmith changed the words. The sensibility that inspired it is still recognisable and intact. Even when a bit naff, as in this case.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 04:10 AM

Just because an author has passed out of memory, doesn't mean they didn't exist. What of for example Lucy Broadwood's final comments on 'Poor Murdered Woman' (below)?

I know that I might well have to request further information on a song sung by another today, people very often don't mention who composed it or where it came from. How swiftly would the composer of "Streets of London" be forgotten, if there were no documents or recorded materials?

"Source: Broadwood, L, 1908, English Traditional Songs and Carols, London, Boosey

Notes:
Sung by Mr Forster, 1897.

Lucy Broadwood wrote:

    This fine Dorian tune was noted in 1897 by the Rev. Charles J. Shebbeare at Milford, Surrey, from the singing of a young labourer, with whom it was a favourite song. Mr. Foster wrote out the doggerel words, and had heard that they described a real event. Through the kindness of the Vicar of Leatherhead, the Rev. E. J. Nash (who questioned Mr. Lisney, a parishioner of 87, in Feb. 1908), the ballad has proved to be an accurate account of the finding and burial (Jan. 15th, 1834,) of "a woman-name unknown-found in the common field," as the parish Registers give it. Mr. Lisney, who remembered the events perfectly, said that the author of the ballad was Mr. Fairs, a brickmaker of Leatherhead Common. The Milford labourer's version of names, "Yankee" for "Hankey," and "John Sinn" for " John Simms " of the Royal Oak Inn, are in Journal of the Folk Song Society, Vol. i, p. 186. His obscure line in verse 5 has here been altered to something probably more like the original, for "the poor woman's head had been broken with a stick." The Milford singer gave it: " Some old or some violence came into their heads." This song is only one of many proofs that "ballets" are made by local, untaught bards, and that they are transmitted, and survive, long after the events which they record have ceased to be a reality to the singer."


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 04:15 AM

There has never been a claim - as far as I am aware, that 'nobody wrote them' - I would ask you to point out who has made such a statement but you don't do that sort of thing, do you?
The original authors of folk songs are unknown, but that is beside the point. It is the process of acceptance, oral transmission, adaptation and change that give songs their 'folk' identity, not their authorship.
Produce the name of 1 master craftsman - if you can't why can't you?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 04:47 AM

"It is the process of acceptance, oral transmission, adaptation and change that give songs their 'folk' identity, not their authorship."

So a song has to be appealing enough to the masses to fall into mass amateur imitations, much like a pop song such as Yellow Submarine? Albeit with the caveat that no-one remembers who wrote it, or what the *exact* words were when initially composed.

To use Folk as a noun dependent on those conditions, seems very much like the reification of a non-thing or abstract concept, into a thing that doesn't actually exist.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 04:56 AM

Now things get slippery. All we can say of the original authors are that they are 'anon'. That's a helluva leap from saying the songs are of the people.

"Don't interrupt while the adults are talking otherwise you'll be put to bed without any tea",

This unthinking juvenile says there is sufficient evidence of syuzhet and fabula in your average Child ballad to infer authorship. That may be a Georgian Gershwin or in might be a Victorian Stock, Aitken and Waterman but there is a narrator embedded within at a more elevated level than the pub singaround. The ballads do not suggest Chap A sings 'Johnny went to sea' into his ale and Chap B replies, 'Jimmy went a soldier-ing', they contain discrete and clear intelligences, plot and story development of a populist kind and the evidence for that is abundent.

The slight of hand occurs when Folk moves beyond 'author unknown' to 'the people' as a shorthand for the arcadian masses. The masses couldn't have written them, talented individuals who knew what people dug did.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 05:38 AM

WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE?

Stop your dementoring a moment there, Jim, and have a look at what I actually said back there. The evidence is the songs themselves; they remain Exhibit A - be they in the broadsheets, or else collected from the lips of the singers themselves. Songs don't write themselves - and they don't arise out of random human failings such as memory loss. I trust the one thing we can agree on here is that Traditional Folk Song represents the finest literature there is, vernacular or otherwise, in the English language. In many cases we do know who wrote them - we certainly know who wrote the sogs of Tommy Armstrong, and we know who wrote McGinties Meal an' Ale and countless others; songs which, if we didn't know of the authors, we would think of as being traditional. Tommy was well versed in the tradition; he wrote his songs to traditional tunes, and he is most fortunate that his genius is remembered along with his name - most others, it would seem, were not.

There are times me might well encounter a song as we would, say, some 19th-century oak wainscotting from the bunk of an old fishing smack and simply marvel at the craft and genius of the thing. This year, Fylde-goers can do this by attending Songs Next to The Harriet (in honour of the late, great, Matt Armour) to be held in the exhibition space where now resides The Harriet herself along with other choice exhibits all lovingly curated by the indefatigable Dick Gillingham. Though the craftsmen of such pieces never left their mark, we know we're in the presence of an individual master of his trade, capable of creating bespoke artefacts of utter uniqueness that are corporeal manifestations of a centuries old tradition.

Here in this DIY flat-packing age-of-convenience where I might take pride in a shoddy machine-cut Ikea bookshelf erected in a matter seconds, I might only pause to ponder when in the presence of a real piece of 18th / 19th century carpentry no matter how utilitarian. How I love to plunder antique shops, to pull out old dresser-drawers and marvel at the hand cut joints - the work of anonymous, long dead craftsmen who were part of an unbroken tradition of woodworking going back thousands of years (certainly if Kipling is to be believed in A Truthful Song). But no, we don't know their names, nor yet their biographies (much less those of the Victorian brickies who built the house I'm sitting in now, snug and warm even on this premature November morning at the back end of August, against the worst the Irish sea might hurl at it!) but we know they were there, because their works remain as evident masterpieces.

Likewise, I feel, with Traditional Folk Songs & Ballads (vernacular masterpieces all) the masters were very often the traditional singers themselves, as well-versed in their craft as any wheelwright, or else a veritable Jack-of-all-trades: a real human individual none-the-less, who not only made the songs, but made the songs their own by very purposeful & deliberate (but never gratuitous) adaptation to their own needs. Thus the songs existed in their Natural Environment, their true ecology, their original and Traditional Pre-Revival Context, which was as a fluid as an oral corporeal tradition can be - very often illiterate, as were many tradesmen, tinkers and the like, yet we might marvel at their genius now right enough.

In Traditional Music we might marvel at the compositions of Simon Frazer, Nathanial Gow, James Macpherson, Turlough O'Carolan, Blind Rory Dall O'Cahan and countless other creative masters of the craft both old and new, in full knowledge that someone, somewhere, somewhen, wrote these tunes we call traditional, and that someone else, somewhere else, somewhen else, adapted them. We can be sure that these people knew what they were doing - as told of in The Legend of Knockgrafton, where, bored with the song of the little-people, the hunchback Lusmore adds his own variant to make it more interesting, so pleasing the little-people with his musical skill they remove his hump. But woe betide Jack Madden! Who thinking to lose his own hump, ends up with two humps for his own efforts.

What else is a tradition but the mastery that can not only make things, but keeps on making them, improving them, passing such skills on to others who'll make their own improvements, or not as they see fit? What others call The Folk Process, I see as something a good deal more purposeful, and determined. Variations occur by way living morphology and deliberate transformation - which are most assuredly not the random by-product of some fanciful collectivity dreamed of by the gentry as the quaint consequence of an ill-educated peasantry who couldn't possibly know what they were doing, far less its true meaning and value. They knew right enough, and we have the songs to prove it.

Just ideas though - open, as I say, to discussion, though no doubt the The Folk Dementors will be out in force to tell me just what a jumped up and disrespectful clown I am for daring to say such things. I am, after all, only 48-years-old and have only been singing Traditional Songs for 35 years. What can I possibly know?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 05:41 AM

To use Folk as a noun dependent on those conditions, seems very much like the reification of a non-thing or abstract concept, into a thing that doesn't actually exist.

Ooh! Just been on a logic course, or read a book, by chance?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 05:45 AM

Anonymity is not a defining factor, just generally common to the songs we call folk.
They are 'of the people' however they started out, they became accepted as 'Norfolk' or 'Clare' or 'Lincolnshire' or 'Traveller'...... which is what we were told by the people who gave them to us.
Edward, Lord Randall and The Outlandish Knight were all "Travellers songs" according to the singers we got them from. Two of the most popular ballads in this area are Lord Lovell and The Suffolk Miracle (known as The Holland Handkerchief around here) - both of them, according to the singers, Clare songs.
It is these claims and the adaptation and absorption into the culture that makes them of the folk. Most of them have never passed through an 'author unknown' stage - they have survived only in the mouths of the folk, where they almost certainly originated.
We know, from a few accounts we have, that some of them were a group effort - one such being a Travellers song concerning a matchmaking which was made by a group of guests on the morning of a wedding. Within eight years of the event we got five distinct versions of the song and not one singer could give us the name of the makers.
Again you have failed to answer my question - if they were the work of master craftsmen, why is it that you can't provide the name of one of them?
MacColl's description at the end of 'The Song Carriers' is the one that rings the truest for me:
"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island."
No, they are not the result of "mass amateur imitations", rather the compositions and re-makings of 'ordinary' people down the centuries; it is the familiarity with the subject matter that makes this 'self-evident'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 05:47 AM

It's my emerging conviction that Folk Songs were written by master craftspersons

For a lot of music we can document in minute and excruciating detail why that isn't true. There is a gradation here: in the improvised modal music of the Middle East and India, there are no tunes at all: just cadential formulas and structural principles, which the player navigates differently at every performance. There is a slightly higher level of organization in the old-style bagpipe music of Hungary and the laments of the Csango of eastern Romania (probably originating in pre-Christian southern Russia, and still performed): there is still no real tune, but the player or singer assembles thematic fragments in a somewhat-fixed order (some are just used at the start, some come in the middle, some are used to finish with - a bit more complex than that).

Somewhere beyond that we get two alternative lines of development. In the bagpipe dance music of 17th and 18th century England and Scotland, we get the same small melodic formulas reused over and over again in different combinations. There are probably hundreds of different tune names for 9/8 jigs and 3/2 hornpipes, but there certainly aren't that many distinct tunes: the usual structure of these things is in four-bar chunks, AXBY CXDY EXFY .... ad infinitum (they are very long), and it's quite common to find some of those bars recurring in many tunes. We don't have a melodic corpus here, we have a practice of improvisation by recombination (which must have been enormously useful when you had to accompany a dance that went on for a very long time). The other line of development is what you get in Hungarian song: tune families ramify into an immense number of variants with no identifiable central form, influencing each other and sometimes converging, with so much variation being introduced at every performance that you can hardly pin down such a thing as a "tune" at all, and often about all you can say is that the singer is setting the words to a melodic line in the local idiom. We get traces of that in the British Isles - who wrote the tune for "Auld Lang Syne"? Whoever it was, did they thereby also write the tune for "Comin Thro the Rye", which is almost but not quite the same? The idea of "writing" a tune make bugger-all sense in this situation.

Folk only exists because of The Revival; it's nature and continuity is defined by it

Yeah, like the kids I heard a few years ago doing the same playground games in the same Edinburgh school that Ritchie collected them from fifty years before were only doing it because of Martin Carthy. And the Black American kids Azizi hears doing the same ones must have learnt them from Dave van Ronk.

For fucksake, this is too silly for words.

It is nonsensical (and not a little arrogant) that people who have been involved in a music they recognise as folk, for many years should be asked to abandon everything they know on the word of a pair of clowns who make vacuous statements on the basis of.... well, nothing.

A-MEN to that.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 05:56 AM

Is patronisation the Dementor's weapon of choice. Read what people right FFS.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 05:57 AM

*Waits for advice on grammar, with added condescension*


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 05:59 AM

Wha-hey! Watch those Folk Dementors flap about! Sucking the life & soul out of the music as they spread their sorry message of despair and misery!

Don't you get it, Jack & Jim? These ordinary working men and women were the fucking masters - in many cultures, as Jack points out, they remain the fucking masters.

And if it wasn't for The Revival, Jack - you wouldn't even think of such things as being Folk at all - as, indeed, much actual Folk Culture isn't - not least by the Folk who are actually doing it.

Too silly for words? You said it mate!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 06:35 AM

I think that it's grossly arrogant and condescending to characterise the thoughtful, knowledgeable, evidence-based contributions of Jim Carrol and Jack Campin as 'flapping about'!

Some of us need to learn that just because we've had a 'great thought' it doesn't automatically become a 'great fact'.Surely the armchair, make-it-up as you go along theorisers among us are the true 'flappers': where's your evidence?!!

Sits back and waits for the inevitable abuse ...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 07:42 AM

"I think that it's grossly arrogant........."
Thanks Shimrod, but speaking for myself, I really have no problem having my contribution described as 'flapping about'. At last it gives the impression of a degree of activity which is more than cen be said of the armchair musings we are being treated to here.
We are still not being offered anything to back up the suggestions of Stan and Ollie, but then again, the horizon, from a sedentary position is extremely limited.
The evidence of the existence of folk song is overwhelming and it is, to me at least, self evident that the songs were the products of many people who composed and re-composed them.
There is also evidence that many of them were never even committed to 'hard copy', but remained only in the mouths of the singers.
David Buchan in his 'The Ballad And The Folk' suggested that the ballads never had fixed texts but were remaid on the spot by the singers, using the plot and established commonplaces.
The Travellers, who were universally non-literate (as well as being a major source of our folk songs), made new songs and carried the old ones in their heads.
Even the attitude of rural communities towards literacy was ambivilent, suggesting that the songs were held and communicated almost exclusively orally.
If you have any evidence of 'master craftsman', I would be glad to get it, but once again, I won't hold my breath
.

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 07:48 AM

Sits back and waits for the inevitable abuse ...

I'll leave the inevitable abuse to you, Shimrod, who, in failing to appreciate the content of my posts, much less the spirit in which they were written, nevertheless feels the need to mock and sneer from behind the backs of far greater minds than his.

This isn't about evidence - the evidence is the songs themselves - no question there. Rather, it a matter how we might interpret that evidence in the light (or otherwise) of the fact that The 1954 Definition and related Doctrines (such as The Holy Folk Process) has become a Question-it-at-your-peril Theological Absolute which sits as a headstone on the grave of a Folk Revival which has not only failed Traditional Folk Song, but in so doing shamefully misrepresented it, resulting in the somewhat desultory status amongst other British Cultural Treasures that it enjoys today.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 07:51 AM

If you have any evidence of 'master craftsman', I would be glad to get it, but once again, I won't hold my breath

Okay. Try this, Jim:

There is also evidence that many of them were never even committed to 'hard copy', but remained only in the mouths of the singers.
David Buchan in his 'The Ballad And The Folk' suggested that the ballads never had fixed texts but were remaid on the spot by the singers, using the plot and established commonplaces.
The Travellers, who were universally non-literate (as well as being a major source of our folk songs), made new songs and carried the old ones in their heads.
Even the attitude of rural communities towards literacy was ambivilent, suggesting that the songs were held and communicated almost exclusively orally.


That's evidence enough for master craftsmen for me!


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 07:59 AM

glueman: "there is sufficient evidence of syuzhet and fabula in your average Child ballad to infer authorship."

I must admit I had to Google "syuzhet and fabula" to have a clue what that sentence meant - it might have been clearer to us plebs had you used nice simple synonyms like "story" and "narrative".

Many Child ballads exist in scores of variants. A given ballad may be set to tunes with wildly differing melodic or rhythmic structures; possess several alternative refrains; tell its tale using substantially different texts; tell subtly different tales using substantially the same text; be virtually unrecognizable from one version to another, save for the general plotline or a couple of key stanzas. Moreover, Child himself found analogues of many of his ballad types in European and Eastern folktales, and some ballads are clear descendents of medieval romances. These pieces did not originate, fully-formed, at some identifiable point in time, and stay that way. There was no 17th-century Dylan or MacColl churning out ballads we could point to as THE definitive versions.

Suibhne wrote: "Variations occur by way living morphology and deliberate transformation - which are most assuredly not the random by-product of some fanciful collectivity dreamed of by the gentry..."

This is a travesty of current understanding of song evolution. Nobody said that individual singers didn't improve songs deliberately - quite the opposite. We do have a plethora of mondegreens to demonstrate the 'Chinese Whispers' theory of evolution by accident, but there's plenty of evidence too of ingenious individual creativity.

"Likewise, I feel, with Traditional Folk Songs & Ballads the masters were very often the traditional singers themselves"

That's what I feel, too, Suibhne - where, if not from individual singers, did all those wonderfully varied tunes come from? It's also precisely what I understand by the term 'Folk Process' that you like to vilify. To pass off all that creativity (maybe not 'collective' but surely 'sequential') as the work of a an elite class of bygone songwriters is to rob the working class singers you so admire of their due credit.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 08:37 AM

David Buchan in his 'The Ballad And The Folk' suggested that the ballads never had fixed texts but were remade on the spot by the singers, using the plot and established commonplaces.

That's rather exaggerated. Buchan was bright and imaginative but died too young to grow any common sense. He'd have fitted in fine here. (How old would he be now? - younger than me, I think).


At some point they required a founding author, even if that writer's efforts have become debased (dressed up as popularised) by repetition.

Seen the original version of Ye Jacobites by Name? Would you rather hear or sing that than the folk-processed one Burns popularized? Same goes for the majority of broadside songs - they are nearly always improved by a few decades of editing by oral tradition. Try The Wild Rover for another one.


The 1954 Definition and related Doctrines (such as The Holy Folk Process) has become a Question-it-at-your-peril Theological Absolute which sits as a headstone on the grave of a Folk Revival which has not only failed Traditional Folk Song

Big words and flashy rhetoric don't make gratuitous insults true and don't make the imaginary enemies they're aimed at real.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:05 AM

The songs were the products of many hands and mouths in any one given community.
The implication of 'master craftsman' is that they were a product of one gifted individual, which is certainly not the case.
Apart from anything else, they were by no means all masterpieces, even if some of the poorer ones survived for one reason or another.
However, we seem to be making some progress as SO'P now seems to be accepting the exisance of 'folk' raher thaan attributing it to the imaginations of academics and collectors who, despite their shorcomings, got off their bums and took a look for themselves
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:18 AM

"it might have been clearer to us plebs had you used nice simple synonyms like "story" and "narrative".

It might have been, but I'm buggered if I'm going to pander to the neurotic 'worthy illiterate' one moment 'scathing historian' the next bi-polarity definitionists cover their track with.

So far as I can tell the collector's position is 'you can't find one author so everyone/ the people wrote it and I'm their emissary on earth' jibberish. I've seen nothing but time-served self-promotion or bald opinion to underpin this tulipomania and as such my opinion is as good as anyone's. If the tradition is indeed some kind of cumulative manifestation of unworded society, its story machinations go beyond any compound narrative form I'm familiar with anywhere in the world so on balance, I'm sticking with the idea unknown clever folk wrote the originals.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:20 AM

"...a Folk Revival which has not only failed Traditional Folk Song, but in so doing shamefully misrepresented it, resulting in the somewhat desultory status amongst other British Cultural Treasures that it enjoys today."

If you're suggesting that, had it not been for the Folk Revival, traditional song and music would be part of the English cultural mainstream, you're in fantasy land. Singers like Bob Copper and Walter Pardon, quite independently of any Folk Revival, made conscious efforts to preserve the old songs they loved because the songs were being ignored or ridiculed by their peers, even as far back as the 1930s.

You've made the assertion more than once on this thread that the Revival misrepresented or falsified the actual tradition. The revival is certainly not without faults or existential contradicitons, but where's the evidence of widespreaed falsification?

So, Bert Lloyd tarted up a few songs (as did Baring-Gould and others going back to Thomas Percy)? But the revival documented thousands of songs whose provenance is unquestioned.

So, many revival performers didn't spring from the cultural stock from which their songs arose? But they didn't claim to be. Just enthusiasts discovering a treasure trove.

What the revival did do was to give a platform to a swathe of outstanding singers and musicians from the rural working class and traveller communities, in order that their talents could be more widely appreciated. It also made available recordings which preserve (one hopes, in perpetuity) the songs and music of those communities.

Which part of that is a "con" or "misrepresentation"?


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:25 AM

To pass off all that creativity (maybe not 'collective' but surely 'sequential') as the work of a an elite class of bygone songwriters is to rob the working class singers you so admire of their due credit.

Please read what I said back there, Brian. I'm not talking of an elite class, any more than a blacksmith, farrier, cooper, carpenter or joiner could be said to have belonged to an elite class. I see the singers themselves as being the time-served working class masters, they are makers & transformers of these songs; a cultural tradition of highly skilled song-making - just as the brickies who built my house were highly skilled, likewise the carpenters and cabinet makers who made the furniture I often drool over in museum of wonders that is The Preston Antiques Centre. No doubt they have their modern counterparts, but I don't see much evidence of it in this day and age; likewise in the craft of folksong-writing - there are exceptions, as I've noted, but the rule, it would seem, as with flat-pack furniture, is nothing to be proud of; certainly when compared with the poetic genius embodied in Traditional Song and Balladry*. So the credit goes to the supremely gifted individuals who were the working-class song-makers of yore - people like Tommy Armstrong etc. - to the carriers, and the singers. Of course, there are lesser talents at work, and random mutations, and any amount of more rustic treen floating around which is just as beguiling.

* Personal taste, of course, but as a Hoary Old Traddy allow me my prejudices. I am now 48; a year older than Peter Bellamy was when he died. This is humbling, and strange - especially I'm still amongst the youngest in Folk Clubs, Festivals and Singarounds! A Queer Do and no mistake...


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:31 AM

"I'm buggered if I'm going to pander to the neurotic 'worthy illiterate' one moment 'scathing historian' the next bi-polarity definitionists cover their track with"

Ah, so baffling us with obscure jargon from a school of Russian literary criticism wasn't an attempt to claim the academic high ground, then?

"So far as I can tell the collector's position is 'you can't find one author so everyone/ the people wrote it and I'm their emissary on earth' jibberish."

Which collector said or believed that? Yet another straw man.

"my opinion is as good as anyone's"

The reason I was hoping this thread had died. All arguments countered with "Because I Say So".


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:37 AM

"Please read what I said back there, Brian. I'm not talking of an elite class... I see the singers themselves as being the time-served working class masters, they are makers & transformers of these songs"

Please read what I said back there, Suibhne. It's glueman who's still talking about "unknown clever folk". There's nothing in the above I would disagree with, and nor - I suspect - would some of your other adversaries here.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: glueman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:39 AM

Fine Brian 'the people' didn't write it. We are in agreement. It was always nonsense as an idea, it's counter-intuitive and it doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

This slipperiness about definitions is grotesque. Anon is anon and nothing should be read into that anonymity. It doesn't open the door to every Tom, Dick and Harry, it's the work of specialists.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:41 AM

If you're suggesting that, had it not been for the Folk Revival, traditional song and music would be part of the English cultural mainstream, you're in fantasy land.

Maybe I am at that, Brian - but sometimes it's nice to dream - to wonder how things might have been... I am, however, a realist. And in any case, with but few exceptions, my love of Traditional English Speaking Folk Song in no way endears me to what is done in the name of The Revival, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:51 AM

I reject the idea that folk music is a manufactured entity in the minds of certain people
who have a cultish view of it on Mudcat.

I see it in a larger context as music that is made for people of varying views to
participate in it. There are those of us on Mudcat who don't see folk music as
a precious museum piece or an elitist hobby.

The idea that it is a rarified form of scalp collecting for a privileged few is abhorrent to me.

It seems to me that this is an idea that is fostered in certain circles in Academia.

Folk music for me will always be a vital and flourishing aspect of music accessible
to all and an alternative to the marketing of music on a popular level.

There is maybe not a monolithic "Tradition" as you hear about in certain circles
but there is indisputably a historical significance to what we call folk music that
is distinguishable it from manufactured contemporary songwriting. There are
"traditions" (plural) which engage the vitality of this form of musical expression.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 10:19 AM

"David Buchan in his 'The Ballad And The Folk' suggested that the ballads never had fixed texts but were remade on the spot by the singers, using the plot and established commonplaces."

As Jack Campin suggested, Buchan's theory doesn't find too many takers these days. However, it's interesting to note that when Frank Proffitt - a farm worker, carpenter and road mender in the mountains of North Carolina - sang a version of Child 68 that he'd heard as a boy to Frank and Anne Warner in 1959, he told them that "in trying to recall the way the song went, it is possible I use a rhyming word of my own here and there".

His 'Song of a Lost Hunter' is a version of 'Young Hunting' (prefaced by a lurid, necrophiliac 'backstory'), told in stanzas many of which differ significantly from other versions of the ballad found even in the same state. So it does seem as though Proffit recreated the ballad at least partly in his own words - although whether he did this "on the spot" when the collectors arrived is doubtful.


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Subject: RE: Does Folk Exist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 10:23 AM

Ed: "Ooh! Just been on a logic course, or read a book, by chance?"

I rarely read many books these days as it happens, but I did go to school and I learned me some mighty fancy words (of over two syllables!) there too. But thanks for your interest anyway :) x


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