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This should set folk music back 100 year

Stringsinger 23 Sep 09 - 03:22 PM
Stringsinger 23 Sep 09 - 03:23 PM
Dead Horse 23 Sep 09 - 03:29 PM
Richard Bridge 23 Sep 09 - 03:32 PM
Don Firth 23 Sep 09 - 03:35 PM
Stringsinger 23 Sep 09 - 03:38 PM
Barry Finn 23 Sep 09 - 03:45 PM
Don Firth 23 Sep 09 - 04:07 PM
robomatic 23 Sep 09 - 04:14 PM
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Bill D 23 Sep 09 - 04:21 PM
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Subject: Review: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:22 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFAhW0GvuTE#t=01m30s


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Subject: RE: Review: This should set folk music back 100 ye
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:23 PM

This is amazingly bad. Another one is Debby Reynolds singing "If I Had A Hammer".


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Subject: RE: Review: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Dead Horse
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:29 PM

So thats what the Everly Bros were doing before they made it big.


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Subject: RE: Review: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:32 PM

Regrettably, the thread and the above posts vex me considerably.

First - maybe not for Stringsinger, but certainly for most of us, is we could perform to that standard, we would be out gigging not here posting. Not that I like it - but it is done better than average.

Second - it isn't folk. So why should it have any effect on folk.

Third - if folk wanted to go anywhere, back 100 years would be good, 200 better and so on.


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Subject: RE: Review: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:35 PM

Oh, Gawd! I wasn't ready for THAT!!

Does this mean that some totally demented Hollywood producer wants to do a remake of "Hootenanny Hoot?"

We are DOOMED!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Review: This should set folk music back 100 ye
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:38 PM

I think that it's done very well as a spoof on ......well I hesitate to name the group.

Setting something back 100 years is a trope. "Trope (linguistics), a rhetorical figure of speech that consists of a play on words" not to be taken literally. The irony is that folk music is already set back. (It's a joke, son!)

It's what many think of as being folk and that's the point.

It's all "folked up"....another trope.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Review: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Barry Finn
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:45 PM

come on this was recorded back around 65' & Debbie Reynolds I think had a hand in it's production or something. I think some of the members belonged later to the goup "We 5" (you we're on my mind & walk right in?). Let's no get to over excited

Barry


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Subject: RE: Review: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:07 PM

". . . if we could perform to that standard, we would be out gigging not here posting."

What standard is that, Richard?

As far as that goes, many of us currently posting on Mudcat can—and have—performed to some damned high standards. And some continue to do so.

The standard I set for my own performances was to sing for general audiences as well as folk music fans (not just confine my efforts to folk clubs) and introducing them to traditional folk music, not what many people regarded as folk music (which would include the video Frank linked to). Some of my audiences included classical music and early music aficionados, who were used to some pretty high musical standards. And I made a living at it.

So snorting at that video is not exactly a case of "sour grapes."

Have you seen the movie (mockumentary) "A Mighty Wind?" Lots of people have seen that movie (including a surprising number of folkies) and didn't get the joke.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: robomatic
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:14 PM

Check and mate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnqqdZZddFE&feature=related


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:19 PM

Funny, I found it hard to distinguish between that and an awful lot of pop-folk from the 60s and 70s.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:21 PM

So....have they done Child ballads yet? (MY demented mind wants to see the girls in shorts come out and then do a straight (except for costumes) version of "The Two Sisters"..)

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

"Second - it isn't folk. So why should it have any effect on folk."

Sadly, enough of this was done that many people have the idea that it IS folk. They have an acoustic guitar and they aren't singing "Rock Around the Clock"...it MUST be folk. (The horse will sing in the next video)


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:25 PM

A Spockumentary?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: sing4peace
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:27 PM

That was a lot of fun.
Entertainment...
what a concept!

JK


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 04:45 PM

Listening to the perky blonde singing about how she's picked apples and harvested hay reminded me of the time Jesse Fuller sang in one of Seattle's better coffeehouses for two weeks. One evening, while introducing a song, he remarked, "I kinda get a laugh out of some of these clean-cut college boys singin' about bein' a 'steel drivin' man.' That's 'cause I have drove some!"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:07 PM

I'm sorry, but from the eastern side of the pond it was difficult to see that this was a parody. Isn't that what the US folk revival was like? (Yes, I have seen " A Mighty Wind".)

Was it really any more embarrasing than this -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wik2uc69WbU

or this -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCifK-vIG2k?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Stower
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:14 PM

For me, Debby Reynolds singing "If I Had A Hammer" is so bad that it tips right over into (unwittingly) inspired: the silly choregraphy, the faked sincerity, the embarassing melodrama. Thank you, Stringsinger, I haven't laughed so much in ages.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:18 PM

Ah but totally sincere sincerity!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:24 PM

When world's collided.

Some of the video still available from that era is nearly surreal in the juxtaposition of the old vaudeville schtick overlapping with the music and performers of a completely seperate new era. There is a youtube video of John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the Merv Griffin Show with Henny Youngman that is striking in the same way.
In the Hullabaloo clip, the costumes, set, and performers are completely out of place with the song, and then in walk McGuinn and the Byrds, like acid freaks stumbling into a Manhattan cocktail party, to top it all off.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:28 PM

Oh well, I like modesty and humility.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:36 PM

is that string singer singing with the weavers?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:40 PM

That was a nasty little jab, Snail--and given that the British Folk revival seems to have revolved around this sort of thing All Around My Hat--people who live in glass houses...


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:40 PM

and speaking of acid heads at the cocktail party, watch as Hugh and Jerry converse pleasantly, and then Mr Garcia provides a moment that transcends cultural boundaries.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: olddude
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:43 PM

Be afraid, Be very afraid ... Oh my goodness scary stuff boys and girls


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:43 PM

enjoying the clips they are ace guys.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:10 PM

During the 1950s and before, there was a slowly increasing awareness and interest in American traditional music, fed by collectors such as the Lomaxes, poet Carl Sandburg, and others, also fed by performers such as Burl Ives, Susan Reed, Richard Dyer-Bennet, et al. It was in the very early 1950s that I became actively interested.

At that time, if you mentioned that you sang folk songs, most people thought you were talking about Country and Western or what was referred to as "Modern Western Swing." It wasn't until a fair number of people, particularly college kids, started getting together spontaneously for song fests and to swap songs (what were originally called "hootenannies") that the commercial music interests woke up to the idea that there might be profit to be made in this music. The big turning point was when the Kingston Trio's rendition of "Tom Dooley" made the Hit Parade in 1958, and then what became known as "the folk revival" was off and running.

Was it really a folk revival?

One of the problems with folk music as far as the commercial interests were concerned was—who gets the royalties? These songs are all public domain. So not us! We gotta do something about that!

So—a lot of goofy stuff started going on. At one time, some nineteen different people claimed copyright on "Greensleeves." And "folk songs" were being ground out by professional song writers for commercially oriented groups such as The New Christy Minstrels to sing and record. Songs that sounded a bit like folk songs, but with a known composer who could garner the proceeds. Plastic "folk songs." And, for that matter, plastic "folk groups."

The Weavers came together because they were all into folk music before all this got started. They formed a group "to introduce the American people to their own traditional music" and their first recordings came out, I believe, in 1949 or 1950. That's when I first heard them on juke boxes and on the radio. They sang traditional songs.

The group Peter Paul and Mary was put together some years later by impresario Al Grossman. So rather that coming together spontaneously, they were a "manufactured" group. They sang some traditional songs, but mostly recently written songs.

So—there were people who were interested in traditional folk music. And there was the commercial "pop-folk" phenomenon. The latter spawned a fair number of manufactured folk groups and equally ersatz folk songs that were written to be sung by such groups—and on which, royalties could be collected.

I'm not making this up. I knew a guy who sang with the New Christy Minstrels for about a year and wrote a lot of songs for them.

So when someone mentions "the folk revival," I'm not quite sure what they're talking about—in the same way as when they start talking about "folk songs." I need a little clarification.

NO! Let's not start that discussion yet again!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:20 PM

Pete Seeger was singing with the Weavers.

Pop goes the folk!
It's interesting to see that folk music in this time period was treated with a Hollywood
brush. It was the "in" thing at the time. The Troubadour in Los Angeles featured groups like this as did Leadbetters with Randy Sparks on Westwood Boulevard in West L.A.
"Up With People" was popular at the time.   There was the Hollywood folk crowd coming through the Troubadour. It was there I was exposed to the likes of Michele Phillips,
(and I missed meeting the notorious John) but I heard Steve Mann play. "The Modern Folk Quartet" were actually talented people as was Terry Kirkman of the "Association".

I accompanied Hoyt Axton at the Troubadour during that time.
The folk scene became quickly rock-and-rollized and the clean-cut gave way to the scroungy. Eventually, I had to leave that scene. Hollywood had left a bad odor.
Nothing like drug-addled folks singing folksongs. Consciousness-expanding all over the place. One of the best descriptions of this time is "Long Time Coming" by Dave Crosby.
I was captivated by his book. I played opposite him at a defunct poor-man's Troubadour which eventually turned into a West L.A. laundry called the New Balladeer. He was a fixture at the Troubadour's Monday night "hoots" for quite a time. The Byrds signed a recording contract with Columbia the night they came down to the New Balladeer to see Dave. There was a guy making hamburgers in the kitchen named John Kay who eventually had a group called "Steppenwolf", after the novel by Herman Hesse.

Pop goes the Brits Folks!
Snail, the folkscene in Britain was not immune as Ted has pointed out. It might
recover from some of it's stuffiness. It certainly had it's pop flurry as well.
What about Lonnie Donegan? Then there was skiffle. Lonnie apparently approached
Moe Asch in New York at Folkways to claim royalties for Leadbelly tunes. Moe invited him to come by and he would personally break a few recordings of Leadbelly over his head.

Then there were these Teddy Boys from Liverpool.

Stringsinger


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Chris Partington
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:23 PM

Oh. I still enjoy "All Around My Hat" and it is an old song, even if the shirts do look a bit flouncy in that clip.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:23 PM

Great commentary there, Don. The lines between Folk Songs and Singer/Songwriter Songs have always been a bit blurry to me, and your comments give at least some inkling as to why a traddy like Dylan decided to swing over into the songwriter mode.
The comments about the contrast between substance (a hardrock mining song, for example) and its presentation by a cleancut crew of college lettermen always struck me as incongruous and insincere, even as a lad of 11 years. Somehow, putting a drum behind those kids and letting them grow their hair long gave them more credibility to me as a teenager. But somewhere along the line most of us come to a place where we recognize that the strength is in the beauty and integrity of the song, not the style and popularity of the singer, and that the best a performer can do is find a song with meaning and try to do it justice.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:32 PM

and Frank, your reminiscences about the Troubador are the kind of thing that make coming to the Mudcat worthwhile.
I had thought McGuinn and Crosby were pals in the Greenwich folk scene before coming to LA, but you imply they met at the Troubador. And how did Gene Clark hook up with them?
What kind of stuff were you and Crosby doing at the time? That must have been 1964 or so? Straight folk and traditional music?
Sorry, but I would buy you a beer if we were sitting in a bar, just to keep you talking.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 07:14 PM

It may not be fair to bring up singers whose native language wasn't English, but as Jimmy Carter would have it "life isn't fair"...

The Jacob Sisters


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: bobad
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 07:22 PM

Man, everything about that is BAAAAAAAAD!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 08:00 PM

Its the SINCERITY Man !! As kong as you can fake the sincerity - - - -


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Folknacious
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 08:35 PM

Actually I thought it was rather fun. There's nothing like period piece to make you wince and laugh at the same time, and A Mighty Wind was a great follow on to all that. It made me curious enough to Google for the Legendaires and found this on the Sandiego Troubadour site about another US group I'd never heard of called We Five:

From the third album (The Return of the We Five) on, the female vocalist would be Debbie Burgan, Jerry's wife. (Jerry, Debbie, and Pete Fullerton retained the We Five name after a business acquisition with the other band members.)

Debbie was no stranger to the California folk scene. She recorded her first disc at 14 and was later a member of the Legendaires, a trio that later secured a recording contract with Mercury Records and worked with Mike Curb, a music industry veteran whose diverse curriculum vitae includes soundtrack music for American International Pictures youth exploitation films and a term as California Lieutenant Governor.

A short promotion film featuring the Legendaires is now considered a collector's item for devotees of the Scopitone, a '60s novelty that placed a video screen over the body of a jukebox. Scopitone music shorts are now all over the Internet, a pop culture renaissance that must provide Debbie Burgan with occasional moments of nostalgic reflection.

"In October of 1965 the Legendaires were asked to film a short film for a juke box, coin operated sound film on the Scopitone," said Debbie. "The Legendaires consisted of Michael Alley, Jeff Tonkin, and myself, then Debbie Graf. We had won the Battle of the Bands at the Hollywood Bowl and just returned from singing for President Johnson at the World's Fair in New York. Most of the product for Scopitone was produced in Hollywood by a company owned by Debbie Reynolds and film-maker Irving Briskin. Our film was shot at Griffith Park on the trains. It was very exciting to be involved in the project. We sang a song named 'Good for Nothing Bill.' There were dancers, and a hobo depicting the character Bill. We were standing on the top of the train at times, then the platform of the caboose.

"The dancers were doing a routine with the hobo, and we thought it was over the top, but we were just the singers," said Debbie. "It was the first time I had been taken out and had clothing bought for a project by the director. We all had make-up and hair done, as well. I don't remember making any money, but I did get to keep the clothes.

"At the time, there were 427 machines operating in California lounges, and over a thousand in the United States. I had some calls from relatives who saw us from several states away, and that was exciting. Each machine held 36 short films in color, and we were one of 26 films made at that time along with Debbie Reynolds, Kay Starr, Vic Damone, Bobby Vee, James Darren, Mary Kaye, Frankie Avalon, Vikki Carr, the Righteous Brothers, and others. Each film ran for about three minutes and was produced by Briskin. It cost a quarter to play them. Sadly, the Scopitone was short lived."


Not much implied about "folk" in there, but interesting.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: deadfrett
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 08:43 PM

Frank, wasn't the GOOD MUSIC almost lost in the rush to copyright? There certainly were a lot of happy attorneys. Thank goodness they could only copyright their own arrangements. Dave


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 years
From: Genie
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 09:11 PM

Snail,

Was it really any more embarrasing than this -



or this -

Snail, I'm glad you included that Weavers TV appearance clip above. When I clicked on your "Puff" link , I immediately thought of Ronnie Gilbert in her formal gown and the other Weavers in their dress suits, so I looked up that video.
When I went to post it, I realized you already had. LOL

But an even more 'popified' version of Goodnight Irene by The Weavers was their hit Decca recording, backed by a full orchestra and sung at a tediously slow pace click here.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: bobad
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 09:17 PM

The stuff about the Scopitone is neat, I vaguely remember having seen them in action. There is a goldmine of performances that were recorded for them on YouTube and it even has it's own Facebook page.
Here is one cultural artifact for those of you who have a strong stomach: Fiesta Hippie.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 years
From: Genie
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 09:19 PM

And, Lonesome EJ, this post of yours brought back a vivid memory of a bizarre (hilariously so) TV segment I caught in the '60s.

You said:
"When world's collided.

Some of the video still available from that era is nearly surreal in the juxtaposition of the old vaudeville schtick overlapping with the music and performers of a completely separate new era. ...
In the Hullabaloo clip, the costumes, set, and performers are completely out of place with the song, and then in walk McGuinn and the Byrds, like acid freaks stumbling into a Manhattan cocktail party, to top it all off."

The TV spot that brings to mind is of Joan Baez appearing on Hefner's "Playboy After Dark" to sing a haunting and stirring a cappella version of Dylan's "Tears of Rage" --
while Hef and the other smoking-jacket clad gents sat around on the couches with barely-legal-looking blonde "playmate" types (with stylishly straight shoulder-length coifs) in slinky gowns, all taking on "meaningfully deep" expressions on their faces as she sang.

Can you say "incongruity?"


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 10:19 PM

Hi Lonesome EJ,

Crosby was on the opposite bill from me. We never worked together.
Could be Roger and Dave met in New York but that contract was signed
that night. Dave was doing pretty much the same stuff...kinda' bluesy.
I was doing traditional. About '64. You're right.

Dave,

The Cityfolkies were copyrighting everything that they could. Lou Gottleib got some money for Uncle Dave's "Rock About My Saro Jane". Bob Gibson copyrighted a lot. It was business.
If it was PD you could change it a little and claim copyright. If you check out Harry Fox Agency and the BMI and ASCAP listings you'll find out who copyrighted what and when.
You could rewire lots of PD material in those days. Then there was the Tom Dooley (KT/Frank Profitt) suit.

Copyright might be the enemy of the folk process.

Frank


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 10:31 PM

There's always the good, the bad and the indifferent.

Just do the best you can.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, on the road in Steveston Village, British Columbia


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Amos
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 11:26 PM

Man, drawing a comparison between the Weavers doing "Irene" and the smarmy artifice of early PPM or Debbie Reynolds is downright myopic. With all due respect, myopic!


A


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 12:11 AM

I think a good many of these videos were shot and presented in the doo wop era, a time when it seemed that everything had a tinge of it. Much as I enjoy doo wop to this day, I prefer my music straight.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: melodeonboy
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 03:57 AM

Blimey! This thread is off the end of the cheesometer scale! Mind you, it's given me a few laughs.

Couldn't we just rename this thread "cheese"? After all, that's what it's really about!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 03:59 AM

I thoroughly enjoyed both the song and the video. Too open minded for my own good, probably.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Howard Jones
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 04:30 AM

When I read the title I wondered whether setting folk music back 100 years was meant to be good or bad.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 05:22 AM

M.Ted

given that the British Folk revival seems to have revolved around this sort of thing All Around My Hat

No it didn't. Look at the dates. As Frank points out, this is a bit of folk pop and, as such, stands up pretty well. (The moustaches are a bit embarrasing I admit. I probably had one like that myself.)

Stringsinger

What about Lonnie Donegan?

An English member of the American folk revival. Your point?

Then there were these Teddy Boys from Liverpool.

And very good they were too but I don't think they claimed to be "folk".

Are you saying that Pete Seeger is "folk pop"?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 06:18 AM

this is very worrying,some idiot will start doing this again on the english folk scene.
the latest thing is morons going around with backing tracks,they should be made to listen to daniel o donnell,for the rest of their lives.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: skarpi
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 06:34 AM

hmmmmmmmmmmm


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: melodeonboy
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 06:45 AM

"...they should be made to listen to daniel o donnell,for the rest of their lives."

Schweik, you're so cruel!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: melodeonboy
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 06:46 AM

But fair!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:12 AM

As so often happens with some of Mudcat's more esoteric threads, I'm floundering a bit. Wasn't this just an old track presented as part of a tribute site for those old 'film jukeboxes'?
Have I missed something, or has someone threatened to resurrect this style of singing, thus creating yet another in a long line of 'threats' to the 'genuine' folk music which some Mudcatters hold dear?
Or is this, as I say, just an old track which someone's dug out for our entertainment?
For the record, they reomind me of The Springfields, The Seekers and (dare I say it?) Peter Paul abd Mary.
I wouldn't mind one little bit if someone did revive this style of singing. I'd do it myself if I had just a tenth of the talent these three had.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:16 AM

I quite liked it!

DeG


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:43 AM

Folknacious, We Five had a hit with You Were On My Mind, an Ian and Sylvia song. But maybe you've never heard of Ian and Sylvia....


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Folknacious
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 09:03 AM

Yes, I've heard of Ian & Sylvia (Four Strong Winds?), but maybe We Five never made it to the UK. Or just passed me by. I wasn't that interested in US pop "folk" at the time, still am not, but that particular video has a very entertaining period charm like watching old episodes of Ready Steady Go and so forth. I know they're no more than a dumbed even further down Peter Paul & Mary clone on uppers (with apologies to the recently departed Mary) but you have to smile.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: melodeonboy
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 09:11 AM

"I know they're no more than a dumbed even further down Peter Paul & Mary clone on uppers (with apologies to the recently departed Mary) but you have to smile."

Indeed!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Amos
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 10:02 AM

With that lucid description, BSOG!!

THe cognitive dissonance that bothers some people, of course, is this bizarre nouveau-old thing where you dress in polyester and hair-spray and sing about being in rags on the road when you haven't got the foggiest what it was about to do such a hting. And do it with GUSTO!??!!! It shivers my BS alarm all to pieces, it does.

A


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 10:27 AM

I forgot to add, I'm not championing this sort of singing just to be awkward, just pointing out that its a style thats 'of its time'.

And I hate Daniel O'Donnell and his ilk like poison.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 12:04 PM

Re Steeleye Span's All Round My Hat: Steeleye were imo the best of the Britpop folk-rock lot of the 70s — better than Fairport or Trees or Mr Fox or Pentangle; & Maddy Prior the best singer of the lot of them, incl McShee and Denny; and with many other of the best revival singers joining them over the years, like Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick, Tim Hart .... And their approach was, maugre the instumentations [but as it was folk-rock it would be begging the question to object too strongly there] uniformly respectful of the tradition.

SO - there was much puzzlement over here when they took the tune of All Around My Hat, a poignant transportation ballad of a youth whose true love has been sent away for 7 years by an unjust judge on a trumped-up theft charge, and married it to the words of a quite different, and, again imo, not nearly as good or moving, lost-love song called 'Farewell She'.

And, just to rub salt in the wound, it shot right up the charts and was played on our tv's Top Of The Pops for about 8 weeks running. Must be some sort of awful moral in there somewhere, but I can't say I feel too inclined to try to sniff it out.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 12:51 PM

MtheGM

Must be some sort of awful moral in there somewhere, but I can't say I feel too inclined to try to sniff it out.

Mike Batt


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 01:05 PM

"it shot right up the charts and was played on our tv's Top Of The Pops for about 8 weeks running."
No mystery. It was rollicking good dance music for rock and rollers. therefore it appealed to the kids instead of the archivists. In other words, they breathed life into an old song which could have become a footnote in a history of traditional music. I say more power to them! I love to see someone like Nirvana performing In the Pines, Uncle Tupelo doing John Hardy, or the Grateful Dead doing Lonesome Road Blues. It blows the dust off of these tunes and brings new blood into what we call Folk or Traditional music. These songs are strong enough to stand up to these energetic bastardizations, and they will undergo these periodic resurfacings and modifications if they are good pieces of music, and whether the folks on this forum approve or not.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 01:35 PM

It's interesting to try to discern the pedigree of this sort of stuff. I'd say the "Legendaires" are actually trying to mine the "Seekers" vein--with about 1% of their talent--and missing a fourth.. Admittedly I absolutely love the Seekers--and always will. And I don't care what you call them.

As for "All Around My Hat", the contrast between the pristine, yet gutsy, beauty of the a cappella vocals and the godawful obligatory thudding drums and absurd electric guitar, is, shall we say, striking.   It's a shame they had to ruin the song in order to sell it.

As has been noted, those who live in glass houses.....

And it is also interesting that some who regularly take Americans to task for missing irony may possibly have done so themselves re: "set folk music back 100 years". Just a thought.

And a bit of slightly delicious irony.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 01:45 PM

If not irony, then certainly a bit of humor missed by some. "Two nations divided by a common language", I think is the quote.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Maryrrf
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 01:47 PM

I also was reading this thread as a little lighthearted fun and was surprised that it took on a nasty tone. Why????


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 02:12 PM

Early in the thread "vex me considerably".   And for no discernible reason.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 02:14 PM

And the tone is not "nasty". Just a bit of ribbing--on a topic which has come up before.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 02:30 PM

The awful truth is only just beginning to sink in that the Legendaires video wasn't a parody.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: mg
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 03:51 PM

It sounded nice to me. I don't care if perky blond ever picked apples or drove a steam engine..she has a nice voice. And dresses like Nice Catholic Girls of the era. I like hearing music by pretty voices. mg


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 05:45 PM

The lesson here, such as it is, is that commercial recordings are a product, made for sale by a team of people, and that the performers named on the label are often not the ones who make most of the decisions.

Often you have bands that sound like thisModern Folk Quartet Live teamed with high power producer/promoters to create records that sound like this:Modern Folk Quartet--This Could Be the Night

Given the situation it is probably a mistake to make any determination as to which is more traditional.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 05:48 PM

Sorry, the first link should have been this one: Modern Folk Quartet Live


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 08:18 PM

Are there any recordings around of what All Around My Hat sounded like before Steeleye Span put the words of Farewell She to it?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: melodeonboy
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 08:50 PM

"it shot right up the charts and was played on our tv's Top Of The Pops for about 8 weeks running."

Er.... it that supposed to be a recommendation?


I do remember seeing one performance of the silly buggers miming on television and not being aware that, quite apart from the fact that anything mimed is naff by deinition anyway, miming a mandolin riff by pretending to play a fiddle is really the pits!

What next on this thread? Pat Boone fans?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 10:41 PM

Interestingly enough, it wasn't necessary even after the "Folk Scare" to have a rock soundtrack to make a huge hit. Didn't happen very often. But Judy Collins had a huge hit in, I think, 1969, with "Amazing Grace"--and no instruments. Only "gimmick" was the chorus backing her up. Admittedly it was just amazing at the time that it was such a "pop" smash.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 12:48 AM

A gift from all us Pat Boone loving folkies to you, MelodeonboyPat Boone and the Kingston Trio


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: eddie1
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 03:01 AM

M Ted
Your second link is great - if played with the sound muted!

Eddie


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 03:38 AM

The awful truth is only just beginning to sink in that the Legendaires video wasn't a parody.

Surely it must have been, you can't make up something like that and be serious?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 03:57 AM

Read Folknacious's post on 23 Sep 09 - 08:35 PM. As I said, is it really any worse than Puff the Magic Dragon or The Weavers' version of "Goodnight Irene"?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 04:09 AM

'"it shot right up the charts and was played on our tv's Top Of The Pops for about 8 weeks running."
Er.... it that supposed to be a recommendation?'

Of course not, melodeonboy. Can't you read! In unlikely event that maybe you can, look at my posting again !!!!!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 04:11 AM

That comment was preceded by the words "Just to rub salt in the wound". You have grievously let your critical & literacy standards slip, I fear, 'mel'boy' old·darling!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 04:30 AM

The awful truth is only just beginning to sink in that the Legendaires video wasn't a parody.

Why the fuss? This in 1965 for goodness sake! Thanks for the link - thoroughly enjoyed this authentic slice of middle-American folk glitz-kitsch replete with archetypical trampish-clown and his attendant trinity of bonny circus girls.

In return I might offer this, from 1963...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fruHQhNe-UM

That's some heritage you guy's have got there. You really ought to be proud of it.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 04:43 AM

Read Folknacious's post on 23 Sep 09 - 08:35 PM. As I said, is it really any worse than Puff the Magic Dragon or The Weavers' version of "Goodnight Irene"?

Hm, yes, I overlooked that. It would have made a brilliant spoof in a nicely OTT way. Life imitating art maybe. At least you can get a smile out of this where Puff the Magic Dragon just makes you cringe at every turn.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: melodeonboy
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 05:35 AM

Thank you, M.Ted. I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep tonight now!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 09:56 AM

We liked the original even better, S O'P--Papa Oo Mow Mow

And, now I must express my thanks to all of of you from the British Isles for this contribution to the collective consciousness by The Always Entertaining Kate Bush. Best of all, I am told that it is based on "Lucy Wan"--what did that set you back?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 10:04 AM

Part of the original anyway, M.Ted. The Rivington's majestic Bird is the Word can be heard here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edYQiZxyw0I

Folk process or what?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 10:33 AM

I agree with the poster about Maddy Prior's voice, with just one other possible conteder - Judith Durham. But I don't think the New Seekers ever matched Steeleye Span in musical talent or song range.

And I still can't see what is wrong with the opening clip. Apart from it is about 45 years too late. Then again - isn't that what folk music is about;-)

DeG


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 10:43 AM

And while remebering Judith and the seekers how about these trump cards:-)


The carnival is over

and

Georgy Girl

Enjoy

DeG


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 11:24 AM

I thought you didn't believe in the Folk Process, SO'P. But you're right--this curious bit of music shows that even recorded is not immune to editing to it, though some of our friends here think that recordings, because they are fixed for all eternity, spelled the end of the folk process.

Evidence that it was, indeed, a product of the folk process come from the wikipedia article:

"The Rivingtons followed up their 1962 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" with the similar "The Bird's the Word" in 1963. The Trashmen had not heard this version but saw a band called The Sorensen Brothers playing it.[2] They decided to play the song that night at their own gig. During this first performance, drummer and vocalist Steve Wahrer stopped playing and ad-libbed the "Surfin' Bird" middle section."


The interesting thing is that the original, or originals, (don't forget "Mama Oo Mow Mow") wasn't nearly as big a hit as the Trashmen's version--some might say that that just reflects the quirkiness of popular taste, but I think that the Trashmen stripped away the extraneous, and got down to the essence--Your archnemesis Jim Carroll points out that the original forms of a lot of traditional songs were long and unfocussed, with a lot of extraneous material that was trimmed away in transmission--same here.

Interestingly, though this song is dismissed as a fleeting novelty, everytime someone digs it out, it recaptures the popular imagination--apparently, for instance, it was a hit this past year in the UK, after having been featured in a television program--

I wonder how it would sound on the kemance?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 11:38 AM

Guest Jerry Fair version of All Round My Hat on Youtube by Brian Peters at Sheffield Folk Festival 2007 — not every word absolutely clear, but a more traditional version of the transportation motif.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 12:18 PM

Oh, I believe in a folk process, but the jury's still out as the whether or not it's the folk process. As this illustrates, process is part and parcel of all musics and isn't exclusive, or somehow most apparent, in this thing we call folk music.

Thanks for the back-ground on Surfin' Bird - quite a process going on there as you say. I take Jim's point about stripping things down to the essence, but this is no randomness, but a sequence of consummate reductions to the very essence of the thing. That said I love all the versions equally...

Kemence version? It's been on the cards for a while actually. Maybe now's the time.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Stringsinger
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 01:28 PM

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd

We do have a wonderful heritage here which is not found on our commercial media very much in the same way as it is in your country. I for one am very proud of our indigenous music which does exist and is very much alive away from American Idiot or Prancing with the Stars.

You obviously have never been to our folk festivals in North Carolina or Virginia.
We have folk performers like Doc Watson, Jean Ritchie, Dirk Powell, and lesser known traditional balladeers who are still with us and delighting their smaller audiences.

There is a difference between commercial pop music and folk music. The first is made for money. The second stems from a definable culture. We have Appalachian singers and players, blues musicians (yes, this is folk music), and other representatives of ethnic and folk music cultures here in the States. They don't get the recognition they deserve but some of us are very proud of their contributions.

If Irish music were to be presented as Dennis Day (although he was a fine singer)or Arthur Godfrey, it would be as misleading as your characterization of American pop music being representative of folk music. Even the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem (who I think were great entertainers) are hardly wholly representative of the Irish music "Tradition" (there's that word again).

I think that as far as pop music in the States goes, P.P. and M. and the Weavers brought it up to superior musical level. They were not intended to be traditional folk by any stretch of the imagination and Pete Seeger no longer calls himself a "folk singer".

Is Scottish folk music represented by Harry Lauder? English folk music by "Knees Up Mother Brown?"

Your examples seem to belie a real interest in folk music as you seem to show a denial of its existence.

Frank


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Amos
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 03:34 PM

Frank speaks great sooth. The music that swelled up from the roots of the many cultures that make up the US was carried by people like him, and Muddy, and Frank Warner, and Bill Broonzy, and hundreds of banjo pickers, fiddle players, squeeze box squeezers and singers from all walks of life. The stamp of this music is that it carries a tone of versimilitude because it is sung by people who have lived it, or who live among those who lived it.

This upwelling was met in the middle by a cascade from the top of the music business down of prettified performance-oriented renditions of similar tunes and words, but with the soul carefully bleached, mangled and pressed crisp, for mass-market palatability. People like the Kingston Trio and the Limelighters were cheery, and generated enthusiasm for the genre, but they did not carry an authentic stamp from any genuine port, and showed no sign of having paid the dues of real work which underlies so much of the tradition.

THis is not to say that some of these more refined groups were not lovely to hear--they were. But Frank's point about the folk music that comes from genuine cultural roots, rather than a post-industrial haze of sweet pottage, should be taken to heart.

I recently tripped across an interesting blend by the same Seekers linked upthread, doing a song which is very genuine, very touching, and very nicely executed, but which is not from any pocket of hard-earned culture; a genuine 20th century sort of song, written long after the bushies and the swagmen had been pretty well assimilated: I am Australian. It's an interesting example of the outcome when many different cultural streams collide, clash, mingle and finally integrate to some degree.

A


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 07:10 PM

Thanks, MtheGM, I'll have a look for it.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: meself
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 07:36 PM

Thanks for the vid. clip - it's wonderful and hilarious - the way your high school yearbooks are hilarious (check them out if you still have them). As some others, I can't see what the fuss is about; this is what it is, the times were what they were - and, of course, they were a-changin'.

By the way, it only sets folk back fifty years, not a hundred.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Donuel
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 07:52 PM

It smells like a Mighty Wind


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Stringsinger
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 09:35 PM

Amos, that's a good assessment and thanks for reinforcing my position.

I think the pop market seduced a lot of people into thinking that folk music was the Legendaires. When music becomes just about popularity and money then the quality goes down. Even the great songwriters of the past had standards in their songwriting techniques that enable them to stem the tide of time. Most of the crap written on the charts today will be forgotten in a metaphorical ten minutes from now. This is in spite of many talented people playing and singing today.

The incongruity of a Debbie Reynolds or Lengendaires is not lost on people who really care about folk music and the talent it represents. I don't think either act really cared a whit about folk music but saw it as a vehicle to make a buck. They were seduced by the "business" as well in the same way that music has become corporate on the charts not unlike banking, prisons or health care. It's easy to connect the cultural dots.

Frank


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,booklyn rose
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 11:25 PM

Here in the U.S. in the 1950's lots of people sang together, and the songs that were shared were called folk songs. When my family went camping in state parks, someone would build a camp fire and there were songs everyone knew like "Careless Love," "Down in the Valley," "Sweet Betsy from Pike," etc. Folk songs were sung by church groups, community groups, labor groups, and "lefties." Your accounts above of how folk music became commercialized and how some people sought the older forms rather than the commercial forms sound like an accurate description. The Weavers sounded to me like an extension of the music I was singing with other people. Peter Paul and Mary did not. By the 1980's I found that Pete Seeger's singing had moved too far from "traditonal folk music." Or maybe I had moved to far towards older forms????
Is it phony for city people to sing songs about rural traditions or white collar workers sing songs about manual labor? They are the songs that this city girl grew up singing, and that is what my daughter heard as a child too.
I once asked Jack Langstaff about wealthy people singing songs from poor rural areas. He said something to the effect that the songs were beautiful
I guess I drifted a bit from what some of you are talking about, but through the differences from period to period and sensibility to sensibility, music touches something in us. Problems arise when we try to claim that what we like is better than what others like (whoever "we" are.)


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Ron Davies
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 12:40 AM

On the burning question of "Bird is the Word":


I'd have to say that while I usually prefer the original to a remake, the Trashmen make the Rivingtons sound positively flaccid. The Trashmen are a souped-up 'Vette next to the Rivington's Nash Rambler--(and not the one from the other song). No question where the power and excitement are--and there's got to be a sense of humor there too. Though obviously the Trashmen got the songs--combination of two--from the Rivingtons.

The Trashmen's version will live forever. Not sure about the Rivingtons'.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Ron Davies
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 12:42 AM

Sorry, of course the Trashmen's record is "Surfin' Bird".


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Genie
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 01:10 AM

Must remember to add "Surfin' Bird" to the list for the next doo wop workshop. ; D


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 years
From: Genie
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 01:21 AM

Amos [[Man, drawing a comparison between the Weavers doing "Irene" and the smarmy artifice of early PPM or Debbie Reynolds is downright myopic. With all due respect, myopic!]]

Not sure whom you were addressing, Amos, but for my part I'd say the Weavers' "Irene" (especially the record with the orchestral backing) isn't that far removed from early PP&M -- but neither of those (or the KT or Rooftop Singers, etc.) should be compared to that gawdawful Debbie Reynolds version of "Blowing In the Wind" (which, if I didn't know better, I'd think was done as a spoof on Las Vegas or The Lawrence Welk show).



Mary G, I think you said it well (re the video linked to in the first post):
"It sounded nice to me. I don't care if perky blond ever picked apples or drove a steam engine..she has a nice voice. And dresses like Nice Catholic Girls of the era. I like hearing music by pretty voices. "

How many of our wonderful shanty singers have ever crewed a big ship on the raging main (especially the kind of vessels of the 19th C)?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:36 AM

Not many, but is that any reason to put on a bow tie and v-neck sweater and carry a stack of Sociology texts? At least slip a little grit into the artifice.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 03:12 AM

100

This might redress the balance?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxRYLcShzdU

Impressed me anyway.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 03:14 AM

Oh, I see - they're Canadian. Ah well...


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 03:48 AM

Yes, Suibhne, that's IT exactly. The real stuff, like this.

There IS a difference, isn't there?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 years
From: Genie
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 10:47 AM

Ah, yes, EJ, a bit o' grit does help, but it ain't the clothes that give that. We don't expect "folk" singers to dress in 18th C garb to add "authenticity" to sing Child ballads. If a 1960s college student wore a v-neck sweater and carried a stack of Sociology texts, that was probably pretty unpretentious.    (And I'd add that Mimi Farina's attire in that last clip looked pretty early-'60s collegiate to me too.)
But I agree that the musical styling of most of the "folk revival" was heavy on the "pop" flavor.      

Love the Ian and Sylvia clip. Another example of songs not always needing instrumental accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 10:52 AM

It's the juxtapositions (as somebody mentioned earlier in the thread)which make you cringe. That and the producers.

I suppose some genius thought ah, Legendaires, song, hobos. Let's get my brother the dancer to dress up as one and get the group to clamber over old railroad cars. That should do it!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 12:44 PM

This from Adam,

It's an insight into how the music biz hypes the "folk market". It's "The Mighty Wind"
in action. Joni Mitchell called it "The Starmaking machinery". It drops names,
ties in with technology (which we all know advances society) and quotes the
"significant" taste setters. In short, Hollywood meets their idea of folk music.
____________________________________________________________________________________

The girl in the Legendaires is Debbie (Graf) Burgan: recorded her first album at age 14. Several singing groups later, she became the female vocalist for the Los Angeles based folk group "The Lengendaires" with Jeff Tonkin and Michael Alley. They were one of the hottest folk groups in the L.A. San Gabriel Valley (winning the 1965 Hollywood Bowl Battle of the Bands "Vocal Division"). The L.A. Times described their sound as "folk rock" and hailed them as "fast becoming one of the entertainment industry's hottest new performers." At the request of President Johnson and former President Eisenhower, they performed at the People to People Fiesta at the New York World's Fair, then appeared on the Art Linkletter Show, Hollywood Talent Scouts, and Regis Philbin Show, (in addition to performing on many other local television programs and at folk clubs in the Los Angeles area). The Lengendaires were one of the first groups to appear in music videos produced by the Debbie Reynolds Production Company. The videos were played on a machine similar to a juke box, called the Scopitone, and could be found all around the United States. The Legendaires eventually signed a recording contract with Mercury Records, and began recording with Mike Curb (later to become California's Lieutenant Governor). Through Jeff Tonkin, Debbie met future husband Jerry Burgan who was in another popular folk group "The Ridgerunners." When the Ridgerunners signed to record for A&M Records, they changed their name to We Five and moved to San Francisco. Soon after, Debbie put her own recording career on hold; and, moved to the bay area to marry Jerry. Debbie began arranging music and singing with Mike Stewart and Jerry in 1964 (when Beverly Bivens was unable to perform, or rehearse) while still working with The Legendaires. She officially joined WE FIVE as the lead singer in 1968 and can be heard on four albums: Return of We Five, Catch the Wind, Take Each Day As It Comes and the Folk Rock Revival Sampler


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 12:47 PM

"Legendaires: a flu-like sickness contracted on cruise ships brought in by The Mighty Wind, overdone choreography featuring thrusting hips, many thighs in too short skirts, bouncy little steps, over exaggerated arm motions and bubble hair."


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Ron Davies
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:11 PM

That's perfect.   Is that yours?


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:31 PM

Firstly, folk music should be set back a hundred years...maybe even a way more. What passes for folk music today really isn't. Much of it is really good music, but not necessarily folk.

Secondly, was what the Legendaires or other bubble-gum folk groups did worse than the Weavers backed by the full might of the Gorden Jenkins Orchestra? Even an ill wind does some good; being blacklisted saved the Weavers from themselves.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:51 PM

Sorry, I still can't see why it should be necessary to mock a style of singing which no longer exists (except for modern-day parodies).
We're all so much cleverer and more sophisticated than people in 1965,aren't we?
Or do we just like to think we are?
Every generation thinks it has a monopoly of what is good and true and right.
You can bet that, forty four years from now, very clever and sophisticated people will be laughing at us and our ways.
There'll probably be websites (if such things still exist then) paying tribute to the hilariously old-fashioned DVD and showing examples of the very silly things we simple minded suckers used to watch.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 03:07 PM

[i]Sorry, I still can't see why it should be necessary to mock a style of singing which no longer exists (except for modern-day parodies).
We're all so much cleverer and more sophisticated than people in 1965,aren't we?
Or do we just like to think we are?
Every generation thinks it has a monopoly of what is good and true and right.[/i]

I actually think every generation makes their own embarrassing mistakes by going along with the fads and fashions of the day. It's only with time it becomes clear what is of value and what will endure. And that is tradition, or if you prefer: the folk-process. In the long run it will absorb what enhances it and what suits it, the spurious will be discarded.

And that aside, it can be very refreshing looking back at where you've been, cringe and realise how wrong you were, and laugh it off, in hope you've learned something along the way.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 03:08 PM

Sorry I had the bulletin board code again there instead of HTML, that quote should have been italic.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Paco O'Barmy
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 03:12 PM

I agree with the last two posts.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Amos
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 03:38 PM

PEte,

I agree with your thoughtful perspective. Hell, even Pete Seeger made some embarassing recordings back then.

BTW, I recently discovered he pplayed a mean mandolin, which I hadn't heard before. (This is Pete with Jack Eliot and Malvina Reynolds doing Woody's Rag).


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Amos
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 04:03 PM

Some of the pretty music from that era had legs, just as it was. Judy Collins probably never wrangled a pony in her life, but it is highly likely she fell in love more than once. That fact alone lends all the voice she needs to this classic of the era (Someday Soon).

A


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 04:11 PM

Incredibobble! I'd never heard of The Legendaires until this thread. And it's not as if I was living in a cave during that time. I was out performing in all kinds of venues.

But I guess I was traveling in different circles. . . .

The "embarrassing mistakes" of that era were not made by everyone. What the Legendaires were doing was actually a someone exaggerated idea of what some—not all—people thought folk music was all about. But this was promulgated by the commercial interests and groups like the Legendaires, and many others, were more interested in commercial success than they were in the music itself. Did they really know any traditional folk songs?

In the meantime, there was a substantial "underground," you might say, who were genuinely interested in traditional folk songs, and in singing songs they learned from books by the Lomaxes, Sandburg, Sharp, and other collectors, and from field recordings or from singers who had, in turn, learned the songs they sang from field recordings. Were these folks interested in commercial success? Oh, yes! BUT—not to the extent of corrupting the songs by "prettying them up" or using them merely as vehicles for cheap jokes (which groups like the Kingston Trio and the Limeliters often did).

At the time, there were people who recognized the $hallowne$$ of performers like the Legendaires and the material they performed for what they really represented. Cranking the money machine.

This is not to say that they were not good singings and musicians. But trying to characterize what they did as "folk songs" was just plain phony, not to mention deliberately deceptive.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 08:44 PM

How to you know whether you're "prettying up" a song when you've learned it from a book?
And the idea that there is some special integrity in attempting to imitate a field recording, or attempting to imitate someone who is attempting to imitate a field recording is a bit dubious. A good imitation is patronizing, and a bad one is an opportunity for shadenfreude.

As to the cheap jokes, well, dumb jokes were the grease on the wheels of the folk revival--so pick it, Wilson!


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 03:50 AM

The "embarrassing mistakes" of that era were not made by everyone

Ofcourse not and neither did I suggest that. But every period has it's own fads and fashions that, at least to the casual onlooker, define he look of the time.

The core, that what is enduring, is not so much in the popular eye.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 12:18 PM

The important lesson for me is that the folk music endures despite it's commercialization by those who wanted to cash in on the fad. It endures the music business.
There is a kind of minor music business that takes place when personalities are able
to find audiences in coffee houses or concert venues playing folk songs. Folk music
endures of this realm as well though in all fairness,there are those who are motivated to perform folk music because they see its value of itself and not just as a vehicle for reaching an audience.

If Pete Seeger or Joan Baez reach an audience and stay in touch with the actual folk music,
then this is a great thing because it raises the consciousness of the audience. They don't have to be authentic representatives of a traditional folk music to do this. In a sense, they are unwitting or maybe conscious educators. Folk music appreciation is not relegated to a
"butts in seats" approach to concertizing for commercial gain but as kind of a mission based on true appreciation for the idiom. In this way, it parallels the jazz artist.

The only detractors from this view as I see it are those wanting to cash in on a "cash cow".
That's how I see the Debbie Reynold's Legendaires.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 03:14 PM

"If Pete Seeger or Joan Baez reach an audience and stay in touch with the actual folk music, then this is a great thing because it raises the consciousness of the audience. They don't have to be authentic representatives of a traditional folk music to do this. In a sense, they are unwitting or maybe conscious educators. Folk music appreciation is not relegated to a 'butts in seats' approach to concertizing for commercial gain but as kind of a mission based on true appreciation for the idiom. In this way, it parallels the jazz artist."

Once again, Frank puts it where it's at.

M.Ted, as to "prettying up" a song, one can learn a song from a book and simple sing the words and tune straight without "prettying it up." By "prettying up," I was referring to screwing around with the tune and/or diddling with the words—generally hanging tinsel on the song. The books I mentioned and the many others like them by the Lomaxes, Sharp, and other collectors are especially good because they usually give good notes on the songs (a "provenance," so to speak). I don't see that singing a song straight, without trying to impose any gratuitous styling that is not implied by the song itself is "prettying it up."

Nor did I say anything about "imitating" what one hears on a field recording or any other recording. Once again, one learns the words and tune from a recording—and ignores the individual mannerisms of the singer. I've learned many songs from the records (and the song books) of Richard Dyer-Bennet, but I hardly imitate him. For one thing, he's a light, lyric tenor and I'm a bass-baritone. And although I think he does a marvelous job on art songs such as "The Joys of Love" (written by Giovanni Martini) or "So We'll Go No More a-Roving" (a poem by Lord Byron that Dyer-Bennet set to music), and quite a good job on a lot of English folk songs, I, personally, think there are some songs he should have left alone. But that's just my opinion.

And I've learned a few songs from the records of Dave Van Ronk, but I'm not about to try to imitate him. For one thing, I think I'd wreck my voice if I tried.

I've learned songs from the recordings of people like Burl Ives, Susan Reed, Cynthia Gooding, Ed McCurdy, Guy Carawan, Andrew Rowan Summers, and many others, not to mention learning songs from people in person. And I don't try to imitate these sources, nor do I try to impose any style or mannerisms upon the song other than what simple comes naturally to me (and I am, perhaps, unaware of).

I agree that imitating, or trying to imitate, the singing of someone on a field recording is patronizing. The singers on field recordings sing straight out, with whatever characteristics and mannerisms that come to them naturally. Out of respect for both the singers and the songs, I don't try to mimic those characteristics and mannerisms. As alluded to above, I probably have some of my own that I'm not aware of. I take a very dim view of the kind of folkie who has a naturally very nice sounding singing voice who, because they are singing folk songs, try to hide that natural quality of their voice by roughening it up and singing in regional dialects that are not their own. There's a lot of that going on, and I think that is patronizing—and downright phony.

Do I use regional dialects? Yes, if it is an integral part of the song. If the word is "ain't," I don't change it to "isn't." I don't change "goin' to Montan" to "going to Montana." And I don't see how one can sing a Scottish song such as "McPherson's Farewell" without using a Scot's dialect because the song would sound weird without it. The only alternative would be not to sing the song, and I'm not going to limit myself that way, since I can do a pretty creditable Scots dialect (it may be in the genes). One needs to use a little taste and good sense.

If you try to correct the grammar or Anglicize the dialect in most regional songs (as folk songs generally are), more often than not they will simply end up sounding pretty peculiar! But this does not mean that one is "imitating." One is using elements inherent in the song itself.

As to "cheap jokes," I do sing humorous songs. And reaching for humor, on "The Frozen Logger" (a funny song to begin with), I took to singing all but the first verse in a thick, Yogi Yorgesson Swedish accent and got many laughs with it. But—when I sang it that way for James Stevens, the man who wrote "The Frozen Logger" (he was a guest on a television series I did in 1959), he cracked up, said, "I never thought of it quite that way. Great! Keep doing it like that!" So, with the approval of the writer, I stand by my bit of whimsy. Cheap joke? I don't think so. To me, it seemed sort of inherent in the song, and Stevens thought so too, once he heard me do it that way.

But that's the song. I do not take a serious song and screw around with it. Example:   in one recording of "Tom Dooley," the Kingston Trio sing "I met her on the mountain, and there I took her life. I met her on the mountain, and stabbed her with my Boy Scout knife!" Aw, c'mon, guys! That's just cheesy! Cheap joke!

There are two quotes that I ran into early on that have made up my credo for the way I do traditional folk songs:
From Rolf Cahn—
The most ticklish question still results from that awful word "Folk Music", which gives the erroneous impression that there is one body of music with one standard texture, dynamic, and history. Actually, the term today covers areas that are only connected in the subtlest terms of general feeling and experience. A United States cowboy song has less connection with a bloody Zulu tale than it has to "Western Pop" music; a lowdown blues fits less with Dutch South African melody than with George Gershwin.

Most of us agree in feeling as to our general boundaries, but more and more we search for our own particular contributions as musicians within these variegated provinces. There doesn't seem to be much point in imitating—what, after all, is the point of doing "Little Moses" exactly like the Carter Family? Yet it seems vital to convey the massive, punching instrumentals and the tense driving, almost hypnotic voice of the Carter Family performances.

One the one hand, there is the danger of becoming a musical stamp collector; on the other, the equal danger of leaving behind the language, texture, and rhythm that made the music worthy of our devotion in the first place. So we have arrived at a point where in each case we try to determine those elements which make a particular piece of music meaningful to us, and to build the performance through these elements. By continuing to learn everything possible of the art form—techniques, textures, rhythms, cultural implications and conventions, we hope to mature constantly in our individual understanding and creativity in this music.

###

And Richard Dyer-Bennet said—
The value lies inherent in the song, not in the regional mannerisms or colloquialisms. No song is ever harmed by being articulated clearly, on pitch, with sufficient control of phrase and dynamics to make the most of the poetry and melody, and with an instrumental accompaniment designed to enrich the whole effect.
Frank, I would be very interested to hear what your opinion is of these two quotes.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 03:30 PM

is pete seeger left handed?I noticed he picked up his cup of tea in his left hand,on the dick and marina clip.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 03:31 PM

sorry, dick and mimi clip.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: GUEST,Tom franke
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 07:03 PM

I think it is important to consider the music independent of the videos to some extent. The performers rarely control the video,. I think the genre of music videos is mostly silly, and the genre really got started in the 60's, although it later grew when cable enabled channels like MTV (in its original format) to play music non-stop. There had to be something to watch (it was tv, after all). They found ways to do what television commercials typically do: Keep attention with lots of movement and (frequently) scantily clad women (this is when Madonna and others made underwear outerwear). Generally, the videos (regardless of decade) just shoot the performers in a bunch of different locations and then mix them up in the edit. The locations are often idiotic--performers on trains, fake hoboes, etc. I saw one where a guy was playing an electric guitar in a rowboat. Generally the ones I find tolerable or even good are ones that either use the video to convey the song's story (when it has one), or the ones that are simple concert or performance videos. Some of the videos linked in this thread are really bad and made worse by the passing of time. Don't discount the possibility that general, non-folk, audiences get this. I remember my daughter las a teenager laughing at stupid videos with her friends--and they were not just the ones intended to be funny.

Here's an example of a music video where the video really adds to the song:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFowNFvmUxw. However, most are visual drivel--just the thing to keep attentive viewers (usually teenagers) absorbed while they do their homework so that they will be there for the frequent commercials.   

Most of the videos linked here are performances excerpted from that largely defunct genre known as "variety shows." The Legendaires video seems to be an early version of the modern video, which got its real boost, in my opinion, with the Beatlles, who were among the early perpetrators of this sort of thing. (Just this morning I saw the video of "I am the walrus." It was really bad.) I remember not lparticularly Iiking these early music videos, but I also remember that they seemed pretty creative or at least original at the time--just as light shows and other psychedelic claptrap did. It definitely seemed a break from the kind of staged performance in the Debbie Reynolds video. Today both seem embarrasingly artificial. I think in the late 60s they would have seemed very different.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Sep 09 - 01:22 AM

Tom Franke's point is an important one--for these videos, and most videos, the performers don't have much to say about the final product. And, I don't much think that anyone that took folk music very seriously took any of this stuff very seriously, even then.

Since Tom posted a very compelling video, let me match that with one that moved me-from October, 2004--Eminem's Mosh


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 28 Sep 09 - 02:12 AM

Quite an astute political thinker, that Eminem, huh?

The Legendaires video at the beginning was a study in how folk music, like any other form of music, is certainly not immune from topical marketing, which is what the designation "Pop" in music stands for in my opinion. It is the sort of thing that is more easily identified in retrospect, since the essence of the music is strong enough to survive topical marketing and render it silly from the vantage point the years bring. What Suibhne's video of the Ian and Sylvia piece shows is that work done well, where substance supercedes Style, survives.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Sep 09 - 07:25 AM

am I allowed to be a little critical,of Ian and Sylvia.
they are much more preferable to any of the other videos[imo]and are excellent.
a very minor criticism, for example at 1.01,the quietening sounds prearranged almost orchestrated.[almost a classical approach]
it sounds like they might sing it the same way every time.
but the harmonies are excellent.,and they are two very fine singers,with a good general understanding of traditional singing
one of the advantages of solo unaccompanied singing is that there is complete freedom for the solo singer to perform differently every time.


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: PoppaGator
Date: 28 Sep 09 - 03:29 PM

Don Firth's post of 3:04 yesterday got me thinking about "imitation" of traditional singers.

One of my greatest musical interests is the blues in all its traditional and modern forms, and one of my greatest pet peeves is to witness a performer who presents his/her rendition of old-style folk blues by dropping a beat or two at the exact same point in a given song, or (worse) at the exact same point in every verse, every time they play it.

For many many years, I found it virtually impossible ever to stray from a strict four-beats-to-the-bar, tweleve-bars-to-the-verse format. Only recently, after 40+ years experience, have I loosened up enough to occasionally allow myself a "hiccup" and throw in a 3=beat or 5-beat measure when it feels right ~ and it does NOT feel right to do so at the same point in the verse every time around.

These little variations are evidence of a certain looseness in one's approach to performance, and when they are real rather than imitation, they are not "built into" a repetitive arrangement, they occur at different and seemingly random times and places, or not at all, according to the performer's whim.

Those who slavishly follow a "classic" old recording in order to produce a note-for-note duplication are missing the point, especially in regard to these rhythmic irregularities that occur in so many folk/blues artsits' work. Those old original guys did NOT perform their songs the exact same way every time ~ at least, that is my firm belief. Any given recording is just a sample of how that person sang the song on ONE random occasion.

I've seen many examples of folk-music sheet music where single measures in 5/4 or 3/4 time appear in a song most of which is transacribed in 4/4. In a few cases (as when the irregular rhythm occurs in a repeated chorus), the bit of eccentric time is actually part of the song. However, quite often, it's a transcription of a


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Subject: RE: This should set folk music back 100 year
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Sep 09 - 04:51 PM

I just want to amplify on PG's point about the fact that the blues "old guys" didn't play or sing a piece the same way every time, because my favorite dead horse to beat on in this never ending discussion is that, once you take the music out of its home environment, no matter how fastidious you are about "authenticity", it stops being "traditional" and becomes something new.

"The Blues" as practiced by the "old guys", was a process of extemporaneous composition--they had a whole collection of couplets, lines, licks, bass runs, floating verses, rhythmic patterns, and song fragments that they used to highlight, amplify, and comment on the pieces that they were performing, depending on the responses of the audience. It was a dialog with the audience, and it spoke to a common experience, shared by the audience, who responded, on a word to word, line to line basis.

The thing is that all music (and all performing arts, for that matter) is a dialogue between the performer and the artist. We can play blues from now to Hell and Gone, but we'll never be part of the community that it came from. The best we can do is to take what we find worthwhile and portable from the tradition, and make it part of the community that we are a part of.


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