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Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club

autoharpbob 30 Jan 10 - 07:25 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 Jan 10 - 07:38 AM
manitas_at_work 30 Jan 10 - 07:43 AM
The Borchester Echo 30 Jan 10 - 07:45 AM
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Subject: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: autoharpbob
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:25 AM

I am fairly new to Folk club singing in the UK, only about three years. But I am finding, through painful experience, that there are some songs that are apparently on a "banned" list? I don't mean the occasional pop song or country song or heavy metal - these seem to be fine with most clubs. I mean that there seems to be a list of songs that clubs have decided have been done to death, and when I start singing them I just get sighs and moans and maybe polite applause at the end. In the hope of avoiding this reaction in future, could anyone add to the list I am compiling of these songs. Here are the ones I have discovered so far:

Fields of Athenry
Botany Bay
Wild Rover
Tom Lehrers Irish ballad - added that one last night!
Where have all the flowers gone - unless Pete Seeger has just died

I am sure there are others!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:38 AM

This will run and run but will probably be taken too seriously then break out into warfare around post 20.

Welcome to the Hotel California?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:43 AM

REally LTS on the sofa...

You pretty much covered the tabus there... most of them have been done to death in recent years although there are still places that sing them... I don't think they've all quite reached Pitcairn Island yet.... :D

The best thing is to just play by ear, as you would in trying not to sing a 'regular's' song...discrete questioning of the host before the evening starts helps, or just attending for a few weeks before you perform, to get the lay of the land as it were.


You could try jiggling the arrangement/tune so the average punter doesn't quite recognise it - in the way of lift muzak where you know the tune but can't quite place it.... but better - that often works.

Good luck with it!

Oh, and avoid 'The Green fields of France (Willy McBride) unless it is actually Remembrance Sunday or Armistice Day.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:45 AM

Jackie Oates' rendition of WHATFG, a New Year gift to all her Facebook friends, sounds gloriously fresh and new, a prerequisite for anyone with thoughts of putting out yet another version of some old chestnut. But what is even more appalling, tedious and ill-mannered than trotting out yet another hackeyed copy of the like of what is listed above are those floor singers who upstage the booked guest by decimating the setlist by selfishly and unthinkingly knocking off their best-known numbers lifted directly from said guest's recordings.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: LesB
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:45 AM

I agree, a lot of songs have 'the groan factor'. I find that is sometimes works giving them a 'different' treatment. ie:- slowing them down, varying the accompanyment. Mind you no matter how it's done I still groan when I hear 'The Fields of Athenry'.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:57 AM

I think the deciding factor if you are thinking of doing one of those songs is "can I value add to it?" - people will groan if it's just like a million and one arrangements - an American singer called Trtavis Tritt (good singer, stupid name!0 got the idea of doing "I Walk the Line" as a slow ballad and this was a revelation when I first heard it - I've heard some of your autoharp arrangements, Bob, and they always seem fresh so I would imagine you could breathe life into these old standards.

The Anchor Bar at Sidmouth introduced a £10 fine for singing "Wild Rover" (donated to charity)

When I went to a club near Nottingham someone introduced me to the "S.O.S songbook (Same Old S***e).


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 08:02 AM

If you liked any of them when you first heard them.......they haven't changed, so what has? Find out, and perhaps protest about it, but leave the songs alone.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 08:10 AM

Interesting, eh? What (for example) would happen to "The Wild Rover" if it was never sung for the next, say, 10 years? Would it arise afresh to be sung regularly all over again?

Just because a song is popular and performed ad nauseam in clubs and singarounds doesn't make it a worthless or awful song. I can understand that to include such a song in one's repertoire may not be a wise choice if everyone else sings it constantly, but that doesn't change the nature of the song.

And, d'ye know, I can't recall the last time I heard "The Fields Of Athenry"...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 08:36 AM

Who was it who said you cannot do any permanent damage to a song by singing it?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 08:43 AM

And, d'ye know, I can't recall the last time I heard "The Fields Of Athenry"

You're so lucky!

I could also happily live my life never having to sit through "A Mon Like Thee" or any similarly "jaunty" northern ditties again... or most "stirring" rebel songs.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Amergin
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 08:52 AM

The Dropkick Murphys do the only version of Fields of Athenry that I can stand....every other version sounds horribly maudlin.

However I can imagine certain songs like The Sniper's Promise would piss off a few folks....


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 08:57 AM

You shouldn't sing any song you are uncomfortable with - as you obviously are with these, but in the end, the choice has to be the singers.
There are excellent versions of Botany Bay if you are not happy with the usual one.
The version of The Wild Rover usually heard in the clubs is the one kicked to death by The Clancys, Dubliners... et al - have a look at Mary Anne Carolan/Pat Usher's version (if you can find it), beats most popular songs in the club repertoire and hardly ever heard.
Fields of Athenry - there are far better songs for telling the Brits what a balls-up they've made in Ireland - try The Row In The Town!!!
Where have all the flowers gone - hackneyed, maybe, but inoffensive.
"pop song or country song or heavy metal - these seem to be fine with most clubs."
Confirms my worst fears - are things really that bad over there? If shit like this is acceptable in folk clubs, Tom Lehrer's Irish Ballad should be at the top of your list - at least it has humour and imagination.
There should NEVER be a 'banned list' of folk songs in folk clubs, if the repertoir works for you sing it, and when the village idiots start popping their cheeks during 'Larks', tell them to piss off.
Jim Carroll.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 09:01 AM

If the posts on Mudcat, in a general sense, are anything to go by I cannot imagine any situation where'folk songs' are sung where someone will be somewhere between a bit bored and a bit suicidal when someone sings something or other.

We grit our teeth, drink our beer and swear to sing something that more people will enjoy. Sometimes we manage this and sometimes we don't.

Let s/he who is without sin sing a song that nobody will be bored by.

Best wishes

L in C


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Paul Burke
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 09:07 AM

The Holmfirth National Anthem is bordering on sung-out, and Jack Campin told us about the Scots ballad festival that banned Jock o' Hazeldene.

BTW if Mr Happy drops in, I've just discovered the right-click spell check in Firefox- the Holmium Anthem sounds interesting, while Jock o' Hazelnut sounds like an aborted Cadbury's advert.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 09:18 AM

Jim Carroll.

"pop song or country song or heavy metal - these seem to be fine with most clubs."
Confirms my worst fears - are things really that bad over there?


No.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 09:21 AM

I can't remember when I last heard Jock O' Hazeldean but it was most likely by Dick Gaughan in about 1975. It's one of those songs that is very difficult to do badly, with a manageable range of not much more than an octave which surely most can manage, provided that they have rehearsed and established what key to pitch it in. Might sound obvious, but it's amazing how many don't even take these basic requirements into consideration before inflicting the results of not doing so on their captive audience.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM

"The Holmfirth National Anthem is bordering on sung-out"

Depends on where you are. In context (such as at The Blue Ball at Worrall during Sheffield Carols, or pretty much anywhere Will Noble wants to sing it), it's fab.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: autoharpbob
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 09:45 AM

Some interesting points, thanks. I have sung all the songs in my list, at different times, because I do enjoy them, and as Acorn4 said, its a fair bet that the people in the club had at least never heard them with autoharp accompaniment, so in that sense they were fresh. I sang them also because I had never heard them before in the clubs. It wasn't till I had finished them that various comments and reactions made me realise why I hadn't heard them. Then later I heard the parodies - a really funny one on FoA, and another on Wild Rover - and I finally worked out that if people were parodying these songs they really must be sick of them. But then last night I heard a parody of Eric Bogles "Now I'm Easy" and I still think thats a beautiful song. Tom Lehrer's Irish Ballad was really interesting last night. I was only introduced to this song about two months ago, so it was new to me. When I sang it, I could see a really clear division in the audience. Those who had heard it a million times put their heads in their hands and half-heartedly joined in the refrains. Those who had never heard it laughed out loud! My point was though, are there any others that I should avoid?

Of course any song can be sung if it is appropriate. Last night someone sang "Blowing in the wind" which I would think might be another on the List, but he dedicated it to Tony Blair - "How many deaths does it take till you know that too many people have died?"


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 09:45 AM

"Ride On " is another hard to mess up completely with a range of four notes, but, on the other hand it's hard to better the Christy Moore Version and EVERYBODY seems to do it.

Personally I always switch off in those "the first to come in was a..." songs -they all end up sounding like "Ten Green Bottles" - think I've said my two pennuth on this thread, and and someone said earlier the "Handbags at 50 paces" will start soon!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: glueman
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 09:46 AM

Anything covered by a folk-rock group, anything covered by the Pogues, anything covered by a New Generation Folk artist, anything you've heard sung in a folk club, anything you've heard.

Still leaves plenty to go at.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: BobKnight
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 10:00 AM

I've been going to Aberdeen Folk Club for about 5 years, and never heard anyone sing The Fields Of Athenry, Wild Rover, Willie McBride.

What really pisses ME of is when people sing things like "Summertime," from Porgy and Bess, or songs from musicals.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 10:12 AM

Holmfirth National Anthem - have I missed something - did they declare UDI when we weren't looking?
"pop song or country song or heavy metal - these seem to be fine with most clubs."
"Confirms my worst fears - are things really that bad over there?"
"No."
The evidence on the ground appears to indicate the contrary in the rest of the country Bryan or is our o.p making it up as well?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MikeL2
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 10:29 AM

Hi

I must attend similar clubs to Will. I haven't heard the Fields of Athenry for yonks.

I do hear the occasional version of Mon Like Thee....but though I don't really rate the song, when it comes up, most of the audiences appear to like it. I guess it depends on the type of area that the club resides and the particular slant of the music at that venue.

I am surprised to hear that floor singers deliberately choose a guest artist's material without asking anyone.

Although I don't perform much these days when I was around I found that prospective singers knew most of the guests and their material and deliberately avoided doing it.

When I was guesting some did ask if I minded if they perforrmed something that they had heard me do. I usually managed to work around these. On a couple of occasions I agreed with the singer to call him/her out and we would do the song as a duet.

Songs I would avoid - most Irish Traditional songs - not because I don't like them but because I am not Irish and never felt that I could do them justice.

I agree with others who have advised that if you really enjoy singing a song then you should continue - maybe try to add something to the standard version - or change the song in subtle ways to provide a different sound.

Finally I have found that the worst people for "switching off" and making noise when repititious songs are sung are the very people who should be giving most attention - yes the so called Traditionalists.

Floor singers should be encouraged not only out of courtesy but for the well being of the continuation of the folk club traditions for being understanding and tolerant.

Cheers

Mike - putting soapbox away....lol


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 10:49 AM

Jim Carroll

The evidence on the ground appears to indicate the contrary in the rest of the country Bryan or is our o.p making it up as well?

autoharpbob

I am fairly new to Folk club singing in the UK, only about three years.

Bob must have had a busy three years if he's picked up more knowledge about the rest of the country than I have in about forty.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:03 AM

I could do without hearing these again

Goodnight Irene

Cockles and Mussles

Halleluia - except parodies of it


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: autoharpbob
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:05 AM

Jim, you quoted me but missed off the most important word - "Occasional". And personally I have no objection to "Summertime" - I know one club where a lady with a beautiful voice does the song justice, and that's all I ask.

I too have been in several clubs where the artist doing a feature spot has been seen frantically crossing songs off the set list they came with as they are knocked off by the floor spots! Not been in that situation yet as my repertoire is heavy on Old Time and Carter Family - not often heard over here. But there are some songs that I would like to do, but a "star" performer in the clubs I go to is known to sing these often, so I do chck to see if they planned to do that when I was there. And believe it or not I was booked as a support to AJ Clarke one night in Aug - but he has had to cancel - I was not planning on singing "Gloria" that night!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: autoharpbob
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:07 AM

Virginia, I agree about Hallelujah - which is a real shame! If that Burke hadn't made it unsingable, it was a great song! And it does sound good on the autoharp!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Gordon T
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:12 AM

As it happens,Brian Peters and myself sang the Wild Rover last night at Saxmundham folk club (it was his idea!).We were the booked guests and we travelled over 500 miles to do so ( we did a few other songs as well).Not the usual version of course - we did an english version (its not really an irish song anyway).
Some of the other suggestions,yes,I agree with.I feel myself slipping into the slough of despond when I hear the opening lines of Willie MacBride or The Green Fields Of France - interminable, and we know the story doesnt end well.Ride On, again seems to go on forever,although in this case no-one has a clue what its about.But they were all good songs once.
Maybe bringing life back into them is the ultimate singing challenge.Usually, singing one of these songs simply indicates a lack of imagination - but if you really want to sing the song, and love it and do it in your own way, then you may bring something fresh to it, and I would say - do it anyway.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:14 AM

Bob - occasional is far too often as far as I'm concerned.
Summertime is a beautiful song - but in a folk club????
It worked wonderfully in Porgy and Bess though.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: PoppaGator
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:22 AM

No mention of "Kumbayah"? That would be top of the done-to-death list in the US ~ not in the UK?

(Actually, the informal ban on it has been in force for so long that there may be a whole new generation who would find it fresh and new...but I don't think so.)

Another sign of my ignorance as an across-the-pond outsider: I have no idea which song called "Hallelujah" causes such offense: "Hallalujah I'm a Bum"? "Glory Glory Hallelujah Since I Laid My Burden Down"? I hope it's neither of those, 'cause I like' em both...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: autoharpbob
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:29 AM

The "Hallelujah" written and sung by Leonard Cohen - a song of majesty, mystery and beauty. A reasonable version by Tim Rice had some success a couple of years ago, it was then murdered by the winner of X Factor 2008. RIP.

Never heard "Kumbayah" sung over here - in my limited experience. Maybe it is time?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: autoharpbob
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:32 AM

Sorry - that should have been Damien Rice, of course, not Tim!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:38 AM

I'm all for "Summertime", and it has a long tradition of being performed in folk clubs. I recall being at the Leeds University Folk event back in 1967 when somebody introduced "Summertime" as, "that beautiful old song written by Cole Porter". At that time, I was heavily into George Gershwin, and in a moment of madness shouted out, "Gershwin!". I still feel embrassed over that incident. The last time I recall hearing in a folk club was when Carolyn Hester sang her amazing version at the Maghull Folk Club, Liverpool ten years or so ago.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:54 AM

Wondering if I should ever sing Summertime again now. I know a wonderful fiddle player who wants to accompany me singing it, so I must not be too terrible.

My version is deep and bluesy, not high and throaty.

If Summertime is frowned upon, what of actual blues songs? I am doing more blues and American folk and less English Trad (what I cut my folk teeth on). As an American in the UK, I did sometimes feel quite shy about singing the trad stuff. Like... it is not appropriate for me to sing.

Feel better about some things, now I have heard early American folk performances of English and Scottsh trad. Thank you Odetta.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 11:55 AM

I'm in the US and I expect our list of tired old songs is different. The ones I tend to go for a cuppa tea on are those like I Saw the Light, I'll Fly Away, Paddy's Note (or whatever it's called) and Rivers of Texas. Oh, and yes, Where Have all the Flowers Gone.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 12:01 PM

and in a moment of madness shouted out, "Gershwin!". I still feel embarrassed over that incident. ===

Why? What was mad or embarrassing about setting right someone who had committed an inaccuracy? Accuracy Matters - & you were performing a valuable service. I would have done the same. [Mind you, on another forum-website that I contribute to, another regular has commented that "MtheGM's pedantry is legendary". I am not sure that she intended a compliment; but I have taken it as one.]


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 12:11 PM

"I can't remember when I last heard Jock O' Hazeldean but it was most likely by Dick Gaughan in about 1975."

The last time I heard Jock O' Hazledean was a couple of years ago downstairs in the Royal Oak in Edinburgh. The barmaid was listening intently and when the Lady avoids her wedding and runs off with Jock, the barmaid sniffed and loudly declared with finality "the tart!".


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 12:16 PM

agree about Hallelujah ..........If that Burke hadn't made it unsingable

For me it was NEVER a good song, sung by anyone!

I still like the Wild Rover though.

DC


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 12:21 PM

Thinking about songs "from the shows", I think it would be the style of singing that might put me off. I remember years ago, hearing a chap in a folk club singing " Hard Times( come again no more)" (which isn't from a show, I realise) in a Howard Keel type voice and I felt - maybe irrationally -that that type of vocal delivery didn't sit well in folk club.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Steve Lane
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 12:43 PM

I'm not sure it is so much about how hackneyed the songs are but more how good a singer you are. The problem is that many of these songs seem to attract the 'ahem' less able/drunk/unpracticed/ (delete as appropriate) variety of performer.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Bert
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 12:51 PM

Many beginning performers tend to sing well known songs. They should be encouraged.

But even us old farts sing well known songs from time to time.
I often sing Maggie May, or Seven Dear Old Ladies. I know you've heard them many times before but they are still fun to sing.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 12:59 PM

Well, I guess that there's two types of people in this thread. those who enjoy music, and those that enoy posing as those who like music. Find it hard to understand why any of then songs mentioned are offensive 'per se'.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 01:01 PM

Summertime is a cert round here in the ropier sessions, along with Fields of Athenry. Also, one of the sessions I go to always has Go Tell it on the Mountain as the big sing-along song. Being American, I feel like I'm back at Girl Scout camp every time it starts. I tried introducing Thousands or More and a couple of other folk club sing-along crowd-pleasers, but no one knew them...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 01:11 PM

As someone who has sung occasional pop, country and metal songs at folk clubs or gatherings I must be Jim Carroll's worst nightmare. What I've done seems to have gone down OK though, or are people just being polite, and actually inwardly seething that someone has dared to perform "shit like this"?

My advice would be to keep on doing what you are doing Bob, maybe select out some songs if they are repeatedly getting a bad reaction, but base your set list on real life experience, not what you read on a forum!

Pete

PS - I've done Summertime too!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 01:21 PM

Come to think of it, I heard "Summertime" performed last year at the Bothy Folk Club, Southport, UK. It was done as a harmonica instrumental by one of the club's residents. Very nice!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,AndyC
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 01:57 PM

The best way to get away with doing pop or contemporary songs in a folk club seems to be to not tell the audience what it is before you play it. I remember hearing someone in a very 'trad' club do an Arctic Monkeys song that was actually in the charts at the time, but as the performer kept the song's origins quiet the audience happily applauded the song just on its merits.

Slightly tongue-in-cheek, my suggestions for what you would never get away with in a folk club would be anything that promotes the Ulster Unionist point of view (rather than Irish republicanism) or any song which suggests that the First World War was a justified response to Kaiser Wilheim's aggressive expansionism!

And if you want to divide a folk audience straight down the middle, do a song which either supports or opposes fox hunting....


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Paul Burke
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 02:01 PM

There's nothing offensive about them, TtC, just overdone. Puff the M... no, better not go there. The Kippers did us all a great favour by making Dido Bendigo all but unsingable.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 02:04 PM

My goodness, some of the posts here highlight the sort of people I would not wish to see at a folk club, who clearly have their own set of rules in their beards and pint mugs.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Marje
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 02:09 PM

I'd also be wary of doing any "funny" song if you're not in familiar surroundings. If it happens to be one that's been done regularly by a local singer, it won't be funny to the listeners now, just boring.

I think it's very sensible and sensitive, autoharpbob, to ask this question rather than waste your efforts on a song that's just too familiar and tired to appeal to your audience. The list you have would be valid in most folk clubs; they're not "banned" but probably not very welcome in many places where they've been done to death. I'd add "Streets of London", "Cockles and Mussels", "Leaving of Liverpool" and "She Moved Through the Fair" - none of them bad songs, but all a bit over-exposed in many areas.

Having said that, if you should find yourself in a public bar where singing takes place in the presence of non-folkies, most of the "don't sing" songs are the ones they'll ask for and enjoy most.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MikeL2
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 02:16 PM

hi MtheGM

" Why? What was mad or embarrassing about setting right someone who had committed an inaccuracy? Accuracy Matters - & you were performing a valuable service. I would have done the same "

I cannot disagree with you more. OK the guy made a mistake and you knew it....bully for you.

If you had to show your knowledge you should take him on to one side and put him right quietly.

To shout it out in front of an audience is not clever IMHO.

Cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: jennyr
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 02:44 PM

I think what's acceptable and what isn't depends a lot on the club, and the only way to find out is to listen to what other singers do and pay attention to the response you, and they, get.

The other key, for me, is that people usually want to listen to something new and interesting. So if you want to do a very familiar song because you love it, that's fine - but you have to do it in a new way. A few months ago, a very talented and highly respected singer came to my regular singaround and sang 'Waltzing Matilda' - which had been on my 'don't-even-think-about-it' list. It was brilliant, and since then I've re-thought a lot of my taboos.

When I was new to singing, I sang 'Three Score and Ten' at a local club. Afterwards, someone caught me in the bar and said in a sarcastic tone ' that's not overdone much, is it?'. I haven't been to that club since, or to the one which he runs, and I didn't sing the song for a few years, but I got it out again a couple of weeks ago, gave it my own interpretation (no clever accompaniment, just a different approach to the story) and have had really positive comments when I've sung it since.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 03:01 PM

MikeL - I see your point. But I think one has a responsibility to ensure that truth prevails. If the poster of this incident [it wasn't my own experience, you will recall] had kept his correction so quiet & personal, then some people would probably have gone away with the conviction that 'Summertime' was a Cole Porter song - which it isn't; so the misapprehension needed correcting for the public good, surely? I appreciate this is a fairly trivial and hardly earth-shattering example; but I believe the principle, that truth and accuracy must trump courtesy if there is danger of an untruth or an inaccuracy gaining credence and currency, to be an important one.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MikeL2
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 03:15 PM

Hi MtheMg

I think that saving embarrassing a probably very nervous singer would have been worth a few people thinking that Summertime was written by Cole Porter....

After all both Gershwin and Porter are no longer with us so they couldn't have minded.

Cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 04:41 PM

Autoharp Bob.....if you are singing the songs you want to sing to the best of your ability, that's all that's needed!

If'n you do that, then most people will be rooting for you. Those that don't.....well......

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: terrier
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 05:00 PM

...This will run and run but will probably be taken too seriously then break out into warfare around post 20 (Les In Chorlton)

Well, that's 50 odd posts so far and still a good natured thread,are folkies starting to mellow or what?

I'm sure I followed a similar thread on the Cat a few years ago, or was that about what instruments one can or cannot play in a F/C, or which tunes are 'out of favour', or, heaven forbid that I should strum or flat pick a guitar when I should be finger picking.

Maybe we should compile a list of songs that CAN be sung in any folk club without SOMEONE complaining! OK, I know that's too difficult ;)

Cockles and Mussels? I've not heard that one since I was a school kid :)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Peter Stockport
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 05:18 PM

Blimey, you lot are folk fascists.
To anyone reading this thread and thinking of going to a club ---If you turn up at most singarounds and sing, everyone will love you regardless of what you song you choose.
If they don't go to another one.
The worst anyone will say is " I haven't heard *that* for a long time"
Peter


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: oggie
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 05:52 PM

Do songs run in cycles?

Way back there was a whole canon of songs like "Freeborn Man", "Black Velvet Band", "Home, Boys Home" etc that seemed done to death. In reality I don't remember hearing many of them for at least a generation in the clubs.

Hopefully there will be a whole new generation coming along to find these songs for themselves for although they may seem old and hackneyed to us over fifties they're still cracking songs.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 06:41 PM

Sing what you like!

Sing it well and others will like it too.

On the other hand!

Seriously though, when I was in the band we must have sung "Fields of Athenry" (and many others like it) two or three times a week for three years and it was often requested by the audience.

I now feel that I personally have done it to death and will seldom if ever sing it (or the others) myself in the singaround but will accompany it on guitar if it is being done. (provided the singer doesn't mind)

I think people have to realise that it is with many people a popular piece (along with many others) and that they will inevitably be sung both well and maybe sometimes not so well for the forseeable future.

CC


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,999
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 06:46 PM

I know what CC means. If I ever hear Suzanne (Leonard Cohen's song) again for the rest of my life I will throw up.

The first 2187 times I heard it it was OK. Along came 2188 and I just won't listen to it ever again. Every damned club a guy went into had a singer/interpreter doing it. Och!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:18 PM

I was once privileged to hear the late great Frank Harte sing 'Johnny I Hardly Knew You' - very slowly and with so much feeling. A wonderful moving rendition which really made one appreciate the horror of the events. After all it's a song about a poor soldier getting seriously wounded - not a jolly 'come all ye' which is how it's usually sung. And I'm sure some of you remember the great version of Wild Rover by the Dransfields - some different words and sightly different tune


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:47 PM

I think the problem people have is less with the songs than with just having heard some of them too damn many times. I don't go to folk clubs (mostly because there aren't any hereabouts, not of the version that seems common in the UK, anyway!) so I'm not tired of any of these really. As for Kumbaya, I think it's a great song when done with some energy. It has wonderful opportunities for harmonizing. I don't want to hear it slowly droned.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:54 PM

Of course (echoing Peter and Les somewhat), if I was at a singaround and someone sang one of my least favourite types of songs (and again I'm compelled to cite "A Mon Like Thee" as an example), which does happen, I wouldn't only suffer in silence, I'd also give them a hearty round of applause. Especially if they were also a nice person. At least they are up there doing something, even if not to my taste, and not simply lurking like me.

That could be another thread: lurkers at singarounds...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 08:32 PM

Drunken Sailor
Bonny Ship the Diamond
South Australia
Lincolnshire Poacher
Hopping Down in Kent
Athenrae (unless you do a parody)
Hallelujah (unless you do a parody)
Wild Rover (unless you do a parody)
Leaving of Liverpool
Dirty Old Town
Mucky Kid
Streets of London
Most Donovan (except IMHO "The Gipsy Boy and I" or "Season of the Witch" without the last verse)
Irish rebel songs unless you are an Irish rebel - and even then ask yourself if inciting acts of terrorism is acceptable.
Donald Where's Your Troosers
Paddy McGinty's Goat
Anything in a language you do not speak fluently
Two Magicians
Tell me Ma
The Black Velvet Band
7 drunken nights unless you know all the nights.

Just for starters...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 01:46 AM

Anything in a fake (and, therefore, usually unconvincing or even cringe-making) Scots, Irish or American accent. We all have our own accent when we speak, usually acquired unconsciously by the absorption of the accent of our childhood locality - why change it when we sing? Why change it at all, for that matter?
IMHO. YMMV.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 03:00 AM

Because, Backwoodsman, one is acting when performing a song. If you sing "Apprenticed to trade I was bound", you weren't really. Even if it is just a lyrical song - "The sun has gone down and the sky it looks red, Down on my soft pillow where I lay my head" - you aren't really in bed, you are standing up in front of an audience in a folk-club. So one should make one's performance as convincing as lies within one's talents. Some people have a talent for imitating accents {see the Jean Simmons obit thread}. I happen to be one of them — after a play once in which I played an American, some American visitors to a member of my Drama Circle said "Weren't you lucky to get a real American to play that part!" (& I happen to have a silver cup for Best Actor in a Drama festival). So, if the accent will add to the characterisation of the song [it isn't always appropriate, but sometimes it is — & dramatic gesturing rarely if ever goes well with singing BTW IMO], then I might adopt a suitable accent if it is one I feel confident enough to use. Otherwise not - a matter of judgment. Most listeners seem to like it — even US or Scots or Irish or Geordie or Yorks or Lancs or Scouse friends. OTOH, if you don't think you can bring it off, don't try. We should all be aware of our own capabilities and limitations.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 03:45 AM

I understand what you're saying Mike. But sorry, I can't agree. Nothing drives me nuts-er than that shite American "Scots" accent that Shrek speaks with (and the chimney-sweep in Mary Poppins). And I can hear an Englishman pretending to be and American a mile away.

Lets all sing it loud, and proud of our own local accent (or maybe you don't have one? Elocution lessons? BBC-speak??). :-)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Sooz
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 03:53 AM

How about the same songs you sang the last time you were there!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Bert
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 04:21 AM

I think I'm with MtheGM on the question of accents. I'm not very good at them but sometimes you have no choice. Frinstance, there is no way I could sing Manurah Manyah in my London Accent.

But it's a great song so I sing it now and then without apologies to anyone.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 04:30 AM

Oddly enough as I was driving the youngest one to work this morning one of the discs from the "Three Score and Ten" collection was on the CD player and up came Dominic Behan singing "The Patriot Game".Now when I first began going to folk clubs you couldn't throw a brick but you would hit someone performing that or a million other Irish rebel songs. Then a few years after, for obvious reasons, they were never heard in the folk clubs again, seemingly to this day. Not that I particularly wish to hear them again but does this taboo still exist around the folk clubs? Nobody sings them at ours although Irish songs can make up a sizeable part of the evening.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 04:39 AM

They stopped doing The Patriot Game and switched to With God On Our Side. Now they've reverted to The Merry Month Of May. Saves learning new tunes, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 04:40 AM

I haven't heard 'The Streets of London' for years ...

GOOD!!!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 04:41 AM

"......one is acting when performing a song."
Personally, I find nothing more cringe-making than watching somebody act out a song (unless it is a storyteller acting out a story).
Irish traditional singers talk about 'telling' a song, and for me, that's what it should be.
As far as accents go, most songs in the English language Anglicise perfectly. If a singer chooses one that doesn't it is up to him or her to perfect the necessary accent so they don't sound 'Mid-Atlantic' or 'Oirish' or 'Morningside', or so it doesn't become a distraction away from their enjoyment of the song, otherwise they will never convince an audience. I used to sing in different accents a lifetime ago when I first started, until I realised that there were more than enough good songs I could sing in my own.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 05:01 AM

Does nobody else hate "The lord of the damp settee"?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Will Fly
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 05:20 AM

I wrote this comment as a post in another recent thread, but it's relevant to the discussion in hand:

I was at a music gathering the other evening and a local singer-songwriter sang several of his own songs. I'm not a fan of such stuff, but they weren't at all bad - intelligent, tuneful, heartfelt, etc. However, he sang them all in an accent that was more American than any American I've ever heard, almost supra- James Taylor. By the end of his set, I'd wearied of the accent which was putting me completely off listening. His natural speaking voice was a pleasant Scottish accent, and I just wished he'd sung his own compositions in his own voice. I'm sure they would have had more impact. Somehow, the accent he'd adopted made his songs sound slightly dishonest - as though they weren't his. If he was singing American blues, I could have understood the accent, but not for his own material.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: glueman
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:11 AM

Accents - you can get away with any except RP. Queen's English types should avoid folk singing and join the Swingles. I love to hear a Roedean lady tackle The Merchant's Daughter but only for comic value.

On correcting mistakes (Cole Porter) the advisor should be prepared for some sharp banter in return if the performer has anything about him. High risk for pedants and the humour impaired.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:53 AM

Jim - I did say that the 'acting' should not include 'acting out' in sense of gestures &c: but songs have their own natural lilt influenced by the rhythm of the language or accent in which they should be sung, which is irresistible: if you are a natural accent-adopter, then that will follow. Apart from that I don't *do* vocal mannerisms: I still value the words of a critic of a folk recital I did once in Suffolk, to a theatre, not folk, audience, who wrote "He addressed us in pure middle-class tones & then went straight into the spirit of a song without putting on the Folk Voice..." {Norfolk & Suffolk Express, 14 Feb 92}.

I repeat — it is all a matter of judgment and knowing one's own abilities and limitations. The Scot singer-songwriter mentioned above who put an American/mid-Atlantic tinge into his own songs was just following the horrible precedent set by such as McTell & Allan Taylor, e.g. — what's the use of Streets Of London sounding like Streets Of Chicago, I often used to wonder... & wrote more than once: but as will happen on these occasions, answer came there none.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:58 AM

Glueman -
Re the ColePorter/Gershwin thing — What form do you think the 'sharp banter' should take in the case of someone who has made a genuine error of fact & had it pointed out to him by someone who knows better? — apart perhaps from the witty riposte of "Quick as a flash, he replied 'Why don't you go and fuck yourself!'"


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 07:04 AM

... I mean 'pedant' & 'humour-impaired' are easy insults to fling. But what is pedantic about prizing fact above error, or 'humorous' about publicly passing on erroneous facts?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,LTS on the sofa
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 07:34 AM

"Wild Rover (unless you do a parody)" - Don't do even a parody in the Anchor Middle bar, Sidmouth - the fine doubles (I still owe them £15 for one of my parodies from 1996 - tripled because in my parody I made fun of a regular MB singer..... let that be a lesson)!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 07:43 AM

"I did say that the 'acting' should not include 'acting out"
I don't think we're wildly disagreening here Mike. I believe a singer makes a song work by internalising it without making it introspective - does that make sense?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 07:51 AM

Ah...I'm beginning to get it.....folk songs are OK till the mass of people (the Folk?) start to like them. As soon as they enter the public consciousness, are sung in pubs, at work, at social gatherings....they are beyond the pale. What is worse is if one of the beknighted mass actually ask someone who considers themselves a 'folk singer' to sing one of them.
   Lets keep on adding to the list of songs not allowed in folk clubs but popular with the masses, you never know,,,there might be a folk revival.
   Never met a collector who frequented folk clubs looking for material!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 07:59 AM

M the GM

I'm sure if anyone refers to your cagoule as an anorak you will soon find the right words to say.......


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Paco O'Barmy
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 08:03 AM

Streets of London. and anything by Bob Dylan


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Marje
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 08:49 AM

Tug the Cox: I think there is a useful distinction to be drawn between the songs that are popular in pubs and those that go down well at a folk club. It's not that the former are inferior songs or not good enough for the club, but when I go to a club I'm looking out for something interesting, something that will really make me sit up and listen. A standard version of one of the old chestnuts, where I know every word and every inflection, will bore me because,unlike yeraverage pub-goer, I've heard it a hundred times.

It's about choosing appropriate material for your audience, which is only good manners. I wouldn't sing the Wild Rover in club (not unless it was an unusual version that had something new to offer); but neither would I choose to sing an unaccompanied version of The Unquiet Grave to a noisy pub audience who wanted to sing along.

And if I were looking for new material, now, in the 21st century, I'd be much more likely to find it at a local club or festival than in a general public bar. The early collectors may have found precious gems being sung by horny-handed sons of toil in their local pubs a century ago, but they wouldn't be likely to find them now. The few remaining people who could conceivably be called "source" singers do sometimes appear at a club or festival, but seldom down the local, and the same applies to the song-carriers who are now seeking out and re-working old songs.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: autoharpbob
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 10:04 AM

Yes, I'd forgotten Streets of London!

Some wonderful advice. I was just asking basically which songs have been done so often that people who go to folk clubs a lot have all heard them and are fed up of hearing them. This is difficult to know because of course the people who are fed up with them don't sing them, so I come new to a club, I don't hear these songs and think "Why don't I give that one a go?". I must say that the messages are getting through now, and I only have to do a song once to realise that it isn't working in that club.

I love some of the other advice! Sooz - don't do the same as you did last time!! I go to about 15 clubs off and on, and have to keep a spreadsheet to tell me where I have done what song, just to avoid this! I don't do accents - except mine own, which has been described as transatlantic Australian Devonshire! Comes from living in London, Lincoln and Exmouth when a kid. Some of the done-to-death sound great in a massed band singalong at the end of the evening. And as for pop songs, I have heard some fantastic versions of "Mad World", and am working on my own version of Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" - sorry Jim!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,LTS on the sofa
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 10:08 AM

The problem with finding source singers is that we are rapidly running out of local pubs and places where you can sing for the hell of it and not get a) told to shut up or b) arrested!

These days there are very few pubs who do not have a juke box, a huge TV screen or a SkySports licence. A hundred years ago, Old Jethro in the corner would have been the juke box, buy him a pint he'll sing you a song.... Try doing that over the latest offering from Lady Gaga and getting round the PELs.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: mkebenn
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 10:51 AM

Porter/Gershwin..once heard a singer give credit to Davy Jones for "Daydream Believer" I suddered, cursed under my breath, and kept quiet. prob'ly should have called her out. Rebel songs..stopped altogether after 9/11. Put "Patriot game" back in around 2005 as it's message is more about regret than violence IMHO. Started singing Roddy again 'cause I just love it so. If I ever hear "Heart of Gold" again, it'll be too soon. It isn't a bad song, just badly done to often. Accents.. I'm a Yank, and I try to avoid singing in anything but my own voice, but I have trouble with "I am a weaver,a Carlton weaver", just can't help it LOL.. Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 10:59 AM

Liz - if you're ever passing through Lincs I'll take you to my local. I think you'd like it. We had a GREAT sing-song on Saturday night. :)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Marje
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 11:15 AM

But (Guest LTS) do you think there really are still unknown source-singers with a secret cache of old songs no one has heard for decades, sitting in the corner of the pub waiting to get the chance to sing? My guess is that most pub regulars, if asked for a song, would offer "Delilah" or some other karaoke favourite rather than anything remotely traditional, and then trail off after a verse-and-a half when they realised they didn't know it all.

And yes, it's all tied up with the use of sound systems and recorded music, and the modern expectation that there will be background music in any place of relaxation. A kind of vicious cycle has taken place: publicans start playing recorded music, so spontaneous singing tends not to happen, so publicans continue to play recorded music even more because there's no other music taking place anyway, etc etc. Hard to say which happened first, but it's difficult to break the cycle now, except by setting up a regular session, arranged and expected, and asking the landlord to turn off the PA when it's due to start.

Song-collecting, like so many of the things we sing about, isn't what it was, and there's not point in pretending that if the pubs were quieter, people would start spontaneous singing again.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Leadfingers
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 12:24 PM

Having been Off Line for most of the time this thread has been here , several points !
Firstly . I sing whatever I feel like singing ,and the 'Its Done To Death' folk police can like it or lump it ! IF its a singing club , ANYthing with a good chorus is fine
Incorrect attribution of songs should ALWAYS be pointed out , NOT just to the singer , but to the audience - WHY Carry on a mistaken attribution ?
And regarding Audience Participation , the Johnny Collins Day yesterday proved that MOST Folkies DO want to sing good Choruses !


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 01:15 PM

Someone mentioned earlier not doing such and such a song because "so and so always does that one", or else bear the bristling glares from said person. Having done that accidentally on occasion, I now swither between saying, "Sod it, I'll just do it" and "Mustn't upset so and so" who will probably come after up to me afterwards and tell me that I sang it all wrong, and he/she was the first person to sing that song around here, having had the words and tune personally imparted to them by the composer.
No-one can "own" a song, unless maybe they wrote it themself, and then it should be regarded as a compliment if someone else wants to sing it!

Oh and did anyone mention "Wild Mountain Thyme"?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 01:36 PM

Talking about incorrect crediting of songs, what about incomplete crediting of songs' for example, if a singer introduced "Summertime" as "George Gershwin song" would I be impolite to shout out, "and Ira!"


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 01:45 PM

No, you would be absolutely right, Tunesmith. The Gershwin Brothers worked in brilliant collaboration and I think it shameful that Ira's memory has been so smothered under that of his brother George.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Zany Mouse
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 02:30 PM

For goodness sake - just sing what you like. You can't please all of the people all of the time. Sing and, more importantly, ENJOY SINGING! That's what folk music and clubs SHOULD be all about.

As to the groaners ... how rude can you get?

Blessings
Rhiannon


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 02:44 PM

More than performing a hackneyed song, I get irritated when somebody performs a classic song but without bothering to learn it properly. I'm not talking here about nerves or lapses of memory, but a performer who decides to sing a great song and it's clear that they haven't put the practice time in to do the song justice.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 02:52 PM

...What about Jimmy Jarratts wonderful song 'You can be a Muslim too' is that banned?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Graham Dixon
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 03:08 PM

Considering the average age of the people who have taken it upon themselves to compile this list of 'Songs that shouldn't be sung in a Folk Club' - I suggest that 'Knocking on Heavens Door' should be avoided at all costs. (It could be considered 'Too close to home')

Graham Dixon
Too Old to Rock & Roll
Too Young to Die


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 03:49 PM

THESE ARE THE RIGS OF THE TIMES.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 04:22 PM

The worst thing you can do to a (folk) song is not sing it!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 05:30 PM

Oi, Dixon - less of the old thank you very much.... I wasn't born when the folk revival started in the 1960's. The Beatles had had over 60 hits by the time I was born...

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Smokey.
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 05:35 PM

The lyrics to 'Summertime' were written by DuBose Heyward and the music by George Gershwin.

Sing whatever you like - just sing it well.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 07:06 PM

As far as I know it only costs £5 to sing the Wild Rover in the Middle Bar (and I did pay the fine once to sing it to a different tune).

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Soldier boy
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 08:45 PM

I like to sing popular folk songs with a strong chorus line that the audience/joe public can recognise and join in with with all their hearts.

No song should ever be banned/dismissed/mocked or degraded because of it's popularity and some sense that it has been 'over-sung'.
It shouldn't matter either whether it is sung well or not so well so long as 'the audience' on that occasion gets the gist of it and joins in and enjoys it.
It all depends on the company you are in and the general ambience at the time. It doesn't take long to get a sense of what will go down well and what may not go down well.
So to hell with 'Songs you shouldn't sing' - sing them all I say and have a jolly good time.
Some sessions just get far too stuffy and up their own do da's and in my experience, only work for the self-centered and self-obsessed 'inner circle' and don't work for those listening in and hoping for a song they can join in with.

This reminds me of the time way back in the 1970's when me and my wife to be went to see a Ralph MacTell concert in London and he refused to sing "Streets of London" on the grounds that it was over-sung and he was growing bored of it - guess what? - about a quarter of the audience (including us)were brave enough and incensed enough to walk out in disgust.
How ignorant is that!? Especially when that one song was his pension for life!
Since then I don't believe that there is any song you shouldn't sing in a UK folk club.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: olddude
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 08:51 PM

yankee doodle


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: BobKnight
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 08:54 PM

OK - we go to a jazz club to hear jazz, a country music club to hear country music, a folk club to hear... ??


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Bert
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 12:30 AM

Re: song attribution and singing in pubs.

Some years ago I posted the words to "Come Inside" and some how it got attributed to me. I emailed another website, who had done the same thing, and they sent me this link Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 01:52 AM

Knowing that George Gershwin worked with a number of lyricists, I should have checked into "Summertime", but it does raise the point that everyone know George Gershwin, and everyone knows "Summertime" but how many people would recognise the name DuBose Heyward?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 02:46 AM

Except that DuBose Heyward was the author of the original novel, Porgy, & the play derived from it, which formed the basis of the opera - Libretto by Dubose Heyward, lyrics by DuBose Heyward & Ira Gershwin, music by George Gershwin. I suppose it is just the convention that operas are attributed to their composers [who thinks of DaPonte's Le Nozze Di Figaro from a play by Beaumarchais, eh?].


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 03:49 AM

A wonderful example of senseless and unintelligent inverse snobbery from glueman above.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 03:55 AM

"who thinks of DaPonte's Le Nozze Di Figaro from a play by Beaumarchais, eh?"

I do, but then I'm probably the only person to ever sing Mozart in a folk club. (The first aria from Don Giovanni)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Young Buchan
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 04:45 AM

In any given folk club none of the regulars should be moaning about having heard one of your songs there so often. Why? Because if they are hearing it there regularly it is someone else's song, and you should not be singing it. Sorry to sound like the folk police but I strongly believe in this. It was certainly the case in the days of the oral tradition; noone sang someone else's song without that person's permission: allegedly Cyril Poacher was nearly lynched in Blaxhall when he filled up his LP with 'other people's songs'. But it was also the practice of the revival when I began singing around 1970. Now noone seems to care. Twice in recent years I have had the experience of giving someone the words to an unusual song I have sung only to have them sing it in front of me a few weeks later.
Of course, when I go into a club for the first time I don't know what they are used to, but I have a list of 'uncommon' songs that I know are likely to be safe. If I'm intending going back to that club I listen carefully to what is sung, and if any are in my repertoire I scratch them off.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 05:19 AM

Young Buchan - I genuinely don't understand the logic in your last post. What on earth do you mean by the terms "your song" and "someone else's song"? If you're singing a true folk song (anon, traditional) - how can you or anyone else "own" it? There may well be courtesies among the regulars at a particular club that so-and-so is the usual singer of such-and-such a song, but there's certainly no ownership. Your own compositions may well be another matter but - if you sing your composition in public, you can't stop someone else from thinking, "that's a good song, I'd like to do it myself". You should be flattered...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Marje
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 05:28 AM

I don't think I'd take it as far as you, Young Buchan, but there's certainly something in what you say. If you're a visitor or new arrival to a folk club you can't possibly know which are people's "own" songs, but regulars usually respect the repertoires of others and try to find something different to sing. It's not just being considerate to the other singer, it's considerate to the audience, so they get something different to listen to.

I've had someone ask me for the words of a song I thought I did quite well, and had that person sing it badly (only my opinion, of course, I may be biased!) at the same venue a week or two later, which rather pissed me off. On the other hand, I've supplied the words of a song (and recorded the tune) on request for someone who was going to use a song at another event for a completely different audience, and I had no problem with that.

And I have had a club regular say to me, after I've finished a song, "Haven't you heard me do that one? Didn't you know that's one I do?"
To which the answer was no, but point taken. I won't do it in front of him again.

I do understand that the songs are common property (unless you've written them) but there are so many great songs out there, there's no need for a deliberate overlap of material unless for some special reason.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 06:38 AM

Many years ago at the Volunteer in Sidmouth (a mecca for great trad singing.) A well respected "Old Gent" who was well known as having a wide ranging and varied reportoire, solemnly announced he was going to do an old song, that he didn't sing very often, as it upset him. We all exchanged knowing glances, a few reached for their cassette machines to capture this fare gem, from the lips of a master singer. He stood up, held his pint tightly, closed his eyes. (you could hear a pin drop), and started singing.....
"Two little boys, had two little toys......"
We didn't have the heart to tell him after he'd finished, and dutifully applauded! (and actually, it was really quite emotional!)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 06:58 AM

LOL, Ralphie! Reminds me of a true story about an instance of the famous "Kop" singing at Liverpool. At a match, some years ago, a mounted policeman's horse reared and threw him. He was OK but shaken and - as he climbed up on the back of a colleagues's horse, the whole Kop spontaneously started to sing, "Did you think I would leave you dying, when there's room on the horse for two...? Wonderful - a true folk moment!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 07:02 AM

Interesting.

I played for a large part of last year in a hotel on a Friday evening with a (very good) female singer and we did most of the old chestnuts that people complain about and people loved them. At a folk club they probably wouldn't have done. We also did a lot of country and top 40 stuff which went down very well and which I was perfectly pleased to do because my colleague sang them so well. She also has a repertoire of traditional songs which any folk club audience would be pleased to hear but like myself, she's not too bothered about going to folk clubs (mind you, unlike me, she missed the 70s).

However, I've been several times to a very well-respected folk club not far from where I live and I've sat through some terrible versions of pop songs by 'residents' - IE the organiser's mates.

I've got another mate who sings 'Summertime' but he's written a new tune for it and turned it into a country number. I'm not, to be honest, knocked out by the result but he's at least attempted to do something original with it.

By the way, I don't see anything wrong with singing 'Two Little Boys'. It's not one of my favourite songs but in terms of provenance it's probably older and arguably more 'Traditional' than a lot of 'respectable' folk club standards by people like Eric Bogle, Richard Thompson and the like.

By the way, I was at this club I mentioned a couple of years ago and some guy turned up who was obviously a mate of the organisers.    They gave him a spot for that reason (I can't think of any other reason) and he said 'What do you want to hear? Sting or Led Zeppelin?' To my eternal regret I neglected to reply, 'Whichever's shorter'.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: melodeonboy
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 07:21 AM

I'm with Will Fly on this one. Songs are available to everyone. I realise that there are copyright restrictions once profit becomes involved, but that doesn't usually apply to people singing in folk clubs.

If anyone comes to our session and sings a song from my repertoire, I'm usually grateful for the chance to hear how someone else does it, even if I had intended to sing that song. I can then sing something else that evening! Simples!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Hesk
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 07:30 AM

Reading about all the conditions that there are in order to join in at a folk session, it is not surprising that there are are so many ex
contributers.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 07:41 AM

"It was certainly the case in the days of the oral tradition; noone sang someone else's song without that person's permission: allegedly Cyril Poacher was nearly lynched in Blaxhall when he filled up his LP with 'other people's songs'."
As Walter Pardon said when he heard of two folkie 'stars' arguing about who should sing one of his songs "They're not mine, they're everybodys".
That is certainly not true; it's pne of the great myths of how the traditian was. If singers claimed songs as their own we wouldn't have a tradition. We have many hours on tape of singers describing in (often great detail) how they both taught their songs to others and learned songs from other singers.
"Two Little Boys", "Mozart", "Summertime", "Mad World", "Chasing Cars".... and being fined £5 for singing 'Wid Rover' - I do hope Bryan Creer is reading this!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: IanC
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 07:50 AM

This thread illustrates perfectly why I don't go to folk clubs much.

Too many bloody song snobs out there.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Young Buchan
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 07:57 AM

In spite of all the censure, I stick to my guns. Yes, I do think that in the context of performance in a community (and if you don't accept that a folk club is a community, and not simply an audience, I'm afraid we're never going to agree) there is a very real sense of ownership of a traditional song; not of course a legally enforceable one, but real none the less.
To start with the extreme case: if Sheila Stewart were in the room I would not sing a song from her repertoire or from Belle's (or at least not in a version that was at all similar). Not because I think Sheila would beat me up. Not because I know for a fact I could never do it justice. But from respect – a word which seems to be disappearing from the English language. I can sing the song for my own satisfaction when I am alone. I can sing the song for the audience's satisfaction (or not) when she is not present. But when she is there they are her property.
So why should I react any differently to singing songs from Joe Bloggs' repertoire when Joe is in the room? Is there one law for the great performers and source singers and another law for the Bloggses?
Of course they are not HIS songs. Of course I have the RIGHT to sing them wherever, whenever and however I want to. But….


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 08:07 AM

I do, but then I'm probably the only person to ever sing Mozart in a folk club.
Nope, I've done Mozart's horn concerto (with words by Flanders & Swann)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Mo the caller
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 08:18 AM

We sometimes go to a tune/song session (NOT a folk club) at the Shroppie Fly, Audlem. We can only go in the school holidays when the dance club I am involved with doesn't meet, so we don't have a chance to get fed up with any repeated songs. When we started going I was learning to play by ear, and the songs that everyone knew and played along with were a real help, far easier than 'tunes'.
The good thing about that session is the variety, one Boxing Day afternoon the bar was full and we 'played to the gallery' -handing round the percussion, playing In my Liverpool Home, and Whisky in the Jar, and rousing tunes like Susanna and Salmon Tails. The next Monday evening it was quiet, and the musicians were in reflective mood, trying out unfamiliar material.
Both very enjoyable in a different way.

The other problem with over familiar material is that people will probably join in the chorus the way they've always sung it, which may not be the way you intended it to go.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 08:35 AM

OK, I'm probably the only person to do a Da POnte song in a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 08:38 AM

I quite agree that some songs have been done to death but I have found that if the song was good originally it can sometimes be resurrected quite successfully. For example, Pete Coe does a wonderful Poverty Knock, sung very slowly, which is most impressive. Also I have just re-discovered 'The Shearing's Not For You' (no, I'm not comparing myself to Pete) after some 20-odd years and I was really pleased when it went down well. It is the most beautiful song when sung without the Spinners' treatment.

As for other people's songs in a folk club, I've always said it is a bit meany to do something that you know someone else has worked hard on. If anyone does it to me I will sing it again in the next week or two to make a gentle point (but of course, not if they do a better job than me!)
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 08:39 AM

I don't think I made myself clear. It wasn't the fact that this Singer in Sidmouth performed 2 Little Boys (which he did with all the soul that he would apply to one of his more usual ballads)
It was just the unexpectedness of it!
(I think he was surprised that so many people knew the chorus actually!)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 09:46 AM

Oi! Guest, don't knock the Spinners. They may not be current 'Folkie Taste', but they were very much of their time and did a lot for the folk movement in the 60's and 70's. It is pretty sad that the Beeb in its wisdom have not given them a lifetimes achievement award. (seriously!)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: autoharpbob
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 10:12 AM

I am a little surprised at some peoples reaction to some comments here. It was never my intention to be a Folk Policeman and set out a list of banned songs. I just wondered if there were certain songs that were best avoided as they tended to turn off the audience - unless you can do them in a fresh way. This is giving folk club audiences what they want - or don't want - not policing in any way. One way to find out what doesn't go down well is to sing it and see. A less painful way might be to ask around.

As for "you go to a folk club to hear ..." OK - you tell me what Folk Music is and I'll tell you if I sing it. But from following other threads here, that is impossible to do. Can anyone write a folk song now? Is it not possible to sing any song in a folk style? I go to folk clubs to hear music, I am not bothered what kind as long as it is good music (which probably means music I like). I even don't mind the occasional bad music if I can see that the performer is trying, just starting out and doing what they can.

I would not sing any song written by an artist who was performing in that club that night. I would be too fearful of not doing it right, or of seeming to tell that artist "This is how it should be done!". I of course have no compunction about singing their songs when they are not there, but will always give credit to the composer. I would probably ask before singing a song that I had heard another performer sing, and would not do it the same night or within a week or two. I would not be at all embarrassed if I sang a song that another performer regularly sings if I had not heard them do it. I would be fairly certain they didn't do it like me anyway! Nobody can own a song except the original author. Copyright issues don't come into this, until you start recording and publishing.

All in all, thanks everyone for your help and advice. It confirms what I suspected in general, that some songs have been done-to-death, and therefore there is a high wall to get over if you take them on. You have to be different, you have to add some value to the songs. OK, understood. But I guess you should be aiming to do that with every song you sing anyway, so this doesn't really pose a problem, does it?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: melodeonboy
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 10:15 AM

I feel a mighty wind a'blowin'!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 10:27 AM

Two Little Boys is a somewhat belated American Civil War Song written at the beginning of the 20th century which became, subsequently, a music hall song and was recorded by Harry Lauder. Rolf Harris got it over the phone from an Australian singer in the 1970s and popularised it to the extent that Margaret Thatcher declared it to be her favourite song. All of which would seem to constitute jolly good reasons to abstain from singing it in an English session, I'd have thought.

Re doing other people's material: it seems to me to be simply bad manners to churn this out in front of an invited guest. For the floor singer to make the excuse that they "didn't know" that the guest might have been going to do the song really doesn't wash. Hadn't they thought of checking recorded output? In fact, in the instance I cited above, one of the culprits was a resident who ought to have known better.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 10:54 AM

Sorry YB - if a folk club is a community, so are the passengers on a bus.
"Of course they are not HIS songs."
As for singing 'other people's' songs, I agree with B.E. entirely; I think we are confusing convention with good manners. Of course you don't launch into songs that your guest (or fellow resident) is likely to sing, not without consulting them anyway. Nothing to do with ownership, just consideration for others.
I was at a club in Manchester once where the compare/resident deliberately chose five songs in versions that the guest had recorded, and sang them very badly.
The guest, when his spot came, sang them all again.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 11:24 AM

Jim I agree (ish!)
Horses (no not that sort!)
To Precis.
1. A session (as has been described) of a boxing day pub afternoon, with a few Singers/Musicians, just having fun. Member of the Community (pub regular) asks for (insert name hear. At Henry, Liverpool, Whatever) and the musos oblige. The next 10 minutes turns into "FolkieOkie" Badly sung manglings of words/tunes. probably going off the rails half way through the second verse. I have no problem with that. They've all had a few. and you can bet that 30 minutes later someone will ask for At Henry again, having forgotten that someone else had already murdered it!
But, No-ones getting paid, so, no harm done (except to my eardrums)

2 Folk Club (Singers Night stylee) Well, depends where you are are. The Volly at Sidmouth is a pretty safe bet for great songs, normally well sung. But. I have been to singarounds at other places, when nobody could perform at all......but the perpetrator will insist on doing Tam Lyn...very slowly in a variety of keys. and if I ever hear Matty Groves butchered again....

If you get lucky there may be someone, (normally a beginner either song or tune who is just discovering the music) who will be interesting and worth listening to. Some of my favourite players have only been playing for a few months.

But, sadly some of these singarounds become the fiefdom of whoever is running it and their accolytes, who are more than happy just to churn out the same music that they've done in the Rat and Parrot on a Thursday, "because we always do it. That makes it traditional..."
Yeah Right!

3 More concert style venues.
Guest (Don't play his repertoire!)
Possible picked residents (The Bothy club springs to mind. Several varied acts of high standard as the warm up acts for the main guest, very enjoyable)

4 Music sessions.

I think I'll leave that for another time. don't get me started on the lack of tolerance in music sessions. You think you singers have problems!!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 11:25 AM

Autoharpbob: It was never my intention to be a Folk Policeman
I feel a parody of "I'm an Urban Spaceman" coming on!

I'm a folk policeman and tho'
I don't know why,
I can't stand "Athenry"

I'll have to re-listen to the original before I can expand upon this!

Cheers
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 11:40 AM

don't get me started on the lack of tolerance in music sessions

Good Lord, I must be one of the lucky ones. We had a cracking session in the Bull at Ditchling last night - one or two guitars, mandolins, fiddles, harp, serpent, whistles, Northumbrian small pipes, mandocello, concertina, melodeon, saxes (some of these doubled by the musicians) - and vocals. Songs both traditional and not-so, plenty of tunes both traditional and bluesy. Plenty of Harveys ale, good musicianship and very pleasant and jolly company. Everyone got a chance to lead off on whatever they wanted, at least twice, and everyone contributed to the piece as appropriate. An appreciative set of people - the non sessioners - in the bar, who listened most of the time and applauded most things. A young lass sang a couple of solo pieces - the chatter in the bar grew to silence and you could have heard a pin drop. Rapturous applause and cheers at the end. As I say, I must be one of the lucky ones - it was a great evening.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 11:47 AM

Actually just tuned into this thread again and it's stayed very civilised contrary to what I (and a couple of others) thought might happen.

Recent posts remind me of when we went to a Jez Lowe songwriting workshop in Gainsborough a few years back He told a story of a club he was guesting at where he was greeted by the organisers/residents with a list of his own songs that they didn't want him to do that night because their band usually did them.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 12:13 PM

I `ad that P.C. Plod in my cab the other night dressed in plain clothes although you could still tell `es a copper by `is size 14 shoes.
I said, " Evening all. You out and about looking for druggers then?"
`e said, " Nah Jim. I`ve been seconded to the Folk Song Division. We been `earing reports of banned songs being done in them Folk Clubs. Could you take me to that Traditions Club up the Charing Cross Road please?"
I said, " Gor blimey. They aint been doing them "Wild Rover" and "Fields of Athenry " again, `ave they?"
`e said, "Nah Jim. They `ve been taking the piss. That Bob Davenport `as been doing "The Laughing Policeman!!"

Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 12:21 PM

Dave MacKenzie mentions singing Mozart/Da Ponte in a folk club. This is rare, but plenty of English session players play Michael Turner's Waltz, which is from Mozart's German Dances (KV536 Minuet and Trio). Weber's Huntsman's Chorus, Pleyell's Allemand, a movement from a Hook piece which became Indian Queen, and a great many others became country dance tunes at least a hundred and fifty years ago.

Music and song from the stage and the concert hall have been filtering into the tradition for centuries. It would be a new development if they stopped, and only regrettable if they turned into a tidal wave swamping everything else.

I'm glad to say that my experiences are similar to Will Fly's.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 01:00 PM

I am completely befuddled at the idea of a song "belonging" to any individual who did not write it. Of course, I have no knowledge of any "UK folk club," and have been following this discussion strictly for my own amusement and enlightenment. But I still have a few things to say, and hope I can say 'em without offending anyone.

For your consideration:

If one of the local regular amateur cover-artists is generally known among the entire community as the "owner" of some traditional song, or Gershwin song, or Dylan song, or whatever ~ does that not indicate that the song in question has been "done to death" by that individual? (While you're mulling that over, I might add that a different person's interpretation might well be worth a listen, should you allow him/her to proceed.)

Accents: I have waxed at length on this forum (albeit not recently) on the subject of accents and perhaps should hold my (virtual) tongue and not repeat myself, but I just get so angry at the assertion that one should never sing in an accent not one's own. Balderdash!

While there is plenty of material that can and should be sung simply and unaffectely in one's own native tongue, some songs (indeed, some whole genres of songs) simply require certain sets of vocal inflections. The Blues is an obvious such instance. Consider the generally appropriate manner in which so many British blues-revivalists have approached their vocals. While no "accent" used in any of their work can be attributed as authentic mimicry of any one particular subculture in the African-American South, these vocalists employ certain characteristics common to all such subcultures, and create a sound that is entirely appropriate to the material. And then, when they are interviewed after having sung, their own "natural" voices sound completely different from what came out of their throats during performance.

Sometimes the very words and phrases just about force a singer (or actor) to adopt at least some elements of a particular accent. To use an example outside the world of music, I would defy anyone to read aloud any one page from from the collected works of John Millington Synge and NOT fall, quite natually, into some sort of Irish accent. It won't be identifiable as the authentic accent of any one particular county or townland (well, with Synge, it will probably have to sound generally West-of-Ireland), and it shouldn't be an obviously overdone self-conscious brand of "stage Oirish," but it simply cannot be recited aloud in the voice of a New Yorker, Louisianian, or for that matter, a Londoner.

The key, in singing as well as in playacting or recitation, is to keep things relatively subtle, and to find a way to reconcile one's own "natural" voice with the somewhat different "voice" demanded by the material.

More than accents, I think that style of performance is critical to the delivery of folksong and similar material. As someone noted above, singing "like Howard Keel" (i.e., in a Broadway-stage style) will make any song sound "non-folk," as would an operatic delivery. A singer can vocalize "naturally," in the sense of being less affected and more direct than singers of those stage-oriented traditions, with or without adopting elements of some accent not his own by birth.

OK, what else... Oh: I heartily endorse correcting misinformation when it is promulgated from the stage. The corrector should, of course, employ a civil tone, at the very least, and try to convey a feeling of helpfulness and humor rather than one-upsmanship. But even when handled clumsily, contributing a statement of fact is to be commended when erroneous opinions have been put forth from a position of (relative) authority, e.g., the stage (any stage).

One last thing: My understanding of the shared credit "Lyrics by DeBose Hayward and Ira Gershwin" is that Hayward's novel provided all of the meaning and many of the words of those passages coverted into song by the Gershwin brothers, but that Ira is almost exclusively responsible for converting the novelist's prose into the metre and rhyme of the lyrics we know today.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 01:40 PM

Whilst it is obvious that no one apart from the original composer can "own" a song, when someone has taken the trouble to discover, and arrange and learn a piece it is annoying when someone else immediately seizes upon it. Bear in mind that in most folk clubs the same circle of singers and audience are there every week. It is quite simply bad manners to perform material which you know to be in the repertoire of another of the performers.

Even if the song may have been "done to death" it is disrespectful, but sometimes a song or tune is pinched before there's even been a chance of that.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 02:02 PM

Thanks, Howard. I didn't mean to be critical, just sayin' that the whole concept is outside my experience.

I'm not a songwriter, and these days I probably add no more than about ten songs a year to my repertoire. I only perform "out" once a month, and while I try to have something new each time out (well, old, actually, but new to me), I don't always do so, and almost never have more than one new arrangement worked up in a given month.

In most cases, I'm inspired to arrange and sing an old favorite song not by the original recording ("source"), but by hearing somebody else's take on it. I'm not usually capable of copying them exactly, even when I want to, and sometimes I'll manage a bit of originality when there's a line or two that I feel that I can do better than the pervious singer. But, yeah, I routeinely "take" songs from others...

I don't feel particularly ashamed about this, not at all.

But in my case, those "somebody elses" are not constant weekly companions; in some cases, they're people I'm never meet, who I found on the internet...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MikeL2
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 03:15 PM

Hi poppagator

<" I heartily endorse correcting misinformation when it is promulgated from the stage. The corrector should, of course, employ a civil tone, at the very least, and try to convey a feeling of helpfulness and humor rather than one-upsmanship. But even when handled clumsily, contributing a statement of fact is to be commended when erroneous opinions have been put forth from a position of (relative) authority, e.g., the stage (any stage).">

Earlier on this thread I disagreed with Tunesmith on this point and I will do so again with you.

In doing so can I point out that I was commenting about a situation where an inexperienced floor singer made the "mistake" while introducing the number he/she was going to sing.

I believe in this situation the correct way to do this is to pull the person on to one side AFTER he/she finishes singing and mentions the slip. In that situation either the singer or the resident....or the person who spotted the point could explain it to the audience , if it was felt to be important to do so.

As a fairly experienced performer it wouldn't bother me if you were to interrupt me..in fact I would welcome it. I am more than capable of handling that and you might not interrupt again in a hurry !!!!

Like most things it is not a case of black or white - some consideration needs to be made about the actual circumstances before interupting a performer.

In my long experience of audiences the vast majority wouldn't have even heard the announcement and of those that did very few would even care whether the music was written by Gershwin et al or Rimski-Korsakov.

cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 03:26 PM

Jim Carroll

"Two Little Boys", "Mozart", "Summertime", "Mad World", "Chasing Cars".... and being fined £5 for singing 'Wid Rover' - I do hope Bryan Creer is reading this!!!

Sorry? What's your point?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 03:29 PM

if I ever hear Matty Groves butchered again....

Er... actually, Ralphie, he was.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Gervase
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 03:34 PM

I've done one of Papageno's songs from the Magic Flute on the box if we're still bragging ;-)
As for accents -I suppose I'd better take a vow of silence if an RP accent is unacceptable. I blame the parents, of course, but heaven forfend that I should disturb glueman's sense of authenticity. What a bell-end (to be said in any accent he likes - but probably in RP because it will offend him all the more).


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 03:50 PM

Valmai beat me to it on the Mozart. I'm particularly intrigued by Pleyel's Allemand which appears as Pleals Allemande in Wiliam Aylemore's (of West Wittering) manuscript of 1796. Ignaz Joseph Pleyel, born in Austria but relocated to Strasbourg, ran a series of highly successful concerts in London in the early 1790s. He bought a Chateau on the proceeds. Aylemore was picking up on the "pop" music of the day. Could it be that he played as a session musician in one of Pleyel's concerts?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 03:58 PM

Snail...
Ever heard of Irony??? (It's like Goldy, but harder!!!)
Nice one.
Came home tonight, and found this bloke pinned against a wall...Wouldn't have minded, but I only painted it on Sunday...Bugger!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 04:17 PM

Well!!! Bury me at the top.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Ralph
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 04:30 PM

Well. In Fact, I buried him face down.....He's got a long way to go (Jake Thackray)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Rod...
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 05:37 PM

This Mudcat thread really is the gift that keeps on giving... please don't stop... probably back later in the week and don't want to be disappointed...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Smokey.
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 05:52 PM

For the elimination of doubt, and sheer pedantry:

"DuBose Heyward has gone largely unrecognized as the author of the finest set of lyrics in the history of the American musical theater - namely, those of Porgy and Bess. There are two reasons for this, and they are connected. First, he was primarily a poet and novelist, and his only song lyrics were those that he wrote for Porgy. Second, some of them were written in collaboration with Ira Gershwin, a full-time lyricist, whose reputation in the musical theater was firmly established before the opera was written. But most of the lyrics in Porgy - and all of the distinguished ones - are by Heyward. I admire his theater songs for their deeply felt poetic style and their insight into character. It's a pity he didn't write any others. His work is sung, but he is unsung."

(Stephen Sondheim, "Invisible Giants: Fifty Americans Who Shaped the Nation But Missed the History Books")

The opera as a whole work was credited to George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Hayward and Dorothy Heyward, as they all had a hand in it - hence the confusion.

Speaking of possibly inappropriate material for folk clubs, many years ago I used to treat our poor unsuspecting audiences to my rendition of "Telstar" on a soprano crumhorn - no-one ever complained :-)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 06:06 PM

Several of Pleyel's tunes were published in dance music collections from the 1790s on - William Campbell, Corri & Dussek, and most influentially Aird. Is the Pleyel tune people are talking about here the one in Aird volume 4? - it's on my website at http://www.campin.me.uk/Aird/Aird-v4.abc .

Song "ownership": this idea has passed its use-by date. Whatever function it may have had 100 years ago, what it does now is encourage repetitive lazy bores to repel newcomers to the folk scene with their three-song repertoires. If you can't learn something new, learn how to sing with conviction out of a book (it isn't that difficult) and use that. And if you've got somebody in your scene with a three-song repertoire, learn them all and pre-empt them till they get the message.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Hawker
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 06:37 PM

Just a comment from me, and it may just be me, but Im not too worried about what song is sung, yes some have been done to death, but if sung well then I dont have a problem. What I have a problem with is people singing irish songs with an irish accent (unless of course they are Irish) and the youngsters who think that it is necessary to sing everything in a mid-atlantic accent. Grrrrrr!
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 07:05 PM

Speaking of possibly inappropriate material for folk clubs, many years ago I used to treat our poor unsuspecting audiences to my rendition of "Telstar" on a soprano crumhorn - no-one ever complained :-)

Anybody got an ABC for "Telstar"? If it fits a crumhorn it should fit my new chalumeau. (I keep getting it mixed up with "Highland Cathedral" when I try to remember it)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Smokey.
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 07:26 PM

You might even manage the key change on a chalumeau. It repeats a fourth higher on the original, which isn't quite possible on a 1 key crumhorn. Besides, after playing through it once, I have to admit I was well and truely fucked, and I don't mean in the biblical sense. They say I often turned purple - oh to be young and daft again..


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: mousethief
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 07:52 PM

I haven't found being daft to have left me.

O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 08:08 PM

Just listened to Telstar on YouTube. I didn't remember the bridge section, that might be tricky.

Should work on the stylophone, though.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Smokey.
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 08:11 PM

Hmm... on reflection, best make that "oh to be young again"...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Smokey.
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 08:13 PM

Jack, don't be put off, the bridge section's easier than the well known bit. Go on - 'ave a go.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 01:47 AM

My old band ERIC used to use Telstar as an encore, on 3 concertinas. (we kept the crumhorn in reserve for Take 5)
The one good thing about the band was that we were always pretty confident that no-one else would do our material as a floorspot. Indeed, why would they want to??!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 02:53 AM

Anybody got an ABC for "Telstar"?

Telstar kept me going after my father died. I spent a few days not going out of the house or talking to anyone, as far as I could manage, and occupied myself scoring Telstar in Noteworthy Composer. I should still have it somewhere - I'll dig it out and put it through Bryan Creer's ABC converter.

(After my mother died, on the other hand, I got back into folk music - but that's another story.)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 04:09 AM

Back to the theme - I think you all have it wrong - the most important thing in a folk club is the raffle. It keeps most clubs afloat.

I have noticed a tendancy for more and more clubs to survive on well known main guest + a few floor singers as support. The audience varies according to who the main guest is - so floor singers make little difference - quality or content - so sing whatever. However, mainstream songs do seem to go down better with this type of audience.

I personally do not like over long guitar introductions or too many self penned songs, but variety is good and occasionally you get a gem.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Smedley
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 04:32 AM

The whole point of 'Telstar' is the production techniques used on the priginal recorded single. (As executed by the great Joe Meek.) Cover it as a novelty item by all means, but to my mind it's a very bizarre choice.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Smedley
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 04:33 AM

Erm, original not priginal!! Mudcat needs an Edit facility. Or I need to stop typing so clumsily.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 05:05 AM

Mudcat has an edit facility, it's called 'Preview'(See bottom of this box).
Editing after a post has been put online would risk having replies to comments which have subsequently changed!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 05:12 AM

Songs you shouldn't sing in a folk club? Absolutely anything which involves accompaniment on a banjo-ukelele. After an unfortunate occurrence last night, I can say that with something rather more than my usual depth of feeling.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: TheSnail
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 05:17 AM

Jack Campin

Is the Pleyel tune people are talking about here the one in Aird volume 4?

That's the one. The original tune is buried in a much longer piece so I wondered how it had escaped as a dance tune. I rather hoped that Aylemore had played in Pleyel's orchestra and picked it out for himself.

Pip Radish

I'll dig it out and put it through Bryan Creer's ABC converter

I shall be honoured to play my small part in this noble endeavour.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 05:19 AM

Smedley Old Bean.
ERIC.....Novelty?
We were a very serious beat combo.
If you'd said the Hackney Martians, then I might have well agreed!
But ERIC were legends in their own lunchtime (which normally served up Millet Dansak!)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: mandotim
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 05:59 AM

Re; the banjo ukulele. If you ever get the chance to listen to Jolly Jock of Biggles Wartime Band you may revise that opinion. His version of 'Addicted to Love' in a broad Yorkshire accent while inexpertly accompanied on said instrument is pant-wettingly funny.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Acorn4
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 06:04 AM

We had a performance of "Anarchy in the UK" on ukelele recently at a local club.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,LTS on the sofa
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 06:24 AM

Is here the right place to point out that Mozart's German dances (which by a scary coincidence have JUST come up on shuffle) were based on German folk tunes?

Thought not..


Gervase - I remember you doing Papageno, and doing it very well... we didn't even know you played the melodeon til then!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,LTS onthe sofa
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 06:25 AM

Er... when I say 'doing Papageno' - you know what I meant don't you....















I'll get me blankie.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 06:40 AM

Re; the banjo ukulele. If you ever get the chance to listen to Jolly Jock of Biggles Wartime Band you may revise that opinion. His version of 'Addicted to Love' in a broad Yorkshire accent while inexpertly accompanied on said instrument is pant-wettingly funny.

Is that the same Jolly Jock who purports to play the trombone and brings light comic relief to certain jazz events? I would go an awful long way out of my way to avoid him.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 01:14 PM

Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Borchester Echo - PM
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 07:45 AM

Jackie Oates' rendition of WHATFG, a New Year gift to all her Facebook friends, sounds gloriously fresh and new, a prerequisite for anyone with thoughts of putting out yet another version of some old chestnut. But what is even more appalling, tedious and ill-mannered than trotting out yet another hackeyed copy of the like of what is listed above are those floor singers who upstage the booked guest by decimating the setlist by selfishly and unthinkingly knocking off their best-known numbers lifted directly from said guest's recordings.
well said,this is really getting to piss me off
please note, just as the tide is flowing,On one april morning.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: mg
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 02:49 PM

Well, I haven't read everything here, but a fair amount. I think whoever runs the club should state preferences..if you are a collection of folklorists you want something different than what people want to sing after a rugby game. State your preferences. If new people come into an established club and sing today while the flowers etc. it will drive the traditional ones out. Especially if they come with the you know whats and say turn to page 141. There is absolutely a need for that sort of grouping..but it should be started that way and not by people with good intentions and no knowledge of the unspoken rules taking things over and having massive attrition of those who prefer another style.

All preferences are wonderful. THey just need to group together and people must, must, must be honest about their preferences and directed to other venues if they don't match up. Now, I have seen people who asked specific questions about Seattle Song Circle being told what was not the dominant thought at the time..which is sing anything, it is all the same to us, we love everything. Except it was not true. Just ask to sing today while the flowers and see 30 people pretend they have never heard of it. Try Irish eyes are smiling. Try home on the range. But of course people who love those songs should have a place to sing them. But more than a few per session and those with other preferences will not say a word..they will just go elsewhere, privately, and you will never find out where they go. I never have anyway and I only sing Irish eyes on SPD.

So be honest. Ask questions, and answer questions honestly. mg


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 04:12 PM

Rolf Harris got it over the phone from an Australian singer in the 1970s

Actually Rolf had a Christmas no 1 with it in 1969. Still a great song.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 04:38 PM

Something is puzzling me here.
Last night as I listened to the abovementioned Jackie Oates on Folkwaves singing "Fair Flower of Northumberland" a song that I and numerous others have known and been singing for over forty years; however since she has recorded FFON (and I didn't know she had done until last night) does this make it "her song" and even though I have been singing it long before she was born, should she ever be booked at our club do I avoid it like the plague?
Just wondering?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Peter Stockport
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 05:25 PM

After reading this thread I announced at The Midway Folk Club Stockport last night that certain songs were now banned on the orders of the Mudcat fascist folk police. There was outrage! Try it for yourself, people don't like the thought that some songs shouldn't be sung...
Here's the songs we sang last night in the order we sang them...

Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme
Last thing on my mind
Manchester Rambler
Taggle Taggle Gypsies
Streets of London
Man you don't meet
The Boxer
Frankie and Johnny
Me and Bobby McGee
Country Roads
Fields of Athenry
Fields of Gold
My old mans a dustman
When the saints go marchin in
Swing Low
Bill Bailey
Kumbaya
Down by the Riverside
It takes a worried man
This little light of mine
Dirty Old Town
Where have all the flowers gon
Don' think twice it's alright
Take your Glasses to the bar

We had a great night,most of these are fantastic chorus songs, that's why they are popular.
I'd recommend every singaround to have a night of banned songs.
It makes for a very jolly night!
So.... There are songs you shouldn't sing in a folk club but these old chestnuts ain't they!
Think again
Peter


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Brakn
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 05:30 PM

Let's hope that youngsters don't read this thread.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 07:26 PM

It seems to me that the only people who qualify for the description "Fascist folk police" are people who use terms like "fascist folk police" - try adulthood sometime sometimes - it's very refreshing.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 08:05 PM

Well they used to have the "Fuzz Folk" in Edinburgh, the Police Folk Club. One of them, Ian Green, went on to found Greentrax, a very well-known record label in Scotland, with many wonderful recordings and artistes in his catalogue.
Oh but I drift from the thread subject.................
The definition of 'done to death" and therefore shouldn't be sung strikes me as, for many songs, being very geographical. A song that bores the pants off everyone in Yorkshire folk clubs may be greeted with interest up here as so rarely heard. On my annual forays to Sidmouth festival, I hear a whole encyclopaedia of songs which everyone there seems to know very well, but very few people here do, and if i sing a well-known (to Scots) song it's quite likely it will be little known down there. (may even require translation!)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Betsy
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 08:19 PM

just been to a club (in the UK) where someone sang (with great gusto)this land is your land etc........

Give me a break

Betsy


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 09:42 AM

The Folk Police


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 09:47 AM

Betsy, its called solidarity. many peoploe, from al around the world. were moved by Seeger and Springsteen doing this for Obama.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 12:32 PM

Yep, Betsy, on (possibly your) Independence Day 2009, I dared to sing that song in our lovely city of Edinburgh in a public place. We do get a lot of American tourists here, and there were some in the audience who were delighted that we did it - all the verses. So give ME a break!
And just in case you want to watch it again (no, not me!)it's here, thanks to a GERMAN TV company!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5KnYADCSms


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: peregrina
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 12:46 PM

Betsy, if you are going to object to a song by Woody Guthrie, then... why sing at all?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Peter Stockport
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 03:35 PM

Jim Carrol !   What do you mean "try Adulthood"? Do you mean laughing up your sleeve at people who sing "Where have all the flowers gone" is adult?
Or "Green Fields of France"? No I didn't think so, but that's what portions of this thread seems to be implying.
Peter


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 03:51 PM

I'm with Betsy! I wouldn't sing "This land is your land" because it clearly is a patriotic American song, and the "my" of "my land" is an American. The "Where have all the flowers gone" and the "Green Fields of France" reference doesn't make any sense, in this context.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 04:12 PM

In reply to Dave Sutherland, of course Jackie Oates having recorded "Fair Flower of Northumberland" doesn't make it "her" song or give her sole performing rights. However if she were to appear as a guest at your club then it would be the height of bad manners towards the guest for you to perform it, knowing that she has recently recorded it, and that it is likely to feature in her current repertoire. I also think it would be bad manners towards the audience, who can hear you sing it any time, but will only have that opportunity to hear her version.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: peregrina
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 04:19 PM

I'd say that 'This Land is your Land' is at the same end of the national song spectrum as Hamish Henderson's 'Freedom come all ye.'

--TLiYL's not about attachment to a nation, but about the idea that the land is of all. (The one to NOT sing would be the song that TLiYL reacts to, namely, 'God bless America'.)

You might not feel that TLiYL suits a UK folk club, and it may be that UK audiences don't have the connection to the song that comes from growing up singing it in the contexts where Americans learn it

or maybe there is such a sense of alienation from the idea of owning land in the UK, from a history of serfdom, enclosures, land owned by landed gentry and toiled on by others, that... the idea needs introducing--sing it!!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 04:51 PM

You are just mistaken, Tunesmith. It is not a patriotic American song...the singers were international socialists, they were talking about class and common ownership, not patriotism.
   Anyway, people sing, irrespective of nationality, irish songs on patrick's day, and Scottish songs on Burns night, as a sign of respect community and solidarity.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 04:54 PM

Perigrina, "This Land" has very geographically-specific lyrics. I'm aware that the song has been re-written to incorporate other locations, including the UK, but I suspect the singer referred to previously was singing the original US-centric lyrics, which can sound a bit incongruous as we're rather short of redwood forests on this side of the water.

As for your final point, approx 70% of Brits own their home and most of the rest wish they did! Indeed, an obsession with property-ownership (which for most people involved incurring massive debt) is arguably one of the reasons for the current economic mess we're in.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 05:23 PM

I also wouldn't sing " I belong to Glasgow" and " Maybe it's because I'm Londoner"; however, I have sung "The Leaving of Liverpool" but wouldn't sing "In my Liverpool home". Also, I would - and have - sung Pastures of Plenty" because I see that as "story song" in the folk tradition.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: peregrina
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 05:40 PM

Perhaps the songs about the Kinder Trespass are the analogue to TLiYL.

Howard, yes, the stats on Home Ownership are there, but I think the point of TLiYL isn't about 'owning' the land per se (after all, there's that verse against private property), but about some connection with the wilderness, with a vast landscape, and a right to be there traversing it. And there's something very intriguing about such attachment to owning a dwelling ("a property"), rather than emphasizing ownership of a patch of land,

And yes, there are versions rewritten for Canada, Ireland, elsewhere, and I'm sure Woody would be pleased. Still, I think there's a difference between songs that people think should not be sung because they have become too familiar, and songs that singers might not choose because they might feel they can't inhabit them in in some necessary way.
TYiYL in the second category, but a lovely song for singing alone to, vivid descriptions set in a kind of loping, inevitable meter and melody.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Peter Stockport
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 07:02 PM

Tunesmith.
Where have all the Flowers gone is a reference to an earlier post, nothing to do with Woody Guthrie.
"My Land" is a great song, Wiki gives the English version as

This land is your land, this land is my land,
From the coast of Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands,
From the sacred forests to the holy islands.
This land was made for you and me.

or the Welsh version as
Mae'n wlad i mi ac mae'n wlad i tithau,
O gopa'r Wyddfa i lawr i'w thraethau,
O'r De i'r Gogledd, o Fôn i Fynwy.
Mae'r wlad hon yn eiddo i ti a mi

there's an excellent article in Wiki - Nothing wrong in singing a good song with alternative lyrics. As someone else said, Woody would have loved it.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 07:13 PM

Looking through my repertoire list (also known as all the songs I've forgotten) the only song I wouldn't sing in a folk club (or anywhere else) is "The Engineer". Nowadays I usually sing "Where have all the Flowers Gone" in German, especially if there any native German speakers in the audience, and the last time I did in English I found I was back translating. As for the Fields of King's Ford, it's a fantastic song to sing at Croke Park with 80,000 Irishmen (just as part of the crowd), though I'll usually sing it if anybody's sung "Caledonia".


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Bert
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 07:49 PM

This land is your land, this land is my land,
from Stoke Poges to Canvey Island...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 09:08 PM

I sing and play most of the songs that Richard (Bridge) mentioned !! Mind you, I've not been to a folk club for a long time now,
but I might go to Elsie's again one fair and distant evening ...


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 04:13 AM

" What do you mean "try Adulthood""
I mean if you want to argue, do so and don't indulge in infantile name calling.
'Folk police' is on the same level as schoolyard invective with a nasty edge, and the 'fascists' were the ones were the ones who gassed millions of human beings in their concentratuin camps. Equating either term to holding an opinion, any opinion, on music puts the argument in the gutter.
I certainly don't "laugh up my sleeve" at people who sing 'Flowers' - (I'm rather fond of it as being a part of my political youth), and I have been known to sing 'Green Fields' before now. I put up the parody as an indication of how it is regarded here in Ireland nowadays.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 04:31 AM

One of the singing morris sides in Kent nearly always did drunken sailor as part of the after dance entertainment in the pub on a stand night. It allowed the non folkies in the pub to join in and the not so confident/ competent guitar and melodeons to work on getting their chords right.

It was the song that nearly always got the biggest round of applause in the pub.

I would not expect to hear it in a folk club but bands that get regularly booked into the local pubs have been heard to do it - even Sur Les Docks - a very popular French group that often play in North kent - do a version. Horses for courses.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Marje
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 04:38 AM

I'm with Jim here. I find it tiresome and juvenile when the following happens:
1. A question is asked about the most (or least) suitable choice of songs/style of singing for a particular type of venue, region or event. It's usually (as in the above case) someone who wants to pick the best material to please their audience.
2. Various respondents give their views and ideas, which are intended to answer the question and give some helpful suggestions.
3. At this point, a few others jump in and start shouting "Fascists! Folk Police! How dare you tell me what I can and can't sing? I sing just whatever I like, in any way I want, and I don't care what anyone else thinks of it..." etc etc.

If you can't answer the question that's been asked, or you don't think it should have been asked in the first place, then you clearly have nothing to contribute. If the idea that some songs and performances are more appropriate, more skillfully delivered, more enjoyable to the audience, is one that makes you uncomfortable, why not just move on to another thread and leave the discussion to those who are interested in it?.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 05:53 AM

Some one asks the question,
. "But I am finding, through painful experience, that there are some songs that are apparently on a "banned" list? "
Lots of people jump on and say that songs A to Z are banned.
Very few people take the time to quantify their views with " just in my club"
There have been several people who have disagreed that any songs should be banned

This is a nice one from earlier.
"My goodness, some of the posts here highlight the sort of people I would not wish to see at a folk club, who clearly have their own set of rules in their beards and pint mugs. "
MArje,
I am answering the question- It disagrees with what you think- I think it's ok to sing songs even though they've been heard a million times before. Everyone has to start somewhere. As someone else said.
" These are the songs that people cut their teeth on"

Glad you agree with Jim . As Jim Carrol said earlier
"There should NEVER be a 'banned list' of folk songs in folk clubs, if the repertoir works for you sing it, and when the village idiots start popping their cheeks during 'Larks', tell them to piss off."

I'm out of this thread....
Peter

Peter


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,LTS on the sofa
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 07:50 AM

I'm in hysterics!! Just clicked on this to see how it was progressing and the random shuffle on the music system has just thrown up 'Rolling Home' followed by Rolf Harris's version of 'Wild Rover'!!!

Sometimes the chaos theory of randomness in the universe isn't quite as random as we'd like!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 12:31 PM

...could even result in Max Bygraves' version of "Pinball Wizard".


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 06:44 PM

IMHO, although I would not sing "This Land" as it sounds too American for my taste, if it is to be done it should be done as it was written, and it is a useful and international song about the theft of land by capitalism.

There are not enough songs about the land grab in England that was effected by the Inclosure Acts. although there is a nice short poem

"Tis bad enough in man or woman
To steal a goose from off the common
But surely he's without excuse
Who steals the common from the goose".

One of Bishop Gundulf's Morris's care in the community candidates sings "Drunken Sailor" (his repertoire is about 3 songs) and it's one of the things that has put me off it.

Time will restore most of the "sung to death" songs. Once upon a time "Dives and Lazarus" was sung (usually badly) to death but now it is a comparative rarity, and worth doing, particularly if well accompanied.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 07:47 PM

Apropos of nothing Richard, wonder if you or anybody could confirm the genuineness of the extra verses of the rhyme you quoted;

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common,
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own,
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don't escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so, but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common,
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.

Jim Carroll
PS Bishop Gundulf - wasn't he the wizard in Lord of the Rings.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 08:00 PM

"Dives and Lazarus"
An afterthought,

Oh there once was a Jew and he lived in Jerusalem,
Glory, Hallelujah, Rye Roger-um,
An ancient descendant of the Patriarch Methusalum,
Glory, Hallelujah, Rye Roger-um.
Rye Roger-um, Rye Roger-um,

Chorus
Skin of a Yankee Doodle-um, skin of a Yankee Doodle-um,
Glory, Hallelujah, Rye Roger-um.
(Burden similar in every verse,)

Now there was a poor man whose name was Lazorium,
He lay by the gates and the dogs licked his soreium.

Oh the poor man he died about half-past eleven-um
And before twelve 'o clock he was dining up in Heaven-um.

The rich man he died, but he didn't fare so wellium,
For an angel in state, sure, he took him down to Hellium.

Oh, the rich man he called for some water in a bowlium,
For he found that heat had begun to discommodeium.

The rich man he called for a whiskey and a sodium,
But the Devil let a roar, saying: "Shovel on more coalium!"

The rich man he called for a custard and a jellyum,
But he had to go away with a very empty bellyum.

As I said earlier - it's always worth looking round for another version if you feel the one you've got is overdone.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 08:00 AM

In answer to Jim's question about The Goose and the Common, this version is recorded on The Claque's excellent CD Sounding Now.
The insert says,

'The late Martin Bloomer took the well-known late mediaeval verse, added a chorus, tunes and extra stanzas to make THE GOOSE AND THE COMMON, a song from the time of the early enclosures of common land to accommodate sheep. The last verse has a lesson for societies that accept their bad lot blindly and advocates fighting back.'

These four use magnificent, almost dangerous, unaccompanied vocal harmony and are the one of the best acts I've heard in many years.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 08:11 AM

Thanks for that Valmai
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 08:28 AM

It was in a book of poetry used at my school. You will not find it surprising that I seem to have no copy now nor details.

The Claque are indeed excellent but compared to some of the harmony shanty crews somewhat restrained.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,AW
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 09:23 AM

Intersting comments about pinching the guest's songs when they appear at a club. Not always that straight forward . .
If you have never seen a particular artist before, nor purchased their latest album, can you be forgiven for inadvertently singing a traditional song that by coincidence turns about to be their party piece?
People tend to support their local clubs regardless of who the guest may be. I have certainly attended several nights in the last year where the guest was 'new' to me. Excellent nights most of them have been too. I'd like to apologise here if I have sung a song I shouldn't have. But I suspect that most of said artists have a sufficiently broad repertoire to be able to adapt their set!
And there is no reason for a guest to suppose that a traditional song sung by a floorsinger comes from that guest's own recording. Many a lesser singer will have learned their songs from the same limited sources as the guest. Hence the similarities.

I guess it is always unfortunate when the situation occurs. Possibly uncomfortable for the rest of the audience too, who may know the score. But it shouldn't be always assumed that there was a deliberately undermining choice made.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 12:20 PM

I see the name calling/cyber bullying has started again.

Bishop Gundulf are a fine morris side. They dance, run one of the biggest childrens sides in the country, get asked to perform in pubs and raise a lot of money for charity. They dont need childish name calling. It gives sites like this and all who use them a bad name.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 12:35 PM

"They dont need childish name calling."
A joke - albeit a poor one, but hardly bullying, surely?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 12:54 PM

Its not the first time this has happened from this person, Jim. All derogatory name calling is a form of bullying and adults should know better. If Brian was to see this he would be very upset.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 06:11 PM

I will at present put it no higher than that Flora has not for some time, longer than I indeed, been a member of BG, it is really entirely none of her business. I will not at present go into other matters of conduct.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 06:50 PM

"Its not the first time this has happened from this person, Jim."
Sorry Flora; I thought it was my feeble joke about Gandalf you were referring to - whew!
I do tend to go off at a tangent sometimes, especially after a night celebratingPat's birthday
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 06:54 PM

The law locks up people who steal from banks,
But does nothing to banks that steal from the people.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Feb 10 - 06:56 PM

...sorry, bit of thread drift but perhaps a modern parrallel to that wise old saying about the enclosure movement.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Feb 10 - 02:01 PM

god save the queen,hors wessell song,rule britannia, and any national anthem.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ron Davies
Date: 06 Feb 10 - 03:09 PM

"This Land.."--"theft of land by capitalism".   That's a bit overstated. Yes, there is the verse about the sign. But the song was a direct reaction by Woody to the over-the-top patriotism of "God Bless America", a huge hit at the time Woody was writing.   In fact the original chorus was "God blessed America for me", not "This land was made for you and me".

Woody certainly did not think much of the concept of private property, but this song was celebrating the some of the splendors he had seen on the road--- as well as pointing out that the US was not a classless society and that patriotism was a lot more than flag-waving.   To read "theft of land by capitalism" into it shows a bit of tunnel vision.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 10:32 AM

I am surprised by what you say Ron. Although I was not a folkie (nor a leftie) in the 60s I first heard the song way back then-ish and I have never thought of the song in any way other than a rejection of private property as a concept, a restatement of the concept that property is theft, and of the right to roam.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 12:33 PM

Sorry Jim - I should have got back to you sooner but we were playing for the local vicars wife 60th last night.

Morris sides do tend to choose the strangest of names - and its Ok to make fun of the names / clothes / dances/ traditions. Fun is what morris sides are about. I just object when derogatory things are said on a public site like this one about identifiable members within the side.

Cyber bullying is a nightmare for some kids and schools do all they can to eliminate it. Its worse when its done by adults who should know better.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 12:44 PM

Counts to ten.

There really are times when people would do well to reduce the display of their ignorance.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Bert
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 01:23 PM

I just object when derogatory things are said on a public site like this one about identifiable members within the side.

Quite right, not all of us have great repertoires, and it is a tradition in many communities for individuals to have their own 'Party piece'.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ron Davies
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 02:23 PM

Certainly opposition to private property is in "This Land".   But there's a lot more. To pretend otherwise is, as I said, tunnel vision.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 02:44 PM

At least , singing the wrong song in a Folk Club doesnt normally result in a Fatality ! http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=127137&messages=2


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 07:41 AM


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 07:55 AM

Drifting slightly but has anybody else observed the common phenomenon that occurs whenever "folk" songs are being sung in a public bar (as opposed to the folk club) whereby a drunk will stagger up to the performers and slurr "can ya shing fieldsh of athenry"?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 10:16 AM

It is worth memorising the parody just for such occasions.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 10:48 AM

I trust you mean Catter Trayton's parody Richard !


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 12:00 PM

"Oh, no, not the Fields of Athenrae
If I hear it one more time I'm going to cry
It's such a boring song
It goes on, and on, and on.
I'm so pissed off with the Fields of Athenrae"


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 03:16 PM

i love where have all the flowers gone just when another war breaks out. i sing it with a slow harp accompanyment and try to do it slow and prayer like. i admit i don't sing it any other time.

bob dylan? how about eric bogles" i don't sing any bob dylan" as a response! however i do like a couple of dylan songs.. "visions of joanna", but i wouldn't sing it in a folk club.

and irish rebel songs, of course as a son of the gael i sing them all the time, whether people want to hear them or not(i.e. before some english and english canadian audiences)

most of the irish rebal songs come from the 1916 -1922 period or before. anyone who calls the irish aspiration to freedom to be terrorist is a racist fascist and thats that. gaels have a right o self determination and the songs are part of that right. if the songs of the fight for independence bother you you ought to look inside and find why you hate the gaels.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 04:57 PM

Aspiration is one thing. Murdering civilians is quite another.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 05:37 PM

i sing them all the time, whether people want to hear them or not(i.e. before some english and english canadian audiences)

I think what people really don't want to hear is the sound of a performer telling them he's going to make them listen to something they don't want to hear. You might want to reconsider the attitude. Or you might want to make your audiences feel like they're going to be made to listen to something they don't want to hear, in which case good luck with that.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 05:40 PM

"During the Irish War of Independence on November 21, 1920 Croke Park was the scene of a massacre by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). The Police, supported by the British Auxiliary Division entered the ground, shooting indiscriminately into the crowd killing or fatally wounding 12 during a Dublin-Tipperary gaelic football match. The dead included 11 spectators and Tipperary's captain, Michael Hogan. Posthumously, the Hogan stand built in 1924 was named in his honour. "


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 07:18 PM

The actions of the RIC were officially unauthorised and were greeted with public horror by the Dublin Castle-based British authorities.

The fire of the RIC was carried out without orders and exceeded the demands of the situation.

In short - the Irish terrorists had even until recently a policy of indiscriminate murder of non-combatants. Bloody Sunday was a cock up in which the RIC exceeded their orders in the apparent belief that armed combatants were being pursued and possibly entering an armed stronghold of a revolutionary force - which at that stage the soi-disant Irish government was.

Revolutionary attacks on occupying forces may be justified - but again it is a different kettle of fish when the forces that are being attacked are under orders not to shoot back.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 07:25 PM

I don't believe killing is ever justified, just that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 07:41 AM

The Galway Shawl sung in lament style!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 10:21 AM

Although the parody again is fun: something like -

"He had no timing
No sense of thythm
No feel for music
No none at all

He sang each verse
Like an Irish                            setter
And the song he murdered
Was the Galway Shawl."


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 08:23 PM

Richard

Have you got all the words?

CC


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 10:57 PM

richard bridge is the worst kind of apologist racist and fascist. the ric actions as the modern ulster volunteers are always not officially condoned. the authorities just never do anything about them. funny about that. the present good friday agreement compells the ira to disarm but not the ulster defense paramilitaries.anyone who reads the economist or the toronto globe and mail could see the findings of the tripartite commisision onnorthern ireland which was extensively quoted. there they founf that british army and adminstrators and spys did the intell forthe ulster paramilitaries, armed them, anmd empl;oyed them part time in the royal ulster regiment, formerly two regiments. they handed them dossiers on aproximately 5000 catholic community activists and the artms to kill them. then about three thousand were assissanated.. this was all admitted in parliament in the eighties and ninties and now promptly forgotten by the british public and government.   they alway do things arms length when they are really dirty..

even if this were not true. songs of freedom are good tobe sung and in no way make anyone a terrorist or conmdoning terrorism..its orwellian. in fact to say so is supporting state imperialism and racist fascism. it was an empire. duh .wake up.

and bloody sunday a cock up--thats the worst understatement since noah said looks like a little rain. the government blackmailed soldiers with seriuos thgreats to not testify at the hearings and shipped several to foreign countries and hid them during the first investigative commission. these were the guys who said the crowd was unarmed..   as all the honest witnesses said.the liars have now recamted. amd they weren'tcharged with perjury.if they had lied that the british murdered people they would have been charged. the government fought tokeep the cover up going for twenty years!!! finally a fair commission found the origional commission was a fraud and found the army fired on peacefull protestors, as they have done many many times in orosh history. bit no one is responsible. its never authorized. just all an accident.

and the couple of times i was shouted down for singing rebel songs i sang louder and most of the people came forward to support me. the racists are safe alone on lists but they don't do so well in public places where normal people realizes that freedom is the right of all people, and that fairness is the right of all minorities.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,the fight to remember is the fight against t
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 11:26 PM

the pretense that the british empire was all just an accident really gets old. it really is time for british citizens to stop pretending that their army has been in oreland for eight to nine hundred years by accident and that the british are not responsible for what it does. it is the first line of defense by fascists and racists to pretend it never happened or to pretend it was all a mistake and its not the fault of the peopler and government who sent the troops who accted so badly. there were thousands of acts of war crimes done by the british army during the rebellion and many more in northern ireland.

this isn'tnew. i'm a quarter acadien. eastern canadian french, we were ethnically cleansed by the british army i 1755and deported from out homes in nova scotia and new brunswick and prince edward island to the ends of the earth. famlies were split all the property seized and land taken and never returned. the on going policy of the british empire was war crimes .remebering the past accurately is the first sterp to correcting it.

remember what milan kundera said

"the fight to remember is the fight against tyranny"


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 07:37 AM

What about songs you should sing.

I expect folk songs to be melodic and narrative. I heard a really good song last night sung in the Good intent pub in Rochester in Kent   ( not a club but the room was mainly guest and performers). It was about the closing of Chatham dockyard and turning it into a tourist centre. The gent who wrote it played interesting chords but these did not detract from the melody. I know the issue wont mean much to many who dont live in kent but but it had

a story
a good tune
bits to join in with
cleverly played and sung
not over long but long enough

I dont think you can get better than that for a folk club song. Could anyone add to my list?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 07:51 AM

"modern ulster volunteers are always not officially condoned. the authorities just never do anything about them"

Bollocks

If that's the level of the "truth" you seek to convey you really have no idea.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 09:21 AM

"a story
a good tune
bits to join in with
cleverly played and sung
not over long but long enough"

Would "The Nun's Chorus" from Casanova do?
If so, why?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Dr. Quelch
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 09:21 AM

Ollaimh and the following Guest,
                                 Now come on. You know you can do better. Where have all your capital letters gone? I feel sure your English language teacher showed you how they are used in script and prose and the effort required to find them on the keyboard is minimal. You are just being lazy. So come on now, let`s try harder.

Dr.Quelch, (M.A Eng., B.S.A {Clips} V.D& Scar)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: melodeonboy
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 10:54 AM

You tell 'em, Quelchie!

Cripes! Where's that half-crown postal order?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 11:04 AM

I guess 'The British Grenadier' would not go down to well in your pub then, olli?

:D


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 11:28 AM

I `ad that Milan Kundera in my cab the other day. `e was going up to the Borough Market to get some exotic nosh for `is dodgy restaurant.
I said, " `ere Kundy, some guest `as been talking about you on that Mudcat"
`e said, "`as `e? What`s `e been saying then?"
I said "`parently you said ` to fight to remember is the fight against tyranny`".
`e said, "Did I? I don`t remember saying that. Don`t sound like me. I expect `e `eard it wrong. I pro`bly said `remember to light the Christmas tree!!"

Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 11:28 AM

As a son of the Brit, I reserve the right to sing good British songs all the time, whether people like them or not - e.g. in front of ollaidh and his mates.

(I also reserve the right not to.)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 12:42 PM

10 minute introductions for well known 3 minute songs?

CC


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,English Jon
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 09:22 PM

"richard bridge is the worst kind of apologist racist and fascist."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

oh that is priceless... ollaimh? o'Lame, more like.

Cheers,
Jon


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Howard Jones
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:43 AM

Ollaimh, rather than continue this rather pointless debate on Irish history, which clearly neither side is going to agree on, perhaps its best simply to say that, outside a few die-hard sectarian enclaves, Irish rebel songs are unlikely to be well-received in the UK. That's less to do with the songs themselves or their historical context and more to do with events over the last 30 or 40 years.

You might also be surprised to find that they may not even be well-received by those of Irish descent, especially the younger generation, many of whom realise that what has come out of the Good Friday Agreement, however flawed, provides the best opportunity in decades for the Irish to stop killing each other and start building a better society in peace. Many people, British and Irish, think that's a good thing and wonder why you would want to undermine that by raking over old animosities.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 05:08 AM

Regards rebel songs, I think - if one at least takes care to pay attention to the historical and social conditions from whence they arose - they can be thoroughly fascinating and engaging as a direct evocation of the real lives and passions that forged them. It seems a pity to me, that virtually the only 'folk' songs that can still have a potent immediate impact upon us today, are ironally taboo for that self-same reason.

This phenomena to me, very much describes the way in which 'folk' songs have in the modern day become museum pieces or curios of interest to collectors and curators - polite entertainment for dilettantes who have no personal connection to the events or kinds of lives these songs depict - rather than the potent folk art communicating real shared experiences of the common people, that they once were.

I'm just musing btw. Not trying to make any particular point.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 05:13 AM

PS I'm of Northern Irish Catholic descent myself, I find these songs of interest primarily for that reason.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 06:20 AM

I hardly ever sing "The Patriot Game" nowadays, as, although Dominic Behan wrote it as an anti-war song, it is seems to be taken by both sides as a rebel song.

Maybe I should work up a programme of misunderstood songs - tPG, "Okie from Muskogee", the list is surprisingly long.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 05:37 PM

Who was the Scottish singer who used to sing 'The Sash' to the air of 'Kevin Barry' and vice versa? Not always appreciated either.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Gealt
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 05:48 PM

Sorry that query re Scottish singer was from me.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 02:55 AM

"Intersting comments about pinching the guest's songs when they appear at a club. Not always that straight forward"
Last night I visited Derby Traditional Music Club in order to hear Sam Lee for the first time. Not necessarily expecting to sing myself I was however called upon and picked something tried and trusted, "The Lakes of Shilyn", to contribute. At the end of the night Sam, who had performed exceptionally well, came across and asked polite and interesting questions about the song; sources, variants etc. After I had explained my bit he told me that he had been singing it in the car on the way to the gig and was thinking of doing it last night! It immediately prompted me to inform him of this particular thread and the comments about such an occurrence.
Clearly someone like Sam has enough material in his locker not to be thrown by such an instance.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 01:26 PM

I totally agree with Marje's postings, especially
> regulars usually respect the repertoires of others and try to find something different to sing. It's not just being considerate to the other singer, it's considerate to the audience, so they get something different to listen to.

I most enjoy hearing a song that I've never heard before -- provided that it is sung at least reasonably competently and that it's either traditional or not too far away from traditional character.

I don't mind hearing familiar songs -- and that's just as well, because I've been around long enough that a large proportion of what I hear is familiar.

I do not enjoy hearing a song that I've heard loads of times.

I cringe at hearing a song that has been done to death, or a really bad performance -- but I suffer in silence and look forward to the next singer who, with any luck, will sing something completely different.

When it's my turn to sing, I try to do as I would be done by, singing songs that I have never heard anyone else sing in that place and that I hope will be unfamiliar to at least some of the audience. If I've been singing in the same club for many years and have no new material, I will at least avoid repeating anything within less than a few months.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: ruairiobroin
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 04:34 PM

The downsides to aging ary many and one for an aging folkie is the number of songs you believe have been done to death. at age thirtyfive , far too long ago I was working on an arrangement of an 18th century ballad with among others an 18 year old banjoist who believed that he should do an instrumental solo mid story. we nearly came to splitting up and decided to call it a night. In another part of the club we came across a singer I hadn't seen since I was 18 and we had a few jars before we started naming all the ould shite we had had to sing in times gone by. We each could remember chunks of Home boys Home , Brennan on the Moor, The Leaving of Liverpool , The streets of London and so on. we sang for 4 hours, taking the piss out of dozens of the Old Hat numbers and I realised that my young banjoist was staring cold and sharp daggers at me . When i asked him what ailed him he said You Bastard you never told me you knew all those brilliant songs . He had never heard any of them they were a revelation to him. I suppose It's no harm giving some songs a rest its not the songs that irk but their repetition. That being said Molly Malone, The fields of Athenry, Dublin in the rare old Times could wait a few more years Though funnily enough I'd nearly welcome The Streets Of London back as an old friend. Sadly it has developed a new relevance


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 07:40 PM

"The downsides to aging are many" and include the fact that I'd probably get arrested if I sang "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" nowadays. When I first did it there were schoolgirls older than me. Great tune though, so I'll just have to do one of the other sets of words like "Me and my Chauffeur".


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 10:11 PM

read the tripartite report on northern ireland from the eighties. the ulster volunteer paramilitaries were supplied by the british army. this was asked in parliament and not denied. for those who know anything this is admission in the parliamentary system as denial thats untrue is still not acceptable in parliament.

this is not some ancient thing. the killings on bloody sunday were not a "cock up" they were murder, and were covered up for decdes, including false criminal charges against some law abiding protesters.no one out side the english speaking world takes the government line seriuosly but in dear ole and bush america you just have to mutter about terrorista and murder is ok.

its the worst kind of disgusting racism and imperialist violence. there are many other examples. for cripes sake it was an empire.they were invading almost evey country in the world to steal what every they could to make a buck. they transported more slaves than any other country and comitted many massacres from india to africa. these would not be acceptable to any right thinking people. the irish fight for self determination was like any other fight for self determination.nelson mandela gave a speach on this subject saying so for example(and the british were amazed)


i really doubt that any modern irish really think that the murder of civilians was ok or would agree with the twenty year cover up, or think that the crimes against humanity were ok. that's what i'm saying . i am not suporting any political group or movement. however crimes against humanity , war crimes and murder are just that. to dismiss them is despicable and shouldn't be acceptable. however on list afetr list i see engishmen making cracks like bridges and no one seems to mind. he demeans his own humanity .

a few of you ought to self examine. what kind of people are you that you condone murder and war crimes, and respond with such frivolous cracks? again read the tripartite report.it was extensively published in the economist and the toronto globe and mail. in additon to the arming protestant parmilitaries and giving them intell on which british citizens to assisinate, they reported there has never been a fair election in northern ireland, that the ruc and rur members formed nightime hit squads . not to mention mundane discrimination on housing education and welfare against the irish community. the uk was convicted in the european court of human right violations with their anti terrorist laws because they didn't meet human rights standards in europe, and continue to pay fines rather than amend them. the only amend ment has been to abolish the presumption of innocence in the uk.

and of course the repeat allegation that there's no difference between gaelic and terrorist. that kind of racism demeans you more than others.

good people take responsibility for their mistakes and crimes biot to try to claim no one is responsible or tyo blame the victums. it amazes me i have to make these points but we live in a world where power and money have the control. an amazing number of americans still worship was criminals like robert e lee who ordered the execution of black prisoners of war, and it is the direct result they tolerate massive deaths of civilians in iraq. and we live in a world where far too many british still think the problems inireland have nothing to do with them. well they elected those governemnt and sent the troops,but then many still believe in weapons of mass destruction. they elect governments that abolish the presumption of innocence and have anti terrorist laws that don't meet international and european standards.

as to capitalization,i leave small things to the small minds

stop demeaning youselves with cracks about murder and denialof responsibility and wow,you will grow as a person


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 10:40 PM

oh yeah and i don't sing kumbayya. however it is a prayer. it would be quite appropriate sung after a major humanitarian disaster--like a posting by richard bridges--oh that was a cheap shot but it felt so good.

i sing almost all acadien/quebecois trad tunes or nova scotia newfoundland songs and dance tunes. i do get tired of the pop slippage but i don't think you can tell others what to sing.

i do love to hear great traditional singers from any tradition.

i don't much like fields of athen rye but i have heard it sung sean nos and it was great.

i get a little tired of hackneyed lowland scotts songs like a parcel of rogues in a nation--i mean really the act of union made the lowlanders rich. how horrible. its the highlanders who got ehtniclly cleansed from their homes to cape breton and the like.

i do wish to report however that once you get over here--things aren't half friggin bad. there were never more than six hundred thousand gaels(we don;t call ourselves highlanders by the way) in scotland and there are seventeen million in north america, in addition to the fifty five million descendants of irish gaels in north america..

i have heard a great version of stings "we work the black seem together" at a folk circle and it was great. it is a very common theme in a lot of coal mining areas.. so it needn't all be traditional tunes.

in eastern canada there are many new songs "in the tradition" i love to hear them. from stan rogers(from guysborough countryl ike half my family) to dermot o'reilly and fergus o'byrne. i like great big ses modern take on traditional songs but they do cut too many verses. i don't like their modern tunes at a folk circle.

and i love to hear any one singing gaelic


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 11:17 PM

If I were to sing Summertime I might well be embarrassed if someone were to comment that I'd sung it badly (which would probabaly be true) - but why in earth would I be in the least embarrassed by it being pointed out I'd got the name of the writer wrong? Getting stuff like that isn't what singing is about.
...........................................

As for most of the stuff about songs being done to death and so forth - it seems to me that the mindset that overvalues novelty is a bit strange in lovers of folk music. Folk music is about recognising the good stuff and preserving it. The challenge is to be able to sing old songs, including very familiar songs in a way that makes them feel fresh and alive, Not an easy thing to do, but well worth attempting.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 20 Feb 10 - 04:59 AM


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 20 Feb 10 - 06:33 AM

POLITICAL Songs get my vote, EVERY TIME.

If I want to be educated, I'll go to the library!

I go to a Folk Club to be entertained, not to have someone else's latest little political cause rammed down my throat!

After that, anything goes for me pretty much, although if a ballad lasts for more than 8 verses ... I'm off to the Bar.
Let's face it, if you can't say it all in 8 verses, or less preferably, then be honest, you are just waffling!

Cheers
Dick


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Feb 10 - 08:01 AM

Bang goes Alistair Hulett's entire career, then.

If you never heard Hulett performing you missed out on something wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Feb 10 - 09:07 AM

I don't think politcal or protest songs are really about education, Ptarmigan. There are some that 'ram politall causes down your throat' but, in the main, I think they reflect the views of the general audience. Those that don't will die a death anyway.

I don't think long songs are too bad either if they are done well - If Bob Dylan wanted to sing 'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands' at our club I would not go to the bar and I don't think I would ever tire of Mr Carthy's 'Famous Flower of Serving Man'. There are not too many could get away with it but there is a link on another thread that points to that infamous facist irish bashing monster, Richard Bridge, doing a very acceptable version of 'Famous Flower' but I would not click on for fear of incurring the wrath of olliphant or whatever his name is...

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 20 Feb 10 - 09:17 AM

Trust me Jack, no career will ever be upset, just because one person alone doesn't want to listen to them.
After all, in a Folk Club, for everyone who doesn't like political songs, there's bound to be ten who do.

You enjoyed the work of Alistair Hulett & that's fine for you & for thousands of other folk too, but that doesn't mean I have to like his stuff, or worse still pretend to like it, just because it's the done thing.

I'm asked here what I don't like to listen to, so I give my opinion & that after, all is what a forum is all about.

I suspect most folks who get involved with folk/traditional music, don't do so to become popular, after all, if that was their main reason, they'd be off playing Country & Western.

The fact is, I reckon this question is perhaps not specific enough, because of course, the UK is a big place & something that might go down well in a Folk Club above a Nationalist Pub in London, would probably not go down quite so well shall we say, in a Folk Club above a boozer in East Belfast.

The chances are, any overtly political song stands a pretty good chance of perhaps upsetting or worse still, offending at least someone in an audience & for that reason as well, I am not a fan of this form of communication.

At least in Hyde Park, if you don't like what someone is preaching, you can just move on!

Cheers
Dick


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Dr. Quelch
Date: 20 Feb 10 - 09:48 AM

Oh dear, olliamh. Where HAVE all your capital letters gone again?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Gealt
Date: 20 Feb 10 - 10:44 AM

tHE pROFESSOR aBHORS cAPITALISM.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Feb 10 - 12:11 PM

Let's face it, if you can't say it all in 8 verses, or less preferably, then be honest, you are just waffling!

I beg to differ.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 20 Feb 10 - 12:17 PM

"I beg to differ."

Yeah, Nic Jones does this really sweetly Little Musgrave


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 06:15 AM

"POLITICAL Songs get my vote, EVERY TIME.
If I want to be educated, I'll go to the library!"
Hunting songs get my vote every time - if I want to be sickened I'll take an emetic.
Given that the earliest published songs were political (KIng John - 1199) and in Latin, aren't you a bit late with this one - or maybe you mean political songs you don't agree with?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 06:42 AM

Aye Jim,

Maybe that's exactly what Folk Clubs need today, to help build up an interest in this dark days - Political Songs, in Latin, that are at least 20/25 verses long!

I can just imagine them goin down a real storm at Folk Clubs today, Hunting element or no!

I can smell a revival already! ;-)

Cheers
Dick


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 08:06 AM

"Maybe that's exactly what Folk Clubs need today"
Make up your mind - are you objecting to political songs because they are boring to audiences or because they are educational? The former has never been my experience, I'm afraid. Political songs can be as entertaining as any other type.
My point is that political songs are an integral part of our tradition and by objecting to them because you, for some strange reason, have decided to separate 'enjoyment' and 'education,' as if they are opposites, means that we lose a large chunk of the repertoire. Any form of arbitrary censorship has that effect.
Some years ago groups of feminists decided they would no longer tolerate songs they regarded as 'sexist' - bang - a sizeble chunk of our songs disappeared from some clubs.
I don't like songs that advocate killing for pleasure and most of them I find more tedious than watching paint dry, but I wouldn't dream of stopping anybody from singing them, so why single out politics?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 11:22 AM

I remember a guitar shop in London where on the wall was a big notice listing forbidden tunes and riffs for trying out guitars. My reaction to that was to play Merry Sherwood Rangers - Simon Nicol style and watch the reactions! I was asked the name of the tune and next time I went into the shop, Merry Sherwood Rangers was on the list! However, when played it was not recognised.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 01:17 PM

"because they are boring to audiences"

Jim, I have absolutely no idea what is boring to audiences & I certainly would never be as presumtuous as to pretend that I knew what everyone else was thinking.

Nor would I ever dictate what should or shouldn't be sung, I'm just pointing out that I, just me, as an individual, simply have no time at all for political songs.

Just because I don't like them, that doesn't mean you should all rush out & ban political songs from Folk Clubs, it just means that when someone launches into a political song, I go for a pish or head for the Bar.

I was a big fan of Dick Gaughan back in the 70s but stopped buying his LPs & going to concerts when he became all political. It's just not for me.

Proof of the pudding is in the eating & the fact is, I ran my own Folk Club for 8 years & floor spots had free rein to sing or play pretty much anything, that doesn't mean I HAD to like everything that was sung or played. However, anything remotely provocative like an IRA rebel song, would have been stopped, straight away.

After 8 years, I ceased to be surprised by the sort of stuff that some folks would have really enjoyed, but which I was not impressed by at all. So, really anything goes, unless it is clearly liable to cause serious offense to someone.

Just don't expect me to always enjoy it!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 02:50 PM

Ptarmigan;
Sorry; didn't mean to imply anything - just pointing out the lack of logic of selecting any group of folk songs as not to be sung in a UK folk club - including IRA rebel songs. Many British citizens are from Irish backgrounds, me included, and such songs are as much a part of their/my heritage as are English rural ones.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 04:06 PM

Aye Jim, they have the same dichotomy in Scotland, where half the population see the likes of Robert the Bruce & William Wallace as some kind of folk heroes & legendary freedom fighters while the other half believe that they were more likely, nothing more or less than just bloodthirsty terrorists!

Up here in Norn Iron, we occasionally still get buck eejits coming into our Pub sessions, who think that just because we are sitting playing diddly diddly music that we must all be card carrying Nationalists or worse, so feel it's OK for them to, without a by-your-leave, launch into some bloody old Rebel Song, not giving a damn of course, who they may be offending or upsetting in the process!
Needless to say, they rarely get past the end of the first line, before they are very quickly shown the error of their ways!

One of the worst cases of that utter nonsense, was when a Loyalist group up here announced that Pub Sessions were legitimate targets, because {they assumed} that all the participants would of course be Catholic Nationalist IRA sympathisers!

Thankfully sensible folks in the know, like Derek Bell, were very quick to point out that at that time around 40% of the musicians in any Pub Session in the likes of Belfast was actually Protestant & that of course politics had absolutely nothing to do with traditional music & had no place where it was played.

It would be funny, if it wasn't so sad!
Cheers
Dick


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 07:31 PM

again, banning songs of any ethnic group about their fight for self determination is a form of racism.   would you ban jews singing about the fight against the nazi's--and there are a lot of them. or ban black people singing anti slavery songs.

banning irish rebel songs show just how little england has changed. and sometimes canada. in vancouver the vancouver folk song society banned irish rebel songs. i didn't even know for a while. when i found out i started singing them and they gave it up. those songs are about the universal right to self determination. and they are very good songs.

people ought be asking themselves why they still need to uphold the old empire. its dead and gone. i know "the special relationship" allows england to go to war all over the globe and participate in all the fun of torture and shooting up civilians but eventually you will have to join the eu and sign on to all the rules or go broke. then you'll have to change your laws about denying civil and human rights to people charged with offences against te state and even stop torture. yes the uk was convicted of torture in water boarding in northern ireland. this was under the thatcher regime. they taught the americans at gitmo..

maybe its time to think about why you want to ban other peoples songs about liberty? then you might have libverty at home.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 08:18 PM

Dick -
Having no religious axe to grind - left or right footed - as far as I'm concerned the Irish question is one of whether in the 21st century any country has the right to own all or part of another. I seem to remember atrocities took place on all sides and nobody came out of the conflict with clean hands.
I found over the last thirty years that songs and music, whether they come from one side of the divide or the other, act as a unifying rather than a divisive force and my curse on those who would use them otherwise.
As I said, 'Dolly's Brae' or 'O'Hara, Hughes, McCreesh and Sands' - all part of a shared culture and history, and long may that continue to be tha case.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 06:14 AM

ollaimh,
we used to get plenty of those 'brave hero' types in the Pubs of West Berlin, back in the 80s, wanting to spout their rebel songs at the crowd. Then, of course, they'd go home to their nice comfy wee flat, far, far away from any troubles & perfectly safe from any of the murderous activities they were trying to promote ......... in song.
I often wondered, just how many of them would have been quite so brave, had they been in a pub .... in East Belfast!

Also, I'd be curious to know how many Rebel songs were sung in New York Pubs, after 9:11?

It's all very well stirring it up in your safe we suburbias, far, far away, but you try living with that stuff going on next door & down the road & then see just how keen you really are to hear some drunken bafoon spew out The Soldier's Song, The Sash or some old IRA Rebel Song!

Jim,
As I'm sure you have guessed by now, I've absolutely no political axe to grind either, quite the contrary!
However, I've never found that The Soldier's Song, The Sash or any of those old IRA Rebel Song had any, even remote, form of unifying effect on any musical environment I was ever in.
Quite the contrary, they always just made people feel uncomfortable!

If people want to promote their politics, I'd be much happier if they went off to a rally &/or found themselves a Soapbox .............. & left 'The Music' alone!
Cheers
Dick


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 06:44 AM

banning irish rebel songs show just how little england has changed.

If I was to find that Irish rebel songs had been banned anywhere in England I would posibly agree. But they have not been and, as far as I am aware, no-one is advocating any such a ban. Now, if you were to say that Irish rebel songs are banned in bars down the Shankhill Road I could see your point. Even if it is untrue that they are banned it would be very unwise to sing them. Which returns us to the point of the thread title

Songs you shouldn't sing in a UK folk club.

DeG


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 06:55 AM

I suppose I should add - any song directly insulting or threatening to your hosts - dear Olly.   If you don't know the difference between an absence of denial and an admission you really need to get a brain transplant.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 07:02 AM

Dick,
The Soldiers Song is the Irish national anthem - am I to assume you would include God Save The Queen in your list of undesirables? And don't get me started about Land of Hope And Glory with its "Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set" garbage - very unifying.
If you are making any songs no-go areas you are denying freedom of expreaaion to those whose politics you disapprove of - not the path to 'how to win friends and influence people' in my experience.
Throughout the 'troubles' we were visitors to the West of Ireland, as Brits we were made welcome, as were the many who came from the North just to play music - no barriers, not trouble, despite the fact that the street here was festooned with black flags to honour the hunger strikers,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 07:07 AM

Perhaps Ollie could try one of these at his local Canadian folk club since he's so keen on songs about peoples struggling for independence?

Songs for the independence of Quebec

I'm sure they'll go down a storm in Vancouver.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 09:13 AM

DavideG said
> if you were to say that Irish rebel songs are banned in bars down the Shankhill Road I could see your point. Even if it is untrue that they are banned it would be very unwise to sing them.

As described in the song The Fenian Record Player.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 12:26 PM

Jim, as this discussion is asking the question about the UK, like it or lump it, Norn Iron is still regarded as part of the UK, so it of course falls within the parameters of this discussion. That being the case, who in their right mind, would wish to spoil a perfectly good gathering by wanting to sing a national anthem in a mixed community in the heart of Belfast?

I remember finding myself at an Ulster Scots concert in Derry one night ... { long story, don't ask! :-) } Anyway, they'd asked three musicians over from Scotland to headline the whole night. These guys were in full highland dress & played Pipes, Fiddle etc & they went down a storm. Anyway, as is the habit at such events, Politics has to rear its ugly head at the end of the night at least, if not before, so 'The Queen' was announced to end the night & all stood up ...... except of course the 3 Scots guys, who firmly kept seated, mumbling at their table about how they would certainly not be standing for no F'in Queen!

Another sad end! :-(

Jim, the West of Ireland is like another planet, compared to so many ares of the North, certainly throughout the troubles. For example, how many innocent women & children were murdered & maimed in Co Clare, during the Troubles, by all the loyal & noble freedom fighters on both sides?
So what was common practice down there, was certainly not the case up here. Your freedom of expression is all very noble & grand, but you should try it out in the wrong ares of the North & see how long your nose remains straight!

These heroic types who hide behind their Guitars & make like they can change all the political wrongs of our World with their wee provocative songs, don't have to pick up the pieces of young children blown to pieces by the latest bombing outrage!

I find these guys almost as nauseating, as those Rock Stars & Hollywood Actors who suddenly find politics, ..... usually when their careers are starting to flag!

Cheers
Dick


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 02:53 PM

Dick,
With respect - it isn't "heroic types who hide behind their Guitars & make like they can change all the political wrongs of our World with their wee provocative songs," who cause the divisions, but politicians and religious nuts of all persuasions. For the rest of us proles, we either close our mouths and bend over to be shafted; or we give our opinions in any way open to us. The idea that we have no right to give voice, as small and insignificant as it might be, because it might frighten the horses, is both abhorrent and repessive.
I wasn't living in Clare through the troubles, but coming from Liverpool where, if you don't support Liverpool or Everton FCs, you are considered an atheist, and having lived for thirty odd years in London, where (I was told this in all seriousness by somebody I worked for) if you have Irish neighbours you always check under your car before you drive off in the morning, I have seen the result of religious divisions up close.
Whatever views you or I hold, either on politics or religion, the idea that either of us should be able to silence the other is as devisive as a car bomb or triumphal march to Drumcree Church. We have little enough say in what is carried out on our behalf without having it reduced even further.
You seem quite happy that 'The Queen' was played at a music session, but unhappy that the Scots lads didn't join in. Apart from the anachronistic custom of playing 'the queen' (which you, apparently have no objection to) at a session where, I would hope, all denominations are welcome, what a piece of arrogance to expect somebody to behave like hypocrites and show respect to somebody who obviously they have none for - I only hope I would have the courage they obviously had - good on them.
You may find "Rock Stars & Hollywood Actors who suddenly find politics" nauseating - personally I find those who stand on the sidelines, living their priveleged lives and ignoring suffering and repression equally nauseating, and am more than happy when one of them steps out of their ivory tower, puts their head above the parapet and uses their influence, merited or otherwise, to call attention to the sufferings of the world - good on them as well.
The right to express opinions, whether by song or any other method, should be open to all.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,ruairiobroin
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 05:43 PM

How can Folksongs and traditional songs in particular, not have at least some element of political content in them, are they not, in the main , expression of the goings on in the lives of ordinary people and therefore to some degree , political. Even Hymns and spirituals have some reference to social inequality and moral rectitude which must be   political to some. I think it would be difficult to hold a whole night of singing without acknowledging that nearly every song could be considered offensive to someone if they HAD A MIND TO BE OFFENDED. . The bawdy inoffensive titivator can now evoke as many tuts as it does titters among the so called politically correct. I think that in the main, lust and lustfulness are being celebrated despite the jealous spouses, unwanted pregnancies and doses of the not so nice, but not everyone agrees.
In every row, fight, battle, war and so on there was a winner and a loser, consequently not everbody can be happy with the result and by extension may not be happy with songs celebrating the event(s). It cuts both ways ,the colonised , ungrateful wretches that we were/are, celebrate their efforts to attain their liberation and these songs are sure to rub their former or actual colonisers the wrong way.
Songs of worker solidarity and struggle may not hold much lustre for management types and so on ..............BUT    all Traditional songs have their own validity , integrity ,time and place.
Coming up to the 1966 celebration of 1916 in the Republic of Ireland , we kids were taught Patriotic Songs which celebrated a bunch of Rebels getting the living shit kicked out them but eventually winning freedom for a partitioned Free State. We weren't just taught them they were beaten into us. Two and a half years later 1969 when the Troubles kicked off again in the North, the Irish Government went to great pains to keep the songs thay had had kicked into us, banned off the radio, ensuring in the process that anybody who didn't already know them learned them. ( Wonder if they banned our language would it have the same effect)
In England, when I sung there, and that's pre peace process, rarely in a folk session was I NOT asked to sing some of these Irish Patriotic songs possibly because the habituees were often lefty anti Thatcher types, (myself included) who thought they were being expansive. I generally declined , not because I didn't know them but because we had far more things in common than we had cultural differences and our "folkness", I felt, should be celebrated. I found it interesting too, that nobody ever sung something celebrating Cromwell or the likes, in my presence and there must be some such songs. I doubt that I'd have cared but I appreciated the kindness.
I guess the memories of the sessions in the seventies and eighties in England that I recall, had unwritten protocols that ensured that whilst there were rivalries and song nicking and changing and blahdy bloody blah, most people went to folk clubs to enjoy each others company (Done to death songs often adding to the occasion) they were a great bit of crack. If you're new to the scene ask just the old hands what they feel is right though never just get one opinion ,there are jokers in every pack.
Left above unsigned sorry Mrs/Ms/Mr/Sir/Lady (Delete as appropriate) Mudcat, New here and only learning the ropes.
Maybe I should start a thread "Things you shouldn't do on Mudcat"
J       O          K          I       N G


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 06:20 PM

I'm all in favour of songs of worker solidarity. It was mostly the bosses who killed the workers, not the other way round.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 06:31 PM

Jim, the singers don't cause the divisions, but by the same token, I find it laughable, this notion that any of these singers & their little songs, actually make a gnats hair of a difference, in the grand scheme of things.

What I find totally abhorrent myself, is the fact that so often, these singers are quit happy to shit-stir in warm, safe, friendly environments, but more often than not, take the greatest of care to keep themselves well clear of any trouble, thus doing their level best to remain completely unaccountable for any negative actions their songs might provoke. That surely, is the height of hypocrisy.

As for my story about the Queen being played, I'm afraid I obviously didn't make myself clear, but even so, after all I have already written on how I hate hearing politically loaded songs, I'm utterly amazed you came out with the statement:
"You seem quite happy that 'The Queen' was played at a music session"
I have absolutely no idea where you got that from, Jim?
Sorry that I have to spell it out for you, but the point of my story was the fact that, the organisers & those at the concert, clearly had no idea that The UK National Anthem 'The Queen' is about as popular to folks in Scotland, as a doze of Herpes!
The Ulster Scots movement still hasn't understood this, or at least pretends not to know, that a huge % of folk in Scotland would like nothing better than to break away from England & the UK label altogether, while all these 'loyal' folk in Ulster, are clinging desperately to their Queen, for all their might.

So I just loved the irony that night, of these Loyal Ulstermen proudly standing for their Queen's song, while their invited guests, with all their Tartan & Scots culture, that the Ulster Scots movement here are so envious of, hung their heads in utter disgust!
The story also demonstrated how totally out of place, provocative & so unnecessary, political songs like that are, at most musical gatherings.
So I hope that's clear now, Jim?

Anyway, back to the songs.
In my book, I reckon, those singers who inflict provocative & inflammatory songs on an audience, knowing full well that they are going to hurt, upset & no doubt offend at least some members of that audience, just because they can & because they believe it's their God given right to do whatever the hell they want, are in fact, little better than all those oppressors they are so keen to moan about in the first place, in song!

Cheers
Dick


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 08:03 PM


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 08:23 PM

"These singers & their little songs, actually make a gnats hair of a difference, in the grand scheme of things."
Sounds like a great argument for lying down and letting the establishment kick the shit out of you.
I can't think of the Civil Rights Movement in the US without remembering the songs that came out of it. I doubt if they influenced the redneck racists the protesters went up against, but I know from experience that they act as a unifying force within such movements.

As I said, political songs are part of our heritage, not only in giving voice to protest, but also in recording events, many of which would have been forgotten; conditions in the mines and mills and at sea, recording disasters and strikes, anti-war songs, the transportation ballads which were part of the opposition to the enclosures, political movements for electoral reform and the formation of trades unions, the Famine, the enforced emigrations......; they are an essential part of our history from the Peasants Revolt to the ending of British rule in Ireland, and long may they continue to be so. Far from being ''little songs' they say "I'M ME AND THIS IS WHAT I THINK" - a statement everybody should have the right to make.

I fail to see the point of your Scots musicians story - it sounds to me about three brave lads in 'Deliverance' country - is the North (or should I say the North East) still so primitive? If so, it sounds as if a few songs would serve well as a reminder that we are all different and that that difference should be recognised and respected?

"but more often than not, take the greatest of care to keep themselves well clear of any trouble..."
"Examples please - I sang CND songs at Aldermaston; Anti-Viet Nam War songs in Grosvenor Square - who are you to judge what people who sing political songs involve themselves with outside a singing environment? At least they have the bottle to stand up in public and be counted, which is more than you can say about those who would silence them!!!

"....had no idea that The UK National Anthem 'The Queen' is about as popular to folks in Scotland, as a doze of Herpes!"
Are there still people in N.I. so stupid as not to realise that 'The Queen' is a political statement there?
Thirty odd years ago in London it was customary to sing 'The Soldiers' Song' at the end of Irish music sessions; I haven't heard it since the outbreak of the troubles.
The Willie Clancy Summer School is held here in Miltown Malbay every July; . It brings people from all over the world, of differing religions and cultures, including from The North (East). In thirty odd years I have never been aware of a restriction being put on any type of song; nor have I been aware of anybody taking offense at what is sung. A few years ago we had an excellent talk on Dolly's Brae by a Northerner; this year we will have one on Northern Protestant songs. Doesn't sound like a reciprocal one on Southern songs would be possible in your part of the world - perhaps southerners a more tolerant - what d'you think?
   
"In my book, I reckon, those singers who inflict provocative & inflammatory songs on an audience...."
Yup, I guess my last suggestion was right; that sound about as intolerant of free speech as it gets!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 03:14 AM

"but I know from experience that they act as a unifying force within such movements."
Exactly, I'm sure you are right, unifying but for one small group only, otherwise totally divisive on a broader scale! Sorry Jim, but I'm afraid that just comes over as a very selfish attitude, to me! Just as selfish & divisive and counter productive, as singing The Queen or The Soldier's Song at the end of, what could so easily be a sharing experience, when, once again, yet another wonderful opportunity for bringing people together ... is wasted!

Anyone involved in playing Traditional Music knows only too well that so many of the tunes within the Irish & Scottish Music traditions have actually been shared down through the centuries. So a gathering of musicians up here is always a wonderful opportunity to explore, in a very casual & friendly way these shared tunes & how each has altered them, even slightly, to blend with their own tradition. For example, all the wonderful Scottish Strathspeys that the Donegal Fiddlers have turned into gorgeous Flings & Highlands! The Irish Jigs that the Flute Bands turn into Marches to play on the 12th. The list goes on & on.

As I have always strived to run a very open & inclusive policy at my sessions here, I am delighted that a couple of members of an Orange Flute Band feel comfortable enough to come & sit in with us on a regular basis & over the years, we have learned a few of each others tunes. This is how it should be & usually is amongst traditional musicians who never discuss Politics or Religion at these sessions anyway, because in our view they have absolutely nothing to do with the music we are playing & we resent wholeheartedly those who would use those traditional melodies, that have been handed down in good faith, for any political purpose. At any such gathering, it would be absolutely unthinkable for some selfish, self centred bigot, to leap onto his Soapbox & fire off some old political tripe, at the assembly!

Thank goodness people up here are finally learning to share what we all have in common & what can help to unite everyone up here. We don't want or need any Guitar brandishing 'lefties' sowing their distrust & hatred! There has been far too much of that here, in the past!

As for Willie Week, I've been attending that since the mid 70s so I know exactly what goes on there. Perhaps you should visit the North more often Jim & find out what it's really like up here, first hand?

"Anti-Viet Nam War songs" are all very well in London, but did you ever sing them in Vietnam?

By the way, your "excellent talk on Dolly's Brae" was very likely given by a friend of mine J.M., so I have no doubt it was excellent & nothing if not totally accurate, as will be his talk on Northern Protestant songs & quite frankly no better man for the job.

I just wish these political activists, who like to provoke through song, would just take a little more care to understand that there is a time & a place for everything. If they were half as smart as they think they are, & not so self centred, I have no doubt they would realise this.
Cheers
Dick


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 11:02 AM

Dick; i think, and hope that we are talking at cross purposes. If you are a regular visitor to the Willie Clancy School and are interested in song I feel sure we must have met - if across a crowded room. J M is also a valued friend of ours.
I have no objection at all if you are suggesting that there are circumstances in which political songs aren't sung, no argument - but the same goes for other songs - I like bawdy and erotic songs, but am aware that there are occasions when they would be inappropriate.
Also, I too have no time for drunken louts who roar out 'Kevin Barry or Not A Word of No Surrender in an open session.
Where I do have a problem is the blanket condemnation of such songs - especially in a UK folk club, which is, in my opinion, the natural home of such songs. If they can't be sung there, they can't be sung anywhere.
I keep claiming (and you keep ignoring) that political songs are part of our historical and cultural heritage - I have no idea whether you agree or disagree. Whether we like it or not, politics touch every second of our lives; do we not have a right to comment on the influence it has?
A handful of real-life scenarios:
The year after the hunger strikers died Séamus Mac Mathúna stood up on the stage at the Song Recital during the Willie Clancy week and sang his (I think) tribute to them, 'O Hara, Hughes, McCreesh and Sands' - was he right to do so?
Around the same time our old friend, traditional singer sang 'Kevin Barry' - was he right to do so?
At the height of the 'Troubles' in London, a club we were involved in booked one of my all-time favourite Northern Irish singers (now living in Glasgow) astounded us all by singing 'Not a Word of No Surrender' - was he right to do so?
Some years ago we released a double CD of our Clare field recordings which included six political songs - were we right to do so?
Personally I find the term 'guitar brandishing lefties sowing their distrust & hatred!' highly offensive - would you find political songs sung unnacompanied by righties or non-politicos acceptible?
You are condemning a whole genre of songs solely on the basis of your own political inclinations and personal tastes - I also find that highly offensive.
You continue to suggest that people sing such songs to provoke - again, I find that offensive; who are you or I to decide why people sing such songs; in my experience, singers choose their material because it means something to them. How dare you condemn people for expressing their views.
And why should anti- Viet Nam was songs be any more relevant in London than Belfast - didn't Northerners care about what was happening in South East Asia _ I know several of them who cared very much and said so.
You are right when you say there is a time and a place for everything, but that is up to the singers to decide not you or I.
Your argument comes over as political censorship - a dangerous thing at any time.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 11:05 AM

"traditional singer sang 'Kevin Barry' "
Should read traditional Tom Lenihan.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Howard Jones
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 04:55 AM

It depends on how you interpret the title of the thread - is "shouldn't" prescriptive or advisory?

I think there are very few songs that must not be sung in a UK folk club. I think it would be very unusual for singers to be prevented from singing a particular song, unless it was especially provocative. However, there are plenty of songs which may not receive the reception the singer might have hoped for. In that sense there are many categories of songs which a singer should at least think carefully about before presenting at a folk club.

Political songs are one such category. If you're going to sing them, then you should be aware that not everyone in the audience may share your point of view. I recall a fairly recent thread in which some people appeared to be genuinely surprised that not all folkies are dyed-in-the-wool lefties. Some topics, in some areas, are particularly sensitive - Dick has already described the situation in Northern Ireland, and if you choose to sing an Irish rebel song in Aldershot or Colchester then you should be prepared for a strong reaction.

Rugby songs, while possibly one of the few remaining examples of genuine folk song, would probably not be acceptable in a folk club, for different reasons.

It is up to the singer to judge their audience - which they should do as a matter of course, whatever they sing. If they choose to sing something which may be provocative, then they should not be surprised if they receive a hostile reception.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,ruairiobroin
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 08:02 AM

have. opened a thread When has songs changed anything.   Jim you in?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 09:36 AM

Will be when it starts raining and I have an excuse for not burning Bl.... garden rubbish Ruairi - thanks.
In the meantime - can I agree wholeheartedly with Howard's last posting.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 07:03 PM

Returning to the theme of songs you (possibly) shouldn't sing because they have been done to death, I have come across an earlier thread on a similar theme. Particularly worthy of serious consideration is this posting recalling Frank Harte's comment on Molly Malone.

I've never been sure whether I can accept his assessment of that song, and I certainly cringed a few months ago when someone sang Clementine.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 07:12 PM

I've sung "Clementine" in a folk club, but admittedly I always sing it to "Cwm Rhondda".


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:23 PM

GUEST,ollaimh claims that "in vancouver the vancouver folk song society banned irish rebel songs. i didn't even know for a while. when i found out i started singing them and they gave it up. those songs are about the universal right to self determination. and they are very good songs."

I first became President of the Vancouver Folk Song Society in 1968 and attended almost every meeting between then and about 2006. I was on the Board almost all of those years too.

I want to deny Ollaimh's claim as above. The VFSS in my years never did this, never even talked about it, and never banned any songs or any music at any time, for any reason.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,mb
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:39 PM

I would like to add to Jon's comment below that I have been an active member of the Vancouver Folk Song Society since 2005, including two terms on the board, and never during that time has the society banned any songs, Irish or otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 04:10 AM

I wouldn't worry about it - There are lots of claims about songs being banned, usualy by the English. None of them are true. Makes a change that Canada is in the firing line:-)

DeG


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 May 11 - 04:13 AM

Refresh, in re thread recently started on What is meant by singing in own voice?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 11 - 11:18 AM

any song you do not like.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 21 May 11 - 02:42 PM

As a club host I don't know of any 'banned' songs, certainly wouldn't have that in our club! especially as I've performed both Fields Of Athenry and Wild Rover in the last month! But very much agree Athenry is done to death among others. If I hear another rendition of Hotel California I think I'll go insane, not only is it over done but one of the early examples of the dreadful cross over country, cross over into garbage in my opinion. Not only is it boring but everyone does it exactly the same old way,only once in 40 years in Folk music have I just once heard someone try do it a bit differently.

I've heard that Ralph McTell will no longer do Folk clubs, I wonder if that's because he's as sick of hearing Streets Of London as I am, ok it WAS a good song then, but now it's just the Folk version of the bloody Birdy song!

As if to add to my suffering, I recently agreed our Club will have a Dylan theme song night on May 25th in honour of his birthday. Now I think Dylan is a genius and could watch him sing all night. But Gawd why do so many of you come to the club insistent on doing the longest Dylan epic you can find baffles me, so it gives you extra minutes on stage, but in the process give the poor old Host apoplexy having to hope you'll ge your tuning done before midnight let alone finish the song. So far I have a minimum 31 Dylan songs to listen to on the night, I've sensibly arranged a holiday afterwards, to Ireland where I think I'll leave out Fields of Athenry ;)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 21 May 11 - 09:17 PM

Any thing by Lady GaGa?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 22 May 11 - 01:13 PM

I'd never even heard of 'Fields of Athenry' until I read this thread! Have just listened to it on Youtube (Dubliners' version) What a haunting and beautiful song.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 22 May 11 - 02:17 PM

It's especially haunting (for all the wrong reasons) when I think back to the bloated fat faced golf executives of the Celtic Tiger era shouting it after a Ryder Cup victory at the K club in County Kildare. A symbol of the excess and historic ignorance that has left today's Ireland staring into the abyss.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 11 - 02:38 PM

Richard, correct, its no use getting rid of one set of tyrants, to allow yourself to be exploited, by another set.
Since when is it ok, that the country is banjaxed, by a set of fat pigs, whose only qualification is that they are irish.
IDONT WANT ireland to be f### up by anyone whether they are irish english african chilean libyan sudanes american.
fieldsof athenry is a backward looking reactionary song.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 22 May 11 - 04:22 PM

Well I'm sorry if I've said the wrong thing by praising the song itself, it obviously stirs people up since it refers to terrible suffering. I agree we shouldn't be 'backward looking', but many folk songs have their origins in injustice and suffering. You can't censor them all because of that. I'm also very fond of 'O Flower of Scotland', and I suppose that too is contentious. (By the way, my mother was Irish from Cork, and my father Scots from Sutherland so their ancestors' history would reflect the suffering imposed on them at the time, eg potato famine and Highland Clearances. I think these songs are important historically, and shouldn't be forgotten, even though wounds can be healed over time.)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: DMcG
Date: 22 May 11 - 04:56 PM

What (for example) would happen to "The Wild Rover" if it was never sung for the next, say, 10 years?

Some years back I was at a singaround where the average age was perhaps 50+ and there was a shy youth of around 20 who sat out his tirn a couple of times then decided he was brave enough to sing and started 'The Leaving of Liverpool'. Everyone was very polite and so on, but the expressions revealed - or I imagined - a certain sense of indulging the lad because it was so hackeyed. When he came to a certain point he forgot the words ... and we discovered we had all forgotten them as well. I left that place, as they say 'a sadder and wiser man'


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 22 May 11 - 05:06 PM

Hi Eliza,

No need to apologise at all, praise what you like, it's interesting that you come at the song with fresh ears and to hear your reaction. All I was saying is that my reaction to it can never just be about the song, but all of the baggage that goes along with the song. For better or worse.

As an Irish Scottish Scouser, I certainly believe in the carrying forward of social history and the importance of memory and identity. That said, I think that the perpetuation of a certain "Irish = noble heroes, English = villinous bastards" mythology is both historically inaccurate and, also, serves to cover up the real wrongs being done by people regardless of nationality today.

In short, my relatives in Ireland today should be (and I believe ARE) less concerned about the historic wrongs of some English, and more concerned about the current suffering following recent greed within the Irish economy.

When I hear it I can't hear anything beautiful at all, because I think of it as a song about the Irish famine written in the 1970s, used as anti-English propaganda and sung (or, rather, shouted) by many of the people responsible for TODAY'S sufferings.

I have on my desktop the photo of a piece of Dublin graffiti that reads: "Greed is the knife and the scars run deep". The words are from a song by Damien Dempsey, called Colony, and in the song they talk about the greed and exploitation associated with imperialism. The thing is, the words are equally applicable to the consequences of today's greed - Damien Dempsey knows that in his own song writing, and I imagine the graffiti artist knows that too, seeing as it popped up in the midst of the collapse of the Irish economy.

All I'm saying is, we don't need Lord Trevelyan as a bogeyman anymore.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 11 - 05:08 PM

eliza, it is more that the song is sung at football matches between ran gers and celtic, by celtic fans as a way of provoking secteranism and establishing tribal nonsense.
I live in county cork and am in favour of a united ireland, but i am more concerned about what kind of a united ireland, i look at present irish politicians and see too many self serving people, the exceptions are sinn fein, who only take an industrial wage, and donate the rest to their party,
sinn fein are ok,, but I AM NOT TOTALLY CONVINCED they hold the same syndicalistic views as myself I want to see a united ireland based upon those principles, all this nationalistic posturing by fianna fail and fine gael is crap.what kind of a united ireland is the IMPORTANT question


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 11 - 05:32 PM

to continue, I live in a country, that is under the financial control of the IMF, The former IMF chief Strauss Kahn HAS been accused of trying to sexually rape a french chambermaid.
The IMF is trying to FINANCIALLY rape Ireland, nationalistic backward looking songs like the fields of athenry, are an irrelevance, we have had enough of this bogus NATIONALISM, These politicians that spout this bogus nationalistic crap,while feathering their own nest, and who sing these songs, and songs about the Quislings of Fine Gael, need to heed these words.
Begone,' said he, 'you have sat long enough, Do you think to sit here till Doomsday come?'"
we will no longer be fooled by divisive songs and nationalistic codswallop, while our elected politicians stick their noses in the trough


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Hesk
Date: 22 May 11 - 05:35 PM

If you are still going to a UK folk club, despite all the signs to the contrary, the chances are that you have been going for a fair old time.
I would expect a singer to have some sensitivity towards the rest of the members, in the sense of not flogging any one song to death in front of long suffering and patient friends.
Any song, especially a good one, can become irritating if heard frequently enough. For that reason "Songs you shouln't sing in a UK folk club" could apply to any one of them!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 22 May 11 - 05:58 PM

This is all very fascinating, and just shows how little I know about the connotations of the song. Funnily enough, I went to Edinburgh Uni, and watched quite a few Rangers/Celtic matches. (During the late 1960's) I never heard this song, because it hadn't yet been composed! You're quite right that keeping the 'English are nasty' theme going detracts from today's greedy enemies in the camp. And I concede that any song which stirs inappropriate sentiments is best not performed in a folk club setting. I have to add that, as a student in Edinburgh, I totally adored Wild Rover and all the other old chestnuts of folk songs, and we bellowed them out at every opportunity! I'd absolutely love to hear them again myself, but I suppose the groans would drown out the singing!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 May 11 - 06:25 PM

There are distinct differences across the pond, I guess. I live on the west coast of the U. S. and A., and there is quite a large and active bunch of folk music enthusiasts here, singers and avid audiences.

A couple of years ago, I learn "The Fields of Athenry," "The Green Fields of France," and "Jock o'Hazeldean," and every time I sing them, they're well received. Of course it helps that, apparently, I am the only one around here who does sing them.

But back in the late Fifties and into the Sixties in this area, there were certain songs that had some people groaning and rolling their eyes. One was good ol' "John Henry." Not only did a lot of people feel it was essential to sing it at least once during an evening, but those who sang it felt that, like Harry Belafonte and Josh White, they had to turn the song into a major production, sometimes going on for fifteen or twenty minutes with breaks between verses for dramatic narration.

Much of anything that the King Kong Trio or the Bothers Four or the New Crusty Nostrils had record recently was bloody-well beaten to death, prompting people to dive under the tables and stick their fingers in their ears whenever they manifested themselves.

The ultimate result of this? It's been years since I've heard anyone around here sing "John Henry." I don't think most of the current crop of singers of folk songs around here even know "John Henry." Same thing with a couple of dozen songs and ballads that were considered standard repertoire, must know songs. Classic folk songs.

Nobody does them anymore.

Think about it!

Although I sang regularly in coffeehouses during this period, I made it a point to rotate my repertoire often, trying not to sing the same song for at least a couple of weeks (and I avoided the latest "pop" hits). This kept me hard at work learning new material until I developed a repertoire of around three or four hundred songs, and since I was keeping them relatively fresh in my memory, I was able to sing most of them off the top of my head.

ALSO, I didn't confine myself to singing only for folkies or where folk music enthusiasts gathered, such as coffeehouses. That was my base, but I tried to reach a wider audience; people who, if I sang a song that would have a coffeehouse or folk club audience rolling their eyes, had never heard the song before (this also required that I avoid songs that were currently getting a lot of radio and juke box play).

Frankly, considering how spiky a lot of people sound here on these threads, if I were just starting out, instead of spending a lot of time singing at folk clubs and open mikes, I'd seek out other audiences who may not know all that much about folk music and/or the minstrel tradition. I particularly like some of the very old versions of songs and ballads, and I think these might appeal quite a bit to, say, Early Music audiences.

Break new ground.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 23 May 11 - 02:21 AM

Andy c: The best way to get away with doing pop or contemporary songs in a folk club seems to be to not tell the audience what it is before you play it. I remember hearing someone in a very 'trad' club do an Arctic Monkeys song that was actually in the charts at the time, but as the performer kept the song's origins quiet the audience happily applauded the song just on its merits.

I've got away with this several times. I've done a couple of Pink Floyd songs, an Arcade Fire song and two Indelicates songs at singarounds recently without pre-announcing their provenence. Invariably they've gone down well.

A few people have recognised Pink Floyd's "Grantchester Meadows" when I've launched into it, but most seem to think it's a trad song or at least a song written by a 60s "folkie".

Funny how "shit like this" (to quote JC's blanket view of all "pop, country or heavy metal") seems to be quite acceptable among even dyed-in-the-wool traddies *until* you tell them the provenence!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 May 11 - 02:33 AM

Rob ~~ Apart from a get-out like 'just testing perceptions' or some such ~~

WHY did you want to deceive or defraud [I can think of no other appropriate verbs] a traditional club audience in this fashion?

Please believe I ask purely out of interest: I think...

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 23 May 11 - 04:31 AM

Can I add that my then boyfriend and I journeyed about in his old Morris Traveller car to and from Celtic matches, often to Glasgow for the Rangers/Celtic derbies (as he was a Celtic fan) and we always ended up in a Glasgow bar where all the folk songs were belted out. And the same ones were sung again and again, and nobody groaned or rolled their eyes! Firstly, I think this would have been very rude, and secondly the people loved the familiar songs, no matter how many times they'd heard them. Things must have changed nowadays, if audiences are so unreceptive and discourteous as to groan at a singer. Surely, by definition, a traditional FOLK song is one that has been sung over and over down the generations, by all present. It's the modern disease of always wanting something NEW that makes an audience behave in this deplorable fashion I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Hesk
Date: 23 May 11 - 05:21 AM

Hi Eliza,

Certainly no one behaves in a deplorable fashion at the Singaround, or "Song and Supper", at Wherwell in Hampshire, quite the contrary.
All songs, tunes and poems are welcomed.
Nevertheless, by a process of osmosis, gleaned from these sessions and others, both at clubs and festivals, it becomes obvious that a small number of songs have been done rather more frequently than is privately hoped for. After all, we do talk to each other, sometimes!
On the other subject of downright offensive songs or militantly political songs, I suppose it is a question of understanding and sensitivity towards the audience, by the performer.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: janemick
Date: 23 May 11 - 05:50 AM

We have discovered that songs like 'Leaving of Liverpool' and 'Pleasant and Delightful' are welcomed here in France; 'liverpool' is well known and often requested, and it is such a great song to sing! I would hesitate to sing either in the UK, so its nice to get the chance again.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 23 May 11 - 05:55 AM

Michael:

I wasn't "deceiving or defrauding"....I just didn't preface the songs with any provenance, which isn't unusual. At the particular events described, some people introduce their songs some of the time, some all of the time and some never, so I wasn't doing anything unusual. The singarounds concerned are fairly mixed anyway, so by no means all the songs performed are "from the tradition".

Most people are willing to listen to whatever comes up at these events. It was just surprising that what I'd describe as "the more traddie end of the spectrum of attendees" seemed quite willing to *like* the songs as long as they thought they were "folkie" in origin but as soon as the provenence was explained, they suddenly became "shit".

In hindsight, using the expression "got away with" in my post was probably unwise...I was reflecting the phrasing of the back-quote from higher up the thread. I just went along to play/sing songs that I liked, didn't announce them beforehand and was amused by the reactions of *some* people when they later found out what they'd been applauding.

I have to say that this reaction has been confined to just a couple of places. Most of the places I've done these or similar songs they've been accepted at face value straight away.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:09 AM

Re: "getting away with it"

It may be worth noting that folkies of all persuasions are usually very polite and generous natured and as such will heartily applaud and congratulate anything at all, irrespective of how awful they might privately think it is.

You can indeed get away with anything at a singaround, which is possibly why attending them can sometimes feel like undergoing a tooth extraction! Not that I object to Pink Floyd myself mind you.

That's not to say that the people in question were not being hypocritical as you suggest, but it is *possible* that they were just clapping because clapping is what you are supposed to do.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:23 AM

I see what you mean, Rob; and appreciate you were repeating the words, & experiences, of a former poster. But I can't help still feeling nevertheless that, as a folk club is, by definition, a place where people go to hear a certain kind of music, and if they wanted to hear another kind of music then they would have gone elsewhere to a club where that was to be expected, then there was a certain ~ what is the word I want, now? ~ 'wilful', perhaps. or 'perverse'? ~ element in confounding their expectations as what you admit was a sort of experiment. The same considerations do not perhaps apply to a mixed singaround, which you now say this is what this was; but in that case why not come clean at the start as to what you were doing, rather than singing from cold, with, it appears, some suspicion or foreknowledge of what the reaction was likely to be when you eventually did come clean in retro? I don't want to make too much of this: and perhaps 'wilful' & 'perverse', even, are a bit strong. But I think you will see what I mean.

Best

~M~


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Musket
Date: 23 May 11 - 07:20 AM

Just had a read through this thread, (or at least the shorter contributions..)

I have sympathy with people who are fed up of hearing the same songs thrashed out week after week by the same people, but only where that is laziness, as opposed to somebody wanting to do a song but doesn't consider themselves performers so have a very limited number of songs they have learned. Me? I encourage them instead.

No, I suppose these days my gripe would be an assumption that everybody in the room has the same political views as the singer, so an evening of abstract musical entertainment becomes a soap box for those whose social conscience was refined in the '60s and angry that society has not pandered to their views    yet. Not everybody in a folk club is a misguided Trot you know. Visitors from the real world have been known to drift in.... So overtly political songs can be either historical (and therefore folk music in any interpretation I can think of) or proxy for getting something off your chest, and therefore an excuse to drain my glass and wander to the bar till they shut up and sit down again. Ah well, at least they have a conservativeish government again to get excited about. I'll stick to Norfolk reed cutting songs if it's alright with you though.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: ripov
Date: 23 May 11 - 08:02 AM

Eliza has hit the nail on the head. The songs to avoid in folk clubs are the ones that "ordinary" people like to sing. Songs being sung by ordinary people at work and play for decades or centuries is totally alien to the folk process.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Big Mick
Date: 23 May 11 - 09:41 AM

Ian, your observations are interesting to me as I often do songs that express a point of view on various issues. Yet I found your post compelling and pondered your points. You see, I believe ONE of the historical tasks of singers is to be an observer/commentator on the times and issues or conditions that folks face. I often mix current songs with "trad" songs to demonstrate that times and technology change, the motivating factors and the effects on average folks are timeless. It seems to me that the very legitimate point you make is that it is rarely appropriate to be preachy. In fact I have found it to be counter-productive. And a very important skill in delivering this type of message, if you will, is to mix it with humour, as Utah Phillips taught me.

Thank you for a thought provoking post, Ian.

All the best,

Micl


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 23 May 11 - 12:09 PM

I started reading through and gave up, though I agree with the sentiments about the song being one you do for fun, and sod the rest of the club if they want to tut.

I try to avoid singing songs that are vaguely mainstream, because they're a bit too tired for me. Rugby Supporters + Fields of Athenry/Swing Low = fun, but out of that.

"If you are still going to a UK folk club, despite all the signs to the contrary, the chances are that you have been going for a fair old time."

Hey, I've only done 3 sessions at a folk club!

RE: Pop/Rock/Metal stuff, there's a world of folk metal out there which I'm itching to take to a session - van Canto's Last Night Of The Kings would be brilliant fun in my eyes - but I'm terrified of saying "This is a metal song" and then seeing everyone switch off. But then again, I've got Ten Finger Johnny up my sleeve for the comedy lot.

However, it's fun to try and bring something people don't know (for me at least). I see it as a challenge - in the 4 months of folk singing I've done, can I find one that nobody else knows?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 23 May 11 - 12:11 PM

Oh, and you can have a world of fun by singing a song that everyone knows to a different tune, or with a different ending. I smile inwardly when I sing Hangin' Johnny and tell myself I'm a terrible person for enjoying the confusion.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Hesk
Date: 23 May 11 - 12:24 PM

Hi DrugCrazed,

The fact that you have only done three sessions rather proves my point. My argument is if you are a regular, you have, most likely, been a regular for a long time, rather than a recent convert.
If you are to believe some of the posts on Mudcat, Folk Clubs are dead in the water. It was to this that I was referring. Personally I really enjoy going to Folk Clubs, but I am over 60!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 23 May 11 - 01:27 PM

It seems to be an oxymoron to say you've been a regular for a long time - to become a regular, you'll have had to be coming to the session for a long time.

Also, I'm 19 and I love the clubs as well :)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Hesk
Date: 23 May 11 - 03:11 PM

DrugCrazed:-

You can be a regular for one or two years, or, as in my case, "a long time regular" of over 40 years! But sorry for the confusion, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 May 11 - 03:30 PM

Just a question:

If I sing "So We'll Go No More a-Roving," a poem by Lord Byron that has been set to music for a whole variety of audiences and they all like it very much, then I sing it in a folk club, prefacing it with comments about what it is and where it came from, is it, then, suddenly a "piece of shit?"

And if so, why?

Just curious.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 23 May 11 - 05:13 PM

Don, that's the issue I have with the whole "no metal/rock/pop" rule. If you didn't know that something like Slania's Song was written recently by Eluveitie, and you sang it - creating a tune for the bridge - and like it then, then why should people put it down once they know it's a metal song?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 11 - 05:18 PM

No,
But most folk club performers ,learn to adapt their repertoire for different kind of folk club audiences, i have no problem singing leaving of liverpool, but i do have a problem with fields of athenry[as i have explained why] and the wild rover for totally different reasons.
however, I have sung the wild rover, reluctantly I might say, in pub situations[to non folk afficianados], because it was requested, and it clearly gave somebody pleasure., that is part of being professional
   but its horses for courses,why should I sing it in a folk club, when it is considered hackneyed[ especially when audiences mess up the chorus with up your kilt rubbish] , and when i have an opportunity to sing[imo] better [and more from my point of view] satisfying songs.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: ripov
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:56 PM

In all seriousness, in sessions, as opposed to clubs, the way we deal with requests for "deprecated" songs is to say that we will play them after 11 o'clock, or whenever last orders is. That way it pleases everyone. The "audience" - who of course are all potential "performers" (which after all is what FOLK music is about) - get a chance to join in singing songs that they know, and nobody is bored, because the beer has done its job. Perhaps folk clubs could adopt something similar.

But, as others have said, there always has to be room for a novice singing or playing something they are comfortable with, regardless of whether it is hackneyed or not. They may well go home and think "I wish I'd done something different", and learn something new.

Incidentally, for me the most requested song/tune (over the last 50 years) has been "Danny boy" aka "the Derry Air".(Although recently it has been replaced by "Fields of Athenry" or occasionally "Stairway to Heaven" or "Devil went down to Georgia"). How come no-one has mentioned it? Is it still acceptable? Or does no-one ever sing it in a folk-club these days?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Musket
Date: 24 May 11 - 03:53 AM

Big Mick mentions the dilemma of getting a point across whilst not being preachy. Difficult I know, and I do accept that by broad definition, folk music is relating events and feelings, which is not easy to do without declaring a view. (See tabloids for details.)

I was on strike in '84 and did a huge number of fund raising concerts, including sharing a stage with politicians such as Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner. Yes, I performed songs of oppression and political views, but even then, I sang songs I have never sung at folk clubs before or since. Horses for courses really.

I note Don Firth's comment about giving an introduction to a song as opposed to just singing it. I try to do this with many songs, research them etc and give a narrative about the song. By doing that, it is easy to include many of the songs on the hit lists above. I started doing it after attending a conference where the conductor Benjamin Zander (Boston Philharmonic) gave a speech, which, being him, included a piano and giving us insight into a Chopin prelude and how it tells a tale. I was mesmerised and since then always try to put a bit of flesh on the bones of a song.

My experience is that the hit list of no songs can decrease rapidly that way. For me, a great night is hearing somebody sing and learning something about a song which I never knew before. A brilliant example would be Vin Garbutt introducing "Believe me if all those endearing young charms." His irreverent humour helps mind....


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 24 May 11 - 04:44 AM

Michael: I see what you mean, Rob; and appreciate you were repeating the words, & experiences, of a former poster. But I can't help still feeling nevertheless that, as a folk club is, by definition, a place where people go to hear a certain kind of music, and if they wanted to hear another kind of music then they would have gone elsewhere to a club where that was to be expected, then there was a certain ~ what is the word I want, now? ~ 'wilful', perhaps. or 'perverse'? ~ element in confounding their expectations as what you admit was a sort of experiment. The same considerations do not perhaps apply to a mixed singaround, which you now say this is what this was; but in that case why not come clean at the start as to what you were doing, rather than singing from cold, with, it appears, some suspicion or foreknowledge of what the reaction was likely to be when you eventually did come clean in retro?

I guess curiosity would sum it up. The songs I sang are actually quite "folky" in style (Grantchester Meadows, eg, actually *is* a "certain kind of music"...very "folky" in style and content and it would be unlikely that anyone not in the know would identify it as a Pink Floyd song. In fact I sang it once at Tonbridge Folk Club (which is a *proper* folk club) and it went down very well there, with some very positive comments.

Lively: That's not to say that the people in question were not being hypocritical as you suggest, but it is *possible* that they were just clapping because clapping is what you are supposed to do.

It was a bit more than that. Typically along the lines of: Listener: "That was lovely, where's it from?"
Me: "It's by Pink Floyd, off their 'Ummagumma' album". Listener: "oh" (in a somewhat deprecating tone. End of conversation).


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 24 May 11 - 04:49 AM

It was a bit more than that. Typically along the lines of: Listener: "That was lovely, where's it from?"
Me: "It's by Pink Floyd, off their 'Ummagumma' album". Listener: "oh" (in a somewhat deprecating tone. End of conversation).


Hence why I haven't taken Last Night Of the Kings to the session. Of course, it also helps that the key they wrote it in is a bugger of a key, and I haven't done many sessions.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 25 May 11 - 04:26 AM

Going back to the point about "overdone" songs:

I've been going to singarounds/ sessions/ folk clubs for about a year and a half now. In that time I'd never heard anyone do:

- Streets Of London
- Catch The Wind
- Western Wind
- John Barleycorn

Until I did them (having noted that although described as "over-used" I'd never heard them at any of the sessions I attend). Since I did them, I've heard them done by others several times at the same singarounds/ sessions, so maybe I contributed unintentionally to a "revival" :-)

I'd never heard "Wild Rover" done until a couple of months ago, either, though I *have* heard "Fields of Athenry" done several times. Maybe 4-5 times in 18 months of visiting 5-6 different venues.

What I *have* heard done a lot are:

- Copperhead Road
- Rosebud in June
- The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
- Golden Vanity (loads of versions!)
- Dirty Old Town
- Manchester Rambler
- Fiddler's Green
- Carrickfergus

But to be honest (and maybe it'd be different if I'd been hearing them at events for 40 years) hearing, say, Fiddler's Green or Manchester Rambler 12 times in 18 months doesn't make me "fed up" with them at all.

However, I do have a great selection of venues to go to around here, and I can understand it if someone only attends one particular event regularly and the same person performs the same song every week or fortnight. I try to keep a list of what I've done at which venues and try not to repeat them too often, though naturally I tend to want to do in public those songs that I know I can perform best.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 26 May 11 - 10:53 AM

Drug Crazed, I don't see any problems with you doing an a capella version of a heavy metal song at a singaround.

I admit it would bother me if the lyrics were extremely crude, but I think you have a pretty good head on your shoulders
and can judge what is/isn't appropriate.

A good song is a good song, no matter where it comes from.

I also don't have a problem with not telling people where the song is from before you sing it. If it allows folks to listen
with an open mind instead of pre-judging a song before they've even heard it, that's great.

This discussion brings to mind a conversation I once had with a fellow who was Jewish, but whose surname sounded Italian.
He made a point of telling everyone he met, "Hi, my name is XYZ. I'm Jewish."

I also am (nominally) Jewish but have a name that doesn't "sound Jewish". I don't hide my "Jewishness", but I don't make a point of it either.
(People are often surprised, "Gosh, you don't look Jewish.") My feeling is that I want people to know me as a person first, "category" second
(lots of people make assumptions about Jewish people, which may or may not be true). I want folks to think of me as "My friend Vikki,
who happens to be Jewish" -- as opposed to "My Jewish friend Vikki".

This fellow felt that not announcing his Jewishness immediately would be a type of deception, since people could not necessarily tell from his name.
He also felt that I must be -- on some level -- ashamed of being Jewish. I disagreed (and still do). In the end, neither of us convinced the other.

Sorry if this is thread drift, but I think it's fine not to label something straight away -- especially if that may lead to one (or more) person(s) enjoying/appreciating something they would otherwise ignore/disparage.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 27 May 11 - 08:30 AM

Wait, I have a good head on my shoulders? You've known me now for 4 months and you think that?

Man, I've been doing it wrong...


I admit that I don't particularly enjoy the cruder metal either - as amusing as Korplikaani's Vodka is, it wouldn't really work at a session. Other stuff, like Alestorm's Nancy The Tavern Wench (which is less crude than Barnacle Bill The Sailor, but that isn't difficult...), Nightwish's The Islander, and other ones which I can probably pull from a hat if I wish would work.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST
Date: 27 May 11 - 08:59 AM

Well if crude metal / rock songs aren't allowed in folk clubs, what about crudity in traditional folk songs? Are they allowed ;-)

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=or_YfXW1MCQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLotX3HE-4c&feature=channel_video_title

Lively


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 27 May 11 - 03:57 PM

So, DC... you'd be happier if I thought you a clueless idiot? ;-)

Lively, even as I was typing the above, I thought, "Somebody is gonna pick me up on this..."

I listened to the songs at the links you provided (Hog-Eye Man, The Old Man From Over The Sea, and Good Ship Venus), and I could possibly see someone getting away with singing the second one at our singaround, but not the other two.

That being said, there may well be other singarounds (e.g. at a Rugby Club ;-) ) and other situations where they would not only be appropriate, but would go down a storm. I remember a late-night session at the very last National Folk Festival: many of the performers had been serenading the bar staff (in hopes of getting them to provide more booze even though it was long after closing time). They did not succeed, but eventually the staff felt they ought to return the favour, and sang a "filthy" song about Yogi Bear and his... friends. They prefaced it with an apology that it wasn't "folk music", but it was the only song they all knew.

After hearing it (and joining in on the chorus, as did we all) Jon Boden assured them that it absolutely was a folk song, no question about it -- as much or maybe even more than the songs he performs -- and entirely appropriate (somewhat to their surprise). Well said, that man!

There is a time and place for almost anything/everything -- especially if singing is involved!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Taconicus
Date: 27 May 11 - 05:18 PM

Depends on what part of UK you're in. I'm guessing you shouldn't sing Battle of New Orleans by Jimmy Driftwood (James C. Morris) in an English folk club, but it would probably be well received in Scotland.
In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 27 May 11 - 05:57 PM

Lonnie Donegan sang this in UK in, I think, the 1950's and it was VERY popular. We all sang it a lot, and nobody thought anything about it being 'anti-British'. People are getting more touchy and paranoid by the year!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Taconicus
Date: 27 May 11 - 06:14 PM

Hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they'd still love it.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 27 May 11 - 06:19 PM

Maybe, Taconicus, but they'd have to be quite old to remember 'skiffle' and Lonnie Donegan! And everything has to be 'Politically Correct' now, I can well see why this thread was opened, you daren't say boo nowadays in case you offend somebody. Are we all really so over-sensitive? If so, it's very sad!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 27 May 11 - 07:11 PM

So, DC... you'd be happier if I thought you a clueless idiot? ;-)

Hey, everyone else does ;-)

So, we've come to the conclusion there are no unsingable songs? And those who say there is such a thing in all situations are wrong? Glad to hear it.

Back to the rum I go.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 27 May 11 - 07:25 PM

....... they'd have to be quite old to remember 'skiffle' and Lonnie Donegan .......

I remember 'skiffle' and Lonnie Donegan and from what I've seen and heard of UK folk music, I am very much of average age.

For my own part, not only do I not want to hear the Fields of Athenry but I am also getting rather tired of the parody in which the singer claims to be fed up hearing it.

Also, I wouldn't be upset if I never heard "Ride On" again.



DC


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 May 11 - 07:32 PM

The tune for Battle of New Orleans is often played in bluegrass sessions in the UK. I've heard the song a few times.

I can't imagine patriotism ever having the sort of chilling effect Taconicus imagines. And why would attitudes to "The Battle of New Orleans" be any different in Scotland from those in England? - America was just as much Scotland's enemy as it was England's, and Scottish regiments fought there (in fact they may have been the majority of the troops on the British side).


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 27 May 11 - 07:36 PM

Since the rum means I can write this and not worry about the response:

If you boo/tut/complain when a newbie sings a song that's over sung then you've yourself to blame when said newbie never returns. One of the things I've noticed most about the sessions I've been in is how forgiving everyone has been - I know ~5 songs and they're quite well known (If you care: Hanging Johnny, General Taylor, Bright Morning Star, Donkey Riding, Two Sisters are ones I feel confident singing at a session) - but even when I sang them all at a session which Ms YorkshireYankee attended, even when I'd sung Hanging Johnny the week before at the other club she frequents there was no tut (as well as others who may be aware of my limited range of songs).

Even forgetting the words and saying "Sorry, words are gone. I'll get my revenge later" mid-song was forgiven.

The fact is, I wouldn't be going to sessions if I didn't feel comfortable there. Yes, we all make the joke about me being allowed there because I'm the baby, but the fact is that I feel happy singing the songs I'm not leading because I'm not berated for singing it wrong.

I've come from a classical(ish) background, where following the music was paramount and making it up isn't allowed. Harmonising at a session is the freedom that I've needed for a long time, especially because I'm learning new songs and realising that I can do other stuff with composition. Classical music makes life quite simple, whereas I feel the freedom in a session to sing whatever the hell I like. I'm learning Broomfield Hill at the moment, and I wouldn't have dreamed of playing what I'm playing before the folk stuff because "It wouldn't have been the proper chords".

The long and short of this is that if someone is coming to your session, be it a singaround or a free for all, you need to let them sing. If they sing something like Wild Rover, you should be putting on a brave face and singing along. Don't say something like "Well that isn't sung often", because you'll scare off the new blood, and I worry about what will happen to the sessions in the next 10 years if new blood isn't added in - and I'm only 19.

Just a few rum addled thoughts.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 27 May 11 - 08:07 PM

Dear YorkshireYankee: "I could possibly see someone getting away with singing the second one at our singaround, but not the other two."

Could you perhaps explain why? (Rest assured I'm not asking with the intention of getting into an argument, I'm genuinely curious.)


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Bert
Date: 28 May 11 - 01:30 AM

Re: Battle of New Orleans.

When singing this in England one could always preface it with the facts.

Of all the soldiers in the British attack most were killed or wounded. There were only 22 soldiers left who 'Ran away'.

Although it was an overwhelming victory, it certainly wasn't the rout suggested in the song.

Good song though, who cares about the facts.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 28 May 11 - 01:44 AM

"I listened to the songs at the links you provided (Hog-Eye Man, The Old Man From Over The Sea, and Good Ship Venus), and I could possibly see someone getting away with singing the second one at our singaround, but not the other two."

Hi Yorkshire Yankee, that intriguing as I've heard all the above ribald offerings sung at open pub sessions (never been to a Rugby club), where the participants will happily join in with the bawdy lyrics with gusto. I suppose it's a case of understanding the group and being aware of what others might find either entertaining or offensive.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 28 May 11 - 01:52 AM

"Don't say something like "Well that isn't sung often","

DrugCrazed, that's a good point. And I think as others may have already said, many of the so-called 'oversung' songs, you actually never hear sung at all.

Now if you've been going to clubs for sixty years you may have heard them a lot, but if you've only been going since such 'oversung' favourites have long since fallen out of favour, the likelihood is that you'll only ever get to hear parodies of those songs 'oversung' today.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 28 May 11 - 06:57 AM

Yay, my rum addled self made sense!

And I still agree with him. Yay!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: threelegsoman
Date: 28 May 11 - 07:24 AM

Timing is everything. These songs which you say get the audience groaning are usually ones they know well and early in a performance they want to listen rather than join in. However, later in the performance, especially if it is in a pub, having loosened up they will join in with gusto and enthusiasm the self same songs.

Read your audience. Judge their disposition and choose your songs accordingly. Rather than performing a set programme, ask for requests and if one such song is requested and gets the 'groan' from the rest of the audience, decline to sing it, but if there seems to be a call for it, sing it and encourage the audience to join in with you.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 28 May 11 - 04:21 PM

Lively: "I suppose it's a case of understanding the group and being aware of what others might find either entertaining or offensive."

Precisely.

That's really what it all boils down to, and what I believe the OP was trying to get a handle on when he started this thread, which is to his credit, IMHO.

When I attend a sing for the first time, I try to get a sense of the group and what they will/won't enjoy before jumping in with a song. I find each group is different and has its own (usually unwritten) rules/guidelines. You CAN "break" these "rules" -- no question about it. But, just as with most things (art, sports, cooking, etc) I find it's best (i.e the results tend to be better) if you understand the rules -- and understand them well -- before you break them. Also, break them carefully. Generally, if you are going to "break" a "rule", it's a good idea to:
1) KNOW you are doing so
2) Do so sensitively (for example: set it in context and /or explain why you have decided to do something which may upset/offend/bore/annoy others)
3) Know what the consequences may be (a moment's embarrassment, complaints, humiliation, ostracism, etc.)
4) Be sanguine about/prepared to accept the consequences

If you have unintentionally done something folks don't like, I think generosity and understanding are called for -- especially if you are a newbie. We all make mistakes and/or misjudge things from time to time. However, if you do so repeatedly, or do it just for the hell of it (or for the fun of winding people up) and don't care what others think, then don't be surprised or unhappy if/when you get negative consequences of one kind or another.

Richard from Liverpool:
Hog-Eye Man and Good Ship Venus are full of pretty crude language (including the "n-word" in Hog-Eye Man, which is fraught in & of itself). The Old Man From Over The Sea is racy, but not quite as crude as the others. You might say that TOMfOtS has many double-entendres and one single-entendre (the word "screw", which is a fairly "mild" one, as things go), while H-EM and GSV are full of single-entendres -- and not such "mild" ones as "screw".

If I sang H-EM or GSV at any of the various sing-arounds/folk clubs I usually attend, I think there would be nervous laughter and that folks would be a bit shocked (tho they prolly wouldn't say so). They might still clap afterwards, and prolly no-one would say anything nasty to me/in front of me (except perhaps as a "joke"), but I'm sure it would be a hot topic of conversation afterwards! ;-)

I might just get away with TOMfOtS -- if I followed my no. 2 tip above -- but if I just launched into any of those songs, I think most (probably all) of the other folks there would feel pretty uneasy. Note: this is as opposed to a racy/"naughty"-but-not-too-explicit song which (in my experience) seems to go down well almost everywhere.

In the end, it all comes down to what Lively said about understanding your group. Since I want to sing songs that others will enjoy, I'm not generally tempted to sing stuff that's going to ruffle feathers. Perhaps that's a failing, but I'm happy with that approach.

Whew! I think that's the longest post I've ever made on Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Joe Richman
Date: 28 May 11 - 07:39 PM

The only song on the list of overdone songs(or songs that may have been overdone at one time or another) in this entire thread that I've performed at a folk music gathering in the last couple of years is "John Henry". As no one had done it there in years, it went over very well. Of course I'm in California, not England, so it's pretty rare that I do anything that isn't American. I tend to do songs that you can find in Tony Russell's discography of old Country music records.

In general, the songs I do that don't go over well are ones I haven't worked on enough so that I have my own smooth version down pat. That is especially true of novelty songs.

Joe


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Stan Kelly
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 04:20 PM

Joe: Dominic's Patriot Game is really "anti" the trad Irish Rebel Song! He was certainly heavily criticized by many IRA hard-liners including brother Brenden. Listen again to the song's conclusion! BTW, Dominic & I once risked violent intervention singing The Sash Me Father Wore at London-Irish folkclub.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 05:30 PM

I've sometimes thought The Sash to the tune of Kevin Barry with Kevin Barry to the tune of The Sash would be an interesting medley. Never dared to try it though.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Airymouse
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 09:01 PM

I think we in the U.S. are pretty safe. Most of your banned songs I have never heard of, let alone heard. One of my favorite quotes about old-time music comes from a preface by Mike Seeger to a book of old songs. Mike quoted Almeda Riddle's grandmother as saying that she loved to listen to the Carter family on the radio, but she couldn't stand what they did to the old songs. I certainly wouldn't want to ban the Carter family versions, but I wouldn't mind a rule that required anyone singing one of them to sing one other non-Carter-family version. For example, there must be 500 versions of John Hardy, but I can nearly guarantee you that even in West Virginia, where Hardy was hanged,wherever you go you will hear note for note about a desperate little man who carried two guns every day. No gambling takes place of course, because on the radio you could sing about murder and mayhem, but not gambling.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 12:33 AM

Have not heard Lord of the dance in nearly fifteen years or more!
Streets of London is so dreadfully overdone. Fields of France is agony through every verse to its foregone conclusion. But then spinners songs used to ave the same effect on me.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 03:37 PM

>> Accents - you can get away with any except RP. Queen's English types should avoid folk singing and join the Swingles.

Slightly late to this particular party, but one of my all-time favourite performances was the 79 year old wife of one of our oldest and grandest peers of the realm - someone a short sharp massacre from the throne - who belted out a cut-glass version of Haul Away, Joe. I never did quite work out where she'd learnt it, though.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 04:00 PM

Is that THE Stan Kelly of Liverpool Lullaby fame?

Anyway - To all newcomers to this thread, welcome. Don't believe everything you hear about 'banned' songs in folk clubs or even on the good ol' beeb. There have been some on the latter but sometimes for the oddest reasons and as for the former - Anything goes usually even if a little groan escapes some peoples lips :-) In the US there seems to be the idea that us 'Brits' - and I am a typical British Russian/Polish/English/Welsh mongrel - somehow dislike anything said against the Empire. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 04:27 PM

I suspect they think people here would have the same kind of attitude that they are prone to have towards the States, fiercely defensive, and a bit touchy. It seems to go back a long way, probably at least as far as the break with England.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: GUEST,Nobody in Particular
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 06:03 PM

Beethoven's 5th?


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 09:30 PM

No good words to that I've ever heard, Nobody. But the Ode to Joy from the Ninth is great for singing, and there's a range of other sets of words for it as well.   And I've seen a Morris side using the tune for dancing.


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Subject: RE: Songs you shouldn't sing in UK folk club
From: Durham Lad
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 02:39 AM

There are quite a few songs, by famous, contemporary singer - songwriters, which I feel have been done to death. Out of respect for said stars I'd prefer not to name them.


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