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Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?

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GUEST,Jim Costello 08 Feb 10 - 08:41 AM
GUEST 08 Feb 10 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 08 Feb 10 - 09:04 AM
Old Roger 08 Feb 10 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,Silas 08 Feb 10 - 09:52 AM
Folknacious 08 Feb 10 - 09:52 AM
artbrooks 08 Feb 10 - 09:56 AM
Will Fly 08 Feb 10 - 09:56 AM
Richard Bridge 08 Feb 10 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Hesk 08 Feb 10 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 08 Feb 10 - 10:50 AM
MikeL2 08 Feb 10 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,Silas 08 Feb 10 - 10:56 AM
Amos 08 Feb 10 - 10:57 AM
Dave MacKenzie 08 Feb 10 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 08 Feb 10 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Silas 08 Feb 10 - 11:05 AM
MikeL2 08 Feb 10 - 11:09 AM
Dave MacKenzie 08 Feb 10 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 08 Feb 10 - 11:20 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Feb 10 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,MikeL2 08 Feb 10 - 11:25 AM
Will Fly 08 Feb 10 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,MikeL2 08 Feb 10 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 08 Feb 10 - 11:31 AM
evansakes 08 Feb 10 - 11:47 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 10 - 12:07 PM
Mavis Enderby 08 Feb 10 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 08 Feb 10 - 12:36 PM
Phil Edwards 08 Feb 10 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 08 Feb 10 - 12:53 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 10 - 01:02 PM
Goose Gander 08 Feb 10 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,Silas 08 Feb 10 - 01:11 PM
artbrooks 08 Feb 10 - 01:18 PM
Will Fly 08 Feb 10 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,Silas 08 Feb 10 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 08 Feb 10 - 01:27 PM
Will Fly 08 Feb 10 - 01:28 PM
Will Fly 08 Feb 10 - 01:29 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 08 Feb 10 - 01:40 PM
mousethief 08 Feb 10 - 02:22 PM
Silas 08 Feb 10 - 02:34 PM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 10 - 03:02 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 10 - 03:02 PM
Mavis Enderby 08 Feb 10 - 03:05 PM
MikeL2 08 Feb 10 - 03:09 PM
MikeL2 08 Feb 10 - 03:45 PM
Spleen Cringe 08 Feb 10 - 03:47 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 10 - 04:05 PM
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Subject: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Jim Costello
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 08:41 AM

I went to a well established folk club recently, and during the whole evening only one traditional folk song was performed; now, I'm sure when I first went to a folk club ( in the late 60s )that would never have happened.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 08:43 AM

Sounds very much like that could have been our club :-(

We have lost it to the 'John Denver' brigade I'm afraid. Just started another monthly session club which is going well, but its only a matter of time...


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 09:04 AM

This is why clubs need policies. Although if you set one expect a lot of moaning and sniping about "folk police" etc.

The "John Denver brigade" sound awful (uggghhh!!). Why can't they start their own clubs?


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Old Roger
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 09:48 AM

Come on guys (and gals) loosen up. Folk songs are the songs which folk sing. It is a now, active, living thing, taking place in real time. Traditional stuff is what folk before us used to do. For almost all of that, the tradition (the passing-on process)is broken. We learn it in a sterile way from things like books and records, not from people we know. It becomes a nostalgic re-enactment of a script. A wishful fantasy. Lots of traditional music started as the popular music of the day. It's still happening.

Today's folk music is the trad stuff of tomorrow. We learn it if we like it no matter where it comes from and when we do it - we do it in our own way, not a slavish, "pirate or parrot" version. Give it all space, let it find its own life.

Our "Folk" club is just a place where anyone brings their gifts of song and music to delight the company gathered there. It is rich in variety. Some come to just listen and enjoy. Some come to sing, play, listen and enjoy. There is no sense of trying to meet a formula. People receive what is given on its own merits. Beginners and the nervous are strongly encouraged and supported.

We are not troubled by any angst about authenticity or getting it "right" according to some cranky folksy definition.

We are troubled by the fact that we get too many people wanting to come. Sometimes it's hard to fit them all in and it's a big room. Never less than 25 performers - Usually about 70 people all together and they all listen when someone's doing their bit.

Just ordinary folk, singing for pleasure and pastime in good company. Doesn't that have a traditional ring to it.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 09:52 AM

Well what you have there is an 'acoustic' club, which is fine if that is what you want.

It's not what I want though.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Folknacious
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 09:52 AM

Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?

Good grief no. Heaven forbid. Lizzie would never agree. Just imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth . . . And it would mean traditional music becoming deeply unfashionable again, by association. No, best keep folk clubs for people to sing Hallelujah in and let folk songs enjoy their new lease of life outside them.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: artbrooks
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 09:56 AM

Could a mod please post links to all of the previous "what is folk music" threads?


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 09:56 AM

Lordy, lordy - I thought this topic had been debated to death in innumerable threads on Mudcat. There won't be any consensus, because there never is. Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 10:14 AM

Well in my pub session 31 Jan we had the following trad songs at least and I am thinking a number of others too that the beer has occluded

Patrick Spens
Gentlemen of High Renown
Over the Hills and Far Away
The Mermaid (and some others from the same singer that I disremember the names of)
Alison Grimes
Fine Flowers in the Valley
several shanties
a batch of American traditional
As Sylvie went walking
Cold Windy Haily Night
The Grey Cock (Burns' arrangement with later chorus)
At least one Irish rebel song done mainly to wind me up
Ramble Away

So I think that a fair bit of folk song is still getting sung.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Hesk
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 10:23 AM

I have very strong views about folk songs, but I keep them to myself. I know that I have a great time when they are being sung, especially when the chorus singing "raises the rafters". Most of the time, however, I listen to people "having a go at singing" and leave it at that. If you become too judgemental, you stop enjoying yourself, and, worse still, make others uncomfortable and self conscious. I actually have more of a problem with musicians, rather than singers, but I still keep it to myself!


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 10:50 AM

What's surprised me over the years is that many clubs have become dominated by singers of contemporary "folk" songs and old pop/rock songs. Back in 1970, I would have said that the future of folk clubs would depend on singers of traditional songs to keep the whole thing going. The problem with situation the other night is that it will drive many trad fans away and thereby ensuring that the balance between the old and new dips evermore towards an almost total trad wipeout.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: MikeL2
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 10:56 AM

Hi Jim

Are you trying to suggest that only traditional folk music should be played in folk clubs ???

IMHO there as many great contempory folk songs as traditional ones...the problem is that many "traddies" don't recognise these as folk music.

If you want to listen to trad only you you should form a traditional music only venue and advertise it as such.

Folk music is here to stay.....but not necessarily as you know it.

cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 10:56 AM

Tunesmith, you are Soooooo right!


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 10:57 AM

The same thing is happening with wine, vegetables and cattle. Force-fed versions for mass production just don't taste the same. It lacks a certain je-ne-sais-quoi, wot?


A


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:01 AM

The Folk Clubs were founded originally to preserve traditional music. If all they're interested in is bums on seats, no matter what material is being performed, then can they really call themselves Folk Clubs?


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:03 AM

It's when we move into American Hotel California Pie territory that I lose the will to live... I think I might do some unnaccompanied MC5 or Stooges or Velvets next time I hear gloopy 70s singer songwriter stuff. If one is okay, I can think of no reason the other shouldn't be...


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:05 AM

"Are you trying to suggest that only traditional folk music should be played in folk clubs ???

IMHO there as many great contempory folk songs as traditional ones...the problem is that many "traddies" don't recognise these as folk music.

If you want to listen to trad only you you should form a traditional music only venue and advertise it as such.

Folk music is here to stay.....but not necessarily as you know it."

The last two clubs we formwed were 'Trad' clubs, both have been taken over - I have nothing against contemporary folk songs, just keep them out of trad clubs, why can't they have the initiative to start their own clubs rather than hi-jack our?


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: MikeL2
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:09 AM

hi tunesmith

<" The problem with situation the other night is that it will drive many trad fans away and thereby ensuring that the balance between the old and new dips evermore towards an almost total trad wipeout">

I hope you are wrong. There should be room for all kinds of folk music as long as it is GOOD.

I find that people will listen to most styles of music as long as it is good.

I have been here at mudcat long enough to know about the rift that appears to be present between some members over this.

I can't understand why traditional and contemporary folk music can't exist side by side.

Before coming back to my roots in folk music I played around with other types and styles of music and I never found this kind of rift between musical styles.

I played a lot of jazz and although traditional jazz has it's enthusiasts and so does modern contemporary jazz, I never found anyone that wouldn't watch or listen to the others' style.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:14 AM

The point is not that different forms of music can't exist side by side. It's rather that contemporary music has other outlets but traditional music is being squeezed out of it's only outlet.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:20 AM

... which is another way of saying that although my musical tastes are wonderfully broad and eclectic (but don't necessarily extend far beyond Roy Harper, Nick Drake, Bill Fay and a select handful of others when it comes to 70s singer-songwriters*), I would hope that when I went to a folk club there was a decent proportion of folk music - either traditional songs or newer songs in the folk idiom. My local singaround very clearly defines itself as "mainly but not exclusively traditional" (which neatly segues with what I want to hear at a folk night), but even so, there are nights when it seems the word mainly is taken with a very big pinch of salt...

Still, bottom line is, if I don't like it, no-one forces me to go. I can listen to plenty of traditional music done well at non-folk venues. If people want to get together to sing 60s and 70s pop songs, far be it from me to spoil their fun ... as long as they put a warning in their publicity! Cos isn't what a lot of this is about? Accurate advertising?

* And much as I love the music of these particular individuals, I wouldn't necessarily expect to hear it at a folk night...


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:23 AM

Oh, not all this "so long as it's GOOD" bum again PLEASE.

"Swan Lake" is good, but it isn't a folk-dance; Bach's Brandenburg Concerti are good, but they are not folk-tunes; "La Donn' e Mobile is good but is isn't a folksong; "War & Peace" is good, but it isn't a folktale; Beethoven's Violin Concerto is good, but it is not scored for folk fiddle.

Please stop being so silly!


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,MikeL2
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:25 AM

Hi Dave

Is this because traddies are being too picky all the time??

After all it appears to me that it is these people who don't seem to be able to get along with other than their own "brand" of music.

I live in the NW of England and although I don't go to as many folk sessions as I used to, I still pop in and out of them when I can.

Around here we don't seem to have the split between traditional folk and other "folk" . Most of the sessions I go to have all kinds of styles happily existing together.

Speaking only for the UK could this be a North South split ???

cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:27 AM

It's been pointed out before, but I suppose I should say it yet again that folk clubs are not the only outlet for traditional music. I go to 4 sessions a month in my area - quite apart from any clubs I go to - in which a high proportion of the music is traditional (tunes & songs). I know of local clubs where there's a high proportion of traditional music. I know other, local clubs where you actually rarely hear a traditional tune from one week to the next - but it can't be helped and, if you want to change that state of affairs, then start your own club and set out your ground rules! The music is not dying - it moves and shifts from period to period and place to place.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,MikeL2
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:30 AM

Hi Mike

I never said that good music is all folk music or that all folk music is good.

So what IS your point ??

I think it you who is being silly here my friend.

cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:31 AM

Hi Mike L2,

Just out of interest, which clubs do you go to? With the exception of the Beech singaround, I always seem to end up at nights where there is hardly any trad folk. I don't mind listening to a few people doing covers of pop/rock songs (if they're any good) and their own stuff, as long as that's not all there is...


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: evansakes
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 11:47 AM

"I can't understand why traditional and contemporary folk music can't exist side by side"

There are many places where they do coexist side by side....and they do so peaceably and to everyone's satisfaction too. I'm pleased to say I don't think I know anyone who likes or dislikes any song based entirely on the fact that the derivation is known or not known.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 12:07 PM

"Is this because traddies are being too picky all the time?"
No it isn't - it is because, while I have very wide tastes in music, I prefer to be able to choose what I listen to and when - nothing whatever to do with likes and dislikes.
By calling badly (or well) performed pop songs, music hall, light or heavy opera, swing...... 'folk', you are operating a con and removing my right to choose.

A man walked into a shop and asked for a tin of tomato soup. The assistant handed a tin to him, and when he looked at the label he saw it was mushroom.
"I asked for tomato".
"I don't stock tomato; what's the difference; it's all soup?"

Stupid joke; stupid situation; but it happened to me and thousands like me over and over again in the 80s until we got fed up with being conned and stopped going to clubs. The revival lost upwards of half of its national audiences, its radio and television air space, its magazines, its integrity and its identity. The club scene has been staggering from crisis to crisis ever since.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 12:19 PM

How do clubs get "taken over"? If it's a club with paying membership, it should have a constitution, aims etc. So it doesn't it automatically have a policy? If you want an exclusively trad club, why not put it in the constitution?

Where there are no set rules, as would seem to be the case where clubs and sessions are being hijacked, why don't the traddies fight back with inspiring performances. It might move someone who performs mainly contemporary material to investigate traditional material more seriously - this has been the case with me.

Personally, I like variety. I would normally be more inclined to attend a club or session with a bit more variety, which perhaps should be called an "acoustic" rather than "folk" club/session. I would be disappointed though if somebody was put off performing traditional material because it wasn't considered a traditional session.

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 12:36 PM

"How do clubs get "taken over"?"

I'd suggest its less to do with the genre and quality of music & performance
and more to do with the ego and social status of any elite cliques
who eventually dominate the agenda of local clubs;
thriving more on petty personality power politics
above and beyond any genuine interest in 'folk' music.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 12:53 PM

Spleen: I can listen to plenty of traditional music done well at non-folk venues.

Can you? Where?

Spleen 2:With the exception of the Beech singaround, I always seem to end up at nights where there is hardly any trad folk.

M3 T00, which is why I don't generally bother going anywhere but the Beech these days. (I'm considering giving Chorlton another go this Thursday.) But if there's plenty of traditional music going on at non-folk venues, lead me to 'em.

MikeL2: I can't understand why traditional and contemporary folk music can't exist side by side.

Up to a couple of years ago, I would have said exactly the same thing - I liked having the chance to hear whatever people felt like playing & sing whatever I felt like singing. Then I started going to the Beech & realised that, back at my usual venue (which I think you also know!), trad and contemporary weren't existing side by side - trad was existing in a small corner, with contemporary songs making up 75-95% of the average evening. This was rapidly followed by the realisation that an evening of (mostly) traditional song (mostly) done well was a damn good evening.

The reason I prefer to hear traditional folk songs in folk clubs is that, like Jim, "I prefer to be able to choose what I listen to and when" - and I'm concerned, like Dave, that "contemporary music has other outlets but traditional music is being squeezed out of its only outlet".


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 12:53 PM

Policies???

Take overs???

Steamin' Willie plays what is in his head at the time. Everything from 200 year old dirges to Oasis songs. (If you are really unlucky, some of my own songs too.)

They are all folk songs. Why?

Because they are being sung in a folk club. QED.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 01:02 PM

A thumbnail psychoanalysis by somebody who calls themself punkfolkrocker is unhelpful and more than a little arrogant.
I know what folk is from the point of view of a performer, a club organiser, audience, researcher, collector, writer, reader, archivist.... all stretched over coming up to half a century.
Back at the beginning "we knew what folk was when we heard it" - since then we have had thirty years in the field talking to source singers who obligingly filled in many of the gaps in our knowledge.
We really don't need to be told by people who have used the term 'folk' as a cultural dustbin to dump any old rubbish they can't be arsed to find a definition for themselves, that what we do and have done is "petty personality power politics above and beyond any genuine interest in 'folk' music."
"Because they are being sung in a folk club"
Quite right - just as songs you sing in the bath are bath songs - just as you thought it couldn't get any crasser!!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 01:11 PM

"Folk songs are the songs which folk sing"

"They are all folk songs. Why? . . . Because they are being sung in a folk club. QED."

Here come the horses!


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 01:11 PM

Oh Jim.

Brilliantly put.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: artbrooks
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 01:18 PM

And we go directly back to where we have been so many times before: Person X says that "I define [or, if he is feeling generous, the circle of people who agree with me defines] folk with the following age, anonymity and sound boundaries. If it doesn't fit within them, it is not folk". Person Y responds, "but you are leaving out a very broad scope of music that hundreds of thousands of people enjoy and which they accept as folk music". Person X rejoins with "they may enjoy it, and I may even grant that some of it is enjoyable to listen to, but it is not folk as defined by the Whitsun Convention of 1892, which governs what folk music is and is not, forever and ever, life everlasting". Person Y: "yeah, but...". Person X: "no, nay, never...". And around and around it goes.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 01:19 PM

So it does, Art, so it does...


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 01:24 PM

Maybe, but 'I'm the Urban Spaceman Baby' is not folk, neither is 'Hungry Heart' or 'Morning town ride', but we have plenty of this sort of stuff foisted upon us at some clubs.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 01:27 PM

I thought Jim Carroll would wade in at some point.

There is a sense of deja vu about this thread.

So... is it folk because it is so old nobody knows who wrote it?
is it folk because Ewan McColl either wrote or claimed to have collected it?
is it folk because it has "folky" instruments playing it?

Or is it folk because it is being played in a folk club?

Sorry Jim and others, but only the last one has no exceptions.

I have a recording of Frank Sinatra singing "First time ever I saw your face," and I also have the Stereophonics singing it. I also have heard it umpteen times in a folk club.

So.. at what point did it become a folk song? (McColl wrote it.) At one point is it a crooning song (Sinatra) and rock (Stereophonics.)

I genuinely do not know what a folk song is. I also would suggest my lack of knowledge is rather widely shared....


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 01:28 PM

And very little of the debate on this forum will change it one way or the other, wouldn't you say?


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 01:29 PM

Sorry SW - my last comment was as a comment to Silas.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 01:40 PM

"people who have used the term 'folk' as a cultural dustbin to dump any old rubbish"

JC the word "Folk" is a lost cause, it seems to mean whatever the user wants it to mean and so has become meaningless. I don't believe it's worth fighting for.

I stick to using "Traditional Songs" because pretty much everyone can still agree on what that means.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: mousethief
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 02:22 PM

This is probably totally unrelated, and I know I'll get reamed with a mighty reaming of ten thousand reams, but this seems as good a place as any to ask this question:

What is "old timey" music and what is its relation to traditional folk?

O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Silas
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 02:34 PM

Will,you are almost probably right, but those of who know what 'folk' music is, and there are plenty of us out here, try to promote it and start clubs and sessions, but it is pretty sad when they are swamped by acoustic players who just want to sing Damien Rice or Springsteen songs. It tends to get on ones tits to be honest. However, if each of us true believers can convert just one person each on forums like this, then all the crap we have to wade through on topics like this would be worth it.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 03:02 PM

I suspect it's a more patchy phenomenon than a simple north-south split.

When I go into Edinburgh, there's a fair selection of traditional sessions. (The two folk clubs are concert-format, both mostly promoting elaborately-arranged-traditional stuff).

Nearer home in Midlothian, it's quite different. Nearly everybody with an instrument that I come across plays the sort of MOR-folk-pop that bored me senseless 30 years ago (including people who weren't even born when it was written), and if I play a traditional tune I can pretty much guarantee that it will be accompanied by a roomful of guitarists staring at the floor in dumb silence because they don't have a clue what to do and aren't even willing to try. (I am told there is one Midlothian session where there are more traditional players, but it's inaccessible to me by public transport).

The reason for this local cult of 1970s-teenager's-bedroom-music locally is mainly that that's what local guitar teachers teach. There are people in Edinburgh who can show guitarists what to do when someone starts a Scottish traditional tune or song, but ten miles away there's nobody.

The Denver/Dylan crowd are nice enough people but I'm not so desperate for a social life as to sit through an evening of that stuff. If I wanted something locally that wasn't traditional music for its social scene, I'd take up the trombone or tenor horn and join a brass band.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 03:02 PM

"So... is it folk because it is so old nobody knows who wrote it?"
No, it's folk because the folk (the same people who used folklore and told folk tales as part of their everyday lives) in the first place, made the songs to reflect their lives, beliefs and values, then passed them on where they were remade again and again until their origins were forgotten and they bacame part of a culture of ordinary people.
The term folk was devised in the 1830s to define a specific body of lore, tales, music; and to distinguish from the written and composed culture passed on to us by 'our betters'.
It is this that was and continues to be documented and archived and it is this which will survive once all the clubs disappear up their own jaxies.
I've seen people come into folk clubs, set up music stands and sing and play everything from Gounod to Gershwin - was that folk?
"I have a recording of Frank Sinatra singing "First time ever I saw your face," And your point is....? First time ever isn't a folk song (not according to its composer anyway).
Incidentally - would love to get the details of 'First Time Ever' by Sinatra - didn't know he'd recorded it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 03:05 PM

Blimey mousethief, that's another can of worms! The best I can do is refer you to this

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: MikeL2
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 03:09 PM

Hi Jim

< " By calling badly (or well) performed pop songs, music hall, light or heavy opera, swing...... 'folk', you are operating a con and removing my right to choose." >

I don't recall that I said that I would consider calling those styles folk.

I was only referring to contemporary folk music - I know that this can sometimes be almost anything that some people want it to be.

I completely agree with your wish to be able to choose what you want to watch and listen to. I have the same desire.

I can and do listen to much traditional music. But I aslo like to watch listen to and play contemporary "folk" music.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: MikeL2
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 03:45 PM

Hi Sleen

As I said earlier I don't get around the clubs all that much these days.

Some years ago I was hit with cancer of the throat and was out of action for some time as you would imagine.

I am pleased to say that I have almost completely recovered but I don't perform any more......except at home and at paties with family and friends.

I do go to a few sessions when I " feel the need". I go to Northwich folk club occasionally. They seem to get a reasonable mix of traditional and contempory folk music. This Friday they have Will Kaufmann as guest. The other nights are singers nights. Next month they have Peter & Barbara Snape and so on.

I also drop in sometimes at Sandbach folk club. This is more contempory. But they warn everyone what they are about...
http://www.sandbachfolk.com/chronarticle.html......sorry couldn't get the clicky blue thingy to work.

There are often other "folk" session on an ad hoc basis at various mid-Cheshire pubs and I like to go and have a pint and just sit and listen.

Yes things have changed but I am flexible enough about my music to be able to enjoy myself as long as the music is honest and good.

Regards

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 03:47 PM

Pip - I guess what I meant was stuff like Jackie Oates at the Bury Met, The Unthanks at the Band on the Wall - that kind of thing.


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Subject: RE: Should folk songs be sung in folk clubs?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 04:05 PM

Hi Mike,
I don't think I was referring specifically to anything you said.
In the end it isn't was we like or dislike, a specific definition only disappears when it is replaced by another - define "contemporary folk".
People argue about not putting labels on things but everything we know has a label. We use them so we know which tin to open.
"I genuinely do not know what a folk song is."
Then go and buy a book, or look it up in a dictionary - we must have several hundred on our shelves which use the term without ambiguity, many with the word 'folk' in the title..
This really isn't a question of semantics.
We started to visit Ireland regularly in the early 70s when you had to fight your way up country lanes to tucked away cottages to hear good traditional musis (with a few tiny exceptions). You never heard it on the radio and if you went into a pub with a fiddle or flute, you were looked on with deep suspicion (if you weren't thrown out on your arse, that is).
Nowadays folk music has come into its own, I can turn the radio on television on most nights of the week (I now live in Ireland) and hear and watch excellent programmes on the subject ranging from brilliant sessions to academic discussions. Traditional musicians who have long since died are remembered by singing and music weekends which start at the beginning of January and finish in mid-December each year.
Up to the present recession if you asked for money for a research project or to produce an album - you were pushing at an open door - I know because we were beneficiaries of a large grant last year.
We have two world class Traditional national music archives in the country and are in the process of establishing local ones.
Last year this one street village purchased a house to establish a county archive and visitors centre and by the end of the year we will have a large amount of material on line - we already have thousands of hours of recordings in the process of being catalogued.
Within a five mile radius of this town there must be upward of 150 children and young adults playing traditional music ranging from good to national standard.
Why; because the people concerned didn't run round like headless chickens saying 'we don't know what to call our music'.
G'luck - must go, Hustle's on the box.
Jim Carroll


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