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Songs people aren't used to hearing

mkebenn 18 Feb 10 - 03:01 PM
Maryrrf 18 Feb 10 - 03:09 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Feb 10 - 03:17 PM
Amergin 18 Feb 10 - 03:22 PM
mkebenn 18 Feb 10 - 04:15 PM
PoppaGator 18 Feb 10 - 04:32 PM
mkebenn 18 Feb 10 - 04:49 PM
Bert 18 Feb 10 - 05:00 PM
Artful Codger 18 Feb 10 - 11:51 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 19 Feb 10 - 12:31 AM
Bert 19 Feb 10 - 04:32 AM
Mr Happy 19 Feb 10 - 05:30 AM
DonMeixner 19 Feb 10 - 08:30 AM
mkebenn 19 Feb 10 - 12:53 PM
Bert 19 Feb 10 - 01:02 PM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 10 - 01:19 PM
mkebenn 19 Feb 10 - 02:16 PM
Deckman 19 Feb 10 - 02:29 PM
ruairiobroin 19 Feb 10 - 04:09 PM
oldhippie 19 Feb 10 - 07:18 PM
Midchuck 19 Feb 10 - 07:34 PM
Willie-O 28 Jul 10 - 09:58 PM
Genie 29 Jul 10 - 03:32 PM
sharyn 29 Jul 10 - 04:22 PM
Bruce MacNeill 29 Jul 10 - 06:01 PM
Bernard 29 Jul 10 - 07:50 PM
Rob Naylor 30 Jul 10 - 04:52 AM
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Subject: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: mkebenn
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 03:01 PM

I have not played in public in about 15yrs, but I've got the need.
when I did play, my set consisted mainly of familiar songs, which I'm afraid were presented in a lackluster manner, not much fun for me, and, despite decent reception, not much fun for the audience. Have any of you had experienc with plaing songs that people are not used to hearing, and do you spend an amount of time setting them up? Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Maryrrf
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 03:09 PM

It depends on where you are playing. Most audiences like a mix of familiar and 'off the beaten track'. But a pub audience will probably want to hear a lot of familiar songs. Context is everything! And it helps, I think, to give a little commentary or background or at least a brief introduction before launching into an unfamiliar song. Recently a friend went to a pub to hear a very talented singer/instrumentalist who has a vast repertoire. I've seen her in concert, and she's excellent. But it was all lost in the pub. She sang unnacompanied, she sang in gaelic. The audience wanted to hear The Wild Rover.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 03:17 PM

That's be a good reason for nobody to sing there.

If you do sing in folk gatherings you will find that people are positively eager to hear stuff they don't know - particularly if it is folk. IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Amergin
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 03:22 PM

You can be sure most people haven't heard Leon Rosselson's Stand Up for Judas, or at least not very often.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: mkebenn
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 04:15 PM

Most of the people my age have heard these songs, but maybe not in 30yrs. Some, like Zevon's "Roland", they don't expect from a single accoustic guitarist, some like Kris's "Casey's Last Ride" they're not familiar with. Hell, most people don't know "Summer Wages" in my neck of the woods, and I'd think of that as a "familiar" Well, there's still City of New Orleans and "Bo Jangles". Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: PoppaGator
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 04:32 PM

Unless you're at a very tough venue where only a certain type of music is expected, you're probably best off performing material that you are comfortable and enthusiastic about presenting, which will probably include the "old" stuff you were doing years ago (unless the only way you can do 'em is in a "lackluster" manner).

I firmly believe that audiences, consciously or not, react more to a performer's "vibes" than to the material being presented (its genre or whatever).

Try to find selections that YOU will enjoy playing, whether old or new, familiar or obscure, etc., and that'll be your best shot.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: mkebenn
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 04:49 PM

Poppa, that's what I'm feeling, and if they hear a song they're not familiar with, they may be interested enough to look into the writer. happened with "Mary Ellen Carter", and the asker was a very knowledgable player himself. Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Bert
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 05:00 PM

I always try to include at least one song that I think will be unfamiliar to most of that audience. But that is just for fun.

I don't spend any more time on them than I do on familiar songs.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Artful Codger
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 11:51 PM

If I go to a concert or performance and mostly hear the same old same old, I feel I'm wasting my time, regardless of how "good" the performers are. Even at a classical music concert, I want to hear things that are unfamiliar or rarely performed. It's true that most people mainly want to hear the same things rehashed, but then, most people have dreadful musical taste. I don't care to pander to that; I'd rather expand their musical horizons with songs or variants they're less likely to have heard.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 12:31 AM

I think the "Not Use To Hearing" part depends on where you are and who the audience is. Where I live people think Kenny Chesney is a country singer just because of the hat and somebody told them so.

Summer Wages is a perfect song to my ears and nobody around here , Central New York, really knows the song.

Don


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Bert
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 04:32 AM

...Summer Wages is a perfect song to my ears...

Sorry to disagre with you Don. It is a fun song to sing but

never leave your woman alone when your friends are out to steal her
Now who would want friends like that or a woman like that.
Who may be gambled and gone like summer wages.

And what a prick the singer must be, thinking of the woman he loves as though she a gambling stake.

Ah, she's a woman so fine I may never try to find her
For good memories of what we had before
They should never be changed for they're all that I'll take with me


First she is likely to run off with any one of his 'friends' NOW she a fine woman. But he hasn't got the guts to trust that she will still love him now that he has gambled his money away.

And what kind of Bozo would gamble his money away if he has a woman to go home to? It is a song about a complete loser.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 05:30 AM

From time to time, when I've performed before a 'folk' audience, an item which wouldn't readily fit the 'folk' pigeonhole, responses are often positive & of the kind, 'I didn't know that was a folksong!'

One which springs to mind as an example is Queen's 'Save Me' - a love ballad, given acoustic instrumentalism + a gentle interpretation.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: DonMeixner
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 08:30 AM

Geewhiz Bert what's your point? The guy would be a perfect loser stated perfectly in the song.

D


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: mkebenn
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 12:53 PM

Thanks for supportive thoughts, now for my accoustic rendition of "Thunder Road" Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Bert
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 01:02 PM

That's right Don, I said it was fun to sing.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 01:19 PM

"Summer Wages" is a superb song, despite its politically archaic sentiments in these supposedly enlightened times (smile). It's a superb song because it works so well in every way, and it's got a great tune. It has lyrics which are totally out of touch with the popular values of the present era, yes, but which call up a previous era which most of us can remember, and do so in an evocative way. I think it's one of the 3 or 4 best songs Ian Tyson ever wrote, and I've sung it pretty well all my life. It could hardly be any better. If you have to drag present day gender politics into it, you're simply wasting time on a pointless mental excercise in my opinion...one that may provide you with some kind of smug satisfaction, but which has no bearing on the relative merits of the song. To sing such a song is not to endorse some obsolete social sentiments, it is to recall a bygone era.

I once had a girlfriend who raised the roof over my singing "Frankie and Johnny", because it has violence in it...girlfriend shoots boyfriend down in jealous rage. So what????? It's a classic old song, a larger than life story, certainly not meant to be taken seriously according to present day social issues, but simply sung as a remembrance of a time and place long gone.

So there, Bert! (grin)


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: mkebenn
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 02:16 PM

I'm with LH, my favorite Tyson song. As far as sentiment, I identified the "She's a woman so fine" verse with a woman for years that was the worst sort of snake. I just couldn't see it at the time. Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Deckman
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 02:29 PM

"Poppa Gator" nailed it, I think. Sing your passion, and it will catch on! Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: ruairiobroin
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 04:09 PM

I have been singing for years but no longer gig regularly. Remarkably when I'm asked to sing nowadays folk ask for the songs I sung 20 years ago or more What's even more remarkable is I'd have sworn they weren't listening all those years ago. A trick (I suppose you'd call it) I used to use was to start the set with the slowest saddest song with the most amount of "singing" on it , These tended to make the audience nervous for me and they gave me "Best of order", , this gave me such a shot of adreneline that I could follow it with the loudest bawdiest most rollicking stuff in my repertoire and then I had them. However I didn't realise for years that they were paying attention . Just keep singing folkies in particular always listen sure most of them are there to support, learn and borrow in equal measure


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: oldhippie
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 07:18 PM

I always get phone calls when I play the following three songs on my radio show. Like people have never heard them before.

The Saints Who Have Never Been Caught - Larry Jon Wilson
Crystal Skies - Casse Culver
Still Got That Look In His Eyes - Jim Ringer


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Midchuck
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 07:34 PM

Still Got That Look In His Eyes - Jim Ringer

I used to enjoy singing that when Dubya was in office. I always introduced it by making an express denial that it had anything to do with anyone now in public office - and it didn't, of course, when written.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Willie-O
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 09:58 PM

"Summer Wages" is still one of my favourites to sing--but I've noticed that it is unfamiliar to a lot of people. I think that's because there hasn't been a hit cover of it in the past god-knows-how-long. Most folks recognize its lyric greatness even while tut-tutting about the superficial sexism (it is not at all disrespectful to the woman, just uses some anachronistic references--in essence, it's about a man messing up a good relationship--hey, I think it's a feminist anthem!)...but not so many will add it to their repertoire.

Whatever...I keep playing it.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Genie
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 03:32 PM

I'm not sure it matters as much whether your audience is familiar with the particular songs you sing as whether the musical genre and style are familiar to them.   Sure, some songs won't make a lot of sense to a new audience unless you give a bit of background. (I realized that recently when I sang Joni Mitchell's "The Gallery" to people unfamiliar with it, without explaining what it was about.) And some audiences expect to be asked to sing along at least part of the time, so familiar songs are well received. But unless you're singing old art songs to a country music audience, Arabic love songs to a Celtic loving group, Balkan music with "non-Western" time signatures to a bluegrass group, etc., I don't think introducing a new song is a turnoff to most audiences. In fact, it can make their ears perk up and get their attention.
If the lyrics are important and non-repetitive, though, your audience may not really "hear" a new song and grasp the story the first time.    But that can generate questions about who wrote it, the title, etc.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: sharyn
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 04:22 PM

The thing I think "sells" the song the most is when the singer has a strong emotional connection to the material in the moment of performance -- it doesn't matter so much if the song is old, new, borrowed or blue if is alive for the singer and if said singer makes a little effort to communicate with the audience. It does help to have rehearsed the song, committed it to memory, worked out an accompaniment in advance...

Best of luck on your gig(s)


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 06:01 PM

I'm not professional, only doing open mics, and most of the audience seems to be 60-something like me. I do a couple by Terry Gilkyson, early 50's, pre-Elvis, and the comments I get are "I haven't heard that in years. Thanks". That goes for "Fast Freight" and " Greenfields". You didn't say who or where your audience was but "Haven't heard in ages" may be as good as obscure or not heard before. Instrumentally, Ebb Tide, Misty and The Girl From Ipanema seem to bring back memories for people and get me applause. I haven't hit them with any real classical yet but I might.

BTW, good that you're coming back after all those years.


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Bernard
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 07:50 PM

We've all had the heckle 'sing something we know!'... to which I reply (with varying degrees of success!): 'Every song you know started off as one you didn't know, and here's another one!'


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Subject: RE: Songs people aren't used to hearing
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 30 Jul 10 - 04:52 AM

Not been playing/ singing in public for very long, and only at sessions, but I've tended to mix songs up between "standards", "may be familiar but not often heard" and "you almost certainly don't know this one".

As long as the unknown ones have decent melodies and lyrics, I find that they go down pretty well. I've had several requests after a session for chords and lyrics of some of those I've done. Usually they've been newish "indie" songs that lend themselves to a "folky interpretation": they go down surprisingly well with a 50+ audience, considering that most of them were written by 18-20 year olds since 2007!

I've never explained songs that I've done before singing them except in the case of Sam Starrett's "John Condon" where I explained that the reason I was going to sing it that night was that it was the anniversary of my grandad being wounded in a WW1 battle.

A couple of times I've been asked to comment afterwards...especially one called "Waiting For Pete Doherty To Die" where some of the audience didn't seem to understand that the song was a comment about the media circus and celebrity sharks surrounding him, rather than expressing an actual wish for the lad to snuff it!


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