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American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines

Smedley 01 Mar 10 - 05:03 AM
greg stephens 01 Mar 10 - 05:08 AM
Smedley 01 Mar 10 - 05:19 AM
Acorn4 01 Mar 10 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,Gerry 01 Mar 10 - 07:08 AM
Murray MacLeod 01 Mar 10 - 07:47 AM
GUEST 01 Mar 10 - 07:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Mar 10 - 07:59 AM
Dave MacKenzie 01 Mar 10 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,Neil D 01 Mar 10 - 08:30 AM
TinDor 01 Mar 10 - 09:49 AM
michaelr 01 Mar 10 - 11:03 AM
Richie 01 Mar 10 - 11:30 AM
Maryrrf 01 Mar 10 - 12:04 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 01 Mar 10 - 12:37 PM
Goose Gander 01 Mar 10 - 01:13 PM
MGM·Lion 01 Mar 10 - 01:42 PM
Acorn4 01 Mar 10 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 01 Mar 10 - 03:58 PM
Tim Leaning 01 Mar 10 - 04:11 PM
Spleen Cringe 01 Mar 10 - 04:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Mar 10 - 04:30 PM
wysiwyg 01 Mar 10 - 04:49 PM
mkebenn 01 Mar 10 - 05:02 PM
JedMarum 01 Mar 10 - 05:49 PM
Spleen Cringe 01 Mar 10 - 06:18 PM
GUEST 01 Mar 10 - 10:23 PM
Lonesome EJ 02 Mar 10 - 12:15 AM
Will Fly 02 Mar 10 - 03:55 AM
Richard Bridge 02 Mar 10 - 04:03 AM
Smedley 02 Mar 10 - 04:51 AM
TonyA 02 Mar 10 - 10:35 AM
Smedley 02 Mar 10 - 10:48 AM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Mar 10 - 10:55 AM
TonyA 02 Mar 10 - 11:37 AM
pdq 02 Mar 10 - 12:31 PM
JohnInKansas 02 Mar 10 - 09:56 PM
the Folk Police 03 Mar 10 - 05:07 AM
Fortunato 03 Mar 10 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Jason Hill 03 Mar 10 - 12:01 PM
M.Ted 03 Mar 10 - 02:15 PM
Goose Gander 03 Mar 10 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Jeff 03 Mar 10 - 03:43 PM
GUEST 03 Mar 10 - 07:17 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Mar 10 - 07:36 PM
pdq 03 Mar 10 - 07:42 PM
TonyA 03 Mar 10 - 09:44 PM
MGM·Lion 03 Mar 10 - 10:25 PM
TinDor 03 Mar 10 - 10:46 PM
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Subject: Folk / Country: Dividing Lines ?
From: Smedley
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:03 AM

OK, this is probably a weary old topic in these parts, but I ask as a genuinely interested and genuinely confused Brit.

Having just watched the BBC TV series 'Folk America' (which I thought was mostly excellent) I noticed how the series was a little vague on issues of musical genre. This could be for the very good reason, of course, that there are often very blurred lines between genres and sometimes hardly any lines at all (except when critics and/or historians put them there).

In the early part of the series, there were discussions of artists like The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers who I have always thought of as belonging primarily to the history of country music, whereas the series made an excellent case for their important role in the history of American folk.

So: where do those lines get drawn, if indeed they need to exist. How do those of you who relate most to the American folk tradition feel about country music ? Same roots but different histories ? Political differences as much as stylistic ones ? Do (excuse the choice of examples - first ones I thought of) Pete Seeger and Dolly Parton draw from the same sources however differently their careers and images panned out ? Is it a matter of commercialisation and the spangly conservatism of much mainstream country ? I have seen performers like Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle discussed on Mudcat but a lot of country performers don't get mentioned. Isn't (say) Loretta Lynn part of the history of American folk ?

I'd be interested to hear what people think. And please note: I am **not** asking for another 'what is folk' thread!!


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:08 AM

Pete Seeger and Dolly Parton are interesting examples, presumably picked as Seeger would be thought of as on the folk side of the divide, and Dolly Parton on the country. Yet Dolly Parton was of course from the real world of folk music in the Appalachians, with the music totally in her blood, whereas Pete Seeger was from a posh, totally non-folk background and learnt to become part of(or to create) the folk revival. Learning guitar licks from the servant, even. A complex mixture.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Smedley
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:19 AM

Complex indeed. Seeger was, quite rightly, a recurring reference point in the TV series, but I hear a lot of the things people (presumably) look for in folk music in some of Parton's better material.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Acorn4
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:29 AM

The lines are, as you say, blurred, but anything involving crystal chandeliers would be definitely not folk.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:08 AM

Swingin' From Your Crystal Chandeliers, by The Austin Lounge Lizards, would appeal to a lot of folkies, I think. The line seemed especially blurred in Texas, where a lot of the country music owed more to the Appalachians than to Nashville.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:47 AM

if there is a pedal steel guitar in the background, it's country.

if not , it's folk.

unless the singer is wearing a stetson, in which case it's still country.

hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:47 AM

For me "early" country music is essentially folk music. This changes when the emphasis became focused of writing songs and not finding them.

Richie


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:59 AM

...and what is Country and Western?


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 08:03 AM

"and what is Country and Western?"

Originally, the polite new name for Hillbilly records, just like Race bacame Rhythm and Blues.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 08:30 AM

unless the singer is wearing a stetson, in which case it's still country.

That depends on the condition of the hat. If it's pristine, then definitely country. If it's beaten, battered and broken down, might be folk.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: TinDor
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 09:49 AM

In that BBC Docu, Country and Blues are/were considered "Folk Music".


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: michaelr
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:03 AM

What is Country and Western?

That would be the marriage of old style (folk-derived) country music with the jazz-influenced, harmonically more sophisticated Western Swing (think Bob Wills).


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Richie
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:30 AM

The first "western" songs were tradtional cowboy songs in the mid-1920s.

Hillbillies sang cowboy songs and this seem to me to be the first inclusion of western.

It was called "old timey" (old-time), "old familiar tunes," "hill country tunes," "mountain" music or "songs of the hills and the plains."

In 1925 country music began to be called hillbilly music as in "originating in mountainous regions of southern US."

The word "country" didn't become the standard term until the mid-1940s when (led by Ernest Tubb) it began being called "Country and Western" and eventually this was shortened to "Country."

R-


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Maryrrf
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 12:04 PM

The line is very blurred and nowadays I don't think present day country music has much to do with traditional folk music. This is totally off the cuff, but I think the divergence really started in the 70's when country started to get closer to 'pop', although the commercialization of country music really started with the Carter Family. Another factor - older country artists, such as Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, etc. did really have roots in traditional folk music , as a poster above pointed out, while the younger artist built off of the pop and country music they heard on the radio.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 12:37 PM

I agree with Maryrrf's "I don't think present day country music has much to do with traditional folk music" but it is with a rather heavy heart that I do so! The new stuff has little resemblance to my kind of "country" much less folk.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Goose Gander
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 01:13 PM

'Country' used to be folk music, jazzed up a little at times, rather 'pure' at other times. Marketed commercially, certainly, but no less folk for that - even Nimrod Workman is marketed commercially, that's the way things are done in a capitalist society (with socialism for the rich to keep them happy).

'Country' nowadays is synonomous with the worst sort of treacly pap, nary a trace of the old music.

So if Keith Urban is country, what is Fiddlin' John Carson?


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 01:42 PM

Surely the term "Folk" is a generic one, subsuming a near-infinity of forms; of which early Country {=e.g. Carter Family} was one. As with so many other of the forms, from industrial song to protest, country blues to city blues, lyric to contemporary, &c, this particular branch became variated & commercialised into various derivative forms, some of which bore more relation to its 'folk' roots than others.

It is not only in this particular genre, as so many a thread herereabouts has attested over the years, that blurred boundaries led to questions like the one at the head of this thread.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Acorn4
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 01:56 PM

Nancy Griffith seems to straddle the line somewhat!


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:58 PM

If I sing Long Black Veil with a cowboy hat on, it's country.

Take off the hat, it's folk.

I wish I didn't look so stupid in a cowboy hat. I would rather be a country singer than a folk singer.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 04:11 PM

What about country blues?


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 04:20 PM

What about country blues?

Folk, of course!


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 04:30 PM

Surely the dividing line tends to be about politics, by and large.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 04:49 PM

I think a distinction between these two has to be looked at in backwards-time mode, if we're not talking about copy cats but innovators and originals.... If they're any food thry transcend either genre's then-existing limits... boundaries... characteristics... "rules."

Plus, although one can look back and trace influences, the influences on good musicians are usually so eclectic--

And to really categorize any artist is primarily for the convenience of the companies marketing them.

For the fans, as long as it's good music, it's all just "music."

~Susan


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: mkebenn
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:02 PM

Today's Country is almost interchangable with Pop/Rock. In the '60s and 70's there was a vast difference. Dolly, John Cash, Merle Haggard, Don Wilson, et all had alot more to do with Folk than today's Country, Mike


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: JedMarum
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:49 PM

McGrath says "Surely the dividing line tends to be about politics, by and large."

Even that doesn't work. No one would call my politics folk nor would they call my music country!


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 06:18 PM

Having said all that, was anyone as bowled over by Loretta Lynn's "Van Lear Rose" album made with Jack White as I was? Marvellous stuff.

Portland, Oregon


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:23 PM

"Surely the dividing line tends to be about politics, by and large."


I disagree.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 12:15 AM

I think the best Country has its roots in tradition. Jimmy Rodgers, the Singing Brakeman, was very much a product of old time Appalachian with a dollop of country blues thrown in. Hank Williams was a trendsetter whose music has become roots music for many modern-day Roots-Country musicians. Buck Owens and Merle Haggard carried the honky tonk tradition of Ernest Tubbs and others into a less traditional niche which became the Bakersfield Sound. The Bakersfield Sound was picked up by Gram Parsons and the Flying Burritos and brought to a younger audience whose primary passion had been rock music. People like Dwight Yoakam continue to carry that banner. Even bands who flirted with punk rhythms and sensibilities, like Uncle Tupelo, Alejandro Escovedo, and others pepper their output with glimpses of Hank, Merle, Johnny Cash, the Louvins, and Carter Family tunes.
The Country Rock movement that began with Poco, the Eagles, and others, has borne some more unfortunate fruit. Bands like Rascal Flatts which anchor their roots no deeper than those 70s acts they emulate are a good example. In fact, most of what you hear on pop country radio stations has a hell of a lot more to do with Ronnie Van Zant than Townes Van Zandt. But you can't tar every band that uses steel guitars with the same brush, and the torch is being passed, mainly by musicians who know the soul is in the song, the heart is in the roots, and a cowboy hat don't mean squat.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 03:55 AM

If you go back to the 1920s and before and take a look at the variety of recorded music from sources such as Harry Smith's collection, the extensive Library of Congress collections and compilations done by people like Sam Charters in the 1950s and 1960s, the picture is complex indeed.

Racially, for example, there were fewer dividing lines than you might think. Social occasions, often outdoors, might include black string bands and white string bands, each performing for the whole gathering. Music crossed over communities, with hymn tunes, folk songs with their origins in the "old countries", formal compositions, minstrel songs, etc., all playing their part in the mix. At the more professional level, Jimmie Rodgers - for example - could record "Waiting For A Train" with backing from Louis Armstrong's band, simply because they happened to be in the same place at the same time. [Info gained by musicologist Brian Rust from an interview with Armstrong].

So, in terms of music mixing across communities, America was a melting pot - and the mixture got very rich indeed in parts of the south. Levon Helm describes how, as a young boy, people in his community of farmers would go to listen to people like Muddy Waters and Rice Miller as well as traditional musicians from their own circle. Jelly Roll Morton's descriptions of the musical stew in Louisiana, and in New Orleans in particular, paints a picture of a rich and varied musical environment.

That it became more stratified and categorised in later years through commercialism is no surprise.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 04:03 AM

IMHO the issue is as always one of definition. Country is defined (if that word is not too rigid) by style of performance and subject matter. Folk is defined by the 1954 definition. Therefore one may expect to find a set of folk songs that are not country, a set of country songs that are not folk, and a set of songs that are both.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Smedley
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 04:51 AM

Thanks for lots of informative & thoughtful posts (and some silly ones - well this IS Mudcat......). As I suspected, it's a messy, blurry story, and those are usually the most interesting ones !


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: TonyA
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 10:35 AM

There's also a huge difference in market share that no one has mentioned. There's no place in the US where you can't tune in at least one radio station that plays nothing but "country music," and in many areas most of the stations follow that format. But "folk music" can be heard on the radio at most a few hours each week, and only in large metropolitan areas or university towns.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Smedley
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 10:48 AM

If there are shared roots for both folk & country, as people are suggesting, when did the big divide really kick in - is it with the 'commercialisation' (I have reservations about that word but you'll know what I mean by it) of country ? Which would, and excuse me if my U.S. history is a bit askew, pretty much coincide with the strong linkage between folk in the US & Civil Rights. So it's a divide that gets seriously entrenched around the late 50s / early 60s.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 10:55 AM

Some genius said, "Country and Western music is rock-and-roll wearing a ten-gallon hat!"

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: TonyA
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 11:37 AM

Smedley, I think you've got the date right. I think of the "country music" of today as a commercial product designed by the business world as a more profit-oriented substitute for something natural that people crave, in the same way that Coca-Cola is a substitute for fruit juice, and I think it took that form during the 1950's, concurrent with the rise of "rock music." I think "folk music" in the US sense (i.e. not exclusively or even primarily consisting of traditional songs of unknown origin), is a reaction against that emerging commercialism. Emmylou Harris, asked by an interviewer if she and Gram Parsons think of their music as "progressive country," said that it's actually regressive since they're aiming for the sound that country music used to have.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: pdq
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 12:31 PM

On the subject of Country-Rock, the first album was done by Rick Nelson in early 1966.

There is some dispute about what Country-Rock means, but one definition is "Country Music played by city kids". Rick Nelson was born in Teaneck, New Jersey.

That siminal record had Clerence White, Glen Campbell and "Sleaky Pete" Kleinow as guest artists.

The following year, Clarence White worked in a group called Nashville West which contained many people who would later define the southern California Country-Rock sound.

In 1968, the Byrds and the Beau Brummels released Country records and the International Submarine Band (with Gram Parsons) and Poco were formed. In 1969, three members of the Grateful Dead started the New Riders of the Purple Sage, a vehicle for them to do Country.

Soon the floods gates were opened by the Eagle, Firefall and others.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 09:56 PM

Thus far no one has mentioned, except in passing, the additional category of "Cowboy" music, as exemplified by Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, et. al.

To some extent the definition is "if it was in a movie with horses;" and some might consider it a sub-genre of Country. The distinction might be "if (s)he's on a horse it's Cowboy, but if (s)he's on a barstool it's Western or Country or Western Country. Fifty years ago it was commonly called "Hillbilly" but that had more to do with a presumption of illiteracy than with style or region. (People in towns of a few thousand population considered themselves "cultured" but the ones who lived "out on the range" (a few miles from the church) were though of as "iggerant.")

The inclusion of a pedal steel guitar is considered by some to be a mark of Country Swing, which is also called "West Coast Country Swing" and of course is largely the invention of (or at least popularized by) Bob Wills. Some consider the very similar "Texas Swing" a distinct and separate genre, although the instrument mix and playing syles are fairly similar. Some purists consider West Coast Country Swing and Texas Swing subgenres of Country Swing, but others say they are three separate things.

As fairly commonly used in the US, the term "folk" does not appear except in context of Dylan and Baez (everybody else is an imitator); but the other names applied to genres with roots in traditional lore, or in the life-styles and work of people of a current or preceding region and/or culture, probably number at least in the dozens, and distinctions are argued with the vehemence of bible believers (and disbelievers) as you go from one re(li)gion to another.

Within my memory, the music of specific performers who have changed very little in their styles of playing and/or in the themes of the songs they perform have been placed in three or four - sometimes more - differently named "genres" depending on who put the vinyls/tapes/CDs in the bin at headquarters of the marketers. The names applied depend only on which genre is selling best at the time, and that changes quite regularly.

John


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: the Folk Police
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 05:07 AM

There's plenty of early/proto country music on Harry Smith's magisterial "Anthology of American Folk Music". I 'd have said that any modern country music with roots very clearly in this sort of music is almost certainly American Folk Music. It's all about "rootedness in tradition" for want of a better turn of phrase, and I think one of the difficulties about some modern country music is that it has moved so far away from its roots they are barely, if at all, discernable*. I guess there has to be a point at which music that can be traced back to folk music becomes something else in its own right.

Having said that, in our information heavy age, it's quite possible for a contemporary musician to bypass the last 70 years of country music history and end up sounding like this.

* Which is not, of course, necessarily a judgement on quality.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Fortunato
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 06:42 AM

I'm having a growing interest in the newer genres, Americana and Roots, or variously, American Roots.

In this genre I can introduce, comfortably for me, a ragtime tune, a Carter Family Tune, a fiddle tune, a delta blues song, and so on, without creating an internal conflict. Additionally, no one jumps up, and says, "that's not a blues tune, that's a pop tune from the '20s", or something similar.

Of course, it's fine to discuss the intricacies of traditional/folk/old time/blues/country/bluegrass as much as you like. But a song may be played by Pete Seeger, Bill Monroe, Doc Watson and George Hamilton IV and Buckwheat Zydeco and reside briefly in many sub-genres.

If it enhances the pleasure for one to experience the music heard then parse on, but remember "There'll be no distinction there".


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: GUEST,Jason Hill
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 12:01 PM

Jimmie Rodgers' recording of 'Waiting for a Train' is NOT with Louis Armstrong's band. The musicians on the record are C L Hutchison (cornet), James Rikard (clarinet), John Westbrook (steel guitar), Dean Bryan (guitar) and George MacMillan (bass): no Louis Armstrong in sight. Jimmie Rodgers made just one recording with Louis Armstrong, Blue Yodel no. 9.   This recording also featured Lil Hardin Armstrong on piano, but not the rest of Armstrong's band. Sorry to be a pedant.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 02:15 PM

The line about country music being rock and roll with cowboy hats can be expanded with the idea that rock and roll is just rhythm and blues played fast, with the logical conclusion that Country music is just Rhythm and Blues played fast, with a cowboy hat.

This has been the case for a long time--some of us, at least, know and love the old King and Queen Labels, where King would release the country version of a song, while Queen release the R & B version at the same time.

Before that, you could (and can still) hear a lot of Blind Lemon Jefferson (as well as other blues) when you listen to the Carlisle Brothers(and other 30's/40's "hillbilly" artists), and how many folks can tell the difference between black string bands and white ones?

Uncle Dave Macon, who was pretty much the first of firsts in country music, learned his stuff by playing with black field hands--and before that, the White Minstrels in Blackface had become Black Minstrels in Blackface by the 1870's.

The music goes round and round....


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Goose Gander
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 02:31 PM

M.Ted's last post nicely sums up the state of recorded folk/popular music in the early 20th century. The difference between a 'hillbilly' record and a 'race' record often had just as much to do with whom it was marketed towards as it did with the sound of the music on the record.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: GUEST,Jeff
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 03:43 PM

When playing in an Irish/Celtic band a few years ago the lines became further blurred for me as we did songs out of many different traditons. 'Red-haired Boy' became 'Little Beggar Boy' at the Harp and Fiddle in Pittsburgh, PA. Like blues, rock 'n roll is a combo of celtic and african traditions and clearly defined by Louis Armstrong, "There's only 2 kinds of music, good or bad."


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 07:17 PM

Fortunato wrote:

"I'm having a growing interest in the newer genres, Americana and Roots, or variously, American Roots.

In this genre I can introduce, comfortably for me, a ragtime tune, a Carter Family Tune, a fiddle tune, a delta blues song, and so on, without creating an internal conflict. Additionally, no one jumps up, and says, "that's not a blues tune, that's a pop tune from the '20s", or something similar.

Of course, it's fine to discuss the intricacies of traditional/folk/old time/blues/country/bluegrass as much as you like. But a song may be played by Pete Seeger, Bill Monroe, Doc Watson and George Hamilton IV and Buckwheat Zydeco and reside briefly in many sub-genres.

If it enhances the pleasure for one to experience the music heard then parse on, but remember "There'll be no distinction there".



I agree which is why I prefer the term "Roots Music" over "Folk"
    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: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 07:36 PM

So is there a definition of "Roots Music" and if so what?


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: pdq
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 07:42 PM

Not to start an argument, but I really don't like the term "roots music". It implies that the progenitor is good only for the source of what comes later. Or perhaps that the trunk and branches of a tree are important but not the roots that feed them.

"Americana" seems like it's a forced and perhaps a bit precious, but it is more inclusive than "folk" or "roots" and seems to be a reasonable compromise.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: TonyA
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 09:44 PM

Very nice link, Folk Police! Thank you.

I heard something like that here locally not long ago, in a venue that normally has radio-style country and bluegrass. But this one trio sounded like a Lomax field recording. I wouldn't have thought it was possible to live in an air-conditioned house and make sounds like that.


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 10:25 PM

combo of celtic and african traditions and clearly defined by Louis Armstrong, "There's only 2 kinds of music, good or bad."

Another fine example of why it is such a pity that brilliant musician didn't save his stupid Satchelmouth for playing his incomparable horn [if indeed he was, as so often attrib'd, responsible for that bloody hoary horse]. In present instance, did he really think that his music was, in any sense, the same as that of Johann Sebastian Bach or Arthur Sullivan or Richard Rodgers or [cont p 94] ···?!

If so ~~~~~ BOLLOCKS ·····


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Subject: RE: American Folk / Country: Dividing Lines
From: TinDor
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 10:46 PM

IMO, I view "Folk" and "Roots" music in America as basically the same thing but "Americana" is something different and more commercial.


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