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Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?

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Goose Gander 01 Mar 10 - 03:01 PM
TheSnail 01 Mar 10 - 03:09 PM
michaelr 01 Mar 10 - 03:22 PM
Waddon Pete 01 Mar 10 - 03:22 PM
Paul Reade 01 Mar 10 - 03:27 PM
MGM·Lion 01 Mar 10 - 03:33 PM
Goose Gander 01 Mar 10 - 03:43 PM
MGM·Lion 01 Mar 10 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 01 Mar 10 - 03:52 PM
Uncle_DaveO 01 Mar 10 - 03:53 PM
Uncle_DaveO 01 Mar 10 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 01 Mar 10 - 04:09 PM
MGM·Lion 01 Mar 10 - 04:11 PM
Joe Offer 01 Mar 10 - 04:12 PM
Amos 01 Mar 10 - 04:16 PM
EnglishFolkfan 01 Mar 10 - 05:41 PM
Bert 01 Mar 10 - 06:14 PM
Spleen Cringe 01 Mar 10 - 06:25 PM
Bert 01 Mar 10 - 06:27 PM
The Sandman 01 Mar 10 - 07:02 PM
Herga Kitty 01 Mar 10 - 07:11 PM
theleveller 02 Mar 10 - 03:52 AM
Richard Bridge 02 Mar 10 - 04:05 AM
Richard Bridge 02 Mar 10 - 04:12 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 02 Mar 10 - 04:49 AM
Smedley 02 Mar 10 - 05:03 AM
glueman 02 Mar 10 - 06:01 AM
John P 02 Mar 10 - 10:00 AM
MGM·Lion 02 Mar 10 - 11:14 AM
Richard Bridge 02 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 02 Mar 10 - 12:11 PM
MGM·Lion 02 Mar 10 - 12:35 PM
GUEST 02 Mar 10 - 12:57 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 02 Mar 10 - 01:03 PM
MGM·Lion 02 Mar 10 - 01:04 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 02 Mar 10 - 01:05 PM
MGM·Lion 02 Mar 10 - 01:08 PM
Spleen Cringe 02 Mar 10 - 01:09 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 02 Mar 10 - 01:21 PM
Uke 02 Mar 10 - 01:37 PM
TheSnail 02 Mar 10 - 01:52 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 02 Mar 10 - 02:38 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Mar 10 - 06:29 AM
MikeL2 03 Mar 10 - 10:16 AM
melodeonboy 03 Mar 10 - 10:27 AM
Joe_F 03 Mar 10 - 08:06 PM
mattkeen 04 Mar 10 - 04:31 AM
Bert 04 Mar 10 - 01:47 PM
glueman 04 Mar 10 - 02:17 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 04 Mar 10 - 03:00 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 04 Mar 10 - 03:16 PM
glueman 04 Mar 10 - 04:43 PM
Bert 04 Mar 10 - 04:58 PM
Uke 04 Mar 10 - 08:23 PM
glueman 05 Mar 10 - 03:49 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 05 Mar 10 - 04:25 AM
Ruth Archer 05 Mar 10 - 04:38 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 05 Mar 10 - 04:43 AM
Jack Blandiver 05 Mar 10 - 05:16 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 05 Mar 10 - 05:25 AM
Jack Blandiver 05 Mar 10 - 05:26 AM
Jack Blandiver 05 Mar 10 - 05:28 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 05 Mar 10 - 05:41 AM
glueman 05 Mar 10 - 06:59 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 10 - 07:28 AM
Dave Sutherland 05 Mar 10 - 07:57 AM
JohnInKansas 05 Mar 10 - 10:49 AM
Goose Gander 05 Mar 10 - 12:05 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 10 - 12:23 PM
glueman 05 Mar 10 - 02:13 PM
John P 05 Mar 10 - 06:10 PM
John P 05 Mar 10 - 06:15 PM
MikeL2 06 Mar 10 - 05:34 AM
glueman 06 Mar 10 - 05:59 AM
John P 06 Mar 10 - 02:08 PM
Gurney 07 Mar 10 - 12:03 AM
Spleen Cringe 07 Mar 10 - 03:32 AM
glueman 07 Mar 10 - 04:52 AM
evansakes 07 Mar 10 - 05:57 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:01 PM

Have we reached the stage yet where there is nothing left to talk about regarding 'what is traditional?'/'what is folk?'/'is folk dead?'/'is folk alive'?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:09 PM

Dream on.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: michaelr
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:22 PM

GHOD I HOPE SO!!!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:22 PM

...if only......


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Paul Reade
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:27 PM

I thought the arguments had finished long ago ... until I discovered Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:33 PM

P E R I S H    T H E   T H O U G H T   ······

why, whatever would we find to talk about ?????


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:43 PM

Well, we could go back to talking about song lyrics and tunes, and instruments and tech, and all that.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:50 PM

Ah Goosie, but only if they are traditional songs, lyrics, tunes ...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:52 PM

Folk music is dead. It's not even folk music any more, it's just singer/songwriter music.

Hardly what I remember what used to be called folk music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:53 PM

There hasn't been anything further to say on that subject for years and years. That doesn't stop threads from being started, though.


Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:54 PM

Actually, we might as well just shoot that poor old horse who doesn't sing right here; maybe it will kill the thread too!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 04:09 PM

It's not that the poor old horse doesn't sing.

It's just hardly anyone listens any more.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 04:11 PM

Neigh Neigh Neigh


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 04:12 PM

They just aren't writing folk songs like they used to...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Amos
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 04:16 PM

The past is dead. The only ones who can bring it back to life are the Time Travellers, the Chrono-Gypsies. Those are the folks you see padding up and down the paths at the Getaway every year. They can whisk you back to 1880 in the flip of an A-minor. Sixteen hundred is a bit trickier, but there are a few who can do it with apparent ease. The REAL lost folk music is for dates before 1100. Especially in remote nations like, for example, Lilliput.


A


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished
From: EnglishFolkfan
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:41 PM

Plenty of fossilised Folk still out there.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Bert
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 06:14 PM

Lilliput? Isn't that where Dachshunds come from?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 06:25 PM

It is possible to discuss this sort of thing and still play nicely, though. A nice example over the road: A potentially lethal outbreak of All Around My Hat


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Bert
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 06:27 PM

Yup, they're finished. So is traditional song, it is dead, dead, dead, 'cos nothing written since 1956 can ever be traditional.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:02 PM

1954,not 1956.two minutes makes a lot of difference as the actress said to the bishop.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:11 PM

Amos - Lilliput is a suburb of Poole, in Dorset. Robert Louis Stevenson used to live in neighbouring Bournemouth.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: theleveller
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 03:52 AM

I think that discussions of this sort have now gone through the folk process and so have become a tradition.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 04:05 AM

No: there is a thread currently running on the difference between country and folk.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 04:12 AM

Spleen, I have just read that crap "over the road" and it makes me want to present most of them with a traditional thermonuclear device.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 04:49 AM

I'm going to stop refering to the old songs I'm interested in as 'traditional folk' because the term seems to cause too much conflict amongst people and it seems to distress singer songwriters in particular - so I'm going to follow D of E's example and simply call them "Samantha" from now on.

If everyone is smart and follows suit, then there will never be any more need for threads debating 'what is folk'.
Sorted!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Smedley
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 05:03 AM

Those of you who have operated in this cultural zone for some time will have heard these arguments time & again, but people more recently arrived might still need or wish to explore them.

So those of you who want such arguments to go away are risking alienating newcomers and insisting that everything has already been said. There is a definite danger in insisting the old timers know it all.

Which is one of the reasons some people steer clear of folk music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: glueman
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 06:01 AM

It would be in keeping with the subject if they have finished. Old blokes decide everything has been said on the subject and declare their opinion the only one to hold and the subject closed before announcing anyone who who thinks differently is an idiot!!!!!!!! (with multiple exclamation marks, personal digs and cut and paste diatribes)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: John P
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 10:00 AM

There's plenty to talk about. Arguments are stupid, though.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 11:14 AM

·····················Arguments are stupid, though. ····················

NO THEY ARE NOT!!!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM

Can I call them "Norman"? It's my favourite name. I even like girls if they are called "Norman"


(I know at least one person who will identify the reference)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 12:11 PM

"Can I call them "Norman"? It's my favourite name."

Yes indeed RB! This is going to revolutionise threads on Mudcat, no more arguments about 'folk' no more debate about what 'traditional' means, no more grumpy tensions between traditionalists and folkie singer songwriters. No more itchy "labels" at all, just cut 'em orf!

In fact I'm off to liberate my pantry!
The so-called "Baked beans" feel discriminated against by the "mushy peas", so I'm going to remove those oppresive divisive labels right now!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 12:35 PM

Ms Crow Sister ~

Madam:

On behalf of the Mushy Peas Collective, I must ask you to account for the fact that you wrote 'Baked beans' with a capital B but 'mushy peas' with a lower-case m.

We regard this as a blatant case of discrimination and propose forthwith to report you to the Canned-Foods Relations Board.

Yours faithfully

(Lord) Mushiest of Peas
   Hon Complainer-in-Chief


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 12:57 PM

No! This is all wrong!
The traditional way that these threads go, is that somebody should have descended to vulgar abuse by now, and that the person abused should have provided a link to a previous, interminable squabble on the same topic. The reply to this reply should be pointing out a spelling mistake or grammatical error too.
The Mudcat culture is going right down the pan.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 01:03 PM

"We regard this as a blatant case of discrimination and propose forthwith to report you to the Canned-Foods Relations Board."

"Canned-Foods"?
Hey man don't try to oppress my pantry with your so-called "definitions"!
Forthwith, all consumable substances in my house, shall be known by the non-judgemental appelation "Hroom!#789"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 01:04 PM

Guest Dave ~~ You may consider yourself vulgarly abused if it will make you feel happy: you silly old kipper you!

Bum! Likewise Poo!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 01:05 PM

all consumable substances *

* bogies optional depending on potential starvation crisis type situation.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 01:08 PM

Hey, Miss Sister ~ who you calling 'consumable'?   Huh? Just you try it, that's all!

Hroom #7 8 9 10 11 12 13......


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 01:09 PM

I cleave my parting at you.

Ooh, that's better!

PS Crowsis & MtheGM, my vacuum cleaner and nose-hair clipper are leading a sit in by household appliances aggrieved that the so-called food is getting preferential treatment.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 01:21 PM

"my vacuum cleaner and nose-hair clipper are leading a sit in by household appliances aggrieved that the so-called food is getting preferential treatment."

That's an amazing coincidence! Because recently liberated Hroom!#789 (formerly known as "mushy peas") believes that the right to practice nasal hair-clippage shouldn't be unfairly "restricted" to so-called "nose-hair clippers".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Uke
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 01:37 PM

What all these threads about "what is folk?" prove IMHO is that people find folk/traditional important enough to debate.

Even if they can't agree, it's obviously da*med important.

Maybe it's important because people realise that there's something "good" about folk/traditional/etc.

I think the real question is: what is "good" about folk music? What is the good example it sets?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: TheSnail
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 01:52 PM

Norman?! Hah! What have the Normans ever done for us?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 02:38 PM

My goldfish has asserted his right to be recognised as a modern singer/songwriter composition in the 'folk idiom', I responded in the future with a thread on Mudcat entitled "What is Goldfish?"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 06:29 AM

A point about all this.
These debates are seldom about the real definition of folk song; rather they almost exclusively cover whether what goes on in today's 'folk clubs' can be described, loosely or otherwise, as 'folk song'.
The term is clearly defined, researched and documented and works, in the form of books, articles, magazines, journals and printed and recorded examples, usually researchedm analysed and annotated, have regularly appeared since the beginning of the twentieth century and continue to do so with steady regularity all over the world.
The existing definition of folk will remain until it is either adapted (very much needed) or replaced (possibly by continual misuse - but this usually takes at least decades, if not centuries and involves the population as a whole, who up to now have shown no interest in the subject whatsoever) by something else.
So really, these long, convoluted and usually fascinating (to me anyway) debates are little more than family squabbles as to whether the club scene (as small and ineffectual as it is outside its own goldfish bowl) should make a U.D.I. and decide to go it alone (who was Ian Smith anyway?).
Long may they continue - at least it means we continue to think about what we do and have enough nouse and good manners to discuss it with others.
LET THE GAMES RE-COMMENCE!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: MikeL2
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 10:16 AM

hi crow sis

> My goldfish has asserted his right to be recognised as a modern singer/songwriter composition in the 'folk idiom',>

nah that would be too boring - he just sings and plays scales......

Just couldn't resist it.

regards

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 10:27 AM

No! I've heard he's pretty good - he used to play with Country Joe!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 08:06 PM

It is cruel to beat a horse before it is dead.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: mattkeen
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 04:31 AM

IT WILL NEVER DIE!

Not as long as they keep pissing in our beer and we keep shitting in their shoes.

Billy Connolly


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Bert
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:47 PM

It is the refried beans that are at odds with the mushy peas, not us baked beans. We don't give a jot about them squashed lot.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: glueman
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 02:17 PM

What is folk threads come in many guises, even the traditional No Surrender ones are slicable. There are those who believe the tradition is dead but re-enacted, those who believe there was a break and rediscovery and the ones who think they are continuing the seamless and unceasing tradition of our forebears.

Each of those are further atomised into believers in performance quality and those who think vocal and instrumental viruosity is contrary to the true tradition of The People.
Then there's folk venue purists, before we get to idiomatic re-invention by singer songwriters. Most of it is Folkier than Thou, angels on the head of a pin, puritanism dressed as populism stuff but someone's gotta do it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 03:00 PM

Umm, what about those who do it just 'cos they find it (oddly) interesting - despite 'folkies' who don't actually dig it, but conversley think revival compositions is(are) "The Real Thing".
Funny old world!

Eh! I'm off for some trashy dance moozak!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 03:16 PM

"There are those who believe the tradition is dead but re-enacted, those who believe there was a break and rediscovery and the ones who think they are continuing the seamless and unceasing tradition of our forebears."

The oral tradition was fascinating, but it's dead. Now we have songs that remain from that tradition. And I'm so glad I dscovered them! But I would never have disovered them without the modern Internet!

Can I have mine without boiled eggs?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: glueman
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 04:43 PM

"The oral tradition was fascinating, but it's dead. Now we have songs that remain from that tradition"

So does that mean the tradition continues? I've always viewed the folk revival as part of the romantic movement, if it is we can sincerely view the revival as a tradition of its own with its own functioning control systems, of which arguing about romantic purity is a key theme. Which is one of the reasons why 'what is folk' type threads are both necessary and painful for participants - to maintain the theme of romantic austerity and absolute provenance in a world that doesn't value romance.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Bert
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 04:58 PM

...The oral tradition was fascinating, but it's dead...

Nope I still sing songs that my Dad learned from his Grandmother.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Uke
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 08:23 PM

"...to maintain the theme of romantic austerity and absolute provenance in a world that doesn't value romance."

Yes, now we're getting somewhere.


What about "folk" as encapsulating the spirit of the homemade in a world of commodities? Of course, because there are inevitably lots of professional folksingers and commercial folk LPs in a world of commodities, this sets up a contradiction. Hence: discussion/argument.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: glueman
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:49 AM

What's interesting is the difference between attitudes in the US and UK to traditional music. America has no less an authentic english speaking folk tradition but it has to take its place alongside Yiddish music, slave songs, european and asian trad, etc. Puritanical approaches to 'the' tradition are a luxury if not completely inappropriate in that context, which leads to much bemusement at British provenance debates.

Much of the English contemporary revival was informed by folk music from the the US, particularly blues and old time country, and the E. Trad scene was seen through that eclectic prism. This set up a conflict between those who harked back to the seeming purity of Collector's Music and the comparatively laissez faire singer-songwriting new trad.

Looking through folklorist eyes both traditions are new and equally fascinating phenomena.'What is Folk' threads still have plenty of mileage because the revival means so many different things, emotionally as well as intellectually.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 04:25 AM

"the revival means so many different things, emotionally as well as intellectually."

Yes, some of the people posting here have invested a life-time into the revival in various ways. So I appreciate the emotional energy that comes with the territory for them, eeven if I can't empathise. For me the revival means pretty much nada. I tend not to think of myself as a 'folkie' as I've never been into folk music, I'm just someone who discovered a batch of faded manuscripts on the internet and began to learn to sing old songs as a hobby. Me singing these old songs doesn't define me any more than me singing Purcell, Dowland or Jazz Standards or indeed Karaoke does - all of which I've done a bit of in the past. The major difference is there is a raggle-taggle community of similar hobbyists where I can just show up and sing, and listen to others do same. I don't have to dress up smartly, or belong to some specialist society, or have a pianist attached to me. I can also swear and drink and get muddy, all of which come naturally.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 04:38 AM

"The oral tradition was fascinating, but it's dead."

I guess that's the sort of statement people make until they meet some source singers. Ask Jim Carroll or John Howson if the oral tradition is dead.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 04:43 AM

"I guess that's the sort of statement people make until they meet some source singers"

Fair enough, but most people will never inherit these songs orally.
I had to rely on the internet not my Granny. There are no traditional singers in my village or indeed any of the surrounding towns and villages that I know of, unless they're very well hidden indeed.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 05:16 AM

Jim - is the oral tradition dead?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 05:25 AM

There are individuals that still learn off traditional singers (with the assistance of technology), Sam Lee & Stanley Robertson has been mentioned here.

For the rest of us it's records, books and the internet. I wonder do many people who rely on such sources, nevertheless think of themselves as maintaining 'the tradition'?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 05:26 AM

Or is the Oral Tradition just some other crock of Folk-Orthodox purist horseshit that never existed in the first place? The medium is the message & if human culture is about anything then it's about COMMUNICATION, which is what we've dealing with at it's most fundamental level for 50,000 years. Ballads were printed, sung, sampled, reinvented, remade and this process continues - be it by word of mouth or world of letter or word of YouTube or whatever.

I first heard The Drunken Sailor sung by old sailors in my family as a child; it's a song everyone in the word knows. I've just started singing it again because it's one the finest songs ever and a joy to sing alone or in company - any company. I reckon I might sing it in a shopping mall and everyone would join in and the experience would be transcendent. Oral tradition? Dead or alive? Or is it just Folkie Purists preserving their prissy little corner as usual? We see a lot of that around here - too much to be entirely healthy.

Culture occurs at the interfaces of SUBJECTVE individuality and OBJECTIVE communality; the one thing shapes the other & so on we go, merrily forward. Keep moving there, Ladies & Gentlemen - 'tis a wonderful word to be sure!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 05:28 AM

Word / World - no matter.

I learned a song of Stanley Robertson one night we were watching the stars outside the Cumberland Arms in Byker. He promised me that I'd hear it once and never forget it - and I never have, and I'm singing it still...

Does that make me a tradition bearer?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 05:41 AM

"Does that make me a tradition bearer?"

I find the YouTube phenomenon rather interesting as a contemporary 'oral tradition'. Certainly moreso than some kind of rare holy folk initiation type thing.. ;-) People in the past communicated in the ways they had at their disposal then. We do things differently now - quite simply because we CAN. Once upon a time horse and cart was the way to get from place to place, but for my daily shopping I'd rather go by car.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: glueman
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 06:59 AM

"Or is the Oral Tradition just some other crock of Folk-Orthodox purist horseshit that never existed in the first place?"

Does it matter? Like peep toe sandals or rubber duck bondage suits it's a fetish that makes perfect sense to those who get it and is an absudity to thse who don't. I'm happy to play along with the revival game or poke fun at the inconsistencies as the mood takes me. The honest response to the revival is to consume it as a dish on the popular music menu and snigger at the people who live their lives by its artificial shibboleths.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 07:28 AM

"Does that make me a tradition bearer?"
Yes it does, as long a you maintain the function of the song - was Vaughan Williams a 'tradition bearer' when he converted 'The Cruel Ship's Captain' into Norfolk Rhapsody No 4 or just a 'tradition user'?
This doesn't make you a traditional singer IMO. MacColl used the term 'Song Carrier' which does for me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 07:57 AM

"MacColl used the term 'Song Carrier' which does for me."
Jim, I don't know whether you have read Pete Wood's "The Elliotts of Birtley" yet but there is a particular passage which deals with Pete Elliott's reaction to MacColl referring to his father (Jack Elliott of Birtley)as a "song carrier".
Not that I personally disapprove of the term as I would say it was a perfect title for someone like Paddy Tunney.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 10:49 AM

So is it to be officially declared that this is the FIRST THREAD on the new subject of The Folk History of Debates about "What Is Folk?"?"

Or do we need to start a new thread?

In either case, of course, someone must summarize, list, index, and analyze all the previous debates and let us know when they intend to publish the book. That book will certainly be "primary source material," and after sufficient analysis and debate will enable us to move on to the History of Attempts to Record the Debates about the History of Analyses of the History of Determinations of the Definitions, Meanings, and Methods for Determining the Identifications of Folk.

And I can hardly wait for the sequal to that one.

John


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 12:05 PM

Glueman makes some valid points regarding heterodox traditions in the US and the difficulty (impossibility?) of speaking of Tradition with a capital 'T' (if I read him correctly). Even within the English-speaking ballad tradition over here there's a lot going on (I just listened to an African-American version of House Carpenter, accompanied with banjo). Looking for an 'ideal form' of an 'anglo-american' ballad would be like looking for an ideal, platonic cow out there in the ether somewhere. Not that 'pure forms' really exist anywhere, it's just much more difficult to pretend in America. I would expand on his argument and note that while the varied forms of American popular music evolved from vernacular forms, English popular music is based (ironically) upon American vernacular music as well. So maybe that's where this 'identity crisis' comes from; maybe 'What is Folk?' is another way of asking 'Who Are We?' for some people.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 12:23 PM

Dave;
I am aware of Pete Elliot's response to Ewan's term - I find no offense in it and can't think of a better one.
I'm not even sure MacColl intended it to be taken in the way that it later became to be used, or if he intended it to be applied to singers like Jack Elliot - look at all the other singers he used on The Song Carriers; JoeHeaney, the MacDonagh family, Elizabeth Cronin, The Stewarts......
I was a catch-all phrase to cover them all.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: glueman
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 02:13 PM

"'What is Folk?' is another way of asking 'Who Are We?' for some people."

Absolutely right and IMO, most unfortunate. It's only one step from the provenance of a song to the lineage of an individual or society. Nothing else can explain the dogged pursuit of the 'authentic', as though it will deliver the musical mother lode of 'the people'.
The truth is we're abstracted from those songs in so many ways that any attempt to live them out is doomed to failure. We can interpret them as best we can but projecting anything else onto the music is comic at best and dangerously misplaced at worst.

If 'the' tradition was seen as 'a' tradition without the accompanying verisimilitude hokum and guru racket accompaniment, we'd have a far more vibrant and inclusive folk 'scene'.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: John P
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 06:10 PM

I guess I'm with Crow Sister -- I just like the songs and tunes. I've never seen myself as being part of any revival, and don't really care about "traditions", except as an occasionally interested intellectual pastime. It's fun to learn about the history of the songs, and I'm fascinated by finding and learning various versions of songs from different places and times. But none of this has any bearing on whether or not and why I like or dislike specific songs.

As for whether or not the oral tradition is dead, I think it seems clear that the society that had to rely on oral traditions in order to pass on information is, for the most part, a thing of the past. Does the fact that we now have different ways to share music mean anything important? Maybe to a historian or folklorist it does, but not to me. I will continue to learn music from whatever source is handy, and if it's an old traditional song, I'll continue to call it traditional music.

I spent most of last evening learning Swedish dance tunes from a band mate. He was teaching them to me without reference to written music or recordings, and most of them he learned from other people who taught them to him the same way. Maybe this is just how musicians often learn music, and maybe it's always been that way, whether or not the musicians could read, had a stereo, had a parent who played, or are part of a "traditional" community. Isn't this the oral tradition persisting in the face of modern society? I don't know what else to call it.

I have processed many traditional songs. Some I changed on purpose, some I heard the source version years later and realized how far I strayed, and some I simply misremembered what I was taught. I have written tunes that have been adopted by other folkies, and they have come back to me in quite different form. Isn't this just the folk process in action? How is it really any different than what the folk process has ever been?

I really don't see much difference between an illiterate person learning a tune from the fiddler in an isolated village sometime in the past, and some modern musician learning a tune from the internet. We learn tunes, we do with them what we want, we teach them to others. It's what musicians do, and have always done.

John


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: John P
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 06:15 PM

Glueman: We can interpret them as best we can but projecting anything else onto the music is comic at best and dangerously misplaced at worst.

If 'the' tradition was seen as 'a' tradition without the accompanying verisimilitude hokum and guru racket accompaniment, we'd have a far more vibrant and inclusive folk 'scene'.


Glueman, can you elucidate? I've been playing traditional music for more than 30 years, and I've played extensively in at least seven different traditions with hundreds of musicians. I've never actually met anyone who has any such attitude toward traditional music. Are you speaking from actual experience, or from the mists of your imagination?

John


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: MikeL2
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:34 AM

Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: John P - PM
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 06:10 PM

What he said !!

Thanks

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: glueman
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:59 AM

Simples John P. There are lots of traditions, not one. The quest for authenticity assumes there is an importance about Collector Music that doesn't exist in other forms. It's just personal enthusiasm, there is no national core, no key sentiment that will reveal itself that tells us who we are anymore than the quickstep or Elizabethan court madrigals.

The post was a response agreeing with Goose Gander's statement "'What is Folk?' is another way of asking 'Who Are We?' for some people." I'm saying 'who we are' won't be found in Collector Music any more than another form C21st exposes us to. It's important, as are all musics, but not in the way people sometimes suggest.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: John P
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 02:08 PM

Glueman,
You are assuming a quest for authenticity and definition of traditional folk music as Collector Music that I don't see much of in the real world. A quest for authenticity is more about musicology than it is about music making. Being an adherent of a Collector Genre is more about librarianship or something. For the rest of us musicians, it's about the songs and tunes.

Sure, there are lots of people who are trying to reproduce as exactly as possible a type of sound from some other time or place. They are a distinct minority in the traditional music crowd. Although I can do it myself with some types of music, it's not really my thing, or that of the vast majority of people I play with. And even the most duplicative of the local musicians are willing to have a living room jam where anything goes, and where you find out all the other musical interests they have. The most important point is this: it is the music they are called to play, and the way in which they are called to play it. By what right do you mock them for their choice? Especially when the perjoratives you are using to refer to them are those of exclusion. In case you're not following me, mocking someone for their choices is a nasty sort of exclusivity.

Perhaps you are talking about the folk police, the authenticity nerds who confuse the words 'historical' and 'traditional'? And who want to tell you all about it? Is this the group on which you are basing you snide remarks about traditional musicians? I've only ever had three encounters with this type, and I can assure you that anyone who knows the 'authentic' way could tell you all about how my music diverges from that. 99.999% of them, however, are smart enough and well-rounded enough to know that I'm not trying to reproduce a specific traditional sound, and they just go ahead and enjoy the music anyway.

My request: Please stop making negative statements that are broad enough to include all the people who enjoy playing a type of music. They feel impelled to defend themselves against your comments, and pretty soon we have a fight about a subject that never existed in the first place.

John


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Gurney
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 12:03 AM

May I solicit a response on this thread from all members? Plus multiple posts from the more puckish among us? That should keep us going until 2012.




Deep down, you all KNOW it isn't folk unless 'I' sing it, don't you!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 03:32 AM

I was chatting with one of my son's friend's dads yesterday. Turned out his mum and step-dad are keen, long-term folk enthusiasts. I asked him if he shared their tastes. He replied, "I don't mind some of it, but on the whole the whiff of authenticity puts me off. Especially as there's bugger all authentic about most of it."

Proves nothing about anything, but nonetheless another perspective.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: glueman
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 04:52 AM

John P, your broadside sounds like 'please refrain from attacking my freedom to attack you'. Everyone round here is the personification of traditional music. Nobody knows anyone 'like that' in the real world yet they're common on these pages and act as though an archly conservative approach to folk music is a given.

I've been listening to and buying traditional music since the 70s and attending folk festivals for much of that time. To me traditional music is another soundscape. I read the sleevenotes but they're a distraction that tells me 'how' I should listen to the music. The context and the interminable introductions all want to harness the way I encounter the song and as I get older I become more convinced folks librarianship tendency is completely misplaced.

I repeat, my previous answer was affirming Goose Gander's opinion. If you don't like it perhaps you might take it up with him?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are 'What is Folk?' Threads Finished?
From: evansakes
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 05:57 AM

"The so-called "Baked beans" feel discriminated against by the "mushy peas", so I'm going to remove those oppresive divisive labels right now"

I suspect you'll mind better examples of sauce singing in the baked beans camp....


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