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Folk songs every songwriter should know

Bert 18 May 10 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Nitpicker 18 May 10 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,999 18 May 10 - 05:19 PM
Bert 18 May 10 - 07:20 PM
GUEST,Marcus 18 May 10 - 07:27 PM
Acme 18 May 10 - 07:40 PM
open mike 19 May 10 - 01:14 AM
Valmai Goodyear 19 May 10 - 02:19 AM
GUEST,Allan 19 May 10 - 02:21 AM
Valmai Goodyear 19 May 10 - 02:31 AM
Doug Chadwick 19 May 10 - 02:31 AM
Bert 19 May 10 - 03:12 AM
GUEST,baz parkes 19 May 10 - 03:57 AM
IanC 19 May 10 - 04:48 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 May 10 - 05:13 AM
freda underhill 19 May 10 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Allan 19 May 10 - 06:12 AM
Jack Campin 19 May 10 - 06:26 AM
Bert 20 May 10 - 03:39 AM
GUEST,happylassie 20 May 10 - 08:23 AM
Deckman 20 May 10 - 08:51 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 May 10 - 01:54 PM
Bert 20 May 10 - 02:04 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 May 10 - 02:35 PM
RobbieWilson 20 May 10 - 02:42 PM
Bert 20 May 10 - 04:01 PM
Deckman 20 May 10 - 06:19 PM
freda underhill 21 May 10 - 07:17 AM
Deckman 21 May 10 - 07:54 AM
Marje 21 May 10 - 08:08 AM
Stringsinger 21 May 10 - 09:30 AM
Deckman 21 May 10 - 09:58 AM
Marje 21 May 10 - 09:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 May 10 - 12:05 PM
Bert 21 May 10 - 12:13 PM
Marje 21 May 10 - 12:37 PM
Deckman 21 May 10 - 12:43 PM
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Subject: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Bert
Date: 18 May 10 - 03:36 PM

At a songwriters meeting recently a guy wrote a song that started with
"Whiskey, Whiskey"

I said "you can't do that, people will think you are going to sing The Carlton Weaver". A remark that was wasted because nobody there had heard of The Carlton Weaver.

So I got to thinking I'd run a session or seminar of folk songs for song writers.

So what folk songs do YOU think are a MUST for every songwriter?


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: GUEST,Nitpicker
Date: 18 May 10 - 05:08 PM

Whisky, Whisky.? Scotish song, there's no "E" in Whisky.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 May 10 - 05:19 PM

Whisky in the Jar

Also, Whiskey in the Jar


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Bert
Date: 18 May 10 - 07:20 PM

Picky Pickey!


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: GUEST,Marcus
Date: 18 May 10 - 07:27 PM

Po Boy Blues


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Acme
Date: 18 May 10 - 07:40 PM

NPR played a really interesting interview with Rosanne Cash a few years ago, when she spoke about a conversation she had with her father, Johnny Cash, when she was 18. He asked her if she knew some particular song, and she didn't, and as they talked he realized she didn't have the background he thought she should for her field. So he worked over some time and made her a list of 100 songs, many genres, that he felt a well-rounded performer should know. She has been recording some of those songs over the years. Perhaps someone else heard this interview. I'll have to go poke around to find it. The List album (at her site). I bet there are quite a few folk songs on that list.

I realize that isn't the folk singer's list, probably more along the top 100 Child ballads every folk singer should know, but still, cultural literacy is a good thing, whatever your culture.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: open mike
Date: 19 May 10 - 01:14 AM

maybe there is a certain advantage for those who want to create songs to NOT have thier mind filled with other songs to influence thier writing..those who sing and or perform songs, should have a varied repertoir, however.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 19 May 10 - 02:19 AM

Mike O'Connor leads an all-day workshop on songwriting in the tradition on Sunday 6th. June at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club in Sussex. Full details and a booking form are on the club website. Mike's songwriting style is distinctive but rooted firmly in the tradition. His songs have been recorded by Martyn Wyndham-Read, Johnny Collins, Sarah Morgan, Mike Nicholson & many more. They include The Best of Autumn, The White Shepherd, Unite, Unite, and Carrying Nelson Home.

He produced & directed the iconic folk operas The Cry of Tin & Unsung Heroes & recently took part in the production Cornish Lads.
The workshop will cover the art & craft of songwriting: the first reasons for writing, the tools & materials available for following a traditional style, & polishing & performing.

On Saturday 5th. June Mike O'Connor and Barbara Griggs perform at the club, and during Saturday they lead an all-day workshop on Cornish tunes from old manuscripts.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: GUEST,Allan
Date: 19 May 10 - 02:21 AM

"Whisky, Whisky.? Scotish song, there's no "E" in Whisky."

but there is two "Ts" in Scottish


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 19 May 10 - 02:31 AM

As time is short I'll copy the full details of Mike O'Connor's workshop here:

Lewes Saturday Folk Club Workshop No 132
MIKE O'CONNOR
http://www.lyngham.co.uk/mike_oconnor.html
SONGWRITING IN THE TRADITION
Places £25 Sunday 6th. June 2010 10.45 a.m.- 4.45 p.m.
Elephant & Castle White Hill Lewes BN7 2DJ   

            Mike (fiddle, Anglo concertina & voice) is a fine songwriter, singer, storyteller & a bard of the Gorseth of Cornwall. His style is distinctive but rooted firmly in the tradition. His songs (The White Shepherd, The Best of Autumn, Unite, Unite, Carry Nelson Home, etc) have been recorded by Martyn Wyndham-Read, Johnny Collins, Sarah Morgan, Mike Nicholson & many more. He produced & directed the iconic folk operas The Cry of Tin & Unsung Heroes & recently took part in the production Cornish Lads.

            The workshop will cover the art & craft of songwriting: the first reasons for writing, the tools & materials available for following a traditional style, & polishing & performing.

ON SATURDAY 5TH. JUNE MIKE O'CONNOR & BARBARA GRIGGS PERFORM AT THE ELEPHANT & CASTLE

Admission £6.
Advance tickets from address at end of this form.

Provisional Timetable

10.45   Registration & coffee; order lunch
       (refreshments not included)
11.00    Motivation, inspiration & the building blocks of traditional song.
12.30   Lunch
13.30   Crafting the song: words, music & performance.
15.00   Tea/coffee break
15.45 - 16.45 Sing out! The songwriter, the singer, the listeners.

N.B. Booking is recommended as numbers are limited. Maps & accommodation lists will be sent on request.

Lewes Saturday Folk Club
c/o 20, St. John's Terrace, LEWES,East Sussex BN7 2DL
Tel. (01273) 476757

e-mail: valmaigoodyear[at]aol[dot]com
www.lewessaturdayfolkclub.org/


MIKE O'CONNOR: SONGWRITING IN THE TRADITION
Sunday 6th. June 2010
BOOKING FORM

I would like to attend the workshop. I enclose a cheque for £25.00 (refreshments not included).

Name:



Address:













Telephone:



E-mail address:



Tick for map:    Tick for accommodation list:



No. of tickets @ £6 for evening performance (include SAE for these):



Please make cheques payable to Lewes Arms Folk Club (that's right) and send with this booking form to: Valmai Goodyear,20, St. John's Terrace, LEWES,East Sussex BN7 2DL


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 19 May 10 - 02:31 AM

but there is are two "Ts" in Scottish

Pedantry is such fun.

DC


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Bert
Date: 19 May 10 - 03:12 AM

Thanks guys for your comments. Lets have more, serious and silly both.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: GUEST,baz parkes
Date: 19 May 10 - 03:57 AM

There's no "F" in cod....


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: IanC
Date: 19 May 10 - 04:48 AM

Actually, according to the BBC there's now plenty of Cod in the North Sea!!!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 May 10 - 05:13 AM

So there is a Cod?

:D


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: freda underhill
Date: 19 May 10 - 05:49 AM

Here's some suggestions:

Barbara Allen.
Scarborough Fair
She Moved Through the Fair
The Water Is Wide
This Land is Your Land
Blowin' in the Wind
Irene Goodnight
If I Had a Hammer
I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night
Where Have All The Flowers Gone
Wild Mountain Thyme
We Shall Overcome
Moreton Bay
The Plains of Emu
Last Thing On My Mind
And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
Ramblin' Boy
Mary Ellen Carter
Changes


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: GUEST,Allan
Date: 19 May 10 - 06:12 AM

"Pedantry is such fun."

Aye it can be at times


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 May 10 - 06:26 AM

How about variety?

Freda's list is entirely made up of songs at the same tempo. Nothing like "Mary Mack" "Hey Ca Thro" in there (among recently composed songs, Leon Rosselson's often use the same trick of going faster than you'd believe possible).

Variety in metre, mode and tempo. There's far too much draggy 4/4 out there.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Bert
Date: 20 May 10 - 03:39 AM

I kinda like Freda's list. I must sing them wrong 'cos I don't do them all at the same tempo.

I vary the tempo during many of them.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: GUEST,happylassie
Date: 20 May 10 - 08:23 AM

As long as the song writer knows his/her own songs what does it matter if they hardley know anyone elses. I prefer to hear songs writen by the writer, performed by the writer (where possible).


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Deckman
Date: 20 May 10 - 08:51 AM

With no exaggeration, I could quickly submit one thousand traditional folks songs, likely more. I'm reminded of that old warning ... "If you don't know where you've been ... how do you know where you're going?"

To have a solid background in traditional music limits you not at all. It does quite the opposite ... it expands your horizons and then the new song writer can create new material that is relevent today! Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 May 10 - 01:54 PM

so far it sounds very Anglo-centric.   Is there a reason why only one style of folk song should be known?


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Bert
Date: 20 May 10 - 02:04 PM

Well it would be Anglo-centric. Almost all the songwriters in the club are white and English speaking. That's not my fault, it is just the way
it is.

So let's have a few more song titles folks. Not 1000 Bob, just a few that you think are important.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 May 10 - 02:35 PM

I just mentioned it because on other threads people tend to make definitions of "folk" that is limited and would not consider the singer-songwriter - or only consider singer-songwriters that appeal to specific tastes that are part of an individual time and place. It is good to see some of the songs that are accepted here as "folk songs" and I hope it will give some people cause to step back and realize that folk is a broad term.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 20 May 10 - 02:42 PM

I am a weaver a Calton weaver. The Calton; an area of Glasgow, not Carlton a London club.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Bert
Date: 20 May 10 - 04:01 PM

Thanks Robbie


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Deckman
Date: 20 May 10 - 06:19 PM

I'll try to keep this list SHORT. You might notice that EVERY song I include tells a story, relates to an event, gives a piece of history, a background, expresses real feelings in real time. If you're going to "write a folk song", you might as well learn what others have said before you:
FROGGIE WENT A COURTING, OLD BANGHAM, JESSE JAMES, BILLY THE KID, STAR OF BANNOCK, AWAY IDAHO, THE OLD SETTLER, STARVING TO DEATH ON MY GOERNMENT CLAIM, VIRGINIA GALS, BRAES OF YARROW, BARBARIE ALLEN, CU CU RA CU CU RA POLOMA, MI JACILITO, SANO DUSO, AL MORRIR LA TARDE, TIE KNOTS IN THE DEVILS TAIL, THE DESERTER, FOGGY FOGGY DEW, BUFFALO GALS, THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, WARP AND REELING, WHEN I FIRST CAME TO THIS LAND, THE THREE PIGS, DELIA'S GONE, DEVILISH MARY, DOWN IN THE VALLEY, EDDYSTONE LIGHT, COMMON BILL, PORTLAND COUNTY JAIL, THE SOW TOOK THE MEASLES, THE WATER IS WIDE, FRANKIE AND JOHNNY, CASEY JONE, COSHER BAILY, YOUKSEE HUMMA HUMMA, GREENSLEEVES, HENRY MARTIN, I'VE GOT NOW USE FOR THE WIMMEN, KIILIGREW'S SOIREE, LEATHERWING BAT, MUST I GO BOUND, OX DRIVER'S SONG, STREETS OF LAREDO, ZEBRA DUN, GRAND COULEE DAM, TURTLE DOVE, PRETTY SARO, WILD FLYING DOVE, GUNDERGI, LADY BUG AND THE CENTIPEDE, WANDERING ANGUS, THE HAUNTED HUNTER, WEE HUGHIE, LITTLE LAND, MARY ANN, PRETORIA, OLEANNA ...

I'll stop now. Believe me, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what I consider to be the folksinger's basic repitoire. CHEERS Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: freda underhill
Date: 21 May 10 - 07:17 AM

Thanks Deckman, I'm glad someone else has taken up the challenge. here's some fave Aussie ones...

Across the Western Plains
Anderson's Coast
Another Fall of Rain
The Ballad of 1891
Banks of the Condamine
Ben Hall
Bold Jack Donohue
Botany Bay
Bound for South Australia
Catalpa
Click go the Shears
Cockies of Bungaree
Do you think that I do not know?
Drover's Dream
Flash Jack from Gundagai
Four Little Johnny Cakes
Hey Rain
Lazy Harry's
Lime Juice Tub
Nine Miles from Gundagai
Nursery Rhyme
One of the Has-beens
Ryebuck Shearer
Springtime Brings on the Shearing
Streets of Forbes
The People have songs
The Queensland Drover
Waltzing Matilda
Widgegoweera Joe
Wild Colonial Boy


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Deckman
Date: 21 May 10 - 07:54 AM

Freda .... HOW DO YOU DO THAT? You memorized your songs in alphabetical order! bob


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Marje
Date: 21 May 10 - 08:08 AM

I think it's useful to specify where your list of songs applies. Folk clubs/festivals/gatherings in the US have a different core repertoire from those in Britain and Ireland (or, as shown above) Australia, and there will be sub-divisions within those countries too.

It might also be helpful to have separate lists for tradtional songs and recently composed ones - there are good, but somewhat different, reasons why a songwriter should be familiar with both sorts of material.

I really can't go along with the idea that it's better for songwriters not to "have their mind filled with other songs". Anyone who's halfway musical will already have their head filled with the songs and tunes they've heard during their life so far. A decent songwriter or musician in any genre of music will want to know and build on the music that's already been written in that style, if only to be sure that they're creating something fresh.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 May 10 - 09:30 AM

Why limit songs to just folk?   A good song is a good song. Sometimes a song that is least likely to be judged as good can be like "God Bless America" (which by the way is a good song whether you agree with it or not because it was written by a master, Irving Berlin) and triggered Woody Guthrie's anthemic "This Land Is Your Land" who hate Berlin's song.

The long and short of it, a good song is a good song regardless of genre. If you want to write a good song, study all kinds of good songs.

Woody did. Pete Seeger did. Dylan did too.

The wonderful thing about Paxton, Woody and Utah (and sometimes Steve Earle) is that they have the ability to boil their thoughts and words down to a simple accessible level. I envy that ability. That's the beauty of folk songs.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Deckman
Date: 21 May 10 - 09:58 AM

I wrote a song once ... IT WAS TERRIBLE! For many years people have begged me NEVER to sing it again. I actually make quite a bit of money off that song ... by threatning to sing it. It called "The Talking Hot Tub Blues"! Send me American money and I promise NOT to sing it! cheers, bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Marje
Date: 21 May 10 - 09:58 AM

I don't think anyone's suggesting that people who write songs in the folk style should not listen to any other types of song. But the idea of a core list of traditional songs and recently composed "folkish" songs is still a valid one.

I could compile a much wider list that included pop songs, opera, jazz standards and arias from oratorio, but it wouldn't provide so much in the way of direction for someone who wanted to write songs for performing in a folk context. It would be more helpful, in the sense that I think the original question implied, to look first at songs of a similar style and genre.

Then, by all means, look at songs in other styles, aimed at different audiences. The setting where the song is to be sung makes a difference too - something that's meant to be sung in a film or in an opera house will have certain different characteristics from a folk song that is likely to be sung in smallish, live gatherings, possibly without amplification. So a "good song" for one setting may not be such a good song for another.

It works the other way round too, of course - classical composers have often drawn on folk sources, although some modern composers of concert-hall and church music seem woefully ignorant of traditional music. And it has to be said that some of them have done some dubious things with traditional songs, dressing them up in frilly arrangements that simply don't suit the song.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 May 10 - 12:05 PM

Freda's list is entirely made up of songs at the same tempo.

Songs don't have "tempos". A performance of a song has a tempo, but that's not at all the same thing. That's like saying a car has a tempo.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Bert
Date: 21 May 10 - 12:13 PM

Freda, Do you lyrics for all of those? I don't know a lot of them.

And Deckman, I also keep my songlist in alphabetical order.

Marge, This group of songwriters will be in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Stringsinger, The reason that I am presenting folk songs is that some of the songwriters here don't know many folk songs. There is also a possibility of presenting old time, classics and early pop songs. Sheesh you've opened up a can of worms here. I could do a session for ever decade in the last 100 years or so.

and also separate sessions for each of Paxton, Woody and Utah andeven Gordon Lightfoot.

Marge again, These songwriters mostly perform 'acoustic'. They don't usually write in a folk style but I was surprised at the folk songs that they don't know. I sang 'The Thing' one time and they'd never heard of The Lincolnshire poacher let alone The Chandler's wife.

I was thinking of just having a good time singing a few folk songs for them, talking about them a little and leaving them with copies of the lyrics.

Thanks again for all your input guys, keep posting. I need examples of songs that you think that everyone should know. I don't want to get this too biased with my own songlist.


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Marje
Date: 21 May 10 - 12:37 PM

Thanks, Bert, now you've explained the context I'm sure you'll get more constructive responses. I'm not, however, going to volunteer my suggestions, as I'm used to the English folk scene and what we'd regard as standards would not be the same for you.

But I do think it's a good idea to try to raise awareness of folk song (by any definition of it that you care to use)with your group. There are so many features in folk songs that have stood the test of time - any songwriter could learn some useful tricks and techniques from them. And if your singers are performing live, acoustically and informally, folk songs will provide much more useful models for them than songs that were written for (say) musical theatre, church or the concert hall.

Good luck!

Marje


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Subject: RE: Folk songs every songwriter should know
From: Deckman
Date: 21 May 10 - 12:43 PM

Bert ... we are a very orderly group here in the USA. Why, just this morning I noticed in the newspaper, that everyone who died yesterday ... died in alphabetical order!


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