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What isn't folk

Related threads:
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GUEST,flydeplayer 04 Aug 10 - 12:27 PM
Ernest 04 Aug 10 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Aug 10 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 04 Aug 10 - 01:14 PM
MGM·Lion 04 Aug 10 - 01:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Aug 10 - 01:45 PM
MGM·Lion 04 Aug 10 - 02:10 PM
Nick 04 Aug 10 - 02:15 PM
Amos 04 Aug 10 - 02:19 PM
Joe Offer 04 Aug 10 - 02:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Aug 10 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Aug 10 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,999 04 Aug 10 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Paul Gadd 04 Aug 10 - 03:35 PM
mousethief 04 Aug 10 - 03:41 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Aug 10 - 04:24 PM
Don Firth 04 Aug 10 - 04:30 PM
Amos 04 Aug 10 - 04:57 PM
skipy 04 Aug 10 - 05:35 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Aug 10 - 06:11 PM
Tootler 04 Aug 10 - 06:11 PM
Joe_F 04 Aug 10 - 06:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Aug 10 - 07:18 PM
MikeofNorthumbria 04 Aug 10 - 07:38 PM
GUEST,Fyldeplayer 05 Aug 10 - 04:47 AM
Leadfingers 05 Aug 10 - 05:04 AM
matt milton 05 Aug 10 - 05:11 AM
GUEST 05 Aug 10 - 05:41 AM
bubblyrat 05 Aug 10 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,happylassie 05 Aug 10 - 06:27 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Aug 10 - 07:43 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 Aug 10 - 07:52 AM
GUEST 05 Aug 10 - 08:06 AM
Tim Leaning 05 Aug 10 - 12:24 PM
Don Firth 05 Aug 10 - 03:01 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Aug 10 - 06:00 PM
Don Firth 05 Aug 10 - 06:28 PM
TheSnail 05 Aug 10 - 06:54 PM
Bettynh 05 Aug 10 - 07:08 PM
Nick 05 Aug 10 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 05 Aug 10 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,Fyldeplayer 06 Aug 10 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Aug 10 - 05:39 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Aug 10 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Aug 10 - 06:00 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Aug 10 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 06 Aug 10 - 06:52 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Aug 10 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Aug 10 - 07:22 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Aug 10 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Aug 10 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Aug 10 - 09:18 AM
Jack Blandiver 06 Aug 10 - 10:26 AM
glueman 06 Aug 10 - 03:34 PM
mkebenn 06 Aug 10 - 05:33 PM
Nick 06 Aug 10 - 07:53 PM
dick greenhaus 06 Aug 10 - 08:39 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Aug 10 - 12:20 AM
glueman 07 Aug 10 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Aug 10 - 04:38 AM
Mr Red 07 Aug 10 - 05:36 AM
Nick 07 Aug 10 - 05:53 AM
MGM·Lion 07 Aug 10 - 11:01 AM
Nick 07 Aug 10 - 02:16 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Aug 10 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Annie Lid 07 Aug 10 - 03:06 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Aug 10 - 03:25 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 07 Aug 10 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Aug 10 - 03:59 PM
dick greenhaus 07 Aug 10 - 04:10 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 07 Aug 10 - 04:17 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Aug 10 - 04:53 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Aug 10 - 05:03 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 07 Aug 10 - 05:17 PM
Amos 07 Aug 10 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Aug 10 - 04:27 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Aug 10 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Aug 10 - 04:59 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Aug 10 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Aug 10 - 06:21 AM
The Sandman 09 Aug 10 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Aug 10 - 08:32 AM
The Sandman 09 Aug 10 - 04:47 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Aug 10 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,Uncle Rumpo 09 Aug 10 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Uncle Rumpo 10 Aug 10 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,Woozy McGuffrie 29 Dec 17 - 01:39 PM
Jackaroodave 29 Dec 17 - 06:22 PM
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Subject: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,flydeplayer
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 12:27 PM

This weekend a festival session offers the chance to perform outside of the considered folk style, instead to perform pop, music hall, jazz etc.
Likely to only get one piece, I thought maybe David Gray, Velvet Underground or Richard Thompson? But then you start to wonder wether RT might be 'folkie'. My other half suggested an American Chain Gang song - US folk?

Just for fun what might other people perform?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Ernest
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 12:33 PM

No. We refuse to give you a simple answer. You have to go through all the "What is folk" threads and study them carefully.

Then you will know.

;0)
Ernest


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 12:51 PM

As for the Velvet Underground, it's well known much of their distinctive droning sound derives from Cale's viola on which he's flattrened the bridge in immitation of the Welsh Crwth. Otherwise, if you're using the 1954 Definition you're as stuffed as those who favour the Equus Definition. Remember - Folk isn't about genre, it's about context...


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 01:14 PM

I go by the Steamin' Willie definition.

it works for me.

It winds up a few people who reckon they know a thing or two about folk music.

It is about as good as it gets.

What is it?

I am playing at a folk club tonight. If I were to sing "Tie a yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak tree" then ergo it is a folk song.

Not as daft as it seems. You see it is a song. Sung in a folk club. Genre is subjective and multi dimensional. (See iTunes for details!)

Got nowt to do with 1954 either.

A song is a song. Common sense and a dictionary would show that to be the case. What word you put front of "song" is where it becomes subjective.   The subject matter of many "folk" songs is the same as many opera, heavy metal, pop, rock, jazz, blues whatever songs.

If I sang a song in Gmaj, in 6/8 time, unaccompanied, about how life is a bit crap, what genre would it be?

The ones I am thinking of include hearing Bruce Springsteen, a bit of Mozart, zillion traditional songs and Blind Lemon Jefferson.

So, when Led Zeppelin sang Gallows Pole, it became a rock song. Live with it. (Don't worry, it's still a folk song because that's the beauty! Rational well adjusted people don't get hung up over it.)


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 01:39 PM

Oh, piss off!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 01:45 PM

The important thing is whether it's a good song. If "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" were a folk song, it would still be a crap song.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 02:10 PM

Perhaps, McGrath; but it would then have a certain phenomenological interest to a certain mindset with an academic or aesthetic interest in the genre; which, to my mind, it lacks within the commonplace genre within which it actually has its being.

The simple appeal to the status of "a good song" has severe limitations, imo.

[Why pick on that particular song, btw? It's not a particularly distinguished pop song; but I can think of many worse.]

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Nick
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 02:15 PM

Something early Zappa (Nasal Retentive Calliope music perhaps) or somthing from Trout Mask Replica by Beefheart would be good.

Country Joe and the Fish would also be nice


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Amos
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 02:19 PM

Well, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon", just like "Sally Gardens" and a lot of Child ballads, was generated by the pressures of its time. So was "Yankee Doodle", which I am sure sounded like Johnny-Come-Lately lyrics at the time, but surely counts now as a well-beloved folk song.

"East Side, West Side" was a TinPan Alley commercial sockdologer in its time, but is notalgically hummed by old folks today and might qualify.

So I submit that it is not the pop-ness of a song, but the depth of its roots in the sentiment of those who know it, that makes the difference. The harsh and chaotic songs of our youth or of today's, provided by the Stones or the rappers, will go by the wayside, while those which actually capture the feelings of the time (Michelle, If I gave my Love to You, Masters of War, God on Our Side, the Canadian Railtoad Trilogy...countless pieces) will survive. If time alone is the test, they will probably pass it.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 02:39 PM

Well, I've always wanted to work up a rendition of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." Trouble is, I'm not sure I could do a credible job of it. I come from the Wisconsin Camp Song Tradition and I'm really good at singing "The Hole in the Bottom of the Sea." But somehow I don't feel that has adequately prepared me for "Walk on the Wild Side."

In my search for the song on Spotify, I came across a song called "Walk on the Wild Side" that was recorded by Nancy Sinatra; and I feared it was an easy-listening bastardization of the Lou Reed classic. Not so. It's a totally different song that begins:
    Sinner, don't you hear what I'm sayin'
    Sinner, you've been playin', not prayin'

And it's a pretty good song, although I found other recordings that were far better than the Nancy Sinatra version.

But Fyldeplayer, that brings up another suggestion: how about a camped-up rendition of "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'"?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:18 PM

The fun lies in the way a performer can sometimes put across a non-folk song in a style that makes people hear it as a folk song. Or the other way round with a cross-dressed folk song.

Either way it needs to be a good song.

(The reason I mentioned "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" lay in the previous post by Steamin' Willie - If I were to sing "Tie a yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak tree" then ergo it is a folk song. True enough many worse songs. Many even worse songs.)


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:31 PM

I've even folked up Cage's 4'33" by performing it on pipe & tabor.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,999
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:35 PM

What`s on second.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Paul Gadd
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:35 PM

Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:31 PM

I've even folked up Cage's 4'33" by performing it on pipe & tabor.

-----------


I'd love to hear that, would you put it on youtube?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: mousethief
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:41 PM

Send me an mp3 and I'll do a slide show for it.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 04:24 PM

Using the oral tradition definitions, if you sing a song you've just written that should easily qualify!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 04:30 PM

Che gelida manina, tenor aria from the first act of Puccini's La Boheme. Not a folk song.

But since I've never heard it sung by a horse, there are some who would insist on arguing the point. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Amos
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 04:57 PM

A really good rendition of O, solo mio will raise the hair on my neck. Inter alia.

A


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: skipy
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 05:35 PM

I don't know which festival this is, but White Horse folk festival the following weekend 13,14,15 Aug 2010 is also offering a one hour session with same idea.
Skipy
www.whitehorsefolkfestival.co.uk


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 06:11 PM

Any song that is so wedded to a particular rock performance of it that that remains the definitive version. Try "Jumpin' Jack Flash". "Sympathy for the Devil" can nearly get to folk as can "Street Fightin' Man".

Personally I do a folked up version of "Substitute".

Or you could go for classical stuff that is not convertible into folk. Maybe Dvorak's "Stabat Mater". Psalms, you may be shocked to hear are surprisingly convertible.

Mid you I have heard a number of classical singers totally murder Barbra Ellen. Why they so often go for that baffles me.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Tootler
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 06:11 PM

If you sing, say Peggy Sue, unaccompanied, does it then become a folk song?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Joe_F
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 06:14 PM

1. Any song that is not copyrighted is a folk song.
2. Any song that is copyrighted is a folk song if you are violating the copyright.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 07:18 PM

The Owl and the Pussycat works well sung fiercely, and without accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 07:38 PM

To me, it all seems very simple.

On the one hand, there is Folk Music.

And on the other hand, there is Show Business.

If someone is paid for playing or singing, and somebody else pays to hear them, then IMHO that is show business. It matters not a jot whether the song/music being performed is a classical opus, a jazz standard, or a pop song. Nor whether it was composed today, yesterday, or several centuries ago. If a commercial transaction is involved, then it's show business.

This rule applies even if the songs being sung are 100% traditional. Even if the singer is a horny-handed son of the soil with leather thongs tied around his trouser-knees - even then, if money changes hands, then it's still show business in my reckoning. (And the fundamental principle of show business still applies - give your audience something they like, or go hungry.)

Contrariwise, folk music and song happen when people are playing and singing simply to entertain themselves, their families, friends and neighbours, plus any casual passers-by who happen to show an interest. If no money changes hands (the occasional free drink for the singer/musician is a goodwill gesture, not a contractual fee), then it matters not a jot where the songs and tunes come from, or in what style they are delivered. On that occasion, and in that context, they become temporarily co-opted into the folk tradition.

And the fundamental principle of folk music is - do whatever you do from the heart, and do it to the best of your ability. Those who don't enjoy the result are free to do something different when their turn comes around. Or they can simply walk away, and start another session or singaround somewhere else.

And whether or not horses can sing has nothing whatever to do with it.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 04:47 AM

IMHO Folk Music is a valid category wether paid for or not, my original thought was at what point do you fully cross the threshold into another style - Blues, Jazz, Pop? If I performed Fernando by Abba on acoustic guitar is that a bit to 'Folkie' for a session promoting a wider approach, or it just a sweet pop song?

When I first heard 'The Downeaster Alexa' by Billy Joel from a library cassette (remember those?) I felt completely at ease performing it in Folk clubs because of the subject matter ( sea, hardtimes, a dying lifestyle).   

Skipy, you correctly indentified the Session at WHF, I now realise I have an extra week to ponder this conundrum!

I certainly look forward to some great pop, jazz, gospel whatever, and as I have that extra week maybe I'll try some Captain Beefheart (Spotlight Kid).


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 05:04 AM

As one involved in a TOTALLY Mixed session at Sidmouth , in MY book it is the TREATMENT of a song that makes it 'Folk' - Steve Hunt from the Liskeard club regularly turned up with 'Good' Folk Songs that he had purloined from all sorts of places , but they DID Work as 'Folk'
At the Newt we ange from Trad Unnaccomp , hrough Singer Songwriter and Blues to Country Western , Music hall and light Jazz , with the occasional incursion into Classical ! And it ALL seems to work for the 'Folkie' Festival audience !!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: matt milton
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 05:11 AM

Go for the Velvets.

Each to their own, but, really, I've yet to hear a convincing case for the music of David Gray being anything other than middle-of-the-road tosh. He's like a marginally less uncool Chris de Burgh.

I've never got Richard Thompson either; my ears just hear rather dull 70s American rock radio in his music. There's a couple of hairs between Thompson and Dire Straits. Those aren't good hairs.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 05:41 AM

Honest words Matt - I feel really uncool now, that's 'Babylon' out of my set!

Perhaps I'll stick with 'Pale Blue Eyes' - works well with concertina, though I've always fancied 'Venus in Furs' - but SM lyrics?

Sorry Leadfingers - not sure you can 'make' a song folk, though I know SH and may others recognise interesting material, I remember many years ago hearing Roger Watson perform Soldiers by James Taylor - so good and recently enjoyed Pete Coes jazzed up 'Monday Morning'.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: bubblyrat
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:17 AM

Karen says that the interpretation of which genre it is, is usually heavily influenced by the performer and their perceived style. Last night,at our "Folk Club",which has for some time been an "Acoustic Club" rather, Karen & I happily did our arrangement of "We Are Sailing" as per The Sutherland Brothers (covered by Rod S), which went down very well, except with our sound man, who hates it & left the building.
               The originator of this thread,the little devil, was there too,but turned up too late to hear that particular song ; he and his "accomplices" often stun (but never outrage) our sensibilities with such classics as "Dark Side Of The Moon",sensitively accompanied with guitar,melodeon & duet concertina.
       As "Skype" says ; Don't forget the "White Horse" festival at Grove, near Wantage,next weekend ; One of the best little festivals around !!
                See you at Lechlade this weekend ? I expect I'll be doing barbecued Signal Crayfish again !!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,happylassie
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:27 AM

When asked to define a folk song I say it is a " song for people "covers pretty much anything. Some people just need to listen to any music in the right setting to label it folk.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 07:43 AM

If you want to do a Velvets song in a folk setting, Candy Says is the obvious choice.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 07:52 AM

Something operatic or classical maybe? Although I suspect G&S could make it into folk by some peoples definitions. And Wagner made it into German Folk in an off-side way. Mmmm. Maybe not then. How about Osborne? Surely no-one could accuse Ossie of folkiness?

(Sit's back waiting for the arguments...)

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 08:06 AM

Oh I certainly was there bubblyrat waving my invisible lighter with everyone else.

We are able to indulge ourselves at our "Folk Club" (acoustic session) which has always been inspiring in modern and trad songs. I do think Mr B we might outrage elsewhere and temper our set to suit when required.

I agree that the setting will influence the listener, 'Sailing' performed in an low lit old beamy pub might come over differently than in a bright hotel dining room.

....Candy Says is the obvious choice. That's subjective. Is there something in CS that suits it to a folk setting? My original enquiry was based on the chance to play at a session where 'style' is being replaced by content. If I had the ability I would play some classical guitar - but not in DADGAD!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 12:24 PM

Chestnut anyone?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 03:01 PM

A folk song is a folk song, whether it is sung by Uncle Ezra on his front porch for his own amusement or by an operatic bass-baritone during a paid recital in Carnegie Hall.   Who sings it, the style in which it is sung, where it is sung, and whether or not the singer gets paid has nothing to do with the origins and basic character of the song itself.

By the same token, if Uncle Ezra, still on his front porch and singing for himself, breaks into Di Quella Pira from Verdi's Il Trovatore, that doesn't alter the fact that it is an operatic aria.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:00 PM

Well, Don, I think if the OP had wanted to know what is "folk" then the 1954 definition answers him. What he is looking for are things that no-one, not even the most asinine horse definitioner or Sweeney O'Pibroch could assert to be folk.

HappyLassie, please try to keep up.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:28 PM

Actually, Richard, I was responding to MikeofNorthumbria's post up-thread a way at 04 Aug 10 - 07:38 p.m.

I'm perfectly happy with the 1954 definition.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: TheSnail
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:54 PM

GUEST,happylassie

Some people just need to listen to any music in the right setting to label it folk.

Indeed they do.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Bettynh
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 07:08 PM

My first thought when I saw this thread was Steve Goodman's dead girl medley - Teen Angel/Tell Laura I Love Her/Strange Things Happen.

Bill Harley does a 20-minute set teaching the audience Build Me Up Buttercup.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Nick
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 08:23 PM

After Hours off the third Velvet Underground album

Tom Waits works well in a folk environment I reckon

S&M what aabout Tom Lehrer's Masochism Tango


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 08:53 PM

smooth jazz-funk-fusion..


that self indulgent wank can't possibly be folk ???

..can it ???


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 04:28 AM

Good call Nick, listened to Velvets 3rd and After Hours is on my set list again. Tom Trauberts Blues is also a WIP although Maggie Holland (English Country Blues Band) did good version,
I leave Tom Lehrer material to Leadfingers.

I have a medley of Mellow Yellow/Day for a Daydream/Happy Together - that could work.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 05:39 AM

I think if the OP had wanted to know what is "folk" then the 1954 definition answers him. What he is looking for are things that no-one, not even the most asinine horse definitioner or Sweeney O'Pibroch could assert to be folk.

I was staying out of this, but seeing as Richard has named & shamed me as a Heretic...

All the 1954 Definition does is to describe a process common to all musics; as a definition of a genre it is about as helpful as the Equus Conundrum as attributed to Louis Armstrong (et al). For Richard to call this asinine in a pejorative sense (rather than equine) is because of the inherent Righteousness of the 1954 Orthodoxy - those who feel (and Richard isn't the only one) that the 1954 Definition actualy represents a single objective truth, which of course it doesn't - it is a Scriptural Law that only makes sense to the Believer. The test is a simple one - name me one single genre of music that is not covered by the 1954 Definition and I'll eat my proberbial hat. As a reminder, the 1954 Definition was written by Maud Karpeles and adopted by the International Folk Music Council which long ago changed its name to the International Council for Traditional Music whose stated aims are to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries.

Folk Music (as most on Mudcat understand the term irrespective of their fidelity to the 1954 Shibboleth) is a multiplicity of musical genres whose only difference from other musical genres is one of style and idiom. To say these musical idioms are any different from other musical idioms because of set of outdated precepts is to further the Folk Myth - and the Myth of Folk - which has long since outlived any usefulness it might have had. As I've said elsewhere I've experienced, and continue to experience, music of other genres being performed in The Name of Folk (I'm sure Jim Carroll will be condescending presently with The List). Like Don's earlier example of the backwood's man croaking operatic arias on his back porch, there is an element where Folk Music is that which adapts a multiplicity of higher / other cultural aspects for its own purposes and transfigures / debases / approximates them according to ability. Indeed, if we're to look at Folk Music purely in terms of Folklore & Usage then the entire remit of What is Folk? becomes so vast as to lose any sense of a single defining aspect other than social context. We even could apply that to your actual Folkie Folk Music, but even then I'm sure things will get messy - especially with respect of the songs of Known Composers Remaining Unchanged in the Folk Tradition, or those who compose Folk Music in the Revival / Traditional Idiom, and those Living Musical Traditions which are defined by Written Composition. I notice that as part of the Fylde Festival this year local professional covers-band The Jeps are doing a Beatles Night at the Marine Hall: the Waits tradition is alive and well!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 05:57 AM

There is, though, more than a hint here Suibhne of the syllogism I denounced in my Folk Review column in about 1973, in approx, from memory, the following terms:

"There is a syllogistic breakdown of logic in the proposition, 'I like Folk; I like the Beatles; ∴ the Beatles are Folk'.

"I happen to be particularly fond both of eating and of the novels of Jane Austen; but this does not lead me to confuse 'Mansfield Park' with a chip buttie."

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 06:00 AM

I'm not saying anything of the sort, Michael. I suggest you read what I've said again.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 06:45 AM

You have over-defined, Suibhne, it seems to me, by paying excessive attention to the "classical" & "popular" inclusions in the ICTM manifesto without sufficient regard to the important "traditional" qualifying adjective with which they have been careful to precede & define them. If you then go on to include that "traditional" within your all-embracing breadth of interpretation, then you seem to me to be on the verge of the sort of illogicality I postulate.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 06:52 AM

Once everybody got over the Tie a Yellow Ribbon distraction, I was expecting a bit of thought into this.

Seems some people have difficulty in differentiating folk with folk style. if you sing Sympathy for the Devil with Northumbrian pipes droning in the background, it could be argued it is in the folk style. If you listen to Mick jagger singing it with the rest of The Stones giving it welly, it is no less a folk song due to the historical narrative of the lyrics, but it is not in the folk style.

Martin Carthy sings Cum on Feel the Noize with great pathos and irony on The Imagined Village's Empire & Love album. it is in a folk style, but a folk song?

mmm... Just goes to show how you can never resolve a subjective debate.

Therefore, I remain comfortable with my earlier assessment. In fact, I reckon it makes the 1954 drivel obsolete.

next..


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 06:53 AM

To try and be a bit more specific: surely "popular" is used in the ICTM formulation in the sense in which Child used it in the title of his collection ~~ which, of course, was a term preferred to "Folk" even after W.J. Thoms's coinage of that term in 1846. Others use the term "classical", as you know, to refer to and define the sort of ballads that Child saw fit to include. It seems to me that there is an ambiguity, or an oxymoron {"traditional/popular/classical"}, within the ICTM definition which you and I interpret differently.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 07:22 AM

What the aims of the ITCM are stating is that all the genres are, in fact, Traditional Musics. This is what I'm saying too - that all music is born out of Tradition and Traditional Process, and that, as such, the conceptual 'Folk Music' of the 1954 Definition does not, and cannot, in fact exist as disctinct from any other music. What does exist, however, are a multiplity of idiomatic styles which we might think of as being Folk Musics, not because of how they evolved or came into being, but because of their genre, and, to a certain extent, their context.

How would the ethnomusicologist interpret the Michael Grosvenor Myer or Sedayne performances of Butter and Cheese and All other than in terms of revival conceits by way of the purposes of hobby & recreation? Sam Larner's singing of it is, of course, something very different indeed and this difference is a crucial one. I am not an Ethnomusicologist, but I've absorbed much of the discipline into my thinking over the years on account of both my personal associations and absurdly eclectic musical tastes. Whilst I believe all music is Traditional Music (the term is, of course, tautologous) I do not believe all music to be Folk Music, but I do believe all music can be folk muisic (with no little evidence to support this) in terms of its folklore, usage and context - especially with respect of The Revival (which is where I live too) where Streamin' Willie's folk style makes perfect sense. I've never heard The Imagined Village, but Jim Eldon is a classic example of this approach.

Otherwises I've pointed out before, there is no difference between Popular as used by Child to decribe the ballads in his collection, and Popular as used by record companies to decribe the bulk of what they promote, or Popular as used by the ITCM. Otherwise, where there is Folk, i.e. humanity, there will be Folklore and Tradition - it's something we humans do as naturally as language & all culture depends on it.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 07:56 AM

Quite so, Suibhne ~~ as I say, my interpretation of 'popular' as used by Child/ITCM (&, of course, by Brand ~ let us not forget his 18C 'Popular Antiquities' are what we would call folk [or 'traditional'] customs) differs fundamentally from yours; just as, in a different way, does my singing of B&C&A. However, there are infinite ways in which a song can be sung: but I don't think there is room for both our interpretations of the terms used by ITCM/Child/Brand on one hand & Tin Pan Alley on the other. You conflate them; I regard them as profoundly different.

To take a point from your last para: 'folk'='humanity' is possibly a defensible postulation; but 'Folk'='humanity' isn't. You are paltering here, I should say.


~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 08:25 AM

Popular is Popular on account of the conditions which determine the collectivity of the musical process, if not their corporeal realisation which must, in all cases, be down to the individual and their answerability to the wider community. If the Folk of Folk Music doesn't = humanity, then what else can it possibly mean? Both the Folk Myth and the 1954 Shibboleth depend on it! This is born, I might add, of a cultural condescension which defines the Folk Myth anyway, and to widen those parameters beyond the class-ridden assumptions of the early entirelybourgeois revival (however so redeemed by radical baby-boomers) is to turn the tables rather on a rather noxious circumstance.

So, if anyone's paltering here, Michael - well it ain't me. By regarding them as profoundly different you are missing the human essence common to both. Where they differ is in terms of idiom; both are expressions of respective musical traditions which determine what they are. The Folk Myth is the conceit that it was ever any different and that we have lost something as a consequence. I don't buy into that - I never have & I never will.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 09:18 AM

PS - If the ITCM usage of Popular was synonomous with Folk (as you appear to be suggesting) then why do they use Folk as well? Indeed, I have seen enthnomusicological dissertations on everything from Barber Shop Quartets of Hartlepool, the Village Gamelans of Sunda, the Heavy Metal Bands of Birmingham to the Hip-Hop Crews of Clapham, all of which fall under the heading of Popular in precisely the same way Child used the term. Folk is a later construct which became a genre covering an ever widening multitude of idioms and possibilities with the emphasis on self-conscious revival, conceit, puritanism, conservatism, fundamentalism, nostalgia & other such wonky contrivances. I see no harm in that myself of course; folk is my country in which I am quite happily, and wonkily, astray.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 10:26 AM

Sorry to bang on but I've just logged-in to take a stroll through my past posts and found this response to a similar point from MtheGM bacvk in January.

Subject: RE: Taking on the Big Boys? - classic big long ballads
From: S O'P - PM
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:49 AM

MtheGM: When Child called his collection 'The English & Scottish Popular Ballads', he certainly did not mean what would nowadays be called 'popular' [or 'pop'] songs.

Thanks, MtheGM - this actually distracted me from my more pressing concerns last night & lulled me into nice sleepy reverie in which it occurred to me that the use of Popular in both senses is exactly the same. There has been some sterling discussion on the wellsprings of the Big Boys from the - er - Big Boys (Jim, Brian et al) which has shed light on the nature of an essentially creative vernacular tradition in which ballads were wrought by virtue of an idiomatic mastery in precisely the same way pop songs are today. Jim has even suggested many ballads were, in effect, free-styled, which wouldn't surprise me in the slightest, given that free-styling is often the mark of true mastery in many narrative idioms - from Hip-Hop to that of the Serbian bards.

The essential difference would appear to be one of transmission. Time was the only available recording media was Human Memory - which comes supplied with a pair of excellent stereo binaural microphones and, as is supposed, near perfect recall especially when used in a (mainly) non-technological culture where people are more creative by default - thus playback is apt to emphasise the idiosyncratic nature of the thing. In terms of sampling and remixing of existing material there is evidence enough of the sort of fluidic mastery I've been arguing for elsewhere with respect of Folk Song. This is the exact same mastery that would have been commonplace in the trades of the time, so it shouldn't surprise us that ordinary people (so-called) were making & singing these songs any more than a so-called ordinary person (such as a Susan Boyle or an Alfie Boe) can capture the hearts of millions today with what is, in essence, a natural born talent defined by the traditions of their respective cultures.

The nature of Popular Music in both senses is Idiomatically Creative - the idiom being the very wellspring of its creativity, which is the actual germ of The Tradition, determined as it is by the prevailing Zeitgeist which on one hand gives us The Ballad Tradition and on the other The Hip-Hop / Rap Tradition. Both of which are Popular Traditional Musics in precisely the same sense - but neither are Folk as both the common usage of the term and its 1954 Definition renders it essentially meaningless*. Thus whilst we might lose ourselves pondering What is Folk? - or indeed Does Folk Exist? - the nature of Popular Music remains pretty constant throughout history even unto this day - applying equally to the ballads Child included in his collection and to the music we call Pop in all its myriad forms. Both are the results of living traditions of vernacular mastery and creativity - and both are a perfect reflection of the human society in which they were / are created.

S O'P

* As indicated elsewhere the folkloric understanding of the term community has expanded to the extent that the use of the term in the 1954 Definition becomes so nebulous as to make The Horse Definition look pretty exacting by comparison. Thus Folk is either nothing or everything...


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: glueman
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 03:34 PM

"Thus Folk is either nothing or everything..."

Most thinking people reach the same conclusion sooner or later.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: mkebenn
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 05:33 PM

I play Thunder road(Mitchems), Copperhead Road, and they work IMHO. I even do Zevon's Roland, and that gets peoples attention.LOL. Mike


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Nick
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 07:53 PM

Happy Together - excellent! My favourite version of that is from the Mothers of Invention Live at the Fillmore (here - perhaps you could get everyone to do the harmonies?)

I Will Survive works well acoustically


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 08:39 PM

Ir an elephant a mammal? or a pachyderm? or a vertebrate? or a beast of burden? or a source of ivory? Depends on what you're trying to accomplish.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 12:20 AM

Why, an elephant is an elephant ~~ it is not a rhinoceros or a hippo or a mouse. That is the important point within questions like this. As Bert Lloyd used to say, the donkey and the zebra have similar outlines but that doesn't make them the same animal.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: glueman
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 04:22 AM

To continue the analogies if a guy has invested heavily in rubies, sapphires and emeralds he won't want to hear they've found a quarry of them twenty feet thick. He'll say, 'ah, but the stuff we found was different. It comes from the days where rubies really were rubies, where you had to hunt down your sapphires and emeralds were something for the connoisseur'. Fact is the gems from the new mine are just as beautiful and have sat around just as long.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 04:38 AM

Thanks for that Happy Together, which wound up in conclusion of The Mothers' Groupie Routine via ex-Turtles Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan, AKA Flo & Eddie, two of the finest singers that e're walked the earth. Coincidentally, today I will be seeking out 200 Motels on DVD...

Otherwise, Michael, to explore your analogy a littke further if I may. Thing is here, they're all animals in precisely the same biological sense, mammals indeed, they're just different species. They evolve, eat, lactate, procreate in exactly the same way; they each have brains, lungs, hearts, liver, bladder, skeletons etc. and yet they remain quite different in behaviour, environment, morphology etc. Folk is just another species, or genus, of musical diversity governed by the precisely same principles that determine all other musical species which is, ironically perhaps, encapsulated in both Louis Armstrong's Equus Conundrum and Maud Karpeles' 1954 Definition: that all music is the consequence of human collective & individual creative genius and is determined entirely by its history, yet will change and be changed as it makes its way into its future. As with mammals, music is different with respect of its behaviour, morphology & environment - not it's biology. Animals evolve too; some species may even interbreed to produce new ones; some have been selectively bred to produce many of the domesatic varieties we know today, but diversity & natural selection is always they key to the thing.

Meanwhile, Richard, still waiting for that example of a music which can't be covered by the 1954 Definition - or a mammal that grows from trees perhaps?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Mr Red
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 05:36 AM

What isn't Folk?

Discussing what is &/or isn't Folk.

You want a specific? Festivals that call themselves Folk but are too big to be supported by Folkies and need the "festival" public and hence the acts are geared more to that fraternity.
Cambridge springs to mind - since you ask.
Music festival - for sure.
Bill Wyman a folkie? Yea sure he knows his blues, but his public EXPECTS, and they get. And it won't be Folk.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Nick
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 05:53 AM

Acoustic version of Angel by Hendrix works well. I used to have a really nice version just played on an acoustic guitar but I can't remember who it was by but I could do with learning to play it.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 11:01 AM

Suibhne: Different mammals do not mate or interbreed. Bert's donkey & zebra will coexist but will not be productive together. Why? Because tho they have similarities [both mammalia], they are of different species. They are differently evolved, with different strengths and excellences, faults and disadvantages.

Thus also your classical, your pop, your rock, your folk [of which I note with interest you also used the word 'species']. They are all musics, but if you can't see where they are different in nature & in evolutionary origin [different *species* of music, to follow what you are pleased to call my analogy], then you will just have to go & commune with yourself becoz I don't honestly think anyone else will be listening.

All best as ever nevertheless ~~

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Nick
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 02:16 PM

>>Suibhne: Different mammals do not mate or interbreed.

That's going to come as a bit of a shock to any mules reading this thread - many will probably need to go into therapy as a result of this insensitive post that throws their ancestry into question.

From the Harvard Medical School:

"DNA studies indicate that Humans and chimpanzees carried on interbreeding for thousands, perhaps millions of years after the two species diverged.

The researchers say human evolution seems to have been much more complex than previously thought. This exchanging of genes probably helped both species survive more successfully in their environments.

Team member, Prof. D Reich says that this is just a hypothesis as it has not yet been proved. However, he said it would explain multiple features of their data. Their hypothesis is that there was an exchange of genes between our human ancestors and chimpanzees after the two species diverged.

This study was carried out at the Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. You can read about the study in the journal Nature."


Some evidence in Mudcat that it's still happening


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 02:36 PM

Highly humorous, Nick ~~ Down the garden to eat worms again time, M. & profound apologies to all mules & hinnies reading this; & to Nick's chimp ancestors.

Otherwise I think my argument holds, ya-know!

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Annie Lid
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 03:06 PM

What's he got against us worms?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 03:25 PM

Nothing, Annie=Worm my dear. I have nothing against cattle or sheep either; but I still eat them...

Yum!

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 03:43 PM

I've no idea whose analogy it might pertain to, but until 2009 there was a Zeedonk at Colchester Zoo - reportedly a consequence of an accidental (ha! as if..) mating. Really quite the most boring bit of the zoo it was, though the critters were sweet enough.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 03:59 PM

If we take the 1954 Def. at face value (i.e. The Orthodox Usage as favoured by Richard Bridge) a good 99.9% of the music that happens in the name of Folk and is discussed here on Mudcat isn't folk at all. That sort of Folk (if we dare call it such) is an idiomatic musical genre (howewever so derivative) which must cover everything done in the name of The Revival too - including your own covers of Traditional Material which presumably you call Folk, but which fail to meet the requirements of the 1954 Definition. You can also write off the Northumbrian Bagpipe Tradition of Written Composition and the efforts of any songwriter who has been moved to write a song in the Folk Idiom (not least Peter Bellamy) and we can exclude the songs of George Bruce Thomson, Tommy Armstrong and pretty much anything Martin Carthy ever had a hand in.

Scarey stuff, eh? 99.9%? Make that 100%! As far as Actual Folk goes, all we would be left with is the theory of a music based entirely on the collected & field recorded remnants of a once thriving Oral Tradition. The EFDSS would have to drop the word Folk from its title, as would folk clubs, folk festivals, folk record labels, folk magazines, folk forums etc. etc. and all because, if followeed to the Intention of the Letter, the sort of music the 1954 Definition is describing can only occur in specific contexts all of which are now lost to us for good.

What is Folk? An extinct idiom of popular song that can only exist in a highly rarified pre-technological environment perpetuated by illiterate rural cap-doffing peasants entirely innocent of the true significances of what they did. One is reminded of Maud Karpele's assessment of Jean Ritchie as not a proper Folk Singer because she'd been to university!

What isn't Folk? Well, pretty much everything that's ever been done in the name of Folk since the first Folk Song was collected for a start.

Otherwise...      

As we have seen animals not only interbreed, they also adapt and evolve. They do not exist in isolation, rather they inhabit the same environments and prey upon one another in a symbiotic ecosystem where each species is essential to the balance of the whole. All animals evolved from a common source because of the same adaptive mechanisms common to all, hence species diversify as part of thre self-same process. As with animals, then so with music. Folk is no different to any other, and certainly not because of the condescending reactionary folkloric shite that consitutes the 1954 Definition. So there.

O'Piobaireachd


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 04:10 PM

Y'know...back in 1954 there were several definitions. And none had universal agreement. Trust me. I was there.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 04:17 PM

"Y'know...back in 1954 there were several definitions. And none had universal agreement. Trust me. I was there."

Tell us more!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 04:53 PM

At the risk of regurgitating once again the same old dreary arguments expressed above, and incurring Jim's wrath, many words in the dictionary have multiple definitions, some of them related to each other. 'Folk' is one of those with multiple definitions. The language is constantly evolving. In 1954 most people on the scene knew even then that songs performed in a certain idiom were being accepted by the 'folk' as 'Folk'. The 1954 definition needed something more precise for academics to use. No problem. Two (at least) different but related uses of the word when applied to 'music'. As an indexer I have to make arbitrary decisions daily as to what goes into which index. If I don't do this I end up with massive unwieldy indexes. I don't expect anyone else to agree with these arbitrary decisions.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 05:03 PM

Suibhne: Thanks for reminder of Karpeles on Ritchie: one of my favourite folk anecdotes. Ranks up there with Karl Dallas interviewing Maggie Barry & asking where she learnt her great heartbreaking version of She Moved Thru The Fair that we were all singing so poignantly back then in the 1950s ~~ in her travelling?, thru her family?, or what? "Oh no," she replied; "I learned it off a gramophone record by Count John McCormack."

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 05:17 PM

For those now with 1954, we need to know the details of how 1954 came into being. It's important so we know that it's just a describing word and doesn't become a reified thing with it's own tentacles and eggs and stuff.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Amos
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 05:19 PM

Well, 1953 had retired, and no-one else wanted the job, and 1954 was looking for something to do....


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Aug 10 - 04:27 AM

BTW - Couldn't find the 200 Motels DVD in Preston so I bought something called Frank Zappa : A Token of His Extreme which is all (?) 77 minutes of the August 1974 Mothers' TV special in a very poor quality transfer friom what looks like a 3rd genersation dub from VHS. No scene index, no menus, nothing, but at £8 I'm not complaining & the performances are absolutely riveting throughout.

Here's all ten minutes of Zappa's supreme soul-perversion Florentine Pogen from the TV special with improved sound & visuals.

Definitely not folk, but hold on a minute - let's take a closer look in the light of the 1954 Definition...

1954: Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission.

Well, obviously Zappa's music has...

1954: The factors that shape the tradition are: (i) continuity which links the present with the past;

Yes to that too, quite vividly so...

1954: (ii) variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group;

This is getting creepy, folks!

1954: (iii) selection by the community, which determines the form or forms in which the music survives.

Which is a striking component in the music of Frank Zappa even unto this day...

1954: The term can be applied to music that has been evolved from rudimentary beginnings by a community uninfluenced by popular and art music...

Evolving from rudimentary beginnings certainly but given that Folk and Popular music have been shown to be synonymous, what can this mean? And even if they're not, I'd argue such communities might have once only existed in the remotest regions of Planet Earth and the assumption that they hadn't evolved their own Popular & Art musics is a tad presumptious. On one of Bert Lloyd's Radio Three documentaries he was very fond of a recording he'd made of village girls from a remote community in the Phillipines (?) singing a song they'd composed about Jimmy Rodgers!

1954: ...and it can likewise be applied to music which has originated with an individual composer and has subsequently been absorbed into the unwritten living tradition of a community.

As we can see Zappa's community had certainly absorbed it, and there's no evidence of sheet music...

1954: The term does not cover composed popular music that has been taken over ready-made by a community and remains unchanged...

I've heard as many recordings of Florentine Pogen by this line-up and change is endemic in the nature of the thing; in fact, you can trace a steady evolution if you line them up chronologically...

1954: ...for it is the re-fashioning and re-creation of the music by the community that gives it its folk character.

Hmmmm - so there we have it folks, Zappa's music is folk after all - but then again with conditions as vague and nebulous as these, what music isn't?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Aug 10 - 06:15 PM

You make out a very strong case here, Suibhne. And yes these guidelines are vague and nebulous but I can still think of a shedload of music that doesn't fit into these descriptions.

'1954: The term CAN be applied......and it CAN likewise be applied.....' I take this statement to mean 2 extremes of a whole raft of possibilities, at one end of the scale it CAN have orginated in an unsophisticated community and at the other end it CAN be composed/commercial music that has entered oral tradition. (In my OPINION the vast majority of ENGLISH folksong falls at the latter end of the scale)


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 04:59 AM

but I can still think of a shedload of music that doesn't fit into these descriptions

I'd be interested in hearing what they are, Steve. I would also question that any human community could be considered unsophisticated, though obviously this was a requisite for genuine folklore by the early collectors, certainly up until 1954 anyway. It smacks of colonial paternalism, however so well-intentioned in its sentiment, much as Kipling gave evidence to in The Land which celebrates the God given functional status of 'the rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate' which was later anathema to the Folk Scene as a whole despite (or maybe because of) its pedominately middle-class demographic. Even now its rare to meet a right-wing folkie (I know a couple, both of them working-class) despite the fact of the entire rivival being predicated on class condescension.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 05:14 AM

Simply for your interest, I am a rightie folkie & couldn't be more middle-class ~~ Cambridge graduate, long-retired senior teacher, longtime member of Institute of Journalists, member of The Groucho Club...

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 06:21 AM

I'm working-class with no formal academic qualifications to speak of, though I was invalided out of Durham University as a mature student on account of the Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome from which I still suffer. Generally tolerant (the people, Lord, they people etc.) I despise fundamentalism of any stripe and am inclined to objectify both political & religious opinion in favour of a wider humanism. Consequently I am a materialist with an interest in the cultural dimensions of religion and the religious dimensions of culture.

One wonders what Groucho would have made of your club, Michael? though the angelic Harpo used to drift in and out of the Algonquin as it suited him to do so, as eloquent off-screen as he was mute on it by all accounts - though it is said Zeppo could upstage the lot of them single handed at social gatherings!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 07:03 AM

M the GM, is spot on, furthermore mules and jennets cannot reproduce, they are sterile, they live and they die without producing more mules jennets etc.
so does the crossbreeding of music die in the same way ? do we end up with a homogenous bland cumasc ,which is worse than the original genre, or do we end up with something excitingly new, probably both, depending on the musicians involved and their skill.
unfortunately Ihave heard more examples of the former than the latter, what often happens[ in my opinion] when folk music attempts to become more commercial is that its roots get weakened


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 08:32 AM

a homogenous bland cumasc

What a truly evocative turn of phrase you have, GSW! I could argue that Revival Folk is such a creature though - impotent and cross-bred, but not by some random mating, rather a more purposeful selection in the creation of a beast of burden incapable of producing further mutation. And though the parent thoroughbred is long dead, he sired a fine line in creative musical action that will endure in perpetuity just that, as living Traditional Popular Musics, none of them are of any interest to folkies who are either mired in nostalgia and over-weening mawkishness or else indulging in a seance with the residue of Traditional Song...


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 04:47 PM

cumasc is irish for blend.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 05:06 PM

It is as well! I thought it was a typo for musac. Apologies.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Uncle Rumpo
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 07:11 PM

oops.. in the context of the metaphore

I read it as cumsac !!!???


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Uncle Rumpo
Date: 10 Aug 10 - 09:19 AM

..which is a reasonable mistake to make here at mudcat..

where so many otherwise intelligent and erudite folk

can so often talk and argue such complete bollocks.....


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Woozy McGuffrie
Date: 29 Dec 17 - 01:39 PM

RAMONES!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 29 Dec 17 - 06:22 PM

MAYBE this, but note oral transmission, variation, selection.

If that didn't work, try this.


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