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Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)

DigiTrad:
AROUND ME BRAVE BOYS
BRISK YOUNG WIDOW
NOSTRADAMUS
OAK, ASH, AND THORN
On Board a 98
THE BARLEY AND THE RYE
THE GOOD LUCK SHIP
THE OLD SONGS
WE HAVE FED OUR SEA FOR A THOUSAND YEARS


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raymond greenoaken 30 Sep 10 - 01:45 PM
Howard Jones 30 Sep 10 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 30 Sep 10 - 02:06 PM
Howard Jones 30 Sep 10 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,David E. 30 Sep 10 - 03:11 PM
Phil Edwards 01 Oct 10 - 05:06 AM
Stringsinger 01 Oct 10 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 02 Oct 10 - 04:49 AM
raymond greenoaken 02 Oct 10 - 05:47 AM
Brian Peters 02 Oct 10 - 11:24 AM
raymond greenoaken 02 Oct 10 - 02:35 PM
Phil Edwards 02 Oct 10 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 02 Oct 10 - 07:15 PM
Les in Chorlton 03 Oct 10 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 03 Oct 10 - 06:54 AM
Les in Chorlton 03 Oct 10 - 06:59 AM
Jack Blandiver 03 Oct 10 - 07:33 AM
Phil Edwards 03 Oct 10 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 03 Oct 10 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Toby Ashton 03 Oct 10 - 10:38 AM
Little Hawk 03 Oct 10 - 11:05 AM
Les in Chorlton 03 Oct 10 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Catherine Foster 03 Oct 10 - 12:56 PM
Les in Chorlton 03 Oct 10 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Catherine Foster 03 Oct 10 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,Ian Gill 03 Oct 10 - 02:08 PM
Little Hawk 03 Oct 10 - 02:11 PM
Hesk 03 Oct 10 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,Catherine Foster 03 Oct 10 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,gluemania 03 Oct 10 - 02:42 PM
MGM·Lion 03 Oct 10 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,gluemania 03 Oct 10 - 03:45 PM
MGM·Lion 03 Oct 10 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 03 Oct 10 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,gluemania 03 Oct 10 - 05:27 PM
brezhnev 03 Oct 10 - 05:46 PM
Little Hawk 03 Oct 10 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,glumman 04 Oct 10 - 06:23 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 04 Oct 10 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,Foul Ole Ron 04 Oct 10 - 10:42 AM
Will Fly 04 Oct 10 - 10:48 AM
YorkshireYankee 04 Oct 10 - 11:59 AM
Phil Edwards 04 Oct 10 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Oct 10 - 01:50 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 10 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Oct 10 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Oct 10 - 05:13 PM
Les in Chorlton 04 Oct 10 - 05:21 PM
The Sandman 04 Oct 10 - 06:27 PM
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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 01:45 PM

Back off boys! No fisticuffs allowed here; this thread, I hope, is about raising a collective glass to a much missed artist and human being. Mind you, it's good that we can argue about PB, and even fall out over him. He would have loved that, I'm sure. But no-one's trying to beatify him here. He can be a genius without having to be a saint, surely.

I'm chuffed that Suibhne feels I converted him to the Bellamist cause. I've actually got an almost 100% success rate in such endevours. The only person I ever failed with is the one with whom I share my life. But I'm not finished trying...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 02:02 PM

somehow Bellamy's genius has singularly failed to attract such a cult status

I'm not so sure of that. He certainly seems to be held in high regard by a younger generation who probably never had the chance to see him live. Jon Boden's admiration for him is well known, but he's far from being alone. Check out this new band, made up of young but well-established musicians, who do a cracking version of the Kipling/Bellamy "Pilgrims' Way", and even named the band after the song:

Pilgrims' Way


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 02:06 PM

I'm not falling out with anybody - I hope! I hope if we were all on the lashg in some boozer we could roar heartily without coming to blows and stagger off into the night singing Butter and Cheese and All happy as larry.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 02:27 PM

"Genius" is a much over-used word and I'm not sure it applies to PB. However he was a supremely talented performer and musician, and surely that is worth celebrating. On the other hand, the other singers Jim mentions are/were surely giants too, and Karl Dallas was not entirely wrong in recognising that in the folk world mediocrity is all too often accepted.

It is undoubtedly true that PB's idiosyncratic style was not to many people's taste. However I wonder whether, if he had had a more mellifluous voice and more conventional style of playing concertina, whether he would have had half the impact he did. For those who manage to get past the bleating voice, he stands out as a stunning interpreter of songs, with a superb sense of timing - so many times he managed to put just the right amount of emphasis on exactly the right word.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 03:11 PM

What a wonderful thread. My wife and I had the pleasure of Peter and Anthea's company at our home in California for an extended stay while he was doing some local gigs and we have such fond memories of them both. I remember he wanted to buy some wine to go with the dinner we were preparing and I had to take him to the most run down "whiskey store" I could find in the worst part of town, nothing else would do! On seeing a fan with a "Save the Whales" bumper sticker on her Toyota he commented "If you cared that much about saving the whales you wouldn't be driving a Japanese car." I think of that often. We searched local used record stores for Rolling Stones bootlegs for his collection and upon looking through my record collection he wrote down a list of what I SHOULD be listening to. (He was right.) Somewhere I have a photo that I took, at his insistence, at a local lake side recreation area: a big smiling Peter next to a sign pointing the way to "Negro Bar." I think I need to find that again.

David E.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 05:06 AM

A blogging friend has posted some more Bellamy memories here. I missed the Rosselson/Bellamy debate (if that's the word) - sounds memorable!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 04:22 PM

Political or not, a song should be well-crafted with knowledgeable writers doing the service.
Whether it's a Left-wing song or a political song is irrelevant. The question to be asked is
"Is it a good song" with imagery, context, a sense of form, appeal to the senses and not generalizing, stanzaic consistency (either uniform or not), subject matter that reach people,
and not inane preaching but "showing".

Eric Bogle, Stan Rogers, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Tom Lehrer and occasionally a song crafted for a rally or demonstration can be useful (though probably not for a concert).

There must be plenty of good songwriters in the UK who I don't know about.

I found Rosselson to be a little too glib and clever (without being clever like Tom Lehrer).

Peggy's songs "Engineer" and a couple of others are very good especially when she doesn't feel obliged to "screech" her message with a shrill voice. The lady can sing and write.

Don't forget Jean Ritchie, "Black Waters", "The L. and N. Don't Stop Here Anymore".
These are terrific songs and have a political intent.

Expressing political intent in a song is fine as long as it's a good song (see definition above).

I think it's perfectly fine and important to rewrite lyrics to traditional songs to reflect contemporary times provided that there is an understanding of the source material.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 04:49 AM

PB's politics were never directly expressed in the rhetoric of song, though if we take the human sentiments (though never sentimental!) found in The Transports together with his setting of Kipling's Humanist Hymn A Pilgrim's Way then I think we might be getting the picture. But what of that other Kipling/Bellamy oft-sung masterpiece The Land? This is generally supposed to reflect a left-wing bias, but in context it is, in truth, a celebration of the continuity of serfdom under feudalism with the faceless Hobden being a mere type, a patronising caricature of tradition rather than a flesh & blood individual. The irony of him somehow owning the land only because it is comprised of his dead forefathers is a bitter one. A bleak testimony indeed, but wholly analogous to the actual condition of Folklore as a subject perceived by the feudal masters of their lesser subjects.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 05:47 AM

"This is generally supposed to reflect a left-wing bias, but in context it is, in truth, a celebration of the continuity of serfdom under feudalism..."

Well, yes, perhaps. Others see (and sing) it differently, and I think the point here is that Kipling is amenable to ambiguity in a way that is rarely acknowledged. The trouble with thinking about the Kipling-Bellamy settings as a corpus, as we inevitably do, is that it encourages us to see them as presenting a distinct and consistent agenda. We don't think of folk songs that way. Because we don't know of the original maker's identity or views, we tend to see a folk song through the prism of our own individual sensibility. Nowt wrong with that! My guess is that if we encountered a Kip-Bell song and thought it traditional or anonymous, the same process would take place. But tell someone "This is a song by Rudyard Kipling" and a set of expectations (or prejudices) clicks instantly into place.

Yesterday I was watching a vid of PB being interviewed by Eddie Upton around 1990. It's interesting – and perhaps germane to this discussion – that PB says here of Kipling (I'm paraphrasing from memory) "I don't by any means think all of his work was good, "and "Some of his work contains opinions that I personally detest." Detest is the word he uses here. Now that's food for thought...

In the same interview – remember, this is about 1990 – he declares himself thoroughly pessimistic about the emergence of a new generation of singers. "They'll come, but probably neither you nor I will be around to see it." He was, of course, 50% correct in that assumption: as far as I know, Eddie's still hale and active.

But here's a game everyone can play. Supoose PB was still around. Who among the new cohort of singers would he rate? John Boden may be the most obvious contender, but what would PB have made of someone who is so obviously and unrepentently in his debt stylistically and in terms of repertoire? "He's great – he reminds me of me!" Maybe it's more complicated than that...

Form an orderly queue...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 11:24 AM

I remember an interview somewhere in which Peter opined that 'clonedom', whether the clones were of Martin Carthy or himself, was something he found embarrassing and musically sterile. What he wanted was for singers to listen to the kind of stuff he had listened to, whether Sam Larner, Robert Johnson or American Baptist hymns (he once made me a cassette boldy titled in his own hand 'REAL Sacred Harp', that contained some really wild singing) and form their own style based on those models. As he'd done himself.

At the same time he was generous in his praise of any younger singers he could find, who were interested in traditional song, so I'm sure he'd have been thrilled to bits with some of the present crop. Jon Boden has all of his attack, and the high notes, but is no clone, even when singing Bellamy material.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 02:35 PM

He'd have been delighted, too, with Damien Barber's current eminence, and I think Fay Hield would have ticked the right boxes for him. He'd have loved Tim Eriksen to bits. Who else?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 06:06 PM

I think he'd have found Jon Boden a bit polite (although I'm sure he would have liked "A Folk Song A Day"). I'm not sure who there is out there now who has Bellamy's rawness or attack as a singer.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 07:15 PM

I wouldn't call Jon Boden's delivery "polite"... I'd say he's one of the few around who isn't, and more power to his elbow for that. Raymond's bang on the money with Fay, Tim and Damien too. I'd add Mike Wilson to the list - his album with Damien Barber is a corker. I'd like to think he'd have approved of the wonderful Alasdair Roberts, too. He's one of the few current artists whose output inspires in me the same sort of devotion I have for PB's output.

However... too much bright young trad (TM) sticks doggedly to the limitations of the envelope rather than tearing it up. I think we're going to see some changes to this over the next couple of years. Elle Osborne, Jackie Oates, Emily Portman, Sam Lee and Lisa Knapp, for example, have far too much about them to be content to be mere Radio Two fodder...

I think we're still waiting for the next Bellamy, though.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:36 AM

I'd like to draw your attention to The Beech Band who not only tear up the envelope of dancin' music but sniff the glue off the seal first. Bigger, often twice as big, as Bellowhead and working towards a stranger collection of instruments.

Forget 'New Wave of English Country Dance Music' listen out for 'Acoustic Metal Dancin' - What would PB made of that?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:54 AM

Any fule no the Beech Band are in a class of their own!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:59 AM

Very diplomatic Mr Cringe - bring your spoons and you are in

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 07:33 AM

I think we'll be waiting a long time for the next Peter Bellamy - just as we'll be waiting a long time for the next Frank Zappa, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Sun Ra, Miles Davis etc. etc. The age of the great Individual Traditional Restructuralist is past. Besides which, Folk was always a matter of a few exceptions proving rules anyway; such a shame PB never took his craft to a more discerning audience who might have understod it better. These days I hear a lot of great singers in singarounds - such as Crow Sister, John Jocys in Chorlton, Dave Peters in Preston and Piers Cawley in Newcastle (himself a commited Bellamist with a repertoir to match) - but after what happened to PB, I doubt any professional folkie would dare push the envelope so far again.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 08:48 AM

Perhaps 'polite' is the wrong word, but I find that when Jon Boden lets rip he often does so in ways that sound fairly mannered and predictable; to my ear he sounds more raw and unprocessed when he's doing quieter stuff (e.g. today's AFSAD, "Deep Blue Sea"). Bellamy's delivery, at least on his later stuff, was *all* mannered - which meant that, once you'd tuned into that style, the voice could sound extraordinarily raw and powerful. It's an odd trick but a good one; I wonder if he'd listened to a lot of Beefheart in between the Sam Larner.

When I ask myself what advice Bellamy would have given newish singers like me, I suspect he would have told us to sod off. On the other hand, when I ask myself what example Bellamy set, the words "de l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace" come to mind.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 09:22 AM

Damien Barber says: "One of my main inspirations in folk song is Peter Bellamy who I had the honour of knowing for a couple of years before his untimely death in 1991. Peter's nickname for me was 'The Demon Barber'".

Check out Damien Barber and Mike Wilson's version of "On Board a 98" here.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Toby Ashton
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 10:38 AM

I find it interesting that both Damien Barber and Jon Boden both cite and clearly display the influence of PB on them. As much as I really like and admire Damien's singing I really can't abide Boden's affected bleating.

TA


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 11:05 AM

This thread reminds me of the great contribution sheep have made to the continuance of traditional music, specially in the UK. Being out in the pasture all day with not a lot to do has led many a good ram or ewe to while away the hours singing songs by Robbie Burns or composing their own unique variations of Mary Hamilton, Little Musgrave, etc. And they usually don't do a Ba-a-a-a-a-hhhd job at it either! If it were possible to persuade the local Irish and Scottish lads to stop harassing these poor animals in the dead of night, I should think we'd get to hear even more good trad swelling up joyfully from the meadows.

Boring? NEVER! Let's hear a big round of applause for our wooly friends who have given their all to keep the music alive!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 12:09 PM

Out of the mouths or something related


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Catherine Foster
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 12:56 PM

This whole discussion just serves to highlight why traditional music in the UK is in such a miserable state. You can argue all you like about how the "young guns" (Barber, Moray, Unthanks, Bellowhead et al) are part of a whole new wave of folk musicians who are putting the spark back into this ailing scene, but you must realise that it's really only folkies who are noticing this.

There may be a few more articles than normal stuffed away in a broadsheet or even a tabloid and other media streams might be picking up on this, but it's merely to pat this scene on it's head, not celebrate it.

The scene is far too backward and defensive. Elevating Bellamy to this status, again, highlights this. The anger over Mumford and Marling by folkies in the UK highlights this. Boden's self promoting, backward looking, love in (AFSAD) highlights this. Moray's obsession with scratchy old wax cylinders highlights this. And these are considered to be movers and shakers in this sparky new folk scene.

Unfortunately it's not just this that ails the UK folk scene. It's the level of performance that these guys think is acceptable. Moray wails, Boden bleats and no-one (outside of the cliquy scene) wants to hear it.

Sorry for going OT and for the perceived unkind tirade, but it irks me when people blindly keep defending this dying tradition with arguments and empty justification which will only serve to ultimately destroy it.


Get over Peter Bellamy.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 01:32 PM

Catherine, go to Shrewsbury Folk Festival and you will find more exciting quality music than you can hope to fit into a few days. Performed by all sorts and ages and endlessly brilliant.

As for looking backwards and searching old books and wax cylinders? Well 'folk' now a more or less meaningless word, but traditional or just old? Yes that's what it is part about.

Since the mid 50s a whole genre of music has been re-created and created in folk clubs, festivals, in books and in recordings. Some of us go back there to learn songs and tunes because we like them and we want to perform them. Bellamy was very important. If you don't like him fine. We really don't mind

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Catherine Foster
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 01:51 PM

Hi Les,

I was there this year and it was my first year, but your response sums up everything I was "banging on" about. Shrewsbury FF is a FOLK FESTIVAL. It appeals to folkies and within those hallowed, insular walls each and every one of them can feel comforted that their mediocre tradition is safe in the hands of the even more mediocre Kerr, Fagan, Sartin, Hield, Kerfuffle, Causley etc. A more dull and less exciting, forward looking event would be hard to find.

You may want to bring up the Afro Celts. Christ so would I. More pretentious than Bellowhead (and that's saying something), but musically inferior.

It was folkie through and through with a capital F. What upsets me so much is that this is music that our entire nation should be celebrating and as long as we present it in this kind of way, Joe Public isn't going to sit up and take notice. No other nation would stand for their traditional music being treated as such.

Catherine


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Ian Gill
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:08 PM

Tam Batyellper, they used to call him in the mags... I reckon he was a great singer and a great artist who influenced more folks than like to let on.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:11 PM

Yes, Catherine, but consider the sheep! They are giving it their all, and not in a pretentious way either. In fact, they've always struck me as rather modest animals, quite self-effacing.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Hesk
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:17 PM

Are you playing Devil's Advocate, Catherine? I find it difficult to tell?
Do you really find Bellowhead pretensious and many of the young musicians mediocre, or do you mean to state the opposite?
This thread started as a reminder that it was 19 years ago that Peter Bellamy committed suicide, and for the most part, what followed was a series of memories, mostly fond. I really can't see the problem with that.
As for the current festival scene, it seems pretty healthy and enjoyed by a large minority. As with any interest, it is largely ignored and disliked by anyone outside of it, and again, as with any interest, has a wide range of opinions within it.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Catherine Foster
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:39 PM

Hi Hesk,

Unfortunately I'm not playing Devil's Advocate. I do think this scene celebrates mediocrity more-so than any other musical genre. As I see it (and hear it) the performers revered as the professional top of their game are no better than the eager amateur elsewhere. This is not the case in exponents of any of the other international traditional musics that I have encountered, enjoyed and engaged with over my many years of listening. As long as this mediocrity continues the masses will continue to be turned off by something that they should be proud of.


I'm sorry to hijack this thread, and do not wish to sully the memory of anyone who has passed, but let's not go overboard harking back as that will only fuel the apathy.

The current folk festival scene is oversubscribed. There are too many similar festivals with the same artists (I use the term generously), the same audiences and the same insular, self-gratified non-inclusive outlook.

Catherine


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,gluemania
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:42 PM

Good opinions Catherine. I'll buy you a beer for those any time you like.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 03:35 PM

Without wishing to sound censorious, in either the literal or the conventional sense, I feel I owe it to the memory of a dear, dead friend to remind posters that this thread was intended, as I understand, to pay tribute to the memory of a fine man and fine singer; and should not be allowed, I feel, to drift into an animadversion on the current state of the club and festival scene, or denunciations of the talents and qualities of those involved therein. Would it not be more seemly to start a new thread for such a purpose, rather than to hang it on speculations as to what Peter might have thought of this or that regarding the current situation, or to inveigh against "Elevating Bellamy to this status" ~~ [which 'status'? who has?]?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,gluemania
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 03:45 PM

The thread has remained on topic. Peter Bellamy's lack of bookings may be a barometer of the expectations of 'the' 'folk' 'scene'. I read Catherine Foster's rebuke as a warning that nothing had changed on that front, not as a criticism of PB.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 03:50 PM

Right, gluemania; very fair point. Neither did I take it as any sort of criticism of Peter; simply as perhaps a drift too far from what we should be remembering him for. I still feel we are getting a bit too far from what I perceive as the purpose of the thread: but that's no sort of novelty on this forum, to be sure!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 04:36 PM

For what it's worth, I agree with Michael. Catherine, start a new thread why don't you? I'm sure you'll get a few takers. I've got a couple of points I want to make back at you, but not on this thread where so many people who were friends with Peter Bellamy have shared their memories. It would be a little distasteful.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,gluemania
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:27 PM

Tasteful? Surely people are missing the point?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: brezhnev
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:46 PM

i think a thread on peter bellamy is the perfect place to bang on about endlessly dreary folk singers. Not sure that they're unique to this country, though.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:55 PM

You would, I think, find the North American folk festival scene much more to your liking, Catherine. There are a tremendous number of absolutely great young performers and newcomers to be seen at the Canadian and American folk festivals, as well as the oldtimers and more nostalgic acts from decades past. There's also a tremendous variety of music being offered. It's definitely not a narrow little alleyway just for trad music at Ontario folk festivals, but a showcase for all kinds of different styles and ages.

I can't comment on the festivals in the UK, because I haven't attended any of those yet.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 04:35 AM

LH: "I can't comment on the festivals in the UK, because I haven't attended any of those yet".

I think you'd be pleasantly surprised, LH. Your description of Canadian festivals sounds just like a lot of UK folk festivals.

Glueman: Tasteful

Ok, maybe distasteful was too strong a word, but I think Catherine's all out attack on the perceived failings of the current UK folk scene probably is better served by its own thread... especially if dreary wallpaper music like the Mumfords and Marling are the alternatives being championed.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,glumman
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:23 AM

Ashtray had it right when he said Bellamy would have found new and different champions if he'd have hung on, once the folk scene had exercised natural de-selection. Unfortunately his own dark night coincided with that of his career or we might have had a sort of folk Robert Wyatt, with his own South Bank Show and continuing retrospectives.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:17 AM

To add to the thread drift, my feeling is that you're possibly more likely to find interesting interpretations of folk songs from musicians from genres other than folk (just so long as they're not actually trying to do 'folk'. Take this version of The Cruel Mother for example. Not a cart of rustic merry-makers to be heard..


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Foul Ole Ron
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 10:42 AM

Cobblers to thread drift! Look there are peple trying to make a nice noise & then there are peple trying to capture TAHT sound, the one that nobodys' made bofore. Some of the peoplel with the nice noses noises i mean are briliant, most of them arent', and if you go ot a folk fest looking for seehr briliantness you'll be disappointed. You might hear some nice noises noses I mean though. No I mean noises.

Where was i. Some of hte people trying to capture THAT sound are briliant too, mos of them aren't, sods law or surgeons law or somethig. But Bellamy was briliant I reckon, brillant maybe even. Some people don't think he was and that's up to them. But wether you can get any sheer briillantness in a rusty cart at a folk fest is neither here not the other. Millneeium hand and shrimp.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 10:48 AM

Millneeium hand and shrimp.

I'll have some of that - with a side order of rice and chopped chives.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 11:59 AM

I suspect that Foul Ole Ron had Sturgeon's Law in mind (when he referred to "surgeons law" above). For those not familiar with Theodore Sturgeon or his ("law"), he was a brilliant science fiction writer who is reported to have said (I'm paraphrasing here), "90% of Science Fiction is crap. But of course, 90% of everything is crap."

(Actually, I just Googled "Sturgeon's Law" to make sure I had it right, and my quote/paraphrase above is not entirely accurate -- though it does correctly represent the general idea of what he said, which (it turns out) was at greater length and rather more complicated. If you want to check it out, you can here.)

I've being reading this thread with great interest, as I have only ever heard of PB -- never actually seen or heard him myself.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 12:17 PM

YY - you've been missing out! (As indeed I was until recently.) There are some links in my commemorative blog post.

Interesting about Sturgeon's Law - I didn't realise the proportion was as low as 90%!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 01:50 PM

Nothing is crap, only to those who find it crap; there are no absolutes, only a vague sort of conscensus whih in the folk world has a habit of assuming a frightening level of orthodoxy. Here's a thing whilst I collect Peter Bellamy's albums avidly, I don't think he made anything like a good one, he made a few good folk albums (and never a bad one) but even at their best it's NOTHING compared to what he was like live. Even S&RCT is nothing compared to what he was like live. When I sing his praises, I sing the praises of the man who blew my brains out as a live performer; I listen to his records in echo of that, but they're pretty remote at best. I love watching Christy Moore live but his over-produced albums leave me cold; same with Jane Siberry; same with Robin Williamson, though his ECM album The Iron Stone is very special (I wonder, how would Peter Bellamy have fared on ECM?). Folk albums - IMHO - are generally shite with few but exceptions; for whatever no folk albums do it for me in a way that a proper rock, jazz or classical album does. There is no folk album to match Unknown Pleasures. Bright Phoebus comes close (Danny Rose is the greatest recorded folk song ever) & Jim Eldon albums are in a league of their own (I have no words to account for Rockin' With The Band such is its perfection). Jim Eldon is my Folk God anyway - he's a far greater singer of Traditional Song than Peter Bellamy and he makes better records; Jim Eldon makes both good albums and good folk albums too. Again, just My Humble Opinion, guv, but to me Jim is the Real McCoy in a way that Bellamy, regretfully, never was.

There's a lot of great music out there; great singers & musicians most of whom I'll never hear let alone fall in love with. On the phone to Spleen the other day I think I realised I'm too old to fall in love with musicians the way I used to. I fell in love with Peter Bellamy and I continue to be in love with Jim Eldon; in singarounds I honoured to hear some amazing singers & roar in hearty transcendence for the sweet joy of life itself, and for this I a truly thankful; likewise the great singers I meet & share the stage with at festivals. Makes me sad to think I'll never love any of them with unreserved adoration, but, most essentially, respect where respect is due...

There is no bad music; no absolutes, just opinions; all music is great to someone. Today in Blackpool we passed a wooden shack selling Commercial Irish Music, out of which oozed the most syrupy rendering of Fields of Athenry you could imagine. It struck me as the purest expression of that song I'd ever heard - perfect, in fact, in terms of authentic folkloric experience & it probably sells by the shed load. Certainly put a smile on my face anyway.

Context is all; love what you love & love what you are.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 02:58 PM

"Nothing is crap"
SO'P - as far as I can see you are the only contributor to have used the term 'crap' in relation to Bellamy's singing - a 'straw man' technique of arguing that you seem to be rather fond of.
A piece of creative art, which is what I believe all singing to be, works or doesn't work in relation to what the artist claims it to be and what he or she sets out to achieve with it.
Bellamy's singing never worked for me (happy to discuss why), and eventually it ceased to work for others on such a scale that led to an empty booking diary. To suggest that it was anything other than a failure of his part to satisfy an audience that he had chosen to provide his bread and butter, is dishonest in the extreme.
"The world isn't ready for me yet" is an argument that belongs far more with Tony Hancock's 'The Rebel' than it does to the folk scene.
"..... who blew my brains out as a live performer;"
Is that where they went?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 03:17 PM

One of these fine days, old man - you're going to actually bother to read what I write before cracking off yet another frenzied obnoxious reply which misses the point by several merry country miles. Just in case anyone else missed it - when I say nothing is crap I mean it in relation to Sturgeon's Law discussed above. Bellamy's singing was an acquired taste for some (the best things in life very often are) but I loved as soon as I heard it.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:13 PM

OK ... I've got a confession to make ...


Ummm ... I'm not terribly fond of Theodore Sturgeon's fiction ... There! I've said it!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:21 PM

Bellamy live was more than a bit special. I was lucky to see him 2 or 3 times and it really made me understand that at the heart of this old music is being in a human sized acoustic space, say a room, and hearing somebody sing a song that really hits all your senses.

I didn't expect everybody or even most or even quite a lot of people to feel as I did. Name any genre of music and most people will probably be unmoved by it.

Luckily some people come down the Beech and sing songs and I think we all appreciate what everybody sings. Sometimes am greatly affected and sometimes not. But soemtimes is not bad. Providing the "human sized acoustic space, say a room" is the first step and showing friendship and respect are others and PB knew that. I feel sure most people on this thread will feel likewise. As for cerrying this great music to convince all the people to like it? Forget that daft idea

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:27 PM

Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Catherine Foster - PM
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 01:51 PM

Hi Les,

I was there this year and it was my first year, but your response sums up everything I was "banging on" about. Shrewsbury FF is a FOLK FESTIVAL. It appeals to folkies and within those hallowed, insular walls each and every one of them can feel comforted that their mediocre tradition is safe in the hands of the even more mediocre Kerr, Fagan, Sartin, Hield, Kerfuffle, Causley etc. A more dull and less exciting, forward looking event would be hard to find.

You may want to bring up the Afro Celts. Christ so would I. More pretentious than Bellowhead (and that's saying something), but musically inferior.

It was folkie through and through with a capital F. What upsets me so much is that this is music that our entire nation should be celebrating and as long as we present it in this kind of way, Joe Public isn't going to sit up and take notice. No other nation would stand for their traditional music being treated as such.

Catherine
This is a good post, Catherine how would you like IT to be presented?


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