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BBC4 Christmas Session

GUEST,mulv 10 Dec 10 - 07:05 PM
Suegorgeous 10 Dec 10 - 07:10 PM
Ross Campbell 10 Dec 10 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,lizMcfarlane 10 Dec 10 - 09:40 PM
Edthefolkie 11 Dec 10 - 05:23 AM
Rafflesbear 11 Dec 10 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,Silas 11 Dec 10 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,Auldtimer 11 Dec 10 - 05:50 AM
Wheatman 11 Dec 10 - 05:56 AM
GUEST, Richard Bridge (must set cookie on this com 11 Dec 10 - 06:40 AM
squeezeboxhp 11 Dec 10 - 07:07 AM
John MacKenzie 11 Dec 10 - 08:35 AM
theleveller 11 Dec 10 - 10:00 AM
Paul Davenport 11 Dec 10 - 10:08 AM
MikeL2 11 Dec 10 - 10:59 AM
John MacKenzie 11 Dec 10 - 11:28 AM
VirginiaTam 11 Dec 10 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Santa 11 Dec 10 - 12:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Dec 10 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,Singinghorse 11 Dec 10 - 12:35 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Dec 10 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 11 Dec 10 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,erbert 11 Dec 10 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,glueman 11 Dec 10 - 01:14 PM
Folknacious 11 Dec 10 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,erbert 11 Dec 10 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Lushka 11 Dec 10 - 01:29 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 11 Dec 10 - 01:46 PM
Paul Davenport 11 Dec 10 - 01:46 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 11 Dec 10 - 01:54 PM
theleveller 11 Dec 10 - 02:02 PM
theleveller 11 Dec 10 - 02:03 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 11 Dec 10 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Lushka 11 Dec 10 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,erbert 11 Dec 10 - 02:37 PM
theleveller 11 Dec 10 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,eliza c 11 Dec 10 - 05:56 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Dec 10 - 06:01 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 11 Dec 10 - 06:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Dec 10 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 11 Dec 10 - 06:08 PM
Dave the Gnome 11 Dec 10 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,eliza c 11 Dec 10 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,glueman 11 Dec 10 - 07:03 PM
Andy Jackson 11 Dec 10 - 07:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Dec 10 - 08:00 PM
GUEST,erbert 11 Dec 10 - 11:41 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 12 Dec 10 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Silas 12 Dec 10 - 05:28 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Dec 10 - 05:36 AM
VirginiaTam 12 Dec 10 - 05:43 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Dec 10 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,Mike Rogers 12 Dec 10 - 05:59 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 12 Dec 10 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,glueman 12 Dec 10 - 08:10 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Dec 10 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Silas 12 Dec 10 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,eliza c 12 Dec 10 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,JohnC 12 Dec 10 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,JM 12 Dec 10 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,John rom Kemsing 12 Dec 10 - 10:59 AM
Dave MacKenzie 12 Dec 10 - 11:04 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 12 Dec 10 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 12 Dec 10 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,glueman 12 Dec 10 - 11:28 AM
DMcG 12 Dec 10 - 11:32 AM
Dave MacKenzie 12 Dec 10 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,erbert 12 Dec 10 - 12:27 PM
Bounty Hound 12 Dec 10 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,mulv 12 Dec 10 - 01:06 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 12 Dec 10 - 01:44 PM
GUEST,erbert 12 Dec 10 - 01:49 PM
theleveller 12 Dec 10 - 01:53 PM
VirginiaTam 12 Dec 10 - 02:06 PM
brezhnev 12 Dec 10 - 02:08 PM
JohnB 12 Dec 10 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Dec 10 - 02:17 PM
theleveller 12 Dec 10 - 03:44 PM
Tootler 12 Dec 10 - 04:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Dec 10 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,LizMcfarlane 12 Dec 10 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,mulv 12 Dec 10 - 05:19 PM
Paul Davenport 12 Dec 10 - 05:24 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 12 Dec 10 - 05:25 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 12 Dec 10 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,TB 12 Dec 10 - 05:32 PM
Bonzo3legs 12 Dec 10 - 05:32 PM
VirginiaTam 12 Dec 10 - 05:38 PM
Paul Davenport 12 Dec 10 - 05:42 PM
John MacKenzie 12 Dec 10 - 05:56 PM
GUEST, tom bliss 12 Dec 10 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,FloraG 13 Dec 10 - 03:40 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 13 Dec 10 - 04:23 AM
Will Fly 13 Dec 10 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,glueman 13 Dec 10 - 04:39 AM
Abdul The Bul Bul 13 Dec 10 - 04:48 AM
Bounty Hound 13 Dec 10 - 05:50 AM
Dave MacKenzie 13 Dec 10 - 06:17 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 13 Dec 10 - 06:42 AM
Leadfingers 13 Dec 10 - 07:42 AM
theleveller 13 Dec 10 - 07:44 AM
evansakes 13 Dec 10 - 08:00 AM
Andy Jackson 13 Dec 10 - 08:09 AM
Will Fly 13 Dec 10 - 08:59 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM
Dave MacKenzie 13 Dec 10 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 13 Dec 10 - 10:07 AM
Rob Naylor 13 Dec 10 - 10:37 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 13 Dec 10 - 10:59 AM
Paul Davenport 13 Dec 10 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Silas 13 Dec 10 - 12:54 PM
Rob Naylor 13 Dec 10 - 02:11 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 14 Dec 10 - 04:06 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 04:29 AM
John MacKenzie 14 Dec 10 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,Silas 14 Dec 10 - 04:56 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Silas 14 Dec 10 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 Dec 10 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,s-j in London 14 Dec 10 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,chris 14 Dec 10 - 07:04 AM
theleveller 14 Dec 10 - 07:47 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 08:50 AM
jacqui.c 14 Dec 10 - 10:21 AM
Trevor Thomas 14 Dec 10 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 Dec 10 - 10:42 AM
John MacKenzie 14 Dec 10 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Silas 14 Dec 10 - 10:50 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Silas 14 Dec 10 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Chris-Newbie-Guest 14 Dec 10 - 10:56 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 11:03 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 14 Dec 10 - 11:09 AM
John MacKenzie 14 Dec 10 - 11:16 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 11:17 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 14 Dec 10 - 11:32 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,erbert 14 Dec 10 - 11:51 AM
Bounty Hound 14 Dec 10 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,glueman 14 Dec 10 - 01:17 PM
Dave MacKenzie 14 Dec 10 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,glueman 14 Dec 10 - 04:04 PM
VirginiaTam 15 Dec 10 - 02:40 AM
VirginiaTam 15 Dec 10 - 02:42 AM
Rob Naylor 15 Dec 10 - 02:54 AM
GUEST,glueman 15 Dec 10 - 03:23 AM
GUEST,LDT 15 Dec 10 - 04:28 AM
Rob Naylor 15 Dec 10 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,glueman 15 Dec 10 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Penrith Pete 15 Dec 10 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,Eve 15 Dec 10 - 07:40 AM
theleveller 15 Dec 10 - 08:40 AM
Rob Naylor 15 Dec 10 - 09:08 AM
Rob Naylor 15 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Penrith Pete 15 Dec 10 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,glueman 15 Dec 10 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Eve 15 Dec 10 - 10:12 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 15 Dec 10 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,erbert 15 Dec 10 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Eve 15 Dec 10 - 12:17 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 15 Dec 10 - 01:16 PM
Suegorgeous 15 Dec 10 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,OLDNICKILBY 16 Dec 10 - 04:41 AM
theleveller 16 Dec 10 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,GUEST banksie 16 Dec 10 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,glueman 16 Dec 10 - 05:46 AM
Bounty Hound 16 Dec 10 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,oldnickilby 16 Dec 10 - 06:34 AM
Dave MacKenzie 16 Dec 10 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Elliot 17 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM
evansakes 17 Dec 10 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,Reimer 18 Dec 10 - 04:03 PM
Manitas_at_home 18 Dec 10 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Silas 18 Dec 10 - 04:29 PM
Bonzo3legs 18 Dec 10 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,Silas 18 Dec 10 - 04:42 PM
Spot 19 Dec 10 - 03:44 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 19 Dec 10 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Guest Betsy 19 Dec 10 - 06:35 AM
Bonzo3legs 19 Dec 10 - 10:07 AM
MikeL2 19 Dec 10 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,erbert 19 Dec 10 - 01:24 PM
Bonzo3legs 19 Dec 10 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,erbert 19 Dec 10 - 02:25 PM
Manitas_at_home 20 Dec 10 - 05:57 AM
Songwriter15 20 Dec 10 - 06:51 AM
Andy Jackson 20 Dec 10 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 20 Dec 10 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,glueman 20 Dec 10 - 07:17 AM
Bonzo3legs 20 Dec 10 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Stephen Edkins 20 Dec 10 - 03:14 PM
Dave MacKenzie 20 Dec 10 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,mulv 15 Jan 11 - 09:17 PM
GUEST 15 Jan 11 - 10:23 PM
Desert Dancer 08 Jan 13 - 03:45 PM
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Subject: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,mulv
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 07:05 PM

Without a gig tonight,was gonna go to a local session,then I noticed
that the Unthanks were doing a prog on BBC4 about dancing in England so
thought I'd stay in and watch - all quite enjoyable,bla-bla........



then noticed that Christmas Session featuring Bellowhead,Unthanks etc
immediately followed....so I kept sipping the sherry...anybody else
watch this ?



Was it me,was it my telly or were the sound levels for any of the
vocals absolutely dire ? As a 'show' I don't think it translated very
well and the whole 'feel' of the night was,to me,somewhat pompous and
'prancey' and definitely let down by the 'miked' vocals sound quality
(actually,I thought the best singer of the night was the fiddle player
with the Unthanks (forgotten her name).Non-vocals sound was streets
better.



Say what you like about Simon Cowell - but (Wagner apart !!) give me
the X Factor anytime over this self-indulgent 'finery'.I reckon the
show would put off rather than attract any non-folkies who stumbled
across the programme........all in all,a bit of a foot-shooter


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 07:10 PM

Seem to remember there was the same big debate about this here on Mudcat after the programme showed last Christmas...

Wonder if anything new is planned for this Christmas folk-wise?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 08:02 PM

Still Folk Dancing.... recycles on BBC4 in about 2 mins 1.00am Sat 11 Dec. The Unthanks certainly got around most of the spring and summer events - I liked this enough to watch again now!

Ross


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,lizMcfarlane
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 09:40 PM

Really enjoyed the Folk dancing prog, then watched a bit of the Christmas Session... loved Bellowhead. Stayed up late and the prog has come round again, and I may watch a bit more but, omg - what is this fascination with female singers sounding like wee baby girlies?! It's time someone spoke up like the boy in the Emperor's clothes! Come back Maddy, June, why were you not on the prog, Eliza Judy (Dinning),Sarah Notman ... ? Wish I'd pushed myself to go professional on the folk scene all those years ago, but I thought my voice was not good enough... !


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 05:23 AM

Was it me, or did the Unthanks & crew not in fact do Padstow? I know Doc Rowe popped up (hooray) but all the May day footage seemed to be from previous years. Are the media still frightened of being chucked in the harbour?

Rather alarming to watch the Saddleworth Rush Cart segment shortly after finding the 1984 film on VHS. Time like an ever rolling stream etc!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rafflesbear
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 05:27 AM

Sad that the telly took some of the audience away from live sessions.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 05:41 AM

"Sad that the telly took some of the audience away from live sessions."

Boy, the poor old beeb can't win can they? They put on some qality folk stuff at last and theyb get this sort of comment!

I though the Folkie Dance stuff was great - recorded the rest to watch later.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 05:50 AM

Well GUEST lizMcfarline, thanks for making me feel not so out of date by being astonished/dismayed (not for the first time) by the quality? of the performances. No mater how you spread it/cut it/measure it or even listen to it they "canny sing" for toffiee.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Wheatman
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 05:56 AM

Yes, it was great about time we had some joy on the telly. Winter events next???


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Richard Bridge (must set cookie on this com
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 06:40 AM

The best singer of the night was the bloke who was called up to harmonise one song - was it Jem or Jed something? Even The Mistletoe Bough failed to rivet.

Unusually for me however I did like some of the stuff on the gaelic sessions programme - the rearrangement of that sean-nos version of the Four Maries with added accompaniment was riveting even without being able to understand a word.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: squeezeboxhp
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 07:07 AM

if only the Unthank sisters had stuck to clogging and not subjected me to the truly appalling carol singing that followed in the folk Christmas, bring on Ruth & Sadie Price if some good unaccompanied harmony is called for.
Maddy Prior & Carnival band,Waterson's christmas act,Dave & Toni Arthur revival plenty to choose from.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 08:35 AM

Well I saw most of the Christmas thing, and I was apalled. WTF were some members of the audience wearing? It looked like the Good Old Days meets, Down and Out in London and Paris.
If I had stumbled into this as a non folkie, I would have either quickly switched channels, or poured myself a larger drink!
As has been said, the Unthanks were good-ish, but badly miked up, the two lads on piano accordion and fiddle, looked out of their depth, but made a half decent job, apart from the self conscious MC work of one of them.
Bellowhead were their usual, sort of a cross between Spike Jones, and Black Dyke Mills brass band.
The programme that followed was very interesting, albeit, some of the clips shown, particularly Martin Carthy and Peggy Seeger, didn't look like they fitted the 50' and 60's parameters, the show was supposed to fit.
Both Martin, and Paul Brady, look younger now than they did in their respective clips :)


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 10:00 AM

I though the atmosphere was brilliant, like a rather spooky Dickensian music hall set - which suits Bellowhead's style perfectly. I enjoyed it all, with the exception of the Unthanks who I desperately want to like but just don't.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 10:08 AM

There were certainly issues with the editing, voices out of synch with visuals and with the sound, unbalanced vocals and instrumentals. Possibly explains why the media shy away from this music which is clearly still much misunderstood.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: MikeL2
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 10:59 AM

Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie - PM
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 08:35 AM

< "The programme that followed was very interesting, albeit, some of the clips shown, particularly Martin Carthy and Peggy Seeger, didn't look like they fitted the 50' and 60's parameters, the show was supposed to fit.
Both Martin, and Paul Brady, look younger now than they did in their respective clips ">

Hi John

I watched this too. Although I had seen it before this time I enjoyed Andy Irvine when last time I was a bit "iffy" about him.

Must be getting older...lol

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 11:28 AM

Andy Irvine is still the best self accompanist in the business, for my money.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 11:38 AM

Richard - It was Sam Lee and he was shining in that performance. Wish there had been more of him.

I did watch this again last night. First time was the live performance last year, when I was distracted by snow storm and my daughter's flight from US to UK. My comments last year were a bit coloured by other worries and the general feeling on the other thread, many were posting negatively as they watched it.

I found I enjoyed it much more this time around. I had the luxury to notice more nuances, especially in the Unthank's harmonies. And I looked and listened with a different eye and ear. I think the Victorian costumes were fun. I loved Belshazzar's Feast the best. I do wish Jim Moray had done a different treatment of Oh Come Emanuel. Given what I have heard of his other stuff, I think he could do something quite extraordinary with that song.

Hope they do another and that they mix in some of the old guard with the bright young ones.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 12:12 PM

The style of the programme was distinctive enough to be something that you either liked or it put you off. I didn't care for it, but aside from that the standard of the singing was dire. Having just seen the Gaelic Sessions an hour before just rubbed in the difference in quality.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 12:31 PM

Dreadful beyond dreadful from what I saw, which wasn't too much. A snatch of Unthanks and the first verse of the Mistletoe Bough. I couldn't take any more.

I dread to think that there may be people who will have seen this and assumed that this is what folk music is all about.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Singinghorse
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 12:35 PM

Both as a singer and as an English person i found it to be an embarrassment!
Just terrible.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 12:46 PM

Trying desperately to be positive, enjoyed the dancing programme and the folk collection after 11!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 12:58 PM

I missed it entirely last year because I was in hospital counting blokes with scythes, but I'm amazed and slightly distressed by the negative comments above. At last some of the top younger UK folk acts get a no-holds-barred slot on the Beeb - surely even it it's not your cup of tea that's something to applaud? And these people are to a man and girl seriously good musicians - how many here could hold a candle? (I certainly can't).

Whatever was there not to enjoy? Great music, great atmosphere, different yet familiar, both variety and Variety - I'd give it 10 out of 10 any day.

I noticed no audio or video problems to speak of (I'm a TV director and I know what this show will have involved - trust me, was a technical triumph), so cannot imagine why others appear to have done so. (There may have been a bit of post-synching of alternative takes on occasion, but that's no crime - in fact it's the only way to capture this sort of show with that many artists on a realistic production budget).

I also thought the singing was extremely good for a live event, any more controlled and it would have lost spontaneity.

Sam Lee has one of the spookily best voices around. Not everyone likes Jon's voice but I think he's terrific, as were all five of the girls (again, not everyone 'gets' Rachel and Backy, but they definitely have got it - or they'd not be where they are today - and I love'em), Paul was as reliably excellent as ever and so was Jim (again not everyone's cup of tea, but his phrasing, emotional charge, diction and timbre are all beyond reproach). I was intrigued by the darkness of Emmanuel, which though in a minor key is usually delivered in a triumphant style - but Jim's version had me thinking of broader meanings for the words - specially "and ransom captive Israel." Top stuff, challenging and beautiful.

The only thing that galled me about this was that I've been trying (somewhat half-heartedly, admittedly) to persuade the Beeb to let me do a folk version of Later - (with, I hoped, Sartin as presenter) and I now I realise I was trumped more than a year ago! The guy is, as I guessed, a complete natural.

The two Pauls did not look in the least out of their depth! Ok the box was a tad quiet, but I've seen them do this live dozens of times and this was bang up to par.

Good Old Days meets Down and Out in London and Paris? Absolutely! And why-ever not?

Great telly - definitely and absolutely a show that will have drawn in and entertained non-folk people, and terrific advocacy for the best of what's afoot these days.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 01:13 PM

I've liked Bellowhead a lot and keenly supported them in various online forum rows.
But must admit I'm going off them, due mainly to the conceitedly affected vocals & theatrical posturing of Jon Boden.

If I want to listen to exaggerated Alex Harvey and 'Laughing Gnome' era Bowie aping Anthony Newly
vocal stylisations, I'll dig out the old LP's.

Up to now I've tolerated that swollen headed bourgeois cabaret/burlesque aspect
of the bands performance persona.
But since they become poptart darlings of the corporate media Art circuit
they are in danger of disappearing up their own self indulgent circus ring.


merry xmas.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 01:14 PM

"Good Old Days meets Down and Out in London and Paris? Absolutely! And why-ever not?"

Why not indeed. As I said on the other thread there is no music hall or variety in the traditional sense on the box. The programme had the slightly seedy, camp, self-deprecating music hall sensibility down very well. What it wasn't was folk club folk, which the programme clearly never set out to be.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Folknacious
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 01:22 PM

Great telly - definitely and absolutely a show that will have drawn in and entertained non-folk people, and terrific advocacy for the best of what's afoot these days.

Seconded. Or thirded, especially because What it wasn't was folk club folk.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 01:27 PM

sorry, got a bit carried away, I'm thinking more in terms of Bellowhead's recent TV appearances promoting the new LP.
I think I enjoyed the xmas show when it was first televised last winter, but was most probably very drunk whilst watching it.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Lushka
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 01:29 PM

It's not about folk club- or non-folk club folk, it's about quality.
Compare this, our "English Sessions" (closest we have!) to the Highland or Transatlantic Session also on BBC4 - the chasm is vast.
It's amazing what a bit of razzmatazz can do!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 01:46 PM

erbert, are you saying that it's wrong for one artist to be influenced by an earlier artist - Bowie by Newley, for example? I hope not - or we'd all be in trouble, and so would every artist before us.

I don't think there's anything wrong with Boden taking a leaf out of Newley's book if he wants to - not that he has, IMO. What he HAS done - and it's a legitimate technique - is deliberately to occupy the grey area between his modal voice and falsetto, an approach influenced, I understand, by Peter Bellamy. If he did not do this, not only would his delivery be weaker and less individual (always a crucial factor) but his voice would be lost in the appealing maelstrom that is the Bellowhead sound, and the project would never have got off the ground (I suspect that's why he's the vocalist even though the band contains at least another four potential lead singers).

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and accept that your last sentence is not merely sour grapes, but will remind you that success is hard fought for and hard won. Bellowhead are, thank the lord, breaking though to a wider audience - and absolutely on their own terms. We do not criticise rock artists (like Harvey) for adopting 'swollen-headed' larger-that-life stage personas, and there's no need to do so to Bellowhead just because they're 'from' the folk arena.

Big acts need big acting - and it's working.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 01:46 PM

Tom wrote; 'I noticed no audio or video problems to speak of (I'm a TV director and I know what this show will have involved - trust me, was a technical triumph), so cannot imagine why others appear to have done so. '
I was speaking of the movement of lips after the sound had been heard, the number of people clapping off the beat??? Soundwise, Becky Unthank's solo was inaudible whilst her sister's harmonies were as clear as day. Like you Tom, I can't imagine why.
However, to be positive, it was great to have an evening of folk on the telly - something of a refreshing change.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 01:54 PM

Lushka, comparing the Highland Sessions with the Bellowhead Christmas show is akin to comparing The White Heather Club with, err, Shanties and Sea Songs with Gareth Malone.

Or fish cakes and harmonicas.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 02:02 PM

I absolutely love Jon Boden's voice - it has the special drama and ubderlying sense of menace that brings a whole new dimension to the sonsgs and that came across especially well in Songs from teh Flood Plains. Like I said, this session was the perfect foil for Bellowhead - a folk concert produced by Edgar Allan Poe or M R James.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 02:03 PM

And I'll put me glasses on before typeing hext time.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 02:05 PM

Well Paul I'm sure you know that to have as many cameras in that hall as there appeared to be would cost about three times the budget. So there were not in fact that many.

I wasn't there, so I don't know what happened, but the normal approach is to film each song two or three times. The audio is then taken from the take in which the close-ups are recorded, and the wide-shots are post-synched to that audio. When the act is miming to a pre-recorded track, this usually works seamlessly, but when it's done two two or more live performances it doesn't always fit perfectly.

I spotted a couple of very minor sync issues, but they were well within normal tolerances and I certainly wouldn't mark the show down for them.

The alternative is either only to use the available cameras on a single take and look 'shot-poor' in comparison with other TV music shows, or to ask for triple the budget and have the show idea turned down.

"Becky Unthank's solo was inaudible whilst her sister's harmonies were as clear as day" - not on my telly, just not perfectly balanced perhaps, but then a few things usually do slip through the net and we hope people won't mind too much.

Shows like that are very hard to make.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Lushka
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 02:14 PM

I didn't know it was called the Bellowhead Christmas show - i read 'Christmas Session' and since all the contributors were English it seemed like a fair analogy.
You're right though - there is no comparison.
I'm in my twenties so i'm not harking back to some golden age of "proper folk" - and i love English music. I just didn't rate this concert, while the musicianship on the Highland and Transatlantic Sessions is generally excellent, whether or not you appreciate the style.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 02:37 PM

Its just my personal disappointment that a band who's music I enjoy very much,
is for my own taste becoming too overshadowed by the foibles of its lead singer.
I accept most of what you say Tom regarding live shows, but I find him a little overpowering and grating
on the Band's new CD recording.
That's a matter to consider when it came to the working relationship between the band and veteran producer John Leckie.

Its not so much I begrudge any performer celebrating and incorporating their cultural influences, but there is a limit before it starts feeling forced and irritating.

Of course I'm hoping their next CD will be brilliant, but I'll think twice next time before I buy it unheard.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 03:10 PM

I too have mixed feelings about Bellowhead CDs, but live they are incomparably good fun.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,eliza c
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 05:56 PM

I missed this mast year, and saw it last night-and i have to say this somewhere, out loud. Those people who mention the transatlantic sessions-you are absolutely right. This concert was an embarrassment from start to finish in terms of performance quality and sound. And the costumes and the gurning and that fucking bloke in the stripy leggings all made me want to shoot myself. I have never been so ashamed of myself or my dearest friends. Oh my god. Not a shred of honesty or emotion in any of it. My boyfriend said to me last night after it was done that this is what defines English music now, and I was very, very sad.
Actually, I take some of that back. Lisa was lovely, and Thea doing what she does. But all the prancing about and the leggings and the everything else...I am sorry, everyone I know and love that was there and a part of it, but Jesus...what on earth are we we playing at here?
xe


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 06:01 PM

Eliza,
Thank god for some sanity. I thought I was going mad! It looked like a load of hooray Henries taking the piss!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 06:05 PM

"what on earth are we we playing at here?"

erm - light entertainment?

I believe it's still permitted.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 06:06 PM

Forget "folk club folk" - what I'd have hoped this could have been like was the kind of folk music-hall events I've seen at festivals such as Sidmouth, Whitby or Fylde, for example. Raucous and rowdy and energetic, with music and song to lift your heart and send you off into the night joyful.

This wasn't it. It wasn't within a million miles of what it could and should have been.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 06:08 PM

Sorry, I missed this -

"I have never been so ashamed of myself "

How exactly did this impact on you?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 06:21 PM

I think I mentioned last year - or I may have just thought it - The sound man needed putting down. I have heard Bellowhead both live and on CD and the brass is never that overpowering. Eliza C - Amen to the stripey legginged bloke. He should be against the same wall as the sound man.

I thought the Uthanks were OK but that song they did about the tar barrels (Written by Daddy Uthank unfortunately) made what I thought was an exciting event sound like watching paint dry.

All in all, 7/10 for effort by the beeb but 1/10 for content. Failed on so many counts. The only thing I think could be worse is the dire mawkish drivel that the plastic paddys put us through on St Pats night. At least we can switch off the TV:-)

DeG


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,eliza c
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 06:42 PM

Tom-
   I just feel very protective of both modern English folk music and my mates, since you ask. It's kind of my thing.
xe


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 07:03 PM

Wasn't it just part of a long tradition of dressing up in daft clothes for a Christmas special? It did, superficially at least, look like Jack the Ripper meets Gay Pride but the audience and performers made the effort to put on a show which was visual as well as musical. That willingness to mess about and have a laugh is not something the folk scene is noted for.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 07:49 PM

Admit it, it was B**** dire. Very shaky start indeed and one bad song led to another. It was only Sam Lee that gave me hope. And then after a fairly ropey start the wonderful Belshasars feast turned the whole show around. Suddenly the audience seemed to relax and enjoy themselves. The unthanks found their voices. (I did enjoy daddies little Tar Barrel song by the way.)With the lighht hearted now in full flood some great clogging and a finale of songs well worthy of the memory of Sidmouth and Chippenhan Old Time Music halls, it scraped through.
Not a patch on the excellent Clogging Programme or the equally worthwhile Still Dancing, but taken as a whole a good few nights entertainment.
Oh, I better own up, I enjoyed "Morris, a life with bells on" too!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 08:00 PM

"That willingness to mess about and have a laugh is not something the folk scene is noted for."

I'd say that is precisely what is most specially characteristicl of the folk scene in England. For example

There are of course some pompous buggers about, but that's part of the fun.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 11:41 PM

Actually, who are the target audience for this BBC4 Xmas 'folk' session ???

I'm curious enough to want to see the producers written viewer demographic profile
and what terms are used to describe them ?

"Cool groovy sexy socialites like us" ???


wikileaks anyone ?????

I'm used to being haughtily scolded for sarcastic use of certain words I'm inclined to apply,
but certainly very few folk where I live
could even afford the fancy dress hire to attend a 'high society' concert like that.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:17 AM

But with respect Eliza, isn't "very protective of both modern English folk music and my mates" not all that far from what some people said when your Dad joined Steeleye, perhaps?

I'm genuinely puzzled as to why this concert should have drawn down so many strongly negative reactions, and on so many issues.

Let me try to separate them out a little.

Ignoring some odd sort of political class/regional resentment thing, the criticisms seem to fall into five categories; choice of artists, presentation style, musical performance and technical performance.

Let's begin with the first and second.

Obviously I don't know how this show was pitched to the Beeb, but I think I can guess - and I'm fairly certain that if it had been sold as, say, The Imagined Ratcatchers Christmas Special, or The Folk Club Cool Yule Singaround-up, or whatever else people here might have preferred, it simply wouldn't have been green-lit. The two reasons I suspect it got through were that a) the cast list included people the suits had heard of and believed to be 'current,' and b) the package was dressed up to avoid any risk of earnestness or any of the others things that suits fear about folk. (I'm not calling the Village or the Catchers 'earnest,' but both bands do operate in a slightly different territory - as do most folk acts in fact, with the Bellows and the 2Pauls being two well-recognised exceptions).

Thinking about it, I can't help wondering if the reaction here would have been as bad if the show title had not included the loaded word 'session' - but had instead been called something like The Belshazzowhead Christmas Knees-up and Lark-about, or something equally silly. (It was made under the 'BBCfoursessions' brand, though - which will have been another key factor in getting it through). Show titles are really important because they advise the viewers what to expect, and we all know that failing to deliver on a perceived expectation usually results in consumer complaints. I also was expecting something else, but I quickly realised what was going on and went with the flow, and if, as I suspect, the BBC had commissioned a visual feast with lashings of ironic schmaltz and a side order of history and humour (oh, and some folk music) then all the participants are to be congratulated for giving it their best shot.

(Incidentally, complaining that the show had the wrong artists or the wrong style is akin to looking at a work in the Tate Modern and saying 'I could have done that.' The answer, as you know, is; 'well, perhaps you could, but you didn't - this artist did, and they got it into the Tate Modern.' These guys got their show onto BBC4 on a Friday night. Twice).

Ok. On to the two other criticisms. I'm really not sure where the complains about musical performance come from. I thought everyone sang and played to their usual styles and standards. There may have been a few issues with the sound balance at times, (see below), and maybe some don't personally like the sound or style of some of the artists - but neither of those add up to poor musical performance. No-one was out of tune, out of time, playing poor arrangements (not always to taste, but that's about preference, not quality - though far too many people confuse the two) or otherwise lacking.

I can add here, lest people think that I'm always only nice about everything, that the show that followed the clogging last night contained very few good musical performances - and quite a lot of it really was truly dire in musical terms. Out of tune, out of time, wrong chords, all sorts - but it wasn't a bad show. It was very interesting and many of the poor musical performances were hugely enjoyable for other reasons.

I've already dealt with the technical issues above, but it's worth repeating again that the show would not have been green-lit if the budget was too dear. Maybe a few more cameras, a few more mics, more audio channels, a bit longer in audio post etc would have delivered a better mix with fewer sync glitches, but the brief was, presumably, to grab a live and lively sound - and if a few things got lost in the mix, well - so what. That's what happens at most festivals. I simply turned the volume up to max and it sounded wonderful.

To me this was a logical next step down the entertainment road that Bellowhead and Belshazzars Feast have been travelling, and if that takes public perception of modern English folk music slightly somewhere else, so be it. I'm personally convinced that this approach is a Good Thing for folk music and that it in no way threatens other folk styles or sub-genres. I know there are still people around who feel strongly that FairEye StringTangle were a disaster for English Folk, but I'm not one of them. (They probably said the same things about broadsides and troubadours too).

Sam Lee, Janet Frazer-Crook, Serena Cross and Mark Cooper are to be congratulated for giving a few folk musos a bit of work and publicity - and probably a lot of fun, and delivering a perfectly inoffensive bit of Christmas nonsense that a lot of people will have enjoyed.

And if a few new people decide to go to a Ratcatcher's gig or whatever on the back of it then, well over to the rest of us.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:28 AM

I can't believe that Guest eliza c is actually who some of us think she is....


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:36 AM

I'm genuinely puzzled as to why this concert should have drawn down so many strongly negative reactions, and on so many issues.

I'm sure that is true - but I find that quite astonishing. It was terrible, that's why.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:43 AM

Of course it was nothing like the Trans-Atlantic Sessions (please bring them back). But was it meant to be? It would be useful to know what the planned remit of the show was and who was in on that planning.
If it was meant to be a thrown together leisurely, kind of last minute lark, then I think it worked.

I still love the steampunk clothing and the guy in tights made me laugh. So what if he was a bit attention grabbing. He was invited to stand up an show them off.

Adored the Tar Barrels song performance.

As said before, I would like another show and maybe a bit more serious quality in areas of content, format and tech. Maybe initiate the unconverted into the quality of music we want to preserve and promote?

I just want more. I don't have enough live music in my life (not in my local area) and getting on telly is filling a hungry void.

That's my take as a 52 year old, American living in England, new to folk music fan, and I am sticking to it.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:53 AM

It usually is Silas :)
The difference between this programme and the Transatlantic Sessions, along with many other Scottish music/TV progs is just this. People who perform, are more involved in the production and direction of many of our programmes, notably Rab Noakes. While people like Archie Fisher, and Mary Ann Kennedy actually present programmes.
They both still perform, and draw audiences, whereas I get the feeling that Mike Harding is now passé, and out of touch with what's happening around the clubs and festivals.
It looks to me, as an outsider, that the production and presentation of folk programmes on English national TV and radio, is a closed shop.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Mike Rogers
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:59 AM

I really enjoyed the Unthank sisters exploring the UK dance scene. It was an interesting and enjoyable hour's viewing. But when they start to sing I have a problem. My copy of 'The Bairns' will find its way to a charity shop fairly soon. That aside the so-called Christmas show was a real curate's egg. My opinion over two well-separated viewings was unchanged - with skilful use of the editing shears a fairly decent half hour's programme might have survived.

Unlike some I am not grateful for every crumb of folk music that is shown. I will praise the good stuff (and there is some very good stuff) but I feel under no obligation to support the rubbish.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 07:53 AM

"I feel under no obligation to support the rubbish."

No, and nor should you, but it would be nice if a few more people could manage to gather together a little objectivity and separate out their personal tastes from judgements of quality and the wider issue of publicity for folk-rooted music, because they're not the same thing. I personally can't stand the noise that opera singers make, but I'd never say opera was rubbish, because it's obviously of the very highest quality, and a lot of people love it.

I'm not sure what your point is, John MacKenzie. I don't think anyone could call Sam Lee, Paul Sartin, Jim Moray or even Mark Cooper (or any of the performers for that matter) out of touch, they're slap bang in the middle of a 'happening scene.' (Mike and Smoops had nothing to do with the production - at least I don't think they did).

Yes, there is a small group of production companies who have managed, through merit and hard work, to be in pole position on the broadcast end of the UK folk scene. I wish I was one of them but that's just life. They may be out of touch with what's happening in the clubs (and I've told them as much myself), but the clubs only represent a tiny tiny proportion of the Radio and TV audience. And they're not out of touch with the festival and theatre circuits - as the artists selected for this show prove. You really couldn't have crammed in many more.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 08:10 AM

If the complainants are getting acts of an order of magnitude more competent than Sartin, Boden, Spiers, Unthank down their local folk club, I'd like to know where it is. People are griping about the show for what it wasn't, which was a serious expose of the history of English folk music, rather than what it was, which was a Christmas show with quality acts performing some old seasonal songs.
Anyway, I still say there isn't ANY music hall on the telly and this was a fair stab at it.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 08:21 AM

Bring back Leonard Sachs


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 08:23 AM

Oh yes!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,eliza c
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 10:24 AM

hi Tom
My criticisms come from two places: firstly, I did think that some of the performances were a bit dodgy. Not just not to my taste-and here you have to remember that I play with several of the people involved and rate them all as musicians and mates-but poorly done. But it isn't just that. It's the prancing around and the gurning and the wearing of stupid outfits. I thought that died in the seventies. Dad has a memorable story of being on Jim'll Fix It (BBC wish-granting show for kids, US catters) with Steeleye and having to wear mediaeval get-up , including a ridiculous velvet pancake hat that he refused to put on in the end, pretending that they were all at some banquet with the little kid who had written in all dressed as a princess. The watersons sitting on haybales in a West London TV studio in the sixties. This kind of thing relegates us firmly to the past, not a movement of current interpretors, not part of the natural continuum. It's ghettoisation and it's insulting and the media just seem incapable of treating us any other way, don't say to me that this is a part of some evolutionary step that I just don't understand. It's completely retrograde, unimaginative and a shame.
It's not that I don't have a sense of humour or that I think the programme should have been a history lesson. I just think it made us all look like idiots trying far too hard. That kind of treatment of traditional music makes novelties of us, strips us of dignity and sex, two things I think English music possesses in abundance; makes sideshows out of us that can then be dismissed. Plus the broadcast sound WAS bloody awful.
xe
ps thanks for suggesting that i'm not a part of this new gang and that no-one would have heard of me by the way-i wasn't available but you're probably right. trying not to let it get to me. i have a few things left to do before i pack it in yet! i promise it wasn't bitterness prompted the rant-just red wine and a need to say something that's been brewing for a while...i'm not saying there isn't room for everyone...i just thought it was an awful representation of something i'm involved in.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,JohnC
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 10:29 AM

To make comparisons between this concert and the Transatlantic or Highland Sessions is nonsense. This was an evening of Christmas songs, and, as such, not at all representative of English folk music. A genuine 'English Session', drawing on the best vocal and instrumental talent, and allowing the singers and musicians to choose their own material from the English tradition would more than hold its own with the Transatlantic and Highland sessions, but of course, the BBC would never contemplate commissioning such programmes.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,JM
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 10:44 AM

Interestingly enough, Lisa Knapp and my solo song were only added in on the day to cover a gap left by the withdrawal of Mike and Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy. I can't imagine they'd have dressed up, but Mike was due to sing Jack Frost with the Unthanks string section which would have undoubtedly been my highlight of the whole show.

I do regret my song, but only because I picked the wrong key and didn't nail it as well as I could have done. Seeing as my preparation consisted of printing the words out from the Internet, having one run through and then recording it in one take it's not my best performance but I'm not losing sleep over it. As for the rest, I enjoyed playing with Bellowhead (which is what I'd been booked to do). I wouldn't have chosen the dressing up and slapstick if it was my band, but that's what they do... And why they are very popular and I am not.

Finally, this show was put on by the same team who do Later with Jools Holland. They
are the most experienced music tv crew that you can get, and the producers have
enough weight to get anything they want green-lit. It was a bit of fun. It's over now. If the opportunity comes up again we'll do it differently, but it's no big deal.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,John rom Kemsing
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 10:59 AM

Tom Bliss,
          I fully appreciate your detailed and long winded defence of this programme but please, cut to the quick. Accept the fact that too many viewer/listeners are giving it the thumbs down for their opinions and observations to be ignored. Could you not agree that on this occasion, "Could do better" is the order of the day.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 11:04 AM

"this show was put on by the same team who do Later with Jools Holland"

This explains a lot. Another show I usually watch on fast forward.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 11:10 AM

Hi Eliza,

sorry if you thought I was suggesting you were not part of the gang, or that the suits wouldn't have heard of you - that's so obviously not the case that I assumed it was a given! (And there are plenty of other artists who could and would have fitted the bill if there'd been room and they'd fancied it).

But I think you're worrying unnecessarily about this being some kind of ghettoisation. (Steeleye survived the humiliation, and they probably sold a few extra records. No real harm done).

I hear your point about relegating folk music to the past - but that IS after all folk's USP (and, like antiques, a lot of the point of it for a lot of people).

Smart marketing suggests starting from that, and then working outwards/forwards - which is exactly what you guys have done and fair play to you.

The opposite danger is that we only present folk as some disembodied modernist art from, which would risk breaking the link with history and tradition - or worse still, turning it into some sort of sociologicalist carbuncle.

If this had been the only exposure for froots music on TV this year I'd have agreed with you 100%. But it's not been, not by a long chalk. And it has to be said that if anything a majority of what has been aired has been quite right on, so maybe it was time for a bit of dressing up and mucking about. The tradition is chock full of it, after all.

I don't think this stripped anyone of dignity or sex. It was just tapping into the whole Les Mis/Sweeny Todd London Musical Hall swing, and no animals were harmed in the making.

Tom

PS And John from Kemsing, I do "accept the fact that too many viewer/listeners' on mudcat "are giving it the thumbs down for their opinions and observations to be ignored" - but then I'm not ignoring those things. Just asking those people to try to see the bigger picture and cut these guys a bit of slack. I'm not even sure that 'could do better' is appropriate, but words like 'rubbish' and 'terrible' and some of the quite personal attacks above are certainly not. (I hold to the view that you shouldn't write anything about an individual on a public web forum that you wouldn't say to that person's face. And this discussion has not changed my opinion).


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 11:17 AM

Tom Bliss,
          If you feel that "could do better" is not appropriate then what would you say to the BBC regarding the above?. I trust it would not be "Congratulations"!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 11:28 AM

If concerned punters are enthusiasts for the artists featured and thought the production let them down, fair enough. What's often the case with criticism is the person doesn't like the performer and the performance and trimmings are a stick to beat the same old drum.

As an outsider the show looked like fun and was a chance to see top ticket festival artists in one place doing their thing. I can't argue with Eliza's take on events but I wasn't unduly exercised by stripy tights or funny hats. Her mum and dad would have brought gravitas, as well as a rounder perspective on English folk music and it's a shame they and she weren't on, party hats or not.

I don't remember this much fuss when it was first aired?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: DMcG
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 11:32 AM

I don't remember this much fuss when it was first aired?
I do!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 11:33 AM

There was a long thread when the program was first aired, and the point I made then was that I felt that it was a missed opportunity to show the excellence within the British folk scene.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 12:27 PM

Is it on BBC4 again this xmas ? I really do need to watch it in a more sober state than last winter,
to be able objectively judge this programs true merits as entertainment.

Like I said, despite my deeply ingrained class and regional based 'prejudices'/'resentment'/'chip on shoulder'/'envy' etc.. etc..,
I think I was so pissed and full of Lidl's rich christmas pudding I thoroughly enjoyed it last xmas.

.. especially shouting good hearty loud crude insults at the preening toffs in the audience on the telly !!!!


nice to let off a bit of steam in the holiday season of good will.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 12:47 PM

Interesting to read the thoughts of Jim Moray, as an actual participant in the event, rather than just mere observers like the rest of us.

His statement that the programme was put on by the same crew as do 'Later with Jools Holland' kills the argument that it was all the sound technicians fault.

It is evident that he felt under prepared for his solo spot, and perhaps his parting comment 'It's over now. If the opportunity comes up again we'll do it differently' gives us a clue. We all know that the people on stage that night are exceptionally talented people, and more than capable of producing something far better that we actually heard, so I'm now wondering whether the whole thing was just under rehearsed. Perhaps the performers saw it as a bit of a Christmas jolly and didn't give it the same attention as they would for things that would form part of their key repertoire.

And just a personal thought on Bellowhead. I don't think whole Bellowhead show and sound translates well to your living room, either on a screen or a CD. I think you have to be there and be part of the atmosphere they create. I've seen them live several times and have yet to be disappointed, but sitting on my settee, I'd rather listen to just Spiers and Boden.

John


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,mulv
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 01:06 PM

"I'm genuinely puzzled as to why this concert should have drawn down so many strongly negative reactions, and on so many issues."

Well,I've got no telly background or none of my 'mates' were there so I'll now give it straight to you as an average singer and someone who watches some telly...........

I thought the MC'ing was actually rather cringeworthy

ALL vocals sounded poor (with one possible exception)....and some of these performers I have seen 'live' so I know that they can sing....I'm not talking about the odd flat note (which happened) but all the singing sounded dull and 'flat'/lifeless which I'm assuming was a technical thing (but - and this does make me wonder about the vocals overall - Niopha Keegan's short solo as lead sounded really good,so how come she got right what many others didn't ?)

The counter on the tech side is that all the instruments (in the main not thru' mikes) sounded really good - to the standard that you'd expect from the Beeb for any musical type of performance.

Maybe,if you were actually there on the night,it appeared all very jolly....in my living room it was almost 'black' like a cross between 'Moulin Rouge' and Greenaway's
'The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover'.Yeh,real festive stuff !

Oh - and I agree about the bloke in the leggings and the rivetting interview leading up to the Thai Curry !

In fact,when I first started this thread,I hadn't realised that I came to this a year too late.....I was seeing this with 'fresh' pair of eyes and ears...so I'm gobsmacked that BBC4 have actually chosen to show the whole bloody thing again....and re-run it about 4 times this month ! Cutbacks must be really kicking in

It just worries me that whilst some folkies might enjoy it (and clearly they do),others would get the impression that
(a) ALL folkies enjoy this type of stuff
(b) would actually think this is the world in which we live and find to be entertaining.

Maybe this sums it up......after 15 mins,my missus (who's not really into folk music that much) went and mopped the kitchen floor !

(Then,last night,I was lucky enough to stumble upon BBC Alba Piping Live and the Treacherous Orchestra - sanity returned !)


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 01:44 PM

Well, in fairness to Paul Sartin, I think his act was a deliberate "o'marge" (and not spread too thick) to Sachs. I saw it in that light and thought it worked perfectly for the mood of the event, but perhaps if you're not familiar with the old Good Old Days show (and lets face it most will not be) it might have misfired.

Jim, you do yourself a disservice. To expand on what I said up there, I always find the application of your very individual delivery style to traditional songs makes one think twice about the lyrical content - and it did so again with Emanuel, even if you hadn't planned it.

As for this issue of sound quality, I'm flummoxed. I can only repeat that I had it turned up nice and loud and it ALL sounded really REALLY good on my TV (couple of minor issues with the balance at times, but that's all). The only thing I can think of is some phasing issue around the stereo transmission which presented on some systems, or possibly in some regions, and not others - but I'm at a loss to explain how such a thing could happen.

I do know that Bellowhead suffer from the same audio disease as I do - they just don't come across on recordings as well as they do live, but that wouldn't explain any problem with the other acts. I think we must be taking about personal likes and dislikes here. I preferred some songs to others, but they all went over the bar in terms of quality.

A friend of mine told me that they did turn it off - but only because it was about God and stuff.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 01:49 PM

If it provides any clue, in our region freeview digital sound is weaker with less depth and presence,
than sky SD satellite signal.

At least that's been my experience with our budget price home entertainment set up.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 01:53 PM

I don't know why everyone is getting so serious about this. It was a bit of fun, in a pantomimey sort of way. Remember fun?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 02:06 PM

I do.

throws a great big custard pie......


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: brezhnev
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 02:08 PM

Quite apart from the ghettoisation thing (eliza c, you're totally right, but they'll never have the wit or the imagination to do it properly), it was just another deeply dull bbc programme, dreamt up by luvvies to be performed in front of an audience of whooping luvvies, all of them clearly delighted to be part of some weird 'folk' reclaiming of Leeds City Varieties.

Most bizarrely, it was advertised as 'fun'. Fun?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: JohnB
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 02:14 PM

I came across this programme on You tube a few months back in six parts starting here
I did not particularly notice the synch issues, as I was watching through a You Tube version, I accepted this as a computer glitch.
If it was as bad as it comes across to me via my computer, sorry it was crap production wise and I do hope it wasn't as bad as that.

The "Guy with the tights", watch the clip at he start, he is one of the "entertainers" he is shown "singing" while the "Belles of London City" are Morris Dancing in the background, during the "pre-show" warm up of the audience. Where else are you going to seat anyone looking like that but right up front and centre.
The whole thing is "Over the Top", it was meant to be, it was aimed at being a "Christmas Revelry". It was not aimed at the "Folk Elite" who know their stuff and write on "Mudcat", it was a light hearted frolic. If BBC keep showing it, it obviously works for a majority somewhere.
Watching it for the first time on you tube I accepted it for what it was an enjoyed an awful lot of it. However there were parts which I could fast forward though, so gladly they do not stick in my memory.
One of which is the "Unthanks" whose tuning and harmonies I can not come to appreciate, they were not the only ones though. They are just the ones which I recognize, having seen them live on a trip to England.
So take the majority of it for what it was, entertainment which was not really aimed at "YOU" but the general public.
If you want better original entertainment, go to a "live" Folk Club etc, something I am not able to do in Canada as much as easily or frequently as the contributors from England.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 02:17 PM

For the record I was listening on Virgin.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 03:44 PM

Splattt!!!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Tootler
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:36 PM

I saw it last year and this but I missed the beginning this time round as I had been performing myself that evening, but when I got home, my wife had it on and I came in as the Unthanks were singing "In the Bleak Midwinter". I Remembered it from last year and my feelings about their rendering of the carol were much the same as last year - dire! Admittedly it is not my favourite carol, but it is too easy to sing it as a dirge and that is the trap they fell into. Otherwise this was a useful chance to re-appraise it and my feelings this time were to accept it for what it was. This was a piece of light hearted entertainment and, on the whole it worked at that level for me.

I think there are too many people in this thread who are taking the whole thing too seriously. This is a Christmas entertainment that happens to feature folk musicians not a showcase for folk music or an attempt to capture something of the folk club/session scene - which would not translate well to TV anyway.

That said, I understand Eliza C's concerns, but I think it would need a completely different type of programme to achieve what she would like to see. I detect the BBC becoming more aware of folk musicians. I have seen both Kate Rusby and Bella Hardy on Songs of Praise recently, in both cases being featured in a respectful manner. I suspect it needs someone with the right contacts and determination to push things along to bring them and others more into the mainstream of BBC programming.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:42 PM

The format could have been OK - after all it was much the same as you get late night at many folk festivals. It was just done very badly.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,LizMcfarlane
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:01 PM

Thanks Auldtimer and others - What a relief - I am so glad it looks like I am not a grumpy old negative b****! I just didn't have the heart to put it so bluntly. Would whoever you are, please stop misleading people into thinking they really have a great talent when they don't. Look that's what's great about the folk scene, everybody can have a go and it's great to take your turn at singarounds and be a 'floor' singer at the folk club but a whole CD? And on television? I have a hard enough job encouraging my non folky friends to appreciate the music I love.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,mulv
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:19 PM

Well,I've said me bit and probably enough already.I'll also concede that I've re-listened on IPlayer and then looked at JohnB's YouTube link - vocals sound better,I believe,on Youtube even if lips/sound are out of sync.
Still think it was a rather unconvincing piece of TV entertainment......oh and loved the 'custard pie' line ! Bloody roared.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:24 PM

What would it cost to float a production company and do the job right? Tom? Doug? Eliza?
This is a serious question.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:25 PM

There is something else happening here that I'm struggling to understand.

It's clear that a lot of people simply don't see any merit in some of the singers who appeared on that programme.

I might have suggested that this was because those singers are an acquired taste, but this is plainly not the case - because their success in terms of album sales and bums on seats at bookings proves incontrovertibly that they are in fact very fine singers and that huge numbers of people get that straight away (numbers which massively outweigh those who don't like them, as it happens).

But I also have accept that loads of people here on Mudcat and across the folk world disagree, and I have to respect that view too.

So are we seeing some paradigm shift in the concept of what constitutes great singing?

Let's be a bit simplistic and create a generic dissenter who we'll call Moz.

If the artists who Moz thinks should be getting the breaks which our BBC4 singers are getting DID get those breaks - would they be as successful in that marketplace in this era as the BBC4s? We don't know.

Could it be that the BBC4s are in fact somehow 'right' for this arena, in ways that other singers are not - and that they are vocalising some 21st century folk zeitgeist that Moz is just not attuned to?

I don't know, but I do love to find beauty in unexpected places, and I find it easily in the voices we heard on this programme.

Maybe they're not actually bad - just different.

Tom

Or this the breaks actually float by at some point and actually they did not come up to the mark.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:31 PM

Paul, the cost is not the issue. turnstone.tv could do the job tomorrow.

The 'problem' is a small number of broadcast slots (expanding in TV thanks to BBC4, but dwindling in radio) and a commensurate number of incumbent suppliers who have a good track record, good relationships with the commissioning editors, good ideas, good networking skills, good contacts in the folk world etc etc.

The door is not locked, but the corridor sure is crowded.

Which is why I've only talked to my contacts so far and never wasted my time with a written proposal.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,TB
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:32 PM

ignore that last line in my penultimate. It was never even a sentence.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:32 PM

Very boring indeed.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:38 PM

I suspect it needs someone with the right contacts and determination to push things along to bring them and others more into the mainstream of BBC programming.

Some requests from the public couldn't hurt either.

I have already sent my comments in to the BBC requesting more sensitively treated programmes about traditional music and dance.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:42 PM

'Paul, the cost is not the issue.' Sorry Tom, of course it is. For the reasons you just listed. I'm well aware of the 'old boys networking' and the role of 'pluggers' That's how acts are promoted, it's naive(?) to think that success in the media is achieved without these things. Promoting an act, project or a single artist is a matter of finance. That's a fact of media life and nothing to do with 'folk'.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:56 PM

Well to answer Tom's comment that it was a dislike of individual performers. In my case it isn't so, I freely admit to wondering why people get so excited about Bellowhead, but apart from that, all of the performers were OK. For instance, I liked the Tar Barreling Time song, and intensely disliked Jim Morays treatmant of Oh Come Immanuel. That's not down to the ability of the perfermers per se, just the songs they chose.
A TV perogramme is like a CD, you need to get your tracks in order, and get some continuity. Split your songs in the same key, the same with those in the same tempo.
This programme was unbalanced, and if there were 10 acts all worth a theoretical £100, then the sum total of this production, was no more than £700.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, tom bliss
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:59 PM

no paul, you miss the point.

it starts with the bbc schedule, which has x number of slots for folk.

next come the guys pitching, to fill those slots.

they suggest acts but the bbc polices the content and the format.

the only way to by in is to set up your own tv station (and even then you need bandwidth).

the only way isb bto pitch a better show. and the beeb liked this


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 03:40 AM

What I really miss and wish it would return is BBC radio 2 folk programme going round the folk clubs. I know outside broadcasts are much more expensive than just doing ' my favourite new CD this week' or request programmes, but I remember some of the best material coming from the floor singers.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 04:23 AM

Sorry Paul, posting from my phone was not a great idea.

A better explanation - this is the usual BBC process, though there are some shows which just roll on from year to year, like the News. (The other channels work in much the same way).

Step one happens when the senior suits decide on their big picture, based on the audience figures, what the competition is up to, and any good ideas they' fancy pursuing - oh, and the budget - etc.

From this they decide what they want to commission over the coming year. Some of this will be specific (a major strand on underwater cookery, perhaps), and some more general (such as fewer reality shows or more costumer drama, or more reality costume dramas).

This structure will, we hope (now that at last our music seems to have snuck onto the agenda), include a number of folk programme slots, probably - as things stand - under the BBC4 Sessions brand. They may also give a steer on what folk content they'd like to see in general music strands like Later (not sure about this, it could be left to the producers).

This strategy is then made known to interested parties - i.e. programme-makers, including the BBCs in-house production teams.

These providers then submit proposals on a competitive basis to fill those slots.

The closer they can get to the required strategy, (and the cheaper too, obviously), then the better their chances - and if they can manage to tick a few bonus boxes too then so much the better.

Sometimes a new broom gets the work, but more often than not, for obvious reasons, its the incumbent - or someone with a proven track record in that field who is well known to the department concerned. Outsiders run the risk of having their ideas rejected only to see an almost identical programme being made by the in-house team or regular supplier - who, it emerges, just happened to submit an almost identical proposal. (Next time I see you I'll tell you a tale or too from my own experience that will curl your hair right up).

Now, there is no rule to stop anyone submitting a programme or strand idea at any time, but the commissioning team who receive it will merely look to the strategic plan and see if it posts through any of the slots (with or without a minor or even very major tweak, such as, perhaps, silly costumes).

If it's a really really strong idea that happens to strike a chord up the chain, it even might go on the pile to be considered for the next round, but the commission could still go to someone else on the way back down.

There are people who will, for a substantial sum, take the relevant people out to lunch and whisper in their ears - but I can do that for myself, and the truth is that because the folk world is quite small, the slots are quite few, and the existing providers very good, there's really no point in me doing so, and certainly no point in me paying someone else to enjoy the meal.

I have in fact got a short list of folky ideas, and a couple of months ago I did do the lunch thing, but I did not come away from that meeting inclined to invest any time or tears on folk shows - for the moment, anyway.

It's not like planting seeds in a big open field. It's like hoopla with one ring from the back of a scrum.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 04:29 AM

I'll repeat what I said about this programme when it was first aired.

If you compare the sound quality, for example, to the BBC4 proagrammes recorded at St. Lukes - June Tabor, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Newman, etc. - the sound quality was bloody awful.

The programme looked over-complicated and, frankly, rushed, in presentation. I used to work for the Beeb many years ago and I can assure you that the programme did not live up to the normally good standards. As for the performances, well, it's just personal taste (which is what I always say), but I don't care for the Unthanks and didn't care for Bellowhead - whom I usually like very much.

6/10 - could do better.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 04:39 AM

The big old terrestrial broadcasters are only one way of spreading the word. The technology is cheap enough to make your own programmes and have them seen at festivals (film and folk) and on web broadcasts and, who knows, even on the telly.

If you wait for the BBC to give you what you want you'll wait forever.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Abdul The Bul Bul
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 04:48 AM

Well I liked it, I like(d) all the artists and I am looking for a pair of orange horizontally striped tights for myself. Who wants a slick presentation? I like my folk with glitches. I did have a couple of negative thoughts about the forced jollity of the two white haired youngsters at the front but told myself not to be such an old fart.
The Mudcat Miserable Buggers are really the worst thing about this site.

Al


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 05:50 AM

I think Will Fly has summed things up well, the presentation and the performance were less than perfect.

Perhaps we have become conditioned to expect perfection when watching our television.

Perhaps we expected more from performers such as these, who are after all, held up as the current 'big names' in the folk world.

We have already heard earlier in this thread from one of the performers involved, who was obviously not happy with his solo performance and states clearly at the end of his post, that if it was to happen again they would do things differently, which would suggest a collective dissatisfaction from the performers. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of the other performers.

Just to repeat my thoughts from my earlier post, perhaps they saw it as a bit of a christmas jolly, and were a bit under rehearsed?

John


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 06:17 AM

As I've said elsewhere, it was a chance to show the non-folk world that the folk world is full of entertainers who are masters of their instruments, and as such it failed.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 06:42 AM

Dave that's just not true.

I think you are crediting The Great British Unwashed with far more understanding of how concertinas, bagpipes, melodeons etc are supposed to be played than is reasonable.

This show was NOT designed for the experts we find here on Mudcat. I do in fact play (to some degree at least) nearly all the instruments on display, and I didn't notice any poor technique at all (though I bow to Eliza's greater abilities here), I was just enjoying the flow of show.

Most TV programmes contain a few bloopers which only the initiated will spot, and no-one is sent to the Tower as a result.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 07:42 AM

100


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 07:44 AM

Well, it were certainly better than nowt, as we say oop north.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: evansakes
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:00 AM

Over a hundred postings and I'm a bit surprised nobody has yet mentioned what an excellent performance Thea Gilmore provided on the night (or was it just me that thought this?)

As a result I went straight out to buy her Christmas CD last year......and bloody good it is too.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:09 AM

Carefull Twickfolk, that was a positive comment. This is Mudcat after all!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:59 AM

The Mudcat Miserable Buggers are really the worst thing about this site.

This sort of remark is always trotted out if a large number of posters on a thread are critical of such a show. It's not a case of being a miserable bugger or not - it's just a set of people with differing opinions using their critical faculties.

I notice that, when criticism is overwhelmingly positive, you don't read something like "The Mudcat Happy Clappies are really the best thing about this site". Do you? Well, I mentioned the St.Luke's programmes in an earlier post. So let me reaffirm that I thought June Tabor singing Richard Thompson's "Strange Affair", to the accompaniment of Martin Simpson, was stunning; that the Springsteen Seeger Sessions Band (16 musicians) concert was utterly outstanding - not being a follower of Springsteen, I was hugely impressed by his power and commitment; Randy Newman was enthralling in his concert.

So - lots of positive happy ticks - and just the same set of critical faculties that I applied to the Christmas Session show, which only got a few ticks from me.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM

Tom, very right about the BBC and confidentiality. "We don't need to sign confidentiality letters, we are English gentlemen". Yeah right.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:06 AM

Tom, you misinterpret me. I didn't hear poor technique either. As Will Fly points out, the band on the Seeger Sessions sounded like they enjoyed making music (I didn't rate Springsteen until then). So do the musicians on the Highland Sessions, even on something like "The Lament of the Three Maries". Not making technical mistakes isn't enough. If we want to spread the music to wider audience it's got be appealing - look at the positive response from non-cloggies on the Clog Dance programme.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:07 AM

Thank you Will. I now know I`m not alone.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:37 AM

Will's comments are spot on.

As Dave says, it wasn't about instrumental technique, or particularly the sound (which I found awful too)...it was about a missed opportunity to show people making excellent music together and really enjoying it.

Even one of the participants implicitly admits above that it was under-rehearsed and if done again would be done differently.

The comparison with say Transatlantic Sessions DOES hold water IMO...not just for the great sound and fine playing, but for the sheer joie de vivre from the participants that comes acoss when you watch it. Look at the expression on Aly McBain's face or the twinkle in Phil Cunningham's eyes as a tune "gells".

That was sadly missing here...to me the participants were going through the motions. It doesn't matter whether it was a "bit of fun" or not...they were going out on national TV and ought to have come across as being at least a *bit* "fired up" by it.

I persuaded a young friend to watch it and she was bored silly by it...in contrast to a Ralph McTell gig I took her to a few weeks ago...she'd never heard of him before, but came away enthused by his mastery of voice and guitar, but in particular by his sheer joy in performing.

There's a big difference between carping and reasoned criticism and I think most of the comments on this thread fall into the latter category.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:59 AM

Dave - I'm glad we cleared up about the playing - some of those guys are seriously good, and there was plenty of dexterity and sensitivity on display.

But I still think you may be confusing the subjective with the objective.

When you say "if we want to spread the music to wider audience it's got be appealing" you're making a very big assumption that it wasn't appealing to that wider audience. I don't think any of us really know - though we can be sure as eggs that the programme-makers and artists were aiming for such a result, and putting a lot of effort and resources into that outcome.

You were viewing it with informed eyes and ears from a very specialised and educated viewpoint. A vast majority of the audience were not.

I don't think I'm pushing things too far if I suggest that a majority of people here take folk music seriously. Not just the learning and presentation thereof, but the importance and cultural resonance thereof (I do myself).

It's both a good and a bad thing that folk music allows and even demands that its proponents take ownership of what is actually a musical commonwealth.

It's good because those who do so get far more out of the music than they would as mere consumers, and also because they then put back far more too. But it's bad when those inducted individuals start to behave as though they have somehow acquired quality control over the music - and begin to behave almost tribally about it.

I'm not accusing anyone of that here, but sometimes I read comments like those above and start to feel that we're seeing the thin end of that wedge.

The makers and artists in that show believed that their approach would deliver an appealing show. I think they did, but even if you didn't I hope you'd admit they had every right to try, should be given credit for doing so.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 11:13 AM

Tom, your expanded comments are most helpful. It is as I suspected but the detail is important too. I think there is room for a very thin wedge to be inserted here and I have an idea as to what might hammer it home. As you say, we can chew this over when next we meet. In the meantime, regarding the session Eliza has said it all as far as I'm concerned. The Clog dance thing and the Still folk dancing were both evidence that the media can do it right if properly guided.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 12:54 PM

Well, I just watched it on sky+.

Bloody brilliant.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 02:11 PM

Tom Bliss: You were viewing it with informed eyes and ears from a very specialised and educated viewpoint. A vast majority of the audience were not.

I'm not coming at it from an especially educated or specialised viewpoint. I've only re-ignited an interest in folk music in the last year or so, after spending many years listening almost exclusively to rock and indie stuff, and I'm not in any way "factionalised" or party to the squabbles of the cogniscenti.

I'm certainly not tribal or precious about it, and have admitted on here before to enjoying some of Laura Marling's stuff and even the odd Mumford & Sons song!

And my young friend who'd never heard of Ralph McTell but who was bored by this would be far closer to the "wider target audience" you talk about than most people on here. She voted with her remote very quickly, though she's quite broad-minded about music.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:06 AM

I'm rather cheekily reposting this from the fRoots forum, because I think it's important...

QUOTE

As John Crosby put it on Facebook:

Everyone who loved the weekend's folk+dancing TV programmes, should write to or email the BBC telling them so and asking for more. Lots of positive feedback about folk TV strengthens the hand of those producing the programmes. Our collective cultural voice needs to be a little louder in these times of cutbacks because folk / world musics are more in the firing line than Simon Cowell, et al, will ever be.

To send BBC4 encouraging feedback - the more of it they get the more chance there is of seeing more programming like this - there's an easy form to fill in at

www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/yoursay/

END OF

And perhaps I should add, just in case anyone hadn't grasped this from my previous posts, that a lot of negative feedback, such as some of the comments posted above, can weigh in towards the opposite result.

Obviously Mark Thompson doesn't read Mudcat (at least, I'd put a tenner on it) but it's not unknown for suits to browse forums like this one from time to time. It's therefore good if there is at least an element of objectivity and balance in any discussions around BBC shows, (even if the majority view is, by force majeure, negative).

None of the BBC folk-related output can be considered in the least bit safe - specially not radio.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:29 AM

that a lot of negative feedback, such as some of the comments posted above, can weigh in towards the opposite result

I think, Tom, that it really depends on the way that the comment is phrased. I think it's perfectly acceptable to say (in so many words), "Many thanks for putting on such-and-such a folk music based programme. It could have been even better if..."

In last year's debate on this same programme, many people thought that we should be grateful that the BBC had put this programme into the schedules. Never mind the quality (they said) just be thankful it was there, and don't knock it. There's so little folk music on TV that any crumb that's knocked off the table for us is like gold dust.

It's not a view I share. Yes - of course I'm pleased that the programme schedulers thought fit to have the programme created in the first place; but I'm not going to let that cloud my personal views and judgements on sound quality, presentation, character, etc. I would even go so far as to say that no folk music is preferable to one that's crappily produced and puts people off the idea. The excellence of the recent programmes on folk dancing and clogging shows that the standard is attainable.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:44 AM

ditto


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:56 AM

Just read a few more of the posts on this thread and I think I would like to shove my t'penece worth in.
I also watched the Cloggie programme and thought it was stunningly good. However, there is a world of difference in making a documentary over a period of weeks and filming a lively Christmas concert!
I have watched it twice now and thoroughly enjoyed it both times; the second time was with my 17yr old daughter who also thought it was fantastic.
One thing, having read some of these posts, that scares the shit out of me is phrases like 'appeal to a wider audience'. This is the very LAST thing that we should be doing. The music, tradition and performance are what they are; any attempt to 'dumb' it down to make it have a wider appeal is bound to end in tears.
Now, you may not personally like some of the performers, there may have been the odd bum note or missed timing - well, it don't matter, it was a live and lively performance and , as far as I could see, they all seemed to be enjoying it immensely. The very warm lighting and clever camera work gave the show a wonderful atmosphere. Paul Sartins slightly nervous role of MC, particularly as it was done in the almost inimitable style of the late Leonard Sachs was truly endearing.
Yep, a very definite thumbs up from me!

Can anyone tell me, when the Unthanks were singing that wonderful Tar Barrelling song, who was the girl fiddle player on their left (as you looked at them), she had a stunning voice.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 05:21 AM

Hi Silas - I'd wholeheartedly endorse your views on dumbing down - let the music be what it is.

As far as filming a live concert is concerned, of course there are different constraints from doing a documentary. But, as other BBC folk music concert programmes have proved, it's possible to do a first-class job. I keep quoting the Springsteen Seeger Sessions Band concert as an exemplar. It wasn't a complex programme visually, but the sound quality and mixing was superb. I suspect that the post-production sound of the Christmas Sessions left a bit to be desired - possibly rushed. But who knows...


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 06:23 AM

Hi Will
I think you have to separate yourself and your own expertise from your critical appraisal of this programme. I have seen a number of your videos and it is obvious that you are someone who knows what he is talking about when it comes to sound quality (I also read your piece on just how you make your videos - left me a bit glazed eyed to be honest, far to technical for me!) But for almost everyone watching the programme as a mere viewer, it was a grand spectacle. Sometimes I think knowing too much can spoil your enjoyment.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 06:30 AM

Well, the 'appeal to a wider audience' issue is a moot point, much discussed both here and elsewhere.

Popularising something always risks diluting it, but there's also a danger that if that thing is only ever presented in ways that only the initiated can appreciate, then the pool may empty faster than it fills up. That doesn't mean, of course, that doing the opposite will always have the opposite effect.

Terms like 'dumbing down' are, of course, highly subjective. One man's dumb is another man's lively and real. (There is also the argument that some elements of some traditions actually ARE all about Entertainment-with-a-capital-E - even dressing up and drunken lunacy - but please note my double use of the word 'some.')

Eliza expressed her worries very well above, and she's right that there is danger in going too far down this road - specially if this road is all that's happening. But it's not.

Last Friday and Saturday night we had, as well as this show, two dancing docs which were both very informed and balanced, and some archive shows that were at at times worthy, amateurish and dated. Of course these are attributes that we initiates laud for good reason, but which are less likely to appeal to outsiders.

So, including the Christmas show, overall we had a pretty balanced couple of evenings - with a lot of folk music on display to a very decent-sized audience. It was surely far better that ALL those shows were broadcast than not.

Specifically to Will: I agree entirely. And if the tone of this thread had been "many thanks for putting on such-and-such a folk music based programme. It could have been even better if..." I wouldn't never have put finger to keyboard.

Even if it had been "Actually I thought is was poor in these ways..." as some more thoughtful people said, I'd have lurked on, while perhaps feeling sympathy for the poor mugs who worked very hard on that show, and probably felt they pulled off a pretty decent result.

But in the early stages it was neither of these, and while I'd never expect those who love to have a good old bash at anything that doesn't float their boat to restrain themselves, I do think it's important that they are aware of the effect that their comments may have on their targets (who, in this case, certainly are readers of Mudcat) and perhaps others who might drop by (or be directed here) and take away reasons not to make any more folk shows.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,s-j in London
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 07:01 AM

@ Silas, that would be Niopha Keegan fiddle player with The Unthanks, she is a lovely singer.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 07:04 AM

Valiant effort Tom - but the programme was indefensible.
Could have been, should have been better.
chris


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 07:47 AM

It was certainly no worse than the usual New Year 'Later With Jools Holland', and a couple of glasses of red wine put me in the right mood. Like carol singers who come round, not necessarily the best performances but definitely the right spirit.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 08:50 AM

Silas
Sometimes I think knowing too much can spoil your enjoyment.

Mmm... It's not so much knowing too much as (for me) probably expecting too much. I'd really looked forward to this programme last year with a great sense of expectation - particularly after having been knocked out by the Bellowhead live experience at Lewes before that.

When the programme finished, I thought, is that it? And other members of the family were also unimpressed. Just genuinely disappointed and a sense of being let down.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: jacqui.c
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:21 AM

I watched the programme on Friday night. Living now in the USA I am rather out of touch with the professional folk scene in the UK and the new artistes who seem to be up and coming.

IMHO, for the most part, I have heard much better singers at song circles and sessions. To me, the various carols were murdered, not sung. Last night, at the folk club I attended, there were two female singers who would knock the girls on Friday night into a cocked hat. One the guys there made a much better job of In The Bleak Midwinter. To me, it looks like folk is imitating pop, favouring girlies with thin, breathy voices. Not at all impressive to me, and to other folk enthusiasts I have spoken to since.

Now, being of an older generation, I would doubt that my opinion would have any real validity insofar as those who decide what will and will not be broadcast, but I do wonder what the future of folk will be if these performances are anything to go by.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Trevor Thomas
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:38 AM

I was more than disappointed, I'm afraid. I saw it last year and I found the whole thing toe-curlingly embarrassing from start to finish.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:42 AM

Jacqui.c - folk always did, to a certain extent, imitate pop - or its contemporary equivalent, and pop has occasionally been refreshed by folk - c/f skiffle, blues, music hall, broadsides/broadsheets, court music etc.

'Thin and breathy' is one approach - there are lots of others, and none of them is intrinsically any better than any other, just different. We all have our preferences, but all approaches are valid - time, and only time, takes care of everything else.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:47 AM

I think folk came before pop.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:50 AM

Well.............I suppose folk was pop at one time?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:53 AM

for the most part, I have heard much better singers at song circles and sessions

Exactly. I was at the Rising Sun, Charlwood village monthly singaround last night, where we sung the song in the link below. (This was recorded by me with a Zoom H2 in the pub about a year ago but sounded just the same last night):

From The Old Half Moon To The Rising Sun

The first voice is that of local singer Sue Gates, with Cathy Barclay and Colin Gates (husband of Sue and author of the song) - followed by the company in the choruses. Call me old-fashioned, but I cherish this monthly singaround and nothing gets in the way of me going to it. Can you hear why?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:55 AM

Yes, but to be fair, you have probably heard much, much worse singers at the same sessions.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Chris-Newbie-Guest
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:56 AM

I'm glad when the BBC puts on any folk music Progs, and I've just emailed the BBC's Chairman, Mark Thompson, to tell him so !
    mark.thompson@bbc.co.uk


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:03 AM

Yes, but to be fair, you have probably heard much, much worse singers at the same sessions.

Well... not really, as it happens. But if I had, I wouldn't expect to see them on BBC4.

I'm always conscious that taste is a very personal thing. I don't care for the "thin, breathy voices" mentioned by jacqi.c either, because - to me - there's nothing exciting in the quality of them. If you do, good luck to you.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:09 AM

Will, those are great voices, but that stylistic approach, even though accepted as 'correct' in some folk circles, does not have a monopoly on greatness. There a lots of people who genuinely prefer the sound that Rachel, Becky and Lisa produce, and I honestly don't think it's a youth thing, or a fashion thing, or a marketing thing, or even a sex thing.

Some voices just come out differently, and some people simply feel more comfortable with a softer delivery. If the tuning and timing are fine (which they are), then the phrasing lies in the gift of the singer

There's a huge difference between "I prefer this" and "This is better."

Open-minds, open ears, open hearts. That's what's needed around here, specially in the 'season of good Will'

Cheers

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:16 AM

Without amplification, you couldn't hear them sing, from behind a tram ticket!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:17 AM

The only problem with the "all approaches are valid" hypothesis, Tom, is that you can then reach a fine and indefinable line between what is considered reasonable singing and what is not. Or is there no such thing? There are indeed all styles of singing and approaches to performance, and I don't particularly care whether they're correct or not. I wouldn't know what 'correct' is.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:32 AM

I'm glad to hear it Will, and to be honest I didn't expect anything else.

The point is that your friends at the session - like all the other people that some here would like to have been on TV last Friday - were not invited. The BBC knew what they wanted, and they got it - everything else is just ooffle dust.

The girls were invited, they happen to sing in that way, they gave it their best, and lots of people will have thought they sounded fine.

Criticising them for the way they sing is akin to complaining that Man U don't use the right cricket bats.

And as for the volume/amplification thing, well there are LOTS of really successful singers, including some you'll see on Transatlantic Sessions and the like, who are almost inadible in real life.

We live in the 21st century where microphone are commonplace. It is no longer necessary to be able to fill La Scala to get the gig. So we've been able to welcome a whole new small-voiced sound into the repertoire, and the repertoire is all the richer for it.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:45 AM

The BBC knew what they wanted, and they got it

No question of that - but that's not an argument for excellence or anything else. Go down that road and we'll be saying that no bad programmes have ever been made in the history of BBC broadcasting.

However, I think we all know where we individually stand on this particular programme, and I suppose we'll just have to agree to beg to differ. So I'll stop being a mouldy old fig and end by hoping that the BBC will put on many more programmes in the genre to match that of the Folk dance and clogging programmes... and the Transatlantic Sessions... and the Springsteen session... and the June Tabor session... :-)


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:51 AM

I don't sing in public because I think my voice is useless and not good enough
for my own listening standards, so use the excuse that I can't confidently remember words
[which is true] or melodies.
However with or without aid of a microphone, my doting elderly mother would, and who knows who else might,
praise me for having a marvelous voice for 'folk' music ???

Point is I take it as 'given' that no-one on stage performing for this xmas special
would have been selected if they didn't already meet certain widely agreed criteria of artistic worthiness & value.

My personal complaint with the entire production package is it's cringeworthy
showing off of elitist upper middle class bohemian vanity & conceit.

But then I can't tolerate or like jools holland & his on screen TV chums much for similar reasons..


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 12:12 PM

Tom: 'and I honestly don't think it's a youth thing, or a fashion thing, or a marketing thing,'

Of course it is, these are amongst the acts that get the 'hype' from the media, festival organisers etc etc. That is precisely why it was these acts, and not you, (or even me) in the show, or any other act that could have done an equally as good or if not better job.

That said, although my opinion (as stated earlier in this thread) is that the show was perhaps under rehearsed (read Jim Moray's post) and did not come up to the standard that we might have been entitled to expect from some excellent performers, I am delighted that there are folk acts attracting such media attention, that can only be a good thing for us all and long may it continue.

John


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 01:17 PM

It was aimed at a younger folk demographic than Mudcat, not my demographic I hasten to add but I'll wager the under 40s that made up most of the audience thought it a hoot. Now't wrong with that.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 03:46 PM

As someone who has taken part in "Songs of Praise" (scratch choirs of largely amateur singers) most non-folkies would have switched off by the second line of "In the Bleak Mid Winter". It's a well known Christmas Carol and the Unthanks' treatment could only have been got away with by Infant Sunday School.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:04 PM

It was non-folkies who's have stayed for two attractive young women in charming surroundings with an audience clearly enjoying themselves listening to a lovely old carol. The rest is propaganda.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 02:40 AM

sigh... it is a done deal. Nothing to be done about it now. People have had their say.

Let's start talking about specifics of what we would like to see.

Artists,
Songs,
Themes
Setting

Here's

Jim Moray to take another crack at Oh Come Immanuel or (and I think this would be brilliant) Dark December by Graeme Miles with harmonies provided by Sam Lee. Or vice versa.

Jackie Oates and Sam Lee to sing The Trees Are All Bare (Coppers, The Christmas Song)

Eliza and Norma to sing All Hail To The Days

Bellowhead and others to do The Christmas Band by Brian Ingham Ramskyte, Dark December

Everyone to sing Summer Is A Coming In Again by Mick Ryan?

Unthanks please do The Seven Joys of Mary

Jim Causley anything he wants to sing :0)

I wanna see/hear Martin Carthy, Chris Wood, Spiers and Boden, Lucy Ward, SoH, and innumerable others.

Still thinking about the big finish.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 02:42 AM

oops! I should have finished with come all ye and surprise me.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 02:54 AM

Where's your evidence that younger non-folkies either stayed watching or thought it a "hoot", Glueman?

I only have a sample of 1, as described above...a young woman in her early 30s who I recommended to watch it after earlier introducing her to Ralph McTell (who she was enthusiastic about) and who voted with her remote after 5 minutes. She thought it was "crap".


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 03:23 AM

No 'evidence' whatsoever Rob - you'd have to get the viewing figures for that - but I know enough about the workings of television to know this wasn't aimed at a folk-core audience. It was a themed show hoping for crossover viewers, particularly nu-folk buyers who barely know clubs exist and wouldn't dream of entering one if they did.

I don't see where Ralph McTell comes into it, he's hardly an example of the tradition, unless you mean the folk pop revival of the 1970s, or possibly white blues. There were sufficient shows aired this weekend to cater for most tastes, grumbling about a repeat of a Christmas show that set out to do exactly what it intended is cumudgeonliness.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 04:28 AM

Like the idea but just not keen on the 'christmas theme'.
Watched about first 10mins then the carols just started to annoy me so I switched over. If they would have just done it without the christmassy stuff would have probably stayed up to watch it.

Would have preferred something more along the lines of the Ralph Vaughn Williams day I went to as cecil sharp house ages ago. But in a telly format.

24/F/UK and only a folk fan since 2008.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 04:47 AM

I explained further up the thread where Ralph McTell came into it...ie that I took a young lady to one of his gigs, she never having heard of him before, and on the basis of that she was interested in listening to some more "folky-type" stuff (and not even aware of the graduations of "folk pop", "nu-folk", "trad folk" etc....as I wasn't until a year or so ago!).

I also mentioned in the same post that I like some nu-folky stuff myself, so am hardly a "dyed in the wool traddie". In fact, until a year or so ago the vast majority of my listening was to rock and fairly obscure young indie bands. Both she and I ought, therefore, on your own criteria, to be right in the middle of your supposed target audience. I thought it was badly done, but watched to the end, and she turned off after about 10 minutes. So that's 100% in a sample of 2.

At least that *is* evidence, though from a tiny sample. Your own unequivocal comments about who were the target audience and who would have stayed watching were themselves "just propaganda" apparently, since the statements were made without any evidence whatsoever to back them up.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 05:11 AM

Depends what you mean by evidence Rob. I have a working knowledge of the way gogglebox programmes are commissioned from knowing people who ply their trade in the medium. Saying it was 'badly done' makes no sense when compared to similar television output. It wasn't a major 12 part series called The History of English Folk Music and pre-sold to Commonwealth broadcasters and the States and sponsored by National Geographic and Microsoft, it was a light-hearted Christmas special with a lightly ironic traditional theme and setting.

As LDT points out the carols are probably the biggest turn off for a folk audience with enlightenment / roundhead / digger sensibilities, which is a working majority. I like hearing carols but then I'm sufficiently interested to record them being sung well and badly by all kinds of people. Those people who are exercised at being somehow misrepresented are barking up the wrong tree IMHO. I still fail to see how someone liking Ralph McTell is a barometer of anything.


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Subject: my 10 pen'th...
From: GUEST,Penrith Pete
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 07:07 AM

Dear Mudcatters

I am 33 and have listened to what most people would regard as folk music pretty exlusively for the last 8 or so years. This really means acoustic music largely played on wooden instruments and inlcudes traditional and contemporary tunes and songs. I am not remotely snobby about anything else - I just have fairly defined tastes. Punk, ska, jazz and prog-rock have all enjoyed my attention as a younger bloke too!

I suppose I found the programme somewhat unbearably light to be honest. As I get older I find I am more comforatble with being a relatively serious minded fellow. I can do fun (and have probably done more than my share!) but I am not great the very contrived or zaney stuff, I admit.

In terms of the performances, well, I thought they were bit dodgy in places and won't pick out individuals, since they are all still much better than me and my guitar. I will say I thought Thea Gimore was excellent though! I thought Jim Moray's comments on here were very straightly spoken, which I really respected.

Christmas to me is one of those few times when our often (and recently) buried folk-culture rises nearer the surface and we remember some of things that link us together as humans in communities. I look forward to the weightiness and visceral nature of Christmas as well as its jolliness (which is also great). I suppose for my taste, I would have liked to see a more simple session allowing the music to do the talking and delving a bit deeper into the treasure trove of festive songs in our tradition (old and new). I like to be provoked to think a bit more, espcially about others at Christmas, as well as to have a rollocking good time.

Now this is only my taste and is not a dig at the show. I was just left a bit flat - and at times cringed a bit to be honest - but perhaps I need to work on this business of having fun! Or maybe accept I am a miserable north country type!

Anyway, I hope you all have a very merry Chrstmas and find time to dip into your own folk culture and well as waiting for the BBC to deliver it. I can forget to do that sometimes, myself. So, sing carols, write one if you like, make merry and if you like to think deeply about things at this time fo year, do some of that too.

A special good wish to the perfromers who have taken a bit of flack on here and some of it a bit personal I reckon. You all do much for the genre, I believe, irrespective of where my tastes lie. It looked a tricky gig and I would love to see you all back in a different format next year.

All the best to you all

Pete


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Eve
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 07:40 AM

I think the major issue (that several have already highlighted) is that there is just so little TV broadcast space given to English folk that a single one-off Christmas special is unlikely to be capable of appealing to and representing everyone..
If i'm being a grumpy young get i would say it seems a pity that the only TV programme we've got had to be an "ironic" "good old days" romp.. And that out of fear that more traditional music and musicians wouldn't appeal to the moron on the street we had a slightly unbalanced cross-section of English folk artists, predominantly young and comparatively "nu"..
It wasn't all to my taste, but i loved Jim Moray's song.
We just need more, tis all.. Sure if you're a fan of Scottish music you don't love every single concert that BBC Alba plays, but there are so many others to choose from you don't feel so let down by it..


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 08:40 AM

Hi Penrith Pete - any relation to my old buddy and Beeb Board refugee, Cockermouth Pete?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 09:08 AM

Great post, Pete and cour comments on the show mirror very well what my 34 year old friend said about the part of the show she watched before switching off.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM

Glueman: I still fail to see how someone liking Ralph McTell is a barometer of anything

simply that she was prepared to go along and see someone she'd never heard of performing in a genre that she has little experience of with an open mind and used her critical faculties to decide that she liked what she saw and heard...ie she's not close-minded about music new to her. So the fact that she didn't like the prog one bit isn't down to youthful narrow-mindedness or failure to engage with genres she's not familiar with. That's all, really.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Penrith Pete
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 09:39 AM

Hi

Well, Leveller, I am no relation to Cockermouth Pete, but he sounds like a good bloke to me, based purely on his name and general location!

Thanks for your comment Rob. I reread what I wrote and it sounded a bit worthy! Didn't mean for it to be so, just wanted to explain my own reaction to it.

Take care

Pete


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 09:49 AM

Perhaps she doesn't like folk music Rob? Or even carols? It isn't compulsory.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Eve
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 10:12 AM

I've been thinking more on the voice thing..

- Millions of people love and buy the records of Susan Boyle and the X Factor wannabes - does this make their voices objectively the very best in the world?

- Returning to Tom's comment about the Tate modern - as i understand it abstract art is not "simple" because the artist is incapable of anything other, but a conscious choice to work in that way made through the refinement of style and technique and concept.. Same with voices. Some singers have that "breathy" style and they do it brilliantly - but it's not the same thing if it's just because the voice is under-developed.. and it IS possible to tell the difference!
Sam Lee, for example, is a singer's singer - whether or not you like his style, his repertoire, his tights or whatever(!) - it is hard to get away from the fact he's a brilliant singer..and he's worked hard for that.
Sometimes it feels to me like people use totally different ears, and thus judgement systems, for singing and instrumental performance and have much lower expectations about what good singing is.

- Whether or not the posters on this thread are world-class musicians and singers, or not - and as we've already seen, they may be! - should not render them unworthy of passing comment on the performances of others. I know literally nothing about the inner workings of my computer, for example, but i certainly know when it's not working properly!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 11:04 AM

Good points Eve, but I'd say that the appreciation of singing is very different to the appreciation of instrumental playing, because singing is both music and talking at the same time.

That's how people like Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Iggy Pop and Neil Young get to be fantastic singers even though they don't have great voices.

I myself have a sadly weasily voice. (I'd love to be able to sing like Sam - I agree absolutely that he's up there with Bob Fox, Chris Foster and Phil Beer in terms of timbre). But (a few) people are happy to pay to listen to me - because I can do other things than sound pretty (as can the above, of course), and that's important too.

Thus with the disputed singers in this show. Jim, Jon and the Unthanks are all technically superior to me in terms of tuning and phrasing, but they get more flack than I do because their voices are even further away from the 'folk standard' than mine.

I think that if you listen to all four with open ears, you'll hear that they're are all in different ways doing something new and interesting. It's not so much what they do, actually, it's what they don't do. It's in that gap between the prediction and the delivery that the magic is hidden, but you have to open your ears and heart to hear it.

I don't know to what extent this effect is deliberate - I understand it is in Jon's case - and to what extent it's an accident of birth, but there's no doubt that a lot of people like it, else these artists wouldn't be as successful as they are, (and that success is not just down to hype - 'you can fool a few of the people...' etc etc)

This show contained a lot of hymns, and it seems people have more problems with hymns 'sung wrong' than even trad songs sung wrong - but if anything the effect I'm talking about is even stronger.

Applying a 21st century post-pop approach to songs we know so well that we hardly hear them any more was, to me, refreshing, challenging and (mostly) beautiful.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 11:38 AM

Regarding the appropriateness of technicaly poor voices in folk/roots music;
I've occasionaly been playing Jeff Walker und Die Fluffers "Welcome To Carcass Cuntry" as background music
while I sort out my daily doings.

The singing quality would seriously make Shane MacGowan sound like Charlotte Church.

But once you get past the adolescent novelty of a bunch of death metal / grindcore 'artistes'
paying homage to country blues standards, its actually to my ears quite an effective and respectable tribute
to a genre of hard working beaten up 'manly' music.

However, Shane MacGowan , Billy Bragg, or anyone remotely with a voice like that were not performing on this xmas special;
so apart from technicaly good singers performing a little under par,
I can't personaly find any cause for complaint with the quality of the performers.

Again I think the main problem with this xmas special
is the self-indulgent wanky 'in-crowd' presentation.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Eve
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 12:17 PM

So in that case "everyone's a singer"..

True of course, i suppose but - I'm a very average fiddle player (or you could call it "naive" or "rustic") This is partly due to lack of talent but also because i haven't put in enough practice. I've tried hard over the years to improve but i've hit a plateaux!

I play down the local pub occasionally and i guess some people enjoy it - it's fun - but i'm very aware of my shortcomings and a good fiddle player would easily be able to criticise my technique and realisation of the tunes and their affective and stylistic qualities..even though to the layman (i busk in the streets occasionally) i probably sound ok.

I can't imagine my playing would be received well on BBC4, especially if i was the only English fiddle player broadcast.. However, if Dave Swarbrick in his prime had gone up there, few people anywhere would be able to truly criticise his playing, even if they didn't like his style..

That was the main issue as far as i was concerned - I'm not criticising any of the performers specifically - some i enjoyed very much while others made music that wasn't exactly to my taste - and of course there's a place in music for all kinds of voices, technically great or otherwise, but i just felt there are other singers not showcased whose voices are world-class by anyone's standards, who i would like to have represented English folk in this single solitary outing into mainstream media.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 01:16 PM

But Eve, that's the point, it wasn't by any means a solitary outing. On the Friday night there was Highland Sessions, the Dancing programme, and the archive programme, then on Saturday, more dancing and another archive. Both Bllowhead and Imagined Village have been on Later (did Damo do it too, can't remember now, but he/they will if not), so has KRusby. We've had the Transatlantic sessions, the Shanty Show, Folk Btitannia... This year we've done really well for folk TV, compared to years gone by when there was zip for whole decades at a time.

And like it or not, those people did earn their spot. Nothing succeeds like success and they were in the right place at the right time.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 03:11 PM

Emmanuel may not have been Jim's best performance, yet for me it was the highlight of the show. Don't know if this is because in general I often seem to actually prefer technically non-perfect performances and voices. I can hear the "beauty" of the perfect stuff, just doesn't turn me on as much as something I can only clumsily and inadequately describe as soul and passion. And Jim's rendition conveyed something of that for me that night, even if there were things wrong with it.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,OLDNICKILBY
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 04:41 AM

No Mr Bliss we have not "Done Well" these programmes were absolute and utter SHITE They in the main were dumbed down(not the Highland the Transatlantic nor the Clog ). They were the unacceptable face of Tele Folk
Me thinks the man has far much to say on this matter and doth protest too much


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 04:52 AM

"This year we've done really well for folk TV"

Yes, I agree, Tom. I really look forward to seeing what folkie shows are on Beeb Four on a Friday night - about the only time that I control the channel changer. And even if no-one else did, I enjoyed the Christmas Session and I'd have loved to have been there (mrsleveller says that's how I usually dress, anyway).


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,GUEST banksie
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 05:23 AM

Well, OLDNICKILBY, "absolute and utter SHITE" is a value judgement you are perfectly entitled to (and as I missed the Friday programmes I cannot pass an opinion). But as Tom Bliss says, the fact that the programmes are on at all is a serious improvement over the all-but-zero coverage folk music has had for the last few decades.

And for what its worth, I did see the clogging flashmob programme on the Saturday - as did the people staying with us. They were so taken with it one of them is now seriously interested in taking up, and they all then sat and watched the old TV clips of Pentangle et al. The interspersed current clips from still current performers such as Paul Brady and Richard Thompson were particularly enlightening for them, bringing forth several `ooohs' and `ahhhs' and `who's that, he's good' etc.

Some of it was shite by my reckoning as well - Incredible String Band, for example - but that is purely personal view. I expect they don't think much of my singing either. But I'd much rather it was on than never shown.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 05:46 AM

What suegorgeous said. Half the point of folk music is it trades virtuosity for clunky passion. To Oldnickilby I suggest an Eagles album, or late Fleetwood Mac. All the production you can shake a stick at.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 06:17 AM

GUEST,OLDNICKILBY: 'absolute and utter SHITE' Bit strong that, didn't think it was that good!

The serious point, for those who havn't read back in this thread is that perhaps our expectations were too high.

We, as people who care passionately about our music, know these artists and know what they are capable of producing, but is was, for whatever reason, a sub standard performance from most of them. Jim Moray, one of the artists involved, candidly (and bravely) admits that in his post earlier in the thread (and to be fair to him, also explains a very valid reason)

I suspect that most 'non folkies' watching the programme thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it a jolly romp.

John


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,oldnickilby
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 06:34 AM

Well, I didnt think it was that good either, which is why I was quite moderate in my condemnation. It was more X Factor than what we know and greatly respect as our heritage of our peoples music.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 10:28 AM

Just to repeat, I thought it didn't live up to the standards of the artists concerned or to those of BBC4.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Elliot
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM

Well I thougght the programme was great and I'm sure you'll all be equally delighted hear the programme's being repeated on BBC 4 this Saturday at 8pm.

I also came across these other tracks that didn't make it onto the show

Remember O Thou Man

Shepherds Arise


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: evansakes
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 11:05 AM

Here's another one that obviously wasn't good enough to make the final edit.

Thea Gilmore with Midwinter's Toast


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Reimer
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 04:03 PM

I managed 6-7 minutes of this smugfest (BBC4 18/12 20.00) before having to switch off. The assembled well-to-do tosspots of Shoreditch, Hoxton, Crouch End and beyond doing an upmarket version of 'The Good Old Days' in what appears to be another level of the gentrification of Folk music. Frigging awful. The urban counterpart of the arseholes who buy up entire fucking villages. I'd have left a nail-bomb in a hold-all there if I'd had a chance.

R


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 04:25 PM

how on earth did you get access to see their bank accounts? Just because it was filmed in Shoreditch Town Hall ( I think) doesn't mean the audience is rich.I was brought up in nearby Columbia Road and a lot of the same people are still living there even though the shops have gone up market. Besides, half the audience were dressed in cast-offs and hand-me-downs weren't they?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 04:29 PM

Well Reimer , there is nothing like a bit of well balanced and considered thoughtful opinion. And that was nothing like one.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 04:39 PM

Quite frankly I rate the Unthank sisters as average floorspot material.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 04:42 PM

I am surprised, Bonzo, that you even consider that anyone values your opinion at all, so it is quite inspiring that you continue to voice it.

Well done.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Spot
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 03:44 AM

Allo everybody

I forced myself to watch this programme to the end last night. My feeling is that after the "Original TransAtlantic Sessions" they should have pulled the plug while they were on top.All of last nights performances made me cringe.

Enough said...

Regards to all... Spot


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 05:54 AM

I watched part one of "Wallander". Excellent. Part two is on Monday night.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Guest Betsy
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 06:35 AM

I watched part of it last night,THAT's as much as I could stand.
No wonder people think that people involved with Folk music are wierdos.
It was horrible and pointless.
Piss poor Christmas fare.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 10:07 AM

"I am surprised, Bonzo, that you even consider that anyone values your opinion at all, so it is quite inspiring that you continue to voice it.

Well done."

I do because I can - I laugh!!!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: MikeL2
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 01:05 PM

hi

I am not sure if this has been commented on earlier in this thread but I have just noticed that on BBC TV on New Years Eve on The Jules Holland gig which stretches over midnight features Bellowhead, not a fan myself.

Mind you top feature is Kylie Minogue...nuff said ???

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 01:24 PM

12 months since I last saw it, I watched it all again last night; but this time objectively stone cold sober.

So overall, I enjoyed every performance, considering at least one to be exceptionally good.
Even Jim Moray was presentable enough despite his own reservations regarding his lack of adequate preparation.

I didn't dislike any of the performers.

To my complete surprise, even the smarmy posh prats in the audience
[and certain ingratiating members of Bellowhead] were'nt as antagonising as on last viewing
when I was merrily off my face on xmas spirit !!!?????

.. and I'm not the kind of person who's usually spoiling for a punch-up after an over indulgent drinking session...

[Btw.. our band, i.e. the few members who braved it out in the snow, did a last-minute arranged gig Fri night
without any preparation, practice, or knowing half the songs,
or able to read the chords clearly off the hastily shoddy printed cheat sheets..
but we still bluffed it out and went down well
with a local audience of happy xmas social club pissheads up for a good night out...

.. so that indicates my personal standards for performance quality control judgement]

My wife, watching this TV concert for the first time and completely unaware of any bitter discontent & dischord here at mudcat,
insisted the entire show was brilliant,
and wished she could have gone to it herself all dressed up like that !!!!???
..and she wants to watch it all over again with a good drink on xmas evening.

Her only casual criticism was that some of the female performers were a bit 'all warbly' or tying too hard to be Kate Rusby.

We agreed it could even have been half hour longer, and would definitely be worth £2.99 if it was available as a DVD
in a Tesco's new year bargain clear out.

Shame though, it's a BBC4 repeat
and not a brand new show produced for this holiday.

That says something not particularly positive about the BBC's estimation of audience reaction.

We are a diverse 'market' and do deserve something to be learnt and improved from this seemingly unpopular 'one off' show;
allowing for the possibilities to learn from mistakes to do it better,
and ideally some version recomisioned as an ongoing annual TV 'folk' music xmas special event.
More balanced & evenly reflecting the seasonal 'folk' experience as enjoyed by 'real' communities
and not only just the smug narcissistic London elite 'culture-intelligentsia'.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 01:48 PM

"even the smarmy posh prats in the audience"

By what criteria do you make that statement? Did they touch your pretend working class inverted snobbery fluids?????


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 02:25 PM

hmmm.. I don't know you bonzo, why the snide reaction ? what's the problem ?

Would you be one of them 'posh prats',
or maybe just a toadying servile boot polishing arse licking social ladder climbing lackey
anxious not to lose the favour of the local Squire & M'Lady ???


Funny old world... because that's as much as we know or care about
each other's 'genuine' personal individual background and life history..



merry xmas.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 05:57 AM

As I said above how does anyone get the impression the audience were in any way 'posh' (as if that were a crime!). They were dressed up for an evening out and large numbers of them seem to have been dressed by Sue Ryder and Dr Barnado. Just the sort of stuff worn by a lot of youngsters at folk festivals in fact. Would you be having a go at them if they had been wearing brand new Burbery, Pringle, Fred Perry or Diesel?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Songwriter15
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 06:51 AM

Only just discovered the site and I have to say, if this expansive ( in more ways than one!)thread is anything to go by, I'm going to be visiting on a more-than regular basis!

Just wanted to comment on "Tom Bliss" ( unfortunately don't know you Tom but I have a feeling we'd be "okay" when it comes to music in general!) and his seeming enthusiasm re defence of the BBC4 Christmas Session.....

....So, what's to defend?!?! This was a wonderfully jolly, talent-packed, yet informal and cuddly, celebration of the "music of Christmas" - or as much of it as could be crammed into such a, relatively, short programme - produced, in the opinion of mine and my beautiful Phyl's, eyes and ears, in the "style", if that's an acceptable word, of a "local Folk Club", typically, of the 70's or early 80's!! I think I'd defend that description by claiming that it presented all the vagaries, inconsistencies, and, yes, flaws, of an, again, "typical", night at "The Chequers" / "fill in your own nostalgic memory here"( anyone from the Island remember those utopian nights?!? ), along with the talent, musical entertainment ( YES, TOM, I, for one, still remember that word! ), and, and I make no apology to man 'nor the gods for saying this, pure joy, that those nights promised, and, invariably, delivered!

This was a programme of, not just the aforementioned, and, IM(less than humble!)O, talent, but of the communal, co-operative, "everybody-play-with-everybody-else" vibe that pervaded the, relatively, small, local clubs of that, musically, wonderful era.
Yes!! Of course I'm awash with nostalgia! I'm 60 for christ's sake! .......

........BUT ( and here come's some, very minor (!!), self-glorification!), Mike Jolliffe once wrote, in the programme for the, oft remembered in these parts, Blue Whale Concert, of '76, that,in terms of songwriting, I was " The most prolific of us all" and that I could " write a meaningful song about a pool cue"!
If there's ANY truth in that, then I claim the right, along with all the other opinionated contributors to this thread, to state, as a god-given fact, the merits, or otherwise, of this programme!! :-)

It was BRILLIANT entertainment! The sound was PERFECT - sorry folks, but, in the context of our TV's speakers, it WAS!..... and the sentiment of the show, whether accidental or intended, was simply WONDERFUL!......

......and JIM ( if I may be so familiar ) you may feel, whether because of the key, or lack of adequate preparation, that your performance of "Emmanuel" was less-than-perfect....and maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't note-perfect, and maybe not all the phrasing or breath-points were how you would have liked - but we two loved it!
We loved the expression - both vocal AND facial! :-)

Well, it's nice to be here and to have contributed, in however pathetically inadequate a way, to a thread that pressed pretty much all of my personal buttons!

To all out there who celebrate this most magical time of year, we both wish you a wonderful Christmas, and a beautifully peaceful New Year, and may we meet in mutual musical appreciation for a long time to come.......I bloody well hope so, anyway!! :-)

Seeya
Chris and Phyl


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 07:06 AM

Well said Songwriter 15. When people get off their personal high horses and ego trips most seem to agree that , on balance these programmes where a good thing. The thread has only lasted this long because the usual Mudcat Mudsling has become norm when constructive critiscism has run its course.
Welocome abourd the Cat it can be jolly.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 07:13 AM

Personally, I found most of it very dirgey & felt it didn't realy get going until the end!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 07:17 AM

To repeat earlier comments, if you didn't like this show it almost certainly wasn't aimed at you.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 07:29 AM

I think that I preferred the Albion Christmas Band show.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Stephen Edkins
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 03:14 PM

Went to Tamworth Folk Club on Saturday for the Christmas Party (fancy dress theme: 1940's)but before I went I thought I'd log onto Mudcat and confirm the words for In The Bleak Midwinter. I was intrigued, saddened and mostly confused by the postings concerning this programme of a Christmas Party at Shoreditch Town Hall (fancy dress theme: Dickens meets Bellowhead). I loved the programme last year and this. It was bloody good fun!

Last night I completed my catching up of the "Folk" programmes I'd recorded from BBC4 and got to "Folk on the BBC - 50's/60's". What a thorough dissapointment! From the title you'd expect to see archive material from the 50's and 60's showing how the BBC presented Folk. Apart from the Harry Cox bit (which was great to see & hear)most of the programme was modern reworking, American or a load of drivel about kids buying guitars.

All you Mudcatters should be directing your bile towards the BBC regarding this programme. It was an opportunity lost and served as a great disservice to us all.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 07:11 PM

I wasn't disappointed with "Folk on the BBC - 50's/60's" because I didn't expect them to have that much footage, and apart from the documemtary about kids buying guitars, they managed to pad it out pretty well. I was also pleasantly delighted with Howard Goodall's "The Truth about Christamas Carols" - Bela Hardy, West Gallery Music and Yorkshire pub carol singing amongst others.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,mulv
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 09:17 PM

Songwriter15 - I'm just gonna presume that you were pissed when you wrote your review - or slightly hard of hearing when your telly was on.Smack-gobbed mulv


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 10:23 PM

Just read all this again - and I've just read such shite that I can't believe

"Let's be a bit simplistic and create a generic dissenter who we'll call Moz." Not sure if this is a pop at me,eh !

"If the artists who Moz thinks should be getting the breaks which our BBC4 singers are getting DID get those breaks - would they be as successful in that marketplace in this era as the BBC4s? We don't know." I have no axe to grind towards any particular artists - or trying to boost any artists.My point is......overall the recording of the singing was,generally,crap - whose fault ? Singers or engineers ? Dunno. All that I do know is....I ain't suddenly become deaf/hard of hearing (i'll let you know !) and I heard what I heard.

"Could it be that the BBC4s are in fact somehow 'right' for this arena, in ways that other singers are not - and that they are vocalising some 21st century folk zeitgeist that Moz is just not attuned to?" WHAT ??? Google translator,please !

"I don't know, but I do love to find beauty in unexpected places, and I find it easily in the voices we heard on this programme.

Maybe they're not actually bad - just different." Gotta agree to disagree.They sounded sub-standard for fully professional performers.

Summary - if BEEB anyChannel display this next Xmas 2011,we will all know that they have lost their marbles towards song/sound,whatever the genre (or they have lost their budget).Christ knows what George Melly would have said if he'd heard Jazz portrayed like this programme portrayed Folk music.I love folk music and song....and this programme mad me feel like......well......I couldn't recommend ANY of my non-folkie friends to watch it 'cos then they really would know that I was a conker......that they would think that this was my idea of musical entertainment....and it's NOT !!! for whatever reasons are to blame !
(Yeh - an' I remember Mr Sachs,when I were a lad,in his effusively,ebulliently,engaging extollations of performers beyond perfection whose mesmerising manifestations of magical mannerisms and machinations would mystify any audience,by way of song or style,with their use of words of alliterative affectations....bla,bla,bla)


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 08 Jan 13 - 03:45 PM

I just stumbled on the 2011 edition available on YouTube: B B C Four Sessions - The Christmas Session.
B B C Four celebrates merry midwinter in unique style, with an exhilarating blend of folk tradition and burlesque fun. Energetic 11-piece Bellowhead and Mercury-nominated alternative folkies The Unthanks get together with the impressive young singers Thea Gilmore and Lisa Knapp, plus other special guests.

Steered by genial host Paul Sartin, the assembled artists perform seasonal songs of their own alongside yuletide favourites, ranging from folk ballads and carols to parlour songs and carousing dance numbers, with everyone coming together for a final knees-up.

Filmed at the atmospheric Shoreditch Town Hall, the setting evokes an old music hall combined with a festive Victorian family parlour, bedecked with garlands, period lamps and fireplace. Even the audience are dressed up in old-fashioned finery and prove themselves ready to kick up their heels.


Featuring,
Bellowhead
The Unthanks
Thea Gillmore
Lisa Knapp
Belshazzar's Feast
Jim Moray
with
John Williams
Belles of London City

I'm looking forward to watching for a belated seasonal treat.

~ Becky in Tucson


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