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thinking about the songs you sing

johncharles 26 Mar 11 - 04:38 PM
Nick 26 Mar 11 - 04:47 PM
Deckman 26 Mar 11 - 04:57 PM
Van 26 Mar 11 - 05:13 PM
VirginiaTam 26 Mar 11 - 05:13 PM
johncharles 26 Mar 11 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,mauvepink 26 Mar 11 - 08:57 PM
MGM·Lion 27 Mar 11 - 12:01 AM
GUEST,999 27 Mar 11 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 27 Mar 11 - 02:03 AM
The Fooles Troupe 27 Mar 11 - 02:23 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Mar 11 - 04:31 AM
FloraG 27 Mar 11 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,SteveT 27 Mar 11 - 05:06 AM
VirginiaTam 27 Mar 11 - 05:11 AM
Richie Black (misused acct, bad email) 27 Mar 11 - 05:25 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Mar 11 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 27 Mar 11 - 07:45 AM
VirginiaTam 27 Mar 11 - 08:51 AM
Bert 27 Mar 11 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 27 Mar 11 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,mg 27 Mar 11 - 09:30 PM
open mike 28 Mar 11 - 03:19 AM
VirginiaTam 29 Mar 11 - 02:28 AM
FloraG 29 Mar 11 - 03:26 AM
GUEST 29 Mar 11 - 07:39 AM
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Subject: thinking about the songs you sing
From: johncharles
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 04:38 PM

I have been following the thread on todays march in London and it set me thinking about the songs I sing with the trio I am part of. I started to realise that quite a number were about issues such as greed and social inequality; e.g. Millions Mister, miners lifeguard, plane crash at Los Gatos, little piecer,Hard Times, Joe Hill. It may be our song choices say a lot about us as individuals? It is good to reflect upon your material sometimes. John


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: Nick
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 04:47 PM

What's the point in singing a song that means nothing to you?

Four on your list I also sing.

I love singing Northern Tide, Summer Before the War,Troubles of Erin, If Wishes were Fishes, Sailing Boat, Rosemary's Sister...

And jazzy stuff and ...

I'm not very good at doing 'popular' stuff


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: Deckman
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 04:57 PM

You bet it's good to reflect upon our choice of songs. In a few days I'll be performing "Songs of the period" (1854-1862) at the dedication of the Washington State Heritage exhibit to Isaac Stevens. He was our first territorial governor, long before Wahington became a state.

In his duties, he was the person who forced the native americans into signing the "peace treaties", that ultimatly took their land and forced them onto reservations. He died in the Civil War in 1862.

In preparing for this event, I'm reading everything I can get my hands on about his life AND TIMES. Past events must be read in context of those times.

I'm choosing my songs carefully. They will reflect the western migration to the Pacific Northwest, the thrill of the gold seekers, and the "Indian Issues."

As for the civil war period, I'm going to sing a "modern song" that captures the anti-war sentimate that was common to all sides.

You bet it's GOOD to reflect on just what songs we choose to sing ... or do NOT choose to sing! bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: Van
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 05:13 PM

That these songs are still relevant today shows how far we still have to go and that despite the changes we have achieved it has not really altered the state of the majority of people's lives. I was once told to remember the Golden Rule: "Them that has the gold makes the rules".


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 05:13 PM

Chartist Anthem


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: johncharles
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 08:47 PM

Nic. Rosemary's sister is one I do, a great song.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: GUEST,mauvepink
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 08:57 PM

I like to do songs about issues that are important (I think) not to be forgotten about or swept under the carpet

Prostitution, the Troubles, War, Discrimination and general historical type songs

I sing all sorts of things but some I do target

mp


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 12:01 AM

We all have mixed repertoires, surely: some songs dedicated to 'issues' about which we feel deeply, but others which we just happen to like singing. I remember Norma Waterson once telling me that she loved singing hunting songs, tho implacably opposed to hunting, because they were such good songs to get your voice round with their 'cries' and choruses. Where necessary, we can all make our true attitude to the song clear.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: GUEST,999
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 12:05 AM

If I don't mean it I don't sing it.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 02:03 AM

Well I spent most of my life as a pro musician doing the singing juke box sort of gig. I learned country songs, irish songs, old folks songs -as the gig required. And okay - the primary motive is to put food on the table. But in the process - you DO learn a lot about the virtues of these forms of music. You learn the rhythm the song writer has uncovered which makes people join in with the chorus, and which gets people up dancing.

Thats why such a lot of this 'in the tradition' stuff has no inner guts. The songwriters have learned their craft in nice folk clubs with nice people fawning over them.

Thats why such a lot of it stays in hundred acre wood with Winnie the pooh, the folk mafia and their adherents in the media. It has never aspired to anything greater.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 02:23 AM

I do like to think about the words of the songs I sing.

I like, even more to concentrate on the words while singing them.

But I find that having the words printed in front of me helps me concentrate on singing the right words, and not forgetting verses, and not drifting off into other songs by accident, etc.

To quote Sean Connery from an Indiana Jones Movie,

"I wrote it down so I wouldn't HAVE to remember it!"


I have a tendency to jumble words, sometimes Spooner fashion.

You probably wouldn't invite me back to a song session if I came out with

God Damn Them All!
I was told
We'd screw the shes.... aaaggghh!




And that, Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury, is why ...


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 04:31 AM

johncharles
Congratulations on being on the march in London - wish we'd been able to be there - but The Irish Sea etc......
I think the songs we sing on these events have a number of functions.
In the immediate situation they help you bond with your fellow demonstrators, with the people you are marching with. I still remember the warmth and companionship I felt from the Aldermaston and Holy Loch demonstrations through the songs we sang.
They can also give you (they did me anyway) a feeling that you are part of a history, an attempt to improve the lives of all of us, and in some way, to have played a miniscule part in shaping that history - to have stood up and been counted.
And yes, of course we think about the people and events they are about: the miners struggles throughout history, Joe Hill and the IWW, the Mexican and Californian fruit pickers.....
One song that has remained in my repertoire for most of the time I have been singing is The Ballad of Sharpville - it can still make me choke up, even to think about it:

"Sixty seven Africans lay dead there on the ground;
Apartheid's harvest for the day,
Three times their number wounded lay,
Their blood stained all around...."

Magic!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: FloraG
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 04:45 AM

If a song has to have a personal meaning then we would have very few. We always try to start with the audience then from the possibles pick some. I think folk singing can get a bad name if you take over a locals pub and then sing what would be OK in a sing around of dedicated folkies but too thoughtful for 11pm.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: GUEST,SteveT
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 05:06 AM

Recently added to the ones I sing

Now the frost was set hard on the field
And the sun it hung low in the sky
The land it had ceased for to yield
The ewes and the cattle they died

[Chorus]
Oh where were you then in our need
As we called for your aid and we cried
Oh help us our children to feed
But you turned your heads and passed by

So we fled from the land in our droves
To the dark of the mills were condemned
Farewell to the pastures and groves
But our children were still cold and clemmed

The depression it robbed us of pride
And the mills they were all closing down
So we marched with the new union tide
To the south from our bleak northern towns

But you gathered your wealth from our need
Making money from money again
Making greed your religion and creed
Ignoring the working man's pain

Now you sit in your country estates
With your bonuses keeping you warm
Just look to your fortified gates
And hope that you weather the storm.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 05:11 AM

Just been asked to sing at a TUC rally? I declined because I am a sing around kind of singer. Not a get up on stage and perform for people who probably wouldn't understand trad music, kind of singer.

But curious to know what would be appropriate kind of songs for such an event.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: Richie Black (misused acct, bad email)
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 05:25 AM

Possibly "Do you want to be in my gang" by Gary Glitter. Sorry a joke VT.

I imagine "We shall over come" would have went down well with that lot.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 07:04 AM

".....or people who probably wouldn't understand trad music, kind of singer."
Virginia - choose your songs carefully and introduce them well enough and you might be surprised - I have been on numerous occasions, both with events I have sung or spoken at, and through hearing others in similar situations.
The logic of that argument is that trad songs will die out with those who now understand them - pity.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 07:45 AM

Been to few trade union meetings in my time. The audience are unlikely to be drunk and have access to sharp weapons - so I'd say Jim's advice is good. Turn in a good solid performance of something you're good at and shows your skills off. That should command respect.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 08:51 AM

I am only good at early Odetta songs and a few UK trad songs, really.

Don't fit into UK Trade Union scene at all.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: Bert
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 10:19 AM

...It may be our song choices say a lot about us as individuals?...

Oh dear! Here's some of my songs.

Size doesn't matter.
Silicone Cindy.
Plastic flower seeds.
The Phallic Fencepost.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 04:15 PM

VT - You mentioned The Chartist Anthem earlier; seems like a good place to start, if it's the one I'm thinking of (100 Years)??


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 09:30 PM

Bob..there was a book review this morning in ORegonian about Isaac Stevens. I can't remember name of book but it is just out now. mg


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: open mike
Date: 28 Mar 11 - 03:19 AM

Deckman..it looks like The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek is the book by Richard Kluger ... about a conflict between two leaders: Isaac I. Stevens, the first governor of the Washington Territory, and Leschi, an important member of the small Nisqually nation whose people lived on the south end of Puget Sound.http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2011/03/the_bitter_waters_of_medicine.html


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 29 Mar 11 - 02:28 AM

guest Steve T That song is wonderful... title and melody please.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: FloraG
Date: 29 Mar 11 - 03:26 AM

VirginiaT

Trade unionists are people first - only some are folkies. They would like to entrtained. Tollpuddle march is quite folky but the material is very mixed.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: thinking about the songs you sing
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Mar 11 - 07:39 AM

Virginia Tam - The song above doesn't really have a title as I've only sung it a couple of times so it doesn't need one yet! (See below*). I've got as far as singing it at my laptop but I don't read/write music so the melody (which is probably an over-complimentary name for it) doesn't exist on paper. (I'm a great believer in the oral/aural transmission of folk!!{I know it's not really "folk" but that's for another thread.}). I see from your other posts that you're planning to be at Sidmouth. I'll be around for much of the festival myself: most of the "bench" at the Middle Bar would be able to point you in my direction so that you can "collect" it then if you want. (I could probably email you something if you're not coming to Sidmouth.)

*Of more relevance to this thread: - Apart from the fact that the song is fairly new, the other reason I haven't sung it much is that I do have to mean, or at least strongly empathise with, what I'm singing. I sing plenty of songs of the countryside which I can relate to, for example, but few sea-songs because I can't get "inside" them.   I can quite happily sing the first four verses of the song I posted but don't like the implied "violent action" of the last two lines. In fact, I think I might try to find a different ending!

I have the luxury of not being paid to sing so I sing for my own pleasure (certainly it's nobody else's!!). However, a bit like FloraG, I do try to take the "audience" into account by selecting songs, from the ones that I feel like singing, to fit the listeners. Nevertheless, if I don't think what I have will suit, I'd rather not sing than choose something that does not match how I'm feeling. I also tend to limit the frequency with which I'll sing a particular song so that it doesn't become stale in my own mind. For example I will only sing Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon a couple of times a year because it's so good I don't want to lose the meaning of it.

We probably all sing for different reasons (possibly several simultaneously) but I'd hate to have to sing a song that I hadn't thought about and didn't believe in/mean. So do I reflect on the material I sing? Not really; I think for me the reflection comes first and that determines what I sing.


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