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Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?

Nick 27 Apr 11 - 07:03 AM
Zen 27 Apr 11 - 07:12 AM
Wesley S 27 Apr 11 - 07:14 AM
Nick 27 Apr 11 - 07:20 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 27 Apr 11 - 07:21 AM
Johnny J 27 Apr 11 - 07:26 AM
Deckman 27 Apr 11 - 07:52 AM
Zen 27 Apr 11 - 07:52 AM
Nick 27 Apr 11 - 07:58 AM
Johnny J 27 Apr 11 - 08:02 AM
Jack Campin 27 Apr 11 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,glueman 27 Apr 11 - 08:25 AM
Johnny J 27 Apr 11 - 08:28 AM
Alan Day 27 Apr 11 - 08:29 AM
Will Fly 27 Apr 11 - 09:30 AM
Leadfingers 27 Apr 11 - 09:38 AM
Johnny J 27 Apr 11 - 09:41 AM
Rob Naylor 27 Apr 11 - 09:49 AM
Pulseroom 27 Apr 11 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,999 27 Apr 11 - 11:13 AM
Musket 27 Apr 11 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,Abdul out of the UK 27 Apr 11 - 11:24 AM
Nick 27 Apr 11 - 12:07 PM
Herga Kitty 27 Apr 11 - 01:16 PM
JohnB 27 Apr 11 - 01:29 PM
JohnB 27 Apr 11 - 01:36 PM
CupOfTea 27 Apr 11 - 02:01 PM
Dave the Gnome 27 Apr 11 - 02:42 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Apr 11 - 05:19 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 27 Apr 11 - 05:40 PM
Dave the Gnome 27 Apr 11 - 05:45 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 27 Apr 11 - 05:57 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Apr 11 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 28 Apr 11 - 02:12 AM
Will Fly 28 Apr 11 - 03:34 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Apr 11 - 04:13 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 28 Apr 11 - 04:30 AM
Les in Chorlton 28 Apr 11 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 28 Apr 11 - 06:45 AM
Johnny J 28 Apr 11 - 07:16 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 28 Apr 11 - 07:57 AM
Pulseroom 28 Apr 11 - 08:31 AM
Will Fly 28 Apr 11 - 08:59 AM
Pulseroom 28 Apr 11 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,glueman 28 Apr 11 - 10:55 AM
caitlin rua 28 Apr 11 - 11:25 AM
Will Fly 28 Apr 11 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 28 Apr 11 - 01:08 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Apr 11 - 01:27 PM
Les in Chorlton 28 Apr 11 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 28 Apr 11 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Desi C 28 Apr 11 - 01:52 PM
Folkiedave 28 Apr 11 - 01:57 PM
Brian Peters 28 Apr 11 - 02:00 PM
Bounty Hound 28 Apr 11 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 28 Apr 11 - 02:40 PM
Folkiedave 28 Apr 11 - 02:48 PM
Folkiedave 28 Apr 11 - 03:22 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Apr 11 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 28 Apr 11 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,glueman 28 Apr 11 - 03:42 PM
Folkiedave 28 Apr 11 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,glueman 28 Apr 11 - 03:50 PM
Folkiedave 28 Apr 11 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,glueman 28 Apr 11 - 04:04 PM
Bonzo3legs 28 Apr 11 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 28 Apr 11 - 04:10 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 28 Apr 11 - 04:16 PM
Folkiedave 28 Apr 11 - 04:18 PM
Pulseroom 28 Apr 11 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,999 28 Apr 11 - 04:21 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 28 Apr 11 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,999 28 Apr 11 - 04:37 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Apr 11 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 28 Apr 11 - 04:55 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Apr 11 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,No Fixed Commode 28 Apr 11 - 05:21 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 28 Apr 11 - 05:58 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Apr 11 - 06:27 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Apr 11 - 06:50 PM
GUEST 28 Apr 11 - 07:08 PM
GUEST 28 Apr 11 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Alan whittle 28 Apr 11 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Joe G 28 Apr 11 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 28 Apr 11 - 07:44 PM
Folkiedave 28 Apr 11 - 07:46 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 28 Apr 11 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,Joe G 28 Apr 11 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 28 Apr 11 - 10:01 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 28 Apr 11 - 10:19 PM
Folkiedave 29 Apr 11 - 03:36 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 29 Apr 11 - 03:46 AM
GUEST,Woodsie 29 Apr 11 - 04:12 AM
Will Fly 29 Apr 11 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 29 Apr 11 - 06:08 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Apr 11 - 02:03 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 29 Apr 11 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,999 29 Apr 11 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,glueman 29 Apr 11 - 03:53 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Apr 11 - 03:55 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Apr 11 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 29 Apr 11 - 04:27 PM
Richard from Liverpool 29 Apr 11 - 07:20 PM
Richard from Liverpool 29 Apr 11 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 30 Apr 11 - 02:06 AM
Johnny J 30 Apr 11 - 06:51 AM
caitlin rua 30 Apr 11 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 30 Apr 11 - 07:35 AM
Will Fly 30 Apr 11 - 07:37 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 30 Apr 11 - 08:12 AM
Johnny J 30 Apr 11 - 08:28 AM
GUEST 30 Apr 11 - 08:39 AM
Nick 30 Apr 11 - 08:41 AM
Johnny J 30 Apr 11 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 30 Apr 11 - 09:11 AM
caitlin rua 30 Apr 11 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 30 Apr 11 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 30 Apr 11 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 30 Apr 11 - 10:56 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 30 Apr 11 - 11:31 AM
caitlin rua 30 Apr 11 - 01:23 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 30 Apr 11 - 03:43 PM
GUEST, TB 30 Apr 11 - 03:45 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Apr 11 - 04:50 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 30 Apr 11 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,Joe G 30 Apr 11 - 06:44 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Apr 11 - 07:06 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 01 May 11 - 05:08 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 01 May 11 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 01 May 11 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,lively 01 May 11 - 06:54 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 01 May 11 - 07:01 AM
Steve Gardham 01 May 11 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 01 May 11 - 01:36 PM
Steve Gardham 01 May 11 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 02 May 11 - 01:36 AM
GUEST,glueman 02 May 11 - 04:01 AM
Paul Davenport 02 May 11 - 04:43 AM
Folkiedave 02 May 11 - 04:54 AM
melodeonboy 02 May 11 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,Gail 02 May 11 - 06:18 AM
Will Fly 02 May 11 - 06:58 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 02 May 11 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,glueman 02 May 11 - 07:34 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 02 May 11 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,glueman 02 May 11 - 07:43 AM
GUEST 02 May 11 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,glueman 02 May 11 - 11:59 AM
GUEST 02 May 11 - 12:52 PM
Nick 02 May 11 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,No Fixed Abode 04 May 11 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,folkiedave 05 May 11 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,No Fixed Abode 05 May 11 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,folkiedave 05 May 11 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,No Fixed Abode 05 May 11 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Folkiedave 05 May 11 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,No Fixed Abode 05 May 11 - 02:21 PM
srothman 05 May 11 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 05 May 11 - 10:26 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 06 May 11 - 01:10 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 06 May 11 - 05:25 AM
Steve Gardham 06 May 11 - 02:52 PM
ollaimh 06 May 11 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 06 May 11 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 06 May 11 - 03:44 PM
Herga Kitty 06 May 11 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,lively 06 May 11 - 03:52 PM
Herga Kitty 06 May 11 - 04:01 PM
Steve Gardham 06 May 11 - 04:12 PM
Tim Leaning 06 May 11 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,Pulseroom 06 May 11 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 06 May 11 - 09:06 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 07 May 11 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 07 May 11 - 04:38 AM
Tim Leaning 07 May 11 - 11:04 AM
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Subject: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Nick
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 07:03 AM

A current thread made me wonder why it is that people find it much easier to champion and speak well of people when they are relatively unknown. Once they take the terrible step into being more widely liked they are suddenly 'grim' or 'rubbish' or 'money grabbing' or 'untrue to their roots' or 'fat' or sexually abnormal or whatever.

The current butt of this seems to be the Unthanks. A while ago the popular one to knock was Kate Rusby and how all her songs sound the same or some other gripe; or Show of Hands not being any good; or Bellowhead doing something wrong.

I listened to the song on the BBC mentioned on the latest thread and personally can't see why it raises so many hackles. My wife came in while I was listening to it and enjoyed it. It's decently sung, I like string quartet backing and the guitarist and keyboards were tasteful. I don't own any Unthanks music and have only really listened to a few things on YouTube etc when people have taken a pop at them here in the past (I liked Sexy Sadie by the way, I thought it was fun)

Is it because they are on the TV and somehow that makes you an instant target? Is the other side of the 'fame' culture that we live in a constant need to pillory and replace decent performers with whatever the next new thing is - until their time comes to be flushed down the same tube. Jedward I'm sure are fantastically talented and will no doubt make a progressive fusion album one day with Pat Metheny, Pavarotti and Stockhausen which will show what they are really all about and to finally silence any critics there may be out there...

There was a programme about Elton John and Bernie Taupin's early days on BBC4 the other day. Early promise and talent; music college and practice; dedication and singleminded pursuit of a goal in the face of adversity from school and parets etc; obscurity; playing in bands and 'paying dues'; selling out and playing the 'wrong music'; taking chances; working in Denmark St and trying to churn out 'hits'; travelling endlessly; ignored first album; nearly canned until going to the US etc etc. I bet there are many who reckon it was probably pretty easy for Elton because.... Most of the things in the first paragraph (and many more) have been applied to him since. But I'd gues he worked enormously hard at what he did - it doesn't fall on a plate.

It's sad that not everyone with talent makes it. It may be seen to be unfair that some people with less (subjectively perceived) talent than others make the most of it and some with more make the least of it (perhaps perspiration rather than inspiration and all that apply). In most biographies of people who have 'made it' there are a good number of surprises - where people go "well I never knew they sang on cruise ships and workin men's clubs for 10 years before I saw them on the telly" - and things that people have given up or chosen to take chances with.

So my question is - why do people so begrudge people the success that in most spheres they have worked so very very hard to achieve?

And secondly - why does it allow so many people (not specifically talking Mudcat here so let's not have an argument on that level) who have not an iota of the talent to somehow feel that the artist has so let them down and owes them so much?

It doesn't seem to be, as Les said in another thread, whether you like them or not; it seems more to be 'what can I say bad about these people' just because they are there.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Zen
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 07:12 AM

Agreed. It seems many here would rather slate or begrudge people rather than staying silent if they don't care for them.

Personally, I'd rather offer praise for those people who do move me in some way.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Wesley S
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 07:14 AM

If a musician gets popular then we don't get to feel special and unique anymore. In other words - how good could they be if "those" people like them too?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Nick
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 07:20 AM

So the aim of an artist is to be as unpopular as possible?

Should I only be listening to people that noone else likes?

Does that mean I'm doing tremendously well because so few people appreciate my stupendous talent and I'd only spoil it if more people liked what I did?

Sorry I have removed my tongue from my cheek now.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 07:21 AM

I think they feel it's a betrayal of Sacred Folk Purity to be in any way favoured by the mainstream, especially as what The Unthanks do isn't exactly mainstream anyway, and yet has a wide appeal. Maybe that's another reason - I applaud anyone who might cover King Crimson and Robert Wyatt with the same exquisite attention to musical detail as Kipling / Bellamy (their cover of A Tree Song on Oak, Ash, Thorn is a definitive masterpiece) or traditional Northumbrian songs or whatever else they do. As I said on the other thread, they are an autonomous musical unit and can do as they please, which they do quite fearlessly.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Johnny J
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 07:26 AM

Zen says

"Personally, I'd rather offer praise for those people who do move me in some way."

OK, then. You should all check out this woman if you haven't heard her already. I really enjoy her interpretations of Northumbrian songs.

http://www.focsle.org.uk/SCoFF/carolyn/


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Deckman
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 07:52 AM

JEALOUSY ?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Zen
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 07:52 AM

Yes Johnny J... I have heard her before and, yes, she is a fine singer.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Nick
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 07:58 AM

Could be jealousy. I think it's something more than though and something I see in many walks of life more and more. Perhaps it's the Warhol thing of everyone and their 15 minutes of fame - perhaps famous people are getting in the way?

Johnny - she's a very fine singer last heard her in Whitby. Saw her with the Tabbush sisters some years ago and they are mighty fine too.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Johnny J
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 08:02 AM

Among the younger performers, I really like this lass

http://www.bellahardy.com/

and also

http://www.myspace.com/ruthnotman1

and

http://www.kerrfagan.com/

to name but a few.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 08:03 AM

There was a programme about Elton John and Bernie Taupin's early days on BBC4 the other day. Early promise and talent; music college and practice; dedication and singleminded pursuit of a goal in the face of adversity from school and parets etc; obscurity; playing in bands and 'paying dues'; selling out and playing the 'wrong music'; taking chances; working in Denmark St and trying to churn out 'hits'; travelling endlessly; ignored first album; nearly canned until going to the US etc etc.

Oh spare us. That is COMPLETE bollocks. The guy got himself into the limelight straight after leaving college - I couldn't miss it even though I was in New Zealand at the time and detested the pop industry as much then as I do now. And his PR machine has made sure he's never been out of the public eye since. He's the archetypal pop product.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 08:25 AM

Unthanks: Lovely girls, as Father Ted once said (or was it Jack?) Liked them better as RU and the Winterset but perfectly bonny lasses singing songs old and new.

Kate Rusby: One doesn't hear Barnsley sung often enough to complain about it. Eats her crusts too. What's not to like?

Bellowhead: Anyone who puts a big band on the road in these straightened times is to be congratulated. Excellent musicians and a very good fun evening.

Show of Hands: Feels like a lecture. If I wanted a lecture I'd go to a university.

Jackie Oates: Lovely voice.

Eliza Carthy: Top bird, great voice, fine player, impeccable provenance.

Boden and Spiers: Marvellous. Done more for the tradition than most under 70s.

Did I miss anyone with a modicum of success?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Johnny J
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 08:28 AM

Seth Lakeman?

I prefer his brothers though. They're not as famous.
:-)


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Alan Day
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 08:29 AM

I thought the same thing Nick.
As members of the Folk World we should applaud any member being on radio, or TV and support them.
I have not seen the programme, but I intend to, The two sisters come over as lovely friendly girls and talented.
Good luck to all they achieve and the same goes for all of you.
Al


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 09:30 AM

I do wish people could understand that, it in the end, it all boils down to personal taste - one man's meat being another man's poison, etc.

If you state that you don't like Richard Thompson (say) - all that says is that you don't happen to like Richard Thompson. As it happens, I admire RT greatly - but that merely tells you my taste. In between the two extremes lie a whole spectrum of opinions.

This doesn't mean that we have to suspend our critical faculty but, if you're going to be critical of a performance - in the right place and at the right time - then give a reasoned and balanced critique which - by the way - "grim" is not.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 09:38 AM

If you dont like someone , you dont HAVE to go to their gigs or buy their product ! Equally , you should NOT Slag someone off without REALLY good cause !


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Johnny J
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 09:41 AM

"if you're going to be critical of a performance - in the right place and at the right time - then give a reasoned and balanced critique "

Point taken.
However, I shall re-iterate that this one word was used in relation to the *performance only* and not intended to be a personal attack on the girls themselves. Certainly, I wouldn't dream of using any of the other descriptions suggested by the OP which would be totally unacceptable under any circumstances.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 09:49 AM

I'm with Will here....it's one thing to "not like" an artiste or band... that is purely personal taste.

But if a band or artise who you like (or even one that you don't like!) turns in what you consider to be a below-par performance in an environment where they have relatively large "exposure" then you should be prepared to put up a reasoned critique highlighting what you consider to have been "wrong" with the performance, rather than just slagging it off with a single word.

For example, the first time I heard "Fleet Foxes" (who've recently been "discovered" by Mudcat!) was about 2 1/2 years ago on Jools Holland and their performance was dire. The reason it was dire was that they were singing in a *completely different key* to the one they were playing their instruments in. It sounded horrible, and they didn't pick it up until halfway through the song, when their voices all shifted into the right key for the instruments over the course of 1 1/2 bars!

There was a YouTube clip of it for a while, but it seems to have disappeared now.

THAT was an OBJECTIVELY dire performance, whether you like "Fleet Foxes" or not. Anyone coming across them for the first time wouldn't have had a good impression at all.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Pulseroom
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 11:01 AM

Maybe, if you have only heard someone the one time your views are from that performance only, and maybe that particular performance was under par?

I have only ever seen Martin Carthy once at Gainsborough Festival "Trinity Arts Centre". All he seemed to do is tune his guitar, once tuned he played and sang as if to be unhappy "with the guitar and performance".

In the foyer after the performance I did hear people say it was rubbish. I did hear that afterwards Martin did in fact realise this himself and offered to do the performance free of charge, he told the organisers that the guitar was brand new and would not stay in tune even for one song. I bet Martin can remember that day.

So personally I came away disappointed because I had heard how fantastic he was and I was expecting something exceptional. I could actually say that Martin Carthy is rubbish in my opinion from his performance on that day. However, knowing the consequences I suppose I should make the effort to see him again.

I'm sure professional musicians can rise above such comments, people should also be allowed to view their opinions if they have paid good money to see them but weren't happy with their performance. It is their view that differs to yours. So be it!

Or am I barking up the wrong tree?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 11:13 AM

No argument with that from me, Pulseroom.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Musket
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 11:21 AM

I have seen my heros on bad days and seen acts for the first time I thought bad then heard something I liked on the radio and yep, it was them.

Taste is a fickle concept, abstract to say the least.

I recall a thread when I first found Mudcat a few years ago where somebody was lamenting that folk in The UK will die out with the baby boomers. Nonsense, I said. What about Eliza Carthy, Seth Lakeman, Kate Rusby, Spiers & Boden etc etc etc. "Ah, the young Turks. Not too sure they made a difference." Came the sad answer from a rather sad person.

It seems that success in any arts venture here in The UK is based on the media building you up in the way they wish in order to knock you down again, as they wish. Funny that artistic success is there to sell newspapers and nothing else, strange world.

What I find appalling is people perpetuating this hate of anybody who is doing alright, despite them not being editors, TV producers or newspaper barons. Why? A bit like the prat who told me I shouldn't sing in folk clubs because my car looks too posh. Folk clubs are there to whinge about being poor or some other such rubbish.

The only good bit is, there is no such thing as bad publicity. And when you need money from performing to pay the bills, any exposure can turn into ticket or album sales. Ask the late Michael Jackson for details.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Abdul out of the UK
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 11:24 AM

There is a British thing though about resenting success. Not just in the folky world o course but most things. They don't have that culture anywhere else that I'm aware of. The papers thrive on it.
Al


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Nick
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 12:07 PM

>>Oh spare us. That is COMPLETE bollocks. The guy got himself into the limelight straight after leaving college - I couldn't miss it even though I was in New Zealand at the time and detested the pop industry as much then as I do now. And his PR machine has made sure he's never been out of the public eye since. He's the archetypal pop product.

Interesting. I first heard of Elton John in Kildonan, Arran in an old boat shed where the son of the hotelier had a little recording studio thing. It would be summer 1970 just after release of second album. Never heard of him before so he PR machine must have been slow for me (at 16 presumablly I was part of the target audience).

By then, I was quite into acoustic and electric blues, folk music, west coast music, rock, classics, had been through the Beatles, done the Stones in the Park, seen Pink Floyd, been to see Judy Collins and all sorts of stuff - ie quite eclectic - but bizarrely the Elton John PR machine had missed me while the Velvet Underground and Roy Harper had managed to find me.

Jack - you may be talking bollocks from the wrong year unless New Zealand was that far ahead - I know it's alays the first at New Year.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 01:16 PM

I pretty much agree with glueman. I'm not a great fan of the breathy little girl singing style, but lots of people are.

Johnny J - I think Carolyn Robson is a wonderful singer too, with impeccable folk credentials for singing Northumbrian songs (IIRC she grew up in Hexham). She also formerly worked for EFDSS...and of course she's one third of Craig, Morgan, Robson, as well as the mother of the Tabbush sisters!   

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: JohnB
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 01:29 PM

I do not know about years, but Reg certainly cut his teeth playing with the likes of Long John Baldry, etc.
Speaking as an ex-pat Brit living in Canada;
I personally do not get the Unthanks, I heard them Live as RU and winterset at Bromyard and really wondered why these girls who could mostly not sing in tune, with difficult to understand diction were there at all. I listened to them via You tube on the Bellowhead(GREAT group) Christmas Thingy and was grateful for the fast forward.
Having listened to the first link I do not think that they have improved much, though their pitching is a little better. Living in another Country, I certainly do not understand all the hype and nominations for different awards they recieve. To me at the expense of far better performers who have been mentioned above, who I would really like to hear more of.
My 2$ that's inflation for you, JohnB.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: JohnB
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 01:36 PM

I forgot to say I thought they came across a lot better in the BBC programme about clogging which they did.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: CupOfTea
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 02:01 PM

There is a British thing though about resenting success

Abdul, I disagree - or perhaps it's an American-ingrained-from-our-colonial-past thing, but I hear folks make the same kind of begrudging commentary on what's popular in the folk world as viewed here. I may be guilty of some of it m'self, yet what I tend to grump about is the success of performers who are NOT to my taste over what I perceive as more worthy performers.

In my case, it's a taste and critique version of sour grapes. It's frustration. "Cute thing who looks good in miniskirt" playing her songs getting more airplay than "Middle aged woman who has substance, a great repertoire, and really great guitar chops" irks me. When I complain it can sound like I'm just slagging off on the young thing. There's only so much airtime/audience/dollars to spend on tickets to go around & every time I have to hear some breathy voice girlchild I'm aware I'm not hearing Odetta or Deb Cowan or Cindy Mangsen, or a plethora of performers I respect. Does that perhaps answer some of the "why" in begrudging success?

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 02:42 PM

I'm not entirely sure your premise is true, Nick. Not saying you are wrong but my belief is that anyone in the limelight will receive a healthy dollop of criticism. Now, had the Unthanks etc. stayed in the relatively obscure world of folk not many people would have heard of them and therefore it would stand to reason that the number of critics would be lower. Once you start to hit the big time then your audience is far wider and the number of critics grows proportionately.

Take the Unthanks as an example - I can't say that I paricularly like them. Nothing wrong with their music, just not my cup of tea. Had they have stuck to the folk clubs of the North East I may never had heard of them so would never had said I don't particularly like them. I am, I believe, pretty fair and will not criticise any artist any more than that. But for every one of me there are 10 who, rather than say they do not like it, will say it is crap.

Nothing, therefore, to do with jelously or any such. Simply the fact that the higher your profile goes, the more people will take a pot shot. And take no notice whatsoever of anyome saying it is an English trait. Us English are naturaly more critical because our standards are far higher than those in the colonies... :-)

MP


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:19 PM

I admire those who sell their souls to the publicity machine. That takes some bollocks, or whatever the female equivalent is.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:40 PM

"sell their souls" ?

Steve I'm genuinely shocked by your attitude mate.

That's not selling your soul, that's doing everything you can to develop and polish your birth talent to make the best music you possibly can that you can be proud of and that (some) other people will love. In other words what every artist (and collector or interpreter) from any genre has always done.

Selling your soul is compromising your beliefs and values for the sake of financial gain. I can assure you Rachel and Becky are doing nothing of the sort. They have taken something they love doing (and have grown extremely good at), which is singing dark and interesting songs, simply and effectively - using deliberate understatement (both for effect and because it suits their voices) employing fully traditionally-informed vocal styling, and then, with Adrian's help, achieving a real frisson by setting that pale watercolour into an expansive but still understated frame of moulded gold - like a watercolour by Turner.

People like them because they think it's a simply brilliant thing to do, and to many it's starkly beautiful. Not everyone agrees - and that's fine too.

Is it anything to do with folk? Who cares? Do they expect everyone to like it? Certainly not. Is it selling out? Well if it is then so is everything you or I have ever done, mate.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:45 PM

Agreed, Tom. As I said, not my cup of tea but I can certainly appreciate their talent. If, however, they were to start doing Spice Girl covers and getting their kit off for 'Hello' magazine it would be a different bucket of whelks! They would still not be to everyone's tastes and 'sell out' would then be appropriate. As it happens I find it unlikely. Unless they fancy coming round for a photo shoot... :-)

MP


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:57 PM

I've always sensed a huge sense of Begrudginess in the English folk world to those who become successful....*unless* they are part of the Folk Family Mafia, in which case it's considered perfectly perfect for them to appear on any programme whatsoever. Hmmmmm.....


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 06:00 PM

I think it is a generational thing.   The "folk revival" crowd developed their taste in music and created their own styles when older generations were siding up to pop music, jazz and other more commercially accessible forms.    Now that the folk revival crowd are entering their latter years, they seem to have the same sort of resentment for younger generations who are embracing music in their own style.    Perhaps it is a jealousy of realizing that their own rebellious youth is a distant memory and by looking down their nose at younger styles, they somehow recapture their own youthful arrogance.   Too bad it is at the expense of hearing some unique and exciting music. The cowebs are shaking off revealing a brillance once again. Perhaps if it is put down it will go away and they can embrace their memories again.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 02:12 AM

I find the term "selling ones soul" slightly laughable when referring to UK folkies! Name me one UK artist who is earning more than the minimum wage? If, indeed all these people are selling their souls, they're not getting a very good price for them, are they!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 03:34 AM

I stood at the crossroads, many many years ago, and waited eagerly - guitar in hand - for the Devil to bring me fame and fortune in exchange for my immortal soul.

I got knocked down by a no. 32 bus.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:13 AM

Xlnt Will! As for us old gits resenting young people - my own feeling is nothing less than delight that so many talented, hard working, imaginative, creative young people are doing so many exciting things to old songs.

If people don't like somebody or other go and find somebody they do like and tell us so we can all enjoy more old songs and tunes.

Cheers

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:30 AM

Me too Will. One minute Pete Waterman was whispering in my ear. The next......

It baffles me utterly when this sort of thing happens.

First, why should seeking to make a living in the folk music arena be seen by anyone as a sell out? Composers and songwriters through the ages have always borrowed from and added to the 'working class / un-educated' (or whatever definition you prefer) traditional canon. The Unthanks don't exclusively sing trad material, and even if they did it would not be an issue. No crime there.

And there have always been professional and semi-professional musicians in every genre at every level in every town and village in the world. Always. No crime there either.

All of us who have tried to make a go of it have done so because if you can hit on a workable formula for both your music and your lifestyle, which is financially viable, it's a wonderful way to live. Yes you need to be sure it's worth the risk when you abandon the day job - but you base that decision on feedback from your reviewers, audiences, mentors - and sales. If it doesn't work you slip back from view (as I did). But if it does you rise gently under the Peter Principle - and if you're lucky and good enough you make it to Later. No crime there.

The producers of Later have thousands of brilliant acts to choose from. There is no payola or underhand exchange here. They book acts from a 'folk' background because they are good, because they are popular, and because they know they will work well on the programme. No crime there.

No-one who has ever taken as little as a pint for singing a song should accuse anyone of selling out. (Hell, if they wanted to and enjoyed singing Spice Girl covers and could get bookings for doing so that wouldn't be selling out either).

All successful musicians have found themselves at various points in their careers going down what turns out to be a dead end. Wrong band, wrong material, wrong approach, bad timing - many a slip is inevitable. The good ones pick themselves up, learn from the experience and try again with a slightly different approach. The Unthanks have done exactly this, and they've found a winning formula. And it's not a cheap one either. Singing unaccompanied and keeping all the fee for themselves would buy them a lot more 'for their souls.'

They sounded great the other night - as they usually do. I'll stick with my watercolour in a gilt frame analogy: Accentuating the deliberate simplicity of the singing with the sparse brightness of the accompaniment (try listening again with the Turner image in mind - it might make more sense then) works a treat. People coming from a Jacques Brel (in fact a lot of French popular music), or an Elvis Costello-ish background - (and LOT of people do), get it at once - hence their success.

They fitted perfectly into the show - the whole point of which is juxtaposition, contrast and discovery.

To quote Andy Kershaw quoting John Walters (his and Peel's - and Ralph's - producer). "Our job is not to give people what they want. It's to give people what they din't KNOW they wanted." I think Jool's team would subscribe to that too.

A lot of people already knew they wanted the Unthanks. But now a LOT more people do.

No crime there either.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 05:34 AM

Well said Tom, all good stuff.

Here's a group I and many others much enyoyed at last years Shrewsbury Festival:

Calan

If you like 'em tell others. If you don't - tell us who you do like or better still go to a folk club or session and sing a song or play a tune.

Cheers
L in C#


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 06:45 AM

Tom
Thanks for the mention, and you are absolutely right. I worked with Alison Howe (Prod "Later") at Radio 1. A very clear thinking person, with great ideas, and whenever I watch Jools' show, I'm just grateful that it's there. I've also been lucky enough to work on JH's radio show recorded at Helicon Mountain. Guest's included (to name two) Kirsty MacColl and George Melly!   And lots of others.
Out of interest, just looking at my hard drive, here is a partial list of people I've recorded, (All of which I would regard as folk singers!)
Afro Celts, Altan, Ann Peebles, Beth Orton, Bill Jones, Blind Boys of Alabama, 2 Duos Quartet, Chris Wood, CBS, Cunningham/McCusker, Del McCrory, Dembo Konte, Kausu Kuyate, Dick Dale, Dick Gaughan, Hansome Family, Hayes and Cahill, Ivor Cutler, .....etc. and I'm only halfway through the alphabet!
The list is not there for boasting purposes, It's just to say that, the BBC has always provided a broad range of music. Particularly over the last 15 years or so.
So, to criticise one bands performance on one TV show, just because "I don't like it, so it must be crap" is, not only insulting to the artists concerned, but to the entire production team as well.
Go on then....You do it!
PS. I'll just add, Warren Zevon, Richard Thompson, John Martyn, LWIII, Kelly Joe Phelps, Kevin Coyne, Mahotella Queens, Welch/Rawlins, Wreckless Eric, Rokia Traore, Robin Hitchcock, Martin Simpson, Taj Mahal/Toumani Djiabate.....(Thats enough names Ed!)
Regards Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Johnny J
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 07:16 AM

Quite a "mixed bag" there but I actually like most of these named you've mentioned.

I also like Jacques Brel too and I've always been a great Elvis Costello fan. So, there!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 07:57 AM

Heaping excessive praise on artists one happens to like – or excessive condemnation on those one happens to dislike – is just self-congratulation by indirect means. The script goes like this:

"How perceptive I must be to like a performer that few others appreciate, and many have never heard of. How high my critical standards must be if I can detect the intrinsic shallowness of somebody who is idolised by millions."

Of course, the script changes abruptly whenever artists who were once the focus of an underground cult suddenly achieve mass popularity. Now it goes like this:

"Oh yes, I liked them back in the early days, but I'm disgusted by the glossy trash they churn out now."

Most of us used to play this game with our schoolfellows – it's probably a necessary part of the growing up process. But unfortunately, some people find it hard to let go.

Lazy people who want to appear culturally sophisticated can use it to avoid the effort of looking, listening and thinking.   Unimaginative journalists can fall back on it to fill their quota of column inches or airtime minutes. And unsuccessful performers (pro or amateur) can indulge in it to console themselves.

As Dorothy Parker once said about another activity, it's a way of killing time for those who prefer it dead. This particular game never gets you anywhere worth going.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Pulseroom
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 08:31 AM

Ok, How many people do you know that don't like Leonard Cohen? 90% of my friends will tell you he's crap. Well! I love listening to him, I could listen to him all day. I actually think he's brilliant. I have purchased every album he's made.

Here's a list of musicians that have used "Bird on a Wire" one of Leonards songs on their albums:

Joe Cocker on Joe Cocker! (1969) and the live album Mad Dogs & Englishmen (1970)
Dave Van Ronk on Van Ronk (1971)
Tim Hardin on the album Bird on a Wire (1971)
Pearls Before Swine on the album Beautiful Lies You Could Live In (1971)
Rita Coolidge on the album The Lady's Not for Sale (1972)
Fairport Convention on the album Heyday: the BBC Radio Sessions, 1968–1969 (1987)
Jennifer Warnes on the tribute album Famous Blue Raincoat (1987)
Tom Cochrane and Red Rider on The Symphony Sessions (1989)
The Neville Brothers on the album Brother's Keeper (1990), also included in the movie by the same name
The Lilac Time on the tribute album I'm Your Fan (1991)
The Bobs on the album Cover the Songs of … (1994), in a skate-punk style
Johnny Cash on the album American Recordings (1994), and also live with orchestra (released on the 2003 compilation Unearthed)
Willie Nelson on the tribute album Tower of Song (1995)
Stina Nordenstam on the album People Are Strange (1998)
k.d. lang on the album Hymns of the 49th Parallel (2004)
autorickshaw on the album So the Journey Goes (2007)
Perla Batalla on the album Bird on the Wire: the Songs of Leonard Cohen (2005)
Eva Dahlgren on the tribute album Cohen – the Scandinavian Report (2009)
Joe Bonamassa on the album Black Rock (2010)
Kiko Veneno on the album Dice la Gente (2010), adapted to spanish
Katey Segal on the television program Sons of Anarchy in Season 3 Episode 4 (2011)

So..... is he crap or is he brilliant? Or am I just missing the point?

I can just see Leonard now with a big smile on his face.....


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 08:59 AM

So..... is he crap or is he brilliant?

Both - depending on your outlook and your musical taste.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Pulseroom
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 09:16 AM

Exactly! And that's not saying anything bad about him is it really?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 10:55 AM

They lost something when Belinda O'Hooley's acid drop comments and parlour piano went IMHO, but they're still a very strong act. Anyone who describes Rachel Unthank as a weak singer needs to clean their ears out. The edge they had in their early stuff has been replaced by some blissed out string production, and that's an honest opinion.

I would be good to hear future albums given a rawer, less obviously commercial sound.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: caitlin rua
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 11:25 AM

Are you allowed to just not like someone's musical output, without being accused of "begrudging" something or other?

The Unthanks seem like very nice, sincere people. But what they do doesn't impress me. I don't resent their success, I'm not jealous or any other neurotic thing, they're just not my cup of tea. Is it permissible to merely express a negative opinion, based on the work the artists produce (not their Selves) without getting called names and cod-psychoanalised by a bunch of people who don't know me?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 12:08 PM

caitlin rua - Of course you can have an opinion - positive or negative - and why shouldn't you?

The point is, to just express it on a board like Mudcat is neither here nor there. What does it prove? It tells us that you don't like x - no more nor less.

So, if I simply post: "I don't like Leonard Cohen" - it's a meaningless statement.

Whereas, a reasoned appraisal of Leonard Cohen, giving some sort of perpective, is a different kettle of fish.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 01:08 PM

I think its the inequality of it that bugs a lot of us.

So many of the folkerati never seem to have to pay their dues. They get the cushy arts centre gigs, the fawning folk club audiences, kiss arse reviews - never having learned how to work an audience or produce a memorable piece of music - never mind having no clue how to present it and introduce it.

even if their albums are complete shite - they get more column inches in froots et al. explaining and forgiving them than working jobbing musicians get for four star albums containing their life's work.

Its hard to explain the resentment if you haven't seen your friends live and die in obscurity - often having spent their lives giving spellbinding performances on the minor stages of folk festivals and in tiny clubs.

Then those with the whip hand wonder why no one is listening to their bloody awful radio nd tv programmes, and why theres no general support for folk music. Five minutes is usually enough for the a folkmusic neutral with his finger on the remote control.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 01:27 PM

Hey Tom - If you were to start singing spice girl covers I may even listen. But give us plenty of warning before taking your kit off for the Mirror...

:-)

MP


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 01:37 PM

Brilliant Alan, brilliant

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 01:52 PM

Having said all that. i don't begrudge anyone anything. I just wish there was a fairer way of going on.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 01:52 PM

Indeed it's long been something of a mystery of British Folk Music, that those who gain 'fame' seem to be resented or seen as no longer true to the Folk tradition. Numerous examples, some you've mentioned, one that always comes to mind is an outfit called Fiddlers Dram, must be best part of 30 years+ ago the had a surprise big hit with the song, day Trip to Bangor. Only days previously they'd been quite a popular booking on the club scene, after the chart success they were barely mentioned or heard of again.

It does seem to be almost peculiar to the British scene too. Back home in Ireland trad acts that go from locally popular to international fame, Dubliners, Christy Moore ,and Co, become revered and very much placed on a pedestol and honoured in all sorts of ways. Here? They're treated almost like traitors. Is it jealousy, resentment, snobbery? or just the British way?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 01:57 PM

I am lucky I count a number of artists amongst my acquaintances. I watch them struggling to make a living - virtually all of them - by travelling up and down the motorways of the UK and playing for very little at Arts Centres and folk clubs.

Most "cushy" Arts Centre gigs pay the usual percentages against a guarantee that they always did. So do most folk clubs. I am not sure how that makes them cushy and what might look like a prestigious tour around arts centres might just be a borrowing to finance a series of gigs based on someone's mortgage.

And @ Ron Olesko - I am "one of the folk revival crowd" I first got interested in this music around 1961. I am lucky I have a radio show where I can champion the young musicians. Tomorrow's show will have a fantastic duo called Walsh and Pound. Take a listen to the podcast. Second half. Details on Mudcat under "Thank Goodness It's Folk".

One of the "young musicians" said to me recently the thing they liked about folk music was that you could talk to the older musicians and they listened to what young people said and the young people were treated as equals. There is a ton of young talented and highly skilled musicians playing this music. All making their own way. In their own way.

Since Lizzie believes in the existence of a Folk Family Mafia, would you like to perhaps say who is in it?

Or indeed Al, who do you reckon is in it?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 02:00 PM

"Fiddlers Dram, must be best part of 30 years+ ago the had a surprise big hit with the song, day Trip to Bangor. Only days previously they'd been quite a popular booking on the club scene, after the chart success they were barely mentioned or heard of again."

Might be because they broke up and turned into the Oyster Band.

But much more likely it was that old folk snobbery again.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 02:16 PM

Just for Desi C's benefit, Fiddlers Dram, who were 'barely mentioned or heard of again' morphed into the Oysterband, who, I believe, are still enjoying some success!

and to add my thoughts on the original question, the Unthanks don't float my boat, as the saying goes, but if others enjoy them, they must be doing something right. I don't think it is a question of 'begrudging success' more that we all know other artists who we would consider better performers and more worthy of the exposure. Don't see the aforementioned Oysterband on national TV for instance. At risk of taking the debate of at a tangent, it seems to me that it is the 'bright young things' that get the national media attention, maybe that's why you don't see the Oysterband, too old in their 50's

John


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 02:40 PM

Oh Dave ......I despair of you!

We had the same crap a few years ago when I was driven off Mudcat by a storm of abuse and your insistence that I provide name and packdrill.

No I'm not going to give offence to people whoa as you say work hard and many of whom are my personal fioends.

But I DO know, and they know that they live a whole lot easier than artists who have work out strategies and buy equipment that will 'eat' a noisy indifferemt room - usually for half the fee - and without the all the cushy audiences British council tours and god knows how many other perks that go with being 'in with the establisment. how much more difficult to be doing all those miles for nothing but a few unpaid minutes on a minor stage, in the vain hope of consiglieri of the folk mafia giving you the time of day.

Every bugger knows its going on, just give it a rest and put a bloody sock in it. Its bad enough that what is happening is happening and have it happening in front of your eyes for forty years without being told that I'm seeing things.

I'm not seeing things and sucking up to the very small fish inthe folk music pool will ultimately buy you nothing.

as Bob Dylan said

the cops don't need you and man, they expect the same....

In the end we all get what we deserve. they get to produce to a whole slew of unmemorable crap music, and the lucky ones of us get to be one hit wonders.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 02:48 PM

one that always comes to mind is an outfit called Fiddlers Dram, must be best part of 30 years+ ago the had a surprise big hit with the song, day Trip to Bangor. Only days previously they'd been quite a popular booking on the club scene, after the chart success they were barely mentioned or heard of again.

Basically they became the Oysterband eventually.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 03:22 PM

That'd be the "Dave" that gave up his radio show to a couple of your mates two years ago and told them they could pick and choose the music to their heart's content.

I am still waiting for their thank you letter. But don't worry the complaints slowed to a trickle after a month or so.

Let's just assume there is such a thing as a folk mafia for a moment.

One thing is for certain they are not making a living at it because all the organisers I know have other jobs. Apart from a couple of larger folk festivals people give up their free time to run festivals, and folk clubs. There is no fortune to be made that's for sure.

What you are saying is that what they do voluntarily is refuse to choose people who (according to you) know how to put a song over, have great stage presence and can sing and play. Instead they choose (again according to you) a bunch of lesser talented people.

They "bet" the success of their folk clubs, folk festivals and so on on a bunch of lesser talents. For the life of me I cannot see why people would want to do that.

And if that isn't what you are saying - precisely how does this "folk establishment" (or as someone else called it "Folk Family Mafia") work?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 03:31 PM

"And @ Ron Olesko - I am "one of the folk revival crowd" I first got interested in this music around 1961. I am lucky I have a radio show where I can champion the young musicians. Tomorrow's show will have a fantastic duo called Walsh and Pound. Take a listen to the podcast. Second half. Details on Mudcat under "Thank Goodness It's Folk". "

That is wonderful news Folkiedave! That is EXACTLY what we need more of!

Perhaps this entire thread was based on a false pretense. Perhaps Nick's original premise, and my own thoughts, are based on individual experiences and DO not represent the overall feeling. I hope that is the case, as it would certainly make me feel good to be wrong!

Folk music needs open arms and open ears.   I think we are lucky on this side of the Atlantic, I experience more acceptance of both the trad and contemporary. Support of young performers is also highly encouraged in these parts!    The future does look bright!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 03:32 PM

I dunno des - there seems to be domestic irish fame and the ones that go international - they don't all go international - despite the numerous irish communities round the world.

i was always amazed Johnny MacEvoy didn't go global. I still love his stuff. quite a lot of Irish acts seem anchored on the ould sod.

i had a soft spot for the JCB song man.

i always think Irish people have their folk stuff better integrated than we do.

Even a bloke like Daniel O'Donnel does some folk material - Cliff richard doesn't have that same flexiblity - despite having a similar sort of niche in the market (boy singer/no dick, as Father ted wittily remarked.)


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 03:42 PM

The idea that anyone would go into folk music because it pays is bizarre, even insane. Traditional music was always 'of the people'; it needed nor desired marketing, had no agents or producers - anyone can stand up and sing a folk song.

To find a market that pays requires the performer to cross-over into popular culture. Usually that means they have sex appeal, or some other instant claim on attention, like a thoroughly remarkable voice. Marketing alone will not guarantee commercial success, nor will competence, even genius on an instrument (though it all helps). If you want to pay the bills, folk music is the last medium I'd choose to do it, and if you achieved it folkies would abandon you virtually to a man or woman.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 03:47 PM

Well you listed artists who have hardly done that!!

Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman - PM
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 08:25 AM


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 03:50 PM

You've lost me folkiedave. Are you saying those artists I listed don't have some immediate appeal?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 03:53 PM

Not at all - I was trying to say they hadn't crossed over into (more) popular culture and that they had achieved some success.

I suspect we are probably in agreement.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:04 PM

Depends what you mean by popular culture FD. I don't know if the Unthanks have done Breakfast TV but I'll guess they have. They've certainly done Woman's Hour and pop music radio. That's on the big radar.

Some things just need more exposure and a decent hook to hang the idea on, Buenavista Social Club's musicians spring to mind or the Oh Brother Where Art Thou sound track rehabilitating Old Timey in the popular consciousness. I don't believe there's anything antipathetic about folk music and popularity, if it entered the public consciousness via a film sound track or a brilliant documentary it would do well. It's just not very well sold as a product, so it occupies the area of good taste and discernment rather than instant recognition.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:09 PM

I don't begrudge them success, I just don't like the noise they make.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:10 PM

On reading this thread, and the other Unthanks thread, I am getting the impression that, in some circles, it is considered bad form to express negative opinions on any artist - especially if that artist has achieved any sort of success.

Let's get one thing straight if I say that I don't particularly like the Unthanks it's not because I "begrudge" their success! To make that inference is so stupid, childish and immature it takes my breath away! The initiator of this thread should grow up.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:16 PM

This is to Al, mainly.

There is no direct correlation between talent and success - there never has been in any field, musical or otherwise.

It's about having sufficient talent to deliver something people will value, and then being in the right place at the right time.

Yes, you can manoeuvre yourself into somewhere you think might be the right place at the right time, and that's absolutely part of the deal - but it doesn't guarantee success - even if you win the lottery and spend it all advertising in Mojo.

You have to be good enough in the first place, AND in the final analysis. You can fluke a break as I did when a third party sent Waterman our demo and he loved it, but if you can't follow that up (my band imploded with one guy leaving to be a careers officer - no, really he did - one overdose, and one hospitalised with that thing Dennis Potter had from the stress) the thing soon fizzles out.

I know scores of musicians in many fields who are 'better' than others more 'successful.' Some of the 'successful' ones have suffered badly, some of the 'better' ones are much happier. There is no justice - but if there was, who would decide the merits of either or each? It's impossible.

Some great players are useless at organising themselves and the breaks that do come along slip through their fingers. Some great organisers are barely good enough players but get away with it because they know know how to sharp the cards (like me, perhaps).

But the bottom line is this:

All Alan's 'folkerati' mentioned in this thread ARE good enough. They HAVE paid their dues. (Arts centre gigs are NOT cushy - they can be exceeding grim and hard work and next time I see you I'll explain why). They HAVE done their best to put themselves in the right place at the right time - often at considerable personal and financial cost. And they HAVE made the best of the breaks that did come their way, which usually means taking big risks and a hell of a lot of hard work. And they're NOT making a fortune - minimum wage or slightly better, once you even it all out.

But this is what matters: They've put themselves in the firing line of mainstream public opinion - and have emerged respected and admired by large numbers of people - many of whom are no saps, musically or otherwise (and many are extremely knowledgeable - not that that's a prerequisite for an opinion)

No-one said we had an equal opportunities scheme in the folk world, and we don't (outside of floor singing in some clubs, perhaps). But we do have a meritocracy. Yes, a few duds (like me, perhaps) manage to fool some of the people some of the time, but you don't get on Later doing that.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:18 PM

I don't know if the Unthanks have done Breakfast TV but I'll guess they have

One of them certainly has - she got a gig I ought to have had! Not that I am resentful, I wouldn't want you to think that!! :-)


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Pulseroom
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:19 PM

Hahahahah Bonzo, that just sums it all up. End of story. Hahahhah. Lovely.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:21 PM

``Yes, a few duds (like me, perhaps) manage to fool some of the people some of the time``

I take serious issue with you on that remark, Tom, because it`s bullshit. You want to quit the game that`s one thing, but do NOT put yourself down on the way out the door.

Bruce Murdoch


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:24 PM

LOL - it's an old gunfighter's trick.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:37 PM

Well, long as we got THAT straight.

I received your schedule for the upcoming months, Tom, and I wish I could get to England to see and hear you in person. Knock `em out, buddy.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:50 PM

Tom,
Strangely enough and unlike many I know I'm not actually an Unthanks basher. I quite like some of their stuff, e.g., the song George wrote that they do very well. I enjoyed their TV dancing programmes which were very well crafted IMO.

What bothers me is that again IMO they are no better or worse than a host of other young bands coming up, or older bands for that matter.
Yes, Adrian has done a marvellous job and works very hard.

As you say whether they do trad or their own stuff is immaterial.

Sorry, Dave, but I'm with Alan and Shimrod.

The Folk Awards?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:55 PM

I'm sorry you got complaints after Tony and Una took over your radio programme. I will contact them and ask them to apologise to you and your listeners of true discernment - bearers of the true tradition all, I imagine.

Mafias all work the same dave. its called self interest.

If anyone isn't making a full time living out of music - very frankly its because they can't.

Its a craft. takes time to learn it, dedication. vows of poverty - or at least indifference to worldly fortune.

Run a university course saying that theres another way - and you're lying and misleading young folk.

'What you are saying is that what they do voluntarily is refuse to choose people who (according to you) know how to put a song over, have great stage presence and can sing and play. Instead they choose (again according to you) a bunch of lesser talented people.'


Yup thats what i'm saying.

'They "bet" the success of their folk clubs, folk festivals and so on on a bunch of lesser talents. For the life of me I cannot see why people would want to do that.'

Well I think access to public funds has a certain amount to do with it.

I will inform Tony and Una immediately about their stewardship of your programme causing weeks of complaints. I never realised you had that many listeners. I'm surprised you entrusted them to such unworthy characters. clearly - you must avoid taking risks like that in the future.

Just checked - Tony and Una are on tour - anyway its Una's birthday today so I won't phone them tonight and worry them with this attack upon them. I've sent the text of your comments in an e-mail, and i guess - Tony being very polite, will be in contact to apologise if that seems appropriate to him.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 05:14 PM

Nice to see you, Ron - You don't get on here often enough nowadays but I ask about the comment -

I think we are lucky on this side of the Atlantic, I experience more acceptance of both the trad and contemporary. Support of young performers is also highly encouraged in these parts!    The future does look bright!

Bearing in mind that this thread was started mentioning young and new BritFolk how has it come to your statement that being west of the pond is somehow better? Not saying that it isn't - I have been there and loved it - but I feel extremely lucky that I am in England and experiencing the resurgence that the OP mentioned with such bands as the Unthanks, Mumford and Sons, Bellowhead etc. As you will know if you read my earlier comments, they are not all my cup of tea, but at least they are making their mark and it is very exciting:-)

Good luck to you and your folk revival - Fleet Foxes to mention but one!

MP


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,No Fixed Commode
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 05:21 PM

You may think Tony and Una are the bees knees Al, but maybe the reason that they don't get bookings isn't because the mafia keeps them out. Maybe it's because of their cheesey, end of the pier, big haired soft rock. One man's musical geniuses are another's vision of music hell. That's just life.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 05:58 PM

Sorry Steve - I read your remark as saying The Unthanks had 'sold out' which would be as silly as saying my deep green mate who lives off grid in Otley and is as committed to sustainability as they come, and is now running a small business on low margins putting retrofit interior insulation into people's houses has sold out.

I read your comment on the other thread about people being pushed too far by their managers. When that happens they don't usually marry them.

Al - the idea that BBC producers choose people of lesser talent deliberately, and get away with it because it's public funds is beneath you. They just have a different opinion to you, (which happens to be in tune with a majority view - they're very careful in their research) and that's what happens in a free society. If your chums were in the right pace at the right time - who knows. But most of us are in that soup, and it's not the end of the world. Some of us go on to make political campaigning films about peak oil, and write musicals, and get asked to start up new schools of ecological design by major universities - which wouldn't have happened if we'd been successful enough to get onto Later. You see? No point in being bitter. Seize the day and have fun

Tom


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 06:27 PM

Tom
I don't think marriage is relevant here. They are obviously ticking all the right boxes to maintain a high profile. I just hope they don't start believing their own hype.

There was a lot of banter earlier on about taking clothes off. IMO there are already too many naked ones among the top acts at the moment and I'm with those who have spotted the Emperor's new clothes.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 06:50 PM

"Bearing in mind that this thread was started mentioning young and new BritFolk how has it come to your statement that being west of the pond is somehow better? Not saying that it isn't - I have been there and loved it - but I feel extremely lucky that I am in England and experiencing the resurgence that the OP mentioned with such bands as the Unthanks, Mumford and Sons, Bellowhead etc. As you will know if you read my earlier comments, they are not all my cup of tea, but at least they are making their mark and it is very exciting:-)"


I'm not in a position to accurately compare the two countries.   The inference of the initial thread was that there was a faction that "begrude success" of young performers.   You can tell me if that is the case or not, hopefully it was just misrepresented in the initial statements.

Here in the U.S., for the most part, I am seeing a warm embrace to the newcomers that are making waves.   The other night, a network TV series called "The Voice" featured Rebecca Loebe, an artist who plays the contemporary folk scene here in the U.S. When I spoke with her last fall, she was bascially living in her car and traveling the country doing house concerts and whatever gig she could pick up. To see her on national TV was outstanding, and the folk community is strongly supporting her.

Yes, there is a faction of died-in-the-wool folkies that won't accept contemporary singer-songwriters coming out of a folk tradition, but they are the minority from what I see.   We too are enjoying hearing our "new kids" taking up the mantle, and seeing groups like Mumford & Sons (one of my favorite CD's of last year) is wonderful. I hope we have another "British invasion" because I think you have some amazing performers, and I hope our audiences will enjoy them as well.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 07:08 PM

'Al - the idea that BBC producers choose people of lesser talent deliberately, and get away with it because it's public funds is beneath you'

Er no! Its what i believe.

We live in an island with people who are musically sensitive and speak a very expressive language, which contains all sorts of variations and rhythms.

If they played the work of people who expressed themselves naturally then the game would be up. Lots of people would do it write and sing songs, quite unaffectedly. that's why Ewan was so down on Donovan - he thought every Tom, Dick and Harry would be horning in on his game.

A corollary of this is that people would realise that the word traditional come from the Latin - traditio - I hand over. Most traditional English music from Cecil Sharp's time to the present day has just been handed over from one gang of middle class twonks to another.

So what do they do.. they say we sing with a mid Atlantic accent. ignoring the fact that England isn't really very far into the North Atlantic. Its certainly not South - its somewhere round the middle.

If England were situated in the middle of the 19th century martin carthy would have the right accent. sadly not the case.

Anyway, I heard you sing at lambley - you don't sing in a weird voice - why are YOU sticking up for them?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 07:08 PM

'Al - the idea that BBC producers choose people of lesser talent deliberately, and get away with it because it's public funds is beneath you'

Er no! Its what i believe.

We live in an island with people who are musically sensitive and speak a very expressive language, which contains all sorts of variations and rhythms.

If they played the work of people who expressed themselves naturally then the game would be up. Lots of people would do it write and sing songs, quite unaffectedly. that's why Ewan was so down on Donovan - he thought every Tom, Dick and Harry would be horning in on his game.

A corollary of this is that people would realise that the word traditional come from the Latin - traditio - I hand over. Most traditional English music from Cecil Sharp's time to the present day has just been handed over from one gang of middle class twonks to another.

So what do they do.. they say we sing with a mid Atlantic accent. ignoring the fact that England isn't really very far into the North Atlantic. Its certainly not South - its somewhere round the middle.

If England were situated in the middle of the 19th century martin carthy would have the right accent. sadly not the case.

Anyway, I heard you sing at lambley - you don't sing in a weird voice - why are YOU sticking up for them?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan whittle
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 07:09 PM

sorry that was me.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 07:35 PM

I can't really add anything here as Tom has expressed many of my views on this so eloquently.

In the end it is a combination of luck and talent that results in success - fortunately those musicians on the folk scene who have reached wider audiences have talent in abundance - unlike some others whose luck has been more to the fore


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 07:44 PM

And as for you No Fixed Commode....you comments are worthy of only one answer......

Plop!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 07:46 PM

'They "bet" the success of their folk clubs, folk festivals and so on on a bunch of lesser talents. For the life of me I cannot see why people would want to do that.'

Well I think access to public funds has a certain amount to do with it.


Well I think you are seriously off your trolley. What public funds? A folk club with public funds? Some of the bigger folk festivals might get some help with things like road closures not being charged for and other payment in kind. Larger festivals do get grants of course - but they are regarded as an attraction to bring in people. Hiring low quality talent is not the way to do that!

I went to the Sheffield Session Festival over Easter. Public funds - nil.

On the Saturday I went to a folk club. Public funds - nil. I am off to a folk club next week. Public funds - nil.

I am off to Shepley Festival later this month. Public funds - nil.

I have belonged to a dance team for over thirty years. We have been all over Europe and also to South America. Public funds - nil.

I don't know who is getting this public subsidy Al, but I can assure you I have never seen a penny of it. And yes I have applied.

I have helped to organise or been a part of the Sheffield City Giants for over ten years. They belong to the City of Sheffield. In three trips to Spain, two other trips to Europe and a trip to Canada - all representing the City of Sheffield - have a guess Al. You got it Al. Fuck all.

But the logic of putting on lesser talent to get public subsidy still escapes me. You obviously don't think much of the public.

And do not bother Tony and Una on my behalf. I only mentioned it two years later because you accused me of bullying you. People may have forgotten that there was another side to the story. The complaints were about their choice of music. They can probably tell you who they played.

But I accept full responsibility for that. I know better now.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 08:30 PM

'Hiring low quality talent is not the way to do that!'

Says everything about the pompous arrogance of the middle class folkies and nothing bout the facts of the matter.


No bother at all Dave. Tony and Una jealously guard their reputation which has been painstakingly put together without any help from the many people who were paid from the public purse to help with the development of folk talent. Arts council Commissions, tours of village halls, the paid gigs at folk fetivals, radio plays by Harding, support from their local BBC station - Tony and Una saw none of it. Money from the public purse.

When Tony did your show he played low quality talent such as myself, Jack Hudson and No Fixed abode and some other people - I think Christy moore - but I couldn't swear. tony will have a list of what he did.

But if your listeners didn't know that Jack, myself, and NFA have been staunch supporters of folk clubs for years - and have been there on the scene. Doesn't this say something about folk radio. You really have got into state where half the folkscene is being ignored totally - and has frankly buggered off to leave you stewing in your own esoteric juice.

Incidentally Commode Man, Tony and Una DO get bookings. This is their most busy and commercially successful month they have ever enjoyed. they just get no recognition for being one of the hardest working folk duos in the country - no major reviews, no plays on the publicly funded radio.

No recognition for having (from necessity and a deep committment to folk music)developed a craft whereby they can take folkmusic into places that none of the current folk festival headliners could follow.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 08:47 PM

Who are Tony & Una - never heard of them?!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 10:01 PM

Tony and Una are No Fixed Abode

http://musicnfa.webs.com/biog.htm


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 10:19 PM

Of course its not really financial help people like Tony and Una need. Its not really what the Beeb has to give - its that recognition.

A publisher phoned me up from Germany a few years ago - having traced me through my website. Therss loads of stuff on the website, but the one thing he fastened upon was the fact that I'd got an award from the BBC. Now Sooz was there the night i got the award - it could have been me, her or a guy with a noseflute and a tambourine. I was the lucky one that night.

this is the favour that is within the remit of the top guys - prestige. And they do hand it out to some some suspiciously malleable youngsters and some frankly questionable types.

And you hear them chatting together backstage, about the time they played Sydney folk festival, or was it san Francisco, or was it that little one in malibu.

It would never have fitted in with my lifestyle - with a disabled wife to take care of. Jack hudson's too ill amd roger Brooks is dead....but Tony, Una... they deserve it.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 03:36 AM

Al, we are on a different planet. Clearly you have not been involved in protesting about the closure of local radio folk shows. Including your area. The very antithesis of getting airplay on local radio.

Village hall tours? No idea how they work. My friend lives in a village and they have never had a folk tour - though they do get other acts.

Village Hall Tours are big in Scotland of course but they employ mainly Scottish artists. The Arts Council there does give money for folk music not like England.

Mike Harding? Well Mike recently played a relatively unknown young singer song writer called Lucy Ward from Derby so he is hardly ignoring new talent. I played an interview with her well over a year ago.

And since you have mentioned Christy Moore a couple of times - at his last gig in Sheffield he mentioned that Malcolm Fox - who ran a folk club in Sheffield kept on booking him when he couldn't get a gig in Dublin. I suspect he could say the same about the two folk clubs in Hull one of which I was involved in. We booked him when he couldn't get gigs in Dublin too.

And neither of those folk clubs got a public subsidy either.

So Tony and Una are making a living now - and just need recognition.

I know which feeds the family.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 03:46 AM

Goodness me.

Steve - ok, but please bear in mind that noticing Emperors Garments is as subjective as any other opinion, and it's not shared by all. You don't happen to like some of the 'top' acts - but that doesn't make them fools or charlatans - which is, of course, the point of Hans Christian Andersen's fable. You've every right to feel that your opinion trumps that of Jools Holland, Later's producers, lots of other artists, other folk experts, and many thousands of fans, but it doesn't mean those artists are in fact nekkid. If we think they're good, then they are. Period.

As for believing one's own hype, I think most performers will tell you they have to manage an uncomfortably dualistic opinion around that. You do have to nurture self-belief. If you don't carry on as though you're good you'll never get any gigs. And if you didn't believe that the audience will think you're good, you'd never step on a stage. Yet at the same time you're secretly ginning to yourself, thinking, as you lurch into the wings with the applause ringing in your ears; hee hee - fooled 'em again!

The Peter Principle really does rule - albeit with various glass ceilings on the way up that can only be broken by good fortune coupled with huge effort. And once through each level, no-one expects their luck to last. You just make the best of it while you're there, expecting any minute to crash back down - and I know life-long, successful artists who still feel exactly that.

Al - this is tricky, because I'm having trouble following your logic. Tony and Una are good friends of mine too, and they are indeed excellent at what they do. Una has a really really lovely voice, and Tony's a very fine guitar player. They work damn hard and deserve much more success. But they're not being deliberately overlooked, they've just not had that kind of good fortune so far (but health, happiness and singing for a living is good fortune too, no?)

Making records that get played on the radio is a fine art - and even then luck is a major player. I get lots of plays on local radio, but never found the formula for Harding. That's partly about my repertoire, partly about my profile, partly about the way I managed my career but probably mainly about my voice - which is just not Radio 2. No point in being bitter about it. I'm just hugely grateful that two years into retirement I still get a decent PRS check every quarter from the radio plays I still do get.

The village hall thing is not a gift from some Emperor's Aide at the arts council. It's a spectacularly challenging game - in direct competition with jazz bands, puppeteers, novelists, circus acts, classical quartets - you name it, which requires all sorts of skills that great musicians don't automatically possess - around creating product, marketing, branding, pitching, negotiating - things I happen to be quite good at, so I've done a lot of halls. If T and U want some advice on what to do, tell them to give me a bell. I'd be glad to help.

You seem to believe that there is a conspiracy of gatekeepers who decide who wins and who looses. Well, there is, but they are subject to exactly the same constraints as the artists. They all - at the many different levels and tasks they engage in - want to be successful if they can get away with it, whether they are club bookers, producers, record company A+R, magazine editors. They're all looking for good, worthwhile music to feature and support. Anyone can have a go, and the same Peter Principle applies.

It's still about being in the right place at the right time - hearing that demo, or seeing that great new young act on the side stage at a festival.

In general, you have to be good, canny AND lucky. You need to put yourself in the way of good fortune. Hard work earning a crust and impressing people is seldom enough - it might pay the bills, but...

Malleable youngsters? We've all been one of those - but we learn. Questionable types? I refer you to the response I made above to Steve: Remember the difference between subjective and objective opinion. To do otherwise only brings bitterness.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Woodsie
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 04:12 AM

I agree totally with Nick about Elton John - I can't stand his music/image etc - but the man DID pay his dues in the early years - working the club circuit as a band member, playing as a session man and composing music, for years before making it big. The man writes his own music and plays it well. I too, saw him in 1970 when he was just beginning to be accepted by the then hippie/alternative rock scene as the next big thing. John Peel at the time championed him and said "One day this man will be a household name" people laughed. When Elton made it. The same hippies that had cheered him at the London Roundhouse turned their backs and snarled "Crap"


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 04:38 AM

Performer A and Performer B have identical amounts of talent. Peformer A makes it on radio, TV, etc.("A is lucky, oh so lucky")* and B doesn't. Why? Tom's outlined many of the variables: being in the right place at right time or making the effort to being there, knowing the right people or making the effort to know the right people, fitting the current fashion or adapting yourself to fit it. I've known, and do know, many wonderful performers who will get little or no hearing in the professional music business, not only because of the variables above, but probably also because they don't have a burning ambition to make it whatever that entails - or personal circumstances have conspired to make it difficult. That's life.

Here's a personal anecdote:

The most money I've made on a regular, pay-the-rent basis, from music is while playing in a 1950s, hard-core rock'n roll trio from around 1982 to 1995. We had an agent and we played every social club, British Legion, Trades & Labour Club, Con Club, etc. in a hundred mile radius. We played dinner dances once a month at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton. We did birthday parties and the occasional wedding reception. We did support stints on tours with people like Showaddywaddy and Bernie Flint (anyone remember Bernie Flint?). And - best of all - we played for unreconstructed, middle-aged Teds and their wives in the Swan in Worthing. This where we saw some of the best jiving ever to be seen - and received the straightest and most up front criticism if we hadn't played something quite right!

All this was at a time when '50s rock'n roll (nothing later than 1961...) was deeply unfashionable. We got by because, even though I say it myself, we were bloody good. In fact, we were shit hot - we looked great, we sounded great - and we put it across.

Why did it end for me? Several reasons. Doing the same music solidly for 13 years with little variation became a drag. Then there were the tours - as Charlie Watts said about touring with the Stones: 10% playing and 90% hanging around. Then were the Showcases! If you don't know what a Showcase is, it's a freebie put on for potential bookers by agents. The agents book a venue, bring entertainers from their stable to perform one after another, while the bookers get wined and dined and take notes. Utterly dispiriting and boring - like being a whore sitting in a window for hour after hour with no trade. The last straw was when our agent got permission for us to use the name of a long defunct but well-known band (because the drummer had played with them briefly). So - we were going to change our name, step up to a higher level, become part of the 'you-know-the-name-of-these-has-beens' circuit - playing themed rock'n roll weekends at holiday camps in midwinter, etc. In short, taking us away from the roots of what we were doing.

I quit - with relief and joined a Memphis/Stax-style funk band in Brighton. No money but back to the roots. So, just another showbiz story of Mr. Average, the jobbing musician. But - and here's the point: I needn't have quit. I could have pushed and pushed again, made some more contacts, switched agents, got on the blower to this person and that person, talked the talk...

And, do you know - I couldn't be arsed.

*Gilbert and Sullivan


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 06:08 AM

Lets just forget it. You think your stuff, I'll think mine. We all have to take the world as we find it. I speak from what my considerable experience has taught me - your considerable experience has taught you something else.

As for the complaints about Tony and una doing your radio programme, you really should have informed Tony. he might have got something from it. At the time I knew I wasn't right for your show, and told him so.

Still i think that says a lot about how far adrift folk radio is from folk clubs. I'm usually considered acceptable or pt uppable with for one song at least, in most folk clubs these more tolerant times.

Lucy and her family, i know quite well. She came quite often to the folkclub in Spondon that Denise and i used to go to. In Derby, we all wish her well.

Christ i hate getting old, i'm not in Derby any more! But in general I wish all the players on the folk scene well.

Sorry Dave, i stick by my guns. No names, no packdrill. I am not going to discuss individuals and their careers


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 02:03 PM

Tom,
Your descriptions tell me that actually there is only a fine line running between our two stances. I suppose what I'm really carping against is that the top of the folk scene for some acts is little removed from the pop scene in its machinations.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 03:11 PM

I don't, myself, recognise any defining line between the folk scene and the pop scene, or the pop scene and the blues scene, or the blues scene and the reggae scene. It's all a multi-hued picture. You can put a pin in one place and say, yep, they'd red all right, or over there, blue - but in-between there are all manner of pinks and mauves and purples. And that does for musical style, roots, methods, techniques - anything you want. The White Heather Club was Folk. The Clash were folk. The Coppers and the Kippers. Fairport. The Pogues and The Watersons. In each case different criteria, different circumstances, different objectives, different audience, different values. But all valid and good within their own terms.

All that matters is that people are not unfairly judged by inappropriate criteria. Playing trad informed music from a trad background in a pop or any other context is simply not selling out. It really isn't.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 03:46 PM

Folks, life`s too short for this shit, imo. On this thread we have some wonderful writers and singers arguing about wonderful writers and singers with other wonderful writers and singers. In the vernacular, it don`t make no sense to me.

Al, it`s in the mail.

BM


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 03:53 PM

I fail to see anything in the Unthanks music or performance that makes Mudcat threads go into repeated meltdown.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 03:55 PM

One Nun Dead!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 04:01 PM

BTW - Ron,yes you are right on reflection. The initial premise was just that sucess is begrudged. It just seemed to turn into a bit of 'an English thing' at one time. I am lucky enough to be in a position to have seen both - albeit not too much on the west, sides of the pond - and yes, there is little difference. I can say quite categoricaly that sucess is not begrudged here as it is not there. Hope this helps.

Cheers

MP


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 04:27 PM

'As for the complaints about Tony and una doing your radio programme, you really should have informed Tony. he might have got something from it. At the time I knew I wasn't right for your show, and told him so.

Still i think that says a lot about how far adrift folk radio is from folk clubs. I'm usually considered acceptable or pt uppable with for one song at least, in most folk clubs these more tolerant times.'

The only tyhing i can really think that i ought to add is this and this is in justice to the facts about No Fixed Abode and Jack Hudson.

In Derbyshire, whenever these people walked into a folkclub a thrill of excitement would run through the audience, because they knew they were in for some fabulous singing, Both Una Walsh and Jack Husdon have voices to die for.

And this is so at a variance with the blanket ignoring of their talents by the local BBC station.

I'm sorry your audience failed to appreciate them Dave and apparently bothered you for weeks about it. Jack is now to ill to perform - so none of his detractors in places high or low will bother you much in the forseeable future.

I despair for the future. Young Sanjay Brain is coming into the profession and has vowed to devote his life to it. His dad has brought him up with the recordings of the great coffee bar cowboys of folk - Brimstone, Lockran and Roger brooks. And he plays like a dream, 17 years old and already as good as the originals - I've tried explaining to him that nowadays its not even regarded as folk music in England. to no avail - he's going for it.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 07:20 PM

Just listening to Unthanks on Jools Holland now. Really good stuff, I'm enjoying it. Lovely voices, interesting arrangement, and so nice to see folk done with something other than someone twanking a guitar.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 07:55 PM

And while I'm on the subject, PJ Harvey (also on the aforementioned Jools Holland) is bloody good too.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 02:06 AM

Have just watched the JH show. Can't see what the problem is myself! I thought the Unthanks fitted in really well with the other acts...(Loved the Trumpet!)
Wasn't that keen on the Swedish girl, and Ringos video clip was a bit naff (Don't let drummers sing, whilst drumming!), and Polly Harvey was excellent, the South Wests answer to Bjork!
As far as this in-fighting about "No Fixed Abode" Sorry, guys, I've never heard of them. Pleased that they (and others) are making a living out of music, good luck to them, I have a feeling that they wouldn't do it for me though. As for begrudging success? Not me. I'm delighted when people I know get some media attention/win an award/make some dosh.
I certainly don't carp, when people I know are overlooked by "The Media Machine" After all, that's 90% of the artists I like!
As Will Fly says. What's the point in doing the same endless gig, month in month out, even if it pays the bills.
Some people get their 15 minutes of fame, most don't.
The Unthanks/Kate Rusby/Bellowhead/et al, seem to be in that zone. Well, good luck to them.
Here endeth the lesson!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Johnny J
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 06:51 AM

Although it's unlikely that The Unthanks will ever be my favourite band, I actually quite enjoyed some of their other numbers on the full show last night and "Queen of Hearts" was actually rather good.

However, I stand by my original opinion re the song featured on Tuesday. I didn't enjoy the vocals(on that particular song), the string arrangements were a bit over the top(my opinion), and the perfromance as a whole appeared very stilted. What's more, the band just didn't appear very comfortable about being there. Just my impression.(Yes, I realise that I should have given a fuller explanation at the time).

They certainly weren't the worst act on the show though. That honour goes to Ron Sexsmith! Overall, the full programme was much better especially the contributions from P.J. Harvey and Avery Sunshine.

Some comment was made earlier suggesting that insulting an artist(I didn't actually do that) was also an insult to the producer.
Well, perhaps, some criticism(not an insult) could arguably be levelled at producers and the "team" too in some of these programmes? After all, they are responsible for the environment where the artists perform and for selecting what the consider to be the highlights. So, it's not necessarily the fault of the acts on the show if they are not always shown in their best light.
Having said that, I'm sure that most of the time they do get things right.

Finally...just to make things crystal clear... just because I might not enjoy a particular artist's music(and say so) doesn't mean that I begrudge them their success nor that I am guilty of harbouring such views and prejudices which have been suggested by the opening poster and some others here. Such suppositions are "a nonsense" as well as being offensive.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: caitlin rua
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 07:10 AM

> Such suppositions are "a nonsense" as well as being offensive.

HEAR HEAR. Exactly the point I was trying to make above, though some folks seem to have missed the sarcasm.

I loathe having some stranger pronounce judgment on my character or motives in the light of their own prejudices, just because I don't like some artist they like. It can't possibly be that said artist has limits to the appeal of their music, oh no, we all have to be at fault for bad attitudes.

This happens way too much on this site, too many sacred cows that no one dares criticise, however reasonably and moderately. I know I'm not the only person who feels this way. But too often it's more than your hide's worth to say so.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 07:35 AM

'As far as this in-fighting about "No Fixed Abode" Sorry, guys, I've never heard of them. Pleased that they (and others) are making a living out of music, good luck to them, I have a feeling that they wouldn't do it for me'

Don't worry Ralphie, just in case they didn't do it for you, the BBC are going to make sure you don't hear them.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 07:37 AM

caitlin - I'm assuming that "I loathe having some stranger pronounce judgment on my character or motives in the light of their own prejudices, just because I don't like some artist they like" is partially or wholly directed at me.

There's no question of me pronouncing judgment on your character or motives. None whatsoever - and I'm sorry if you took my post that way. I'm merely trying to point out, as I have done on other threads similar to this, that a blunt statement of opinion - which you're entirely entitled to have - with no qualifying reasons or context, is in itself not very helpful. Johnny has himself said that, in retrospect, his one word summing-up of an act was not useful, and has qualified it to his own satisfaction. It's not a question of sacred cows.

To demonstrate what I'm trying to get at, over a year ago I opened a thread which questioned some of what I thought at the time was a bit of a media hype on Nick Drake. The thread is Nick Drake - hype and reality. I had qualms about opening such a thread for the very reasons (sacred cows, etc.) that you've mentioned above. Whether I opened the thread in a reasonable or unreasonable way is for you to judge - so I'm not averse to making a reasoned criticism of an artist by any means.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 08:12 AM

Ditto from me as from Will.

I personally never present my own negative subjective opinions on public forums (I do have them, but that's what mates are for) and I'm perplexed as to why anyone would ever want to. But that does not mean I don't think people should be allowed to voice those opinions, however critical or even begrudging.

What I do believe, as a matter of old fashioned manners if nothing else, is that no-one should ever voice an opinion in a public forum (knowing as they should do that their target is very likely to read it) unless they'd be willing to say exactly the same thing to that person's face (and I often get a distinct opinion this would not happen - which I think stinks to high heaven, frankly - so how's that for a subjective negative opinion?)!

So when the nibbling looks like heading towards a feeding frenzy I often offer positive counterbalancing views in support of fellow artists, (or just other human beings) - because I know what it's like up there (and getting there). Trust me it can hurt a lot more than you may realise - and I know people who've given up just because of unreasonable criticism which came at a bad time.

This is not really why I've raised objections in this thread, though.

What I personally object to, and usually speak out against whenever I encounter it, is unfair or inappropriate criticism (such as suggestions around selling out, underhand dealing, favouritism, abuse of The Tradition / public funds /airtime etc), when that opinion is presented as objective when it is in fact highly subjective (and often colossally ill-informed).

Not liking an artist or performance and saying so is one thing (though I'd rather people said it in private or to the artist in a tactful, positive way). Suggesting they should not be an artist at all - or be performing such and such in this or that arena is something else entirely.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Johnny J
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 08:28 AM

"Not liking an artist or performance and saying so is one thing (though I'd rather people said it in private or to the artist in a tactful, positive way). "

I agree with most of what you say especially with regard to the "suggestions" you mentioned.

However, surely the opinion of a listener, viewer, or audience member is just as valid as that of an official reviewer(journalist etc)whetehr favourable or not? Arguably, it ought to even more important what the actual public think?

As I've already said, I take the point about the one word comment but many paid reviewers can be extremely blunt and less than tactful too.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 08:39 AM

'colossally ill-informed'

even if its colossally ill informed by a lifetime's bitter experience.

These people have been getting away with buggering up and blocking people's careers for too damn long as it is. What are you are hoping for = a place round the table of worthies. Bugger 'em and their for the most part lousy music.

And now someone's had a go at your friends - you say. Its been intimated that if dj's play NFA, they will have people complaining for weeks.

this is NFA who last year raced from one end of the country to another to provide (unpaid) the PA for some worthy traddy, get treated and talked to like skivvies by the great one for their pains.
The scene couldn't function without people like NFA - if you won't stand up for them Tom, what would you do for people who weren't your friends?
Another gem from folkiedave, ringing in my ears:-
', we are on a different planet. Clearly you have not been involved in protesting about the closure of local radio folk shows. Including your area. The very antithesis of getting airplay on local radio'.

made bugger all difference to anyone I know. paul Mackenzie at BBC Derby and used to invite me for his afternoon show to play live. they sacked Paul and I was never played on the country or folk programmes - to common for such refined palates.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Nick
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 08:41 AM

Let's get one thing straight if I say that I don't particularly like the Unthanks it's not because I "begrudge" their success! To make that inference is so stupid, childish and immature it takes my breath away! The initiator of this thread should grow up.

Finally...just to make things crystal clear... just because I might not enjoy a particular artist's music(and say so) doesn't mean that I begrudge them their success nor that I am guilty of harbouring such views and prejudices which have been suggested by the opening poster and some others here. Such suppositions are "a nonsense" as well as being offensive.

Are you allowed to just not like someone's musical output, without being accused of "begrudging" something or other?

The Unthanks seem like very nice, sincere people. But what they do doesn't impress me. I don't resent their success, I'm not jealous or any other neurotic thing, they're just not my cup of tea. Is it permissible to merely express a negative opinion, based on the work the artists produce (not their Selves) without getting called names and cod-psychoanalised by a bunch of people who don't know me?


I started this thread NOT because of the Jools Holland thread. The Jools Holland thread was one of a number of threads over time which are particularly critical of artists with very little reference to anything objective; it's like people saying of others 'well they're just rubbish' or 'they have no talent' - schoolground stuff. I can't express it better than Will's last post which is similar to what I had started writing.

I didn't say that ALL people do this - perhaps I should have said 'why do some people...' but I didn't realise how ultra-sensitive some people here are. Nor how quickly do some leap to conclusions that are neither there nor meant. I opened the tread up as a discussion not as a flame to the one word review that some people have presumed this is about.

It isn't about whther you like someone or not. I'm desperately trying to work out what part of my contribution to the thread has anything to do with whether you like something or not; what part says that you shouldn't criticise people; what part was about name calling; what part is offensive? I'm tempted to mention caps fitting but I won't (but I have, d'oh!) because I'll be accused of being childish and immature again which cut me to the very heart of my being.

In starting a thread you have a very short subject line to try and write something pithy that will attract attention and encourage people to contribute. If I wanted to just know my own view then I'd talk to myself. I posed a question that I thought would get a reaction and it did. Some of it was even relevant to the question!

I believe that the phenomenon exists in many spheres of life so it would be strange if it were not also demonstrated here on Mudcat as it is a cross section of all sorts of people - ie some people hae an illogical reaction to success and need to rubbish that, based less on any objective grounds but purely because one can.



(From a different world. I have for a long time had a soft spot for Tottenham Hotspur FC who I first saw in 1962. I heard today that there are people starting a 'get rid of Harry campaign' to 'move the club on'. As a reaction to a manager who has moved the club from the bottom of the Premier division in Nov 2008 to their present position seems a reasonable example of the above phenomenon. Reactions like 'he's not the man for the job', 'he's not a big enough manager', 'he does't have the vision' are typical comments that are made in circumstances like this that mean absolutely nothing. It's their right to express the view though - I have no problem with that)


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Johnny J
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 08:58 AM

"Nor how quickly do some leap to conclusions that are neither there nor meant"

..but that's my point too, Nick. Isn't this what some people here have been doing?

Sorry if it seemed I was getting at you in particular and I also realise that you weren't specifically referring to me. Obviously other contributors here have also raised matters which don't apply to me either but, *may*, in relation to other individuals be relevant.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 09:11 AM

I was the guest - sorry!keep doing that! I am in agreement with everybody - I'm an idiot!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: caitlin rua
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 09:28 AM

Will... whoa... No, that statement was not directed at you (only the "some folks seem to have missed the sarcasm" bit was). After those words, the rest of my post was not aimed at any specific individual. Not you, not Nick either. It's not even restricted to this thread alone.

But this situation does exist, it happens repeatedly, and titling a thread "Why Begrudge Success" is making a judgment statement in itself, intentionally or not. The point I raised is a valid one, relevant to the topic. This vexed issue has come up over and over and over again, and it's fair to challenge it. People on internet forums are not mind readers. They cannot know what inner feelings underlie other people's criticisms. But that doesn't stop the accusations regarding motives flying thick and fast. Just take a trawl through some of the numerous threads where this battle has broken out. You don't even need a search term - you can identify them by their length.

I stand by what I said, because one can depend on charges of begrudgery, jealousy and all their unsavoury cousins appearing anytime or place that someone disses a Mudcat Darling. But, to turn an old phrase around, if the cap doesn't fit, you* needn't wear it.




* plural & general, not personal-address pronoun


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 09:51 AM

How can I become a "Mudcat Darling"? do you have to fill in a form or turn up for an interview?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 10:55 AM

Have just re-read the Un-named Guest (NFA apologist) post above.
Not so much a chip on the shoulder, more like a bag of King Edwards!
I too have schlepped up and down the country for very little money, and very little thanks (not always, but there have been a few occasions!)
No artist has a divine right for media attention. As Tom Bliss says, If your face fits, trebles all round....If it doesn't....Ah Well.
No artist/muso/singer performs expecting that the "Meeja" will fawn all over them. The outlets are limited anyway, and with the dumbing down of all local Radio folk/whatever shows, the future is indeed looking bleak.
Maybe, I should have done the world a favour, and drowned myself at birth. Nobody would have had to put up with my pathetic noodlings for the past 40 years. I've worked it out. I have had my recordings played 5 times on National Radio, and about 10 on local Radio.
Not bad in a 35 year career.
Income?
Over 40 years....about 40K....thats £1000 per year! Result!
Royalties from the Radio stuff...Zilch.
Must go now, Have got a Yacht to investigate.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 10:56 AM

Usually theres a £100 signing up fee, and a strict vetting procedure - but seeing as its you Ralphie - we'll call it fifty quid and no questions asked. Use the Paypal point on my website. Do it in the next 24 hours and you get a free badge and certificate - could take up to five weeks to deliver however.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 11:31 AM

Caitlin: "anytime or place that someone disses a Mudcat Darling."

There is no such thing as a Mudcat Darling. Every act or person that might be ever mentioned in a public forum (i.e every human soul) is someone's darling, and that someone (or even the person him or herself) is liable to read that mention, and if not take umbrage then wish to voice a contrary opinion. The more strongly worded the original criticism, the more likely it is that the rebuttal will be stronger still.

Sometimes I know the people being talked about well, sometimes a bit, sometimes they're just fellow performers or just fellow human beings. It makes no difference to me. If someone's being criticised in a public place, my instinct will be to defend them. And if the criticism seems unfair, my instinct will be criticise the criticism.

You see for me - and probably a lot of people - the question is this: Why would anyone ever want to criticise someone (semi-anonymously) on a public forum in the first place? It seems such a strange thing to want to do - so it's only natural that ulterior motives will appear high in the list of possible explanations - even when they're not in fact present.

It's like dis. If you diss people in dis place, the dissers disciples are going to dissent and diss you back.

Stands to reason.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: caitlin rua
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 01:23 PM

Tom, you're over-analysing and reading way too much into what was only a general turn of phrase. You know as well as I do that some acts are favourites with enough people around this site that to find fault with them is to invite accusations of begrudging their success. And I find this offensive, to borrow the word another poster used. Are you saying that this doesn't happen? That's the only real point I was making. I don't need a lecture about something I wasn't trying to say.

Of course I know there are no official Mudcat Darlings (unless Ralphie wants the job). I think my point is pretty clear, that if you dare say you dislike certain artists you get labelled with a load of assorted character adjectives, and it makes a lot of people hesitant to express an opinion. Like it or not, it certainly happens.

If you don't like the word "darlings", fine, choose another. But that's quibbling over semantics and is beside the point.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 03:43 PM

Ok, sorry if so, but I'm really not sure there are too many sacred cows on this site. Maybe there is some community protection around people (i.e. friends) who are known users of Mudcat - but that's only natural.

I suspect what does happen is that people interested (one way or another) in an act or issue are drawn to threads with that in the title, so the discussion quickly becomes cow-selective, if you see what I mean.

As most people prefer saying nice things to saying bad things in public, those with a negative opinion are liable to find themselves in a minority. That's only natural too. If you go on TalkAwhile or the Show of Hands forum you'll certainly find yourself in a BIG minority if you're negative about the Fairports or the Tousled Trio.

That said, I agree that voicing a negative opinion can be misconstrued to mean other negatives, which is precisely why I try never to do so. If I do, I try to anticipate all the the potential misunderstandings and deal with them pre-emptively in my post. Yes it makes my posts wordy, time-consuming to write and it makes me look pompous and pedantic at times, but hey ho. (I'm not like that in person, am I kids? )

Tomsk


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, TB
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 03:45 PM

There was meant to be a BIG WINK at the end of that, but if fell off


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 04:50 PM

Tom,
Whilst I totally defend your right to dis the dissers, negative criticism is an essential part of life. If it didn't exist the world would be in an even sorrier state than it is. Ten-year-olds performing brain surgery simply because they claimed they could do it.
I think you get my drift. Okay that's an extreme example but I know of a whole bunch of idiots in middle management at the moment who are extremely incompetent, but very confident and willing to say they can do anything just to get the job, and I'm sure many people here know of them as well as I come across cases on a weekly basis, and I'm retired!

To bring this closer to home I resent being told I shouldn't express negative opinions here when I see the music I love being presented in an imperfect way on national media when I know there are hundreds who could do a better job. Before you shoot me down again I know this might be due to the medium itself and as I've said some of the programmes have been very good. I'm not saying they were all below the best standard possible.

Please read this carefully. You keep misrepresenting my statements.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 06:16 PM

Steve - I'm reading your post carefully. You said "being presented in an imperfect way on national media when I know there are hundreds who could do a better job"

But - the devil's advocate would reply - there is no-one, not one single person on God's earth who CAN do a better job.

Why? Because Later did not want any of the hundreds who could do it better (though actually you mean DIFFERENTLY, if you did but know it). They wanted the Unthanks themselves to perform as the Unthanks, doing Unthanks material in the Unthank style. And that's what they got.

You seem to be perilously close to suggesting (forgive me if I'm wrong - but I'm getting a very strong impression) that because the girls come from a traditional music background and play SOME trad music in a traditional style, then somehow they are representing the values and material and musical styling that you, as a (very honourable and knowledgeable, I'm sure) champion of traditional music would espouse.

They do not represent anything - except themselves, and nor should they have to. They're doing their own thing, because it's a free country. Those trad songs are in the public domain, so after that it comes down to merit by force majeure - aka The Peter Principle. (Hell if that attitude had won out in the 60's we'd have had no revival, never mind all the rest that's come since).

Later did not say to themselves; 'Ok, we need to book a folk act - what band best represents the type of music that that fellow Steve Gardham calls folk. Aha! I know - The Unthanks. Let's book them because they are proper folk.'

If they had, it might be reasonable for you to get on the blower and say, hang on, I'd rather you booked someone else.

They booked the Unthanks because they wanted the Unthanks. THEY think they're good, and they believed the Later audience would like them - and I get the feeling that the audience did. I certainly did.

Yes we'd all like there to be a lot more slots on TV and radio where folk, folky, folkish, folk-like, hyphen-folk type acts could strut their stuff. But carping about who is 'allowed' to perform in the few slots that do exist is missing the point. We all have to work from the status quo. The Unthanks have - to their enormous credit - got to a place where they're on that shortlist - and none of us has any right to say they do not deserve to be. (Say we don't like them, yes, but not that they don't deserve to be there -see the difference?)

And you never know, maybe, the producers will say - hmm loved those Northumbrian Girls, lets see if there's anything else a bit more hard-core next time. You see? That would be good, wouldn't it? But if there had been no Unthanks, the producers might never have got into that vibe. It's a possibility, no?

Bedtime

Tom Cup Always More Than Half Full Bliss (note the surname - that's why they called us that back in the 12th century and it's stuck).


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 06:44 PM

Well I have just watched them and thought they were excellent. I have to admit that I was totally blown away first time I saw them a few years ago when Belinda O'Hooley was in the band and have followed their progress with interest. I've got mixed feelings about the way they have developed but they are never less than interesting and some of their arrangements eg Patience Kershaw are stunning - I also like the first song they sang on the programme I watched tonight.

There are lots of people who deserve such exposure and will never get it but we should not begrudge those who do as long as they can perform well which clearly the Unthanks can - whether it is to one's individual taste or not. There are a couple of folk musicians whose music did not appeal to me but have done very well. For a while I felt were comparatively over exposed but I never begrudged them their success - just wished others could have a share.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 07:06 PM

Tom,
Once again you have totally misrepresented what I have said and indeed misread my thoughts and leanings.
I haven't even seen the Jools programme; I was referring to the presentation of such acts on TV and national radio over the last couple of years, speaking very generally.

If you'd have read my previous posts on both threads, as you stated, you'd have seen I was praising one of their contemporary songs in particular. It has nothing to do with trad/contemporary. As far as I'm concerned that's an irrelevance. I would not expect the media to favour one of these over the other, or indeed, in most cases to be able to tell the difference.

I'm also aware that the acts I'm talking about are doing a great job in drawing new people into the music as they have always done.

It still does not alter my opinion that some of the programmes put out by the media have been of poor quality with some dire stuff in them, and I defend the right of those people who have an opinion on it to express that opinion, here and elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 May 11 - 05:08 AM

Reality check needed here methinks.
The only national (UK) broadcaster that tips it's hat to "Our" sort of music is the BBC. Forget ITV/Commercial radio/Sky et al.
And within the domestic BBC services. Radio. Well there is Mike Harding for 1 hour a week. (let's not start the debate as to what he plays...at least it's in the right area!)...The odd track on Late Junction, the occasional artist on Womans Hour, Peel used to play some stuff, but he's dead, Kershaw likewise, but he was sacked. You might stumble across a Radio 3/4 feature with someone like Chris Wood, (If you're lucky).
Local Radio coverage is being culled on a weekly basia.
Television....Again, we can ignore the commercial sector.
Apart from "Later" (Love it or loath it) The only place that tries on occasions to do in-depth documentaries is BBC4. And very good they are too.
I could probably name hundreds of artists that deserve more airtime on the media. But, deal with it folks. It ain't going to happen, anytime soon. X factor, and Britains got talent (dubious) put bums on seats. Dick Gaughan doesn't....It's as simple as that. So, just be grateful for the few crumbs that fall from Simon Cowells table. and, stop whingeing!
And Happy May Day!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 01 May 11 - 05:55 AM

Steve, I apologise in that case. I had no idea you had not seen the show (it's not clear from any of your previous posts) and the impression I had was that overall you had the opinions I've reacted to, apart from a few minor saving graces you mentioned in the other thread.

As I have no idea which acts and shows you are in fact referring to, I can't really contribute, except to say that at today, as always, marketing/management craft is as important as playing, singing, writing/researching/arranging and performing craft. Put simplistically, you add the scores together in each category and the higher the number the larger your audience will tend to be. 'Cross-over' acts have always had good management, from The Wurzels to Richard Thompson - it's a requirement, because you're now competing with non-folk artists. It does mean some compromise, and it does mean that soft-core talent will tend to triumph over hard-core (though not always - depending on the strategy etc).

If you get do hyped beyond your capabilities, or to the wrong market, then you don't tend to stay there for long. The market decides.

All the mainstream outlets, as identified by Ralph, are themselves in competition for their slots. They have to make the maths add up - audience figures, budgets, tick-boxes etc. They are competing with other types of TV or radio programme, so they have to balance what they do carefully to maximise their chances of getting the next commission. The Peter Principle again.

You can no more ring-fence folk music in marketing/business terms than you can in terms of repertoire or performance style. Even two-bit travelling van-singers like me put as much time and effort into desk work as writing, practising and performing. The higher up the food chain, the bigger the audience, the bigger the risks and the fiercer the competition - so the more power you need in the back office.

It's just how life is in a neo-liberal economy.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 May 11 - 06:36 AM

Tom. You are so much more erudite than me!
Steve. The miniscule amount of airtime broadcast by the BBC, considering, is actually very good. The documentaries on BBC4 in particular. Yes, of course there should be more, lots more. Sadly, with all the cutbacks within the BBC that are happening at the moment, I fear that there will be less.
But,at least the small amount that we do get to see/hear is treated with respect (Whether you like the artists or not).
No more "White Heather Club" or the Spinners in a barn with the audience sitting on hay bales!
At least, on the rare occasion that "Folk" artists appear in the media, they are treated as equals. The Unthanks followed by PJ Harvey wouldn't have happened 20 years ago.....They even had a Folk Prom last year!
Having recorded many artists for Peel/Kershaw....etc over the past 3 decades, I can say that the presenters didn't regard Folk music as a sort of "fill-in" genre. Far from it. Sadly, management prefer bums on seats, so, an eyecatching act like Bellowhead will always get the thumbs up over (sorry) Tom Bliss! That's the way the broadcasting cookie crumbles.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 01 May 11 - 06:54 AM

"The market decides."

Precisely. For any act - WHATEVER THE GENRE - to successfully break into a less specialist and more mainstream audience, it will almost inevitably have be 'dumbed down' to a degree and made safe for consumers who expect a certain ease of listening. Just look at how ordinary sounding Lady Gaga is, once you get past the theatrical garb, her brand of pleasant and not very challenging danceable pop has been doing the rounds for something like twenty years now. That's the world of top of the pops for you.

In order to appeal to the mass market, It's highly unlikely that more rootsy type folk acts of the kind which might appeal to those of a strongly traditional bent, is ever going to make it big. The Unthanks seem like a very pretty and pleasant sounding folk act, and while their brand of music is not particularly interesting to me, I certainly do not begrudge them success among more mainstream audiences.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 May 11 - 07:01 AM

And actually GUEST lively, It's astonishing that anyone gets through the fence into mainstream media coverage, even to a little level! Don't even get me started on that Gaga woman. Less talent than an amoeba, but that's just my opinion....!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 11 - 11:23 AM

I see nothing at all to disagree with on the last five posts, and as a parting shot, I will continue to offer my opinion on what is presented by the media, until told to desist by the site owners.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 May 11 - 01:36 PM

Steve. Please carry on voicing your opinions. My comments were not a dig at you, honestly. It's just a fact that "Our" sort of music is really un-important as far as all the main stream broadcasters are concerned, and we should be grateful to the handful of presenters/producers who keep the flag flying as much as they can.
I fear that in the future, there will be far less to listen/watch.
Lowest common denominator will rule...Bugger!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 11 - 04:22 PM

To be honest, thinking back over what folk music I've seen on the box over the last five years most of it has been very good, which is probably why the more embarrassing stuff stands out so much. As for radio, I don't know how long Mike's programme has been using this title, but it is very clearly introduced as 'Folk, Roots and Accoustic' which is pretty much what it has always been.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 02 May 11 - 01:36 AM

Well, in the Radio Times, it has always been billed as "The Mike Harding Show" It stopped being "Folk On Two" when Jim Lloyd left, and Smooth Operations took over.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 02 May 11 - 04:01 AM

Can you imagine a dedicated folk channel, the visual equivalent to Mudcat? It would be an absolute nightmare! An endless succession of folkier than thou elucidations punctuated by someone with a cod-mummetshire accent offering a 115 verse ballad and accusing those who turn off after the first twenty of 'killing folk music'.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 02 May 11 - 04:43 AM

Glueman; you're probably right but…shouldn't people have a right to decide for themselves? Currently we have Radio 2 playlists that tell us what we can hear on radio. The said playlists are the product of a considerable amount of money changing hands and nothing to do with popular taste. Actually, there's so wide a range of different interpretations over the word 'folk' that such a channel probably would stand a chance. It'd certainly be more interesting than wall to wall 'pop' which is so uncontroversial.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 May 11 - 04:54 AM

An endless succession of folkier than thou elucidations punctuated by someone with a cod-mummetshire accent offering a 115 verse ballad and accusing those who turn off after the first twenty of 'killing folk music'.

I have been to a folk clubs, three sessions, one festival and watched a young performers competition since last a week ago Friday.

Never saw anything like that. Didn't see anyone in Aran sweaters signing in fake-Irish accents. Or indeed breathy women singers. Or even - goddamn - people with fingers in their ears.

I did see; a couple of concertinas; couple of mouth organs; couple of melodeons; about four fiddles; a string bass; a cello; a number of guitars and some singer-songwriters.

I wonder where you have been?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 02 May 11 - 06:15 AM

Well, he hasn't been anywhere that I've been! I think he needs to get out more!

I've been out and about in a similar fashion to you, Folkiedave, and I haven't seen anything of that ilk either.

As to the subject of the thread, I think that the thread title is based on the mistaken assumption, that many on Mudcat make, that if you don't like the music/singing/performance or whatever else of someone who has any kind of success in the folk world, then it must automatically be because you are resentful of their success, rather than because you actually don't like what they've done! Rather silly methinks!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Gail
Date: 02 May 11 - 06:18 AM

I'm not bothered by the 'folkier than thou' contingent, nor by the 'modernisers'. I don't mind if people want to criticise or defend a performance. All have valid viewpoints on a music discussion forum. What irritates me is arrogance disguised as eloquence.

Tom Bliss said : "If someone's being criticised in a public place, my instinct will be to defend them".

He then said to Steve Gardham: "Later did not want any of the hundreds who could do it better (though actually you mean DIFFERENTLY, if you did but know it)".

IF YOU DID BUT KNOW IT? That's just plain old patronising sneering. Either it's OK to belittle someone in public or it isn't. Nobody's perfect, eh Tom?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 May 11 - 06:58 AM

Can you imagine a dedicated folk channel, the visual equivalent to Mudcat?

Well you could start by listening to Fred McCormick's latest streamed playlist (Worlds of Trad May 2011) on Live 365. Fred puts together a great programme of traditional music from all over the shop.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 02 May 11 - 07:12 AM

Yes, you're right Gail. I apologise.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 02 May 11 - 07:34 AM

Every time the Unthanks come up, or indeed any young band, they have an incendiary quality on the board. It's fair to say there's nothing abnormal in what they do, if they sing traditional songs they're folk singers, if they don't they are light entertainers or pop or whatever euphemism you wish to bestow but there's nothing inherently 'wrong' with their performances. So why the inflammability?

Well clearly it's because people choose to press the ignite button. The reason is purely one of resenting their exposure or believing a performer should somehow 'represent' folk music. It's odd that the UK doesn't have any national scale traditional music broadcast medium but Britons seem to prefer commercial music of one kind or another. The talk of selling souls is nonsense, if you appeal to a large enough number The Maaan will pick you up - if you want to be picked up - and if you don't you'll have to plot whatever route through obscurity you can muster.

For myself, there's something peculiar about expecting to make a career out of singing tradition songs. Do it for love absolutely and if you're gifted and beautiful enough to be the one in ten thousand that makes a living good luck to you, but *expecting* a career from it sounds like the old 'Coronation Programme Seller' joke.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 02 May 11 - 07:42 AM

Having eaten a sandwich and thought about it, though, I will just explain in my defence, Gail (and Steve) that my ill-mannered comment was in response to something I felt was unfair that I'd understood Steve to have said to me and others here on this forum.

My instinct for defence mostly applies to people who may not feel in a position to defend themselves, which is not quite the same thing, (though the criticism was fair, and my apology - which I had already made to Steve anyway - stands.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 02 May 11 - 07:43 AM

"Actually, there's so wide a range of different interpretations over the word 'folk' that such a channel probably would stand a chance"

Of commercial success I agree Paul, of satisfying folkie's requirements of a channel, none whatsoever.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 11 - 09:19 AM

For myself, there's something peculiar about expecting to make a career out of singing tradition songs .

I am not sure why this should be so? Most people who try and make a living at singing traditional songs that I have known - started by doing it at weekends and locally. Then got more work and became fulltime. Others have supportive partners. Most get by but like the life. Some like Tom (and I do hope I speak correctly of him here) found that mostly whilst he was just about scraping a living costs were going up faster than income.

But why not make a living doing something you love? As it happens I was talking yesterday to someone who has done it, is one of the hardest working musicians I know - and thinks it is a great life. Why would you not want to do it?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 02 May 11 - 11:59 AM

People should do what they want, but there's a big difference between attempting to make a living singing old songs and dissing the people who manage to do so.
Spread the love.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 11 - 12:52 PM

>>As to the subject of the thread, I think that the thread title is based on the mistaken assumption, that many on Mudcat make, that if you don't like the music/singing/performance or whatever else of someone who has any kind of success in the folk world, then it must automatically be because you are resentful of their success, rather than because you actually don't like what they've done! Rather silly methinks!

I'm afraid your assumption is completely incorrect as I pointed out earlier.

It is the manner and tone of the criticism that I was opening up for discusion. Nothing to do with whether people liked people or not. To me, there seem to be some recurring threads over time where the name of the artist may change but the thrust and tone stays very similar. That was what I was interested in hearing other people's views on, NOT whether they liked someone or not; nor whether it is OK to say that you like someone or not (of course you are AND allowed to say it - who can stop you apart from yourself?)

It may be as simple as has been stated already - ie there are some things that some people consider 'folk' and which other people don't and that, depending on which side of that particular fence you are on you either can accept (or even like) it or not; almost on principle. It may be that certain people dislike certain sorts of music and feel it important and incumbent on them to share their (correct and proper?) view with the world - usually in as short and dismissive a sentence as possible. Often without needing to even listen to the performance to come to a view.

If you want to see some eerily familiar threads (and even posters) try these three:

Mumford
Kate Rusby
Bellowhead

It may be nothing about begrudging success, it may be something completely different. It's what discussion is about and why I raised it. Perhaps it's just that all these people are 'just rubbish'?

Oh and anyone who feels that this is a personal attack on them it may indeed be so. But it might not be.

(As an aside Bono's view of ABBA across 30+ years I find quite entertaining. I watched a programme on a while back where he has come over that period to realise that he might well have been wrong about his 'principled' hatred of their music back in the 70's)


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Nick
Date: 02 May 11 - 12:53 PM

Whoops that was me


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,No Fixed Abode
Date: 04 May 11 - 11:31 AM

Hi Dave,
                We are just back from a successful week giging in Norfolk.... Sad to see you making comments about us here.....as Tom says
30 Apr 11 - 08:12 AM   "What I do believe, as a matter of old fashioned manners if nothing else, is that no-one should ever voice an opinion in a public forum (knowing as they should do that their target is very likely to read it) unless they'd be willing to say exactly the same thing to that person's face"

fully agree Tom......as luck would have it we are in Sheffield this Sunday at the New Bath Hotel 66 Victoria Street starting at 9.00pm Dave why don't you come down to the pub and discuss the issues you have about us face to face....hope you can make it.
Thanks Tony
No Fixed Abode


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,folkiedave
Date: 05 May 11 - 04:24 AM

Not trying to avoid you but I can't make that.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,No Fixed Abode
Date: 05 May 11 - 07:05 AM

Hi Dave,
       Sorry to hear that you can't make it on Sunday Dave....perhaps we should meet at Sheffield Live and we can go through the complaints (I assume the station keeps a complaints log as per Ofcom licence requirements) the station received and your grievance with what we did on the show with the station manager......please suggest a date which suits you.
Thanks
Tony


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,folkiedave
Date: 05 May 11 - 07:55 AM

   Sorry to hear that you can't make it on Sunday Dave....perhaps we should meet at Sheffield Live and we can go through the complaints (I assume the station keeps a complaints log as per Ofcom licence requirements) the station received and your grievance with what we did on the show with the station manager......please suggest a date which suits you.
Thanks


Not really the place to discuss this. Suffice it to say that the complaints were not to the station but to me personally.

The biggest complaint was from me. I am still waiting for a thank you letter.

But please - don't bother now.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,No Fixed Abode
Date: 05 May 11 - 09:39 AM

Hi Dave
I am somewhat confused.....perhaps you can clear up a few points for me..... If you do not want to discuss it here why did you make a public statement here that was not in fact based on any official complaints or basis, just gossip amongst your friends. I would have much preferred you to have emailed me privately if you had a grievance.....Why did you feel the need two years after the event to do this? I would have been happy (and still am) to discuss any legitimate complaints. Perhaps it would be better if you could define complaints...

I am also confused about the thank you as I have a copy of an email I sent to you on the 12th Jan 2009 11.30am that thanked you for your help and assistance.....I also asked the young lady who produced the show on the day to pass on my thanks.

Having said all that I welcome you to come and see us perform, it's a pity you have not yet seen us perform live....we are busy over the summer touring but we do have a few gigs in Sheffield you may wish to note
Sunday August 21st The Bath Hotel 9.00pm
Monday August 29th The Rising Sun 9.00pm
Monday November 7th The Rising Sun 9.00pm

I hope that you get the chance to come and see us somewhere down the road
Thanks

Tony


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Folkiedave
Date: 05 May 11 - 12:20 PM

You are right Tony I shouldn't have mentioned it.

As for your email - sorry my records do not go back that far - but I am sure it never reached me.

Your memory is better than mine.

If I am free I shall come to a gig. But you are wrong - I have seen you perform live - but not recently.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,No Fixed Abode
Date: 05 May 11 - 02:21 PM

Hi Dave,
               Thanks for that.....I regard the matter resolved.....look forward to seeing you somewhere down the road.
Take care
Tony


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: srothman
Date: 05 May 11 - 08:52 PM

Hey FolkieDave - I got a bit lost somewhere in this thread but my instincts tell me that yer man Tony of No Fixed Abode is a self-aggrandising narcissist - what with him covertly blagging all his gigs - so I wouldn't rush to see him again any time soon - except to punch his smug face - after they've finished playing, naturally.

I've come to this conclusion after wincing my way through their toe-curlingly self-congratulatory website. A handsomely attractive but wholly unconvincing singer and a superfluously flashy guitarist do neither a credible nor creditable combination make.

Yours,
Sean


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 05 May 11 - 10:26 PM

srothman - if you really have looked at Tony and Una's website - you will notice that all the congratulations are not from themselves but from people who have booked them. Perhaps your toes curl naturally because you are the spawn of the devil. Check for a pointy tale and a tendency to carry a trident.

As for Una being an unconvincing singer - well she did a three year residency at Bunratty castle - they don't tend to give those out to the unconvincing singers.

here's an idea why don't you:-

1) go to toilet and have a poo
2) insert stick into toilet
3) rotate stick thoroughly

This may satisfy your need to stir.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 06 May 11 - 01:10 AM

srothmans diatribe (hideous though it may be) actually brings the thread topic full circle in a weird sort of why. Why do some people begrudge the success of others? Because, they haven't got the talent to do it themselves!
Simple as that.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 06 May 11 - 05:25 AM

Totally agree Ralphie! No point in analysing or disapproving of the success of others. Lets face it...we have no idea what sacrifices it took to become Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Lieutenant Pigeon.... or even the bands we don't like. Success as you say, is unfathomable.

I clouded the water by saying that I don't believe (in fact i know damn well) people in places of public trust whose job it is to foster and encourage genuine talent and artistic striving, often don't. Try Simon Napier bell's memoirs of a lifetime spent utilising payola at the beeb. Human frailty is there in every system at every stage.

But THAT was an irrelevance. Nothing to do with the begrudging.

I think we are all guilty of toadying to the successful.I remember the time I was lured to spain to gig the gig the fleshpots of Torremolinos. so I flashed the plastic to get over there with the Lada full of gear.

So I got there and the agent said - sorry Al, I've been too busy wih Elton John tour.

So i said, fair enuff! NOT what I said, when I relised that actually he was fixing a a few gigs for a bloke from Eltham, called John.....Eltham John!

War stories, eh!


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 11 - 02:52 PM

Ralphie,
Your statement there is totally untrue and lacking in any logic.(IMHO)
You have no idea about what talent the critics have. They may have chosen to go in another direction that doesn't involve some of the problems Alan has just described. There are some extremely talented people out there who choose to keep their music as a hobby, or prefer the safety of a day job, or indeed a myriad of other reasons why they don't want to go down the publicity road. We are all entitled to our opinions, particularly on a forum like this.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: ollaimh
Date: 06 May 11 - 03:07 PM

ok i have to ask? who are show of hands?

is this the california folkie trio from the eighties who sang and wrote"i've been patient too long"

they were great at times--un even but that song and their lead singer(olsen i think) was fabulous.

i'm guessing there is anew band called show of hands?

and i loved kate rusby with poozies--they recorded some of the finest folk i've ever heard. haven't heard her recently.

sonce i am part of the "celtic music scare" from the seventies on, when we discovered we had a radition of our own, well i do get tired of bad covers at every folk event.but i love good ones. celtic music does not need drums or rarelt needs bass, and the more aucoustic the better. however the "celtifornian" singer song writers did open the door to a lot of good traditional musicians. stan rogers paved the way for figgy duff and many others.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 06 May 11 - 03:32 PM

Show of hands are really good. they are a duo - although they sometimes appear with a lady called Miranda Sykes. They are a west country duo - and a lot of their songs are about the west country. steve Knightley is the songwriter, with flowing locks and dark brooding good looks and phil Beer is the folk musician who can play everything stringed. They have an accomplished live act- which does theatres and festivals. They do solo gigs on the folkscene also.

Lond before Show of Hands, Phil beer was in a duo with probably the best folk guitar accompanist in the country - a guy called paul downes. they used to do Steve Knightleys songs back then. Paul and Phil were much loved, but were nevber quite as popular as Show of Hands are nowadays.

here is one of their great songs cousin jack - about the economically depressed area of Britain - Cornwall, how national policies have affected the place and how the miners of that area are scattered to the four corners of the earth.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV5JESfaZ1c


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 06 May 11 - 03:44 PM

ollainh. Show Of hands are an English male Duo (nrmally bumped up to a trio) who are very popular here in the UK. Even sold out the Roayal Albert Hall in London once once!
Steve G. I fail to see why you regard my post as disingenuous. Of course there are thousands of musicians/singers/dancers...name any art you like here, that decide to either do it as a hobby, or as a sideline to their day job...Indeed, include me in that list. It's just that if an artists/band attempts to push the boat out a little further, and make their artistry their "Day Job", and are moderately successful, shouldn't we all rejoice? Particularly if they get on a programme like "Later".
In all the years I worked for John Peel and Andy Kershaw, There were lots of artists that I may have not been that keen on at the start of a session, but nearly always, by the end of the day, I would have discovered something about them of interest.
My point being, is that to criticise an artist from just seeing 2 songs on BBC2 is a tad harsh.
One of the first people I ever saw in a folk club was Dick Gaughan in 1973. Scary long haired seemingly angry man, singing in an impenetrable accent. Bloody terrifying! Since then, I have worked/recorded him several times, and have discovered what a thouroughly kind and thoughtful man he is.
Never judge a book by it's cover, and never judge a band by 1 appearance on the TV.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 06 May 11 - 03:46 PM

The exchange between Ralphie, Al and Steve, reminds me of when Rod Shearman initiated a legal action against Enya for plagiarising Sail Away (which, of course, Rod lost). Jim Mageean went to give evidence in support of Rod, but Enya's counsel asked if he was a career professional singer, and then implied (when Jim said no) that this was because he wasn't good enough to be a professional singer.

Gan Canny....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 06 May 11 - 03:52 PM

"when Rod Shearman initiated a legal action against Enya for plagiarising Sail Away"

Jaw hanging here..
Is that really so?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 06 May 11 - 04:01 PM

Lively - yep, quite true. It's on an Enya forum, here , as well as being mentioned on a previous Mudcat thread, here .

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 11 - 04:12 PM

Ralphie,
I agree totally with everything you've just said, but that is nothing like what you said in the previous post that I criticised. As I've already stated on several occasions, I haven't even seen The Jools Holland thing. That's not what this thread is about. If I see on the box something embarrassing in the name of folk music, I reserve the right, and the right of others, to criticise, and praise.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 06 May 11 - 06:19 PM

Hiya Nick ..When I was a child we used to have favorite bands that we thought were special to us and only we really knew them and they sang songs that " the man " wouldn't play on his radio station.. Then they took the devils dollar and went over to the dark side...LOL
I guess some of us didn't grow up as we aged eh?
Take care matey and keep playing.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Pulseroom
Date: 06 May 11 - 07:47 PM

One of my first public performances back in the 70s was "Punch and Judy Man" John Conolly. My wife said I was brilliant I prefer your version, recently my son heard both and said not true, I prefer john. So! I asked Harry Hill, he said I don't know, who did do it best? Ian or John? He said ......Fight......

Maybe it should have been put to the Mudcatters..... Hmmmm maybe not.

You know, It wouldn't really matter to me what you think? I enjoy what I do, I won't stop whatever anyone thinks or says. I dont think the Unthanks will geve a damn either. Hey! Do they get paid? Wooop Wooop. Maybe there's the answer.

John inspired me to support folk clubs, good on yer mate!!!!

Or am I missing the point?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 06 May 11 - 09:06 PM

Not strictly true. To my certain knowledge - The Unthanks saw the profound truths our discourse had stumbled upon. In consequence, they decided to split up - one of them entered the library service (which meant taking a vow of slence) - the other stayed in showbiz and accepted a long residency working as a mime act in trappist monastery. Its a responsible job, she has to do a mime informing everyone if the fire alarm goes off.

So you're wrong.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 07 May 11 - 02:48 AM

Steve...Well, I have watched the particular Jools Holland programme, a couple of times now, and the Unthanks sat very nicely in it. Considering the other artists on the show. What's not to like? Let us all stop bickering about success. My reason.....?
Because it sounds like jealousy...And, surely we are bigger than that.
Good luck to the Unthanks, and many many more artists, who spend their lives driving up and down the country for very small amounts of money, and, if any of them get a sniff of media coverage. Well, Good Luck to them, Whoever they may be.
I could list countless names that deserve acclaim, and will never get it. But, that is pointless. There are some artists who have done the publicity thing. Maybe not the artists that float your boat, but Hey, Why knock them?


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 07 May 11 - 04:38 AM

Ah yes! the old argument.

The politics of envy..........and anyway the fix is in, so don't rock the stoat! don't unpop the weasel! what the country needs now is stability, so dissenters will be shot.


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Subject: RE: Unthanks et al. Why begrudge success?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 07 May 11 - 11:04 AM

What we don't seem to have is a vibrant underground scene ready to spring a load of fully formed and unexpected talent out into a weary waiting world.


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