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English folk music?

Paul S 20 Sep 99 - 09:25 AM
catspaw49 20 Sep 99 - 09:58 AM
Bert 20 Sep 99 - 10:28 AM
Rex 20 Sep 99 - 10:39 AM
catspaw49 20 Sep 99 - 11:23 AM
Wally Macnow 20 Sep 99 - 12:34 PM
GeorgeH 20 Sep 99 - 01:40 PM
Melodeon 20 Sep 99 - 02:25 PM
selby 20 Sep 99 - 02:46 PM
dwo 20 Sep 99 - 04:07 PM
Philippa 20 Sep 99 - 04:36 PM
poet 20 Sep 99 - 06:54 PM
Jo Taylor 20 Sep 99 - 07:26 PM
MudGuard 21 Sep 99 - 02:05 AM
GeorgeH 21 Sep 99 - 05:06 AM
sapper_re 21 Sep 99 - 07:24 AM
Jane Bird 21 Sep 99 - 08:15 AM
poet 21 Sep 99 - 05:29 PM
Jo Taylor 21 Sep 99 - 05:55 PM
GeorgeH 22 Sep 99 - 06:37 AM
Nick Jones 22 Sep 99 - 08:50 AM
Doctor John 22 Sep 99 - 12:59 PM
selby 22 Sep 99 - 01:11 PM
GeorgeH 22 Sep 99 - 01:38 PM
wildlone 22 Sep 99 - 01:53 PM
Jo Taylor 22 Sep 99 - 07:11 PM
GeorgeH 23 Sep 99 - 07:45 AM
Jo Taylor 23 Sep 99 - 07:14 PM
clj 24 Sep 99 - 03:46 PM
Ferret 24 Sep 99 - 09:35 PM
Liam's Brother 24 Sep 99 - 11:21 PM
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Subject: English folk music?
From: Paul S
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 09:25 AM

I am about to show my ignorance.

I've heard traditional music from Ireland and Scotland, and I can usually make a distinction between the two. However, is there such a thing as traditional music from England? There must be, but I don't know what it is.


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: catspaw49
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 09:58 AM

Gee, isn't that all English?

Spaw - laughing his ass off while dodging bullets and running for cover.......Serpentine!!!Serpentine!!!


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Bert
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 10:28 AM

Now now 'Spaw, you'll really upset all our/your Irish, Scottish and Welsh, Mudcat friends if you carry on like that. Maybe not though, I guess they all know you well enough by now.

Paul, start with a search of DT for "England" there's thousands of the bloody things, songs and dances.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Rex
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 10:39 AM

Check out the Copper Family recordings.

Rex


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: catspaw49
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 11:23 AM

Yeah Bert...I hope that came out clearly enough as a joke....But for those of you who were wondering......YES, IT'S A JOKE........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Wally Macnow
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 12:34 PM

I just posted a note mentioning this series elsewhere, but take a look at the Voice of the People set recently issued by Topic. England is loaded with traditional songs and dance music from virtually every corner of the country.


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 01:40 PM

Paul S: If you can usually make a distinction between the music of Ireland and Scotland then you're not listening to a wide enough variety of (folk) music from either of those lands . .

There is a wide range of folk music from England, with strong regional variations of styles. And there is considerable cross-over between the musics of all of these islands off the west cost of Europe, and even between them and that mainland. And, indeed, a number of the tunes you "recognise" as Irish or Scotish will have originated in England (as far as anyone can be certain about these things).

But - so what?

George


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Melodeon
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 02:25 PM

check out "Folk song in England" by A.L Lloyd (Lawrence and Wishart). This will lead you to about 90 other books on the subject. You could also try the English folk dance and song society libraries (if I was really clever I would give you a blue clicky thing here). If you want recordings there is no finer starting point than the Topic Records catalogue (now 60 years old).

Topic Records Ltd, 27, Nassington Road, London NW3 2TX.

Happy hunting! You are about to discover the richest musical tradition in the world.

Melodeon


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: selby
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 02:46 PM

Mike Raven's 1000 english country dance tunes is a good start there are about a --------- 1000 english country dance tunes in there Keith


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: dwo
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 04:07 PM

As an English Folk junkie from way back, I'm glad it's on the move again. But "the richest musical tradition in the world"?? Certainly as rich as any in Western Europe. Probably one of the more accessible-to-English -speakers. But let us not be blinded by love.


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Subject: RE: English folk music
From: Philippa
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 04:36 PM

and don't forget the Black Country songs thread


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: poet
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 06:54 PM

Check out a large percentage of early american folk music its rooted in England my son.


Graham


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 07:26 PM

My French friends here call all British people Anglais and all British traditional music Irlandaise - unless of course when it has bagpipes, when it just might be Ecossaise! The Pays de Galle doesn't get a look in... but it's not only the French perspective, ask most non-folky Brits and the only 'traditional' English tune they'll be able to tell you (after much head-scratching) will be 'Greensleeves'!


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: MudGuard
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 02:05 AM

Search the database for @English (the @ is important, and no blank after it!) and you will find lots of English songs (in this case, English does not refer to the language).
MudGuard


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 05:06 AM

Jo T: So what traditional scots or irish tunes will they be able to name?? And anyway depending on their age they are as likely to come up with "Day trip to Bangor" or "All around my hat" - with possibly no less accurate a fit to the "traditional" requirement.

So your point was??

G.


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: sapper_re
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 07:24 AM

I'm a bit late in being able to join this, but 'spaw had a good point!!! Several pieces that were originally English have been slightly "celticised" and adopted by the other 3 British Traditions! Prime example is Dives & Lazzarus, a Dorsetshire song that became transformed to "The Star of The County Down". Also, didn't the Irish Bodran start of as the Riddle Drum, again from Dorset?? In a similar way there has been a lot of cross fertilisation between my own area area of England, North Northumberland, and Scotland. Someone looking for specifically English material could make a good start with EFDSS, the English Folk Song & Dance Society, sorry I can not find the URL, but no doubt someone else will! Going back to Dorset, the group The Yetties, have done a great deal of work on the songs collected by the author, Thomas Hardy. Cheers, Bob


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Jane Bird
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 08:15 AM

I'm surprised that no body has yet mentioned the work of Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy! All three family members are widly known for playing largely English music. Martin Carthy is also a sometime member of Steeleye Span (early days), and with Norma, involved in The Watersons.

As far as other major modern performers of English folk music goes, you could also try looking for (in no particular order): John Kirkpatrick (melodeon, accordion, Anglo concertina and voice), The Albion Band, Kate Rusby (guitar and voice), Nancy Kerr (fiddle and voice), Nic Jones (guitar and voice) and Shirley and Dolly Collins (voice and various keyboard instruments). I've only mentioned a few that I hope will be fairly readily available in America.

As far as source recordings go, the Voice of the People series on Topic Records is a very good place to begin. Also recently issued is Absolutely Classic, an album of William Kimber's concertina playing, on EFDSS recordings. (He was a member of Heddington Quarry Morris Dancers at the end of the last century, beginning of this century, and has been highly influencencial for a lot of people.)

Hope that's helpful.

Jane


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: poet
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 05:29 PM

JUST TO CORRECT A POINT MADE BY SAPPER. THE BODHRAIN WAS FIRST INVENTED BY THE SCOTS WHO COULD'NT REALLY GET ON WITH SO THEY SOLD IT TO THE IRISH WHO DECIDED IT WOULD SOUND BETTER WITH A SKIN ON.


TONGUE FIRMLY IN CHEEK.

GRAHAM


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 05:55 PM

GeorgeH - just a little anecdote, don't snap at me! I pressed my send thingy a little early, and it was very late. The French friends to whom I was referring are musicians, so they can name rather a lot of Scots and Irish tunes, my point was that most non-folky Brits could think of more of those than of English ones (even my example was of a song rather than just a tune, and the two you quote are not entirely traditional!)- which is very sad, and one of my recurring irritations - I was in several English ceilidh bands in the UK, and the general public perception of trad music is that it's all Irish or Scottish or American square dancing - we played English music for English dances (mostly), my previous message was going to expand upon the lines of how annoying I found / find this perception, that the music of England is important, valid, etc. etc.. (and great to dance to) and in no way was I dismissing same! Positively the opposite. Applying a little irony, which perhaps one can't always see in the printed word. And I'd like to reiterate Keith (Selby)'s recommendation of Mike Raven's book mentioned above as an excellent source of English trad tunes. And then of course there's the little matter of Morris dancing - see Mainly Morris for heaps of stuff about Morris.
Haven't done any 'clickies' recently so I hope that one works. And cheers, Philippa, for doing one for the Black Country songs - I did a lot of typing there but couldn't find it again!! Haven't been very voluble recently - very busy over the summer but this subject is one of my high horses!
Nice to be back with you all, and happy that the sticky patch of a few weeks ago appears to have subsided...several old friends seem to have disappeared following that.
Jo Taylor


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 06:37 AM

Jo: Sorry, I wasn't meaning to snap; just in a hurry (as usual). My point about "Greensleeves", "Bangor" and "Hat" (all songs) was that none of them is entirely traditional. Just as at least some of the tunes your French friends know as Scots or Irish are quite likely to have been stolen from the English at some point. There's no doubt that "Irish" music is more widely played than that from elsewhere in the islands which include the UK - seems you can go into a pub anywhere in the world and here Irish music played badly and insensitively. In part the forced emigration (politically or economically forced) of Irish and Scots both spread their music and - at least arguably - helped the extent of its survival, in a way which didn't happen with English music.

So thanks for expanding on your message, and sorry I mis-read it. Also - what about the Welsh? Remarkable things are happening in Welsh folk at the moment. As for the Morris - some great tunes, but my casual observation is that at the moment playing for the morris is at a lower ebb than a few years ago; on average sides seem to have fewer musicians, and the playing has drifted towards the pretty basic. But it could be I've been meeting the wrong sides (and certainly I have met exceptions to the descriptions just given).

G.


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Nick Jones
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 08:50 AM

Just found this thread......

You need to listen to John Kirkpatrick, Rod Stradling, Paul Burgess, Flos Headford, John & Katie Howson, Simon Richie, Jason Rice, Mark Bazeley, Steve Burgess.......the list goes on and on and that's just the people I know!

There is very definately an English Tradition, although not as obvious as the other lot, the style is totally different to the other traditions (not suitable for the Bodran, but that's another - heated - subject), and is alive and well at the moment. Mail me if you want info on where it's happening, we keep it quiet to keep Bodran players away!


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Doctor John
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 12:59 PM

What about the Welsh? Sorry but I do feel there is little point is listening to folk music sung in a language the listener can't understand as the poetry is a very important part of it. However in a Welsh club a couple of years ago we heard one of the best bluegrass groups I've listened too. If "English" means of the English speaking world then I think we are very fortunate in being able to fully appreciate the folk music of the British Isles, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand (Never heard any; please enlighten the ignorant!)whether it was exported from here or originated there. On the down side the English do have a problem of in general being reluctant to learn other languages. See the "Folkies are Back" thread for other names. I hope I'm not repeating but add Martyn Wyndham Read, Cyril Tawney, Jez Lowe and Johnny Handle for other first class interpreters. Dr John


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: selby
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 01:11 PM

Just to muddy the pot a little bit at Whitby Folk Week this year one of the workshop leaders seemed to be suggesting that the only true english folk music still be played was down in the SE of England and that Scotland had its Traditional Music which if you played in Northumberland you played with a scotish lilt the whole thing diluting until you got down south I hasten to add there was no mention of Cornwall & Devon. I have been trying to make my mind up lately as I live in Yorkshire what I play.


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 01:38 PM

Dr John: You really are limiting your musical experiences if you won't listen to things in languages you don't understand. But in any case most of the Welsh performers perform a fair bit of material in English (not unlike the Scots and Irish there . . ) Though you might have pointed out that the Welsh don't belong in a discussion of English folk music! Also - fine though the performers you recommend are, they do lean heavily towards the "traditional" interpreters of traditional material and certainly don't represent the breadth of the English part of the folk scene. Personally I'd complement them with June Tabor, Martin Simpson (in UK-tour mode!), Chris Wood and Andy Cutting, Tantika, Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick (as a duo), Roy Bailey, Pete Coe, Robb Johnson . .

On the other hand if I replied tomorrow I'd probably come up with a very different list . .

But - as I tried to suggest before - it does seem to me that WITHIN the UK and from a listening perspective very few people distinguish strongly between the music from the different parts of these (partially) British Isles.

And selby I think your workshop leader was just being provocative!

G.


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: wildlone
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 01:53 PM

a quick mention with ref to the earlier comment from sapper,The Hardy Family Manuscripts some of which the Yetties have recorded have a tune called Brighton camp.
The same tune is used in The Girl I Left Behind me and Waxies Dargle.
Music travels and is changed by those that hear and use it.WL.


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 07:11 PM

George - glad to know we're actually fighting from the same corner - reading my (incomplete) first post again, I realise it wasn't clear!
Re. the Welsh (a look of surprise when you suggest to the French that it's a separate country & tradition!) - I've never really explored Welsh tunes, have a couple of books of 'em, & do play the rather lovely one 'Lady Owen's Delight' - there are some beautiful melodies amongst the Welsh collections.
Re. Dr John's comment, the original question was about traditional music, so I'm talking about them things without words - to quote Frank Damrosch: "Words may lie; music can not." Well, maybe that's not entirely apt but I've always wanted an opportunity to slip it in somewhere!
Wildlone - re. Brighton Camp, it's a very common Morris tune & an Adderbury, Eynsham, Ascot dance & probably other...
"Oh let the night be ever so dark
O let it be wet and windy
I must return to the Brighton Camp,
To the girl I left behind me.
See here too: THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND ME.
Flos Headford, Paul Burgess etc., (usually of the Old Swan Band but in this case alias the Mellstock Band) did some wonderful work on the Thomas Hardy tunes a few years ago - don't know if they're still doing it; Ah, here they are but without Paul & Flos! Paul also said he was working at transcribing the tunes collected by John Clare (the Northampton poet) - a project which I first attempted but discontinued due to lack of time and the fact that he would make a far better job of it - (he once wrote a tune in my notebook whilst in a hall with a very loud band on stage!) does anyone know if he finished? (The John Clare project, not my notes...)
And... back to my French friends... a few weeks ago in a session they played a tune called la Coutancaise which sounded remarkably similar to 'Penny on the Water', a simple English tune, to which the late and inimitable Bob Cann, in front of the Dartmoor Pixie Band would announce "Us'll do the Seven Steps" - no calling. Told the French chaps about this. 'Bien oui. Nous dancons le Pas de Sept'
Today I saw a band from les Iles-de-la-Madeleine called 'Clapotis' - fine fiddling - who did an excellent rendition of Speed the Plough and claimed it as trad. Québecois! It all goes round, gets passed around...
Forgive my rambling, I'm going to bed now!
Jo Taylor
PS Here's the EFDSS
and one for English Folk and Traditional Music on the Internet


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 07:45 AM

Jo T: Yes, I hope our disagreements are only over how best to explore a wonderful tradition. And on the subject of the Mellstock Band (whose membership has been almost as variable as the Albion Band) - as I recall this started off as a Dave Townsend project. And Dave has published a collection of Carols from the Hardy manuscript which I'd strongly recommend. (If I'd contributed to the "Favourite Folk Pub" thread it would have been with a description of first hearing the Hardy m/s "While Shepherds Watched" in the late, lamented Kings Head at Rampisham, Dorset.)

Certainly I was taking music to include songs as well as tunes . . Oops, USians seem to use "song" to include "tune" - it all gets too confusing for me . . .

And I'm glad you mentioned Bob Cann - especially as there't just been a fine retrospective CD of him released. Pete Coe told us a WONDERFUL tale of Bob's regular Dartmoor barn dances, where the usuall clientel were (largely) the Hell's Angels of the district.

Another - rather less 'traditional' in treatment - source for English folk music would be the early Oyster Band recordings; if you want tunes then go for "20 Golden Tie Slackners". Or New Victory Band, Flowers and Frolics, Muckram Wakes . . Or several of the "Free Reed" records, and dozens of old Topic recordings . .

And I have to confess, I have argued elsewhere that much of the English tradition is UNFAIRLY neglected (and been flamed for saying so). And, indeed, the English neglect of their own tradition was a recurring theme at a number of workshops we attended at Sidmouth festival this year.

G.


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 07:14 PM

Gosh, George, I don't think we do have any disagreements...where have you been flamed? Let me come in and back you up! Yup, got the 20 Golden wotsits - John Jones was at the uni in Exeter, he and Bob Powell, the melodeon player in my last UK band used to play for Great Western Morris in the early days, & my other half played drums for the Oysters a couple of times before they became rich & famous pop stars & could afford their own drummer! Flowers & Frolics, Old Swan, Cock & Bull (before J-P Rasle though I also like the stuff afterwards), Home Service, Peeping Tom, Geckoes... some a little less trad than others but the list goes on, as does the music - the English music - convinced yet, Paul S.? you asked the question - are you still there? It would be nice to see your response to the comments on your query!

Jo Taylor (a former Sidmouth fixture before her French exile)


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: clj
Date: 24 Sep 99 - 03:46 PM

Maybe this should be a different thread-or- maybe it has been discussed already. What are the differences between English songs and those from the Celtic lands? I have some ideas but always bow to the wisdom of those who have more experience in analyzing such concepts. Thanks,clj


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Ferret
Date: 24 Sep 99 - 09:35 PM

IMHO one of the main difference between English, Irish, & Scottish trad is that in England folk music has almost been relegated to some old folk's thing. But with the Scottish and Irish music it still has very popular appeal with all age's and is sung all over. Not relegated to some dusty folk club but sung all over, in Ireland it can be herd instead of that terrible elevator music all over Dublin. As for the movement of songs from one place to another I have been trying to find out where "Lark in The Morning" originated for some years with no luck, I have come across variants from all three. Most young people in England if you ask them to name a folk band you will probably get the spice girls, or wet,wet,wet, or a blank look. All the best ferret


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Subject: RE: English folk music?
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 24 Sep 99 - 11:21 PM

As you've gathered by now, Paul, there has been plenty of folk music in England over the years.

There's a lot of pastoral song, industrial song, songs about the many wars England's been in, a lot of sea songs, songs of social and political nature, many songs about Napoleon who made quite a stir all over Europe. There are also love songs, bawdy songs, humorous songs, sporting songs and plenty of other kinds.

In every culture, some songs started out in another country and that's what George alluded to earlier. Working people, nomadic people, soldiers and sailors traveled from place to place both collecting and disseminating songs. A lot of the people who sold the old broadside ballads in England were Irish, for example, so you find "The Boys of Kilkenny" being sung in southern England. Music Hall (pre-vaudeville) had some influence as well.

There can be great differences in music in different regions.

All the best,
Dan Milner


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