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Do purists really exist?

Big Al Whittle 15 Jul 11 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 16 Jul 11 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 16 Jul 11 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 16 Jul 11 - 05:27 AM
TheSnail 17 Jul 11 - 05:57 AM
Dave Hanson 17 Jul 11 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,folkiedave 17 Jul 11 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Jul 11 - 06:49 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jul 11 - 07:45 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jul 11 - 08:37 AM
TheSnail 17 Jul 11 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Jul 11 - 12:54 PM
Musket 17 Jul 11 - 01:23 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Jul 11 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jul 11 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Jul 11 - 06:19 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Jul 11 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Jul 11 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Don Wise 18 Jul 11 - 07:38 AM
Will Fly 18 Jul 11 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Jul 11 - 10:43 AM
Will Fly 18 Jul 11 - 11:00 AM
Musket 18 Jul 11 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,livelylass 18 Jul 11 - 03:51 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Aug 11 - 09:44 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Aug 11 - 06:04 AM
Richard Spencer 03 Aug 11 - 09:16 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Dec 18 - 02:08 AM
leeneia 12 Dec 18 - 02:15 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 02:36 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 02:41 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 03:48 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 03:48 AM
Will Fly 12 Dec 18 - 04:05 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Dec 18 - 05:33 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 06:52 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 09:28 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 10:57 AM
Jack Campin 12 Dec 18 - 11:06 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 11:15 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 11:29 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 02:58 PM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 02:58 PM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 03:36 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Dec 18 - 05:33 PM
The Sandman 12 Dec 18 - 05:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Dec 18 - 09:33 PM
The Sandman 13 Dec 18 - 01:57 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 18 - 02:10 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Dec 18 - 03:20 AM
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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 11:23 PM

folk chooses you.

as for the purist thing. someone has revived the irish Coutry Music thread. I was struck by the relevance of my comments back then in 2008.

'It would be lovely to know which moron first came up the idea that you have bigger balls as a folk music fan if you reject some other kind of music.

The relationships between different kinds of folk music is so obvious, to even a person of average intellligence. But it really does defeat these wooden eared zealots.

The relattionship between The Unfortuanate Rake and the Streets of Laredo and Gold in the Mountains and St James Infirmary is well documented.

The cross fertilisation between Whisky in the Jar, The Irish Rebel Ballads, The larrikins of the Australian Bush ballads, Jesse James and there ain't no good chain gang, and I fought the law leaves the average person with deja vu.

That jerky guitar rhythm in Carthy's Famous Flower of Serving Men and Peggy and Mike Seegers Clinch Mountain Backstep, and presumably The Stanley Bros. How could anyone except the tone deaf miss it?

Yeh you're right Irish Country Music - many mudcatters have swapped their listening ears for a mess of pottage - namely the companionship of a lot dull snobs. people who can't value a guy like Johnny MacEvoy - someone who can switch from Shores of Amerikay to Hickory Wind effortlessly and with the grace of the truly talented.'


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 05:13 AM

Carthy's jerky rhythms came to typify New Testament Folk in so many ways; be it in in Steeleye Span's rollicking macrame-beat or else in the singing of June Tabor, where her rendering of Gamekeeper's Lie Sleeping comes out sounding like a Victoria Wood parody - unlike (say) Bob Robert's who just hangs it up there on the wall by way of an old print. You still hear it; hell, we even use it ourselves - once I think, in the Jew's Harp off-beats of our rendering The Trees They Do Grow High, but back then, with bands like Gentle Giant having fun with all sorts of jerky rhythms & folk/prog crossovers Cultural Arythmia seemed to be very much the order of the day. Thank Christ for the Amen Beat (which never did impact of folk much, did it?). You still get a lot of that guitar thing these days by way of convention, but listening to the early recordings of Carthy & Swarb locking horns on Byker Hill (or better still watching them on YouTube) is still very special for me, and not just by way of Chops Awe either (much less Chops Envy which is a different matter entirely...).

Folk doesn't have to be dazzling; in fact one of the things I loved about Folk in the early days was that along with Punk and Free Improv it's musicality was never dependent on vituosity, and the people doing the best music weren't necessarily the best musicians. The manifesto remains engraved in my heart: This is a chord (A). This is another (E). This is a third (G). Now Form a Band.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 05:19 AM

folk chooses you.

You've got right.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 05:27 AM

(I'm sorry, I'll type that again.)

You've got that right.

(Actually there's a syntactic ambiguity in there which is quite relevant here, depending which of the last two words gets the stress... either way & in both senses - right as noun and adverb.)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 05:57 AM

It would be lovely to know which moron first came up the idea that you have bigger balls as a folk music fan if you reject some other kind of music.

I know what you mean, Big Al. Some people really seem to get a kick out of rubishing traditional music.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:14 AM

Suibhne, what on earth does ' rollicking macrame beat ' mean ? macrame is making things out of string.

Big Al just seems to be pushing his favourite Country & Irish singer again.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,folkiedave
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:25 AM

Macrame using cat hair was a workshop at Blitherscrum one year!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:49 AM

macrame is making things out of string.

For sure, on one level, it is making things out of string, or rather (and more properly) jute. On another, however, Macrame has come to typify a certain 70's Folksy-Crafty Zeitgeist not altogether unassociated with the rhythmic contrivances of Steeleye Span and June Tabor (et al). I hardly think it's in any way disrectful or unreasonable to call this Macrame Beat. Tabor's While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping is a Macrame Beat classic, as is Steeleye Span's All Around My Hat, both of which force hitherto natural Traditional Songs into all sorts of unnatural contortions in a way that only becomes evident on seeking The Source of such material to see the extent of such perversions.

Another example is Carthy's Rufford Park, the Macrame Beat of which is so insistent I had to stop singing it because every time I did it came out all jerky.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 07:45 AM

I don't rubbish traditional music. I'm just VERY suspicious of it. Mainly i suppose because - i think given my family background, and the rural nature of my upbringing - Ithink I would have been aware of the tradtions growing up if they had existed.

As it is the traditions that I did grow up with, are routinely rubbished by 'traditionalists'.

At this point in time. I hold no brief for anybody. If you're ears are unreceptive to country and irish. That's fine. But maybe you should be aware that in the last century - many English and irish folk artists dabbled and made a living, in some cases, with country music.

If pointing out the similarity of the way Mike Seeger and Peggy did a Ralph Stanley tune to Martin carthy's guitar technique is sacrilege and and impugning the sacred reputation of MC, so be it. i think it was TS Eliot who said, only mediocrity is influenced - real genius actually steals!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 08:37 AM

... or, Al, as Tom Lehrer remembered Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachewski saying [in a slightly different field] ~~

Plagiarise
Let nobody's work evade your eyes
Why you think the good lord made yer eyes?
So plagiarise, plagiarise, plagiarise ~~
   - But be careful, please, always to call it
    "Research"

~M~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 09:14 AM

I don't rubbish traditional music.

Never said you did, Al.

If pointing out the similarity of the way Mike Seeger and Peggy did a Ralph Stanley tune to Martin Carthy's guitar technique is sacrilege

Did anyone say it was? Nobody lives in isolation but we are all influenced by what we here. I have heard that one of Martin's major influences was Big Bill Broonzy. maybe the Seegers were drawing on the same tradition.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 12:54 PM

i think given my family background, and the rural nature of my upbringing - Ithink I would have been aware of the tradtions growing up if they had existed.

I'm from a mining background & feel pretty much the same way. Like I said earlier (in this thread?) if one wanted to define Folk Music according to the Living Creative Music of the Folk of the Northumbrian Coalfield then it would take in everything from Tommy Armstrong to the New Blockaders and pretty much everything else along the way, but your actual Folk Music would be barely noticable. For some reason though actually saying this sort of thing is held to be heretical and apt to result in excommunication, even for a devoted Traddy like me. I grew up in mining communities near Seghill and Delaval & knew lots of singing miners old and young, but never heard of The Blackleg Miner until some Macrame Beat teacher sang it at school. Thus do I say Folk is more a Religion than a Science; it takes faith to believe in something that just ain't there...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Musket
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 01:23 PM

When I worked down the pit, folk music was something I heard on records, down the the local folk club etc. At work, the baths had the local radio station (Radio Hallam as it was called then,) the lamp room had Radio 2 and down the pit? Those over 50 were whistling Slim Whitman or Jim Reeves songs, those under 50 were whistling whatever was current in the charts, (us young 'uns) or whatever the turn was singing down the welfare the other night. (Living next door to Alice, American Trilogy, You've Lost that Loving Feeling etc etc.)

I was I suppose a singing miner. I sang about herring fishing mainly. (And having lover's balls for somebody, about the only types of song I wrote for many years, mainly as I could use a slow acoustic version in folk clubs and an up tempo rock version with the rock band.)

As I and others have pointed out many times, those who sang about mining tended to be teachers, social workers etc. I don't mean that in a bad way, after all I sang about anything but my own experiences and if a workmate sang about how hard it was, I would be taking the piss forever more, and rightly so. Perhaps one of the reasons I find the purism that this thread has unearthed a bit of a farce really. Sandals and beards don't make you authentic, they give you wet feet and soup to enjoy later.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 02:01 PM

I have a beard and I wear sandals. I don't think they say any more about me than that I hate shaving and like to have comfortable feet, and now I am retired I see no reason not to indulge myself to such an extent.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 02:03 PM

Sorry - something went badly awry there!

Anyway." ... if one wanted to define Folk Music according to the Living Creative Music of the Folk of the Northumbrian Coalfield then it would take in everything from Tommy Armstrong to the New Blockaders and pretty much everything else along the way, but your actual Folk Music would be barely noticable. For some reason though actually saying this sort of thing is held to be heretical and apt to result in excommunication, ..."

Which is probably why I go to folk clubs and not miners' social clubs ... ?

And who, exactly, is going to 'excommunicate' you, Suibhne? I've told you a million, billion times never to exaggerate!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:19 PM

Which is probably why I go to folk clubs and not miners' social clubs ... ?

Moot point, Shimrod. Which pill would you take - the red or the blue? Though I hear tell of an historical enounter at a WMC in Tow Law when Ewan MacColl and A L Loyd were giving the Miners a Concert of Their Own Songs. It was at this event they first met Lomax. Apocrypal? Maybe so, but it has a certain hoary romance lingering still o'er those bleak and blasted moors of Tow Law where the turbines wave from valley to hill, even unto Stanley and beyond. In my dream I hear Paul Robeson adding his voice to the struggle, but did he ever sing The Colliers Rant I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:19 PM

... & for that matter, Sean, what form would this 'excommunication' take. Will a ceremony be held for the public confiscation of one's EFDSS badge [I haven't been a member for years] ~~ or for trimming one's beard and cutting the buckles off one's sandals [mine are velcro-fastened]~~

~~ or what????

{;~)


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:22 PM

I have a beard; I even wear sandles (with socks in winter) but I've never been a member of EFDSS. Maybe I was never communicant in the first place?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:38 AM

There is, or used to be, a Traditional Music Club (I've been out of the country for 30 years now...) in Nottingham. Very clear,'purist', policy on what was acceptable and what not. Then they booked Nic Jones.....Two sets of 'straight down the line' traditional songs and tunes. Then came the encore....Chattanooga Choo-Choo! As related two days later in Derby,-and not without a certain relish- there were some red faces on the then NTMC committee after Nics gig.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 10:11 AM

From S'oP earlier on:

At one of the first Folk Clubs I used to regularly sing at, floor singers would face the audience (as is the norm) but in doing so would be standing with their backs to a panel of exalted residents. If that wasn't bad enough, the residents would on a raised stage, whereas the floor-singers would be (as you'd expect) on the floor. I often pondered the mindset that lay behind such an inhuman arrangement and hope we will never see it's like again. That was The Bridge Folksong & Ballad, back in the early 1980s, when it was in the basement, and was accepted as perfectly normal.

Coincidence, coincidence. I'm just back from the Bradfield Trad Music Weekend where, in conversation over a pre-session pint at the Royal, an experienced old-stager was reminiscing about various northern clubs. And out of his memory came The Bridge at Newcastle, where - according to him - the residents not only sat in a semi-circle behind the performers, but used to pull faces if they didn't like what he or she was performing. Furthermore, one south country singer and accompanying band were introduced as "southern wankers". The name of the offender and the name of the offended were mentioned, but I refrain from posting them here.

An inhuman arrangement indeed...


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 10:43 AM

Thanks for the confirmation of the set-up, Will, but in all fairness in all the years I ever went there I never once saw any of the residents pull faces. Poker-faced doesn't come close, but they were always respectful, whatever the standard of the hapless turn - be it lofty guest or lowly floor singer. We are, after all, talking about some of the finest singers in the country here, which makes the set-up all the more baffling!

Southern wankers sounds like a Northern joke gone wrong, as often happens when Folkies attempt to be funny on such matters. Such prejudices aren't funny in the first place, let alone trying to make jokes of them. More seriously, I once saw (not in The Bridge) an Geordie-born Asian singer introduced as Not being from around these parts. Despite cringing apologies and pleas of the I'm not a racist variety, she never went back, and neither did I. Such issues run deep, making jokes of them only serves to make them worse, especially as the only non-white faces you get in Folk these days are due to the recent fashion for Morris Dancers to blacken up.

That said, I didn't take offence at a Scottish booking I did once where the MC urged the audience to show me patience, that being a Geordie I wasn't in fact English, rather just a Scot with his brains knocked out.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 11:00 AM

We have a monthly village singaround in a pub near Gatwick. It's always a great night, and the Nepalese landlord and his family make us very welcome, arranging chairs and bringing us free snacks. One of our best nights was when, after some persuasion, we got the landlord and his family to come out from behind the bar and sing us some Nepalese songs - to tumultuous applause. We didn't understand a word, of course, but the music was so good it didn't really matter at the time.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Musket
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 03:03 PM

Just been thinking about your Nepalese landlord Will.

I am sure I too would have enjoyed the experience of hearing him sing it. Encouraging people to express themselves can be fulfilling in itself and if it then provides excellent entertainment, then wonderful. However, I also think that if I were asked what I mean by folk, (available now on another thread, folks!) it wouldn't occur to me to include music and dance from other cultures, that are folk in any interpretation there is, but not my folk. My folk is precious to me, it is the warm beer, good mates, hearing a song that a long lost friend used to sing etc.

Many of the songs in my little world, based loosely on recapturing my own past, I suppose, are not what some would call folk, but I heard them in a folk club. hence they are folk. At the same time, if somebody asks me if I like folk music I might hesitate because they could be about to moan about the ethnic entertainment in a Greek hotel by people in national dress, and touted by the tour company as "folk."

To some, the dancers for tourists may be a pure (that word again..) folk and hearing Dave Burland sing "I Don't Like Mondays" isn't. But for me, it is and like anything really, this is all relative.

Think of this whole debate as relative personal take, and the silliness and vitriol disappears. Even between the usual suspects who love to disagree with each other at every opportunity. My folk is not yours and yours not mine. If it were, it could never evolve and if folk music does anything, it evolves.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 03:51 PM

"My folk is not yours and yours not mine. If it were, it could never evolve and if folk music does anything, it evolves."

I think your folk and my folk, aren't all that dissimilar. I think the similarities far outweigh the differences. I think we could easily end up at the same session or same festival and both enjoy it for the very same reasons, albeit maybe coming away with slightly different impressions about slightly different things. You would go up to the bar while that old man sang some long dirgey ballad, while I'd go up to the bar during another 60's acoustic cover. But, we'd both have a smile and a beer and be happy about it all.

As for 'evolution', evolution can keep itself busy elsewhere where the young vibrant things are busy evolving, Folk is about rare fuzzy bearded Hobbit-like creatures and 'the olden days' and an indulgence in unashamedly comforting nostalgia.

I love the revival folk, and I will most assuredly miss them once they are no longer with us. Not convinced yet that I'll be so interested in the 'folk scene' once the new breed of highly musically evolved folkies inherit and reshape it. Time will tell..


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Aug 11 - 09:44 PM

Good job we settled that problem!


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Aug 11 - 06:04 AM

The sleeping dog wakes, opens a quizzical eye, then goes back to sleep. It's just too muggy a day to be bothered really, so back to dreams of chasing hares over the russet hued hills of autumn.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Richard Spencer
Date: 03 Aug 11 - 09:16 AM

Sorry, havent been here for a while, so this is a rather late defence of the Nottingham Traditional Music Club, which was mentioned on this thread 18th July. Unfortunately the club has long gone now. It did, quite unashamedly, have a very clear "purist" policy, but you should remember that in Nottingham in those days there was a folk club most nights of the week, sometimes more than one, and the range of music played was very diverse. There were some where unaccompanied traditional singing was not tolerated (why don't those clubs get the same stick?), many mixed, and then there was the NTMC.

Nobody was forced to attend you understand, but they did. The place was packed, the house full signs would often go up just after the 8pm start. And these were almost always singers' nights. You may have a vision of serious purists sitting around and picking on each others songs - but it was not like that at all. The first half of the evening contained quieter songs, some ballads, some folk club classics. The second half was wall to wall chorus singing acheiving decibel levels I have never heard exceeded outside the Yorkshire Carol sessions. There were good singers, indifferent singers and a few poor ones, but there was never a judgemental attitude. I dont remember the policy ever being enforced, it just happened.

I had left Nottingham before Nic Jones played there, so I can't comment on that night, other than to say that Nic always had a wry sense of humour, and I doubt there was any malice in his final song, and I doubt any offence was taken. The club was not that deadly serious, it was, to my recollection, good fun.

Now I don't say don't criticise the NTMC, it is no sacred cow, and never pretended to be.It was also very much of its time, and I have never found the like since. But it was a place where many of us learned to love the music, and was the start of my 35 year obsession with folk song. Knock it if you must, but don't knock it too hard please.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Dec 18 - 02:08 AM

Interesting thread.

It always amazes me that people don't get what all decent guitarists know.

The chords and therefore the form of George Formby's cleaning windows is very similar to Blind Blakes Rag, hugely similar to Sporting Life Blues/ Ain't Nobody's Business done by Billie Holiday and Brownie McGhee. George Gershwins Someone to Watch Over me
Very Similar to Fats Wallers Ain't Misbehavin'
Not totally unlike the unaccompanied Dinks Song.
The Call and Response rather similar to Scarborough Fair.

I mean, really there's damn all pure about it.
It all leaks into each other.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: leeneia
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 02:15 AM

Here's a purist for you.

I play music for English country dancers. All except one of us are folkies. The other one went to the London Conservatory of Music for graduate work.

One day our fearless leader selected a Playford dance in four flats. Imagine trying to play four flats on recorder, guitar or accordion. I suggested transposing it, but the the expert said we should "Respect the source." So irritating!

I found an image of the original Playford dance on the Internet and showed everybody the original was in one flat. Purism defeated again.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 02:36 AM

so this is a rather late defence of the Nottingham Traditional Music Club, which was mentioned on this thread 18th July. Unfortunately the club has long gone now. It did, quite unashamedly, have a very clear "purist" policy,"
imo the problem with that club was some of the people who were involved, all that elitist nonsense about residents sitting on on a sill, nothing wrong in having a clear stated policy,after all there are blues clubs that are solely blues, NTMC problem, imo was the way residents were put on a pedestal which tended to create an atmosphere of pomposityand holier than thou snottiness.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 02:41 AM

NTMC residents sat on a sill in a slightly elevated position,looking slightly superior, what a way to run a "CLUB,not on first appearances very inclusive


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 03:48 AM

The Nottingham Club and its organisers no longer are around to defend themselves - not an uncommon situation nowadays
My limited memory of the club was of one where I could go and here songs I knew to be 'folk' sung well - if anybody calls that 'purist' they have a peculiar definition of the term
I stopped going to go to most clubs when that ceased to become the case
God - how I miss the old days !!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 03:48 AM

The Nottingham Club and its organisers no longer are around to defend themselves - not an uncommon situation nowadays
My limited memory of the club was of one where I could go and here songs I knew to be 'folk' sung well - if anybody calls that 'purist' they have a peculiar definition of the term
I stopped going to go to most clubs when that ceased to become the case
God - how I miss the old days !!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 04:05 AM

Jim, I don't share your passion in listening to traditional folk songs - my musical interests lie elsewhere - but I can sympathise with anyone who yearns for a time before the particular kind of music they love had (in their view) disappeared or lessened.

I'm lucky in that the traditional tune sessions that I'm fond of flower in my area, and that there are many places where I can play ragtime, blues and jazz from the 1920s and 1930s - and other things - on my guitar. If the opportunity to do these things - which I also love - were diminished, then life would be diminished as well.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 05:33 AM

I used to attend the NTMC.
There was a bloke with a whistle who used to get on my nerves. The tunes never sounded like bugger all. Then he used to say, I've made a mistake, I'll have to start again.
Everyone was too polite to tell him to sod off.

It may well have been an excess of politeness that did for the place eventually.
The organisers were nice people. Syd Pritchett was one. One night Sid told the crowd, they had to be nice and polite to me because in the early days the club featured country music, and I was wearing a country and western H bar C shirt. The thing is, I'was doing trad songs at the time - it was just the only clean shirt I had.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 06:52 AM

My strongest memories of NTMC involve listening to Roy Harris - a singer of traditional songs without a 'purist' agenda
He sang them because he loved them and assumed that people coming to a club that called its itself "Traditional" would be of a like mind - would that all traditional clubs did the same
Can't see anything 'purist' in that
Wonder if those who use the term apply it to Classical venues who insist on putting on Classical music - or jazz clubs or Country and Western venues...
What makes traditional music so inferior that it has to be watered down or diluted with other forms ?

Seems my life has been blighted by this attitude
I whetted my appetite for live music at one of the finest jazz clubs in the North of England - 'The Liverpool Cavern'
I fecked off when it was attacked by an infestation of Beatles - how purist of me !
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 09:28 AM

Jim, perhaps a bit of objective analysis of yourself might help,you very rarely go to folk clubs in the uk yet you maintain that you know what is going on in them, you remind me of a character who went off on imaginary adventures... don quixote


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 10:57 AM

"Jim, perhaps a bit of objective analysis of yourself might help,you very rarely go to folk clubs in the uk yet you maintain that you know what is going on in them"
I tried for years Dick, and finally gave up
Anything I have heard or read since convinces me that, rather than changing for the better, things have got steadily worse (in the UK, that is)
I've heard and read arguments for not establishing standards of singing at clubs, at not having to learn words but read them off crib sheets or mobile phones, and whenever it is mentioned that folk clubs should present folk songs rather than something you would hear at a karaoke session rather than the clubs I got used to and cut my teeth on, we're drowned out with cries of "purist" or "finger-in-ear"
Here we have a forum where a discussion on "what is folk song" has become a no-go area
Even our academics can no longer distinguish the different between parlour ballads, music hall fodder and early pop songs

I know what a folk song is - I've been listening to to it and singing it fo half a century
I spent thirty odd years talking to people who were part of the continuum of our oral traditions
I have a library of books of examples and arguments on what constitutes folk song
I must have given a few dozen lectures on the subject and made as many radio programmes
If none of this counts, I can always fall back on the fact that I know a folk song when I hear one.

I have no problem with contemporary songs being made using traditional forms - I believe that the scene would be a museum without that happening, but as for a night of poorly performed pop songs, or songs that fell out of favour over a century ago.... not 'My Kind of Folk' I'm afraid   

If I was to your somewhat insulting Quixote analogy I would say you remind me of someone trying to sell me a bag-full of goodies and refusing to open the bag and allow me to see what I am buying
I know what has happened to the folk scene - I've been part of the argument on what now passes for folk here and elsewhere - it has nothing whatever to do with the folk I know and love.
When somebody recommends the modern scene I can usually dig it up on the web - I invariably end up thinking "what the **** was that?"

Rather than talking down to and insulting, ho about taking what I say and show me where I am mistaken?
Much more conducive to a pleasant exchange of ideas, I find
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 11:06 AM

Jim - how about you go to the World's Room in Edinburgh or the Glasgow Ballad Workshop, and sit with duct tape over your mouth until you understand what the fuck is going on in front of you?


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 11:15 AM

"how about you go to the World's Room in Edinburgh or the Glasgow Ballad Workshop, "
I know and admire what happens there Jack - unfortunately, that is no longer what the general scene is about
How about cutting the abuse and responding to what I have said, I'm afraid duct tape doesn't work on a discussion forum, so I can't return your ill-mannered suggestion
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 11:29 AM

Jim Carroll,Mudcats very own Don Quixote


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 02:58 PM

"Jim Carroll, Mudcats very own Don Quixote
Sticks and stones Dick, sticks and stones
If you had an answer, you'd give it
Don't worry, you're not alone
The same goes for you as I told Jack
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 02:58 PM

Jim, I acknowledge your helpfulness as regards your sharing of singing exercises and other facets of Critics Group info, but i really feel that you are not in a position to talk about what goes on in UK FOLK CLUBS ,DUE TO YOUR NOT ATTENDING THEM VERY OFTEN


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 03:36 PM

how often have you been to a folk club in the last year JIM


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 05:33 PM

Your behaviour is proving my point Dick
If you had an argument, you would give it
I've made my point as lucidly a I am able - feel free to demolish it
Otherwise, what I said stays unanswered
Sleep well
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 05:39 PM

how often have vyou visited folk clubs in the uk in the last year, if you havent or only visited once or twice you are in no position to judge you are like don quixote, you are making judgements on imaginary visirts


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 09:33 PM

Roy was a terrific bloke. I've got two of his albums - the live one and Champions of folly of Topic. I think I won them both in raffles.

I remember trying for weeks to win one album at NTMC. An old Irish lady from Birmingham, whose name escapes me.

I don't remember you Jim. Do remember Gren Morris and Steve Whitely. Steve was a tall blond bloke who had a Gibson guitar in the days when they were rare as hen's teeth. He was at the same college I was at. He left the year before I got there, but his folk singing was legendary in our college.

Gren Morris - you can still hear him at the grotto at the major oak in Sherwood Forest singing Robin Hood ballads on tape. Bit spooky actually - the kids were terrified of this plaster outlaw in the branches of a tree and this disembodied voice.

Saw some great acts there.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 01:57 AM

Roy was a very good performer and was IMO very good at getting audience participation and a nice guy.


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 02:10 AM

Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 12 Dec 18 - 06:52 AM

My strongest memories of NTMC involve listening to Roy Harris - a singer of traditional songs without a 'purist' agenda
He sang them because he loved them and assumed that people coming to a club that called its itself "Traditional" would be of a like mind - would that all traditional clubs did the same
Can't see anything 'purist' in that"
of course it is purist, just as blues clubs that sticks to singing blues is purist that does not make it a bad policy,
However running a club that as residents sitting on a sill, looking down at the audience creates a them and us scenario, and is in my opinion not a good way to run a club


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Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Dec 18 - 03:20 AM

"However running a club that as residents sitting on a sill, looking down at the audience"
I get a little tired of reported incidents like this - I have got used to them with the Singers Club - they bore no resemblance to the reality of what was happening
'The Singers' operated from a stage facing the audience, as did 'The Wayfarers' and the MSG in Manchester, and 'Thew Empress of Russia', in London and 'The Herga' in Harrow and 'The Grey Cock' in Birmingham virtually every other club I visited regularly - Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool...
This "looking down on the audience" is, as far as I am concerned, a nasty and inaccurate
Who do people who criticise the layout of clubs think they are - little dictators
Any residents who 'looked down on an audience' very soon lost their audiences - these clubs ran for many years
Audences walked away from the folk scene when the standards fell and when they were no longer guaranteed folk songs when they turned up at a folk club = pretty well documented

I've told you why I consider myself in a position to judge Dick - you choose to ignore what I have to say - far more insulting than the NMTC residents "looking down on their audiences" as far as I'm concerned, as is being compared to Dpn Quixote"
You complain about "insulting audiences" by insulting people - do you not find that a little contradictory ?
Sadly, Jack, someone I usually respect, chooses to do the same

As far as I am concerned, until folk clubs rebuild their foundation by making themselves venues where people can go to hear folk songs sung to a reasonable standard they will continue to decline - that's not purism; it's common sense
I've made my points - respond to them politely and stop insulting me - otherwise, we are wasting each other's time
Jim Carroll


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