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an embarassment as a blues singer

The Sandman 11 Jul 11 - 12:33 PM
Lonesome EJ 11 Jul 11 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Jul 11 - 01:33 PM
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matt milton 12 Jul 11 - 09:14 AM
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Vic Smith 19 Jul 11 - 03:26 PM
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Vic Smith 19 Jul 11 - 04:01 PM
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Vic Smith 19 Jul 11 - 04:28 PM
The Sandman 19 Jul 11 - 06:40 PM
Vic Smith 19 Jul 11 - 06:46 PM
Banjiman 20 Jul 11 - 04:29 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jul 11 - 04:40 AM
Spleen Cringe 20 Jul 11 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 20 Jul 11 - 05:20 AM
Vic Smith 20 Jul 11 - 05:23 AM
The Sandman 20 Jul 11 - 06:34 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jul 11 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 20 Jul 11 - 10:30 AM
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olddude 20 Jul 11 - 11:34 AM
Spleen Cringe 20 Jul 11 - 11:44 AM
Will Fly 20 Jul 11 - 11:46 AM
Vic Smith 20 Jul 11 - 11:54 AM
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Banjiman 20 Jul 11 - 12:52 PM
olddude 20 Jul 11 - 12:56 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jul 11 - 01:46 PM
The Sandman 20 Jul 11 - 04:20 PM
Vic Smith 20 Jul 11 - 04:28 PM
PoppaGator 20 Jul 11 - 05:19 PM
The Sandman 20 Jul 11 - 05:27 PM
Vic Smith 21 Jul 11 - 07:19 AM
The Sandman 21 Jul 11 - 07:36 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jul 11 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 21 Jul 11 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 21 Jul 11 - 07:56 AM
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Spleen Cringe 21 Jul 11 - 08:25 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jul 11 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 21 Jul 11 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Jul 11 - 11:38 AM
olddude 21 Jul 11 - 11:43 AM
Will Fly 21 Jul 11 - 12:22 PM
The Sandman 21 Jul 11 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Jul 11 - 11:19 PM
Spleen Cringe 22 Jul 11 - 03:18 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 11 - 06:31 AM
Vic Smith 22 Jul 11 - 07:38 AM
Vic Smith 22 Jul 11 - 07:45 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 11 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Jul 11 - 10:47 AM
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Subject: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 12:33 PM

This was how Dick Miles was described in a review in Folk Roots, Here is an example of embarrassing blues singing, SugarBabe composed or associated with mance lipscombhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhvDn4n5v0w


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 12:39 PM

Screw the critics. Sounds good to me!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 01:33 PM

I listened. I think he sounds better than most blues singers, actually. Nice guitar playing, too.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 01:47 PM

Definitely sounds better than Ian Anderson.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:01 PM

Sounds good to me, Ian Anderson and co won't like it cos it's in English.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Arkie
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:13 PM

One needs neither a brain nor an ear for music to write music reviews. Opinions do differ, but people should take this into account when evaluating someone else's work, especially something as personal as music.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 07:41 AM

Dick Miles is a talented performer , who does a variety of different styles - Traditional and Contemporary , with various accompaniments .
To MY mind there is nowt wrong with hime doing s bit of blues , and there are a LOT worse than Dick , though he does have the disadvantage in NOT being Blind , Black or American - Any more than the people who were involved in the British Blues revival of the late sixties were !


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 07:44 AM

thanks leadfingers, must keep working on those disadvantages.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 07:59 AM

But is Dick Miles there actually trying to be a "Blues singer" or simply being a singer singing a song which happens to be a Blues song?

My take from the above video is the latter rather than the former.

The former (imitating a Blues singer) might well have been "embarrassing", the latter however was simply a singer singing a song in the way that he sings songs. As such whether you like or don't like the performance, will be dependent on how much you like Dick Miles' singing.

Arguably this thread taps into another ongoing thread here about singing songs from other traditions, whether it should be attempted and if so, how best to do so.

Meanwhile: Not White, Not Irish


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: matt milton
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 09:14 AM

The preamble about fRoots was totally unnecessary, and that shouldn't need stating.

It's setting up a straw man and you're intelligent enough to know that Dick. Get a grip.

I enjoyed listening to that. If you were looking for vindication, Dick, then you've got it. Your playing isn't embarassing. However, what is embarassing is your endless banging on about fRoots.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 09:29 AM

Tangentially, hasn't Ian Anderson himself claimed to have made an embarrassing white-man-plays-the-blues album, back in the day?
Anyone got anything on that?

Not really contributing to the current thread I know..


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 09:33 AM

I will never again do a blues song until I have had my skin tinted.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Colin Randall
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 09:41 AM

Arkie says: "One needs neither a brain nor an ear for music to write music reviews."


Right up to a point, but the pejorative connotation weakens the point you are trying to make.

My own view, expressed here previously, is that one actually needs no more than an ability to write. And you won't even get consensus on that.

I've occupied the privileged position of reviewer, and occupy it still if you take into account the modest ramblings of Salut! Live, and all I have ever claimed is to be a fan who happens to have a platform.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 10:08 AM

an embarassment as a blues singer - "This was how Dick Miles was described in a review in Folk Roots."

This comment appeared in issue 79/80 dated Jan/Feb 1990, so I feel that it has taken rather a while for this objection to the review to surface. There have been five Dick Miles albums reviewed in this magazine according to my data base - four have been neutral or positive and then this one which was pretty negative.

I believe that the editorial policy of this magazine is not to send review copies of the same artist to the same reviewer each time so that a balanced view of an artist can be achieved. If Dick has had an 80% success rate with fRoots, then I reckon he should be pretty pleased with himself. Anyone who sends or allows others to send review copies to magazines is opening themselves to public scrutiny and must be prepared to accept the fact that from time to time they are going to come up against someone who does not like their product.

Those who have answered with criticisms of the editor are clearly missing important points:-

* Ian Anderson did not write this review or any of the reviews of Dick's albums that have appeared in fRoots.

* Ian Anderson has written in his guide to reviewers that as long as their statements are not libelous, that he will not interfere with the contents of the reviews; I have never heard of any review where Ian has sought to change a review in the 337 issues of the magazine. I was asked to review in fRoots an album that Ian both played on and was the producer of. I had a number of negative comments to make in what I considered a balanced review. The review appeared in full.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 10:21 AM

In case my previous comment may have been misconstrued as a stab at "the editor" Ian Anderson, it was entirely - as stated, a tangential comment, made in a spirit of curious good humour too.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 10:26 AM

"I will never again do a blues song until I have had my skin tinted."

(good one, 999!)

Gee, all my life I've lived in America, and I didn't know until I heard it here that only black people can sing the blues.

Actually, the heart of the blues is the unexpected minor third, and anybody who can sing the notes can sing the blues.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Colin Randall
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 10:53 AM

Vic Smith: spot on. What you said should hardly have needed saying to an intelligent audience, but was welcome all the same. There's still a great deal to be said for a sense of proportion.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Green Man
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 11:21 AM

Can a blue man sing the whites ?

(Keith Donnely 2011)


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Steve Hunt
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 11:28 AM

Dave Hanson wrote: "Ian Anderson and co won't like it cos it's in English."

Dave, that is just so completely removed from reality, I can only assume that you've never actually met Ian, or read a copy of fRoots. That is an utterly ridiculous thing to assert.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Steve Hunt
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 11:39 AM

Oh, and by the way - I have also received a review in fRoots which could, at best, be described as "tepid," but I don't bleat on about it because (a) I still believe that the magazine is essential reading for anyone on the scene and (b) because I'm a grown-up.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 11:45 AM

I don't read fRoots regularly, though I do drop into the forum pages now and then.

Have a pop at the mag if that's your taste, but there's no call to get petty about Ian. I knocked around occasionally with the blues gang from the South-West, of which Ian was one, in London in the late '60s, and I have to say that they were a nice bunch of people and good musicians. If what we all did musically over long careers (mine's over 45 years playing now) contains the occasional hiccup, well, so be it.

I remember Ian from those days (and we haven't met since) as an interesting and original guitarist - even booked him at the BBC Folk Club.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 12:11 PM

At no point have I stated that Ian Anderson was responsible for the review.
I can dedicate comments to who I like, just as reviewers can write what they like, its called freedom of speech, so Matt and Vic,I am exercising my right to say what I like, just as reviewers exercise their pens on other peoples musical careers
but now with you tube, the music can be presented to the public,and the public can make their own judgements on the music.
Matt, I am not banging on about froots, I am commenting on a review in Folk Roots, a different publication., which again was different from Southern Rag
Vic, please get your facts right, this has nothing to do with froots I think you will find that most of the reviews you are talking about were in southern rag or folk roots, which is not froots, THAT REVIEW APPEARED IN FOLK ROOTS.
The anonymous reviewer described the vocals as decidedly uninspired, that is his privilege , it is my privelige to put up my singing, and let people judge for themselves


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 12:15 PM

It is also my privilege to make whatever comments and dedicate songs to who I like, My comments stick to facts, listen carefully to what i said again.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 12:18 PM

"All my life I've Lived in America" ? Well I don't how long all your life lasted but but if you believed while you were alive that all it took to sing the blues was the ability to sing a minor third then you obviously missed out.
I thought the British introduced you folks to your own blues culture back in the 60's. Do they have to do it all over again?

On a serious note Dick if you don't wish to be embarrassed why post a crap quality video of yourself and then bleat about a slight that you apparently suffered twenty years ago.

I have to admit to doing a bit of picking and singing of blues myself but when it comes to the vocal bit only in the privacy of my own home among consenting adults. And by the way Dick,I don't think Navasota is in the Piedmont unless they moved it since I was there.

Keep on Truckin'

Hoot


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 12:20 PM

(a) I still believe that the magazine is essential reading for anyone on the scene . quote.
yes, but you see I dont share that opinion.,
if i want to find out whats going on i look at you tube i trust my own ears and i listen to programmes like reels to ragas and decide for myself, because I am an adult with a discerning brain and not a sheep.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: matt milton
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 12:56 PM

"Matt, I am not banging on about froots, I am commenting on a review in Folk Roots, a different publication., which again was different from Southern Rag"

Sorry, my mistake.

Stop banging on about a review in "Folk Roots" then.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 01:01 PM

Just one response, because as I have stated here and elsewhere, I will not not get into public rows with you, Dick, but let's just set a few facts straight.....

At no point have I stated that Ian Anderson was responsible for the review.
... and where did anyone suggest that you stated this?

I can dedicate comments to who I like, just as reviewers can write what they like, its called freedom of speech, so Matt and Vic,I am exercising my right to say what I like, just as reviewers exercise their pens on other peoples musical careers
... and where is anyone denying your right of freedom of speech?

but now with you tube, the music can be presented to the public,and the public can make their own judgements on the music.
Matt, I am not banging on about froots, I am commenting on a review in Folk Roots, a different publication., which again was different from Southern Rag
Vic, please get your facts right, this has nothing to do with froots I think you will find that most of the reviews you are talking about were in southern rag or folk roots, which is not froots, THAT REVIEW APPEARED IN FOLK ROOTS.
You are 100% correct, Dick, if a tad on the pedantic side. The magazines, Southern Rag, Folk Roots and fRoots have all been edited by the same person (amazingly) in a period that now covers more than a half of his life. The three magazines have had the same contiguous numbering system:-
Issues 1 - 24 were called Southern Rag.... then because Ian wanted to give the magazine a national basis, he changed the name.
Issues 25 - 207 were called Folk Roots.... then when we were entering the digital age the site names www.folkroots.com www.folkroots.co.uk etc.etc. were registered by a prominent folk singer and musician, now deceased, in the hope of selling the domain names to Ian at a vast profit. This was one of the reasons that the name was changed again.
Issues 208 - 337, the present, the magazine has been called fRoots.
In conversations on the folk scene, "Folk Roots" and "fRoots" are largely taken as synonomous as no one exactly remembers when the change took place, but in making this common error, I have clearly caused great offence, so I can do nothing but offer my most humble apologies. Any more discussion of this matter between us by PM only.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 01:15 PM

Any more discussion of this matter between us by PM only.quote.
Laying down the law again Vic, sorry sir, but I will not be told by you, how and when I will discuss anything.
   you remind me of Chairman Mao, he who was supposed to have swam as recorded below, and he who loved telling people what to do.
On July 16 he[mao] took a vigorous and well-reported swim in the Yangtze River by the Wuhan bridge. It was a signal that Mao was in robust health--and that he was launching a counterattack against his critics in the party leadership.

Although Mao was in his early 70s, party propagandists claimed that the Chairman had swum nearly 15 km in 65 min. that day--a world-record pace, if true. The contention elicited guffaws from foreign observers, who took the claim as a sign that China was descending into political madness. Yet for the old man of the revolution, the swim was a call to China's younger generation to dive into a political struggle against "counterrevolutionary" party bureaucrats. If the aging Chairman could conquer the mighty Yangtze, surely the nation's youth could brave the winds and waves of a political storm and overthrow Mao's opponents.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 01:30 PM

Green Man: Can a blue man sing the whites ?(Keith Donnely 2011)

Actually, I think you'll find it was Viv Stanshall and Neil Innes, 1968.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 01:34 PM

Can a Green Man sing the Blues?
Can a Blue Man sing the Greens?
Can a White Man sing the Greens?
Can a Blue Man sing the Whites?
Can a Green Man sing the Whites?
Can a White Man sing the Blues?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 01:35 PM

Considering the various digressions above, I consider this an appropriate point to post this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTVCvws7AYA
Now coincidentally 22yrs old..


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 02:12 PM

"The site names www.folkroots.com www.folkroots.co.uk etc.etc. were registered by a prominent folk singer and musician, now deceased, in the hope of selling the domain names to Ian at a vast profit"...

G'wan, Vic. Name names!

And Lively Lass, I'll raise you a Rich and Famous for your Momus... female Marxist Leninist tram drivers are go!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 02:29 PM

On this occasion not Peter Kennedy.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Ron Cheevers
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 02:33 PM

For what it's worth, I am white, English and sing and play blues. I think what I do is just as valid as some middle class people who want to sing sea shanties or songs about farming or fighting in a famous battle.
Blues isn't just a matter of skin colour; in my opinion, it is about a feeling and a love of the genre. A bit of trivia, I sing all my songs in a Scouse accent, which is my "normal" accent.
Now stop fighting.
Love & peace,

Ron.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 03:42 PM

Eh, I was going to post something by way of repost from Stereolab, but on consideration I can't beat the female Marxist Leninist tram driver. Possibly because it made me want to be called 'Machine Gun' when I grow up..


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 04:40 PM

This thread got me curious enough to listen (for the first time ever) to Ian Anderson's blues band "Hot Vultures" on Spotify.

I find the English accent a bit odd in this music. Guitar playing, pretty good.

I didn't bother listening to Dick Miles's stuff. He very effectively dissuaded me by launching into a 20-year-old grudge. (PMs will be deleted unread).


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 05:07 PM

Jack Campin, a man who prejudges.
Prejudices are what fools use for reason." Voltaire
"Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts."
E. B. White Quotes.
Jack Campin(PMs will be deleted unread).
Jack, I would not waste my time sending you a personal message, I think Simon Thoumire had it right when he described you on this very forum as very rude, apart from being rude, I think this next quote EPITOMISES why I would not waste my time on a personal message to you,
"Reasoning against a prejudice is like fighting against a shadow; it exhausts the reasoner, without visibly affecting the prejudice."
Charles Mildmay.
The three quotes sums up YOUR PREJUDGING succinctly, that says it all.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 05:24 PM

Jack Campin:-
"This thread got me curious enough to listen (for the first time ever) to Ian Anderson's blues band "Hot Vultures" on Spotify."


Jack,
If you would like to hear Ian Anderson playing in an altogether more exciting and vibrant combination than Hot Vultures (in my opinion) listen to the tracks of the 2008 album Stubble by Blue Blokes 3. There are five tracks available to listen to at http://www.myspace.com/blueblokes3 He is joined in this delightful trio by Lu Edmonds (Mekons, Billy Bragg's Blokes, 3 Mustaphas 3, Shriekback, PiL, The Damned, Kirsty MacColl's Band) and Ben Mandelson (Billy Bragg's Blokes, 3 Mustaphas 3, Tiger Moth, Orchestre Jazira, Magazine, Amazorblades and many more).

We were fortunate enough to book them in Lewes as the only small venue in their major venue tour. They were technically brilliant, very funny, totally entertaining and utterly professional. They draw a huge crowd for us and the audience loved them.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Arkie
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 05:35 PM

There was no intention to apply my statement above to all who write music reviews. I have read many reviews from reviewers who have insight, and information and report with objectivity. Neither do I think that reviewers are bound to write only favorable reviews. Then there are those who use reviews as a platform to spout personal opinions. Then again, not all agree on what is enjoyable or acceptable with music.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 07:02 PM

For all of you Americans who have stumbled into this thread unsuspecting, let me take a moment to welcome you to (howl of wolf in distance) Hidden Agenda Theater!

Brought to you by British Folkwars the one and original trad battle site since 1965! And by Tempest in a Teacup, the fine china service that offers steaming ruby red regret, and a tray of vengeance brand ors d'oeuvres(best served cold!) It may seem petty and ridiculous, but later in the third act we will have the Blues explained to us by our English Friends during a pause in the eye-poking!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Zen
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 07:53 PM

...described you on this very forum as very rude

Actually, I have found Jack very pleasant and helpful on those occasions I have met and played with him.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 08:07 PM

Lonesome EJ--

Hilarious! And yes, I am one of the unsuspecting curious American tourists who has wandered in (more than once!) and still trying to figure out what the hell is a-goin' on here.

I can't wait to hear The Blues Explained.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 08:47 PM

It's basically the same as this only without the cheese and less people being carried off on stretchers. (Horse alert at 2:00).


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 10:28 PM

How does a tradition like cheese rolling get started? And why does it continue? And why would you run down a steep slope chasing a cheese while wearing only a g string?
I suppose it does sort of explain the British Folk Wars. Random activity with no apparent purpose that confounds the observer while holding the participants completely enthralled..


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 03:01 AM

It's no good trying to explain English traditions to Americans, they can't understand, we've got thousands of years, they've only got a few hundred.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 03:52 AM

What's the point of being english if you don't get embarassed and embarass everybody?

otherwise you might as well be one of these uninhibited Americans or or wild irish celtic types. Going wooooo! everytime someone sings a song.

Embarassing everyone is traditional. Would morris dancing have ever existed, if someone hadn't said - lets dress up in white, put bells on our legs, wear straw hats, jump and lurch around, choose some really weird tunes! your relatives will never speak to us again (with any luck!)....!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 03:56 AM

This has got to be the strangest thread ever! Reading it is like watching a fight break out among stamp collectors at a ... cheese rolling contest (?)


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 04:19 AM

On reflection - there's nothing embarassing about Dick's performance. he plays all the right notes and he sings in tune.

On the other hand - he doesn't sound like a man (of any colour) who is about to send his beloved out on the street to go whoring. That's what the songs about. the five dollars probably being an impossible aspiration... a bit like a four bedroom bungalow overlooking the bay at Sandbanks (costing two or three million quid) for the average person here.

Dick, you sound a little embarassed by the song.

More sort of - allright we'll do it with the lights on Evadne, but you think about knitting and i'll pretend i'm the Flying scotsman going into a tunnel....

That's the great thing about being Eglish. Thje yanks couldn't add that to the song, as long as they'd get a hole in their arse. Its why the pain in the arse tradtionalists don't get it. We're not trying to be authentic. Artists like Dick (and myself) are trying for self expression.

Keep rocking mate!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 05:54 AM

Everything will be explained by Chairman Vic at Sidmouth.[joke]
go along to the session at Sidmouth Folk festival, How to run a Folk Club.
Someone may even write a book on the subject, which will be the equivalent to the Koran or Maos little Red book.[joke]
Who knows Vic may even emulate Mao by swimming the river Sid. [joke]someone tell Sid[joke]


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 06:12 AM

Lovely story by Duck Baker, transcribed from a local concert held a couple of years ago, while he was tuning my Martin (and before playing a lovely version of The Blackbird):
=====

"Now, the difference between this guitar and the one that I've been playing - the one that I've been playing up until now is a Spanish, flamenco-style guitar. And this is a steel-string, acoustic, flat-top guitar. And the difference between the nylon strings and the steel strings is very important to a lot of people - most of whom don't play the guitar. I remember, for instance, the first time I came to this country, I was being interviewed by one of the very famous folk critics in London.

So of course I felt very honored to be in the room with him and everything. And almost the first question he asked me, he said, 'Duck, do you mind telling me what you think you're doing, playing traditional American music with that Spanish, nylon-strung guitar?'

I said, 'Well, I don't know, I mean I come from Virginia. People there are pretty ignorant. I thought if it sounded good it was all right.'

He said, 'No. No. If you want to be authentic, you have to get an American, steel-string guitar.'

So when I got home, of course, I told everyone if they wanted to know anything about how to play American music, they should go to London. People would tell them. And now that I've got a nice American steel-string guitar, I'd like to play you an Irish tune!"


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: maeve
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 06:22 AM

Thanks for the Duck Baker story, Will. That's a keeper!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 07:30 AM

Maeve, if you'd like an mp3 of that, plus an mp3 of "The Blackbird" which followed it, PM me with an email address... :-)


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 08:16 AM

Will, *I'D* like an MP3 of that little gem....and I think you have my email address :-)


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 08:49 AM

Done, Rob - purely for private research & educational purposes - no further distribution, please.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 10:13 AM

back on topic, here is mance lipscomb http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pbrHNDyjL8
here is Dick Mileshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhvDn4n5v0w


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 10:14 AM

here is mance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pbrHNDyjL8


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 10:22 AM

Mance Lipscomb represented one of the last remnants of the nineteenth-century songster tradition, which predated the development of the blues. Though songsters might incorporate blues into their repertoires, as did Lipscomb, they performed a wide variety of material in diverse styles, much of it common to both black and white traditions in the South, including ballads, rags, dance pieces (breakdowns, waltzes, one and two steps, slow drags, reels, ballin' the jack, the buzzard lope, hop scop, buck and wing, heel and toe polka), and popular, sacred, and secular songs. Lipscomb himself insisted that he was a songster, not a guitarist or "blues singer," since he played "all kinds of music." His eclectic repertoire has been reported to have contained 350 pieces spanning two centuries. (He likewise took exception when he was labeled a "sharecropper" instead of a "farmer.")
I regard myself as a songster too, listen to the two videos above there aint much difference, apart from Lipscomb has been singing the song longer, I would like to hear him do a version of barbara allen that would be interesting


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: olddude
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 10:28 AM

Dick is one of my music hero's I can only wish I was such an "embarrassment"


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: matt milton
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 11:07 AM

"listen to the two videos above there aint much difference, apart from Lipscomb has been singing the song longer"

Reviewing yourself now, eh?

I refuse to take any notice of your review of yourself.

After all, "i trust my own ears and i listen to programmes like reels to ragas and decide for myself, because I am an adult with a discerning brain and not a sheep".


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 12:12 PM

Matt, just giving my opinion on BOTH videos,so not reviewing myself but giving an opinion on both.
Matt, you put me in mind of The Brendan Behan quote..   a well balanced man is one who has a chip on both shoulders.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 12:20 PM

he's not reviewing himself - just trying to explain how HE relates to the song. It's allowed.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Zen
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 12:26 PM

Thanks for posting the Mance Lipscomb video. I enjoyed that.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 12:41 PM

Mark Spoelstra is/was one of my favourite singers to emerge from the 60s folk boom. Here he is singing "Sugar Babe", and I just love the way his sings and plays it.



Sugar Babe


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 12:45 PM

yes, that is good too


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 01:35 PM

That was lovely.. My favourite track in the whole wide world used to be Mark singing France Blues on the old Elektra Blues project record.

I wrote to him a while back and sent him my cd and tried to explain what the track had meant to me. He wrote back a brief e-mail, thanking me. And he was dead a very few weeks later. he must have thought i was crazy. Bothering him at a time like that.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 01:40 PM

Aren't you being a little unfair Dick?
You are inviting, and certainly getting sycophantic responses to you singing, and putting those of us who think its not the best piece of blues singing we've ever heard since Robert Johnson, in a position of not giving an honest opinion - a bit too 'Emperor's new clothes-ish for comfort.
If you don't agree with the criticism, forget it, and dont involve anybody else, unless you are prepared to listen to and consider their honest criticism.
I believe good white British blues singers are extremely rare and, given your performance here, you are not numbered among them. Criticism of folk singing is, in my opinion, far too anodyne as it is, without watering it down further, and self-promotion is no substitute for self-criticism.
While I don't agree with the weight of the original criticism, personally I find that while your guitar playing is adequate, your singing is emotionally rather flat; the essence of the blues IMO is passion and commitment to the song and the situation that gave rise to it - sadly lacking here.
I'd give it four, but I wouldn't buy it - sorry.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 02:22 PM

We are the English, we are emotionally flat.

The situation that gave rise to the blues - well we won't go into that. WE don't wear our hearts on our sleeve. despite being down in the delta, we keep a stiff upper lip, and play a straight bat.

We don't get our mojos waorking for just anybody. We like to mix with a nice class of girl. Ideally one who wears a mini skirt and understands cricket.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 02:31 PM

ahem... errmm.. Hugh Laurie......


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,999
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 02:37 PM

Interesting to hear what's called blues in England.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 02:39 PM

Jim, any criticism by you or anyone else, and of course your opoinios are as valid as anyone elses, wont stop me from singing.
   The problem is how many young singers are put off by such Outrageously vindictive reviews, from an anonymous reviewer, whose qualifications are what? what do we know about the reviewer, he may be a Britney Spears fan be, or tone deaf, folk music should be about encouraging people to play criticism, should be constructive, for example i had no objection to the reviewer mention a particular vocal mannerism which i have since corrected, that is constructive criticism.
nobody here is being sycophantic, Jim, they are expressing their opinions , there is no reason why anyone would be sycophantic,I do not run anything and am not in the position to offer gigs to anyone. You are insulting other peoples opinions because they are different from yours.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 02:43 PM

er, a man still banging on about a bad review TWENTY YEARS AFTER is in no place to accuse other people of having chips on their shoulder. You not only have chips, you have several portions of cod and extra mushy peas.

"Matt, just giving my opinion on BOTH videos,so not reviewing myself but giving an opinion on both."

...the opinion being that there's not much difference between yr version of ML's Sugar Babe and Mance Lipscomb's. Unless you're merely pointing out you are copying Mance Lipscomb's version of the song, that is a MASSIVELY arrogant claim to make. It frankly beggars belief.

I beg to differ. I think the two versions are very different indeed. Lipscomb's playing is fluid, confident and assured, with all the bounce and strength and vigour of stride piano.

Whereas your playing leaves a hell of a lot to be desired in terms of left-hand/right-hand co-ordination. It's tentative, hesitant, and clearly needs a lot more practice. While you don't actually hit any bum notes, you hit a lot of muted, stuck notes (when a string doesn't ring out properly because you've played it too close to the fret) and you're having to concentrate so hard to avoid hitting bum notes you lose all sense of rhythm and insouciance.

Because you're under-rehearsed, your singing's equally tentative and your timing and drive suffers accordingly.

In a nutshell, you've gone public with this song way too soon.

There's a bunch of bloody excellent Piedmont style players in the UK - Jason Steel, Gren Bartley and of course the one and only Tom Paley all spring to mind. But even THEY would think twice before pointing to a Mance Lipscomb performance and asserting there "ain't much difference" between their performance and his. You're living in a dreamworld.

Now the concertina tracks I've heard of yours are much, much, much better. It's clearly your instrument in a way the guitar clearly isn't.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 03:14 PM

Simon Prager, of course, would be another obvious name to mention, in terms of British Piedmont-style players with technique, dexterity and flair.

Listen to some clips here:
http://www.simonprager.com/musicsale.html

Again, I doubt Mr Prager would ever dream of having the temerity of suggesting his versions of that material "wasn't much different" from the originator's.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 03:47 PM

" You are insulting other peoples opinions because they are different from yours."
Sorry Dick - no I'm not - I do find the tone of a number of them sycophantic and unnecessarily gushing.
If you wanted a discussion on your singing you should have said so; if you wanted a response to the review, you should have put it up in full alongside your clip. In not doing so, you are asking people to judge something on the basis of half a dozen words.
Having witnessed, and been the subject of savage reviewing and having had a grandstand view of the damage they can do (we were discussing one that actually created a split between the UK and Ireland music scenes only last week), I do believe they have to be thoughtful and honest, but criticism is a neccessary part of being a performer - stick your bum out of the window and somebody's sure to paint a face on it.
And BTW - nobody is trying to stop you from singing (not here anyway) - but we're always happy to give advice and share our opinions, should they be asked for.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 04:22 PM

The playing reminds me of Joseph Spence. I like the singing style. What is a little insane is that you've dragged this up after twenty years or whatever. It's a funny old thing, you seem to have a real issue with Ian Anderson and I'm curious if he once trod on your foot or something? I mean, something other than a tiny wee review which no-one knows nor cares about and forgets instantly until you bring it up in another paranoid reading thread.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 06:01 PM

I'm not a Blues fan and don't know a lot about the Blues. But if I was to rate the three performances, available to listen to on this thread, in terms of enjoyability, I would given them the following scores:

Mark Spoelstra 9 out of 10

Mance Lipscomb 8 out of 10

Dick Miles 4 out of 10

It could be that if I steeped myself in the performances I might, possibly, increase Lipscomb's score.

You've had 20 years to practice now, Mr Miles, so I imagine that your performance would merit a higher score now.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 06:31 PM

Shimrod,
you clearly know sweet f all if you rate Spoelstra above Lipscomb.
you should stick to criticising performers for asking people to join in with actions to the teapot song.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 07:13 PM

well i rate Spoelstra above Mance Lipscomb. mance was a real folksinger, but I can't relate to real folksingers. English or American or whatever. I like to go just like the rest, I like my sugar sweet.

I DO think you all should stop being beastly to Dick.

Yes folk criticism is anodyne - mostly cos the record company has bought a big advert in the magazine. The reviews are usually polite. Shoulda taken out a small ad, Dick and avoided all this. Pay the Danegeld, everytime. This is the music business - corrupt at every level. If you're looking to critics to vindicate what you're doing, you're really in the shit.

However salty comments from his mates on mudcat aren't going to help Dick. You may not like what he does - so for those who have never been to a folk club, this is the format:-

1) Polite clap for music you don't like
2) Eat your crisps loudly and ask the time if he does another like it.

I don't think Dick has done anything to occasion this nastiness. So put your crisp packets away, and behave nicely.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 03:05 AM

I think Good Soldier Schweik is saying that Mance's version is better than Mark's just because! Because Mance is old and black and authentic, man!
Well, Mark was young and white and - I bet - spent a lot more time perfecting his art than Mance.
To my ears, every element of Mark's version is better than Mance's.
We can admire these old "authentic" performers, but don't try to tell me Mance was great in any way. He was interesting in that he gave us an insight in to a certain musical past, but Mance, himself, wasn't a great artist.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 03:48 AM

"Well, Mark was young and white and - I bet - spent a lot more time perfecting his art than Mance.
To my ears, every element of Mark's version is better than Mance's.
We can admire these old "authentic" performers, but don't try to tell me Mance was great in any way. He was interesting in that he gave us an insight in to a certain musical past, but Mance, himself, wasn't a great artist."

How much Mance Lipscomb have you heard? While, if I had to choose, I'd plump for Mississippi John Hurt in terms of 'great artist' status, fortunately I don't have to, and I would say Lipscomb was indeed a great artist (even though he'd have rejected the term himself, preferring "songster", as Dick points out). If we define a great artist as someone who makes great art, then Mance Lipscomb was a great artist.

Even if we just compare Spoelstra's Sugar Babe to Lipscomb's, the most glaringly obvious difference is one of timbre: Mance Lipscomb's voice sounds huge: he has a saturated, thick voice. I'd pay money for an album of Mance Lipscomb just talking; I can't say that about Spoelstra's voice. Which is OK: he can sing well, but it's not an idiosyncratic voice.

Can't remember the name of the poet, but I once read a poem that described Bob Dylan as having "a voice like wet fur". While I'm not sure that it really applies to Dylan's voice,it's a beautiful phrase, and whenever I hear a singer like Lipscomb, that's what I think of. Mance Lipscomb's tone is up there with the most sensual of blues singers (or 'songsters'): Pink Anderson, Archie Edwards, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotten.

The tone of Lipscomb's guitar is also vastly superior to Spoelstra's. It just has that beaten up blues sound. It sounds defeated but resilient. Everything about Lipscomb's recordings sounds magnified and close-up, which you might put down to the recording engineer's mike placement, until you listen to more and more albums and realise he ALWAYS sounds like that.

Technically, sure, Spoelstra sounds like a more consistent guitarist. But his guitar doesn't have the same bounce as Lipscomb by a long way - in comparison it sounds pretty hidebound - and he has none of Mance's tone.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 04:35 AM

"you clearly know sweet f all if you rate Spoelstra above Lipscomb."

Yes, clearly, I know f all - about Blues - which is what I freely admitted to! And presumably if I took the time to educate myself I might find that I would rate Lipscomb higher. Nevertheless, it seems to me that Spoelstra's performance is pretty skillful, classy and enjoyable and, not being a person given to prejudice, I wouldn't hold the fact that he's not from the same ethnic background as Lipscomb against him.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 05:20 AM

Well, I guess part of my battle to get rid of review scores is working. At least people start to read the reviews.

(This is a rant I've had for a long time, which will probably make me fall out with various editors in future)


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 05:51 AM

Nah, I think most editors would agree with you about review score. All the editors and journalists I know think they're silly blunt instruments.

The reason why editors of music and film magazines have review scores is generally that READERS say they like them. It's generally a case of giving an undemanding reader exactly what they want.

Me, I care much less about whether a reviewer says an album is "good" or "bad" than whether or not the reviewer's writing is good or bad. I want to read interesting writing about music; I don't want someone to just write me a shopping list.

Don't forget that reviews of albums are only 1 aspect of music writing. There are also live music reviews, which is much more of interest to me anywhere: for me, live music is always an infinitely more rewarding experience to listening to a compact disc; it's what it's all about.

I often idly think I'd like to start a music magazine that didn't feature reviews of "product" at all: in which the only review content was of concerts (which, by their very nature, have always already happened).

Don't forget that reviews *of anything at all* are only 1 aspect of music writing. A magazine also contains interviews, news, feature articles, discussion pieces, round-table debates between musicians (you used to get those in NME; don't tend to see them so often these days) etc etc.

Some people would do well to remember that between 50-80% of a music publication has nothing whatsoever to do with "reviews". Nothing to do with the explicit question of whether critic X likes or dislikes the music of musician Y. They are about a general, inquisitive discussion of and promotion of music and musicians. Even the adverts in a music mag are sometimes useful.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:26 AM

Matt, I agree with what you say about mance and missippi john, although neither in my opinion are typical blues singers, they are both understated, as was my version, and I agree they are both better than me at it,my guitar playing is not tentative, listen again, although i agree its not as good as mance, still he couldnt play the concertina .
however, that does not make me an embarassment or uninspired, the one constructive criticism in the review[ folky mannerisms the becoming ther i took on board and ironed out]that is what reviews should be about constructive criticsm , not just exercising your bad mood in print on to someone else.
my argument is with the reviewer.;however I do think editors can and do on occasions [i dont mean that occassion]instruct or guide reviewers on what they want to see in reviews,[like constructive criticism] to let reviewers have carte blanche, as long as its not libellous, is akin to turning a blind eye.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:37 AM

I've just been listening to a lot of Mance on Youtube and he is very good. I must admit that his often laid-back - almost disinterested - delivery - doesn't really appeal ( a bit like John Hurt's ), but on certain tracks it really is magic.
I tend to respond more to the singers with an vocal intense delivery e.g. Son House and Skip James.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: johncharles
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:53 AM

Any artist recieving money for performances should expect to be subject to some form of review. As matt milton notes live reviews can be of particular interest. The following is a recent review of a Dick Miles concert
The Newsletter of Readifolk
Reading's folk song and music club
Dick Miles
3rd April
"Dick Miles - what a lovely fellow"
"Oh, yes lovely fellow; had a nice chat with him before the show. Amiable chap."
"Very amiable. And an interesting voice, too - has a nice rustic quality to it."
"Rustic - just what I was thinking. And a good knowledge of his subject matter."
"Lots of traditional stuff, with some jolly good concertina, too."
"But not quite so good on guitar."
"Not quite, no. But, after all, he was using a borrowed guitar."
"And a lovely fellow, none the less."
"Oh, lovely fellow."

"But..."
"Yes!"
"Something missing. What's the word I need..?
"You're quite right. Whatever the word is, that's exactly what I would have said."
"Which is not to say he's not a lovely fellow."
"Oh, a lovely fellow. But I just wish it hadn't been so, err..."
"Yes; absolutely. But as you say, a lovely fellow."
"Though perhaps he could have thought more about, umm, y'know..."
"Yes; just what I thought, too."

"A smaller audience than usual, here tonight."
"Yes. School holidays, perhaps?"
"Or maybe it's because there's poetry reading in the bar downstairs"
"Is there, now! Fancy that. Another beer?"
"Good idea. Have I ever mentioned my deep interest in poetry..."

Dave & Nick


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 07:30 AM

we should at least be reassured & grateful we perform in a genre
at least for the most part reviewed by relatively sober rational grown ups...

I think back to my days in adolescent indie new wave music back in the late 70's and 80's
and remember the sheer self indulgent self obsessed drug addled drivel
and uncontrolled humiliating hurtful snidery & spiteful provocativeness for its own sake
that passed for reviews
in the likes of the NME & Sounds and other influential teenage readership music mags and 'alterntive' fanzines..

.. and the even worse diabolically bad 'poetic' stream of conciousness shite 'reviews' in key University / Poly student ents photocopied throwaways..


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 07:48 AM

Dick Miles:-
to let reviewers have carte blanche, as long as its not libellous, is akin to turning a blind eye.


For once we get an interesting, provocative statement. It is a dilemma that I have to face both as an editor of a folk music magazine and as someone who is asked to write reviews (of CDs, books and live events) for a range of publications from the popular to the academic.

My own local magazine is basically a free listings magazine, very widely read and advertised in. The only editorial space is given to reviews and the space devoted to it depends on how much is left after all the ads have come in. The result of this is we have far more albums sent to us than we can ever give space to. Because I regard our magazine as a shop front for folk, roots and world music in our area, I do not want to fill the magazine with "This album is crap!" type reviews though there is a high percentage of these that I could not expect people to enthuse about. However, a problem arises..... our policy is to favour albums that are by our local artists and sometimes we get albums by locals - friends even - that have musical, technical or design flaws. Usually, I take these reviews on myself and write a short, solidly factual review that betrays no opinion. Some people see through this, however, read the reviews and ask me what it was that I did not like about X's album. Am I turning a "blind eye" to awful albums that deserve to be panned? Possibly, but my desire to promote our music through the shop front of our magazine takes an upper hand.

Moving on to the many reviews that I write for other publications. I find that editors bang on (endlessly is some cases) about not exceeding the word limit, but I have never, ever not had "carte blanche" to say exactly what I feel is appropriate - and I doubt that any reviewer worth his salt would ever go along with any such restriction.

In saying this, I am reminded of a reviews magazine which is circulated freely and widely in folk clubs. The ones that I put out at our folk club are snapped up pretty quickly. I was puzzled about the fact that the reviews in this mag are always enthusiastic and positive. I always read all the reviews and then I caught up with one of the artists who had an album reviewed in that magazine and the conversation went like this:

Vic - I see that your album got a very good review in XXXXXXX.
Artist - (less than enthusiastically) Yea... It bloody well ought to be good.... the amount I had to pay to get it reviewed in there.
Vic - WHAT! You had to pay to get it reviewed?
Artist - Didn't you know? Everybody has to pay to get their album reviewed in XXXXXXX.

That's the state things reach when reviewers are not given a free hand to give an honest balanced opinion.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 08:09 AM

John Charles,
I am not sure of the ethical nature of your repeating some thing of no relevance to this thread ,a gig that I did at READIFOLK .
However I received this reply from Readifolk ORGANISERS.
Richard Miles
excellent club , great venue, lovely to catch up with some old friends
10 April at 12:02 · Like ·

    Readifolk - Reading Folk Club likes this.
       Readifolk - Reading Folk Club It was great to see you at Readifolk too, Dick!
   Here are my own recollections of the night there were several people who turned up especially to see me, Geoff Bibby,Marion Pitman being amongst them,a number of people said how much they enjoyed the evening and how good it was to see me again, I also sold a number of cds
Vic,But my point is that reviews need to be constructive honest and balanced, my review was honest but was only balanced if you take Brendan Behans quote of a well balanced man being one with two chips on his shoulder.
The point is that my vocals are not decidely uninspired neither am I an embarassment as a blues singer
although I agree i am not as good as Mance or john hurt, and possibly sing traditional material better, however it is useful on occasions to have a varied repertoire, To suit different clubs.
one of the secrets of performing[as you know] is to be able to adapt and to sus out an audience.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: johncharles
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 08:39 AM

the thread seems to centre around embarrassment, reviews and guitar playing. taking criticism is hard, ignoring it is fatal.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 09:26 AM

john charles, that review [readifolk] is just waffle.
There is no clear criticism in the readifolk review., It just rabbits on, infact it has more Rabbit than Sainsburys.
THE FOLK ROOTS REVIEW had some constructive criticism re vocal mannerisms, which I took note of, The rest was unbalanced, over exaggerated unpleasntness. this sort of thing.
whatever his pedigree on the concertina[and the sleevenotes list afew serial numbers for the trainspottingly inclined].
the point is that musicians are interested whether it be a martin guitar or a jeffries concertina, and they are interested in when an instrument was made,
This reviewer sets an unpleasant, sarcastic tone which is not balanced He must have woken up in a very bad mood, or have some other problem.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 11:14 AM

Cyril Tawney composed this song as an English equivalent to the blues, more uninspired vocals
http://www.youtube.com/user/dickmilesmusic#p/u/80/K2tUvD0IjQY


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 01:40 PM

This review is only a little it older.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ruDdcd8G-g


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Folknacious
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 02:42 PM

Artist - Didn't you know? Everybody has to pay to get their album reviewed in XXXXXXX.

You mean there are actually people out there so gullible that they haven't realised that Properganda is entirely advertorial, only there to promote records distributed by Proper Distribution, and only free because people pay to be in there? Of course everything gets a good review. I assume that's the magazine you refer to. I find it interesting, given the non-commercial stance of most folk clubs, that they'd give it house room but they do, I see it all over the place.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:16 PM

Not all the reviews in Properganda are paid for. The articles are, but that's the nature of the beast - its a promotional tool. Hopefully the people who get it in the folk clubs are amongst those who might like some of the many folk artists Proper distribute and investigate further. Anyway, the clue is in the name, twice over!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: olddude
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 08:14 PM

When it comes to playing, I play for myself. If I like it that is enough as it is a hobby that gives me great joy. an artist can play any style in any manner they want to. I listened several time. It may not be the Mississippi blues done in the exact manner but it sure was nice to hear and worked for my ear. Pay no attention to critics. Music is as different to each person as snowflakes ... if it were not, we all would play the exact same way the exact same songs ..

i liked it, you like it when you recorded it, and many others do also that is all that matters


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Bugsy
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 08:39 PM

Having read this thread from start to finish, in one sitting,
the old sayings, "Build a bridge" and "Get a life" come to mind.

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 11:25 PM

Here is an example of how to review a recording ,this is a review written by a professional reviewer, that is one who gets paid for reviewing in national magazines, it is of relevance, because it is reviewing the same recording.
On my little concertina. DickMiles Brewhouse BH8812.
the title and the first sight of the sleeve had led me to expect an all instrumental record but in fact only four of the 14 tracks are purely instrumental.Very good they are too, some jigs some hornpipes,tunes and airs all admirably plagued.Eric Cowell has provided a very slight echo effect giving the concertina an attractive plangent resonance.
   there is a similiar effect on the only unaccompanied track" TamLinn".Dick Miles singing here is tuneful and true, though there is avery occasional feeling of strain and minimal strangulatedness in the voice, particularly apparent on the opening song 'Sailortown". there are better tunes for the "Range of The Buffalo" than the rather dull one used here atrributed to Woody Guthrie. Coasts of Peru is sung more slowly and sombrely than usual but comes off unexpectedly well like this.
Dick's own settings of songs are agreeable and accomplished without being all that memorable.though Crossed Lines will ring a bell with anyone who has ever had trouble getting a call through- i.e everybody.I also liked the title track an ingenuious patter song byJim Garrett about a man and a girl playing duets" fingering the buttons and squeezing the box: a thoroughly traditional motif highly redolent of all those squarings of looms, keeping of shuttles in play and windings-up of little balls of yarn. Michael Grosvenor-Myer
That is the way to do it, Constructive Criticism which is qualified, we expect professionalism from performers, yet professional peformers have to tolerate, reviews that make wild statements without qualification, or explaining why.
Jim Carroll, made a comment earlier in this thread which I find acceptable he prefers more passion in his blues singing, my answer to that is that I am singing in a style based upon Missippi John and Mance, which is a more understated style, but Jims point is valid.
    I have no objection to constructive criticism.
what I object to and I speak not just for myself but for every performer, is amateurish, unqualified statements and reviews whether they are rabbiting on about some unexplained intangible indefinible waffle at Readifolk, or statement about embarrassing uninspired singing without an explanation.
Folk roots was a professionally produced folk roots magazine yet allows these amateurish reviewers to hold forth,here is another oreview, that is disgraceful.
Chumbawamba English rebel songs 13811914 agitprop3]that comes equipped with a load of leftist Sparts speak and the statement" no wooly jumpers and big beards. Well give me Swan Arcade any day jumpers and beards and all because they have more passion,power and rebellion in their little toe than these wimps, Chumbawamba sing polite middle class floor singery wavery humourless versions of some great songs without one iota of feeling or the rage they should inspire Agitprop my arse.
all that reviewer illustrates that he is not fit to review anything, who was that Berk?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 11:37 PM

From: johncharles - PM
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 06:53 AM
Did you have permission to lift that review, from the Readifolk newsletter, Did you ask the organisers first? and what relevance is it to this thread?.
I will check this matter with Readifolks Organisers.
On one occasion before on this forum, a complete lie was told about me, having done an incompetent folk workshop at Lewes, the fact of the matter is[as was verified by the lewes organisers] that I have never done a Concertina workshop THERE, I would have been legally entitled to sue for defamation, as would the Lewes workshop organisers.
I did not because I value Mudcat as a resource.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 05:29 AM

Dick Miles refers to a review saying:-
"Here is an example of how to review a recording ,this is a review written by a professional reviewer, that is one who gets paid for reviewing in national magazines, it is of relevance, because it is reviewing the same recording."


But a part of the review says:-
"some jigs some hornpipes,tunes and airs all admirably plagued."

Surely, this is not fair! Dick only released the album to provide entertainment - not to spread disease!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 05:52 AM

My typo, Vic,but very amusing.well spotted, you clealy do have a sense of humour my apologies.
A plague of Concertinas, Yes,I like it. 100


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: johncharles
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 06:05 AM

Dear Dick, the Readifolk newsletter is freely available on the web and it carries no indication that it is in any way copyrighted. I shall refrain from further comment on this thread.
john charles


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: MartinRyan
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 06:06 AM

A plague of Concertinas, Yes,I like it. 100

100? I'd have set the plagueometer a lot lower than that! ;>)>

Regards


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Steve Hunt
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 07:02 AM

Good grief, this is still going! (Matt Milton pretty much nailed it in post no. 10)


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 07:47 AM

Rats! When I saw the title I thought I'd finally done enough to inspire my own thread. Oh well, back to singing dem ole Orwell Delta blues (badly).


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 07:56 AM

Steve, I am talking about professionalism in reviews, it does not just apply to folk roots,it applies to the review in readifolk too,for example that review could have told us a lot more
what proportion of songs did he use concertina on [8], Guitar[ 5], 1 unaccompanied, 13 traditional songs 1 contemporary, no blues.
The songs were .
Adieu sweet lovely nancy.
On one april morning
Willy of the Winsbury
Do me amma.
Farewell to the humber and dogger[ R miles]
Seeds of Love
Bushes and Briars
Recruited Collier
Rounding the Horn
Peggy and the Soldier.
Tailor and the teachest.
Leaving of liverpool
Ball of yarn
Bunclody.
SUBJECT MATTER dealt with The Sea, Coalmining, Unrequited love, Pride , Sex, Emigration, Broken Token song.
keys used Amajor,Cmajor, Gmajor Aminor, Dmajor, F major. Edorian, ryhthms used, common time, 3 /4
so when I prepare a list for a gig, I think of subject matter different keys, plus variety of ryhthyms, variety of accompaniment guitar, concertina, unaccompanied, chorus songs 5, 1 song with a refrain,1 child ballad.
That is called being professional, Plus I kept a set list for future reference. PlusIdidnot drink any alcohol,I was suffering from gout, but Istill did my set in a professional manner
Thought and preparation went into the set. would that thought had gone into the review, it tells us that i used concertina and guitar,very little about the material, nothing about the residents or floor singers, nothing about the room or the ambience, or lack of it, something about another event downstairs, a classic example of how not to review.
Rule number one give people information about the night, not about some other event in the building.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Steve Hunt
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 08:19 AM

IMO, a live review should transmit the feeling of being a part of that event's audience to the reader, not just report what the performer did. I would rather read that a performance of (eg) 'Bushes & Briars' was "sorrowful," or "yearning," than "in A minor." Nice set list, BTW!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 08:38 AM

Dick - you're taking this far too seriously. The only people who reads this rubbish are sandal wearing eejits with the IQ of a sausage. If you go ferreting around amongst the words of twits, who listen to Mongolian nose flutes, Eskimo rap artists, Zulu bongo players and tuneless geriatric ballad singers of any and all nationalities - what the hell do you expect?

If they heard your song coming out of a Japanese fisherman's arsehole, you'd get a five star review, mate.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Steve Hunt
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 08:49 AM

"...twits, who listen to Mongolian nose flutes, Eskimo rap artists, Zulu bongo players and tuneless geriatric ballad singers of any and all nationalities..."

Ah. I think I'm done here. Back to doing all of the above.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 09:07 AM

I was particularly interested to note that there is someone out there who is singing in Edorian. I have been struggling with a phrase book for some time for the holiday that we have planned in Edoria later on this year. I also need help in my study of Amixolydian as Amixolydia is the other country we plan to visit on this trip.

I am normally very good with languages but I am having a devil of a job getting any progress with these two. Can anyone offer any help?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 09:19 AM

It may be harsh and to the point but I see absolutely nothing wrong with the 'Chumbawumba' review that you quoted above, GSS. Give me a terse, scathing review over a load of waffly, insipid, meaningless praise any day!

If you get paid to perform, or expect to sell recordings, you have to expect the odd negative review. After all if every review consisted of some berk writing "It's really great - buy it!" how would I be able to decide what to spend my hard-earned money on?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 09:19 AM

twits, who listen to Mongolian nose flutes, Eskimo rap artists, Zulu bongo players and tuneless geriatric ballad singers of any and all nationalities

Who gave you access to my record collection, Big Al?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Callingbird
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 09:45 AM

Mark Spoelstra's version I found really, really, good.

Not a clue about technical merit..blah blah...or who SHOULD be better than another. I just know what I heard was good.

Thanks for the link, Tunesmith.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 09:46 AM

I made a field recording trip to the Far East a few years back, with the hopes of taping stuff for the making of an album of the famed Japanese fisherman's arsehole singing tradition. Listening to the tapes back in my studio, I was disappointed to find that most of the singing sounded rather flat(ulent).


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 01:13 PM

Mongolian nose flutes, Eskimo rap artists, Zulu bongo players and tuneless geriatric ballad singers of any and all nationalities

We need more of this not less!

Meanwhile here's Love Will Tear Us Apart Tuvan-style...


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Folknacious
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 08:08 AM

Does anybody else think that wingeing on and on and on about a minor slight in a review published decades ago in a small publication of little importance is carrying ridiculous grudges to a dangerous level of self-obsession? What are the ethics on a public Forum when we spot a fellow member who is possibly in need of counselling or medication?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 04:02 PM

What's even more absurd: we haven't even seen what the review said. Allegedly, the *title* of this thread is a quote from it (yet it's misspelled?). Is this verbatim? What's the surrounding context?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: michaelr
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 05:50 PM

Why should we care?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 06:27 PM

Hmmm....motive? How about driving up hits on a youtube video?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: michaelr
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 09:22 PM

Pretty laborious way to go viral... ;-)


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,999
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 10:52 PM

The OP ain't keepin' this thread going.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 11:05 PM

Right, michael, the old hammer 'n tongs approach!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 05:53 AM

what's OP?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,NormanD
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:27 AM

(Still logged out with a lost Cookie....)

Mr Miles, I do wish that you'd live up to your nom de plume a bit more and show some of the subversive humour and anti-authority pranksterdom of Joseph Svejk. You do have a sense of broygis, that's for sure, quite impressive - almost as good as some in my own family. An anon throw-away comment from 20 years back shouldn't *really* reflect on your present competence or confidence, but only you can answer that one.

Comedian / raconteur Stewart Lee revels in taking the worst one-line reviews he's ever received and using them proudly in his advertising. Now that's more Svejk: "Humbly report, sir. I'm an embarrassment of a blues singer, as stated in fRoots magazine. And they should know. They don't even give out stars".


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 06:46 AM

Careful, Norman, you mean Folk Roots not fRoots. I got my wrist slapped for that if you read the earlier part of this thread.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 07:44 AM

Hey, Al. OP is Original or opening poster: that is, the person who started the thread.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 07:47 AM

Gibb Sahib wrote:-
"What's even more absurd: we haven't even seen what the review said. Allegedly, the *title* of this thread is a quote from it (yet it's misspelled?). Is this verbatim? What's the surrounding context?"


Happy to oblige, Gibb. Here is the complete review:-

Whatever his pedigree on the concertina (and the sleevenotes list a few Wheatstone serial numbers for the trainspottingly inclined), Dick Miles hasn't turned in a record of much excitement in On My Little Concertina (Brewhouse BH8812). Any merits on the instrumental side are offset by decidedly uninspired vocals. Sitting On Top Of The World is a case in point: the duet concertina/ fiddle backing is rather good but Miles is an embarrassment as a blues singer. Tam Linn is sung with rhythmic vigour, vastly overdone echo and a bad dose of Folkie's Vowel: "ther Queen", "keep her comperny", "Tam Linn's erway". This idiosyncracy puts in quite a few appearances. Elsewhere the subject matter's down to seamen, cattle drovers and buffalo hunters (with nice backup vocal from Sara Grey), some of it composed by Miles himself. No especially gripping moments though.

Perhaps, I ought to add that the Chumbawunba review referred to earlier as being by amateurish reviewers to hold forth,here is another oreview, that is disgraceful. is from the same page and same issue as the review that I quote above.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 07:48 AM

Dick might be on the road doing some gigs and away from his computer. I keep thinking - I must write to bruce! I'll get there sooon! Gig this afternoon.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: goatfell
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 08:42 AM

He's is good.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 09:19 AM

Decades ago, in my first few years of presenting a local radio BBC folk music programme, I opted to go on a course that the BBC were funding for their presenters of Arts programmes. Though it was funded by the BBC, it was run by an outside university academic.

I remember that one of the exercises that we were asked to do as part of the course was to analyse every phrase or sentence in a number of reviews that we were provided with, to break them up and put them into three categories - positive, neutral and negative. A well balanced review, our tutor said, should contain roughly the same number in each category.

I have applied this analysis to the 21 year old review that is that title of this thread:-

POSITIVE
1] Sitting On Top Of The WorId is a case in point: the duet concertina/ fiddle backing is rather good
2] Tam Linn is sung with rhythmic vigour
3] (with nice backup vocal from Sara Grey),


NEUTRAL
1] Whatever his pedigree on the concertina (and the sleevenotes list a few Wheatstone serial numbers for the trainspottingly inclined), Dick Miles hasn't turned in a record of much excitement in On My Little Concertina (Brewhouse BH8812).
2] Elsewhere the subject matter's down to seamen, cattle drovers and buffalo hunters
3] some of it composed by Miles himself. No especially gripping moments though.

NEGATIVE
1] Any merits on the instrumental side are offset by decidedly uninspired vocals.
2] but Miles is an embarrassment as a blues singer.
3] and a bad dose of Folkie's Vowel: "ther Queen", "keep her comperny", "Tarn Linn's erway". This idio-syncracy puts in quite a few appearances.
4] vastly overdone echo


This would seem to make the review in question rather well balanced.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 09:21 AM

Bearing in mind any music journalists requirement to provide readable informative entertaining copy
[amateur, semi pro, or professional];

.. now I've finally read the 'offending' review and can see the perceived insult in context,
it actually seems quite a tame objectively balanced neutral toned criticism.
Certainly compared to the sheer unrestrained flagrant 'adolescent' callous cruelty
dealt out in most other genres and vehicles of music biz publication reviews.

If anything, I'd suggest Chumbawamba would've had much more justification to protest about
and accuse their reviewer of prejudiced snide unfaireness....


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:15 AM

Well now that the dog's seen the rabbit. I think its a rather mean spirited review.

Dick's cds are what they are. they aren't made by some vast marketing arm of the music industry. They are made to flog at his gigs. If someone asks - is that number on the cd - he has to keep producing stuff reflecting that his ever expanding repertoire.

It takes a lot of financial committment to keep producing albums, and most of us can't be arsed. If someone asks me a song I've covered - I tell them who the original artist that I got it from was. I simply can't keep up with making cds of my own songs - let alone the other stuff.

Someone once asked the late Ken Campbell to read for a part. he said - no - you know what I do - you know whether you want me!

I think we're all cognisant of what Dick Miles has been up to these last umpteen years. You should have handed the writing assignment to a DM fan - of which there are no shortage. I feel sure in my own mind there must have been more positives to look for.

As for the point about cattle drovers, sailors and buffalo hunters. Well thats what a lot of folksongs are about. No one ever says ....oh no! not another bleeding song about the 1st world war! Or more shite in a Yorkshire accent! when theres a Kate Rusby album. That's what the guy does. You know what he does - you know whether you like it.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Banjiman
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:22 AM

"though he does have the disadvantage in NOT being Blind"

"thanks leadfingers, must keep working on those disadvantages."

....... I did (accidentally, honest) try try and help Dick out with this at the weekend (Scarborough Seafest), I hope his eye has recovered!!!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 08:06 AM

Is there a story there you'd like to share, Banjiman?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Banjiman
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 09:02 AM

Dick tells it so much better than I could, though I can confirm that both cigarettes and alcohol were involved........


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 09:20 AM

you are right, this is unimportant
compared to nearly losing an eye,
A cigarette accidentally stubbed on the boundary of my nose and eye[ one millimetere away from blinding me].
Paul and Graeme, were walking slightly ahead of me, we decided that the pub to our immediate right[karaoke]was not a good place for a quiet pint. The pub I suggested was behind me up the street.
Paul turned round quickly to his left with a lighted cig in hand, not knowing my exact position, and nearly blinded me.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: olddude
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 12:35 PM

OH sure sure, it is all fun and games until someone loses an eye !!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 01:17 PM

Flipping heck, GSS! That was certainly close. I'm glad to hear that you're OK.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Banjiman
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 02:16 PM

He did get a good song intro out of it though........much to my embarrassment. AND I couldn't say no when he asked to borrow my banjo!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:40 AM

That sounds painful! Glad it wasn't a direct hit. I thought the most dangerous thing about Paul was supposed to be his banjo playing....


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:59 AM

The world was a much safer place when people could smoke indoors.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 05:17 AM

"The world was a much safer place when people could smoke indoors."
And a damn sight safer when they are banished permanently to the great big ashtray in the sky.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 08:30 AM

I do want to make something clear, my purpose in banging on about reviews,apart from drawing attention to myself, is to try and get the standard improved, in fairness to froots, and folk roots, the magazine is/was well produced and these amateurish reviews are only occassional, and yes I agree the chumba wamba review, was much worse.
As far as I am concerned it is a discussion aimed at all folk reviews/ folk reviewers, the readifolk review was another example of not telling people what happened but waffling on about other thing.
If I had been writing a review of that night,I would have tried to make the club sound welcoming I would have mentioned the best floor singers,I would have talked about the residents.
while it is important not to be dishonest,it is important to try and pick the best aspects of the club, and try and make readers feel they would like to visit the club on any night.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Norman Jensen
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 09:13 AM

It's interesting, isn't it, when someone gets pedantic and persnickety about what is basically a folk style? I thought Miles's way with the song was a whole lot better than someone adopting a gravelly voice and fake southern dialect in a lame attempt to sound "black."


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 09:15 AM

In my opinion it is dishonest to suggest that something is praiseworthy when you really feel that it isn't.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,999
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 09:17 AM

It is equally dishonest--imo--to do a review and not sign yer name to it. (I may be mistaken, but was the review signed by the reviewer?)


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 09:59 AM

no, both my review and chumbawamba were in the category and the rest.
Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Shimrod - PM
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 09:15 AM

In my opinion it is dishonest to suggest that something is praiseworthy when you really feel that it isn't.
correct shimrod, but,criticism should be explained,I had no problem with the vocal mannerisms criticism, It is not ggod reviewqing to agfit prop my arse,
or from the same "and the rest"do we need another eric clapton or mick green at this point, or, a review of the Blues band, I tried to not let it wash over me but it insisted.
That reviewer Sounds like he is too fond of the look of his own words in print.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: olddude
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 10:42 AM

Those who do, well they do, those who don't write reviews. The only reviews that ever matter to me is when another song writer that I respect and cherish tell me that I need to work on the song more .. If I hear that from someone like my brother Bruce, I know it is correct and I need more work. Likewise if I hear it is a fine song I know not to mess with it. Many reviewers have an ax to grind. Some just don't like the music. Tastes are all different. I think one should not write a review unless they perform themselves. That of course is my opinion. I have had good ones I have had bad ones but I play for me. You been at this a long time. You have a strong following .. that tells ya something Dick. Forget it ... You do blues the way you want to do blues. Do it cause you like it not any reviewer. I play blues. I could not possibly be as good as Bobert or DWDitty ... who is, those guys are in a class all by themselves. But I enjoy what I do .. that is all that matters. Forget the reviewer, if that was true so many people would not buy your music and follow you in a performance. They do so that has to tell you the guy or girl that wrote it is full of crap ... ok


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 10:51 AM

It is a very common practice in a lot of specialist music magazines to have a section of short anonymous notices for albums where the reviewer and/or the editor feels that an album is not worth the full space of a review but where that album can at least have a mention..... which is not to say that I agree with this practice.

All folk music magazines receive more albums to review than they can give full space to - so this is one way they have of dealing with the situation.

A high percentage of folk albums do not made the grade as far as I am concerned, but as a reviewer who is also a performer and someone who has produced albums for others, I am always very loathe to write a totally damning review. I am also guided by my training in reviewing mentioned above.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: olddude
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 11:28 AM

Given that you are a producer and performer Vic ... I take much more stock in your writing than I would someone who just writes a review based on their own taste in music. It would be like me trying to write a review on Rap. I know nothing about it, don't know good rap from bad wrap so I would not attempt to review anther's work. But I think I could when it comes to folk and blues. But any review should be based on the technical work and quality .. not on personal taste .. or ax to grind .. I suspect the latter is what occurred in this situation.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 11:46 AM

Old Dude, the problem for me is that you seem to be saying you can only really understand and appreciate the music if you perform. That seems pretty damning of the non-musicians in the audience, too... ;-)

And how many performers can write? Reviewers have to be pretty good at that, too. I run a small record label. I want the stuff I bring out to be reviewed - its one of the ways people get to know about the music. You can't just shove it on Myspace and hope for the best (not if you want to break even, anyway). Ideally I want the reviewers to go crazy about the stuff I release, but you have to take the rough with the smooth.

Although I'm not a musician, when I hear some new music, I know whether I'd like it for the label or not - and yes, it is very subjective and very much about taste, but then, why would I release a record I didn't like?

Every time we decide what album we will buy and what we won't, what gig we'll go to and what we won't, whose music we'll recommend to a friend and whose we won't, in a sense we are reviewers. Every time you start one of your lovely threads saying 'check this person's music out', in a sense you're a reviewer too - somewhere along the line you've been moved to praise someone's work - but not moved to praise someone else's.

Most reviewers aren't monsters - they are just people communicating an opinion. And at the end of the day - it's all subjective.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: olddude
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 11:51 AM

Spleen
your words are well taken, thank you for giving me the other side of it.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 12:13 PM

Folk music is like a creaky old bus. There are some people trying to get the wheels to turn round. Like dick miles. there are some people pissing in the petrol tank,like this reviewer.

A review like that makes it harder for Dick to get gigs. makes it harder for people to book him.

the guys a twat. there are only negative repercussions from his smart arse comments. If you haven't got room to review the album properly, just return it, or if you can't afford that - bin it.

My first and last cd was a great learning experience. Despite two four star reviews (Maverick and Rock n Reel) I wouldn't hazard the money on another cd project. if people want to know what I'm writing and singing - they'll have to come and see me, or contact me - and I post them a cd of my work in progress free. If the work dies with me - so be it.

i understand there are some people who rely on cd sales for an important supplement to their income. My heart goes out to them having to submit to the humiliation of being....and the rest.

Particularly in magazines where reviews exceed the european garbage quota every time I pick up a copy.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Banjiman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 12:21 PM

Vic says -

"It is a very common practice in a lot of specialist music magazines to have a section of short anonymous notices for albums where the reviewer and/or the editor feels that an album is not worth the full space of a review but where that album can at least have a mention"

So are they not worth the space it quality terms or is it just that there is less hype surrounding them Vic? In fROOTs that is.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Banjiman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 12:35 PM

in not it quality terms, sorry.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 01:51 PM

Banjiman wrote (adding his correction)
"So are they not worth the space in quality terms or is it just that there is less hype surrounding them Vic? In fROOTs that is."


In the case of fRoots I know for certain that the decision on whether the the album goes into the .... and the rest section or rates a full review is the sole decision of the reviewer.

I'm not exactly sure what you are saying here. Are you suggesting that fRoots are only interested in reviewing artists that have hype surrounding them? If you are, I would suggest you look at recent issues of the magazine and analyse the backgrounds of the artists involved. Of course, the opinion whether an artist is "hyped up" or not is as subjective as whether a reviewer's writing is "based on the technical work and quality .. not on personal taste" but here are a few albums and books that I, as reviewer, have rated recently as worthy of a full review in fRoots:-

UN MONDE QUI BOURDONNE OU LA VIE PALPITANTE DES CORNEMUSES
Presented by Daniel Loddo & Claude Ribouillault

A book of French academic papers submitted by writers to a conference about the varied bagpipe traditions in Central & Southern France and the Iberian Peninsula.

HARRY GREEN AND OTHERS
The Fox & The Hare
Veteran VT125CD

An album of field recordings of traditional singers from Essex, now all deceased.

SHEILA STEWART
A Traveller's Life Birlinn ISBN 978-1-84158-979-4

An autobiography of the wonderful Scots traveller singer

JOSEPH GOUDERC
Chanteur du Ségala Cordae/La TalveraGEMP 67

An album of masterly traditional singing in the Occitan language of southern France. I think that it is superb but I don't expect it to find a huge market in the UK. Whether it sells or not, I would rate this as a very important release.

BAGAD KEMPER
Live Au Cornouaille Keltia Musique KMCD 20

A CD of a concert to mark the 60th anniversary of the leading Breton bagpipe and bombard band.

I would leave it to others to decide whether there is "hype" surrounding all or any of these productions, but I would say that I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them (though I found the technical bagpipe terms in French a bit hard going) and think that all of them have enriched my knowledge of European traditional music and song.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:18 PM

Vic, I think that you are less affected by hype than most people, you have been involved with folk music for a very long time, 40 years plus,both you and I know the folk scene has changed a lot in that time,it is inevitable that elements of the pop scene e.g. hype should spill over to the folk music scene.
Vic you are not typical[ imo] of the majority of reviewers who I think are influenced by the folk/pop machine, and hype.
I suspect that most of those people who unlike you have not been involved with folk music since 1962


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:19 PM

should read
I suspect that most of those people are people who unlike you have not been involved with folk music since 1962.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Banjiman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:20 PM

"I'm not exactly sure what you are saying here. Are you suggesting that fRoots are only interested in reviewing artists that have hype surrounding them?"

I don't know, you tell me?

But I'm pretty sure that if a big name artist produced a duffer of an album it would still have a very good chance of being in the main review section rather "and the rest". ..... and an independent, home produced CD (or one from a minor label)would have to be mightily, mightily impressive to make it into the "main" review section.

Are any of the albums you highlight above not on a record label?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:26 PM

I don't know, you tell me?
Certainly no, then.

Are any of the albums you highlight above not on a record label?
No, they are all on long established specialist folk labels. However, with so many excellent self-produced albums these days, not being on a label is much less of a problem than it used to be. Many musicians now prefer to have full control of the whole process of album production from start to finish that self-produced albums can bring. The main drawback is distribution to shops which is very difficult for individuals to handle, but with fewer and fewer specialist music albums appearing in shops and with downloads overtaking CD sales at a vast rate, this is much less of a problem than it used to be. Musicians and groups who have the financial resources to bring out their own albums and who has a good website with the facility to pay on-line and that can handle downloads are likely to make more profit per unit sold, especially if they are doing lots of gigs.
People still have to find out that these releases are available, however, so good targeted advertising is important if expensive. Reviews are the other way of letting people know about albums, as Spleen Cringe has pointed out. I've heard it said many times that a bad review is better than no review at all.

But I'm pretty sure that if a big name artist produced a duffer of an album it would still have a very good chance of being in the main review section rather "and the rest"
True, but I've read many reviews in fRoots, written some myself, where the message has been "not as good as we have come to expect from XXXXX"


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Banjiman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:36 PM

Vic,

"True, but I've read many reviews in fRoots, written some myself, where the message has been "not as good as we have come to expect from XXXXX""

Thank you for your honesty! So the bigger names still get the oxygen of publicity (even if they've produced a duffer) where as whatever the "quality" of an independent release (from a lesser known name) it is still (much?) less likely to get the same.

It was ever thus I guess.

I also guess that a thumbs up and a good review in the "and the rest section" is actually as good an endorsement as a fully independent release could expect from fRoots then.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:01 PM

the bigger names still get the oxygen of publicity (even if they've produced a duffer) where as whatever the "quality" of an independent release (from a lesser known name) it is still (much?) less likely to get the same.
I think that readers would expect to see a full review of album by the bigger names simply because they are the bigger names. If they are that popular then a poor opinion in a full review or dismissal to a short notice section in one magazine is not going to make a lot of difference to their sales.

I also guess that a thumbs up and a good review in the "and the rest section" is actually as good an endorsement as a fully independent release could expect from fRoots then.

Absolutely not! Full reviews in the current fRoots include the following:-
LUCY PRINGLE & CHRIS WRIGHT The Speaking Heart (Modegreen Music)
AILIE ROBERTSON Traditional Spirits (Lorimer)
HILARY JAMES English Sketches (Acoustics)
FRIBO Happy (Fribo Records)
CORDELIA'S DAD Double Live (Own Label)
MONSTER CEILIDH BAND (MCB Records)
THE FLK The Flk (FLK)
FAIRPORT CONVENTION Festival Bell (Matty Grooves)
BLAZIN' FIDDLES Thursday Night In The Caley (Own Label)

All these are the English language fully independent release or own labels and there are others in foreign tongues that are apparently a source of ridicule for some in this thread.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Banjiman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:09 PM

I take your point on some of these Vic...... but holding up Hilary James, Fairport and Blazin' Fiddles as championing the "little man (or woman)" doesn't really wash does it!!

But I think you understand my point.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:28 PM

And I understand that it is very difficult for newer names, even the good ones, to make an impression. Some of the bigger names are the bigger names because they are very good. Generally, once singers have made a huge mark on the folk scene, they are there for as long as they want to be. I believe that Martin Carthy has been around for more than 2 or 3 years. The loyalty of the folk scene is totally admirable and much preferable to the constant seeking of new novelty that characterises some aspects of rock music. The down side of this is that it leaves less room for newcomers.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 06:40 PM

Vic, it was much easier for new comers back in 1970, and as I understand from those that were there earlier than that,1961 etc.
   The UK Folkscene [imo] is a bit of a closed shop,as you know not everything is decided on merit,there are a number of powerful cliques, which is better than there being only one.
But a lot of the good aspects of the early uk folk scene are gone, Paul Simon wandering in to do a floor spot etc.
To say that the influence of the rock scene and novelty does not occur at all on the folk scene is incorrect,it is there, but for various reasons,one of them being less commercialism, it is there, less.
"Some of the bigger names of the folk scene are the bigger names because they are very good" quote Vic Smith
This is only partly true, they MAY BE VERY GOOD or they may once have been very good, but they are there partly on merit but not entirely on merit but also because of opportunity, being around at the right time, good management, Luck and Networking, your statement is misleading and too simplistic .


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 06:46 PM

I wrote:-
"with fewer and fewer specialist music albums appearing in shops"


This was posted in another place by an American folk enthusiast earlier this evening:-
The USA chain Borders Books and Music has announced that it is liquidating. (In this thread, I mentioned Borders' initial bankruptcy filing on Feb. 17.) 400 stores, most of which sold CDs, will close.

Borders is just about the last national retailer who was interested in stocking folk/roots/world music on CD in the USA. Remaining are: the Barnes & Noble book chain, who show signs of wanting to get out of CD retailing; Amazon; the surviving "legendary independents" and boutique online retailers.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Banjiman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 04:29 AM

Maybe the cottage industry approach to making/ selling/ distributing CDs is the right one then Vic. If most of your product is sold from your own website or at gigs (where in our experience, healthy sales are still very possible) then there is a degree of protection from the strategic changes taking place in the market. You're also very much in charge of your own costs..... and it is still be possible to make a decent quality, profitable CD.


It would be great if the reviewing "bodies" took this approach more seriously though. There does sometimes seem to be a disconnect between the music that "the people" respond to and buy versus what is given the most coverage in print and on-line.

......Dick, I don't think it is closed shop, but there are a number of gatekeepers at different levels who have a huge influence on who gets to play the key gigs or gets heard in the key places. To be fair, pretty much every "network" or "industry" is like this though. Frustrating at times, but all part of the game!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 04:40 AM

'all part of the game!'

this would imply a degree of fairness, gentlemanly conduct, basic rules and common decency - that ain't much in evidence. at least not with the reviewing system that ends up calling, Dick an embarassment in a public forum.

Being a non com in this nasty little war. i don't have to take it.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:00 AM

Al, that's a review from twenty years ago and it represented one reviewer's opinion at the time. Would you take the same approach if it was music or plumbing? Imagine if you'd heard a song you didn't like twenty yaers ago and reacted with "Right! That's it! I'm never going to like any music by any performer ever again!" Or... "Someone cocked up my pipework twenty years ago and even though I'm currently up to my neck in sewerage, I'm buggered if I'm going to call out of of those pesky plumbers!" Of course you wouldn't tar everyone with the same brush. Yet because you disagree with the reviewer's verdict on Dick's album that's what you're doing. By, 'eck! Teachers, eh?

On a different note, I have a copy of that album. I quite like it, though I think Dick's earlier and later albums are better. Just my opinion, though.

Paul, I hear what you're saying, but I think unlike the mainstream music mags, fRoots, R2, The Living Tradition, Stirrings and EDS do give quite a bit of space to self-released and small label stuff. Of course they are going to put someone better known on the cover, because they need to sell copies of the magazine to keep solvent and to keep providing a platform to, amongst other things, review small label and self-released albums. And fRoots had the excellent Sam Amidon on the cover last month - he's hardly a household name and his label, Bedroom Community, is hardly Sony... Sam Amidon sings Saro


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:20 AM

Well in my book this is the sort of thing that gives folk a bad name.
A beautiful song sung with no feeling and given a completely unneccesary backing. Sort of like wine for non wine drinkers. Why does music always have to have a video ? Is it to give people something interesting to watch until that bloody singer shuts up?

Hoot


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:23 AM

Al Whittle wrote:-
"this would imply a degree of fairness, gentlemanly conduct, basic rules and common decency - that ain't much in evidence. at least not with the reviewing system that ends up calling, Dick an embarassment in a public forum.


I would have thought that the analysis of that review that I gave above showed that overall the review was balanced. If the reviewer, whoever he was, expressed this opinion of Dick's singing of the blues, I can only conclude that this was a genuine reaction to what he heard. Many fans of old-fashioned country blues - what they would call genuine performers - are not the impressed in the slightest by the efforts of what I seen written as Dilettante young white boys. This may be wrong for others but it is a perfectly valid opinion.
I do, however, wonder what good Dick feels he can possibly be doing to further his career but exhuming a 21 year old review that has been totally forgotten and which carries damning statements of an album that was deleted many years ago.

Dick Miles wrote:-
"they may once have been very good, but they are there partly on merit but not entirely on merit but also because of opportunity, being around at the right time, good management, Luck and Networking"

Are you telling us that life can be unfair, Dick? This is very true, but it is not earth shattering news. I happen to believe that genuine talent and good communicative skills are much more likely to rise to the top on the folk scene than in a field that regards Lady Gaga as a major musical talent.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 06:34 AM

Vic,It is not about my career, if I was concerned about my career ,I would have said nothing.
I have been involved and love this music for many years,my concern is to try and improve standards and that includes reviewing.
I am also concerned that the Folk scene has over the years become more like the pop scene, that is has become a place where networking and who you are in with,has become more prevalent and more important in achieving success than it was 40 years ago.
I agree with your last statement Vic, but I am concerned that it is becoming harder for genuine talent and good communicative skills to rise to the top in the folk scene, than it was in 1967.,the scene then was a freer scene,generally speaking it was a music where talent could rise to the top without good management ,hype etc etc., image was less important than the quality of the music, now to be successful groups are starting to be marketed in the same way as on the pop scene.
I agree it is still much better than the pop scene but there is [imo] cause for concern.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 09:48 AM

Cause for concern! cause for concern! (splutter of rage on your behalf!)

reviews like that should returned in the suppository form - with the relevant instructions shouted loudly every time the little stinker raises his head in public.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 10:30 AM

"Folk scene ... has become a place where networking and who you are in with,has become more prevalent
and more important in achieving success than it was 40 years ago."


..though can't the same be said about any popularist former radical progressive egalitarian music and media/arts scene
that's been insidiously invaded and taken over by a recent generation of ambitious preening famestruck privileged public school elite brats.....?????


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:26 AM

'. Would you take the same approach if it was music or plumbing'

I suppose it would depend on plumbers as a class of humanity getting unrepentantly right on my tits. And then all their snotty, snerchy little sycophantic, pseudy dude mates simpering, well actually they DO have a point.....

yeh, they do have a point. so does a guy collecting waste paper in the park. difference is, the guy collecting garbage is doing a useful job.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: olddude
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:34 AM

I would take an honest performance by anyone who plays for the love of music then all of the so called talent I hear coming out of Nashville these days. Factory created songs, factory created musicians. Short skirts, showing the goods .. but talent .. naw .. I heard a number one song on the radio yesterday .. dumbest thing I ever heard .. stupid lyrics .. and a melody stolen from 1000 other songs ... I sure hope the folk scene doesn't degrade into the same ..


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:44 AM

Jeez, Al, what do they put in the water round your way? Undiluted vitriol? So everyone who has ever reviewed anything ever is part of "a class of humanity that gets unrepentantly right on your tits", are they? No exceptions, eh? Doesn't matter if you're a fantastic writer with a good understanding of your chosen field who largely puts in positive reviews. Nope. You're still damned. And there's more! Seems like everyone who has ever read a review (or at least anyone who sees any sort of value in reviews) is "all their snotty, snerchy little sycophantic, pseudy dude mates." That line makes Lennon's Gimme Some Truth seem positively sunny...

It must be hard work doing that sort of bitterness and negativity. I like it better when you're funny. Good job you're not a reviewer, though, eh?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:46 AM

Short skirts, showing the goods

Dan, old friend, I've always worn a long skirt... no-one sees my goods if I can help it.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:54 AM

punkfolkrocker wrote:-
"..though can't the same be said about any popularist former radical progressive egalitarian music and media/arts scene
that's been insidiously invaded and taken over by a recent generation of ambitious preening famestruck privileged public school elite brats.....????? "


This statement reminded me very much of a conversation that I had with Leon Rosselson recently. Leon is a man who regard as having one of the sharpest, most incisive political minds in the UK today. His view of the various branches of the arts that he is involved with - poetry, drama, musical shows, children's books, political songwriting as well as the folk scene - would largely concur with punkfolkrocker's statement


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,punkfokrocker
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 12:45 PM

just remembered I have a permanent 'work related injury'..

a bony lump on my forehead inflicted by a flamboyant mic stand swinging singer
on a cramped small club stage
when I was 18 or 19...

..delayed reaction mild concussion set in the following afternoon
after all the 'pre-gig stimulants & performance enhancing pharmaceuticals'
from the night before had worn off.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 12:51 PM

oops.. posted in wrong thread, must have had this one open
at same time as 'guitar injuries'

mods please tidy up this daft mistake.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Banjiman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 12:52 PM

I thought it was a very pertinent comment pfr!


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: olddude
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 12:56 PM

Will
Now that is a scary thought my dear friend LOL


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 01:46 PM

I buy lots of periodicals with lots of reviews. Spend a fair amount of time looking for reviews that haven't been written yet on the internet. (mainly of music gear, of which i am a degenerate purchasing addict).

Its just the people involved in this case who have fired me up. I really find the phenomenon of Froots pissing from a lofty height on a guy like Dick Miles - deeply repulsive - I'm surprised a lot of you guys don't get it either.

A couple of years or four ago, i cam upon Dick's song about Richard III. I sensed at the time he was a bit down about something or other - so I had a go at recording it. And i started e-mailing him - saying have you sent the song to the RichardIII society - have you sent it, here and there - just hustling the way songwriters do. And the conclusion i cam to is that Dick is a real non-hustler.

And its a bloody pity - because most of hasbeens and haircuts that Froots dutifully creams its jeans about, could never have a strong idea for a song like Dick - not as long as they had a hole in their bum.
http://www.bigalwhittle.co.uk/id31.html


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 04:20 PM

This evening I had two guitar pupils,both of whom have been coming six years and four years respectively both of them are now fairly good players,one of them has come back again in her summer holidays[she is at university] and really enjoys playing american fingerstyle guitar.
It has been very satisfying for me watching them progress and feeling that they are interested in the same music as me.
2Fridays ago I went busking in Bantry,I got a very favourable response,a stall holder gave me a fiver, and I had lots of compliments about my singing and playing,The great thing about busking is that it is the most honest form of music making.
I am 60 years old, I no longer care about seeking success, fame as a folk singer,I just enjoy playing music,that is why I dont care anymore about furthering or damaging my career,or speaking the truth as I see it.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 04:28 PM

Many musicians that I know, some top names amongst them, don't find it beneath themselves to go busking when there are not as many gigs that month as there ought to be to cover the bills - and many teach as well.

Lovely place, Bantry.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: PoppaGator
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:19 PM

Just tried to read throuigh this whole thread at one sitting. Make it to about the halfway point before I started skimming. A few random reactions:

"Novosoto [TX] is not in the Piedmont." Well, neither is Avalon MS, but Mance Lipscomb and John Hurt were both exponents of the "Piedmont" approach to fingerpicking and song selection. It is very probable, statistically, that both men's forebearers spend a generation or two or more living in or near the Piedmont area (foothills of the Appalachians, in Virginia and the Carolinas) before being sold and shipped west to the newly-opened territories of Mississippi and Texas.

I find that there are indeed plenty of British white guys who can express themselves effectively as blues singers (many, but not all, in the popular electric-blues/rock business). The problem, of course, is to strike a balance between self-expression in one's own voice versus preserving the right bit of adherence to traditional diction, vowel-and-consonant soundings, etc. One doesn't want to slavishly imitate an original artist who inhabited a world and tradition vastly different from one's own...but on the other hand, it won't sound at all like The Blues if the singer does not adopt certain linguistic conventions which are as much a part of this traditional "sound" as are the chord progressions, the flatted fifths, and other strictly musical elements.

I had the good fortune of meeting Mance when I was a college sutdent, back in about 1968. Most vivid memory: Mance pulled out his false teeth (upper full plate) to show me the mother-of-pearl inlay picture of a guitar that he kept on the roof of his mouth all day every day. I think his first name was also part of the design, but my memory is less clear on that score; I can still clearly picture the little picture of a guitar. I think he said that the inlay was done for him, as a gift, by a fan who worked as a luthier...


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:27 PM

lovely place,Lewes.
Don Partridge used to busk there,did you book him when he lived there ,Vic?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 07:19 AM

My reply is coming by PM, Dick.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 07:36 AM

can we still do personal messages?havent they been suspended?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 07:37 AM

no I got one today.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 07:56 AM

Novosoto ???

As for British guys attempting the blues vocally, I don't know who you have been listening to but why would you buy recordings of British attempts when you have so much of the genuine article? Somewhat like trying selling Ice Boxes to Eskimos in my book.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 07:56 AM

Legend has it it that Peter Bellamy once called Janis Joplin the worst blues singer he'd ever heard - to her face. Does history record her response I wonder? Bellamy persevered with the blues on occaision, and trearting his auduiences to encores of Rolling Stones songs which was always fun, but not in the same class of genius as Jim Eldon's versions of Pop Songs which take on a truly surreal sheen as a browse through YouTube will reveal.

Anyway, for what it's worth, I think Dick's a top singer & admire his approach very much. His YouTube channel is a source of much joy to me and though our paths have never crossed (not for the want of urging my local club to book him) I'm looking forward to the day they do.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 08:23 AM

As for British guys attempting the blues vocally, I don't know who you have been listening to but why would you buy recordings of British attempts when you have so much of the genuine article? Somewhat like trying selling Ice Boxes to Eskimos in my book.

As the late John Peel said - people were always telling me. BB King is the real thing - much better than Clapton. I listened to BB King. I liked him, but what Clapton does is different to the Americans. I prefer it.

Me talking now
Its what it is. If it embarrases you - that's your problem, not the artist's. And when you're a reviewer - you should be aware of that. Embarrasssing isn't a description - its a description of you. If it embarasses - why does it embarass?


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 08:25 AM

As for British guys attempting the blues vocally, I don't know who you have been listening to but why would you buy recordings of British attempts when you have so much of the genuine article? Somewhat like trying selling Ice Boxes to Eskimos in my book.

Well... no-one is forcing you to buy it! Seriously, those songs are out of the box now and anyone can try them out. What I like about Dick's version is that he is not trying to be a black American blues musician from the middle of the last century, but singing and playing it as himself - filtered through his own existence as a white English folk musician of a certain vintage... In my book this works far better than trying to simulate something you're not.

Also Hoot, for us lot in the UK, we don't actually get many chances to see black American country blues singers playing. However, we have every chance of seeing Dick. When I did, it was a thoroughly enjoyable night.

Might I also point you in the direction of another English musician (considerably younger than Dick at just 17!) who is strongly influenced by the blues? Jack Blackman


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 09:56 AM

Sunjay Brayne, also 17 years old, from the fighting city of Birmingham, England. What a pity he's not dancing round the maypole to slip jigs, singing about the real England of steamships and the press gang and the first world war! Nice kid though and very talented!


http://www.sunjaybrayne.com/apps/videos/videos/show/14041950-one-scotch-one-bourbon-one-beer

Sunjay has been booked for next years Wessex Folk Festival. Don't miss it - the first weekend of June next year in Weymouth.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 10:08 AM

... and Joanne Shaw Taylor [now early to mid 20's]

Young Brit female blues guitarist/singer gaining serious respect both sides of the Atlantic


http://www.pigs-ear.biz/jst/bio.html


.. well my Mrs quite likes her....


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 11:38 AM

There are two or three threads now going on the topics of "Is it all right for _________s to play the music of _________s?"

We never used to worry about this stuff. We sang and played music from all over the world.

I suspect all this PC soul-searching is just another form of the Great You-Shut-Up. There is a strong current of repression in our culture, a current which wants normal, everyday people not to play music, not to sing, not even to whistle a tune. We're supposed to buy our music instead, from approved commercial sources.

Also, I've been thinking about bullies lately. I grew up with a bully who morphed from a mean, sick boy to a sanctimonous, moralizing old man. I bet this is the normal thing for bullies. As the kid gets older, he realizes that society, the army, and the cops are not going to put up with cruelty, so he reverts to claiming the high moral ground in order to control others.

I think the people who act so concerned about the minorities really just want us to stop singing so THEY can be center stage. (I intend to keep singing the blues whenever the mood strikes me.)


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: olddude
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 11:43 AM

Leeneia
well said my friend, very well said


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 12:22 PM

Leeneia - exactly what I've said over and over again: "Have what you will - and pay for it". In music terms: Sing or play what the devil you want to - and, whatever the reaction, stick to the music you like.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 01:15 PM

200, SORRY LEADFINGERS


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 11:19 PM

Thanks, Olddude and Will.

Here's a little story about me and the blues. When I was a kid, I used to spend time at our dining-room table while my mother ironed clothes. I'd do homework or match socks, and we'd both listen to the radio.

One day they played a record of a woman singing "The Blues in the Night." It must have been a request, because it was not the kind of thing I usually heard.

My mama done told me
when I was in pigtails,
a man is a two-face
a worrisome thing
he'll cause you to sing
the blues in the night...

My mother gave a grunt of disapproval at the language. But then the woman began to sing a new melody in a voice of dark velvet, and I sat transfixed as her music made me picture bleak Chicago landscapes - railroad tracks, wooden water towers, and run-down houses. all dark against a sunset.

We listened silently together, each in our own world. It was beautiful.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 03:18 AM

"Those songs are out of the box now and anyone can try them out." Hope you understood, Leeneia, that I meant that as a good thing, not as "PC soul searching", to quote ya...


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 06:31 AM

The only singers that I have ever found embarrassing are those that could not sing in tune, or sang in tune but out of pitch with the guitar quarter tone sharp, or those that changed key during songs, generally unaccompanied songs.
I find it embarrassing to watch singers who are booked and presumably paid to perform at festivals,reading their lyrics[I make an exception for elderly performers].


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:38 AM

Dick Miles wrote:-
"I find it embarrassing to watch singers who are booked and presumably paid to perform at festivals,reading their lyrics."


I would say that you do not go far enough. I do not think that it is not even good enough for floor singers to read lyrics in clubs where people have paid to get into an event. I certainly do not encourage people who come along to "read us a song". OK The Copper Family come and hold their song books in front of them, but that is something of an affectation... some of the older members of the family have been singing these songs since 1790 as it says in Bob's book.
And elderly performers... well, young Bob Copper used to sing some of the songs that he had collected, Bold Princess Royal, Sheffield Park etc. without any access to written aids, and he was note and word perfect in his late eighties. Then John would say, "I think we'll sing The Banks of Claudy now" and Bob would say, "Oh right!", take out his glasses and peer at the song book - Yea, Bob, you don't know that words of that one, do you?

As for some of our more elderly performers. There was Will Atkinson; his mouth-organ playing was spot on in every aspect the last time that we booked him. I believe that he was 93 at the time.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:45 AM

I do not think that it is not even good enough for floor singers to read lyrics....

Oh come on, Vic, for goodness sake - double negatives! What you meant to write was:-

I do not think that it is even good enough.... etc.etc.

Thank goodness that Dick has written:-
[I make an exception for elderly Mudcat posters].


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:01 AM

Vic,I tend to agree with you.
I believe that generally speaking performers reading words are not getting into the song,if someone was a professional actor and used to reading lines and being able to interpret them that could possibly be different, they have acquired a skill, which most floor singers do not possess.
I have only ever seen one floor singer reading her words and making a good job of the song,that was a girl at Robin Hoods Bay Folk Club singing the Whitby Whaler.
However in the last year I did see one elderly professional Accordion player and singer,he was reading his music, he still performed really well and he was good as he was in 1961.
So I suppose there are always exceptions


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 10:47 AM

Hi, Spleen Cringe.

Yes, I understood what you mean. Once a song's 'out of the box,' it's available to all.

I agree.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 11:34 AM

Excellent! To misquote - "sing what you want - that's the law and the whole of the law"...


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 11:42 AM

.. and at risk of being pedantic..

I'll add - of equal validity;

"Don't sing what you feel uncomfortable with"

[sometimes quite awkward in a Band environment]


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: Tootler
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 11:52 AM

As the late John Peel said - people were always telling me. BB King is the real thing - much better than Clapton. I listened to BB King. I liked him, but what Clapton does is different to the Americans. I prefer it.

I remember seeing BB King interviewed on TV a few years back and it was very obvious that he had a great deal of respect for Eric Clapton.

I like your view that Clapton and BB King are different, not that one is necessarily better than the other. Whether one is "better" is a matter of personal preference. That was something I felt when I was briefly reading the comparison of the two versions of Sugar Babe just now. (having ignored this thread after a look early on) The two versions were different but which was "better" was purely a matter of personal taste. For some reason there seems to be a reluctance to acknowledge that two things can be different without one necessarily being better than the other.


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Subject: RE: an embarassment as a blues singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 12:27 PM

absolutely, a great example is reynardine,two versions one sung by june tabor the other by anne briggs ,both equally good but different.


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