Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Writing folk music reviews

The Sandman 19 Jul 11 - 01:11 PM
Girl Friday 19 Jul 11 - 01:52 PM
olddude 19 Jul 11 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Jul 11 - 02:01 PM
DrugCrazed 19 Jul 11 - 02:02 PM
DrugCrazed 19 Jul 11 - 02:08 PM
glueman 19 Jul 11 - 02:19 PM
C. Ham 19 Jul 11 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,livelylass 19 Jul 11 - 02:32 PM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 11 - 02:34 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jul 11 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,harumph 19 Jul 11 - 02:47 PM
Spleen Cringe 19 Jul 11 - 03:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jul 11 - 03:20 PM
Continuity Jones 19 Jul 11 - 03:21 PM
Spleen Cringe 19 Jul 11 - 03:26 PM
Phil Cooper 19 Jul 11 - 03:36 PM
glueman 19 Jul 11 - 03:37 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jul 11 - 03:41 PM
Continuity Jones 19 Jul 11 - 03:57 PM
Continuity Jones 19 Jul 11 - 04:03 PM
glueman 19 Jul 11 - 04:14 PM
Continuity Jones 19 Jul 11 - 04:20 PM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 11 - 04:28 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jul 11 - 04:46 PM
MGM·Lion 19 Jul 11 - 04:51 PM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 11 - 05:06 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jul 11 - 05:28 PM
dick greenhaus 19 Jul 11 - 05:34 PM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 11 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,livelylass 19 Jul 11 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,livelylass 19 Jul 11 - 06:01 PM
Spleen Cringe 19 Jul 11 - 06:16 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jul 11 - 06:17 PM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 11 - 06:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jul 11 - 06:50 PM
johncharles 19 Jul 11 - 07:04 PM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 11 - 07:08 PM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 11 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,FloraG 20 Jul 11 - 02:57 AM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 03:27 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Jul 11 - 03:36 AM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 03:48 AM
Spleen Cringe 20 Jul 11 - 04:41 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Jul 11 - 04:46 AM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 05:02 AM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 05:03 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Jul 11 - 05:08 AM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 05:11 AM
stallion 20 Jul 11 - 05:12 AM
Spleen Cringe 20 Jul 11 - 05:15 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Jul 11 - 05:20 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Jul 11 - 05:25 AM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 05:34 AM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 06:00 AM
theleveller 20 Jul 11 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,FloraG 20 Jul 11 - 07:13 AM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 07:24 AM
theleveller 20 Jul 11 - 07:28 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Jul 11 - 07:28 AM
Spleen Cringe 20 Jul 11 - 07:35 AM
The Sandman 20 Jul 11 - 07:54 AM
theleveller 20 Jul 11 - 08:13 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Jul 11 - 08:23 AM
johncharles 20 Jul 11 - 08:35 AM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 08:39 AM
theleveller 20 Jul 11 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Vivienne 20 Jul 11 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,FloraG 20 Jul 11 - 09:40 AM
Will Fly 20 Jul 11 - 09:53 AM
Mo the caller 20 Jul 11 - 10:35 AM
GUEST 20 Jul 11 - 10:36 AM
Spleen Cringe 20 Jul 11 - 10:37 AM
Will Fly 20 Jul 11 - 10:41 AM
johncharles 20 Jul 11 - 11:20 AM
The Sandman 20 Jul 11 - 11:21 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Jul 11 - 11:40 AM
The Sandman 20 Jul 11 - 11:48 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Jul 11 - 11:52 AM
The Sandman 20 Jul 11 - 11:54 AM
johncharles 20 Jul 11 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,FloraG 20 Jul 11 - 12:28 PM
Vic Smith 20 Jul 11 - 12:33 PM
Banjiman 20 Jul 11 - 12:47 PM
Vic Smith 20 Jul 11 - 12:58 PM
Banjiman 20 Jul 11 - 12:59 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Jul 11 - 01:00 PM
Shantyfreak 20 Jul 11 - 01:03 PM
The Sandman 20 Jul 11 - 01:14 PM
The Sandman 20 Jul 11 - 01:27 PM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 01:32 PM
johncharles 20 Jul 11 - 01:51 PM
Vic Smith 20 Jul 11 - 03:13 PM
johncharles 20 Jul 11 - 03:21 PM
MGM·Lion 20 Jul 11 - 03:51 PM
glueman 20 Jul 11 - 04:06 PM
Banjiman 20 Jul 11 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Mr Punch 20 Jul 11 - 08:37 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jul 11 - 03:06 AM
Continuity Jones 21 Jul 11 - 03:12 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jul 11 - 03:22 AM
GUEST,FloraG 21 Jul 11 - 03:38 AM
theleveller 21 Jul 11 - 03:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jul 11 - 03:52 AM
glueman 21 Jul 11 - 04:26 AM
Colin Randall 21 Jul 11 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,FloraG 22 Jul 11 - 05:50 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 11 - 06:22 AM
theleveller 22 Jul 11 - 06:31 AM
Colin Randall 22 Jul 11 - 07:10 AM
Rain Dog 22 Jul 11 - 07:20 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 11 - 08:08 AM
Dave Sutherland 22 Jul 11 - 08:34 AM
johncharles 22 Jul 11 - 08:37 AM
johncharles 22 Jul 11 - 08:57 AM
Continuity Jones 22 Jul 11 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,C. Ham 22 Jul 11 - 09:56 AM
Vic Smith 28 Aug 11 - 10:09 AM
GUEST 28 Aug 11 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,Colin Randall 28 Aug 11 - 10:28 AM
The Sandman 28 Aug 11 - 11:59 AM
GUEST 28 Aug 11 - 12:42 PM
The Sandman 28 Aug 11 - 12:53 PM
Stringsinger 28 Aug 11 - 06:25 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 01:11 PM

I would be interested in other peoples opinions as to guidelines.
Here is my opinion.
1.Explain what category of Folk music, e.g, Traditional American, Contemporary English Self composed in a traditional style, or whatever.
2. Mention instrumentation.
3. Do not make derogatory or smart arse comments without qualifying or explaining THE COMMENT, such as this LP is Only fit to use as a flower pot,or agit prop my arse., or I tried not to let it wash over me but it did.
4.Give people information in an objective way as you possibly can .
5. Do not agree to do a review, if you have a personal dislike of the artist.
6. Remember that your love of music, and that promotion of folk roots music,is more important than anything else, including writing purple prose,OR personality clashes.
7. When you have written the review, put yourself in the position of the person who you are reviewing,and imagine how it must feel, to have your music rubbished.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Girl Friday
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 01:52 PM

All of the above plus possibly:

8. Keep it brief but interesting


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: olddude
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 01:56 PM

sounds like a fair assessment to me


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:01 PM

Like I used to tell O & A levels students - half the battle is learning to love the thing; only then can you write critically...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:02 PM

This is how I work through my reviews (granted it's game reviews, but transferable skills and all that).
  • Someone will like anything. So, you should be finding that person
  • Putting a review score on means that there are idiots who will look at the score and go "WHAT!? I can't believe that it got so high, obviously the reviewer was bought off/so low, the reviewer doesn't know what he's talking about"
  • If people want to know what it sounds like, then they'll listen to it somehow. Your job is to say what you did and didn't enjoy and say why.

I have more, but it's easier to remember them when I'm shouting at writers for not doing it properly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:08 PM

I say shouting, I mean...giving helpful advice. Yes. Totally.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:19 PM

Judge nothing for twenty years, better yet fifty. Music I hated with a vengeance in 1980 I enjoy now and vice versa. Even things I still like I do so for entirely different reasons. Most reviews are Onanism and not to be taken seriously and nor are their writers. Since music dropped large scale patronage for the public purse, who can say what is 'good' anyway?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: C. Ham
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:29 PM

As with anything, I would suggest studying the masters. Three masters of the folk music review that I, a patron of the folk music arts, trust implicitly are Mike Regenstreif, Scott Alarik and Elijah Wald.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:32 PM

"Most reviews are Onanism and not to be taken seriously and nor are their writers."

I do find reviews where you can see the writer reading the piece back to themselves, all the while inserting all the right pauses, wry eyebrow positions, and smug end of line snickers, thoroughly draining. Extra points deducted for gratuitously wanky use of obscure multi-syllabled words. Not that I dislike words with more than two syllables, long obscure words judiciously applied in the right context can be wonderfully appropriate and enjoyable - like seasoning a sentence.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:34 PM

This all seems way off base. This article on the Rebecca Black phenomenon gets nearer the mark:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14190712

Or as Liberace put it after getting a bad review, "I cried all the way to the bank".

The conception that good reviews make reputations and bad ones break them was probably never very accurate and it certainly isn't now. As far as a media publisher is concerned, reviews are an entertainment product. The reviewer's primary function is to keep the reader turning the pages or clicking onto the next screen. It matters not at all whether the review is positive, negative, truthful or even sincere. It DOES matter whether the writing is good.

It would probably help if all reviews were of imaginary recordings and performances, like those stories by Borges and Lem that review imaginary books.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:35 PM

Wasn't always so Glueman, old boy.

The reviews of jazz records in Melody Maker by Max Jones were a weekly delight, and education. You had the feeling you were meeting with someone who was educated, warm, witty and very enthusiastic.

What do you get from Froots. 'I know more than you and i'm REALLY clever....' (yawn)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,harumph
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:47 PM

You don't actually read fRoots, do you, Al?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:00 PM

Taking Dick's list one-by-one, in my very humble opinion:

1. Most music magazines - whether the biggies like Mojo and Uncut or specialist ones like R2 - tend to do this anyway. A good reviewer will usually make the type of music apparent in the body of the review. Sometimes the remit of the magazine is a clue. You can't get too specific about genres or it will lead to rows on Mudcat ;-)

2. Again, most reviewers do this. I find as a reader it's better when they weave this into a well written piece of prose rather than have a list of instruments. Making lists is not part of a reviewer's job if they're doing it properly.

3. I think that you're setting up a straw man. Read virtually any music paper and most reviews are overwhelmingly positive or neutral or somewhere in between.The poor reviews are in a minority, and in most cases the reviewer will be at pains to explain why they have given a bad review. The bad old days of The NME viciously trashing records is largely over.

4. Why? I want to know how it made the reviewer feel. If it moved them. If it touched their soul. I don't want objectivity - in any case everyone's individual experience of a piece of music is personal to them. Reviewers are not somehow exempt from this and neither should they be. The reviewer's job is no more to be objective than it is my job when listening to a piece of music.

5. Fair enough. Though a good reviewer should be able to review what they are listening to rather than their own opinions about the artist. Of course, there will always be exceptions to this, but I won't list 'em...

6. I think for most reviewers the love of the music they are reviewing is a given. That's why for the sake of the music they should always try to be honest about how they react to a piece of music. If they no longer enjoy it, it's definitely time to hang up the typewriter. I don't think personality clashes is an issue for the vast majority of reviewers - and one person's purple prose is another person's beautifully written vignette. I want good writing and an understanding and knowledge of the genres the reviewer is covering above all else. Never underestimate the importance of good writing - it's as important to a writer as good playing or singing is to a musician. and just as musicians probably don't like others telling them how to do their jobs, neither do writers. However, the individuals in both groups have put themselves on a public stage, so people will have opinions about how they do what they do.

7. Most reviewers don't have to do this most of the time, because most reviewers don't rubbish other people's work most of the time. The problem with putting yourself in the other person's shoes is that it may lead to dishonesty about what the reviewer thought about the music under review for fear of offending. And one person's mediocre review is another person's deathly insult, so again it's all subjective.

Personally, I get almost as much pleasure out of good music writing as I do out of good music. When musicians start laying down the law about what writers should and shouldn't do, it's a slippery slope towards poor quality writing. Luckily most writers won't take any notice and will continue to do what they do to the best of their ability.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:20 PM

I've made the odd attempt.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:21 PM

Well, I think that if a CD is sent to a reviewer and said reviewer doesn't like the CD, he or she should say so. That means, when I read a review they do the following week when they DO like something, I know that they'll mean what they say. Also by following that path, as a reader one gets to know and trust (or not) different reviewers. For example, I rate Colin Irwin as a reviewer, but err away from Ian Anderson's likes as they tend to be more polished than my own preference. Point being though, as they are free to tell the truth, I can trust and act upon said reviews if I feel motivated to do so.

I disagree with the 'always find a positive in everything' line. I think if someone is reviewing a CD and finds it a stinker, they should have the right to say so. Why say "this cd is terrible but the man has nice hair and a taste in jumpers I admire"? It's just patronising nonsense. There's so much terrible music out there, I am pleased when someone shoots from the hip and says so.

And I've been shot from the hip many times! If they say something I agree with, that's fine - I agree. If they something I disagree with, I disagree, simple as that. If you send your CDs out to review, you must expect that every now and then someone will review it who thinks you're a hopeless hapless bum.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:26 PM

Well said Mr Jones!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:36 PM

Back when I wrote reviews for Come For To Sing Magazine, I tried to see if I got the point of an album, if I didn't like it. If I couldn't get what the artist was trying to do, then I wasn't qualified to write a review. Someone else should. That's not to say that I was always positive in the reviews. I did find it a bit awkward when I started performing more when I ran into artists who I'd written some negative things about.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:37 PM

What has to be recognised is a reviewer is generally hired to reinforce the prejudices of the majority of a magazine's readers. If a reviewer has a dislike of hairy men in tight clothing singing falsetto between virtuoso electric guitar solos, he probably wouldn't last long as a rock journalist. It's horses for courses and there's no nag with universal appeal.

The problem is a lot of contemporary recordings, especially in the folk market, are what used to be called vanity publishing before the recorded music industry rolled up its toes and necessarily made almost all records vanity products. Should such records be judged by the same standards as those made in six months at a studio somewhere sunny with an expense account? I would suggest not, homespun artefacts are what might be called narrowcast - hoping to appeal to a sufficiently large majority of a very small market indeed to make their manufacture worthwhile. This inevitably leads to a high risk of such output not matching the lofty, even catholic tastes of the reviewer and to be taken by all parties with a huge pinch of salt.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:41 PM

Well sure CJ. We didn't get where we are today by footling about with feelings of humanity.

I guess I spent too long gigging Northern clubs, where every insult to the turn that night was savoured like good fart. And I think anyone who writes a review of Dick Miles without saying that he is talented and skilful is really a bit of a turd.

Nothing wrong with that Turds have their place in the eco-system. Reviewing for froots. Well....maybe thats a right turd in the right place.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 03:57 PM

You don't actually read fRoots, do you, Al?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:03 PM

Surely a review should have the ability to say Good or Bad? Or else it's not a review at all. It's a sham.

It's nothing to do with feelings of humanity. But if it was, I think it's far more humane to put a dog down if it's in terrible old shape. There's a lot of music out there which is in terrible old shape. These people sometimes need to be told they're terrible or they'll end up on Britain's Got Talent, having been mollycoddled and lied to all their lives and end up looking like complete eejits live on TV as they have no actual gift for music that lifts them above merely average - and that's if they're lucky.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:14 PM

But what CJ, is good music? The overwhelming majority of the population would find my love of exceedingly primitive, dissonant and plain weird sounds freakish, while I think most of their well sung, splendidly performed, lovingly produced music derivative and often mawkish. The best/worst I could offer as a reviewer is 'nice if you like that sort of thing'. Every reviewer is prejudiced, it's up to them to underline their predispositions and not hide them beneath everyman credentials and childish put-downs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:20 PM

Yes I agree glueman that one man's great is another man's gash, but that's my partly my point - if reviewers are allowed to say Gash then I believe them more when they say Great. I'm not saying reviewers have to be nasty, of course not, all I ask for is honesty.

But if all reviewers are allowed to say is Great, then, well what's the point? Other than for factual information. Well, I suppose that has it's place, but it's hardly a review, is it? It's a phone book.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:28 PM

anyone who writes a review of Dick Miles without saying that he is talented and skilful is really a bit of a turd.

Rather beside the point, if you're really trying to help people decide whether or not to listen to him. There are lots of talented and skilful performers I have no interest in hearing and lots of talentless bunglers who I'd go a long way to see.

Oasis built a huge career out of not having any discernible talent or originality. People found the idea of a bunch of shambolic Beatles impersonators with punkish attitude enormously appealing. Lots of reviewers pointed out their incompetence, and were deservedly ignored.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:46 PM

'Oasis built a huge career out of not having any discernible talent or originality'

the authentic voice of folk! You should take a subscription out to Froots. You'll be amongst friends.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:51 PM

As a longtime practising and professional [I did get paid for it] reviewer of theatre & folk music, I read this thread with interest but do not propose to contribute directly as I would not carry conviction as an objective commentator. Will just say that I have always tried where possible to be positive rather than negative.

I would, however, just like to ask Jack: how would you justify that "deservedly" in the last sentence of previous post? In what way did reviewers who, you appear to agree, were just doing their jobs in pointing out the shortcomings in the music they were reviewing, "deserve" to be ignored?

~Michael~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 05:06 PM

In what way did reviewers who, you appear to agree, were just doing their jobs in pointing out the shortcomings in the music they were reviewing, "deserve" to be ignored?

Because those shortcomings were irrelevant to the people Oasis were speaking to.

Rock and pop journalism can be ickily self-serving, but it does usually get the concept that what the punters identify with isn't technical excellence for its own sake.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 05:28 PM

Oh yeh! and Sam Larner was a technically excellent singer.

Oh!.........(spotaneously combust!)

not like these plebby pop fans. Let's face it, darling! We're just inherently middle class and superior to everybody. Two cds of complete bollocks with every issue.

Have you heard satirical songs in the native Nigerian dialect? (The lyrics are so telling!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 05:34 PM

Reviews, as I've said before are necessarily subjective.THey're valuable if you are familiar with the reviewer's past likes and dislikes.


And please, please, never use the word great in a review.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 05:47 PM

Did anybody here claim Larner was virtuoso singer?

It wasn't relevant to why people appreciated him.

If all a performer can claim is technical excellence you know they're headed for oblivion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 05:58 PM

"If all a performer can claim is technical excellence you know they're headed for oblivion."

Or Autotune..


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 06:01 PM

Doh, misread that.

As for (supposed, hard to know as they lip synch apparently) technical ability over art, there is Celtic Women of course.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 06:16 PM

You clearly have a problem with African pop, Al. What's that all about?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 06:17 PM

No but you revere Larner, and you use technical imperfgections as a reason to abuse Oasis.

Why the hell am I defending Oasis. Well they name the Wolfetones as one one of their main influences.

Like Swagger Jagger (a variant of my darling Clementine) - they're a sort of folk. A variant of folk.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 06:39 PM

Spleen Cringe didn't bring Oasis up, I did. And if I was abusing anybody it was the reviewers who found fault with them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 06:50 PM

Sorry JC. I thought that saying they didn't have talent or originality was abuse.

You obviously thought it was a fair assessment.

Just imagine someone was saying that about you - abuse, or fair comment?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: johncharles
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 07:04 PM

I tend to agree with continuity Jones. If all reviews were positive we would all be turning professional and making a living singing songs.
The reality is that all paid artists are subject to some form of criticism. By and large folk artists get off fairly lightly. Produce a west end musical which gets bad reviews and the cast will be looking for new jobs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 07:08 PM

You seem to share Dick Miles's delusions about how reviewing works.

The model you appear to have in mind is a meritocratic one based on the school examination system as implemented by the Victorian bourgeoisie. The reviewer gets to rank their targets in order according to degree of genius, and their readers are intended to obediently follow these rankings in deciding which concerts to go to or recordings to buy. In the utopian ideal, the reviewer thus gets to determine the market share of each of the acts they write about.

You only have describe that model explicitly enough to see it's delusional, and people who read reviews have already done that. They read the reviews for their literary value, not to be told who's "talented" or "original". For most of the music people listen to, originality counts for about as much as it does in bellringing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 07:19 PM

The final paragraph of that BBC article is to the point:

"There are simply acceptable targets for the hatred people carry around every day," says Rob Manuel, co-founder of the pop culture website b3ta.com. Unfortunate musicians and pop icons fall into that category.

Julie Burchill's career was entirely about suggesting juicy targets for people to project their resentments on. Other icons get adulation for reasons which have just as little to do with their actual work - the idea of "Gaelic rock band" floated Run Rig on a steamcloud of ideology, their act was irrelevant.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 02:57 AM

Does anybody actually read reviews?
FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 03:27 AM

"Does anybody actually read reviews?"

No, but then I don't watch TV or take a newspaper and my radio listening is limited to a few choice items each month. It's an informational Galapagos but it suits me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 03:36 AM

Flora didn't ask about you, Glueman: she asked about "anybody". Bit egocentric response of yours?, LoL!

The answer is, yes: I have had much comeback from many readers about mine over the 40+ years I have been writing them.

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 03:48 AM

My answer is still no. Those of us who know what we like and even why we like it are a greater number than those who buy, or don't buy recordings based on the views of one (often egocentric) reviewer. If you think about it seriously evaluating a record, placing it in some abstract realm of quality linked to the reader's preconceptions, is a bizarre thing to do. It's all about good taste, and that's a very fleeting fashion indeed.
Gimme bad taste every time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 04:41 AM

I take it you haven't read much music writing in a long time, Gluey, if you're working on the assumption that all reviewers are essentially wannabe me-me-me columnists like Julie Burchill, who appear to have used a particular take on music journalism as a leg-up to bigger and better things. You couldn't possibly have the same opinion of (to stick for a moment to journalists who concentrate on folk music) Colin Irwin, Robin Denslow, Neil Spencer, Oz Hardwick, Paul Davenport, Rob Hughes, Raymond Greenoaken, Vic Smith or Sophie Parkes - to name a few, just off the top of my head. These are writers who clearly know their chosen area and have managed to combine this with an enjoyable writing style. Also, as folk music reviwers, they can hardly be accused of pandering to some artificially constructed notion of good taste or fleeting fashion.

I do read reviews, and whilst I rarely buy something purely on the basis of a review, I often check stuff out when a reviewer whose taste and judgement I tend to trust says it is worth listening to. And I've heard some fabalous music as a result. Then again, I'm a voracious reader anyway, so maybe I'm more that way inclined. I'd also say there's so much music out there, that without people whose job it is to filter, signpost and suggest (not gatekeep) you could easily get lost in a morass of grot searching for the diamonds.

Al, it is quite possible to like traditional music, West African pop and 60s inspired rock at the same time without imploding. I lived to tell the tale and that's just scratching at the surface of my record collection. Setting, say, Oasis against African music, as if its only possible to like one or the other, with the implication that one is good (i.e. working class, populist) and the other is bad (i.e. middle class, elitist) is in my opinion arrant nonsense. Personally, I can only take so much Oasis, because after a while I feel like I'm being aurally bludgeoned to death, particularly by Liam's foghorn of a voice, but there are plenty of other groups who nod heavily in the direction of the same influences I could listen to all day. It's all about having wide open ears... and not letting your beliefs about the sorts of other people you think might like a particular artist get in the way of taking the music on face value.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 04:46 AM

Glueman ~~ Your second answer is even stupider than your first; in your pertincious insistence on equating yourself with "anybody", and hence, by implication, with "everybody". Who the hell do you think cares what Glueman's egotistical take on the question is?

Conceited pillock!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:02 AM

Spleen, I admit my recent exposure to the reviewer's role is limited to an occasional listen to CD review on Radio 3, however all reviews presuppose a model listener, or even that all listeners will like the same sort of thing. One person's florid fiddle playing is another's 'unique signature' and both are subject to the whims of fashion. Does any review stand up to a thirty year shelf life, or are all a glimpse from a subjective moment in time? If it's the latter I hope the reviewer would underscore his judgements with the writing in sand they inevitably are.

The point you make about trusting a reviewer and knowing his tastes is a fair one but how many reviews find space to include the judgement of a crusty old traddie, folk-rock psychedelicist, new wave revisionist for the same recording? Going back to the point about popular music papers in the late 1970s there was a Year Zero new broom that valorised anything contemporary and rejected the old almost completely (a few hippies like Neil Young slipped through the net). As the newbies revealed their sources judgements began to soften on older styles and today we'd think it ridiculous (one would hope)to judge something on whether it fit the prevailing fashion. To stand in public judgement on someone else's output is an onerous task and one doomed to failure. When someone points out, as so often happens, that the quirky album nobody got at the time is the best thing they ever did twenty years later, it's the reviewer, not the artist who'll have egg on his/her face.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:03 AM

"Conceited pillock!"

There speaks a reviewer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:08 AM

Indeed ~~ a conclusive summary of the preceding reasoned evaluation: just what a good review does, dontcha-know...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:11 AM

Fine. Remind me when your next review comes out and I'll get the chisels out to immortalise your words in something stronger than tomorrow's bog paper.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: stallion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:12 AM

There is a pub performer packing the punters in, and for some time I might add, who when I saw him ten years ago was lipsinking and playing air guitar (only with a guitar) to backing tapes. I was astonished to find out a couple of weeks ago that he is still packing them in although i was assured he now actually sings with the aid of a box of tricks that corrects the pitch and, in the words of my sister "he puts on a really good show" Whilst I am singularly unimpressed by his musical inabilities I have to hand it to him for his entertainment, people travel miles to catch his act, not my cup of tea but I am in the minority!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:15 AM

"A crusty old traddie, folk-rock psychedelicist, new wave revisionist"

Is that you or me you're talking about? Sounds like me... I'd suggest Rob Young (who I mistakenly referred to as Rob Hughes above) kind of fits the bill. With a side order of Simon Reynolds.

I agree with much of what you say in your last post, by the way. But equally, there are albums that were 'critically acclaimed' at the time and sold bugger all copies, only to be rediscovered by later generations. I tend to think that most reviewers exist somewhere between ploughing their own furrow, following the zeitgeist and following the editorial policies of their employers. A few of them may think that they create the zeitgeist, but few actually do. The days of journalistic excess, where NME, Sounds and Melody Maker music writers created new fads and fashions every other week, are thankfully largely over. It still happens on a smaller level, though. Someone from the Wire (possibly Simon Reynolds) used the term 'hauntological' to describe the music of The Belbury Poly and The Advisory Circle. For a while the term was used in what seemed like every other review the Wire carried...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:20 AM

Glueman ~ my work is all online theatre reviews for a Renaissance literature academic journal these days: google

http://extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/15-3/myerrev.htm

& good luck with your project. If you feel it worth printing it out for the purpose you rubricate, feel free!

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:25 AM

... but, if I might venture to criticise the project: you will find Andrex far more amenable & fit-for-purpose...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 05:34 AM

Wotever. Hope the guru racket keeps paying out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 06:00 AM

Spleen, it all comes back to 'dare to be bad' which should be branded on every musician's backside. If a band or individual aren't experimenting they're dealing in mass production. If a reviewer can accommodate the superficially bad and know when it's potentially brilliant, good luck to him. If not he's another cog in the wheels of commerce.

Regarding the thread about someone being an 'embarrassment' of a blues player - what does that mean? It's pejorative nonsense thrown by a reviewer to make himself feel better about his choices. Stephen Fry has an anecdote about reviewers at the pearly gates which begins, 'And why should you be allowed to stay?' 'I told everyone where they were going wrong.', Say that again..'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: theleveller
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 06:07 AM

I don't read many reviews but what I do find helpful are the recommendations of people on Mudcat and the reviews posted on sites like Amazon. But I would seldom, if ever, buy a CD without sampling it first. After all, only I know what I like.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 07:13 AM

I only asked because I thought reviews might be a bit out of date with the ease of hearing a sample of music on the net. Could better use be made of the space in the mags?
eg list of new CDs + thier access info on web.
FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 07:24 AM

I agree Flora G. As music becomes more targeted reviews are increasingly democratic, through blogs, Amazon, Facebook, etc. We take them or leave them but we're not paying for an individual's 'discernment' which is always informed by their taste and imagination, or lack of it.

The recording industry many of us grew up with was a top-down affair and future models will, IMO, be more attuned to folk and its processes. Fewer people will get stupidly rich from the proceeds but I won't mourn its excesses or self-indulence.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: theleveller
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 07:28 AM

I think you make a good point, Flora. I do like the reviews in Acoustic magazine which has maybe 20 new CDs per edition with a short critique/description of each. Personally, I think the role of the reviewer (better word than critic?) should be to alert me to things that I might like, rather than say whether I should like them or not.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 07:28 AM

Flora G ~~ Always been critics: always will; internet access will no more drive them out thatn the predicted demise of the theatre occured when film came along; nor was the film killed by tv or dvd or whatever ...

Note this first stanza-and-a-half from Kipling's The Conundrum of the Workshops:-

When the flush of a newborn sun fell first on Eden's green and gold,        
Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mould;        
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,        
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves: "It's pretty, but is it Art?"        

Wherefore he called to his wife and fled to fashion his work anew—                 
The first of his race who cared a fig for the first, most dread review

~Michael~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 07:35 AM

Opinion has always been interesting - it brings in a human element. It would be a shame to replace it with a list of links and neutral information. Isn't that just another example of dumbing down? And I reckon it's pretty hard to get excited about yet more lists - they are becoming the cornerstone of contemporary culture and are yet another example of replacing creativity and imagination with function. I also think the words 'critic' and 'reviewer' are interchangeable. Its a fallacy that all criticism is negative.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 07:54 AM

Spleen, nothing wrong with negative comments if they are qualified and explained[ eg vocal mannerisms], The SKILL of a good critic, is to let people know what is on the cd, instrumentation songs etc, and to give an opinion which is then explained., and to write in an interesting manner, this does not mean that the critic has to be insulting.
This album is crap, is not good enough.
For example the review of my gig at Readifolk was just bad reviewing, because it told us nothing about the gig, compare it to the other reviews on the same news letter, which mention the songs sang etc etc


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: theleveller
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 08:13 AM

I think it was dear old Oscar who said something to the effect that it is the job of the critic to educate the public and it is the job of the artist to educate the critic. I think this is especially relevant with folk music, which ranges from the very traditional to the outrageously avant garde. It takes a very broad mind to do justice to both extremes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 08:23 AM

===reviews are increasingly democratic, through blogs, Amazon, Facebook, etc===

Nothing 'democratic' about proper criticism.

A proper review is written by a specialist critic, commissioned by a professional editor of a media outlet, print, visual, online, but properly established, who knows he can rely on the critic's knowledge of the field under consideration and ability to communicate his therefore valid opinions.

This is not the same as expressing unedited opinion on an open forum or chatroom or blog. The person who does that no more becomes a 'critic', in any meaningful sense, than ordering a scalpel online from Swann Morton would make him a surgeon.

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: johncharles
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 08:35 AM

The readifolk review was 200 words of esentially subjective comment. It clearly says something about the subjective view of the gig from the point of view of two audience members.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 08:39 AM

"The person who does that no more becomes a 'critic', in any meaningful sense, than ordering a scalpel online from Swann Morton would make him a surgeon".

Let's hope your professional reviews contain more meaningful analogies and less self importance.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: theleveller
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 09:24 AM

Anyone who has any degree of critical faculty is a critic. In fact, every consumer is a critic. Just as we have professional and amateur musicians, sportspeople, actors or whatever, we have professional and amateur critics. At their best, professional critics should bring a different dimension of specific insight to bear and their reviews should be entertaining as well as informed. But to equate a critic with a brain surgeon is nonsense and to imply that unless one is paid to give an opinion it has no value is downright arrogance. Many of the reviews one finds at Amazon or specific review sites – whether they be for music, books or electric toasters – can be erudite, informed and useful. Both have a place and it is up to the reader to use his or her critical faculties to judge how much credence they give to the critic.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,Vivienne
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 09:27 AM

Personally I always read reviews, in FRoots, Living Tradition, R2 etc, at least for the genres I'm interested in. It helps me to find out what's new that I might otherwise have missed. And it doesn't really matter whether the review is favourable or not, since my tastes don't necessarily match the reviewers.

Vivienne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 09:40 AM

I'm not sure I know of anyone whose opinion I would value more than my own in folk music. Faversham folk club has a guest tonight so despite the review on the folk club site I went on his web and listened to the samples. He sounded very nice but he did not lift his fingers while playing the guitar enough so lots of squidgy bits and the songs all sounded the same. I dont think I would enjoy it that much, but he might be much better live.
I'm not sure how a review by someone else could add much, unless someone has seen him live.
FloraG.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 09:53 AM

Hey, hey, Flora G - just had a listen to the said singer/guitarist on the said site, appearing at the said folk club this night... No names, no pack drill, eh?

I wouldn't call the guitar playing squidgy - I'd call it varied, with some gently strummed chords here and some incisive notes there, depending on the song. Very good voice, interesting songs.

There - I've just added a bit more to the sum of our knowledge. Hmmm... this criticism stuff's dead easy, isn't it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Mo the caller
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 10:35 AM

The Leveller said ".....folk music, ...ranges from the very traditional to the outrageously avant garde. It takes a very broad mind to do justice to both extremes."

The sort of review I would find helpful would tell me where the recording was in that spectrum. It might also say whether the reviewer liked 'that kind of thing' and considered it good or bad of it's kind. To say that a style is 'not my taste' is not being negative. If they play out of tune then negative is good.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 10:36 AM

I don't play the guitar - learnt a bit when I had some kids going through GCSE music - but I like the notes to sound clean. To me that means taking your fingers off one note before you put them down on another. I don't like the squidge sound that occurs if you dont.
( different from when its done on purpose as a slide).

You are right Will - a nice voice and some interesting songs. I just think the songs did not vary much - apart from the odd twiddley bit on the gutar. Thats fine for a 2 song slot but I'm not sure its so good when you are doing 30 mins. Its much easier if you play more than one instrument or have someone else with you - you can vary the sound more. I think one of the reasons I like the club is that they usually have a nice variety of floor spots before the main guest so you never really know what to expect.

Still back to the same point. Could a review be better than listening to the web? I'm not sure about this.
FloraG.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 10:37 AM

Pete Morton? Top live performer. Lovely guitarist. Writes some beautiful songs. If you like that sort of thing, you're in for a good night, Florag...

That's not a review, by the way. It's just a recommendation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 10:41 AM

Exactly Esteemed Spleen (or should that be Espleened Steem...?) I was being a little ironic in the "No names, no pack drill" sentence, i.e., why not just say who he is!

No obfuscations in reviews, please.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: johncharles
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:20 AM

http://www.petemorton.com/reviews.swarthmoor.html
Vic Smith and Dave Kidman have good things to say about Pete Morton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:21 AM

here is an example of a well written review.
On my little concertina. Brewhouse music
The songs range from traditional classics like Tam Lin to comic ditties like the title song. In addition there are a number of tunes,predominantly from the standard Irish and Northumbrian repertoire:tunes played for listening rather than for dancing toand good examples of Dicks' fluency and phrasing.
A Hayden duet was used to accompany the song Sitting on Top of The World,the first time the system has been used on a commercial recording.
Probably of most interest from a purely concertina point of view are his varied song accompniments, a model for all those who ask for workshops on this subject at festivals.He supports the tune never dominates, and varies style and dynamics to suit the lyrics- it sounds obvious enough but seems to be rare in practice the timbre of concertina can swamp the voice.It doesn't here; the balance is good, the accompaniment never intrusive but contributing to the whole, not just added in to vary the sound .Anyone who wants to accompany themselves would find this record inspiring and useful as well as enjoyable.Pippa Sandford


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:40 AM

==="The person who does that no more becomes a 'critic', in any meaningful sense, than ordering a scalpel online from Swann Morton would make him a surgeon".

Let's hope your professional reviews contain more meaningful analogies and less self importance.===

Just the sort of thing I mean, glueman. Mere abuse & assertiveness; no sort of intellectual support & backing. Thoroughly amateurish.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:48 AM

Here is a well written review from folk roots .Home Routes Brewhouse BHL9008.Richard Grainger and Dick Miles.
The sleevenotes "strong earthy and vigorous" might be overstating the case just abit but this is none the less quite a decent set with a bit of energy and conviction in there somewhere.The guitar and concertina are used to good complimentary effect on a variety of songs and tunes imparting a tense undertow to Pete Coe's Alimony run and giving their own slant to the rhythm.Whaling and mining still retain their grip on theEnglish folksingers psyche [the latter accorded a three song medley] but Celebrated working man is perhaps unusual in its gentle mockery of a superminer[on the same lines as Martyn Wyndham Read's Shearing in a Bar but more coal fewer sheep.Graingers own composition Farewell to Angus is also noteworthy as a well written and nicely sung lament for a friend over sympathetic concertina backing.Ive not been that enamoured of some previous review material involving these musicians or indeed this label: in the former case a bad dose of folkie mannerisms in the latter a tendency towards the twee.here they give a capable , unpretentious and relatively unmannered performance.My trepidations/pre-judgements were largely unfounded and I enjoyed the record more than I expected to.Nick Beale
However there is one obvious fault with the review, the reviewer digresses to other matters apart from the recording.,previous recordings from these musicians and this label[NOT RELEVANT], rule number one should be stick to what you are reviewing, WHICH IS the recording.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:52 AM

I didn't say it should be paid to have professional validity, leveller; I said it should be commissioned, by an editor who has been appointed because he has the experience and qualifications to know how to edit, as from one he regards as a worthwhile commentator. Anyone can blog or post on a forum ~~ some well, others less well. But to make any sort of career of such activity, one requires to be regularly invited/commissioned to contribute properly considered reviews to a properly authenticated and respected outlet; which The Times, The Guardian, Plays & Players, Folk Review, Early Modern Literary Studies*, Radio 4 - all regularly within my CV - are/were; but Facebook or [with all due respect] Mudcat just are not.

~M~

*I am not paid by that one, for example; but it is a highly prestigious worldwide academic journal of Shakespeare studies, respected thruout the academic community - google

http://extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/15-3/myerrev.htm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 11:54 AM

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,FloraG - PM
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 09:40 AM

I'm not sure I know of anyone whose opinion I would value more than my own in folk music. Faversham folk club has a guest tonight so despite the review on the folk club site I went on his web and listened to the samples. He sounded very nice but he did not lift his fingers while playing the guitar enough so lots of squidgy bits and the songs all sounded the same. I dont think I would enjoy it that much, but he might be much better live.
I'm not sure how a review by someone else could add much, unless someone has seen him live.
Spot on Flora , Your own judgement is best for you, if someone has seen him live, that could be useful if they described what happened at the gig, it is of no use if they waffle on about poetry downstairs, as in the Readifolk review, what is really striking is that all the other artists [kieran halpin bram taylor etc] were all reviewed properly, GIVING DETAILS OF SONGS ETC


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: johncharles
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 12:22 PM

It will be a sad day when reviewers are told how and what to write about performers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 12:28 PM

I think reviews might help on a technical level. I find it annoying when the volume changes a lot between tracks as it does on some Cds. ( not just the dynamics). I think commenting on this might encourage the sound engineers to take a bit more care with a fairly basic thing. Do sound engineers read reviews? I doubt it.

As for the rest, its mostly taste, and I think the web is taking over the knowledge thing and doing it more effectively. I am thinking that if you have a web site its important that the whole style range of what you play is demonstrated, so people like me can't say - it all sounds a bit the same.

Question. Whose opinion do you valuue enough to spend time reading the reviews and then spending £20 on a concert without hearing the artist first? I'm not sure I can think of anyone.

FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 12:33 PM

Could all those who have contributed to this thread thank Dick Miles for the two examples that he has provided of reviews of folk albums in this thread? I'm sure that we are all glad that we know what we are talking about now having seen these.

However, could we make two requests of him?

The first would be to provide something that is a little more recent than the two that he has provided. The two that were provided were both over 20 years old. It would be good to have something a bit more up-to-date so that we could be given an idea of the current state of the art of reviewing folk albums.

The second would be to provide something that does not smack quite so strongly of self-promotion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Banjiman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 12:47 PM

I'll help with that Vic! Recent and I'd say accurate! LoL

“Review of Life, Love & Chocolate (Wendy Arrowsmith) Impressive 3rd CD from North Yorks based Scot brings a new luxuriousness in texture, though it's intelligently considered backdrop is never allowed to obscure Wendy's own commanding singing voice and her consistently strong writing. â€쳌
- Thumbs Up. fRoots

"Life Love & Chocolate Wendy Arrowsmith) is a superbly produced, exquisitely sung album, without doubt one of the most listenable albums I have heard for many a long month. Wendy has excelled herself with this fine collection of songs which not only shows off of her considerable vocal talents and natural musicality, but places her right at the top where she belongs."
â€" Stan Graham , BBC Radio York.

“There’s a quintessential beauty about ‘Life, Love & Chocolate’, the latest album from Wendy Arrowsmith with its mix of traditional and self-penned songs. And should an album touch your soul this year then this is the one. The package combines piercingly pertinent lyrics, beautiful melodies and Wendy’s outstanding voice to produce an album of folk brilliance.â€쳌
â€" Tim Carroll, Folkwords


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 12:58 PM

Thanks for that Banjiman.... thinking about it, though, I really don't know the actual identity of Banjiman. I just hope that it is not Paul Arrowsmith, otherwise I might have to add "uxorious nepotism" to "self-promotion"!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Banjiman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 12:59 PM

Whistles and looks the other way innocently..........


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 01:00 PM

I read reviews. And I judge their worth largely by what I think of the reviewer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Shantyfreak
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 01:03 PM

The only reason I read reviews from strangers is for the facts they contain and not the opinions they offer. I expect a review to praise the subject - that's almost universal - but unless I know the person writing the review I have no knowledge of their truthfulness, taste or tolerance and so their opinions alone rarely move me.
What one person may regard as the best thing since sliced bread may be pure poison to another anyway.
Perhaps the main purpose of reviews is to fill space in various periodicals. If that is so then readability is the key consideration and a reasonable style of writing is better than flowery phrased praises.
Having submitted my first ever CD review today I do hope readers of the periodical concerned will enjoy it and find it useful. Just as I hope you, kind reader, have enjoyed and found this useful.
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 01:14 PM

Vic ,no problem.
here is a more recent review.
which is an example of good reviewing
SARA GREY Sandy Boys.fellside fecd225.
This is her best cd yet. Here we have 15 tracks of songs and tunes from the USA sung and played by Sara joined by her son Kieron Means on guitar and Ben Paley on fiddle and the mouth harp of Mike Whellans.The CD starts with an up beat song Sandy Boys which uses a traditional fiddle tune from Virginia and has a set of words put to it by Sara.
The Goodnight loving trail written by Utah Philips is a gentle and poignant song about growing old.I have always thought that family members' voices blend in a particularly harmonious way and this certainly applies to Sara and Kieron.
Just listen to the unaccompanied East Virginia Blues from Cas Wallins or Resurrection Day where two voices are joined by a lone fiddle accompaniment.My favourite song is Old Paint, a song collected by AlanLomax, Sara sings it solo accompanied only by banjo, it has a complex rhythm that seems to vary with each verse.I could listen to it all day it is mesmerising.
I could end up listing every song on the cd each has something wonderful to offer,but why not go out and buy the CD , There are Child ballads, broadsides fiddle and banjo tunes and songs written by SiKahn.There is something for all here.
This cd comes with Saras wonderfully erudite and informative sleeve notes which give many an anecdote about the sources and collectors of the songs .Highly recommended.Mary Humphreys FEB 2010 Mardles


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 01:27 PM

Why is the Sara Grey review a good review? because it gives detailed info about the recording, it does not digress and talk about other recordings, it informs us as to who the other musicians are and what they play.
It gives the reader details about sleeve notes, It mentions sources of songs.
It also informs us about the choice of material.
Mary,clearly like Sara as a performer, and this comes across in the review.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 01:32 PM

"Just the sort of thing I mean, glueman. Mere abuse & assertiveness; no sort of intellectual support & backing. Thoroughly amateurish."

MGM, without wishing to add to mutual insults by elderly men with nothing better to do with their time that constitutes the business of Mudcart, I offered a personal response to another poster that was in no way contentious to which you replied: "Flora didn't ask about you, Glueman: she asked about "anybody". Bit egocentric response of yours?"

When I followed this up with an explanation you replied: "Glueman ~~ Your second answer is even stupider than your first; in your pertincious insistence on equating yourself with "anybody", and hence, by implication, with "everybody". Who the hell do you think cares what Glueman's egotistical take on the question is? Conceited pillock!"

You then gave some cock and bull opinion about "a proper review is written by a specialist critic, commissioned by a professional editor of a media outlet, print, visual, online, but properly established, who knows he can rely on the critic's knowledge of the field under consideration and ability to communicate his therefore valid opinions" which presumably is meant to underline your own valuation of your worth to the task rather than make you look ridiculously pompous.

You're not the only person who could start an argument in an empty room that inhabits Mudcart, nor the only one to offer meaningless credentials to do so, just the one who takes the shortest route to calling someone you've never met a conceited pillock for offering a reply to another poster that was sweet FA to do with you in the first place.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: johncharles
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 01:51 PM

The reviewers amongst you might help me here. I imagine writing reviews about outstanding CDs is probably somewhat easier than writing about CDs from the other end of the spectrum, where the possibility of upsetting the performer is a possibility.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 03:13 PM

Dick Miles wrote:-
"Vic ,no problem.
here is a more recent review"


Ah! Good, Dick, that is much nearer the mark. Yes, it is a very fair account of Sara's performances on that recording, though I would that her best album is probably Sara on Harbourtown though in comparing her albums, we would really only talking about degrees of excellence.

Now as people are giving themselves the right to a bit of indulgence on this thread, Mr. Miles of himself and Mr. Arrowsmith of his dearly beloved, perhaps I might join in for a while…..

SARA GREY
•        Sara's ever first folk club booking in England was in our folk club in Lewes in 1968.
•        Some 43 years after this we held Sara's 70th birthday party at our folk club last year.
•        The title of her 1981 album A Breath Of Fresh Air was provided by me, taken from a comment I made about one of her performances.
BEN PALEY (The fiddle player on this one of Sara's album)
•        Ben and I have played and continue to play literally hundreds of gigs together over the years as members of The Sussex Pistols.
•        Ben's newest combination a very exciting quartet called The Long Hill Ramblers played their first gig at our folk club in Lewes and will be headlining an appearance at Lewes Folk Festival 6-9 October – Tickets for their performance now available from that website.
•        There is an article on Ben and the Long Hill Ramblers by me in the current issue of….. Wait a minute – this is Mudcat, so I'd better whisper this and run for cover…. in the current issue of fRoots



Actually M'lud, I also need to ask to be taken into consideration that I have written three articles on Sara in Folk Roots/fRoots as well as a number of album reviews though in mitigation, I would like to point out that I have also written articles and reviews on her in The Living Tradition and other magazines.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: johncharles
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 03:21 PM

The Sussex Pistols do a fine version of midnight on the water. (In my subjective opinion).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 03:51 PM

Glueman ~~ Your account of the dialogue is skewed, evasive & deliberately misleading. Flora asked if anybody read reviews. You replied, positively, that, no, they didn't, & then went on to relate that you yourself didn't, in a manner to indicate that you regarded yourself as the personification of Everyman and so entitled to answer her question on behalf of All Mankind. When I pointed out that this was perhaps a bit egocentric, your reply was to repeat, that, no they didn't, because the Great Lord Glueman didn't so that settled the matter.

And then you were surprised at being called a conceited pillock. A most moderate response in the circumstances, it still appears to me.

Traditional valedictions. Do not trouble yourself to respond: I shall not waste any more of my valuable, even if a trifle elderly, time, reading any more of your posts.

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 04:06 PM

Not skewed, evasive or misleading. Flora G asked, "Does anybody actually read reviews?"
I said, "No, but then I don't watch TV or take a newspaper and my radio listening is limited to a few choice items each month. It's an informational Galapagos but it suits me."

Anyone with a modicum of sense would understand it was a personal response to an open question. In the time I took to reply it was likely another two or three posters might have answered yes, no and maybe. Your gripe is derived from the fact I believe most reviews are so much hot air and you apparently, write them. You can challenge me on my belief but you chose to launch into an ad hominem instead. Poor show, plus you used the word 'valedictions' in an informal discussion which suggests our dialogue is indeed a complete waste of my time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Banjiman
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 04:38 PM

"Now as people are giving themselves the right to a bit of indulgence on this thread, Mr. Miles of himself and Mr. Arrowsmith of his dearly beloved, perhaps I might join in for a while…"

Mr Smith, I'm truly shocked I tell you!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,Mr Punch
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 08:37 PM

Good Soldier, here is a salutary lesson. Some years ago I had a wonderful review of my album in a Scottish folk magazine. It was written by a well respected performer known for his quiet style and integrity. (Sadly he is no longer with us). It followed your guidelines and was informative even about things that were not in the sleeve notes. It made him look learned and the album sound well worth anybody's money. So it should as I was sitting next to him while he wrote it. "That's the way to do it".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 03:06 AM

dunno.

English Literature is doing great. Eng Lit had Leavis, Wilson Knight and tilyard. We had Karl Dallas and Colin Irwin and that bloke Simon something who writes for the Sundays and wrote The electric Muse.

No wonder we're up shit creek. i think its their fault.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 03:12 AM

Colin.Irwin is pretty good though. there are far less capable reviewers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 03:22 AM

Come now CJ, I'm sure you didn't get where you are today without recognising an attempt at levity, humour and that sort of thing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 03:38 AM

I always remember this review by my then 9 year old daughter who went to see madame Butterfly as part of a friends birthday treat.

How was it?

It was good except for the singing.
FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: theleveller
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 03:46 AM

MtheGM wrote: "I didn't say it should be paid to have professional validity, leveller; I said it should be commissioned, by an editor who has been appointed because he has the experience and qualifications to know how to edit, as from one he regards as a worthwhile commentator"

The point I was making is that critiques or reviews by non-professional reviewers (i.e. ordinary consumers) are as valid as those written by professionals, paid or not. For my money, the professional critic has a different or additional function – that of entertainer. When I used to buy a Sunday paper I thoroughly enjoyed A A Gill's restaurant reviews even though I never visited the restaurants, and Clive James' television reviews were a real joy. I liked them because I like good writing, not necessarily because I particularly respected their opinions.

Indulge me in my deliberate fatuousness if I return to my toaster analogy. An engineer may tell me what a wonderful piece of technology it is; a designer may say that it is the latest must-have piece of kitchen equipment that will grace my worktops; an electrician may eulogise about the triple insulation; but if a punter who has bought and used the toaster says, "don't buy this, it makes crap toast and it burnt my house down', then which am I going to take notice of?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 03:52 AM

'It was good except for the singing.
FloraG '

folkmusic is very like that. sometimes its great just to chat with your old mates and not bother with all this music stuff.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: glueman
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 04:26 AM

"For my money, the professional critic has a different or additional function – that of entertainer."

Indeed. Music is not consumed objectively, there's no yardstick that makes genre A better than genre B, or performance X inspiring and performance Y schmaltzy. If there were The Birdy Song wouldn't be close to achieving folk status. What a print review normally consists of is the critic showing his background knowledge and indulging in a humorous (or not so humorous) polemic based whether he liked the thing. If you don't like shanties (I do) there's nothing I can say to make you believe they're more than 'Captain Birdseye impersonators' having a good, well lubricated shout. The moral problem would arise if I wrote a review for publication that claimed shanties were the only valuable form of artistic enterprise and inferred those who didn't appreciate 'Now That's What I Call Shanties, Volume 7' were fools.

In the end reviews are pure entertainment for people who are most unlikely to buy the product, let alone research the merits or otherwise of the competition. So far as the influence of critics and reviewers goes I can offer one anecdote. A friend of mine had a novel reviewed in The Sunday Times (IIRC) in which the reviewer heaped praise upon it (it was book of the week) favourably comparing it to masters of the genre and encouraging everyone to go out and buy it. When my friend checked the figures some time later he reckoned the review may have contributed seven copies to the sales figures. When a different novel was reviewed less favourably by another critic he was forced to look for a different publisher. If there's any conclusion to be drawn it's that published critics have a negative net effect on artistic enterprise as a whole and word of mouth is a more reliable index of worth, if only to its intended market.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Colin Randall
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 06:12 PM

I was the previewer, reviewer and feature writer on folk music for The Daily Telegraph for 20 years and, as I have explained here and at http://salutlive.com on several occasions, I always regarded the role I had as that of a fan with a platform.

There was, potentially, a dilemma in that I was writing for a paper of the right on a form of music that generally attracts people who are, at the very least, left of centre. Yet I can say no attempt was ever made to censor or massage anything I wrote on political grounds. I may have offended a few of the performers about whom I wrote, but can recall none protesting that I had applied right-wing bias to a review (I am, in any case, to the left of centre in my own politics.

But Good Soldier Schweik's thread starter was unconnected with those issues. He offered his own seven preferences. Girl Friday, in the first reply, improved immeasurably on the list with her own plea for reviews to be "brief but interesting". But I would accept some of GSS's points (Nos 1,2 4, 5) and even agree, on No 7, that a reviewer should give plenty of thought to any hostile references before submitting the article. Fairness matters, as in an ideal world it would in all areas of journalism.

I think he is quite wrong to require the reviewer to "Remember that your love of music, and that promotion of folk roots music,is more important than anything else, including writing purple prose,OR personality clashes"

Leaving aside the last three words, I would say there is actually no obligation on the critic to love or wish to promote folk/roots music. Yes, as I said in opening this message, I am a fan. But as a reader of arts criticism of any kind, I am interested mostly in the quality of writing.

If the critic happens to have great knowledge of, and even passion for, the subject mater, as well as being an entertaining writer, so much the better.

But you have to accept that people working in a media arts dept, which is likely these days days to be understaffed and stingily resourced, may have to write about all sorts of things of little or no interest to him or her.

I have told the story before, but it bears repeating.

On my first local paper, the common complaint of amateur dramatic and operatic societies was that reviews would be entrusted to young reporters who had no knowledge or interest in the productions, resented the intrusion into their social lives and took revenge by rattling off waspish little pieces.

I tried to address this, when chief reporter in a district office, by sending along a reporter who sang, acted and very much knew what she was talking about. When she turned in a negative first-night review, which I accepted was her sincere appraisal of what she had seen, the complaint changed to: "How unfair to give the job to someone from a rival society."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 05:50 AM

I am still not convinced of their purpose today. It is just so easy to go on the net and decide for yourself. Not so 20 years ago.
What can you not find on the net?
- new small young bands
- how well a band handles an audience
- how they adapt the material if it is not working
- how well do they audience the floor singers
- how much do they expect the audience to join in
- what variety of material is in their programme

I think the purpose of the written review could perhaps be to cover these areas in more depth rather than to state obvious facts which are better got elswhere.
FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 06:22 AM

I would be interested in other peoples opinions as to guidelines.
Here is my opinion.
1.Explain what category of Folk music, e.g, Traditional American, Contemporary English Self composed in a traditional style, or whatever.
2. Mention instrumentation.

4.Give people information in an objective way as you possibly can .
5. Do not agree to do a review, if you have a personal dislike of the artist.

7. When you have written the review, put yourself in the position of the person who you are reviewing,and imagine how it must feel, to have your music rubbished.
Colin Randall agrees on these points, ok
so we have some guidelines from a professional reviewer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 06:31 AM

Maybe there should be a guideline to people who submit CDs for review (as opposed to unsolicited reviews):

Learn to take the rough with the smooth.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Colin Randall
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:10 AM

The Leveller and Good Soldier both have points: performers should take rough with smooth, and reviewers should have and observe guiding principles. i have mine I cannot pretend to speak for others and nor would I wish to.

FloraG; the response to the original question suggests reviewers do have a place. No one needs to be unduly influenced by what they have to say. They may do no more than produce a good or not so good piece of writing. They may alert you to something you find interesting. But anyone who takes their conclusions too seriously, without testing the water for themselves (unless the reviewer is someone they have come to trust), is somewhat gullible.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Rain Dog
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:20 AM

I think that the main reason most people read book/film/theatre/cd reviews, is to let them know what is out there. That is why I read them and why I will continue to read them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:08 AM

LEVELLER. I am prepared to take constructive criticism, that is criticism that is qualified, such and such has vocal mannerisms or is a mediocre blues singer because he sings in an understated way.
Mance Lipscomb and Missippi john hurt were understated, but no one criticised them for this style, so in the end style is a question of personal taste, I have no problem with that or with JimCarroll saying, he prefers more passion. they have qualified their comments.
what is not good I reviewing is to say,I couldnt stand this recording its only use is for a flower pot.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:34 AM

Flora, although I am repeating myself as we had this topic a couple of years ago the artists and (smaller) record labels certainly feel that reviewers are still necessary judging by the quantity of CDs that I receive year on year for inclusion in the Nottingham Evening Post.
Meanwhile since we are offering our reviews (or releated reviews)for scrutiny I submit one of my more recent efforts; Lucy Ward's debut album "Adelphi Has to Fly" which has appeared in Folk Monthly, Tatters and,in more truncated form, in the aforementioned NEP.
I stress that while I have seen Lucy perform on a few occasions I have only really met her once; you can't escape her on Facebook and her father and I indulge in a little on line football banter; so there is no conflice of interest.

Lucy Ward:       Adelphi Has To Fly

Navigator 047


Since there has hardly been a folk festival line up in the last eighteen months that hasn't included the name of Derby's Lucy Ward, her debut album "Adelphi Has To Fly" on the prestigious Navigator label comes as a natural progression to her rise on the U.K. folk and acoustic scene.
As her club and festival appearances have proved she is equally at home with both traditional and contemporary material and her C.D. reflects this with five of the former (or in the tradition) songs, one Mike Waterson composition and five of her self written pieces. Right from the opening track, "The Fairy Boy", a song so beloved of the Irish source singers, it is encouragingly obvious that she has been listening to the right people; however it is with the ballad "The Two Sisters" that she really scores. Exemplifying Ewan MacColl's affirmation that the traditional ballad employs "the economy of verse" she turns in the most compact version of this noble song that I have heard which still encapsulates all the ingredients of this widespread tale; her use of the concertina is a perfect foil for the ballad too.
It is testimony to her songwriting that her own compositions stand up alongside such traditional classics as "Maids When You're Young" and "The Unfortunate Lass" and I find myself being very much drawn to "Alice In The Bacon Box" which is not only a heartrending tale but must be the first song to name check such Derbyshire locations as Shardlow and Little Eaton. Where more accompaniment than her guitar is required, as on "Julia", Belinda O'Hooley's piano ranges from the plaintively unobtrusive to the powerfully dramatic as the song reaches its climax.
The pre-release reviews of this album have been united in their enthusiasm and it is easy to see why as Lucy Ward is the latest of the bright young talents to emerge on the folk circuit and such an album serves her well.
Only one item leaves me uncomfortable and that is in the final track "Bricks and Love" where the story opens with a couple who sing in a folk club but whose confidence outweighs their talent and the audience use this opportunity to nip to the bar or toilet. We don't do that, do we?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: johncharles
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:37 AM

critic [ˈkrɪtɪk]
n
1. a person who judges something
2. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a professional judge of art, music, literature, etc.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/critic
Music critics like performers are subject to criticism from their readers and employers. If they get it wrong I have no doubt that will be made clear to them.
To reduce the commentary upon music to mechanistic objective guidelines seems to miss the very essence of music which is it's necessarily subjective power to move people emotionally.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: johncharles
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:57 AM

"The toilet test" may be a good proxy measure of the merits of performers at a gig. A fertile area for further research perhaps.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:58 AM

I like my music to have a bit of life in it and similarly my reviews. music is not for the museum and shouldn't be catalogued as such.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,C. Ham
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:56 AM

"4.Give people information in an objective way as you possibly can."

A review is subjective by nature. The key as a reader is to develop an understanding of particular reviewers and find those whose opinions you trust. There are some great reviewers working in the folk field (I've already mentioned my 3 favorites) and some bad ones.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 10:09 AM

Perhaps this matter has already been talked out here on this thread, but the thread came to mind when I read this.....

I received the autumn 2011 edition of English Dance & Song in the post yesterday. Reading the Letters page, here is the response of the editor, Derek Schofield to the opening letter. If you read beyond what he says about this particular case, then I think what is says is admirable and germane to this discussion:-

Editor's note: this was one of several letters received about Chris Metherell's review of Ellis Rogers' book, The Quadrille, In some of the letters, the credentials of the reviewer, and my judgement as editor were called into question. The role of the editor, as I interpret it, with regard to reviews (particularly academic books) is to look for reviewers who have a knowledge of the subject matter, or who will bring their own experiences or expertise to bear on the subject of the book. Once commissioned, it is not the role of the editor to reject reviews on the basis that they are uncomplimentary to the item in question. Such an approach would smack of censorship. I always endeavour to find a reviewer who is likely to be sympathetic to the item to be reviewed. Chris Metherell has spent forty years researching, publishing and performing traditional dance. His specialism is step and clog dance, the divisor (with the Instep Research Team) of the Newcastle notation system for clog and step dances (which is now being used at post-graduate level for dance notation) and a visiting lecturer at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. His research interests inevitably overlap with the subject of the book he reviewed. In publishing a book or CD, and submitting it for review, the author/performer has to accept that reviews might range from the complimentary to the critical.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 10:27 AM

Vic: many thanks for finding and posting that. Without any knowledge of the dispute beyond what appears in Derek Schofield's note, I'd say he has given a masterly reply to those who approve of freedom of expression only when the the sentiments expressed praise their work or match their own views.

I do not accept that deep specialist knowledge is always required to make someone a readable, even compelling reviewer but there are circumstances, such as those implied, where it helps a great deal.

This may also have been covered - it is a while since I read this thread - but I would admit to being less than keen on anonymous reviews. I understand the journalistic reasons that probably prompt Ian Anderson to run them in the fRoots section of brief reviews, but feel it offers too much ammunition to those ready to pounce on any excuse to put down the reviewer. Oh, and reviewers should by definition be thick-skinned


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST,Colin Randall
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 10:28 AM

... hat comment was mine. Didn't realise I was logged off.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 11:59 AM

"The role of the editor, as I interpret it, with regard to reviews (particularly academic books) is to look for reviewers who have a knowledge of the subject matter, or who will bring their own experiences or expertise to bear on the subject of the book. Once commissioned, it is not the role of the editor to reject reviews on the basis that they are uncomplimentary to the item in question."
That might seem reasonable at first glance, BUT supposing[ A hypothetical example] the editor has given the job of reviewing to someone who is biased against the AUTHOR on personal grounds or because they are a potential rival in the same field of work.
I am not saying this is the case on this occasion, I am talking about a hypothetical example, is it not the Editors duty to ensure that the reviewer is truly independent and is judging the book purely on its merits.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 12:42 PM

But that's an entirely different argument, Good Soldier, introducing malice into the commissioning or writing of a review. Having said that, an editor has to apply his or her criteria to commissioning and might well, in the case of, say, a book making a highly controversial point give it to a reviewer who is known or likely to take the opposite view. But that makes for healthy debate - the author already has a platform - and I see nothing wrong in principle, again provided there is absence of malice. An editor who did apply malice would be a poor one in my view, but there are so many people watching what the media are up to that I suspect it would be exposed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 12:53 PM

but there are so many people watching what the media are up to that I suspect it would be exposed.
You suspect, not good enough,I as a member of the the public want an independent unbiased review.I wish to know the merits of a book before I buy it


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Writing folk music reviews
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 06:25 PM

A good folk music review should contain:
1. Knowledge about the style or genre of the performer
2. An informative historical background of the performer and the music
including musical influences.
3. An evaluation of the music and lyrics that comes from a learned position
of the craft of songwriting, composition, folklore and a little ethnomusicology.
4. I don't think you even have to like the music to be fair.
5. A critique might be different from just a review but 1-5 is necessary to make it valid.
6. It should be well-written, intelligent use of words, and not just a personal opinion such as I like it or don't without qualifying what that means to you.
7. It might contain definitions about "folk" or "style" or "genre" to aid in communication.
8. It should err on the side of brevity and not be a term paper or thesis. If you're going to do that, write a book.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 16 July 10:20 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.