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Singing Songs You Don't Agree With

DrugCrazed 21 Oct 11 - 04:38 AM
Linda Goodman Zebooker 21 Oct 11 - 04:49 AM
DrugCrazed 21 Oct 11 - 05:07 AM
Dave Hanson 21 Oct 11 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,old git 21 Oct 11 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,matt milton 21 Oct 11 - 05:37 AM
Diva 21 Oct 11 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 21 Oct 11 - 05:56 AM
DrugCrazed 21 Oct 11 - 05:58 AM
Deckman 21 Oct 11 - 06:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Oct 11 - 06:29 AM
Tigger the Tiger 21 Oct 11 - 06:42 AM
theleveller 21 Oct 11 - 07:11 AM
DrugCrazed 21 Oct 11 - 07:26 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Oct 11 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,matt milton 21 Oct 11 - 08:57 AM
Spleen Cringe 21 Oct 11 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,999 21 Oct 11 - 02:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Oct 11 - 03:21 PM
DrugCrazed 21 Oct 11 - 06:53 PM
olddude 21 Oct 11 - 07:05 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 21 Oct 11 - 07:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Oct 11 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,999 21 Oct 11 - 08:02 PM
Stringsinger 21 Oct 11 - 08:11 PM
BTNG 21 Oct 11 - 08:40 PM
BTNG 21 Oct 11 - 08:41 PM
Bobert 21 Oct 11 - 08:44 PM
BTNG 21 Oct 11 - 08:47 PM
Rapparee 21 Oct 11 - 10:13 PM
Rapparee 21 Oct 11 - 10:27 PM
Ron Davies 21 Oct 11 - 11:58 PM
Artful Codger 22 Oct 11 - 05:28 AM
YorkshireYankee 22 Oct 11 - 05:39 AM
Paul Burke 22 Oct 11 - 06:01 AM
DrugCrazed 22 Oct 11 - 06:21 PM
Genie 22 Oct 11 - 08:57 PM
Bobert 22 Oct 11 - 09:22 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Oct 11 - 09:28 PM
DrugCrazed 23 Oct 11 - 04:19 AM
Leadfingers 23 Oct 11 - 08:01 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Oct 11 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,999 24 Oct 11 - 03:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Oct 11 - 03:34 AM
Leadfingers 24 Oct 11 - 04:26 AM
DrugCrazed 24 Oct 11 - 05:33 AM
Leadfingers 24 Oct 11 - 09:01 AM
Ron Davies 24 Oct 11 - 09:40 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Oct 11 - 09:46 PM
DrugCrazed 25 Oct 11 - 05:26 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Oct 11 - 05:33 AM
DrugCrazed 25 Oct 11 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Gerry Óg Music 25 Oct 11 - 11:20 AM
dick greenhaus 25 Oct 11 - 11:25 AM
Genie 25 Oct 11 - 06:51 PM
Musket 26 Oct 11 - 07:10 AM
Santa 26 Oct 11 - 09:49 AM
DrugCrazed 26 Oct 11 - 12:14 PM
MGM·Lion 26 Oct 11 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Tinker from Chicago 26 Oct 11 - 05:20 PM
Greg B 26 Oct 11 - 08:14 PM
BTNG 26 Oct 11 - 08:18 PM
Santa 27 Oct 11 - 02:57 PM
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Subject: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 04:38 AM

So Roy Bailey's gig at Bright Phoebus on Wednesday was fun as usual, with the blend of wit and songs that we're all used to by now. There's a lot of songs that he sang which I loved to pieces (Boxing Day and Go To Work On Monday to name a few). Problem is that I don't think I agree with a lot of the songs: Boxing Day has a far too aggressive standpoint for my liking, and the general feel of Socialism I don't agree with. It's the same reason I don't sing fox hunting songs.

So, how do people feel about singing songs from a viewpoint they don't agree with. Am I just making up fears that people will shout back "You don't believe what you're singing is right!"?


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Linda Goodman Zebooker
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 04:49 AM

Singing is play-acting. If it's a song you really like, you can pull it off. It might even add to the drama. But since I consider the songs I choose to do as reflections of me, almost all of 'em are ones I agree with. It's one reason singing Blues songs is still so hard for me, I can't often get into the character properly. A song from the perspective of a wife-beater? Nope.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 05:07 AM

That's my problem with Boxing Day. It's a great song to sing, but in a performance you've got to throw so much venom into it, and I feel like I'm faking it. Palace's Of Gold seems like a song of hope so I can get away with that, but Boxing Day is unashamedly "You upper classes have it coming to you, and I want to be the one to give it to you"


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 05:19 AM

Why did you go to see Roy Bailey ? he has been singing left wing and socialist songs for many many years, this is what he is known for, why did you go and see him if you don't like what he sings ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: GUEST,old git
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 05:22 AM

"Palaces of Gold seems like a song of hope"...for whom?


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 05:37 AM

In practice, I don't think anybody really does sing songs they don't agree with.

There's a big difference between songs that tell a story, or which are from the perspective of a historical or fictional character; and songs that are hectoring, rallying, getting a message across.

In the case of the former, it's not a question of whether you "agree" with the message of the song, because there isn't a message. You can, however, decide that the undercurrents, mood, atmosphere of the song and context of the performance are just plain inappropriate of course.

I sing first-person murder ballads, not because I condone murder, but because the singer of the song is not me.

That might appear to contradict what I first said in this thread. It doesn't.

And it's very difference, from, say, a right-winger deciding to sing a Socialist song. I would say to that person that they probably are a closet Socialist! Just as I can't imagine ever wanting to sing a flag-waving song (unless perhaps as a piss-take).

I love Roy Bailey's voice and delivery; his politics are close to mine, but I can't enjoy Roy Bailey's music because of its earnestness, it's way too worthy-sounding for me. (Though I've enjoyed seeing him live in small clubs a few times: beer & a good live atmosphere always helps)


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Diva
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 05:42 AM

Life is far too short to sing songs you don't agree with or songs that you don't like.....


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 05:56 AM

What the guest singer includes in his sets for the evening is his/her affair. Nobody is asking YOU to sing the songs. If you don't like the sentiments expressed you can always put your fingers in your ears.

I'm a Greenpeace supporter and I sing songs about whaling and sealing. Why? It's the working conditions that the songs describe-conditions which in 2011 are, certainly in Europe and North America, barely conceivable. Oh, and counter-balance things, I've rewritten 'Davy Lowston' as an anti-sealing song- just in case I encounter a PC audience.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 05:58 AM

"Why did you go to see Roy Bailey ? he has been singing left wing and socialist songs for many many years, this is what he is known for, why did you go and see him if you don't like what he sings?"

I saw him do 2 songs when I saw Sam Carter last month, and I liked his method of delivery. Although I don't agree with the message of his songs, he doesn't slap you in the face with it in his introduction (much). I don't agree with the lyrics, but I do still appreciate the song for what it is. Plus Martin Simpson was there, and I enjoy getting angry over the fact he's better than me.

Old Git: It seems to me that it's a song that is calling for a change, and hopes it will happen. I can't write out my thoughts in a coherent fashion, I need more caffeine before I attempt it.

Diva: The problem is that I like a lot of the songs, but the message isn't one I agree with.

I'm not right wing (as I understand the notion of right wing). I'm not miles away from the socialist perspective, but I'm not close either.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Deckman
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:28 AM

This is a very good subject. I'm going to post a couple of thoughts ... both sincere. I hope I don't start another "range war", as that is NOT my intent ...

After my U.S. Army service time, in the mid fifties, I entered college as a freshman. Because of my early studies, I was on a quick path to get a degree as a director of choir music. I had the talent, skills, etc. But after the intense study of sacred music, I realized that I did not agree with the message. I dropped out of college for 7 years because I could longer "sing songs I didn't agree with."

People who know me well also know that I am death on unlawful drugs. Songs like "Cocaine Lill" ... "Take a Whiff ON Me" have always caused me to leave the room.

So, in answer to your question ... no ... I can't sing songs I don;t agree with. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:29 AM

If you find you are doing a gig for a gang of wifebeating, racist, dog murdering, grannybashers.

Do all the dogmurdering, granny bashing, wife beating, racist songs you know - take the money, and on reflection if you've enjoyed the gig - do it again.

Onetime I got booked into CB radio club in Derby (when CB radio was popular).

After the gig, one of them said to me - its a tall wipeout man. I never did find out what he meant, although I doubt if it meant anything good.

Don't think about it too much, DrugCrazed - just try to avoid tall wipeouts.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:42 AM

I have never been hungry enough to sing a song I did not believe in; too old to start now.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: theleveller
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:11 AM

I remember, way back in the 60s, Mike Waterson saying, as an introduction to Dido, Bendigo, that they didn't support fox hunting but it was a good song nonetheless and part of a tradition. I tend to agree with that and have written a number of songs about the Hull whaling industry because some of my ancestors were involved in it. None of these glamorise it because it was a brutal, hard and dangerous trade that few endured for long and in which many lost their lives. I certainly do not support whaling today.

With regard to political songs, or those dealing with current issues, if you don't take that standpoint, don't sing the songs. I think it's a fairly simple decision.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:26 AM

I think the thing that's making life difficult for Boxing Day is that I agree with the sentiment but not the "I'm going to hurt your face because you hunt foxes and I'm not allowed to"


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:52 AM

DC - you haven't thought this through.

Look -you're there visiting the retirement home and theres two old folksingers. One is wearing the new slippers his daughter brought him, and he says I never sang songs I didn't agree with, I always played a straight bat and my gigs were all good clean fun, and I'm proud of that. One time the Arts Council organised a tour of church halls and we really lit the room up singing The Mole Catcher. Oh my gosh! the vicar did have a red face!

Next to him in this dirty old bugger who has bribed someone to bring in today's whisky half an hour ago, and the bottles already three quarters empty, and as he leers at the nurses, he winks a bleary eye and says says, Did I tell you about the time I did a gig for Hitler.....?

Which story are going to listen to?
gaddafi's dead. you've already missed your chance of doing gigs for him and Saddam Hussein. Folksong isn't like God. Its not an abstract that requires belief and there are rules divered from the 1954 sermon on the mount, or whatever.   Its an 'is'. It exists. deal with it as YOU want. That's our privilege.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:57 AM

Maybe somebody should start a thread called "Should you do things you don't want to do when nobody's forcing you to do them anyway?"


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Subject: Lyr Add: BOXING DAY (Robb Johnson)
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 12:49 PM


BOXING DAY
(Robb Johnson)

When I sit down at my table clasp my hands and bow my head
Should I thank my heavenly landlord for my crust of daily bread
When the hunters in his stable and the hounds in his pack
Get the pickings of the harvest on which I break my back

There's a fence around the common land put there by the law
It's called hunting if you're gentry but it's poaching if you're poor
And the law forgives your trespass like the hounds forgive the fox
You must number all your blessings with the ha'pence in your box

And it feels like winter spit to eat and hell to pay
It feels like Reynardine on Boxing Day

Now the forest is a shipwreck and the field is full of stone
And it's hard to find a blade of grass some bastard doesn't own
And they stopped the earth up for us and the drove us into town
Now they say there's no work for us and they've closed the factory down

And it feels like winter spit to eat and hell to pay
It feels like Reynardine on Boxing Day

They're still meeting in the country for the hunt and for the course
You can join the bloody gentry if you can afford a bleedin' horse
And we raid along the railway and we pray we don't get caught
God damn you merry gentlefolk for your money and your sport

And it feels like winter spit to eat and hell to pay
It feels like Reynardine on Boxing Day

When I sit down at my table clasp my hands and bow my head
Should I thank my heavenly landlord for my daily crust of bread
For the whip and hand that feeds us and keeps us in our place
One day we'll turn and wipe the smile clean off your bloody face

And it feels like winter spit to eat and hell to pay
It feels like Reynardine on Boxing Day

And it feels like winter spit to eat and hell to pay
It feels like Reynardine on Boxing Day


I think you've missed the point of the song, DC... "one day we'll turn and wipe the smile clean off your face" is actually quite a mild threat, considering!

I tend to agree with Matt. Only you can decide what songs you choose to sing (or not sing) and why you choose to sing them (or not sing them). "I hate cheese and no-one is making me eat it. But should I eat it anyway?"


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: GUEST,999
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 02:00 PM

No offense, Drug Crazed, but the thread title baffles me. What power would make you sing a song with which you disagree?

In my performing days I was requested to do songs with which I didn't agree. Sometimes I said 'don't know it but thanks for asking' and at others I explained why--taking into account the variables we all must consider on stage.

You have a heart. Follow it.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 03:21 PM

Yeh songs like that we'll be ready for them next time they enclose the land.

I really think you're being VERY fastidious, DC.

Its stuff of history books. the gentry of yesteryear were cold hearted devils and if we could go back in history, theres one or two people who could do with a slap on the wrist with a broken bottle.

Its all a bit academic. It'll take more than that to get the barricades up. It would make an nice addition to a school project.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:53 PM

I think I should rephrase this question.

Take a song you like, and change the lyrics to something you're not particularly agreeable with. The words have changed, but the music is still the same (and that's what I hear first, and remember). It still has all the lyrical and musical qualities, but it's now about [insert whatever you disagree with here]. Would you still sing it?

I think I will learn them, I think I can use Boxing Day as a finisher for a gig I've got coming up.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: olddude
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:05 PM

No, for one thing changing the lyrics to a song that someone else wrote for me isn't a good thing ... I agree with you that there are songs that I have heard with beautiful melodies but the lyrics didn't get me so I pass ... I think a song has to hit your heart in order for you to want to learn it ... melody and lyrics don't you think?


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:15 PM

Folk process my friend.

If the tune is that good, it might be worth using it with modified lyrics more to your liking for live performances.

But my question is this.

Why would you sing a song you don't agree with, rather than write a good one that represents your views.

Many audiences pick up on simulated commitment.

Folkies particularly are not easily fooled.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:55 PM

Well of course you can. Look at all the blues songs about doing drugs and boozing, and whoring.

If you didn't play these songs, you wouldn't learn to play blues guitar at all. You wouldn't acquire the techniques.

The same probably applies to all sorts of songs and genres. Military marches, partisan battle songs, and no doubt hunting and incest and murder ballads.

You don't learn anything in a vacuum.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: GUEST,999
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:02 PM

"Look at all the blues songs about doing drugs and boozing, and whoring."

Dammit, Al, that's where we learned. It oughta be good enough for the kids today, too.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:11 PM

It has to do with context, how it is presented in the program.


For example, if you do a Civil War program and you include "The Unreconstructed Rebel"
or the "Bonny Blue Flag", these act as a historical reference and you can follow them with
"Rally 'Round the Flag" or "Marching Through Georgia".


Sometimes it can be done tongue and cheek and if it's really not to your liking,
I have no problem in changing the words if the sentiment is disagreeable but the song
has potential.

Sometimes I will deliberately parody a song if I really don't like it.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: BTNG
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:40 PM

It's like acting, as someone has already pointed out, you become the character narrating the events of a song, telling the tale. In several of his songs, Steve Knightley of Show of Hands, talks about a fictional brother who always seems to be in some sort of trouble or other, it's all part of the make up of his songs, like a film, or a play.

In the case of political songs, I think that even if you don't agree with the sentiments of a political trad song, the very act of pulling it off for an audience, seeming to relate to the songs contents and sentiments, that's the victory and the mark of a good teller of the tale, good singer as it were.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: BTNG
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:41 PM

Oh...and if I REALLY don't like a song, I won't sing it!


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Bobert
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:44 PM

Guess I'm lucky 'cause I don't have to do songs I don't want to do...

B~


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: BTNG
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:47 PM

neither does anyone, but therein lies the challenge.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 10:13 PM

I'll sing them out of historical interest -- "Dixie" was one of Lincoln's favorite songs, for example, and it's still a good song although dated and "non-PC". Likewise songs like "I Goes To Fight Mit Sigel" and "Sambo's Right To Be Kilt" are of historical interest but I wouldn't sing them in a public venue anymore than I'd sing "My Little Armalite." Chain gang songs ("Make Me Mean, Lord Lordy Make Me Mean") and songs praising criminals ("The Ballad Of Jesse James") -- are they okay to sing? How about union songs, like "Dump The Bosses Off Your Back" and "Class Act"?

I think we each have to draw the line for ourselves.


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Subject: Lyr Add: I WISH I WAS HUNTING (Tommy Makem)
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 10:27 PM

By the way, "Boxing Day" strikes me as a rebel song. Compare it to

I WISH I WAS HUNTING
Words and music by Tommy Makem, Oct., 1974
Copyright 1975


On a fine, sunny morning, with the dew upon the grass
And the mist lying soft upon the hill
I would ramble through the bog, just myself and the dog
And go fishing in the river by the mill

Chorus:
I wish I was hunting where the wild ducks run
And the rabbits and the pheasants and the hares
Or searching for a fox in the ferns and the rocks
And I wouldn't give you tuppence for my cares

There are trout in the river, there are salmon there as well
And sometimes the long and slippy eels
And the meadows would be ringing with the sweet larks singing
And the people out there working in the fields

Chorus

In the merry month of June, when the whins are in bloom
And the dusk begins to fall at half past ten
If you walked a mile or so and you knew just where to go
You could find them making poteen in the glen

Chorus

In the month of October, when the weather's turning cold
And the yellow autumn stubble on the ground
There are bright window lights burning holes in the night
And the fiddle music ringing all around

Chorus


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 11:58 PM

I can't imagine why this is even an issue--it's hard to believe it's not a put-on.    Just sing the blessed song if you like it and don't if you don't like it.

It does seem somewhat self-defeating to narrow yourself to songs whose characters you identity with. Looks like Captain Kidd won't be sung by Mudcatters any more. Too bad. It's a fun song and people like it.

As has been mentioned, acting is often a part of singing.   Nothing wrong with that.   Why manufacture an artificial hangup?


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Artful Codger
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 05:28 AM

Most songs that I sing have major aspects that I totally disagree with: they convey dysfunctional ideas of love; brutality; manipulation; sexist, racist or classist attitudes; animal abuse (as in cowboy or hunting songs); jingoist nationalism; Christian dogma.... I can't imagine restricting myself to songs I agree with, because it would leave blessed little to sing. Consider it one of the hazards of reasoned thought and iconoclasm that you're always swimming against the tide.

What attracts me in songs are the underlying aspects of common experience, which are more abstract, more emotional, and ultimately more important than what the songs are overtly "about"; I sing to connect with life, not to proselytize my beliefs. Pathos, affection, misfortune, loss, injustice, joy, sharing, humor: that's the level at which songs resonate for me; the rest is window-dressing.

By the way, singers with agenda make me want to gag, no matter how much I may agree with their views.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 05:39 AM

DC, I think your answer lies above, where/when theleveller wrote:
I remember, way back in the 60s, Mike Waterson saying, as an introduction to Dido, Bendigo, that they didn't support fox hunting but it was a good song nonetheless and part of a tradition.

Just talk to your audience about the song; explain that you think it's a cracking song (and maybe why), even if it does not represent your own feelings on the subject. You may -- or may not -- choose to explain precisely which bit(s) make you feel uncomfortable, depending on where you are, who your audience is, etc.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Paul Burke
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 06:01 AM

Why not email Roy Bailey and Robb Johnson, tell them you like the sound of their songs, but you think the sentiments are a little too.... socialist... for your taste. Could you please tone them down a bit, present the bankers' point of view a bit more fairly, perhaps a kind word for Mrs Thatcher now and again, and then you'll feel more comfortable singing them.

Then please post the replies here.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 06:21 PM

As entertaining as such an exchange would be, I think I'd like Roy to be friendly towards me. Especially since I might keep running into him if he appears at Bright Phoebus again. Plus, I think it might end up being the death of him if I make him crazy with rage, and I'd quite like him to be around and continue bringing me joy.

As I say: There's nothing wrong with Socialism, I just don't agree with it. I have a problem with rampant socialists who decide that I just have their belief thrown down my throat. Roy doesn't do that, so I respect him.

Ms Yankee: I've got a 20 minute slot opening for Sad Claude, so I might try it then, and do that approach. I'm unsure how it'll go though...


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Genie
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 08:57 PM

I'm with Codger. [[Most songs that I sing have major aspects that I totally disagree with: they convey dysfunctional ideas of love; brutality; manipulation; sexist, racist or classist attitudes; animal abuse (as in cowboy or hunting songs); jingoist nationalism; Christian dogma ...   
. I can't imagine restricting myself to songs I agree with, because it would leave blessed little to sing. ...

What attracts me in songs are the underlying aspects of common experience, which are more abstract, more emotional, and ultimately more important than what the songs are overtly "about"; I sing to connect with life, not to proselytize my beliefs. Pathos, affection, misfortune, loss, injustice, joy, sharing, humor: that's the level at which songs resonate for me; the rest is window-dressing.

By the way, singers with agenda make me want to gag, no matter how much I may agree with their views.]]

Unpaid song circles and jams are one thing - and I tend to sing songs I really relate to in those, even though I sometimes do a story song that's clearly divergent from my own personal story. But when I play paid gigs - mostly at retirement communities & the like - I commonly get requests and try to honor them if I know the song and it works well for my playing and my voice.   There are songs like "Carry Me Back To Old Virginny" which I'm often requested to sing but basically won't do except as an instrumental, because I have real trouble with lines like "There's where I labored so long for old Massa" and "That's where this old darkie's heart am long to go" (even if I sing "there's" and "that's" instead of "dere's" and "dat's).    But when I'm requested to sing Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man," I sometimes give in and sing it but I ham it up so much as to make it a kind of spoof of that kind of country song.   
It often comes down to how well I can 'distance' myself from the perspective of a song that's written from a point of view I can't really empathize with or embrace.    If I can pull it off basically as a storyteller, without seeming to endorse a policy or viewpoint that I find offensive, I'll probably do the song.   If not, I sing something else.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 09:22 PM

Well, lets clarify stuff...

Songs are stories... As singers we are telling stories... No biggie...

Hey, Joe
Where ya' going with that gun in your hand

Most of us don't know Joe and most of us wouldn't approve of someone "shotin' my woman 'cause I caught her runnin' with another man"...

I mean, we don't agree or disagree... We are telling a story... Nothing more... Nothing less...

It's okay... It's what makes folk songs folks songs...

I mean, if we are singing songs that instruct others to go out and do bad things then different story...

MO...

B~


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 09:28 PM

Bile that cabbage down...that's evil.

Nothing worse than overcooked cabbage. Well perhaps mass murder, and nazi war crimes and ....

But it still don't make it right.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 04:19 AM

Something I forgot to add:

I'm currently at Soundpost, and although I wasn't in the session Roy was running, I had a friend pass on what happened. The main thing was that Roy doesn't see himself as a massively political singer as everyone else sees him.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 08:01 PM

Re changing the lyric to suit yourself = If its a composed song , melody AND Lyric , and you want to alter the words its only polite to ask the writer if he has any objection ! And , of course , credit the original writer when you perform the song !

With Traditional material , and Public domain , this is not a matter of great import , of course , but I am quite happy with Traditional songs that are about subjects that I am not happy with - Whaling , Hunting , etc , as long as they ARE good songs that an Audience can appreciate and join in the chorus .


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 03:07 AM

Personally I think, sod politeness. Sing exactly whatever words you like. Your a folk -its a folk process. Once its out of your gob, its public domain to the greater, non music industry.

I felt honoured when I learned that German football fans had started singing rude words from the terraces to my song about a football ace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=yf1vgmSlH5I

The footy fans were pissed off because Rummenigge had taken a transfer from Bayern to Inter Milan to make mega bucks. Apparently Rummenigge was upset when started singing the naughty words at him but it expressed their feelings. I didn't find out til years later about it. Someone imterviewed Rummenigge for the Observer, and he recalled the incident. I found the interview just browsing online.


My reaction was wow! I made it to the football terraces! I'm a real folksinger! There are few enough plaudits in the song writing game for the non-stellar types like us - no Grammies and Mercury Prizes for us lot that can't get a proper gig at the local folk clubs. When people outside the rather anal world of folk music take your music and use , it sort of feels like vindication.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 03:11 AM

Well said, Al. And congratulations, btw.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 03:34 AM

Ah if I write like you Bruce, I wouldn't need to look for vindication...!


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 04:26 AM

Fair enough for YOU Al , and that was 'The Folk' doing it . I , personally , would contact a writer whose words I was going to play about with , especially if I was intending to perform same .


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 05:33 AM

Anyone got Robb's number so I can ask him then?


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 09:01 AM

You COULD try his Website


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 09:40 PM

As has been suggested earlier, you could preface your song with an explanation that you do not identify with the actions of the main protagonist:   e.g.   "Firstly, my name is definitely not Captain Kidd, and secondly, though I did murder William Moore and leave him in his gore, the distance from shore was by no means 40 leagues;    35 at absolute most."


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 09:46 PM

Too weird Ron......

Let him ask permission,,,,,,,what if he says no! You varlet! Unhand my masterpiece....!

In that case, sing it to spite him!


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 05:26 AM

I'll get to it. I doubt he'll mind if I don't get a response and say "This is a song by Robb". Paul & Storm said they loved the fact I was singing Ten Finger Johnny at folk clubs, as long as I said "This is a P&S song"


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 05:33 AM

Seriously tho, Al & others. There are questions of both copyright & of courtesy [I know you said the hell with politeness, Al; but you went on to suggest you were only thinking of treatment of your own songs] to which insufficient regard is being paid here with respect to singing altered versions of living writers' songs without reference to them.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 08:07 AM

Most of my repertoire is trad stuff, so I'm perfectly safe - though I did forget to ask Jon Boden if he minded me singing Robin Hood.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: GUEST,Gerry Óg Music
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 11:20 AM

I've had a good laugh at some of the responses to this thread, lol.
Never mind singing songs you don't agree with yourself, you should try singing songs that the audience dont agree with, I do it all the time lol.
I'm an Irish folk and rebel singer and now that the war is, ahem,,, over, some people dont agree that it should be.
I look at their faces at the start of a song and it doesn't look good, but by the end of the song they're singing away with the rest, lol.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 11:25 AM

AS with gospel songs, you have to agree with the song, but not necessarily with the message.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Genie
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 06:51 PM

Some songs, such as "Pretty Boy Floyd" or "Greenland Fisheries" or "Folsom Prison Blues" or "Banks Of the Ohio," I can sing and be pretty confident that no one will think the song represents my own experience, beliefs, or views.
Others, such as "Okie From Muskogee," I sing pretty much snarkily or sarcastically (as do most of the people who sing along with me).

But there are other songs that reflect views that are antithetical to mine and which I think singing them might be taken as an endorsement, so I don't sing them. (This includes pretty much anything written by Hank Williams Junior.)


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Musket
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 07:10 AM

It's interesting. I think Roy Bailey has a good voice, can play the guitar well and can present himself on stage in a professional manner.

That said, I have not seen him play since the '80s (Grapes on Trippet Lane in Sheffield I seem to recall,) as I increasingly found his political views to be distant from my own and the clarity with which he can deliver a message leaves you nowhere to go other than sit disagreeing with him.

Compare that to Dick Gaughan who has similar views and also ensures his song deliver his message. His voice blends with the music though and comes over as less of a lecture, and in any event you can be entranced with his guitar work and let the words wash over you. Hence I make a point of seeing him in concert when he is nearby.

I suppose on a related topic, when I was a miner, I was frequently asked if I knew any mining songs. My stock answer, though in retrospect not a nice answer really, was that I leave songs about how hard it is down the pit to social workers and college lecturers, as they seem more fascinated by the subject.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Santa
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 09:49 AM

Point taken Ian, but it's just as well for us non-miners that Tommy Armstrong, Jack Elliot and Johnny Handle felt differently.

I don't go to Roy Palmer concerts because of his overt politics, but I don't think that's all there is to Roy. He's a fine performer and very knowledgable about the genre. It must be a matter of style, for I do enjoy Coope, Boyes and Simpson whereas I wouldn't care to slip a razor down the difference in political opinions between them and Roy. On reflection, this seems like the same point Ian is making, but about Dick Gaughan.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 12:14 PM

See, I didn't think I was slapped in the face with left wing politics. There were some songs that had an obvious left wing introduction, but not much.

What I found fascinating was that Roy doesn't see himself as any more political than any other folkie.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 01:09 PM

Santa ~ I think you meant Roy Bailey above, not Roy Palmer?


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: GUEST,Tinker from Chicago
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 05:20 PM

Heck, I won't sing a song I disagree with even when it's a song I wrote! (Opinions change as one gets older.) To me it'd be like campaigning for a candidate you hate.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Greg B
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 08:14 PM

As a shantyman, I sing songs that objectify women, glorify the slaughter of whales, and raise violence to an art form. All of which I "disagree" with.

I really don't feel the need to over-think everything.

But if you do... don't sing 'em. You'd probably be crap at it anyways.


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: BTNG
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 08:18 PM

Would that be the Roy Palmer who edited The Oxford Book of Disco Sea Shanties, with an introduction by Jon Boden?


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Subject: RE: Singing Songs You Don't Agree With
From: Santa
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 02:57 PM

MtheGM: apologies to all, yes. Slip of the memory and lack of proofreading.


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