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Alternative Folk Awards

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Acorn4 23 Dec 11 - 08:09 AM
Big Al Whittle 23 Dec 11 - 08:53 AM
Acorn4 23 Dec 11 - 09:22 AM
Big Al Whittle 23 Dec 11 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Dec 11 - 09:38 AM
dick greenhaus 23 Dec 11 - 09:42 AM
Big Al Whittle 23 Dec 11 - 10:23 AM
evansakes 23 Dec 11 - 12:37 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Dec 11 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Um Ah Mum-Ra 23 Dec 11 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Folknacious 23 Dec 11 - 03:14 PM
Spleen Cringe 23 Dec 11 - 03:29 PM
evansakes 23 Dec 11 - 04:09 PM
Reinhard 23 Dec 11 - 05:03 PM
Bobert 23 Dec 11 - 05:26 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Dec 11 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,Dominic Stewart 24 Dec 11 - 09:35 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Dec 11 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Folknacious 24 Dec 11 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,STM 24 Dec 11 - 12:29 PM
Les in Chorlton 24 Dec 11 - 01:01 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Dec 11 - 01:01 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Dec 11 - 08:06 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Dec 11 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 25 Dec 11 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 25 Dec 11 - 10:20 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Dec 11 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 25 Dec 11 - 02:58 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Dec 11 - 03:06 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Dec 11 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Folknacious 25 Dec 11 - 06:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Dec 11 - 09:26 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Dec 11 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Dec 11 - 05:48 AM
Continuity Jones 26 Dec 11 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Dec 11 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,STM 28 Dec 11 - 12:29 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Dec 11 - 01:45 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Dec 11 - 02:00 PM
Continuity Jones 28 Dec 11 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,STM 28 Dec 11 - 06:32 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Dec 11 - 07:09 PM
John P 29 Dec 11 - 07:31 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Dec 11 - 08:43 PM
Howard Jones 30 Dec 11 - 04:47 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 11 - 05:33 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 11 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 30 Dec 11 - 08:09 AM
Howard Jones 30 Dec 11 - 08:17 AM
Continuity Jones 30 Dec 11 - 08:41 AM
theleveller 30 Dec 11 - 09:04 AM
Howard Jones 30 Dec 11 - 09:23 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 11 - 11:40 AM
theleveller 30 Dec 11 - 11:50 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 11 - 01:50 PM
Continuity Jones 30 Dec 11 - 02:38 PM
John P 30 Dec 11 - 02:42 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 11 - 03:25 PM
Continuity Jones 30 Dec 11 - 03:39 PM
Acorn4 30 Dec 11 - 04:41 PM
Acorn4 30 Dec 11 - 05:01 PM
Mavis Enderby 30 Dec 11 - 05:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 11 - 07:26 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 11 - 08:48 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 11 - 08:53 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 11 - 09:22 PM
Mavis Enderby 31 Dec 11 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,Jim Moray 31 Dec 11 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 31 Dec 11 - 06:05 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 11 - 06:14 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 11 - 07:40 AM
Howard Jones 31 Dec 11 - 08:02 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 11 - 08:49 AM
Acorn4 31 Dec 11 - 09:14 AM
Acorn4 31 Dec 11 - 09:37 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 11 - 09:42 AM
Mavis Enderby 31 Dec 11 - 09:49 AM
The Sandman 31 Dec 11 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Crowsis flying through 31 Dec 11 - 10:21 AM
Howard Jones 31 Dec 11 - 11:24 AM
The Sandman 31 Dec 11 - 11:53 AM
Howard Jones 31 Dec 11 - 12:02 PM
theleveller 31 Dec 11 - 12:03 PM
The Sandman 31 Dec 11 - 12:22 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 11 - 12:42 PM
theleveller 31 Dec 11 - 12:55 PM
The Sandman 31 Dec 11 - 01:08 PM
Howard Jones 31 Dec 11 - 01:09 PM
The Sandman 31 Dec 11 - 01:14 PM
Acorn4 31 Dec 11 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 31 Dec 11 - 01:41 PM
The Sandman 31 Dec 11 - 02:16 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 11 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 31 Dec 11 - 05:21 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 11 - 08:05 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 11 - 10:35 PM
theleveller 01 Jan 12 - 05:01 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Jan 12 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 01 Jan 12 - 07:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 07:39 AM
The Sandman 01 Jan 12 - 07:43 AM
Mavis Enderby 01 Jan 12 - 07:47 AM
Vic Smith 01 Jan 12 - 07:51 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 08:22 AM
evansakes 01 Jan 12 - 08:31 AM
Vic Smith 01 Jan 12 - 08:56 AM
evansakes 01 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 01 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 01 Jan 12 - 09:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 09:55 AM
GUEST 01 Jan 12 - 11:28 AM
Acorn4 01 Jan 12 - 11:35 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 12:20 PM
Mavis Enderby 01 Jan 12 - 01:36 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 01:46 PM
The Sandman 01 Jan 12 - 01:54 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Class War Warrior 01 Jan 12 - 02:24 PM
Mavis Enderby 01 Jan 12 - 02:55 PM
Vic Smith 01 Jan 12 - 02:55 PM
The Sandman 01 Jan 12 - 03:07 PM
Vic Smith 01 Jan 12 - 03:20 PM
The Sandman 01 Jan 12 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Guest Vivienne 01 Jan 12 - 05:35 PM
The Sandman 01 Jan 12 - 06:06 PM
Phil Edwards 01 Jan 12 - 07:27 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 10:14 PM
Howard Jones 02 Jan 12 - 04:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 12 - 05:21 AM
Howard Jones 02 Jan 12 - 05:51 AM
Spleen Cringe 02 Jan 12 - 06:26 AM
Vic Smith 02 Jan 12 - 06:38 AM
Vic Smith 02 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 12 - 07:27 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 12 - 08:06 AM
The Sandman 02 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 12 - 10:02 AM
GUEST 02 Jan 12 - 10:18 AM
Phil Edwards 02 Jan 12 - 11:45 AM
The Sandman 02 Jan 12 - 11:52 AM
Phil Edwards 02 Jan 12 - 12:00 PM
Stringsinger 02 Jan 12 - 12:14 PM
Howard Jones 02 Jan 12 - 12:30 PM
The Sandman 02 Jan 12 - 02:06 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 12 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Jan 12 - 05:04 AM
John P 03 Jan 12 - 02:09 PM
Acorn4 03 Jan 12 - 02:13 PM
The Sandman 03 Jan 12 - 02:31 PM
Acorn4 05 Jan 12 - 07:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 05 Jan 12 - 07:55 PM
srothman 05 Jan 12 - 08:27 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 01:10 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 08:33 AM
Howard Jones 06 Jan 12 - 08:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 10:32 AM
Howard Jones 06 Jan 12 - 11:32 AM
Acorn4 06 Jan 12 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,steve th 04 Feb 12 - 12:22 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Feb 12 - 06:09 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Feb 12 - 07:06 AM
GUEST 15 Mar 12 - 09:15 PM
YorkshireYankee 16 Mar 12 - 07:13 PM
GUEST,CS 17 Mar 12 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Mar 12 - 07:44 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jun 14 - 06:01 AM
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Subject: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 08:09 AM

I don't think that anyone else has posted this, but just out of interest there are some interesting names here:-

Spiral Earth Awards


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 08:53 AM

Spirella used to make ladies corsets - perhaps an offshoot...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 09:22 AM

I expect they'll get lots of support then!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 09:28 AM

yes indeed! I bet their cups overfloweth.....

Seriously though, who are they?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 09:38 AM

A fine show from the Folk Police stable! Nice one, Spleen...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 09:42 AM

alternative to what?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 10:23 AM

Answering myself - this is who they are.

http://www.spiralearth.co.uk/

I notice they advertise folk clothing - I must get some. No wonder I never got taken seriously as a folk singer. I never had folk clothing. I bet all these years that's what gave me away as a ne'er do well. No folk clothing.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: evansakes
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 12:37 PM

Interesting combination of popular and downright obscure.

No indication how the shortlist is arrived at though. Suspicious or what?

The voting panel is a mystery. I suspect shenanigans, subterfuge, infamy and all manner of nasty deeds. I think an IMMEDIATE investigation is called for.

What do we want? NAMES !

When do we want 'em? NOW !



ps Only joking, Iain! :-)


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 01:39 PM

Yes and pictures of ladies in corsets would be nice. If they've got any left from when they sold corsets. Like this.

http://www.corsetiere.net/Spirella/Corsetiere/Fitter.htm

It would be interesting to know how the move to folk music came about.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Um Ah Mum-Ra
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 03:11 PM

It's interesting that the voting is open to the "public" whoever they may be. I hope they print a complete list of everyone who voted and if any of them works for the BBC they should be sacked.

I am considering taking this very seriously indeed.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 03:14 PM

It looks suspiciously like the nominating panel is the Spiral Earth editor, a chap called Ian Hazlewood according to the web site. Still, it says that the public get to vote on his nominations, unlike the Mojo Folk Album of the Year where its all decided by one person, Colin Irwin, and the Songlines Albums of the Year where its all down to two editors - no public in either case. Against all these, the BBC's 100+ and fRoots 300+ all sound like models of democracy and respectability. Its a mystery to me, decent bloke though Irwin seems to be, why the Mojo one in particular gets so much kudos given to it each year. In the end I suppose its whether your favourite gets nominated or wins. Some of those Spiral ones seem a bit odd, especially "group".


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 03:29 PM

From the Spiral Earth news page: "The list of nominations has been decided by the Editorial team and contributors to Spiral Earth, the awards celebrate the wide range of music we cover and have featured on the site over the past year, always grounded in folk and roots but willing to go wherever it takes us." Hope that clears that up.

Personally, I think they have exceedingly good taste...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: evansakes
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 04:09 PM

Some of those Spiral ones seem a bit odd, especially "group"

Precisely....what sort of nomination process excludes the most popular folk group in the UK over a period of MANY years (and the biggest festival draw too). On what basis exactly? Do none of the nominating panel actually LIKE this group? Difficult to believe don't you think?

Or are there sinister forces at play here? I wonder? The plot thickens.

If only there was a ruthless and ambitious muck-raking journalist prepared to take up the cause maybe we'd get to the bottom of the matter


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Reinhard
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 05:03 PM

More from the Spiral Earth news page: "Then the 'Trad Song' category has gone, 'sacrilege!' you scream, but there are just so many good albums full of trad material coming out that it seems academic to pick just four renditions."

In other words, "we'll ignore what's really happening in the folk world because we'd much more like you to vote for the best unknown folk group."


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Bobert
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 05:26 PM

Gillian Welch rocks...

B~


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 03:18 AM

My final for nominations

http://www.harwayeslingerie.com/shop_by/brand/playtex?gclid=CMyw3--hmq0CFUUPfAodYFhsmg


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Dominic Stewart
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 09:35 AM

I think that Mudcat should run a folk awards. Except you'd spend too long arguing over"Mudcat", "Folk" and "Awards" to get it off the ground. Nevermind, just keep on having a go at all the others, eh.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 10:21 AM

Look Dom = put it another way

! Best songwriter Big Al Whittle
2. Best Folk Duo No Fixed Abode
3. Lifetime Achievement Award Derek Brimstone
4. Best folk artist Jack Hudson


Its bollocks, isn't it? You want to join up with the bumkissers and sycophants. do so, and Merry Christmas to you. Pull a cracker and think about every bugger who puts in a lifetime of artistic endeavour, or flogs hopelessly round the low paid gigs of England with no recogntion, from those who have the power to confer it.

Thatcher used to call it the politics of envy, and say everybody who was poor richly deserved it and should get on their bike.

The folkworld has been Thatcherite in principle since time begun. Thatcher only bankrupted and closed down British manafacturing industry. the movers and shakers of the folkworld have shut down a whole artistic movement - and all the real folk of England have voted with their feet. A scale of disaster, Thatcher could only dream and fantasise about.

And a happy new year.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 12:25 PM

If only there was a ruthless and ambitious muck-raking journalist prepared to take up the cause maybe we'd get to the bottom of the matter

Send for Gemma Kidney. Or the Fake Sheikh. Or Tintin . . . A stop to this must be put!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,STM
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 12:29 PM

To the poster above: I'm not quite sure what your post is trying to say or achieve. Are you suggesting that the people who are currently making money and getting recognised gigs on the folk scene haven't put in a "lifetime of artistic endeavour or flogging hopelessly around the low paid gigs of England"?

This may not be what you're trying to say at all, but for some reason I couldn't make much sense of it- can you clear it up for me please?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 01:01 PM

Yer, go on then ................ I'll hold coats

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 01:01 PM

Okay lets put it this way. Go to any folk festival in England. The songwriters session. No ones there. theres ALWAYS some bloke or woman (someone you've never heard of) turns up and sing some songs which absolutley knock your socks off. Thats it you never hear of them again - and never from the mainstage.

There no one there because the powers that be (mags, arts council, tv, radio, popularity chart) are always flogging to death the same old, same old.

What made the 1960's buzz was not the Beatles and Stones but the thirty or forty other British bands which came up with hit records of genius. And they only got heard of because, Denmark St (the power on that demesne) lots its grip for a while.

Frankly we need a similar cataclysm in the world of folk music.

Wasting my sodding energy restating this stuff once more - why do I bother.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 08:06 PM

'. Are you suggesting that the people who are currently making money and getting recognised gigs on the folk scene haven't put in a "lifetime of artistic endeavour or flogging hopelessly around the low paid gigs of England"?'

Bloody right! that's exactly what I'm saying. Most of the buggers couldn't handle a tough shitty audience to save their lives. They haven't paid their dues. And that means they haven't looked within themselves and said - what CAN I do? Because mediocrity has got them by, with their army of protectors and huff puffers.

They haven't got that gravel in the guts which is part of folk music. there still isn't a producer in England who can make a guitar sound as big as a cathedral like Lennie Waronker could do forty years ago. Its the difference between Poor Old Horse by the Albions and He'll have to go by Ry Cooder. One is a folk music people could sing along and freak out to, ones a tarted up museum piece.

I can remember thirty years ago saying to Paul Downes - the trouble with the Albion Band is that they all play their stratocasters like loud acoustic guitars.   Its as if Hendrix and Zappa had never lived.

There are fourteen year old kids who have a clearer idea of what a Gibson Les paul or a telecaster can do than the average folki musician.

The schism between English folk and English folk music has never been wider. We don't live in a bloody village any more - deserted or otherwise.

there really is no excuse for endlessly promoting mediocrity. Nul points!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 08:23 AM

Look! Its christmas. i take back everything, I've said. It was just mean.

My new years resolution will be to just think deep resentful thoughts, and never say a word!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 09:30 AM

Obviously you had some spectral visits in the night eh, Al? The Ghosts of Folk Past, Folk Present and Folk Future bemoaning (no doubt) how good old-fashioned Mudcat bonhomie has become so thin on the ground these days that it's now acceptable to open a thread just to shit all over the hard work of others because it doesn't fit into some fecked up folk-fuzz MOR easy-listening straight-jacket that was well past its sell-by date 40 years ago but still persists in its righteous decrepitude & bitter grudgeful bileousness... For shame, I say.

S O'P (Spending Xmas day alone as his wife has to work leaving him with a back so bad he can barely hold the copy of Mare Nostrum she gave him this morning before set off much less take it to the hi-fi and play the bloody thing... mutter, mutter. But am I down hearted? Not a bit of it - not with things like this still rising to the surface to keep my spirits dancing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyqY9fUpTek&feature=related

Joy to the world!)


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 10:20 AM

Looking at the OP I see the intention of this thread was esentially a positive one, however so hijacked it has become. My apologies to the OP, but one can only take so much, especially in this season of good will toward men...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 01:48 PM

Nah! Its just that I'm getting on and I'm fed up with talking to a brick wall. Spent most of my life working with ethnic music and frankly - you can't pass on your insight - not to people who are wedded to the idea that there is a hierarchy - and that they will be better off listening to a folk star reading the telephone directory, than someone's natural creative efforts.

these altercations take too much out of me - and I'm convincing no one.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 02:58 PM

you can't pass on your insight

That's not what's important though, is it? The important thing is ditching the righteousness, doing what we do to the very best of our ability, honesty, integrity and humanity and allowing (encouraging / facillitating / supporting) others to do likewise. If, in the process, something of you gets passed on then that's cool - if not, then that's cool too. The rootedness of music is more important than what might survive of it surely? Everything's cool; there's no brick wall, no conspiracy, and no hierarchy. And all music is down to our natural creative efforts, be it working with traditional material or writing your own. And all music is ethnic.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 03:06 PM

To be honest, I'd rather expend my energy supporting those who are excluded. Perversity maybe, but I'll always line up with the discriminated against and oppressed. And frankly - I don't give a shit if its done from sheer malice - or as I imagine - middle class solidarity - I've met too many of the oppressed talented not to believe they exist.

Please don't I haven't seen what I have seen.

I promise from henceforth to keep quiet about it.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 03:33 PM

should read

Please don't tell me I haven't seen what I have seen.

just this last month - I had to comfort sanjay brain after he'd read what someone said about him on mudcat. 18 years old . started a website honouring Gerry Lockran when he was 13.

Don't tell that bloody middle class arrogance - I know what folk music is, YOU don't! doesn't exist. I've lived with it for about forty years abusing me every bloody chance it got.

Bugger 'em. i'm too tired and old to talk about it any more though.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 06:10 PM

Man overboard!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Dec 11 - 09:26 PM

glub! glub!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Dec 11 - 05:37 AM

I've lived with it for about forty years abusing me every bloody chance it got.

Thirty-five years for me - or is it 36? In which time I've been happily exploring the Outer Limits of Folk fully aware that not everyone will get it (though I've been getting top reviews since 1983) largely because of the MOR Easy Listening Folk-factor which is complete anathema to my particular thang. There are significant exceptions to this of course, but I like my Folk Americana gruff, rough & trad, or else out there in the Alt Country belt with Welch & Rawlings, The Holy Modal Rounders and Michael Hurley. Ever heard Michael Hurley, BAW? He's a legendary cult singer-songwriter with real soul; as pure a drop as Jim Eldon - his songs that cut straight to the heart although around here he's usually dismissed as being 'weird' (more folk Marmite I guess). Try this anyway:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ku10PThPn8

The old songs draw me in though as being more vivid & immediate & altogether more musical than most things being written today; too many messages, sentiments, agendas, meanings... I'm waiting for the Grayson Perry of Folk to show up - maybe they already have & I missed them - but for a working class nostaligically inclined old hippy prog punk medieval free improvising traddy nudging into his 50-something years then I'm just happy to take each day as it comes.

Agree with you about Zappa and Hendrix though, and the kids who gather in the music shops of Liverpool & MCR at weekends to whom their legacy is now is second nature. I've seen 13-year-old girls who could give Steve Vai a run for his money & once I listened to a young bassist in L'pool trying out (appropriately enough) a Hofner HCT500-1 and I was weeping, man! He could have only been 14, and he was playing the most amazing modal things you wouldn't believe. This is Living Traditional Ethnic Music in the context of culture & community & individual genius. Whatever Ghosts of Folk Future have in store for us, I'm more than happy that MUSIC is in good hands. Best we ageing farts can do is BE GLAD that the song well & truly has NO ENDING & get on with our own shit accordingly.

S O'P (on the Second Day of Christmas already Limbering up for some New Year Resolutions - at least as far as my bad back will allow... fetch me my lumber roll!)


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Dec 11 - 05:48 AM

Michael Hurley - Cars, Jars & Guitars.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 26 Dec 11 - 08:28 AM

I consider it a bit of a mystery as to why Michael Hurley isn't more recognised. Some of his albums - Long Journey, Parsnip Snips, Sweetkorn, Armchair Boogie, etc etc - are amazing. I don't really get the Too Weird thing with him either, he doesn't seem weird at all, just perfect. The story about one of his albums being rejected because he was playing mouth trumpet on it perhaps suggests that for some people, anything slightly different is just too weird.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Dec 11 - 12:38 PM

Hurley's something else, isn't he? But there was a thread on him here a while back which echoes a lot of the more folkie sentiments I've picked up on over the years. I think it's something in the folk gene - that grudgeful, resentful, small minded conservative puritanical mindset one runs into mostly in the more MOR provinces, out-posts & colonies of the Folk Scene. Anyway, here's a classic salve for all your Xmas indulgences & one of my favourite songs of all time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZA7OT3Ib5I


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,STM
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 12:29 PM

Big Al Whittle...obviously it's difficult to respond on forums like this, for a number of reasons, such as not being able to hear the "tone" of what is written, not knowing the person personally and not having a clear, universal definition of "folk music".

However, I might have a bit of good news for you (or bad, if you're the bitter and jealous kind), but I can assure you that of almost every "big" folk performer I know, every single one of them has really grafted for their "right" to be as successful and popular as they are. This means years of unpaid gigs, years of learning their instrument/style/songs/history, learning aurally from others (usually in clubs like all of us here seem to do) travelling up and down the country for little or no money, playing to people who don't appreciate their genre, playing to people who heckle/shout abuse/threaten/laugh/belittle, putting in hours and hours of admin, self-promotion, handling their own accounts/expenses/wages/etc.

I thought it may be nice for you to actually know what you're talking about in future, instead of making and preaching wild and inaccurate assumptions about people you've probably never even had a conversation with, let alone have the right to spread absolute shit about on the internet...

You talk about people who you meet in sessions who are talented but don't make it...well, maybe it's them who haven't tried hard enough. I know plenty of talented musicians- genius musicians in fact- who, unfortunately, lack the hard work, self motivation, drive, and multitude of skills it takes to be a self employed musician- basic maths and english skills, a knowledge of businesses, a knowledge of the law, who can drive, who are confident, who are socially able, blabla, etc. etc... it's about more than just being a good musician or having a good voice- otherwise we'd all be at it!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 01:45 PM

Yeh you're right. never had a conversation with a folksinger...... now you come to mention it.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 02:00 PM

Perhaps we should have one of those chatlines for folksingers - like the chatlines for priests on Father Ted......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pGcE7IvCTs


Hi there! if you want to hang out with folksingers your own age, looking for fun, or maybe something more ......


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 03:34 PM

"
You talk about people who you meet in sessions who are talented but don't make it...well, maybe it's them who haven't tried hard enough. I know plenty of talented musicians- genius musicians in fact- who, unfortunately, lack the hard work, self motivation, drive, and multitude of skills it takes to be a self employed musician- basic maths and english skills, a knowledge of businesses, a knowledge of the law, who can drive, who are confident, who are socially able, blabla, etc. etc... it's about more than just being a good musician or having a good voice- otherwise we'd all be at it

"

Does their Maths / English skills make them a better 'Folk Musician'? Or better at getting their name known?

Folk music is mostly hokum anyway nowadays, give or take some crusty old bugger somewhere or other. It's just a sub-sect of the music business and these awards are just part of that business. And getting one's name known is all part of the business. Not sure if it makes them 'better' though.

Business, business, business.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,STM
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 06:32 PM

I didn't say it made them better musicians because they can do maths and english, etc, but we were talking about musicians in a specific context; folk scene, self employed, and "deserving recognition".

I mean, personally, I think I'm more beautiful than Jordan, and more suitable to being a model but do I have the drive, ambition, care, sense and intelligence to make it all come together, to pull it off? No. It doesn't need to be pointed out that the more effort you put in, the more successful you will become, unless you're very lucky.

If you want to be a good musician= practice music everyday, love your instrument, listen carefully, study hard, etc.

If you want to be a successful musician who earns a decent living and gets some recognition= do all of the above, learn about business, work your way through the crappy gigs, the crappy people, the crappy money, do your maths, english, etc...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 07:09 PM

It would be fascinating to know the precise nature of how you managed to acquire all this vast insight into the world of thefolk musician.

My career (such as it is) is precisely documented on my website - together with my meagre achievements.    STM - I'm sure I should be able to work out who that is, but I can't.

Anyway I wish you luck, and trust you will never encounter those people or circumstances that might disturb such a sunny view of the world of folk music and its practitioners.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: John P
Date: 29 Dec 11 - 07:31 PM

We wouldn't have to worry about who was and wasn't noticed for various folk awards if we stopped treating the playing of music as a competitive sport. Every time we say someone is the "best" we are also saying that everyone else isn't. Seems dumb to me, especially since musical success (as in getting money and getting noticed) is more a matter of ambition than of musical skill or relevance.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Dec 11 - 08:43 PM

No no ! I really disagree.

Its about this - there have beenthese things called folk clubs. A sort of artistic movement. The first song I tapped out for myself was Where have all the flowers gone - 1963. C Am F G7.

And I've been part of that movement ever since.

Now this artistic movement has produced geniuses.

However because some bastards think they know what folk music is. Some truly brilliant people who would have inspired the awe of the world have not even made it past first base. That is why some of us are really pissed off.

Plus the fact that the whole bloody situation reeks of the English class system.. two or three really bloody thick English journalists. one or two guys who had the brains to jump onto the media studies bandwagon, before we realised it was the racket to be in. And here we are in the present situation where they are giving out CBE's to people who think that just because you're English - you're not really clever enough to appreciate ( no chance of actually enjoying) what English folk music is.

the problem is that the most original artists aren't getting heard. Compromise, forelock tugging, and and gentility are buggering everything up everything.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 04:47 AM

Al, this is a regular rant of yours - indeed it seems that everything you post comes around to this. However your description of the folk scene is not one I recognise.

Yes, the perception is that most people involved in folk music are middle-class. Perhaps that's true - I am. However the people I've met through folk music come from all social backgrounds and walks of life, including a judge and travellers.

There are hundreds of clubs and festivals. Most of them are run on a part-time, not-for-profit basis by enthusiasts. Some of these have a fairly high profile, it's true, but I don't believe the folk scene is controlled by a small group. It may be true they are unwilling to take risks, but that is ususally because they don't have the financial margins.

I believe folk music is actually one of the most democratic genres. It's easy to get into - if you want to perform, just go along to a folk club and they'll let you. With cheap digital equipment and the internet, anyone can now make a recording and get it heard worldwide. Starting a folk club requires very little capital investment, so if you don't like what your local club is doing there are few obstacles to starting one yourself. There are thousands of clubs and hundreds of festivals, and I simply don't believe there is a middle-class conspiracy to prevent talented people from being heard.

Nevertheless, in order to break through it is necessary to do more than play good music. Perhaps these artists you say aren't being heard aren't very good at the marketing, the promotion and business elements that STM mentioned and which you were so dismissive of.

Some friends of mine started up a new band only last year. They've promoted themselves effectively, sending out hundreds of professional-looking leafletes and copies of a demo EP. They've also been prepared to work bloody hard, including hundreds of miles of travelling. However as a result they've had lots of gigs, and have just been listed as one of the busiest festival acts of 2011. They've now got a full CD out, and have been shortlisted for a couple of awards. It can be done, but it takes more than just musical talent (of which they've plenty).


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 05:33 AM

love these guys

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpRB3OIZjVM

don't know 'em personally - but I've seen their gig a few times.

I believe there is activity like this all over England - people writing 'folk' music - real folks! Out there in pubs, open mics, singers clubs....Yet its like ordinary people don't bloody exist - as far all the polls and the media is concerned.   

And frankly I think it WOULD be nice if the middle classes - reliquished their hold on what they mistakenly perceive to be folk music - and thereby block and monopolise all the avenues of expression that are open to english people.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 06:27 AM

Or perhaps the middle classes and their good taste could be given a channel like the third programme used to be for classical music - where they could preserve their traditions and good taste in isolation.

Its not just folk music. jazz and country music have this same wooden middle class suppository shoved up their jaxi.

Go to a jazz club, go to a country music club - the music that people sing along and dance to, is nowt like the stuff on the BBC.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 08:09 AM

where they could preserve their traditions and good taste in isolation.

It's you who needs the isolation, Al - you should start up your own perma-thread devited to your impotent whinging instead of inflicting it on threads such as this, thus ruining something that could have been very nice indeed. Shame really...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 08:17 AM

You're right, the polls and national media aren't interested in the "ordinary" people - they're interested in the extra-ordinary, those people with more than ordinary talent which raises them above the rest of us, and gives them national and even international careers.

Of course there are lots of people making good music all around the country. But unless they play in folk venues, and unless they get off their arses and are prepared to travel to gigs anywhere in the country, they won't get noticed by the national folk media or the folk polls - and why should they? Why should the national media give space to a band that only gigs in its local area?

Of course its tough to break out and become nationally known. It takes determination and hard work, and usually a bit of luck. However once a band has made that breakthrough the media are usually pretty quick to pick up on something new.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 08:41 AM

Big Al - apologies if you've mentioned this already - but if you're in favour of Folk Awards of some kind, may I ask who'd vote for the winners? And indeed, who'd come up with the shortlist?

The reason I ask was prompted by that link you posted above. I thought they sounded not so good, see. A bit dull, maybe. So who'd choose? One man's goose, etc.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: theleveller
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 09:04 AM

As with so many areas today, there seems to be a preoccupation with being 'famous' and gaining national or international recognition. I find thse extremely saddening. As Howard Jones points out above, there are plenty (probably the majority) of people performing and creating folk music in very much a local context and this - for me, at least - is where it has the greatest resonance. It's a bit like the best food which in France and increasingly in Britain, has an 'appellation controlee'. Often the best folk music simply doesn't travel very far from its roots. Let's face it, food and other elements of our culture which gain universal appeal actually appeal to the lowest common demoninator and become bland and boring.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 09:23 AM

I think there's room for both. I spend most of my time playing in local sessions, or gigging with my ceilidh band. I don't often get along to see others perform. But I don't begrudge that some people are able to make a living from it. The professionals provide the rest of us with inspiration (and much of our repertoire) but they're just the tip of a much bigger iceberg.

Most are not after "fame" as such (becoming a folk musician would be a strange way to seek it) but recognition is a necessary part of getting enough work to keep going.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 11:40 AM

sadly what the battalions of bum kissers forget is that we're talking about FOLK music.

Take the BBC face of Folk, Country, and jazz

Carthy, Gillian Welch, Courtney Pine.

Can you imagine any of these people handling a new years eve gig, where people get up and boogie? And I'm afraid without the spit and sawdust - it ain't folkmusic.

At least the Yanks try and fake it - think of Ry Cooder and Flaco Jimenez, and Bruce Springteens Seeger concerts. Its not the real thing, but at least its an imaginative recreation of folk music.

In England - its the stuff af arts centres, and Bang and Olufsen stereos. Folk music with the folk extracted.

And CJ - the Skimmities could pass the New Years eve test, so could I have done when I had my health - so from what I gather could Will Fly and Ian Mather.

the dullness is only down to the cheap video camera - and your used to Dolby Sound, or whatever.

in short I'm talking about up close and personal music that has something to say - even if its only - I am alive, and my commerce with alive people - not a dead culture.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: theleveller
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 11:50 AM

I do appreciate the professional folk musicians and enjoy what they do. However, if you choose to become a professional and you find you can't make a living at it, there's no point in complaining - it's obvious that people just don't want to buy what you're selling. If you think folk music is hard you should try being a writer and getting stuff published, or an artist, a classical pianist, a ballet dancer or whatever. In the end - even though you may be a genius - the world doesn't owe you a living. You either have the conviction that what you are creating is great and stick at it whilst finding another way to put food on the table, or change what you do to find a more commercial output. As with anything creative, though, you may just have to face the possibility that you're not good enough.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 01:50 PM

Absolutely leveller! Its not a question of income - although income is always nice. Its the fact that the best music just isn't getting heard.

The music industry always wants product. They all dream of discovering the next big thing. And when they've got the next big tghing - you get all these albums like Rod Stewart reading the telephone directory. Sometimes an artist can sustain ten interesting albums - like the Beatles.

But in general genius doesn't work like that in folk music. Folk musicians can usually do one kind of music really well. One good idea in a career isn't bad - in fact some of us don't really ever manage that magic synthesis - though I've looked all my life.

the point is that the BBC is drawing something from those wells they keep returning to, but its not water that will sustain a living folk culture.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 02:38 PM

Big Al - apologies if you've mentioned this already - but if you're in favour of Folk Awards of some kind, may I ask who'd vote for the winners? And indeed, who'd come up with the shortlist?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: John P
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 02:42 PM

So screw the "music business" and "product". If you don't like their game, don't play it. But please quit your bitching about things that no one is doing on purpose. Everyone who does anything has to live within certain parameters. If you think that folk club and festival organizers don't walk a very narrow line, you aren't thinking. You are, however, ignoring their concerns and blaming them for something for which there is no solution. Don't like what the BBC presents? The answer is easy -- don't listen to the BBC. If you want unknowns to be heard at festivals, start a festival and book unknowns (and see how long you last).

Most importantly -- start acting like the folk musician you claim to be and focus on folk music instead of whether or not you or anyone else is being ignored by people who have no effect on the real playing of real music in the first place. Play your best and enjoy the playing of others. If your complaint is that you can't make a decent living playing your music, get a job.

But please stop you incessant whining!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 03:25 PM

no, Al has a right to challenge the folk establishment, and state his opinions.
to some extent he is right, folk music is not the music of the working class, that does not mean that there are not some working class people who like it, but the vast majority of the people to who it appeals are the sort of people who like art music [and most of those are middle class], that is what most of it is . folk music as we know it and how it is categorised is really art music.
in my opinion,in the last 40 years the uk folk revival has become more like the commercial pop world, this has been as a result of a mistaken belief that folk music has to be mainstream, what generally happens when something becomes commercialised in an attempt to make it mainstream, is that it can change its character and lose some of its original qualities and lose   its closeness to its roots.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 03:39 PM

"in my opinion,in the last 40 years the uk folk revival has become more like the commercial pop world, this has been as a result of a mistaken belief that folk music has to be mainstream, what generally happens when something becomes commercialised in an attempt to make it mainstream, is that it can change its character and lose some of its original qualities and lose   its closeness to its roots."

Do you think that's quite right? Perhaps it's more that the more commercial sounding records do better in the market place? But that's not the folk music genre as a whole lurching into Spice Girls land, that's just the few that do becoming picked up by radio stations and music buyers who prefer their music shiny and easy-listenable.

I think the overwhelming amount of music made in the Folk Music genre, as wide as that is nowadays, is significantly NOT particularly commercialised. Most of it, I'd say, is produced by people like you Dick, with (I imagine) absolutely no thought of getting nominated for a Beeb FA or similar. It's just the stuff that sounds like other stuff on the radio, tends to get picked up by people looking for things to play on the radio. It'd take a really major breakthrough - a folk world version of Nirvana's huge success or something - for people to look beyond a nice sounding guitar and an acceptable voice.

I don't think the folk world is full of people looking to make themselves famous. If so, they've chosen the wrong genre.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 04:41 PM

I must admit that when I began this thread I didn't know the direction it would head in.

I was curious as to the organisation that was doing these awards - I became aware of them because I am linked up via Facebook with one of the people nominated.

To me the problem with this is that I am not familiar with all the nominees - the "Ragged Kingdom" CD by June Tabor and Oysterband is indeed excellent and what I've heard of Rapunzel and Sedayne seems to have a great 'feel' about it, but I don't feel qualified to vote in a lot of these categories - I'm a bit dubious about the X factor type of online vote for these things.

Personally performing in folk clubs has given us a group of friends which has expanded over the years to include many people in various parts of the UK plus a few in the US and other parts of the world. Anything else is a bonus as we only started out performing relatively late in life.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 05:01 PM

Just to illustrate a point, the story of the only time we ever tried to folk "name drop".

A few years back I was booked at a festival which was in the time when councils were being generous with funding for these things. They put us up in a hotel which was also being used by some of the top acts like Eliza Carthy - although we never actually ran across her Julia thought she would mention this illustrious company in her staff room on the Monday when we got back.

Not only had none of her staff heard of Eliza, they'd not heard of Martin Carthy either.

Perhaps this puts things in perspective a bit?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 05:10 PM

Take the BBC face of Folk, Country, and jazz

Carthy, Gillian Welch, Courtney Pine.

Can you imagine any of these people handling a new years eve gig, where people get up and boogie? And I'm afraid without the spit and sawdust - it ain't folkmusic


Frankly, yes I could. What makes you think they couldn't handle it Al?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 07:26 PM

Just my opinion - why do you think they will have acquired a skill they have never had to acquire. I think it's all too typical of the low regard professional non-star musicians are held in. Its a definite skill - playing to REAL folks. Not the forelock tugging middle class serfs of the folk audience. People willing to be bored shitless to preserve the tradition of beimg bored, whilst feeling superior.

And why shouldn't I state my very sincerely held opinions, founded on years of observation. What are these awards, etc - except a stating of the opposite viewpoint.

All I am hearing from the opposite viewpoint is choir of sycophants. No real answer to the problem of diminishing audiences, the failure of the young musicians to produce anything memorable enough to chart. The more it fails to do, this tradition - the more inflated the claims for its importance. You must feel like Hitler in the bunker - thinking up medals for non existent victories, manouevres for non existent armies.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 08:48 PM

I'd just like to say GSS - thankyou for standing up for me. I appreciate it. You are a great songwriter and that version of your Richard the 3rd song - you and carthy needs up dating.


I am Martin's number one fan. I actually understand what a good guitarist he is, whereas these other buggers - I don't know what they see in him - but its definitely not the revolutionary force in music that he tries to be.

the thing about that generation, they don't or won't get to grips with recording technology. Perhaps if he got his guitar sound as big as a cathedral - they might understand.

Derek Brimstone was exactly the same - his son Greg is a really good record producer - does stuff for the Levellers and many more. Derek wouldn't let Greg put any reverb or echo on the guitar - just insisted that the sound was totally dry, Greg had his head in his hands. just that generation.

Anyway, I'd get it re-recorded . Its better than it sounds.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 08:53 PM

You must feel like Hitler in the bunker - thinking up medals for non existent victories, manouevres for non existent armies.
That is very god Al,I wish I had written that,
Do you know what gives me real pleasure its when i go busking, and people come up to me and say your really good you should be playing in clubs,[including Ronnie Drew who gave me a fiver] and i think to myself" are you listening leigh on f###### sea""""bothy southport" not one gig in 35 years.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 09:22 PM

I never knew Ronnie. Paul Downes told me he did a gig with Ronnie and he sung shoals of herring, just to one E major chord all the way through. The first time I appreciated his genius was when he sang Come out you Black and tans as an introduction to Kenneth Brannagh's production od Shadow of a Gunman. Fucking brilliant!

The man deserves sainthood status, at least!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 04:35 AM

why do you think they will have acquired a skill they have never had to acquire

Do you really think they've got where they are without any struggle?

And why shouldn't I state my very sincerely held opinions, founded on years of observation. What are these awards, etc - except a stating of the opposite viewpoint

No problem with that. I'll state my opinion then that this is one of the bitterest threads I've read on Mudcat which is quite an achievement. Well done. I think you could make your point, which I have some sympathy with by the way, much better without pissing on the careers of successful musicians and making insulting gross generalisations about folk (or other) audiences.

Anyway, if tickets are still available to the Carthy, Welch and Pine gig I'm interested. I'll even heckle a bit if it makes you feel better.


Pete (honorary middle-class unreal person, 2nd Tenor, choir of sycophants and bumkissers)


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Jim Moray
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 05:10 AM

The funny thing is, in a couple of hours I'm off to London to play a NYE gig with Martin and Eliza Carthy in front of several thousand non-folkies who want to "get up and boogie". I anticipate that they'll cope with it fine, thanks.

Just saying...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 06:05 AM

Is it worth pointing out that the Spiral Earth Awards have nothing to do with the BBC? As the thread title suggests, we're talking about something independent here where such projects as the three that I've been involved in to a greater or lesser extent (50% of Rapunzel & Sedayne, 5% of Oak, Ash, Thorn, 3% Woodbine & Ivy Band) might find themselves deservedly nominated. But not around here, where The Real Folk Police (i.e. those sixty-something singer-songwriters who think it's still 1965) will determinedly tell you it's not Proper Folk because it doesn't appeal to their fantasy demographic of who the Proper Folk are. As for professional, whilst I've been paid handsomely for my work over the years, I would never consider myself a professional folkie, and certainly not with respect of any of the projects featured on the Spiral Earth Awards, which are very much real labours of real love, which is why our resident Real Folk Police DCI's determination to piss all over them with his sour grapes is all the more irksome. Of course it's fine when one of his songs is up for a sycophantic middle-class BBC award, then threads are opened for transparant sycophantic middle-class vote rigging and everyone contributes with good humour and typical middle-class syncophantic back-slapping good-old-Al joviality. Over here, meanwhile, good-old-Al is busy stomping on lovingly made sandcastles and kicking sand in the faces of those he perceives to be lesser mortals in a tantrum of inverted snobbery driven by an embittered elitism that really has no place in the merry world of folk cameraderie: where our achievements are applauded, and respect is always due, and we are all glass-half-full optimists and very happy indeed with our lot in life; appreciative of the fact that there will always be a diversity of horses for a diversity of courses. This is, after all, The Music That We (supposedly) Love...

So please, Big Al, do us all a favour and feck off already with your inane and pityful whinging - not only it is undignified, cringeworthy, and grotesque, but it's entirely misplaced in a realm where people work very hard indeed for their art, their craft and whatever modest critical recognition they might garner simply because they believe (without compromise) that Traditional Folk Song has a contemporary relevance that is obviously lost on the likes of you, boyo. Best thing to do if you don't understand it, a) either ask nicely or b) shut the feck up and concentrate on what you do know, but for God's sake enough of the conspiracy theories because you really haven't a fecking clue what you're talking about.   

S O'P (Bleary & hungover after a very late & very fine session in one of the last remaining truly working-class flee pit folk clubs in the North West of England with some of the finest musicians & singers & punters to boot...)


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 06:14 AM

where there is discord, let me bring light!

happy new year!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 07:40 AM

PS Yes I REALLY believe none of them ever did a tough pub gig. And I'm pretty sure they couldn't. Why would they even know the technical stuff you have at your fingertips to eat a room like that?

Seems to me all the reasoned argument comes from me, and all the bitterness and personal abuse issues from your side.

Nevertheless, soul of courtesy and the milkman of human kindness that I am - I wish you all a happy new year.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 08:02 AM

Why would anyone want to do a "tough pub gig"? And why should crowd control be thought a more desirable skill than musicianship which can command an audience's attention and respect?

As for "bitterness" and "reasoned argument" - I suggest Al goes back and re-reads his previous posts, not just on this but on pretty much every other thread he's contributed to.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 08:49 AM

"Why would anyone want to do a "tough pub gig"? And why should crowd control be thought a more desirable skill than musicianship which can command an audience's attention and respect?"

If you'd done it - you wouldn't need to ask. Folk music that doesn't have commerce with real "folks" - is something else. Why did some of these songs survive and some just fall into disuse, and have to be disinterred from libraries.

its the reason those 60's bands that had been to hamburg in the Beatles era had that cutting edge.

Despite the abuse heaped on me in this thread. I have no bitterness towards you - more sort of compassion.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 09:14 AM

Yet didn't the Beatles pack up live gigs because they couldn't hear themselves play over the racket from a live audience?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 09:37 AM

Mind you, I do agree with the "cutting edge" bit - sometimes folk can become a bit too "cosy" I suppose, yet on the other hand not everyone wants to do "fast and loud and in yer face and in a bunch of keys"

Horses for courses?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 09:42 AM

Yes indeed. And Django found his nightclub audiences garrulous and bloody annoying.

In those days - there was no option. technology was shit.

I wonder if any of these performance colleges do a course on how to set up a PA in a shitty pub with sound blocking structures hanging from the ceilings.

I couldn't do it after five years playing in folk clubs. But working mens club bands and country and western bands = by watching them I eventually learned.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 09:49 AM

Seems to me all the reasoned argument comes from me, and all the bitterness and personal abuse issues from your side.

Well I'll be off back to my bunker then. Carry on...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 10:13 AM

people that resort to insults and telling people to feck off show the bankruptcy of their arguments.
Al is correct, 9o per cent of the folk club performers would not be able to perform and entertain in a pub to a non folk audience.
as i understand it what Jim moray is talking about is something slightly different the people who are going to see the carthys and jim moray are going there because they wish to see those particular artists.
or perhaps i have misunderstood the new years gig, jim please correct me if i am wrong.
Als point is correct, most at a guess 90 per cent of folk club performers have a repertoire that is only suited to folk club audiences, those who have, are generally those performers who have also worked different circuits, such as folk comedians, or people who have done working mens clubs or people such as th ex spinners, hughie jones etc, Or some of the irish performers who have worked irish pubs, and who have in their repertoire what folk club performers might consider hackneyed material, but which because it has entered the mainstream is popular with non folk club audiences , such as wild rover, kilgarry mountains dublins fair city, sloop john b, good night irene, etc


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Crowsis flying through
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 10:21 AM

Briefly dropping into MC this afternoon and so pleased to see this thread (albeit not much of the content, but I'll pass on that) highlighting the Spiral Earth alternative folk award noms.

Spleen, you must be proper chuffed at the Folk Police turnout, and deservedly so too, good job! A fledgling independent label, backing outsiders and refreshingly un-MOR folk musicians - including the lovely Rapunzel and Sedayne (playing you to some friends for my 'Longest Night' feast this year btw., and most appropriately atmospheric it was too).

If Mudcatters aren't fond of the alternative face of folk, I guess that's too bad. For me, I couldn't be more pleased, both for the music (which as SO'P said, has been long overdue a shake-up) and for some jolly lovely and hard-working people. Here's wishing you a wonderful musical year ahead!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 11:24 AM

"Al is correct, 9o per cent of the folk club performers would not be able to perform and entertain in a pub to a non folk audience."

I don't disagree, but so what? Most of them aren't attempting to do so. I don't suppose the Royal Philharmonic would be very good at entertaining a pub audience either. It's not an appropriate yardstick.

The problem with Al's argument is that he seems to dismiss any audience which is actually interested in folk music as not being "real folks". If they want to sit and listen to the music they must be middle-class and not worth bothering with. Of course, he knows nothing about their actual backgrounds.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 11:53 AM

Howard, he is right most folk audiences are middle class, so what?well its a fact.
it is an appropriate yardstick, its horses for courses, to pretend otherwise is dishonest.
because what i understand al to be saying is that most working class people are not interested in folk music , it is not the peoples music., and yet there is this myth that is perepetrated by some in the folk revival that folk music is working class music, the majority[not all] of the working class are not interested in it
most[not all] working class people are fed a diet of bums, tits, sport, and are not encouraged to be anything other than consumers of commercial music.
it is the nature of the capitalist/consumer system.
however,Howard I know something of your back ground, I know where you went to school etc etc, and i would call you fairly typical of most folk club audiences you are middle class, now that in my eyes is not a criticism ,just a fact.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 12:02 PM

The working classes began to abandon folk music as soon as they could afford a wireless. The middle classes, by and large, won't touch folk music with a barge pole.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: theleveller
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 12:03 PM

This seems to have developed into a debate about class which, as far as i'm concerned, doesn't exist as portrayed here. Please tell me what you mean when you talk about middle class and working class (any upper class folk enthusiasts?).


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 12:22 PM

leveller, if you are trying to pretend that you dont know the difference between working class and middle class, I am afraid I have not got the time to waste on explaining something that you are pretending you do not know.
yes, I am n upper classfolk enthusiast, have you heard my shanty hooray henry


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 12:42 PM

I don't think you've quite grasped what I am saying.

I don't think the working classes abandoned folk music. Really at the coming of the music hall - rather than the radio.

I think they re-defined it, because by definition - they have ownership of it.

Anyway no point in arguing about it. You might be right, I might be wrong.

Put it this way though. I am quietly confident that the present crew will one day look as irrelevant to the general thrust of folk music as the neo-Georgians are to the history of Eng. Lit.

Folk music is waiting for its TS Eliot.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: theleveller
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 12:55 PM

Dick I'm not pretending anything - I think you're basing your entire argument on an out-moded idea of class. I suspect that you're declining to explain because you can't. Is your concept of class based on the job you do, wealth, education, where you live.....? I'm a professional writer and I earn a reasonable living, am largely self-educated and I'm an anarchist and a republican, so what does that make me? More to the point, what bearing does it have on my love of folk music?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 01:08 PM

an out moded idea of class.
right, start going to working mens clubs, you will not see many people from the middle or upper classes, few will be reading william morris or karl marx or freidrich engels or the mao tse tung or even ewan macColls journeyman between the different acts.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 01:09 PM

"I think they re-defined it, because by definition - they have ownership of it."

It seems to me you're falling into the trap of saying that because folk music was working-class music, working-class music is therefore folk music. If that's your point of view, I can begin to understand your argument. However that's very different from "folk music" which, as someone said earlier in the thread, is an artistic movement.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 01:14 PM

A Writer an anarchist and a republican, what does it make you, a subversive and a contradiction, how can you be an anarchist and a republican at the same time that is bullshit.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 01:25 PM

There was a group of anarchists who used to go in the same pub as I did. They had a meeting to draw up a constitution!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 01:41 PM

Yo, CS! Good to see you flying by this spot of seasonal mayhem & ceremonial misrule: it's hoose agen hoose and town agen town - and if you see a man, knock him down (but don't hurt him!).

*

Folk music is waiting for its TS Eliot.

For your generation you've already had him in the form of Bob Dylan - and you've all been sucking on his impotent middle-class dick ever since. The times they are a changing... if only!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 02:16 PM

oh no not bob dylan, more bullshit, the man wrote 3 or 4 very good songs, nicked one from someone else, borrowed dylan thomas name, and was nothing other than a popstar who couldnt sing but could write and did write about six memorable songs.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 02:55 PM

I'm really puzzled why you are all so antagonistic? Am I not ALLOWED to have these ideas? To express them....?

I'm not saying folk music has to be working class - but somethings missing somewhere when its not. Like a faultline. I'm surprised more of you don't sense it.

I can only put it down to the fact that you are so in thrall to the aliens from Planet BBC, that your critical faculties are a bit screwed up.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 05:21 PM

Antagonistic? Not a bit of it, BAW - just responding in kind really. And with you it's not so much ideas as ideology - heavy handed Folk Law that operates on the principle of if you say something often enough it becomes true). Not good - especially when the sort of thing you're proposing would be complete anathema to a left-field Dylan-hating post-revivalist traddy like me. And the most influence the BBC has ever had on my Folk Life (apart from The White Heather Club, natch) was back when I used to watch Bagpuss re-runs with my daughter in the early 80s, though I must admit to being inspired by the occasional adaptation of M R James (Jonathan Miller's Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You is especially cherished) or episode of Dr Who (The Daemons). Now ITV on the other hand - they gave us Children of the Stones - seminal Folk Horror that lingers yet; they even had Wyrd Morris Dancers in that...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 08:05 PM

well the BBC had a big influence on me. Not all for the good, but I certainly learned a lot of folksongs as a child in singing together/ And it showed me lots of other folk music over the years.

The trouble is that society has changed. Democratised or something. The BBC though is still the preserve of nobs and they're getting it wrong - badly wrong.

they've stopped serving people.

How many programmes or radio stations are there for old people in residential homes? They're economically unimportant so they get nowt.

How many programmes about tradtional jazz. Trad jazz clubs are really crowded these days. Nothing about the young people playing it.

And folk music.......

Look this all of it - no bitterness, no angst....just supposing Ewan, Martin, Bert, Cecil....got it wrong.
perhaps folk music is something else. Something that folks do, in every age. no real pattern to it.
For anarchists ...you lot are very authoritarian.

Think outside the box. It won't hurt. You may end up enjoying the experience.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 10:35 PM

Its the Reithian thing really - the idea that the posh can do everything, so they should get first dibs.

Just this Christmas, some Charlie got the idea that Darcy Bussell in middle age, could do Ginger Rogers routines. That level of arrogance and ignorance, its unfathomable. My wife was the ballroom champion dancer of Nottingham. her training started when she was three. Why are we underclass so unworthy of respect...?

I guess its no wonder that growing up in this culture of imperious superiority - you guys really CAN'T think what if...........

But honest to God. it explains so much. I played hundreds of venues in my career. And I can honestly say - however badly I went down - Martin doing the acts I've seen him do, would go down even worse.

Its huge rift between English folk music and English people, using your rules. And the future is basically hopeless.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: theleveller
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 05:01 AM

"how can you be an anarchist and a republican at the same time that is bullshit"

You're displaying your ignorance I'm afraid, Dick. Start by reading Peter Marshall's 'Demanding the Impossible' and then move on to Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin. Then, if you think that the old class structure still exists, talk to a demographer, if you can stand the smirk that will appear on his/her face. It would seem that the last 30 years have passed you by. As for the idea that you can put folk-lovers in boxes, it's simply ludicrous.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 06:52 AM

perhaps folk music is something else. Something that folks do, in every age. no real pattern to it.

I've tried that on various occasions, & on at least one of which (during your sabbatical as I recall) even wished you onside - see the legend that is the 1954 and All That thread. More recently I had the epiphany that was Steamfolk, which I clarified in a couple of magazine articles, but even so the orthodoxy reacted with customary hostility despite the essentially positive thrust of my thesis. Ho hum. Broadly I'd have to agree with you, especially with respect of the overall context & usage of music & musical experience in working class culture. I feel exactly the same way about folklore, which is also a bourgeois fantasy of lower class ill-educated superstitious ignorance yielding some curious capers worthy of taxonomy & taxidermy, what? Of course a broader analysis of all this only serves to underline the futility of folk anyway: part academic fantasy, part religious comfort blanket, part DIY MOR reactionary pop nostalgia, part cultural autism, part self-styled artistic movement - but in any case (let's face it) wholly irrelevant to the majority of English Dwelling Human Beings of any class who really have better things to worry about. This makes your own position all the more worrying, Al - at least when it comes to the reality of Folk in the UK & beyond, which, one would hope, is examplified by accepting & supporting one another in a spirit of overall camaraderie no matter how we might see fit to approach 'it' as individuals. In this respect I'd say it's a matter of looking after the pence & letting the pounds look after themselves. At least that's the ideal...

The reality is somewhat different; Personal Preference is not a gateway to righteousness, and Anarchy (like Atheism) must be all inclusive. Believe it or not, this is what I strive for in life: it's called the Bigger Picture, which in practical terms means stepping out of the Fishpond of the UK Folk Scene and taking a dip in the Ocean from time to time just to keep things real, or else to stop from going completely insane. Even here on the Lancashire Coast, one might get a sense of the truly global as the Irish Sea meats with the Atlantic and all points beyond. Meanwhile, in the folk pond, it looks like someones forgot to turn the aerator on again and things are getting more than a little stagnant; the big fish are bullying the little fish in a fight for precious oxygen & resentment grows more mean spirited by the minute. At the end of the day though, all I'm truly bothered about is going to bed with a smile on my face, which isn't too difficult in the UK Folk Scene, just I'd really rather be laughing with them, rather than laughing at them, but it's a difficult one at times as things become increasingly, and painfully, negative & resentful. Are we downhearted? Not a bit - just a little disappointed really, given the reasons we have to celebrate here & nary a fecking word!

S O'P (New Year's Day 2012, listening to Purcell Sonatas of 3 Parts in a mood of general, though melancholic, optimism. Or is it more one of resignation?)


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 07:19 AM

So do we need a new thread about the Spiral Earth folk awards? And dare I mention that the FATEA Awards have just been announced, too?

PS - Cheers for your comments, Crowsis. Hope all is good with you...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 07:39 AM

well its a new year. lets hope all of us is good with whats going on. or as good as possible.

Best of luck to all award winners - I'm sure they're all richly deserving people.

What would you like us to say about the Spiral Earth Awards?

Hip Hip Hooray! that sort of thing....?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 07:43 AM

no leveller, if you are a republican, you believe in a republic, if you are an anarchist you believe the notion of a state to be undesirable, whether the state be a monarchy or a republic, leveller you cant have it both ways, you are eiuther an anarchist or a republican it is a contradiction to try and both at the same time.
as for the rest of your post it is similiar cods wallop, i am not putiing folk lovers into boxes , but i am saying that most folk music lovers are middle class.
go to a working mens club ask them what kind of music they like unfortunately most of them will not say matty groves or the famous flower of serving men, and you know it, start being honest.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 07:47 AM

You might be right Spleen, but it's perhaps best to move the thread drift to this thread

I'd echo Crowsisters comments also. Kinda got lost in the above but one of the good things about these awards is it introduces you to new artists - I'm very impressed with Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo. Also very glad to see Rapunzel and Sedayne and Walsh and Pound in there.

PS - voting is open. Just done mine...

PPS - I agree with a lot of what you say about the BBC Big Al, but I don't think this is the right thread for it...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 07:51 AM

Big Al Whittle wrote -
"Carthy, Gillian Welch, Courtney Pine.

Can you imagine any of these people handling a new years eve gig, where people get up and boogie?"


Well, as it happens, Martin Carthy spent New Year's Eve last night playing for his daughter's Motown Ceilidh at London's South Bank where hundreds of people danced all night and the whole thing was a huge success.

So, yes, Mr. Whittle, it is very easy to imagine that people boogie the old year away with two generations of Carthys - because very many were doing just that last night.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 08:22 AM

Obviously the points I am trying to make are incommunicable to those with limited experience of life.

I'm done with trying.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: evansakes
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 08:31 AM

Big Al Whittle wrote -
"Carthy, Gillian Welch, Courtney Pine.

Can you imagine any of these people handling a new years eve gig, where people get up and boogie?"

To debunk another of Big Al's myths, Gillian Welch and her partner David Rawlings can do it too, Vic. A few years back I saw them with Buddy Miller's band running through a bunch of standards in a bar (including Chuck Berry's 'Nadine' and Dylan's 'Highway 61). Rawlings was playing electric guitar solos reminiscent of Eddie van Halen...

....and while I'm on, Gillian Welch wasn't automatically elevated into arts centres and theatres either. There was no silver spoon in her mouth or red carpet treatment. On her first visit to the UK she played pubs and small clubs in front of 40 or 50 people and worked her way up from there (I saw her at Dingwalls then Shepherd's Bush Empire then Hammersmith Odeon). It's all possible.....you just need need a shed load of talent coupled with the right attitude and a bit of determination.

Can't comment about Courtney Pine but I suspect it's a similar story.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 08:56 AM

TwickFolk wrote:-
"Can't comment about Courtney Pine but I suspect it's a similar story."


Well, I can! Courtney is one of my great heroes. He came into jazz after playing in reggae and pop groups as a young man. Courtney Pine's interest in jazz was fostered when he participated in workshops run by John Stevens and although he is now known mainly as an outstanding jazz reedsman, he still plays reggae, soul and pop gigs. Listen to his Closer To Home album and try and convince me that parts of it are not the most sublime dance music. It was not all that long ago that he played a "home town" gig at the Brixton Astoria and there were not all that many people in their seats that night.....

So, I reckon that apart from Carthy, Gillian Welch and Courtney Pine, his list of non-danceable acts may be accurate.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: evansakes
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM

Obviously the points I am trying to make are incommunicable to those with limited experience of life

Big Al, you're the one making all sorts of wild assumptions about people on the folk scene not having paid their dues or fulfilled various rites of passage in shitty pubs and workingmen's clubs. You don't have a monopoly on this. I'm sure many of us have been there, done that and written the book. For myself, I did the best part of a thousand gigs in these places over a ten year period (including every New Years Eve). Like you, I know what it's like to have a rat-arsed individual spitting in my face and bellowing out for Hi-ho Silver Lining etc. We played it too (of course) along with Johnny B Goode and all the others.....and everyone got up to dance (once they'd had enough to drink anyway). All this gave me the satisfaction of being a working musician and earning reasonable recompense....but it's not a scene I'd care to return to these days and not anything I'm particularly proud of either. It's certainly not anything I'd consider an essential apprenticeship for getting up onstage with an acoustic instrument and entertaining a listening audience in a folk club (as you seem to be implying)


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM

Can't comment about Courtney Pine but I suspect it's a similar story...

It is. Whilst Courtney Pine isn't really my cup of tea, you have to hand it to him that he's an accomplished and versatile musician who can turn his hand to all sorts of things - soul, funk and reggae as well as the jazz he's known for, as I discovered when I was dragged out to see him play live.

*********

I do wonder why Al thinks that being able to win over a hostile or indifferent crowd at one of the few remaining working men's clubs is some sort of barometer of whether you're any good, though. Is it about some sort of notion of musicians havinga duty to give the people what you assume they want? Personally, I think if someone wants to sit through another pissed-up rendition of Crystal Chandaliers and other boozy favourites in a dismal hall with crap acoustics, fair play to them. Don't be suprised when not everyone thinks of that as a good night out, though - including most ordinary working class British people, if the terminal decline of the WMC and of live music in pubs is anything to go by. And for the vast majority of musicians of any genre, being the background noise at a WMC isn't even on their radar, and why should it be? Mosrt musicians are going to look for audiences who might enjoy what they are playing, not some sort of macho, gladiatoral showdown. Or some illusory lower common denominator set list of tried and tested favourites. It the Beatles had done that chances are they'd still be playing Chuck Berry and Little Richard covers in some back room and we wouldn't have Revolver and Sgt Pepper and all the music that inspired.

Here's a for instance: Harp and a Monkey, whose album Folk Police put out in 2011, are gig monsters who'll play anywhere and always get asked back. One of the things they do is to gig in towns in the back of beyond that don't get many visiting bands. Even they don't make a point of doing these allegedly essential WMC style retro-gigs, though. And they probably tick a lot of Al's boxes - ordinary northern lads who write very hummable songs that actually say something.

*********

Drat. I seem to have allowed myself to get sucked in.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 09:11 AM

Ooops! Cross posted with Vic 'n' Twick who have said the same sort of thing more succinctly.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 09:55 AM

Well I'm sucked out - along with the 95% of the population. I'm accused of ranting and abused if I have a divergent opinion about folk music.

Theres no conversation here. But remember what goes around etc. Next time they close down one of your radio programmes, or one of your sacred cows goes bankrupt. This is the isolation from your fellow men that you sought out.

As you say Spleen, many musicians work in appalling conditions. probably the 95%, that i identify with. still we can always sing about what a bugger it is to be press ganged, and theres always bang up to date subjects youre allowed to sing about - like World War 1 and being transported for poaching.

And who knows perhaps one of your heroes will let you buy them a drink and they'll let you in on their new concept album, soon to be an unwatched programme on BBC4.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 11:28 AM

This "isolation" business - what do you mean, exactly? Are you suggesting that everyone should play music that is manufactured with the intention of appealing to the widest possible cross section of people? If so, I can think of very few songs that 'everyone' likes and even fewer acts where 'everyone' likes their entire repetoire. And where's the room in this for variety and innovation and progress and minority taste? Or is even thinking of such things elitist? What are you suggesting that musicians should be doing as an alternative to what they are doing? As far asI can see, there's more variety of music out there than ever and there were some brilliant albums out this yaer in all sorts of genres and styles - whether the people making them are getting by is another matter - a lot more people seem to be doing it for the love of the music rather than to be jobbing musicians. I reckon that's a good thing, unless you think that all musicians should be able to do a set of 'classic' pop and rock standards at the drop of a hat - whether they want to or not. You do lots of sniping at people who might have middle class fans and haven't 'paid their dues' (whatever that means). But what do you want instead? Imagine for a moment that I'm really dense and you have to spell it out to me simply and clearly. Then I might understand what you're saying, Al. I know what I want - and that's to hear music that moves me. Whether on not it moves anyone else is up to them. But I don't think we should try to impose any sorts of imaginary absolutes on musicians or listeners even if we could, which we can't.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 11:35 AM

I think quite a few of us play in fringe sessions at pubs during festivals and have had the experience of an audience gathering round. Very often people will come up and say that they've not enjoyed listening to something so much for a long time, and they weren't aware that this kind of thing existed.

It's perhaps that some folk don't realise things exist unless they're on television, and these are often those who wouldn't dream of going to a folk gig.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 12:20 PM

well of course guest you are right, there are no absolutes.

Its a schizoid sort of thing. I always knew when I was doing both sorts of gigs, that both sides were missing out.

Easy enough to see what the plebs are missing out on - their cultural roots etc.

I always felt the prole musicians though had SO MUCH that the folkie crowd took no cognisance of. And i felt that folk music was poorer for that.

Of course you also right that recording has never been easier. You can buy a twenty four track digital recorder and burn cds off for less that five hundred quid these days. Brilliant! and good quality musical instruments at entry level have never been cheaper.

However just perambulating in my senior years round the open mics, folk clubs etc, pub gigs - I find this sullen acceptance that all of this brilliant music will just languish and stay here - subterranean almost. And hand on heart - do the Transatlantic Sessions move anyone - except to boredom? Wouldn't it be great if some new music and musicians emerged, someone who'd attack folk music from another direction. You often see it in the clubs - but never on the telly.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 01:36 PM

Of course you also right that recording has never been easier. You can buy a twenty four track digital recorder and burn cds off for less that five hundred quid these days. Brilliant! and good quality musical instruments at entry level have never been cheaper.

That's more like it! The internet is also a major resource - type in nearly any song you can think of and someone's put their version on youtube.

You might not see it on the telly but it is out there.

Wouldn't it be great if some new music and musicians emerged, someone who'd attack folk music from another direction.

Well I reckon it is, some of whom are nominees for the Spiral Earth awards. It's one of the reasons why I'm bemused at your attacks Al. I think you've been firing at the wrong targets...

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 01:46 PM

I can't recollect attacking Spiral Earth. anyway, who am I to mount an attack on anyone?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 01:54 PM

I may have mis interpreted what Al is saying, but this is what i think he is saying... a really outgoing performer with a versatile repertoire, can play folk clubs and also play in working mens clubs and pubs and still captivate a non folk audience, but that most people who play in folk clubs are limited with their repertoire and presentation,and are lost outside the folk revival.
I have seen some exceptions, one was john foreman playing to a caravan and camping club, all his one liners appeared spontaneous and he went down a storm.
on another occasion Andy Kenna [who was on before me] and myself managed to win over a hostile pub audience at lancaster maritime festival, when other folk performers had given up.
but we are taking about two different things, Idont doubt CARTHYS AND JIM MORAY HAD A GOOD GIG, but those people were there specifically to see them, being able to entertain a no folk pub audience is different, in fact i did it last night, but in ireland it is easier because tradtional music is more part of the mainstream culture than it is in england, but i had to take a different approach than the normal folk club approach[i still did some serious and social comment songs]


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM

yes but part of the reason that traditional is more part of mainstream culture is the fact that the expertise that pub entertainers have is considered infra dig this side of the Irish Sea.

Some folk dj's flatly refuse to play original work by people who gig pubs.

Its a class thing Dick. These people think we're their inferior. Is it jealousy when we go down well, or suceed with an audience they would die in front of. I dunno. Stopped caring years ago. I just accept the fact.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM

Like I say - I stopped caring back in the days of cassette albums - so should you stop caring. That way lies madness!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Class War Warrior
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:24 PM

Don't back down Al, you're right to have a go at Gillian Welch, Sebastian Coe and whoever the third one was as they are ALL middle class spongers, sponging off you and me.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:55 PM

I can't recollect attacking Spiral Earth

didn't say you did. Fair to say your tone towards the awards has been less than positive though? I was referring mainly to your attacks on musicians who you think don't deserve the recognition they get. In this respect Carthy, Welch and Pine seem very odd targets indeed!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:55 PM

Idont doubt CARTHYS AND JIM MORAY HAD A GOOD GIG, but those people were there specifically to see them,

This would seem to betray a misunderstanding of the make-up of this particular event. The very expensive tickets entitled those who attended to a wide range of events ranging from the classics to silent discos in virtually every nook and cranny of the South Bank Centre. All of these presentations had to compete for their own audiences. A pick-up Britfolk band asking people to ceilidh dance to Detroit sounds was hardly going out of its way to attract its core audience. I would think that it was chosen because it had every chance of having a wide appeal amongst very attractive events featuring a good range of top performers.

Jim is mentioned in my quotation at the top and he has contributed to this thread so is clearly aware of what is being written. It would be interesting to hear his view on the make-up of those who danced at the Motown Ceilidh - and if it did involve people who would not usually be seen at a folk dance, then bloody good for them.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 03:07 PM

Vic, I am not criticising any event or any artist, i did in fact ask jim to correct me if i was wrong., he has not commented
but yet again, we are no comparing like with like dancing and bopping around, is not the same as asking a folk club revival singer to see how his repertoire would go down in a working mens club is it?and i tell you why its not the same Vic,because folk club material requires people to listen to words[it is not and should not be wall paper music] bopping about does not require the same mental concentration, it is not the same as asking a working mens club audience to listen to matty groves.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 03:20 PM

No suggestion that you were indulging in any criticism of any artist or act. No suggestion that folk dance and folk club material call for the same response - though my view is that they are closer than some would suggest. Merely trying to suggest that "people were there specifically to see them," might not be accurate on this particular occasion.

.... and Working Men's Clubs... well, I called and played for ceilidhs/barn dances for quite a number over the years at clubs where the committee take a broader view of what entertainment should be provided. They can be hard work and they can be quite rewarding. The most bizarre one was quite a few years ago when there was bingo during the interval.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 04:42 PM

ok vic, but you are still missing my point, yes barn dances might work in working mens clubs on occasions, but you know very well, you could not sing matty groves, on one april morning,willy of the winsbury,tam linn, reynardine, barbara allen,thomas the rhymer,claudy banks etc, without getting at best [what the f## is this turn]


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Guest Vivienne
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 05:35 PM

I think I've lost the plot of this argument! Are BAW and GSS trying to say that Working Men's Club audiences are "real" folk music and folk clubs are not?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 06:06 PM

I prefer the music that i hear in folk clubs.
but as folk music is a minority taste it is a misnomer to call it folk music, because the vast majority[and particularly people who attend working mens clubs do not appear to like folk song]
now since a couple of the forefathers[Lloyd/ MacColl] of the UK folk revival had this idea that they wanted to further[for political purposes]That folk music was the music of the proletariat, this clearly not true, because the proletariat as demonstrated in working mens clubs clearly prefer other music, but not matty groves, or anything that requires much thought.
there are several reasons for this , the uk capatalist system does not want a well educated working class that analyses and thinks, the establishment believes a diet of bums tits sport and commercial musak is the best thing for EVERYBODY including the working class,
The establishment have stopped folk music in primary schools[when i was at school it was part of the national curriculum], the last reason might be that it is unfamiliar, requires concentration on lyrics, and is very strange compared to the popular music of the charts, so is rejected because of its unfamilarity.
let me tell you a story, i was giggng in the midlands some years ago, the bonny lass of anglesea[carthy],was on the jukebox, so i put it on......the reaction was interesting, the pool players in the pub stopped what the f###is this, reply o its that jazz singer


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 07:27 PM

A bunch of us went to do some songs and tunes at a local social club a couple of years ago. It was a free event, but it was a weeknight and nobody had done any advertising, so the audience consisted of regulars plus whoever wandered in. I was a bit greener than I am now, and when I did my song I went on with a bit of a "sod what you want, this is Folk Music" attitude; I did the Bonny Hind, unaccompanied. I wouldn't do that now - but you know what? I bloody nailed it. They all listened, and they all clapped. You can find an audience in some surprising places if you try.

But I honestly don't know what you're complaining about any more, Al. You seem to be setting up some kind of opposition between working-class songwriters who play pubs and clubs and know how to work their audiences, on one hand, and a middle-class traddie mafia selling theatre tickets to Guardian readers on the other. But that's not reality - it's a caricature of a caricature. To throw in a couple of names I know you and I both appreciate, which side of the line would you put John Kelly, or Tony Capstick? John's set is as trad as it comes, and Capstick never wrote a song of his own. Effete middle-class awfully-nice traddies?

Just make the music and take it to whoever will listen. That's all that any of us are doing.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 10:14 PM

Pip. I'l explain, or should I say expand on what the resentment is about.

Please take note still not ranting, despite having to state and restate what is obvious to anyone inhabiting this goldfishbowl we call the folkscene.

There is a folkscene and they appear. Taylor and Lowden guitars, sometines a Martin. The lowlier members of the club perhaps have Gibsons or Fyldes. They have an exercise book, with the words in -they have busy lives, and frankly whats the point of knowing a song all the way through. Some of them have stands to attach their I-pad with the words to the mic. stand.

Needless to say most of them have kids at university, a new car, a pension plan, a big house.

And they hate us.

Because we have devoted our lives to folksong and worked as musicians anywhere we could. Because we can do our stuff with a modicum of grace and expertise. because for us a ten minute spot in a folk club is like driving a racing car - audience intelligent, not completely pissed - and we eat those places. Piss rings round their crummy efforts.

Because there are no brownie points in saying, I was getting pissed with Dick Miles and Big Al Whittle. Because we've never been on the Mike Harding Show and appeared on the mainstage at Cambridge.

Get it...? I doubt it. Well at least I tried. and tried, and tried, and tried....


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 04:59 AM

Al, the reason you keep having to restate it is because it isn't obvious to the rest of us. In fact, I think this is the first time you've actually set out clearly what your gripe is - perhaps you'd assumed it was all too clear. Sorry, but to me at least it wasn't.

If that's been your experience, then I'm sorry for you; I think you've been unfortunate. It's certainly not been mine - I've found the folk scene to be friendly and welcoming. As a novice, with not much technique and little performing experience, I found that club organisers and more experienced musicians were welcoming and encouraging - Geoff and Pennie Harris in particular, and also Dick Miles. Even the top-flight professionals have always been accessible, and similarly free with advice and encouragement. Audiences are attentive and appreciative, and on the whole I've found that both punters and fellow musicians respect talent when they see it. Of course, folk has its share of arseholes, and perhaps you've encountered more than your fair share of these.

I've never considered trying to make a living from music, but I've been semi-pro for 30 years and during that time I've appeared on the same stage as many of the musicians I most admire. I've never played the main stage at Cambridge either, but I've performed at many of the country's other leading festivals. How many other genres can offer those opportunities to ordinary musicians?

What I don't accept is your implied assertion that playing to an audience which doesn't get the music is somehow more "real" than playing to an appreciative one, or that the skills this requires (which I acknowledge are both difficult and hard-won) are the most important measure of a musician.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 05:21 AM

Yes as a novice - it is welcoming. that's how it should be.

Howard - how do you think these songs with their enduring qualities were forged and created. Its not because they were stored in a library somewhere. Its because they had such importance to someone unlettered that they decided to create dynamic performances of them. That takes technique and determination. Stuff you don't acquire unless its REALLY important to you.

Most people have got more in their lives nowadays - families - stuff like that.

The muso is an aberrant strain of human kind. Not sure I like him myself - despite being one.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 05:51 AM

I'm not sure what you're trying to say regarding your second paragraph. I agree with every word of it.

The ordinary people gave up folk music of their own free will. No one is keeping it from them, not even the BBC. With the internet, there's now masses of it out there, on YouTube, Spotify and a hundred other websites, most of it for free. When people come across folk music, at a wedding ceilidh or when they find a pub session in full flow, they always seem to enjoy it. But, apart from a tiny minority of us, it doesn't resonate, it doesn't become music they seek out or put on their ipods.

If you really prefer to take the music to the sort of venues you describe, then good luck to you. I'm sure it's very rewarding when you do manage to make a connection. As a musician in a ceilidh band I often play to non-folk audiences, and it's great to see people who start the evening rather cautiously having a great time by the end. However it's even better to play to a folk audience which understands and enjoys the music.

Folk audiences are easy to please, and are perhaps too forgiving of poor performances (as has been discussed endlessly on here, so let's not start that one again), so it's true that many folk performers won't have the skills needed to handle a tough and hostile audience. That doesn't make what they do any less valid. And they do it for the same reasons that you set out - because the songs are important to them.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 06:26 AM

Al, if you think there's a traditional folk conspiracy against singer songwriters, you're living on a different planet to me. You only have to look at the charts, listen to the radio, look at sales figures and so on to see that as a whole, singer songwriter stuff is far more popular and accepted by the mainstream media and music industry than traditional music. There's far more of it about too. Your gripe seems to be about the small corner of the world where there is a space for traditional music (some folk clubs, some folk festivals, one national radio show) and you seem to think that singer songwriters should have that too. Why should they?

I'm by no means a traddie (I'd put money on my tastes being far more eclectic than yours!), but even I can see that there's nothing wrong with people who like traditional folk having somewhere to play it and listen to it and a small music industry to support it. Where's the problem?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 06:38 AM

"you know very well, you could not sing matty groves, on one april morning,willy of the winsbury,tam linn, reynardine, barbara allen,thomas the rhymer,claudy banks etc, without getting at best [what the f## is this turn]

Sadly, I have been in places that call themselves folk clubs where you might get a similar reaction. We were asked to finish an Open Night at one such establishment in Sussex not all that long ago - and I started off by asking if it was all right to sing a couple of traditional songs as there hadn't been any in the evening up until that point.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM

Howard Jones posts:-
"I think this is the first time you've actually set out clearly what your gripe is" about Al Whittle's clarification of his position.


Yes, I would agree that he makes his position more clear, though there is still confusion in his thinking. We can see that his gripe is with those who "have kids at university, a new car, a pension plan, a big house" along with their expensive instruments. One of their characteristics - he claims - is that "They have an exercise book, with the words in -they have busy lives, and frankly whats the point of knowing a song all the way through. Some of them have stands to attach their I-pad with the words to the mic. stand."
I would have to agree with him that performing a song in public whilst reading the words is simply not good enough, especially where an audience has paid money to be entertained, but if Al thinks that this practice is confined to the better off people who attend folk clubs, open mics etc. then in my experience he is wrong.

Let those who need to read their lyrics go where they belong - to karaoke nights.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 07:27 AM

Strangely enough I was in an open mic last night and a youngish quartet played Matty Groves. Complete with Djimba drum, heavy metal guitar, words on an i-pad!

Noisy room - young men giving it large at the bar.

went down great!

no absolutes means no absolutes!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 08:06 AM

PS Did I say I had a gripe....?

The world is so full of a number of things
I'm sure that we all should be happy as kings.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM

as far i am concerned, my problem lies with the education system, i believe folk music[ a misnomer,maybe its better called roots music] should be on the primary school national curriculum, i mean the roots music of these islands, plus roots music from other countries, an international approach that includes[english scottish irish welsh].
i look at the irish education system, and i notice irish trad music is included


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 10:02 AM

yeh, but being sodomised be the priest used to be on that curriculum not long ago.

Dangerous example!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 10:18 AM

Dear Sir

I have a very fixed view of what I like in music and have decided to call this type of music "Folk music". Unfortunately I find this term has been used incorrectly and extensively for the last century by everybody else and they now refuse to accept my definition and fall in with my views as to what is good and acceptable. Since I am not prepared to listen to other peoples views and insist that they all listen to me instead I am finding this very irritating. I also believe that these people are conspiring against me to prevent my perfectly reasonable take-over of the term and, what is worse, they are not exactly the sort of people that I would wish my servants to mix with.

Do you think that this is the right forum for me to feel at home?

Yours

Top Folk Music Expert



P.S. Don't take this personally.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 11:45 AM

Dear GUEST,

I think you should fit right in. In fact, I think you have already been posting here for some time, although you've been using the name of

%!%%%%£%%

NO CARRIER


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 11:52 AM

anonymous guest, what a ridiculous post.
no Al, it explains why trad music is closer to the mainstream in ireland,
secondly you express your ignorance of the irish education system, there are protestant schools and catholic schools, protestant vicars are allowed to marry, catholic priests are not,irish trad music is encouraged in protestant primary schools as well as catholic ones, finally it is a minority of catholic priests who have abused children, and sodomy has never been on anyones curriculum.
for example in this area there are both protestant and catholic schools, in ballydehob, schull durrus, etc etc, furthermore it is in the irish constitution, that minority christian denominations such as protestant [in mainly catholic areas and vice versa]are bussed to thenearest school of their religion, so your remark is inaccurate and irrelevant


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:00 PM

for us a ten minute spot in a folk club is like driving a racing car - audience intelligent, not completely pissed - and we eat those places. Piss rings round their crummy efforts.

Do you? I've known folk clubs where apologising in advance ("I only finished it this afternoon"), reading the words off a bit of paper, mumbling into your chest because you're concentrating on getting the chords right, forgetting the chords halfway through anyway (and so on) isn't just tolerated - it's actually welcomed: that's the kind of thing the regulars expect. Hitting the back wall, doing ten or twelve verses straight through, engaging the audience with witty banter and so on is all very well, but it's a bit like showing off. (And heaven forfend that you should try and get a chorus out of them.)

But this doesn't have anything to do with traddie vs singer-songwriter, or with Harding-Folk vs alt-folk, or with class for that matter.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Stringsinger
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:14 PM

It appears that this is a Brit thing. It also smacks of a folk-star system which seems oxymoronic. Most real folk singers who have a traditional cultural background are not known by the general public.

That said, I don't think the "traddie" view works either. You can't be something that you're not and an attempt to be that is specious.

I think folk awards are doomed to interpretive failure.

Why not give awards for quality in performance as singers, songwriters or interpreters?
And what would they be alternative to? And who are the judges, here? Are they qualified to designate awards?

This sounds to me like a house of cards.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:30 PM

I think most people who might be labelled "traddie" recognise a distinction between revival singers performing traditional songs and "proper" traditional singers. "Traddie" is just a convenient label to distinguish intepreters of traditional songs from singer-songwriters.

Why not give awards for quality in performance as singers, songwriters or interpreters?" Isn't that what all the awards are aiming to do?

And what would they be alternative to? In this context, alternative to the BBC awards

And who are the judges, here? Are they qualified to designate awards? It depends on the award. Some are awarded by committees or panels, some by a handful of individuals, some by public vote. All have their strengths and weaknesses and no system is perfect. This being the folk world, no one is going to agree however the awards are chosen.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 02:06 PM

And who are the judges, here? Are they qualified to designate awards? It depends on the award. Some are awarded by committees or panels, some by a handful of individuals, some by public vote. All have their strengths and weaknesses and no system is perfect. This being the folk world, no one is going to agree however the awards are chosen.
   in other words the awards do not count for very much, however I would like to congratulate all the winners, I am sure they are all good performers, I know of Lucy Ward, but not all the others.
as for anonymous guest,if you understand anglo saxon, then go and F###Off


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 02:23 PM

perhaps I'll get an award one day for being the biggest folksinger.

so far , there doesn't seem to be an award based on size.

Personally speaking I think the basis for these awards are naively qualitative - focussing merely on abstract and notional views such as talent and originality.

If a more quantitative method of deciding how to distribute these awards was used - I think I would be a strong contender in terms of mass and density.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 05:04 AM

From a post-revival perspective the term Traddy (to give it its official spelling) is used by those whose muse is embedded in the old singers rather than the new ones. The orthodoxy of folk is a revival orthodoxy however - lumpen and conservative on one hand; easy listening MOR on the other - which sits uneasy with the essentially fluid & feral nature of traditional song as far as we may understand it from the available taxidermy & fossil record. Problem is, the Academic Approach is concerned with a taxonomy of the taxidermy rather than a more philosophical speculation on the nature of the beast itself and how that intersects with other forms of Popular Music which one could argue evolved directly from them. This approach sees Tradition as a dynamic, fluid, and constantly evolving phenomenon, a living process rather than something which endlessly repeats itself out of a sense of reverence for something which, in all probability, never existed in the first place. It's like seeing BIRDS as creatures that evolved from DINOSAURS; it celebrates continuance rather than bemoaning extinction. As a Post-Revival Traddy I believe in the Traditional Nature of all music, with the possible exception of Folk, which is perhaps too a little self-consciously precious in respect of its own correctness to be truly dynamic and, therefore, truly traditional in a way that other musics just are in terms their constantly shifting idiom / genre / call it what you will. How else might me compare (say) Freddy and the Dreamers to Joy Division? They were both Manchester rock 'n' roll bands with lead singers who were noted for their onstage antics, but otherwise...

At the end of the day, it's all a matter of pragmatics and preference. To many Traditional simply means Old Fashioned, as in Traditional Fish and Chips or In the Tradition and that's fine too, so there'll be some Traddys who'll see things differently. That's they key - seeing things differently, or at least appreciating that there will always be different ways of seeing things; new ways, old ways, but all them traditional, one would hope.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: John P
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:09 PM

Hmmm . . . I grew up poor as dirt -- definitely lower class working-man stuff. Now I'm sort of middle class, in that I own a home and have a job.

I have played extensively in crappy little working-man pubs (where I leaned to deal with drunkenly rude audiences), at festivals (where I learned to deal with short sets with no sound check), at concerts (where I learned to put a song across), in the street (where I learned that it's a terrible way to make money), at folk dances (where I really learned how the tunes are supposed to work), in the living room (where I have learned most of my music from other musicians), etc etc etc. I have played rock, blues, jazz, folk (of many kinds), medieval, swing, and new age.

I don't get my music from the radio, don't give a damn about music awards, don't care if the person who books a venue doesn't want what I offer. I don't pay any attention to the "folk establishment". I just play the music I love wherever and whenever I can.

These days I play almost entirely traditional folk music but don't consider myself a revivalist, in that I have no interest in reviving anything. I have played traditional music at house concerts with no amplification, and have played it on stages with electric guitar, bass, drums and synthesizers, and everything in between.

I think the idea of folk "stars" and awards is silly, so I don't pay any attention to all of that, either.

So, Al, where do I fit into your world view? If I'm understanding you correctly, I'm exactly the kind of musician you think is "real" or properly experienced, or whatever, and I completely disagree with your perceptions.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:13 PM

Sorry, actually clicked on "send" due to trying to use "Mudcat" at same time as "Facebook" - should have known better than to attempt such multi-tasking at my age!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:31 PM

acorn 4 and your not even 21, out of little acorns oak trees grow


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 07:02 PM

Voting is now starting on these - I've just voted in the categories where I feel able to make a judgement. I did it on my laptop which I don't do email from - is it not possible to multi-click on a site like this which makes it a bit open to abuse - I may be wrong - do these things check your mac address or something like this?

PS didn't see that one GSS - LOL!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 07:55 PM

John P - there are no awards for agreeing with me. My argument is not with you. have you heard Will Fly's fabulous piece of work dissecting Bix beiderbeck's Singing the Blues and playing it on 4 string guitar. Of course- like Will, like myself, you have the perfect right to play whatever turns you on. Its a free country.

However - I really do feel that folk music is in the shit in a number of terrible ways and it is moving further and further away from the common voice of the English people. The more the middle classes annexe it and make the techniques more recondite, the tradition more coherent and deeper - the worse the situation gets.

That is what I honestly feel. My sincere belief. Who knows - perhaps you will be the artist that redeems this music and return us to the situation where people are queueing round the block to get into folk clubs?

I hope so.

On the other hand - perhaps I am wrong. certainly i am in a minority on this forum. i accept that. If I were you - Ishould continue doing what makes you happy - life is very short - enjoy it as best you can. You ,in your small corner; I, in mine.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: srothman
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:27 PM

Message for BIG AL WHITTLE

Just been to your shambles of a website to see where you were playing next, just so I could report back here on your live show.

For a man of such experience you don't seem to have any gigs coming up, in "shitty" pubs or clubs or anywhere.

Could this be that, while you're a reasonable guitar picker you ain't got much of a singing voice? I reckon that if you turned up to play at my shitty local music pub the punters would be asking for the juke box to be turned on pretty smartish.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 01:10 AM

could be


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:33 AM

ps srothman.... any relation to the king sized fag?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:56 AM

"it is moving further and further away from the common voice of the English people."

You're probably right, although I think it's more that the English people are moving away from folk song. I don't think it's fair to blame the middle classes for that, the vast majority of whom are even further away from folk. Even if most of those who are interested in folk music are middle class, you've produced no evidence to support your argument. It seems to me to be simple prejudice.

It seems to me the English people fall into one of two groups - those who get folk music and those who don't. Class has nothing to do with it. What may be true is that middle class people may have more opportunities to come into contact with it (for example, via university folk clubs, in my day).


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:32 AM

That's certainly one way of looking at it, Howard.

The thing that makes me doubt it though is the songwriting.

Ewan had this background in theatre and busking and God knows what else. Anyway he was used to seeing the proscenium arch. Its a sense that you develop as a song writer - you can imagine the theatre of expression - whether your song is coming out of a radio speaker, being sang from the stage of a theatre, sang in a night club, sang in a folk club, sang to your mates at work....whatever.

Any kind of songwriter has to develop that - not just folk. Such a lot of the 'in the tradition' songwriting just plays the sedulous ape to older styles.

Having a good idea for a song isn't enough. you have to be able to imagine that little gasp of delight, that light in the eyes that a good song has. i think I'm talking about inspiration, wanting not just to trigger that 'welcome you're a member of the club' sort of response.

Ewan had good ideas AND he could do the other thing. that's why so many other people do his stuff.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:32 AM

"Such a lot of the 'in the tradition' songwriting just plays the sedulous ape to older styles."

Isn't it following older styles that makes it "in the tradition"?

I don't disagree with what your saying, although I think the whole point of folk music is that it's not about the proscenium arch, it should be a more intimate and direct involvement with the audience (although a good performer can get that from the concert stage).

There's probably a lot of crap songwriters out there. Perhaps a weakness of the folk scene is that it allows them a platform whereas other genres might be more demanding. It's about standards again. But there are good songwriters too.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:15 PM

Hang about! This has become another Ewan MacColl thread - slight bit of drift here!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,steve th
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 12:22 PM

seems from this thread there are a lot of shite worryingly sober folk clubs out there wedded to mediocrity. must be a southern thing cos its not something i can relate to. last 3 folk club gigs ive been to have been acts equally at home playing in the local pubs as folk clubs. (same goes for number of the floor spots) . far as folk awards go , ok it all seems a bit competative with doesnt quite fit with folk music but its still a right buzz seeing acts ive followed, whove blown my socks off in whatever context, get a first nomination. spiral earth seems to get it right for me more often than bbc (maybe thats just me) . bbc doesnt always get it wrong though and im well chuffed to see lucy ward up for 2 awards.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 06:09 AM

Yep! Lucy is the goods alright. A graduate of the The Vernon Arms folk club, Spondon, Derby - where I was proud to be a resident for many years.

For a long time, we didn't book guests - so we weren't considered a 'proper' folk club by the powers that be - not proper enough to be included in the whats on folk club guide. Plus the fact (it has to be added in the folk police's defence) - we did get some some exceedigly strange singers turning up. Lucy has actually written a song about it.

I won't go into details - but recently we saw Lucy do a gig in a village hall - down here in Dorchester. Denise and I nearly fell off our chairs - we KNEW the floor singer she was singing about. The reason i won't go into details - I would hate for the guy to widespread figure of fun and feel hurt by it.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 07:06 AM

From the Vernon website:-

April 12th Lucy Ward Local girl was our Special Guest

The evening started with regulars performing one song each in front of the largest crowd ever at the Vernon in our 9 year history.

All came to see our local lass Lucy Ward who entered the stage with her bright blond hair and her bright pink Doc Martins

looking every bit a star. Lucy has come a long way since first appearing at out little Folk Club when she was just 14 years old.

Her set was full of Trad songs and a nice mix of her own well penned songs and that Lucy fun and charm mixed in between songs.

Every song told a story and she had the crowd in her hands from the moment she said her first words "Ah Up"

We had to bring stools in from the main bar to get everyone seated and everyone listened and admired a star of the future.

We didn't want the night to end.

Those of you who want to hear more of Lucy can pre order her new CD out on June 13th click on the limk below.

www.navigator-store.com/product.php?id=487&categoryid=30

We all wish Lucy every success for the future. May she grasp every opportunity with both hands and we wish her every success with her NEW CD.

Let her never forget her roots ( This is not an advert for the hairdressers) She is alway welcome at our club and one day soon we hope we can say

"Ah up me Duck you've made it"


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Mar 12 - 09:15 PM

The results...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 07:13 PM

Have been wondering about these... thanks for posting, Guest!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 07:08 AM

Lovely to see special mention made on Spiral Earth there of Spleen Cringe's own baby The Folk Police:

"We also announce our 'Special Award' today, it is one from the editorial team at Spiral Earth that we present to recognise something extra special that has happened in the past year. This year the Spiral Earth Special Award goes to Folk Police Recordings.
Folk Police have put out some staggeringly good music over the past year, their magical ability to form collaborations between some of the best mainstream folk artists, and to discover edgy artists that challenge the norm is amazing.
We will have an in-depth feature with them in the coming weeks"

"The 'Special Award'
This is a special award that comes from the editorial team at Spiral Earth to recognise an outstanding achievement in the previous year. This year we have decided to award it to Folk Police Recordings.
We said a while back "Folk Police Recordings have really been delivering the goods this year with an eclectic and imaginative cast of acts. You've just got to click over to their site to see what cutting edge folk is all about. Label of the year? Could be." Well we were true to our word.
They have proven that you can be fresh, original and challenging."

***Yay for Spleen and chums!***


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 07:44 AM

Yup - Hooray for Folk Police, though I was frankly baffled by our nomination - last time I looked we had something like 7% of the vote which amazed me that it was that much to be honest. I think other FP 'artistes' fared rather better than we did, but I'm not a great one for numbers, especially when my idea of having a Public Profile is to be snuggled in the corner of the backroom of The Moorbrook of a Friday neet with the great & the good of the North West (which last night featured Mudcat's own LesB) lobbing in the occasional ballad or else twanging my Doromb along to a few tunes.

That said - I'm delighted by the critical reception of our album Songs from the Barley Temple, which really is our attempt at a Very Normal Straightforward Traditional Folk Album; it baffles me why people think it's anything different really. Weird? Hell - an an former member of Metgumberbone and Mastishaddhu I can assure assure you Weird doesn't come into it. All we're really bothered about is doing a few old songs and ballads for the hell of it really - no different from anyone else. See the new R2 (formerly Rock & Reel) for Rapunzel & Sedayne interview and track on the cover CD to hear & read our homespun homely DIY philosophy of Folk Music.

You can also buy the all-new WEREWOLF SONGS, a Swedish complilation of more conventional wyrd-psych folk on which we feature a self penned Idiomatic Trad Song we made called Winter / Werewolf (aka Fevered Prayer) which we occasionally do in singarounds & sessions without causing too much of a stir despite its Eastern European vibe. I've been doing this sort of thing forever really - any amount of strange little CD projects & ventures & projects that the media show little to no interest in but which contain the best music ever - like the Sonic Arts Newtwork CD I was on a few years back with such names as Brian Eno and Karlheinz Stockhausen (as Brian Peters once said - if you're going to drop names make sure they're good 'uns!); and Rapunzel & I (as Venereum Arvum) did our first back in 2000 when we were featured on the 4-CD Infernal Proteus Musical Herbal on Ajna in the USA with an 11-minute May Carol. Next up on Folk Police - The Weirdlore Compilation to tie in with the Weirdlore event in Bristol in the summer as well as two limited run 12" vinyl albums in America and another (possibly) in Japan. Times I might feel enough with the weird, but what the hell, eh?

As for awards? Hell, the music is award, and reward, enough.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 06:01 AM

I was checking through my old threads looking at what Catspaw had said to me over the years. he's not on this thread.

still there was a sonovabitch called Rothman who called my website a mess, so not long after I ditched it, there was ten years work on it. I figured if people could hear my songs and stories - it was a bit pathetic putting them on cd. so I used to put them on the site.

the website had become big and unwieldly, and fasthosts had agreed to make it as big as I wanted but they hadn't reckoned on me keeping adding to it - so bits of it went missing - and anyway they were a weird lot. sometimes you waited half an hour for them to answer you on the phone - ican still hear that music when my mind is going into suicidal mode.

wonder who rothman was. probably stomping on puppies somewhere hoping it will endear him to his folk music heroes.


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