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

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


'Purist - a pejorative?

MGM·Lion 06 Jan 12 - 12:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 01:05 AM
gnomad 06 Jan 12 - 04:15 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 06 Jan 12 - 04:39 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 04:47 AM
Will Fly 06 Jan 12 - 04:49 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 04:52 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 05:20 AM
Will Fly 06 Jan 12 - 05:24 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 05:41 AM
Will Fly 06 Jan 12 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 05:56 AM
Mo the caller 06 Jan 12 - 05:57 AM
GUEST 06 Jan 12 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 06:15 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 06:31 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 06:44 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 06:56 AM
Musket 06 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM
MartinRyan 06 Jan 12 - 07:13 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM
Bernard 06 Jan 12 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,999 06 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM
Will Fly 06 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 09:04 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 09:17 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 09:55 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 10:20 AM
Banjiman 06 Jan 12 - 10:26 AM
Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 10:38 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 10:45 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 10:50 AM
Brian Peters 06 Jan 12 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 11:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 11:19 AM
The Sandman 06 Jan 12 - 11:25 AM
The Sandman 06 Jan 12 - 11:31 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Jan 12 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 11:59 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jan 12 - 12:03 PM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 12:14 PM
Brian Peters 06 Jan 12 - 12:22 PM
MGM·Lion 06 Jan 12 - 12:29 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 12 - 12:29 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 06 Jan 12 - 12:53 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 02:05 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,999 06 Jan 12 - 02:47 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 12 - 03:23 PM
Edthefolkie 06 Jan 12 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Jan 12 - 04:29 AM
Richard Bridge 07 Jan 12 - 04:36 AM
MartinRyan 07 Jan 12 - 04:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Jan 12 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Jan 12 - 06:13 AM
glueman 07 Jan 12 - 07:01 AM
The Sandman 07 Jan 12 - 07:02 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Jan 12 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Jan 12 - 06:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 08 Jan 12 - 07:05 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Jan 12 - 09:25 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 12 - 10:07 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Jan 12 - 10:26 AM
Will Fly 08 Jan 12 - 10:29 AM
ollaimh 08 Jan 12 - 10:49 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Jan 12 - 10:51 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Jan 12 - 10:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 08 Jan 12 - 11:15 AM
TheSnail 08 Jan 12 - 11:57 AM
Big Al Whittle 08 Jan 12 - 12:20 PM
glueman 08 Jan 12 - 12:48 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM
gnomad 08 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Jan 12 - 02:46 PM
Tootler 08 Jan 12 - 02:59 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Jan 12 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Jan 12 - 06:09 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 12 - 06:33 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Jan 12 - 07:14 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Jan 12 - 08:34 AM
Tootler 09 Jan 12 - 06:58 PM
Jack Blandiver 10 Jan 12 - 04:19 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 12 - 04:40 AM
glueman 10 Jan 12 - 04:44 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 12 - 05:06 AM
Joe Offer 10 Jan 12 - 05:09 AM
glueman 10 Jan 12 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 05:18 AM
theleveller 10 Jan 12 - 05:57 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 06:44 AM
theleveller 10 Jan 12 - 07:08 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 12 - 08:03 AM
theleveller 10 Jan 12 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 08:31 AM
theleveller 10 Jan 12 - 08:47 AM
theleveller 10 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 09:33 AM
theleveller 10 Jan 12 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 10:07 AM
theleveller 10 Jan 12 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 10 Jan 12 - 10:46 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 12 - 11:52 AM
Phil Edwards 10 Jan 12 - 12:00 PM
Mark Ross 10 Jan 12 - 12:01 PM
theleveller 10 Jan 12 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 12:28 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Jan 12 - 12:53 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Jan 12 - 12:56 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Jan 12 - 01:02 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Jan 12 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Don Wise 10 Jan 12 - 03:22 PM
glueman 10 Jan 12 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 04:41 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Jan 12 - 05:09 PM
Tootler 10 Jan 12 - 05:48 PM
glueman 10 Jan 12 - 06:40 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 12 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 07:09 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 12 - 12:10 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 11 Jan 12 - 12:34 AM
theleveller 11 Jan 12 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 05:07 AM
Brian Peters 11 Jan 12 - 05:07 AM
glueman 11 Jan 12 - 05:22 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 12 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 05:49 AM
theleveller 11 Jan 12 - 05:51 AM
Will Fly 11 Jan 12 - 05:56 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 12 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 11 Jan 12 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 06:27 AM
The Sandman 11 Jan 12 - 06:28 AM
Spleen Cringe 11 Jan 12 - 06:31 AM
Spleen Cringe 11 Jan 12 - 06:36 AM
Phil Edwards 11 Jan 12 - 06:50 AM
Phil Edwards 11 Jan 12 - 06:58 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 12 - 06:58 AM
glueman 11 Jan 12 - 07:00 AM
GUEST,Crowsis flying through 11 Jan 12 - 07:05 AM
Brian Peters 11 Jan 12 - 07:06 AM
theleveller 11 Jan 12 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 07:17 AM
Brian Peters 11 Jan 12 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 07:41 AM
The Sandman 11 Jan 12 - 08:02 AM
Howard Jones 11 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM
Phil Edwards 11 Jan 12 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 09:06 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 09:20 AM
Phil Edwards 11 Jan 12 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 11 Jan 12 - 09:37 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 12 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 10:05 AM
Brian Peters 11 Jan 12 - 10:10 AM
The Sandman 11 Jan 12 - 10:28 AM
glueman 11 Jan 12 - 10:44 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 12 - 10:58 AM
theleveller 11 Jan 12 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 11:20 AM
The Sandman 11 Jan 12 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 11:56 AM
Brian Peters 11 Jan 12 - 12:44 PM
Tootler 11 Jan 12 - 12:50 PM
Brian Peters 11 Jan 12 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 02:59 PM
Howard Jones 11 Jan 12 - 03:11 PM
Howard Jones 11 Jan 12 - 03:18 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 12 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jan 12 - 04:18 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 11 Jan 12 - 05:43 PM
Brian Peters 12 Jan 12 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jan 12 - 12:16 PM
Brian Peters 12 Jan 12 - 12:48 PM
The Sandman 12 Jan 12 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jan 12 - 01:21 PM
Phil Edwards 12 Jan 12 - 01:52 PM
Brian Peters 12 Jan 12 - 01:57 PM
Brian Peters 12 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jan 12 - 02:34 PM
Brian Peters 12 Jan 12 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jan 12 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jan 12 - 03:32 PM
glueman 12 Jan 12 - 03:59 PM
Phil Edwards 12 Jan 12 - 04:20 PM
Phil Edwards 13 Jan 12 - 03:03 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Jan 12 - 03:10 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Jan 12 - 05:17 AM
glueman 13 Jan 12 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Jan 12 - 08:14 AM
Phil Edwards 13 Jan 12 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 13 Jan 12 - 10:04 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jan 12 - 11:39 AM
Spleen Cringe 13 Jan 12 - 12:54 PM
Stringsinger 13 Jan 12 - 03:48 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 13 Jan 12 - 05:49 PM
MGM·Lion 14 Jan 12 - 01:20 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 14 Jan 12 - 04:31 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 12 - 05:34 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 14 Jan 12 - 06:30 AM
glueman 14 Jan 12 - 09:14 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:59 AM

"And I do wish people would stop using "purist" as a term of abuse. It says far more to the detriment of the users of the term, than about whose of us endeavouring to maintain reasonable standards of useful categorisation, whom they endeavour thus to disparage," I wrote on the ongoing MacColl/Dylan thread.

Opinions, please, on the pejorative use of this term.

~Michael~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 01:05 AM

I see myself as better than the purists, more sort of virginal........


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: gnomad
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:15 AM

It seems to me that almost any adjective can be used as a pejorative term, that it is all a matter of context.

Adjectival nouns share this quality, and the xxx-ist form seems almost made for the expression of dislike. It obviously has other uses, but there's something about the shape; try saying 'Organist' aloud a few times, it soon sounds like derision or contempt.

As for your specific dislike, well a purist is often only a hairsbreadth away from a fundamentalist, which is in its turn only a cockstride away from an extremist, and so onwards. The term may sometimes be appropriate, as may the actual attitude, but I feel that both should be used with restraint and due forethought.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:27 AM

Who could think 'purist' was a pejorative? Only some sort of polymorphously eclectic bricoleur. (Hang on, am I summoning Suibhne from the vasty deep?)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:31 AM

We've been here very recently, but I forget exactly where that was. I remember pointing out that all the self-styled Purists I've met were grudgeful dilettantes (at best) with little knowledge and very evident issues both personal & political, but always reactionary, with views that ran contrary to the nature of Folk of which they had precious little actual understanding or working knowledge. These were Railway Modellers who would most certainly not recognise a real train if they saw one; cretinous cultural autists for whom Folk is a means to a particular sort of ghastly tyranny & self-delusion. On the other hand, those many people I do know who may be deservedly called Purist would, I think, both hesistate to use the term themselves and be resentful of being so called. I know I would; after all, the more one delves, so murkier the waters become...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:33 AM

I must point out that was a cross post with Pip; murky deep vasty waters & all...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:39 AM

I've always thought of purists (I see no need to capitalise) as noble, finger-in-the-dyke types intent on preventing our musical genre and specialist area being inundated by a flood of 'guitar-based music which rocks' (which the world has far too much of already).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:47 AM

Blimey, that was quick.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:49 AM

From the Blessed Wiki:

A purist is one who desires that an item remains true to its essence and free from adulterating or diluting influences. The term may be used in almost any field, and can be applied either to the self or to others. Use of the term may be either pejorative or complimentary, depending on the context. Because the appellation depends on subjective notions of what is "pure" as opposed to "adulterating" as applied to any particular item, conflict can arise both as to whether a person so labeled is actually a purist and as to whether that is desirable.

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the term dates from 1706 and is defined as "a person who adheres strictly and often excessively to a tradition", especially "one preoccupied with the purity of a language and its protection from the use of foreign or altered forms."


There you have it folks - pejorative or complimentary, depending on the context.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:52 AM

Also, what Suibhne said. The touchstone for me on this one is Bellamy - that well-known singer-songwriter, Edwardian poetry buff, blues aficionado and Rolling Stones fan. He's seen as a purist now because he was committed to it - following the thread wherever it led him. He certainly wasn't a purist in the "I am a purist" sense of the word.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:18 AM

"a purist is often only a hairsbreadth away from a fundamentalist, which is in its turn only a cockstride away from an extremist, and so onwards."

And extremist is next door to terrorist....folk terrorists - now that sounds like my cup of tea. Be afraid - be very afraid!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:20 AM

Who sees Bellamy as a Purist? No one saw him that way at the time, certainly not - er - Purists, like the hapless lads who booked him once and tried to impress him after the gig by playing Folk records back at the house. 'Got any Rolling Stones?' was his response. His music was pretty pure though, the pure drop in fact; like Jim Eldon, who, like Bellamy, is a master of his Traditional Craft only by dint of a far broader world view that many folkies would regard as anathema (I'd argue their very world view is defined by it). If, like Shimrod, you see folk as our musical genre and specialist area then Purism would seem the sensible option (though I'm with him on the singer-songwriter issue, but that's not Purism so much as cultural ecology). If, on the other hand, you see Folk as one tiny piece of the vast & wondrous jig-saw of the 50,000 year old tradition of human music making (singer-songwriters notwithstanding which is a piece we could do without) then you realise that Purism is a noxious idiotic pedantry, appealing only to the righteously inclined. As perfectly put by gnomad above only a hairsbreadth away from a fundamentalist.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:24 AM

Folk terorists, eh? Sounds good to me!

I imagine hordes of good folk wielding concertinas, roaming the streets and kneeling down at letterboxes to sing "Lord Randall" and "Nottamun Town" to the terrified householders.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:41 AM

Too right, Will. I'm planning an explosive rendition of The Lambton Worm in the centre of York this weekend.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:45 AM

Better drink plenty of Black Sheep bitter and consume a few pickled eggs beforehand, eh?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:56 AM

Collected from a toilet wall in Sunderland, circa 1971:

One Sunday morn as I was a fishing in the Wear -
I caught a fish upon my hook that tasted very queer;
I then ran home because I had a dose of diarrhea -
And all that night I couldn't sleep for the itching up my rear!
Wheest, lads - had yer gobs - and I'll you all an awful story;
Wheest, lads - had yer gobs - and I tell you about my worms.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:57 AM

I'm not sure that I use the term, but there are contexts that are suitable for being a purist and contexts that aren't.
E.g.
If I'm calling at a dance club I will try to emphasise the pleasures of dancing in time to the music, and using correct moves.
If I'm describing/demonstrating a 'Strip the Willow' at a wedding ceilidh I end up by saying that variations, deliberate or accidental, are fine as long as you end up at the bottom of the set with your partner.

Folk is meant to be a pleasure, and as you learn more you get that pleasure in different ways. Romping at a ceilidh; dancing a complicated dance at a festival with a roomful of experts; joining in and raising the roof on a simple tune or chorus song; listening to someone making their fiddle sing. It's the FOLK you do it with that make it what it is, so I suppose the term I'd use as perjorative would be 'exclusive'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:15 AM

I'm not convinced by your stance on singer songwriters, Suibhne. Two words at you: 'Bob' and 'Pegg'...

**************

I've no issue with self-styled purists who are quietly and introspectively pure. I do struggle a little with those who see themselves as being on some sort of evangelical purity crusade (like the individual who emailed me in disgust about The Woodbine & Ivy Band and how dare these people do that to our music...).

'Purist' as a perjorative term is all a matter of degree - there's a continuum (several, really) of alleged purity. I might think someone's a bit of a purist - someone else might think I am, another person might think they are and so on. Some 'purists' might want to distinguish traditional music from the contemporary folk singer songwriters and see one as good and one as bad. Some might want to distinguish between 'good' trad music played on fiddles and melodeons and 'bad' trad music played on electric guitars and squeaky analogue synths. Some 'purists' might draw imaginany lines in the sand between professional and amateur performers, or folk club and arts centre performers. Some 'purists' might want to draw a line between singer songwriters who write 'in the tradition' and those who don't (which is a highly subjective and ultimately pointless excercise anyway) or those who perform on the folk scene and those who don't. Then you get the diction fetishists, the unnaccompanied-versus-accompanied brigade, the 'sing in your own voice' versus 'inhabit a role' lot and so on. Ultimately it makes the whole concept of purism so subjective as to render it meaningless. I suspect it's just an excuse to get cross for people who enjoy getting cross, a reason to label things by people who like labels and an excuse for heated debate for people who like heated debates - and I make no value judgements about any of these groups.

Personally, I'm a big fan of impurity, but on my terms. Anyone else's purity or otherwise is their business and their right to indulge in - unless they decide to try to impose it on me and tell me what I should believe. A bit of reasoned discussion's cool, though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:15 AM

Sorry, me above. In dispute with the cookie monster.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:31 AM

"Collected from a toilet wall in Sunderland, circa 1971:"

The folk process in its purist form!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:33 AM

like the individual who emailed me in disgust about The Woodbine & Ivy Band and how dare these people do that to our music...

Sorry about that, I hadn't had my coffee.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:44 AM

Ha!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:51 AM

I used to think of myself as a bit of a purist - I liked the traditional stuff, and if you were writing new stuff or singing somebody else's new stuff then that wasn't traditional and I didn't like it. Simple.

Then I discovered Lal Waterson and Ewan MacColl and Robert Burns and Peter Bellamy and Bellamy's settings of Kipling (in roughly that order), and things got complicated. Not to mention the whole question of just how 'traditional' a song is when you've found it in a library and put your own tune to it (e.g. Miles Weatherhill).

Now I just like songs that do that thing, which of course I can't define & can barely even describe. Quite a lot of old songs ring the bell, and very few new ones, so it's certainly got something to do with a quality of traditionalidocity, but it's not one-to-one by any means. "Songs that sound as if they've always been there and as if they've just been written" - something like that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:56 AM

I'm not convinced by your stance on singer songwriters, Suibhne. Two words at you: 'Bob' and 'Pegg'...

I could throw several more: Robin Williamson Peter Bellamy Jim Eldon even Dave Cousins (at times though some of his forays into the realm of ballad have had catastophic results) - like Bob Pegg they're all fine singers, all fine songwriters, but singer songwriters? It's the SS idiom I despise; the MOR reactionary righteous easy listening preachy mawkish torpor of it all that people think of as being Real Folk - hence the Real Folk Police, because I see a lot more Policing from that lot than from Traddys. Consequently I think of it as Grey Squirrel Folk in that its far too aggressively ill-mannered and pompously beligerent in its Puritan Prosletysing (not just BAW I might add, though he's typical) for our more delicate native Red Squirrel Folk, the ecology of which is as vulnerable & precious as a centuries old hedge before a JCB. And no, for sure, the two can't live together. To quote another great songwriter & singer: all we doing is defending.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Musket
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM

Purist as a withering isolating term or purist as a compliment; still calling someone a purist.

So unless someone wishes to define (yet again..) the word "pure?"

A girlfriend once said she needed a man in her life. When she had some bad news and called her friend for a friendly chat, her friend pointed out that she did have someone whose shoulder she could cry on, I reckon she meant me. My girlfriend said "He's just a man."

So; Man. Pejorative or term of endearment?

Same ruddy thing isn't it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 07:13 AM

The problem with reported speech is that you can't hear the inverted commas...

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM

"they're all fine singers, all fine songwriters, but singer songwriters? It's the SS idiom I despise"

I'm afraid that your semantics elude me.

"And no, for sure, the two can't live together"

Only if one accepts your analogy, which I don't. I find that, in my repertoire, they live together quite comfortably.It's simply a continuation of the tradition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:37 AM

Purist, pedant, perfectionist, pejorative... wonder why they all begin with the letter 'p'?!

I'll get me coat...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:51 AM

Lev... I think the problem arises with the dual meaning of the term 'singer songwriter'. Here wot I think.

One meaning is simply a broad descriptor for anyone who sings songs they write themselves (an incredibly huge category that can span from the sort of stuff you or Bob Pegg write to Adele to Nick Drake to Joni Mitchell to Jonathan Richman. Some of it is broadly folktastic, some of it isn't. Everyone draws the line in the sand in a different place depending on personal preferences and, uh, degree of 'purism').

The other meaning - which I think Suibhne is alluding to and which I've had the odd on-line pukefest about in the past - is the far narrower singer-songwriter genre of post James Taylor MOR navel-gazers and its British variants (James fecking Bl*nt, anyone?). Of course, there's also those people who turn up to folk clubs with not-very-good acoustic MOR pop songs - originals and covers - of various levels of mawkishness. Is this a particularly Lancastrian phenomenon, I wonder? Endless sub-Matchstick Men gloopfests about clogs, cobbles, hotpot and mills?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM

"Purist - a pejorative?"


'Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain't so; it is the sickening grammar that they use.'

Mark Twain


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM

Is this a particularly Lancastrian phenomenon, I wonder?

Wash your mouth out, you bad, bad boy! Mawkishness goes on everywhere - just with different regional characteristics. I'll set Mike Harding on you if you're not careful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:04 AM

Ah... but Mike Harding did it pretty well! It's those groups who were like the folktastic equivalent of Brotherhood of Man that I'm boggled and nonplussed by. I almost think we should call for a revival. Say cheese!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:17 AM

Careful what you wish for.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:35 AM

Thanks, Spleen, I understand now. Yes, I largely agree with that and, no, it's not just a Lancashire phenomenon - we get it this side of t'Pennines as well. We also have some exceptionally fine local song craftspeople whose songs are firmly rooted in the locale.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:40 AM

Got it there pretty much, Spleen, but there's the oirish element to be factored in to the whole inglorious equation; weeping into its hot pot to strains of The Fields of Athenry (oh no! not the fields of Athenry! If I hear it one more time I think I'll die...). I don't mind any music really, but the bullying menace of Message / Sentiment is rather more than my fragile Traddy soul can bear I'm afraid. Always been the same with me - even back when I saw June Tabor for the first time back in 1975; I was 14, and whilst I wept to The Plains of Waterloo I threw up at The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. It was this disparity (all consuming in Folk Realms I'm afraid) that taunght me early on I maybe wasn't blessed with the Folk Gene, thus I was resistant to such Mawkish schlock, and so-called comedy, however so appreciative I might of the occasional cunning parody.

I accept this is entirely subjective; it's my own thang, but from my perspective I find it a tad off-putting to say the least. In Lancashire it is pretty much the norm to go into Folk Clubs and not hear anything you could call Folk. It's weird, and can actually be wierdly compelling too. At one Folk Club the MC said 'You can finish the night, but only if you do Danny Boy'. She put us on second last, but we still jammed in with a mass Danny Boy though - hell, I'm not that up myself.

Truth is though, Trad is regarded as something of a Marmite Specialism in the Folk World as a whole, which is seen as a minority adjunct of Easy Listening / MOR as a whole. Coming to the myriad splendours of Traditional Song via free improv, ethnomusicology, prog and experimental roots it's a still a shock even after 35 years to realise the truth of that. I suppose all this makes me a sort of Purist, because to me Folk means Traditional Song and (at a push) Idiomatically Traditional Creative developments from the Third Ear Band to Peter Bellamy & beyond.

*

It's simply a continuation of the tradition.

No it isn't, and not without very good reason. Even writers of Idiomatic Trad at least will respect that much, one hopes. Folk is about modellers & enthusiasts, not the navvys, railway workers, engine drivers, firemen, station masters & signalmen for whom it was once harsh daily reality rather than sepia tinted nostalgia and 00-gauge authenicity. Or should that be P4-gauge seeing we're talking about Purism?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:49 AM

Exactly! When it comes to songwriters I suspect there are two sorts: good songwriters and crap songwriters. Of course, one person's golden nugget is another person's steaming dogpoo and vice versa. And then there are those awkward sods who write some good songs and some crap ones muddying the waters... I suspect they do it on purpose to keep us on our toes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:55 AM

That last one was back at Leveller...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:20 AM

"It's simply a continuation of the tradition.

No it isn't"

Well, I see it in different light. So, for example, when I write a tongue-in-cheek song about my greatx4 grandfather who was 'drowned at sea' after falling in Hull Old Harbour whilst drunk, that is as relevant to me as, say, your Porcupine in a Sycamore Tree is to you. Whether it's 'folk' or not doesn't really bother me, but it is about someone who knew the harsh daily realities of life just as your navvies, railway workers and engine drivers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Banjiman
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:26 AM

Suibhne Astray-

I could have sworn you do some self-penned songs and are no more "traddier than thou" than most acts doing the rounds in folk clubs?

The vast majority of acts I saw/ booked/ heard last year do a mixture of trad and written songs and I absolutely disagree with your assessment that singer/songwriters are any more "purist" than traddies....... as with most things there are extremist nutters at both ends of the scale.

There are "singer/songwriters" I like and Trad artists I like..... and those I don't. I suspect that is true for most people.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:38 AM

Lanky Spoken Here


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:45 AM

You red squirrel purist bastards, I coming after you....and your nuts....and your habitat!

Not one of you can hold a candle to James Last plays the James Blunt Folksong Collection. that's what i call folk music in its purest form. Folk music for the people!

Roll on the revolution!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:50 AM

Now I just like songs that do that thing, which of course I can't define & can barely even describe.

I wasn't going to get into specifics, but Banjiman's comment moves me to mention that the Porcupine is on the list, as is Rachel's sublime Outlaws. Shelve alongside Fine Horseman, First Girl I Loved, the Black and Bitter Night, Ballad of Accounting, St Helena Lullaby, Boots of Spanish Leather and Now Westlin Winds... maybe one shelf down from that last one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:52 AM

"all the self-styled Purists I've met..."

I'd be surprised if many folkies, even the most blinkered, would volunteer willingly for such a label. Anyone with half a brain who's spent ten minutes thinking about folk song would be very hard put to define its 'pure' form. So in my book the term 'purist' is always pejorative in our world, since it suggests that the recipient doesn't understand their own subject.

Of course it's quite possible to prefer old songs, unaccompanied singing, acoustic instruments, or whatever, on grounds other than purity.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:10 AM

All along here I've spoke about Tradition Songs as being distinct from New Songs in the Traditional Idiom. Make no mistake - I value model railways; I would even have one if time / space allowed for it (I dream of a scratch built P4-gauge layout based on the Backworth Colliey network of my childhood circa 1970). As revival performers of Traditional Material it's inevitable that we'll start writing our own stuff to a greater or lesser extent (as I did with Porcupine, but that was an accident...) but in no way is this continuing The Tradition any more than me singing a traditional song is keeping The Tradition alive. In a revival context the whole concept of The Tradition and folklore is too proscriptively self-conscious to be considered in any way real - thus do I talk of model trains, and feel sure that the MOD won't be sending The Sealed Knot out to Afghanistan any time soon.

It is also my considered opinion that the same Tradition that gave us The Old Songs, Ballads & Broadsides is alive and well today; it thrives in the myriad genres of Popular Music, forever morphing and moving on, just as the Old Songs morphed in glorious fluidity from one performance to the next. Tradition in this sense is not synonymous with Old Fashioned; Tradition is a living dynamic process of popular creative music making unbroken for the last 50,000 years. As a Traddy I have a love of the Old Songs and the Diverse Idioms thereof; just as I love old folklore, collieries, cathedrals, parish churches, bench ends, misericords, Green Men, the Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture, Anglo-Saxon hoards, the Roman Wall, Ley Lines, Glastonbury, Stone Circles, Hill Forts, Cup and Ring Carvings, passage graves and bog bodies - but I also know the difference between Reality and Nostalgia. Folkore is a living thing, it is everywhere, it belongs to everyone, which is a very different to Folky Folklore, which takes a selective view of the antiquarian aspects, which, as I say, I love very dearly, however suspicious I might be of various aspects of it, but that's a story for another day.

Do what thou wilt, but keep it in perspective...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:15 AM

Rachel's sublime Outlaws

Rachel just did the music for that, the words are pretty much as Bonnie Parker wrote them:

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/outlaws-billy-the-kid-and-clyde-barrow/


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:18 AM

PS

That's Bonnie at her most evidently Kiplingesque, I think - it certainly has that ring to it. One wonders how Bellamy would have approached it. Talk to Rachel and she'll tell you she was mostly inspired by Ennio Morricone's music from Once Upon a Time in the West - Cheyenne's Theme in particular


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:19 AM

'keep it in perspective... '

Lets see how your perspective holds up when my teeth are on your nuts! Ginge!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:25 AM

It seems to me that almost any adjective can be used as a pejorative term, that it is all a matter of context."
HA HA, like brillant, fabulous, wonderful, excellent, good, very good,exhilarating, marvellous.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:31 AM

look i have only got half a brain, but its agood half cos it s the half that plays music and sings, so can I be the first one to volunteer to be a purist, i know its a silly game but if theres a prize , Iwant to be the first purist.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:37 AM

Brian ~~ You seem to me to be reinforcing my OP point with your word "blinkered". It is not blinkered to be aware of the existence of categories within which artefacts may be usefully placed in order to facilitate communication. It need not be a value-judgment; and categories of the sort that the word 'purist' presupposes need not be entirely self-contained, but can be straddled. But I once wrote, in a Defence Of Categories piece for Folk Review, "If every article of household furniture was called a chair, we wouldn't know where to park our arses." I remember Peter Bellamy, who has been much mentioned on this thread, liked my formulation & used often to quote it. It didn't alter the fact that he would rather hear the Stones than a folk record after a gig; and once, when visiting us, as we played Scrabble, he asked for a record which was anything but folk and enjoyed the Brandenburg Concerto that I opted for; but he admitted that differentiating these categories, recognising their differences and not indulging in the syllogism, also part of that FR article, of "I like folk; I like Cole Porter, ∴ Cole Porter is Folk. I happen," I continued, "to like both eating and the works of Jane Austen; but that doesn't mean that I mistake Mansfield Park for a chip butty."

It is surely in recognising these distinctions, without necessarily making value judgments or denouncing anyone else's preferred categories, that 'purism' lies. What is 'blinkered' about that?

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:59 AM

and enjoyed the Brandenburg Concerto that I opted for;

Wierd; I'm just out the shower, put on a CD of The Brandenburg Concertos (Jordi Savall / Concert des Nations) & sit down to read this... Synchronicity I calls it...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:03 PM

Not trying to turn this into a 'What is folk-song' harangue, but for me, this question breaks into two halves.
As a researcher who has collected extensively, and is continually archiving, categorising, documenting, talking about and making generally available folk songs, what is described by many in the revival (in derogatory or otherwise terms) as 'purism', is simply 'recognition of what has gone before'.
Whether people accept it or not, there is a single researched and documented definition of folk song which has, as far as that side of the coin is concerned, more-or-less, a consensus.
Collections, articles, books, journals.... are still being produced under the 'folk' label'; the last few major publications I acquired were 'The Late Victorian Folksong Revival', 'Secret Songs of Silence ?a 19th century collection of erotic and bawdy folk songs....' and 'Folk in Print'. I would guess that, should the massive Carpenter Collection ever see the light of day it will bear the label 'folk'.
For the sake of simple continuity and communication it is essential that I adhere to what has gone before for what I mean by folk and, until it is replaced by a workable and agreed-upon alternative, it is the 1954 definition that will continue to form the basis of what is officially regarded as folk, and it is that which will survive
That is as it should be; "folk" carries far too much historical and cultural baggage and far to many related disciplines bearing the title 'folk' (lore, dance, tale, custom) for there not to be a clear and agreed-upon definition.
On the other hand, there is no longer a consensus within the revival; maybe there is no need for one, but as far as I'm concerned, that fact has taken away my choice of what music I listen to ? I have long stopped going to clubs because I no longer know what I am going to be offered there.
It is only within the club scene that 'purism' has become a term of abuse, more's the pity.
At one time 'purism' meant not using instruments for what is essentially an unaccompanied tradition, not allowing newly composed songs, even not collating or altering texts. I have to say I hardly ever encountered any of these ? I have certainly never been involved with any folk club which insisted on them.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:14 PM

"But I once wrote, in a Defence Of Categories piece for Folk Review, "If every article of household furniture was called a chair, we wouldn't know where to park our arses." "

Categorisation is fine as long as the descriptors are sufficiently precise. When I lived in South Africa I asked a colleague to teach me some words in a Bantu language (don't ask me which one). We started with colours and he said that there was no word for green - it was a variation of blue - as in 'blue like the grass' as opposed to 'blue like the sky'. I sometimes think we have the same problem with 'folk'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:22 PM

"Brian ~~ You seem to me to be reinforcing my OP point with your word "blinkered"."

Didn't intend it like that, Michael. I was just trying to make the point that even the narrow-minded folkie of popular caricature would resist being labelled a 'purist'. 'Blinkered', incidentally, is another word that often carries pejorative overtones although really it's just an adjective.

Peter Bellamy's name has been invoked several times here. As you rightly say, his tastes were very eclectic, but within each category of his musical enthusiasms he had very definite ideas about what he liked (generally the rougher and more challenging end of the spectrum) and what he didn't. He once made me a tape labelled 'REAL Sacred Harp' - as opposed to the Namby-Pamby ersatz variety from the Alan Lomax collection that I'd been listening to. It was wild stuff, believe me. In some respects you could argue he was a Sacred harp purist, a blues purist, an English trad purist and a rock'n'roll purist all at once.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:29 PM

He did the same for me, Brian, with regard to Blues: made me two tapes, in fact, country & urban, to illustrate for me what he thought the Blues, a category on which I had expressed a wish for more info, were about. I still have them. I agree with you that Pete was a purist within all his wide, & knowledgeable, categories; he would have rejoiced in, rather than resisted, the name: as, you will gather, do I. Why, indeed, I started this thread, as people were using it abusively on the MacColl/Dylan [or was it the Critics] one.

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:29 PM

I agree with Jim. I am also finding I agree with M the GM. Who will I have to agree with next, I wonder?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:53 PM

I reckon it's very much a non argument.

If there were such a thing as a real purist, he/she would be insisting that we should all be speaking Chaucerian Middle English and singing madrigals, accompanied on the Serpent, Sackbutt and Crumhorn.

You see, each generation decides at what stage its preferred tradition should stop developing and be preserved "intact", and long may that remain the case to avert the stagnation which would surely follow if any generation succeeded in enforcing its decision.

In real terms there is no such thing as a purist. They are all "what-I-enjoy-ists".

Don T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 01:27 PM

Why you nest of red squirrels,you! evolution is on my side!   your fingers will atrophy in your lugholess! your fate is sealed!

Look on me, ye folkies and tremble!

the ghosts of the goats used for your bodhrans will return to haunt you! Your grandad shirts and fishermen's smocks will prove your winding sheets!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 02:05 PM

Sod evolution, grey boy - you're just out of your natural habitat and throwing your weight around to the detriment of everyone else, even us gentle nurturing souls carefully tending our cherished, endangered native species & enviroments because once they're gone there's no getting 'em back. I once saw a Grey Squirrel offed by Red Kite which gave me a small measure of smug satisfaction, remembering the times I used to sit with daughter watching red squirrels in happy abundence and that was only 20 years ago in County Durham where now there are none... I'm not confusing conservation and revival here by the way, just pining for the past as we folk-hearted souls are apt to do. I won't write a song about it though because some things are essentially unsayable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 02:43 PM

'some things are essentially unsayable'

yeh like Suibhne Astray

and some songs are unsingable, but does it stop you lot.....?

not while theres a loose leaf folder left in WH Smiths.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 02:47 PM

The path of a pedant is surest
(Said the man in the dock to the jurist)
When he steps in manure
And says "I am quite sure
It is usually called shit by a purist."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 03:23 PM

"Are those Whippy (a brand of soft ice cream) cones pure?"

"As pure as the girl of your dreams"

"I'll have a choc-ice thanks".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:37 PM

I hate to argue with a chap who dreams of building a Protofour version of Backworth Colliery. Now that is dreaming on a protean scale, just think of the endless derailments! But Suibne's admittedly subjective remark about "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" inducing him to vomit has to be challenged.

That song can indeed cause projectile honking - for some reason most of the dire versions seem to be Irish. But June put it over totally sincerely, nay downplayed it, live and on record, and her version seems to have reduced (nearly) everybody who's heard it to tears. It's not mawkish schlock IMHO, just turned into it by certain tasteless singers.

Aside from that, I agree with his other remark about the folk world being seen as a minority adjunct to Easy Listening/MOR. That is very true. And of course it's a crap perception - the key words are "seen as" thank God. It's up to us to stop it. Now. I'm tired - can you do it Suibhne?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 04:29 AM

The trouble with TBPWM is that it assumes you're going to be onside with the sentiment which is right there in the song, no matter who sings it. War is a regrettable human reality; but a reality nonetheless, so I'm not about to pour scorn on those who have given everything in the full faith they were fighting for something worthwhile - thus do I wear my poppy with pride and wouldn't dare to condescend otherwise.

TBPWM always brings me back to an old friend I used to meet in the graveyard near my childhood home in his wheelchair having lost both of his legs at Dunkirk at the age of 14; mature for his age, and eager to do his bit, his lower legs were shot off in the water but he was too numb to feel anything. This was round about the same time I first heard TBPWM; so I was the same age then as he was when he'd gone to war. To me he was a real hero, but someone I could relate to; I owed my freedoms, circa 1975, to such as he, though seeing my CND badge he said it was ironic that The Bomb had created the very peace that allowed us hippies to thrive. Without The Bomb, he reckoned, we would be up to WW4 at least. I laughed at that - told him that not all hippies felt the same way & I think I even did him a tape of The Groundhogs' Thank Christ for the Bomb. He wasn't bitter a bit though, saying there was always worse off (his younger brother had lately died of lung-cancer in his 40s; hence his presence in the graveyard) & he gave me the impression he counted himself a fortunate man. Contented indeed. He had a devoted wife he'd known since childhood, both the same age. I met her once, and she told me how it felt as a 14-year-old girl when he'd gone away to war; and how it felt when he came home again - to tell him she was carrying his child (conceived the night before he went away) and to move in with his old mother until such time as they could be married. I guess this is why The Plains of Waterloo moved me to tears whilst TBPWM had quite the opposite effect. Odd to think he would have been the same age then as I am now...

The experience of human reality is common to all, whereas sentimental / political / righteous opinion can be only shared by a few; and the sort of heavy handed mawkish browbeating of TBPWM is one more ideological conformity I could live without to be honest. That's why I never liked Ewan MacColl's songs, but always loved Peter Bellamy's & Jim Eldon's, who told it (and in Jim's case continue to tell it) like it was without expecting you be become a convert to some cause or other. That's why I love Traditional Song & Ballad too; they account for common experience, even if the experience is the pure catharthis of the song itself (especially the more Soapy Ballads). Maybe that's why I like Kipling too, and other songs from the theatre of war - such as Hamish Henderson's Farewell to Sicily, which I know, but can't sing for blubbing.

*

Otherwise - I guess I'm getting tired too; bascically I'm too old & too content for anything much bar getting on with music for the pure beauty & utter joy of doing it, which really is all that matters. The MOR/Easy Listening status of Folk is depressing, but consequent of the prevalent demographics of a music which is a minority, but hardly a specialised one. I've never found it particularly welcoming or friendly either - even after 36 years it still seems like another world to me to be honest. I'm happiest in a small grubby session (especially with Preston's Best 'Uns) where The Old Songs hold jovial sway; or else just rooting around old broadsides & field recordings of the old singers seeing what matches up. My New Year's Resolution is to learn a new old song every week. So far this year (in a zeal of renewal!) I've learnt two, with another three coming along nicely. It's a real magic that keeps me busy, a bit, and keeps me happy too, a lot, so I guess my Backworth Colliery is going to have to wait a while longer...

S O'P (Contented Traddy Purist)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 04:36 AM

Dammit Sweeney, if you understand that why do you pretend not to understand what "folk song" means? And cover that up with so much pretentious drivel?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 04:46 AM

Well said, Sieve! ;>)>

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 05:21 AM

Can't say i agree with your analysis of the Bogle song. The narrator tells his story from an embattled position - less and less people understand how he feels.

If you tried to have a sensible discussion with Sweeney and the massed bands of traddie conformists about the nature of folk song - you'd know what an embattled position means.

Anyway 'Matilda' is a feat of songwriting that was astonishing when it was first written. Peel played June Tabor's version and it was so unusual by that time for any thing from the folk clubs to percolate onto steam radio (such was the corner the traddies had painted themselves into with affected rural accents etc) , that it was a sensation. But personally I always saw it as a man's song.

It loses some of its impact now that every bugger with a DADGAD guitar and a croaky voice has written a first world war song in Bonny Bogle's wake.

But when you've been through shit - or you're trying to convey the tale of a man who as been through shit. What good are you if you can't empathise? Reminds me of Rumpole's sidekicks in chambers trying to organise a defence in court - when they're only experience is civil law.

Where would the blues and rebel ballads be if the singer didn't imagine some degree of emotional support from the audience.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 06:13 AM

why do you pretend not to understand what "folk song" means?

My issues are simple enough, Richard - I come to Folk Song via other essentially creative musics (free jazz, experimental, improvisation, rock and even more 'modernist' approaches to Medieval Music as pioneered by The Clemencic Consort etc.) so I'm not in the least bit inclined to believe that Folk Song is anything more than but one (or several) of a myriad of idiomatic genres of Popular Human Music Making, all of which might be covered by the 1954 Definition, but not all of which are, therefore, Folk. All music is born of Tradition and Process and exists in the context of Human Community. My issue with Folk, is that unlike other music, it was perceived to exist by a remote social / cultural social elite, i.e. those bourgeois boffins with a particular axe to grind. I guess that begins with the Antiquarians who first condescended to call the lower classes The Folk in the first place, and continues through ill-conceived notions of Folklore through Frazer, Child, et al, to Cecil Sharp and on through A L Lloyd and Ewan MacColl and right through to the present day, and is even seen as being somehow radical, irrespective of the fact that out whole concept of Folk is born of class condescension.

The irony is that it's thanks to these bourgeois boffins that this stuff has survived at all, in all its potency - field recordings, notebooks, collections and broadsides to cast their glamourie over us, so whilst I am critical, I am most certainly not dismissive. Thus do I doff my cap to Sharpe, Lloyd, Gilchrist and all, just as I do to The Brother's Grimm, John Sampson, Asbjorsen and Moe, without whom my repertoire of Folk Tales would look a tad threadbare. But whilst I welcome the material, I can't agree on the conclusions, and the orthodoxy view which seems to be still rooted in queer notions of The Folk - i.e seeing the Old Songs as the product of something very different to how songs have been made since the year dot & continue to be made today, that is as products of individuals operating within a convention and feeding these back into their community. I was moved by Geogina Boyes quote of Joseph Jacobs in her Imagined Village, as he spoke of that very individual creativity which is pretty much anathema to much Folk Theory. The difference of an Oral Culture is, I think, a superficial one: as human beings we seek ways in which to communicate and pass things on & are eager to have things passed on to us. Earlier in this thread (or the other one on the Critics Group) Spleen quoted one traditional singer saying how he'd got the song (Out With my Gun) when someone wrote it down for him. Indeed, his version doesn't differ much from the old broadside preserved in the Axon collecton.

As with all culture, music is essentially fluid, mutable and born of what went before it; the old songs are really no different, only that they were (erroneosly IMHO) perceived to be different by those bourgeois boffins who wanted them to be, thus removing the Creative Individual from the equation and replacing them with a Collective Mass Cultural Anonymity which seems to me too glib a fantasy of Left or Right Wing thinking to be of any use to us today, especially when the representatives of that very tradition stand out as anything but - Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Walter Pardon, Phil Tanner, Davie Stewart, Willie Scott, and even Tommy Armstrong - the singers & song-makers all who are every bit individual masters of their musical craft as you'd expect them to be really. All Musical Traditions have them - be it Telemann or Purcell or Handel or Bird or Birks or Miles or Coltrane or Hendrix or Zappa (a great fan of MacColl and Bert Lloyd by the way) and Beefheart &c. &c.

Love the old songs though, and am happy to call them Folk Songs, but I might differ in the definition of that from the orthodox view which only really works for the faithful few.

S O'P (Proletarian Antiquarian Individualist & All Consuming Atheist)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 07:01 AM

While it might be reasonable to accuse someone of being purist, we should be deeply suspicious of anyone who believes themselves purist, and by extension 'pure'. Their's is the royal road to madness.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 07:02 AM

June Tabor did a version of The Band, that was absolutely riveting, in fact she would not always perform it if she felt the club Audience was not attentive, I asssume she had to be in the right frame of mind to perform it as well, however I saw her do a magnificent job with it on a couple of occassions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 07:24 AM

yes I saw her as well at Keele FF and suppporting the Albion Band one time. In fact a couple of ther times and she always did the song.

she's a good singer - loved her version of while gamekeepers lie sleeping.

but I just think this song is one for a grizzled old aussie bloke. Its a bit like Dame Helen Mirren doing the Kent's speech from Lear from the Dover cliff top. She'd do it well - but it wouldn't be, how it should be.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 06:15 AM

loved her version of while gamekeepers lie sleeping.

JT's version of Gamekeepers is a classic of the 70s Macrame Beat (acoustic folk rock) zeitgeist - she even sings it like that unaccomapanied, as do many floorsingers if it comes to that, entirely unaware of the more stately nature of the Bob Roberts original, which is here beautifully sung by own our own Good Soldier Schweik:

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

Omnia Tempus Habent.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 07:05 AM

Omnia Tempus Habent....?

It was written by a Latin, a gondolier who sat in
His home out in Brooklyn and gazed at the stars.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 09:25 AM

Al ~~ with my Official Legendary Pedant hat on ~~ it was Gloster, not Kent, on who thought he was on top of a cliff. Sorry: I was just leaving...

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 10:07 AM

Shouldn't that be Gloucester?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 10:26 AM

Will himself used Gloucester. Nahum Tate, the C18 reworkering editor, used Gloster. You are probably right that Gloucester appears more frequently, but Gloster is not unprecedented.

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 10:29 AM

Will himself used Gloucester.

No I didn't. I've eaten Double Gloucester and had a model of a Gloucester Gladiator aircraft as a child. I've been to Gloucester and I even play the "Gloucester Hornpipe"* on mandolin and tenor guitar.

But I've never used it.

*There are are two tunes with the title "Gloucester Hornpipe". I play the other one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: ollaimh
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 10:49 AM

nothing more mawkish than a bigoted purist like ewan mccoll pretending he's a highland scotts gael. ya gotta love the the sassenachen--(or they will get you)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 10:51 AM

Will ~~ on another thread I have recently written "Will - Shax not Fly ...". You may, should the query ever arise, refer enquirers to that with my blessing & approval!

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 10:52 AM

Maybe, Ollaimh, but we don't got to love you!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 11:15 AM

couldn't remember and was too lazy to look it up!. Thanks Mike!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: TheSnail
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 11:57 AM

There are are two tunes with the title "Gloucester Hornpipe". I play the other one.

Ah yes, The Other One,one 0f the most widespread tune titles as in - "Lets play Hot Punch and The Other One." or "Lets play The Sloe and The Other One." Never known it used for any version of the
"Gloucester Hornpipe" though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 12:20 PM

I have many contacts among the lumberjacks,
to give me facts
When someone attacks my imagination


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 12:48 PM

Gloster Gladiator. This pedantry thing is catching.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM

Okay we've don that one! No then.....

Purist a restorative!

Macrame......isn't that knitting?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: gnomad
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM

Knot as far as I know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:46 PM

Sweeney - there you go again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:59 PM

nothing more mawkish than a bigoted purist like ewan mccoll pretending he's a highland scotts gael. ya gotta love the the sassenachen--(or they will get you)

No worse than a Canadian doing likewise.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 03:42 PM

Purist - a purgative...?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 06:09 AM

Richard - I know this is a bit awkward for you, but if you don't understand, then all you have to do is ask.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 06:33 AM

"Will himself used Gloucester."
Twas but a feeble attempt at humour
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 07:14 AM

Appreciated as such, Jim ~~ & not so feeble in context either; but I thought it an opportunity for the Official Legendary Pedant to set the record straight...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM

Sweeney, I can plough through your outpourings and identify the various misreprentations and twisting of meanings - and you know that, but all you need to do to understand my post is look and see how many words and attempts to show off with words you include in almost every post of yours.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 08:34 AM

Richard - you get me all wrong; all I'm doing is talking about music.   There are no misreprentations and twisting of meanings much less any attempts to show off. I do you the very good courtesy of answering your inquiries to the best of my ability, however so hostile & loaded your various reactions. Suggest, therefore, you try coming down off your high horse and actually spending some time trying to understand what I've written here. If you don't agree, show me where you think I've gone wrong; try explaining your position rather than just sitting there sniping with your petty put-downs. Discussion is fun; it's what we're here for, surely?

Is it worth pointing out my anxiety today as I sit here waiting for my the oppointed hour when I must go to the dentist for phase 1 of my BRIDGE work?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 06:58 PM

actually spending some time trying to understand what I've written here

Perhaps if you tried to express yourself clearly and above all, concisely, we wouldn't have to wade all through the verbiage to get at the core of what you are trying to say.

I have a lot of sympathy with Richard's point of view. When I see one of your lengthy posts my eyes tend to glaze over as I know that most of it will be repetitious and pretty much irrelevant to the main point.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 04:19 AM

Tootler - If you've failed understand what I've written here (which you obviously have) please don't presume that the fault is somehow mine. Like I say, all you have you is ask...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 04:40 AM

It's the dishonest twists of meaning that get my goat. There are now two prime protagonists on the mudcat who reject the Karpeles (1954) definition out of hand, partly on the view that "the village" was imagined, partly on the view that "folk" is a matter of style or content rather than derivation, partly on the view that "folk music" is a sui generis term (see what I did there?), and partly on the view that all music is handed down merely because it uses scales harmonic conventions and timings that have gone before.

The 1954 definition "feels" right (with apologies to a former editor of the Sun) and any infelicities can fairly readily be ironed out by considering (for example) the meaning of the word "community".

For those who care about the term "purist" I did post the definition of it out of the Oxford English dictionary (no, not the concise or the shorter, the full one) on one of the previous occasions that there was a debate about the term.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 04:44 AM

"When I see one of your lengthy posts my eyes tend to glaze over"

Sweeney is one of very few posters who actually explains why he agrees or disagrees with something and is prepared to put that opinion in context. The majority of Mudcat posts are tribal, knee jerk responses that produce spontaneous anger if shibboleths are questioned. I'm surprised he has the patience to negotiate attacks he's heard numerous times on a daily basis and still have faith in logic to repel them, but all power to him for taking on the forces of inertia and reaction.

As he's pointed out on more than one occasion, there are no legally binding definitions. Each was a historical expedient that grew from the attitudes of its time and will stand or crumble in the light of succeeding approaches. The idea of music and adherents being 'pure' does not stand the test of time or logic.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:06 AM

Oh, and there's the other one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:09 AM

[sigh]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:18 AM

As I said, tribal and knee jerk. BTW, I'm totally with you on the 'feels right' response Richard, the visceral is all that matters. It's the fluff it's wrapped in, the extraneous 'macrame' of knotted conceits that is so tedious and irrelevant.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:18 AM

Suggest, therefore, you try coming down off your high horse

Think we'd best make that high chair actually, eh Richard?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:57 AM

"There are now two prime protagonists on the mudcat who reject the Karpeles (1954) definition "

Make that three. The 1954 definition is relevant only from an historical perspective. Like many definitions it needs updating to be relevant in a modern context. That's why dictionaries are constantly being revised.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM

"Like many definitions it needs updating"
Does "updating" man "rejection"?
Hmmmm
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 06:44 AM

To be fair, chaps, the 1954 Definition tells us a lot, but only about the Folk Mindset that made it up in the first place, and those who adhere to it today. It is a very bourgeois misunderstanding of a working class art form on a quite monumental scale really, one that has, in effect, claimed the music by isolating entirely from the natural habitat of its causal cultural context and then subjected it to the further indignities of a cultural revival... Meanwhile, the actual tradition of Popular Music Making that gave the Old Folk Songs birth in the first place (and would have given them dignified death & burial were it not for romantically inclined antiquarians & latter day ressurectionists intent of breathing new life into them) has carried on quite happily and continues to do so today, albeit in ways which are of little interest to Folkies of either stripe - who are either too bigoted, culturally autistic, or (let's face it) just too damn old for anything but the comforts of nostalgia. I include myself in this latter category BTW; since turning 50 last year I find myself increasingly ill at ease in the modern world, thus do gaze into old woodcuts & the broadsides they illustrate through rose coloured cataracts. The other day in an antique shop I actually bought an old Gypsy-made clothes peg (as fine a piece of treen as you'll ever see; true - er - folk art) to use as a mute on my fiddle...   

As an Antiquarian (by default & passion) the past fascinates me, and I'm easily seduced by The Archaeology, however so mislabelled and misprepresented - as is the case with so-called folklore as a whole - but that doesn't take away the joy of the thing, much less the joy of museums. One would hope (for example) whilst Richard and I might en joy debating the finer points of theory on Mudcat, should we actually meet face to face we'd be too busy singing to put anybody down - which is the important thing here, and why that earlier Holy Ghostly sigh of Pope Joe is the most disagreeable thing (so far) on this entire thread, though Tootler's twittish tweet runs it a close second.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 07:08 AM

"Does "updating" man "rejection"?"

Not necessarily - those were Richard's words. Some online dictionary definitions now add words to the effect: "Music written or performed in the folk idiom." That would seem to do the trick.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 08:03 AM

I think that's getting closer to the issue.

The expression "the folk idiom" cannot aid our understanding because there is no single folk idiom. There are different folk idioms in different places, but that concept is still primarily about "sounds like". If it were a means of distinguishing folk music from other music it would mean that the things that Steeleye Span (or Jim Moray, whose work I admire but do not like) were playing were not folk songs, simply because they were being played differently. It would mean that say a Punjabi folk song was not a folk song because it did not sound like Harry Cox. That is not merely in need of a bit of trimming - it is fundamentally wrong.

As an expression, I suppose it derives from the US experience where to a large extent the songs that were current in the community were supplanted by the excellent original songs of Woodie Guthrie and Pete Seeger (and the, in my view, not-so-excellent ones of Dylan and Johnny Cash and Hank Williams etc etc) and the idea of descent from a tradition was lost. Like so many US cultural referents this seems to have travelled the globe.

The essence of the Karpeles definition (which I have provided many times on here) involves three steps. First - oral transmission, second modification by "the folk process", and third relation to a community. Others added a requirement of anonymity but I am not an adherent of that view.

With Western literacy at about 100% words are less likely to pass only by oral transmission but the prevalence of mondegreens and other word twists indicates that they do in fact, unlikely as it may seem, do so. Recordings of course are often mis-heard and listening to recordings does not eliminate part of the element of oral (or maybe I should say "aural") transmission. The ability to read music is I think declining in frequency, but tunes and timings are often learned from recordings - and almost as often altered accidentally in the learning.

It is therefore fair, I suggest, to say that oral transmission remains.

Similarly words vary by mis-hearing or modification. Tunes are varied accidentally in learning or intentionally in interpretation.


That leaves community. While no doubt Karpeles did not consider online communities, or even interest group communities, I see no inherent reason why they should be thought outside the concept of community in the definition. A community does not have to be a monolith - or the variations of the Child Ballads or recorded in the Roud Index would not exist.


What I have not previously seen is any suggestion from Sweeney or Sticky other than entirely discarding the Karpeles definition, to leave no definition.

I do need to add, as I have said many times before, that the definition of "folk" is not qualitative. It tells us nothing about what is good or bad - as the persistence of "the Wild Rover" ought to remind us!



I turn now to "purist":

1. "One who aims at, affects, or insists on scrupulous or excessive purity, especially in language or style; a stickler for purity or correctness"

2. "One who maintained that the New Testament was written in pure Greek".

These do not apply even to my musical (or unmusical) conduct - even though I am perhaps the most insistent here on on the meaning of the word "folk". I don't give a stuff what people play or sing, or whether they do it "right". I don't even believe that there is a "correct" way to sing a folk song.

I don't believe in the existence of the alleged folk police who say that there are only certain ways to perform.

I can see something for the idea that if it says "beans" on the tin there ought to be beans inside.

I do believe that the word "folk" means something but that does not make even me a purist.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 08:15 AM

What I'm suggesting, Richard, is not an addition to the 1954 definition but an additional definition. Then you can take your choice.

"I can see something for the idea that if it says "beans" on the tin there ought to be beans inside"

I would want to know exactly what sort of beans I'm buying - I like baked beans with my sausages and cannellini in my minestrone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 08:31 AM

That would seem to do the trick

It does for me anyway. After that, all you have to do is to define the folk idiom, which is pretty straightforward as it emcompasses so much of what The Revival has been about since it was first hatched. The true definition of Folk Music is basically the definition of The Revival which claims what went before in terms of idiomatic selection, and it also claims what follows. I suppose that's why I found Georgina Boye's excellent The Imagined Village such a depressing read really, and why I still haven't got round to reading my (borrowed) copy of Harker's Fakesong. That said, I've always seen myself as a Post-Revivalist - i.e. too young to have been truly touched by The Revival, even though I was brought up in an cultural aura in which Idiomatic Folk (Scottish / Northumbrian especially) was integral to a much bigger cultural picture than which Folk as a religion would allow for.

Once you set foot in a Folk Club, things change, however so casual the acquaintance might be. I think all Folkies have the Folk Gene to a greater or lesser extent - to some it is full-blown Autism, to others it is mild Aspergers - but either way it's not normal, which is ironic really as many folkies aspire to an all inclusive normalcy and openly pour scorn at any attempt to see things a little differently. Any music which actually attempts to value this thing we call The Tradition is regarded with instant suspicion (and resentment if it garners any critical attention which they themselves feel especially entitled) and dismissed out of hand as being a) Wierd* or b) An Acquired Taste** and (therefore) c) Marmite***! In the all-consuming lowest possible common denominator mindset of the Holy Folk MOR Easy Listening Average this not only means unmutual and but also undeserving, whatever its actual merits.

Tragically, this is what happened to Peter Bellamy & accounts for many of the more negative attitudes you see blowing around on this forum and in folk clubs the length & breadth of the English Speaking World where a queer sort of mediocrity prevails & woe betide anyone whose face doesn't fit. Not not so much from the punters themselves though, rather the organisers, many of whom set themselves as paternalistic arbiters of the common good. I've seen this a lot over the last 36 years; that I still see it now is hardly a surprise. But, as I say, I'm really too old to care, & far too content in my little cot to be bothered because (in the words of the old broadside) it is my own and it just suits me. Perfectly!

S O'P (At ease following Phase 1 of his Bridge Work; in two weeks time I'll have a new tooth, so he may face his adoring public with added confidence...)

* Wierd: In a Folk context Wierd is pretty much essential given the overall cultural zeitgeist which Folk has inspired. Away from the Hot Pot and self-serving over-weening comedy and sentiment, Wierd is actually a very good thing and something to be highly cherished. Without the weird, I find, life just isn't worth living. That said, too much weird invariably leads to Nu-Folk & Martial fascism which is most certainly not a good thing.

** An Acquired Taste : The best things in life invariably are, from oral sex and fine malt whisky to the music of Harry Partch, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler and even the more surreal comedic antics of Vic Reeves. In fact one could say if life is about anything it is about Acquiring the Taste for the finer things, which must, therefore, include...

*** Marmite : Which instantly reduces the whole thing to an aura of consumerism and product placement which is anathema to the appreciation of the finer things in life to which many of us aspire, even as our raison d'etre. I once talked this through with a fellow folky who confessed they'd just bought the entire VOTP series so they might learn new songs. 'What?' says I, 'Not for your listening pleasure?' And they laughed, thinking I was joking, which I assured them I certainly was not. 'I like Marmite,' they said, 'But only spread very thinly on toast with lots of butter - or else on Twiglets.'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 08:47 AM

Weird? Not me! As they say round these parts, "All the world's weird except thee and me...and even thoo's a bit queer."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM

Oh, and I speak as one who would only buy a Kindle if he could have it bound in half morocco by Bayntuns of Bath.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 09:33 AM

There are different folk idioms in different places,

I might add that The Folk Revival, via the conceited absurdity of the 1954 Definition, has perceived Folk Music to exist elsewhere on the planet, though, of course, not everywhere - heaven forfend. I think Richard is typical in being misled in this respect where Topic Records (for example) have marketed everything from Gary and Vera's Hotpot to the Choirs of Albanian Farming Co-ops as being, somehow, Folk Music. Inclusivity or rank absurdity? You decide. In this sense Folk Music is not about the idioms, traditions, derivations and enthnomusical context of the actual music, rather it is about a highly selective and romantically inclined philosophical perspective which is wholly irrelavant & extraneous to the music itself. The word Folk becomes tainted by associaion with such woeful imperialistic paternalism; the botton line being is that all these so-called Folk Idioms would get along quite happily without being called Folk, even those closer to home.

Richard, will all due respect to your superior wisdom, the rest of your post is pure paste which reiterates the myths, false opossitions and highly selective clauses which are utterly redundant in this day and age, but which are, nevertheless, essential if you're going to accept the orthodoxy of the Bourgeois Folk Myth. Argument with you is a futile as an Atheist arguing with a Christian; the Atheist says the Bible is not the revealed word of God - the Christian says it is, and uses The Bible to prove it. However, the Atheist still loves the Bible for what it is, rather than what it isn't, which is pretty much where I stand in relation to the culture of The Revival in general, and the 1954 Definition in particular, which I know requires certain philosphical pre-requisites before it makes sense. I'm sorry, but I'm too much of a pragmatist in this respect - Human Music is Human Music is Human Music, whatever the genre, whatever the culture, whatever the idiom. Like other aspects of Human Culture, it exists, and has existed and will continue to exist, in a myriad of diverse types, all of which are highly evolved and all of which are highly evolving, and all of which are covered by the various clauses of The 1954 Definition. If you really want to challenge me on this, please, Richard, show me one that isn't - but for God's sake do it with dignity & leave the snide asides in your toybox.

With respect of the Old Songs and Ballads (which one may call Folk Songs without troubling the various fantasies of the 1954 Definition) we are dealing with a very evident idiom, variously recorded (broadsides, collectors notebooks, ear wax, wax cylinders, reel-to-reel, compact cassette etc.) but only surviving as shadows on the wall of Plato's Cave. We can look, study, infer and spectulate, but in the end it comes down to the taxonomy and of imperfect taxidermy, which in no way shape or form is any substitute for being able to study the natural environment in which these songs thrived, which - saving the invention of a Time Machine anytime soon - we never will. The best we can say is The Tradition of these songs, in line with all other musical traditions, was fluid. Whoop-de-fecking-doo! Whether The Tradition is written or oral is wholly irrelevant in the wider context of human communication which, then as now, depends entirely on the creativity of vernacular masters to make and remake such things in great and feral abundance - only in their day they did so entirely unfettered by copyright laws. It is always down to the talents of the individual - the singers, musicians, and song makers - many of whom we can enjoy today, on record, or in print. Some of the songmakers we know by name - Tommy Armstrong, James Hogg, James Armstrong - but most we sadly don't; but seeing that music is a universal impulse it shouldn't surprise us that people have carried the germ of such material with them on their migrations and shaped it as they went along, much as Willie Scott shaped the songs of both Hogg and James Armstrong. I had a tape of A.L.Lloyd once - one of his Radio Three programmes - in which he spoke of much the same thing, but Collective Culture is carried by the individuals masters of that culture, who are only ever faceless from afar; like the Gypsy who made my clothes-peg - long dead now, but once a true master of their living craft whose work one may now perceive as Folk, a word which, in all probability, like many so-called Folk Singers and Folk Musicians the world over, they themselves had never even heard of.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 09:59 AM

"and even thoo's a bit queer"

I do, of course, use the 1954 (and earlier) definition of "queer".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 10:07 AM

As oppose to the usual pejorative slang for male homosexuality which is openly laughed at in certain Northern Folk Clubs, BTW. Now that's what I call weird, and not in any sort of good way either...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 10:22 AM

At a club I used to go to one of the regulars was a gender reorientated melodeon player. She was the butt of many unkind jokes - but only about being a melodeon player.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 10:42 AM

I've known a fair few pre & post-op gender-reorientated people in my time - all of them males into females - and guess what? All of them Folkies too!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 10:46 AM

I had a recording studio in L.A., a while back, and occasionally some snooty prima dona would come in, and when it came time to tune up, they would ALWAYS refuse to use a digital tuner, saying, "Oh no, I ALWAYS tune by ear, I never use those things..I don't need to, or I don't need one". ..and guess what?...As a result of these idiots, I coined a phrase, which is true to this day..."You can ALWAYS tell a 'purist'..they're ALWAYS out of tune!"

GfS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 11:52 AM

Ah well. You see.

But at least people could understand what I wrote.

The idea that there is only one kind of folk music is such an absurdity that its difficult to know where to start to discuss it.

And the idea that there was any sort of connection between what those in courts and chantries sang and what the less advantaged - it's nearly as daft.

It's not a matter of the bible. It's a matter of observation and understanding that there is something different about folk music - and that thing is not how you play it.

And the abuse of the meaning of the word "purist" is nearly as bad. If you don't know what a word means, use a decent dictionary.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:00 PM

What I'm suggesting, Richard, is not an addition to the 1954 definition but an additional definition.

OK. What definition are you suggesting?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:01 PM

When I lived in Missoula, Montana in the early '80's, a banjo picker bicycling across the country, Mike Marker by name, stopped off for breakfast at the Old Town Cafe. He asked if there were any folksingers in town and was referred to me. He tracked me down in the crumbling old hotel where I roomed at the time. He told me that he wanted to play a couple of tunes, and while we were playing told me how he found me. He said that whoever referred him to me called me a "Purist". Which made me laugh, I'm an eclectic, I play a wide variety of vernacular music; blues, fiddle tunes, cowboy and hobo songs, contemporary tunes, I even have been known to write a song or tune myself. I think the folks who told him about me confused "Purist" with musical integrity. I never understood making music just for the sake of a greasy buck, playing the hits to get jobs in the low dives and saloons that constituted the majority of jobs in that area at the time. Like Dave Van Ronk used to say, "I can tell a lie, but I can't sing one."


Mark Ross


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:03 PM

"OK. What definition are you suggesting? "

See previous post.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:28 PM

And the idea that there was any sort of connection between what those in courts and chantries sang and what the less advantaged - it's nearly as daft.

Courts & chantries = communities. People are people - why see it any differently? Of course you get 'higher' forms of music born of a certain priviledge, but I'll accept 'art music' and 'popular music' as ways of dividing these by social context though not by idiom and certainly not by derivation. The bourgeoisie have always shown an interest in popular idioms - think of Troubadour Raimbaut de Vaqueiras collecting his Kalenda Maia melody from two duelling jongleurs; and I've heard that many of the big istanpittas came about in a Masque of the Red Death scenario with gigging musicians evolving ever more complex and convoluted melodies just to keep from going mad couped up in castles to keep the gentry entertained whilst the plague ravaged without. Hellish stuff though...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jQkiAMKRT4&feature=related

But then again you hear just as complex stuff in the Popular Idioms - like the Northumbrian Smallpipe tradition, where composition and deliberate variation are integral to the virtuosity of the music. My esteemed relative Tom Clough was an undisputed master of this.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:53 PM

all of which are covered by the various clauses of The 1954 Definition

The question then is what the people who drafted the 1954 definition - and everyone who's used it since, content in the belief that it says something reliable about the difference between the Seeds of Love and the Brandenburg Concertos - were playing at. If a time-travelling Suibhne had pointed out to Maud Karpeles that The Definition was capable of covering all music made by human beings, past, present and future, would she have replied:

a) "Quite right, dear boy, and so it should."
or
b) "Good heavens, I'm sure we didn't mean it to mean that! Let me have another look at the wording."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:56 PM

theleveller - OK, now define "the folk idiom" (without using the word 'folk'in the definition).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 01:02 PM

But, Pip, you are not allowing for the fact that, when Sweeney claims that the definition applies to all music, he is talking the most consummate claptrap.

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 01:03 PM

For the record, I agree with Suibhne that folk music (untutored, spontaneous, amateur etc) is only very rarely Folk Music (traditional-ish, oldish), and vice versa - and they're both different beasts from The Music That Is Called Folk (And Found In Designated Folk Contexts). I don't really care, though - while I enjoy being involved in folk music, I love Folk Music with a passion (and other music that does that indefinable thing it does - which is only sometimes to be found in Designated Folk Contexts).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 03:22 PM

Purists? Weren't they the people who felt that only by adopting the sartorial style of Fred Jordan (or at least his stage outfit-I always wondered if he dressed differently off stage) could one truly sing traditional songs?
Since I left the UK 30 years ago and last sang in a UK folk club about 10 years ago, I've obviously missed out (or avoided) a few things.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 03:24 PM

Folk song contains 95% of the DNA of every other song form.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 04:41 PM

he is talking the most consummate claptrap.

Okay - then please tell my why it's consummate claptrap, and maybe reflect on the societal / cultural context of such Popular Musical Idioms before some berk came up with the concept of Folk (much less a century later when Karpeles & the IFMC saw fit to try and define it) whilst you're on. Take away the 1954 definition, take away the word Folk, and the music would still exist, already well defined by the musicological traditions and conventions of the musicians who actually play it, traditions and convention respected even by ethnomusicologists who study it without reducing it to so shallow and patronising a concept as fecking folk music.

Just saying...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:09 PM

Been thru it all before, Sean ~~ can't bear to go thru it all again. You know why I think yours an overstated & an untenable position.

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:48 PM

Tootler's twittish tweet runs it a close second.

Which tweet? I assume you mean my post of 09 Jan 12 - 06:58 PM.

All I was saying is that you suffer very badly from verbal diarrhoea and you need to start expressing yourself more concisely.

Argument with you [Richard] is a futile as an Atheist arguing with a Christian

I liked that. Pots, kettles and black came to mind.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 06:40 PM

This thread has been awarded a VI ("vituperative intolerance") score of 8.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 07:03 PM

I thought I'd been very restrained.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 07:09 PM

untenable

On the contrary. I've spent many a happy thread here defending my position quite succesfully actually, and will continue to do so as long as the need arises - yeah, even as voice crying in the wilderness. Verily I sayest unto thou Folk in the 1954 sense is a matter of ill-founded faith; it a quasi-mystical gloss upon existing autonomous popular cultural art forms, musics & ceremonies born entirely from imperialistic paternalism and class condescension, and, as such, I quite joyfully contest that it exists at all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:10 AM

Oh, sure, Sean ~~ you think it is tenable; and perhaps you think you have defended it 'quite successfully actually' ... but how 'successful' a defence can it really be if you admit it to be that of a 'voice crying in the wilderness'; eh?

So commune with yourself!

Best

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:34 AM

You can regard your trip with music anyway you want(who cares?)..just for God sakes, TUNE YOUR AX, and use a tuner to get it right!...then, at least the listener can tell if your trip is pure or not!....and if not, then, "You can regard you trip with music anyway you want(who cares?)"

GfS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 03:18 AM

"OK, now define "the folk idiom" (without using the word 'folk'in the definition)."

Why?

Not my definition anyway - came from an online dictionary. If you've got a problem, don't shoot the messenger, take it up with them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:07 AM

but how 'successful' a defence can it really be

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything here, Michael - just stating my own position. So far no one has provided me with any evidence to the contrary, just the usual barrage of petty patronising put-downs, knee-jerk reactions and toy-throwing from people who really ought to know better. The existence of Folk as being distinct from other musics in the 1954 sense is entirely a matter Faith; it is a religious orthodoxy based on an demonstrably erroneous shibboleth itself hatched (like The Revival itself, and other 'folk' concepts) in an incubator of bourgeois imperialistic paternalism that singularly failed to understand the nature of music - all music - with respect of its community, traditions, history & evolutions. Consequently I'd be hard pushed to think of anyone of my immediate acquaintance who regards the 1954 Definition with any degree of seriousness; even my most cherished 'Purist' traddy chums look askance at the damn thing, and not without very good reason.

People have suggested here that another definition of Folk is needed. I disagree, because the experience of any music is essentially empirical, and in any case (as I said earlier) any idiom is defined primarily by the musicians themselves, which is why a more detailed ethnomusicological approach is more respectful than the blanketing mistaken & patronising idyll of 1954 Folk, especially in this day and age (and certainly here on Mudcat) where Folk can mean pretty much anything to anyone.

I say all this from the perspective of one whose love of the Old Traditional English Speaking Folk Song and Ballad Idioms is pretty much his only interest in 'Folk' as a whole; one who finds it sad & frustrating that 'Folk' is so often a by-word for the Easy Listening / MOR / singer-songwriter mawkish schlock that proliferates in Folk Clubs these days. It is, therefore, good for the soul, and entirely justified, to go out and have a good cry in the wilderness from time to time. My purism is born of indignation and a conviction that great music will aways be an acquired taste, and never (with the possible exception of Les Baxter and Martin Denny) be easy listening.

Hear no evil.

S O'P (presently unsure of the new sofa cushions but I'm sure he'll get used to them. How many Folk Singers does it take to change a light bulb anyway?)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:07 AM

"imperialistic paternalism and class condescension"

I've just spent some time working through Cecil Sharp's Appalachian diaries. His warmth and respect towards the singers as people and (in some cases) as skilled artists, and the affection for Sharp and Maud Karpeles that those singers displayed in their letters to him, make that notion seem inappropriate, to say the least.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:22 AM

What this board needs is an ignore button.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:38 AM

I suspect that most of us have a built-in one, glueman ~~ we see one of Sweeney's interminable, repetitive posts & just scroll on to the next one.

But now and then I feel I should give him benefit of just seeing if he's got anything new to say; but it's no, nay, never...

Sweeney ~~ If you are 'not trying to convince anyone of anything', then why did you ask me a few back why I thought what you had written was "consummate claptrap"; if you weren't trying to convince me, then what did it matter to you why I thought that was what it was? And you are manifestly not convincing anyone else either ~~

Come on ~~ ☝☝☝☝up, who agrees with a word he has said?

Let's see what support you'll get now, eh? But you'll still go on whistling in the dark, and assuring yourself you know you're right & the rest of us are wrong...

And then you'll post it all again ~~

Do you know the limerick about the Young fellow from Spain, Who always was sick in the train Not once but again And again and again And again and again and again

That's what your repetitious, incomprehensible, ignored-by-most posts are reminding me of.

So I say again ~~ Commune with yourself. Enjoy...

Best regards

~Michael~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:49 AM

That one was really beneath contempt, Michael - cheap shots indeed. Sad, very sad...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:51 AM

"Come on ~~ ☝☝☝☝up, who agrees with a word he has said?"

Cheap trick, that, MtheGM. It just smacks of playground bullying - "Who thinks Sweeney smells and shouldn't be in our gang? Nah nah na nah nah!"

Actually, I do agree with some of the points he makes - and disagree with others. Instead of telling us to ingore him, why don't you simply take your own advice instead of just getting hot under the collar?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:56 AM

Well, I for one, can see exactly where S O'P is coming from and, to be honest, enjoy his arguments and ideas. Not being a "folk singer" in any sense of the word (I come to traditional music hungry for tunes, not words), I have no axe to grind.

[I can certainly remember the northern folk club I used to attend in the mid-'60s as being a very staid, middle-class affair - recently transmuted from a "folk dance society" into a folk club - run by two elderly ladies and a doctor who were nice people but very patronising to young aspiring performers. Mind you, as my heroes at the time were Leadbelly, Broonzy and Brownie McGhee, I suppose they had every right to be sceptical!]

But, to return to the point, Suibhne's posts are not incomprehensible in any way. Perfectly understandable - just read a little more closely if you really don't get the point. And they're fun, always interesting and I enjoy riffling through them for the sparks. If you don't agree with the ideas, your choice, but why be derogatory?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:00 AM

---That one was really beneath contempt, Michael ---
,..,

Merely assertive, that, Sean ~~ as usual ~ unless you can follow your own principle as addressed to me above, and point out WHY it was so.

Your 'playground smells' analogy was inapplicable, leveller: as you well know. Sorry it was all you could think of off the top of your head. Try again - see if you can't do better...

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:00 AM

>Come on ~~ ☝☝☝☝up, who agrees with a word he has said?<

Er, me. Several, actually.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:27 AM

unless you can follow your own principle as addressed to me above, and point out WHY it was so.

Because I'm trying to discuss something here and all you're doing is offering petty put-downs. It really is quite tiresome.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:28 AM

From: Brian Peters - PM
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:07 AM

"imperialistic paternalism and class condescension"

"I've just spent some time working through Cecil Sharp's Appalachian diaries. His warmth and respect towards the singers as people and (in some cases) as skilled artists, and the affection for Sharp and Maud Karpeles that those singers displayed in their letters to him, make that notion seem inappropriate, to say the least. "
I agree Brian.
my stepfather[ through his connection with Bentley pianos] knew Cecil Sharp, I remember asking him what Sharp was like, he described him thus, very earnest a typical vegetarian[his words not mine]he said he thought he was left wing., He also said he didnt enjoy his visits as Sharp would insist that they all did country dancing, he described it as Sharp and a lot of middle aged fat ladies dancing on the front lawn in a very serious manner.
Sharp was a member of the Fabian society, a left wing group, that hardly fits with the description of Imperialistic paternalism, Rudyard Kipling is amore fitting character for that description


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:31 AM

>Come on ~~ ☝☝☝☝up, who agrees with a word he has said?<

And me - not all of it, but enough to make me keep reading. And Suibhne's posts are far better fun than a lot of the more dreary stuff on here.

Anyway, the term "folk music" is a fairly recent invention in the scheme of things - late 19th century at best. No wonder not everyone is that fussed about a 60 year of academic definition...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:36 AM

"60 year OLD" Doh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:50 AM

"OK, now define "the folk idiom" (without using the word 'folk'in the definition)."

Why?


Because you suggested that this was an alternative definition of 'folk'. Saying that 'folk' means 'in the folk idiom' is like saying that a 'cat' means 'a member of the cat family' - it's an expansion to an existing definition, not an alternative.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:58 AM

a demonstrably erroneous shibboleth itself hatched (like The Revival itself, and other 'folk' concepts) in an incubator of bourgeois imperialistic paternalism

Other people have had a go at the "bourgeois imperialistic paternalism" stuff. I'm not sure what you mean by it or even who it's meant to apply to - Sharp? MacColl? Gary and Vera?

I haven't been convinced that the definition is "demonstrably erroneous". Or rather, I've been convinced that it's possible to interpret it in ways that make it apply much more widely than it was meant to, but not that it's particularly useful to do so. (It's possible to define a cat as a dog, or 2 as equalling 1. Logic is a wonderful thing.)

I repeat: if a time-travelling Suibhne had pointed out to Maud Karpeles that The Definition was capable of covering all music made by human beings, past, present and future, would she have replied:

a) "Quite right, dear boy, and so it should."
or
b) "Good heavens, I'm sure we didn't mean it to mean that! Let me have another look at the wording."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:58 AM

In courtesy, as challenged by Sean & others [leveller, raymond, NigelSpleen], let me try to specify my objections to the generality of Suibhne's posts.

There is a satire by Donne which has the lines

On a huge hill,
Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will
Reach her, about must and about must go,
And what the hill's suddenness resists, win so.

I am always reminded of this by one of S's posts. They all consist, it seems to me, of a repeated point [to which I will come in a moment], surrounded by a forest of verbiage through which one must struggle to reach the inner meaning. Some writers can get away with this sort of style. As, among other hats I have worn throughout my long life and career, a professionl literary (or, if you prefer, book) critic, I have to say that Sean does not appear to me to be one of them. I find it hard to extract any nugget of meaning from his interminable and repetitious lucubrations and animadversions.

But, insofar as I can extrapolate a meaning, it really does seem to me to be, over & over again {how many times have we read posts of his almost identical to those above - 100? 1000? - anyone care to count?} a variation of that bloody old horse of Satchmo's, or Broonszy's, or whoever they are attributing it to this week. "A dreary axiom," as Bert Lloyd so aptly summarised it. If there is more to what he is saying than that, could he, or someone, please point it out to me? I have made this request multiply, but received nought in return but more of the same; and now an accusation of indulging in nothing but tiresome petty put-downs ~ in terms by which he at least demonstrates that, when stung to it, he can at least express himself quite pithily and comprhensibly without all the verbiage and hoo-ha. Result! {Mebbe!}

I indulged in hyperbole of course, raymond & others, in saying that nobody agreed with a word of it. Even I think he can be quite sound on the baleful influence of MOR. But, in general, I stand by what I have said here and elsewhere on the topic of Suibhne's posts.

Has he [in simple & comprehensible terms, please], or anyone else, anything to rejoin? To end as I began with an Eng Lit quote: in the words of a sonnet of Keats ~~

My ear is open like a greedy shark
To catch the tunings of a voice divine.

~Michael


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 07:00 AM

"we see one of Sweeney's interminable, repetitive posts & just scroll on to the next one".

That applies to most posts on this board. Replace folk music with 'anyone remember the 1960s?' or 'who was your perfect guru' or 'press this button for a ten shilling argument' and there's your Mudcat. Someone complained about the lack of plain speaking and used the word 'verbiage' in doing so. When did you last hear 'verbiage' in a pub conversation?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Crowsis flying through
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 07:05 AM

..again.

Me too Michael. When I came here as a complete no-nuthing, I followed Sean's posts -alongside those of others here of course- and have always found them perfectly lucid, rational, strongly argued and entertaining (I think what you find as "overstated" I see as something of the dramatic flourish of a storyteller expressing itself in prose form).

Does Folk Music need to be 'defined' and delimited strictly according to a very specific and limited set of rules? I don't think so, I think all one can ever say is: "Here is a body of work. These are some things we have observed pertaining to that body of work thus far, and these are our thoughts about those observations. Discuss." Nothing more concrete than than that.

Otherwise of course categorisation of sorts is necessary, we need to put that particular body of material in a folder labelled with some referent in order that we may discover it, explore it and enjoy it. But that referent should ideally be a term which allows for our evolving understanding of that to which it refers, rather than rigidly prescriptive. I think.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 07:06 AM

"My purism is born of indignation and a conviction that great music will aways be an acquired taste, and never... be easy listening."

Back in the 1980s I had the brilliant idea of calling my first LP 'Difficult Listening' as a protest against much of what I was hearing in folk clubs. Commercial considerations eventually prevailed, though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 07:07 AM

"Your 'playground smells' analogy was inapplicable, leveller: as you well know. Sorry it was all you could think of off the top of your head. Try again - see if you can't do better..."

From school bully to school ma'am in one quick move.LOL!

"Because you suggested that this was an alternative definition of 'folk'."

As I pointed out if you bother to read, it's a secondary dictionary definition I found and agreed with. If you don't, perhaps you should suggest your own definition, then we can agree or disagree with you. Maybe you'd like to try looking up "perverse" and "pedant" as well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 07:17 AM

Sharp was a member of the Fabian society, a left wing group, that hardly fits with the description of Imperialistic paternalism, Rudyard Kipling is amore fitting character for that description

Left-wing thinking is just as patronising to the lower classes as Right Wing thinking; both see them in terms of being faceless compliant masses rather than the hot beds of individual radical thinking and eccentricity that they actually are. The corpus of Tradition Singers is abundant evidence of this fact, likewise that of the other arts, sciences, musics etc. The Bourgeouis Revivalists (whatever their political stripe) were very careful in what aspects of working-class culture were to be harvested as being Folk and what aspects were not. This was not simply a matter of idiom either. Even latter day lefties like Ewan MacColl had very clear ideas as to what constituted Folk Culture and what didn't, despite the fact that Culture Is as Culture Does, and doesn't need the poscriptions of Eavan MacColl or David Franks to tell it what it ought to be singing and why. I'd agree with you on Kipling though - he makes this abundantly clear in his poetry, not least in The Land which is a paean to the very right-wing notion of the passive continuity of traditional working class servility to the fuedal masters. Always strikes me as odd that many sing it as a Socialist polemic - as if Kipling would have ever written such a thing!

Saying that 'folk' means 'in the folk idiom' is like saying that a 'cat' means 'a member of the cat family'

Post-revival, Folk is just a matter of Folk Idiom (which covers a fair few bases I'd say) just as cat is a matter of felinity first and mammality second. Defining the specifics of those bases is another issue, of course, like the Popular Song & Ballad Idioms of the Oral Traditions of the last 300 years or so. Calling them Folk Songs out of pragmatic convenience is one thing, but defining them as Folk (and all that implies) is quite another.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 07:40 AM

"Left-wing thinking is just as patronising to the lower classes as Right Wing thinking; both see them in terms of being faceless compliant masses"

My point above about Sharp was precisely that he did not hold that attitude.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 07:41 AM

I'm not sure what you mean by it or even who it's meant to apply to - Sharp? MacColl? Gary and Vera?

Cross post. See my last post, pretty much.

Basically, I feel Folk is selective construct that seeks amongst working class art for things it can co-opt and patronise accordingly. It is a religious philosophy that doesn't generate these things, rather it patronises them by perceiving them to be something they aren't, rather like a Christian perceiving the natural universe to be a manifestation of God. So you have very posh old gentlemen in London thinking it's somehow correct to sing like members of the working class of Norfolk. Folk is full of such grotesque incongruities! Like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuqhEix8lGY

Grotesque? What the hell, eh? To me it's like a bunch of white South Africans blacking up to play the music of the Townships in the quest for the truly authentic...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 08:02 AM

you cannot , generalise about left wing thinking or right wing thinking, Thatchers right wing views were different from Mussolinis .
Trotskys left wing views were quite different from Stalins.
Please provide evidence that Sharps attitude was patronising, from the conversation i had with someone that had met him quite a few times, that was not the case,I got the complete opposite impression from someone who actually had met him


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM

"Calling them Folk Songs out of pragmatic convenience is one thing, but defining them as Folk (and all that implies) is quite another. "

But pragmatic convenience is all that Mudcat memberslooking for. This isn't a convention of academic folklorists or musicologists, it's a discussion group for what is ultimately simply a form of entertainment (much as it pains some to admit it). It appears to me tht you are the one who insists on turning any discussion of the "pragmatic convenience" meaning into a definition of Folk with "all that implies".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 08:25 AM

What Howard said, and also what I said myself(!) upthread. You seem to be hearing a lot of overtones (harmonics?) in the word 'folk' which aren't necessarily there in the minds of the people using it - as if every time somebody said "the Seeds of Love is an English folk song" they were really saying "the Seeds of Love is a glorious example of the true earthy uncultured authentic tradition of ignorant peasants making true authentic earthy music which is the true authentic tradition of the wonderful ignorant peasant people of this green and pleasant land, utterly distinct from and vastly superior to any other music played or listened to by anyone ever, and only to be appreciated by nice middle-class people who truly understand the authentic earthy traditions of this great nation/people of ours, God Save the King!/Up the Workers! (delete to taste)". Tain't necessarily so.

Lunchtime I think. Where's my hotpot...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 08:49 AM

Please provide evidence that Sharps attitude was patronising

The paternalism is implicit; you even see it here with MtheGM to whom it's abominable that anyone could suggest that Butter and Cheese and All is born from the self-same individual creative genius as The Brandenberg Concertos. It's that very same general bourgeois bewilderment (i.e. that the un-educated working class can consciously & deliberately craft something truly amazing) that underwrites the patronisation which is implicit in the thinking of The Revival, and endures even to this day.

I'm not saying these are bad people though; I'm not saying MtheGM is a bad person for mimicking Harry Cox, it's just patronising to do so that's all, and fundamentally dishonest in that it only takes from working-class culture what it wants to and dismisses the overall context as being somehow degenerate. Best harvest them quick before they disappear; meanwhile culture explodes in a blaze of Popular creativity, much of it working class, much of it certainly degenerate - but only that tainted by the same commercial opportunism that lies behind the broadsides which become a crucial source in themselves, much as post-cards and snapshots are seen as cucial primary sources by today's ethnographers and social historians.

The Revival doesn't value working-class creativity, rather it seeks for what it perceives to be exceptional examples of the folk-process under very WAV-like conditions (sorry, David, but there's not enough WAV-lore on Mudcat these days! And in any case David Franks is not a bad person either). It's simple enough, surely? The whole concept of Folk is wonky, and quite gloriously so. Half its appeal is a wonkiness consequent of whole idioms of music being effectively removed from their natural habitat (however so endangered they were perceived to be therein) and revived in a cultural context about as far away from that habitat as you could wish to get. Thus, Folk remains a minority cultural concern; a specialism forever turned to an ever more remote past.

Again, I'm not saying this in any way bad, I'm just telling it like it is, and daring to speculate on why that might be. Me, I cherish it all, however affecting I might find it.

*

But pragmatic convenience is all that Mudcat memberslooking for.

I agree, which is what this is about, surely?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 09:06 AM

the Seeds of Love is a glorious example of the true earthy uncultured authentic tradition of ignorant peasants making true authentic earthy music which is the true authentic tradition of the wonderful ignorant peasant people of this green and pleasant land, utterly distinct from and vastly superior to any other music played or listened to by anyone ever, and only to be appreciated by nice middle-class people who truly understand the authentic earthy traditions of this great nation/people of ours, God Save the King!/Up the Workers!

Pip - I believe you've channelled Cecil Sharp's very thoughts upon hearing John England's essaying of The Seeds back in 1903.

Does anyone have the copy of The Ladybird History of Music which contains a colourful illustration of Mr Sharp's celebrated epiphany, BTW? Seminal stuff...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM

When & where have I mimicked Harry Cox, please? Not asked in hostile fashion, but genuinely curious. I honestly can't think what you can be referring to.

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 09:20 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOx6fEYq8jI

Sorry - Sam Larner. Still, bet it goes down a storm with your Groucho Club cronies. Certainly goes down well with me, old boy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 09:36 AM

a specialism forever turned to an ever more remote past

I can understand how this might bother some people - particularly people who read a lot into the word Folk - but it's never bothered me, and probably never will until I've learnt all the folk songs there are (which might take a while). The singers Sharp and Vaughan Williams collected songs from were already tuned in to a remote past, if not the mythical past in which Queen Anne ordered Lord Melbourne from Newfoundland to Flanders while Napoleon defeated the Prussians on Mount Mark. (There aren't many 'broken token' ballads about soldiers returning from the Boer War.) It doesn't make the songs sound out-of-date; if anything, traditional songs often sound less dated than songs written 20-30 years ago. Someone who plays Streets of London and Scarborough Fair exactly as they were recorded - that's a revivalist.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 09:37 AM

So, Suibhne, let's get this straight. Your're looking down, with rather amused (but tolerant) disdain, on the largely middle class dilettantes who 'appropriated' working class culture while the middle class dilettantes are looking down on the working class people who they appropriated the material from? My! There's a lot of looking down going on!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 09:40 AM

Ah; now that is different. I don't think I sing it much like Sam Larner: it is ever my endeavour to sing every song like me, whomever I might have learnt it from. But one must always allow for the unconscious influence of intertextualty, must one not? And who can be accurate judge or critic of one's own efforts? But take my word for it, no mimicry was intended, of Sam or anyone else. It was put there at your request, Sean! There's gratitude for you. Glad it still goes down well with you.

One of my sponsors for membership of the Groucho did say at the time that I might very well be invited to do some sort of folk presentation or whatever; but I am still waiting.

Best

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:05 AM

Not quite the past I was thinking of, Pip - more of our lost bucolic paradise in which the specialised conditions of a more orthodox reading of the 1954 Definition might thrive - The Imagined Village indeed - however so real it actually was, today we view it from afar, through the pages of George Ewart Evans and the songs on the VOTP CDs.

I'm not looking down on anyone, Shimrod - I'm just being realistic, telling it like it is, albeit subectively, but, most of all loving it accordingly. It's all there, you know? Pure & simple! So rejoice & be merry.

And I love your singing of the Old Songs, MtheGM - much as I love Shimrod's singing of them too - hence my earlier link on the Icaros - Shamanic Healing thread - and would never question you the right to do it, however so ultimately patronising I might find it, but I take a similar view of certain aspects of Bellamy's work too. A local chap recalled to me the time half the audience walked out of an early solo Bellamy booking, not on account on any outrage at his politics or his sartorial flamboyance, but because (as he put it) he introduced songs like the lord of the manor and yet sang them like an old ploughman.

Again - rejoice / be merry.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:10 AM

"The Revival doesn't value working-class creativity"

Is this some kind of Looking-Glass-World in which it's obligatory to turn truth on its head at every juncture? I know you've listened to 'The Voice of the People'. What is that project about, if not 'valuing working-class creativity'? And it's a pronduct of The Revival.

Why did collectors like Sharp take the trouble to notate the melodic variations and ornaments that some of the singers they heard were extemporising, if they didn't value individual creativity?

What do you think Jim Carroll's career as a collector is all about?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:28 AM

"I'm not saying these are bad people though; I'm not saying MtheGM is a bad person "for mimicking Harry Cox, it's just patronising to do so that's all"
no its not, it is sensible to listen to traditional singers, to get an idea of style, this applies to any music if you were to sing blues it is a good idea to listen to and to [start wit memphis minnie and bessie smith., it is not patronising, neither is it patronising to listen to and imitate carl perkins if you were to sing rock and roll, or hank snow/hank williams if you were to sing country and western
the general idea is that by listening to a lot of tradtional singers the singer absorbs some of the different styles.
mimicking a particular singer or instrumentalist[lets say padraig o keefe or oscar woods] is a useful stepping stone to developing ones own traditional style.
MTHEGM does not sound like a copy of sam larner he sounds like himself, you however sound extremely heavily influenced by Peter Bellamy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:44 AM

This thread has just gone VI 9. I'm sure we can reach double figures if we just put our manners, good taste and humility to one side?.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:58 AM

Up to comparatively recently, if you wanted to hear Child ballads at their best, you had to plouter your way across a Travellers site.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 11:14 AM

My goodness, what a lot of posts! MtheGM will probably put me in detention for not paying attention and keeping up, but I'm afraid I do have to work for a living. Although, this afternoon work was more of a pleasure as the almost-impossibly urbane Italian wine producer who I am writing some literature for (hopefully with no split infinitives) introduced me, at some length, to the qualities of the Vermentino grape as it appears in several Sardinian wines ("...do not make a confusion with the Gallura, Peter.") which I've never come across before.

"....so you will notice, Peter, that the bouquet is harmonic with peaches and apricots ...and the aftertaste it is lingering with the almond."

Oh yes, the aftertaste it was definitely lingering with the almond ? I confirmed it (just for the sake of veracity) on several occasions during the afternoon.

So forgive me if, for the moment, 1954 seems even further away than it did before. For now, I am still enjoying the aftertaste that is lingering with the almond. I think I'll linger with it for a while longer just to ensure that I avoid making a confusion with the Gallura!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 11:20 AM

Brian - an aside maybe, but I've got certain issues with the VOTP series, in that it fragments many earlier collections (albums) that were given over to individual singers and compiles the songs according to category rather than singer. I still have many of those old Topic albums & cherish them very dearly - The Singing Molecatcher of Morayshire is an especial favourite - but generally I lament the umbrella approach taken on VOTP which I regard as ever so slightly patronising too, and essentially misleading as an ethnomusicological document, which, of course, it isn't. And f that wasn't bad enough, the disk I was listening to last night was only 65 minutes or so... Even the original records are very selective in that respect; one wonders how much stuff was overlooked to give the right sort of impression. So, for sure, there are always going to be issues, but, as I say, it's part of the overall picture of something that's held me in it's thrall for most of my life & will no doubt continue to do so, so I'm in awe of these guys too, you know? Jim Caroll included, even though we might not see eye to eye on certain issues but I'd like to think that really is besides the point. In a way the Max Hunter Collection remains my ideal of how such material should be presented in the internet age, and I think it's a shame that Topic have gone for the Product rather the Document approach given what can done these days.

Dick - I'm not sure about this as I'm not that hung up on Folk as a matter of Style, Traditional, Revival or otherwise, though obviously I do refer to those conventions. Voice wise, I'd say you get what you're given & I'm always impressed by those singers who work within their own limits - be they Traditional Singers, and people like my heroes Rene Zosso, Jim Eldon, Mark E. Smith and Robert Wyatt, or my own Grandfather who would sing Kipling and old Tyneside songs in a Northumbrian baritone halway between Jim Reeves and Paul Robeson - but maybe we're staying a little off the point here... You're the only person who's ever said I sound as if I'm trying to be Peter Bellamy though; even when I'm singing Bellamy songs he's the last person I'm thinking of. The best Folk Singer I've ever heard is Dave Peters of Preston; I don't try to sound like him, but do I listen very closely whilst basking in the beauty of it. And he doesn't sing like anyone else either.

Glueman - I'd still say it's pretty cool here; if VI scale there is, we're still well in the black.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 11:36 AM

I said you are heavily influenced by bellamy, i did not say what you are saying that i said.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 11:56 AM

Sorry, GSS - I'm trying to do about ten things at once here as well as answer all your points as well... I think I'm cracking up. Influence, and inspiration, yes, of course; I just wish I had tenth of the voice Bellamy had, you know? Then I'd be happy.

Anyway, nothing to do with anything, or everything to do with everything, but I came across this clip on YouTube today via a Facebook friend, and I just know you'll all love it as much as I do:

http://youtu.be/8oihcjnw9VE


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:44 PM

"I've got certain issues with the VOTP series"

You're not the only one, Sean - some of those criticisms have been voiced by others. However, my point was that Reg Hall had made a particular effort to focus on the singers and their art, even at the expense of the more usual song-focussed approach.

I understand what you're saying about the original conception of 'folklore', the mismatch between the academic and the vernacular (you could say much the same for the disciplines of anthropology and sociology, mind you), and the disdainful attitude of F. J. Child - who never heard his ballads sung by anyone - towards the 'degenerative' effect of ongoing oral tradition. What I don't accept is that attitudes of collectors and folk revivalists in general haven't altered in 100-odd years. Even Cecil Sharp, as I've tried to point out (his status as pantomime villain has become drearily tedious, whatever his undoubted failings), was learning on the job as far as valuing the artistry of the singers he met was concerned.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Tootler
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:50 PM

I've got certain issues with the VOTP series, in that it fragments many earlier collections (albums) that were given over to individual singers and compiles the songs according to category rather than singer...generally I lament the umbrella approach taken on VOTP which I regard as ever so slightly patronising too...

I can't see why the approach taken by Topic to VOTP is patronising. They've simply chosen to organise the songs by category rather than singer which is their privilege. You would have preferred that the songs were organised in a different way. Fair enough, neither is right or wrong, just matter of choices. But I fail to see how they are being patronising simply because they have chosen a different way of organising their material.

... and essentially misleading as an ethnomusicological document, which, of course, it isn't.

In which case that statement is irrelevant to your argument.

... Even the original records are very selective in that respect; one wonders how much stuff was overlooked to give the right sort of impression.

If you have more material than you can fit on a record or series of records (or CDs) then you have to make choices. Are you sure those choices are made to give a particular impression or simply to illustrate the variety of material, or just chosen because they represented the best songs and/or performances by the particular singers?

The truth is, you don't know and are simply speculating and trying to then fit your speculations into your particular world view without providing proper evidence to support your view.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 01:18 PM

"at the expense of the more usual song-focussed approach"

To clarify, I was referring to the liner notes (which were criticized for not saying enough about the actual songs) rather than the way most of the CDs are organised. Just goes to show how hard it is to please everyone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 02:59 PM

Oh, I'm pleased, Brian - delighted in fact. I'm not throwing anything out here, just wishing they'd focussed on the singers rather than random categories. I find it a tad disorientating to my listening pleasure when having been having been lulled by Bob Robert's Gamekeepers I'm then racing with Geordie Hanna's On Yonder Hill then off to the borders with Willie Scott's Irthing Water Hounds. In one sense, of course, it makes perfect sense, but in terms of musical (& geographical / cultural) continuity it's wee a bit much to deal with - know what I'm saying? Especially when Songs from the Sailing Barges is another dear old cherished favourite. Of course, if all this stuff was on-line, one could cross-reference the archives in all sorts of ways, as one can on the Max Hunter Collection - but even there things aren't perfect. For example, I'd dearly love to have extensive biographical notes on the singers, and their own sources, and overall approach to such things, like the amazing Ollie Gilbert with her vast repertoir that is far from a casual collection, Mrs Pearl Brewer (another of my heroes of folk song) likewise.

Any news on the Folkways archives anyway? I've still got a rare wee pile of Seamus Ennis tapes (songs, stories, pipe tunes and even a bit of fiddle & whistle) which would make a fine wee CD boxset (on the stories you can hear Jean Ritchie laughing). Taking of which, what do you (or anyone) reckon to this? Can it really be Seamus Ennis singing with his fiddle? I'm about 99% convinced it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b20G-IcUeNw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 03:11 PM

Whether it's a song-based or singer-based approach, you can't say that one is better than the other - they're just different, and serve different purposes. You may prefer one over the other, but that's a personal choice.

Virtually all other published recordings including VOTP should be viewed as samplers rather than definitive studies. It comes back to the pragmatic rather than academic. As so often, you're criticising something for not being what it was never intended to be.

If you want to study these singers in depth, you need to got C#House or wherever to listen to the all original recordings. For most of us, the published versions, selective as they inevitably must be, are sufficient.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 03:18 PM

And for the umpteenth time, the Folk Process is about evolution, not creation. It's Darwinism rather than Genesis.

It seems obvious that if you go back far enough - a long way back in some cases - these songs and stories must have been created by an individual, or perhaps one or more collaborating together. However the existence of many different versions surely shows that as they get passed around they have been changed, and the changed versions changed again, until we end up with distinct variants.

It seems to me that the folk revival celebrates both the original creativity and the creativity of all those who helped to shape these songs and stories.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 04:12 PM

".....which were criticized for not saying enough about the actual songs"
Can I say that, as contributors to the series, we were extremely annoyed that the editors neither consulted us (and presumably any contributors) on song notes, transcriptions or information on the singers; nor did they seek advice on their own efforts. This led to not only insufficient notes but also to some schoolboy howlerish mistakes in the song transcriptions; (the clerk in version of The Keach in the Creel transformes himself into a cat; Buck St John is identified (and now immortalised in the Roud index) as Burk's Engine......
I noticed recently that in some cases where they have taken a previously issued song, they have altered the title from the one it bears on the original album, presumably given by the collector, nor does the new title match up with any previously documanted title - the proverbial hap'orth of tar to what was otherwise an excellent ship, as far as I'm concerned.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 04:18 PM

My biggest grumble is they've edited out Felix Doran's spoken intro from The Fox Hunt. That's another old favourite album - The Last of the Travelling Pipers, just listening to it earlier on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:43 PM

"""OK, now define "the folk idiom" (without using the word 'folk'in the definition)."""

I've always interpreted this to mean "In the style, manner, or format of the tradition".

Richard Bridge, who has been the staunchest supporter of the 1954 definition has commented in the past that some of my original material, while it is not "Folk", is created "in the style of the tradition".

This is a critique I can easily live with.

Don T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 08:34 AM

"Anyway, nothing to do with anything, or everything to do with everything, but I came across this clip on YouTube today via a Facebook friend, and I just know you'll all love it as much as I do:
http://youtu.be/8oihcjnw9VE",/i>

Everything to do with everything, I'd say. S.O'P.'s wonderful clip of Canray Fontenot (which I commend to all readers) is - on the one hand - a piece of pure-drop, back-porch, unrefined folk music (in contrast to the more modern trends in Creole music of funk, soul and rock influence). On the other hand, Canray's music was the result of the collision of two quite different musical species - French and African American - transplanted unwillingly to an alien environment in the swamps of the Southern USA. Oh, and quite a lot of individual genius of course! So where's your purity there?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 12:16 PM

And for the umpteenth time, the Folk Process is about evolution, not creation. It's Darwinism rather than Genesis.

Actually, along with the whole concept of Folk, the Folk Process remains very much a theorectical perspective on a plethora of Popular Traditional Musical idioms for which there are a plethora of theorectical mechanisms. All music is subject to process (evolution as a creative process / creation as an evolutionary process) but dare I say that it takes as much faith to believe in the Folk Process per se (i.e that random amalgramation of memory loss and mondegreens which seems the prevalent orthodoxy here on Mudcat along with other such quare notions) as it does in the literal truth of Genesis?

Fact #1: Folk is an anomalous quasi-academic and ultimately patronising theoretical gloss on any given music, or act of working-class art / ceremony or functional object. For example, I made reference earlier on to the early 20th century Gypsy Clothes Peg I bought at the weekend from an antique shop over near Keighley. Whilst I bought it to use as a fiddle mute, I did so primarily because it beguiled me as a piece of beautifully made early 20th-century Roma Folk Art Treen. To the person who made it, of course, it would have simply be a) a clothes peg and b) a means of making some sort of income from frantic housewives trying to keep their laundry from blowing away of a blustery washing day. I hope it had a long life being used for exactly that, because whilst it's crap as a fiddle mute, it continues to beguile as a piece of beautifully made early 20th-century Roma Folk Art Treen. Now that's what I mean by patronising, even though that's exactly how I feel about it, so I can well empathise with the Antiquarian urge of folklore believe you me.

Given the various conditions of the Natural Habitat of what we now think of as being Traditional Folk Song (primarily oral, no copyright, highly creative master singers and song makers well versed in their tradition, static communities interfacing with other static communities via marriages, migrations, mendicants, travellers, no radios, no records other than ear wax &c. &c.) then is any surprise that each performance of any given song was a creative act in & of itself and quite different from any that had gone before it? I think not. Thing is, there would have been no actual record of that - a germ perhaps, or a notion, some line or image remembered and later built upon - unless (as in certain cases) those telling instances where a Broadside version becomes almost the definitive text as far as we call tell. As with all other Music Idioms (be they Popular, Classical & Sacred) process and fluidity are integral to the nature of the beast & might be said to be one of music's defining factors.

Fact #2 : The songs existed without Folk Theory; just as the birds exist without Ornithological Theory. In both cases taxidermy is an imperfect way of understanding the subject. Of course in many cases it's all we've got to go on, but the important thing here is to keep an open mind without wading in with pompous absolutes based on outmoded shibboleths, because that's no way of understanding anything.

I've known Traditional Storytellers (rather that Tellers of Traditional Stories) who were master story-makers in the Tradition of the Indo-European Folk Tale - extemporisers indeed, which chimes in with what Georgina Boyes quotes Joseph Jacobs as saying in The Imagined Village about the abilities of the old storytellers to make such stuff up on the spot, and something Jim Carroll said a while back about singers being able to improvise idiomatic Folk Song and Ballad. Such traditions of Free Styling exist in other idioms the world o'er, so it wouldn't really surprise me. But this no is no Process as such, rather it's just music, common, like Jazz, or Hip-Hop, or Indian classical music, or blues, or Western classical musicians like Messiaen and Bach improvising at their respective organs: all are defined by the essential fluidity of their respective traditions. Again, it's the nature o' the beast.

S O'P (armchair theorist maybe, but it's not just any old armchair...)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 12:48 PM

Grandmother's Old Armchair?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 01:04 PM

GRANDFATHERS COCK


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 01:21 PM

I'd dearly love to say so, Brian - it was a beautiful old co-op rocking chair too, but that fell to pieces years ago. Just been out today with Ross for a piece of stout ply that (effectively) completes a very timely rejuvination of our IKEA sofa bed, new cushions & all, so it's looking & feeling quite sweet, if you forgive the pun - the other two pieces are those IKEA Poang bouncing chairs which I don't believe I've ever actually sat in, because they're either covered in guests, books or, right now Seinfeld, Planet of the Apes, Studio Ghibli and Naeturvaktin / Dagvaktin / Fangavactin DVDs...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 01:52 PM

As with all other Music Idioms (be they Popular, Classical & Sacred) process and fluidity are integral to the nature of the beast

Maybe so, but...

Given the various conditions of the Natural Habitat of what we now think of as being Traditional Folk Song (primarily oral, no copyright, highly creative master singers and song makers well versed in their tradition, static communities interfacing with other static communities via marriages, migrations, mendicants, travellers, no radios, no records other than ear wax &c. &c.)

it seems to me that process and fluidity were a much more prominent feature of w.w.n.t.o.a.b.T.F.S. than they are of art forms that are written down, widely communicated in that written form, broadcast on the radio, recorded, etc; you could even say they were a defining feature. As witness the fact that there are approximately seventy-three different versions of The Unfortunate Rake (or Lass) - and slightly different versions of those versions are being performed at singarounds most weeks - while there's precisely one authentic (ha!) version of Streets of London, of which faithful copies are performed at folk clubs equally frequently.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 01:57 PM

"...random amalgramation of memory loss and mondegreens which seems the prevalent orthodoxy here on Mudcat..."

Your arguments might be taken more seriously if you didn't insist on traducing the arguments that your opponents have made. I don't remember ever reading a post on Mudcat that suggested that the above was the essence of the 'Folk Process'. Rather, I've seen (and written myself) many posts arguing the opposite: that individual creativity must be an essential element - while acknowledging that garblement has in some cases obviously been at work too.

I believe this kind of thing is called a 'Straw Man'....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM

Excellent contribution from GSS there...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 02:34 PM

I've read many accounts of TFP here on mudcat and they all seem to involve factors extraneous to what might be considered the normal proper running of things. Recently someone said one of Purcell's Abdelazer Hornpipes had been 'Folk Processed' by dint of it being included in Playford (The Hole in the Wall) and becoming a folk standard thereafter. I've also heard this said of Byrd's Earl of Salisbury Pavan - which to me is more associated with the Soft Machine (A Certain Kind*) than even early music performance. Of course music process comes in all guises - both random (Oblique Strategies anyone?) or deliberate but they key to all this is that the essential fluidity is the idiom itself and the various manifestations of it. Even The Streets of London is an example of this, and even in a culture hell bent on repetition, I doubt if any of the 10,000 performances that take place of this song in any given Folk Week can be said to be identical.

At heart, I'm a Taoist; I rejoice that we live in a universe that can never quite replicate itself, and that the flow of 10,000 things (even TSOL) inevitably manifests in organic diversity no matter how close the intention might be. When it is not being performed a song is just a concept, but once it's out there, then it lives and breathes in its own unique space & time. This is why I have 7 CDs each containing very different performances of Henry Purcell's 12 Sontas of Three Parts - that and the fact I'm a sad old bastard to whom nuance and minutiae are the stuff of life.

* If you want process listen to early versions of this song with the 15-year-old Richard Sinclair singing it with The Wilde Flowers & compare it with later Soft Machine versions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 02:51 PM

"I have 7 CDs each containing very different performances of Henry Purcell's 12 Sontas of Three Parts"

So how different are they, compared with Mr. Radish's 'seventy-three different versions of The Unfortunate Rake (or Lass)'?

And who was it who said on here that TFP was nothing but mondegreens? ...huh?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 03:23 PM

They're different in all sorts of ways; certainly different enough to be compelling. It's a bit like in evolutionary theory really saying that a town fox and a city fox aren't as obviously different as an Indian elephant and an African elephant. Big differences are the results of little differences and the minute increments of organic process which is everywhere. All is change; all is changing...

The TFP-hypothesis is oft expressed thus on Mudcat; soon as it crops up again I'll be sure to alert you. Actually, I quite like the more random elements of the theory, as well as the creative ones. In short, I suppose, my beef here is as much with the nomenclature as anything else when such process is universal and not restricted to Folk Music. After all, Mondegreens do happen and do lead to some some great variations.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 03:32 PM

PS - Of course what I should have said was no two foxes are exactly alike; and no two elephants, African or otherwise...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 03:59 PM

"And for the umpteenth time, the Folk Process is about evolution, not creation. It's Darwinism rather than Genesis".

Far too many people believe that to be true, I fear. Both are steam age concepts and attractive to a certain mode of thinking that places good order above everything else. TFP and Darwinism are interesting ideas and reasonable as far as they go, but only half the picture now dualism and quantum physics and the unplumbed depths of consciousness gape before us invitingly. 1954, like materialism, is in dire need of a spring clean.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 04:20 PM

Even The Streets of London is an example of this, and even in a culture hell bent on repetition, I doubt if any of the 10,000 performances that take place of this song in any given Folk Week can be said to be identical.

I'm sure they're not, but they are aspiring to approximate to the correct version - and there is a correct version, complete with canonical recording and copyrighted lyrics. (And they are taking place in a culture hell bent on repetition, as you say.)

Has anyone mentioned the Goldberg Variations yet? I love the Goldberg Variations - I don't know any piece of music like it for the interplay between compulsion & drive and silences & hesitations. Any two interpretations by different pianists are recognisable as such, and any two performances by the same pianist would be identical. But it's all in the performance: there's a score, and at the level of the dots there's a right way and a wrong way to play it. Go up to C instead of A at the end of the first bar and you wouldn't be folk-processing it, you'd be getting it wrong. The difference between the Bachosphere and the soundworld that gave us the Unfortunate Streets of White Mercury is vast.

You seem to be celebrating the micro-differences and nano-differences, while denying the existence of the macro-differences - including the honking great macro-difference that Sharp & his successors identified all those years ago, between musics that are trying to stay put and those that exist in the flow of change and improvisation. (Is folk song word jazz?)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 03:03 AM

Er... no two performances by the same pianist would be identical. As you were.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 03:10 AM

Pip ~~ I am as I was.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 05:17 AM

Okay, Pip - try this. You yourself are a passionate exponent of Traditional Folk Song who seeks (as many of us do) to use the Old Songs as a means of breathing life into another level of musical creativity - as oppose to the usual revival conceit of claiming to breathe life into the old songs which I regard as palpable nonsense. My point here is that all compositional process emerges from such idiosyncratic continuities - even the remaking of a Traditional Song in a Traditional Context is essentially an act of individual musical creativity as each performance is a unique event based upon what went before it, but in any case different. Things will, and must, vary; and in time, those micro variations will lead to macro variations; just as in time human eyes have evolved to gaze upon peacock tail feathers and ponder intelligent design.

The crucial thing here is what went before it - the tradition of the idiom, which in classical music will include as many masterclasses on The Goldberg Variations as musicological lectures on where they came from in the overall scheme of musical continuity. I've heard it suggested that Bach could have improvised The Goldberg Variations, and that what we have today is a written record of an essentially improvised musical process. After all there's nothing in TGV quite as astonishing as (say) Art Tatum playing the Tiger Rag or Dollar Brand's African Piano album on ECM.   

A lot of this is down to attitude. In oral popular culture things are going to be more obviously different to how they are in a literate culture of entrenched idealised correctness. Much of the Modernism of the 20th century reacts against the stuffy conversatism of such 'tradition' - even The Folk Revival itself might be said to be part of that radical reappraisal of what constitutes culture. Cecil Sharp was, after all, a radical; and many may raise an eyebrow when one speaks of the Modernist Approach to Mediaeval Music but in the work of (say) Rene Clemencic we see exactly that. Sadly, it's the Ren. Fair Re-enactment approach to Medieval Music that prevails, and a similar stuffy conservatism exists in the Folk World though not with the Traddies, rather the Big Al Whittles of this world, insisting the common-minded volkish reactionary self-evident correctness of The Mob (if I read his stance correct). Traddies are refined and noble radicals by default; theirs is a revolutionary perspective that believes the potentials of Traditional Folk Song may reinspire a culture grown moribund by its own endless replication. From what I've read, I think that's what Sharp might have had in mind too, however paternalistic his approach, but I've no doubt whatsoever that his heart was in the right place.

For what it's worth, I myself came to an appreciation of Traditional Folk Song via a passion for Ethnomusicology which was itself integral to the Experimental / Free Improv culture of the time which I got into via the more radical Prog bands like Gong, Henry Cow and the Third Ear Band. I'm glad I bypassed Folk in its post-modern post-Dynan hot-pot sense and I honestly can't see how the two things can possibly co-exist in Folk Clubs; I find it baffling, distressing and ultimately depressing as hell. But that's personal. I'm big on change, process and evolution; the irony is that all is change, process and evolution - even culture at its most conservative and reactionary is subject to change, process and evolution, though sometimes in the Folk World I might have my doubts...

*

As for The Streets of London, it's one of the persistent spectres of 20th century MOR popular music - ubiquitous indeed; a radical sentiment couched in a cosy twee comfort blanket & equally as nauseating as his Hiring Fair on all sorts of levels but who's to say which version posterity will choose as definitive? If any? To any one of the 10,000 common or garden folk singers who sing it in any given Folk Week, it exists as a perfect idyll of radical righteous romance and self-delusion, comforting as a mantra or Rosary prayer; a medium for a very particular sort of seance. And remember, it will always be the first time for someone, just as it will always be the last...

S O'P (Looking out upon blue skies this morning & wishing he had a gun to go out with...)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 07:42 AM

You credit the typical folkie with a lot more reflection than is the case SO'P. The whole point of reaction (Folk Music II, The Revival is the very utterance of the reactionary impulse) is to avoid self examination and put faith in The Text. Reflexivity is anathema and always was - look too closely and the doors fall off and you realise you're in the matrix. Some of us can accept the virtual nature of the revival and appreciate it on the visceral level, others want constant reassurance the four walls are where they were always told they were, the ceiling is in place and they're standing on something solid. If it works for them, who cares? So long as they don't impose their folk holodeck on the rest of us, it's a compelling soundscape and everyone goes home happy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 08:14 AM

I suppose I'm blessed to know people who do operate on that sort of level though, glueman - people for whom Traditional Song is a means to a very radical end, however so reactionary that might at first appear. It's like any form of conservation really, the impulse is essentially a radical one and beneficial in the face of a more cynical view of progress and development which is steadily destroying the planet. It's a sensitive ecology for sure, a gentle optimism born of its Fabian heritage that has faith in art and spirituality to touch hearts with more than hollow mass sentiment. The older I get, so the more precious this becomes - cherished indeed - and The Old Songs become more than just relics, or portals into a vanished past, but cornerstones of something worthwhile in a brash and cynical world where true value is at a premium. The more I see that sort of karaoke lowest common denominator replication going down in Folk Clubs, so the more I despair...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 09:11 AM

I'm glad I bypassed Folk in its post-modern post-Dynan hot-pot sense and I honestly can't see how the two things can possibly co-exist in Folk Clubs; I find it baffling, distressing and ultimately depressing as hell.

You know that moment - it'll be a while ago in your case, SO'P, but I was a late starter - when you look round the singaround you've wandered into and think Bloody hell, they all know these songs! They all know all these songs! I can pinpoint the moment in my own case - Les was starting the second half by launching into a song unannounced, as he does, & that night he went for Ranzo, which I'd never heard before. Everyone joined in - everyone walloped in - and it was glorious; and muggins didn't even know the bloody song. What's going on? What have I been missing?

It was an amazing moment, but for me there was a definite undertone of resentment - I've been going to that folk club for four, five years - I've been a regular at that folk club - and I've never heard any of this stuff. What's going on?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 10:04 AM

Ah! The Traddy Epiphany!

You know, even today I might just keep my gob shut in such choruses and allow the resonance to massage my soul; the perfect salve to drive sorrows away, or just make a good life all the more worthwhile. In the North-East it was wandering into clubs as a kid and hearing songs like Rap Her to Bank sung lustily with good courage - and the shantys, dear God. I was almost seasick the first time I heard Essequibo River with a ringing in my ears the following day familiar from rock gigs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 11:39 AM

Reminds me a little of Husyman, who reckoned he could experience England by sniffing an oily rope.

Personally, I think you can wriggle and twist - but English folksong without the broad mass of the English people - folk music minus folk - well its nonsense.

I think karaoke might be a good idea. wouldn't do it myself, but it might be better than crap accompaniment and words from an exercise book. It could get more people into it. It might be nice to sing along to Planxty, or Steeleye Span.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 12:54 PM

Al. Most traddies I know sing, not read.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 03:48 PM

There is no "purism" anywhere. There is no pure race, culture, song etc. Everything definable has roots elsewhere. It's a silly term that is used as a pejorative by those enamored of pop music in the music biz.

There is room of course for all kinds of music and tastes and those, like myself, who appreciate the cultural depth of traditional folk music (with the caveat that not all of it is necessarily good) can appreciate pop music and other forms on different terms.

I think it's just a matter of donning different set of ears for each respective style of music.
You don't listen to jazz the same way as an informant from the Library on Congress field recordings or to Mozart, or Philip Glass.

I object to the term as stereotypical and knee-jerk.

A true musician can appreciate myriad forms of music on their own terms. You can also
respect and admire some forms of music without actually liking them.

I don't like Berg or Schoenberg but I respect the hell out of their musicianship.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 05:49 PM

""You know, even today I might just keep my gob shut in such choruses and allow the resonance to massage my soul; the perfect salve to drive sorrows away, or just make a good life all the more worthwhile.""

That sounds a lot more like the attitude I see among Mudcatters in general.

Are you sure that you aren't losing the point of experiencing music, with your over introspective analysing of the nature and origins of it.

Some of us can listen to Streets of London for its melodic qualities and enjoy singing the chorus, without feeling the need to delve too deeply into the attitudes expressed or the political implications.

I find it much more edifying to ponder the beauty of a live creation of nature, rather than to know all about its anatomy by dissecting it.

Don T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 01:20 AM

Do you not agree, tho, Don, that there are times and occasions and situations for both these approaches? And that sometimes they can co-exist simultaneously in the mind? The analytic and the appreciative-enjoyment are not mutually exclusive activities.

~M~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 04:31 AM

For sure, the one thing enchances the other. It all comes down to what it is that moves the individual's passions. It takes all sorts. Like last night at The Moorbrook saw the the debut performances of the three songs (so far) of my Most Solemn New Year's Resolution which is to have at least 5 new songs simmering away in any one fortnight which I reckon will give a clear yield of 5 new songs a month - that's 60 in the theorectical year. These were: Long Peggin Awl,Out With My Gun in the Morning and While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping. Though the they went down pretty well, especially for faltering first performances, no one was too bothered about wanting to know their provenance which to me is all part of the joy of such things - the song and the story indeed...

I also fumbled my way through the bones of an Old Ozark Folktale (Pissing in the Snow) only be told they'd first it from Bob Monkhouse and Mike Harding. Now Mike I could understand, but Monkhouse? The story and the story indeed; so I doubt I'll be taking it any further somehow...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 05:34 AM

"The analytic and the appreciative-enjoyment are not mutually exclusive activities."
"An American Indian sun-dance or an Australian corroboree is an exciting spectacle for the uninitiated, but for one who understands something of the culture whence it springs it is a hundred fold more heart-moving."
Lowry C Wimberly, Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads 1928
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 06:30 AM

My dissection analogy still holds, I believe, for those who over emphasise the analysis to the detriment of their enjoyment of the item.

I spent nearly twenty years trying to teach my son that his disinterest in a particular genre did not mean that the genre was any less valid, but simply that he either didn't like it, or he didn't understand it.

I have no problem with anybody's choices of entertainment, but it always makes me cringe when somebody who should know better dismisses the creative efforts of a whole army of songwriters with a disdainful pejorative such as "Middle of the Road", or "Easy Listening", as if those are somehow intrinsically worthless and compounds the offence by reducing that to "MOR" or "EL".

I suspect that comments about "Finger in Ear Folkies" arouse righteous anger in one who doesn't even notice that his preferred genre is receiving no more than that which he thoughtlessly dishes out to theirs.

I am just as concerned with preserving the tradition as anyone here, but I do sometimes wonder how we can expect to turn more people on to the joys of traditional songs and tunes by rubbishing what they are now enjoying.

Does anybody here think that people drawn by curiosity to read some of these threads will be inspired with an irresistible urge to visit clubs at which they might meet some of us?

Don T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: glueman
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 09:14 AM

It's difficult to know why MOR has become a term of abuse. Much of it is closer to the popular pretensions of folk music than almost any other form. Hardly a centenary birthday passes in an old folk home without the nurses knocking out a few rounds of Cliff Richard's 1968 eurovision song 'Congratulations'. Slade's 'Merry Christmas' and Robbie Williams's 'Angels' are standards at any seasonal cultural gathering. 'Whiter Shade of Pale' stands alongside any of the more cryptic ballads as a gnomic text.

All songs aspiring to mass popularity and achieving it beyond the normal thrall of tinpan alley product.


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

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


Mudcat time: 21 February 6:41 AM EST

[ Home ]

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