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Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273

Spleen Cringe 16 Jul 12 - 12:54 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Jul 12 - 01:10 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Jul 12 - 01:29 PM
SteveMansfield 16 Jul 12 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 16 Jul 12 - 02:24 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jul 12 - 02:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Jul 12 - 02:44 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Jul 12 - 02:46 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Jul 12 - 02:49 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Jul 12 - 03:22 PM
Les in Chorlton 16 Jul 12 - 03:31 PM
Owen Woodson 16 Jul 12 - 03:35 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Jul 12 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 16 Jul 12 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,Peter 16 Jul 12 - 05:45 PM
Phil Edwards 16 Jul 12 - 05:47 PM
Will Fly 16 Jul 12 - 06:24 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Jul 12 - 07:14 PM
Spleen Cringe 17 Jul 12 - 02:48 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Jul 12 - 02:50 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 17 Jul 12 - 03:55 AM
Spleen Cringe 17 Jul 12 - 03:59 AM
GUEST,CS 17 Jul 12 - 04:20 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jul 12 - 05:34 AM
Owen Woodson 17 Jul 12 - 05:35 AM
matt milton 17 Jul 12 - 05:51 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Jul 12 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,BrendanB 17 Jul 12 - 06:12 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Jul 12 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Jul 12 - 06:27 AM
Dave Hanson 17 Jul 12 - 06:28 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Jul 12 - 06:39 AM
johncharles 17 Jul 12 - 06:40 AM
Spleen Cringe 17 Jul 12 - 06:44 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Jul 12 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 17 Jul 12 - 06:49 AM
Will Fly 17 Jul 12 - 06:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jul 12 - 07:05 AM
johncharles 17 Jul 12 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Jul 12 - 07:07 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jul 12 - 07:14 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Jul 12 - 07:16 AM
Will Fly 17 Jul 12 - 07:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jul 12 - 07:21 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Jul 12 - 07:21 AM
Spleen Cringe 17 Jul 12 - 07:21 AM
matt milton 17 Jul 12 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 17 Jul 12 - 07:30 AM
Owen Woodson 17 Jul 12 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Jul 12 - 07:42 AM
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Subject: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 12:54 PM

I peeled this off from the Folk 21 thread because I didn't want to contribute to dragging the discussion any further off topic.

Here's a summary of the plot so far. It starts with Big Al taking a pop at fRoots for having the wrong sort of folk coverage. You know, writing about Johnny Foreigner, apparently at the expense of covering British folk musicians:

"Be interesting though to see how many Mongolian nose flute players, etc. - the sort of thing Froots has so selflessly devoted its pages to advancing the caree s of, whilst the people who have made the Englsih folkscene work have seen their life's work relegated to the 'and the rest' column - support this initiative."

I replied:

Do get with the programme, Al! fRoots have noted Mongolian nose flautist Nic Jones on this month's cover. Last month they had nose flautist Shirley Collins. The month before that, nose flautists The Oyster Band. Every month there are leading reviews and features about British folk artists, new and old, nose flautists all. That they also champion folk music from other places is surely a good thing? This month I'm particularly taken by rembetika group, Apsilies. Were it not for fRoots, I'd never have heard of them. No nose flutes, though...

Richard Bridge chipped in with a rather gnomic:

Just a minor point on Al's excellent analysis. Surely fRoots are on one flank among the leading protagonists of the "don't call it folk" army but on the other mainstream horse definitioners.

(At this stage could I add a quick huh???)

Al came back with a snappy response:

So these Apsilie people will be volunteering their services for free to support this initiative.....ho hum!

I'm sure you and your mates from immemorial(Nic Jones, Shirley Collins and the Oyster Band - went out on limb there, eh?)will continue to live apsilie ever after.........


This is what I was going to reply with, but the thread was already in danger of going dangerously off-piste.

Al. I sometimes think you are being wilfully dense. Why on earth should a group from Greece be expected to be involved in a UK folk showcase event?

You make some dodgy comment about Mongolian noseflute music. I assume this is an attempt to disparage the coverage of folk music from non-English speaking countries that fRoots carries.

You suggest that British folk music is relegated to the 'and the rest' column of fRoots. when I point out that the past three covers have been of British folk artists, you make it clear that this still isn't good enough for you. And shock! horror! Magazine that needs to sell copies to keep going puts artists people might have heard of on the cover. What an outrage! Bet none of the other music magazines do this!

Let me try to put it simply. We have a folk, roots and world music magazine in the UK that, despite being completely independent of corporate backers and big publishing companies, has kept going for 33 years and is still going strong. It's the only national monthly music magazine that regularly carries reviews of British folk artists, known and unknown, many of whom wouldn't stand a cat in hell's chance of getting covered in the mainstream music press (there's also R2, but that only comes out every other month, and also covers a lot of other sorts of music).

My view is that the continued presence of fRoots and its continued championing of British and other folk music is cause for celebration. I don't understand why this magazine causes such ire amongst a certain strata of folkies. Not reading it is one thing - this irrational anger at its very existence is just weird.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 01:10 PM

First, and most important, I like Grumpy. Grumpy rules OK.

Second - what I picked out - directly from the Folk21 pages - was the intention to make folk music relevant to the young. I vaguely remember a review from when Nic Jones was early on, I think it must have been in the Melody Maker because the other magazine was for spotty teenagers only in those days - bewailing the fact that Nic Jones lavished such care and skill on music that was not - and here comes the dreaded word - "relevant". It's a big turnoff word for me, betokening the intent to stop folk music being folk music and make it into snigger-snogwriter/ARSS. Now Al and I may part company here because he is a contemporary acoustic writer and player (and a supremely skilled one too) but that dreaded "relevance" still indicates (I think) a barrier, a filter, to (in the case of what he does) insert the rules of taste of the upper echelons of the relevant societies (or, if you like, the Folk Police) between creation and adoption.

I used to read fRoots. I still have some of the free CDs it used to sleevemount. Very few tracks on any were English traditional (ish) song which is my preference.

I have been on its forums. My impression is a narrower spectrum of views - indeed maybe I should say "permitted views" - than here.

Magazine-wise I quite liked "Living Tradition". Does that still exist?


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 01:29 PM

Richard - I'd suggest that the only people who have any right to make folk music 'relevant' to the young are the young themselves. And they either will or won't -it's up to them.

Personally I don't give a stuff whether music is relevant on not - I don't even know what it means. And on this I suspect we'd agree.

fRoots still covers loads of traditional English/English speaking music, both in its articles and reviews. The forum is not the magazine, and in common with many forums where you have to be a member to post, there are fewer members and fewer posts, so presumably a narrower range of views. The forum sort of replaced the letters page in the magazine. Anything like that is not going to be as well populated and free ranging as a site like Mudcat.

Living Tradition still exists, I think, but only comes out occasionally.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 02:13 PM

> Living Tradition still exists, I think, but only comes out
> occasionally.

Living Tradition went through a very difficult financial patch a year or so ago due to other concerns of the Heywoods who form the backbone of LT, but is now arriving regularly again and maintaining its standard of coverage, with a bias towards Scottish music but more than enough English content to keep me happy. I've just renewed my subscription for another two years so I'm certainly expecting it to be around that long and much longer.

The other excellent magazine on the English folk scene is English Dance and Song, which is the EFDSS magazine but I believe can, should you really wish to do so, be subscribed to without becoming a member of EFDSS.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 02:24 PM

"Living Tradition" is published every 2 months.

Living Tradition Magazine website

I stopped subscribing to fRoots many years ago when it reduced its coverage of the music I am interested in.   Whilst I agree it's an exaggeration to say that it doesn't represent British folk music, and its journalism is always excellent, far too much of its content simply doesn't float my boat. No doubt this is a failing on my part, but there you go. Nevertheless I respect what it does, without often being tempted to buy it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 02:30 PM

I'm with you, Howard. It does what it says on the tin. End of!


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 02:44 PM

Spleen you just carry on, mate. Its just a fact of life that that the poor bloody infantry of the folk revival - the hewers of wood, carriers of water, providers of PA - sometimes are going to get a bit resentful of the bods in the officers mess.

Live with it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 02:46 PM

You know, I don't have a problem at all with it not floating people's boat, as with Howard and Steve above. Different strokes for different folks and all that. It's the other reaction that mystifies me, where people like Al seem almost angry that it is a different magazine to the one they want it to be...


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 02:49 PM

I don't get your point, Al. I'm cheeky enough to think that reflects on you and not me. Who are these people you claim to speak for? Who are the people you think are 'in the officer's mess'? Can you give some examples? Gnomic utterances don't really cut it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 03:22 PM

Al,
There will always be those toiling forrard and those on the afterdeck and they will always resent each other. That's life.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 03:31 PM

Big Al said silly things and Mr Cringe has spent time explaining why Big Al was silly. It looks like most of the others agree. I don't suppose Big Al will be big enough to recognise this?

Maybe we will have to call him small al for a while

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 03:35 PM

Excuse me please. What on earth is wrong with combining a liking for Mongolian nose flute music, or Mongolian music in general. No cancel that. What is wrong with combining a love of traditional music from any and every part of this world, with a love of the folksongs of England, Scotland and Ireland?

Mongolian nose flute music might get up some people's noses, but it sure doesn't get up mine.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 04:13 PM

So, I know that the EFDSS has been trying to get away from DEAFASS but does the magazine?


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 05:33 PM

There was a time, well over 20 years ago, when Folk Roots focussed a lot more on British music and the British folk scene, but it seemed quite suddenly to switch to world music. In fairness, I don't think it was jumping onto a bandwagon, rather it reflected the genuine interests of its editor. However in doing so it lost a lot of its readership, me included. But that was a long time ago and it seems a bit pointless to be still going on about it. fRoots is what it is, and for the most part it does that bloody well.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 05:45 PM

[quote]
So, I know that the EFDSS has been trying to get away from DEAFASS but does the magazine? [/quote]
You are certainly out of touch with EFDSS - the magazine had got away from DEAFASS long before the society as a whole.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 05:47 PM

Gnomic utterances don't really cut it.

He digs deepest who deepest digs.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 06:24 PM

I didn't know Al was a gnome.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 07:14 PM

You rather flatter yourself that I feel anything approaching anger. Your organ does not protrude into my life to that extent.

A bit like the Daily Mail really. I don't feel the desire to have intercourse with it, in the general way of things.

I just feel sometimes maybe that considering that I've spent the last forty years on the fringes of the folk world - well maybe we should have run into each other. You seem to inhabit a glossy universe. Kind of unrecognisable as folk music to me.

Still that's only sometimes. I see no conflict of interest. (unlike Richard - I'm sort of quite happy that you're in our small corner, and I'm in mine). He sees you as part of the solution.....etc.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 02:48 AM

Al, I suspect from you last post you may be under the misapprehension that I work for fRoots. I don't. You don't have to work for them to find value in what they do and challenge dodgy comments about noseflutes.

This may cheer you up. Bet you can't see him at your local folk club: Mongolian Folk Music


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 02:50 AM

Well said al, but entirely clear how this relates to anything else you have said

Best wishes

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 03:55 AM

The glamorous Spleen Cringe eh!

I suppose you are a record label exec? I bet you've made a fortune out of that :-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 03:59 AM

Yeah, too right, Paul! In two minutes I will be off to my glamorous job as a mental health social worker. Of course, I don't really need to work, because of all the millions I've made off the back of struggling folkies. I just do the day job for the street cred ;-)

First I must polish my face to make it even glossier, though...


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 04:20 AM

Don't worry Big Al, despite appearances to the contrary it's not all Mongolian nose flutes, take some comfort in this instead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9M0sErJFz_I


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 05:34 AM

'Those lyrics are so much more telling.'

Quote from Froots about about artist performing in an African dialect. last time I wasted my money on it.

Why exactly, am I not permitted my ounce of cynicism about the High Command of of the British Expeditionary force, whom I feel are leading English folk music into no mans land?

Look at the bill of fare at ANY folk festival. You will see nothing but acts that your wife's hairdresser would turn the radio off if it played in their salon by mistake. Just when are the English people going to be considered as a factor in folk music?


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 05:35 AM

Spleen. Thanks for that link. Absolutely bloody wonderful. Why on earth would anyone want to kick up about coverage of music as breathtaking as that?


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: matt milton
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 05:51 AM

"Why exactly, am I not permitted my ounce of cynicism about the High Command of of the British Expeditionary force, whom I feel are leading English folk music into no mans land?"

well of course you're "permitted" - it's an internet chat forum after all. It's only that it's a bit crazy that a mere reference in passing to that magazine can't pass by without a whole faction taking the opportunity to give their opinions about whether they like it or not.

I only heard about Folk 21 from Nyge's post on the fRoots forum. So, QED, posting about folk events on the fRoots forum clearly reaches people interested in reading them! I can't really see that there's anything to argue about there; it's a plain and simple fact.

This all only started when I made an anodyne comment thanking Nygel for posting the info about Folk 21 on the fRoots forum, and politely asked if the Folk 21 folk could continue to do so. (As a Londoner who plays a few folk gigs, I'd be interested in applying to any other regional showcase gigs that Folk 21 might organise. I believe a couple have already been and gone, right?)


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:11 AM

al has a point, I guess, although it's difficult to figue out what it is because he so quietly understates it.

"he High Command of of the British Expeditionary force, whom I feel are leading English folk music into no mans land"

Fantastic! But what on earth does it mean?

Hers's another:

"
Look at the bill of fare at ANY folk festival. "

Yes - try Shrewsbury, Whitby or Sidmouth although the Welsh, Scots & Irish do sneak in there - as they have been doing for a couple of thousand years or so.

Better still go to the this website
Here

and you can check loads of festivals and do what the rest of us do - pick the ones you like

Best wishes

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,BrendanB
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:12 AM

Having read right through the thread I can only imagine that Al has some kind of agenda focussed on the editor of fRoots. I regularly visit the website and read the magazine. Not all of it reflects my interests but a lot of it does. I suppose that I am fortunate to be free of the xenophobia that appears to inform Al's response to the magazine. I like being introduced to different kinds of music even if I do not always warm to it. Music generally has benefitted from cross-pollination - I really liked Afro Celt Sound System for example and Paul Simon is currently touring a reunion of Gracelands with many of the original African musicians to much acclaim. At the same time I have enjoyed many concerts of pure traditional British folk music. fRoots has made a great contribution to folk music, certainly more than Al Whittle or Richard Bridge - neither of whom I have heard of other than through this forum.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:22 AM

Thanks Brenda,

balanced, well informed, well written, thoughtful, generous ......... but this is Mudcat where some people are none of these things and clearly have little else to do.

L in C#
With clearly little else to do


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:27 AM

When 'World Music' become euphemised as 'Mongolian Nose Flute Music' are we right in detecting just a smidge of xenophobia? I hear this a lot around the folk scene: I don't read Folk Roots / fRoots because I'm not interested in Polynesian Arse Trumpets, Transylvanian Techno Jungle Rap, Ladyboy Courtship Songs from Thailand or (most intriguing of all) The Bellowing of Prehistoric Siberian Mammoths Trapped in the Permafrost*. It's a blanket rejection of other musical possibilities that typifies a 'Folk Music' (AKA The Sort of Music We Like) purely in terms of its cultural insularity & inertia, which does seem to equate with xenophobia, or the belief (actually put forward by someone in Folk Roots back i'th'80's) that this thing we call Folk is somehow The Ethnic Music of the British Isles.

It's a complex issue, of course, one fraught with all manner ethnological dilemmas arising from the fact that whilst of course not all music is Folk Music, we still, as yet, ain't heard no horse singing a song. All music (bar none) is human; all music (bar none) is born of Tradition; all music (bar none) has an ethnic context. So what qualifies Folk to be Folk? Or even Traditional? Thing is, if an ethnomusicologist were ever to study the UK Folk Scene it would, I think, make for very interesting reading. David Toop was behind a Channel 4 Documentary in the 80s which did a nice job (I thought) though no Folkies of my acquaintance were overly impressed and saw the whole thing as an excercise in open ridicule. One wonders how Louis Theroux would get on in the Folk Scene? But, as I keep saying (and it's not a matter of saying something often enough either) it's a million country miles between Harry Cox and Peter Bellamy. One is real and the other illusory, and no matter how compelling that illusion might be, it pays to be aware of how (and why) the one thing is very different from the other. It is that difference that underlies the very essence of what Folk is.

*

I've been enjoying fRoots now for decades; it's an important part of my Essential Media Ambience along with Private Eye, Fortean Times & Wire. I've actually stopped buying newspapers; I used to get The Guardian on a Saturday but got so annoyed by its terminal soppy middle-class bias I gave up (the last newspaper I bought was the Sunday Times but only because it had Stewart Lee's review of our album in it). I may not agree with every word I read in such magazines but I approve of every word, and respect the passion, diversity of opion, commitment and Positive World View that rests at the heart of their very necessary existence. In short, FRoots (along with Private Eye, Fortean Times & Wire) represents Healthy Sanity in an Unhealthily Insane World.

Do we get such a positive World View in Folk as a whole? I keep saying Folk is a Religion: an elite & insular minority convinced of their own particular brand of (generally ill-founded) righteousness and (God forbid) fundamentalism. Those of the Folk Gene find a home here; those to whom Traditional equates with Old Fashioned; those to whom Old Fashioned is as much about ethnicity & 'values' as it is about music, yet those who are (justifiably) horrified that the BNP see Folk as a happy hunting ground. I recently read certain Folk Opinion to the effect that Liverpool Council were being 'racist' for not allowing black-faced morris dancers to dance at the Museum of Slavery. You come across this too often in the folk realms; just as you come across the so-called 'folklore' that will justify it. Go figure...

Obviously you can take this 'Folk Thang' as deep as you like really; most Folkies I know are white middle-English nominal lefties at least a decade older than I am with little interest in any music other than their chosen topic. Most of them (in their cups) will admit to being wary of UK Multi-Culturalism, and not without good reason - we have a long tradition of ethnic conflict in these islands, and humanity isn't exactly noted for its tolerance in such matters. Myself, I've always been a Cheerily Optimistic Individualist Outsider - this makes me a) very wary of Folk as a philosophy-cum-orthodoxy b) inclined to view collective humanity more in terms of the individuals that comprise it rather than by some blanket ethnicity or other cultural norm, musical or otherwise. I find it interesting that whilst in rock, pop & experimental music I regularly collaborate with musicians from all over the planet as well as UK musicians of a diversity of ethnic backgrounds, this is most certainly not the case in Folk. I used to work with a non-white UK singer who was passionate about British ballady & traditional folk song. We went to a folk club once where the MC said You're not from round these parts, are you, love? Needless to say she never set foot in a Folk Club again.

For sure, there are exceptions, but such exceptions only serve to prove rules, and whilst I can well understand the mindset that moves towards such a xenophobic world view I refuse to justify it on those terms. Reasons? God knows there are plenty. Excuses? None whatsoever.               

So enough with the Mongolian Nose Flutes, eh? If you only like Your Good Own English Folk Music at least have the guts to say so, and maybe admit to the reasons why this might be.

* All of these I've heard at one time or other.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:28 AM

I get the impresssion that there are certain elements that champion any folk music except British and American out of fear of being called xenphobic and not being clever enough to see the kings new clothes.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:39 AM

Some of us however might still be able to tell the difference between Brenda and Brendan.

I think Al and I have different concerns. I feel that Folk 21 is primarily there to benefit aspiring young-ish professional (or semi-professional) performers hunting for the acclaim and gravy train that are not there, and that fRoots does English folk (1954 definition) music and song a disservice by concentrating excessively on "world" music. My two big worries about folk21 are that dreaded word "relevance" and the rule (about which I did not at first know) that you have to have 6 paid gigs under your belt to be eligible. Both seem to take the "community" (1954 definition) out of folk.

Al disapproves of the 1954 definition but appears to feel that Folk21 is a prisoner of his version of the folk police who today (he thinks) repress genuine working class culture: the opponents of what gets played in working men's clubs and sung on the football terraces - and that fRoots are or are emanations of that version of the folk police. At least I think that is what he thinks.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: johncharles
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:40 AM

Bah Humbug! Johnny foreigner in a folk magazine, Expeditionary forces and floating boats. Enough of this nonsense let us get back to nice jumpers and big beards.
beard jumper
John (off now to remove tongue from cheek). Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:44 AM

Owen, no worries. It truly is a lovely clip.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:47 AM

not being clever enough to see the kings new clothes

The interest is in Human Music whatever the county of origin. It is Music of Human Interest addressed to the wider cause of Global Humanism that celebrates unity in diversity. I'm trying not to burst into Rolf Harris's Ram Sam Sam here, but whilst we may have our reservation about singing the other fella's folk songs, we can certainly listen to them & enrich our Global Conscience accordingly. We are only ever citizens of our own skin and the planet on which we were born. Let the differences be cause for celebration not conflict.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:49 AM

"My two big worries about folk21 are that dreaded word "relevance" and the rule (about which I did not at first know) that you have to have 6 paid gigs under your belt to be eligible."

Richard, I don't understand your first worry (might be my lack of a university education)..... and your second fear is wrong. Where does it state that an applicant has to have completed "paid" gigs?

I think you'll find it's just 6 gigs, paid or not.


"hunting for the acclaim and gravy train".

Yeah, I'm thinking about giving up work based on my other half's folk club earnings. There's a huge living to be made, millions in fact, never mind gravy, there's caviar... or maybe not.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:53 AM

Thank heavens I'm not really interested in folk songs - from anywhere - and dip into the English "folk" scene only from time to time. Thank heavens for tunes - from anywhere - which gladden the heart and don't carry an agenda.

When I was a regular participant on the jazz scene in Brighton, I met all sorts of weird characters, frequently drunk, occasionally smelly, often waspish, gossiping, backbiting, what you will - BUT - when you turned up with your instrument of choice at a session, only one thing mattered. If you could play the stuff, you were in. If you couldn't, it was made perfectly clear that you had to go away and do better next time. I remember the first time Diz Disley sat in with our fledgling jug/jazz band in London. We played "Doctor Jazz". Diz was marvellous, as ever. At the the end, he turned to me with a sweet smile on his face and said gently, "Dear boy, next time get the fucking chords right." And of course I did.

And, d'you know, all that seems rather healthier (and more fun) than the acid comments, self-righteousness, carping and jealousy I see when "folk" is discussed.

Anyway I'm off to the Lamb at Lewes tonight to sit in (paid - yes paid) at a session. My mandolin's been warming up all morning and my guitar's ready to throw in the odd Jimmie Rodgers weepie at the drop of a hat... The Harveys is in the barrel, waiting for me to sample the current brew. Hell, I might even warble a stanza of "Doctor Jazz".


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:05 AM

'fRoots has made a great contribution to folk music, certainly more than Al Whittle or Richard Bridge - neither of whom I have heard of other than through this forum.'

what you are not understanding, or willfully trying not to understand is that there are thousand of Al Whittles, and Richard Bridges - running open mics and folk clubs - all round the country. doing gigs in low prestige places for little money.( you know the sort of music Ry Cooders Chicken Skin music album tries to get whiff of). Occasionally getting 'allowed' to do ten minutes as a support act for some of the officer class.

This is folk music. preoved by the presence of folk - not 'the folk audience' but folk. All those songs that you pretend to revere - The Wild Rover etc - that is the forge in which they were created.

Not in the in Right On Performance Centre, by graduates of the hoity toity high and bloody mighty folk aristocracy.

And in our roles - running little studios, little folk clubs, little open mics...

we see loads of of young kids who write their own music, and don't know how to play your political correctness, and 'this is in a modal scale darling' dull bloody conformity games - just give up.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: johncharles
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:05 AM

Will I love your version of doctor jazz played on ukulele and guitar with tuba accompaniment. John


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:07 AM

Both seem to take the "community" (1954 definition) out of folk.

"Community" (1954 Definition) was never in folk, Richard - it was just an illusion caused by patronising academics refusing to see the trees for the wood. Otherwise, all music is born of Community - irrespective of the somewhat condescending (& misleading) usage of the word in the 1954 Definition. All music (bar none) is the consequence of collective cultural ecology and the individuals who give it creative voice; all music (bar none) is, therefore, a) ethnic and b) traditional. Folk is just a style.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:14 AM

Yes, Sean: & as I've remarked before, if every item of household furniture was called a chair, we shouldn't know where to park our arses. Folk is not 'just a style': it is a category, subsumed within the broader category of music~~

~~ which doesn't mean that "all music (bar none) is, therefore, a) ethnic and b) traditional." That is just nonsense ~~ as you know yourself when you're not playing devil's advocate. So stop being mischievous, you naughty little boy ~~ or else go away up to your nursery and play when the grownups are talking.

Regards

~M~


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:16 AM

All those songs that you pretend to revere - The Wild Rover etc

Personally, I wouldn't care if I never heard it (& hundreds like it) ever again. Still, it's a risk one takes entering into any given designated folk context. I'm not a great one for diddle-dee either, where musical creativity is sacrificed to the cause of inane repetition. In conversational terms, this would be like a bunch of people sitting around the table and reciting a rehearsed set of sentences over & over in unison.

Is this becoming a thread where Grumpy Old Folkies can vent their cringing spleens? In which case, count me in! (& I'm only 50...)


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:18 AM

Will I love your version of doctor jazz played on ukulele and guitar with tuba accompaniment. John

Good Lord, that YouTube version was done ages ago - just for a laugh, really - I'd forgotten all about it. I've just watched it again - very stupid! (At least I got the chords right...)


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:21 AM

no apparently it is a forum to solve MGM's arse parking problem....

park your arse here Mike, any time!


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:21 AM

Go on al, I love it when you talk dirty -

L


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:21 AM

Dave sez: I get the impresssion that there are certain elements that champion any folk music except British and American out of fear of being called xenphobic and not being clever enough to see the kings new clothes.

Who are these elements, Dave? Most people I know who like folk music from other places also have more folk music from English speaking countries in their record collections than is strictly good for them. I don't know anyone who likes this stuff out of fear. Still, it takes all sorts, I believe.

I don't think it has anything to do with 'the king's new clothes', either (for a start off, its been possible to buy folk music from all around the world and go to concerts by visiting overseas musicians longer than I've been listening to music). It's just about being open minded and listening to different things, and personally I've never been a fan of resticting myself to a narrow diet.

Will, as the fiend who strted this thread, I get heartily fed up of some of the insular, xenophobic stuff you see on Mudcat from some British folkies. That's why I started it. I'm fine with people having different tastes to me, but when the folk music of entire cultures is cavalierly dismissed and magazines like fRoots who champion it are disparaged because of some sort of weird agenda about it somehow not being fair to English folk singers, as we saw on the other thread, I do think it's worthy of comment. If that makes me 'self-righteous', so be it...

I would like a Polynesian arse-trumpet, though.

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

Here's a clip of Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. I wouldn't know about him were it not for fRoots, either.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: matt milton
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:22 AM

"what you are not understanding, or willfully trying not to understand is that there are thousand of Al Whittles, and Richard Bridges - running open mics and folk clubs - all round the country. doing gigs in low prestige places for little money.( you know the sort of music Ry Cooders Chicken Skin music album tries to get whiff of). Occasionally getting 'allowed' to do ten minutes as a support act for some of the officer class.

This is folk music. preoved by the presence of folk - not 'the folk audience' but folk. All those songs that you pretend to revere - The Wild Rover etc - that is the forge in which they were created.

Not in the in Right On Performance Centre, by graduates of the hoity toity high and bloody mighty folk aristocracy.

And in our roles - running little studios, little folk clubs, little open mics..."

The thing is, fRoots comes a damn sight closer to covering exactly that kind of thing than any mainstream music magazine could hope to (while continuing to sell enough copies to stay afloat)!

I mean, the last fRoots I bought (which I bought to read the Shirley Collins interview) had a page-long article/interview on Steve Turner in it. Would you describe him as being "high and bloody mighty folk aristocracy"?

And, while I know lots of people loathe and deeply resent the fRoots "And The Rest" reviews section, it does at least mean that hundreds of performers who are working precisely that semi-pro folk-club coalface do at least get some kind of recognition.

It sounds to me like you should start a fanzine, Big Al. It would feature reviews of floor-singers and home-produced CDRs. Its editorial policy would discount coverage anyone it deemed to have achieved even a modest level of "commerical success".

Actually, I'd quite like to read something like that. But it wouldn't be fRoots, and it seems daft to slag off fRoots for not being the precise thing you want it to be.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:30 AM

what you are not understanding, or willfully trying not to understand is that there are thousand of Al Whittles, and Richard Bridges - running open mics and folk clubs - all round the country. doing gigs in low prestige places for little money.( you know the sort of music Ry Cooders Chicken Skin music album tries to get whiff of). Occasionally getting 'allowed' to do ten minutes as a support act for some of the officer class.

So by "officer class" you mean those who are successful enough to do better-paid gigs in more prestigious venues? Sorry Al, but this just comes across as sour grapes.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:35 AM

Blandiver. "The interest is in Human Music whatever the county of origin......."

You sure could sing that if you had an air to it. As a matter of fact I've been singing it for the past forty odd years, ever since I was first blown away by hearing ethnic music (as it was called then).

No I'll not deny the right of anyone to listen wholly or exclusively to whatever style of music they happen to prefer, although I do wish some of them would take the blinkers off. But I will continue to celebrate the samenesses and differences which are such an inherent part of human musical culture. And I'll continue to remember that that Mongolian bloke pounding away so gloriously on his Mongolian zither, is a fellow human being, moved by the self same feelings and foibles and sentiments and emotions that we all possess because we are all members of the one human race.

And if there's a better argument than that for international fraternity and world peace, I'd like to know what it is.

"Hath not the human race eyes? Hath not the human race hands, organs,dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means,warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer...............?" With apologies to Shakespeare.


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Subject: RE: Review: Grumpy British Folkies part 273
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 07:42 AM

I've remarked before, if every item of household furniture was called a chair, we shouldn't know where to park our arses.

What a vapid analogy, Michael. Furniture is furniture. We have a diversity of types - tables, chairs, sofas, coffee tables, bookshelves. There's nothing inherently (or structurally) different here - they're just different in terms of style determined by their (complementary) domestic function. And within that there are lots of different places to park our arses - stools, settles, thrones, crackets, shooting sticks, misericords... We buy all ours from IKEA in flat packs (shooting and misericords notwithstanding) & I think our coffee table matches our bookshelves - otherwise I don't think there's a case to made that one item of furniture is so very different from another. I often sit on my table - and both of our Poang IKEA chairs are more often used for additional shelf-space than for the parking of arses.

Folk is not 'just a style': it is a category, subsumed within the broader category of music~~

Folk is a myth - it is an illusion conceived of at several removes from the thing it attempts to prescribe. If you accept the reality of that prescription (i.e. the orthodox reading of the 1954 Definition) then for sure, it becomes a category. Folk is not just a style of music, it's a matter of faith. You might say Butter & Cheese & All is a Folk Song for very different reasons than I say it's a Folk Song. I say it's a Folk Song because of its style, otherwise its manifest mastery is due to the same unique creative idiomatic musical genius we find in Bach, Gershwin, Coltrane or Dr Dre.   

That is just nonsense ~~ as you know yourself when you're not playing devil's advocate.

The very nature of Music is defined by Traditional and Ethnic / Cultural context. If this isn't the case, oh wise one, then feel free to tell me one that isn't - and tell me why it isn't. Or even one that can't be slotted into the 1954 Definition if it comes to that.


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